Author: jlneveloff (daysofsilence at tumblr)
Genre: Drama, Angst, Romance, AU, Future Fic
Characters/Pairings: Kurt/Blaine, Rachel, Santana, Cooper, Isabelle Wright (with potential plans for others to appear such as Artie, Finn and Burt)
Beta: slwmtiondaylite (tumblr)
Rating: up to NC-17 (each chapter is individually rated)
Spoilers: everything through season 4 is fair game
Warnings: Language, explicit sexual situations, effeminophobia, homophobia, and the potential for the occasional plot hole...and angst...
Disclaimer: I don't own Glee. Sadly.
Summary: While Kurt still struggled to make it onto Broadway, Blaine followed his brother's footsteps to the silver screen. When Kurt receives an opportunity he didn't expect, he's torn between easy success and where his heart truly lies. Blaine learns the hard way that success in Hollywood can sometimes mean becoming a pawn in the plans of more powerful people and that it can come with an unexpected price...
Chapter Rating: PG-13
Chapter Word Count: 8194
AUTHOR'S NOTES: If this story seems vaguely familiar well… there is a reason for that. I had started a story with a title very similar to this (Chasing Our Dreams Leaves Us Breathless) as well as a similar premise/plot between seasons 2 and 3. But I ended up putting it away and haven’t updated it in over a year because I started to get very unhappy with it. I felt as though Blaine was acting out of character and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it without completely rewriting it.
And it felt like it was dragging… I didn’t feel like I was ever going to get to a conclusion… which didn’t help my inspiration (I was literally covering almost every little step along the way… )
But I liked the concept… which was inspired by a post over at the glee angst meme at LJ and I wanted to see if I could use the concept in a way that made me a bit happier.
So, I redid the plan of the story almost entirely. I changed professions of both Kurt and Blaine… especially Blaine. Kurt still has the same goal but the path towards it is a bit different. When I first started writing this, Cooper didn’t exist in canon… but now he does so he’s influencing Blaine’s career a bit, for better or worse… ;)
But I also fleshed out Kurt’s career plot… the path he takes to reach his ultimate goal, the side trips he takes, the temptations to do something else, etc
I’m not sure how many people who were reading the original story will still be here but I’m posting it as though it’s a completely new story because it really kind of is. While the concept is basically the same, things were changed so drastically that it really doesn’t really resemble the original anymore. I also incorporated a lot of canon things… like NYADA, Cooper, Rachel/Kurt/Santana apartment in Bushwick, etc.
(if you’re curious and didn’t read the original story… Blaine was a singer/songwriter who was basically getting everything handed to him…which is one thing I didn’t like ….so I changed that a bit. He has to work harder, which is made more difficult with what happens later :))
Chasing All Our Dreams...
Kurt Hummel felt nervous.
He paced the hallway of a small off-Broadway theatre in downtown New York City. He wrung his hands together, fingers squeezing so tight he felt he could dislocate his knuckles if he wasn’t careful. Swallowing the lump in his throat, he attempted to fight off the thousands of butterflies fluttering about his stomach. Kurt wiped his sweat-drenched across his thighs, ignoring that he wore his favorite pair of Marc Jacobs pants. He stopped in front of the main office window.The blinds were closed, making it difficult to discern if there was anyone inside. He stared at his faint reflection, unable to stop from scrutinizing his appearance. Kurt brought a shaky hand up to brush through his thick, chestnut-colored hair, reassuring himself that not a strand was out of place. Once somewhat satisfied that he looked calm and collected, Kurt sighed and closed his eyes. He tried to calm his frazzled nerves, to bring his inner self to the same level of collectiveness as his outer self.
Kurt had good reason to be nervous: He was waiting. He hated waiting. Standing around unable to do anything while others decided his fate were some of the most anxiety-producing moments he ever endured. It didn’t matter if he had put himself in this position on his own accord, as he had many times in the past. It was still his future in someone else’s hand. Waiting never failed to cause him to question himself, to make him wonder why he ever thought he stood a chance against the many other talented performers, many of whom had so much more experience. Was he good enough? Did they like him? Was it too much? Was it enough? And while it was pointless to wait inside the theatre walls for audition results when they would call him over the phone to inform him one way or another, Kurt couldn’t help himself. It had become a habit he picked up when he was a student at the New York Academy of the Dramatic Arts. While it had often ended positively while at the school, with him often earning the roles he wanted, outside in the so-called ‘real world,’ the results were the polar opposite more often than not. But Kurt reasoned he was still young and not even graduated from NYADA a full year. He refused to give up Broadway. He was nothing if not tenacious.
For this particular production, Kurt felt he had done as flawless an audition as he could. And the directors had praised him, citing that he had been one of the more unique performers they had seen in a long time. Perhaps this time would be a success. No, it wasn’t a Broadway stage, but Kurt had to start somewhere. Once he took Off-Broadway by storm, then he could spread his wings to the higher tiers of theatre.
