A/N: Welcome! I wrote this right before "Silly Love Songs" aired back in February - so that's why Kurt's still at Dalton and Kurt and Blaine's three-month anniversary is in May, etc. Obviously it's AU at this point. Hope you still enjoy!
Scenes from a Westerville Shopping Mall
It had all started out so damn innocently.
"Hey, kiddo!" his dad had said warmly over the phone that morning. "Carole and I were wondering if we could stop by the mall after we pick you up from Dalton. She needs to run a few errands and she says the mall in Westerville's better than the one in Lima. You don't mind, do you?"
A harmless request, right? In fact, it had even sounded like fun.
Kurt adores shopping and Carole makes a fabulous partner-in-crime, cheerfully accompanying him into clothing boutiques, beauty salons, and furniture stores. Plus he'd been wanting to go to the mall anyway, to pick out a three-month anniversary gift for Blaine.
"That sounds great, Dad. Can't wait to see you."
"Same here. And, uh, listen, kiddo – you don't mind if Finn tags along, do you?"
"You're dragging Finn all the way to the Westerville mall?"
His dad had chuckled. "Believe it or not, he asked to come with us. He didn't exactly say it outright but, uh –I think he wants to spend some time with you. I know he misses you, Kurt."
"Of course he does," Kurt had replied breezily. "But yeah, I don't mind at all if Finn comes. The more, the merrier."
"Huh. So in that case, I can ask him if he wants to bring Rachel along"-
"Oh, dear god, no. I'd rather die."
"Yeah, I was just kidding. I wouldn't do that to you. Or to myself, frankly. And, uh, don't tell Finn I said that, 'kay?"
"Your secret's safe with me, Dad."
His dad's car had pulled up in front of Kurt's dormitory building about two hours later. Kurt had practically skipped down the sidewalk to meet them, reveling in the warm spring air and the feel of the sun on his face (fortunately, he'd thought to use his complexion mist with the built-in SPF protection that morning).
He'd opened the car door with a flourish and had been greeted warmly by its three occupants – a quick embrace from his dad, a forehead-kiss from Carole, and an awkward, one-armed pseudo-hug from Finn.
As they'd started driving, his dad had tuned the radio to a classic rock station. Finn had started singing along to "Here Comes the Sun" in his smooth baritone, and he'd smiled when Kurt had joined in on the chorus, improvising a descant that soared above the melody.
"You boys sound great together," Carole had said fondly. "You know, it's really a shame Mr. Schuester never gave you more solos, Kurt. Your voice is just angelic – isn't it, Burt?"
His father had given a non-committal grunt. "Yeah, well, you might feel differently after a five-hour drive to Chicago spent with him singing Broadway showtunes at full volume."
Kurt had simply rolled his eyes in response. (He remembers the aforementioned car ride very clearly, and his dad had totallyteared up during his rendition of "Sunrise, Sunset.")
Three songs later, his dad had pulled into a parking space at the mall – just as the last notes of "Dream On" had segued abruptly into an insurance commercial.
And Kurt had thought, as he'd exited the vehicle, that the car ride had been surprisingly enjoyable. Fun times with family? Check. Half-way decent music? Check. More-than-half-way decent singing partner? Check.
In retrospect, Kurt should have been suspicious. Things were going entirely too well.
A half-hour or so after their arrival, Kurt had been lulled into a deeply false sense of security. And it wasn't as though the universe hadn't tried to warn him.
First, there had been that incident with Finn and the Orange Julius machine. But his father had managed to talk the kiosk manager out of suing them by offering to service his car for free, so, you know, no harm done, right?
Next had come the horrific moment when they'd passed a mattress store and Kurt's father had whispered quietly (but not nearly quietly enough) to Carole that "maybe they should think about getting a king-size" and Carole had let out this girly, throaty, cringe-inducing laugh that had made both Finn and Kurt threaten to disown their parents if they didn't put a stop to this sort of behavior immediately.
Finally, there had been a highly embarrassing episode where a young man had sneered at Kurt as he'd passed him in a store, and Kurt's dad had walked up to him and launched into a tirade about bigotry and homophobia – only to find out that the (rather fey) young gentleman had merely been eyeing Kurt's Christian Lacroix Fall 2009 Collection jacket with jealousy.
