Title: Au Pair (4C/10 + Epilogue)
Word Count: ~4,400
Characters: (varies) Kurt/Blaine, Rachel, Isobelle, Blaine's parents - William and Monica
Warnings: Oh so AU! and very mild suggestions of homophobia/ignorance + Kurt-esque dismissals of religion in this part
- for those worried this is a story about kids/focused on them - I want to assure you it definitely isn't :)
Rating: PG-13 - NC-17 (individual Chapter rating PG)
Summary: [NEW!] After moving to New York and taking on NYADA with one Ms Rachel Berry, Kurt soon realises that reality has a way of sneaking up on dreams. With money tight, Kurt realises he needs a job.
The Andersons are a family in crisis. Monica and William Anderson, high flying lawyers, decide it’s time to employ a nanny for their daughter, Bella, but Kurt soon realises that she’s not the only one in the family who needs a helping hand. The Andersons have a son and, unlike Mary Poppins, Kurt realises he might be a little bit out of depth.
So this is the end of Chapter 4 - eventually! I know I promised it yesterday but YET AGAIN, I had computer issues as I said on tumblr.
There are a few little flaskbacks coming that will hopefully explain a little more of the Andersons backstory. I REALLY hope you like this chapter as it is - alongside Chapter 5 - my favourite to write so far. I also wrote a new summary as I suck terribly at them!
His phone buzzed from deep within the piles of paper stacked across his desk. Fumbling to catch a falling folder, William Anderson, swore loudly and jabbed at the screen with the pad of his index finger.
Will. Phone me Immediately.
William. Answer your phone.
Will. I need you to answer your damned cell phone.
Answer your phone, William.
WILL. I need you and you won’t pick up.
Fifteen missed calls.
With trembling fingers, he dialled. For ten minutes, listening to the voice on the other end of the line, he was numb. Upon hanging up, he was rigid, cold. As he fell into his desk chair, he was terrified.
“Is everything alright, Sir?” Nisha, his long standing secretary, asked from the door way. He pulled on his coat and made a beeline for the door, only pausing for a moment to answer in a voice so uncharacteristic to his usual controlled self.
“I’m leaving early. I won’t be back tomorrow. Direct my calls, Nisha. Please.”
He was shaking.
“Sir, are you ok?”
“I need to go. It’s my son.”
* * * * * * * *
As they pulled up to the apartment block, Blaine was first to move, breaking contact with Kurt and fussing with Bella’s seat belt. Kurt noticed how Blaine did everything in his power not to look directly at him.
Once inside the elevator, Blaine stood close, his shoulder a mere millimeter away but Kurt could still feel his warmth. He tried to focus on Bella’s chatter but couldn’t muster the restraint to stop thinking of Blaine, Blaine, Blaine.
There wasn’t a time Kurt could remember when someone had reached for his hand. He wasn’t that guy. He was the kind to hold still on physical contact, shirk away from it unless he was open to it or the other person was someone close.
Blaine’s fingers had been warm and smooth, sliding against his own skin and settling there. It was as if he didn’t need to move, didn’t require anything other than the simple point of contact.
“Kurt?” He blinked, feeling the creep of blush at his cheeks. Blaine was staring and standing on the other side of the elevator door. The corner of his mouth was quirked up a fraction. “Do you want to join us for a late night snack?”
“Oh. Well, if you wouldn’t mind?”
Blaine made a small noise of amusement and glanced down at Bella who was nodding furiously.
“He can make his hot chocolate. Bee makes the best kind.”
Without giving Kurt a chance to answer, Bella grabbed for his hand and pulled him along towards the apartment door.
As Bella took it upon herself to let them in, Kurt fished in his pocket and punched out a quick ‘I’ll be home late’ message to Rachel. It would ward off any potential disasters should she come to the conclusion he’d been abducted or left for dead. The image of their first week living together was still fresh in his mind; all he’d done was agree to drinks with course mates. She’d cried on the couch for an hour and was poised to dial 911 as he burst through the door.
“Kurt?” Blaine was chuckling now, head tilted and pondering silently.
“Sorry. I was miles away.”
“You know if you have somewhere else to be, we’d understand. It’s just, I –“
“No. No, I’d love to join you. I would. I was just in another world, that’s all.” Kurt smiled and stepped inside. Bella raced off down the hall, Blaine calling after her to change for bed. Kurt watched as Blaine threw his bag in his room and disappeared inside.
For the first time, he felt awkward.
