It's a McKinley High minimum day, according to an excited text from Kurt before breakfast, so Blaine expects the other boy to pick him up from school. He doesn't, however, expect the rainbow flag pin Kurt attaches to his lapel, or the matching one adorning Kurt's scarf. Kurt's looking at him with anticipation, though, so it must mean something important.
"An accessory for the occasion."
"What occasion?" Don't let it be an anniversary. Don't let it be an anniversary.
"Blaine! It's National Coming Out Day!" Kurt announces in his 'You're Gay So You Should Know This' tone he always uses when fashion's the subject.
"Oh. Um, happy... National Coming Out Day?"
Kurt grabs Blaine's hand and leads him to the Navigator, "Come on. We're going to celebrate."
"I don't think it's the kind of holiday you celebrate."
"Of course it is! You go out for dinner, share coming out stories, laugh at unplanned pregnancies..."
"You already know my coming out story."
"I hardly thinking Wes and David catching you ogling your chemistry professor counts as a coming out story. Please tell me the one with your family is better."
They've reached the vehicle, which Blaine uses to cover his lack of response. He should know better by now.
Kurt's barely buckled when he prods, "Is it?"
Kurt rolls his eyes, "Is the story of you coming out to your family better than that?"
Blaine thinks for a moment on how best to answer that, and settles on, "Not really."
"Blaine?" Kurt's eyebrows are furrowed to the point where if he had telepathy, he'd be reading Blaine's mind. As it is, the 'Kurt Hummel Knows Something Is Up And Will Figure It Out' expression is about as effective.
Blaine caves, "I haven't."
Attempt two: "Come out. To them."
Blaine meets Kurt's eyes, something he didn't realized he'd been avoiding, and slowly explains, "My parents don't know I'm gay."
Kurt's face hangs agape, "You haven't told them?"
Instead of admitting to it a fourth time, Blaine just silently waits for his boyfriend to catch up.
Kurt blinks himself back to his senses, "Oh... Well... This is perfect. It's National Coming Out Day, I'm here for moral support: you can tell them tonight!"
"Kurt, it's not like I forget I'm gay every time I'm around them. I mean for them not to know."
"But they're your parents."
"Exactly. Which means I know how they'll react, and I don't want to go through that."
Kurt swallows, seeming to pick up on Blaine's tension, and switches tactics, "Before I came out to my dad, I thought he would hate me. I thought he'd give me the 'No Son Of Mine' speech and kick me out."
"He voted for Bush. Both times. My point is, your parents love you, and they can often surprise you. I think you should give them a chance."
"Kurt, I think it's wonderful you have so much faith in people..."
"Blaine, even when my dad says something that's not fully supportive, or even offensive, as unintentional as it may be, the fact that he knows, that I don't have to lie about who I am in my own home... it means so much. I want that for you." Kurt grabs Blaine's hand for emphasis, "You deserve that."
It's two more encouraging speeches given as gently as Kurt can muster on the drive over, along with the fact that Blaine has a difficult time ever saying no to his boyfriend, that bring the couple here, on the Anderson doorstep. That's as far as they get them, however, before Blaine's shaking his head again.
"I can't do this."
Kurt grabs his hand before Blaine can turn and leave, "Yes, you can, Blaine."
Blaine pulls his hand back, but makes no other move to escape, "You don't understand."
"Of course I do-"
"No. My family isn't like yours. I don't have all these cousins and grandparents and aunts who smell like gin but still remember your birthday. My mom and dad are all I have."
"And you're all they have-"
"I can't lose them, Kurt!"
"You won't! I promise."
"How can you promise that?"
Kurt joins their hands again, this time holding a bit tighter, "Courage."
Blaine sighs, dragging his free hand through his unruly locks, "From what I remember, that advice didn't work out too well."
"Blaine, I stood up to my bully and now he doesn't pick on my anymore. He even apologized."
Hazel eyes squint back tears as Blaine's lip begins to tremble.
Kurt pulls him into a hug, unable to stand seeing his boyfriend in pain. He turns his head and whispers what he hopes are reassuring words into Blaine's ear, "You don't have to do this. I'm not forcing you."
Blaine snorts, obviously seeing events a bit differently.
"Really, Blaine. We can go right now. We can tell them we changed our plans, that we found a football game, or a hot dog eating contest, or something equally as masculine. You can not tell them tonight. But, Blaine... If you choose to keep them in the dark, to make them live a lie for the rest of their lives... then, Baby, you really will lose them."
Blaine gasps, the reality of those words settling too heavily in his bones.
Kurt pulls back, giving Blaine his space, "Your call."
Neither one will ever know what choice Blaine would have made. Before his facial expression can even bely his thoughts, the front door opens.
"Sweetheart," a short brunettes straight out of a 1950s Betty Crocker ad greets, "what are you two waiting out here for?"