Kurt had had to take his dad aside and gently explain that – while he'd certainly appreciated the sentiment – angry homophobes were generallynot found perusing the purse racks at the Coach outlets.
But (minor incidents aside), this simple outing had felt both comfortable and relaxing to Kurt. Shockingly so, considering how new this all was.
In fact, Kurt had recently realized that he'd almost never, in his entire life, used the word familywhen talking about himself. When his mom had been alive, he'd always told people, "I'm going to the mall (or wherever) with my parents." Or "I'm going to the mall with my mom and dad." After his mom had died, that had been amended to, "I'm going to the mall with my dad."
But now? He has a dad, and a step-mom, and a step-brother. And when his roommate had asked him what he was doing this afternoon, it had struck him as both a profound and simple thing to be able to say: "I'm going to the mall with my family."
To his surprise, this familial bonding experience had only gotten better once Kurt had explained his three-month anniversary gift mission. They'd all seized upon the topic with enthusiasm, offering advice and helpful ideas (well, some of Finn's ideas had been kind of… out there, but the point was that they'd all tried).
And then Carole, bless her heart, had actually hit on a brilliant idea.
They'd passed by a very classy gift boutique and Carole had dragged them all inside to look at possible gifts for Blaine. His dad and Finn had stayed close to the entrance of the store, clearly not wanting to end up knee-deep in tissue paper, floral arrangements, and confetti hearts, but Carole and Kurt had wandered the aisles, hoping something would jump out at them.
"You know," Carole had said, staring at one of the side walls, "these picture frames are really beautiful. Maybe if you put a picture of the two of you inside…?"
Kurt had glanced over to see Carole holding a silver, heart-shaped picture frame – simple yet elegant. "I like it," he'd said thoughtfully. "I do. But I'd been hoping to get him something a little more personal, you know? Blaine's just such a romantic. He showers me with gifts all the time. He sends me flowers every couple of weeks and he's always picking up little trinkets or souvenirs for me. And it's not so much that they're expensive gifts, per se, but they're just always so thoughtful."
"Well, that flower arrangement he sent to the house last month looked veryexpensive," Carole had remarked. "Special occasion?"
"Oh. Yeah. That was right after the first time we had s"- Kurt had flushed red and then shut his mouth abruptly.
"Yes?" she'd prompted.
"Uh… the first time we had – a fight. The flowers were an apology." (That wasn't technically a lie. The flowers sort of had been an apology. As in: "Sorry you'll be walking funny for the next few days, babe!")
"Well, that was very thoughtful of him," Carole had said approvingly. "You know, your father and I are very fond of Blaine. And even Finn really seems to – oh, Kurt! Look!"
Kurt had followed her gaze to a small sign above the picture frames.
"It's perfect!" she'd cried rapturously. "It says here that you can get the picture frames engraved. You could put something meaningful or personal – maybe the date of your anniversary or something – on the frame itself, and then put a picture of the two of you inside."
He'd gasped in delight. "Oh, my god, Carole – that's fabulous. That's exactly what I was looking for. Something classy, but with a personal touch. You are my gift-giving idol,and I worship you."
"What are you going to put on it?" she'd asked eagerly. "Or – I mean, you don't have to tell me. I just"-
"No, no, it's fine," Kurt had assured her. "I'm thinking maybe the date of our anniversary, and then the words Teenage Dream right above it? That was the first song Blaine ever sang to me. It's kind of… our song, I guess."
Carole had practically swooned. "Oh, Kurt, that is just the most beautiful… Well, you're certainly your father's son, that's all I'll say."
And – oh, god – that girly, throaty voice had come back with a vengeance. Kurt had shuddered.
He'd placed his order with the girl at the counter, who looked to be about his age. The girl – Violet, according to her name-tag – had told him that the frame would be done in about forty-five minutes.
Kurt had linked arms with Carole on the way out of the store, excitedly telling his dad and Finn about the gift. They'd both assured him that Blaine would love it.
As they'd sat down to eat at the food court (fortunately for Kurt, there was a Saladworks), Kurt had thought to himself that this whole outing had gone exceptionally smoothly.
And as he'd cut up his radicchio into dainty bites, he'd remained blissfully unaware of the fate that awaited him.
