Title: Eight Years Coming (1/?)
Spoilers (if any): just that Blaine exists
Warnings (if any): n/a
Word Count: 4124
Summary: In the following eight years after high school graduation, Kurt has made a name for himself in an industry nobody expected: cupcakes. When Blaine suddenly makes a reappearance into his life, his perfectly constructed life crumbles into emotional turmoil.
Over the hustle and bustle of the shop, Kurt could scarcely be heard yelling, "We need more German Chocolate!" He quickly handed a newly frosted tray of cupcakes to his newest employee, Gemma, who placed them in the glass display.
"I've been in line for half an hour, I demand chocolate sprinkles," barked the beefy man in the head of the line. Olivia, the cashier, helplessly gestured at Kurt for assistance.
Kurt strode confidently over to Olivia's side to assertively console the angry customer.
"Please sir, I know the wait is long, but none of the other customers seem to have an issue with waiting patiently. This is my shop, and if you can't keep your temper I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
The man stared at him in stunned silence, and before Kurt could register the familiar face he nodded and shrank back in line.
Kurt smiled triumphantly and walked back into the kitchen of 'Courage Cupcakes.'
The line chugged along, and perhaps to some the routine would become tedious, but not for Kurt. He loved it; the constant hum of jazz in the background, the gentle scent of chocolate hanging in the air, even the sometimes incorrigible customers. The place was a familiar Dior grey, the only remnant of Kurt's beginnings in Lima, Ohio. Hollywood was perfect for Kurt, but not for show business; he loved the hustle and bustle of warm, sunny California.
As Kurt iced a vanilla cupcake he vaguely heard Olivia call out customers' names: "Smith! Roberts! Karofsky!" Kurt instinctively felt an uncomfortable rush of adrenaline, but he pushed it easily aside. His horrible, sob-worthy past was behind him. Self-esteem-wise, Kurt was a new man.
A man who owned a cupcake shop and wore nothing but designer clothing. (OK, so that part wasn't new.)
"You! Hands off the cupcakes!"
Kurt whipped around, his head baker Molly raising an eyebrow. "It's your day off!" she accused.
"Hey, I'm the owner. I can come in whenever I please," dismissed Kurt with a shaken hand in Molly's direction. "Why are you late,
"Marcus came over last night," she hedged, grabbing her apron from its hook. Kurt gasped delightedly, clapping his hands together, but she just smirked and rushed to the ovens. Kurt followed, hot on her heels for gossip.
"So..." he hinted. "I know you're dying to tell me details!"
She pulled the apron around her waist. "You know I don't like to reveal secrets from the bedroom, Kurt."
Kurt rolled his eyes and placed a hand on his hip. "Honey, I've heard all your accounts of dirty encounters. What I want to know is when that ring appeared on your left ring finger."
He arched a perfectly trimmed eyebrow as Molly smiled serenely.
"Marcus asked me last night," she blurted.
"About time," Kurt beamed, before squealing and jumping up and down with his best friend.
Kurt had forgotten his past, but not necessarily his juvenile feminine ways.
When they closed up shop at seven, he and Molly parted ways at the intersection. Kurt had a meeting that night with a major advertising firm: A, A & J. He was meeting with one of the high-powered executives, as well. It was a huge contract. The meeting was downtown, in some posh hotel restaurant that Kurt had previously never dared to step into.
"Hi, I have a reservation under Hummel?" It was phrased like a question. In reality, Kurt was in awe of the building. The ceiling was vaulted, with a luxurious crystal chandelier.
The lady at the front desk scanned the list in front of her and smiled amiably. "Right this way."
She led him across the leather couch-filled lobby through a set of double doors that led to the hotel restaurant. It was decorated, Kurt observed, in a Moroccan style that was very pleasing to the eye. Once seated to wait for the A, A&J executive, he ordered his signature Appletini, which was delivered almost immediately. Kurt sipped it, waiting.
Above all other things, Kurt hates tardiness. He was always at least five minutes early to everything. And while yes, it is rather fashionable to arrive late, being over half an hour late to a professional meeting is hardly that. He had began to be pestered by the waiters, asking him when his accompaniment was coming. This man was nowhere to be found. Irritatedly, Kurt tapped his iPhone, immediately texting his unhappiness to Molly. He looked around the restaurant.
His eyes caught upon a young man who had just rushed in, asking the receptionist something. He looked over, smiled and actually walked over to Kurt. As though he wasn't late! The nerve!
