Title: Au Pair (2/10 + Epilogue)
Word Count: ~6,500
Characters: Kurt/Blaine, Rachel Berry, Isobelle, Blaine's parents and mentions of other canon pairings as we progress
Warnings: Oh so AU!
Rating: PG-13 - NC-17 (individual Chapter rating PG-13)
Summary: With money tight living with Ms Rachel Berry in their 'beautiful little broom cupboard', Kurt knows he needs to find a job. There just happens to be a family who require a nanny. Their son is in need of an escape too. Minus a magic carpet bag, cue Kurt Hummel.
See the Prologue Author Notes for full info on this story if you missed it.
Again, I'm sorry for the wait. I haven't had my own laptop and have been moving between places. I'm all settled now so I can post more often, thank goodness!
I changed the overall length of this story to 10 Chapters as I have the ending all planned out now. I really hope you enjoy!
MASTERLIST SO FAR: Prologue Chapter One
* * * * * * * *
Kurt spent the entire night organising his papers into a large file, the contract and official documents all copied and signed. Everything was in order and Rachel, ever the aficionado, sat close-by and provided commentary, most of which was entirely unhelpful.
"So, this Blaine. What is he like?"
That was the killer question: what was he like? It had been one afternoon and a very small window of time to get to know someone but there was something there and Kurt couldn't stop thinking about it. Never had he ever met someone and formed such a quick attraction, nor had he ever felt something quite so lingering for a stranger. That's what Blaine wasyet Kurt felt comfortable around him immediately and strangely connected.
Answering questions about Blaine felt empty in their meaning. Kurt could say how he felt intrigued by Blaine, how Blaine made him feel immediately at ease, how getting to know Isobelle had opened his eyes to the intense reward of getting through to someone younger and truly finding a connection... those things he could talk about. Blaine was still a stranger, though. Offering any explanation for his character was akin to a lie.
"He's nice," Kurt said simply, stapling the corner of the final bundle of papers. Everything was accounted for where Isobelle was concerned and it was all suddenly very real. Professionalism was important now. "He was very welcoming and I don't think he resents someone taking care of his little sister."
Rachel stopped, staring. "Kurt, you were a smitten kitten in your text. I gathered he was nice. I'm fishing for details here, not an overview." She winked, nudging his shoulder. "Come on. Spill."
After a moment, Kurt groaned, burying his head in the couch cushion. He sat there, knowing she'd read into it. As if on cue, a hand lay gently on his knee.
"He's very handsome," was all Kurt managed, trying not to sound like a sap. One day. That was how long he'd known Blaine. How could anyone start gushing over a boy after one day? Surely he was desperate or needy or pathetic - he'd believe that of anyone who came to him with a story of instantaneous attraction. The worst thing was that Blaine was technically his employer.
"You can talk to me, you know?" she pushed and Kurt, even though his head was still ensconced in mounds of rolling fabric, knew she was secretly enjoying the role of comforter. After years of being denied a best friend, Rachel Berry didn't half relish the opportunity to do all of the things she'd dreamed of for most of her teenage years. There was no denying her.
"I know. I just may have been rash with my opinions." He glanced up, taking in her wary look. "What? What's that face?"
"Don't you hold back on me, Kurt Hummel. I know you and you don't send me texts like that without good reason."
"I've known him one day." Kurt pressed his head back into the cushion, peeking one eye at Rachel. "I may have run away with myself. That's all."
"So," she urged, kicking at his knee with her stocking feet, "what did he look like? Let's start simple."
Kurt sat up, hands knotted in his lap. Something told him to hold back, not to spill all of the silly feelings out because there was a very good chance he'd sound like a twelve year old girl. Still, Rachel looked so sincere. "As I said, he's very handsome. He dresses so well and has nice eyes. They're a delicate hazel. He's amazing with his sister too. Is that enough?"
"Enough for a mild passing fancy but not for the way you went on about him. He sounds delightful but this is you. There must be something else because you just don't do this."