Several more agonizing minutes passed before there were shadows of movement behind the blinds of the main office. Kurt backed away from the door, moving to sit down on the bench a few feet down the hall. The office door opened and a middle aged woman, one Kurt recognized as one of the producers who sat in during his audition, Ms. Donna Reed, walked towards the bulletin board across the hall. She pinned a crisp white sheet of paper to the corkboard. Kurt waited for her to reenter the office before he stood. He took a deep breath, trying to settle the fresh wave of butterflies that coursed through him. He walked, each step slow and deliberate, towards the piece of paper that held so much promise. Kurt closed his eyes for a brief second before peering at the cast list. He scanned over the words, eyes flitting back and forth, trying to spot his familiar moniker amidst the list of names, most of which he didn’t recognize; a couple he did from previous auditions.
Wait. That can’t be right.
Kurt shook his head. He must’ve missed it. He looked over the list once more, this time trailing his finger down the paper to make sure he didn’t happen to overlook his name.
Again, nothing. Kurt closed his eyes and a huff of frustration escaped him. Not again.
Kurt took a deep breath, held it for a few seconds. Then he turned on his heels and stomped down across the hall, his boots echoing in the empty corridor, to the main office from which Ms. Reed came. He had to know. He needed to know what it had been this time, if it was the same thing he had heard after every failed audition. The thing that drove him to work harder to prove himself, to prove that he could do any role, that he would not be placed in a small box labeled ‘flamboyant niche character actor’. That there was more to him than that one small aspect. It didn’t define him.
It wasn’t the rejection that bothered him per se; Kurt had witnessed and experienced firsthand enough to know that that was the way things worked in the business — that actors were far more plentiful than roles on the stage. Rejections would happen. A lot. Kurt was aware of that, even if his time at NYADA had been more positive than he had been expecting. Kurt also knew it could sometimes take years before that one magical audition happened. He just wanted to make sure it was simply a case of more qualified, more talented performers auditioning and not a case of typecasting, the thing that plagued him in his high school years. The very thing Kurt thought he had escaped when he got to New York City, while he was a student at NYADA. While it had certainly become easier since he left Lima, Ohio and moved away from people who already had preconceived notions of him, there were still many directors and producers who only saw that one aspect when he auditioned. And it irritated and frustrated him.
Kurt approached the door and knocked gently against the wooden frame. A muffled reply came through and he cracked open the door, peering into the room. Ms. Reed sat at her desk, bespectacled eyes on the computer in front of her. Kurt entered the room. “Excuse me, Ms. Reed?”
Ms. Reed turned her head in his direction. She lowered her glasses from her face and studied him. Kurt stood still for a few seconds, fighting the urge to squirm, and waited for her to speak. Finally, she asked, “Yes?”
Kurt took a deep breath and spoke, hating how his voice rose in pitch when he felt nervous. He may have wanted an answer, but Ms. Reed cut an intimidating figure with judgmental eyes and Kurt wasn’t quite sure how she would respond to his questions. “I’m not sure if you remember me but—”
“You’re Mr. Kurt Hummel,” she stated matter-of-factly, her voice smooth, complimenting her formal exterior. “After an audition like yours, of course I’d remember you.”
A nervous chuckle bubbled from Kurt’s throat. Well, at least I’m memorable, he thought to himself. “Right…”
“How can I help you?” Ms. Reed gestured to the chair in front of her desk.
Kurt sat down before he replied, using the brief delay to gather his words. He twisted his hands in his lap. “I understand that roles are limited and it is never a guarantee to be cast after an audition but I can’t help but be curious. I was wondering why—”
“You want to know why we overlooked you.”
Kurt blinked at her directness. “Well, yes. I was under the impression that you and the director had been…”—Kurt floundered for an adjective that wouldn’t make him sound conceited but after a second of struggling, he realized it was pointless; he was proud of his audition—”…impressed by my audition. I generally like to gain an understanding of critiques people might have so I can improve my performances in the future. It’s a habit I picked up while at NYADA.” He couldn’t stop himself from casually—or not so casually to be more accurate—slipping in the name of the his alma mater.
Ms. Reed stared at Kurt and he again fought the urge to squirm under her studious gaze. She took off her glasses and laid them on the desk. “I’ll be blunt.”
Kurt nodded. He had a feeling in his gut of where this conversation was going and he wanted to scream at himself for even thinking of walking into the office and asking her. He should have just left. He had heard this conversation more often than he ever thought he would in this city. He didn’t need a repeat.
“Your audition was wonderful. You’re an extremely talented individual. You have a certain quality we liked and you embodied much of the vision we had for the character. You have an amazing ability to command the stage and your voice is unlike anything I’ve heard in years.”
Kurt furrowed his brows, confused. He shook his head. “Then why…?”
Ms. Reed leaned forward, resting her forearms on her desk. “Because, frankly, I wouldn't have been able to believe it.”
“But you just said that my audition was what you were looking for.”
“Not quite,” she replied. “Your audition was very much a joy to watch. But there was one major concern I had.” She paused; Kurt felt his stomach clench, already knowing where this was going. “But when I look at you, all I can see is—“
“—Gay,” Kurt interrupted her, unable to hide his frustration, his anger. He nodded, lips pressed in a thin line, and stood. “Right. Well, thank you for your time, Ms. Reed. I’ll just be on my way.” Kurt stepped around the chair and went to the door. He jerked the door open and took a step before Ms. Reed’s voice stopped him.
