Welcome one and all to the first chapter of Our Love Is Here To Stay, the sequel to Lullaby Lane. Let me begin with a HUGE thank you to everyone who favorited, reviewed and alerted it, and especially to the guys and girls on Twitter, who squealed so much over Lullaby that I just had to begin writing the sequel! Thank you also to my amazing Beta, GleekMom, who proved to me that yes, a beta is really someone I should have had all along! This story takes place ten years after Lullaby ends, and we get the opportunity to see the Hummel-Anderson clan from a whole new perspective: The Teenage Years.
As always, I own none of it, Glee, Kurt and Blaine or the ideas swimming around in my head. Oh wait, maybe I do own those... XD
"Woah, woah woah!" Kurt Hummel-Anderson leaned backwards, nearly over-balancing as he watched his three beautiful girls skipping down the stairs to the main floor.
Sixteen-year-old Katherine came first, as usual. Her tank top barely met the bottom of her bra. Could that even be considered a tank top, Kurt wondered. And Kurt swore the mini skirt she was wearing flashed him a bit of her nether regions as she skipped down the stairs. Also as usual, fifteen-year-old Penny came next, her ample bosom gathered up in a definitely-not-appropriate-for-school halter top, with pants so tight that Kurt was certain she must be a vampire because she couldn't possibly breathe in those jeans. Only thirteen-year-old Jessica looked decent, but that was mostly because she was as shy as anything, and never wandered anywhere looking like her sisters.
"Okay, Katie, Penny, you are not going to school looking like that." The two girls groaned, and rolled their eyes at him. "Don't give me that look, girls, or your father will hear about it," He threatened. Not that it would do much good telling Blaine; he'd just look at him and say girls will be girls. He loved Blaine dearly, with all his heart, but the man couldn't say no to his precious daughters if his life depended on it.
"Oh, right, Daddy," Penny sniped at him, her eyes rolling again, her hand finding it's way to her hip as she posed. "Like Dad would ever do anything to us," She smiled at Katherine, and they nodded together. Kurt snapped; he was tired of the disrespect he got from those girls, and it was ending, now.
"If you do not go upstairs and change into the decent clothes that I know you have stashed up there, I will take every piece of clothing you own away from you, and will give you only what you need to wear for the day. And you will not like the combinations I give you," he growled, his voice lowering and sending chills down the spines of the two suddenly very compliant girls. They knew he was good for it; they'd seen what happened when Daddy Blaine had bought a ridiculous pair of bright orange pants with a green shirt. Really, what had he been thinking? They ran upstairs and Kurt turned his eyes to his youngest daughter.
"Good morning, Jessica," He smiled at the girl, who nearly looked him in the eyes. Of the three girls, she was the tallest. At thirteen, she was still growing, and she had almost matched his five-nine already. Penny was only five-six, and Katherine was still quite small at five-four. He smiled at her again, when she leaned forward and gave him a small hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"It's nice to know you don't spoil them," She said, her soft voice surprising him as always with its kindness and gentle tone. She had always been shy, ever since she was little, even with her own sisters and fathers. Her grandfather was the only exception. Burt had always been the one person to whom she never had any problem relating. Jessica placed a hand on Kurt's arm, looking at him while he turned the pancakes on the stove. "And good morning, Daddy," she replied softly, pulling out a plate and allowing him to settle a couple of pancakes on it before retreating to the dining room.
Within minutes, the other two girls bounded back down the stairs, both dressed in more respectable clothing. Kurt sighed. He truly wished Blaine hadn't been called away for a business meeting on the first day of school, but he knew Blaine was an important man in the company. He had gone from hiring marketing geniuses to becoming one in a matter of a few years, and was now one of the Vice Presidents for the corporation. Luckily, most of his work could be done from home.
Blaine and Kurt had opted to return to Ohio, once the girls grew up a little. Blaine had gone to school there, and Kurt had grown up there, and to be honest, they both missed it quite a bit. Blaine had been happy to move to Lima, but Kurt wasn't ready to face his memories just yet. And he knew how his little family would be perceived by the people there. So they chose a large house, just outside of Columbus. They were still close enough to visit Kurt's parent's whenever they wanted, but also near enough to a major city that their marriage wouldn't be construed as unusual.