"What do you mean this?" Kurt pouted. It was annoying when she was so irritatingly right.
"Mooning. Bashful smiles. Thoughtfulness to the point of secrecy. You're private and reserved usually but this is different. You don't want to say something. I'm very perceptive and I can't even work out what it is."
"Ok," he surrendered, "I just don't want to sound pathetic. I'm well versed in illusions and making things up in my head but there was something that felt real. Different. I didn't want to mention it because when you've known someone hours, it's not all that normal to go declaring anything concrete."
She blinked back, stunned. "Well, that was a little more like it. Why didn't you just say so?"
"Because, Rachel," he sighed, "as I said, I don't know him well enough. Yes, Blaine is attractive. Yes, he's welcoming and polite and everything a gentleman should be and everything I'd look for in a guy. But that still doesn't make him anything other than a stranger to me."
She remained silent for a moment, staring. With a swift lick of her lips, she smiled. "So what's the hook?"
"You really do need to stop watching so many clichéd dramas." He groaned, burying his head back into the couch. It was safer there. Kurt couldn't see her eyes stuffed with concern and a thin veil of desperation to seek out the drama. Being single herself meant that she was far too invested in his love life – whatever tiny shreds of it there was.
"You still haven't explained why you're so invested so quickly. You met them both once. It's wonderful that you all got on so well, especially with little Isobelle but what is it with Blaine? What's got you so unhinged?"
"You're the one who's unhinged," Kurt said into the material, enjoying the vibrations of it and knowing his easily-readable expression was concealed. "But if you must know, I felt bad for him, ok?"
"In what way?"
Kurt peeked out with one eye. "In the same way that you feel for another person who is clearly experiencing something horrible that you understand too well. He's miserable and feels trapped. I just understood it and could read his reactions like a book, that's all."
She brightened then, clearly too invested now. "He's your project?" Her eyes glistened with excitement.
Dear god. Kurt wriggled out of the cushions and glared at her. "No, he's not my project, and I wouldn't demean him or anyone by thinking I could do anything to help but I know what it's like to feel alone and without someone to talk to when it's the one thing you need so badly."
Rachel's face softened. "Oh," she nodded in realisation, "he's sad? Blaine's unhappy. That's what got to you?"
Kurt frowned, nodding. "Yes. As self important as it may sound, I felt as if I could do or say something to let him know there was someone who got it, who understood. But why his mother invited another young gay man into her household when she's clearly got issues with her own is puzzling to say the least."
There was no way to put it into words or to explain something so miraculous. There'd been 'a moment' and that was all there was to it.
"Have you never just met someone and known you'd be something to them? Because that's what it was. I never had anyone like that when I was in high school and going through stuff – "
"You had us," Rachel pushed, clearly affronted.
Kurt smiled. "I know. It meant a lot and all of the New Directions, despite our collective dysfunction, made life bearable but you know what I mean. I'm talking about a person who you could just look at and they'd get it. No words required."
"So you think you're that to Blaine? This boy you've known for a day?"
With frustration, Kurt pursed his lips, answering, "No, Rachel. I don't presume I'm anything to him but what I'm trying to explain is that I saw the same pain in his eyes and no matter what age someone is, how much experience they've had with life, how much money they have or how many friends... there's no mistaking the look of someone who just wants a little understanding."
Rachel tucked her head close and grinned to herself. Kurt took in her expression, genuine and flooded with fondness. "I see. I think I understand."
"He'd be very lucky to have you. You know? If he ever wanted that or if you both ever talked some more and things, you know..."
"I highly doubt that's going to happen," Kurt let out a wry laugh, rolling his eyes. "I'm sure my title as Au Pair will define who I am in their household. But –" Kurt stopped, not wishing to admit what he knew from the very moment Blaine relaxed in his presence and smiled at him, those eyes so filled with knotted emotion and unresolved feelings.
"But what?" She let her fingers lie at Kurt's knee and ducked her head.
"But if he ever did need someone then I know I'd be powerless to stop myself from helping. You're not the only importunate person living in this broom cupboard."