After the Hudson-Hummel clan had finished their meal, Finn had dragged Kurt into a GameStop and a couple of sporting goods stores.
It had been pretty nice, actually. Finn had filled him in on the latest New Directions gossip:
"But I don't understand. How did Brittany end up on the roof?"
"Dude, I don't know. She swears that the staircases started switching – you know, like they do in the Harry Potter movies?"
"Weird. And Mr. Schuester reallyarranged a Mash-Up of 'Don't Stop Believing' and 'Baby Got Back' for your Regionals performance?"
"Yeah. Something about Ms. Pillsbury-Howell being a big Sir Mix-A-Lot fan. But then Coach Sylvester said we weren't allowed to use it, thank God."
"I thought she wasn't involved in Glee anymore."
"Oh, she isn't. She just told Principal Figgins that she'd already licensed that arrangement for her Cheerios."
His dad and Carole had already been waiting for them outside the gift boutique. Kurt had been practically bouncing up and down in anticipation – he couldn't wait to see the beautiful finished product.
Feeling tremendously grateful to Carole and fairly pleased with himself as well, he'd stepped into the store and up to the counter. The same girl from earlier – Violet – had smiled warmly at him and reached for the silver, heart-shaped frame on the shelf behind her…
…which brings us to the present moment.
The second Kurt's hand closes around the cool metal of the picture frame, he hears a very familiar, very well-loved, but very unexpected voice:
"Oh, my goodness. Hello," says the voice warmly. "Mr. and Mrs. Hummel – Finn – I didn't expect to see you here. What a nice surprise!"
"Oh… look, honey," he hears his father say way too loudly, in an obvious attempt to warn him. "It's Blaine! Kurt's boyfriend! Blaine! He's here! At the store!"
Kurt freezes. He's standing at the counter with the gift – Blaine's going to turn any second and see – Shitshitshitshit!
There's nothing for it. As Blaine starts to angle his head in his general direction, Kurt dives down on the ground as quietly as he can, hiding behind a display of seasonal snow-globes.
"So, uh… is Kurt here?" he hears Blaine ask.
"No," says Carole quickly. "No, Kurt's not here. Just us."
Blaine's voice drifts out to him, sounding polite but confused. "Oh. I just – I mean, you're in Westerville obviously and, um, Kurt told me he was going out with you today, so I just thought…"
"Well," says his dad. "When Carole said he wasn't here…"
"I mean, he's here," says Carole. "Obviously. But he's not here with us right this second. He's – um"-
"-at the food court," breaks in Finn loudly.
"Cool," says Blaine, and Kurt can't help but grin at the obvious pleasure in Blaine's tone. "Do you mind if I call him and ask him if"-
No, no, no… Kurt pleads. His phone is on, and Blaine will be able to hear it ring and…
"Uh… I wouldn't do that," his dad says. "Kurt needs… space. Right now."
"Yeah, totally," interjects Finn. "He said he needed to be by himself for a little while. He said he was having, uh… relationship troubles."
WHAT? Goddammit, Finn…
"R-relationship troubles?" echoes Blaine weakly.
Kurt peers around the corner – just in time to see Carole swat Finn's arm. "Not relationship troubles, Finn. I think you must have misunderstood. He's having-"
"-family troubles," says his dad quickly. "We, uh, had a fight."
"Oh," says Blaine politely (and Kurt's heart thumps painfully at how delicious his boyfriend looks in jeans and a tight, dark-blue T-shirt). "I'm really sorry to hear that, Mr. Hummel."
His dad shrugs. "Yeah, I'm pretty much over it, actually."
Blaine is looking at his family as though he's never met a stranger group of individuals (which is probably true). Kurt crosses his fingers and hopes desperately that Blaine will suddenly remember that he needs to meet someone or go somewhere…
… but it's not to be.
"So, um, what are the three of you doing in this store? Shopping for anything in particular?" asks Blaine curiously.
The three of them freeze.
"I'm looking for a gift for Rachel," blurts out Finn. "Cuz it's, you know…" He glances around him at the store's spring decorations and Easter baskets. "…almost… Easter?"
