Author's Note: I'm adding my meager two cents to the post 3x14: On My Way stories. I'm mostly angsted out, so I'm spinning a happier tale, with maybe a tiny bit of angst peppered. The story moves between a future Faberry, and flashbacks to a possible realistic aftermath of the accident - mixing a present and past tense narrative accordingly. It's set in my Don't Blink verse, and follows Don't Blink You Might Miss and Steady Your Hand. Again, you don't absolutely have to have read those, but it wouldn't hurt. Feedback makes my day.
Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or the characters, I just like to play with them…strictly non-profit.
Diamonds Along the Way
Don't miss the diamonds along the way
Every road had led us here today
Life is what happens while you're making plans
And all that you need is right here in your hands.
~Diamond Road, Sheryl Crow
Part One: Something Of Your Soul
Rachel Berry is just as insane at twenty-six as she had been at sixteen.
That's all Kurt Hummel can think as he watches his best friend pace around the room in agitation, stopping every third turn to poke her head out the doorway and crane her lovely neck in a futile effort to see down the hallway and around the corner. He shakes his own head in amusement, and turns back to the full length mirror to check his reflection—it's only the fifth time, and one can never be too meticulous regarding one's appearance, after all. He pats down a piece of hair that has gone slightly askew under the light breeze caused by the air-conditioner, and straightens a tie that is already impeccable. The perfection of the image he sees is marred only by the incessant white blur that keeps moving in and out of the mirror's frame.
"I can smell the soles burning off your shoes," he grumbles. "Jimmy Choo's do not deserve such disrespectful treatment."
Kurt crosses his arms, and turns to face Rachel, who is once again peeking out the door. Anxiety aside, she looks beautiful. The dress is perfect—simple, yet elegant—and it hugs her figure where it should, and caresses her legs in a shimmering fall of silk. Her hair is swept up, and her soft makeup only accents her natural glow. He honestly could never have imagined when he was sixteen that, one day, he'd be acting as man of honor at Rachel Berry's wedding—and never, in a million years, at her big, gay wedding to Quinn Fabray.
Rachel whips away from the door with wild eyes, nervously twisting her engagement ring around her finger. "Kurt, you need to go and make sure that she's here. Right now."
He rolls his eyes, "You're being ridiculous. Quinn has wanted to marry you for years, sweetie." Almost ten, Kurt thinks with a fond smile. "She isn't about to leave you at the altar."
Rachel releases a shuddering breath, "Maybe not intentionally, but…Quinn and I don't have the best history when it comes to weddings," she reminds him with a pained expression, and Kurt's stomach flips as the memory comes rushing back.
It's been so long, and he honestly just doesn't think about it much anymore, but now he feels like a complete ass for not being more sensitive. He's in front of Rachel in two steps, wrapping her up in his arms. "Hey, now...don't think about that, Rachel. Quinn is perfectly fine. She's arriving by limo, and Santana is with her, and you know that she's going to make certain that Quinn is here on time and without a scratch on her."
Rachel chokes back a sob and nods against his shoulder, "I know, I know. I'm completely overreacting. I just wish that I hadn't let her convince me that we should spend the night before the wedding apart. We're hardly a conventional couple, I don't see why she wanted to start adhering to silly traditions now."
Kurt chuckles, "Maybe it has something to do with the June wedding, and the minister and the rabbi waiting outside, and the flower arrangements, and the one hundred and forty-two guests that you invited." He drops his arms to her biceps, squeezes gently, and steps back, grinning down at her. "Face it, Rachel. You wanted to give Quinn Fabray her dream wedding, so you can't fault her for enjoying every last clichéd custom. And, well," he hedges, hesitant to say what he's thinking, "maybe she didn't want to tempt fate by seeing her bride before the wedding."
Like Finn did, is left unsaid, but Kurt knows that they're both thinking it when Rachel squeezes her eyes shut and sucks in a harsh breath. Kurt doesn't like to remember that day, but when he lets himself, it's still as vivid as it was nine years ago…
"It's now or never."
