A Week in Paris
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: I spent a week in Paris last fall and kept thinking about how I could get Kurt and Blaine there. This one-shot story is the result. Hope you enjoy. Jules
Kurt looked around him in the first class section of the airplane and noted that there were, thankfully, no young children. No children at all. Across the aisle, in the center of the pane, and one row up was a couple that looked to be in their sixties. He was busy on his computer and she was idly flipping through the inflight magazine. In the row ahead of them, there were two business men, who were talking quietly together about some work project. In the single seat by the window, there was a young woman who was obviously a college student. In the seat ahead of Kurt there was another businessman, this one in his fifties. And two rows up, there was another business men.
So far, the row across from Kurt was empty, as were two of the window seats on the other side of the plane, though Kurt doubted they would stay that way. Usually, on these flights, someone would use their miles to upgrade at the last minute. But a full first class was a lot different than a full economy section. For one, he didn't have to share with anyone. His closest neighbor was across the aisle, almost three feet away. Back in the days when he had to fly coach, getting an empty seat was a luxury because there was just so little room. The more spacious first class seats were much nicer. And with these trans-Atlantic flights, that space was sorely needed. Especially on red-eye flights like this one, where the seats could be transformed into a bed and offered some semblance of privacy with the low dividers in between.
Not that Kurt usually slept. He was always too keyed up and too sensitive to the noise around him. Despite having to fly pretty regularly for work, Kurt felt like he would never truly feel comfortable in the air. Maybe it was the loss of control. He could admit that he was a bit of a control freak. He liked doing things his way. He liked order and control. And when he was flying, he had absolutely no control. He didn't control where the plane went. He didn't control who his fellow travelers were. He couldn't even control when he ate. At least the service in the first class section was a little less regimented and a little more palatable than coach.
Even before the rest of the plane had boarded, their attendant was offering them drinks. Kurt had just accepted the complimentary glass of Champaign when he saw a young man make his way to the seat across the aisle from him. He was not much younger than Kurt, maybe a year or two and he looked pretty comfortable in first class, so Kurt doubted that he was an upgrade. In fact, Kurt recognized some of the designer pieces he was wearing and knew that this guy had money, even if he was wearing jeans and a sweater rather than a business suit. He wasn't very tall, Kurt could tell even from his seated position, because his head didn't come anywhere close to the plane's low ceiling.
It wasn't until the man was seated that Kurt got a really good look at his face, however, and when he did, he was dumbstruck. The man was absolutely gorgeous. He had a strong jawline and deep-expressive eyes highlighted by full eyebrows. Those same eyes were an amazing caramel color that warmed Kurt's insides and made him feel like he was melting. His hair was lightly styled, allowing his natural curls freedom without anarchy. And his smile...
"Like what you see?" The man asked with a smirk.
Kurt was mortified to be caught staring, but he held his composure. "Actually, yes. I designed that sweater you're wearing. I always like to see people actually wearing the things I design."
The man looked down at his sweater and then back at Kurt. "Kurt Hummel. I should have recognized you. I've seen you in Vogue often enough." He leaned across the aisle and Kurt shook his hand. "I'm Blaine Anderson."
"Nice to meet you Blaine," Kurt said politely.
They were interrupted momentarily by the attendant delivering a glass of Champaign for Blaine. Once she was gone again, Blaine turned his attention back to Kurt. "So, I take it you're heading to Paris for Fashion Week?"
"Yes, actually," Kurt said. "I have a show on Wednesday. But this trip isn't all work. I've been to Paris at least a dozen times now and have never had the time to just play tourist, so I decided that this time I'm going to stay and see something other than the hotel and the venue where the show is being held. What about you? Business or pleasure?"
"A bit of both, actually," Blaine said. "I'm a musician and I'm heading over to play a few concerts, but decided to stick around and see a bit of Paris."
"Concerts?" Kurt asked. He wondered if he had committed some faux pas by not recognizing someone he should.
Blaine just chuckled at the confusion on Kurt's face, correctly reading his thoughts. "Don't worry. I wouldn't have expected you to have heard of me. I've put out a couple albums, but so far, I'm better known in Europe than I am in America. My agent seems to think that will change when my next album is released, but he's said that for almost five years now, so I'm not holding my breath."
Kurt glanced meaningfully around them and said, "Well, you seem to be doing well for a struggling musician if you can afford first class to Paris."
"I was born into a rather decent trust fund," Blaine said wryly. "That certainly supplements my income. But I do alright with the overseas market. If I had to live on what I earned, I certainly wouldn't be flying first class, but I could support myself."
"Good for you," Kurt said and truly meant it. "I once considered a career in the entertainment industry, though my interests were more focused on musical theater."
"I think I read that somewhere," Blaine said. "You were in show choir in high school, right?"
"I was," Kurt agreed. "We won Nationals my senior year of high school. I had my heart set on going to NYADA, but didn't make it. So, rather than sitting on my ass and feeling sorry for myself, I went to New York anyway and got an internship with Vogue. I got into Parsons and got my degree while maintaining my career at Vogue. The contacts I made while there were invaluable when I started my own line."
"I remember some of the articles you wrote back then," Blaine said. "I used to look for them. No one else was really writing about fashion for young men. Everything was either geared towards women or middle to upper class business men. I especially loved the article you did on bow ties. Back then, I rarely went anywhere without one. In fact, I think I had more than two hundred bow ties at one point."
Kurt chuckled. "I can't really see you in bow ties."
Blaine agreed with a smile and a nod. "Well, my fashion tastes have changed quite a bit in the last ten years. But back in high school, I was definitely more preppy than now. I attended an all-boys private school, blazers and ties every day... And my hair! I went through so much hair gel, I think I could have caused some sort of environmental disaster if I was caught in the rain."
Kurt grinned. "In high school, I got half of my clothes from vintage women's couture. And I think I used enough hairspray to deplete the ozone all on my own. So, how did you go from prep-school boy to musician?"
"Well, like you, I was in my school's show choir: The Dalton Academy Warblers," Blaine told him.
"Wait, Dalton? Isn't that in Westerville?" Kurt asked and Blaine nodded with a grin. "We competed against you guys my junior year! And... I remember you. You were the lead singer. I thought you were just too dapper to be real."
"Small world, huh?" Blaine said. "The first time I read that you were in New Directions, I remembered you from that competition. I thought that they should have given you a solo."
They were interrupted as the flight attendant made the pre-flight announcements. When she was finished, Kurt shook his head with a grin. "I rarely got solos. I can't believe you were in the Warblers. So, how did you go from Dalton to where you are now?"
"Well, I fell in love with performing," Blaine explained. "But my father wasn't very happy to have two sons pursuing such frivolous careers. My brother is an actor. So, to appease him, I agreed to go to college for a degree that was a little more practical. I ended up at Columbia studying business and economics. But I spent as much time in the music department as I did in the business department. I ended up with a double major. And while I was still in school, I was writing music and looking for gigs. I got a few jobs playing at small clubs. Mostly they wanted covers, but I got to perform some original stuff too. That's how I met my agent. He came in and heard me playing some of my original stuff and liked it. He got me signed with a label and I recorded my first album only two months after I graduated from Columbia. Needless to say, my father wasn't happy that I wasn't going to join him in the family business."
Kurt smiled sympathetically. "That's too bad that he couldn't be happy for your success. My dad owns a tire and lube shop. I practically grew up in the garage after my mother died, and can fix cars with the best of them, but my father never pressured me to work for him. In fact, he actively pushed me to follow my dreams. When I didn't get into NYADA, he was the one who told me that I should just go to New York anyway. He's always supported my decisions."
"Your dad sounds like a great guy," Blaine said.
"He is," Kurt said.
The airplane had taxied while they were talking and they paused for a moment as the plane began to pick up speed and finally lifted off into the air. Kurt had a tight grip on the armrests of his seat the whole time.
"Nervous flyer?" Blaine asked.
"Mostly just with takeoffs and landings," Kurt admitted. "With as much as I have to fly for work, you would think I would be used to it by now. Though I have to admit that it's not as bad as it used to be. When I first left for New York, I took the train home more often than not, simply to avoid flying."