"Importunate," she laughed, climbing up from the couch. "I like that. It sounds better than pushy or unrelenting."
"I only use those words when you're at your worst and you need dropping down a peg or two."
She shook her head and stepped into the kitchen area. "I got some raspberries on my way home today. Do you fancy some with a helping of your delicious frozen yoghurt?"
Kurt stretched out on the couch, wincing as his bones clicked. Damn early morning ballet skills class. "Sounds exactly what I want but exactly what I shouldn't have." He shrugged to which she threw her hands in the air.
"Oh well," she sing-songed, "if you don't tell then I won't."
Half asleep, Kurt pressed his fingers to his pulse points and kneaded gently. Watching Rachel clatter her way around their flat was strangely soothing. He had someone to talk to – albeit a crazy half-psychotic adorable creature with a particularly hideous penchant for opaque stockings – and a family who supported him without question.
Blaine had many things and so did Isobelle but Kurt couldn't shake the speed at which they'd welcomed him. It was as if Isobelle's bright smile at being given a voice had never left his mind since yesterday. There was sadness there and that was the hook, to use Rachel's phrase.
Mary Poppins managed to provide support and a fulcrum point for a family in quiet crisis. She didn't get emotionally involved, either.
It was clearly possible.
Although her umbrella topper parrot with the impudent tongue did have a point. She'd left with a heavy heart.
As Rachel dropped next to him, flicking on the TV, he knew he'd just have to stay professional and endure it. If Mary could do it then so could he.
* * * * * * * *
Kurt and Monica had discussed the matter of developing a relationship with Isobelle and it had been decided – mainly pushed for by Kurt – that they'd spend some extra time together to begin with. Isobelle had taken to Kurt so quickly and although it was normal for children to accept others much more rapidly and without question, there was still a need to really bond before Kurt could feel comfortable being her minder.
So the following evening and after a long day in acting class paired with the resident pretty boy who fancied himself as the next Robert Pattinson with his unwashed hair, Kurt found himself in Isobelle's bedroom. She'd let him in, explaining that her father was busy in his study but being left to her own devices didn't seem to be a foreign concept.
"What's that you're writing?" she asked, flopping down on her bed, belly first.
Kurt looked up and over the edge of his note book. They'd decided to both simultaneously spend time on their homework, Kurt hoping it'd instil a little structure to their meetings. "It's work for my classes."
She blinked, eyes doll-wide and shining. "My mom said you act. Is that what it's for?"
"Kind of," Kurt laughed gently, placing the books to one side. "I sing, dance and act. You like musicals, don't you?" She nodded enthusiastically. "Well, that's what I'm learning to do."
"You look like a film star." She let her eyes pass over him, pausing for a moment at his decorative belt before returning to look him in the eye. "You do."
"That's very nice of you."
She seemed placated and bounced back off the bed to lay on her carpet once more, legs kicking in the air. That was it. Conversations with six year olds were so matter-of-fact. Kurt laughed to himself wondering why adults couldn't be so straightforward.
Kurt watched her return to her writing, careful little hands dragging the pen across the page. It was strangely nice to sit in surroundings that helped to forget the stresses of being older and responsible.
"Kurt?" Clearly she wasn't finished after all.
She climbed back up onto the bed beside him. "How come you're a nanny anyways?"
"Well," he began, leaning atop his crossed legs towards her, "I moved to go to school here in New York and I needed to earn some more money because it's expensive living alone."
She gasped. "You live by yourself? No-one else?"
Smiling, Kurt shook his head, too charmed by her concern. "No, I'm not by myself. I live with my friend, Rachel. She goes to the same school as I do?"
"So she's your girlfriend then?"
Kurt let the question hang for a second, brain ricocheting through the many possible answers available to him but opted for the most truthful, the one he'd have liked when he was her age. "No, Rachel's not my girlfriend. She's my best friend. We knew each other from school. I don't have a partner."