“Mr. Hummel. What I said wasn’t meant to be discouraging. You are immensely talented. Someday, the right role will come your way. It just takes time. All you can do is not give up.”
Kurt fought with himself to keep from rolling his eyes, he truly did. But in the end, his frustration and annoyance won the battle. He had heard those words before. Words meant to placate him and protect his assumed-to-be-fragile ego. They meant nothing. Not when they were accompanied by false stereotypic beliefs. Harmful beliefs that he had heard countless times. Kurt crossed his arms over his chest and tilted his head. A patronizing sneer curled his lips. “You know, Ms. Reed, when you and the director said something about being impressed by the fact that I graduated from the New York Academy for the Dramatic Arts”—he stressed the school’s name to emphasize its prestigious nature—“I had initially assumed it was because of the difficulty of the program there. I mean, most students end up dropping out because they can’t handle the pressure. But now, I’m guessing it was because of some deeply ingrained false idea that a gay man cannot possibly play any role other than the stereotypic niche roles—certainly not a gay man such as myself. Which is just ridiculous because I am sure I could find many a gay man in many productions in this city who is even more fabulous than I am.”
Kurt took a deep breath, dropping his hands to his hips. “I worked hard at NYADA to succeed. And I did. Without prejudices holding me back. It was only after I graduated that I realized the truth college kept from me; some people in New York can be just as close-minded and bigoted as those in Ohio. And unfortunately, it’s those people I keep auditioning for. So, in the end, it wasn’t my audition that was the problem. It was just the fact that you couldn't let go of the preconceived notions you had of me prior to my performance. Never mind that that really should not have been what you judged me on. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be on my way.”
With one final huff, Kurt turned on his heel and left the office, not waiting to see Ms. Reed’s reaction to his tirade. He rushed to the main exit and onto the streets of bustling downtown. Kurt walked along the side of the building and around the corner to a side street before leaning against the brick walls. His eyes focused on the tall skyscrapers surrounding him—something he couldn't help but marvel at, having come from such a small town, but right now, he felt dwarfed and overwhelmed, smaller than he had ever felt in this city. “I can’t believe I just did that…” Kurt muttered, feeling a rising panic. “I can’t believe I just said that to her. Oh God.”
Kurt paced, ignoring the few people passing him. He ran his hands through his hair, not caring that he mussed it up. This was bad. This was really bad. His career was over before it ever really started. He could see it clearly: As soon as he left, Ms. Reed called all her closest colleagues in the business to tell them all about him. Avoid Kurt Hummel at all costs. He’s too high and mighty to be worth it; thinks he’s better than everyone else. Shit, shit, shit. “Never ever engage the damn director and producer in conversation before auditioning,” Kurt mumbled to himself. “Always end up shooting myself in the foot… And most certainly never insult them or tell them how stupid they are…”
Kurt took a deep breath. He stopped pacing and leaned against the building for several long minutes. He needed to calm down, to not let this get to him. He dealt with this in Lima. He persevered. It was nothing new. He could not allow himself to stress over this moment, this audition. It wasn’t the end of the world, he told himself. There will always be opportunities. Besides, he still had his amazing job, working with an amazing woman and that was going nowhere no matter how many times his attempts to get on stage fell short. Kurt Hummel was not and never would be a failure who couldn't make it in the Big Apple.
A short vibration at his hip shook Kurt from his internal pep talk. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. A new text message. He swiped the lock on the phone and pulled up the message:
Hey, where are you? We’re still meeting up
with Blaine for dinner, right? You’re the
only one who knows where he is exactly.
Santana’s getting impatient. And you
know how she gets when she’s impatient.
Hey, where are you? We’re still meeting up
with Blaine for dinner, right? You’re the
only one who knows where he is exactly.
Santana’s getting impatient. And you
know how she gets when she’s impatient.
Ah, yes. Kurt couldn’t believe he had forgotten. Their dinner date with Blaine.
Blaine Anderson: Kurt’s high school sweetheart-turned fiancé. The love of his life. They’d been together for six years...well, five and a half if you didn’t count those six months of pain and heartache and confused feelings when they had broken up, partly due to their idealized notion of love and the false belief that it could survive without any work and partly due to lack of communication. Once the fantasy had shattered, once their hearts had healed and forgiveness given and trust restored, they rebuilt their relationship, stronger than it had been. Soon after reestablishing their relationship, Kurt had the surprise of his life when Blaine had proposed. He immediately accepted, and they both agreed on a long engagement, not wanting to jump into the actual marriage before they were sure they were ready. But it was a commitment they both wanted.
But Kurt didn’t have time to continue recalling their past. Rachel, Santana and he had a dinner date with Blaine. Blaine had a limited amount of time for them to meet up and Kurt wasn’t sure how long it would take to get through security; if they could even enter the building. They needed to leave now if they wanted to make it. He sent Rachel a message, telling her he was on the way before he pocketed his phone. Sighing, He shot the theatre one last longing and exasperated look before he walked towards the curb. He hailed a cab and set out to the rendezvous point with Rachel and Santana.
