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I Married You

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In his wildest dreams, he never thought his life would turn out the way it had. In the end, all the inconveniences and arguments were worth it. As he looked at the man standing across from him, he knew he would never change anything of the last six months.

“...to be my partner in life. I love you with all of me. I never thought I would find a man who would make me feel the way you make me feel. I promise to support you in everything you do, in everything you are, in every lifetime we live.”

He couldn’t believe he had tears in his eyes. He never cried. Not for a long time, anyway. Looking at the man standing across from him, he knew that there would be more tears in his life—mostly tears of joy and sometimes tears of sorrow. Tears or no tears, though, he was really looking forward to sharing his future with this wonderful man.

“...my partner in life. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I’d be so lucky as to find a man like you. One who could make me laugh the way you do. One who could make me feel the contentment in my life I feel when I’m with you. I love you with everything I am and all that I have. I’m glad we met like we did; I’m glad we got to know each other during extraordinary circumstances. I promise to support you in everything you do, in everything you are, in every lifetime we live.”

As they exchanged rings, the small group of people gathered to share in this special day watched as the sun sank below the horizon. Every person there knew their story, and couldn’t think of a better match.

Looking at his new husband, seeing the love he felt in his heart reflected right back to him, he couldn’t believe how lucky he’d been.

Las Vegas is a truly magical place, if you can look past a drunken wedding and see with your eyes what your heart obviously saw from the beginning.

~*~*~*~

When he was five, Blaine wanted to marry his teddy bear. Fluffy was always there for him when he was scared or when he needed to talk to someone. Fluffy was always by his side and always well dressed. He felt connected to Fluffy with his bowtie, vest and bright blue button eyes. He would definitely marry Fluffy when he grew up.

He also wanted to marry his friend Paul. All Paul wanted to do was play in the dirt. Marrying Paul soon became a thing of the past, as did his friendship with Paul. Blaine didn’t want to ruin his clothes playing with Paul.

By the time he was eleven, Blaine had discovered Matt Damon. Until his brother Cooper found out and stalked the actor until he agreed to talk on the phone with Blaine. Cooper got his first restraining order; Blaine was embarrassed for years. He never confessed anything to Cooper again.

At sixteen he had his first kiss, with a girl (it was a dare; he was not impressed). He really wanted to kiss Sam. Sam was straight. Sam was also his best friend, still is. Sam never treated him as anything other than a friend. Blaine buried his crush under his friendship and tried not to think of Sam late at night. Usually he was successful.

Over the years, from sixteen to some future time when he would marry, he imagined many ways to meet his future husband. His husband never had a name (Blaine usually chose a random name), but he always had a look. His dream husband was always gorgeous with bright eyes, a pleasing face and a body to die for. He was always kind, had a great sense of humor, and a romantic streak to rival Blaine’s.

He dreamed of meeting his husband at a dinner party, on vacation, through his brother Cooper, or even a chance meeting on a city street. None of his imagined meetings lived up to how he actually met his husband. What happened in Las Vegas would follow him home and become part of his future.

Chapter Text

“Come on, dude! We promise, nothing bad will happen. We just want to spend one of your last weekends as a free man with you in Vegas.” Sam sat on the edge of the couch, waving his hands in the air while trying to talk Blaine into a last minute trip.

Blaine looked over to Tina, who was nodding her head, trying to look as innocent as possible. She knew that Blaine would have backed out of the trip if they’d asked him in advance. She and Sam had concocted an elaborate plan to take him away on a ‘bachelor’s weekend’; they spoke to his boss to get him the weekend off, and they informed his fiancé they would be taking him away. Fortunately, Peter was caught up in his job, and thought nothing of sending Blaine off on a trip with his two best friends. It never crossed his mind to mention anything to Blaine.

Blaine looked at Sam, and heaved a sigh; he knew when he had no choice but to give up. “Fine. One weekend, but I’m not drinking. I have too much to do in the next three weeks; I can’t spend any time nursing a hangover when I get back.” Blaine looked toward Peter, sitting at the dining table with files and books spread around him. “Let me talk to Peter; then I’ll go pack a bag.”

“No need to pack; I already took care of it,” Tina said as he stood and walked into the dining room.

“Of course you did,” Blaine muttered.          

~*~*~*

Peter looked up as he felt Blaine enter the room. “They talk you into going?”

“Yeah, I know it’s the worst time to take a trip, but if I don’t go with them now they’ll bother us all weekend. I know you have a big case coming up next week and don’t need the distraction. I’ll go, give you the time you need to prepare, and when I get back we can put the finishing touches on the wedding.” Blaine put the palm of his hand on Peter’s cheek and tilted his head up so he could see his eyes. Blaine leaned down to gently kiss Peter, sliding his tongue along the seam of Peter’s mouth until he felt his fiancé’s jaw go slack and his lips open to the kiss.

Peter didn’t like to kiss Blaine in front of people, even their friends; so the kiss ended before Blaine would have liked, but he knew about Peter’s feelings and had learned to accept them as part of the man he loved. “Want help packing?” Peter asked as he let his forehead rest against Blaine’s.

Blaine shook his head and smiled. “Evidently Tina already did that. Remind me to get the key back from Sam after we’re married? Don’t need any surprises.” He knew Sam would only use the key in an emergency, but he got the chuckle out of Peter he was aiming for. “You sure you don’t mind me going? I know you’re going to spend the weekend working, but I enjoy being near you while you work. Plus, I could help you relieve the stress you’re bound to feel after spending hours hunched over files, books and laptop.” He added in a lower voice, “I know you like my stress relief methods.”

Peter snorted before Blaine had even finished his proposition. He shook his head, then stood up and pulled Blaine in the direction of the bedroom. He closed the door, leaned against it and pulled Blaine against him before lowering his head to capture Blaine’s lips in a kiss that went from sultry to smoldering in a fraction of a second. “I’m sure I don’t mind, but if you want me to help you get out of it, I will. They already think I’m boring; might as well add to their assumptions.”

“They don’t think you’re boring. They just wish I didn’t want to stay at home with you instead of going out with them. I keep trying to tell them we’re no longer in our twenties, but they won’t listen.” Blaine smiled up at Peter, letting the calm he always felt seep into his bones. Then he sighed and straightened his shoulders before stepping out of Peter’s arms. “They obviously put a lot of thought and effort into this trip, I don’t want to disappoint them. They’re my best friends; we’ve been through a lot together. You work your ass off this weekend, and we’ll have a happy reunion when I get back. Knowing them, I’ll be very frustrated when I get home. Gonna need some quality horizontal time with my fiancé.” Blaine couldn’t help grinning and waggling his eyebrows as he said it, hoping to make Peter smile one last time.

Peter smiled, but the smile didn’t quite reach his eyes. One last peck and Blaine reached to open the door, heading off to what eventually would be considered the most eventful, life-changing weekend of his life.

~*~*~*

The road trip turned out to be more fun than Blaine would have thought possible. He always had fun with Sam and Tina, but they seemed to tailor the music to everything he liked, joining in on the impromptu car concert Blaine gave from the backseat. By the time they reached the outskirts of Las Vegas, Blaine couldn’t remember why he hesitated before saying yes to this idea.

Sam had made reservations at a hotel off-Strip, but within easy walking distance of anything they could possibly want to see or do. “We’re only gonna use the room for a couple hours a night, no reason to pay for something you’re not gonna spend a lot of time in.”

Tina’s eyebrows rose at Sam before turning to Blaine and asking “What do you want to do first?”

Blaine had assumed they had the whole trip planned out; so he had no idea what the options were. “I don’t know; what are our options? Dinner maybe? Then take a walk down the strip and see if anything looks like fun.”

They stopped at the front desk and asked for dinner recommendations. After being assured that they wouldn’t need reservations to have a nice sit down dinner, they headed off on what would prove to be the most surreal night of their lives.

The early spring weather was perfect with clear blue skies and with a sweater the walk to dinner was pleasant. Dinner turned out to be both delicious and enjoyable. Despite his earlier declaration, Blaine did have a drink with dinner. After dinner they walked down the Strip, stopping to watch the fountains at the Belaggio, and then ducked into the Venetian for window shopping and into Caesar’s to look at the art. They eventually made it to The Cosmopolitan at the end of the Strip.

Sam led them in the front door and spoke quietly to one of the parking attendants before shaking his hand and motioning for Blaine and Tina to follow him.

Blaine reached out to Sam’s shoulder and asked, “Where are we going?” Sam simply smiled and continued walking. Blaine looked to Tina, hoping she would tell him, but she also smiled at him, grabbed his hand and followed Sam.

After navigating the maze of slot machines and gambling tables, they finally stopped in front of a set of heavy metal doors, with what had to be the largest, most solid man Blaine had ever seen standing in front. His arms were crossed across his chest and the look on his face could only be described as frightening indifference.

Blaine stood rooted to the floor, while Sam and Tina strode up to the scary, scary man. He really hoped no harm on his friends and knew there would be little he could do to save them if things turned ugly. To his surprise, though, the guy listened to Sam, then Tina; he smiled and winked at Tina, and then laughed when Tina turned bright red. He nodded and opened the door, gesturing them through the doorway. Sam walked over to Blaine and pulled him along.

As soon as the door had opened, Blaine knew where they were. Not the specific location or the name, but that they were at a club. He hadn’t been out to a club with Sam or Tina since he’d gotten together with Peter. The sensations came back to him, the pounding bass, the flashing lights, the smell of alcohol and sweat. They all mingled in his body and made him feel as if he could do anything. He enjoyed dancing. He especially enjoyed dancing with men. He knew that Sam and Tina still went to clubs, but Blaine had stopped clubbing as soon as Peter made it clear he didn’t want to go. At this moment, Blaine couldn’t remember why he hadn’t joined Sam or Tina when they’d asked him.

Sam leaned down and yelled in his ear, “Is this okay? I know you don’t dance anymore, but we wanted to bring you here. It’s totally a ‘gay nightclub’,” Blaine heard the air quotes, “and they don’t care if straight people come here, too.”

Blaine couldn’t help but grin; Sam was the best friend, ever. “You’re the best friend, ever! I LOVE to dance! Come on!” He grabbed one of Sam’s hands and one of Tina’s and pulled them both onto the dance floor. His body began moving as soon as the beat got into his blood. A huge smile plastered on his face as he saw twin smiles bloom on his friends’ faces.

Having the best friend in the world became Blaine’s favorite thing. Sam and Tina took turns going to the bar, keeping a steady flow going and letting Blaine lose himself on the dance floor. At first Blaine had insisted on only water, but eventually the alcohol started coming more often. Blaine relaxed and decided to go with the flow, so to speak. He knew his friends would watch out for him; he trusted them with his life and knew they’d do the same. After two hours of dancing Blaine felt like he needed a break; so he motioned to the perimeter of the dance floor. Sam nodded, but continued dancing with the group of guys next to them. Tina was caught up with a group of men and women somewhere; so he headed to the bar by himself.

Grateful for the relative coolness once away from the mass of gyrating, heat-emitting dancers, he spotted an open stool and sat on it, wobbling a bit in the process. Realizing he already was past the tipsy stage, he ordered a glass of water and smiled when the bartender handed him the glass.

The guy on the stool next to him looked at the bartender and then toward Blaine, who found himself staring and grinning. He smiled back at Blaine and asked, “Can I buy you a drink?”

Blaine blinked and looked around and behind himself, then back to the stranger. “Me? Oh, no, no thank you. I’m engaged. To be married.” Blaine clamped his mouth shut. Why do I always over-share? Why did I let Sam and Tina buy me so many drinks? Why is this man so mesmerizing? Why can’t I remember Peter’s lips instead of staring at this stranger’s mouth…?

“Ohhh-kay? Congratulations, then. How about a celebratory drink? I promise I don’t have ulterior motives; you just looked like you were having fun out there and could use a drink.” The man, the very good-looking man…the very good-looking man with gorgeous eyes and luscious lips…flagged down a bartender before asking, “What would you like to celebrate with?”

“Your tongue in my mouth,” left Blaine’s lips before his brain could stop him. Dammit! He clapped his hand over his mouth, thinking he needed to go kill Sam and Tina for giving him so many drinks. He’d thank them for the amazing time tomorrow…if he lived through this mortifying moment.

Gorgeous-eyes-luscious-lips laughed—a full out, head-tipped-back-eyes-closed laugh—the kind that attracted the attention of everyone around. “Maybe you don’t need anything else to drink,” he said after he got his laughter under control. “Although I guess there could be a drink by that name, for all I know.” He looked to the bartender, who was trying very hard to look professional while containing his laughter.

The bartender shook his head. “Not that I’ve heard of, but I could give him a shot of tequila; it’d probably be close enough.” He looked at the margarita glass on the bar.

Blaine couldn’t believe they were discussing what drink would taste most like gorgeous-eyes-luscious-lips’ mouth. He wanted to be swallowed up by the dance floor. He looked over his shoulder, hoping to catch Sam or Tina and implore them with his eyes to come save him. No such luck. The floor never cooperated, and Sam and Tina were nowhere to be seen.

Tequila shots were placed in front of Blaine and in front of gorgeous-eyes-luscious-lips (he needed to find out what to call this guy, before he made a bigger fool of himself by blurting out something even more embarrassing). Blaine shrugged and, ignoring that small warning voice somewhere in the back of his mind, picked up the shot and turned to look into the eyes next to him. Their eyes met; they licked the backs of their hands, sprinkled salt on them, and then Blaine had the most erotic shot of tequila of his life. Never once did his eyes leave those of the man next to him, despite the heat of the liquor coursing down his throat. He sucked the juice of the lime and watched in fascination as the man sitting next to him did the same. Wobbling only a little (he was sure), Blaine leaned toward the lips that looked so delectable...

Just before their lips met, Blaine felt a hand clamp down on his shoulder and heard Sam say “Dude! There you are! I’ve been looking for you all over! Man, if I were gay, I’d totally be getting lucky tonight!” He dug in his pockets and came out with no fewer than a dozen slips of paper with what Blaine could only guess were phone numbers on them. He even saw a room keycard or two. Blaine understood wanting Sam; he’d gone through that phase in his life after they met; so had Tina.

“Sam,” Blaine said, his tongue carefully trying to form words; his brain really needed to catch up to what was going on around him. “This is...” He paused, thinking hard. “I don’t know, but his mouth tastes like tequila. I love tequila. Tequila is the best! You want some tequila?”

Sam stared at Blaine, then at the guy sitting next to him. “Blaine? What did you do? Dude, did you kiss him? What about Peter?”

“He didn’t kiss me. I know he’s engaged. I offered to buy him a drink, and he wanted to have a shot of tequila. I had one with him; thus, his statement. I’m Kurt, by the way.” Kurt. Yeah, that was much better than calling him gorgeous-eyes-luscious-lips. Out loud, at least. He could still call him whatever he wanted in his head.

Blaine smiled at Sam and at Kurt. “My mouth tastes like tequila!” He started giggling and couldn’t seem to stop. “Sam, I’m glad you made me come here. I never would have known Kurt or what his mouth tastes like.” Blaine stood on wobbly legs and threw his arms around Sam. Sam looked over Blaine’s head and eyed Kurt, trying to let him know that Blaine was off limits. Kurt nodded in understanding.

“Blaine, I’m gonna go find Tina, and we can head back to our hotel. Stay right here. I’ll be right back.” Sam made sure he was sitting on the stool before he headed back to the dance floor, looking for Tina in the crowd.

Blaine moved his stool closer to Kurt’s and leaned into his side. He whispered, “I don’t wanna go back to my hotel. Not with them. They always get horny after we go dancing. I really don’t need to hear that.” Blaine tried to look as innocent as he could. “Wanna dance with me? I bet you’re a great dancer; you look like a great dancer.” Blaine reached out and grabbed Kurt’s hand, then hopped off his stool and dragged Kurt into the middle of the crowd. Blaine began to dance against Kurt, quickly losing himself in the beat of the music and the almost hive-like rhythm and mood emanating from the crowd of dancers. He never felt as good as he did on the dance floor.

Kurt was not nearly as drunk as Blaine appeared to be, but he was drunk enough to let himself get swept away in the feeling of Blaine dancing against him. Blaine, who in a matter of minutes, had succeeded in making Kurt forget the events preceding his trip to Vegas. He had come in the hopes of finding someone to help him forget, and he had found that someone…in a man who was engaged to someone else. He thought his life couldn’t suck any more than it already did. He was so wrong, and so very, very screwed.

~*~*~*

When Blaine caught a glimpse of Sam and Tina looking for him, he made sure that Kurt was between them and him. He felt a little like a kid, playing hide-and-seek, but he was enjoying himself and didn’t want the night to end. He pointed in the direction of the bathroom and stood on his toes to yell into Kurt’s ear, “I’m gonna go to the restroom. Wait for me?” He saw Kurt nod; so he turned around and headed in what he hoped was the right direction. He was surprised to feel a hand on his lower back, but knew it was Kurt’s hand. He smiled to himself as he neared the door.

When he opened the door, he wasn’t surprised by the sounds he heard, but he was surprised by the line of people waiting when there were plenty of urinals available. As he finished washing his hands, he saw a stall door open and three guys leave (one was still tucking himself into his pants), and then a group of three more guys entered and closed the door. Even in Blaine’s wildest younger days, he’d never imagined the logistics of three guys in a bathroom stall. He saw the smirk on Kurt’s face as he turned to go back to the dance floor.

“Tight fit,” Kurt said into his ear as they stood to the side of the hallway, waiting for it to clear a bit.

“Yeah.” Blaine could feel the deep flush coloring his face. His phone began vibrating in his pocket right as they made it to the bar. Kurt noticed and motioned for him to go ahead and look at the text. “Sorry,” Blaine mumbled, “if I don’t answer, they’ll keep texting until I do.” He typed out a quick, “I’m fine. Gonna keep dancing. Be back later” before pocketing his phone and looking at Kurt. “Let’s go somewhere else.”

Kurt nodded and led them out of the club. When they hit the sidewalk, they turned to the right and began walking back toward the middle of the Strip. Without actually realizing it, their hands entwined.

Five bars and countless drinks later they were wonderfully exhausted, sweaty and probably smelly, mostly weaving and wobbling, and definitely feeling no pain. Somehow they made it to a hotel and fell onto a very comfortable bed.

Chapter Text

Shut up and put your money where your mouth is
That’s what you get for waking up in Vegas.

“Unh, wha’tim’ist?” Blaine groaned as he heard Katy Perry’s voice coming from somewhere near his face. He was pretty sure he died last night. That was the only explanation for the vice-grip hold on his brain. Either he was dead or someone was playing a very cruel joke on him. If Sam or Tina was responsible, Blaine promised himself he would come back from the dead and haunt them for the rest of their lives. But first he needed to pee.

And that’s when he felt the presence next to him. He opened one eye and peered at the body lying next to him. The hair was short and brown…so not Sam, and not Tina. What the hell did I do last night? He sat bolt upright in bed, the sheet falling down his chest, his bare chest, and ohmygod, why did I move so fast? He flopped back onto the bed and groaned. Which, of course, made the person in bed with him roll over and open his eyes. Eyes that Blaine vaguely remembered from last night, or maybe from somewhere else; he didn’t know and really didn’t care at that moment.

And Blaine couldn’t help but groan again. Which only made his head pound more, and his organs want to leave his body through his mouth.

“Hey, are you okay? You look kinda green.”

“Yeah, just sat up too fast,” Blaine said through clenched teeth. “Why am I here? Better yet, where am I? And who are you?”

“You don’t hold your alcohol very well, do you? I’m Kurt. We met last night.” Kurt sat up, his back against the headboard of the bed. He smiled at Blaine and held his hand out to shake Blaine’s. “It’s nice to meet you.”

Blaine shook his hand, and said, “Nice to meet you, too. But that doesn’t tell me where I am.”

“True. I don’t know where we are. I assume we’re at a hotel.”

That made Blaine leap from the bed and run to the bathroom. After he finished emptying his stomach, he rinsed his mouth and rubbed his hands over his face. A couple of deep breaths and a silent pep talk to the man in the mirror, and he was ready to go back out to the bedroom.

“Okay. Tell me again. Where are we?” Blaine asked as he gingerly moved to sit on the chair by the desk.

“The info on the table says Holiday Inn, which is definitely not where I’m staying while in Vegas. And I assume this isn’t your room, or your stuff would be here.” Kurt smiled at Blaine. “I also found this.” He held out a slip of paper toward Blaine.

When he realized that Kurt wasn’t going to move any farther from where he sat on the bed, Blaine stood up and grabbed the paper, looking at it as he sat back in the chair. The words “Certificate of Marriage” didn’t register for a couple seconds, but when they did, he shot out of the chair and threw the paper back at Kurt.

“No, no, no, no! Why do you have that? And why is my name on it? What the hell happened last night?” Blaine couldn’t stop pacing around the room, his hands unconsciously pulling at his bedhead curls that had come loose overnight. He felt as if the universe was playing some twisted joke on him, and he really wanted the joke to end.

“Well, I assume I have it because my name is on it, too. Looks like congratulations are in order. According to this, we got married last night.” Kurt grinned at him.

Blaine felt faint; he needed to sit down before he passed out. “This can’t be happening. Why would I marry a complete stranger? How could I do this to Peter? I’m supposed to marry him in three weeks!” He put his hands back in his hair and began rocking back and forth in the chair. “I don’t even know you! I would never do something like this! Why did you let me do this?” He couldn’t stop all the questions in his head. He couldn’t believe he would marry a stranger; this must be a joke. What am I going to tell Peter? “How are you not freaking out? You married a stranger!” Kurt’s calmness was making him angry. “Wait, is this some twisted new reality show? Were there cameras following us around last night? Am I going to wind up on some trashy show called “Freak Out in Vegas”? When he paused, he saw that Kurt was just sitting on the bed with the sheet draped across his lap. He really hoped nothing happened last night, other than the wedding, which was bad enough.

Kurt shrugged his shoulders before getting out of bed and looking for his pants. His pants were on the floor by the bathroom, where he vaguely remembered taking them off earlier that morning when they finally stumbled into the room. He couldn’t remember who finally got them off him, but he did remember that the process was made more difficult by two sets of hands trying to accomplish the same task. “I’m just not freaking out. If the certificate says we’re married, then we’re married. Not much we can do about it before breakfast. I’ll call my attorney after we eat and see what we can do about getting it annulled, if that’s really what you want.”

He struggled into his pants; they may make him look fantastic, but they were a bitch to get on, especially when he wasn’t fully functioning like this morning. “And, no, this isn’t a reality show, although I’d totally watch that train wreck. I imagine it would have a very niche audience, though—maybe only last for a couple episodes before the premise got old, but those episodes would be awesome.”

“Okay—not a reality show and not a joke. And of course I want an annulment! I don’t even know who you are! For all I know you’re a drifter who kills people in your spare time. Or you have a wife and kids in North Dakota, and you come to Vegas to pick up unsuspecting men, marry them and then take all their money in exchange for…for…for whatever you exchange money for when a marriage isn’t legal because you’re already married.” Blaine knew he probably wasn’t making much sense, but neither did this whole situation. He searched for his left shoe, and why is it always the left that goes missing, never the right! The right shoe is always right where I left it when I took it off, but the left one always gets up and hides itself when I’m not looking. He was almost ready to leave sans left shoe when Kurt handed it to him, a giant smile on his face belying the urgency Blaine was feeling from this whole mess.

“You don’t know who I am?” Kurt asked, his eyes widening in unfeigned surprise. “You really have no idea who I am, or what I do for a living?”

When Blaine shook his head, Kurt’s smile softened. Blaine almost wanted to ask who Kurt was, but he didn’t want to take the time away from trying to get this marriage annulled, an annulment which needed to take place yesterday.

“Come on,” Kurt said as he headed toward the door, “I’ll buy you breakfast, and we’ll talk about how we’re going to deal with our situation.” Blaine checked his pockets, grabbed the marriage certificate (he wasn’t letting anyone else have custody of that), and followed Kurt out the door.

Kurt felt bad for Blaine, he really did, but for the first time in years, he felt a sense of contentment in his life. He knew that marrying a man mere hours after meeting him was probably the least sensible thing he’d ever done, but in his soul he knew it undoubtedly would turn out to be the best thing in his life. Now he just needed to convince Blaine that being married to him wouldn’t be so horrible—and might even be the best thing that ever happened to them both.

~*~*~*

Like every hotel in Las Vegas, there were choices for breakfast on the first floor. Kurt suggested the fancy sit-down restaurant, but Blaine wanted to get the meal over with as soon as he could, call Sam and Tina, and get this marriage annulled. Not necessarily in that order. Blaine suggested the diner.

As soon as they sat down at a table, a waitress in a uniform reminiscent of one from the sixties, complete with bee-hive hairdo, brought them menus and coffee.

“Good morning, gentlemen. My name’s Betty; I’ll be back in a couple minutes to take your order,” she said. Then she saw the rings, the rings they hadn’t taken off. “Congratulations! You make the cutest couple!”

Kurt smiled at her and said, “Thank you, Betty. This is our first meal as newlyweds.” And he winked.

Blaine couldn’t believe Kurt was acting as if this was the best day of his life—as if he married strangers in Las Vegas every Tuesday night. He stared at Kurt while the man continued his conversation with Betty, not even registering Blaine’s discomfort with the whole situation. Blaine glanced at his menu, saw oatmeal, and cleared his throat before speaking, hoping to get someone’s attention.

“Sorry to interrupt, but we have a busy morning ahead of us. I’d like the oatmeal and orange juice.” Blaine looked to Kurt and asked, “How about you, honey?” He hoped Kurt picked up on the sarcasm in the endearment.

“I’ll have the same, sweetheart. Thank you, Betty.” Kurt handed his menu to her, while smiling at Blaine, absolutely enjoying the situation, despite Blaine’s obvious discomfort. “So I guess we should talk,” Kurt said as he leaned back in the booth.

Blaine nodded, relieved that Kurt finally understood the dire situation. “Yes, we should,” he said. “But first, something has been niggling at me since I woke up.” He looked around, leaned forward, and lowered his voice before asking, “We didn’t do anything last night, did we? In bed, I mean.”