Katherine and Penny looked at Kurt, who deposited a couple of pancakes on each plate, quirking his eyebrows when Katherine sighed loudly.
"And what, pray tell, does that mean, young lady?" He asked archly, his eyes travelling back and forth between the two girls.
"Coach Sylvester says too many carbs will make us look like hippos," Katherine recited, snapping her gum and looking bored with the whole mess. Kurt grimaced, shaking his head and walking back to the stove. Wonderful. Now Sue was getting her claws into his girls, he thought. It was bad enough that she had been fired from McKinley for trying to get a whole squadron of girls psyched up for a championship by having a bonfire in the middle of the football field. It might have gone smoother if there hadn't been a game going on at the same time, but hey, it had been exciting! And when she had been hired at the same school the girls went to, he had been nervous at first. Now, he was downright terrified for his girls. He knew exactly what Sue could do to his girls, and he was very protective of them. He looked at the girls one more time, and threw up his hands in the air in defeat.
"Fine, whatever," he snapped at them, and their eyes got very round as he turned off the stove and stormed down the hallway to the bedroom he shared with Blaine. The girls looked at each other, and then at Jessica, who continued to eat calmly.
"What's the matter with him?" Penny asked acerbically, her normally cool exterior flailing for a moment as she tried to discern what was wrong with her father.
"Dunno," Katherine answered, and then both turned as Jessica began speaking.
"I'd expect he's slightly angry at the fact that you two have been on his case since Dad left. You barely eat anything except those stupid drinks Coach Sylvester gives you. He's been crying late at night for the past few days, so I'm assuming he misses Dad a bunch. And he got up this morning specifically to make you guys your favourite breakfast and you just threw it in his face." She calmly cut another piece from her plate, and chewed it thoughtfully. "And I heard him talking to Dad the other day, and he feels like he isn't contributing to the household, and it's making him upset. He feels useless, and I can't say as I blame him. You've made his life a living hell, and he's frustrated," she added, her eyes locking on those of her two older sisters. They looked guiltily at each other, and then slowly sat down at the table. They grabbed their forks and began eating, as Jess cleared her plate, rinsed it and put it in the dishwasher.
"You guys should know," She turned around, looking at them carefully. "When Daddy finally figures out what he is supposed to do with the rest of his life, it may not include us. We aren't his real children, you know. If you really want to keep acting this way, we might lose him," And with that scary thought in their heads, she wandered off, back up to her room to read some more.
Penny and Katherine looked at each other, frightened. They loved Daddy, just as much as they loved Dad. They didn't want to lose him, not ever. Who would go shopping with them? Who would help them decide what to wear? Who would they be able to giggle over the fall fashions from Vogue magazine with? Dad was cool, but not to the same standards as Daddy was, and they both considered that while scarfing down their breakfast.
Kurt lay down on the bed, his arm thrown over his eyes in disgust. He had worked hard to make a great morning for his girls, and they had just ruined it. A soft sob came from the back of his throat, and he was glad he had shut the door. He didn't want the girls to catch him crying. Crying, for God's Sake! Over pancakes! He was pathetic. The hot burning of tears behind his eyes threatened to overwhelm him again, and he struggled to stay calm.
He was a leech. He didn't feel like he was bringing anything to this family anymore. The girls were old enough now not to need him for anything. He was stuck at home most of the time, never getting out and doing anything. Even his friends had stopped calling. It was too far to try and get together with anyone for coffee, and anyone coming through Columbus didn't usually have time to stop for a visit. He spent a lot of time painting, and writing, but he wasn't good enough at either to be able to sell anything. It was just a hobby for him. The only thing he had ever been any good at was being a parent to those girls, and now he couldn't even do that.
God, he was a washed up failure at thirty-nine! Not even forty yet, and his life was finished. He curled up onto his side and began to sob in earnest.
After a few minutes, he heard a soft knock at his bedroom door. Leaping up in surprise, he dashed into the bathroom to splash some water on his face.