Blaine took several deep breaths. Arms over his chest, he folded over his body. Tears burned the back of his eyes. The room was darkened; there were only a few lights in the ceiling, one of which was burnt out. He clenched his eyes shut to block out the scene around him, his reflection in the mirror. He didn’t want to see this. He didn’t want to be here. If he couldn’t see it, it wasn’t happening.
A hand slammed on the table in front of him. Blaine jerked back at the sound, the force of his movements nearly knocking his chair to the ground. A man towered over him, his harsh, judging eyes narrowed, his mouth a thin line on his face. Blaine tried not to cower away from him, but it was difficult. He couldn’t let them see his fear. He tried to shut the man out again, closing his eyes.
The man smacked his hand against the table once more to regain Blaine’s attention. He gave it to him. The man glowered. Then he spoke, his voice loud, authoritative. “Come on, man. You can’t close your eyes and pretend this isn’t happening. We know you were there. We’ve got evidence that puts you at the scene.”
Blaine shook his head. No. No, this couldn’t be happening. He brought his hands up to his head, fisted his hair, the strands tangling between his fingers, and mumbled, “No, no.”
He heard shuffling around him, footsteps backing away and another set walking closer. A gentle hand touched his knee. Blaine opened his eyes and glanced down at the woman before him. She was gentle, a stark contrast to the man in the room, who now leaned against the wall, arms over his chest, stern eyes watching. Blaine looked back to the woman. She was comforting, a calming figure in the chaos going on around him.
She squeezed his knee and spoke to him, her voice as kind as her face. Soothing. “We also know what he did to you. All the years of abuse. Of not being able to fight back. Seeing it happen again must have been difficult. You must’ve wanted it to stop.”
Blaine nodded, his fists releasing their hold of his hair. He slowly lowered his arms to the table. He found a scratch on the table and traced it with his thumbnail, anything to keep from looking at the man across the room. The tears he had fought fell from his eyes. “I couldn’t bear to see him hurt her anymore. I wanted to protect her. That’s all I wanted. I didn’t mean to… I didn’t mean to kill him. But… but now he can’t hurt us anymore.”
Blaine looked at the woman, his eyes pleading. He choked back a sob. “But this is good, right? He can’t hurt anyone else now. We’re all safe.”
The man and woman shared a look. Blaine redirected his attention back to the scratch on the table.
The mood in the room shifted instantly.
Blaine was pulled out of his trance. He sat up straight, wiping away the tears at his eyes. The woman who had been kneeling in front of him a second ago, stood and flexed her legs before jumping up and down to loosen the muscles in her body, after having been in the awkward position for too long. The man walked away from the wall and pulled out his cell phone from his pocket, his attention immediately diverted.
The boom mic that had been above Blaine was lowered, the operator resting his arms as he and the sound mixer examined the sounds gathered. The grips lowered the light reflectors, diminishing the light that had been focused on Blaine.
Blaine looked up, his eyes focusing on the ceiling… or rather what should have been the ceiling. Instead of acoustical drop ceiling tiles one would expect, there was a series of black metal beams and spotlights. The tops of the walls met nothing; the beams were a good twenty or so feet above. The sound stage was massive. It needed to be in order to house the various sets used in this production; although some sets were more permanent than others. Or so Blaine had been told. He’d only been on this production for a couple of days and this was his last day.
It didn’t matter how many times Blaine filmed on sound stages, the realism of the sets often threw him for a loop, making him temporarily forget he wasn’t in a real interrogation room. Set designers decorated everything, remembering to include everything down to the smallest detail. Everything could tell a story. A knickknack on the table could hold the key to the case. Or a picture sitting on a desk could tell the nature of the characters’ relationships without it needing to be stated explicitly. Set designers even remembered to make items look used, the way they would in real life: scratches on the tables, worn fabric on the chairs, the faded finish on frequently used doorknobs.
Blaine took the bottle of water placed on the table by a production assistant, offering his thanks. He cleared his throat before taking a sip. He ran his fingers over his eyes, feeling the puffy skin underneath them. He sniffled. When the scene had begun filming, they had asked if he wanted or needed to use an eye drop solution to help make him cry but he declined. His tears were authentic. Always were. It drained him emotionally shot after shot but the end result was more real than anything eye drops could ever hope to accomplish.
The scene Blaine had just shot was as cliché as they come. The entire show was, if he was honest. The man taking on the role of the judgmental cop who wouldn’t hesitate to resort to violence to get his answers. The woman more understanding, trying to appeal to the suspect's humanity to get her answers. The typical ‘good cop/bad cop’ confession scene. But that was the thing with procedural productions. They’re remarkably easy to predict once the viewer learned the pattern. But they were also an amazing way to gain experience; to keep the acting skills well oiled and to learn the finer points of professional productions. Blaine wouldn’t trade his time on these types of productions for anything in the world. Plus they were fun. He got to play characters and create personae he never would otherwise.
Blaine looked over at the director, who had been looking over the shot at the monitor since he called ‘cut’, trying to decide if they needed to redo the scene or not. After another few seconds, he put his headset down and got out of his chair. He approached the middle of the room and addressed everyone, a smile on his face. “Great work, everyone!” He glanced at his watch. “Okay. We break for dinner. I’ll see the crew back here in a couple of hours to begin moving and setting up for our last couple of scenes of the night on the pier. Blaine, I’ll see you there. I’ll see the rest of the cast tomorrow.”