Kurt bit his tongue to keep from shouting never as he watched his stepbrother desperately try to get Rachel into the judge's office. Truth be told, he didn't understand exactly what was going on, and he didn't even mean the insane, rushed wedding in the middle of their senior year of high school. There was no shotgun at their backs—Kurt had checked with Rachel three times just to be certain.
Of course, he'd tried to talk Rachel out of accepting a proposal at seventeen, but he knew her well enough to know that once she set her mind on something (or someone,) she wouldn't be budged. He knew she loved Finn, probably as much as he loved Blaine, but he just couldn't comprehend the idea of rushing into a huge, life-altering commitment before they'd even gone to college. Finn didn't have a clue about what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, except follow Rachel to New York, and in Kurt's mind, that was just a recipe for disaster. He'd hoped that he could talk some sense into Finn, but he supposed that he'd been giving the big lug too much credit in that department.
No, what Kurt was really having trouble understanding in that moment was why Rachel Berry, who wanted so badly to become Mrs. Finn Hudson that she couldn't even wait until graduation to do it, was now stubbornly delaying the ceremony to wait for Quinn Fabray—Quinn, who she'd never been particularly close to, and who, until a few hours ago apparently, had been even more adamantly opposed to this marriage than Kurt.
Yet, there was Rachel, turning her back on Finn to text Quinn again.
Rachel's fathers were eying one another with raised brows, and his own father and Carol were whispering amongst themselves, and Kurt felt fairly certain that any one of them might object at any moment. He certainly hoped they would, at any rate.
"Rachel? What are you doing?" Finn demanded with a confused frown, stepping directly behind Rachel and gazing over her shoulder as she stared down at her silent phone. "We need to go in there right now if we want to get married today," he tried again.
Rachel's hand clenched around her phone, and her frown deepened. Kurt shook his head, thinking that no bride should look that unhappy on her wedding day. He watched Rachel deflate, and shake her head in defeat. "I...I suppose..."
The buzzing of her phone cut her off, and her attention was captured once again. Her lips finally turned up into a smile, and she spun around to Finn. "Quinn's on her way," she crowed, holding up her phone as proof.
Finn smiled too, grabbing at Rachel's free hand, "That's great, Rach. Now let's go do this," he tugged at her hand and turned toward the door. All four of their parents instantly went rigid, and Kurt prayed that one of them would finally object to this insane wedding, but they only threw questioning glances at one another.
Rachel's smile slipped, and she dug her heels in, "N-no, Finn. We have to wait for Quinn."
Finn stared at her incredulously, "Are you kidding? We don't have time, Rachel. Who cares if Quinn is late?"
Rachel jerked her hand away from Finn's grip, and her eyes flashed. "I care," she insisted. Kurt's eyebrows quirked up at the unexpected vehemence in her tone, and he noticed a few of their friends had shaken off their boredom and grown increasingly interested in the happenings. "Quinn is my...our friend. She's part of our family, Finn. If I can't have the wedding that I've always dreamed about, then at the very least, I should be surrounded by the people that I care most about when I say my vows."
"But you're the one that wanted to get married today," Finn whined, eyebrows furrowed. "And you never even cared about any of that dream wedding stuff before today."
"Oh, of course she did," Kurt blurted out, unable to contain himself any longer, and he threw his hands up in frustration. He really could not believe that no one else had put a stop to this ridiculousness. "I've been in the same room with both of you when she's talked about rings, and flower arrangements, and picking a wedding song. And her dream to have Barbra Streisand at her wedding." He turned to Rachel and cupped her shoulders. "Sweetie, you can still have all of those things. You don't need to have some rushed civil ceremony in a dingy courthouse, wearing a bargain rack wedding dress," he grimaced, "however lovely it may be."