Kurt had every right to be in the Anderson household but this felt different. Nowhere in his contract did Monica state that Kurt should join Bella for hot beverages alongside her handsome older brother whilst technically ‘off duty’. He wasn’t required to be in their house and yet he couldn’t leave. Blaine’s cheeks were strained from smiling, his jaw still set strong and so destined to fall.
Who could find the will to leave?
Kurt strolled into the kitchen and began to arrange three cups in a straight line, sliding them until they were perfectly aligned.
“You don’t have to do that, you know?”
Blaine padded across the tiled floor with a soft smile.
“I happen to have a natural instinct for order,” Kurt said simply and flicked on the kettle. “I also have a perpetually unyielding desire to help. So shoot me.”
Kurt continued his preparations, shocking himself at how adept he’d become at using the Anderson’s kitchen, but Blaine stayed silent and still, watching.
Used to all eyes on him, Kurt felt heat lick at his skin, drawing his emotions to the surface so as to threaten their release. Blaine’s eyes – they were to blame. Still, in all their strain and stress, they contained the most concentrated affection.
“I’m sorry about before if I, um, if I was inappropriate.”
Kurt turned at once. “Blaine – “
“No, let me finish.” Blaine said sharply then looked away, rubbing the back of his neck. When his eyes returned to Kurt’s they reflected back a suffocating sense of desperation. “I shouldn’t have done that. You’re my sister’s nanny. Or au pair or whatever we’re calling it. It was wrong of me to think it would be ok to reach out to you in that way and I just wanted to apologise so there wasn’t any awkwardness. The last thing I want is for Bella’s life to be disrupted because I overstepped.”
Kurt stayed very still, knowing that Blaine needed to be heard – even if he was wrong.
“Can I speak now?”
Blaine spat out a shaky laugh, gesturing politely. “Of course. Go ahead.”
“First of all, I am not only your sister’s au pair. I thought we addressed the fact that we’re friends. Secondly, I could have moved my hand.” The words were spoken with surety but, inside, it was a different matter, Kurt’s heart hammering and jittery under Blaine’s stare.
“Why didn’t you?” Blaine’s lip slid between his teeth and Kurt tracked the curve of it, the way Blaine’s top lip landed gently against it with just the slightest pout. Everything was moving slowly, the room suddenly much, much smaller and, like a cocoon, bundling the moment up until Kurt couldn’t see anything but Blaine in his entirety.
“Because I know how hard it is to reach out when you need something. Even if you don’t know what that something is.”
“You don’t owe me anything, Kurt.”
Laughing exasperatedly, Kurt shook his head. “Of course I don’t, but isn’t that the point?”
Blaine stared at the floor for a long and quiet moment. “I knew they wouldn’t come. I knew they’d be working.”
Kurt held his breath, fingers itching to reach out and close the distance between them but a fraction of movement would end in disaster. He wouldn’t stop and the realisation was enough to wind him and strip out every shred of resolve until he felt like clawing at it to keep it within. If he let go for even a second, there’d be no going back.
“They used to.”
Kurt ducked his head, drawing Blaine’s focus upwards once more. “What do you mean?”
“Before,” Blaine whispered, as if the words were too big to say. “They used to come see me perform. They used to support me before I explained to them that I happen to hope that one day I’d meet a guy and fall in love with him.”
It was as if Kurt’s heart was shattering. Many a night he’d spent endlessly daydreaming of the possibilities out there, of the potential for love and romance, not to mention the world’s promise of heartbreak. The inevitability with which the world held eventual turmoil of the heart was a depressing thought and one which Kurt tried to appreciate for all its drama and the use it would be for any future method acting role. Every great performer had a moment like that to draw from. The fear that someday he’d get his was still not enough to tear down the fluttery promise of hand holding, intimacy, marriage, slow drawn-out kisses, tight cuddles at night and every cliché moment ever lamented in song.
“I was repeatedly thrown into dumpsters and lockers until my back was so bruised that it felt sore to lie down at night. It was mostly the same guy: burly football player with a history of aggression and pea brained intellect. I’d grouped him with the inbred morons who thought being gay was a crime or sin against humanity and added him to my list of people to haunt with my self-righteousness when I became a star until one day he kissed me and forced himself on me in the school locker room –“
“Kurt.” Blaine winced, stepping closer.