"But you want one?" He laughed, take aback. Nothing in her expression seemed to be phased by such frank conversation so Kurt knew he'd pay her the courtesy back.
"I do. I would like a partner but I'm still young so there's time."
That seemed to pacify her for a moment. She played with the bow on her cardigan and Kurt leaned back to his work, one eye focused on Bella at all times. Kids weren't so scary, after all. Bella was curious and kind and completely at ease with being in the company of someone older than her years.
As if voicing her thoughts out loud, Isobelle broke the silence. "Do you like girls or boys? Bee said people like both sometimes and you didn't say girlfriend so I don't know."
Kurt looked into her eyes – round like coins and just as shiny. "Blaine spoke to you about that kind of thing?"
Her expression changed quickly and she gaped as if to claim Kurt absurd. "Yes. He did. Of course he did."
"Well," Kurt chuckled, leaning close again, "what did he tell you? Because it's very grown up of you to be so understanding. I'm impressed."
Bella's shoulders swayed, basking in the praise for a moment but she rapidly grew studious. Her brow knitted as she spoke primly. "Boys can like girls or boys. Girls can like boys or girls. Simple as that." She spoke as if regurgitating something from memory.
For a second, Kurt couldn't manage a response. If only every child was brought up with such a clear view of the world; if only everyone was taught by someone with clear compassion and a decent head on their shoulders. Clearly, Blaine had that and it was evident from his little sister, a product of something other than her strange upbringing. It had even taken Kurt a while to grasp the complexities of the way people felt inside. He'd spent most of high school so indignant about his own sexuality that he knew he'd dismissed some definitions that were just as valid as his.
He was older now, much more informed. Bella was a little girl and even she had a better grasp on the world.
"That's the way I see it."
"So which are you?" she asked straight out, not a flicker in her eyes that suggested she'd be bothered either way.
"Well," Kurt said slowly, "I'm a boy who likes boys."
With a nod, she climbed off the bed smiling. "Just like Bee, then."
Kurt watched her settle back down with her books, her curls falling over her shoulders in a tidal wave of ringlets. He knew, in that moment, that Isobelle would never be just his job. It was a foregone conclusion that she'd be something much more special than that.
* * * * * * * *
As Bella munched a peanut butter sandwich in front of her favourite show, Kurt finished up some cleaning and tried not to steal every extravagant thing he laid his eyes on. Everything was so beautiful but painfully expensive.
Somewhere in the apartment, William Anderson was doing his work. Clearly he didn't eat or make a noise. With a bitter laugh, Kurt wondered if he was a vampire. He was clearly a coffee guzzler with no wish to socialise or see the light of day unless it shone through his inevitable floor to ceiling office window in one of the ostentatious law firm buildings on Avenue of the Americas. Now Kurt was really giggling imagining Mr Anderson blacking out the light, hissing as it hit his pale pale ski –
"Laughing to yourself?"
Kurt flinched in shock, grabbing the mug in his hand just before it began to fall. Blaine appeared by his side, wincing apologetically. "Sorry," he laughed, "I didn't mean to make you jump. I know this place can be a bit of a morgue."
Kurt raised an eyebrow. "Morbid. Interesting."
The smile he earned from Blaine was blissful and sent a thrill right up his spine, tingling under his skin.
Blaine turned, clearly in tune with the tiny nuanced sounds of the apartment as Bella appeared in the doorway and launched herself at Blaine's legs.
"Bee! You're home." She leaned back, frowning up at Blaine with her fists jammed in her hips. Kurt bit back a smile at just how formidable she was. "You're never home early. You're always late on Fridays."
"You're like a detective," he laughed, bending to her height. So in sync, Bella reached for the turned collar of his knitted cardigan and tugged at it. Kurt watched as Blaine's eyes softened; his mouth quirked up when he spoke. "Did you have a good day?"
She brightened. "Yes. School was ok but Kurt taught me some dance moves before I did some homework."
"Did he now?" Blaine asked, turning with eyebrows raised.