"Wow," says Blaine, eyebrows raised. "I didn't even realize that was a holiday people got their significant others gifts for." He crinkles his face slightly. "And for some reason, I had it in my head that Rachel was Jewish."
Carole lets out an incredibly nervous laugh. "You know what? You are so right, Blaine. Now that I think about it, Rachel is Jewish. Well, I guess that lets us off the hook, Finn!" She puts an arm around Finn and another around Blaine. "Why don't we all go – somewhere else? A different store? Doesn't that sound like a good idea, Burt?"
"Yes," his dad says, nodding emphatically. "Sounds great."
And the four of them turn and walk away, as Kurt lets out a sigh of… well, not exactly reliefbecause that whole conversation had gone appallingly badly, but at least Blaine's gone.
"Okay, I'm sorry, but I just have to ask – what the heck was all that about?" asks Violet-the-counter-girl. Except she isn't at the counter at the moment. She's standing next to him, by the snow-globe display.
"Oh…" sighs Kurt, heading up to pay for his purchase at last. "That was my boyfriend. This is for him," he says, holding up the picture frame. "It's supposed to be a surprise for our anniversary, but he showed up unexpectedly. So my family kind of… well, they did their best."
"In that case, I'd really hate to see their worst," says Violet.
Kurt is forced to agree with this sentiment.
"So that was your boyfriend? God, he's a dreamboat."
Kurt grins. "He really is, isn't he?" he says fondly.
"Yeah, he's – ohmygod – he's here! Shit, he's here!"
Kurt looks up wildly. "What did y"-
But before he can say another word, Violet shoves Kurt behind the display-case again and pushes down on his shoulders roughly until he's kneeling on the ground.
"-sure this is a good idea?"
Kurt groans. Damn it, that's his dad's voice all right.
He hears Blaine's voice: "Well, it's just – I heard that this store does engravings. I bought this watch to give him for our three-month anniversary, and I was hoping to maybe put our initials on it?"
And – oh no – their voices are getting closer. Violet has stood up now, and he can tell that she's trying to shield Kurt as much as she can (which isn't much, seeing as she's very petite).
Kurt can hear footsteps. Damn it, any second now they're going to –
"No!" shouts Finn loudly.
"What's the matter?" asks Blaine, sounding understandably confused.
"Uh – don't engrave the watch, Blaine. It's a really – uh – terrible idea. I mean, seriously, who gets someone an engraved gift? It's super lame."
Kurt thinks of all the ways in which he's going to murder Finn when this nightmare is over.
Blaine sounds uncertain now. "Oh. Um. Well, I guess maybe it is a little lame."
Kurt grits his teeth and clenches his fingers tightly around his super lame present.
"Well, maybe I should just leave off my initials? That way even if we break up, it's still wearable."
"Uh…" Finn looks helplessly at his mom, who seems similarly at a loss. If Blaine comes any closer, he'll see Kurt. There's just no way around that.
Violet pipes up abruptly. "Our engraving machine's broken," she says quickly. "It's been acting up all day. Sorry!"
Blaine blinks. "Oh. Well, that's okay. These things happen. Um, I think I might be interested in getting some flowers, though," and he gestures toward the back of the store, where the refrigerated flowers are kept.
"Great," says Violet. "Just – um – tell me what kind you want and I'll go get them."
"Uh…well. I – I was kind of hoping I could maybe look at them first?"
"Oh, there's no need. I have great taste," says Violet with a wave of her hand. "Your boyfriend will love them."
Blaine raises an eyebrow. "Your gay-dar's pretty good."
Violet gives Blaine a bitch, please look. "Hardly," she says. "You're gorgeous, well-dressed, well-spoken, and you actually asked to select your own floral arrangement."
"That doesn't mean"-
"Are you gay?"
He folds his arms across his chest defensively. "Well, yes, but"-
Violet sighs. "What'd I tell you?"
Blaine looks as though he's praying for patience. "So… now may I please pick out my flowers?"
"Well, what's the rush? Let's talk color palettes. Are you thinking more of a red-pink-white or a blue-green-yellow…"
Blaine shakes his head in exasperation and takes a step toward the flowers (and toward him)! Kurt closes his eyes, as though that's going to help somehow.
"Wait – Blaine - Kurt hates flowers!" shouts Finn abruptly. "He can't stand them."
