Title: Au Pair (5A/10)
Word Count: ~2,000
Characters: (varies) Kurt/Blaine, Rachel, Isobelle, Blaine's parents - William and Monica
Warnings: Oh so AU! Angst. There's mentions of a lot including homophobia, previous bullying, stress and breakdowns.
Rating: PG-13 - NC-17 (individual Chapter rating PG-13)
Summary: 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.
I've kept you all waiting far too long and, for that, I'm very very sorry. I took a little fandom break (for reasons, see my previous LJ post) and I started a new job and new studies so life, as always, became a little hectic. I'm splitting this Chapter (because it's an important one) into a few parts and each won't be my usual massive length because it's the gradual development of the night in 3-4 stages.
I am FOREVER grateful for all of the continuous and lovely messages you've all sent me on here and on tumblr and thank you because, without you, I'd be lacking a lot of my motivation for writing in general when life is throwing so many new things my way.
I really hope you enjoy this chapter and I'll have the other couple of parts up in due course :)
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Like an octopus, limbs limp and uncoordinated, Kurt scrambled up and headed for the door.
One glance at the deep crease in Blaine’s forehead and Kurt knew something was wrong. What could have happened since he left?
Rachel looked stricken and confused with just a hint of amusement seeping through. She cocked a well preened eyebrow. "I'll leave you to it," she offered warmly, and disappeared back into the flat.
Kurt allowed himself a moment to breathe then something quick and urgent kicked in. He knelt down to Bella with a forced smile. "Hey. That was my friend Rachel. You remember I told you about her?"
As Bella nodded weakly, Kurt couldn't help but notice the clumpy wetness of her eyelashes.
"Well, she loves to make sugar cookies. Do you want to maybe help her?"
"Really?" Bella asked quietly, voice small.
"Rach," Kurt called sharply, "there's someone I'd like you to meet. Properly."
With a pained glance at Blaine's face, tense and shaking with emotion, Kurt opted to keep things as light as possible in the hope that whatever had happened could be solved once Bella was out of ear shot.
"I'm here." Rachel's eyes were wide, game face in position and fully functioning, making Kurt's heart ache with gratitude.
"This is Isobelle Anderson. She's interested in helping you in the kitchen. You know? Where you were going to make your famous cookies and icing. Weren't you?" Kurt pronounced each word with great precision and Rachel, a connoisseur of dramatics, understood the subtext perfectly.
Without batting an eyelid, Rachel sauntered over gracefully and curtseyed to Bella's level. Kurt watched the dozen or so flickers of shock, awe, enchantment and fear in Bella's eyes, taking Rachel in and ending with a shy smile.
At once, Rachel held out her hand and said in a clear voice, "I'm Rachel. I like to sing, act, dance and I also love to bake. It’s wonderful to meet you, Isobelle."
Kurt kept his eyes on Blaine who took in the scene with a crestfallen look of both amusement and sadness.
Bella looked up expectantly at Kurt and he nodded encouragingly.
"I'm Bella. I like to dance too and bake and read."
With a brisk clap of her hands, Rachel slid her palm into Bella's. "Well then, we'll be friends in no time. How about you help me with something in the kitchen? We’ll have lots of fun." In a matter of seconds, Rachel had tugged a pleasantly startled Bella into the hub of the flat, leaving Kurt alone in silence watching Blaine's expression fall ten storeys.
He spoke instantly as if he'd been struggling to hold it in.
"I'm so sorry for coming here and interrupting you. I know I said I didn’t want to involve you in all of this but I just - I tried to stay there but I couldn't and then Bella heard us arguing and my Dad shouted at her too for eavesdropping and everything fell apart when my Mom got home. There was more shouting and I got angry and Bella saw everything. I went to my room hoping that things would die down and we could sort it out but Bella came in and she asked me why... she asked me - "
Blaine screwed his eyes closed, curling in on himself like a leaf, wilting in the dusky glow of the hallway lights. Kurt's chest lurched at the strained pull on Blaine's features, his obvious fight for composure. "I'm so sorry, Blaine. You don't have to say anything else if you don't want to."
"No," Blaine rushed out, opening up his eyes to reveal their redness. "I came here because I didn't know of anywhere else I could go where someone would just listen and not judge."
"We use our standing lamp as a microphone stand, Blaine. This is a non-judgement zone. Rachel takes an ice water face bath of an evening before preparing a sweet lemon tea that she drinks while I moisturise and tone and practise yoga to the soundtrack from Gypsy. Believe me, you came to the right place." The cracked smile on Blaine's face, so fused with gratitude and helpless relief, was enough to cause Kurt's hands to shake. The desperation to reach out was difficult to control.
"She asked why my mom and dad don't love her the same way anymore."
Blaine stood defiantly for a moment, his breathing forced and slow, but Kurt could see the cracks begin as he crumbled on the spot. With swift hands, Kurt stepped close and wrapped him up in a hug. Blaine curled against the touch instantly, still-tangled hands sandwiched between them. Kurt could feel Blaine's rapid pulse and the hot gasps of air against his neck.
He was safe.
It was odd to be so surrounded by someone else after feeling utterly touch starved for longer than Kurt could remember, but Kurt could feel the jittery stages of Blaine's relaxation and knew that something was right. He could be there just like his father had been for him when he needed someone to tell him that everything would be ok.