Blaine composes himself with surprising speed, "Mom, this is Kurt."
Mrs. Anderson moves smoothly with the change of subject, "We're so happy to finally get to meet the infamous Kurt. Blaine has told us so much about you. Please, call me Martha." Soft hands shake Kurt's firmly.
"It's a pleasure to meet you."
"Would you boys like to come in, or," she points to the door, "do you need another minute?"
Kurt looks to Blaine, letting him take the lead.
"Dinner smells amazing, Mom," Blaine announces, stepping through the threshold.
"No one can beat my Martha's pot roast," Blaine's father announces with a fond smile as he enters the foyer. He then holds a hand out in Kurt's direction, taking another step toward him, "Lee Anderson. It's good to finally meet you face-to-face, Son."
Kurt offers as strong a handshake as he can muster, hoping to make a good impression in this unusual blend of casual and formal.
"Let me take your coats!" Martha sounds remarkably excited to do so. "It's wonderful Blaine's finally decided to bring one of his Dalton friends home. We've only ever seen David once, and from the stories we've heard, we're still uncertain Wes actually exists."
"Mom," Blaine blushes, embarrassed at the insinuation he might be lonely enough to fabricate friends.
Martha gently pets Blaine's hair in apology as she continues to address Kurt, "How are you enjoying Dalton, Kurt? All we can ever get out of Blaine are stories about the Warblers. I do hope they still focus on academics there."
"I actually no longer attend Dalton. I transferred back to my previous school last semester," Kurt feels guilty relaying this information, like he's ruined a lovely conversation Mrs. Anderson had planned out.
Martha's momentary discomfort is only noticeable to her family, those who have known her long enough to read the flash in her expression before composed cheer can replace it, "Well, it's nice you've been able to keep in touch. Dinner is almost ready. Blaine and Lee will be able to show you to the dining room."
As the boys follow Mr. Anderson through the luxuriously furnished house, Blaine tightly grasps Kurt's hand. Kurt squeezes back, trying to send as much strength through as possible. The Anderson parents seem pleasant, even kind, but Kurt can't tell how deep that goes, how much of it translates into real love. What he does know is that whatever happens tonight, he's going to be there for Blaine.
The dining room has a chandelier. The table seats eight and is made of polished mahogany, and the surrounding chairs are upholstered with silk. The rug below it looks hand-woven. The mere frame surrounding the artwork on the far wall looks like it costs more than any of the decorations in Kurt's own home.
And the painting itself is of the crucifixion of Christ. Hanging over where they eat. Hmm, intriguing.
Kurt is pulled from his observations as Blaine tugs his hand away, just in time for his father not to notice.
Lee seats himself at the head of the table as Blaine leads Kurt to two chairs along the side. This has Kurt facing The Painting, but Blaine seems used to this, so he's going to suck it up.
"So, Kurt," Lee addresses his guest, "do you like football?"
Again, Kurt feels like the bearer of bad news, "No, that's more Blaine's thing." He stops himself from laying an adoring hand on Blaine's shoulder; he's going to have to keep an eye out for such habitual gestures of affection lest he out Blaine minutes before he's ready.
"That it is," Lee nods proudly at his son. "So, what do you like, Kurt?"
Fashion. Theatre. Lady Gaga. None of these seem like the safest of answers. "Music," Kurt settles on.
"Something you have in common," Lee observes. "Blaine's always had real talent there, sings like Heaven's own. You know, he was in the church choir for nine years."
"I didn't," Kurt smiles at Blaine, who just blushes in response.
Lee continues, "The director always put him up front."
"That's because I was short, Dad."
"Save the humility for those who don't know better. It's because you were the best in that choir. You have a God-given gift, Son."
"Dinner has arrived," Martha musically announces as she brings in the food. It's on a trolley, an actual wheeled cart, stored in fancy serving containers quite possibly made of real silver.
Lee gets up to help his wife move the meal onto the table. Blaine has barely risen from his seat before his mother stops him, "After all the driving you did to come here tonight, you boys just sit there and relax."
Once a plate of pot roast, green beans, and mashed potatoes is placed before each diner, Kurt finds his hands being grasped by Martha on his right and Blaine on his left. He turns to each of them to ask what's going on, but they both have their heads bowed and don't notice him.
Blaine's head pops up like he's just realized something, and his eyes lock with Kurt's. He looks worried, apologetic.
Oh. They're saying Grace. This is what Grace looks like.
Blaine is about to say something, probably about Kurt not having to join in, but Kurt just bows his head obediently, now with the program. He's not going to make a fuss over this. Tonight isn't about his beliefs; it's about being there for Blaine.
Plus, Jesus is watching.