Blaine nodded at the director, acknowledging his instructions. It would be his final couple scenes on the episode of the show. It would be a short one, if things go according to plan, that didn’t require the time of the main actors, who played the cops that had been interrogating his character. With any luck, Blaine would be home before midnight tonight. And on a Friday, too—a rarity.
Blaine stood and shook the hands of the main actors, expressing his delight at having been given the opportunity to work with them. They returned the gratitude with smiles. Blaine then turned to various crew members, smiling and shaking their hands as well.
After he finished thanking the cast and crew, Blaine headed to costume to change back into his clothes. He wouldn’t need to worry about changing into his next costume until he returned to set after dinner.
Once changed out of his costume and back into his own clothes, a button down shirt and cardigan, Blaine made his way towards the main studio exit. His hand moved to his hair out of habit, the strands loose and gel free still felt foreign to him. When he wasn’t working, Blaine liked to use gel to tame the frizzy, baby-fine curls. But as he became more experienced with his work, when he immersed himself in a role, he had found that even the littlest thing could help create a character. Sometimes it was as simple as a hairstyle.
Blaine meandered through the large sound stage, taking care not to get in the way of the crew packing up the equipment that was no longer needed for the day. They had a lot of work to do. These people were the unsung heroes of film sets. They arrived before most everyone else and left well after everyone else has gone home. They made sure everything was where it was supposed to be, when it needed to be there. They kept the production running smooth. Without them, nothing would ever get done on schedule; it would be utter chaos.
Blaine walked through the large open door of the sound stage and into the reception room. He halted, attention drawn to the back of a man leaning against the desk of the receptionist, laughing and talking with her. His eyes followed the lines of the man’s body, all strength hidden underneath the well tailored latest designs from the runway, the familiar confident way he held his body. His legs… how long they were. Yes, he knew this man.
“Kurt?” Blaine spoke his name, intrigued. He hadn’t expected to see Kurt waiting inside the building for him.
Kurt turned at the sound of his name. A large smile broke out on his face. “Blaine.”
Blaine returned his smile; always happy to see him. No matter how long they’d been together, it always felt like the first time every time he saw him. Blaine supposed it always would.
Kurt crossed the lobby in three long strides and, mindless of the people stepping around them, leaned in and pressed his lips against Blaine’s. Blaine returned the kiss, tilting his head. “Hey, you,” Blaine greeted when he pulled back a few seconds later. “What are you doing in here? I thought we were meeting outside.”
A mischievous smirk formed on Kurt’s face. “I know. But I haven’t been here in a while and I wanted to see Lacey.” He turned and waved at the red-headed receptionist, who returned it with a grin before answering the ringing phone. “Luckily for me, security still remembers me from all the times I’ve sat in on Vogue editorial photo shoots for Isabelle.”
“Wow. Really?” Blaine looked around the reception room. “Where are Santana and Rachel?”
“Oh, they’re still outside.” Kurt looked sheepish, shrugging. “Security wouldn't let them in, no matter how much I tried to vouch for them. I think Santana scared them.”
Blaine wasn’t surprised. With so much expensive equipment housed in the building—not just the film equipment but also the photography equipment used in the smaller studios—as well as the stars of one of the longest running cop dramas on television right now coming into work every day, security needed to be tight. They only allowed authorized personnel permission to enter: those working on productions, on camera and off, as well as photographers, their assistants and the models or those who obtained special permissions, such as entertainment media. Sometimes family or friends of employees could get in if they were placed on the list in advance.
“I wanted to surprise you,” Kurt explained. He grinned and leaned in to kiss Blaine once more. “Surprise.”
Blaine chuckled against Kurt’s lips before bringing a hand up to cup his cheek, deepening the kiss.
After a moment, Kurt pulled away and stepped back, as though he suddenly remembered they weren’t alone at home. He straightened his jacket, eyes flickering to those passing by. It had taken both Kurt and Blaine a long time to get comfortable with the idea of expressing their affection in front of everyone, in public. Even with the more tolerate society of New York City, they still kept their displays of affection to a minimum in public. Kurt returned his attention to Blaine and grinned. “So… how did you do? Did you give them your best puppy dog eyes?”
“Any cop would let you off with one look at those eyes,” Kurt said, shaking his head. “They get me every time.”
“I know,” Blaine replied with a smirk. He puffed out his chest and lifted his head. “Why do you think I use them against you all the time?”
“Oh, shut up.” Kurt frowned.
Blaine laughed and pressed another chaste kiss to his lips. He reached for Kurt’s hand, intertwining their fingers. “Well, we should probably get to Rachel and Santana before Santana barges in looking for us.”
Together, they headed towards the exit, hurrying down the stairs to the door that opened to the street. Blaine waved at the guard with whom he had become friendly during the duration of his time there and held the door open for Kurt.