With a sure hand to the air, Kurt silenced him. “He was cruel, mindless and wrong in so many ways but it turned out he was quite the troubled soul. Deeply closeted would be an understatement. This was a person I thought hated me for who I was. It turns out that what he really hated was himself because of his own misguided feelings and inbred fear. His father was of my father’s generation and yours too, no doubt. The uneducated, in whatever respect, look to those who they think know best or, worst of all, the world at large to help them. It turns out the world sucks and is fundamentally wrong. Ignorance breeds ignorance and I learned that a long time ago.”
Kurt watched Blaine’s mouth twitch into a smile, his eyes glassy but focused deeply on Kurt’s. “I used to always say that prejudice is ignorance.”
“It’s definitely a start and I learned it the hard way. What I’m trying to say, very inarticulately, is that people are useless. That’s not to excuse their behaviour or make them the victim because I think we both know how it feels to be on the receiving end of something we truly don’t deserve but sometimes it’s not all as it seems.”
“I’ve tried showing them, Kurt. I’ve tried for most of my life but it’s like they’re blinkered to it. They think they can raise a son to their own plans and that I’ll be happy to fall in line but I’m not.”
Blaine fell silent, chest rising and falling in laboured rhythm. “It’s not that easy.”
Kurt shrugged with a smile just on the right side of bitter. “Nothing ever is. That’s another thing I learned the hard way but I also know what it’s like to make the decision to fight for what is right and I’ve got to say, Blaine, I’ve never met someone else who carries the world around on their shoulders. I thought I was part of a small minority.”
With a glint in his eye, Blaine let out a breathless laugh. “How awesome are we?”
“Very,” Kurt laughed back.
“I wish I had the strength to be able to say ‘screw you’ and show them they’re wrong but –“
“There’s Bella to consider.” Blaine nodded, wilting inwards as he leaned back against the central counter. As if tethered, Kurt felt himself step closer, following.
“She’s so young and she doesn’t understand why we shout and argue and I hate it. I think I may have clung to her a little bit too much. I mean she’s so sweet and kids are perfect when you just want someone to tell you how it is. I’ve tried to explain things to her so she understands but sometimes I just want to keep her far away from it all. I want her to love mom and dad openly like all kids should.”
Kurt smiled, crossing to lean next to Blaine. He glanced sideways, adding, “Oh yes, she explained to me her assessment of the possible combinations for romantic partnerships. I have to say, I prefer her way of looking at things.”
“So are you.” Kurt spoke before he could stop himself. The need to scramble after the words and scoop them back inside was overwhelming. “I mean –“
Kurt could feel the burn at his cheeks. He closed his eyes for a second, a giggle ripping from his lips. “We’re all fabulous and brilliant and that’s that.”
As Kurt allowed his focus to land back on Blaine, he wasn’t smiling or reacting but simply staring with an intensity Kurt couldn’t bear; it was as if he was staring straight into Kurt’s soul with no wish for anywhere else.
Nobody had ever looked at him that way before.
“Sometimes I wonder if my mom knew what she was doing, bringing you into our lives.”
Something tight and slow tugged at Kurt’s throat and he parted his lips as if to speak but there wasn’t a word appropriate to explain the overwhelming sense of honour. With a shaky attempt at a smile, he took a deep breath.
“I worry about that daily.”
A gradual grin spread across Blaine’s face. “And if she didn’t, then someone up there,” –the gestured to the ceiling – “really wants to help me out.”
“Oh, believe me, if there was a beardy guy on a cloud dancing us like puppets then I’d be the first in line to bitch slap him into his next thousand years. Which is why I’m certain he doesn’t exist.”
Blaine toyed with the edge of his sweater for a moment, Kurt following the gentle movement of his fingers. When he spoke, his voice seemed lower and achingly sincere. “What you told me about your experiences in high school? I’m so sorry that ever happened to you.”
Kurt dismissed it with a practised roll of his eyes. “I am too and in a way I’m not because I wouldn’t be who I am right now if it wasn’t for what happened back in Ohio.”
“Still,” Blaine mused, “nobody should have to go through that. Nobody should have to hurt for who they are.”
“No. No, that’s true. Nobody should. But still, they do.”
“Wow,” Blaine groaned, scrubbing at his face, “we’ve hit religion and the fates of the world now. This is one hell of a night. I feel like I’ve been awake for hours.”
“I should really go check on Bella and maybe you could actually make this hot chocolate you promised? I expect as many marshmallows as Bella too.”
With a noise of amusement, Blaine moved away, pulling a playful face over his shoulder. He quickly resumed the preparations as Kurt made his way through to Bella’s room.