"I used to avoid the subway," Blaine said. "When I first went to Columbia, I was afraid that I would miss my stop or take the wrong train and end up in some part of New York that I had no business being. It took me months to feel comfortable enough to ride without company. We all have our fears. It's how we deal with them that shows what kind of person we are."
They continued to talk until the attendant served dinner. Then they talked for a while longer over wine. When the cabin lights dimmed, Blaine yawned and then apologized. He explained how he had spent the night before doing a show and then, after only four hours of sleep, had been up early to help babysit a friend's child before heading to the airport. Kurt told him to sleep, and he pulled out his computer to get some work done. Mostly he was just finalizing the order for the show and answering a few emails.
When he was done, Kurt decided to Google his new acquaintance. He looked over to make sure that Blaine was still sleeping before pulling up some YouTube videos of his performances. It was pretty clear that while he might not have been as popular as Lady Gaga, he had a devoted following. There were thousands of videos of him. Most were bootleg videos from his performances, but there were a few professionally directed videos of his songs. In the end, Kurt ended up buying both albums and the EP that iTunes offered. He even pre-ordered the new album that was set to be released in a month. Even if he never saw Blaine Anderson again, he knew that he liked his music, and he loved his voice.
Kurt even found a brief article on Blaine on Wikipedia. He found out a little more about Blaine, but most of it was stuff that Blaine had already told him: he graduated from Columbia with degrees in Music and Business; he had two albums and a third set for release; he was the younger brother to a b-movie actor named Cooper Anderson. One thing he hadn't known for sure was the fact that Blaine was apparently out and proud. According to the article, Blaine had never hidden his sexual preference.
Kurt admired that. In his line of work, it was almost assumed that all men were gay. That was a fallacy, but the fact remained that being out wasn't problematic in the fashion industry. But in the entertainment world, there were pitfalls. Many gay artists were marginalized after coming out. Straight fans fell away, leaving only the gay community to support their work, making them less marketable. But Blaine had never once tried to hide his sexuality. In fact, he was quoted as having said that he would rather never see success than to lie about who he was.
Kurt glanced back over at Blaine again, sleeping peacefully, and decided that he really wanted to get to know this man. Hopefully, their budding friendship could blossom outside the confines of that airplane.
Kurt fell asleep to the sounds of Blaine's music playing through his headphones and when he woke, the attendant was preparing to serve breakfast. He looked across the aisle and found that Blaine was awake, and smiled at him.
"Good morning," Blaine said. "I thought you said you don't sleep on these flights?"
"I don't usually," Kurt said. "But... but I guess I found a new way to relax and let go of the tension. I downloaded some music by this artist you might have heard of. His name is Blaine Anderson."
Blaine laughed. "You did not download all my music last night."
"Everything that iTunes carries," Kurt said. "And it honestly helped."
"I'm not sure if I should be flattered or offended that my music put you to sleep," Blaine said with a teasing smile.
"Flattered," Kurt said. "Nothing puts me at ease the way your music does. And not because it's slow or boring, so get that right out of your head. It just... makes me feel happy and if I'm happy, I forget to be tense, so I can relax. Does that make any sense at all?"
"I think that is one of the best compliments I have ever gotten," Blaine said. "The one thing I always try to do with my music is to make it positive and uplifting. Music makes me happy, so I want to make people who listen happy, too."
"Well, you succeeded as far as I'm concerned," Kurt said.
Their conversation switched to other musicians they liked while they ate their breakfast, and then turned to fashion. Blaine might not be as well-versed in fashion as Kurt, but he certainly followed the trends and knew his designers. Before either of them knew it, they were landing at Charles De Gaul. They gathered their personal belongings and headed toward the exit together, still talking the entire way. They grabbed their bags and headed through customs. It wasn't until they reached where Kurt's hired driver was waiting that the conversation stalled.
"That's my driver," Kurt said needlessly. They could both see the sign the man was carrying with Kurt's name on it. "Do you, um, need a ride? We could drop you at your hotel."
"I was going to catch a cab, but I would love a ride," Blaine said. They headed over to the driver and were soon settled into the back seat of the car.
"Where are you staying?" Kurt asked. When Blaine said the name of the hotel, Kurt laughed. "I shouldn't be surprised. That's where I'm at as well. I think my assistant booked one of the suites overlooking the Seine."
"I love the location," Blaine said. "Down the block from the Musee d'Orsay, across the river from the Louvre. Only a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower. I try to stay there whenever I come to Paris."
"Me too," Kurt said. "I have a yearly pass to both museums. They are the only places I have to make time to see when I'm here."
"I'm going to sound totally cheesy and hippy here, but do you believe in fate?" Blaine asked. "Because what are the odds that we met on that flight and are staying at the same hotel? What are the odds that we competed against each other in high school show choir and then run into each other again after more than ten years?"
"I never believed in fate," Kurt said. "But I might have to change my mind after the past twelve hours."
"Yeah," Blaine said with a nod. "I don't know what your schedule is like, but I'd love it if you came to see one of my shows. Or all of them. And I'd love to take you to dinner. And to Versailles. And to the Eiffel Tower. And maybe even on a dinner cruise."
Kurt chuckled at Blaine's raw enthusiasm. "I'd like that. Yes, to all of them. Assuming my assistant hasn't changed my schedule, I have meetings this afternoon and tomorrow morning, and then the show is on Saturday morning. I'd love for you to come, by the way. Anyway, other than that, my time is now yours."
"Are you kidding?" Blaine practically gushes. "I would love to see your show."
"Well, if you're that into fashion, we might consider going to some of the other shows," Kurt said. "I have invitations to all of the top fashion houses. Maybe we can work a few into the sightseeing schedule."
Blaine pulled up his calendar on his iPhone and Kurt did the same. For the hour ride from the airport to their hotel, they compared schedules and made plans. Blaine had three shows, two of them in Paris and one about an hour outside the city. He had a couple rehearsals with the backup musicians that had been hired to accompany him, but other than that, his time was free. They considered which fashion shows they both wanted to see and added those to the schedule. In the end, even with their prior commitments, they would still have almost a week together completely free to do and see what they wanted.
"So, we'll meet at the cafe down the block from the hotel after my meeting this afternoon and have an early dinner," Kurt confirmed. Even though they had both slept on the plane, he knew that he would crash before long. "And then have an early night."
"Sounds good," Blaine agreed.
They arrived at the hotel and checked in, and when they parted ways, it seemed completely natural to share a soft kiss goodbye.
Kurt's meeting seemed interminable but eventually he was satisfied with the preparations for the show. His assistant, Moira, was actually very capable. She had been in his classes at Parsons, and was one of his closest friends now. She had never wanted to be a designer herself—she was more interested in the business side of the industry— but she loved fashion and loved riding to the top with Kurt. After nearly seven years working together, she could almost read his mind. Which was helpful at times like these.
"You seemed a bit distracted in there," Moira said once the meeting was over.
"A little," Kurt admitted. "I was just..."
"You met someone!" Moira crowed as she pulled Kurt into an empty room and closed the door behind them. "Okay, spill!"
"Have you ever heard of a singer named Blaine Anderson?" Kurt asked.
Moira's eyes went wide. "Of course! He plays at all the best clubs in the city. He's got a pretty good following in America, but he's practically a god over here."
"So I've heard," Kurt said wryly. "Anyway, we met on the plane and we really hit it off. He's here to do a few shows this weekend, but then he's staying to sightsee."
"Just like you," Moira said.
"And we're both staying in the same hotel," Kurt added.
"It's like fate," Moira said.
"That's what Blaine said," Kurt told her. "It's so weird. I feel like I've known him my whole life, and yet we've only just met. We've made plans to do and see everything that Paris has to offer together. Which reminds me, I need to send you my revised itinerary."
Moira rolled her eyes. "Forget the schedule. What's he like?"
"He charming and witty," Kurt said. "He's into fashion like I'm into music."
"Like a favorite hobby," Moira said with a nod.
"Exactly," Kurt said. "He isn't going to fall asleep on me when I talk about paisley versus stripes. He actually has opinions. He's out and proud. And single."