Kurt shrugged, smiling. "Well, we did try to make them educational. We learned to spell the French names for the ballet positions."
For a second, Blaine didn't move, instead just staring open-mouthed. "You taught my little sister to speak French?"
"Well, we only learned a couple of words." The room felt hot; Blaine's gaze was a little suffocating in all of its amusement and wonder. Was it really so hard to imagine that Kurt would want Isobelle to learn new things?
"Plié seemed to be a favourite. She nailed it and can execute a decent demi if pushed." Blaine smiled wide, turning back to Bella who was placing her feet in position and bending. She flourished with a tiny squeak of accomplishment and it was as if Blaine was witnessing the declaration of world peace.
"Look at you! Belle! Ok, stay there." He fished in his bag frantically.
It was as if Kurt was an outsider for a moment, watching in and being allowed to witness their private moments. It was very clear that Blaine didn't behave so freely at all times - if their previous conversation was anything to go by - but watching him with Bella, Kurt knew he was getting the real deal.
Bella's knees shook and she glanced up at Kurt with saucer-wide eyes. "These are hard," she gasped, through clenched teeth. Without thinking, Kurt knelt to her level and steadied her until Blaine turned. He paused for a moment to smile graciously at Kurt.
"Ok. Photo shoot. Smile!" he called, laughing into the screen of his iPhone when Bella's poised grin split and she pulled a face, her nose crinkled tight. "Hey! That's not fair."
After a few more shots and a little intervention by Kurt to help her into fifth position, Blaine nodded happily and announced the shoot over.
"I could be a model. Kurt could teach me," she told Blaine as she skipped back into the lounge seemingly on air and giddy. No sugar was a rule Kurt was going to have to keep in mind. Peanut Butter clearly made her much spritelier and although it was adorable, it wouldn't earn him any merits with Mrs Anderson if her daughter was high as a kite when she arrived home.
"You're a hit," Blaine said, dumping his bag onto one of the tall stools. He leaned back against the counter with his hands tucked into his pockets. Something seemed softer about him, more at ease and loose.
Kurt shook his head. "I'm a novelty. It'll wear off."
"No," Blaine insisted, sweetly, "you might be new and exciting but you also listen to her and she feels like she has someone who gets what she's about. That's new for her."
Kurt would have been lying if he said the thought hadn't crossed his mind. Isobelle felt special having someone of her own: a person who she knew was only in their apartment because of her, for her and for her only. It felt nice to be that for someone.
"She has you," Kurt offered, amused, "and it's obvious that you get exactly what she's about."
Blaine seemed touched, smiling to himself. He tugged at the sleeve of his cardigan. "I'm obliged to. I'm her brother and even though she knows I adore her and will always love her to pieces; it's the fact that you don't have to be here. Whether she consciously knows it or not, for that reason you're going to be important to her"
Blaine frowned at his last words, looking away. Immediately, Kurt knew why and spoke before he could stop himself. "I hope you know I'll always defer to you. She looks at you and the sun comes out so I hope I'm not stepping out of line when I say that even though your parents employ me, I'll always come to you. If that's ok, of course?"
After a brief pause with Blaine focusing intently on Kurt's mouth as he spoke, the sound of footsteps came from across the hall. Blaine stiffened, grasping his bag and rushing out his words in hushed tones. "I know we don't know each other really well but I'm glad my mom chose you. I'm still unsure exactly why she did but that's no reflection on you or who you are, it's a reflection on her and my father. Just know that I don't worry about you being with Bella. It's clear that she feels safe around you and that's all I need to know right now. She might be young and impressionable but she's like one of those machines out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you know?" Kurt nodded, suddenly flushed at Blaine's proximity. "She can read a bad egg and so can I. I've known enough of them to see that you're far from that and you'll be good for her."
As the door to the kitchen creaked open, Kurt clasped the counter top behind him as Blaine straightened up and stepped more than a metre away. A man in his later forties with greying hair and frown lines appeared at the door, tie askew from obvious tugging and a pen tucked behind his ear.