"Be right there!" He called, as he looked in the mirror. His eyes were red, his face blotchy, and his hair was a disaster. He sighed. Yet another opportunity for fashion my ass, he thought to himself. He walked slowly to the door, and opened it a crack, noting the two older girls there.
"Can I help you?" He asked, his voice cracking just a little from the rough state of his throat. His eyebrows lifted as the girls in front of him began to cry too. He opened his door, and pulled them both into a rough hug.
"Don't l-leave us, D-Daddy," Penny sobbed, her tears soaking the collar of his shirt, her hands grasping at his waist. Katherine nodded, her tears soaking into the shoulder of his shirt. He looked down at the set of girls in his arms.
"What do you mean, don't leave you?" He asked gently, tilting each face up to look in their eyes. "I'm not going anywhere," He added softly, hugging them both much closer than he had in a long time. "I love you guys. I love your sister and father, too," he added, his tears beginning to stream down his face again.
"Jessica said you would l-leave if we don't b-behave," Katherine sobbed, her trembling hands wrapped so far around her father that Kurt was sure she'd never let go.
"We ate the pancakes you made," Penny blurted. "And we did the dishes by hand, even the ones in the dishwasher," She looked up at him with tear-filled eyes. "We need you, Daddy. We love you!" Kurt sighed softly. Jessica had been eavesdropping again. He wasn't overly surprised to hear confirmation of that; she'd always been so quiet that no one heard her when she decided to sneak up on them. Half the time she didn't even realise she was sneaking; she just did it naturally. He wasn't sure how she came to have that particular skill, either. It's not like Blaine was stealthy in any sense of the word. That man could trip over the one thing left out in the hallway coming in late at night.
Kurt leaned down and kissed each girl on the forehead, cuddling them both close as he spoke.
"I love you two. I love your sister, even though she eavesdrops when she shouldn't be hearing things that don't pertain to her. I love your father dearly, with all my heart, and I will not leave you guys," He finished, pulling them away from him long enough to look deep into their eyes. "All right? I'm not going anywhere. I promise," he finished. The girls looked at each other and nodded, wiping their tears away, and he hustled them into the living room to finish getting ready.
"Since you guys have missed the bus, I'm forced to bring you to school. Get your gear, and go get in the car. I'll be right out," He climbed the stairs as they grabbed their backpacks, and made his way to Jessica's room. He knocked softly, and opened the door almost immediately afterward. Jess turned at her vanity, looking over at him as she brushed her long, honey blond hair. Her hair was slightly curly, just enough to give it a bit of a wave, and Kurt envied the natural softness of it. Then again, he'd shown her how to care for her hair properly since she was small, and she did a very good job of it. Her blue eyes met his, and she held her hand out to him, handing him the brush.
"Can you make me pretty?" She asked, voicing a request she hadn't made since she was much smaller. He smiled softly.
"Oh no," he returned, sharing the private game they had played many times. "You're already so beautiful. My little princess," he added, smoothing her hair back and pulling it up into a gorgeous French twist. As he pinned it softly, he realised that this was one of his favourite times. When he got to spend some one-on-one time with any of his girls, it made his entire life light up. He slowly finished pinning it, and then wrapped his arms around her shoulders, embracing her.
"I love you, sweetheart," His voice went low, the way it always did when he wanted to talk about something serious. "But you have to stop scaring your sisters with the things you hear from your father and I at night. You have to stop eavesdropping, Jess," He turned her around so she was facing him instead of the mirror. Her gentle face looked up at him in curiosity.
"Why?" She asked, a small frown consuming her mouth.
"Because, Love," he replied, his hands pulling hers to him, and leaning his forehead down until it collided gently with hers. "The things you hear are just for Dad and me to know. I don't ever want you to have to be worried about us," he whispered, afraid she might not catch his meaning. "I'm never going to leave Dad, not ever, because I love him, and I love you, and I even love those brats we call your sisters," He smiled, delighted as a grin spread over his daughter's face. "Now, since they are sitting in the car waiting oh-so-patiently for us," he grinned hearing the honking of the car outside. "Why don't we go give them a ride to school, and then you and I can spend some time together today. Just us, our secret. What do you think?"