Outside, they were met with the sights and sounds of typical New York City traffic on the Lincoln Highway. Loud squawking of seagulls flying above could be heard. Behind them, they heard the bellows of yacht horns on the Hudson River pier. Blaine took a big breath, inhaling the scent of the river, the salt in the air mixed with oil; it was a smell he didn’t think he’d ever get used to. Being from a landlocked state, and a town about eighty miles away from the nearest large body of water, the sights and smells of the river, harbor and the Atlantic ocean never far from where they were in this city was something to behold. It wasn’t that it was a pretty sight or smell; in fact it was downright gritty and foul at times, but it reminded them that they managed to escape the small town they had grown up in.
The entrance of the studio was so nondescript that when Blaine had first made appearances there for work, he had trouble finding it and ended up having to call Kurt for help. It hadn’t been what he expected. It was part of a series of piers on the west side of Manhattan, which were used primarily as a sports and entertainment complex. The entrance to the film studios on the second floor was quaint compared to the big grand entrances of large studios that Blaine had seen whenever he visited his brother, Cooper, in Los Angeles. In place of the large arch that bore the studio’s name, was a simple white sign that hung over the street side door.
The garish red and blue building of the pier stood across the street from a beautifully designed glass office building from the mind of famed architect Frank Gehry, the man who architected the Guggenheim Museum. Blaine squinted in the bright sunlight, cursing the light bouncing off the curved windows of the office building.
Blaine turned to see Santana leaning against the side of the building, glowering, filing her nails with her ever present nail file. Rachel stood next to her, watching the cars drive by on the highway. Kurt and Blaine took a step towards them before Santana caught sight of them.
Santana pushed away from the building, tucking her nail file back in her bag, and stomped towards them, Rachel trailing behind her. She blocked their path, and crossed her arms over her chest, head tilted and eyes narrowed. She made a show of looking at her watch. “It’s about time, Hummel-Anderson. We’ve been waiting out here forever.”
Kurt rolled his eyes at Santana’s exaggeration. “Oh, please, Santana. I only went inside ten minutes ago.”
Blaine shrugged. “I’m sorry. I have no control over when the director lets us go for dinner.”
“How long do you have?” Rachel asked.
Blaine looked at his watch and estimated the time in his head before replying. “Oh, a few hours. The crew will be setting up for the next shoot after their break, so it’ll be a while yet.”
“What are we waiting for then? I wants to get my eating on.” Santana pushed.
“Well then, shall we?” Blaine held out his arm for Kurt to take before offering his other arm for Santana. She rolled her eyes with a laugh before linking her arm through his. Rachel wrapped her arm around Kurt’s and together, the four of them walked down the street from the film studios on the pier.
The four of them ended up having dinner at a pizzeria a couple of piers over from the studio. They spent the majority of dinner trading stories about their days. While Rachel told them about the intense behind the scenes of a Broadway show, even as an understudy, Blaine relayed stories of the onset antics of various cast and crew members, changing the names to protect their identity. While he trusted Kurt and his friends not to spill the details—well, Santana could be a mystery at times—Blaine could not be certain that those within earshot would have the same courtesy. He did still want to work in this town after all.
Blaine took the final bite of his last piece of pizza, when he caught Rachel watching him, a smile on her face. He tilted his head, a silent question in his eyes.
She beamed. “Well, aren’t you excited?”
Rachel gaped, her jaw nearly unhinged, looking as though he had done something to personally affront her. “About what?” Her voice was shrill. “Tribeca, of course!”
Oh. Blaine rubbed the back of his neck, ducking his head, heat rising in his cheeks. Yeah. That…
Kurt chuckled at Blaine’s side and nudged his shoulder against Blaine. He reached up and rubbed the hair at the back of Blaine’s neck. It was meant to comfort him, Kurt having sensed Blaine’s embarrassment. “It’s still a week and a half away. He’s trying not to think about it.”
“What? Why?” Rachel inquired, disbelief in her voice. If the situations had been reversed, and she was the one attending Tribeca, Blaine would bet good money that she would talk endlessly about it. She’d go on and on about who would be attending, list off their achievements, and anything else that came to mind. She’d try and wiggle her way in with some of the more well-respected members of the industry to try and further her career.
Not that Blaine wouldn’t be attempting to network himself. Networking was essential in the business after all. But he wanted to do it with charm, not force.
“Because it seems so…” Blaine searched for the word to describe the way he felt. “…surreal. Like I’m in a dream. I never thought I’d be going to a premiere of a film that I acted in at Tribeca. I mean… it’s Tribeca.” He reached for Kurt’s hand still on the back of his neck and held it, lacing their fingers together. He turned to face Kurt. “You’re still coming, right?”
Kurt gave him a soft smile. “Of course I am, silly,” he replied affectionately, as though it was the most obvious thing. “My cutie’s first major film premiere? Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Blaine smiled as Kurt leaned in to nuzzle him, their foreheads pressed together.
“Better hope it’s not the last premiere,” Santana broke in, interrupting their moment.
Blaine and Kurt separated and looked at her. Rachel did the same.
Kurt glared at her. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
Santana shrugged, not bothered in the slightest at the ire directed her way. She leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms over chest, directing her words towards Blaine. “I’m just saying. Ever since you filmed this one movie, you haven’t exactly done much outside of these little guest spots you seem to like for some reason. You don’t even need someone better and hotter to make you irrelevant before you actually go places. You do that all by yourself.”