"Unlike Chad, Robert and Daniel, respectively," Moira said.
"I really think I could fall for him," Kurt said. "And that scares the bejesus out of me."
"Why?" Moira asked.
"Because what if this is just some sort of vacation fling for him?" Kurt asked. "Then what?"
"Then you decide if you're willing to give up a perfect companion for the week because it won't last," Moira said. "Either that or you try to change his mind. But you don't know what he wants because you haven't asked."
"You're right," Kurt sighed. "But it seems... we've only just met. Isn't it a little early to have the 'where is this relationship going' conversation?"
"Probably," Moira said with a shrug. "Here's my advice: have fun for the next ten days. Get to know each other. Have wild monkey sex. And then, before you leave here, talk about what happens when you're back in New York. Until then, just put it out of your mind and have fun."
Kurt contemplated Moira's advice as he headed for the cafe near their hotel. Blaine was already there, sitting at one of the sidewalk tables and sipping coffee and eating pain aux chocolat. Kurt kissed his cheek before taking the seat opposite and then stealing a bite of the flaky pastry.
"Couldn't wait for dinner?" Kurt asked.
"I think it's worth the long flight to Paris just for this," Blaine said with a moan. "I have to have as many as possible while I'm here."
"You do realize that there are bakeries in New York where you can buy chocolate croissants?" Kurt asked.
"It's just not the same," Blaine said. "It must be the water here. Or the coffee. Or the atmosphere. Something. Anyway, I made reservations for dinner at Jules Verne. I thought we could stroll over to the tower and then have dinner on the second level. Then maybe we could take the elevator up to the top to see the city lights afterward."
Kurt blinked. "How in the world did you get a last minute reservation at Jules Verne?"
Blaine grinned. "I told you, I'm pretty popular over here."
Kurt smiled back but then frowned. "I should probably change clothes."
"You look wonderful," Blaine said. "And your suit is more than adequate for dinner. Unless your shoes aren't comfortable for the walk?"
Kurt chuckled. "I have learned not to bring any shoes to Paris that I'm not prepared to walk at least a mile in."
"Well, in that case, if you aren't going to have a snack, we can go," Blaine said. He left a few Euros to cover his bill and they left the cafe.
Kurt noted that Blaine had dressed up for the evening out. He was wearing a well-tailored Armani suit with a shimmer to the light gray silk fabric. Kurt recognized it as being from this season's line and was impressed. The tailoring hugged Blaine's body.
The walk to the Champs du Mars was about a mile and a half, but it was a pleasant evening in late September, so neither of them minded. They strolled hand in hand and stopped occasionally to browse in some small shop. Kurt had the chance to show off his fluent French and tease Blaine about his horrendous accent and butchered phrases.
"Hey, I know enough to get by," Blaine said. "My French teacher at Dalton would be proud I remember as much as I do. Besides, most Parisians speak English. How long have you been fluent?"
"In French?" Kurt asked. "Since middle school. I always knew I wanted to come to Paris for Fashion Week. Then I found out that there are Fashion Weeks in Milan and Tokyo."
"Don't tell me, you're fluent in Italian and Japanese, too," Blaine groaned.
"Fine, I won't tell you," Kurt sniffed playfully. "But just to really blow your mind, I'm also fluent in Spanish."
Blaine grabbed Kurt's hand and kissed his knuckles. "You are incredible, did you know that?"
"I've been telling people that for years," Kurt said. "But you're the first person to agree with me besides my father, I'm afraid."
Blaine laughed at that and Kurt joined in. It had been a very long time since he had felt as free and easy with anyone besides his father.
Once they reached the tower, they bypassed the long lines of tourist and headed to the private elevator that led directly to the restaurant. They were a few minutes early for their reservation, but the maitre d' didn't seem at all surprised and led them directly to one of the tables near the windows. It was an amazing view of the Seine and the Trocadero beyond.
Once they had discussed the menu and gave their orders to the waiter, Blaine turned to Kurt and said asked, "So, tell me about your first boyfriend? Did you meet him in Ohio, or did you have to wait until you got to New York, like I did?"
"Well, I didn't have a boyfriend in Ohio," Kurt said hesitantly. "But I did have a friend that was willing to experiment. He was a bit of a self-proclaimed badass, so he wasn't about to come out as bi while we were all still in high school. In fact, I was really the only out kid in our school. But Puck was a friend and he was curious, and well, he was hot. So, yeah, there were a few make-out sessions and some groping and whatnot. But I didn't have my first official boyfriend until I went to New York. His name was Adam. He was British and hot and a senior at NYADA when I was a freshman at Parsons. My best friend from high school went to NYADA and we roomed together back then. I met Adam through her."
"And was he good to you?" Blaine wondered.
"The best," Kurt said. "Not in an 'I'll love you forever' way. I think we both knew that it wouldn't last beyond that first year. I mean, he was slated to head back to England and I wasn't. So, we kept it pretty casual, but it was a great first experience. I think Adam got a kick out of showing me the way of the world. What about you?"
"Well, my first boyfriend was actually a guy I went to high school with, but we didn't get together until college," Blaine said. "And I wish now we hadn't. He was kind of a jerk and I never saw it. Don't get me wrong, he wasn't abusive or anything. And he treated me well at first, but after a while, he sort of let his true colors show. Anyway, my time with Sebastian isn't really a happy memory."
"What about since him?" Kurt asked before sipping his wine.
"Since him there have been a few semi-serious relationships," Blaine admitted. "I even moved in with the guy I was dating senior year of college. But when my career started taking off, I had to travel a lot and he wasn't really happy about that. I think he thought that I would outgrow my love of music and give in to my father eventually. Troy wanted a quiet life: two kids, a house in the suburbs. I wanted to perform. So we parted ways."
"I've never lived with anyone besides Rachel," Kurt said. "None of my relationships after Adam lasted more than a few months, really, and I wasn't willing to just jump into something like that. And then when I started my collection, I was too busy for a while to give my social life much thought. In the last three years, I've dated three men. And of them, they either belittled my work, lied about being single or were in the closet."
Blaine frowned. "I'm sorry. Well, just so we're clear: I am definitely single; I've been out since I was 14; and in case I haven't made this clear by now, I love fashion. I especially love your work."
Kurt grinned. "And yet you are wearing Armani tonight."
Blaine actually blushed. "Well, I didn't want to seem like some weird stalker-groupie, so decided not to wear the eggplant suit from your fall collection. Or the navy pinstripe. But rest assured, I'm sure you'll see them sometime soon. I only brought three suits with me."
Kurt laughed. "I think you just made my night."
"With this incredible wine, the food, and the amazing view, all it takes to make your night is to admit that you're my favorite designer?" Blaine asked teasingly.
"What can I say," Kurt retorted. "I'm an artist and we artists love to have our egos stroked."
They headed up to the top of the tower after sharing dessert over cups of coffee. The view was even more incredible up there. The two pointed out various sights they had actually seen in their travels and which ones they would like to explore. The lights of Paris were amazing to behold, but after a while, the wind picked up and the temperatures dropped and they decided to head back to the hotel.
"Would you like to come up to my suite for a nightcap?" Kurt asked as they approached their hotel.
Blaine grinned at him. "I would love to, but I don't think I will."
"Why not?" Kurt asked with a small pout.
"For two reasons," Blaine said. "One, I think we're both exhausted from the flight and we both have meetings to go to in the morning."
Kurt sighed. "Yeah, I'll give you that. What's the other reason?"
"Because as amazing and perfect as today has been, I don't want to rush this any more than we already are," Blaine said. "I want to give us both time to really think about it before we take that step."
"I'll agree to hold off," Kurt said. "But I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to change my mind between now and tomorrow."
Blaine grinned and said, "Good."
They took the elevator up to Kurt's floor and Blaine walked him to the suite. Before Kurt could unlock the door, however, Blaine pulled him into a heated kiss. After several minutes, they reluctantly parted.
"That was some goodnight kiss," Kurt said breathily.
"Yeah," Blaine said. "Just needed to taste you. I've wanted to kiss you like that since the airplane."
