A/N: So this is the first chapter of my new fic. Basically this is Kurt's intro and POV to the whole story. This is my first time posting here so please forgive me for any formatting issues- although I think most are ironed out *fingers crossed*
Warning for non-con between Blaine/OC in upcoming chapters (not this one but wanted to get it out there now) though nothing explicit as of yet.
"Isn't she so beautiful Kurt?" The wistful nature of his friend's voice surprised him. Santana was a lot of things. Bitchy, sarcastic, critical...but never wistful and sweet, and Kurt loved her all the more for it. The reason for the sudden change in demeanor was on the flat screen monitor in front of her. A website, mysteriously named , displayed a picture of an innocent blond girl with blue doe eyes and a sweet smile. It was this sight that had his normally snarky friend sighing. Kurt looked incredulously over at one of his closest friends. She had this faraway, soft look in her usually shrewd brown eyes that made him turn again towards the computer monitor in surprise. The girl on the screen smiled playfully back at him in her photo and Kurt mulled over the situation he was subjected to the last few weeks.
Santana had been over for their normal Saturday lazy day together. They had both moved to New York after high school; Kurt went right away and Santana followed unbeknownst to kurt a few month later. After floundering around in the city that was far lonelier than one would ever expect, they met by chance at a coffee shop and began this ritual that still occurred without fail almost ten years later. On this particular Saturday, Santana's whole demeanor just seemed restless to Kurt and her next statement just confirmed his suspicions.
"Ugh! I need to settle down Porcelain." Santana stated with a groan. She leaned over towards the sofa table to get her glass of wine.
"Where is this coming from Satan?" Kurt asked, reciprocating the use of their loving high school nicknames for each other with a soft laugh but genuinely surprised at his friends revelation. Santana never really called him Porcelain any more unless she was feeling sentimental or whiney. Kurt turned toward his friend with a quizzical look wondering what about the subject of the conversation was garnering the sentiment.
"I just...feel lonely lately. The show has been great and I have surpassed any goals I've ever had professionally but I just want someone to share it with sometimes." she let her head fall back toward the arm of the sofa and seemed to wait for the judgement to come from the general direction of her best friend.
Taking a graceful sip of wine, Kurt mulled over his own situation. He realized his life was not that much different from his friend's. He had found success early on in new York while still in his design classes at Tisch and soon found himself the 'it' boy of the Broadway set design world. After his design suggestions as assistant led the set of "How to Succeed in Business" to gain accolades for being modern and pure visionary, Kurt acquired the reputation of the man who would improve the stuffy attitude of Broadway one set at a time. His designs were in high demand and to date he had designed or revamped the sets of four major shows. Kurt was comfortable and his bank account balance was higher than he ever dreamed. His design company was flourishing, but he realized that he was also missing that special someone to share it with.
"Listen Satan, no judgement here. I promise." Kurt said softly sensing Santana's embarrassment at her confession. "I feel the same way sometimes. Was there something recently that brought this to the surface?"
Santana looked at her friend with mild shock as she seemed to think about his question.
"I guess it has been building for a while but then Mike, you know Mike from the cast? He came in with this stupid smile on his face and just radiated pure love and devotion as he talked about his wife. I have known him for years and I know that they're the perfect couple but it was something about that day. That day it just, I don't know, smacked me in the face and made me re-evaluate what I was doing with my life. God! I sound like such a bitch! When did I get so whiney." the girl finished her explanation with a self-depreciating chuckle.
Kurt was honestly at a loss for words. He had no real idea how to help himself or his friend. His designer instincts kicked in then as a somewhat temporary solution came to him. On set, if something looked tired, he would reinvent it. That set, or costume would be rejuvenated and put back out onto the stage for the enjoyment of the audience. He thought how he just needed to reinvent himself, his life...but how to start? It certainly did not involve hanging around in his quiet apartment. He at least knew the first step. He had to shake things up for both of them.
"So...what are we going to do about it? I mean we're fabulous, amazing New Yorkers who have conquered this fair city. Want to go out tonight or something?" Kurt asked.
"You know what? Yeah! Let's go out! Let's go grace the population of New York with our gorgeous presence." Santana's entire demeanor changed with that statement. Gone was the slightly fragile outlook and in its place was the she-wolf Kurt had always known and loved.
The two retreated back to their respective closets to pick out an appropriate outfit, Santana promising to meet back there at Kurt's apartment by 9 pm. Kurt knew he had hours to perfect the look for the night but he thought you could never be too prepared. He stepped into his vast closet looking around at all his new found wealth was able to buy him. A man of humble beginnings, Kurt had to pinch himself to remember this was not all a dream. Whereas his closet was once filled with bargain basement couture, it was now stocked with the current and future seasons entire line from each of his favorite designers. For the upcoming night, Kurt chose pieces from his favorite collections to create a look that was edgy, dark, and downright sinful.