"Blaine, you're home? Why didn't you come to see me like we agreed?"
Was he invisible? Kurt felt the growing need to dramatically pinch himself in front of this man who was clearly the elusive Mr Anderson, asserting that yes, he was in the room. No recognition came even once Blaine had finished mumbling out an excuse.
Kurt believed in his own ability to read people and anyone with a pair of eyes and a decent grasp on human interaction could sense Blaine's discomfort. He didn't want to be having this conversation or, for want of a better phrase, grilling.
"I've got to call my new senior associate in fifteen minutes to talk through the reason why I'm back home instead of where I should be in Chicago but if you come through now, we'll talk."
Blaine turned and flashed Kurt a look with an obvious plea of some sort. It spoke volumes that Blaine felt comfortable enough to do such a thing with Kurt – a virtual stranger.
Just as Kurt was ready to snap the granite in a knee jerk reaction to this man's assumption that his rightful place was not in his own home but in a different city, Mr Anderson turned and raised an eyebrow. Kurt fought to find a smile.
"You must be Kurt?" His voice was deep and sure with conviction.
Kurt straightened, lengthening his spine. "Yes. It's good to meet you. You must be William Anderson."
That did it. The jolt in William's expression was enough to tell Kurt he'd succeeded in asserting some presence. Clearly, he'd been expecting someone meek and mild.
Unlucky for him, Kurt thought, and smiled inside with self satisfaction.
"My wife told me to expect you. I hope Isobelle's behaving. She can be quite a handful but she has plenty of spirit which my wife tells me you're more than capable of coping with. I hope I can trust her judgement." Kurt felt the effects of this man's gaze, the assessment in it and the way the folds between his eyebrows remained as if practised to enhance his authority.
"You most certainly can. Isobelle's fantastic and I aim to do everything within my power to do the best job I can."
With that, William appeared appeased in general but there wasn't so much as a hint of his being grateful for impressed. If anything, he was a bad social interaction away from shaking Kurt's hand.
Still, he didn't seem like a bad man.
As Kurt was left alone in a still-strange kitchen, he peeked in at Bella who was curled into the couch cushion asleep, her hair flowing freely over her face. No matter how many times Kurt had told himself he'd never want children or feel a paternal twang, a single glance at her pouting lips and cushion-squashed cheek was enough to ignite something.
Kurt tiptoed into the lounge, turning off the TV and admiring, once again, the plush navy couches and their gold rimmed cushions. No wonder Bella couldn't stay awake. In such surroundings, Kurt felt himself swooning.
The apartment fell silent. Just as Kurt made a clever note to catch up on some reading, he made his way towards Bella's room but stopped at the sound of raised voices.
"You will attend, Blaine. We have spoken about this at length and I don't care what frivolous things you have planned but family and responsibility comes first."
"Dad, this is important to me."
"Blaine, you can do this stuff anytime. You know that we pre-arrange a year in advance for these family retreats and we have everything in place now. We are not changing our plans for some Summer School."
"But I have to change my plans!"
"Yes. Yes, you do, Blaine. Because you're as much a part of this family as your mother and I and we expect you to show that sometimes."
"Well I would if I felt like even half of that was true. You don't have a clue what I – "
"We won't go there, Blaine. It's not a time to bring up old arguments."
"Of course it's an old argument. You just don't listen. You hear exactly what keeps you perfectly happy, you and mom both. At least she pretends to listen and tries, you just block me out. Even if I came in here and broke down in tears you'd still sit there and chew the end of your pen like I was some client of yours."
"Don't you – "
"Don't what, Dad? Don't tell the truth because we both know how brilliantly you've handled things in the past. I'm not expecting father of the year. I just want to feel like you actually give a damn about my actual feelings. Clearly you're just interested in seeing everything the way you want to see it."
"Your mother and I have provided everything for you, Blaine. We've cared for you, given you everything you could have ever asked for. We're always here for you but still we're not doing the right job."