"Well, you'd better let me go now, or I'm going back on my word," Kurt said. "I'm about three seconds away from dragging you into my suite and having my wicked way with you."
Blaine nodded and reluctantly stepped away from Kurt. Before turning to leave, however, he leaned in for one last kiss. "Sweet dreams."
"More like dirty dreams," Kurt teased. "But same to you."
Blaine was still laughing when he reached the elevator.
Kurt got a text from Blaine the next morning and so they met at the cafe for breakfast-coffee and a chocolate croissant for Blaine and tea and a plain croissant for Kurt-before heading off to their respective meetings. Blaine's rehearsal and sound check went off better than he had expected and Kurt's final run through for the show was nearly flawless. Only a few minor adjustments had to be made to the clothes and one change in the order.
By one o'clock, both of them were done for the day and, by text, decided to meet at a restaurant near the Opera House. The Armani show was being held near there later that afternoon, and they had decided together that it was always one of the best and should not be missed. After the show, they left the building holding hands. Kurt had dozens of notes on his iPad, tucked away in his satchel, and Blaine was trying to decide which pieces he absolutely could not live without when he stopped abruptly.
"At what?" Kurt asked in confusion. "We already saw the Opera House. Unless you wanted to go inside?"
"Another day," Blaine said with a dismissive wave. "No, that over there. The hop-on-hop-off busses! Can we? Can we, please?"
Kurt stared at Blaine with a half-smile, half-shocked expression. "Really? That's what you want to do with the rest of our afternoon? Don't you have to get ready for your show tonight?"
"Not for like three hours," Blaine said dismissively. "We can ride the bus and see where it takes us. And we can take cheesy pictures with our phones! Please?"
Kurt shrugged. "Sure, why not?"
Blaine excitedly pulled Kurt across the street and over to where one of the busses was waiting. He talked with the driver and paid the fee before accepting two brochures and two cheap plastic headphones still in their wrappers. Then Blaine led the way up to the open deck on top. They were in luck and got seats right up front.
"Look, it has nine stops and we have a two day pass, so we can ride again tomorrow," Blaine said as excited as a five year old with a new toy. "And the next stop is the Champs Elysees. We could get off and do some shopping or see the Arc De Triumph. Then there's the Grand Palais, the Trocadero, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs du Mars, the Louvre, Notre Dame... and look, the Musee d'Orsay. That's right by our hotel. We'll get to see it all and still be back in time to meet the car to the show."
"I'll need time to change," Kurt said. "So I don't think that today is the right time for shopping, but we can certainly look at everything from the bus."
"Okay, but we are getting off at the Trocadero," Blaine said. "I want a Nutella and banana crepe, and that is the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic."
Kurt smiled. "Sounds good. I'm starved."
"There will be food in my dressing room at the theater," Blaine said. "In case the crepe doesn't tide you over. And I thought we could do dinner afterward. I always have a tough time unwinding after a show."
"I'll follow your lead," Kurt said with a smile. "For now. But tomorrow, you're at my mercy."
Kurt actually had a blast with Blaine on the tour. Blaine kept switching the channels on Kurt's headphones to different languages to test his ability to understand that language. As Kurt had said previously, he was fluent in Italian, Spanish and French and was passable with Japanese. They took silly pictures of each other and several together at each of the stops, without leaving the tour bus.
When they reached the Trocadero, Blaine dragged Kurt down the steps and off the bus so that they could get the promised crepes. They each ate their treat while sitting and looking out on the Eiffel Tower and the Seine. Kurt had to admit that it was a great place for a picnic. They took more pictures together and Kurt even texted one to his father, Carole, Finn, and Rachel.
Back on the bus less than half an hour later, they finished the tour and made it to the hotel with plenty of time for Kurt to shower, change and meet Blaine back in the lobby. Kurt was wearing a fitted silver waistcoat over a black shirt. In deference to the casual evening, he had foregone a tie. He was wearing black trousers that clung to his body and silver combat boots that laced up almost to his knees. Over everything, he had pulled on a long fitted black pea coat.
Blaine, on the other hand, was wearing a simple black t-shirt under a charcoal cashmere sweater and a black leather blazer. His jeans were charcoal gray and he wore a pair of Zegna loafers.
Blaine's manager was waiting in the car when they went outside. "You must be Kurt Hummel. I'm Brian Jacobson, Blaine's manager."
"Nice to meet you, Brian," Kurt said as he shook the man's hand.
"Blaine wasn't sure if you would prefer to sit out front or watch from the wings," Brian said. "So I arranged for either option. We have a few other people from the fashion world as well as a couple French celebrities in the VIP section tonight."
"Um, I'd prefer to watch from the wings, as long as I won't be in the way," Kurt said. "I see the fashion icons often enough. And I don't really know any French celebrities."
"You won't be in the way," Blaine reassured Kurt. "In fact, I like the idea of having you right there."
Brian looked slightly uncomfortable, but Blaine ignored him and Kurt wasn't very inclined to pay him much attention as they made the trip through the city to the theater where Blaine's concert was being held. Instead, Kurt considered what he wanted to do on Saturday between his show and Blaine's second concert. There wouldn't be a lot of time, so something simple would probably be best.
They arrived at the theater just as Kurt had made up his mind. Kurt was not completely prepared for the crowd of people waiting to catch a glimpse of Blaine entering the theater. There had to be hundreds of people out there.
Blaine simply smiled at him and led the way out of the limo. Once he was standing he smiled and waved at a few of the fans before turning back to offer Kurt a hand. Once they were both standing, Blaine linked their fingers and waited for Brian to lead the way into the building. There were security guards blocking the fans from getting too close, but Kurt was nearly blinded by the numerous flashes from cameras. He was grateful when the stage door closed behind them.
They were met by a stage hand and led to a dressing room that already had some snacks laid out on a table. Kurt made himself comfortable on the plush sofa while Blaine went over the set list again with the musical director and Brian. Then Blaine began to warm up his voice while he pulled off his jacket, sweater and t-shirt.
Kurt couldn't help but stare at the perfectly sculpted abs and chest revealed. There was a light smattering of dark hair that Kurt seriously wanted to run his fingers through. All too soon, however, Blaine replaced the discarded shirt with a simple red button-down that was hanging nearby. Then he grabbed the jeans and changed those as well, giving Kurt a brief glimpse of muscular thighs and calves sprinkled with more hair.
"Like what you see?" Blaine asked, repeating the very first words he had said to Kurt.
"Very much so," Kurt said after he had swallowed back the drool.
Blaine just laughed and continued his warm-up exercises while he straightened his shirt and pulled on a pair of black boots. With a final check that his hair wasn't a complete wreck, Blaine stepped back and smiled at Kurt. "Ready to go?"
"As ready as I'll ever be," Kurt said as he took Blaine's hand and let him lead him out of the room.
"We should totally sing a duet," Blaine said. "I know you have an amazing voice."
"You can't possibly know that," Kurt scoffed.
"I googled you," Blaine said. "Yesterday while you were at your meeting. And I found YouTube videos of you singing with your old glee club."
Kurt had to laugh at that. "That was more than ten years ago. I haven't sung regularly in ages."
"Well, maybe you should start again," Blaine said. "And what better time than the present?"
"I am not singing with you tonight," Kurt said firmly. "So just get that idea right out of your head. I might consider singing with you at some future date, after we have had time to rehearse something and I can be sure that I won't sound like a wounded cat."
Blaine's smile just got wider. "Deal. And I'm going to hold you to that."
Kurt paused. Had he just agreed to sing in public with Blaine? "I said I might consider it!"
"I know what you really meant," Blaine said with a smirk.
Kurt didn't have time to argue the point since there was a sound person there fitting Blaine with a headset and someone else going over last minute instructions. Kurt was led to the side where he wouldn't be in the way and he watched with a bemused smile as Blaine prepared for his show.
Kurt took a peek from behind the curtain and was amazed to see the now filled theater. There had to be more than two thousand people in there; some were kids as young as 12 and they were right alongside people their age and older. It looked like a mixed offering of gay and straight, old and young. And they were all screaming for Blaine.
