"Vogue Paris, Kurt Hummel à l'appareil. Que puis-je faire pour vous?"
"Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee !" Kurt jumped in his seat and flinched.
"Rach-," he tried.
Kurt sighed. He slumped against his desk, cupped his chin in his hand and let Rachel get it all out knowing full well there was no way of avoiding it. He hoped his ears would survive the trauma.
"This is a very long distance call, honey," he said when she finally paused in her break-down, malfunction, spasm… whatever the hell was happening to her.
"Kuuuuuuuuuuuurt! I got it! I got the part!" she all but screamed. Despite the damage to his eardrums, Kurt couldn't help but grin.
"Rachel," he squeaked. "Oh, Rachel! Congratulations. I'm so happy for you."
"Thank you. God! I wish you were here!"
"Me too," Kurt smiled softly and pointedly ignored the prickling behind his eyelids. He'd been away for too long.
After years of begging and working for it, Kurt had finally obtained the Paris internship. Every intern that passed through and that made a name for themselves had gotten the Paris internship. A full year of training in La Capitale De La Mode; it was a dream come true. It was better than anything Kurt could have imagined. He'd worked with the best, acquired experience he never expected and made a name for himself. An intern name, but still a name and there were no small victories in the world of Fashion. However, it'd been ten months now and the Paris people were still reticent to let him go. He was flattered and if he didn't miss his crazy life, New York and his family so much, he might just stay. Paris was gorgeous, romantic and demanding but he was lonely and desperate for warmth that only the people he loved could bring.
Rachel sighed heavily on the other end of the line. "No. None of this sadness. No tear-fest," she said, though her voice sounded suspiciously watery. "This is good and you'll be home in just a few weeks."
Kurt cleared his throat. "Right. When do you start?"
"In two days. Oh my god, Kurt! I'm going to be on Broadway!"
"Does this mean you're finally going to calm down?" he teased.
"Oh sweetheart, you ain't seen nothing yet."
Kurt laughed and settled more comfortably on his chair to listen to the retelling of Rachel's fraught audition process. At her NYADA senior showcase a few months ago (one that Kurt had regretfully missed but had seen enough bootlegs of to last him a lifetime), one of Carmen Thibodeaux's 'dear' friend attended their production of Mama Mia. That friend happened to be none other than Timothy Sonberg, one of the most respected theater directors of the last twenty years. He was to Broadway what John Green was to literature and he fell in love with Rachel Berry the way Tim Burton fell for Johnny Depp. A few weeks later (enough time to drive Rachel -and by association Kurt- completely crazy) he asked her to audition for his new original musical called Marvelous. When she called Kurt with the good news, he swore the ocean between the continents seprating them shook with the force of her excitement. Rachel had had to prepare the necessary changes in case she got the part which meant making sure she could go back to NYADA to finish her degree once she was done with the part. It was something that she cared for vehemently.
"You'll be marvelous," he said. It was meant as a taunt but it came out too softly for that. He was so proud and happy for her. His little psycho; she did it.
"Aw, now I really wish you were here. This is so fabulous but it won't be the same without you," she whined and Kurt could see her pout as clearly as if she was standing in front of him.
Subject: slight change of plan.
I'm so glad to hear about your coming home! It's about time the Frenchies let you go. I imagine it must have been hard for them but you belong to us Kurt. I'm glad The Hummel-Berry-Jones-Wright Campaign to Get Our Boy Back has finally worked. I swear Burt and Isabelle text each other daily to exchange sonnets about your perfection. It's disgustingly adorable. Let's not even talk about Finn and Noah. They keep denying it but I swear I caught them planning an elaborate Kurt-napping two months ago. We really miss you.
So. Yay! You're coming back and I'm so very happy.
That being said, I will not be able to pick you up from the airport next month. Timothy has decided that the show won't be premiering in New York but will go straight on tour. While I am, as you can surely imagine, disappointed, I am a professional and will bend for the sake of the show. And no, Kurt, not in that way, you pervert!
Small issue, nothing major, really. Mercedes has found a new place on the other side of the city and won't be able to stay. It was challenging living together (us divas need our space) but I'll miss her dearly. Of course she was no Kurt Hummel but she was a fun roommate to have while you were away.
I can see your frown from here, dear friend. Do not worry about the apartment; I have already started looking for a roommate to replace me while I'm away. (Timothy is talking about six to twelve months.) Do not fret, as I am an excellent judge of character and promise not to leave until I find someone who deserves your fabulous chocolate soufflés.
I'm devastated I won't be home when you'll come back but I promise to do my best to come visit soon.