All Kurt really wanted to do was to strangle the tactless young man, who couldn't have been more than 25. However, with lips pursed thin, he attempted to shove down his irritation. Although he didn't approve of the man's manners, he still had to work with him and act professionally. He took a deep breath and smiled as welcomingly as he could, hiding the bitterness away. And he realized that, as he came nearer, this was not very difficult considering the attractiveness of the A, A& J executive. He felt Molly's response buzz in his pocket, but there was no time to respond. Either A., A., or J. was now at the table. Kurt stood up to acknowledge him as he held out his hand and said breathlessly,
"Hi! So sorry I'm late. Blaine Anderson."
Kurt immediately blanched, his hand halfway through its journey to shake. He blinked twice. He was unable to stop the words tumbling from his mouth.
"OH MY FUCK."
It wasn't even grammatically correct, which he would beat himself up about later, into a nice faithful bowl of Ben and Jerry's. It certainly wasn't intelligent sounding in the slightest. Definitely it wasn't professional.
He scrambled to find something, anything to say, but this was goddamn Blaine Anderson, as in, holy-shit, Blaine-goddamn-Anderson, Warbler Star, high school crushee extraordinaire.
"I'm, oh, my God, I'm sorry, it's..." Kurt faltered at Blaine's alarmed look. "I'm Hummel! Kurt Hummel!"
For an infinitesimal moment the look on Blaine's face was one of incomprehension. But then it clicked; the connection sparked.
"Kurt? Oh my God! Kurt! How are you? I haven't seen you in forever! I-" he paused, speechless and smiling wildly. "Come here."
And then, Kurt found himself trapped in a hug (a real one, bewilderingly, not even a neanderthalistic "bro-hug") with Blaine Anderson, and as if a dam had broken a stream of memories and feelings flooded into his entire being. He couldn't think, or process any of these emotions. Thought seemed impossible at the moment, something he knew how to do but couldn't really remember how at that precise moment. It was as if he were sixteen and meeting his best friend and love interest all over again.
And that was when Kurt realized:
He was still madly smitten with Blaine.
'How pathetic,' he thought.
"What are the odds of this?" Blaine commented excitedly, withdrawing from the hug. Kurt felt himself bending forward slightly, a residual longing for that hug to last longer. "You're the owner of Courage Cupcakes?"
"Yeah," Kurt responded dazedly. "I mean, yes, yes, I do. It's... it's been really great."
"How'd you get into cupcakes? Nah, wait, come on, let's sit down! Did you order yet?" Immediately they sat across from each other. "I thought you were all about healthy food."
"I suppose I realized that I'd rather be making and eating food that I enjoy, rather than eating for a figure to please someone's idea of perfection," Kurt rambled. Blaine nodded, a grin still plastered upon his face.
"Well, good for you. I'm glad to see you happy." Honestly, Kurt's face must have been at least the shade of a nice tomato soup. "I am freaking out right now, if you haven't noticed," mentioned Blaine.
Kurt smiled at his friend's enthusiasm. "I can see that." he paused, biting his lip as one of said memories came to the front of his mind. "Not as freaked out as you were when you decided to sing to a Junior Manager at the Gap."
"Oh my God," Blaine said, holding a hand to his temple. Kurt noticed that his shirt sleeves were perfectly cuffed and pressed. "I can't believe you still remember that."
"How could I not?" Kurt said, eyebrows raised. "You were so messed up about it that it changed your whole outlook on Valentine's Day."
A funny look came over Blaine's brow as he smiled that hinted to Kurt that he wasn't the only one experiencing flashbacks. Blaine opened his mouth to speak, then closed it again and merely smiled at Kurt, as if drinking him all in.
"Yeah," he finally said. "You-" he shook his head, "-I mean, it did." He looked at Kurt again. "God, I just can't believe it, us, actually sitting here. You look great."
"You're not too bad yourself," Kurt threw back, glowing. "But you know, I'm sitting here feeling like a complete imbecile for the way I just yelled at you. I don't really... you know, yell swear words at my business partners. Or anything." He gave him a tight-lipped smile and shrugged lightly. "It was a shock."
"It's already forgotten," Blaine replied swiftly, his smile growing impossibly wider. "Totally lame. I don't want to get down to business, but I guess we have to get down to it."
Ignoring that statement's blatant innuendo, Kurt nodded. "I'm expanding next quarter. I only really work at the Hollywood one, but I own three branch bakeries, and a fourth is opening in Sierra Madre, so I just thought, publicity would be nice."
