“All right, that’s the last touch. You look wonderful, Mrs. Cooper.”
The young man admired the 40-year-old as she looked at herself in the mirror. With a new wig (this time a quality one), some new clothes, and some makeup to hide small imperfections, she looked wonderful. She looked as if the disease had never struck her, as if she had not been fighting against the scourge that had attacked her body.
This was what Kurt liked best about his job: seeing the end result and seeing the look of content on the faces of those he helped. Some might think that it’s superficial to give makeovers to sick people; that those people clearly have more things to think about than how they look. But he knows better, he has witnessed firsthand the good that it does. He’s seen just how much it can help a recovery to get a little boost in self-esteem. People don’t realize just how much a little improvement in one’s appearance can benefit the recovery process.
“You did good on this one - she looks really happy. You sticking around for the photoshoot?”
He sighed before warily eyeing his boss; he should have known that this was coming (it always is). Every time they finished a makeover, they would have a photoshoot with that person, to show the journey that she went through. Said photoshoot was done by none other than Pam’s son. Her very gay, eligible, and handsome son (so she says), that she had been desperately hoping to match with Kurt since he started working with her.
“Nice try. I actually have a date with Adam tonight, so you can’t even try to convince me to stay,” he said, starting to pack up his stuff.
“Adam? He’s still in the picture? Why?” Ah, the infamous Pam Anderson’s tact.
“Of course he is! He’s very nice, interesting, and nice. It’s enjoyable to spend time with a nice man like him.”
“Honey, you just called him nice three times in a row.”
Crap. “Because he is!” he squeaked. Really Kurt? 25 years old and you still squeak when you lie?! he thought before daring to look at his boss.
She was giving him a pointed look; clearly, she did not believe any of his crap. Didn’t matter what she believed, he was a grown man that could very well make his own decision. It’s not because she’d been a sort of adoptive mother ever since he’d moved to Columbus that she got to make decisions for him. He had enough of that at home with his dad and Carole.
A sigh escaped her lips, a rare occurrence, meaning that she gave up first for once. “Well, you go have fun with Mr. Boringpants73; if that’s what you really want.”
“I’m just looking out for you, Kurt; I just want what’s best for you.”
“And that’s your son?”
“Of course! Well, I might be a little biased, but my son is pretty wonderful! And you guys have the same weird interest in old show tunes, have I told you that?”
He chuckled, shaking his head. Of course she had already told him - she had told him everything about her son. Blaine Anderson; 22 years old; 173cm; freelance photographer; enjoyed everything related to the performing arts; was very fashion-forward; and most importantly: her son was single and looking. The only thing he had yet to find out was how the young man looked; not that Pam didn’t try to shove a picture in his face at every opportunity. Kurt had refused to look at any pictures of said son - he didn’t want Pam to believe that he was even slightly interested.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Pam. Consult at 10, right?”
“Yeah, yeah… Have a good one,” she answered, pouting. Honest to god, the woman was acting like a 5-year-old that didn’t get what she wanted. She should have been used to it by now: Kurt had given her the same answer for the past four months.
It’s not that he wasn’t even remotely curious about Blaine, but he didn’t want to start a relationship (or anything for that matter) with his boss’ son: it could lead to so many degrees of discomfort at work, and he loved his job; he wasn’t going to lose it over a boy that wasn’t even his type. Kurt liked them tall, blonde and older: a.k.a. the complete opposite of Blaine.
Well, there was one exception to his type; but that was a story for another time.
This was wrong. So wrong, on so many levels. He had actually dragged Adam, his date, to a karaoke bar. Nothing wrong with that, right? Except the reason why he had dragged him there was so he could observe the most handsome man he had ever seen; the exception to his type.
He had stumbled upon the bar about two months ago, when Mercedes and Rachel had come to visit. It wasn’t the most upscale bar, but it was very homey and always packed on every Wednesday night for karaoke. He would know, he had been coming every Wednesday since the first time.
“This is nice! I’ll go give our names.”
Adam’s enthusiasm was lost on Kurt, who kept craning his neck to scout the bar in hopes of seeing a familiar bowtie. His musing was interrupted by Adam coming back to the table with two drinks in his hands and ranting about the song he had chosen for them. He was a good guy, really, and Kurt genuinely wanted to like him. Alas, the spark was missing. The spark that’s described in so many details in romance novels and movies; the one thing that any hopeless romantic wanted to experience.
A long sigh escaped his lips as he leaned back in his chair and took a sip of his drink. He wouldn’t get discouraged, not yet; arriving fashionably late seemed to be Mr. Bow Tie’s forte after all. He would usually stroll in once the evening was in full swing, usually (unfortunately) with a stunning blond man. Kurt had yet to determine if the accompanying blond Adonis (that really should’ve been his type but wasn’t…) was the boyfriend or simply a friend.