Blaine was not prepared for Kurt’s loud laugh, his head thrown back, eyes tearing up, and mouth open as he laughed so hard that he almost had to gasp for air, a laugh that drew the attention of every single person in the diner. Nor was he prepared for some of the people to begin whispering to their companions, or to point their phones at them and take their picture as if they were an exhibit in a zoo. Blaine kicked Kurt under the table, and not softly.

Kurt stopped laughing, finally, and gave Blaine a look. A look that said he wasn’t sure what Blaine’s problem was. Blaine waited, with his eyebrow raised, for Kurt to figure out why Blaine was upset. When the realization hit him, Kurt’s eyes grew large, and his mouth opened into a perfect circle.

“Oh,” he said. “You were serious.” He shook his head and said, “No, we only slept in bed. You were very drunk last night, and despite what my reputation says, I don’t take advantage of people like that.”

Blaine’s mind was still a little foggy and slow to understand. He couldn’t get what Kurt was saying to make any kind of sense. Why would Kurt have a reputation, and why would Blaine know what it is? The confusion on his face must have been very apparent, because Kurt looked at him as if he was from another planet before smiling and chuckling.

“You really don’t know who I am,” he said softly. “I don’t know if I should be relieved or offended.” He reached into his pocket for his phone, typed for a couple seconds, and then handed the phone to Blaine.

Blaine peered at the screen before taking it from Kurt’s hand and reading more carefully. It took him a while to read everything, following links to other sites with more stories about Kurt. Blaine discovered that Kurt was a highly sought after actor of both stage and screen. He also found that Kurt had a reputation for being difficult. Many directors, and some co-stars, had vowed to never work with him again, citing his outrageous demands as the key factors. But among all the stories of his difficult nature were other stories, reports of his generosity and kindness. His devotion to homes for retired actors, his fundraising for cancer research, and his being a spokesperson against driving while intoxicated. People either loved Kurt, or they hated him; there seemed to be no in-between.

“That explains all the people taking your picture,” Blaine murmured. He raised his head and looked Kurt in the eyes before saying, “It doesn’t explain why you married a complete stranger, though. Weren’t you afraid I was using you for your fame and money? Why would you suggest getting married after knowing me for just a few hours?”

Kurt frowned at Blaine. “I never, not for one second, considered that you would use me. And you’re the one who suggested we get married, not me. ‘Let’s get married, I wanna get married right now.’ That’s what you said to me. I went along because you seemed willing to marry anyone who would say yes. I didn’t want anything to happen to you, and I figured at least I knew what my intentions were. But even if my instincts were off, I assure you that I won’t take advantage of you or the situation. I have a team of lawyers, publicists, and agents ready and willing to do whatever I ask of them. So we’re covered, if I read you wrong.” He shrugged, and then placed some money on the table. “You ready to go? This seems to be a very popular place all of a sudden; even I’m beginning to feel a little like being in a fish bowl. I can’t imagine how you must feel.”

Blaine looked down at his empty bowl and coffee mug, he didn’t remember eating, but his stomach no longer felt like rebelling against him for its mistreatment the night before. He stood and followed Kurt from the diner and from the hotel. Once they were on the sidewalk Blaine felt Kurt’s gaze land on him.

“Where are you staying?” Kurt asked. “We’ll catch a cab and go find your friends.”

Blaine glanced at Kurt, and then shook his head before saying, “I’d really like to walk and clear my head. It’s a couple blocks over, not far.” He began walking, torn between hoping that Kurt would follow and yet not follow him. When he heard Kurt’s steps fall in with his, though, he heaved a sigh of gratitude.

Kurt knew that their situation was one Blaine never thought he’d find himself in, but he was beginning to feel that maybe Blaine needed something unexpected in his life. Something that would stir up the complacency he could see just below the surface. He didn’t know Peter, and barely knew Blaine, but he sensed that Blaine was happier last night than he’d been in a long time. Kurt hoped Blaine would let him stay in his life in some way; better yet, he sincerely hoped they’d be able to make this admittedly strange situation work.

Despite Blaine’s insistence that he wanted to clear his head, and the implied ‘alone’, Kurt fell into step beside Blaine, walking as close as he dared for fear he would lose him in the crowd.

~*~*~*

After the longest two-block walk of his life, Blaine finally made it to his hotel and silently rode the elevator to his floor. With Kurt, of course. As soon as he put his keycard into the reader on the door to his room, it swung open and he was pulled into Tina’s arms, and then pushed away with a light punch to his arm, followed by another hug as she pulled him in again.

“Where have you been?! Sam and I have been worried that something bad happened to you! You didn’t answer your phone; you didn’t even text to let us know you were okay!” Tina stopped talking as soon as she saw Kurt standing behind Blaine. “Come in out of the hall, and then explain everything.”

Blaine stepped into the room, motioning for Kurt to follow him inside, and let the door close behind them. He saw that Sam was sitting on one of the beds, the phonebook open on his lap, in the process of dialing. As Sam pressed call, he looked up and saw Blaine. His jaw dropped; the phone hit the bed, and the phonebook fell to the floor as he leaped up. “Dude! Where have you been? I’ve been calling hospitals trying to find you; we thought you were unconscious and lying half dead somewhere! Dude! You can’t do that to us; we were so worried!” Sam was rambling, one of the things he did when he was nervous.

Blaine reached a hand out, palm facing Sam, and said, “Sam. Stop. I’m fine.” He looked to Kurt, wanting to make sure the plan they had come up with on the walk over was still okay. After seeing Kurt’s nod, Blaine continued, “First, I’m sorry I made you worry. I was having fun and lost track of time. My phone died sometime last night; so I didn’t hear your texts or calls, and I don’t think I would have been able to text coherently anyway, or I would have let you know I was okay. Secondly, I’d like to introduce you to Kurt.”

Kurt stepped forward and shook Tina’s hand and then Sam’s. He said, “Pleasure to meet you.”

Blaine watched his friends’ faces, looking for any recognition from either of them. Seeing none, he continued, “I met Kurt at the first club we went to. We were talking and dancing, and I was having fun—more fun than I’ve had in quite a while. When you guys wanted to come back here, I wanted to keep having fun; so I asked Kurt to take me to another club. I texted you that I was fine, and we left. I don’t remember much after the next club. Mostly flashes of colors and bright lights. And music. And I think, Elvis?” He looked to Kurt for confirmation; after seeing Kurt nod his head, he finished up with, “I woke up this morning in a strange bed, with a wedding ring on my hand, and Kurt next to me.”

“What?!” Sam and Tina exclaimed at the same time. Blaine nodded to Kurt, grabbed his clothes, and escaped to the bathroom. Let Kurt answer all the questions; he seemed to remember more of what happened anyway.

Blaine could barely hear Sam’s raised voice through the bathroom door as he turned on the shower and stripped out of his clothes. As the hot water hit his back, he sighed. The stress of the last couple hours really did a number on his shoulders, and just the thought of what he was going to face when he’d finished showering was enough to make them tense up again. He just hoped Kurt could explain things in a way that wouldn’t worry Tina or Sam any more than they already were. The last thing he needed was for the trip home to be of guilt-ridden, not to mention having to face Peter.

He lingered in the bathroom for as long as he could, but eventually he had to leave and face the music. He wasn’t expecting Tina to be the only person left in the room. Nor was he expecting Tina to hug him tight, but not say a word about his impromptu wedding, or ask how he could do such a thing. Instead she handed him his fully charged phone, grabbed her purse and led him out of the room and down to the lobby, where Sam and Kurt were laughing at something; looking as if they’d known each other forever.

~*~*~

Unfortunately, Kurt’s presence had begun to attract onlookers. Word had traveled quickly, and more and more people were staring at Kurt and Sam as they talked animatedly with each other. Tina saw what was happening and stopped on the other side of the lobby.

“Stay here,” she said to Blaine. “When I give you the signal, head toward the elevators and press the ‘down’ button; Kurt will be right behind you. Be prepared to push the ‘close door’ button as soon as he’s in the elevator with you. Sam and I will cause a scene and try to keep the crowd’s attention while you escape. We’ll meet you outside the coffee shop two blocks to the west. Good luck,” she added, and then she headed towards Sam and Kurt while texting something on her phone. Sam glanced at his phone, and showed it to Kurt. When Tina got across the lobby, they both were ready for whatever she had planned.

Blaine watched what unfolded from across the lobby, and he wasn’t sure if he should be proud of the performance or not. Tina seemed to be accusing Sam of cheating on her with some low-rent street hustler, and on their honeymoon, no less! She played the outraged new bride so frighteningly well that Blaine almost forgot to watch for the sign to leave the lobby. But he caught it just in time and made his hasty escape.

The elevator dinged just as Kurt stepped behind him. They entered the elevator, and Blaine immediately pressed the button to close the doors, then the button to take them to the garage level. From there they walked out to the side street and to the coffee shop to wait for Sam and Tina.

They only waited a few minutes before Blaine spotted Sam’s head through the crowd, and then he saw Tina with a huge grin on her face.

“Not bad, huh? I’ve been saving that frustration ever since Tom, the bastard. Glad I could use it for good,” she said, the grin on her face getting impossibly larger.

“I think Tom is very lucky he was never on the receiving end of that tirade,” Kurt said. “But do you really think I’m a low-rent street hustler? I’m at least upper-middle rent. Have you seen me?” Kurt smiled and waved his hands over his body as if he was a prize on a game show. The grin on his face and the twinkle in his eyes showed that Kurt wasn’t exactly serious.

Blaine said, “Yes, yes, you’re gorgeous” under his breath, but obviously loud enough for Kurt to hear, judging from the wink Kurt aimed at him and the sultry smile on his face.

Blaine looked to Sam for help, silently pleading for him to distract Kurt with another impression or maybe beat him over the head. Either would be fine. Sam didn’t get the message Blaine was trying to send him, though. Instead he got a gleam in his eye, one that Blaine had seen every time he was about to be talked into doing something dangerous. He’s grown very wary of that look and really wasn’t up to it today.

“Let’s, uh, go to the county clerk’s office and get this marriage certificate voided or something. Then we can let Kurt get back to his playboy vacation, and we can go home. And never mention this again,” Blaine said before Sam could suggest base-jumping from the rim of the Grand Canyon or something equally dangerous.

“Do you really think it’s going to be that easy?” Tina asked as she fell into step beside Blaine. “I’m pretty sure it’s going to take more than some sweet talk and batting your eyelashes to get out of this marriage to Kurt.”

“No, I don’t think it’s that easy. I’m pretty sure we’re going to have to go see an attorney and then go to court. But it’s worth a try, right? Maybe they haven’t sent in the paperwork yet.” Blaine could only hope.

A fruitless trip to the county clerk’s office, and they were back to square one—still married, and having to consider legal proceedings.

While they were walking back toward the Strip, Kurt asked if they could stop by his hotel so he could quickly change his clothes. He suggested that they could order room service and discuss their next step over lunch. Sam and Tina deferred to Blaine, who agreed, saying, “It’s only fair you get to clean up, too.”

~*~*~*

During their walk to his hotel, Kurt had agreed that an annulment was the best and quickest way to get out of the marriage. Evidently while Blaine had been hiding in the bathroom, Kurt, Tina and Sam had looked up attorneys who could file the paperwork for them. Kurt produced a list of attorneys who not only took walk-in appointments but were within walking distance of the Strip. Blaine got to choose the one he wanted to use. Kurt said it was to give him power in the situation, but Blaine figured Kurt just didn’t care which one they picked.

While Kurt took a quick shower, Blaine perused the list of attorneys and chose one based on proximity to their current location. Kurt returned from showering just as lunch was delivered. While they ate, they discussed what the attorney might possibly want to know and agreed that they would tell the truth when asked why they got married; they were drunk. Kurt also agreed to take care of any fees they might incur during the process. When Blaine started to object, Kurt said, “It’s my wedding present to you. A clean slate.”

After lunch they went to the lobby, and Kurt asked for a cab. When they arrived at the attorney’s office, Sam and Tina pointed to a small shopping center across the street and said they’d wait over there.

“Okay, thanks for coming with, guys. I really appreciate you understanding this situation and not yelling at me,” Blaine said and then watched his two best friends walk away. He turned to Kurt and said, “Let’s go get this over with. I’ve got a wedding in a few weeks.”

Kurt held the door open for him and followed him to the reception desk. Blaine said, “We’d like to see someone about getting an annulment.”

The receptionist looked up from her computer screen and asked, “Do you have an appointment?”

Blaine shook his head and answered, “No, but we saw that you take walk-ins; we can wait.”

The receptionist nodded and took their names. A flicker of recognition showed on her face when she heard Kurt’s name, and her gaze lingered as she looked at his face. She typed a bit on her keyboard and then said, “Please have a seat; Ms. Koenig will be with you shortly.”

They had just sat on opposite ends of the couch when a tall, dark-haired woman stepped out and called their names. They rose and stepped forward, following her through the hallways to a well-appointed office. Instead of stepping behind the desk, she went to one of the chairs in the seating area and motioned for them to have a seat, as well.

“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Anderson. Mr. Hummel. How may I help you this afternoon?” Ms. Koenig placed a file folder on the table to her right and had a legal pad perched on her lap, a pen at the ready for note-taking.

“We want—”

“He wants—”

They spoke at the same time, then stopped, realizing they couldn’t both talk at the same time and make any sense. Blaine waited to see if Kurt wanted to speak first; when Kurt didn’t immediately begin, Blaine went for it.

“We want to get an annulment. I’m getting married in a few weeks, and obviously I need to not be married at the time.” Blaine hoped that was a sufficient explanation. He really didn’t want to have to go into further detail or answer questions about why he married someone else when he already had a fiancé.

“Okay. Thank you, Mr. Anderson. I’ll have some questions for you in a moment. Mr. Hummel, anything you’d like to add?”

“Only that I’m fine staying married. But if we do get an annulment, I’ll need to have my attorneys look over any paperwork before I sign it.”

Blaine looked at Kurt as if he’d grown ten extra heads and turned purple with green polka dots. “Why would you want to stay married to me? You don’t even know me! We’ve known each other for less than twenty-four hours and know nothing about each other. Plus, I’m getting married! To Peter. My fiancé. In California. In front of all my friends and family!” Blaine’s breathing had become ragged, the panic and anxiety ratcheting up. He needed air, or water, or vodka. Vodka would be nice. Maybe when he woke up, his nightmare would be over, and he could go on with his carefully planned life. The life that he has been working toward ever since Peter proposed. The life that may not be as exciting as the last twenty-four hours had been, but his life nonetheless.

Kurt watched as Blaine became more and more upset. Would it really be so bad to stay married? Sure, Blaine had a fiancé, but from what he understood from talking to Sam and Tina, Peter had stolen the light from Blaine’s life. They had told him about all the things Blaine used to do before Peter came into his life. It seemed as if Blaine had changed to make Peter love him, rather than Peter loving him because of all he did and all he was.

Ms. Koenig handed him a glass of water, no vodka, and was waiting patiently while he gathered himself together. She watched Kurt watch Blaine and saw something in the way he looked at the upset young man. She’d seen it before, on the faces of countless people who have come to her for an annulment and ended up re-marrying soon after the annulment was granted. She predicted it would happen again with these two, and she was really good at predicting.

As soon as she saw that Blaine’s breathing had returned to normal, Ms. Koenig began asking questions. She started with Kurt, assuming that many of Blaine’s own questions would be answered in the process.

“Mr. Hummel, what are the circumstances surrounding your wedding? For instance, was there coercion by either party, or was it a mutual agreement?”

“No, no coercion. We were drunk, if that makes any difference. But we definitely both agreed. In fact, Blaine is the one who suggested it in the first place. I agreed with the whole thing. I even paid for the deluxe package.”

“That’s why Elvis was there,” he whispered to Blaine before continuing in his normal tone of voice. “Other than that, I don’t think there are any other circumstances; we got drunk and got married. End of story.”

“Okay. Thank you. Anything you’d like to add, Mr. Anderson? Did you feel coerced, or were you in total agreement?”

Blaine couldn’t believe he was about to say this but, “No, I wasn’t coerced. I may not remember anything, but I know I wouldn’t have agreed unless some part of me was willing.”

“Mr. Hummel, was there consummation of the marriage last night or today? It’s not a stipulation either way, but it will be asked by the court; so it’s better to have the answer now, rather than be blindsided with the question later.”

“Uh, no sex, but we did kiss. After we were pronounced husbands. And a couple times on the way to the hotel…and for a while after we got to our room. But Blaine seemed too drunk to consent to anything else, and I’m not that kind of guy.”

“Mr. Anderson? Anything you’d like to add?”

“No, as far as I know he remembers more than I do. And I guess I need to trust that he’s telling the truth.”

She made a couple of notes on her pad and then asked, “Mr. Hummel, what is your occupation? And your yearly income? A ballpark estimate is fine.”

“I’m an actor. I make in the seven figures per film, and I average two films per year. Plus short runs in plays sometimes. I’d have to get in touch with my business manager to get you exact figures, but it’s probably pretty close to what is reported in the media. What’s the reason behind needing that information?”

“Thank you. The court will want to know what type of alimony you’d be able to pay if that becomes a consideration. Usually in marriages lasting short lengths of time, no alimony is granted, but considering your notoriety, and what I can only imagine will be the great interest in your suddenly altered private life, the court might decide differently. Once again, I’m asking the questions now so you’ll be prepared if they’re asked later.” She jotted a few more notes and then turned to Blaine. “Mr. Anderson, what’s your occupation and yearly income?”

Blaine tried to regain his composure after hearing what Kurt said. He stammered a bit as he began, “I…I work in an art gallery. I’m in charge of procuring new exhibits as well as managing the part-time staff. I make substantially less than Kurt, around fifty thousand, depending on commissions.” He drew a breath and continued, “I’m not interested in any money from him. I didn’t do this so I could take his money. I did this because I was drunk and made a mistake. He owes me nothing, except an annulment. That’s all I want.”

“I understand, Mr. Anderson, but the court may see it differently. The news of your wedding will be out soon, and considering Mr. Hummel’s celebrity there will be a lot of people interested in your story. Be prepared for some invasion of your personal life.” Ms. Koenig made a few more notes and then asked “Is there anything else I need to know, or any questions you have for me?”

Kurt shook his head, but Blaine had one question, “How long will this take? My fiancé and I have guests coming in three weeks; I’d really hate to have to postpone our wedding.”

“It shouldn’t take more than a week,” she replied. “Sometimes the court grants them within a couple days, but that’s rare. I’ll fill out the paperwork and get it to you both to sign. As soon as you return it to me, I’ll have it taken to the courthouse, and we’ll get the matter on the docket. As soon as we have a date, I’ll let you know. You both need to be here for the hearing, but it’s a pretty standard in-and-out process. Usually takes no more than ten minutes.” Ms. Koenig gathered her folder from the side table and added it to her legal pad before standing and reaching to shake their hands.

Blaine and Kurt each shook her hand and thanked her for helping them. After Kurt paid for the consultation, they headed out the door. On the sidewalk, he placed his hand on Blaine’s shoulder and said, “I meant it when I said I would like to stay married to you, and you can still call off the annulment if you want. But if you still want to go through with it, I won’t put up any roadblocks to you getting the happiness you think you want with Peter.” And then he walked to the corner and crossed the street to the shopping center where Tina and Sam waited.

Blaine stood there dumbfounded. No other man on earth would be so understanding while saying that he wanted to be married to you. Blaine didn’t know what Kurt had done to alienate half of Hollywood, but the man he was beginning to know wasn’t difficult at all. On the contrary, he seemed quite nice.

Kurt hated himself for making Blaine’s life more difficult. He knew Blaine was set to marry Peter in three weeks, but he couldn’t help offering himself in as a possibility. He had never considered his life might turn out this way, but since the moment he’d seen Blaine walk into the bar the previous night, he’d known he could be truly happy with him in his life. And he hoped that Blaine soon would see him as more than a drunken mistake.

Chapter Text

Sam and Tina seemed to have taken a liking to Kurt, more so than they did with Peter, which Blaine found disconcerting. It seemed as if not only Kurt, but also Sam and Tina, wanted them to stay married. However, Blaine couldn’t seem to stop the worry from wracking his brain. What if Peter doesn’t understand what happened? What if Peter simply throws his hands in the air and says ‘forget it’ and walks away? And then, without warning, other thoughts, and the harder he tried to suppress them, the more they persisted. What if I really want that to happen? What if Peter doesn’t walk away; we get married like we planned, and years down the road I realize that it wasn’t Peter I wanted after all?

So many what if’s! Blaine’s heart began racing again. Tina and Sam didn’t seem to notice anything wrong with Blaine, but Kurt did. Kurt stopped walking, placed his hand on Blaine’s arm, and bent down so he could make Blaine look into his eyes. When Blaine’s eyes finally stopped jumping all over and focused on him, Kurt placed his palm on Blaine’s cheek and tilted his head up. Blaine smiled weakly at Kurt, but Kurt’s smile was full and real.

“Everything will be okay,” Kurt murmured. “I promise I will make sure things go smoothly, and you’ll be free to marry Peter when the day arrives. Please trust me to do this for you.”

Blaine couldn’t help but stare into those eyes. Never in his life did he understand when people said they wanted to fall into someone’s eyes and never come out. Until now. He felt as if he knew all the answers to all the questions, and every answer was Kurt Hummel.

Blaine nodded his head and whispered, “Okay”; then he sighed and started walking again, quickly catching up to Sam and Tina.

They made it back to Kurt’s hotel, where Sam seemed to initiate Kurt into some secret club with a handshake so convoluted Sam forgot what he was doing. Tina opted for a simple hug and kiss on the cheek. She also sneaked her phone number into Kurt’s pocket.

And then it was Blaine’s turn. How does one say goodbye to one’s husband of less than twenty-four hours who will hopefully not be your husband in a week? A handshake seemed too formal; a wave seemed not enough. By some kind of mutual silent agreement, they moved in to hug one another, briefly of course—although Blaine kind of felt he wouldn’t have minded being held by Kurt longer. Then he turned and joined Sam and Tina for the walk back to their hotel and the car ride home.

~*~*~*

“Blaine!”

Blaine turned around to see Kurt jogging toward him. “Did you forget something?”

“No, we forgot to exchange numbers—in case we need to get in touch before the papers are filed. Or something,” Kurt said.

“Oh, right.” He handed his phone to Kurt. Kurt quickly put in his number and sent himself a text from Blaine’s phone. He let his fingers linger on Blaine’s phone as he handed it back to him and was rewarded with a slight blush creeping up Blaine’s cheeks.

“See you, Blaine. Call if you have any trouble with anything or any questions. Or just want to talk.” Kurt waved as he walked backwards towards his hotel. Blaine chuckled and watched until Kurt was swallowed into the crowd; then he turned and continued walking back to his hotel.

The ride back to Los Angeles was quiet, with Sam and Tina speaking very little and music playing softly in the background. Blaine spent his time thinking about how to break the news to Peter that he’d made a stupid mistake, but it should be fixed in plenty of time for them to get married. He also spent some time texting with Kurt, mostly replying to Kurt’s scathing comments about the clothes people think are appropriate to wear to Vegas. He couldn’t help chuckling when Kurt sent a picture to illustrate one of the more colorful outfits he’s describing.

By the time they made it home, it was well past midnight, and Blaine still hadn’t come up with any better way to tell Peter than to just tell him. He decided honesty was the best policy, no matter what Peter’s reaction might be.

~*~*~*

Sam and Tina offered to stay while Blaine told Peter about marrying Kurt in Vegas, but Blaine sent them home telling them, “I appreciate it, guys, but I should do this by myself. It’s my problem, but I’ll call you if I need anything.” Then he got out of the car, grabbed his bag, and walked to his front door, gearing himself up for what was to come.

“I’m home,” he called as he opened the door. It wasn’t so late that Peter wouldn’t still be up. He usually stayed up way later than Blaine did, especially when he had big cases coming up. Blaine peeked into the kitchen, then the bedroom, and finally the garage. Peter’s car was parked right next to Blaine’s, but Peter didn’t seem to be in the house. The only other place Blaine could think to look was in the back yard. He looked out the window over the kitchen sink and saw Peter lying on one of the lounge chairs on the deck. The patio lights were on, and he had a book open on his chest, but his eyes were closed. He looked so peaceful; Blaine was very sorry that he had to disturb him and bring his world crashing down.

He opened the door, as quietly as possible and slowly walked over to Peter’s side. He knelt down and placed his hand on Peter’s chest, right over his heart. He’d always loved the sureness of Peter’s heart beating. He loved to rest his head there as he fell asleep, the steady beat lulling him to unconsciousness after a long day at work. He also loved to rest there after they made love, listening as Peter’s heart slowed after an orgasm, smiling when he could hear it speed up as he moved his hand lower on Peter’s body.

But tonight Peter’s heartbeat reassured Blaine that he was loved, and that he loved in return. He let his hand rest there for a couple more seconds before he gently bent down and placed a kiss to Peter’s lips. He could tell when Peter woke by the slight change in pressure and the slight upturn of Peter’s lips as he smiled into the kiss. Blaine allowed himself another minute of happiness before he pulled away and sat next to his fiancé on the lounge. Blaine knew Peter could tell something was up and that he needed to say something because Peter looked at him encouragingly while he stroked Blaine’s arm with a soothing gesture.

Blaine sighed and took both of Peter’s hands in his own, but he couldn’t seem to look Peter in the eye. He almost broke into tears when he felt Peter squeeze his hands; it was the reassurance in that squeeze that made Blaine begin his story. A story that he was sure was going to break Peter’s heart…but didn’t break his own as much as he thought it should.

Forty-five minutes later, Blaine was in tears while Peter sat stoically, his hands in his lap and his eyes staring across the pitch-black yard. Blaine waited as long as he could before he looked at Peter, hoping that he would understand that it was a drunken mistake and meant nothing.

“Are you going to say anything?” Blaine asked, wishing Peter would say or do something. Anything would be better than the silence. Silence had always been uncomfortable for Blaine, and silence after a confession like this was unbearable.

Peter let out a breath, put his hands on his knees and rose to his feet before he spoke. “I don’t know what to say right now, Blaine. I don’t understand how something like this could happen. We’re getting married next month; what are we supposed to tell our guests? Are we supposed to just let them keep their plans? Hope that you get out of this in time? I need time to think, time to process what you just told me. Time to figure out if you’re the man I thought you were,” Peter said as he paced across the back patio.