With all my love,
Rachel Barbra Berry.
P.S: Santana is picking you up from the airport. Sorry.
Subject: Took you long enough!
Why hello Gorgeous,
I hear (actually the whole of New York could, Rachel's been so loud about it I'm thinking of shoving a sock into her mouth) you're finally coming back. Finally! I missed you, boo. New York isn't the same without you. Actually, nothing is the same without you. I can't wait to hear all about Paris and French boys and French food and French boys and French couture and French boys and French wines and French boys.
Did I mention boys? Of the French type? Because I want to hear aaaaaaaaaall about that. ;)
I know Rachel told you about my moving out and I know it's an inconvenience but I can't let this opportunity pass me by. It's a great place, close to work and it's cheap, which as you know, in New York is like having found the Holy Grail. I'm sorry. I was really looking forward to being your roommate. I'm still a bit pissed Rachel got to be yours first. And no, living with her was so not like living with you. Not quite.
But no matter. I'll make sure Rachel finds a great replacement (but let's be real, no one will top me and then you'll be back and we're gonna spend so much time together you'll get sick of me.
Take care, Angel.
P.S: I will try to keep the Berry-Crazy to a minimum.
Subject: the new Rachel.
You can go back to sleeping full nights, Kurt. I found the perfect roommate.
You can thank me later.
Kurt re-read the email for the third time and wondered how he could actually be friends with Rachel. She was the worst when she was being cryptic. Go back to sleep, his ass. It'll be a miracle if he ever slept again. Come to think of it, if Rachel chose his new roommate, he's sure he'll never close his eyes for more than a blink ever again. He grabbed his phone and sent a quick message.
To Rachel: You are dead to me.
From Rachel: Don't judge without knowing.
To Rachel: How can I even judge this person? I know nothing about them.
From Rachel: My point exactly. Don't you trust me?
To Rachel: Oh, that's a loaded question. You're being too cryptic about it for me to have peace of mind.
From Rachel: You'll be fine. And yes that was an eye-roll in text form.
To Rachel: You're officially dead to me.
From Rachel: Was that an attempt at having the last word?
To Rachel: Yes.
From Rachel: And they say I'm the drama queen.
To Rachel: It takes one to know one. Also: shut up!
Mercedes Fay Jones! You told me you'd keep an eye on her! You promised! I swear to God, I'm never leaving the country ever again.
There *will* be hell to pay. Trust me on this.
P.S: if I get murdered in my sleep, you're in charge of explaining why to my father.
Subect: Re: TRAITOR!
Kurt Elizabeth Hummel. Don't you threaten me! I have been keeping an eye on her, you ungrateful idiot. Don't worry about it. Everything's under control. You'll love your new roommate. ;)
Shaking his head, Kurt put his laptop away and decided to focus on packing. Clearly, his friends, who by nature were already crazy, were utterly lost without his guidance. Hopefully, if he wasn't savagely killed in his sleep, he could teach them a thing or two.
The car ride with Santana had been dreaded more than it should have been. She was rash and a bit obnoxious at times but she was a force of nature and she was his friend. It only took a few minutes alone to remember that. Sure, she took a jab at his fabulous hat and summer scarf but she also didn't stop asking questions about Vogue and his adventures in Paris (even if those questions were really inappropriate more often than not). There was a lot to be said about Kurt's friends but for better or for worse they were his friends and they never missed an occasion to show it. Especially nowadays.
"So, I hear Berry got you a little present?" she said as she parked in front of Kurt and Rachel's building. Well, Kurt-And-Anonymous-Person-Because-Rachel-Is-Crazy's building.
"What do you mean?" he asked before getting out of the car.
"The new roommate," she elaborated as she clicked open the car trunk.
"You know about this person?"
Santana's laugh did nothing for Kurt's nerves. "Wait, wait, wait! This is too good to be true. She didn't tell you about him?"
Kurt almost dropped his suitcase. "Him?"
"Oh, Kurtie Kurt. You're about to enter gay heaven," she smirked and Kurt felt like taking the first flight back to Paris.
"How do you even know about this?" he asked her. His voice was embarrassingly high but he couldn't care less.
"I might have peaked at Rachel's selection the last time I saw her. She had his picture displayed on your coffee table like a damn trophy."
Kurt groaned loudly at that piece of information. Rachel is a never ending source of second-hand embarrassment.