Kurt opened his mouth to protest her comments but Blaine beat him to it, reaching out to touch his shoulder. Blaine spoke, his voice calm. “I’m content with my career where it is, Santana. It may not be the most glamorous but I am fine where I am.”
It wasn’t a lie. Blaine was content. He lived in one of the greatest cities in the world, engaged to the love of his life and he did a job he loved. Sure, maybe it wasn’t the high profile career he once dreamed of but it was still his career and he was doing what he wanted. Just on a smaller scale. There was just so many more variables and hoops to jumps through than he had originally anticipated when he got into the business.
Santana scoffed and rolled her eyes. “Oh please. I may content with my vibrator every night but it still isn’t satisfying my emotional needs.”
Rachel gasped, affronted at Santana’s analogy and the loudness of which was said. She glanced around the restaurant, looking to see if people were staring. “I don’t think it’s quite the same thing, Santana.”
“I’m just saying,” Santana continued. “You’re playing scared. Of what? That you’ll end up like your brother? I don’t think you’ll have that problem. Look,” she said, leaning forward. “You live for the spotlight”—Blaine opened his mouth to protest but she ignored him—”I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I mean, look at all of us. We all live for the spotlight. Just in differing ways. But you really should just take the risk and put yourself out there before it’s too late.”
Blaine didn’t want to admit out loud that Santana had a point, much less that she was right, in a way. Hell, he was surprised that she seemed to be giving him advice without wanting something in return… well, as far as he knew, she didn’t want anything in return.
But before Blaine can respond, Kurt’s phone chirped on the table. Surprised, Kurt apologized for the interruption and picked up his phone, reading the message. Kurt’s job kept him busy and he never knew when he’d be called to assist with something.
“Oh,” Kurt said, his voice bright. He smiled. He put his phone in his pocket and turned to address the others at the table. “Speaking of Tribeca, Isabelle says that the suits she designed are in. She wants me to stop by to double check the measurements and whatnot.”
Santana scrunched up her face in disgust. “Ew. You’re wearing matching suits? Really?”
Kurt rolled his eyes. “No,” he stressed. “They don’t match. But they should complement each other nicely.”
Blaine smiled and pressed a kiss to Kurt’s cheek, trying to assuage his annoyance with Santana. It must’ve worked as Kurt redirected his attention back to Blaine, leaning into him. “Can’t wait to see the suits,” Blaine told him. “Especially yours since you won’t even give me a hint of what it looks like.”
Kurt smirked. “A man’s gotta have his secrets.”
“I’m sure you’ll look amazing no matter what you wear,” Blaine replied. “You always do.”
Kurt hummed in appreciation, a smile on his face. He gathered his belongings and stood. “I will see you guys later.” He leaned down to press a kiss to Blaine’s lips. “Love you.”
“Love you, too.”
Blaine watched Kurt leave the restaurant. Once he was out of sight, he returned his focus to Rachel and Santana. He tried to ignore the look on Rachel’s face, the knowing smile on her face, the crinkles at the corners of her eyes. It was the same look she got on her face she got whenever she saw a cute animal. To avoid her, Blaine looked at his watch.
“Well,” Blaine said suddenly. “I should head back to set and get prepared. I’ve got a couple more short scenes to shoot before I am done with this show for now.”
He lifted a hand to call over a waiter. But before one even reached the table, Santana pulled Rachel out of her seat. “We should be leaving as well,” Santana declared. She gestured towards the table. “You got this, Mr. Hot Shot Guest Star?”
Before Blaine could even formulate an answer, Santana had Rachel half way to the door. Rachel looked back at him, looking somewhat embarrassed by Santana’s behavior. She mouthed the words ‘I’ll pay you back later.’
They leave the restaurant and a waiter finally reached their table and all Blaine could do was request the check with a sigh.
After rushing to the Condé Nast Building in the middle of Times Square, where Vogue operated, Kurt went upstairs to Isabelle Wright’s office-turned-designing room. He entered without hesitation, knowing Isabelle wouldn’t mind. She called him in the first place and Kurt had worked for her long enough to know her preferences. He had begun working for her soon after he arrived in New York City, fresh out of high school. She had recently been made an editor at the magazine and was building up her staff. Kurt had been quite surprised that she hired him on the spot as her intern-slash-assistant. He had stayed on as a part-time assistant during college, increasing his workload after graduation; intending it to only be until Broadway called him. But with Isabelle’s recent desire to get back into designing, Kurt had been working full-time as not only her assistant in her Vogue related duties but also in her designer tasks.
Kurt placed his things on an empty desk. Across the room, Isabelle stood at a clothes rack, brushing out the wrinkles of two suits she’d hung there. “You wanted to see me?” Kurt asked, calling her attention to his presence.
Isabelle turned at the sound of his voice and smiled fondly. “Yes, Kurt.” She gestured for him to come closer.
Kurt walked to her, his eyes landing on the suits hanging.
Isabelle smoothed her hand over the fabric of one of the suit jackets. “The pieces came in today. I’ve only just finished putting them all together. What do you think?”
