Title: Picture Perfect
Rating/Warnings: PG/ This is an AU where Klaine never met so no real spoilers for series other than vague allusions to a few season 4 New York things.
A/N: This is just a little story inspired by spookyclaire's tweets from yesterday. Hope you enjoy hun!
Summary: Most days, Kurt didn't mind working for a photographer. But when parents brought in whining kids that terrorized him the whole time, then he wished he had just stayed in New York with Rachel for the summer. However a certain curly haired client might just make his awful day a whole lot brighter.
Kurt really didn't mind his job. Most days, he enjoyed it. It just wasn't what he expected when Isabelle had said she'd get him a job with an old friend of hers in Westerville. When she had said she knew a photographer there who could use summer help, his thoughts immediately jumped to working with high class models, quirky makeup artists, and diving into racks of fabulous high end fashion. The thought of working with screaming children and stuck up parents never once crossed his mind.
But of course there was nothing like that in Westerville, Ohio. Isabelle's friend, Kurt's new boss Casey, may have once dreamed of working with gorgeous models instead of rich housewives who believed they were gorgeous models. It paid the bills at least and allowed Kurt to spend some time with his dad before the next semester started up in the fall. He could deal with this for a few months.
Though the loud wails coming from across the room were starting to make him question that. He groaned to himself and laid his head onto his counter, using his arms to try to block out some of the sounds.
The small cat Casey kept at the store jumped up on the front counter, nudging at Kurt's cheek with his furry head. Kurt reached up and stroked along the cat's back for a moment before finally lifting his head. "Hey Jax. I know you hate the screaming too." The cat purred as Kurt scratched behind his ear.
The bell above the store's door jangled, signaling new customers. Jax jumped down to inspect and greet the newcomers before Kurt could stop him.
"Mommy!" a little girl shrieked. "Ugly stray! Get it away!" Jax, undeterred by the child, sauntered towards the family. "No!" The girl kicked at the cat, nearly hitting him in the side.
"Hey!" Kurt couldn't help but yell at the girl. "Stop that! You don't kick animals. He's not a stray. He lives in the back."
"Well then maybe he should stay in the back," the mother snapped hatefully, sending a glare at Kurt for reprimanding her daughter. She pulled the little girl into her side, her fingers smoothing out her straight blonde hair. "My Sydney doesn't like animals so I'd appreciate it if you didn't allow that mangy thing out into the main area if you want our business."
Kurt's eyes widened and he felt a sharp retort on the tip of his tongue. But Casey came over at that moment to take the family towards the studio to set up. It was then that Kurt noticed a boy a few years younger than himself in the back as well as another man chatting away rather loudly on a cell phone.
"It's going to be a long day," he muttered to himself, sagging back in his chair at the main desk. He rubbed at his eyes in hopes of staving off the headache he felt forming. When he opened them once more, Casey was walking back towards him.
"So do I want to know what that was about?" she asked with a grimace.
"That little witch tried to kick Jax because he had the audacity to come towards her."
Casey rolled her eyes. "Great."
"So I told her not to hit him and the mother got pissed at me for talking down to her precious angel."
"Shh, keep your voice down, Kurt! I may not like them either but they are willing to shell out a lot of money for family portraits and senior photos for the oldest today. So I can't exactly kick them out for not liking my cat."
"She tried to kick him!"
"I know," Casey sighed, holding her hands up. "Just try to make sure Jax stays away from them and go about your normal job. They'll just be here an hour or so. It will be alright." Kurt narrowed his eye at her. "I promise I'll make a coffee run for us this time instead of making you go. Deal?"
"Fine," Kurt grumbled.
"Good. Now please go get some of the football props from the back room as well as the pink castle."
Kurt rolled his eyes. "Of course the mom wants her daughter to have the princess package."
"Which is the most expensive, so move it kiddo." Casey walked around to his side of the desk and pulled him from his chair. She leaned in close to his ear before she spoke again. "I hate it too but I need the money. So please keep the attitude in check for me sweetheart."
Kurt sighed and nodded. Since he had started working in the shop last month, he had grown fairly close to his boss. She was a sweet lady who cared a lot for her employees and enjoyed their company, much like Isabelle. Kurt could see why they were friends. He had also learned that unlike Isabelle, Casey did not have as much money to spare and needed every client she could get her hands on.