"In the grand scheme of things, Dad, that means nothing. All of that is so easy to do. I'm always grateful for everything I have but you can't just say 'oh right, well we can pat ourselves on the back for being great parents because we've got a shiny apartment and a son who's in college'. Does it not occur to you that I'm not happy? That Bella's the only one in this place I can talk to? Because sometimes it feels that way. I have nobody to talk to. I can't talk to my friends because they're my only escape. Why can't you just see that sometimes?"
"Blaine, you can always come to us. You know that. We're your parents."
"Well, act like it!"
Kurt washed cold, heart hammering. Blaine sounded broken.
"If this is about – "
"Dad. Don't. I'm not even going there because I can't. You know what? I worry for Bella. It's like you didn't want to cope with me when I developed a mind of my own. Well, you know what, Dad? Screw it – "
"Blaine – "
"No. I'm so sick of it. I'm sick of feeling like a stranger in my own house, sick of hearing you and mom moving around and feeling like I'm in a hotel and that I don't know you at all because I don't. I can't even remember the last time we talked about something real. It's like I get tiny glimpses and then you disappear or mom smiles and expects everyone else to smile back. I'm done. I'm done with pretending we're this perfect family because we're not. How can we be when you don't even like who I am?"
"That's just not true. We don't dislike who you are and you know that. It was just a diff- "
"Difficult time. Yeah right. And you stayed up most nights worrying about how your parents would react? You felt fear every time someone even came close to asking if I had a girlfriend, did you? No. You haven't got a clue how it feels to be completely unsupported."
"You need to calm down, Blaine. Come on."
"No. Have your phone call, Dad. I'm stupid for even starting this because, of course, it's like talking to a brick wall. Nothing's ever going to change. I'm going to my Summer school in July and I don't care how many seating plans you have to change."
There was a slam of a door and loud footsteps and then nothing.
Kurt couldn't stop his fingers from shaking. He could barely move, so worried that if he did, the floor would creak and Blaine would know he'd been listening. Still, their voices had been loud enough to hear from six blocks away.
Kurt tiptoed back into the lounge and sighed, pleased to see Isobelle still sleeping soundly. Her feet were now tucked up underneath her skirt. Sitting close-by, Kurt enjoyed the wash of calm that came over him and the freedom to let out the breath he'd been holding for what felt like hours.
So, Blaine wasn't on good terms with his father. It was hardly a difficult one to deduce without witnessing a screaming match but some of the things Blaine had said were difficult to grasp. He was hurting; he was in pain and suffering in his own house, the very place that anyone should retreat into for respite and relief.
Clearly, there had been complex issues with Blaine's sexuality if Kurt had read the subtext correctly. The fact that there wasn't a single frank word spoken was troubling. Blaine was clearly venting.
Kurt knew the luxury of having a supportive family, a father who accepted the most garish of outfits and who attended every Glee club performance and tried: tried so hard to understand and learn. He'd given 'the talk' after seeking advice about sex and the many possibilities Kurt could be open to; he'd been open frank and honest and had even encouraged Kurt to find someone who he loved and who could provide the same love back.
Burt Hummel was a one in a million kind of man. It was obvious that Blaine didn't have anything so supportive in his life where his sexuality was concerned. The Andersons had money - that much was obvious - and it was clear that Monica and her husband cared for their children deeply but sometimes - and Kurt knew how true this was - love sometimes wasn't enough. Acceptance, dedication, support, a friendly ear, warm arms and a hug to hold you together when you felt as if you were shattering -those were things that only the luckiest people had in abundance and Kurt, even for all the pain he'd suffered in high school, knew he was one of the luckiest.
Having a father like Burt Hummel had always felt like a blessing but Kurt, sitting in a strange family's expensively decorated lounge amidst a cloud of unrest, knew his father was a hero. Never did Kurt question his dad's belief in him or the support he provided. They'd never had tons of expendable money or a lavish lifestyle but their house was filled to the brim with acceptance and openness.
Bella stirred, snuffling into the arm of the sofa. She spread her fingers, arms stretching up and grappled with the cushion to sit.