Ohmygod. This is a nightmare. This isn't happening…
Blaine whirls around, his face a mask of shock and dismay. "What? Are you serious?" Kurt sees him look up at his dad and Carole for confirmation; their faces are absolutely frozen. "I can't believe this!" says Blaine, sounding aghast. "I get him flowers all the time. He's always acted like... I mean, I always thought…"
"Well, I - I don't think he hates them exactly," says Kurt's dad tentatively. "But he probably isn't in a flower kind of mood today."
"Right!" Carole jumps in enthusiastically. She grabs Blaine's arm and drags him toward the front of the store. "He's probably in a – clothing kind of mood. He'd probably like something from… thatstore!" She gesticulates wildly with her arms, clearly having chosen one at random.
"Th- that store?" asks Blaine, sounding horrified. "I mean, I know Kurt has – um - kind of specific tastes in clothes, but…"
Kurt can't look. He can't look. Oh my god…
He has to look.
He peers around the display-case and looks at the store directly across from theirs. A store with a sign in pink-and-blue lettering, reading proudly:
Mimi's Maternity Wear.
It takes about two seconds for the full horror of that sign to be absorbed. And once it is:
"STOP!" he shouts loudly, jumping up from his hiding spot. "Stop! Everyone just – stop."
Kurt spins around abruptly. "Violet – many thanks for your help. Really. Couldn't have made it this far without you." Violet nods and gives him a little salute.
He turns back to his family.
"Dad – thank you very much for your valiant attempts. Carole – you were doing just great up until the maternity wear. Finn Hudson – I need your help like I need a hole in the head, and as for you," he says, stepping forward to where his extremely startled boyfriend is standing in the doorway and quickly shoving the picture frame into his hand: "Here. Happy freaking Anniversary. Pretend there's a picture inside it."
Blaine looks completely stunned. "Kurt – what?"-
"They were trying," says Kurt, "to distract you so that I could buy you this engraved picture frame, which I verymuch hope you appreciate."
"Oh," says Blaine, looking extremely relieved. "Oh… So all that stuff about you hating flowers and us having relationship problems and you liking maternity wear..."
"An extremely unfathomable string of lies."
"Thank God," says Blaine, finally lowering his eyes to stare down at the picture frame. Kurt anxiously watches his boyfriend's face, noting that Blaine's eyebrows knit together in confusion briefly before he schools his face into a neutral expression.
"It's, um, great, Kurt. Really. Thank you so"-
"Oh, give me that," says Kurt furiously, ripping the picture frame out of his hand. And Kurt stares down at the elegant picture frame with the beautiful script that reads:
February 14, 2011
Kurt closes his eyes and wishes for the earth to just open up and swallow him whole. He clenches his teeth tightly and looks up at Violet.
"Dreenage Team?" he hisses. "Really, Violet? Really?"
"What?" she asks, sounding extremely startled. "No! I put it in correctly – I know I did."
She strides over to the counter and lifts up the lid of a large box. There are a few seconds of silence, punctuated by the sound of Violet's tapping fingers.
"Huh," she says finally. "You know, I think there really is something wrong with the engraving machine."
Kurt throws up his hands. "Unbelievable!" he says loudly. "This is just – this is the worst"- Kurt runs his hands through his hair in frustration, which is definitely not something he does under normal circumstances.
"Kurt"- begins Blaine.
"No, Blaine. Look. I'm not trying to be…" Kurt sighs. "I just really wanted to do something special for our anniversary. You're, like, the most amazing boyfriend on the planet and you're always doing these incredible things for me and I – I just feel like you're better at this relationship stuff and that you can't possibly like me as much as I like you, and pretty soon you're probably just going to - mmmph!"
And that speech is pretty much over, because Blaine has fisted his hands in Kurt's jacket, tugged him forward, and begun kissing Kurt absolutely senseless.
Kurt manages to experience three separate reactions to this development all at the same time.
The first reaction is annoyance. Hello? He'd been talking.
The second reaction is the reaction he always has when Blaine kisses him. That sudden, shifting hyper-awareness of his physical self; my hand is here on his neck, his hand is there on the small of my back, our chests are pressing together, our feet are touching, his lips are on mine, his tongue is inside my mouth. There's the familiar-but-still-thrilling sensation of falling, of flying, of being suspended weightless; the flutter of his heart, the blood rushing in his ears, the dark shiver of want coursing through his veins.