Kurt saw hurt and confusion reflected back from Rachel's expressive eyes, but he also saw her innate stubbornness spark back to life. "I…I don't need those things, Kurt."
"Yeah," Finn agreed, slinging an arm around her waist, "we just need each other."
"Of course, of course you do," Hiram chimed in, rushing to Rachel's other side with a fake smile, "but you know, you're not wrong, Rachelah. You should have all of your friends and family here for your big day, and there's no reason we can't wait for…Quinn, is it?" he glanced at Kurt for confirmation. Kurt nodded mutely, wondering why the man couldn't just say no to his daughter and be done with this travesty. "Hmm, that's odd," Hiram murmured as he eyed Finn with a thoughtful frown, "you two with the rhyming names, but no matter. We'll just wait."
"We can't. We'll miss our slot," Finn petulantly repeated.
"Then we'll reschedule for a later date," Leroy calmly reasoned, before specifically addressing Rachel, "when you can have your maid of honor here beside you."
Kurt's eyebrows rose at the arbitrary appointment of Quinn to that position, but he didn't intend to challenge the point if it meant slowing Rachel down. He should have known someone else would.
"Wait," Sugar interjected, placing her hands on her hips, "I'm the maid of honor."
"Oh, hell to the no. If anyone should be, it's me," Mercedes argued from the couch.
"Please," Santana scoffed, "you and the hobbit are only friends when you're not bitching and moaning about who gets more solos."
Mercedes glared at the girl, "I suppose you think you should be maid of honor?"
Santana rolled her eyes, her expression and posture screaming disdain. "Yeah, like I give a crap. I'm just here to gets me some free food after this unnatural, inter-species union is over with."
"Would you all just shut up," Finn yelled. His face had grown red and splotchy, and his grip on Rachel tighter. "We don't have time for this."
"I can't believe this is happening," Rachel whimpered, and Kurt felt his heart break for her. Tears slid over her cheeks, and she looked absolutely gutted. "I just…I just wanted today to be the perfect start to our life together…and it's all wrong," she whispered, shaking her head.
Finn pressed his lips into a tight frown, and he turned Rachel to face him as he leaned down and tried his best to reassure her. "No, Rach…we can still have that. We'll just go in there and get married right now."
Rachel took a deep, trembling breath and looked up at him with wide, wounded eyes. Kurt waited in trepidation, honestly unable to figure out if she'd agree at this point, but he didn't get the chance to find out because his own father had finally reached his limit. "Okay, that's enough," Burt interrupted, "we're done with this farce. There's no way you kids are getting married today."
"Thank God," Kurt murmured, stepping back to let the adults put an end to this madness. Finn had let go of Rachel's shoulders, and his expression moved from confusion to hurt to anger in rapid succession.
"Wait…you said you supported us."
Carol smiled sadly at her son, "Oh, honey, we were hoping you two would come to your senses on your own, and decide to wait. You're just so young."
Finn's hands closed into fists, and his face grew impossibly redder. "So you, like, lied to me? Again?" he shouted. "First about dad and now this."
Rachel attempted to calm his temper with a gentle touch to the back of his hand, and a quietly spoken, "Finn," but he brushed her away.
"I can't believe this. You know what, it doesn't even matter," he told them heatedly, grabbing Rachel's hand and holding it tightly, "because we're getting married anyway. C'mon, Rachel," he took a step toward the door, dragging Rachel behind him, but Burt stepped into his path, placing an open palm to his shoulder to stop him. Kurt had rarely seen his father's face seem so hard and immovable.
"Okay, then. You think you're ready for this...to be a man and support a wife...then you don't need my support."
Finn straightened his shoulders, and stared Burt down. "You're right, we don't."
Burt dropped his hand, but not his gaze, and told him, "You've got until tomorrow morning to pack up and move out."
Every single person in the room gasped. Well, Kurt more or less squeaked, completely flabbergasted that his dad would kick Finn out. Carol started crying and shaking her head, but she didn't say anything to contradict Burt's decision.