The fact that she said his name first should have been the first thing to set alarm bells ringing but strangely, it didn't. There was a thread of sorts tugging at Kurt's heart and he couldn't let go now.
"I'm here, sweetie. If you're sleepy, you can nap some more. I'm just working." She yawned, finishing with a contented smile.
"Ok." With that, she snuggled back down and exhaled for what seemed like hours. Immediately, she was fast asleep again and shrouded in her dark curls. They were so soft and untamed as Kurt teased them away from her face, tucking them securely behind her ear. She squirmed but settled once his hand was warm against her shoulder.
"Shhhh," Kurt soothed, patting in a gentle rhythm. The memories of his mother doing something similar hit him hard in the chest, causing him to swallow thickly and lean back into the couch.
What an afternoon.
Just as the same sense of cosy slumber threatened to pull Kurt under too, the floor creaked and Kurt turned to the doorway.
"Been there long?" Anything to break the ice because Blaine's furtive eyes and his pained expression were enough to illustrate just how certain he was that Kurt had heard every word of the argument.
"Long enough to wish I'd stayed out here," Blaine said simply. He frowned. "I'm sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable."
Kurt couldn't take his eyes off the tremble at Blaine's cheek when he spoke. His eyes were red-rimmed and glistening sadly with every glance down to the floor. Gone was the confident and alluring Blaine from their first meeting because he'd been replaced by someone who appeared much younger and so desperate for connection.
Kurt wasn't sure which made him want to stay more.
"I don't feel uncomfortable at all," Kurt explained with a forced smile. "If anything, I'm in love with your couch and think your sister has exactly the right idea."
"She always does," Blaine added wistfully, padding across the room to sit by them. Kurt's heart ached at the sight of Blaine's slightly hunched shoulders and the wilt in his previously sparkling eyes.
"I was thinking about taking her out for a few hours tomorrow. I okayed it with your mom. I thought Alice's Tea Cup might be nice. I can see her in glittery fairy wings."
Blaine looked pleased, grinning in agreement. "She'd love that. It sounds nice."
"Well, it beats spending the day listing to my housemate rehearsing for her audition. I used to adore Evita. Now I want to burn every single cast recording because I swear I woke up singing Rainbow High in my sleep. She has ruined one of my favourite songs forever."
Blaine hummed in amusement. Kurt angled his head to the side to find Blaine with his cheek cushioned into the softness and his sore eyes closed. "She sounds great."
"That's one word, I guess." Kurt felt an odd sense of warmth blossom inside at the genuine chuckle low in Blaine's throat.
"I was wondering," Blaine said, peeling his eyes open for a moment, "if you didn't have any objections, if I could join you tomorrow? It's just, I've always wanted to take Bella somewhere like that but what with college and commitments, I haven't been able to."
Kurt beamed a little too eagerly but it didn't matter because the look of happy surprise in Blaine's eyes was enough to quell any awkwardness. "The more the merrier."
"That's really kind of you."
Kurt shook his head. "Don't mention it. Although I should tell you that Bella already decided on a theme." Blaine quirked an eyebrow in amusement. "She wanted us to wear pink so I promised her my cerise silk scarf."
"Don't worry," Blaine drawled, yawning but grinning sheepishly through it, "I'm pro pink."
At Blaine's delightfully crinkled smile, Kurt breathed deep with a strange sense of accomplishment. "Well then, you're welcome to come along." Kurt turned to face Blaine. The comfort of sitting so close was surprising but, then again, Blaine had a gentle way about him that Kurt couldn't stop feeling drawn to.
As the sound of a slammed door echoed through the apartment, Blaine winced. Clearly, Mr Anderson was off out. The noise seemed to rouse Blaine, taking him right out of the moment. He eased himself off the couch, stopping to turn and smile tightly at Kurt. His gratitude was written clearly on his face. "Tomorrow then?"
TO PART 3
Thank you for being so patient with me :) I'm so pleased people seem to be fond of Bella. That makes me very happy <3