When Kurt turned back, Blaine had come over to him. "Wish me luck."
"Break a leg," Kurt said and then gave him a sweetly sensual kiss.
Blaine was left blinking dazedly as the house lights dimmed and the announcer spoke. Soon the crowd was cheering so loud that Kurt could barely hear himself think. Blaine grinned at Kurt again before rushing onto stage to take his place with the other musicians. And then the curtain went up.
After the show, Kurt watched as Blaine greeted some of the VIPs backstage. He recognized a few, but didn't make an effort to socialize. When they finally left, Blaine and Kurt headed back to the dressing room. Blaine took a quick shower before dressing in the same outfit he had worn to the theater.
"I'm always so hyper after a show," Blaine said as he worked at taming his hair.
"Just wait until you see me tomorrow," Kurt said. "I may not be the one up on the runway, but I get just as hyper, especially if it goes well."
"Let's get out of here," Blaine said as he turned away from his reflection.
They headed back to the stage door. Brian was long gone, but the car was waiting for them, along with about fifty patient fans. Blaine looked form them to Kurt, and Kurt just waved him on. Blaine smiled and turned to greet them. It took almost an hour to get to everyone, but eventually, all of the fans had either a photo or an autograph and they were able to get to the car.
"So, where are you taking me to dinner tonight?" Kurt asked. It was after midnight, but there were still plenty of options.
"I thought we could head to a place in the Marais that I found the last time I was here," Blaine said. "It's a little trendy, but the atmosphere is unique and the food is good and they have a dance floor."
"Sounds good to me," Kurt said.
Kurt loved the restaurant/lounge. They weren't the only same sex couple on the dance floor when they got up to dance between courses. The music was a mix of jazz and R&B and was easy to dance to. The food was great, and Kurt loved the post-modern decor. He even took a few photos and notes on his phone while Blaine dealt with the few fans who were brave enough to approach them.
"What's that for?" Blaine asked when the fans had left and he noticed what Kurt was doing. "Most people post pictures of the food."
Kurt chuckled. "I get inspiration for my designs in a lot of different places. I'm constantly looking at color combinations and curves and lines. I get inspired by architecture and art and interior design. So if I see something I like, I take pictures and notes so I can remember later and maybe use it."
"Huh, I never really thought about where the inspiration for fashion comes from," Blaine said. "I mean, I know that I'm constantly taking notes on things I see and hear to use for my music, but I never thought it would be the same for fashion."
"I think any creative person has to find inspiration in the world around us," Kurt said. "We all influence each other. Like this exhibit I went to at the Musee d'Orsay the last time I was here. It was about how fashion and politics influenced the impressionist painters and how those painters in turn influenced the fashions and politics of the day."
"Like fashion inspires movies and television, which inspires politics which inspires music and art, which in turn inspires fashion today," Blaine said. "It's all a big circle."
"It's definitely all connected," Kurt agreed. "Sometimes more directly than others. Personally I prefer the subtle approach. I'm not a huge fan of using my moderate celebrity to push my political views. But I'm more than willing to use fashion to push boundaries and subtly broaden people's minds."
Blaine chuckled. "The homophobes become enlightened without even realizing it."
"It's worked with mass media," Kurt said. "The more gay people are featured on television as normal, human people with real feelings and emotions, the more mainstream America is open to accepting us. I'm insistent on adding that message in all of the advertising campaigns for my clothes."
"I guess I try to do that with my music, too," Blaine said thoughtfully. "I've never hidden who I am, but I don't try to cram my sexuality down anyone's throat either. I'm sure that there are some fans out there who don't read the gossip magazines that don't know that I'm gay."
"But your music speaks of tolerance and acceptance," Kurt said. "It's optimistic and open and that reaches people on a very basic level."
Soon after that, Blaine paid for their dinner and called for the car. The conversation on the ride to the hotel went back to lighter topics. Kurt filled Blaine in on some of the gossip surrounding the fashion industry people he had met that evening. Blaine found it amusing that Kurt knew so much about the ins and outs of his competitors' lives.
"It's actually very sexy seeing you so competitive," Blaine said in a hoarse whisper right by Kurt's ear.
Kurt shivered in response. "Have we had enough time to consider everything?"
"I think we definitely have," Blaine murmured.
"Good," Kurt said. "So I guess that means you're coming up to my suite?"
"Just try and keep me away," Blaine said before pulling Kurt into a heated kiss.
Kurt woke up warm and comfortable in Blaine's arms. For a few minutes he just allowed himself to enjoy the feeling on contentment. And then the realization that his show was that morning hit him and he quickly rushed from the bed, waking a sleepy Blaine in the process.
"Kurt?" Blaine called out groggily as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes.
"No time to chat," Kurt said in a near panic as he tore through his closet to find the outfit he had planned for the event. "I have to be at the venue in… less than an hour! Shit! I'll have to cut short my skincare routine."
He was still muttering to himself as he headed into the bathroom. Blaine sat up and leaned back against the headboard with a bemused look on his face. He was still reeling from the tornado that was Kurt Hummel in a panic. With a small grin, he tossed the blanket aside and followed Kurt into the bathroom. "Anything I can do to help?"
Kurt was sorting through several bottles on the counter and looked at him through the mirror momentarily. "Just stand back and let me get ready."
"Not yet," Blaine said as he stepped into the room and pulled Kurt into his arms. "I haven't gotten my morning kiss yet."
"Blaine…" Kurt protested. But his protest was cut short by Blaine's lips on his own. And with that simple contact, the concerns for the day seemed to fade and he was lost in the same haze of need and want that had kept him up half the night. "Mmmm. Morning," Kurt breathed out when Blaine finally released his lips.
Blaine grinned. "Now you can get ready. I'm going to go to my room to get ready. I'll meet you downstairs in half an hour?"
"Make it forty-five minutes," Kurt corrected, already starting to think again about everything that needed to be done before the show.
"Okay," Blaine agreed. "That will give me time to get us breakfast. We can eat in the car on the way."
He kissed Kurt lightly once more before leaving him to shower.
Blaine was good on his word and was waiting for Kurt when he reached the lobby. He gave Kurt a quick kiss and then handed him a no-fat mocha latte and a chocolate croissant. Kurt kissed him in thanks and then they headed out to the waiting car. It didn't take long to reach the venue, but it was enough time for Kurt to drink his coffee and finish his pastry.
As soon as they entered the venue, Kurt was practically attacked by his assistant. Blaine watched with amusement as the two used some sort of shorthand to discuss the last minute emergencies that plagued any live performance. One of the models came down with the flu and the agency had sent over a replacement. One of Kurt's tailors was working to make sure the various outfits were properly fitted for the new person and one of the dressers was talking him through the lineup. There was an issue with the caterer, but apparently Moira had already handled that.
"Oh Gaga," Kurt muttered once Moira had run through her list of things. "I'm being totally rude. Moira, this is Blaine Anderson. Blaine, this is my assistant Moira Clark."
Moira gave Blaine a knowing smile. "It's great to meet you. I'm actually a fan. I saw you at the Charles Club a couple months ago."
"That was a fun show," Blaine said. "It was a good one to catch."
"Moira, did you get Blaine's VIP pass?" Kurt asked.
Moira handed over the laminated badge. "This will give you access to the public and private spaces. Also, you have a seat reserved right up front for the show itself. I'll show you to the break room where we have refreshments while Kurt checks out the chaos backstage. Then if you want to look around backstage, I'll show you the way."
"Break a leg," Blaine told Kurt and gave him a quick kiss before letting Moira lead him away.
Blaine had spent the two hours before the show wandering around backstage. It was rather fascinating to see all the secret workings of what went into putting on one of these events. He had seen Unzipped, Bill Cunningham New York, The September Issue, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, and Seemless—all the best documentaries on fashion—but to see it in person was a very different experience. And to see Kurt snapping out orders and making it all happen was actually pretty hot.