Blaine had never seen Peter so...uncertain of anything. One of the many things he admired about Peter was his confidence in both his personal life and his professional life. Peter went after what he wanted without hesitation and without looking back. Blaine felt as if everything he had known up until this point had crumbled while he was drunk in Vegas.

“O-Of course. I’ll give you some time. But I want you to know that I’ll do everything in my power to marry you on the date we chose. I love you. Forever and always,” Blaine said. He wanted to reach out and touch Peter, to hold him in his arms and show him that their love would help them overcome this obstacle, and they’d come out stronger on the other side, but he knew that what Peter needed now, more than anything, was some time to himself. Time to let his head remember what his heart already knew—that their love was for the ages, and anything could be awesome with them working together. “I’ll sleep in the guest room, if you want.” Please don’t want.

Peter shook his head and said, “No. I have some work to do; so I’ll just head in to the office early. You get a couple hours of sleep before you have to go to work. I’ll see you when I get home.”

Blaine watched as Peter walked to the house, opened the door and went inside, all without touching Blaine or coming any closer to him than absolutely necessary. He heard the garage door open, Peter’s car start, and then the garage door close before he collapsed onto the patio, his legs no longer able to hold him up. The sobs began in earnest as the sound of Peter’s car moved away from the house and was swallowed up by the early morning.

~*~*~*

Wedding Announcements: Suzannah Fields (21) and Zacariah Morton (26) of Providence, Rhode Island; Billie Johnson (59) and William Jackson (46) of Fredeicksburg, Texas; Jennifer Beck (34) and Samantha Greyford (33) of Olathe, Kansas; Blaine Anderson (32) of Pasadena, California and Kurt Hummel (33) of West Hollywood, California.

~*~*~*

Blind Gossip: What hot Hollywood diva recently spent his weekend in the City of Sin getting hitched to his secret civilian boyfriend? We hear that the only witnesses to the union were Elvis and one of the employees at the Little Chapel on the Strip in Las Vegas. Match made in heaven or match made of convenience?

~*~*~*

E News: It appears that Kurt Hummel married his long-time boyfriend in a secret ceremony over the weekend. Neither newlywed could be reached for comment, but we have heard from some of the people who have known them over the years. One long-time friend, who wishes to remain anonymous told us, “Everybody who knows them could tell that they would eventually get married. It was evident whenever we spent time together. They were meant for each other. I’m only surprised that they didn’t have the big fancy wedding they always talked about. Guess they couldn’t wait.”

Other friends reached for comments shared the same sentiment.

~*~*~*

Blaine was roused hours later by what sounded like a large group of people talking all at once. He realized his doorbell and house phone were ringing, and there were sounds of knocking on the door and windows. He was shocked to find his front yard full of people, many with cameras or video cams, some with microphones, and all trying to see into his windows. He answered his phone as he walked to the door. He didn’t even get to say ‘hello’ before the caller began bombarding him with questions about his time in Vegas, and was it true he married Kurt Hummel, and how long had he been dating Kurt, and why did they need to run off to Vegas to get married when Kurt had always said he wanted to get married with his family and close friends in attendance. Blaine hung up before any more questions could be asked, but when he opened the door it was to a sea of microphones and bright lights and the same questions being shouted to his face.

Normally, Blaine couldn’t make his brain and mouth work in tandem before his first two cups of coffee, and that was after a normal night in and with a good night’s sleep. After the emotional rollercoaster of the last couple days, followed by a couple of hours curled in misery on his patio after confessing his mistake to Peter, and watching Peter walk out the door? It was a miracle his brain was functioning at any capacity, but his reflexes kicked in, and he promptly slammed his front door and locked it for good measure. He also set the alarm system just in case one of those people decided to try getting to him through some other means. He stopped the phone from ringing by unplugging the cord, and closed the curtains on every window facing the front of the house. He then locked himself in the master bathroom with his cell and dialed the only people he knew who didn’t want anything from him: Sam and Tina.

As soon as Tina answered the phone, Blaine exclaimed, “Help, I’m stuck in my house and I can’t get out! I need to leave; please come rescue me!”

“What are you talking about? Did Peter do something to your car last night?”

“No, I have a yard full of reporters. Apparently, they’ve been doing live reports from my house all morning.”

“Really, what happened? Everything was fine when we dropped you off last night. Why are they there? What’d you do? Did you go on a crime spree? Cuz you know we’d do almost anything for you, but I would not do well in prison,” Tina added jokingly.

“Ha ha,” he replied with little humor. “No, I didn’t do anything noteworthy, except marry Kurt Hummel. This is evidently big news that gets me a yard full of reporters, complete with the inability to leave my house. So can you guys please come get me? You remember the way to sneak in, right?”

“Sure thing, we’ll be there as soon as we can. Want us to bring anything? Coffee, doughnuts, those glasses with a nose and mustache attached?”

He knew she was trying to help him see the humor, but he really wasn’t in the mood. “No, just you and Sam. Send me a text when you’re ready, and I’ll let you in.”

“Okay, we’ll be there as soon as we can. Sam still needs to shower and dress, and you know how long that can take.” In the background Blaine heard Sam arguing that it didn’t take him that long to get ready to go somewhere, not nearly as long as Tina. Blaine simply rolled his eyes and hung up, knowing that their argument would go on with or without him listening. Over the years Sam and Tina had fluctuated between friends and more than friends. They had fun together, but neither could see settling down together permanently. They consistently told Blaine that living together the way they did worked for them. While he was never sure if they were being totally honest with themselves, he hoped they would find someone to be a permanent part of their lives, the way he had.

While he waited for his best friends to arrive, Blaine turned on one of the national morning shows and was shocked when he saw his home on the screen behind one of the reporters from the local affiliate. He changed to another network and then another, only to find the same thing on each. Even the cable networks had someone standing in front of his home speculating on his personal life. One of them had ‘scored’ an interview with someone he vaguely remembered from middle school, who decided that she’d been his best friend all his life, and they still talked all the time. She claimed that she knew he and Kurt were going to Vegas to get married, and she thought it was very romantic that, after so many years of dating in secret, they decided to elope and declare their love in such a public way.

Blaine couldn’t control the way his eyes rolled or the slightly hysterical laughter that escaped his mouth as he listened to his former classmate (who was not a friend from his past and definitely not going to be one in the future) rhapsodize on the romance she had witnessed as she spent time with ‘the happy couple’ during their courtship. She then dropped the biggest bombshell of all, they’re going to be fathers any day now. That was enough to make Blaine turn off the TV and throw the remote against the fireplace, breaking it into pieces.

~*~*~*

Transcript of interview on morning news show:

Interviewer: This morning we are joined by one of Blaine Anderson’s and Kurt Hummel’s long-time friends and confidants. Sophie O’Connor went to school with Blaine and became friends with Kurt after they started dating.

Interviewer: Good morning, Sophie. Thank you for being with us this morning.

Sophie: You’re welcome, Steve.

I: This must have been the best-kept secret in Hollywood. When did you find out that Kurt and Blaine were running off to get married?

S: I found out the same as the rest of the world, but it’s really no surprise to any of their close friends or family. It was always more a question of when, not if. Especially after they found out their family would be growing.

I: What do you mean?

S: Well, a couple weeks ago they were chosen by a birth mother. They’re going to be fathers by the end of next month! They’ll be great fathers. You can see it in the love they share when they look at each other. I can’t wait!

I: That’s interesting. Are you sure they wanted to announce that so soon?

S: Oh, yeah. When I told them I’d be on your show this morning, they said I could tell you. They’re so excited to start this new part of their lives. Can you imagine how excited they must be? Husbands and now fathers? All my dreams for them are coming true!

I: And their dreams, too.

S: Yeah, sure. Their dreams, too.

I: Thank you, Sophie, for being here this morning. We’ll be right back with today’s weather.

~*~*~*

Having given up on TV as a distraction, Blaine went into the bathroom and started his shower. He spent a long time under the hot spray, trying to let the stress of last night and this morning, not to mention sleeping curled into a ball on the patio, run down the drain with the soap and water. If only all his troubles could be solved by washing them down the drain.

His cell rang as he stepped out of the bathroom, his towel wrapped around his waist. He made sure to check the caller ID before answering and was relieved to see Tina’s name pop up.

“We’re in the Fitzgeralds’ back yard. Wanna come let us in?”

He made sure no reporters had sneaked into his own back yard and quickly walked over to the part of the adjoining fence that he’s always meant to repair, but was now glad he’d procrastinated. He held open the loose boards as Sam and Tina moved quickly through the gap. They rushed to the back door and into the house before they could be spotted.

“Thanks so much for coming over, guys! I don’t know what to do! I can’t get out the front door, and I doubt I’ll be able to get the car out of the garage. I need to get out of here though; a very important artist is coming into the gallery this afternoon,” Blaine said as he led them into the kitchen and offered them coffee.

“No problem, dude. We’re here to help you however we can. You know you can count on us,” Sam said, shaking his head at the offered coffee. Tina also declined.

“How did it go with Peter last night? I assume not too badly, since nothing is broken,” she said, looking around the living room. “…except the remote,” she added.

“As well as can be expected. I did marry a stranger. In Vegas. While drunk. He needed some time to process. He went in to the office, and I haven’t seen or heard from him since,” Blaine replied while he rinsed out his coffee cup. He kept his back to them, silently hoping they wouldn’t pick up on the despair in his tone if they couldn’t see the barely held back tears in his eyes. He wasn’t successful. When he turned around, smile plastered to his face, he was greeted by two sets of arms opened wide. All he had to do is take two steps, and he would finally receive the comfort he had hoped for last night from Peter. He understood why Peter couldn’t reach out and comfort him; he really did, but he really needed some reassurance that things would be okay. Eventually.

Sam broke the tension, in the way only Sam could, by saying “Okay everything will be,” in his Yoda voice. It made Blaine chuckle, while Tina just elbowed Sam in the ribs. “Ow! What was that for?”

Tina stepped out of the group hug and glared at him. “You know what that was for,” she said, and the way her left eyebrow rose, independent of her right, was enough to make Sam think about the next words out of his mouth, and the way in which he might say them.

“What d’ya say we get outta here? We’ll sneak ya out the same way we snuck in, take ya to lunch, and drop you off at the gallery in time for your meeting.”

And that’s why Sam was one of his best friends. He was always up for sneaking him into or out of anywhere at any time. It’d been that way almost since the moment they met, when they were fourteen years old. The smile on Blaine’s face almost felt foreign, but it was nonetheless appreciated.

“That sounds like the best idea I’ve heard today,” Blaine replied. He went to the bedroom to get dressed and make sure he had everything he needed for his meeting, stuffed his phone charger and laptop into his messenger bag, grabbed his phone and keys off the kitchen island, and reset the alarm on his way out the door. He could hear the people on the street ramping up for another go at speculation, interspersed with a few of his neighbors yelling and honking their horns as they tried to navigate what could only be described as pandemonium in what is supposed to be a quiet cul-se-sac. Hopefully the crowds would be gone by the time he got home this afternoon.

Five and a half hours later, the only thing that had changed as his cab slowly navigated its way to his driveway, was the LAPD police car with two officers sitting in front of his neighbor’s house. And possibly a few more reporters milling about before spotting him as he peered out the window.

“You must be really famous!” his cab driver said. “Want me to drop you off here, so you can talk to them?”

“No! Please pull up into the driveway, as close to the door as you can. And wait while I make a call,” Blaine replied. He quickly dialed.

He turned around to watch as the doors of the patrol car opened, and two of LAPD’s finest officers stepped out. He smiled when he saw which officers were there to walk him to his door. He should have known they’d take the call; he and Peter had met Noah and Jake at a neighborhood party shortly after they had moved in. They hadn’t gotten together in a while, but he was glad to see familiar, friendly faces. Despite watching them cross the street and head toward the cab, he was startled when he heard the taps on the window. “Thank you! I appreciate you waiting,” he said as he handed the cab driver the fare and an extra-large tip. He opened the door and was immediately sandwiched between the two officers as they cleared a path to his front door, waiting while he unlocked and opened the door.

Noah asked, “Would you like us to make sure everything is secure before we leave?”

“No, that’s okay. The alarm didn’t go off; so I don’t think anyone is in the house. But could you maybe ask them to leave? I doubt it will make a difference, but maybe if you look intimidating? I really don’t want Peter to have to deal with that circus when he gets home.”

“We’ll give it our best shot, but no promises. Give Peter our best, and call if you need anything else. We got your back,” Noah said as he headed to the door. Jake smiled at him before turning around with what Blaine assumed was his most ferocious look as he opened the door.

Blaine smiled as he heard Noah and Jake ask the crowd on his lawn to please respect the privacy of the residents of this street and to please leave. He knew it wouldn’t work; at this point he didn’t think anything short of an apocalypse would get those people to leave, and he wasn’t quite sure they’d leave even then since the reporters probably would feel right at home in a zombie apocalypse.

He was relieved when he heard Peter come in the door, earlier than he’d expected him, and in what appeared to be a fairly upbeat mood, considering the bombshell Blaine had dropped on him last time they were together.

~*~*~*

“Hey,” Peter said as he closed the door into the garage. “What’s up? That’s quite the following you have out there. News sure broke quickly, didn’t it?”

Blaine smiled and chuckled as he rubbed his neck with his hand. “Yeah, you’d think something actually newsworthy happened” he said. Then, trying to maintain some sort of normalcy, he added, “Do you want some dinner? I just put the leftovers in the fridge. I can warm them up for you.”

“That’d be great,” Peter replied. “I’ve always loved your cooking. I don’t know if I’ve ever told you how much I appreciate the little things you do for me. For us.”

It seemed as if Peter was trying to start off on a positive note, and Blaine responded, “I do things for the people I love. And I love you the most.” Blaine heated the food in the microwave and served it to Peter as he sat at the island. “I know I’ve said it before, but I really am sorry about what I did in Vegas. I never meant to hurt you, and I never meant for our lives to turn into what’s out there,” he said softly as he tipped his chin toward the front of the house.

“I know. I had a lot of time to think since last night, and I know you’d never do anything to hurt me,” Peter told him. “Mmmm, this is delicious.”

“Thanks. I had a lot of extra time this afternoon after my meeting. Instead of wearing out the floor, I decided to do some cooking,” Blaine said. He kept his back to Peter, not wanting him to see how worried he actually was. “I also baked brownies. Lots of brownies.”

Blaine was startled when he heard Peter giggling. He hadn’t heard Peter giggle since they were first getting to know each other. It made him long for the early days of their relationship, learning new things about each other. Blaine peeked over his shoulder and, when he saw Peter and the glow on his face, he knew things would be okay between them. He knew that they could weather any storm.

Until he heard those words—the words no one wants to hear. Ever.

“We need to talk,” Peter said.

Yeah, those were the words.

“Okay. Do you want something to drink? Or more to eat? There’s plenty left. And it won’t take long to heat up,” Blaine rambled as he moved between the fridge and the island, trying to calm the butterflies flitting in his stomach. “I’ll just put some brownies on a plate and make some coffee. Or would you like some cookies? I can make some really quick. Oatmeal? Or chocolate chip?”

Peter stood and walked around the kitchen island to put his hands on Blaine’s shoulders, effectively stopping his rambling as well as his nervous movements. “Honey, calm down. It’s nothing bad; I promise. We just didn’t get a chance to talk last night before I left. Now that we’ve had time to think, I think we should talk about things,” Peter said while he pulled Blaine closer to him in a hug. A hug that brought Blaine home, home to the man he loved.

Blaine felt his body melt back into Peter; being held in Peter’s arms was the most contented Blaine ever felt. “Yeah, I guess I pretty much just dropped the bombshell and expected things to be all right. I’m sorry. For everything.” He turned in Peter’s arms and put his arms around his fiancé’s neck, palmed the back of his head, and brought their lips together. The kiss felt like it lasted forever and not long enough, but they eventually had to come up for air. Peter rested his forehead against Blaine’s, and Blaine felt the love they had for each other seep into his bones.

“Come on, let’s go sit on the couch and talk. We have decisions to make.” Peter linked their hands together and walked Blaine over to the couch. Once they were sitting, with Blaine between Peter’s legs resting against his chest, Peter began speaking. “First of all, I want to have my say without you interrupting me. I know you’re sorry. And I know you wouldn’t have married a stranger if you were sober. I also know that you would give anything to go back and change what happened. I know all that, because I know you. You are the man I love. The man I will marry, whether it happens on the day we have planned or someday soon after that. That is, of course, dependent on the finalization of your annulment, which based on my limited research, should be granted in plenty of time.

“I know we’ve planned everything and have deposits paid out, but I think we need to think about postponing.” Blaine shifted and started to speak, but Peter shushed him and continued. “Although your annulment shouldn’t be an issue, I would rather know for sure before we continue. I think we should call everyone and tell them that, although we will be getting married, it won’t be on the day we planned. I know you don’t want to hear it, but we need to be practical. The court system can be flaky.

“And it’s the right thing to do, we can’t expect our out-of-town guests to make the trip in three weeks only to find out that there won’t be a wedding and then expect them to turn around when the annulment is granted to come here again. That’s an extra expense we shouldn’t expect them to incur.”

Throughout the whole conversation Peter had kept his arms around Blaine, his head resting on Blaine’s, speaking softly in Blaine’s ear. He took a break from speaking to place kisses on every part of Blaine he could reach. “I love you, and I want to be your husband. Forever and for always.”

“Secondly, I want to represent you in the annulment process. I know it should be a quick and easy thing, but I think you need to have your own representation, someone who is looking out for you. You told me you don’t want anything from Kurt, and I’m totally on board with that. But you need to think about what he might want from you.”

Peter put his finger to Blaine’s lips when he felt him stiffen. “Shhh, I want to finish. I’m not saying I think Kurt wants something from you, but you need to remember that he lives in a different world than we do. His world is one of getting what he wants, when he wants. He doesn’t have the best reputation. All accounts paint him as a very difficult and selfish person. I just want you to be protected from his world. So I want to be with you when you go sign the papers and any other time you meet with him. I assume he has someone representing him, and now you do, too.

“Thirdly, I want to take you into our bedroom, slowly strip your clothes from your body, lay you down on our bed and make love with you. All. Night. Long.” The last three words were each punctuated with a kiss, each one getting closer and closer to Blaine’s mouth, until their lips were fused together. It took a long time to make it into their bedroom; every step required a passionate kiss. But they did make it to their bed eventually, and Peter’s promises were nothing compared to his actions.

The next morning Blaine luxuriated in the calmness he felt, and the delicious soreness permeating his muscles. A soreness he hadn’t felt since the first time they made love. Last night had felt like a homecoming. But for some reason Blaine also felt like it was a goodbye. A goodbye he didn’t want to hear or to say.

~*~*~*

For the next two days, Blaine and Peter lived their lives as normally as possible. If normal included the press camped out on the front lawn and the inability to open curtains or windows, then their life was just as normal as anyone’s. Despite all that was going on outside their front door, Blaine and Peter were happy.

Every day they left the house for work together and came home together. They made dinner together, working in tandem in the kitchen and cleaning up together. Then they spent time either watching a movie or reading before going to bed.

Blaine was the happiest he’d been in a long time, happier than since before they moved in together. Peter left his work at the office, and Blaine left his uncertainties on the front lawn, ready to be trampled by the dozens of feet vying for some morsel a story that had been made up.

During those two days, Blaine kept his phone within easy reach and checked for missed calls as often as he could. Each time, he was disappointed to not see anything from Kurt, or from any unknown number, indicating that the annulment was progressing as planned. The only calls he received were from Sam, Tina, and his brother Cooper. He talked with Sam and Tina each afternoon while he waited for Peter to pick him up. The only calls he didn’t return were those from Cooper.

Every message from his brother included a plea to introduce him to Kurt and put in a good word for him. Blaine didn’t feel like getting involved in Cooper’s professional life any more than he wanted to be involved in his personal life.

But after two days of silence from Kurt, despite his assurance when they last saw each other that things would be done quickly, Blaine was beginning to worry that something was wrong.

Blaine and Peter spent that weekend contacting all of their wedding guests and explaining the situation to them as discretely as possible. They told them that for now, until things have died down a bit, they would be postponing their wedding, but they would be sure to call them when a new date had been set.

By the end of the weekend, Blaine felt that their relationship had never been stronger, even with the problems and the interruptions to their lives. But by Monday morning their whole world came crashing down in the most dramatic of ways, and the idyllic life seemed over.

Blaine assumed that once the novelty of Kurt Hummel getting married wore off, the media presence on his street would diminish, and eventually his cul-de-sac would go back to the peace and quiet it had been before his fateful trip to Las Vegas. However, if anything, the media presence ramped up as the days wore on. Blaine and Peter began the week trying to live their lives as normally as possible, but by the end of the week they had become prisoners in their own home. Turning on the TV resulted in a steady stream of his name coupled with Kurt’s in stories so ludicrous it would have been funny if it had been about anyone else. Blaine tried to stay away from the internet as well, going online only to check his mail. Unfortunately, some of his friends and family believed everything they heard and sent him snippets they thought were ‘precious’. By this point it was just retellings of the stories from the day after the news broke, fortunately, no more ‘good friends’ were coming out of the woodwork.

Chapter Text

It took eight days for Blaine to hear from Kurt. Eight days of limiting his travels to between work and home only. While the reporters thinned out a bit, there was still a substantial presence in front of their house, and each night a brief story would appear on the nightly news. While Blaine seemed to be a staple in the media for his supposed relationship with Kurt, his alleged husband was being lauded as an Oscar contender for his role in Infinite Termination. He seemed to not only be winning over movie-going audiences, but also the press who traditionally salivated over the gossip surrounding his relationships with past co-stars and crew members.

Blaine saw the iniquity in the stories being told—and made up—about him versus those about Kurt, but having heard nothing from Kurt, he didn’t know how he could go about changing things. He had no idea how to re-enter his previously mundane, anonymous life, the life he was satisfied with, the life he wanted to live with Peter.

Peter slowly began to go back to his previous work schedule—early mornings and late nights—leaving Blaine to deal with the constant turmoil surrounding the situation by himself. Despite his promises during their talk, Peter started to become distant and snippy. Instead of talking to Blaine, Peter left short notes reminding him that the longer it took to sign the annulment papers, the longer it would take to be finalized, and the further back they would have to push their wedding. Since Peter wasn’t around to talk to when Blaine was home, he ended up sending him lengthy e-mails, telling him that he knew what it meant, but that Kurt had been on a whirlwind press tour, and Blaine didn’t feel right bothering him while he was working. Oddly, the only communication that seemed consistent was emailing and texting, with an occasional handwritten note. Face-to-face contact seemed less and less frequent or reliable.

By the time Blaine finally heard from Kurt, he was both relieved and angry. “What took you so long? I’ve had to postpone my wedding!” Blaine demanded. “I haven’t heard anything about signing the papers. It’s been silence from you for ten days! Ten days is way too long to wait when my future is on the line,” he added tensely.

“I’m so sorry, Blaine. I’ve been working day and night trying to promote this movie. I also had to pin down a time to get my entire team together, which proved to be harder than it should have since they work for me, but it was. Can you meet with me to sign the papers?” Kurt asked.

“Yes, yes I can. I’ll call Peter and make sure he can be there. When and where?”

“Um, Peter’s going to be there? It’s just signing the annulment papers. It should be quick and easy. I’ll…uh…I’ll text you the time and place and see you there. And Peter, too,” Kurt said before hanging up and without letting Blaine get a word in edgewise.

“Yeah, see you there,” Blaine said to a silent phone.

As soon as the text from Kurt came through, he forwarded the information to Peter and continued setting up the latest exhibit at the gallery before going home to fix a quick dinner and wait for Peter to come home.

After returning from his long weekend in Las Vegas, Kurt had been thrown right into doing press for Infinite Termination. He spent twelve, or sometimes eighteen, hours sitting in hotel rooms answering the same questions over and over again. When he wasn’t doing press, he was reading scripts, looking for his next project. And when he had the chance, he slept. He hadn’t heard anything from Blaine and was shocked when Blaine seemed so upset when he called to set up a meeting.

Kurt was a little surprised that Blaine wanted Peter to be there, but he figured Blaine should have whomever he wanted with him when they met. He let his manager, Daniel, take care of scheduling the meeting and letting Blaine know when and where. He was looking forward to seeing Blaine again—even if it was to dissolve their marriage.

~*~*~*

At the meeting Blaine met Kurt’s manager, agent, publicist, and stylist. Why he had to meet Kurt’s stylist he had no idea, but evidently when Kurt said he scheduled the meeting with his team, he meant his entire team. Blaine introduced Kurt and Peter before they moved into a conference room to get the signing over with.

Once in the conference room, Blaine felt as if he was on some kind of display. While he began by paying attention to what Kurt’s manager was saying, Blaine quickly became aware of Kurt’s publicist and stylist watching him closely. He didn’t know what was going on, but he was pretty sure he wasn’t going to like it.

For the most part Kurt seemed oblivious to what was going on around him. He spent the whole time typing on his phone and smiling to himself. It was enough to frustrate Blaine to no end and make him lose his concentration. Luckily Peter was there with him; he was pretty sure he wouldn’t have made it out of the meeting with his sanity intact otherwise.

Blaine was surprised when everyone began to stand and gather their belongings, but he was relieved that the meeting didn’t involve any yelling or name calling. He wasn’t sure what had happened, but the next thing he saw was Kurt’s team exchanging looks and nods back and forth. He tried to get Kurt’s attention; he wanted to know what they were doing. But short of grabbing Kurt’s phone from his hands and stomping on it, Blaine didn’t see any way to get Kurt to talk to him. Kurt’s manager asked Peter to take a minute to go over something in his office; so Blaine was able to walk down to the parking garage with Kurt. It never crossed his mind that he hadn’t signed anything in the meeting, and he didn’t think to ask Peter about it at all.

In the elevator, Blaine turned to Kurt and asked, “Why were your publicist and stylist staring at me and whispering to each other throughout the meeting? For that matter, why were they even there? Our annulment has nothing to do with publicity and absolutely nothing to do with what you wear. Not that you’d notice anything. You spent the entire meeting texting with someone and laughing.”