“Up next: Kurt and Adam with Got to Get You Into my Life.”
“You put us down for a duet?”
“Yeah, it’ll be fun!”
Kurt was not ready for that kind of commitment.
“I really don’t feel like being here, Sam. I’ve had a busy day and I’m beat.”
“Aw, stop complaining, Blainers. Look, Mr. Tall, Dark & Handsome is up there singing!”
That got Blaine’s attention, and his head quickly shot up to stare at the gorgeous man on the stage. Ah yes, the object of his admiration for the past two months. He was tall, with gorgeous fair skin, the most piercing eyes he had ever seen, and the most beautiful voice he’d ever had the pleasure of hearing.
“So he is, with his boyfriend, may I remind you.”
“You don’t know that. I mean, obviously, blondie has a crush on TDH but I don’t think it goes both ways. I’ll go get us some drinks while you find a table.”
There was a certain truth to what Sam was saying. The blond was clearly enjoying singing a duet more than TDH. The latter actually looked quite uncomfortable being there. He sighed as he sat down at the table. Who was he kidding? The guy was clearly out of his league, and he had no way to even start speaking to him: this was a lost cause.
He was startled out of his dark rummaging by Sam slamming three drinks down on the table just as the song was finishing. He quirked an eyebrow at Sam, silently questioning the necessity for three drinks.
“I convinced Tina to come!”
“Yeah, go get her, she’s at the door, waiting!”
“You okay, Kurt? You didn’t sound like yourself up there.”
Kurt sighed loudly. He knew Adam was just being nice and considerate, but how could he tell him that during the whole duet he had wished he had been anywhere but up there singing?
“You know what? I’m just feeling a little under the weather. I think I’ll call it a night.”
“Oh, all right, well, I’ll walk you home, then.”
Kurt gave him a tight smile and nodded before grabbing his stuff to leave.
If he had simply turned his head, he would have noticed that Tina had come in and was hugging Mr. Bow Tie McCutie and the blond boyfriend. If he had turned around, he would have seen that Tina was pointing to him in a very obvious way while semi-yelling her surprise.
“That’s the mystery man you have a crush on?” Blaine willed her to be quiet, quickly ducking his head to avoid being seen.
“Yes, it is! He comes to the karaoke every Wednesday just to see him. They’ve never talked, though…”
Now why did that name ring a bell to Blaine? He felt like he was supposed to know him.
He must’ve looked confused because Tina pushed on, getting more and more excited: “The guy your mom has been trying to set you up with!! The Kurt from work!”
Life does work out in wonderful ways sometimes.
When Kurt walked into work the next day, he was greeted by a very green-looking Asian receptionist.
“Good morning, Tina.”
“It’s a morning, but it sure as hell isn’t good,” she said before taking a large chug of water.
“Don’t mind her, Kurt, she’s always a mean person when she’s hungover,” came a soft voice from behind him. How Pam Anderson was always able to sneak up behind him still stunned him to this day.
“Blame your son. And Sam. All their fault.”
The phone ringing prevented anyone from answering, and suddenly Tina was back into working mode. Kurt’s hand was grabbed by his boss, literally dragging him into her office to start today’s work.
“All right, so, we have a new consult at 10; then this afternoon, you have a shopping session with Mrs. Gallagher; and a wig fitting with Mrs. Faust.”
“Slow day,” he pondered, not that he minded; it meant he could spend more time with each individual.
“Yes, well, with Doctor Smith retiring, we’ve lost our contact at the hospital; makes it harder to offer our services to those in need.”
“We should try to solicit another doctor, or maybe his replacement?”
“Alright ahead of you, darling, we’re meeting his replacement next Monday.” Of course she was on top of things. She may not always look the part, but his boss was very good at what she did.
“All right, then, tell me about…erm… Marley?” he asked, grabbing the file placed on top of his superior’s desk.
“Yes, well, get ready. We’re doing this one 100% pro bono.” That was rare. Usually, they charged for the clothes and the wig and such. Sure, discounts were very often given, after all, hospital bills were hard to pay for many of their clients. “Marley Rose is 15 years old and has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, which is a form of bone cancer. She lives with, and has been raised by her single mom; you can probably guess that there isn’t much money left at the end of the month for anything. She started chemotherapy recently and her morale went down the dumps. It’s her boyfriend that contacted us, actually, says he wants to see her smile like she used to.”
That was the main reason why he accepted this job all those months ago. Of course, it helped that he was paid very generously as well. However, he would take a pay cut in a heartbeat if it meant being allowed to keep doing his job. Moments like the ones he was about to live with this Marley meant the world to him, because he actually had the chance to make a difference in the young girl’s life. High school’s a very cruel place; he of all people would know, and if Kurt could make it a little easier for that girl and make her smile a little bit, then he would.