"What?" Finn asked stupidly.
"You're in such a hurry to be an adult, and start your life with Rachel. That's fine, but you're not doing it under my roof."
"Burt," Carol whispered with a pained expression.
"I'm sorry, Carol, but if they're grown up enough to go against their parents' wishes by getting married in high school, then they're grown up enough to take care of themselves." He glanced back at Finn, and nodded, "You can keep your job at the garage, though, as long as you show up and do the work I ask you to do."
"You're really gonna let him kick me out?" Finn demanded of his mother.
Carol collapsed into Burt's side, sighing wearily as she wiped away her tears. "I'm so sorry, Finn, but he's my husband," she told him brokenly, "and if you're so determined to become a husband yourself, then you're making a choice to take care of Rachel, and let her take care of you. You can't be dependent on us anymore."
"I can't believe this," Finn growled. "Fine, we'll just live with Rachel's dads."
Santana snorted, "Yeah, he's a real catch, Rachel. Congrats."
"Shut up, Santana," Rachel hissed, but Kurt could hear the exhausted defeat in her tone. She was desperately clutching at Finn's hand with one of hers, and still holding her cell phone in a white-knuckled grip with the other. The room fell silent, except for the distant blare of sirens from somewhere outside their second story window.
Leroy stood behind Rachel, rubbing her shoulder in sympathy, and she glanced back at him with sad eyes. Then her gaze drifted up to Hiram, who pushed up his glasses and shook his head regretfully, "Rachel, honey, you know that dad and I adore you, but..."
"Oh, Hiram, no," Leroy interjected with wide eyes, but Rachel understood perfectly, and her expression screamed of brokenhearted resignation.
"You won't support us either," she whispered.
"We're not saying never get married," Leroy assured her.
"We just don't understand why it has to be right now," Hiram said, throwing his hands out in exasperation. "Why not four years from now? Why not when you're twenty-five and have your first Broadway show under your belt." Rachel winced, and Kurt recalled that, until very recently, that had been part of her life plan.
"Why should we have to wait?" Finn demanded. "We love each other. We want to be together. She can still have all of that other stuff, too."
"Marriage is a huge commitment...emotionally and financially. Have either of you really sat down and talked about what that's going to entail?" Leroy asked them gently. Rachel's eyes immediately fell to the floor, and it was an obvious sign that they hadn't discussed any of those things. Finn didn't seem fazed at all, holding onto Rachel and scowling at her dad. "Rachel, baby girl, you're going to have school to pay for, and classes to attend, and auditions, and that's already going to be stressful, never mind having an apartment to keep tidy, and meals to cook…"
"I can cook," Finn interjected.
"And bills to pay," Leroy continued. "You'll need to get a job, too, because Finn can't be expected to pay for all of that—not to mention your slightly extravagant preferences—without help, and still have time to pursue…"
Leroy trailed off, at a loss, but Hiram jumped right in, "What exactly are your career plans again, Finn?"
Finn dropped Rachel's hand in a fury, and paced away to stand by the door. "Why the hell does everyone keep harping on that?" His slammed the side of his fist into the wall, causing everyone to jump, before he spun back around. Rachel turned to stare at him in concern. "Rachel, I just want to get married."
She bit into her bottom lip, with cheeks still wet from the trail of her tears. "S-so do I, but..."
"No, no...don't do that," Finn begged, crossing back to her in two long strides and tipping her chin up until she was looking into his eyes. "Don't start doubting us. Let's just get married now. We'll figure the rest out later."
"Sounds like a solid plan to me," Santana drawled sarcastically, only to have Mercedes give her shoulder a shove as she shushed her.
Rachel's eyes slid away from Finn and up to the clock that now read 5:15 pm, pulling everyone's gaze with her, including a very upset Finn. "I think...maybe we need to...reschedule," she managed to choke out.