Over the years his confidence in his body had grown immensely and he knew what looked good on him.
In the back of his mind a tiny voice squeaked with doubt that this type of ensemble would grab the attention of anyone worthy of a long term relationship. The outfit basically screamed one night stand but Kurt went with it anyway- knowing that no solutions would be found to his problem tonight. Tonight was about shaking up his mundane life. Tonight was about his decision that he might as well have fun while he's searching.
As the day went on, Kurt continued musing over Santana's revelation. He realized how lonely his life had really gotten over the years in New York. Sure, he had his friends here and family in Ohio, but he often secretly longed for someone to be there when he got home.
He longed for someone to curl into at the end of a hard day.
Kurt had this feeling for years of something, something vital, missing from his life but never could put a title on that missing thing until Santana brought it up. Its not that Kurt didn't have relationships. He'd had plenty over the years. Some of them lasting a few months even. But he'd never felt that connection to someone. Never wanted to rearrange his life to make it work. He always found that in his relationships there was that imbalance of feelings. That incompatibility where one partner had stronger feelings than the other and there was always someone, usually his partner, getting hurt. Except that one time. That one relationship where it was Kurt who got hurt. After that experience, Kurt picked himself up off the ground and vowed never again. He would never be hurt like that again or fall into that false sense of love that only leaves you more lonely.
After finishing up the day and early evening with pampering rituals guaranteed to make him look rested and smell amazing, Kurt ventured out into the night with his craziest friend on his arm hoping to forget and to renew himself with attention from the nameless masses.
The two friends arrived at the club a bit earlier than usual to find that the line was already around the block. As they walked to the head of the line, many of the patrons sneered in their direction and as the bouncer opened the velvet rope to let them slip inside, many jaws dropped. The club they frequented catered to the Broadway crowd and Santana's notoriety from her current role opened a lot of doors.
The two settled on the velvet couch situated in the VIP area with their drinks. Kurt looked over the crowd of young bodies with interest. From his perch, he could already see a few that might be worth a bit of his time. After his survey he sat back and let the cocktail work it's magic until the club was packed enough to dance.
Kurt and Santana were beautiful people and they looked the part even more so that night. The aura of aloofness and mystery led people to just flock to the booth begging entrance. After a while, the two found themselves surrounded by promising prospects. As the night went on, Kurt decided to take his favorite from the group out to the dance floor. Once there, the larger man surrounded him with his strong arms and began grinding to the beat of the music. Kurt tried to lose himself in the lustful situation. The artistic eye in himself noticed the sensual way the sweat gathered at the muscular man's pores and traveled over his skin seeming to showcase every sexy facet of his body. He tried to imagine wrapping himself up in this man fully but Kurt's attention kept wandering. So much so that he was shocked at his own behavior. Usually at this point in the night, he would be raring to take one of these prospects home in a discreet way only to kick them out just as discreetly in a few hours. That night, the lust just wouldn't come. The man who seemed like a gorgeous Adonis moments before only seemed to appear shallow and ridiculous now with his badly executed dance of seduction.
After a few minutes, Kurt pulled away to find Santana. The man did not take kindly to the hasty exit and grabbed Kurt's arm. One well placed glare from the pale man's blue eyes lessened the captors grip and Kurt shook him off with a scowl. He wanted out of this life. If anything the one positive aspect of this night was that it confirmed his need to settle down. Kurt made the decision then that he wanted away from all this. He wanted the quiet and the sweet domesticity of an afternoon alone with a partner. Kurt was done at that moment and he was never the type of man to be patient or to wait around for things to change. He just wanted change right now. It was with this thought that he resolutely made his way back to the swanky booth and his best friend.
When Kurt arrived, he was greeted by the sight of his friend Mike from Santana's show cast and his wife Tina. This was the couple that started all of this crazy longing and just a glance at them would make anyone feel the need to settle down into wedded pair were wrapped up in each other in a way that one could tell no one else existed to them in that moment. It was beautiful to see really.
Kurt climbed into the booth and snuggled up next to Santana. It seemed she had her own version of the ridiculous Adonis to deal with. Saddled up against her side was a blond girl who looked like she just stepped off the field after a half-time show. The girls high ponytail showcased her bone structure beautifully, but the artfully placed seductive look being thrown Santana's way was just too much. Kurt could tell Santana was ready to leave as well.
"Can we get out of here?" he asked into her ear to be heard over the loud base of the club.
"Absolutely, I'm done." she replied while glancing in the general direction of the girl at her side.
Mike looked up from the sensual eye lock he had been engaging in.
"Can we come with guys? You know this really isn't our scene. It has just been so long since we have hung out and I missed ya both." Mike said.
"Yeah, sure Mike. How about a very early breakfast? Want to go to Last Call?" Kurt was tired and hungry and the overnight diner the Broadway crowd frequented seemed like the perfect solution. It was early enough that the club crowd wouldn't be there and late enough that the regular patrons should have cleared out. It would be a perfect end to the night.