"I'll try," he muttered. Casey patted him on the back and pushed him towards the back room to gather the props the family wanted. He heard a slight whine as he entered the room and peered around the corner to see Jax shaking on top of one of the boxes.
"Hey buddy." Kurt took a moment to rub the little guy's head and try to calm him. "It's ok. They'll be gone soon enough. I bet I can persuade Casey to bring you a treat afterwards. Huh? You're ok." He kissed the top of the cat's head and ran his fingers along Jax's fur before he turned back to the props. He quickly gathered them up and headed back.
"But Mommy I want to be a princess now!"
"Kurt's on the way with the castle, sweetie," he heard Casey tell the girl.
"But I want it now!"
"You'll have it Sydney," the mother said softly. Kurt rounded the corner and saw the mother kneeling in front of her daughter. She picked up her hand, inspecting it. "We really should've gone to have you nails done before we came. Oh well. At least we got you into a hair appointment this morning. Thank God!" The woman's hands fluttered from her daughter's hair to her face. "Now don't touch your eyes. Mommy doesn't want you to smear your makeup.
Makeup! Really? Kurt thought. It took all he had not to roll his eyes as he set the props down for Casey.
"Now, Sydney," her mom stated, "stay here and play on your phone while I fix up Alex. Ok, baby?"
The girl didn't reply but pulled out her phone—her iPhone no less—and began playing some game rather loudly. The dad, who had at least gotten off his own phone, wasn't doing much to get her to turn it down either. Once again, Kurt suppressed a groan and set to helping Casey place the props.
At some point during all this, Jax wondered out from the back to see if things were safe. Unfortunately, they weren't.
Sydney had apparently grown bored with her game and spotted the cat. Before Kurt or Casey could move to intervene, the girl jumped up from her stool and rushed towards him. "Go away!" she screamed. Jax started to run from her, but she grabbed his tale. He began hissing at her and she just kept screaming at him.
"For the love of…" Kurt muttered to himself. He stopped working on setting up the castle and hurried over to poor Jax. He picked up the girl suddenly, causing her to let go of Jax. The cat scampered off, probably to go hide in Kurt's chair until he returned. "If you want the cat to leave you alone, then leave him alone too."
"Put me down!" Sydney kicked out, hitting Kurt in the leg and forcing him to set her down. "Mommy! He's mean!"
Kurt's eyes widened as he rubbed at his leg. "I'm the mean one?"
"Kurt!" Casey quickly intervened. "I believe I heard the front bell. Will you please go check on things while I finish up in here?"
Kurt sent one last glare towards the family, matching the bitchy face the mother was sending him. However he didn't snap at her. He kept walking and tried to ignore the way the mother was yelling at Casey over him. He felt bad, but he didn't regret what he had done. He just couldn't let that demon child hurt Jax again! With that thought in mind, he set off towards the front to find the cat. He never heard the bell ring; Casey had probably just said that to get him to leave.
Once he stepped into the front of the shop, he was shocked to see that Jax was not in the chair crying as he had expected but instead sitting in the lap of some young man on the floor and purring happily. "See? It's ok. I won't hurt you. You're ok." His voice was sweet and kind, a stark contrast to the girl who has been yelling at the cat only moments ago.
Kurt tried his best to stay quiet and not startle the pair. Partly because he didn't want to scare Jax anymore than he already was. He also hoped he could catch a glimpse of the guy holding him without being noticed.
Of course Jax decided to meow loudly as soon as he saw Kurt, causing both him and the other man to jump slightly.
"Oh, hello," the young man greeted, continuing to stroke along Jax's back. "Is he yours? I hope you don't mind me playing with him. He just about made it out the door when I came in. I picked him up but he wouldn't stop shaking. I didn't want to just let him go. I hope that's ok?"
Kurt's eyes widened as he finally got the chance to take the guy in. He had short hair that curled up in unruly ringlets all around his head. He wore a dark purple polo with a grey poka dot bowtie, which Jax was batting at playfully, much to Kurt's amusement. Jax was also busy rubbing his head against Blaine's black skinny jeans. Kurt normally would've hated to see cat hair on such a nice piece of clothing, but it was too cute of a scene to mess with for now.
"Excuse me? Did you hear me? I'll give the little guy back, I promise. Not going to take off with him, even if he is probably the prettiest cat I've seen in awhile." He scratched under Jax's chin with one hand and held out the other for Kurt. "I'm sorry. I'm being rude. My name's Blaine."