Finn shook his head in denial. "No. I'll go check with the judge, okay? Maybe he can still squeeze us in."
"And then what?" Rachel asked in a small voice.
"No...it...it doesn't feel right anymore, Finn," she told him tearfully. "Not after all of this," she waved her hand around at everyone in the room who'd been waiting with baited breath as their happy day had fallen apart, "and…Quinn still isn't here yet."
"Where the hell is Lucy Q, anyway?" Santana wondered out loud. "It's not like she lives more than ten minutes away."
Rachel's brows furrowed, and she glanced again at the phone in her hand. "I should call her," she muttered, "tell her not to bother coming now."
"Jesus," Finn cursed, "who cares? This whole disaster is her fault."
"Yeah, blame it on someone who isn't even here," Santana spat, "not like anything is ever your fault."
"Stop it," Rachel screamed. "Just stop it, please," she sobbed, wrapping her arms around her stomach in misery. She suddenly looked so much younger, like a little girl playing dress up and crying because her parents have yelled at her for ruining her best dress. It was sadly close to the truth.
Finn reached for her, "Hey, I'm sorry, Rach," he murmured as he eased her into a gentle hug. "This all just…sucks," he complained, and Rachel only cried harder, turning her face into his chest. Kurt felt uncomfortable watching them, and he had the sense that everyone else felt the same way, until...
"So, just to be clear, there's no wedding today, right?" Sugar asked. Rachel choked back a particularly loud, shoulder-shaking sob as everyone else glared incredulously at Sugar.
"Shh, it's okay," Finn whispered into her hair. "We'll just get married next week. I'll make another appointment, okay?"
Kurt shook his head in disbelief, and dropped into the nearest chair, grateful when he felt Blaine take his hand. How could Finn possibly still think this marriage would be a good idea? He only prayed that Rachel would finally start thinking rationally about the whole thing.
Around him, their friends started silently picking up their belongings and heading out, leaving Rachel still weeping in Finn's arms, and their parents in quiet discussion. He pressed his forehead into his palm and sighed, listening to the rustle of dresses, the whispers and the weeping, and, again, the screaming of a siren briefly drowning out the sounds of a thwarted wedding.
Blaine leaned in a pressed a light kiss to his cheek. "Hey, do you want me to take you home?"
Kurt raised his head and glanced around the room, noticing that Rachel had settled down a bit, enough that she'd moved out of Finn's arms and into Hiram's. Finn, looking lost and upset, had retreated into the far corner with his arms crossed defensively. Carol was trying to talk to him, but he wasn't having it, and Burt and Leroy were still speaking quietly. Other than Blaine and himself, the only other members of the aborted wedding party who remained were Brittany and Santana, who'd dug her phone out of her purse and was tapping her nails impatiently on the plastic while she waited for someone to pick up. Kurt's attention was drawn to her, even more so when her eyes flashed and she growled in frustration, tossing the phone onto the sofa beside her. "Where the fuck is she?"
"Are you trying to call Quinn?" he asked quietly.
She nodded tersely, "Keeps going to voice mail. Bitch is gonna be so pissed that she missed the free show."
Kurt smiled, thinking that had she been here, she'd have probably added her voice to the chorus of objections. He'd honestly been surprised that she'd even agreed to come and support Rachel and Finn after having been so vocally opposed.
"She'll be happy, though," Brittany mused. "Rachel's, like, her cockroach, and being married to Finn would have squished her."
Santana's eyebrows furrowed as she gazed at her girlfriend, and Kurt glanced from them to Blaine with his own eyebrows raised in question. Blaine only shrugged in confusion. "Her…cockroach?" Kurt finally asked.
"Yeah, you know, the little bug on her shoulder that tells her what's right and wrong," Brittany explained. They all kept looking at her blankly until she rolled her eyes and added, "Like in Pinocchio."