The group walked out into the cool autumn air and Kurt found himself enjoying the breeze that chilled his sweat sheened skin. The walk was short and soon enough they found themselves seated in the cozy vintage-themed diner.
"So what's been going on guys? I was actually shocked to see you both turn away your club koala bears." Mike said this all with a friendly laugh. Kurt looked at his friend and once again was envious of his love. He decided then to be honest. Maybe this relationship Yoda would have some sage advice for them.
"Well not everyone can have a perfect relationship like some people." Kurt replied with a sarcastic smile.
"Porcelain and I decided were too old for this crap anymore. I'm tired of dealing with skanky hoes and I wants to find just a normal hoe. Maybe you can tell us where you found yours?" she smiled sweetly in Tina's direction.
"Where did you two meet? We have only ever known the Mike and Tina show - now that we're feeling sentimental, why don't you tell us about the humble beginnings of Romeo and Juliet...without the crazy old English and untimely deaths." Kurt asked.
Mike and Tina had a short, silent conversation. Kurt swore the couple could discover the formula for cold fusion using this method if they wanted to. He smiled softly at the thought. After a seemingly conspiratorial look, the couple turned back to their friends.
"We usually don't tell this story too much because it gives people the wrong idea but you both are our closest friends and we figure maybe it will help you." Mike began.
Now Kurt was really intrigued. What about when they first met would lead them to be so secretive?
"Well guys, I'm just going to come out and say it. I was a mail order bride." Tina stated.
Both Kurt and Santana's jaws dropped. When they picked them back up, the pair began to laugh nervously thinking their friends were just playing with them.
"No really guys, I know it's weird and different, but that is how my parents met and I always envied the love they shared. When no one caught my eye when I was ready to settle down I just went the same route." Mike said sincerely.
Kurt just looked at the pair in awe. They were the happiest couple he knew. He couldn't fathom that such a couple would come from those beginnings. It wasn't that mail order services were unheard of- in fact in the society they lived in it was actually a lucrative business. Kurt had heard of the trade, even seen ads, but to him it seemed almost like a form of slavery. People would essentially sell themselves to the the rich in return for a better life. He looked at Tina and couldn't imagine her as one of the millions of women and men he'd seen advertisements of. He was at a loss for words for the second time that night...that had to be some type of record.
"Listen. It is not as shady as it sounds. Don't get me wrong, the center I lived in when I became of age was completely above board. There are definitely centers that operate differently, but I was just lucky. I know it's crazy, but it brought me to the love of my life and kept me from living the horrible life of my destiny." Tina shivered then and Kurt couldn't help but notice how Mike silently comforted her.
Kurt stayed for a while at the diner with his friends discussing the crazy news he had just heard. He didn't miss the glint apparent in Santana's eye as she questioned Mike on the logistics of getting a bride. He was only too happy to share the details and even suggested some research websites since Tina's center was now closed. The pair eventually parted ways hours later and as Kurt snuggled into his bed at the end of the night his mind was reeling with all of the new found information.
It was that fateful day that lead to the current situation they were in. Santana took all of Mike's resources and jumped into her search right away. When she confessed her mission to Kurt, he wasn't very surprised mainly because of the dreamy look she had gotten in her eyes during the mail order bride impromptu information session.
Kurt had thought about it, hell, he'd even dreamed about it but he just could not bring himself to look at people like they were on sale. One of the websites Santana perused was set up identical to one a high-end department store would use, complete with pricing and cart. Through Santana's research they had discovered finding a mail order bride was an expensive prospect. Running a center in the United States was illegal so they were only in Europe. Between travel, finders fees and what some sites refer to as a reverse dowry, the cost could run well into six figures. Despite the crazy cost, Santana wasn't deterred and it was only a few weeks later that she declared she found the perfect girl for her.
Brittany was beautiful and according to Santana it was love at first sight. His friend was now in contact with the center and Brittany agreed through the owner that she would meet Santana. After the initial fees were paid, the owner, a sleazy man by the name of Hunter Clarington, gave Santana access to Brittany through email only. The girls would only meet in person and would not be allowed to leave the center unless they were married.
Santana was smitten- that was the only was Kurt could think of to describe it. Kurt hardly recognized his friend as she gushed over emails written about her future bride's day. These same emails made Kurt laugh hysterically because of the simple observations and almost ditzy descriptions they contained. Kurt really couldn't wait to meet the girl who sent transcriptions of her daily conversations with the center's cat.
When Santana asked Kurt to accompany her on the trip he decided to go. Besides the fact that the center was located in one of his favorite parts of Europe, he also wanted to really see what this place was all about. It was with that sentiment that he found himself climbing onto a red eye flight with his closest friend just weeks later.