In the cooler expanse of the lounge, Kurt took two slow and steadying breaths, giving himself a moment to regroup. Being so close to Blaine in every sense of the word was both exhausting and strangely intimate. Every moment was monumental, the meaning behind each word so vast and complicated that they never seemed to ever reach a solid conclusion. The airing of thoughts and feelings was the most important thing.
It was a tangle of emotion and a lot like Kurt imagined it would be to open your heart to another person, but, at the same time, it was so much more. Blaine radiated in compassion even in his moments of uncertainty and Kurt simply wanted to drown in it in a way he’d never felt ready nor willing to before.
As he reached Bella’s door, Kurt inched it open slowly and felt his heart skip. She was curled in a ball no larger than her pillows, her feet tucked up and one arm hanging out of her pyjama top. Her tiny muffled noises of sleep were loud in the confines of the room and Kurt couldn’t help but ache to cover her up, tucking her in just like his mother had done to him hundreds of times.
As he flicked off her light and pulled the door closed a fraction, there was a noise not too far away followed by a man’s voice echoing from an adjacent room.
“Your call woke me up. Jesus, yes, I was sleeping. Look, I haven’t got the patience for this. Just tell them I need a copy of it by tomorrow or we’ll love their confidence. Do you understand the need to keep them on side, Joe? Because if you don’t then I haven’t got a clue what I pay you for. Just do it and send me an email the second you hear back, ok? Ok. Good.”
Kurt’s pulse quickened, palms sweating on impulse.
Mr Anderson was working. Working.
All at once, Kurt felt sick. If Blaine heard, if he knew even for a moment that his father had been sleeping instead of attending the concert of his son...
Kurt rushed through the apartment, stepping as quietly as possible in thick sole boots, until he reached the kitchen and slipped inside.
“Bella’s sleeping so I put a blanket over her. So, I was thinking –“
“You get three,” Blaine interrupted, turning and presenting Kurt with a loaded mug with a trio of pink marshmallows floating on a bed of cream. With trembling hands and an expression no doubt flustered with panic, Kurt took the drink.
All too quickly, Blaine passed him and made his way into the hall. “I’ll be right back. I’m just going to change. Just make yourself at home.”
The panic buzzed under Kurt’s skin as he placed his mug on the counter and rushed out but it was all in vain and far too late.
“Why are you here? Why do you look as if you’ve been sleeping?”
Kurt shut his eyes in dread at the sound of Blaine’s voice cracking under the strain of control.
William ran a hand through his hair and glanced towards Kurt. An audience. That was clearly his main concern.
“It was a long day, Blaine. You know we’re working on –“
“Work, Dad. You’re working on work but that still doesn’t explain why you look as if you’ve just woken up. Because the way I see it, you slept rather than coming to see my show. The same show you and mom said you’d come to. To support me, like we agreed. You know? After our talk.”
Once again, Kurt felt watched as William’s eyes tracked his face then zeroed back in on Blaine, hard but wounded in their intensity. “We’ll talk about this in the morning, Blaine. It has been a long day for all of us – “
“No,” Blaine hissed, shoulders sharpening, “now. You have no idea what kind of day it has been for me because you weren’t there.”
“Blaine, we have a guest. I won’t discuss this now.” Kurt started as if to interject but Blaine’s hand flew out between them, flat in the air and strong.
“Kurt isn’t being dismissed so you can pretend this isn’t happening, Dad. I know mom’s busy and flying across the country right now and I also know she spent all day with Bella when she could but what’s your excuse? Too afraid I’ll show you up? Scared you’ll have to own up to me as a son?”
At every word, Kurt’s chest tightened. The room was spinning, the air thick and harsh around them as Blaine’s words sliced it in two.
“I won’t say it again, Blaine. This isn’t the time or the place to be having this discussion. Say goodbye to Bella’s nanny and we’ll talk in the morning.”
A low noise reverberated in Blaine’s throat as he spat his words. “His name is Kurt and he’s not Bella’s nanny, he’s the person who has been keeping her sane for weeks.”
“Well, Kurt,” William turned to him, “I apologise for that. I’m sorry that you find yourself in an awkward position but I think it’s time we all said goodnight. Blaine, we’ll talk in the morning once we’ve all calmed down. I’m going to see to your sister.”
With a steely glare, Blaine watched in shock as his father retreated down the hall and turned the corner. All at once, Kurt watched him crumble, shoulders dropping with his head just in time for his hands to catch it, cradling his own face. It was as if he was holding himself together, the pieces so hopelessly falling apart.