Once the guests began arriving, however, Blaine went out to the public space and mingled. He was not surprised to meet dozens of fashion reporters, high-powered buyers, the elite from other fashion houses, or even the few celebrities that always seemed to flock to these shows. He was surprised at how many of them recognized him. He was rather glad he had taken some thought about what he wore when several of the photographers snapped his picture.
When Blaine took his seat, he found himself seated next to Isabelle Wright, one of the most powerful fashion mavens in the world and a personal idol. She had recently taken over Vogue as the Editor in Chief, but Blaine had always admired the designs she had done before changing careers. And he took the opportunity to tell her so.
"You're so sweet," Isabelle gushed. "And so handsome, too! How do you know Kurt?"
Blaine flushed a little. "We, um, just met on the plane over."
Isabelle arched a knowing brow and grinned. "Well that must have been some meeting. Kurt always reserves these seats for only his closest friends or family. Unfortunately, his family can't usually make the overseas shows. So you must have really made an impression on that flight."
Blaine gaped at her for a moment and then nodded. "And he made a real impression on me as well."
"They've been practically inseparable since they arrived," Moira said, surprising the other two. She had stopped over to give Blaine a message from Kurt. "He wants to make sure you're sticking around afterward. He'll have to deal with some of the business people after, and he doesn't want you to wander off, thinking he forgot about you."
"You can tell him that I have no plans to go anywhere until he does," Blaine said.
Moira rushed backstage again and Blaine turned back to see Isabelle eyeing him speculatively. "So that's the way it is. Well good for Kurt. And good for you."
"He's really amazing," Blaine said. "I've never met anyone like him before."
"And you never will again," Isabelle said. "Kurt Hummel is an original. But seem like you just might be pretty exceptional yourself. You are charming and polite and seem like a genuinely nice person. You love fashion, obviously. And you can sing like a dream. You might actually be perfect for Kurt."
"Wow, you know who I am?" Blaine asked. "I mean, I get recognized sometimes over here, but it seems like it's happened a lot today."
"Sweetie, you may not be a household name back home yet, but you will be," Isabelle said. "And you're actually better known in New York circles than you might think."
"Kurt had never heard of me," Blaine said with a grin at the memory. "But he came to my show last night."
"And I'm sure he'll see a lot more in the future," Isabelle said. Just then the lights began to dim and the music started. "You'll have to excuse me, but I actually have to work now so I can review the show." She rolled her eyes. "Like anything Kurt produces could ever be anything but perfect."
"I'm so excited that men's capris are finally coming back," Blaine told Isabelle after the show. It had been just as amazing as Blaine could have predicted. "And did you see what he did with the cashmere and silk jackets? I can't wait for spring now!"
"I saw," Isabelle chuckled. "And I agree. I like to see a well turned ankle on a man."
Kurt approached them with a grin. "Well? What did you both think?"
"I think you are absolutely amazing," Blaine gushed. "And I think I'm going to use my newfound friendship to shamelessly beg for some of those capris. And the cashmere jacket. And that cowl neck sweater. Oh! And the super-sharkskin suit with the matching capris. And—"
"I'll give you whatever you want," Kurt said with a laugh. "What about you, Isabelle?"
"It was flawless as usual," Isabelle said. "Innovative and edgy but still wearable for the masses. No one does men's fashion like you."
Kurt hugged them each in turn. "I'm so glad you liked it."
"Go do your deals," Blaine said. "I'll be here when you're finished."
Kurt hugged him again and pressed a sweet kiss to Blaine's cheek before bouncing off to talk to whomever Moira had waiting for him.
"You do realize that the photographers have just taken about a dozen shots of the two of you together?" Isabelle asked. "I'm sure they captured every sweet moment."
"You think they would send me a copy?" Blaine asked with a grin.
"I'm sure that you'll see plenty of copies soon enough," Isabelle laughed.
Kurt had been right about flying high after his show. He was practically bouncing the entire ride to Sacre Coeur. He listed off all of the deals that were in the works for stores to carry his ready-to-wear clothes and the positive feedback he had received. Blaine just listened to him ramble with a silly grin in place. He was so happy for Kurt.
Once they arrived at the base of the hill, Kurt looked up and practically gasped. "It's beautiful. I've never been a big fan of religious institutions, but this is a gorgeous example of architecture."
The blue of the September sky highlighted the stark white church, making it almost glow. Kurt brought out his phone and snapped a few photos from below, and then they took the funiculaire up to the top of the hill while Kurt made a few notes. They didn't spend long inside the church, neither particularly affected by the religious atmosphere, but they were both impressed by the art and architecture.
Afterward, they decided to walk the long steps down to the base of the hill. As it was a weekend, there were several buskers entertaining the tourists on the way down. Kurt was particularly entranced by the man who was balancing a spinning bally on one finger as he climbed one of the light posts and then dangled there. Blaine grinned and tossed a few coins into the man's hat.
They stopped for a light snack of crepes, once again, while they waited for their car to return. As they ate, they watched the children who were begging their parents for the chance to ride the carrousel.
"They really like carrousels here," Kurt commented as he nibbled on his crepe and sipped the mulled wine Blaine had bought for him. "There was one at the base of the Eiffel Tower, too."
"I think it's great," Blaine said. "Parents get a chance to see something historic and meaningful and can use the ride to bribe their children into behaving."
"Bribing their children?" Kurt asked. "Isn't that poor parenting?"
"No, that's just practical parenting," Blaine countered. "And psychologically sound, as well. Rewarding for good behavior is much more effective than punishing for bad behavior. Most kids just want attention, and some will accept negative attention if that's all they can get. So punishment doesn't always stop the bad behavior."
"You seem to know an awful lot about this," Kurt said.
Blaine shrugged. "My brother had kids a few years back. He's not much more than a kid himself and couldn't figure out why his kids were such brats. Eventually, he and his wife went to family counseling and the psychologist told them how to fix things. Jamie and Ella are much nicer to be around these days."
"You sound like you're close to your brother," Kurt said just as the car pulled up and they headed over.
Once in the car, Blaine answered Kurt's non-question. "We weren't always. He's a few years older than me and when he left for LA, he didn't really look back. Our parents are pretty uptight and we're both more… artistic. Cooper just wanted to live his life out from under their disapproving eyes. But that meant leaving me behind, too."
"I'm sorry," Kurt said as he took Blaine's hand.
"It's oaky now," Blaine said with a small smile. "We sort of reconnected when I was in college. He was in New York for a couple weeks for some commercial shoot and we got past our issues. Now we're pretty close. And I adore his wife. Why Linda puts up with Cooper's insanity, I'll never know, but she's a saint in my books."
"Cooper's an actor," Kurt said. "What does Linda do for a career?"
Blaine chuckled. "She's a stay at home mom. She's the only child of a rather famous and successful Hollywood producer. She spends all her time with the kids and tries to keep Cooper from being an idiot. But between Cooper's trust fund and hers, they can live pretty comfortably even without a steady income. Then again, Linda's dad does occasionally throw a role Cooper's way, but that's mostly to keep him from driving Linda crazy being around the house too much. What about your family? I only know what I've read."
"Well, my mother died when I was eight," Kurt said. "So my dad pretty much raised me. Or I should say we raised each other. That man has no sense when it comes to eating properly or looking after the house. I spent a lot of time at the garage with him growing up. But because we depended on each other so much, we are still really close.
"When I was a sophomore in high school, I introduced my father to the mother of a boy I had a crush on at the time," Kurt said ruefully. "I was stupid enough to think that if they were dating, we'd have to spend more time together and he would suddenly realize that he was in love with me."
"I take it that it didn't happen that way?" Blaine asked with a grin.
"Not hardly," Kurt scoffed. "First of all, Finn is decidedly straight. Instead, my dad started spending time with Finn doing 'guy' things and suddenly I felt like I was losing my only family. Plus Finn was a bit of a homophobe back then. He was a jock in a homophobic small town. So when Dad and Carole decided to move in together, it was a disaster. Words were exchanged and my Dad threw Finn out of the house for using a certain slur."
Kurt sighed and shook his head. "It all worked out in the end. My crush was stomped out when Finn called me a fag. My dad and Carole worked to enlighten him a bit. And eventually they got married. By the time Finn and I graduated, he really was my brother. Annoying most of the time, but basically lovable. And I adore Carole. I'm really glad Dad has her since I've been gone."