After that, they quickly got upstairs since Kurt had only the one suitcase. The rest of his stuff had been shipped over last week and Rachel promised that everything was as it should be. Kurt however wasn't inclined to believe Rachel about anything anymore. He was about to dig in his pocket to fish out his keys but realized it was unnecessary since the door was open. Katy Perry's Teenage Dream was blasting and the look Santana sent his way was enough to make strippers blush.
He took a deep breath and stepped over the threshold only to stop short a few seconds later.
So much skin.
Male, glistening with sweat skin.
A blond guy with a very impressive six-pack was lounging on Kurt's couch with a beer in his hand chatting with another half-naked man. Older, his hair dark and wavy with blue eyes to make nuns sin, the second man was focusing on putting together what looked like a desk. Just as Kurt thought that he might have died and went to gay heaven as Santana had suggested, a third guy stepped from what used to be Rachel's bedroom and Kurt felt the Earth shift underneath him. He was so devastatingly gorgeous, Kurt could cry about it. He was rather on the short side and Kurt had always thought he had a thing for tall men but this tiny person had managed to alter his views on the matter in a couple of seconds only. He was compact but he looked soft and adorable at the same time and Kurt didn't understand how that was fair or even possible. He was wearing a white tank top (not half-naked but naked enough for Kurt's brain to short-circuit) and loose black shorts that accentuated his ridiculously trim waist. He had a mane of cute unruly curls and eyes the color of sunshine or honey or caramel, Kurt couldn't quite decide from this distance. None of the three men had yet heard or seen them but that soon changed.
"I knew it! I knew Rachel filmed cheap gay porn as a hobby," Santana said with a huge smirk and her eyes were as round as Kurt had ever seen them.
"This isn't happening," Kurt muttered to himself just as Curls finally noticed them standing in the entryway.
"Oh! Hi! I'm Blaine," he said coming forward; a hand extended and a smile as bright the night lights on Time's Square.
Kurt shook his hand. "Kurt."
"I figured. Rachel's told me so much about you. I feel like we've known each other for a while," Blaine said, smile unwavering.
"I wish I could say the same," Kurt drawled, hoping to hide his blush behind a little bit of snark. Blaine's smile faltered in confusion.
"What do you mean?" His voice was like melted caramel on a sundae. Kurt was this close to just throwing his hands up in the air and asking where the hidden cameras were.
"Let's just say this is all a bit of a surprise."
"What part?" Blaine's nose did something at that moment; a cute little scrunch, that made Kurt want to curl up on the floor. This wasn't good at all.
Oh, where do I start? Your half-naked friends. The fact that you all look like fallen angels. You're listening to Katy Perry. I was expecting one of Rachel's irritating girlfriends from NYADA not someone with a penis and eyes worth weeping for.
"Rachel didn't say much, that's all, and she forgot to mention there'd be three of you. I'm not sure we've got the space," Kurt finally said, his eyes darting to the two other men in the room.
Blaine's eyes crinkled charmingly at the corners, making Kurt stomach dip and swoop.
"Oh, no. It's just me. Sam and Coop are just helping me settle in. Hm… Come on, I'll introduce you," Blaine said before leading the way to the center of the loft.
Santana was being uncharacteristically quiet (she should have made enough crude and offensive jokes by now to have them fleeing to the other side of the country). When Kurt turned his eyes to her, she was snapping pictures of the three newcomers, not caring in the slightest if they caught her in the act. Kurt glared and tried to snatch her phone away but she was too quick.
"Santana, I swear to God, if-," he started furiously but she interrupted him.
"Keep your panties on, Hummel. This is for science," she snickered.
He rolled his eyes but chose to ignore her. He preferred not to think about what a lesbian would do with blurry pictures of shirtless guys. Granted they were rather exquisite specimens but still, it didn't bear thinking of.
He made his way over to them, catching the end of their conversation.
"… just put the damn shirt back on," Blaine glared at the stunning brunette.
"It's too warm, B. I think your new roommate will survive the sight of my naked chest," he replied with a blinding smile. Blaine rolled his eyes and turned to Kurt. He shook his head and it looked like an apology. Kurt, who quite frankly had not regained all his capacities yet, only shrugged. Blaine cleared his throat. Kurt guessed the awkwardness was to be expected; they were strangers after all.
"Kurt, this is Sam Evans, my best friend," Blaine started patting the blonde's guy shoulder. Sam smiled easily and nodded his head. He had beautiful green eyes and if Kurt forgot about his penchant for shirtlessness (which was a feat on its own because those were fine abs indeed) Sam reminded him of a southern gentleman.
"Hey, dude!" Sam said shaking Kurt's hand.