Kurt finally snapped out of it and realized the boy—Blaine—had been talking to him. Kurt quickly grasped his hand and shook it. "I'm Kurt. And of course! By all means play with Jax. He's had a rough morning. He could use somebody being nice to him."
"Rough morning, huh?" Blaine said to the cat, pulling him from his lap and holding him out in front of his face. "How could someone be mean to that face?"
"Go ask the little bitch in training in the back," Kurt replied without thinking.
Blaine laughed, "So that's what all that noise was when I first came in."
"Yeah, it hasn't been pretty." Kurt shuddered at the thoughts of going back there. "I'm sorry."
"Not your fault that you've had bad clients this morning." Blaine offered him a small but charming smile. "Though I hope I don't fall into that category for you."
Somehow I highly doubt you ever could, Kurt couldn't help but think. Instead of saying that aloud, he simply asked, "Oh, you need some photos taken then?" He walked around Blaine towards the other side of the counter. For a moment, Kurt could've sworn Blaine was looking him up and down, but he was probably just imagining it. As nice as it was to be home with his family, being back in Ohio was a sore reminder of just how different things were in New York City.
"I do." Blaine slowly stood, making sure Jax was still secure in his arms. "I'm moving to New York City for college in the fall. I'll be majoring in music and theater, so I wanted some headshots to take with me. I mean, I doubt I'm good enough for auditions yet, but it's worth a shot, right?"
"Definitely!" Kurt replied. He winced internally at just how enthusiastic it probably sounded, but tried to recover quickly. "My friend—we go to NYADA together—actually got a few auditions her first year of college. You'd be surprised at how often shows want fresh faces. By the way, which school are you going to be attend?"
"You go to NYADA? Really?" Blaine leaned forward on the desk counter towards Kurt, looking at him with wide eyes.
"Yeah," Kurt continued. "I got in last semester, so I'm a little behind some of my classmates. But I love it. It's so different from high school, you know? It's very freeing."
"That's good to know," Blaine replied a little wistfully. He cleared his throat, making Kurt think there was probably more to that statement. "Especially since I'll be attending NYADA starting in August."
"Wow! Congratulations. I'm very impressed." Kurt hoped he wasn't blushing too much in front of Blaine. "I look forward to seeing your perform then."
Blaine bit his lip. "Well, you know you don't have to wait until the fall." Kurt's eyes widened a little and Blaine began to speak faster. "I don't usually do this, but maybe we could go for coffee one day?"
Kurt swallowed down the elation at the request. "I think I'd like that."
Blaine's smile grew at the answer. But before he could say anything else, Casey came around the corner with the family from hell. The little girl stuck her tongue out at Kurt before her brother could shove her out the door. He sent Kurt an apologetic look over his shoulder while the mom just glared at him all the more.
"I'll have those pictures sent to you," Casey called after them.
"I thought you usually just printed them up and made people wait?" Blaine asked. "They must really have been awful."
"Blaine Anderson!" Casey squealed, finally noticing him. "Oh look at you! You look so grown up!" She threw her arms around him. "Where's the rest of the Anderson bunch?"
"Mom and Dad are working. Cooper's in town though."
"Where is he then? Surprised he didn't tag along."
"Oh he wanted to," Blaine chuckled. "But I left him at home. He's been driving me crazy. He's decided that he's allergic to my hair gel and that it can't be in the house because he has an audition next week in LA and can't risk getting sick." Blaine rolled his eyes. "So that's why my hair looks so crazy. Think you can make something of it for some headshots though?"
"Of course, kiddo!" Casey threaded her arm through his. "Right this way."
"Well I guess I better give this guy back to Kurt, huh?" Blaine kissed Jax on top of his head and handed him over to Kurt. "I'll talk to you before I leave. We can exchange numbers?"
"Perfect," Kurt sighed, taking Jax from Blaine and holding him close to his chest.
Casey sent him a teasing smirk as she guided Blaine off to the other room. Kurt watched them walk away until Jax pawed at his chin. "Yeah I know. You definitely earned that treated didn't you boy?"
A/N: I haven't decided if this is the end or if I want to keep going. But this is all for the moment ;). Hope you enjoyed! Thanks for reading.