"Isabelle said they usually come to the New York shows?" Blaine said.
"Dad and Carole have been at every one," Kurt said with a grin. "Dad lets me banish the plaid flannel for one day and dress him up. And Carole always loves whatever dress I design for her. She's tried more than once to convince me to start a women's line. Sometimes I think they come just because she wants a new dress."
Blaine laughed at that. "I can imagine it would be more than worth it."
The evening ended up being a repeat of the night before until after Blaine's show. "So, where to next?" Blaine asked Kurt.
"I thought we could go back to the hotel and order room service," Kurt said casually. "I know of a few ways to burn off all that excess energy."
Blaine groaned with anticipation. "I know you do. I am definitely down with that plan."
Sunday came and the two decided to simply laze in bed for most of the morning. They ordered more room service and Kurt read some interesting articles in the newspaper to Blaine, translating as he read. Then Kurt pulled out his iPad and brought up several websites that covered fashion week. This time, Blaine read to Kurt since most of the sites were in English.
"They loved you," Blaine said with satisfaction.
"All except for that Donavan woman," Kurt said with a pout. "But she's stuck in the 90's and hates everything I design on principal, I think. You should have heard what she wrote last year."
"She's a know-nothing cow," Blaine said loyally. He absentmindedly pulled up the Google app and typed in his name, hoping to find something about his shows. What he found instead were pictures of him and Kurt from the fashion show. "Um, Kurt?"
Kurt turned a confused gaze on Blaine. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing! Just…. Look." Blaine said and handed him the iPad.
Kurt looked at the pictures of the two of them and nodded. Then he clicked on one of the links. It was a website that catered to celebrity gossip.
"Has fashion icon Kurt Hummel finally found a man?" Kurt read out loud. "He was seen yesterday at his Paris fashion show with singer/songwriter Blaine Anderson. The two looked quite cozy together, as this photo shows. While both have been quite honest about their sexuality, this is the first noteworthy connection we have witnessed for either man. Is this the start of something epic?"
"Check AfterElton," Blaine said.
Kurt did, and found them pretty quickly. "They say pretty much the same thing, with a bit more gushing and several comments about how we look. Same picture. They like your hair, by the way."
"They always like my hair," Blaine said. "But you're okay with this? I mean the publicity?"
Kurt waved him off. "We're both minor celebrities. It was bound to happen. They'll lose interest soon enough. And I doubt that we're going to be followed around over here."
"We could be," Blaine said. "The paparazzi is as bad in Europe as it is in America. But, you're right: I doubt we will be."
"So this changes nothing," Kurt said. "We continue on. And we have plans to shop today."
"Do we start at the Champs Elysee or head for the Marais?" Blaine wondered. "Or there's the Louvre-Tuileries district or Le Bon Marché?"
"I say we hire a car and hit them all," Kurt said. "And if we can't do everything today, we come back on Tuesday."
"Yeah, since we'll be out near Versailles tomorrow for the concert, I thought we could just do the tour thing in the afternoon, after the rehearsal and sound check?" Blaine asked.
"I've been dying to get to Versailles," Kurt said. "So that is definitely a plan."
"I suppose I should go back to my room and get dressed," Blaine sighed, reluctant to have their lazy morning end.
"Well, you probably should," Kurt said. "But I was thinking. Maybe you could check out of your room and just move your things up here before we leave."
Blaine opened and closed his mouth once and then got a huge smile across his face. "I definitely like that idea. Give me an hour and I'll be back."
He gave Kurt a kiss before pulling on one of the hotel bathrobes and grabbing his wallet and the key to his room.
Shopping was everything it should be. They didn't make it everywhere they wanted to go, but they took a good sized chunk out of the city's offerings. Kurt had found some wonderful shirts to add to his wardrobe. Blaine had found a few items he loved as well. But they had also strolled along the art galleries lining the Place de Vosges and Kurt had purchased a magnificent oil painting that would look wonderful in his apartment and Blaine had found a small modern sculpture of two male figures entwined together and only partially chiseled from some gorgeous green stone. They had dinner out at a lovely restaurant and then went dancing again at the same lounge that they had visited on Friday.
Monday morning came earlier than they would have liked, considering how late they had stayed out the night before and how late they had stayed up once they had returned to the hotel. But Blaine's rehearsal awaited. Kurt was curious to see the process, but quickly discovered that it wasn't nearly as exciting as he might have hoped. It was mostly short run-throughs of the same songs that Blaine had played at the previous concerts and tedious testing of the sound system. Thankfully, it only took a couple hours and they were soon on their way to Versailles.
"Just look at it," Kurt gushed as they drove up. "It's absolutely…"
"Garish?" Blaine proffered sheepishly.
"Yes!" Kurt agreed excitedly. "But in a way that is positively impressive. Look at all that gilding! There's gold everywhere!"
They climbed from the car and made their way across the long cobblestone drive to the gate. "Can you imagine driving over this?" Blaine said as he attempted not to trip or twist an ankle.
"And in a horse drawn coach, no less," Kurt said. "With horrible shocks."
They waited in line to buy tickets and then entered. Once inside, Kurt and Blaine got audio guides and started the tour. The palace was huge and each room's décor was just as over the top as the exterior. Kurt had some comments about the fashions of the time-period, but Blaine couldn't imagine that it was ever in good taste. No wonder the people who were starving in the streets of Paris revolted.
"Well this is disappointing," Kurt said as they entered the Hall of Mirrors. One side of the room was lined with windows that overlooked the grounds and the other had mirrors that matched the large windows exactly. But the mirrors were old and had darkened with age so that they were now a dull gray.
"But can't you just imagine it when it was new?" Blaine asked. "With the whole room lit with candles and reflecting back upon each other."
"I suppose," Kurt said. "It's an absolute waste of space, however; just a big long empty room."
Blaine couldn't disagree with that. "Can you imagine dancing in here? I wonder what the acoustics are like."
They finished the tour rather quickly after that and turned in their audio guides before heading around the back to view the gardens. Almost as soon as they reached the terrace, Blaine began to bounce excitedly. "Kurt! We have to rent a golf cart. Can we, please?"
Kurt chuckled at Blaine's enthusiasm. "As long as we take turns driving."
Blaine handed over his driver's license and accepted the map from the attendant and soon they were off to explore the gardens at Versailles. Blaine was absolutely a menace behind the wheel. Thankfully, the cart only went about five miles an hour. As Kurt tried to help navigate using the map, Blaine did his best to run over every poor pedestrian they met along the way.
"Seriously, Blaine, you are a menace!" Kurt laughed after they narrowly missed another couple. "Stop at this little spot here. We can go explore the orchards."
They did just that. Blaine pulled the cart to the side of the alley lined with trees and grabbed the key before coming around and taking Kurt's hand.
"It's so beautiful," Blaine said as they strolled through the trees and looked for some of the hidden nooks. "I can see why someone would want to create a place like this much easier than I can imagine wanting something like the palace."
"I don't know," Kurt said. "I agree that the palace is over-the-top, but fashion often can be, whether we're talking clothes or interior design or architecture. If Notre Dame Cathedral wasn't over the top, no one would still be coming to see it. And no one would come to Versailles. There are dozens of arches in Paris, but it's only the Arc de Triumph that people remember. It's the over-the-top stuff that is most unforgettable."
Blaine seemed to consider this for a few minutes as they strolled. "I guess it's the same in music. We remember the artists who really stood out. Like Freddie Mercury, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Elvis, Jim Morrison, Lady Gaga…"
"In those cases, I think it was equally their outstanding music and their unusual life styles," Kurt said. "If some guy who made his fortune in the stock market wanted to build a zoo in his back yard, no one would care."
"But, you'll notice that of those six artists I've listed, all but two of them are now dead," Blaine said. "They died before their time because they allowed their eccentricities and addictions to rule them. You can only sustain excessive living for so long before you either retire to a semi-normal life, like Madonna did, or die."