Jessica's face blossomed into a wide grin. She was going to spend the whole day with her favourite person on earth? She was absolutely delighted. She nodded quickly, then leaned over to grab her backpack, and hustled out the door and down the stairs to the car. She jumped in the back with Katherine; it was Penny's week to have the front seat. They rotated in order to keep it fair; Dad had set up the schedule, and left it on the fridge. Kurt locked the door and jumped into the driver's seat.
"So, Daddy,"" Katherine began, and Kurt grimaced as he checked his mirrors. It happened every single time they got into the car. Katherine was old enough to drive now, and she wanted lessons so that she could get her own car. The problem was always time. Between Blaine's meetings and trips and the girls' different sports and activities, there simply wasn't enough time on any given day to take her out to practice. Katherine must have seen the frustration on his face, because she quickly changed the subject.
"Daddy, there's a dance at the school on Friday and Penny and I have been invited by a couple of the football players. Would it be all right if we went?" She asked, her tone sweet and pleasant. Kurt cringed inwardly.
"I don't know, sweetheart. We'll have to wait until Dad gets home, and ask him," He hedged, his mind concentrating on the road and the way the kid in front of him kept swerving all over. Finally the car turned onto another road, and Kurt could breathe a sigh of relief. He dropped the eldest two at their high school, and then called Jessica's school as she climbed into the front seat with him.
"Hi, it's Mr Hummel-Anderson. Yes, Kurt. I just wanted to let you know that Jessica won't be in school today. No, she's all right. It's a mental health day. Yeah, she hasn't been feeling right for a couple of days, I wanted to take her out, see if we can reconnect. Yes. Yes, she will definitely be there tomorrow. No. All right, thanks. Have a great day. Bye now," He hung up the phone, and smiled over at Jess.
"So, what should we do first?" He asked. She smiled softly, looking over at him.
"Can we go to the library first, please?" She asked, and he grinned back at her. Today was going to be perfect.
Kurt pulled into the driveway, singing along with Jessica to the top 40 song she had picked on the drive home. They had enjoyed an amazing day. After the library, they had gone shopping at the mall, and had visited the Columbus Museum of Art, located on East Broad Street. There had been a new exhibit, and Jessica had been intimately interested in it.
They had then enjoyed lunch at one of the little downtown restaurants, and had spent the afternoon walking in Battelle Waterfront Park, enjoying the sunshine. By the time they had made their way home, however, it had begun to rain. When they pulled into the driveway, Kurt gasped to see two bedraggled girls sitting on the front stoop, waiting for someone to let them in. Both jumped up as Kurt emerged from the car, darting to the front door and slipping his key in.
"Why didn't you use your key?" He asked the girls, and both shivered in the suddenly cooler air of the house.
"Forgot mine," Penny muttered, throwing her bag down onto the floor and squelching to the bathroom on the first floor.
"I lost mine a couple of weeks ago," Katherine blushed, putting her bag beside Penny's and walking upstairs to the second floor bathroom. Kurt shook his head softly; that girl would lose her head if it weren't attached.
He made a mental note to get another key cut for Katherine, and wandered over to the answering machine. He played the one message:
"Kurt, it's me. Blaine. I know you expected me home tonight. I'm so sorry. I've been called to go to another meeting, this time it's in Japan. I'm going to be gone for almost three weeks. I can't tell you how sorry I am about this. I know you've been missing me a lot lately. I promise, as soon as I get back, I'll make it up to you. I swear. I have to run, but I wanted you to know. I love you. So much. Please don't be upset. Love you, again. Bye, Kurt." The machine beeped, and Kurt fought back his tears. Three weeks? How could Blaine be gone for three weeks?
He obviously had forgotten that their ten-year anniversary was only two weeks away. Clearly, Kurt thought, their anniversary meant nothing to Blaine. He choked back a sob, biting his fist harshly as he began pulling out pots to use to make supper. He had purchased tickets as a surprise for Blaine for a week-long cruise to celebrate. He felt so disappointed and hurt, he wondered harshly if he should even bother to see if the tickets were refundable.