The third reaction is Um, I can't be sure, but I think my parents are watching this, and since we're in the doorway of a store at the mall on a Saturday, probably so is most of Ohio.
And he really does intend to pull away, but then Blaine lets out this soft, sexy little moan and… and…
"Oh, my God," he hears a girl's voice hiss.
Another girl's voice: "Look – look at them!"
He hears his father clear his throat loudly. "You know, it saddens me to see that people in your generation have already become so homophobic that a simple, uh, display of affection"-
"Um, hello? We're not staring 'cuz we're homophobic."
"Yeah. Duh. We're staring 'cuz that's totally freaking hot."
His father's voice sounds somewhat strangled. "Oh. Uh - okay."
Finn's voice drifts out to him. "Seriously? Girls think that's hot?"
And now he and Blaine are laughing too hard to keep kissing, for which his parents and Finn are undoubtedly grateful.
"So…" says Carole, her face very pink, "I take it Blaine liked his anniversary gift."
Blaine grins widely. "I did. Very much. Thank you, Mrs. Hummel." He looks over at Kurt. "In fact, I think this occasion calls for some flowers."
"I concur," says Kurt, squeezing his boyfriend's hand. "But they'll be for you this time. From me. Okay?"
"Actually," breaks in Violet, "they'll be on me. Since I screwed up your gift. And since you guys saved me from an afternoon of utter boredom."
"No problem. Happy to help," says Kurt weakly.
"All right, boys," Violet says, clapping her hands together eagerly. "Let's talk color palettes. I'm thinking a bold fuchsia with a muted mauve as an accent color – or wait! Maybe…"
Twenty minutes later, Blaine, Kurt, and Finn wander into Spencer's.
"Are you serious, Finn? Tell me you're not serious!"
"Don't get all pissy, dude – I just wanna know!"
"So for the purposes of clarification," says Kurt wearily, "you're actually asking if Blaine and I use the fact that we're gay – the fact that we're gay, Finn – to get girls?"
Finn shrugs. "Yeah. Do you? Since girls think it's hot and everything?"
Kurt sighs, turning to Blaine. "Clearly he needs the facts of life explained to him. Think you can handle this one, darling?"
"I don't need the facts of life explained," says Finn, looking highly offended.
"Finn, for a period of several months, you labored under the delusion that you impregnated a girl you were sitting next to in a hot tub. I'm thinking you need a refresher course at the very least."
"God, Kurt, why do you always have to be such a"-
"Whoa – hey - guys," says Blaine, holding up his hands. "Maybe we should all just"-
"Blaine, if you hadn't noticed, I'm having a fight with my brother here. So maybe you"-
"Hey!" Finn breaks into a wide grin. "Dude. That's totally awesome."
"What's awesome?" asks Kurt, confused.
"What you said. 'I'm having a fight with my brother.' It just"- Finn shrugs. "It's new. And it sounds kinda cool. You know?"
"Oh." Kurt pauses, the corners of his own mouth lifting a little, in spite of himself. "Yeah. I guess it is, um, kind of cool."
Kurt can see the corners of Blaine's mouth twitching as well. He sighs. Fine.
"Okay. So. For the record, Finn – some girls do find guys kissing hot. Blaine and I are not so muchinterested in girls. So we don't, uh, use that information to our advantage. Got it?"
Finn nods. "Got it. But, uh, like, do you think if I asked Puck"-
"No!" says Kurt quickly. "No, I really, really wouldn't do that if I were you. Take it from me. Some brotherly advice, if you will."
Finn smiles again. "Hey. That's cool, too."
Ten minutes later, Blaine and Kurt are in Macy's.
"You know," says Kurt, "this whole day started out so damn innocently." He looks down at his boyfriend. Like, really looks down. Because Blaine is currently on his knees. In a stall in the department store dressing room.
"Yeah?" says Blaine, unconcernedly reaching for Kurt's zipper. "Well, I'm sorry to say it's not going to end that way."
Kurt groans and leans back against the door.
I hope you enjoyed! Please let me know if you did! :)