Kurt squeezed Blaine's hand and smiled at him. "So what I hear you saying is that you would rather be a semi-successful b-list celebrity for your entire career than become a living legend?"
"Exactly," Blaine said. "Because living legends die young and are rarely happy."
"All things in moderation," Kurt agreed with a hum.
"Well, except ice cream," Blaine countered. "There is no moderating ice cream. Or chocolate. Never, ever moderate chocolate."
Kurt had to laugh at Blaine's earnestness. "I promise to never curb your chocolate or ice cream intake. Unless you're already too hyped up on sugar and would be a menace to society."
Blaine huffed out a sigh. "I suppose I can live with that."
The concert that night was in another large theater and Kurt again watched from the sidelines. He wasn't surprised at all when Blaine turned to look at him as he sang one of the love songs in his set list. Nor was he surprised when Blaine wanted to sign autographs after the show. They ate at a restaurant nearby before letting the driver take them back to the city. The next day, the continued their shopping and made it to all the places that they hadn't seen on Sunday. Shopping was interspersed with leisurely meals at nearby cafes where they continued to get to know each other.
They spent almost all of Wednesday at the Louvre and most of Thursday at the Musee d'Orsay. Blaine was impressed with the depth of knowledge that Kurt showed about art and art history. Kurt was impressed by Blaine's raw enthusiasm for artistic talent, in whatever form he found it.
On Thursday night, they went to the Bastille Opera and Kurt marveled over the architecture outside before they both marveled at the beauty of the music inside.
But with everything they saw over those days, it was Friday, their last full day in Paris, that was Kurt's favorite. That day they simply strolled through the city, letting their feet lead them where they would. They walked along the banks of the Seine holding hands and enjoying the warm sunshine.
"My friends from glee club were really the only thing that kept me going in high school," Kurt told Blaine as they walked along the river.
"I know what you mean," Blaine agreed. "I was… there was an incident after a dance my freshman year and after that, my parents sent me to Dalton. The guys in the Warblers kind of helped me heal and fit in and not go completely crazy being cooped up all day every day with three hundred other boys all dressed the same."
Kurt chuckled at that. "I could be down with the all-boys part, but no way would I have ever adjusted to dressing just like everyone else."
"Do you still keep in touch with any of them?" Blaine asked.
"Well, Rachel is my best friend," Kurt said. "We both made the move to New York together and shared a loft in Bushwick while we were in school. She went to NYADA and is now getting some decent parts in small productions off-Broadway. She even got to play Elphaba for a few months. But she hasn't really hit it big yet. She will eventually. She's got a voice that can bring down the house. Literally."
"Wait, I think I saw her perform last year," Blaine said. "Was she in that musical adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing?"
Kurt laughed. "She was. She played Hero. She was pissed that she didn't get the Beatrice part, since it was more challenging musically, but she was just too young to play it credibly."
"She certainly was memorable," Blaine said. "And I think you're right. It's only a matter of time until she finds the perfect part for her."
"If they ever bring back Funny Girl, she'll kill it," Kurt said. "Besides Rachel, though, most of us from glee club keep in touch by email or Facebook. We've ended up pretty scattered. We get together at Christmas when we're home. And we had a ten year reunion a last year. Mercedes is still slogging along with her singing career, though she has a pretty good following these days."
"Wait, Mercedes Jones?" Blaine asked. "I've met her. Every once in a while Brian makes me head out to LA for some event or other. I think I met her at an after party for the Grammys. She's extremely talented."
"You probably met Sam, then, too," Kurt said. "Blonde guy that rarely leaves Mercedes side. They're high school sweethearts. They broke up when she graduated a year ahead of Sam and they both dated other people for a while. But they kept in touch and reconnected over the holidays in Sam's senior year of college. When Sam graduated, he took a job teaching music at a private school out there. They've been together since."
"Yeah, I think I met him," Blaine said. "He looked kind of like a surfer. And he had really big lips."
"That's Sam," Kurt confirmed. "My brother Finn also became a music teacher, though he teaches at an elementary school in Lima. He and Rachel almost got married senior year, but they broke up when Finn didn't get into school in New York. He ended up going to Ohio State and fell in love with music education instead. Then there's Artie. He's a movie director. He went to NYU and has done a few Independent films. You remember that movie about the killer cheerleader that poisoned the whole school? That was him."
"That was a weird movie," Blaine said with a frown. "Like weirder that Tarrantino, but without all the gore."
Kurt shrugged. "That's Artie. Let's see… Quinn went to Yale and then to Harvard Law. She's just recently started working as Supreme Court aide. Then there's Tina and Mike. They were high school sweethearts, too. They both went to Northwestern for dance and ended up getting married right out of college and founding a small dance troupe. They do okay touring regionally. Santana and Brittany move to New York together. Santana plays the jazz clubs and Brittany works as a preschool teacher."
"I think I've heard of Santana," Blaine said. "She plays at the Blue Note?"
"Every other Saturday," Kurt confirmed. "Finally, there's Noah Puckerman, the guy from high school I told you about. Puck went to LA after high school to start a pool cleaning business. Weirdly, he did okay for himself. He actually now owns one of the largest pool cleaning businesses in the state. He finally came out as bi after a couple years in LA. He usually brings his latest boyfriend or girlfriend with him for the holidays. I've never met the same person twice, though."
"It's amazing that you all keep in touch," Blaine said. "The only people I still keep in touch with from Dalton are Wes, David, Jeff and Nick. And I don't think we've all gotten together for about five years. I see Nick occasionally, since he's a lawyer in New York. And Wes comes down from Boston from time to time. He's a doctor, so he gets pretty busy. But I haven't actually seen David for three years. He's working for his father's brokerage in Ohio. And Jeff is down in Atlanta. At least he was the last time I heard from him. He's spent the six years since graduating from Dartmouth drifting from job to job and city to city. I think he just finally had enough of the pressure."
"It's funny, I made a lot of friends in college, but once we all graduated, it seemed natural for us to drift apart," Kurt said. "I don't even miss them really. And most of them still live in the city, so there's really no reason not to stay in touch. But I think if I lost touch with my high school friends, I would really miss them. Even after all this time and even after we've all gone our separate directions."
"I know what you mean," Blaine said. "Despite not seeing Wes more than three or four times a year, he's still the one I know I can talk to about anything. We talk at least once a week and we text even more often. And David is right up there on the call list. If I lost those two, I'm not sure what I would do."
"I want you to meet all of my friends," Kurt said. "And I want to meet yours."
"I would love that," Blaine said with a grin. "Wes will adore you."
They were silent for a while as they walked along the river walk, both lost in thoughts about what would happen when they went back. When they came to some of the tour boats at the base of the Eiffel Tower, Blaine offered to get tickets. Soon they were cruising along the Seine and ignoring the guided tour in favor of talking to each other.
"What happens after this?" Kurt finally asked about half way through the tour. "I mean, I changed my flight to coincide with yours, so we're heading back together, but… what then?"
"I don't know," Blaine said. "I know what I'd like to happen, though."
"What's that?" Kurt asked hopefully.
"I'd like to keep seeing you as much as humanly possible, and in a few months I'd like for us to move in together. Then in a couple years, we have the fairytale wedding of our dreams. And a few years after that, maybe get a house and adopt a couple babies… After that, who knows?" Blaine said. He looked deep into Kurt's eyes as he continued. "This week has been the best in my life. I've never connected to anyone the way I connect to you. That has to mean something. I really don't want this to end. Ever."
Kurt let out a relieved sigh. "I don't either. I've always had a tough time trusting people. Partly because of being bullied in school and partly because I lost my mom so early. I don't trust that the good things won't just disappear. I hold myself back from letting people get close. But with you… from that very first day on the plane, I knew that you were something special. I knew that you had the potential to steal my heart away and I didn't care. I didn't want to let you go."
Blaine grinned at him. "I never want to let you go. I love you Kurt Hummel."
"I love you too, Blaine Anderson," Kurt said with a breathless smile.
The kiss they shared was filled with love and wonder and hope for a future. Despite the other tourists surrounding them, they were lost in each other and neither ever wanted to let go. And so they didn't.