Kurt examined the suits Isabelle put on display. She had designed the suits but she took the care to create them around Blaine and Kurt’s personal tastes. They both had similar color schemes, navy blue and a muted chartreuse yellow. The suit Kurt would wear was made of a high silk blend, in navy blue; the fabric shimmered in the light. The shirt and pocket square were the muted chartreuse yellow, the color matching the ankle baring pants of Blaine’s suit. His was more casual, featuring a patterned navy bow tie and shirt, underneath a blended suit jacket, the same navy blue subtly woven with ecru-colored thread. Isabelle designed them both with Spring in mind, from the lightweight fabric to the colors.
Kurt faced Isabelle. She had been watching his face the entire time, trying to ascertain his feelings one way or another. Kurt smiled. “I love them. They turned out great. Blaine’s going to love them, too.”
Isabelle returned Kurt’s smile. “Well, he has you to thank.”
Kurt furrowed his brows. “What do you mean? They’re your designs.”
She chuckled. She reached for and squeezed Kurt’s upper arm. “Credit where credit is due, Kurt. With all of your help, not just the measurements, but also the color scheme and the fabric choices, incorporating your own personal style as well as Blaine’s… Well. I consider these to be partly your design as well. A joint effort between Kurt Hummel and Isabelle Wright.”
Kurt’s jaw dropped. “Uh…I…Wow. Really?” He shook his head fervently. “But I didn’t do much.”
Isabelle tilted her head, hands on her hips and gave him a half-amused and half-exasperated sigh. "You know, Kurt, you did more than you think. If you hadn’t given me that final push I needed to get back into designing, these would not have been possible.”
She smiled before giving Kurt a brief hug, waiting for Kurt to return it before releasing him. She stepped back and took the navy blue silk-blend suit off the hook. She held it out for him. “Now, what do you say we see how it looks on you?”
Kurt jumped at the chance. Just the thought that he’d be wearing Isabelle Wright’s first design in several years was enough to excite him. Adding in the fact that she considered it to be a joint effort between them helped with the excitement. Wearing it at a major film festival with his fiancé was even better. Giving her a huge grin, Kurt took the suit from her hand and rushed behind the dark, curtained partition she had set up in the corner of her office.
As Kurt began to undress and put on the new suit, he heard Isabelle speak on the other side of the partition. “Oh,” she said. “I was going to ask you tomorrow when you got in but did you find out about your audition?”
Kurt faltered in his movements, his hand freezing over the buttons on the shirt. He had temporarily forgotten he had told her about the audition. He had been so excited about his performance and the praise of the producers and director that he couldn’t help but gush when he had gotten back to work afterward. He had been on an adrenaline high for the rest of the day. Isabelle didn’t mind; in fact, she had been amused at his child-like enthusiasm. She knew that while Kurt loved the fashion world and his job, it wasn’t his dream career. He had never been shy about it, it had been one of the first thing he told her when they met. Kurt’s heart and soul still belonged to the Broadway stage.
Kurt didn’t want to dwell on the reasons why he didn’t get the role on after the morning he had but his mind did. Rachel had it easier. But then, she always did. And Kurt hated himself sometimes for resenting her success, even if it was an understudy gig this time. It wasn’t fair to her. But it did discourage him after a while. He didn’t tell Rachel or Blaine about all of his auditions. Kurt didn’t want to listen to Rachel’s ‘guide to the perfect audition’ for the millionth time or to have Blaine waxing poetic about his talents and how blind the producers were for not seeing it, which, while sweet and appreciated, could become a bit smothering at times. That was not the problem. Kurt knew he had the talent. He didn’t need that reassurance.
But Isabelle knew of all of the auditions. She approved his time off work most times so Kurt could keep auditioning. Because it could always be that next audition. The next audition could be the one that broke down the door and got him where he wanted to be: on a Broadway stage.
Just… not yet.
Kurt fastened the buttons on the shirt before realizing that Isabelle still waited for an answer. “Um, yeah. I did.”
She was silent for a second or two before she prompted Kurt again, prodding for more information. “Well?”
Kurt tucked the shirt into the waistband of the pants. “Um… I didn’t get it.”
She gasped. “But… you worked so hard for it.”
“I worked really hard for all of them.”
“I’m sorry.” Isabelle’s voice was soft, apologetic. “I know how much you miss the stage.”
Kurt could have used the time to rant about the excuses he had heard from the producer today. And Isabelle would have listened, offering comforting phrases and reassurances. But he didn’t. He would work through it the only way he knew how. “It’s okay,” Kurt reassured her. “I know it’ll probably take countless auditions before that one. Besides if anyone can be so blind to Oprah Winfrey’s talent and tell her she was unfit for TV, then I can and will get past this rejection. I’ll keep auditioning.”
Kurt slipped the jacket on and buttoned the top button. He adjusted it in the mirror. “Okay,” he announced. “I’m ready.”
Kurt stepped around the partition and stood before Isabelle. She scrutinized the suit, the way it fit, the color against his pale skin. Kurt followed her eyes, angling his body for her when necessary.
After a minute of detailed examination, a slow smile formed on Isabelle’s face. “It’s perfect,” she beamed.
Or read at tumblr/Scarves&Coffee (link coming soon)