“What are you talking about? Brittany and Santana weren’t discussing you. Knowing them, they were discussing the intimate details of their sex life. They do it all the time. I don’t know why Daniel asked them to be there today, but in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a celebrity, and what happens in my private life, for some reason, is news. So Santana’s expertise will be required. Whether it’s to spin my quickie marriage and then its annulment, or just to make sure people go to see my movies, Santana has a place in forming my presence in the world. And things are going to become even crazier, as soon as word gets out about this.”

“What do you mean things are going to get crazy? They’ve been crazy since the morning after I got back from Vegas. I’ve had every major news network, and some I’ve never heard of, camped out in front of my house for the last ten days! I had to sneak out of my own home to go grocery shopping! Have you not seen the news? They’ve fished through my school yearbooks looking for anyone willing to go on camera and make up any story they could think of about me!”

Blaine really wished he wasn’t stuck in an elevator right now. Pacing in two-step increments wasn’t as satisfying as one would think. “Oh, congratulations, by the way; our baby is due any day now. And also, we’ve been together since high school, but you wanted to focus on your career before letting your fans know about me. But I never wanted to be in the spotlight, so I stayed hidden in the background and let your star shine. We decided to get married when we found someone to act as our surrogate, but couldn’t agree on how big a wedding to have, so we eloped to Vegas.”

Kurt tried really hard not to let Blaine hear him laugh, but he couldn’t believe the story Blaine was telling him. He put his hands on Blaine’s shoulders and squeezed lightly, hoping to stave off Blaine’s diatribe before he could go any further. “Blaine, I’m so sorry you had to go through all that. Do you want to meet with Santana? She’ll handle things; maybe get them to back off on the stories, or get off your lawn at the very least. She can be quite persuasive. I’m pretty sure she has blackmail material on all the network bosses—and their spouses. I’ll set something up with her; but in the meantime, I’ll ask a few of the friendly reporters I know to back off.”

Blaine was pretty sure his sigh could be heard on Mars, or at the very least by Kurt. “Yes. Yes, that would be great. Getting them off the lawn, and also the friendly reporters.” He knew he was rambling, but he forged on. “I’m not sure Santana can do anything else. I mean, I’m nobody. I’m not famous, I don’t do anything exciting. I’m hoping that things will slow down, maybe stop altogether. But I’ll keep her in mind in case things continue the way they have been. Thank you, Kurt. I really appreciate you being so nice to me. And to Peter,” Blaine said, smiling for the first time in what felt like forever.

The doors opened and as they stepped into the lobby, Blaine was blinded by the flashes and overwhelmed by the questions yelled at them. Kurt seemed to be in his element, though; his face broke into a big smile, and his posture became more relaxed and more sure, almost regal. His whole countenance changed into what Blaine could only describe as his ‘show face’. Blaine, on the other hand, tried to hide his face from the invasive cameras and people, but there were too many obstacles for him to navigate, and he had to open his eyes to watch where he was going. The last thing he needed was to trip.

Which he promptly did, whether it was over his own two feet or those of one of the people blocking his path, he didn’t know. The next thing he knew, strong arms were wrapping around him—Kurt’s arms—and it seemed as if the sun had lit the room up. The entire sun seemed to be there, right there in the lobby. If only that were true, then the heat coursing through his veins could be explained by something other than being held in Kurt’s arms.

As soon as he regained his footing, Blaine extricated himself from those strong arms, whispered, “I’m sorry,” and went directly to the door, through the door, and to Peter’s car. He only remembered he didn’t have the key when he tried to open the door and couldn’t. He quickly looked around for some way to escape what he was sure would be a stampede of photographers and reporters and spotted a Starbucks across the street. Perfect, he could get some coffee to calm his nerves and send Peter a text to let him know where he was. Peter would come rescue him and take him home to a quiet night with just the two of them.

It took seven minutes for Peter to answer his text. Seven minutes of Blaine slumped in the overstuffed chair in the back corner of Starbucks, wondering if his life would ever return to normal, or if he’d always be known as ‘that guy who married Kurt Hummel in Vegas’. By the time Peter made it into Starbucks, Blaine had finished his first cup of coffee, ordered a refill, and was halfway through that one as well. Peter took one look at Blaine and gently guided him up and out the door. Fortunately nobody on the street recognized him, and why should they? To them, he was simply a guy walking with his fiancé.

Peter waited until they made it into the house to ask, “Are you okay?” But he didn’t seem able to wait for Blaine to answer before he started asking all the questions he’d apparently saved up for the past ten days, starting with, “Were you really drunk when you married him, or is that just an excuse?”

“What? No! I really was drunk. Sam and Tina kept buying me drinks, and then Kurt bought me a celebratory drink after I told him I was engaged and getting married soon. And then we started dancing, and I was having so much fun, and the drinks tasted so good. So I kept drinking. And dancing. I hadn’t felt like that in so long. And I don’t remember much after that. Just flashes of light and brief glimpses of faces. But I never wanted to marry a stranger. I wanted, and still want, to marry you!”

“Okay, but do you still feel the same way, now? Right this minute? I’ll never be able to give you what Kurt could. I’ll always have to work long hours, and when trials come up even longer hours. He could give you so much more. I want to make sure that you’re doing this—getting the annulment and marrying me—for the right reasons. Not because you think it’s what I want, but because it’s what you want.”

Blaine couldn’t believe Peter was asking these questions. Not long ago, Peter had re-affirmed his devotion to Blaine. Where was this coming from? Had Blaine done something to make Peter question his love? Sure, Peter had grown kind of distant these last ten days, but Blaine attributed the distance to Peter’s work, not Blaine himself.

The tears starting to trail down Blaine’s face should have been enough to let Peter know what Blaine wanted, but he wanted to make sure Peter heard him. “I want you. I’ve always wanted only you, Peter! Loving you is all I’ve ever wanted. I don’t care if you work long hours; I love that you want to help people get justice. I don’t know why you think he could give me more than you ever could because he can’t give me the one thing I want above all: YOU!”

Blaine had stepped closer to Peter, looking into his eyes as he finished speaking, and taking Peter’s lips in what he hoped would be a reassuring kiss. He felt the tension release from Peter’s shoulders and, slowly, the rest of his body as Blaine deepened the kiss and molded their bodies together. No words were needed after that; a trail of clothes covered the path into their bedroom where their bodies said what needed to be said. The tremors, the flush, the hitches in their breath as they came together, over and over until they finally collapsed in a satiated exhaustion and slept.

~*~*~*

Page Six: Uh oh. Looks like there’s trouble in paradise, or at least a fiancé. It appears that the big secret wedding everyone’s talking about was also a secret from the fiancé of one of the grooms. That’s one way to call off the wedding!

~*~*~*

Unfortunately, Kurt’s best efforts weren’t good enough to make the press back off. Evidently Santana didn’t have blackmail on network executives, or if she did, they didn’t care. The next morning, it seemed as if the circus had ramped up and even added more acts.

The press seemed more diligent than ever, and their presence after almost two weeks began to irritate his neighbors—so much so that he and Peter received dirty looks whenever they came across anyone who lived on their street. The press also began hanging out at the gallery, hoping to catch a shot of Blaine and Kurt meeting, or something even juicier, but it never happened. He’d never told Kurt where he worked, and why they thought Kurt was going to just magically appear, he had no idea. He ended up having to call the police a number of times to clear the sidewalk in front of the gallery so that legitimate customers could visit without being impeded on their way in and out.

Every evening when he returned home, Blaine watched as more and more of his front lawn was taken over by camera and lighting equipment and the detritus left over from a group of people who have no respect for other people’s privacy, much less their property. Every night, he waited for the last van or car to leave before heading out with a trash bag to clean up the worst of the mess, focusing on his neighbors’ yards more than his. They didn’t ask to become participants in the havoc his life has brought to their doorstep; so he made sure that all wrappers, cans, and paper cups were cleaned up, making a note of whose lawns and flower beds would need to be repaired or replaced. He told himself that, when things calmed down, he would make sure they all were returned to pristine condition. Each night as he cleaned up, Blaine considered calling the police to see if they could do anything about it, but he figured even if every reporter was arrested for trespassing, more would show up the next day to take their places. Calling every evening seemed like more trouble than it was worth; so he resigned himself to his after-hours cleaning.

As the days wore on, the interest in him didn’t seem to slow down; it was always the same or even higher. He finally bit the bullet, and called Kurt to set up a meeting with Santana. He figured if they wouldn’t leave him alone on their own, he’d get professional help to make them. Kurt agreed that things should have stopped, or at least calmed to a manageable level; so he set up a time for Santana to come to the gallery and meet with Blaine.

“Everyone knows she’s my publicist, but if she comes into the gallery she can make it seem like she’s looking for a painting or a sculpture or something. I’ll make sure she buys something. Don’t worry; she’s the best. I should have had her working on this from the beginning. I’m really sorry you’ve had to deal with this on your own for so long.”

Santana showed up later that afternoon—a whirlwind in a short, skin-tight red dress and four-inch stiletto heels. Evidently, Santana didn’t believe in dressing to blend in.

“What can I do for you, faux-husband?” she asked, dispensing with any niceties.

“Um, didn’t Kurt explain the situation to you? He said he would and that you’d take care of all the people following me around and camping out in front of my house.” Blaine felt more nervous standing in front of this very intimidating woman than he had been when he came out to his family when he was twelve years old. And that day he threw up three times.

“Oh, he told me; but I want to hear from you why you don’t want to be famous. I couldn’t buy the amount of press you’re getting. Believe me, I’ve tried. What’s so bad about having a few photographers take your picture every once in a while? Every person I’ve ever worked with would have died happy to have their picture taken so much. Everyone wants to be famous, even if it’s just a passing fad.” The entire time she spoke she kept up a text conversation on her phone, never once looking at Blaine.

Blaine really hated cellphones sometimes. He stepped close enough to Santana to put his hand over her phone and then firmly said, “I don’t want to be famous. I’ve never wanted to be famous. I want my life back. I want to be able to walk to my mailbox without having every step commemorated. I want to be able to take a walk with my fiancé without being bombarded with questions. I want my neighbors to not look at me as if I intentionally brought in some kind of invading army to trample their lawns and flowers.” He took a deep breath before continuing, “I want to be an anonymous person again. And I want you to do whatever you have to to call off the dogs. I’m done with it!”

Santana finally looked at him. Really looked at him. Her eyes widened when she saw the determination on his face. “Fine. I’ll try, but I can’t promise anything. As soon as the next big celebrity gets knocked up, or goes to rehab for an addiction to small stuffed animals, you will no longer be a blip on the radar. Be patient,” she said, and handed him a card “and call me in a couple days if things don’t change. In the meantime, I’ll get together with the team and come up with the best way to get you some relief—that doesn’t involve naked time with Kurt, that is. Although I bet if you wanted, I could set that up as well.” And with that final shot, Santana left the gallery, without even looking at any of the pieces available for sale.

He sent a thank you text to Kurt and sat in his office, unsuccessfully trying to finish some paperwork until it was time to close up and go home.

~*~*~*

Three weeks after his fateful trip to Las Vegas, Blaine still hadn’t heard anything about the annulment. He hadn’t signed anything when he and Peter met with Kurt, and no one had given him anything since then. He became frustrated with the whole situation and began to take his frustrations out on anyone within striking distance. Since he didn’t go out of the house except for work, the person getting the brunt of his frustration was, unfortunately, Peter. Although still somewhat distant, Peter soothed him for the first couple of days, but as the day of their postponed wedding got closer, he became withdrawn and began lashing out right back.

Blaine finally asked Peter about the annulment papers; he was representing Blaine in the proceedings after all. Peter’s reply was cryptic, “They aren’t ready yet. Daniel will send them when they are.”

“Shouldn’t they have been ready before we met with them weeks ago? I thought they were simple; neither of us want to be married, and no one is contesting the annulment. Shouldn’t it all be standard?”

“Normally yes, but as Daniel was very happy to tell me every chance he got, Kurt is a celebrity. He has assets and a reputation to protect, his lawyers want to make sure, and I’m quoting here, ‘Kurt doesn’t get taken to the cleaners by some gold digging fan.’ I told Daniel you weren’t like that, but he wouldn’t budge. He said as soon as Kurt’s interests are solidly protected, he’d send everything over for your signature. So we wait.”

Blaine couldn’t believe what Peter was saying. “What about my interests? I’ve told everyone who’s asked me what I want out of this that all I want is out of it. I don’t want anything from him; I never did. Not money, not fame, nothing. What’s so hard to understand about that?” Blaine was close to tears, but he really didn’t want to cry; he’d done enough crying for the rest of his lifetime. “I just want out of one marriage so I can get into our marriage. Is that so hard for Daniel and whoever else to understand?”

“I don’t know what to tell you, but none of my calls have been returned. There’s not much else I can do, I have my own caseload to take care of. My partners are after us all to bill more hours; they’ve given me three new cases in the past three days.” Peter sighed and then added, “We’ve already postponed; we’ll just have to wait for the paperwork and hope that it’s not going to be an issue that it’s taken this long.”

Blaine left the room before he said something he knew he’d regret. The last thing he needed to do was take any more of his frustrations out on Peter, who had been so understanding in the wake of Blaine’s announcement.

Blaine tried really hard to be the man Peter fell in love with, but the stress was doing weird things to him. He finally decided to take it out on the person who caused this whole catastrophe—Kurt. It took five hours for Kurt to return his call. Five hours during which the turmoil within Blaine festered until the only thing he could do when he answered the phone was yell, “WHAT?”

“Whoa! Blaine? I’m returning your call. Is this a bad time? I can call back tomorrow if it is. Probably tomorrow evening, I’ve got some meetings during the day, but I should be available after nine tomorrow night,” Kurt said. And the laughter in the background was the match to Blaine’s fuse.

“NO! You will not put me off for one more minute! I need to know when this whole thing will be over! I’ve been waiting to sign annulment papers for three weeks! We could have had this whole thing resolved by now if we’d done this before we left Vegas, but I agreed to wait until your attorney approved everything before we signed. I trusted you when you said that it was just a formality and that we’d be unmarried in time for my wedding! I was supposed to get married this weekend, but we postponed until the annulment was granted. And the press hasn’t backed off, even after my meeting with Santana! And the stress is getting to me, and I’ve been taking it out on Peter, who doesn’t deserve any of this! So I called you—because you are the one person in this world who can understand what I’m going through and can fix it. I need you to make this happen, as soon as possible. I don’t care how much money you have to spend, but this needs to happen! Yesterday!”

Kurt was silent on the phone for a couple seconds while he digested everything Blaine had said. “You haven’t signed the papers yet? But they were ready at our meeting. All you had to do was sign, and Daniel had one of his interns on standby to fly them to Vegas and file them that day. Why didn’t you sign?”

“Nobody gave them to me! Believe me, I would have signed in blood right there. But your manager ended the meeting, and when I asked Peter about them, he said your lawyers were still making sure you were protected, or something. They made it sound like I wanted to take everything you own. I don’t, I’ve only ever wanted the annulment. He never mentioned the paperwork was ready.” Blaine now had another place to throw his rage—Kurt’s manager, Daniel.

“Hmm. I don’t know why he’d tell Peter they weren’t ready, I made it perfectly clear that we needed a quick resolution and to give you whatever you wanted. Anyway, they’re ready to be signed, I’ll text you his number and you can have him messenger them over to you right now,” Kurt said, and he sounded contrite but also distracted. “Look, I’ve got to go. But I’ll get you his number. Call him; I’m sure it was an oversight. Take care, Blaine. I’ll talk to you later.”

Thirty seconds later Daniel’s number arrived on his phone, and he called immediately.

“This is Daniel. What can I do for you?”

“This is Blaine. Blaine Anderson. I’m calling to find out where the paperwork is for me to sign. I need to get that done today,” Blaine said as soon as Daniel finished his greeting.

“Who? Are you a new client? I don’t remember a Blaine Anderson on my roster. Maybe you have the wrong number?”

“No, Kurt Hummel gave me your number. You have our annulment papers, and I need to sign them so they can be filed. Today.”

“Oh! Kurt’s Blaine! Now I remember. No those papers are still with the attorneys. But I’ll make sure you get them as soon as they’re finished,” Daniel said, and Blaine realized he was about to hang up.

“Don’t! Don’t you dare hang up on me! I’m not Kurt’s anything. I just spoke with Kurt, and he informed me that he signed them two weeks ago. He thought I’d already signed them, and we were just waiting on the court in Vegas to sign off on the annulment. He was surprised that I hadn’t signed them at our meeting. But he assured me that everything was done and awaiting my signature. So I need you to messenger them over to me so I can sign them,” Blaine said. The silence on the other end of the line made him wonder if Daniel had, in fact, hung up before he’d been able to grab the man’s attention.

“Oh, yes, yes. Here they are. They were buried under a pile of other documents on my desk. I’ll have them sent right over. I’ll have the messenger wait while you sign them and then bring them back. We have a courier service that goes to our Vegas office every first and third Friday. We missed the first one, but I’ll make sure they’re at the top of the pile for the next delivery. Which address should I give the messenger? Are you at home or at your gallery?” Daniel seemed to change his story as soon as he learned that Blaine and Kurt had spoken, which was very interesting and disconcerting at the same time.

“I’m at work until seven tonight, but no need to have the messenger wait. I can make sure everything is filed properly. No need to wait for next Friday. I’ll take care of it.” Blaine tried to make his voice sound as normal as possible, but he could hear the tears of frustration coming up. “You know, if you’d let me sign those papers when we met, I would have only had to reschedule my wedding, and maybe we could have worked something out with the deposits and cancellation fees. Now we not only don’t get those back, but we have to pay them again when we reschedule. So thank you for that,” he added sarcastically. “I’ll be waiting for your messenger, and rest assured this marriage will be annulled as quickly as possible.”

“I’m sorry about your added expenses. I’ll have a check sent over that should reimburse you for your troubles,” Daniel said.

“I don’t want his money. Or your money,” Blaine responded, trying to keep his voice even. “I don’t want to be married to him. I want my life back. I want to marry Peter and live the life we planned. Together.” And with that last statement, Blaine hung up and began making plans for a quick trip to Vegas. The first thing he did was send a message to Peter to let him know that he would be available to get married very soon.

~*~*~*

That evening, after a quick dinner, Blaine and Peter took the last flight to Las Vegas and checked into a motel to catch a few hours of sleep. The next morning, they met with Ms. Koenig at the courthouse. Ms. Koenig promised Blaine she’d walk them through submitting the paperwork and make sure they got a hearing date scheduled for as soon as possible.

Less than an hour later they were finished; they had their hearing set for two weeks from Thursday, and could finally let their lives settle into a hurry up and wait pattern. Before they left for L.A., Peter asked Blaine to pick a date for their wedding. On the plane ride home they went over their schedules, but couldn’t come up with a date in the near future when both were free from work commitments. By the time they’d made it through the next few months, Peter had become frustrated, and Blaine frantically considered quitting his job just so they could get married.

That they couldn’t find enough free time in the next several months wasn’t really surprising; they’d planned to take a month off for their honeymoon and to spend time together as husbands before they had to go back to work. To achieve that, they had to significantly rework their calendars, thus making their schedules busy for months. Blaine knew quitting his job would be a foolhardy thing to do; so he didn’t bring up the topic with Peter. However, he vowed to himself to reschedule some of his meetings so he’d have time free with Peter so they could get married. He was willing to give up an extended honeymoon, and even a ceremony with their friends and families in attendance, if they could even find an afternoon to go to city hall.

Once they were back in Los Angeles, they headed to their respective jobs with promises of forever on their lips and in their minds. Blaine sent the hearing date and other pertinent information to Kurt in an e-mail and went about his day. He was so busy for the rest of the day that he forgot to look into reworking his schedule, and by the time he was on his way home, the thought had completely slipped his mind.

~*~*~*

Three days after returning from Las Vegas with Peter, Blaine received a call from the court clerk informing him that the hearing had to be rescheduled, but that the actual date hadn’t been established yet. It was further explained that Blaine would be contacted by someone in the clerk’s office by phone, as well as in a registered letter, as soon as the date was confirmed. Blaine sighed and texted the information to Kurt. The only reply from Kurt was an ‘OK’ a day and a half later.

While they hadn’t kept in contact, Kurt usually used more than one word when replying to texts from Blaine. He hadn’t expected a novella, but more than ‘OK’ would have been nice.

Peter ranted about the unprofessional clerk’s office in Las Vegas, and how once a hearing is set, only the death of a judge should be an acceptable excuse for rescheduling. And then only if there were no other judges available to take over the caseload. When Blaine tried to calm him down, Peter lashed out at him, and they ended up sleeping in separate bedrooms for the first time since they’d moved in together.

Blaine gave the Las Vegas court system four days to notify him of his new hearing date before he called them to ask when, exactly, he should show up for the hearing. The staff in the clerk’s office reported that there was no record of annulment papers being filed with his name attached. He asked her to check under Kurt Hummel and was once again told, “Sorry, nothing under that name either.” So he did the only thing he could think of; he called Ms. Koenig and asked her to look into it. She told him it’s quite unusual for this to happen, but she’ll look into it and get back to him.

An hour later Blaine got a call from an unknown number. “Mr. Anderson? This is Bob Tompkins. I’d like to cut this check for you, but I seem to have misplaced your address. Would you please tell me where I should send it? I’ll have it hand delivered to you by the end of the day.”

“What check?” Blaine asked. He wasn’t expecting anything. His last sale was completed a month ago, and all the paperwork and money had been processed. The painting had been delivered and installed while he was in Las Vegas the first time.

“Daniel asked me to reimburse you for the inconvenience of having to postpone your wedding. Cancellation fees, lost deposits, and any additional expenses you might have,” Mr. Tompkins replied. Blaine could hear papers rustling in the background while Mr. Tompkins was speaking. “Ah, here it is. Never mind I found your address. I’ll have it delivered to your place of employment by two this afternoon.”

Before Blaine could protest, the line had been cut, and when he tried to dial back, there was no answer. When the check was delivered, Blaine was shocked to see how much money Daniel thought they lost in the postponement. Then he became angry. How dare Kurt try to buy him off? If it hadn’t been for him, Blaine wouldn’t be in this situation. He would be in the middle of his honeymoon with Peter instead of playing games with Kurt and his ‘team’, and no amount of money could reimburse him for that.

He’d worked up quite a head of steam by the time he closed the gallery, and the only thing he could think to do is find Kurt and tear the check up in his face. He texted Kurt, “Can we meet somewhere? We need to talk,” and waited in his office for a reply. “Sure, where and when?” was Kurt’s almost immediate reply. Blaine immediately thought of the kind of attention they’d receive if they met in public, but meeting at either of their homes was out of the question for the exact same reason. “Can you come to my gallery? Park in the alley behind the building. I’ll let you in through the loading doors.” He included the address along with directions to find the back alley and received “Be there in 20 minutes” as a reply.

Twenty minutes later Blaine was pacing in the loading area, waiting for Kurt to arrive; he saw a small sports car pull into the alley and slow down as it approached him. He waited for Kurt to extract himself from the driver’s seat before opening the door to the gallery; he ushered Kurt inside. As Kurt stepped in to the loading bay, he removed his sunglasses and peered around him before his eyes rested on Blaine, who was making sure the doors were closed and locked. Blaine then began walking toward his office, knowing that Kurt would follow him.

As Kurt followed him into his office, Blaine seated himself behind his desk and held an envelope in his hands. He motioned in the direction of one of the chairs across from the desk, and Kurt sat. Blaine took a good look at Kurt, trying to see if he had any knowledge of why, after all this time, Blaine could want to see him. The only thing he saw on Kurt’s face was thinly veiled confusion.

“I want to give this back to you,” Blaine said, as he held the envelope out to Kurt. “I never wanted your money, and I told your manger that when he offered to reimburse me for my wedding. I guess he didn’t think I meant it, but I did mean it when I said I wanted nothing from you; so please take this back. The only thing I ask, the only thing I’ve ever asked from you, is an annulment.”

Kurt took the envelope from Blaine’s hand and put it in his lap, not even taking a look inside. “I don’t understand. Daniel sent this to you? Why would he do that? I thought everything between us was understood. I told him you didn’t want money. I told him the annulment needed to happen as quickly as possible. He assured me that everything was moving right along. Then you called and said you’d never signed the papers. I assume you finally did?”

Blaine nodded his head and said, “I did. Peter and I met Ms. Koenig, and we submitted them to the county clerk. We got a hearing scheduled and made plans to return to Vegas for the hearing. I sent you the date and time in an e-mail. When I didn’t hear anything from you, I assumed you’d be there. A week ago, the clerk’s office called to say the hearing had to be rescheduled, but they didn’t have a new date. When I called this morning to find out what the new date is, I was informed that the paperwork is not in the system. Then I got a call from Bob Tompkins, followed shortly by delivery of that check.”

Kurt shook his head. “I haven’t received any e-mail from you. The first I heard about the hearing was when you told me just now. I always turn correspondence over to Santana when I’m doing press, but she knows how important this is to you, and to me. I’m sorry this has turned into such a production.”

Blaine ran his hands through his hair, lacing his fingers behind his neck and letting his head fall back so his eyes are focused on the ceiling above him. “What’s going on? This was supposed to be quick and easy. Ms. Koenig said it only takes a couple of weeks to get an annulment like this. It’s been almost a month, and now they don’t have any record of our filing. All I want is to be able to marry Peter; that’s all I’ve ever wanted since the moment I laid eyes on him. Why is it so hard to do the one thing I want?” He could feel the emotions swirling around in his mind; he really didn’t want to cry. Not in front of Kurt.

“I’m so sorry, Blaine. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m pretty sure I know who does,” Kurt said. “Let me check on one thing, and then I’ll be able to help you get this sorted out.” Before Blaine could acknowledge Kurt’s request, Kurt had his phone to his ear and was leaving the room. When he returned, the look on his face was one of anger, but Blaine could tell the anger wasn’t directed at him as Kurt asked, “Wanna go rip Daniel a new one with me? He’s the one behind everything that’s happened. I know where he is right now, and I asked Brittany to make sure he stays there. Take a ride with me? We’ll get this taken care of, together. And I promise you will be marrying Peter by next month.”