Shifting slightly, Kurt unfurled his arms a little and repositioned them surely around Blaine's shoulders, pulling him in tight. Blaine’s forehead rested cautiously against the curve of Kurt’s neck and he felt the touch like a burst of heat, a moment of quick desperation at the knowledge that there was a chance that nobody else saw this side of Blaine.
There was a risk in Blaine’s vulnerability and Kurt couldn’t shake the feeling that he was being gifted with something precious.
"You and Bella can stay. It's a broom cupboard and there's so little room but for you both, we can make an exception as long as you don't mind it feeling like a pyjama party."
Feeling Blaine's half-hearted but genuine chuckle against his collar bone, Kurt leaned back. Blaine's anxious eyes zeroed in on him immediately, cheeks flushed with what Kurt could only read as embarrassment. "That sounds nice. Thank you. Really. Just as long as we’re not imposing. I know you’re so busy and Rachel too.”
Kurt nodded as he leaned back, ducking to catch Blaine's attention. "It’s ok, it’s the weekend. Everyone breaks sometimes, Blaine. It seems to me like you've fought it for too long and I don't think there's any shame in admitting it's all become too much."
Blaine gazed for an impossibly long time with gentle, kind eyes before sighing deeply. "She said she wanted you. Bella."
The corner of Blaine's mouth twitched as he rushed his words, the ends melding into the beginning of the next. "The second she said it, I knew I wanted that too and as weird as it sounds and as creepy and stupid, I couldn't even begin to care because I knew she was right. She's always right."
"Oh." Kurt struggled to breathe, his skin hot.
"I don't mean to freak you out or put pressure on you but I wanted you to know. It's only fair because I never let someone see. I don't allow it because nobody can help or even begin to understand. I've been through things that I don't want anyone to know about because them knowing would mean they pity me or whatever people do. I hate that. I just want to be myself and do what I love but I can't sometimes and it makes me so angry."
Blaine was shaking, hands wrung tight.
He wanted Kurt.
It was a new feeling, one that rushed warm and deep from the tips of his toes and rested in the pit of his stomach. Blaine made him feel things that he’d never thought possible: an indescribable connection, happiness, comfort and intimacy. Even looking into his eyes felt like being hopelessly vulnerable but there wasn’t a shred of fear there.
"I understand the anger and frustration. I get that it hurts and I've been there in my own way but you don't have to keep it hidden away because problems that aren't solved have a tendency to fester and tangle up until a solution seems impossible. Trust me, I've been the one trying to find the end of an enormous knot of issues that looked so huge and hopeless."
With a reluctant nod, Blaine let go of his hands and exhaled. "I don't mind you seeing. Why do I feel like I'm crazy for saying that?"
"Because I'm the worst possible person to come to for advice. I give it but rarely take my own and I'm only human, as much as I never let the world see. They may only know me as fabulous and accomplished." Blaine's rumble of laughter was sudden and Kurt could barely contain the thrill is gave him. " Do you want something to eat? Tea, maybe? Coffee? Water? Something stronger because Rachel has illicit pink wine that I am certain I can crow bar out of her grasp."
"Water would be nice," Blaine said quietly, suddenly and obviously nervous. "I wouldn't want to start a flatmate feud."
Kurt laughed, wafting a hand as he closed the door behind Blaine. "Oh we bicker fairly consistently. It's our own special language."
Blaine chuckled, eyes penny-round as he entered the flat and gazed around mesmerised. Kurt enjoyed the moment for a brief second, basking in the knowledge that he could put together a fine and impressive room, no matter how small.
He stepped close to Blaine, whispering quietly, “We can go to my room to talk if you’d like because this place is small and I don’t suppose you want to talk in front of Bella.”
Gently, Blaine smiled. “If it’s ok with you, could we stay in here? I just don’t think I can talk much right now. I’m sorry if I’m confusing you. I feel as if we’ve just landed on you expecting so much and now I’m here I don’t know what to do with myself.”
Kurt huffed out an affectionate laugh, nudging at Blaine’s shoulder. “Is it just because you want to help make the cookies? You know you should have just said, Rachel’s quite the head chef. She can involve you in one way or another just so long as you don’t mind being bossed about.”
Blaine’s eyes crinkled in amusement; the redness around them was a stark antithesis, a reminder that all certainly wasn’t well. It was then that Kurt knew how vehemently Blaine kept himself together, holding every inexplicable feeling in until he couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think for their noisy conflict.
“I don’t think Bells would want me stealing her thunder.”
They looked over to find Rachel standing, hands on hips, beside a beaming Bella who had her wrists deep in crumbly flour. She was muttering excitedly and just as Kurt left Blaine by the couch and danced around the table to reach for a glass, he caught Blaine’s fond smile.
For someone so seemingly dynamic and vibrant, Blaine was fantastically quiet. His every movement was gentle and fluid as he smoothed at his jeans and surveyed the room. Kurt couldn’t look away, lost in sudden understanding for someone he still felt as if he hardly knew; yet, Blaine’s eyes spoke of nothing but their remarkable connection and somehow, Kurt felt it too.
This was the best place for him – for them both - and Kurt’s heart felt far too enormous for his chest at the realisation.
As always, thank you so much for your patience and lovely words :)