"That was a cricket, baby," Santana explained gently, smiling as she did so, "and I don't think Berry is anything close to being Quinn's conscience."
Kurt chuckled, "I don't know. I think Brittany may have a point." He thought about Quinn's trip through crazy town earlier in the year, and how Rachel had tried several times to reach out to her.
Santana shook her head, and picked up her phone again with a frown. "She should have been here by now."
"I'm sure she's probably running into the courthouse as we speak," Blaine said with a smile.
As if on cue, Santana's phone rang, and they all jumped in surprise. Kurt pressed a hand to his suddenly racing heart, and Santana laughed. "It's my dad's number," she explained before she accepted the call.
Kurt turned his head to give her some privacy, looking again at Rachel and wondering what was going on in that head of hers in that moment. Her eyes were focused unseeingly out the nearby window, and her mouth was turned down into a pensive frown. This experience was hardly going to make for good memories, whether she and Finn eventually got married or not.
"No," Santana suddenly wailed in anguish, and everyone's head whipped around to look at her ashen face. "N-no, Papi, you're wrong. It's not her. She…she's on her way here."
Kurt's stomach twisted, and he gripped Blaine's hand tighter. Everyone knew that Santana's father was a doctor—a cardiologist at Lima Memorial Hospital—and there was only one person who was supposed to be on her way to the courthouse.
"Quinn?" Rachel whispered, yet it echoed through the room like an explosion. He wondered if the agony he heard in that one quiet rasp came from Rachel's broken voice, or from his own soul.
Santana shook her head in denial and curled in on herself—even as Brittany's arms wrapped around her—dropping the phone and haltingly gasping, "sh-she's…the…hospital…ac-ac…ci…dent."
Kurt was vaguely aware of everything happening at once—of Brittany crying and holding a near hysterical Santana as closely and as tightly as she could; of Finn jerking away from the wall and spinning around to punch it with an anguished cry of denial; of Carol falling into his father's arms; of Blaine dragging him into a tearful hug, and of Rachel, collapsing into a boneless heap on the floor as her fathers scrambled to ease her fall.
Nine years later, Rachel Berry is once again standing in a wedding dress, waiting for Quinn Fabray. The dress is a thousand times nicer than the first one in Kurt's opinion, but that's neither here nor there. He has a duty as the man of honor to keep his bride from descending into complete meltdown. Truthfully, he should have seen this coming. Though Quinn's accident and the tumultuous months that had followed are rarely mentioned by any of them, every so often, something will evoke the memory and remind them of how close they'd come to losing Quinn.
For Rachel, it's a reminder of how close she'd come to never having her—never loving and being loved by her.
If the look on Rachel's face is any indication, she's about thirty seconds away from a full-blown crying session, and he's not about to have her completely ruin her makeup. Now that he thinks about it, Kurt is surprised that it's taken Rachel this long to start freaking out. She's been overflowing with excitement about this wedding from almost the very day that she proposed, and while he can recall a handful of joking references to her first disastrous attempt in the months that they'd been planning for this one, not one of those has fallen from Rachel's lips. Quinn, on the other hand, has been having the time of her life teasing Rachel over every little detail of this wedding, barring any actual mention of the previous interrupted ceremony or the reason for it.
"Come here, sweetie," he prompts, tucking her into his chest when she obediently steps into his arms. "You and Quinn are going to have an amazing life together," he promises, "so think less West Side Story and more Mamma Mia!"
She stifles a laugh, weakly slapping his chest, "That's a terrible example, Kurt."
He chuckles, "But it's a happy musical comedy with an over-the-top, romantic ending," he tips Rachel's face up and smiles down at her, "and that's exactly what you and Quinn deserve."
Kurt has always respected Quinn Fabray, but he's truly come to love and appreciate her in the last several years, in large part because she is absolutely perfect for Rachel. She's a realist where Rachel is a dreamer, calm where Rachel is intense, and cautious where Rachel is confident. They complement one another beautifully, and he could kick himself for not seeing it sooner.