Blaine reluctantly agreed to go confront Daniel; he texted a message to Peter that he’d be home late.

Daniel was having a working dinner at Brittany and Santana’s house and was very surprised to see Kurt arrive, followed closely by Blaine. He noticed, with some consternation, the twin looks of anger on Kurt’s and Blaine’s faces, but attempted to shift the mood to happy optimism.

“Kurt! And Blaine! So nice to see you, and you’re together! What a pleasant surprise. Does this mean you’re calling off the annulment? I knew you two could work things out. Blaine, you’re looking great! I hope the check I sent over will cover all your costs? Please, won’t you sit down and join us? We were just beginning to discuss the next wave of press releases and interviews for you two. Now that you’re together, I think we should get you on all the morning shows so you can tell your love story in person. Santana, how soon can you make that happen?” Daniel powered through any attempts Kurt, Blaine, or Santana made to interrupt him.

It took Brittany’s quiet “Daniel, please shut up” before he noticed that he was the only one who was putting a happy spin on things, as if he was trying to validate his meddling—kind of a ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ attitude.

“Thank you,” Brittany said to Daniel before turning to Kurt and saying, “He’ll listen to you now. If he doesn’t, I’ll make sure his clients get last pick for any upcoming events. Except for you Kurt; you’re my favorite person to choose looks for. You really can wear anything.”

Blaine and Kurt remained standing as Kurt said, “Thank you, Brit. Santana, I want you to stay and listen to what I have to say, and I want you to know that if you had any part in this fiasco, I’ll be looking for another publicist. I don’t care what kind of pictures you have or what kind of stories you’ve kept in your back pocket. I don’t care that you’re the best at what you do.” Santana closed her eyes and nodded as she opened them, gesturing for him to continue.

Kurt looked steadily at his manager. “Daniel, please explain yourself. When I told you a month ago that I needed to fast track an annulment in Vegas, I thought you understood what that meant. I was the more sober one that night, and I never should have let things go as far as they did; so it was my responsibility to make sure that nothing impacted Blaine’s life. But now I understand that you’ve been playing with not only my life, but also Blaine’s. He has been pushed into the spotlight, a spotlight he never wanted in the first place, and was forced to put his life on hold. For what? So you could play some game? We’ve worked together for years, and never in that entire time have I trusted you less with my career than I do right now. You caused a good man’s life to turn upside down, and did possibly irreparable damage to his relationship with his fiancé so you could keep my name in the press? Did you think that painted me in a good light?”

Kurt began pacing, his anger becoming clearly visible. “How could marrying a stranger in Vegas ever be considered a good thing? I had a movie coming out, for which I may be nominated for an Oscar. A movie I was proud to be in, a movie that had no bad press, no bad stories surrounding it. Why couldn’t you let this proceed quietly?” By this time, Kurt was striding back and forth in long, angry steps, and his face was becoming flushed until he finally exploded with, “Fuck you, Daniel! You ruined Blaine’s life! He was never prepared for the shit you pulled; nobody was! I can’t believe, after everything we’ve been through together over the years, that you could do something like this. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to trust you again.”

Blaine watched Kurt rage at Daniel, and he saw Santana holding back what Blaine could only surmise was compassion and understanding for what Kurt was going through. He saw Brittany hold Santana back with a firm grip on her arm and a shake of her head when her girlfriend seemed to want to comfort Kurt. Blaine wanted to join in on the yelling at Daniel, but more than that, he wanted to make sure Kurt was okay. So he moved to stand beside Kurt and reached his hand out to touch Kurt and reassure him that he’d be okay. They both would. He barely caught the smile before it left Daniel’s face.

That was enough to make Blaine see red. He snapped his head up, removed his hand from Kurt’s shoulder and glared at Daniel before his own tirade began. “No! You do not get to smile and think you’ve won just because I happen to feel compassion for Kurt. I know it’s probably a foreign concept to you, but normal people can feel the pain of someone else and try to comfort them without it meaning anything more than wanting to provide comfort. I’m disgusted with the way you’ve treated Kurt. Do you have no concept of right and wrong? Do you honestly think that what you did was in any way a good thing for Kurt, or his career? I don’t care about me; I’ll be fine as soon as I can get away from you, but Kurt is in the same business you are. He relies on people like you to make sure his career goes where he wants it to. He relies on you to find projects for him that will not only make him, and you, money, but that will also challenge him in some way. If he ever finds a way to trust you again, or anyone else in your ‘profession’, he’s a better man than either of us could ever be. I told him from the beginning that I wanted nothing from him. Can you understand how it would have made him feel if I had cashed that check? He would have never gotten over the thought that I’d lied to him, that I’d used him for his money. I know, from experience, what it’s like to feel that way, and I’d never want anyone to feel like I did!”

Blaine had to stop and take a couple deep breaths before he could continue, but when he did he pulled out the big guns, speaking with an intensity that couldn’t be ignored. “I’m going to lay down the law to you right now; so you better listen real close and take notes. You may think I’m a nobody, and maybe in your narrow world I am, but I have more influence in the real world than you could ever hope to have. I chose to live a life of anonymity, but I know how to fight battles bigger than you could ever imagine. I’ve known some of the best strategists in the world, and each and every one has taught me something new. I learned a long time ago how to make what I wanted come true; I should have believed in myself more, but you took advantage of me and of Kurt. You used us in some twisted game for your own amusement, and it will end now. I don’t need anything from Kurt, because I already have more than I’ll ever need in my lifetime. The world is more than fame and money; the world I choose to live in contains love, happiness, and security. I found that in my life, and I intend to hold onto it for as long as I can. The games stop now.”

He heard the gasps in the room, but didn’t let them distract him before he could make his final point. “If you pull any more stunts, if you hinder in any way the quick dissolution of a marriage that neither party wants, I will use everything I have to ruin you. You will be persona non grata in every corner of the entertainment industry; the lowliest Z-list actor will not take your calls. And believe me when I say justice will be swift, and it will not be kind. Tomorrow morning you will call whoever it is you need to call to have those annulment papers found and put back on the schedule for the original day and time. Then you will have Santana, and whoever else is responsible for all the people harassing me, my fiancé, and our neighbors for the past month, and make sure such harassment is discontinued immediately. There will be no new stories about me, no photos or videos of Peter or me on their broadcasts, and absolutely no hint that Kurt and I have had any kind of relationship other than being acquaintances.”

Blaine paused to make sure Daniel was still paying attention. “If you do all this, I will not ruin you and your career, although you most certainly can be put on probation or fired by Kurt if he so chooses.” He paused once more and, looking Daniel directly in the eyes, firmly said, “I expect you can accomplish everything by, shall we say, noon tomorrow?”

Daniel gulped and nodded his head before meekly replying, “Yes.” He turned to Santana and said, “Do whatever you need to.” He then turned to Kurt and said “I’m sorry.” Standing, he murmured to Brittany, “Thank you for a lovely dinner,” and walked quickly out the door.

Brittany started to say, “But you didn’t—” before he was out the door and they heard his tires squeal as he left the driveway.

Santana exchanged a grin with Kurt before patting him on the back and saying, “Well, I guess he got told. Next time you elope to Vegas, think twice about marrying The Godfather’s grandson.” The smile she flashed Blaine was one of respect with a bit of mischief thrown in. “Should I kiss your ring before I leave?” Blaine could hear her laughter as she and Brittany moved across the room and out to the backyard, giving Blaine and Kurt some privacy.

“So, next time I audition for a gangster role, should I come to you for some pointers, or just fuhgeddaboudit?” Kurt said, in his best worst gangster imitation.

Blaine couldn’t help but laugh before answering Kurt. “No, but if you ever audition for a role as an ambassador to a powerful ally to the United States, you could give me a call. I might have been slightly vague about some things, and I possibly embellished my connections a tiny bit, but I did grow up with the children of foreign dignitaries, and I’m still friends with some of them. Childhood games are very different when your friends have parents who can start wars with the press of a button.” Blaine shrugged his shoulders as he moved to the chair next to Kurt.

“I’ve never seen Daniel so afraid. You were awesome, and I admit I’m kinda turned on right now.” He held up a hand, forestalling Blaine’s response. “I promise your virtue is safe; I can admire you from afar. I’m sorry he did this to you, but I’m glad you’ll be free of me, and all the madness surrounding me. I would never pull someone into this life unless he knew what he was getting into beforehand.”

Blaine looked steadily at Kurt. “It’s not that I want to never see you again, and I can tell that being your friend would be loads of fun. Can you imagine Daniel’s face if I showed up at all your parties? You’d get any part you wanted. I just want to marry for my own reasons, and to a man of my sober choosing.”

He hesitated very briefly before continuing. “If we had met under different circumstances, and I hadn’t been in love with Peter, I could see us dating, or being friends at the very least. In fact, I’d like to keep in touch. Maybe become friends if we have a chance to get to know each other under better circumstances. If everything I’ve read about you has even a grain of truth, I imagine you could use a friend, someone who isn’t in the Hollywood circles you’re in. Someone who lives in what is known as ‘the real world’.” Blaine lightened the mood by making air quotes.

“I’d like that. Thank you, Blaine. For being so understanding and for not hating me for what Daniel did.” Kurt smiled at Blaine and then stood up. “We should probably get out of here before the show starts; believe me, they will not care if we’re here when they move from the backyard to the bedroom. I’m just surprised they haven’t—” He stopped as the back door began to open. “Oh god, nope not gonna see that again. Once seen, it can’t be unseen. Come on,” he urged as he grabbed Blaine’s hand, “I’ll drop you back at your gallery, and if we leave right now you won’t be scarred for life.”

They made it out the front door before the moaning started. Barely.

When Blaine got home later that evening, he found that ninety percent of the reporters who had camped out on his property for the past month were gone. It was almost enough to make him admire Daniel and Santana. Almost.

Chapter Text

The next morning, just two minutes after nine, Blaine heard from the court clerk’s office that his paperwork had been found and that his hearing had been put back on the schedule, and ‘sorry for the mix-up’. Blaine thanked them and asked that they inform Mr. Hummel and Ms. Koenig of the update as well.

Peter was thrilled that things were back on track, and suggested they have a celebratory dinner at their favorite restaurant that evening. Figuring he no longer had to worry about his life showing up in gossip magazines, Blaine agreed to meet him at home at six before going out.

Kurt called that afternoon, full of apologies. “I’m truly sorry Daniel tried to play these games with your life, and with Peter’s life. And I’m really sorry I didn’t catch on sooner that something was wrong. Sometimes when I’m working, my mind can’t focus on anything else, usually to the detriment of my relationships. Those who’ve known me for a long time understand, but any new relationships never last. This has made me realize I need to keep a tighter rein on my correspondence while I’m working. If I had, you’d be married by now.”

“I accept your apology, but it’s not really you who needs to apologize. Right now, I’m just glad that everything is moving forward—and that I no longer have to worry about the daggers thrown at me by my neighbors. I was beginning to think a dozen cookies at Christmas wasn’t going to be enough this year.”

Kurt chuckled. “I’m partial to cheesecake, myself. But I’ll never say no to a cookie or two. I envy you sometimes, you know. You seem really happy in your ‘normal’ life. You have true neighbors who would look out for you or loan you an egg if you needed one. I don’t know that I could pick my neighbors out of a line-up. Sometimes I wish I’d taken over my dad’s shop instead of becoming an actor. But he was right; I wouldn’t have been happy; I would have grown to resent any life I would have had in that small town. He and my step-mother pushed me to follow my dreams. They refused to believe that I wouldn’t be successful if I just went for it,” Kurt said.

The wistfulness Blaine heard in Kurt’s voice made him believe there was a great loneliness hidden deep within him. He might be a very sought-after celebrity, but on the inside it seemed as if he was still a thirteen-year-old boy, wondering if anyone would ever love him for who he was. Blaine could understand how Kurt felt deep down in his soul because he’d had similar feelings; Blaine had been that same boy. He’d had the added obstacle of always being in a foreign country, with parents who expected him to never show his feelings.

“I’m glad you had a dad like that. He sounds like a great man,” Blaine said. “I’m sorry to cut this short, but I really need to get back to work.” Suspecting Kurt could use some lightening up, he added jokingly, “According to the tabloids you’re already showing your playboy ways not even a month into our marriage. Mr. Hummel, I never thought you’d treat me like this.” He hoped Kurt heard the teasing in his voice; he really wanted Kurt to not dwell on their situation. He couldn’t begin to imagine what Kurt would go through for years to come; every time he started dating someone the speculation if this would be ‘the one’, or if he would once again be ‘unlucky in love’.

Kurt’s laughter was loud enough that Blaine had to move the phone away from his ear. “I’m really not as bad as people think I am. I’ve never cheated on a boyfriend, and I definitely wouldn’t cheat on my husband. Now that I know the lengths Daniel might have gone to, allegedly on my behalf, I’m pretty sure a large part of my reputation is thanks to him. Still, I’m sure I can find some way to stay in the spotlight; I wouldn’t want the gossip mags to have withdrawal or anything. I’ll need to wean them off the stories of my epic tantrums and ‘hissy fits’ a little at a time.” He paused and said more quietly, “I’ll see you in Vegas. ‘Bye, Blaine.”

“Goodbye, Kurt.”

Not a minute later, Blaine’s phone rang again. This time it was Santana. “Hey, I know you probably don’t want to have anything to do with me, but I want to apologize for the way I helped Daniel manipulate your life. Things would have died down within twenty-four hours if I hadn’t kept the fires burning under your story. If you need any help with anything, you let me know. I have connections everywhere, and I’m not afraid to use them.

“There is one more thing I think you need to do, although it’s totally up to you,” she continued. “Once the annulment has been granted, I think you and Kurt need to issue a joint statement, thanking everyone for their support while you both rectified a mistake that had been made on a whim. Thank them for their continued support in the future and, most of all, thank them for respecting your privacy,” Santana said. “I know they did none of that, but when you thank them for the things they haven’t done, it tends to send a message that you expect them to honor your wishes in the future.”

Blaine sighed before replying, “I’ll think about it. But I won’t make any promises. I want to go back to my boring, wonderful life. I’m concerned that, if I do anything like that that, it’ll just bring the vultures out again. I want to have a quiet ceremony with Peter, not have to fend off photographers…or helicopters.”

“Okay, it’s ultimately your decision, but I stand by my years of experience that the best way to get them to do what you want is to tell them they’ve already been doing it. You have my number; so call if you need anything.”

“I will. Thank you, Santana.”

Dinner that night was amazing; it felt great to be out in public and not be constantly looking over their shoulders for possible photographers. They decided on their favorite sushi place and took a cab so they could both celebrate with sake. By the time they made it home, they were both very tipsy and barely controlling themselves in the back of the cab. The trail of clothing leading from the front door to the bedroom was proof that any self-control was lost as soon as they’d gained the privacy of their own home.

They spent the next morning and early afternoon in bed exploring each other in between naps and forays to the kitchen for food. Blaine thought it was the best time he’d spent with Peter in a long time; he was glad their lives were going back to the way they were.

At times throughout the day, though, Blaine was surprised and not a little disturbed to find himself thinking about Kurt. He had no reason to be thinking about him, and as often as the thoughts and images of him came to mind, he firmly redirected his mind to Peter and their love for each other. It seemed to be a losing battle, though. Ever since they’d met, Blaine had felt drawn to Kurt in a way he never had to Peter. He loved Peter, and was looking forward to building a very contented life with him, but he began to remember some of the things that had made their life together seem a bit lackluster, and he found himself wondering if ‘very contented’ would be enough.

He tried to push those thoughts away, but throughout the rest of the day and the next, they seemed to occur with more frequency, rather than less. He chalked it up to pre-annulment jitters, or maybe they were pre-wedding jitters; either way, he told himself there was nothing to worry about and threw himself into his work and making new plans for his and Peter’s wedding.

~*~*~*

The date for the annulment hearing was two days away when Blaine received a call from Kurt, asking to meet with him someplace public but out of the way. He wanted to discuss Santana’s idea of a press release. Blaine agreed to meet at a coffee shop a couple blocks from his gallery an hour before the gallery was due to open.

He’d been waiting for only a couple of minutes when Kurt arrived, removing his cap and sunglasses as he walked in the door. Blaine took a moment to admire the ease with which Kurt seemed to take ownership of a room without people even being aware he’d done it. Blaine could see the way every head in the place turned towards Kurt, and the way Kurt accepted that he was being watched, but didn’t acknowledge anyone’s attention as he scanned the room, looking for Blaine. The smile on his face when his gaze finally landed on Blaine was enough to alleviate any latent anxiety Blaine might have had about a public meeting.

Kurt made his way to Blaine’s table and asked, “Can I get you anything? A bagel? A muffin? I see you already have coffee.”

“No, I’m fine. You go ahead and order something; I’ll wait here.”

Kurt returned with his coffee and a plate of assorted pastries. He set the plate in the middle of the table and, placing one on a napkin for himself, motioned for Blaine to help himself, as well.

After a bite of his pastry and a sip of coffee, Kurt said, “I know Santana broached the subject with you; she told me. She also told me you were hesitant about making any kind of public statement. I’d like the opportunity to argue the cause for a minute.”

When Blaine motioned for him to continue, Kurt continued, “I’ve been in this business for many years, and I know that the press and paparazzi can be very invasive and, in many cases, downright aggressive and mean. I also know that our situation is scandalous and fodder for every right-wing whack-job out there with any soapbox and a group of like-minded people to listen to them. I’ve dealt with them my whole career.

“They show up to my movie premiers, not to enjoy a great film but to either protest, sometimes not very peacefully, or to nitpick my performance to death. Then they use every choice made while creating the film to allegedly ‘prove’ that people like me are the worst part of society.

“I know it may not feel as if it’s your fight, and I don’t think it should necessarily be my fight either, but I choose to make it my fight, every time I take a role that breaks down stereotypes. Every time I show up to charity events, or even walk down the street and don’t cower when someone gives me a nasty look or says something under their breath, I choose to hold my head up and show them that they can’t take my dignity away from me.

“They can’t take it from us. From you and me and everyone out there who feels the way we do, who loves the way we do; they can’t win. I think making a formal statement will show the world that we are the same as everyone else. That we got drunk and married in Vegas, just like hundreds of other couples, and we’re using the court system the same way they would to get it annulled. The fact that we’re two men and that I’m a celebrity has nothing to do with it.” He paused, looking intently at Blaine. Then he finished his plea with a somewhat self-effacing but still sincere, “I rest my case.”

Blaine turned his coffee cup around on the table, first in one direction then the other, contemplating what Kurt said. He could see Kurt’s point, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to join the fight so publicly. He tended to be more low-key, although his beliefs and passions ran just as deeply as Kurt’s seemed to. Instead of immediately voicing his more serious thoughts, he let the corner of his mouth quirk up and said, “Hey, now you can be included on the Stars, They’re Just Like Us page.” It was an impulse that had popped into his mind, and he was glad he said it when he saw Kurt’s eyes light up, his shoulders shake with the laughter he tried holding in, and the big smile that seemed to light up the whole room.

“Yes, I can. I’m pretty sure they go more for sweats and bedhead while at the grocery store than drunken weddings in Vegas, but I’ll see if Santana can make it happen.” Then he winked, and Blaine suddenly wondered if spending any time at all with Kurt was a good idea. His insides felt as if they wanted to fly right out of his body. He hadn’t felt like this with Peter. Peter, right—the man he wanted to marry. And that thought shook him back to awareness of his surroundings.

“Well, if anyone can make it happen, I have faith it would be her, if only based on all she made happen without any cooperation from me.” Blaine paused to take a sip of his coffee, only to find his cup was empty. “Can I think about it some more? I hear what you’re saying, but I’m not sure I want to fight this kind of battle publicly. And I need to talk to Peter. His life will be impacted by my decision, too; he’s a part of my life, and he needs to have a say in this.”

“Sure, I understand. I’ll have Santana write up some options, and we can choose one that works for all three of us if you decide to go for it.” Kurt took a breath as if he had more on his mind, but he simply finished with, “Thank you for meeting me and hearing me out. I know you didn’t have to.” Kurt rose from the table and gathered his trash to throw away on his way out the door. Blaine followed a minute later, not sure why he felt a need to wait until Kurt was gone before leaving, but doing it anyway.

~*~*~*

That evening, after dinner, Blaine had reached his decision. He approached Peter with Kurt’s request and his reasoning for releasing a public statement after finalization of the annulment. “I know you just want this to be over and done with, but after hearing Kurt talk about how he’s treated, I want to do this. We all live in a world where so much of what we do—who we are—is viewed negatively. I want to show the world that I’m like everyone else—that loving a man and marrying him is really no different from loving and marrying a woman. I want to do this, and I want us, you and me, to show a united front when the inevitable backlash comes. I know we’re just two people, but I think our story is important.”

Blaine watched Peter pace while he talked to him about Kurt’s suggestion and his reasons for making such a request. Blaine could tell by the set of his shoulders and the scowl on his face that Peter didn’t like the idea. His suspicion was confirmed when he heard Peter muttering about ‘never getting rid of him’.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea. I understand what you’ve told me, but I don’t want our life together to be a footnote in Kurt Hummel’s story. I want you to have a clean break from him, and all this will do is forever make you a part of his story. Every time he does an interview, every time he’s mentioned in the news, you will also be there. Maybe your name won’t be mentioned, but people will know. People will know that you once married Mega-Star Kurt Hummel; they’ll wonder why you gave him up and married me. I don’t want to be perceived as your second choice,” Peter said. He added tensely, “I know it’s ultimately your decision, but please think about what I’ve said. Please don’t bring me into the story as the guy who stole you from him.”

Blaine watched as Peter grabbed his keys and walked out the front door. He didn’t go after him; he knew Peter needed some time alone. Blaine did, too. He spent his time alternating between the living room and the back yard, trying to reconcile his desire to show the world that he was like any other man and wanting to hide away with the man he loved.

Hours later, when Peter returned home, Blaine wasn’t any closer to making a decision, but he knew that he didn’t want to jeopardize his relationship with Peter. They went to bed in the same bed, but they didn’t really sleep together the way they had been.

The following morning seemed a continuation of the night before; they moved around each other cautiously while getting ready for work. Before Blaine got in his car he said, “The hearing is tomorrow at ten. Do you still want to go with me? I was thinking about catching a flight tonight and staying in a hotel. I can get a ticket for you.”

“Yeah, I’ve cleared my calendar for tomorrow. We can catch the six o’clock flight and get some dinner there, maybe walk around a bit after. I hear Vegas really changes after the sun goes down.”

“Great, I’ll get tickets and make the hotel reservation. We can walk down the Strip and people watch. We haven’t done that—just hang out—in a long time,” Blaine said before leaning in and giving Peter a goodbye kiss and a smile.

The flight was uneventful, but while waiting to check into their hotel, Blaine caught a glimpse of Kurt on the other side of the lobby, talking to Brittany and Santana. Brittany saw him and waved and then spoke to Kurt. Kurt turned around and smiled while walking over to where Blaine and Peter were waiting in line.

“Blaine! I didn’t realize you would be here tonight; I thought you’d come in in the morning,” Kurt began. “Peter, good to see you again. Do you guys have a reservation here? I had to take one of the suites on such short notice. It seems as if Vegas is at capacity tonight. If you want, you can take the third bedroom in my suite. Brit and Santana are staying in one, and I have another, but there’s one more. No sense in it going to waste, and you should save your money for your wedding. Come on, I’ll get a couple more keys set up for you, we’ll drop off your bags and go out for a nice dinner amongst friends,” Kurt continued without waiting for a reply as he led them to the concierge desk rather than check-in.

“How may I help you, Mr. Hummel?” the man at the concierge desk asked.

“Steve, these are my good friends, Blaine and Peter. They’ll be staying in the third bedroom. Could you please make sure their bags are delivered to the room, as well as a couple of extra keys?,” Kurt replied. He turned to Blaine and Peter and asked, “Do you need anything hung up or pressed for tomorrow? Steve can make sure it’s taken care of before we get back from dinner.”

Peter looked at Blaine before shaking his head. “No, we’re fine. But really, we can get our own room. We don’t want to impose on you. I’m sure having us there will cramp your ability to bring home your next husband.”

Blaine aimed a well-placed elbow into Peter’s side. “Peter, it’s my fault as much as it is his. Please be nice, we’re almost done,” he muttered. “Besides, we can free up the room I reserved for someone else to use, which is really a single anyway, if they’ll let us do it without charging our card.”

Steve eyed Peter as if he was the second coming of Satan before politely saying, “It’s a busy week for Vegas, even off-Strip hotels are at capacity; I’m sure someone would appreciate finding a room at the last minute. Mr. Hummel actually got the last room here just a while ago. Just leave everything to me, and I’ll make sure your stay here is everything you could imagine.”

Peter reluctantly agreed; it would only be the one night after all. Having his own second thoughts, especially if Peter was going to be upset, Blaine whispered to him, “Are you sure you’re okay with this? We can keep the single if you want.”

Peter whispered back, “It’s only one night, and then we’ll never have to see him again. We may never get the chance to stay in a suite again. Let’s pretend we’re on vacation and enjoy ourselves tonight. Tomorrow we’ll worry about the future.” He handed their bags to Steve and turned to Kurt. “We’re going to grab a quick bite and then take a walk down the Strip.”

Brittany, who for some reason hears everything, leaned over to Blaine and said, “There are five bathrooms, too,” before walking toward the door with Santana. All Blaine could do was stare after her as she walked away. This had the potential of turning into a weirder trip than his last one, and that one involved marrying a stranger.

Smiling softly after Brittany, Kurt quickly turned his attention to Peter. “Leave it all to me,” he said as he ushered Blaine and Peter out the door and to a waiting car. “I know driving in Vegas, especially on the Strip, seems like a waste, but we have reservations at The Wynn, and I don’t think walking will get us there in time. We can walk back after dinner.”

“Yeah, okay,” Peter said somewhat reluctantly as he climbed into the back of the car after Blaine.