It was all Kurt could say; that, and step closer just to console even from a distance. The pain of rejection and disappointment, impending loss and frustration was all too easy to recollect from past memories of feeling entirely wrong and second class in his father’s eyes. It had all been misguided, of course, and Blaine’s suffering felt more acute even from a distance but Kurt could empathise.
If only someone had been there to tuck him close and tell him he was ok. When he was washing ice out of his hair and pulling himself up off a dusty corridor floor, all he dreamed of was someone to notice and understand. Even for a second.
Without thinking, Kurt stepped into Blaine’s space and let a hand spread wide on his shoulder. “I can stay if you need –“
“No,” Blaine whispered, “you don’t need to become a part of this. I’m grateful but I don’t want to drag you into this anymore than you already are.”
Kurt allowed his hand to rest against the softness of Blaine’s sweater for a moment longer, every muscle aching to reach out further. “I understand but if you need someone – I mean, I know you have friends but if you wanted someone impartial to talk to even when I’m not here then just call. Ok?”
Turning, Kurt sucked in a breath at the red rims of Blaine’s eyes. His face had fallen, a shadow of the beautiful brightness that usually existed there.
“Thank you for... for tonight and for what you just said. But I’ll be fine. It shouldn’t be our place to educate but maybe I have to, right?”
With a gentle and gradual swipe of his hand down Blaine’s back, Kurt nodded. “I hate to insinuate that this is the right thing to do because it shouldn’t be and it isn’t but I understand.”
“You’re the first person to.”
At those words, Kurt felt himself fall too. Into what? It felt like despair. It also felt like desire, a frantic need and pull to another person that was terrifying and breathtaking in equal measure.
As Blaine walked silently to the door with him, neither said a word but Kurt felt everything that went unsaid, right up until the door closed.
* * * * * * * *
Turning the key in the lock and hearing a squawk from within, Kurt found himself rolling his eyes affectionately and craving the comfort of his own little world.
Rachel appeared from her bedroom in purple patterned pyjamas and her hair tucked back neatly under a head band.
“I’ll regret saying this with so much sincerity in the morning, but I missed you like hell today.”
She flicked her eyes to the heavens, tutting. “Come here, you look terrible.” She steered him towards the couch where they both slumped, Kurt leaning automatically on Rachel’s shoulder and cuddling in.
“I’m going to forget you just said that.”
She rested a hand on top of his and rubbed affectionately. “So, I take it tonight didn’t go well?”
Kurt groaned into her hair, leaning closer. Blocking out the room – in fact the whole world outside their door – for just a moment, felt blissful. The thought of Blaine being alone and despondent and so angry was consuming Kurt’s mind and stuffing his head so tight that he couldn’t even contemplate falling asleep and enjoying a pleasant Saturday morning. He didn’t want to.
“I don’t think I want to talk about it just yet.”
“That’s fine,” she soothed, resting her head on his, “we can simply sit together.”
“Don’t make this into a movie moment, Rach, because I may have to kill you, ok?”
She giggled into his hair and snuggled closer. “Don’t kill me. You’d miss me.”
“Wherever did you get that idea?” Kurt smiled into her shoulder, breathing in the scent of roses and the bottle of Chanel No. 5 her dads had bought her as part of her ‘moving away’ hamper.
As Kurt’s eyes slid closed, Rachel jolted up and climbed off the couch. “I heard a noise,” she hissed, eyes doll-wide.
Kurt fumbled to regain dignity and composure after his plunge into the cushions. “It’ll be the couple above us. They’re always making inappropriate noises at god awful times of the day. Just don’t do the thing with brooms. You saw that episode of Friends, right?”
“Of course I did,” she scolded but gasped as a loud knock sounded in the small hallway. “See! I’m not crazy. It’s not upstairs. It’s the door.”
Kurt fell back into the couch in despair as she crept out into the hall. He heard her slide in the chain and edge the door open slowly. “Rachel, leave it! I refuse to embroil myself in a late night horror story.”
“Kurt,” Rachel called back, her voice strained with forced pleasantries, “there are two people here to see you. A very little girl and a not so little guy who says he goes by the name of Blaine.”
*sigh of relief*
It'll be a little bit of a wait for the next Chapter. Not long but a few days. I have a busy couple of days and need to finish Chapter 5 off as it's an IMPORTANT one. I'll get it posted as soon as I can.
Thank you, again, for being so completely sweet about this story : )