"Publicity WOULD be nice," agreed Blaine. "So we'd like to strike a deal with you. I can probably wrangle you a discount if you advertise with my company, but you gotta promise me that you'll stick with us."
'I've always stuck with you,' Kurt thought.
"If what you have to offer is reasonable and effective, there should be no reason to go elsewhere," he said aloud. "And honestly, I trust that you wouldn't try to take advantage of a first-timer like me."
Blaine shrugged. "I don't take advantage of my friends," he said simply. Then he added, "or first-timers. Anyway, I think I might be able to get you some full page advertisements..."
The business talk didn't take as long as Kurt had originally estimated. It turned out that Blaine was a very persuasive and yet very lenient businessman, a fact that didn't surprise Kurt in the least.
Kurt could have easily ended the meeting after the business talk that ended with the last scraps of their delicious meal, but honestly, that would never make for a good story to tell Molly.
Conversation drifted to faraway topics once covered many years ago, as if they were still teens and hanging out at the Breadstix of Lima, Ohio.
The waitress came to pick up their plates, and she asked with a larger-than-life smile,
"Can I get you guys anything? Dessert? Coffee?"
Kurt shot Blaine a quick look that he picked up as a signal to take the lead. He smirked and inhaled deeply before turning to the waitress.
"I'll have medium drip, and a non-fat mocha for my friend, Meg Ryan."
Kurt closed his eyes surreptitiously and tried not to swoon out of utter bliss.
"My coffee order," he mumbled, and a tiny smile graced Blaine's face once more.
"I haven't forgotten it," he said seriously. "But I hope you haven't moved on."
Kurt pressed his lips together and smiled tightly, the words hitting a little too close to home for comfort.
"No, Blaine," he said softly. "I haven't moved on."
Blaine's smile slid from his face. He lifted a hand and coughed into his fist briefly. "Well, yeah... so, anyways, have you heard from any of the Warblers lately?" Blaine quickly asked. Kurt rolled his eyes.
"You were the only one that I was really close with," he pointed out. "The rest were your friends." Blaine nodded thoughtfully, shrugging a shoulder.
"Then any McKinley friends?"
"Other than Finn, not really," he replied quietly. "Mercedes and I email sometimes."
"That's a shame."
"That's how life works, I suppose," Kurt responded. "Anyways, speaking of the Warblers, are you still the same singing superstar that I remember from high school?"
Blaine chuckled. "Other than karaoke night at the bar and strumming on my guitar? Not so much. As much as I love singing, it just didn't turn out to be more practical than just a hobby." He shrugged, a wistful look on his face.
"Yeah, I know what you mean," Kurt said. "Male sopranos find slim pickings in the music business nowadays."
"Very true," Blaine said. "Well if the cupcake business ever gets you down, you can always feel free to sing to me about it."
"Will do," laughed Kurt, who inconsequentially felt like singing at that very moment. He sighed and rested a delicate hand beneath his chin. "So here we are."
"Here we are," Blaine agreed.
The creamy mocha came to an end far faster than he ever wanted it to. It really had been quite delicious.
Kurt's eyes darted upwards at Blaine, who just stared back at him. He smiled, shaking his head.
"No, never mind. So hey, got a lucky guy in your life?"
What a question. He told Blaine so, and he laughed.
"But I'm serious, man!" he asserted. "High school was kind of... slim pickings.
California's a lot more accepting."
"There was one or two, but only briefly," Kurt admitted. Of course, he was only realizing why he had broken up with them in the first place right now. One guy hadn't had curly enough hair, the other hadn't had a musical-sounding voice... they weren't reaching this insane plateau of expectation Blaine had unknowingly set.
"Well what happened there?" Blaine asked, genuinely curious.
Kurt shrugged lightly, feeling more and more like a sappy teenager. "Neither was the one for me," he said truthfully.
"You'll find someone," Blaine said comfortingly, the ever-present mentor.
"What about you?" Kurt asked quickly, wishing to turn the subject away from his love interest. "
Blaine's smile vanished completely, as if he had just remembered something dreadful that he had striven to forget.
"No," he said slowly, looking down at the dregs of his coffee.
"Why so hesitant?" Kurt pressed, smiling with sudden, exciting apprehension.
"Uh..." Blaine looked everywhere but Kurt for a moment, finally resting his eyes back on his coffee. "Truthfully, I just got out of a really tough relationship."