Dinner was delicious and fun. Santana told stories of some of her worst clients; Brittany told stories of some of the fashion disasters she’s had to clean up. Kurt’s stories were all about movie sets in foreign countries and made the celebrity life seem very lonely. Blaine contributed a few stories from his childhood, but from an early age he had been told that what goes on in embassies should not to be told in public; so his stories were vague and lacked the details and twists that made other stories entertaining. Peter had never been much of a storyteller, and his childhood was decidedly uneventful; so he sat and listened to those around him. He watched the way Blaine would light up as he listened to Kurt talk; Blaine seemed happier and more relaxed than he had in a long time.

With they’d finished dinner, Brittany and Santana announced they were going to go dancing; Kurt said he didn’t want to be in the way and that he’d grab a cab back to their hotel.

Blaine and Peter slowly strolled down the Las Vegas Strip, stopping any time they saw something that interested them. They walked by the fountains at the Bellagio as the next water show began, and they stood with the crowd, watching water dance in the colored lights to the latest pop songs. When they finally got to the hotel, they were laughing and enjoying themselves.

Steve noticed them as they entered the lobby and waved them over to his desk. He handed them an envelope and pointed them toward the elevators, assuring them everything had been taken care of. Blaine opened the envelope, finding two keys and a note from Kurt:

Blaine and Peter, I know I’m the reason you have to be here under these circumstances, and I wanted to say thank you for accepting my offer of a room while you’re here. I know I can’t make up for the inconvenience and stress Daniel caused, and you probably don’t want to see me after tomorrow morning, but I want you to know that I envy what you guys have, and I hope that you are happy in your future together.

Your room is the first one on the left. I moved Santana and Brittany out of the master and gave it to you. They already know, but it might be best to lock the door just in case they’re too drunk to remember when they get back. Breakfast will be delivered at 7:30; I ordered a bit of everything.

I also asked Steve to have a car ready to take us to the courthouse at 9:30. I will be returning to L.A. as soon as the hearing is over, but the room is paid for through the weekend. Please feel free to use it for the duration. Consider it a wedding gift from a friend. I’ll see you in the morning for breakfast.

Kurt

p.s. The rooms are pretty soundproof; I always make sure of that for my own sanity when I travel with Santana and Brittany.

Peter read over Blaine’s shoulder as the elevator slowly moved to the top floor. Blaine could tell Peter was trying to hold in a smile. It was really hard not to like Kurt.

Although they believed Kurt when he told them the room was soundproof, they decided against testing the truth of the statement. They went to sleep, Blaine’s head resting on Peter’s chest. They awoke minutes before the knock from room service announced breakfast was served and took turns showering before going to the common room to eat. By quarter after nine, Blaine, Peter and Kurt were in the elevator on their way to the courthouse.

The hearing was over in five minutes. The judge asked each party if they had filed for an annulment of their own free will, waited for their answers, signed his name, and told them they would receive the final decree in the mail in six to eight weeks. He also informed them that, until the decree was duly filed and recorded, they still would be legally married. The date on the final decree would be the official annulment date, but they wouldn’t know the date until they received their copies via registered mail.

Outside the courtroom, Blaine said to Peter, “I’m going to go tell Kurt to have Santana draft the press release. Wait here for me?”

Peter nodded, his lips in a line across his mouth as he watched Blaine walk the few short steps to where Kurt was standing.

“Kurt, I’ve decided that Santana should issue a press release. Have her e-mail it to me, and I’ll let her know if I want to add to it.”

“Thank you, Blaine. I’ll make sure she does it as soon as she gets back to her office. I hope you and Peter enjoy the rest of your time in Vegas. And I hope you have a beautiful wedding. If you ever need anything, call me please. I’d like to call you a friend.” He added more quietly, “I don’t really have many.”

“You’re welcome, Kurt. I do consider you a friend, and I appreciate your offer of the suite for the weekend, but Peter and I need to go back to L.A.; we both have to work tomorrow. Our flight leaves later this afternoon. We didn’t know how long the hearing would take; so we booked for later rather than earlier.”

“Oh. Well, please make use of the rooms until you’re ready to leave. And tell Steve what time your flight is; he’ll make sure a car is available to take you to the airport.” He paused for a moment, and then added more softly, “Take care of yourself. Have a good life, Blaine.”

Blaine watched as Kurt walked down the stairs, out the courthouse doors, and into the Nevada sunshine. It looked like the sad ending to a movie.

They did make use of the suite that afternoon, in many different positions and on many different surfaces. By the time Steve had the car ready to take them to the airport, the room has been well used.

~*~*~*

For Immediate Release:

Lopez Public Relations, LLC

Kurt Hummel and Blaine Anderson announce that the marriage between them has been annulled. The circumstances surrounding the wedding are not as important as the fact that they were legally permitted to marry like any other couple. Mr. Hummel and Mr. Anderson hold no ill will toward each other and plan to remain friends.

They ask for privacy as they begin to move on with their lives. They would like to thank their friends and families for their love and support while they dealt with the legalities of amicably ending their marriage.

Thank you for your understanding. Any further inquiries may be directed to Lopez Public Relations, LLC.

~*~*~*

During the next week Blaine and Peter seemed to fall into a comfortable existence. They got ready for work together, ate breakfast together, and then left the house together to go to work. Blaine searched for the next artist to exhibit in the gallery; Peter worked on his caseload. The first person home began dinner preparations; they ate dinner, did the dishes, and then either watched a movie or read before going to sleep to begin again the next day. Peter seemed determined to finish as much work at the office as he could, thus avoiding bringing work home with him. After the stressful experiences of the past month, the routine seemed pleasant.

Then the routine had some adjustments. Blaine had to spend a couple nights at dinner meetings, getting home just in time to go to bed. Peter’s boss seemed to think that adding to his caseload was a good idea; so Peter ended up not only spending extra hours at work, but also bringing work home every night and on the weekend.

The nights that Blaine wasn’t at business dinners, he made himself a sandwich before trying to entertain himself with his favorite trashy reality show or reading from the pile of books beside the bed. He usually gave up and turned off the lights, hoping to get a good night’s sleep, but wishing Peter was with him. He’d end up tossing and turning until Peter finally climbed into bed, later and later each night.

One evening, he was frustrated with trying to keep himself busy and impulsively texted “Are you busy?” to Kurt. He was startled when, seconds later, he received “Not at all, what’s up?” And so began his nightly conversations with Kurt.

The first night they simply told each other about their days. Kurt’s seemed to be full of rushing from one interview to the next, often even changing clothes in the back of a town car. Blaine laughed at the mental image of Kurt trying to wrangle his tall frame into and out of a pair of his highly tailored pants, trying to retain a modicum of dignity and privacy, while speeding down the highway. Kurt tried not to laugh as well; he knew exactly what he looked like, and he couldn’t keep his giggles in as the picture he must have made crept into his mind. Eventually Kurt had to say goodnight; he had an early morning followed by a long day ahead of him. That night Blaine fell asleep instantly and was only vaguely aware of Peter climbing into bed.

The next night, they shared stories about growing up. Kurt talked about losing his mom at a young age. He told about how he and his dad merely existed in the same house for many years, neither knowing how to open up about their feelings. How it took until his sophomore year of high school before Kurt felt that his dad might one day understand him. Blaine told about growing up in different countries, but always in the shadow of his older brother. How his brother used him in his bid for attention from parents who always seemed to have their minds on the next meeting or dinner, never quite paying close attention to their sons. He shared how he felt when Cooper left home as soon as he’d graduated from high school and never looked back. How he had to learn to be self-sufficient at such an early age, and how to live up to the legacy Cooper had created while still at home. Blaine said he’d made friends easily, but the friendships only lasted as long as his parents were assigned to that country. Once they left, he had to give up those friendships and create new ones. He thought he had been fortunate to have two parents who wanted him to travel with them, rather than placing him in a boarding school somewhere, like many of the other children of ambassadors.

After sharing such personal stories about their early lives with each other, it felt natural to move on to hopes and dreams, and even fears, about their futures.

It had been only two nights, but a special closeness inexplicably developed. It was closer than Blaine had felt with someone in a long time—including Peter.

The next week Kurt finished all his press commitments for Infinite Termination and found that he had much more free time on his hands—time he wanted to spend with Blaine. At first Blaine didn’t think it would be a good idea for them to spend time together in person, but Peter had spent the last three days out of the house with a terse “I’m working” in reply to Blaine’s inquiries. Kurt eventually wore down his resolve when he suggested they explore the city together “as if we’re tourists”. So during the third week of waiting for their annulment to become final, Blaine and Kurt spent afternoons and evenings exploring all the places in Los Angeles they’d never bothered to visit before.

On Wednesday, they met at the Santa Monica Pier and, as they were walking along the beach, Kurt quietly asked, “Have you and Peter set a new date yet?”

“No, not yet. I haven’t really seen him much over the last couple weeks. He’s been working a lot. I’m sure once our marriage is annulled, we’ll sit down and choose something. But I don’t know when it will be. Neither of us has a free weekend for the rest of the year,” Blaine replied. He sighed as he thought about Peter. He was surprised and concerned to find himself thinking, I don’t know if marrying him is what I want anymore. Partly to distract himself from such thoughts, he said to Kurt, “Come on, I want to show you my favorite spot in the world.”

Blaine lead Kurt down to the beach and over to a spot hidden from view in between two outcroppings of rocks. They had to take their shoes and socks off and walk through shallow sea water to get there, but once there Kurt’s gasp was all Blaine needed to hear to know that showing this to Kurt was the right decision. “When I first moved to Los Angeles, I lived with my brother. I needed a place to get away from all the crazy that seemed to follow him around. I found this place and spent hours watching the tide roll in and out, watching all the sea creatures that got caught in the tide pools. They all seemed to know that they’d eventually be carried back out to sea; they calmly did their thing, awaiting the next wave to break far enough up the shore to take them back. The last time I was here was the morning after Peter proposed. I needed to get to a place that wasn’t complicated, a place where I felt that eventually things would be back to the way they were supposed to be. I needed some clarity before I told Peter ‘yes’, and this is the one place I knew I could get it,” Blaine explained as he stared out at the horizon. “I never brought anyone else here, not even Peter. I never felt like anyone else would appreciate or understand it the way I do.”

Blaine felt Kurt step closer to him, but he didn’t want Kurt to touch him. He didn’t know if he’d be able to step away from Kurt if he touched him; so he took a couple steps closer to the water, hoping Kurt wouldn’t follow. He was both sad and relieved when Kurt didn’t, though. The thoughts and feelings rolling through his mind and heart were a confusing jumble of Peter and Kurt. He loved Peter; he’d known Kurt only a short while; he couldn’t, shouldn’t, be feeling these feelings. He knew he’d be happy with Peter; it was crazy to even think about being happy with Kurt, about a life with Kurt. He was engaged; he was married; he was waiting for an annulment so he could marry his fiancé; none of it was making any sense. His mind and heart seemed to be caught in a maelstrom of conflicting thoughts and feelings; he felt as if he was caught in a riptide, unable to breathe, drowning…

“I’m sorry,” he choked out. “I think I need to go home now. I don’t know what’s come over me.” He turned to walk away. It might have been his imagination, or perhaps he really did hear ‘I love you’ carried on the wind. It didn’t matter; “I love you, too,” he whispered in return and kept walking. He waited until he got to his car before he let the emotions break over him and his entire body shook as sob after sob left him.

Never in his life was Blaine more relieved that Peter had started working so late as that evening, when he returned home and Peter wasn’t there. He stripped out of his clothes, washed the salt and sand from his body, and crawled into bed. He wanted to clear his mind of all thought and stare blankly at the ceiling until boredom pushed him into a deep sleep.

Instead he lay and created a mental list of the reasons he loved Peter and why marrying him was the best choice he could make. He tried to make a list of all the reasons why he should stay away from Kurt, why Kurt couldn’t possibly be interested in him other than as a friend, and why he shouldn’t be thinking these thoughts, feeling these feelings.

But his mind kept replaying a loop of memories of all his time spent with Kurt. Dancing the night away in Las Vegas, waking up the next morning in bed with Kurt. The meals shared with Kurt, the way Kurt seemed to become instant friends with both Sam and Tina. The way Kurt was willing to take care of the expenses surrounding their annulment. The way Kurt was so calm when Blaine freaked out when he saw the Certificate of Marriage. The way he was honestly angry at Daniel when he discovered Daniel’s deceptive plotting to keep Blaine and Kurt in the media. The way Kurt eagerly offered up use of Santana to help ease the media pressure. The way Kurt looked at him, as if he was the most amazing, most precious person in the world.

Slowly, incredibly, his mind seemed to center on one thought, I love Kurt, and I want to marry him, not Peter. However, although his mind may have found some convoluted way of bringing this to his consciousness, Blaine’s heart still felt love and devotion to Peter, a love and devotion that couldn’t, shouldn’t, be ignored or cast carelessly aside. And, thus, the maelstrom began again, swirling, swirling, the tide pulling him down…

Blaine did the only thing he could think of—he cut himself off from Kurt. Cold turkey. He lasted twelve hours before he succumbed, at least to text Kurt to say “I’m sorry. I need some time to think about what I want to do.” He received no reply from Kurt. That day. Or the next. Or the next. He did hear from Brittany, though, three days later.

She walked into the gallery as Blaine was getting ready to grab a bite to eat. He had expected Santana to be the one to make an appearance. She seemed like the person in Kurt’s life most likely to rip him a new one.

“Hey, Brittany. What brings you here?” Blaine asked as he waved to Charlie to let her know he was heading out to lunch. Charlie was showing a piece to a customer; so she simply nodded her head in his direction as an acknowledgment.

“I came to talk to you…about Kurt,” she said as she followed him out the door. “I’ve never seen him like this before, not even in high school when he was pushed into lockers. Not even when his dad almost died. What did you do to him?”

Blaine almost tripped over his own feet as what Brittany said hit him. “What are you talking about? I didn’t do anything to him. We were hanging out for a bit, but then we stopped. I had work to do. And I have a fiancé at home. Well, he’s supposed to be at home, but I haven’t seen him in a while. But we’re still engaged, and we’ll get married as soon as we set a date.” He realized he was rambling and got back on track. “I told Kurt all this the last time we spoke. He knows that I’m going to marry Peter. He should forget about me,” he said, trying to make his voice sound as if he believed what he was saying. He only hoped that his unspoken uncertainty wasn’t noticeable to her.

“He hasn’t come out of his room in four days. He hasn’t showered in two. And he only showered two days ago because Santana threatened to strip naked and join him in bed if he didn’t. He said that would scar him worse than a broken heart ever could. I don’t like to see him so sad. All the light is gone from his eyes, and I don’t think anything will bring it back. It’s like my friend is fading away. Please bring the light back, and his smile.” She didn’t wait for a response from him before turning back toward her car. He stopped and watched her walk away, trying in vain to keep the tears from falling.

~*~*~*

Blaine was determined to ignore what Brittany said and renewed his determination to be loyal to Peter. He continued steadfastly to wait for his annulment to be final. He continued going back and forth to work and home and waiting for Peter to climb into bed. It seemed as if Peter spent less and less time at home, often showing up as Blaine was getting out of the shower or leaving for work, often just long enough to shower himself before getting dressed and heading back out the door.

Blaine wanted to say something, to open a conversation about their wedding, about their feelings for each other, but their schedules just never seemed to cooperate. He tried staying awake until Peter came home, but it was as if time, itself, conspired against him. He found himself sitting at home, looking through old pictures of their happy times. Remembering how he felt the first time he asked Peter out, how nervous he was on the drive to Peter’s apartment, how the air was knocked out of his lungs when Peter opened the door dressed in a pair of grey slacks with a slightly darker grey stripe running through the fabric, how the emerald green of the sweater he wore brought out the gold flecks in his eyes, how the smile on Peter’s face made his knees weak, and how he had to reach his hand out to brace himself against the doorjamb. He remembered it so well.

As he looked at all the pictures they took over the course of their relationship, he began to notice that there weren’t as many pictures of them since they’d gotten engaged. The most recent picture of them together was from the small party they gave to announce their engagement, almost two years ago. Blaine wondered when they’d stopped enjoying themselves, stopped wanting pictures to remind them of the time they’d spent together. What would they tell their kids about this time of their lives? Would their children notice what he had just now noticed—that there was a point during their relationship when they stopped being a part of each other’s lives…and simply existed together?

After his night of discovery and self-reflection, Blaine began to spend more time at work after hours, creating and then throwing himself into a demanding special project. He scoured the internet for new artists, planning a special exhibit of artists he thought should be known to the art community in Los Angeles. He made appointments to go to their studios and see if they might fit into what he had planned. Then he worked long nights formulating the layout and going over the contracts he’d need for each artist. By the time he got home each night he was so exhausted he hardly noticed if Peter was even in bed or not. If he was, he was always gone by the time Blaine woke in the mornings. His new strategy may not have been as healthy as honest discourse might have been, but it seemed to suit Peter, and it kept Blaine from reentering the maelstrom. At least this was a maelstrom of his own choosing, and he felt there was at least one thing in his life he could control.

Exactly six weeks after the hearing, the annulment was final. Blaine knew his first call should have been to Peter, but he called Kurt instead. Kurt didn’t answer, and he didn’t leave a voicemail. His next call was to Peter’s office; his assistant reminded Blaine that Peter was out of town until Friday. Blaine hadn’t known. He sent him a text and, hours later, received an ‘ok’ in reply. Blaine didn’t follow up with any other texts or with a call.

Instead, on Friday, he made it a point to get home early so he could make Peter’s favorite meal. He’d also spent the last couple of days designing a ring for Peter. His plan was to formally and romantically propose to Peter tonight after dinner, and then sit down and set a date for their long overdue wedding.

At 10:00, Blaine was sitting at the dining table; the candles were burning down and sputtering. The food had long since gone cold and was now drying out on the plates, and Blaine had drunk the entire bottle of wine he’d planned to share with Peter. Blaine’s head was resting on his arms where they were crossed on the table, and all the sobs he had held in all night, and for so many weeks, were finally tumbling out of his body.

Blaine had called Peter hours ago, wanting to know what time to expect him home. When he didn’t answer the call, Blaine left a voicemail. Peter replied, via text, “7:30. Other than that, he never responded to any of the other messages Blaine had left. He arrived two and a half hours late to find the table set with what once was a dinner, an empty wine bottle, and burned out candles. He took the dishes to the sink before going toward the bedroom.

He expected to find Blaine already in bed, but instead saw him sitting on the floor, staring into Peter’s open closet. The only illumination in the room was from the closet light, which was shining on Blaine’s face. Peter stopped when Blaine looked up at him, and he saw the redness around Blaine’s eyes, and the hurt. His own eyes softened, as if he was sorry he’d been the one to put that look on Blaine’s face.

“Wh-where are all your clothes?” The question was a whisper, the voice barely audible if not for the silence in the house.

“I moved them out a couple weeks ago,” Peter quietly replied while moving further into the room. He started to sit on the floor beside Blaine, but stopped when he saw the way Blaine shrank away from him. He sat on the chair in the corner instead. “I was going to tell you, but we were both so busy with work, and then I had to go out of town to interview a couple of witnesses. I honestly thought you’d notice before now.” He leaned forward in the chair and placed his head in his hands. “I’m sorry you had to find out like this, but I think it’s for the best.”

Blaine rose and turned so quickly, it was surprising he didn’t injure himself. “What do you mean ‘it’s for the best’? Do you know what came in the mail today? I’m not married anymore! According to the State of Nevada, I never was! I made a special dinner to celebrate.” He was almost yelling. He leaned over and grabbed something from the bedside table. Holding it out to Peter he declared, “I was going to propose to you tonight. We were going to set a date, or elope and have a big reception later. I didn’t care how it happened, or when. I was just excited that it would happen. I wanted to marry you; it was always you! Don’t you love me? Did you ever love me? Did you even want to marry me, or was my drunken mistake a convenient way for you to get out of it? How could you move out without talking to me first?”

Blaine thought he’d already cried out every tear in his body, but there were more, and they were flowing freely as he stared at Peter, trying to see some emotion in his face. All he saw was sadness, but no love.

“I did love you, in the beginning. But as the wedding got closer, I became less sure it was the right thing to do. I was truly surprised to find I was relieved when you came back from your trip and told me you’d married a stranger. I suddenly felt free; I hadn’t realized how trapped I’d been feeling. I realized that I proposed because it was what you wanted. You wanted to get married; you wanted to have kids; I did it all for you. But then you dropped the Vegas bomb, and it gave me a way out of everything.”

He paused and then continued, “You never took off his ring, you know. Even though you told me you loved me and wanted to marry me, you never took off Kurt’s ring. Maybe you knew, deep in your heart, that it would turn out this way.” Peter took a second before he continued; the next words from his mouth seemed difficult for him to say, “I don’t want to get married to anyone. I never wanted kids. I don’t like them. I’m sorry I didn’t realize any of this sooner, and I never wanted to hurt you, but I feel free for the first time in as long as I can remember. Please understand.”

Blaine looked at his left hand where he saw the simple gold band Kurt had placed on his finger so many weeks ago; he hadn’t noticed the ring there and was surprised to see Peter was right. It had taken weeks for him to get used to wearing Peter’s ring, the ring he’d taken off before his trip to Las Vegas so it could be modified into his wedding band. Now he was even angrier than when he discovered Peter’s clothes gone from his closet. This time, though, he was angry at himself.

“NO! You don’t get to say all that and expect me to understand! You don’t get to break up with me after the hell I’ve been through and just walk away! Do you realize what I gave up to honor our commitment to each other, my commitment to you! I could have fallen for Kurt—I had fallen for Kurt! But I refused myself and him so that I could keep my promise to you! You don’t get to act like you’re a martyr, or like you’re the wronged man, when you didn’t want any of this in the first place. If you didn’t want to marry me, even if you thought you knew that’s what I wanted, why the hell did you propose? I didn’t need a proposal; I would have been just as happy to stay your boyfriend. Maybe we would have broken up down the road, and maybe it would have broken my heart, but I wouldn’t have felt as...as betrayed as I do right now.”

His breathing was becoming labored as the anger boiled up to the surface. “I loved you; nothing I did negated that love. I did everything I could for us to be able to start a life together. I don’t know that I’ll ever understand what you did…or forgive you.” He paused and drew a deep breath, and his voice was steady and sure as he continued. “I want you to finish packing up your stuff; take what you want of whatever we bought together. I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon.”

Blaine didn’t look at Peter as he grabbed the bag he had packed earlier and walked out of the bedroom and out of Peter’s life. He waited until he’d driven down the street before he pulled over, shaking and crying until the tears finally dried and it didn’t hurt to breathe.

~*~*~*

Blaine drove aimlessly, debating where he should spend the night. He knew that Sam or Tina would let him stay, but he also knew they’d want to talk about what happened. He really didn’t feel up to discussing how he’d fallen in love with the wrong man, and when he found the right one he stayed in the wrong relationship for what he thought were the right reasons. He ended up parked at the beach in Santa Monica, the first and last place he’d ever felt truly happy with his life. He wanted to get out and walk down to his favorite spot, but he knew that navigating the beach in his present state could lead to disaster. Instead he scrolled through his contacts until he found the one other person he knew would understand what he was feeling and dialed. He let his thumb rub over the ring on his finger as he waited for his call to be answered.

“Hello,” came the voice on the other end of the line.

“Oh! Did I wake you? I’m sorry, I’ll call back in the morning.”

“Blaine? What’s wrong?”

Throwing caution to the winds, he blurted, “Can I come over? I really need to see you right now; it can’t wait.”

“Sure, come over. We’ll talk for as long as you need.”

“Thanks, I’ll be there in a while. I’m in Santa Monica.”

“No problem. I’ll be waiting for you.”

“Thanks. See you soon.”

Almost an hour later he pulled into the driveway and stopped at the gate, waiting for it to open for him. He parked his car in the driveway and took a deep breath before opening his door and getting out of the car. He must have been a sight, for as soon as he emerged from the car, he was engulfed by the strong arms he had been thinking of ever since he’d driven away from his past. He took a deep, shuddering breath and was instantly calmed by the scent of sleepy man, with undertones of citrus and honey. It was a scent that shouldn’t have been as ingrained in his memories as it was; he’d only been in these arms briefly. The release of the breath also released a fresh burst of tears.

“I’m sorry,” he said as he wiped the tears from his eyes. “I don’t know why I’m crying so much. Can we go inside? I need to wash my face.”

“Of course. You can use the powder room down the hall or go up and use the guest bathroom. Whichever you want. While you’re doing that, I’ll make us some tea.”

“Thank you,” Blaine replied as he began climbing the stairs. “Kurt, I really appreciate you letting me come over so late. I didn’t know where else to go.”

Kurt smiled at him and watched as Blaine went up the stairs before going into the kitchen to put some water on for tea. Something obviously had happened to Blaine tonight, and he needed a friend. So that is what Kurt would be; he would put his own feelings aside for one night in order to listen, as a friend, and try to help Blaine in whatever way he could.

Blaine spent his time in the bathroom washing his face and gathering his thoughts, trying to put them in some kind of order. He knew, intellectually, that breaking up with Peter had been inevitable, but that didn’t make it hurt any less. They had spent years together; they had been planning the rest of their lives together. He never imagined he would fall in love with someone else—someone who seemed to understand him in a way Peter never had.

By the time Blaine made it back downstairs, Kurt was sitting on the couch in a very comfortable, yet tasteful living room. Blaine hadn’t even noticed when he’d first entered, but now that he was a little calmer, he recalled that Kurt had told him that he bought the house as an investment and as a home base, but didn’t really entertain or have people over. His dad had only been to visit a couple times; Kurt usually preferred to visit him for holidays if he wasn’t on a film set somewhere. The rest of the house had been decorated by one of the top designers in L.A., but Kurt chose everything for this room and his bedroom himself. He wanted to have someplace that felt like him, not some pricey designer’s idea of him. Blaine thought it suited Kurt, it was classic, yet he felt as if a person could sprawl across the couch if he wanted, and he wouldn’t feel out of place.

Blaine sat next to Kurt, close enough to gain comfort, far enough away to not make Kurt uncomfortable with his presence. Kurt handed him a mug of peppermint tea and took one for himself. Blaine let the heat seep into his hands before bringing the mug to his lips and taking a tentative sip. He was pleased when the warmth worked from the inside as well as the outside.

He set the mug down, leaned back into the cushions and took a deep breath. He let it out before saying, “I’m pretty sure Peter broke up with me tonight, or maybe I broke up with him. Either way, I think we’re done.”