He can still remember the first time that he'd realized that Quinn was completely in love with his friend, one summer evening while they'd all still been in college. They were having dinner, the three of them and Santana, who'd ended up pre-med at Columbia, and he happened to glance over at Quinn while Rachel was rambling about her summer acting troop, only to choke on his water when he noticed the look of absolute love and devotion on Quinn's face. So much of their past started to make sense, and his heart had broken for Quinn, thinking that her feelings would never be reciprocated. Oh, how wrong he'd been. It may have taken Rachel a few more years to open her eyes and see what was right in front of her, but once she did, she'd fallen hard and fast.
Rachel sighs, and steps away, looking far more composed, but still nervous. "You're right, I know, but… Could you please, please just go and check on Quinn? It will make me feel so much better."
He chuckles, "You could always just tex…" he snaps his mouth shut before he sets her off again, "never mind. I'll just pop over to the other dressing room and see if your bride looks as fabulous in her dress as you do."
Rachel grins goofily, whispering, "my bride" with reverence, and then throws her arms around Kurt again, catching him off guard and causing him to stumble backwards with his arms full of Rachel Berry. "Thank you, Kurt."
"Okay, okay," he laughingly pries her arms from around his neck, "I'll be right back," but she stops him with a hand on his arm.
"Tell her that I love her."
He rolls his eyes, "If I must."
He tries to turn, but she tugs his arm again, "Oh, and check to make sure that her bouquet has green ribbons like I instructed."
"Rachel," he sighs.
"And please make sure that Santana didn't carry through with her threat to wear that awful, strapless dress instead of the one I specifically chose for her."
"Rachel," he growls.
"No," he interrupts, lifting her hand off his sleeve and smoothing out the wrinkles she's left. "I'm going to make sure that Quinn is safely on the premises, and then I am coming right back here, because, sweetie, you are about to turn into Bridezilla, and trust me, no one wants to see that."
Rachel crosses her arms with a huff, reluctantly nodding. "Just tell her that I love her, and I can't wait to marry her."
"That I will certainly do," he vows, quickly kissing her cheek before he finally manages to escape...well, almost.
"And could you find out where my dads have disappeared to?"
Kurt shakes his head and keeps walking, heading down the hallway toward the other dressing room.
He smiles when he sees Leroy and Hiram Berry, standing just around the corner, but his smile slips slightly when he notices their serious expressions and hushed conversation. A feeling of dread starts to bubble in the pit of his stomach, not unlike the one he'd experienced nine years ago.
"What's wrong?" he asks instantly.
"Nothing's wrong, Kurt," Leroy calmly assures him, and Kurt feels his tension ease, if only marginally. Leroy wouldn't lie on his daughter's wedding day.
"No, nothing at all," Hiram adds, although his slight agitation gives him away. "Absolutely no problems with this wedding going off exactly as planned. Don't be at all concerned. In fact, why don't you just go on back in there with Rachel? Leroy and I will be along before you know it."
"Oh, no. I'm not going back in that room with your extremely, uptight daughter unless I've seen and touched Quinn," Kurt informs them. "So if you'll excuse me," he attempts to skirt around the Berrys, but Leroy's hand on his shoulder stops him short.
"Well, Kurt, there could be just a small problem with that plan."
"Very small," Hiram agreed, pinching his thumb and forefinger together, "miniscule, really."
"You see," Leroy explains gently, "Quinn isn't actually here."
"Yet! She's not here yet," Hiram stresses, "but she's on her way as we speak."
Kurt has a very unpleasant flashback, and he slumps sideways against the wall, dragging a hand through his hair, careless of the fact that he's completely messing up the perfect styling he'd achieved. Quinn isn't here, and there is absolutely no way in hell that he's going back in that room with Rachel and telling her that Quinn is on her way.
"Shit," he mutters.