Kurt managed pretty well to hide his growing grin. If there was anything he had learned from high school, it was to be supportive of his friends. He lay a friendly hand on Blaine's arm, and at Kurt's touch he looked up furtively.
"I'm sorry," Kurt said, really meaning it. "Are you okay?"
His friend looked down again. "I-" his mouth started to form the word 'am' as he glanced at Kurt, but out came a different set of words: "I will be." He firmly clasped Kurt's hand on top of his, forcing a smile. That was Blaine, always the tough one.
He didn't know when he got this vindictive. Wait, he always had been; hadn't he attempted to break up Quinn and Finn to try to get Finn to board the Shirtlifting Express?
Blaine scrunched his nose, and suddenly stood. "Here, we've paid. Do you want to get out of here?" he asked. Kurt was taken aback.
"And go where, exactly?" he shot back, suspicious.
"Let's go sing somewhere. I haven't sung in months. My ex wasn't..." Words seemed to fail Blaine for a moment, but he recovered. "...well, anyways, come on, I haven't sung with you in years. It's way overdue."
As if Kurt could say anything that would take away that bright smile on Blaine's face. Honestly, half of his persuasiveness came purely from looks.
"Like, karaoke?" Kurt asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Like, karaoke," Blaine parroted, mimicking Kurt's eyebrow raise. Kurt snorted for a moment, but he quickly covered his mouth, self-consciously. Blaine just laughed openly.
After all these years, Kurt's hand still fit perfectly in Blaine's as they ran out of the restaurant.
Kurt walked into the bar laughing with Blaine at his side. Of all the places he expected to be tonight (which included pretty much only his bedroom under care of his nightly facial), this was definitely not one of them.
"I'm just warning you," Blaine said into his ear over the loud din of the crowd, "I'm really rusty."
"Don't worry," Kurt said, "I only ever sing in the shower anymore."
They made their way over to the stage. Even though there were a few hesitant, debating stragglers hovering about its edge, it was empty. It probably wasn't late enough and people weren't drunk enough to get up the nerve to sing in front of strangers, Kurt figured. But did that stop Blaine Anderson?
Wait. What EVER stopped Blaine Anderson?
"Grab us drinks, will you?" he asked, already heading toward the stage to talk to the bored looking girl manning the station, who was practically falling asleep standing up.
Blaine was back just in time to claim his bottle of Bud Light.
"To singing," said Kurt, raising his bottle.
"To us," said Blaine, clinking it jubilantly.
Blaine took a long pull at his drink and slammed it down. He smacked his lips loudly.
"All right, I'm going on that stage right now," he declared.
"You're a singing drunk," commented Kurt between his laughter. Blaine just shot him a heartbreaking smile and ran to the platform. He grabbed the microphone, gesticulating at the guy at the karaoke machine. "'Pocket Change,' Damigo!" he seemed to be saying.
A solo guitar came over the speakers, and Blaine began swaying from side to side, keeping his eyes peeled on Kurt. A small grin was on Blaine's face, tugging at the side of his mouth. Kurt couldn't help but laugh into his hand, his other hand occupied with his bottle.
"Second Street and Broadway, there's a little bus stop," Blaine sang out, his voice just as clear and silky-smooth as it always had been. "Just an ordinary downtown of a city just around the block..."
His eyes closed periodically as he lost himself in the song, singing his heart out. Kurt cheered occasionally, waving his bottle in the air. Blaine opened his eyes again, eyes locked on Kurt's. He finished the song, its melody slowing. The lights in the bar were dimmed further, the colored lights spinning around the room. The tiny Christmas lights that adorned the stage seemed even brighter.
"He sings a song that he wrote for him even though he's a million miles away,
And he dreams of when he held him close, yeah, cause oh how time has changed,
Then he switches to a minor key, but the memory won't fade away
Now he's twelve cents short of a bus ride home, playing for your pocket change," Blaine crooned.
Kurt's mouth fell slightly open, his eyes widening, and Blaine simply winked and whisked himself off the stage.
"Your turn," Blaine grinned as he jogged over, naturally refreshed from the fresh burst of song.
Kurt widened his eyes as Blaine pulled his arm to stand him up. "I thought you said you were rusty!" he said incredulously. "No way I'm following that performance."
"Oh come on, live a little!" Blaine said, taking his own bottle and shoving it in Kurt's mouth.