Kurt looked at Blaine, put his mug down and started to reach a hand toward Blaine, pulling it back before he actually touched him. He didn’t want to startle Blaine in any way or put any sort of pressure on him, preferring to let him tell the story in his own time and his own way.

“I got the annulment papers in the mail this week, and I wanted to have a special evening with Peter. I designed an engagement ring, made his favorite meal—I made everything perfect. I was going to propose to him tonight. Set a date, or suggest eloping; I don’t know. But he was three hours late getting home. I was so upset; I went into the bedroom. I just wanted to crawl in bed and forget about everything. His closet door was cracked open, as if someone had been in there since I left in the morning. When I opened the door, everything was gone. I didn’t know what to do; so I sat there trying to remember the last time I’d actually seen him. And I couldn’t remember. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d gone into his closet for anything. I don’t know when he took everything out of there, but it was all gone. I sat there for hours, and then I got up and packed myself a bag and waited for him to get home. I was willing to wait for as long as it took.

“When he finally came home, I asked him where everything was, and he told me he’d moved out weeks ago. He told me,” Blaine had to stop and try to control the sobs coming from deep within himself, “he told me that he’d never wanted to get married. He only proposed because he thought that’s what I wanted. All the things we talked about, all the plans we made—everything was just to make me happy. And then I went to Las Vegas and came home married.

“I thought he was just being understanding. But he was relieved. It was the perfect excuse for him to call everything off, and he wouldn’t be the bad guy. He didn’t want to be the bad guy! But he was perfectly fine with me being the bad guy. He said that he watched me when I talked to you, or about you, and he saw a difference in me. He was hoping that I’d realize what he already knew, and that I would be happy without him.”

Blaine used the heels of his hands to press into his eyes, trying to block out all the bad from his life over the past couple months. “I don’t know what to do. I was so set to marry Peter; I didn’t see what was staring me right in the face. I know that our relationship is over,” he paused and continued more quietly, hesitantly, “but the one I grew to want without even knowing is over now, too.”

Kurt couldn’t stand to watch the agony on Blaine’s face any longer. He moved closer to Blaine and put his arms around his shoulders, pulling him closer when he realized that Blaine wasn’t going to try to move away.

“I’m never going to say goodbye to you, Blaine. Since the moment I saw you walk into that club in Vegas, I’ve wanted you in my life. When you told me you were engaged, I was willing to call you my friend. When we got married, I was so very happy to call you my husband. But when I realized you didn’t feel the same way, I was willing to get the marriage I wanted so much annulled if it meant I might have even the slightest chance of keeping you as a friend. These past weeks, spending time with you, were the happiest I’ve had in a really long time.”

Kurt tipped Blaine’s chin up with his fingers, bringing Blaine’s line of sight up to meet his. “I will always be here for you. If you want to be my friend, I’ll be content with that. If you want to be more than that, I’ll be more than ecstatic. I feel like you walked into that club for a reason; I think you were looking for something and you found it in me.”

Kurt bent his head forward, placing his forehead against Blaine’s. He smiled shyly at Blaine, and said, “I love you. I know you just had your heart broken; so I don’t expect anything from you. But I want you to know that it’s true; I love you, Blaine Anderson. And I will continue to love you until the day the earth stops spinning.”

Blaine couldn’t stop looking into Kurt’s eyes. It was as if he was seeing his future within those depths, a future he knew would make him happy. He opened his mouth to speak, but was stopped by Kurt’s index finger pressing softly against his lips.

“No, don’t say anything right now. It’s been a very emotional night for you, and I don’t want you to say something you might regret later. If you are ever ready, you just need to say those three words; eight little letters. And if you say them, you will know I’m yours.”

Tears were streaming down both their faces, but this time Blaine’s tears were from joy rather than sorrow. Instead of trying to make sentences from the jumbled-up words in his head, he nodded and offered a small smile to Kurt. He then placed his hand on Kurt’s heart, happy to feel the steady beat beneath his palm.

“Let’s get you upstairs and into bed.” At Blaine’s questioning look, he continued, “In the guest room, of course. What kind of man do you think I am, Mr. Anderson?” Kurt lightly mocked, trying to sound like a proper southern gentleman, but instead sounding as far from proper as one person could get. He followed that up with a wink and a smile before rising from the couch and offering his hand to help Blaine up. When Blaine looked at Kurt’s hand, he noticed the gold band encircling Kurt’s ring finger. In the back of his mind he wondered if Kurt realized he still wore his wedding ring. He smiled as he placed his hand in Kurt’s and let Kurt help him stand.

Kurt asked, “Is your bag still in the car? Give me your keys, and I’ll go get it. You go upstairs and jump in the shower; I’ll leave your bag on your bed. There should be soap and shampoo in the shower, and there are towels on the shelf. There are new toothbrushes and toothpaste in the top drawer; help yourself if you need one.”

“Thank you, Kurt. I really appreciate all you’re doing for me tonight,” Blaine said. He made his way to the guest room, removed his clothes, and stepped into the shower. He decided the showerhead must be made of magic; the pressure was just strong enough to relieve the stress in his body, but never felt too intense for comfort.

True to his word, Kurt had placed his bag on the bed, along with a t-shirt and pair of sleep pants. He moved his bag to the floor and slipped into the clothes Kurt left for him before sliding between the sheets. He slept better that night than he had in a very long time.

The next morning, Blaine was awakened by the smell of sausage, onions, potatoes and eggs. And coffee. It smelled like heaven. He stumbled through a trip to the bathroom, not even bothering trying to make his hair look any better. Kurt said he loved him last night; if he still felt the same way after seeing what Blaine looks like first thing in the morning, then he was definitely ‘The One’. Blaine was surprised to find his mood light enough to joke with himself as he followed the tantalizing aromas.

Kurt was standing in the kitchen, his back to Blaine and his hips swaying to some unheard melody playing in his head when Blaine entered. He stood watching Kurt for a minute, but the siren call of caffeine was too strong; so he cleared his throat to let Kurt know that he wasn’t alone and stepped toward the coffee maker. Kurt looked over his shoulder and barely managed to stifle his laughter as he saw Blaine for the first time since they parted ways at the staircase.

“Good morning! Did you sleep well? I made my favorite comfort breakfast,” Kurt said as he poured coffee into Blaine’s mug and offered him the milk and the sugar.

“Morning,” Blaine mumbled into his coffee. At the first welcome taste and buzz of caffeine, he moaned, sounding as if he’d finally seen water after spending weeks in a parched desert. He and Kurt didn’t say anything until he’d finished his first mug. By then he felt more like himself and better able to have an actual conversation. “Thank you again for letting me stay the night. I slept better than I have in a long time. I’m pretty sure that bed was made of clouds or something.”

Kurt laughed and bent down to take the pan out of the oven, shaking it slightly to test for doneness. Satisfied with the results, he left it on the stove and moved to grab plates and silverware. He set two place settings on the other side of the counter and served up healthy slices of what was the best smelling egg concoction Blaine had ever smelled. As he retrieved orange juice and condiments from the fridge, Kurt motioned for Blaine to have a seat. After refilling their coffee, Kurt took a seat as well.

The first bite Blaine took was followed by a moan to rival that of his coffee reaction. “Oh my god, Kurt. This is amazing. If we weren’t freshly annulled, I’d kidnap you, take you to Vegas, and force you to marry me all over again.” Blaine’s mouth seemed to be running ahead of his brain. “I-I mean, this is really delicious. Thank you for making breakfast.”

Kurt’s smile was fond as he finished eating. “You’re welcome. And I wouldn’t need to be kidnapped to marry you. I did it once of my own volition. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. All you’d have to do is ask.”

They ate in a silence that seemed an odd combination of comfortable and slightly awkward; then Kurt gathered the dirty dishes and took them to the sink. “So, what are your plans for today? Do you need to go to work or go back to your house and make sure Peter doesn’t steal the good china?”

Blaine shook his head. “No, I told Peter to take whatever he wanted. We had different styles; I don’t anticipate much will be missing when I go back. I’m not sure I’m up to going back or going to work. Today is Charlotte’s full day; I usually take the time for paperwork and stuff. She should be able to handle things without me. I’ll probably go find someplace to hang out until Peter’s gone. I told him he had until this afternoon, but I’m pretty sure he’d already moved everything he wanted.”

“You could stay here, if you want. It’s a big house; I promise not to get in your way. You can hang out wherever you want, including lying out by the pool or taking a nap under my favorite tree. Mi casa es su casa.” As Blaine murmured his thanks, Kurt continued, “Make yourself at home, and let me know if you need anything. I’ll be up in my office reading a couple scripts,” Kurt said before heading toward the staircase. “And leave the dishes, I’ll take care of them later. It’ll be a nice break from what I’m sure will be very awful scripts.”

Blaine couldn’t decide where he wanted to settle down and think; so he walked around the house, hoping that the perfect place would come to him when he saw it. No room in the house seemed to pique his interest, so he opened the large French doors to the backyard and gasped when he saw the beautiful landscaping extending from the patio. There were three distinct areas of the yard. The back was wild with color from every flower imaginable and included a double lounger placed under a shade tree. The large pool area included a waterfall feature, which gurgled and babbled just loudly enough to create a calming white noise. The third area was a state of the art outdoor kitchen that looked as if it got just as much, if not more, use than the kitchen they’d eaten in this morning.

Blaine chose to lie on the lounger under the tree, and was pleasantly surprised to find the pillows smelled like Kurt. He must have fallen asleep at some point, because he woke to the sound of someone moving around in the patio’s kitchen area. He saw Kurt standing at the grill, flipping something remarkably disc-like into the air; Blaine rose to walk over to see what he was doing. He was surprised to see plates and bowls containing various pizza toppings, including cheeses, meats, and vegetables. Somehow, without knowing much about Blaine, Kurt had created a perfect way for them to get to know each other better.

“Hey! That’s a great place to nap, isn’t it? No matter what I tell myself I’m going to do while sitting there, I inevitably end up sleeping for hours. Anyway, I didn’t know what you liked on your pizza; so I prepared a bit of everything.” He pointed to a lightly grilled crust. “There’s your crust; if you’ll add whatever toppings you want, I’ll put it back on to heat everything up and get it all melty. This is my favorite way to enjoy pizza.”

Blaine and Kurt worked side by side, putting toppings on their crusts; then Kurt put them back on the grill. He closed the lid and set the timer on his phone. While they waited, they went into the house to get drinks, plates and napkins. By the time they’d set the outdoor table, the timer was going off, and they settled in to eat.

“This is probably the best pizza I’ve ever had,” Blaine mumbled, trying not to talk with his mouth full. “I’ve never had it grilled before. How did you come up with that?”

“After my mom died, I had to learn to cook so my dad and I could eat something besides take-out. My dad loved pizza, and grilling was the only way he could make anything without setting it on fire. I know, seems backward, right? Anyway, one night he brought home some pre-made crusts, grated cheese and pepperoni slices. The oven wouldn’t heat up; so he said ‘guess we’ll have to cook these on the grill.’ We put stuff on the crusts in the house while the grill heated up; then dad put them on until the cheese started bubbling and they were the best pizzas we’d ever had. We never had restaurant pizza again. It became our Friday night ritual. When he remarried, we included Carole and Finn in the tradition. I don’t think Finn understood what it meant to us, but he was there every Friday night until he died. Dad and Carole still make pizzas, but Dad’s have more veggies on them now and less cheese and pepperoni because of his heart.” He gave a slight shrug and soft smile. “I do this every time I want to feel closer to my family.”

Blaine could sense how emotional this conversation was for Kurt as he told his story; so he reached out and held Kurt’s hand, hoping to give a little bit of comfort. “I’m sorry to hear that your brother died. I’m glad you have such wonderful memories though. Thank you for sharing this with me.”

~*~*~*

They spent the rest of the day sitting at the table reading scripts Kurt was examining for future potential. Blaine alternated between laughing at the titles, “Tender Shag! Are you considering porn now?” and crying, “Double Meaningless, Kurt! It’s so sad. Julie and Martin were supposed to end up together, forever.”

Kurt laughed along when Blaine did, and he tried to comfort him when the tears came, but he didn’t know how much he should touch Blaine for fear of him withdrawing. He had saved the best script for last, the one he really wanted to do. He took a deep breath, handed the script to Blaine, and said, “This is the one I really want. As soon as I heard about it, I asked Daniel to get me a copy of the script. I know how Jack feels. Now I just need to make the producers and director believe that I can be Jack.”

Blaine read the title, Running with Tradition, and then opened to the first page and began reading. The further into the story he got, the more he could see Kurt playing Jack. By the end of the script Blaine had gone on the same ride Jack had and couldn’t imagine anyone else in the part. “You are Jack, Kurt. If they can’t or won’t see that...” he shook his head. “I don’t know how they couldn’t. It’s perfect for you; they will see that. Just like I do.”

Blaine rose from his seat across from Kurt at the table, walked around until he was standing in front of Kurt and lifted Kurt’s chin until they were looking into each other’s eyes. He saw the love Kurt had confessed the night before shining in his eyes, and he hoped Kurt saw the love in his eyes, too. He slowly lowered his head, feeling Kurt’s breath lightly caress his cheek before their lips touched, their eyes closed, and the only thing of any importance in the world was them. Right here, right now. And possibly in the future, but this was enough.

Kurt reached one hand up to the back of Blaine’s head and deepened the kiss; his other hand moved to the small of Blaine’s back and with light pressure brought Blaine closer to his body. They both lost all sense of time. The kiss could have lasted for only a moment or forever. Eventually, though, they had to pause to catch their breath. Kurt kept his hands on Blaine’s body, easing up on the pressure but making Blaine aware that he was exactly where Kurt wanted him to be. As their lips parted, they rested their foreheads together as they sucked in large gulps of air. “You take my breath away, Blaine Anderson. I’ve never felt this way before—about anyone. I hope you know that I will wait for you, forever if I have to. And I will be proud to call you mine,” Kurt said before leaning in for another kiss, this one just as toe-curling as the last, but also sweet and soft.

“I want to be with you,” Blaine answered, “but I don’t know that I’m ready to fall into another relationship. What I thought was forever turned out to be a farce. I don’t know that I could live with that happening again.” He shook his head when Kurt tried to interrupt, “No, I know that you’re being sincere. And I know that you want to be with me, but I knew that about Peter, too. And he broke my heart.” Blaine extracted himself from Kurt’s grip, took a step back, and his body seemed to deflate. He knew that Kurt could see the pain of his heart wanting to believe, but not wanting to hurt again. “I do lo—”

“No,” Kurt interrupted gently. “Don’t say it until you’re ready. Don’t say it because you think it’s what I want to hear; say it because it’s what you want to say. But know that I will be here when you’re ready. I’ll wait for you, as long as it takes.”

Blaine nodded; his eyes closed and a tear rolled down his cheek. “Okay,” he breathed. “I should probably go home. I have some things I need to do, and I need to go in to work tomorrow. Thanks for letting me stay here last night. And thank you for distracting me this afternoon.” He pointed to the script for Running with Tradition on the table and said, “Do whatever you have to do to get that part. Audition, grovel, whatever it takes. It was written for you.”

Kurt watched as Blaine opened the front door and walked out of his life. He wouldn’t let himself believe it was forever; Blaine would be ready to be with him. With that belief, Kurt could face the future, and he knew he would get that part; Daniel owed it to him to help him get an audition. Once he met the casting director, he knew he could prove that he was the only option for the role. He heard Blaine’s car start and the gate opening and closing. He was alone, and for the first time in a long time he didn’t want to be.

Blaine drove home on autopilot as he let his mind wander to all that had happened in less than twenty-four hours. The house was dark when he finally arrived, but he hadn’t expected anything else. He hadn’t expected Peter to change his mind, and deep in his soul he knew that if Peter did change his mind, Blaine would have to call the relationship off. Love for Kurt had snuck up on him, and as soon as he realized he was in love with Kurt, he knew that what he had felt for Peter hadn’t been true. He loved Peter; he always would in some way, but he was in love with Kurt. It was a love that would never wane. Now he just needed to take some time to heal his heart and then go to Kurt and give him everything. His body, mind, soul, and heart would all belong to Kurt.

He wasn’t sure what he had expected to find when he opened his front door, but a virtually empty room was not even close. Peter had always said that the furniture Blaine chose was not ‘modern enough’ for him, whatever that meant. Blaine had chosen things that were comfortable to use and that made the house look like a home. Evidently, Peter had decided he liked them well enough to take them when he left. Blaine walked from the living room through the dining room and into the kitchen, and noted that Peter was kind enough to set up a card table and folding chair for him to eat at. In the kitchen, he had left the plates, glasses and silverware. Most of the small appliances were also left, except for the fancy coffee machine he had given Blaine for their first Christmas together. Blaine sighed as he moved out of the kitchen toward the bedroom.

He probably shouldn’t have been surprised to see what was, or wasn’t, left in the bedroom. The clothes that had been in the beautiful dresser they had chosen to complement the bed and side tables were piled in boxes, haphazardly thrown in in haste. The bed, which was the only thing they had both agreed on, was gone along with the side tables and lamps. The only piece of furniture in the room was the wing-back chair Blaine had inherited from his grandparents. At least he left that for me. The bathroom was missing most of the towels, leaving Blaine with the old ones they only used for the beach. Luckily they had doors on the shower; Blaine wouldn’t have been a bit surprised to find the shower curtain missing.

In the guest room, Blaine’s childhood bedroom set was still there, but Peter had taken the mattress set with him. The office was missing the printer and wireless router; Blaine’s laptop and tablet were still plugged into the wall, but sitting on the arm of the couch rather than the desk, which Peter apparently decided he wanted, as well. The hide-away couch, which had been purchased from a second-hand shop early in their relationship, was still there. At least he had someplace to sleep; at this point he was willing to sleep on a pile of rocks (the hide-a-bed wouldn’t be much better really). Peter had left the bedding for the hide-a-bed and one pillow. He also left every quilt Blaine had received from his two grandmothers while growing up.

Blaine grabbed the pillow and one of his favorite quilts from the closet, pulled the bed out of the couch, hastily made it up, and fell to the mattress; he hoped that his exhaustion would outweigh the feeling of sleeping on a slab of concrete. He spent a long time thinking about how quickly a home could be emptied of all the good memories, along with most of the furniture. He hoped Peter was happy and was very glad they had decided to wait until after the wedding to combine their money into one account. If Peter could justify leaving Blaine with nothing in the house, he couldn’t begin to imagine his justification for taking all of their money as well.

His night was as far from restful as one could be and still be called sleep. He spent the night alternately trying to find a sleeping position that didn’t include a spring in his kidneys and dreaming about something trying to take Kurt from him before they could profess their love. That something had a striking resemblance to Peter.

Waking was less a leisurely stroll and more a loud pounding that wouldn’t go away. By the time he gave up fighting the pounding and opened his eyes, he realized the pounding wasn’t in his head, but at his front door. He reluctantly got out of bed, and winced as his body straightened from the contorted position he had been forced to sleep in as he made his way through the empty living room to the front door. As soon as he opened it, he was bombarded by Tina and Sam pushing their way into the house and asking rapid fire questions they didn’t seem to want answered.

The questions stopped as soon as they saw the state of the living room. “Whoa! Were you robbed?” Sam couldn’t stop turning his head, looking at what was left. “Did you call the police? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure you’ve been robbed.”

“No, Sam, I wasn’t robbed. Peter and I broke up two days ago. I left to... I left and told him to take what he wanted. Obviously he wanted almost everything. I got home last night to this.” Blaine waved his arms around to encompass the whole house.

“Oh, Blaine, I’m so sorry you guys broke up,” Tina said. “Did he really take everything? I thought he always said he hated the furniture you picked out. Why would he take it if he hated it?”

“I don’t know, but it probably has a lot to do with what happened in Vegas. He admitted he never wanted to get married. So I guess some furniture is a small price to pay for finding that out before the wedding.” He shrugged his shoulders and asked, “Would you guys wait while I get cleaned up and changed? I really need some coffee and to get to work this morning. I’ll be as fast as I can.”

“Sure. Want me to get the coffee started? It’ll be ready when you get out of the shower,” Sam said as he walked into the kitchen.

Blaine stuck his head out the bedroom door and said, “He took the coffee maker.”

Fifteen minutes later Blaine changed the alarm code and locked the door. Sam and Tina were already on their way to the coffee shop near Blaine’s gallery. He double checked that the door was locked, and made a mental note to call a locksmith to have the locks changed as soon as possible. If Peter wanted all the furniture that was fine, but Blaine wasn’t going to let him do anything to the house before they decided whether they should sell it or one of them should buy the other out. Blaine parked at the gallery and walked to the coffee shop down the street to meet Sam and Tina. When he walked into the coffee shop, he spotted Tina and Sam sitting at a table with a third person facing away from the door. He felt he should recognize the person, but didn’t until he got close enough to hear their conversation, and he recognized Kurt.

“—lieve he took it all.” He might have caught only the tail end of what Kurt was saying, but Blaine knew what they were talking about.

“Hey guys! Kurt, what are you doing here?” Blaine continued speaking without giving anyone a chance to speak, “ I’m gonna go grab a coffee. You guys need anything?” Blaine set his messenger bag on the empty chair at the table and walked to the counter as soon as he saw them shake their heads. “Great, be back in a few.”

He ordered some biscotti to go along with his coffee and made it back to the table in time to hear Tina whisper, “He’s coming; shut up!”

“So, what’s up? Anything new or crappy happen to you yesterday?” He dipped his biscotti into his coffee letting it soak for a few seconds and then took a bite. “Because I really need to hear about someone else’s problems right now; I have to add mattress shopping and locksmith to my ‘to do’ list for today. And I hope the mattress can be delivered today because the hide-a-bed just about killed me last night.” He looked around the table at his three friends, trying to play everything off as no big deal. It was just stuff after all, and he really didn’t want to cry again. It felt like all he’d been doing for the last two days was cry. There shouldn’t be any more tears available in his body.

Kurt looked at him and a small smile was on his lips as he said, “Sam called. I have a meeting in the area; so I accepted his invitation for coffee. I didn’t know you’d be here though.” He looked at Sam and then at Tina. When neither of them would admit to subterfuge, he continued, “Daniel got me a meeting with the director of that movie we talked about. Evidently she’s a fan of my work, and I was on the list for the part! I haven’t forgiven him yet, but this brings him closer. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have even shown me the script if not for being in the doghouse with me right now. He’s never seen my career going in this direction, so...” He rolled his hand as if to thank the past weeks for his good fortune.

“That’s great, Kurt. I’m so happy for you…and proud of you. I know you’ll get the part and own it,” Blaine said, he placed his hand on Kurt’s knee briefly and then turned to the other people at their table. “What about you guys? Any good stories to tell?”

Sam and Tina could only stare at the way Blaine and Kurt seemed to be so tied together. Their mouths were open slightly as if they wanted to say something, but didn’t know what to say.

“Wha—”

“You—”

They tried to speak at the same time, which Kurt seemed to find funny. Blaine could feel the suppressed laughter through Kurt’s knee, where his hand still rested. He could very easily drink coffee and eat biscotti one-handed.

“Kurt was kind enough to take me in after Peter and I broke up. We talked, and things are good between us. And that’s all we’ll tell you for now,” Blaine said while squeezing Kurt’s knee. “I have a lot to sort through, and I want to do it by myself. This first thing is finding time to get to the store. I also need a coffee maker.”

“We can go get the stuff for you and then wait at the house for the delivery. We can also be there for the locksmith,” Tina said, finally finding her voice. “Just tell us what you want, and we’ll take care of everything.”

Kurt shook his head at them and said, “Blaine, let me lend you a bed, and anything else you might need. I have a storage locker full of furniture I’m not using. It’s stuff I had in my first house; my designer didn’t like the ‘aesthetic’, but I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it. The furniture was the first big purchase I made after I made my first movie. Every piece holds sentimental value, but it’s just sitting there. It should be used, even if it’s just temporarily. I can’t think of a better reason, or person, to pull it out of storage. Just tell me what you need, and I’ll have it delivered later today.”

“Kurt, I appreciate it, but I don’t need a house full of furniture. I’m not sure I’m going to keep the house or even if I can afford to keep it by myself. I’d have to buy Peter out of his half, and that would wipe out my savings. And I don’t know that I can afford the mortgage by myself. For now I think a mattress and coffee maker is all I need. Once I make a decision on how to approach Peter about the house, I’ll be in a better place to make that kind of decision.”

“Okay, then let me at least lend you a bed. I have a house full of beds that never get used. It seems a waste for them to just sit there and not be used,” Kurt said; the look of pleading in his eyes was enough to make Blaine agree.

“Fine, one bed, but that’s all,” he said, and then turned to Sam and Tina. “You guys wouldn’t mind being there for the locksmith? That would really help me out. Take my key, I changed the code on the alarm; it’s now the year I met Sam. Do you remember that?”

Sam and Tina both nodded their heads. Sam took the key, but immediately handed it to Tina. Tina rolled her eyes, but pocketed the key anyway. “We’ll take care of it. What time do you want us to be there? I’m free this morning, but I have an appointment at one. I should be available by two thirty for the rest of the day.”

“I’ll call a locksmith as soon as I get to the gallery and text you as soon as I have a time scheduled,” Blaine told her as he stood to leave. He grabbed his messenger bag, thanked his friends and, depositing his plate and mug in the bin on the way to the door, left the coffee shop and walked back to the gallery.

By the time he made it home that evening, new key in hand, Blaine was exhausted. The emotional roller coaster of the past few days, months even, had taken their toll on him. All he wanted to do was take a shower and crawl into bed. The memory of his night spent in Kurt’s guest room was front and center in his mind. His body remembered how he sank into that mattress, and how he was asleep instantly. He remembered that he felt better rested after that one night than he had in months.

He wasn’t expecting to open his door and find that his living room had furniture in it, including a television sitting in a very nice entertainment center. The dining room had an oval table with six chairs placed around it. In the kitchen was a coffee maker, the newest model of the one Peter took, with a note leaning against it. The note said, “We wanted you to have one of your own. We love you. Sam and Tina.”