"Hello," Kurt tried to smile but he wasn't sure his brain transmitted the command correctly.
"And this is Cooper," Blaine added, gesturing to the Adonis standing next to Sam.
These people must have escaped from an Armani underwear ad; it was the only plausible explanation. People in Kurt's life were never that obviously, in-your-face, breathtakingly attractive. Of course there had been encounters with a few models at but they always seemed untouchable, barely human in their perfections. These three men, while very good looking, were all smiling easily and didn't seem so scary. Cooper had twinkling blue eyes, a mass of wavy dark hair and a jaw that would make Brad Pitt fall to his knees.
"Hi. It's nice to meet you, Kurt," he said his voice like silk while shaking Kurt's hand. He slung an arm around Blaine's shoulders causing the shorter man to roll his eyes in a gesture that seemed to be so engrained; it didn't look like a conscious effort. It reminded Kurt of himself and Finn. "I trust you'll take good care of my little brother." At that piece of information, Kurt's eyebrows shot up.
"Unfortunately," Blaine mumbled while trying to escape Cooper's hold.
"Well, it's a pleasure," Santana drawled as she planted herself next to Kurt. The three men turned to look at her and while Sam and Cooper took her in with obvious interest (it was the middle of July and Santana's dress was more of a T-shirt than anything else), Blaine's eyes remained detached. Friendly but clearly not as interested as Sam's or Cooper's.
"This is Santana Lopez. No relations," Kurt deadpanned and was warmed to his toes by Blaine's answering chuckle.
"Hi, boys," she said wriggling her fingers. Kurt refrained from scowling. Barely. He needed new friends. The old batch wasn't healthy anymore.
"Down girl," he said, elbowing her without caring if the gesture was seen or not.
"I'm sorry for the mess," Blaine said gesturing to the unfinished desk. Now that Kurt's eyes weren't drawn to naked skin, he could see opened cardboard boxes here and there. There was a small piano in the middle of the living-room area and he could see a couple of suitcases leaning against the kitchen table.
"It's alright," he reassured.
"I was supposed to get here two days ago but someone doesn't know how to read a calendar," Blaine explained while glaring at his brother.
"You're such a grandpa sometimes. Late or not you got here, didn't ya?" Blaine's answering scowl made Kurt's lips twitch. "You're not happy about your chauffeur's attitude, squirt? Get your own car."
"Go put a shirt on and stop calling me that. Anyway," Blaine said turning back to Kurt with a much more pleasant expression. "I promise we'll be done in a couple of hours."
Kurt waved his hand dismissively. "Don't worry about it."
Blaine seemed to be genuinely embarrassed and sorry, so despite Kurt's own discomfort, he didn't want his new roommate to feel bad. Especially since he wasn't responsible for making Kurt feel ill at ease. Well, beside his absurdly beautiful face and his half naked entourage (whom despite Blaine's insistence and pointed looks still refused to put their shirts back on). Rachel was to blame for this quite unseemly first encounter and Kurt wouldn't lose an opportunity to make her pay.
"Really, it's… um, it's okay. I have some unpacking of my own to do," he said waving toward his forgotten suitcase.
"Oh! Right! Rachel told me you were in Paris. Wow! Welcome home!" Blaine said with a smile so lovely, it left Kurt breathless.
He smiled back. "Welcome to you too. Please, make yourself at home and if you have any questions or anything, just come find me."
Blaine nodded eagerly. "I will. Thanks."
Kurt grabbed Santana's arms and dragged her out of the apartment.
"But, wait. Can't I stay? I wanna play!" she complained but didn't resist Kurt's insistent tugging.
"You're infuriating. I almost forgot about that while I was away," he said releasing her.
"You did not."
Kurt smiled slightly as he leaned against the doorframe. "I didn't. Thanks for the ride."
"Whatever. I'm glad I did. This was fun," she smirked before leaning over and dropping a quick kiss to his cheek. It surprised Kurt a little but he didn't let it show; it was actually very sweet. "Glad to have you back, McQueen."
He smiled. "Glad to be back, Cruella."
"I hope you have condoms," she said with a wink as she turned to leave.
"I hope you fall down the stairs," was his hissed response.
As he passed by the men working, Blaine looked up and smiled. It was such an effortless gesture but it was stunning in its simplicity and beauty. Kurt smiled back and he hoped his thoughts weren't reflected on his face because, boy, was he in trouble.
Kurt headed for his room without looking back. He'd missed his home so much in the last fifteen months and now he was finally back but things were different. He didn't know what this difference would bring to his life but so far, the view wasn't too bad.