Lee leads them in the ritual, "Thank you, Father, for this food, and for Martha's unfailing culinary talents we're about to enjoy. Thank you for our health and happiness. Thank you for seeing Blaine safely home so he may eat with us, and thank you for the friends you've bestowed upon our son, especially Kurt, with whom we may share our blessed home."
Kurt isn't fast enough to say "amen" with Blaine and his mother, but he's too touched by being included in the prayer to feel awkward.
The pot roast is amazing. It's savory, well seasoned, and Kurt can taste just a hint of port. The potatoes are creamy and buttery and so decadent Kurt almost doesn't care what they'll do to his figure. The green beans are crisp, not mushy like his dad makes. Kurt is having a love affair with this meal. It's not cheating if Blaine's involved, though, so Kurt reaches for Blaine's hand beneath the table.
He finds the hand to be trembling. Above the table, Blaine seems find: he's eating at an even pace and his expression is calm. Hidden from view, however, Blaine is obviously panicking.
"You know," Kurt sets his silverware down, "on my way in, I didn't catch where the bathroom was."
"I apologize," Lee says sincerely, "my wife's cooking has its ways of making me a poor host."
"That's all right, Dad. I'll show him," Blaine leaps out of his seat at the chance to escape, for only a moment, and collect himself.
Kurt follows his boyfriend out of the room. The bathroom is three whole hallways away, which is good to know for any actual need. Blaine flips on the light and waits outside the door, obviously assuming Kurt really is there to use it. Kurt will pride himself on his acting skills later. For now, he pulls Blaine in after him and shuts the door.
Kurt immediately hugs him, seeing Blaine needs one and assuming it's the best place to start. Blaine gasps in surprise, then clings to Kurt like his life depends upon it.
"It's okay," Kurt murmurs on repeat as he rubs Blaine's back.
Blaine's breathing speeds to a near-hyperventilation pant. He battles his own lungs to get out the words, "I can't cry."
"If you need to, I'll be here," Kurt tries to reassure. "I'll hold you the whole time."
"No," Blaine pulls back from Kurt, still holding but no longer clutching, to face him. With a few deep breaths, he eases his respiration, "If I do, they'll know."
"Okay," Kurt pulls him back to his chest, "we'll just think happy thoughts. Puppies in baskets. Solos. Those caramel cinnamon rolls with the frosting-"
"This is too much."
"It's okay. We're just going to stay in here until you feel better, all right? That's all you have to worry about. We'll just be in here until we can go out there."
"I can't do this."
"Yes, you can. Just breathe."
"You don't have to. We can just finish dinner and leave. Or, we can go right now. I can fake an emergency."
"No, I... I don't... Argh," Blaine gets frustrated, trying to express himself with words that won't come.
"Blaine, I'm sorry I pushed you. I was selfish and wrong. We don't have to do this."
"No, you... you were right. It's not fair to lie to them. I just, I need them. But... I think I need them to support all of me. That's really important to me."
"Okay, then we'll do that. I'll be with you every step of the way, and no matter what happens, I love you."
Blaine sighs deeply, nuzzling under Kurt's chin, "Thank you."
Kurt hums happily and kisses the top of Blaine's head.
They stand in silence for a few moments, wrapped in thoughts, until Kurt speaks up, "Your mom's cooking is amazing. Seriously, how do you not weigh, like, 400 pounds?"
Blaine's only response is a breathy chuckle.
"Your parents seem nice. Or, at the very least, extremely polite."
Blaine laughs, guffaws, way harder than is warranted by Kurt's at-best moderately humorous statement. In explanation, Blaine wheezes out, "Mom thinks you're poor."
Suddenly, Kurt's feeling very self-conscious. He looks down at his outfit, "What? Why?"
"When you said you left Dalton," Blaine's still laughing. "People only ever do that because of financial hardships."
Kurt bites his lower lip, "Well, I guess compared to this place, I'd be considered-"
Blaine immediately sobers, realizing this news isn't having the same effect on Kurt as it's having on him, "You're not poor, Kurt. My mom's just really paranoid about not showing off. She moved everything from the entertainment hall to the family dining room, she took off her necklace, she's even using the old serving dishes. It's just kind of funny. I mean, it's not their fault they're rich; it's just the family my dad was adopted into. They're good people, though, even if they're a little misguided."
Kurt didn't notice the change in Martha's outfit, too distracted by what he found to be extremely impressive serving dishes and a palace-like dining room, but he swallows his pride for more important things. "Your parents are good people. Which is why tonight's going to go so very well."
"You're right," Blaine seems encouraged. "Let's do this."
Kurt follows Blaine back to the dining room. He mentally prepares a story about his dad calling to explain their long absence, but of course the Anderson parents are too polite to mention it.
"Blaine, your mother and I were just discussing last summer's trip to Paris."
"Lee, I'm sure Kurt doesn't want to hear boring family stories."