Blaine smiled at the note and wiped the tears from his cheeks as he walked into his bedroom. Kurt had not only sent over a bed, he’d sent over the bed Blaine had slept in at his house. The bedside tables were there, as was the dresser. Sam and Tina, but probably more Tina, had taken all the clothes from the boxes and put them away in the dresser. The bed was made, and Blaine could smell Kurt’s laundry detergent and fabric softener when he ran his fingers over the duvet. The bed was turned down and sitting on the pillow was a note from Kurt. “I know you only wanted a bed, but you shouldn’t have to come home to a house, you should come home to a ‘home’. Look under the pillow.”

Blaine lifted the pillow and couldn’t help the laughter that escaped his mouth when he saw the t-shirt and sleep pants Kurt left for him. He couldn’t wait to show Kurt that he didn’t actually sleep in his clothes, but until that day came, he would gladly sleep in what Kurt had left for him. They’d make him feel closer to the man he loved. A quick shower and he was ready for bed.

The next morning, before he could fully open his eyes, he smelled coffee brewing in his new coffee maker. Thank god someone thought to set the timer for him. He texted Kurt on his way out the door, “I want to see you tonight. Come over?” Kurt answered while he was driving, so he had to wait until he was parked to see his reply. “I’ll be there. Always.”

Chapter Text

~Six Months later~

It really was the perfect day for a wedding. There were no clouds in the sky and, despite the heat wave they had been experiencing, the temperature would be in the perfect mid-seventies by the time they would be walking down the aisle.

It had taken Blaine exactly thirty seconds after Kurt arrived to say, “I love you.” And by the end of the weekend, a weekend spent in bed exploring each other’s bodies in between short naps and long conversations, Blaine had decided he didn’t want to buy Peter’s half of the house. He knew that he wanted to be with Kurt; so he and Peter put the house on the market. Blaine moved his clothes and other personal effects into Kurt’s house, and their relationship was the one Blaine had always dreamed of. Kurt’s furniture stayed in the house until it was sold, and then it was moved back to his storage locker along with Blaine’s childhood bedroom set and everything from the office (except the very uncomfortable hide-a-bed couch, which they donated to charity).

But today they would stand in front of their friends and families and vow to love each other for eternity.

Blaine stood in the doorway of the small tent set up for him as a changing room and looked out at the white chairs set up for their guests. The florist was there with their wedding planner, talking and laughing as they watched the final preparations. He thought back on the last six months and wondered if he’d always be as happy as he was today.

It hadn’t been perfect all the time. Almost as soon as Blaine had moved in, Kurt had gotten the part in Running with Tradition and the studio had rushed it into production, wanting to capitalize on Kurt’s Oscar nomination. So Kurt had spent six weeks on location, and Blaine had spent six weeks alone and missing Kurt. When Kurt finished shooting, he had rushed home and they had spent the next week becoming reacquainted. Blaine had proposed the morning of the sixth day, and Kurt had said yes.

“You should get changed dude. Don’t want to be late for your own wedding,” Sam said as he walked up to Blaine. “I promised Kurt I’d keep you calm, but if you’re any calmer I don’t think you’ll be able to move. I’m glad you found each other, and I’m proud to call both of you my friends.”

“Thanks, Sam. I’m really happy; I feel as if I’ve been waiting for this day my whole life. And it’s almost unbelievable that in half an hour I’ll be marrying the man of my dreams.” Blaine turned around and let the tent flap fall into place. He walked over to the garment bag hanging on the rack and unzipped it. The suit inside was one he’d chosen with Brittany’s help.

“So, I know there’s no bride in this wedding, but I’ve always liked the idea of not seeing each other before meeting at the altar. I think we should do our own version of that. We’ll both be wearing suits, unless there’s something you want to tell me?” Kurt’s eyebrow game was so sexy. Blaine had fallen under its spell many times over the last six months, and he was okay with that. “Okay, I’ll take your silence as a ‘no’. I think we should have a third party be involved in the choosing of our suits. That person can go with both of us and make sure they complement each other, but can’t tell what the other person is wearing. And I think that should be Brittany. She’s been my stylist for years, and I know she can keep a secret. She can steer us away from clashing colors and styles, and she can get us appointments with the top designers.”

“That sounds like a really good idea; I wouldn’t want my bright orange suit and ruffled pink shirt to distract from what you’re wearing,” Blaine said, and he got the reaction he was going for when Kurt shot out of his seat and turned red with dismay. He sat back and watched Kurt pace back and forth muttering under his breath all the things he would do to him and Brittany if he showed up to their wedding wearing anything other than a tasteful designer suit. “Honey, sit down. I was kidding. Orange is NOT my color.”

The suit Blaine was wearing was navy blue, and there were absolutely no ruffles anywhere. He knew that Kurt would accept him in whatever he wore, or didn’t wear for that matter, but he wanted to look nice at his wedding. He had known this was the suit when Santana, who had decided she needed to go shopping with him, had said, “Wow, if I were into dicks, I’d totally rip that off you and do you right here.”

He slipped his arms into the jacket and allowed Sam to make sure everything was sitting right and there was no lint in sight. The last item to add was the small pin to his lapel. Kurt had designed Blaine’s pin, and Blaine designed Kurt’s; they had exchanged them at the rehearsal the evening before.

They sneaked off to a corner of the dining room while their families continued getting to know each other. They knew they’d have very little time and wanted to open the boxes together. Kurt handed his box to Blaine and waited while he opened it. He watched as Blaine looked at the lapel pin inside and waited with anticipation as Blaine carefully extracted the pin from its satin cushion. Blaine smiled and then looked up at Kurt. “It’s beautiful, Kurt. I love it.” The lapel pin looked like swirling fire in the low light, but when you studied it you would see small diamonds forming infinity symbols which circled around two larger diamonds. Blaine leaned in and kissed Kurt softly before he removed his gift to Kurt from his pocket and handed it to his husband-to-be.

Kurt lifted the lid off the box and couldn’t help the gasp when he saw his lapel pin. Blaine had designed a pin with two bands overlapping. One band was gold, and one was platinum, but where the two bands met the metals were wrapped around each other almost becoming one metal. In the small space created in the overlap of the two bands sat one stone of dark, rich citrine. The color, according to the jewelry designer, closely matched the color of Blaine’s eyes when he talked about Kurt. “The stone is a symbol for success and prosperity. The gold band was made from the rings we bought in Vegas; the platinum band I had made at the same time as our wedding bands. That’s our past and our present combined into our future. I wanted you to have something small to take with you to remind you of me when you go on location.” Blaine was very glad his back was so close to the wall when he found himself almost knocked to the ground by the force of Kurt lunging into his arms.

When they were planning the wedding, they decided to not wear boutonnieres on their suits. The only flowers would be at the reception as centerpieces. Each centerpiece was made up of small flowering plants; at the end of the evening each guest would take a part of their centerpiece home and would have a living remembrance of the wedding, a remembrance which would grow each year, just like their relationship.

“Okay, I’m ready. Tell Kurt I’ll meet him at the altar,” Blaine said as he took one fortifying breath and watched Sam leave the tent.

“Gotcha. Don’t worry about a thing. Everything is perfect.” And with a salute, Sam was gone.

Blaine waited for the wedding planner’s cue to leave the tent and head to his starting point. They had chosen this spot for not only the view, but for the two coves which were perfect to hide in until it was time to take their last walks as single men. Blaine heard the music begin and waited for a count of ten before he stepped out of his cove and slowly walked toward Kurt. They met at the designated spot and waited while the music ended. And then the ceremony began.

They couldn’t decide who should perform the ceremony. Kurt wasn’t religious, and Blaine hadn’t been to church since he left his parents’ house for college. They thought about asking a friend, but couldn’t decide on which friend to ask. Kurt suggested Cooper. Blaine said, “No. Nope. Never gonna happen.” Kurt then suggested his father, Burt. Blaine had agreed Burt seemed like the best choice; so they called him together and asked him if he would perform the wedding ceremony for them. After the tears and whoops of joy, he gladly agreed, “Yes, of course I will.”

“I’ve only done this one other time, and it wasn’t for my son; so bear with me if I get all teary. Since they asked me to stand with them and officiate at their wedding, I’ve been trying to decide what I want to say, what kind of wisdom I want to share. And the only thing I could think of didn’t seem enough. Love one another. It’s that simple. If you remember every day that you love the person you have chosen to spend your life with, nothing else will matter.

“I’ve been lucky to find love twice in my life; once with Kurt’s mom, and again with Carole. Love is never easy, but it’s always worth the work to make it last. I see the love you two share. I see it every time you touch, every time you look at each other, and I’m so proud to be here to not only witness your pledge, but to bless it. There was a time, not too many years ago, that what we are gathered to celebrate wouldn’t have been valid in the eyes of this country, much less this state, but I’m so happy their love is now accepted.

“Each person here this evening shares in my joy in joining these two men, my sons, in marriage.” He had to stop to wipe his eyes and gather himself, and there wasn’t a dry eye visible. Even the catering staff, standing at the edge of the covered pavilion, were wiping tears from their eyes. “I’m sure I had much more to say, but I can’t remember what it was. And I think what you have to say to each other is much more important. So, let’s hear your vows. Who wants to go first?”

In his wildest dreams, Blaine never thought his life would turn out the way it had. All of the inconveniences and arguments were worth it in the end. As he looked at the man standing across from him, he knew that he would never change anything from the last nine months.

He took a breath and began, “Kurt, nine months ago when we met, I never imagined my life would turn out the way it did. I’m so glad I married you then, and I’m even happier to marry you now. You bring love and joy into my life every day. Thank you for being my partner in life. I love you with all of me. I never thought I would find a man who could make me feel the way you make me feel. I promise to support you in everything you do, in everything you are, in every lifetime we live.”

Kurt watched as Blaine finished his vows before reaching into his pocket for a handkerchief. He hoped he could be as eloquent as Blaine had been. He knew he would cry; he always did at weddings, but this was the happiest he had been in a very long time. As he looked at the man standing across from him, he knew that there would be more tears in his life—mostly tears of joy and sometimes tears of sorrow. Tears or no tears, though, he was really looking forward to sharing his future with this wonderful man.

“Blaine, our life up until now has seemed like it was ripped from a TV movie, but there’s not one part I would change. I fell in love with you the moment I saw you, and my love has only grown as I’ve gotten to know you. I’m proud to call you my partner in life. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I’d be so lucky as to find a man like you. One who can make me laugh the way you do. One who can make me feel the contentment I feel in my life when I’m with you. I love you with everything I am and all that I have. I’m glad we met as we did; I’m glad we got to know each other during extraordinary circumstances. I promise to support you in everything you do, in everything you are, in every lifetime we live.”

As they exchanged rings, and Burt pronounced them husbands, the sun hovered at the horizon, bathing everything in a soft glow. Every person there knew their story, and couldn’t think of a better match.

Looking at his new husband, seeing the love he felt in his heart reflected in Kurt’s eyes, Blaine couldn’t believe how lucky he’d been.

The reception was beautiful. They had chosen a menu which would fit in with the casual atmosphere of the beach setting, but also spoke to their romantic sides. Everything was served by the wait staff, and everyone was impressed with the thoughtfulness the grooms put into the menu. The children had kid-friendly versions of what the adults were eating, and those with dietary restrictions had delicious alternatives.

Kurt and Blaine chose not to have a head table for themselves; they wanted to celebrate with their guests, not in front of them. They mingled, nibbling on food from their own plates while visiting with their guests. They’d kept their guest list small, neither wanting a big wedding. The bar was open and the drinks were flowing; so by the time the food had been cleared away and some of the tables were removed to create a dance floor, everyone was a little tipsy and waiting to see the happy couple dance for the first time as husbands.

The music was live, and they chose a very special song for their first dance.

My eyes adored you
Though I never laid a hand on you
My eyes adored you

The song was special to them for many reasons, but mostly because it’s the song that reminded Blaine of his grandmother. He had very few memories of her, but the one that stood out the most was of her singing this song while they baked cookies in her kitchen. As Kurt and Blaine danced, “I love you” was whispered back and forth between them, their lips close together but only touching when the words dictated. Halfway through the song, the band encouraged the rest of the guests to join them on the dance floor.

That song segued into another song, and the husbands’ dads cut in to dance with their sons.

Say you will, will be mine
Forever and always, oh oh
Just one look and I knew

“You look so happy, Blaine,” his dad said, as they moved around the dance floor. “I’m glad you found happiness after Peter. And I’m sorry you had to go through such pain on the way to that happiness. I’ve only ever wanted the best for you.”

“Thanks, Dad. I love you, too. Thank you for rearranging your schedule to be here on such short notice. I know how hard that can be.”

“I wouldn’t miss this day for the world. You’re my son, and I’ll always make time for you. All you have to do is call and ask; I would move mountains for you.” His dad kissed his forehead as they made one more circle around the dance floor. “I think your mom wants to have a dance with you, too; be sure to save her a dance before you guys sneak off for the night.”

“We already have something special planned for that. And we’re not sneaking off; we’re going to a hotel before we catch our plane tomorrow afternoon. We need our rest; we’re growing boys, after all,” Blaine said, the smile on his face belying the real reason.

“Whatever you say, Son, whatever you say.”

The dance with the moms was to a song that Kurt’s mom had sung to him when she put him to bed. They chose this particular song to allow his mom to be involved in the dance. Kurt danced with Carole, who had never tried to take his mom’s place in his life, but who Kurt thought of as his other mother, all the same.

I see us in the park
Strolling the summer days of imaginings in my head
And words from our hearts

“I know you don’t believe in God or heaven, but I know that your mom is here,” Carole murmured. “And I know that she’s so happy for you, just as I am. I’m proud of you for going after what you want, both personally and professionally. I love you, both of you. I want you to know that I’ll always be here for you; at three in the morning when your first child won’t stop crying, call me and I’ll talk you through the frustration. When he or she goes on that first date, and you want to lock them away in a tower forever, call me and I’ll remind you that one day you’ll be dancing at their wedding. Remember that I’m always here for you, and I hope to help fill the void left by your mom.”

Kurt smiled at her, tears in his eyes. “Carole, I stopped thinking about you as my step-mom a long time ago. I consider myself lucky to have had two such wonderful women to call Mom. Thank you for putting up with me and my drama and for loving my dad like you do. I learned everything I know about a good marriage from watching the two of you all these years. I love you, Carole, and I loved Finn, too. If you’re right about my mom, then he’ll be watching over us with her. And he’d probably somehow lead our children on the path to mischief and my gray hair.”

After the planned dances were finished, dessert was served. They had decided against a large cake; instead they had ordered mini-versions of their favorite desserts to be set up on a table on the edge of the dance floor. People could partake or not as they wanted. Soon after the dessert bar was set out, Kurt and Blaine started to make their goodbyes as they prepared to make their departure to their hotel for the evening. However, before they could make it to more than a small handful of their guests, Sam, Cooper, and Tina walked onto the stage and took control of the microphone.

“Good evening everyone,” Cooper began. “On behalf of the families of the grooms, I’d like to thank you all for joining us in celebration of Blaine and Kurt, the one man in the world who could make him happy. I haven’t known Kurt for very long, but I can tell when he looks at Blaine everything is right in the world. I have had a front row seat to Blaine’s life, and although I took a lot of our parents’ time and energy growing up, Blaine seemed to take having me as a brother in stride. I watched him work through discovering who he is, and what he wanted to be, and through it all he amazed me every day. I look forward to watching Blaine and Kurt navigate the life they want together. And I vow to always be there for each of them, whether they want me around or not.” Cooper paused to let the laughter die down. “I know that the love they have for each other is something each of us here tonight should strive for, and if we can find a fraction of that love for ourselves, I think we should consider ourselves very lucky. I love you, Blaine. I love you, Kurt.”

Tina stepped up to the microphone next. “Blaine has been one of my best friends since fifth grade. In those years we’ve had many arguments, and we cried a lot, usually over boys, but through it all I’ve known that I could rely on his love, support, and wisdom no matter what I wanted to do. I was there the night Blaine and Kurt met and the next morning when they discovered their lives were tied together. I supported Blaine during the time they were apart, and rejoiced when they found each other again. Through it all, I’ve known that Blaine would find his happiness eventually, and I knew that I would be along for the ride. I love you, Blaine. Kurt, you are the man we both dreamed about, and I can’t imagine a better person to make his dreams come true.” Tina had always cried when emotional, and seeing her best friend find such happiness was the most emotional she’d ever been. Anyone who hadn’t been crying after Cooper couldn’t help themselves after Tina.

“It’s my turn,” Sam said as he accepted the microphone from Tina. “Blaine knows that I love him. We’ve been bros since we started high school together; we met in the art classroom where I was trying to hide my macaroni portrait of some supermodel. He didn’t laugh at me; instead he praised my use of pasta and color to really catch her essence. We’ve been best friends since that day. Everybody here knows the story of Blaine and Kurt and how they met, but few know that without me, today would have never happened. I am the reason Blaine went to Vegas, and luckily for him what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas. It becomes the best part of your life.” Sam raised his glass and gave a toast, “Please raise your glass with Cooper, Tina, and me to wish Blaine and Kurt a life filled with much joy and prosperity.”

Every person joined in the toast; there was not a dry eye to be found.

Cooper grabbed the microphone before Sam could hand it back to the lead singer and said, “I can see that our grooms are anxious to get on with the rest of the night’s festivities; so let’s give them a big round of applause as they head off into the rest of their lives.”

Kurt grabbed Blaine’s hand, mouthed ‘thank you’ to Cooper, Sam, and Tina and led Blaine away from the reception to the car waiting to take them to their hotel. The applause could be heard until the door closed behind them and the car began to move.

Chapter Text

Forty years later—

Kurt sat on the terrace, overlooking the cliffs. He couldn’t believe how much things had changed since he and Blaine married. Sure, he knew they’d grow older and, he hoped, wiser, but he never imagined his career path would veer so far from his childhood dreams. He had always imagined he would act until he was too old to remember his lines, and at that point he’d retire to one of the assisted living facilities set up for aged actors to live out the rest of his days. Life didn’t turn out to be quite as he imagined.

Kurt’s performance in Running with Tradition had earned him a Screen Actor’s Guild Award and an Oscar. After awards season was over, rumors began circulating that the screenwriter for the movie had been approached to adapt the movie for the stage with Kurt to reprise his role. Kurt was excited, but his marriage was so new he didn’t know if he wanted to devote so much time to such a large project. Blaine thought it would be a great opportunity and tried to talk Kurt into accepting the part. “I know this will be good for you. I’ll be there every step of the process, and I’ll lead the audience in applause on opening night.” So Kurt agreed, and thus marked his return to Broadway. And his first Tony.

Blaine had never been a part of the birth of a Broadway play, and he quickly became fascinated by the process. He sat in as many of the workshops as he could, and soon began sitting with the writer to learn the process of turning a screenplay into something that would work on a stage. Blaine was fascinated with all aspects and began carrying his laptop with him everywhere he went. At home Kurt would often find Blaine hunched over his laptop, a cup of cold coffee and half eaten snack next to him, typing furiously on the keyboard. At times like this, it could take a striptease to get Blaine’s attention, which Kurt was only too happy to perform. When he asked Blaine what he was working on, Blaine replied, “A story that I think needs to be told. I promise to show you when I’m finished.”

It took almost four months for Blaine to feel confident enough to show anything to Kurt. When Blaine was ready to show Kurt the story he’d written, Kurt looked at the title and tears immediately sprang to his eyes. “Oh, Blaine! It’s perfect.” Kurt held the manuscript to his chest with one hand and used his other to steady himself while he leaned in to kiss his husband, the man who had observed the process of writing a play and used that knowledge to tell their story. He called it I Married You. “Do you want me to read it now? I know how hard it is to watch someone experience what you’ve created for the first time.”

“I want you to read it now. I know it’ll need lots of work before it’s anywhere near ready to be considered anything other than lovesick ramblings, but I’d love for you to read it.”

“Okay. Would you make me a cup of tea?” Kurt asked as he settled into his favorite reading chair and opened to the first page.

“Sure, be right back,” Blaine said before walking into the kitchen. After putting the kettle on, he also decided to bake some cookies; he’d always been a nervous baker.

Kurt smiled when he heard the voices behind him; he heard Billy and Claire trying to hush their children, but he wanted to spend time with his grandchildren. They enjoyed hearing his stories, and he enjoyed telling them.

“They don’t disturb me, you know. I’m their papa, and papas are never disturbed by their favorite grandchildren.” He held his arms out and waited for his five grandchildren to run into his arms before he gathered them in. “See? Lots of room for everyone. Who wants to hear a story?”

After Kurt had finished reading Blaine’s play, he turned back to the title page and looked at Blaine’s name. He was so happy and so proud of his husband. He knew this play would eventually be produced on Broadway, and maybe even become a movie one day. “It’s beautiful, Sweetheart. You told our story in a way that will make everyone who sees this remember that special moment when they met the love of their life. I want to put my hat in for the part of Micah; whenever it’s ready I want to read that part.”

“You will always be my first choice for any part you want.”

Five small voices yelled, “Me” in unison. Kurt laughed and looked toward his daughter and son. “Where’s your father? I thought he’d be back by now.”

Claire and Billy exchanged looks and held an entire conversation in a matter of seconds. Kurt had always admired their ability to understand each other with a simple look. Billy sighed and said, “Fine, I’ll tell him. Dad called and said he had a couple more errands to run before coming home. He should be back in about an hour.” Kurt knew something was up when he noticed Billy’s inability to make eye contact for more than a second at a time.

“I know he’s up to something; I’ve known ever since he invited you guys to come visit. Why don’t you and Claire go do whatever he’s conned you into while I tell these angels the best story in the whole world.” Kurt waved his children away and turned to see five pairs of eyes staring up at him. He smiled at his grandchildren and asked, “Whose turn is it to start the story?”

Katie raised her hand and said, “One night in Las Vegas.”

Kurt laughed; no matter how many times he told his and Blaine’s story they always wanted to hear it again. “Okay. One night in Las Vegas, a long, long time ago two men met and fell in love.”

By the end of the story, Kurt had one child sitting on his lap, her head resting on his shoulder and soft breaths hitting his neck. The other four children were in various stages of wakefulness, all with smiles on their faces. They loved to hear the story of how their grandfathers met, fell in love, and got married.

Their story was a long-running success on Broadway. Many actors eventually played the part of Micah, but in Blaine’s eyes, none of them were better than the first Micah. Seven years after I Married You opened, it finally closed. Blaine was asked to consider allowing a movie adaptation but, after talking it over with Kurt, they decided that they’d like to keep it as only a play. Blaine had long ago quit working in the visual art world and had immersed himself in writing. He wrote novels, movie scripts, short stories, and once their children were old enough to read, he wrote down the stories he and Kurt told them at bedtime; those were published under a pseudonym with Sam as illustrator. His children thought it was funny that their dad and Uncle Sam made books out of the silly stories they heard before bed, although they all agreed that Uncle Sam should have consulted them before drawing anything because he got the characters all wrong.

Eventually, Kurt moved away from acting and became one of the most successful directors/producers in Hollywood. He focused on bringing Blaine’s writing to life and always joked that he had ‘an in’ with the best writer out there.

They’d had a wonderful life, raised two smart and talented children, and were blessed with five grandchildren. They were getting ready to celebrate forty years of marriage with their friends and family. Cooper, his current wife, and his children and grandchildren would arrive in the morning. Sam would be bringing his son and two grandchildren later in the afternoon. Tina, her husband, four children and seven grandchildren would drive up the coast from San Diego in time for dinner. A few of their other friends would wander in and out throughout the day.

Kurt heard his husband’s voice as he continued to look out at the horizon. He had been so glad when they had heard that the property was for sale. Thirty years ago the state had been in need of money and had put up five sections of state land for sale. One of those plots of land had been next to the cove where he and Blaine had been married. They immediately put in an offer and, after the sale was final, they began designing their dream house. Their most important wish was to be able to stand on a balcony off their bedroom and look down on the cove that had been the backdrop to the merging of their lives.

“We want as many windows as you can fit into a house. This land means so much to us, and this will be the last home we buy. We need to have room for guests, as well as for our family, and a place for our kids to play outside.” The architect took copious notes about everything they wanted, did a survey of the land, and got to work. The plans were breathtaking and only needed one small revision, enlarging the balcony to the master bedroom. Two years later they moved into their new home; they had lived there ever since.

Kurt slowly stood, trying not to jostle the child sleeping on his shoulder too much, and carefully stepped over the rest of the children on his way to the door. Billy met him at the door, took the child from him, and carried her into one of the bedrooms. Kurt headed toward the kitchen where he heard Claire and Blaine talking in hushed voices. As soon as they heard him, they stopped talking and moved away from each other. Blaine turned to Kurt and smiled at him before walking over to give him a kiss.

“I’m not even going to ask. I know something’s up, and I know you’ve enlisted our children into whatever you’re trying to do. I also know that you can’t stand it when I don’t try to get your secrets out of you; so I’m going to continue on as if nothing is going on. Eventually you’ll be bursting to tell me everything; when that time comes, you know where to find me,” he added with a devilish grin.

“Kurt! It’s no fun if you don’t even try! And you know how you enjoy coming up with new and exciting ways to get me to reveal my secrets. But if you insist on playing these childish games, who am I to stop you?” Blaine heaved a sigh that could rival the most put-upon teenager. All Kurt could do was smile and shake his head; he knew how the game was played. And he always won.

“His smile softened as he temporarily dropped the banter. He pulled Blaine to him and murmured, “I love you and our family more than I could ever express in words.” Kurt reached for Blaine’s hand and raised his fingers to his lips for a kiss.

Kurt actually was never able to get that secret out of Blaine; none of his tried and true tactics worked. As it turned out, however, he was glad of it because the next evening Blaine, Kurt and their family and friends dressed in their finest clothes and went to a small theater to watch a one-night only production of I Married You. Blaine had worked with a college theater department to help them stage the play as a surprise for Kurt on their fortieth anniversary. Kurt loved his surprise all the more for not having been able to guess it ahead of time.

The play simply reinforced what Blaine and Kurt had known for the past forty years—a strange beginning in a strange town had become one of the great love stories of their generation. Every time they looked into each other’s eyes, they knew they would continue their amazing journey together for as long as they lived.

 

The end.