He chugged one gulp of the nasty stuff and then pushed it away, raising a hand to straighten his bangs slowly. "You," he said, pointing at Blaine, "Will regret never giving me a solo in High School."
The next moment he was on the stage, standing awkwardly still and hearing the beginning notes of Vanessa Carlton's Who's to Say.
"Stand up straight, do your trick, turn on the stars, Jupiter shines so bright..."
He smiled in embarrassment, and chanced a glance at Blaine, who was smiling and shaking his head in disbelieving incredulity. Kurt grinned cockily, glad that he had surprised Blaine with his still-stunning voice. Turned out singing in the shower every night was a good plan after all.
"And who's to say that we're not good enough? And who's to say that this is not our love?"
Kurt looked back at Blaine, who was no longer smirking. He was watching Kurt with a mild smile, as if he were watching something else other than a performer at karaoke night."
Every note hit perfectly, every melody sung flawlessly. Kurt still had it, and his star quality came rushing back with every lyric completed. Desperate to aim the meaning of the song to someone in particular, he urged all of the energy accumulated from the adrenaline rush of singing into the final gaze he threw at Blaine at the end of the song:
"Stand up boy, I shine so bright when you're around."
Kurt could have sworn momentarily he saw Blaine's legs twitch, itching to respond to the command in the song.
"Your voice is wonderful, per usual," Blaine told him once Kurt sat back down beside him. Kurt couldn't help but glow from the praise. "And song choice? It really was just... great."
"We really have expanded our vocabulary since high school, then," teased Kurt lightheartedly, and Blaine smiled, but it was a lot less bright than usual. It was almost melancholic.
Why did sad songs have to suit his voice perfectly? Damn them!
"Here, it's not like we're stopping now!" Kurt exclaimed, wrenching Blaine's hand for once. "Back to the stage!"
Blaine laughed as Kurt effectively dragged him upon the platform once more.
"I call Posh Spice and Baby Spice. Sorry," Kurt commented briefly. Blaine looked at him incredulously, and Kurt began to spit into his microphone. "Yo, I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want."
"So tell me what you want, what you really really want," Blaine sang right back, nearly unable to sing throughout his laughter.
"I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want!"
"So TELL me what you want, what you really really want!"
"I wanna --"
"I wanna --"
"I wanna --"
"I wanna --"
"I wanna really really really wanna zig-a-zig, ahh!" Kurt belted out, causing the bar to erupt in cheers and more than a few people raucously giggling.
"If you wanna be my lover," Blaine sang, putting some groove into his body, "You gotta get with my friends--"
"Gotta get with my friends!" Kurt sang in the background, leaning his back against Blaine's and dancing along with him.
"Make it last forever--" sang Blaine, and as Kurt joined in he grabbed his hand playfully while they belted:
"Friendship never ends!"
The song lightened the entire mood of the evening. Kurt couldn't remember the last time he had had this much fun; singing and dancing with his best friend on a stage in front of a steadily increasingly enthusiastic audience was thrilling, to say the extreme least. Only about one eighth of the pleasant buzz in his brain was due to the alcohol.
They ended the song to uproarious applause, and were whisked off stage by people suddenly inspired to sing some karaoke. Pressed back against the wall to avoid the crowd, Blaine and Kurt looked at each other for a moment before breaking out into complete hysterical laughter.
They stumbled outside of the bar, Blaine's arm around Kurt's shoulder and Kurt's around Blaine's waist. They walked down the street, occasionally belting out song lyrics and guffawing in awful fashion.
"We -- we need a cab," Kurt wheezed, still laughing. "We can't drive."
"A cab, a taxi!" Blaine shouted. "Late last night, I heard my screen door slam! And a big yellow taxi took my boy away..." He released Kurt, jumping onto a park bench.
"Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone..." Kurt continued, just as grandly, occasionally hiccuping. Blaine turned to look at him, seriously scrutinizing his face. Kurt felt his heart leap into his throat as their eyes continually watched each other, but Blaine cracked a smile.
"They paved paradise, and put in a parking lot..."
And Blaine walked ahead of him, leaving Kurt straggling behind. "We really do need a cab, Blaine!"
"I got you, I got you..."
"I got you, babe!"
And for the rest of the night, they couldn't speak two words without breaking into song. It was juvenile. But it was heaven.
Authors' Notes: Hey everyone, our first real project! It's nearing 16k words now, so prepare for an onslaught over the next few days. ;D We also update on tumblr, as flirtykurty and theroomofrequirement.