Now that he knows what to look for, Martha's attempt to change the subject from their lavish lifestyle makes sense to him. "I've always wanted to go to Paris."
Lee offers, "Plan it with Blaine. We'd be happy to send you both."
Martha is quick to cover, "We stay with friends, so it's practically free!"
Blaine clarifies, "Our friends own the Ritz in Paris."
"Sounds cozy," Kurt hopes his attempt at humor doesn't come off as resentment.
"Blaine," Lee prompts, "tell Kurt about the time you put bubbles in the room's jacuzzi."
Blaine's smile at the memory is short-lived. "Actually, I have something I need to tell you."
Kurt and Blaine's hands immediately gravitate toward each other, holding tight.
Martha smiles, warm and open, "Yes, Dear?"
"Mom, Dad, I... I love you both so much."
"We love you, too, Sweetheart. We're so thrilled you could visit."
Lee gives his son's shoulder a gentle pat.
Blaine continues, hoping that won't be the last time his parents are so approving of him, "I... I'm gay."
There it is. Now it's out there. It's time for Blaine to find out just what kind of parents he has.
Kurt glances nervously between the three Andersons, waiting for something, anything.
Martha misinterprets Kurt's discomfort and moves to protect her son from possible humiliation, "Blaine, perhaps we should discuss this as a family."
"No," panic rises in Blaine's chest, "Kurt stays."
"It's all right, I'm not leaving you," Kurt promises.
"Oh," Martha realizes her error, and looks to her husband for guidance, "Lee?"
"Blaine, Son, are you sure?"
Blaine doesn't think he can handle his parents telling him this is a phase, "Yes. Yes, I'm 100% sure."
Lee nods, "All right. Well... I guess that would explain those sunglasses."
"Lee!" Martha's tone is half admonishment, half shock.
"What? I-I'm sorry. I don't- I don't know what to say here. I thought you were dating Stacy."
"Stacy doesn't exist," Blaine admits with a grimace.
"Good, then. We don't have to break anything to her."
"Dad?" Blaine isn't sure if his father's jokes are to ease the tension or to express his own displeasure.
"Honey," Martha's staring at the table, trying to process her thoughts, "just... why... Why would you lie to us?"
"I didn't... want you do know?"
"But why? We're your parents. Why hide from us?"
Blaine's voice is small when he admits, "I was scared."
The tone changes. Suddenly, it doesn't matter why Blaine has done anything. All that matters is what they, as parents, have him hear now.
Lee grips his shoulder, "Blaine, my son, you have nothing to be afraid of with us. Do you hear me? Nothing."
Blaine is still too afraid to fully trust those words.
Martha leaves her seat and rounds the table so she's facing Blaine. She takes the hand Blaine has nervously gripping the napkin beside his plate into both of her own, "We love you, Blaine. Nothing will ever change that. You're our Blaine, and that's all that matters."
"You-" A tear slides down Blaine's cheek, "You don't hate me?"
The hand on his shoulder squeezes tighter, "Why would we hate you, Son?"
"B-because... You... It's... Because Jesus is in our dining room dying for our sins and this, this is very much a sin, and I know that, and you know that, and-"
"Blaine. Blaine, calm down. It's all right," Martha pats his hand. "Blaine, God gave you to me just the way you are, and that makes you perfect. You're my perfect child; God loves you, how could I not?"
Relief floods through Blaine and the dam breaks. "Mommy?" is all he can get out before sobs overtake his body.
Martha rushes around the table and pulls Blaine to her chest, "Mommy's here. I love you, my sweet boy."
Blaine doesn't know his father has joined them until he feels the familiar kiss to his crown, "I love you, too, Blaine. We promise to love you for everything you are, but to do that, we need to know who you are. No more lying, all right? You're too important to us."
Blaine sniffles, "Yes, Daddy."
Another kiss, "That's my boy."
Martha pulls back from her son enough to look at Kurt, "Thank you, Kurt, for helping our son come to us, for supporting him through this."
Kurt squeezes Blaine's hand, which never came unclasped from his own, in question. Blaine turns to him and nods.
Kurt raises their joined hands and pointedly places them on the table, "It's the least I could do."
Martha's eyes widen, "You're...?"
"Oh. Well, then, Kurt Hummel," she points at him, "I expect flowers."
Blaine squirms in his seat, "I'm not... a girl, Mom."
"Not for you, Mister." She turns back to Kurt and smiles, "If you are going to sweep a gentleman such as my Blaine off his feet, you simply must start with his mother."
There it is. Permission for a boy to sweep Blaine off his feet.
The ultimate approval he so yearned for.
Kurt watches the smile overtake Blaine's damp features.
"For raising someone like Blaine, Mrs. Anderson, I'll buy you flowers every day."