His train of thought was interrupted by a soft knock on the door. Turning, he saw Tina standing there (still looking a little green if he was honest).
“Marley is here with her mom. She’s a doll,” she said with a soft smile.
They both got up to go greet the young woman, and instantly fell in love with her and resolved to bring some light back into her eyes. They went on to explain everything they would be doing for her: the hair, the clothes, the make-up, the support groups, etc.
“This all sounds wonderful. I mean really, it’s like a dream, but I’m sorry to say that I’ll have to decline,” Marley said at the end of their speech. “There’s no way we can afford a service like you’re offering. I had to quit my job and mom’s already taken some extra shifts at school as a janitor and-”
“Marley, honey, there is no charge for any of this. We’re giving it to you,” Pam said calmly.
Tears started to well up in Marley’s eyes. “B-but why? Y-you don’t know me…”
“We know enough from what your boyfriend has told us about you.”
“Ex-boyfriend.” She choked out before starting to bawl. “I-I broke up with him… cause who would want to date the freak with no hair, right? Didn’t want people to be mean to him, and still…” Tears were coming down her face freely as her mom hugged her in comfort.
And so they spent the morning talking with the young girl and making a couple of future appointments to start their process. By the time they said goodbye to the duo, the afternoon was upon them and Kurt had to hurry through his various appointments.
Before they knew it, it was Monday morning again and they were all back at the office. As was their tradition, the trio were seated in Pam’s office, gossiping about their respective week-end and love life (or lack thereof).
“I swear to god! So I went on this date with a man called Walter. Except, throughout the date, I could feel something was off, you know, he kept stealing looks at the waiter. Took me a while, but I finally realised what was happening; he had the same look Blaine used to have when he was a teen.”
“No! What did you do?”
“I called him out on it! Turns out he just got divorced and wasn’t completely sure if he was straight or not, and he realized when he saw me that he was definitely gay, because he said, and I quote, “I didn’t notice anything about you, except the fact that the waiter behind you had an amazing ass.””
They all erupted into laughter. Disasters like that were a common occurrence in Pam’s love life. After getting a divorce a few years ago, she had decided to get back out there and try the dating scene… Let’s just say that it hadn’t been a big success up to now.
“I broke it off with Adam,” Kurt blurts out of the blue.
“What? Why? I mean, beside the fact that he was super boring.”
He gives Pam a pointed look. Leave it to her to have no filter when talking. “He wasn’t boring; he was very nice.” Shit, he used that word again. “I mean, there was no spark, you know? It was comfortable, but nothing else. At the end, it felt more platonic than anything else… well, on my side, anyways.”
“Not on his?”
“Don’t think so… He’s already sent me flowers, texted me like 10 times and called me several times. He’s saying he’s willing to change and everything, but I don’t feel like you should have to change to be happy in a relationship. I just want someone who will be the right fit and give me butterflies.” As he finished talking, he prepared himself for their reaction and the comment that he knew was coming.
“You know who would be a right fit?” There it was, but not from his boss that time. “I mean, we went out this weekend and I do think that the two of you would be a great fit.”
“Tina! You’re supposed to be on my side in all this!” he yelped as Tina and Pam high-fived.
“I’m on the side of love,” she stated simply, with a smile. “Just so you know, you are totally his type.”
“You showed him my picture!?!”
“Not really… we saw you, this weekend, out and about.”
“Wait… You went out again, Tina?” Kurt tried to change the subject, and for once it worked, as Pam turned her full attention to her young employee.
“Yes… I’ve been trying to go out with Sam and Blaine. It’s going well; I think I’ll be ready soon… Maybe.”
“Oh, sweetheart, I’m so happy,” said Pam, with tears in her eyes. Kurt knew why she was so emotional, beside the fact that she’d known Tina most of her life. He knew that it was the first time that Tina had been out and about since her high school sweetheart / fiancé died in a car crash two years ago.
Before he could interject with a happy comment of his own, a small knock demanded their attention, and they looked up to see an Asian man in the doorway.
“I’m sorry to interrupt. I’m here to meet with Ms. Anderson? I’m Doctor Chang.”
“You guys know each other?”
“Yeah, Mike and I went to high school together! I didn’t know you were in Columbus now!”
“Just moved here, actually. I even got lost coming here today!” He let out a nervous chuckle while rubbing his neck awkwardly. What were the odds that he would end up being the liaison doctor to the same business that an old friend from McKinley worked at?
“Well, then, I guess it’s fate that made you our new liaison doctor! I’m sure Kurt will be more than happy to show you around. I’m Pam Anderson, we talked through e-mail. Though, I have to admit I didn’t think you were such a charming young man.” There it was: Pam’s full seduction mode. She needed Mike to help her offer her services to his patients - a good relationship with a specialized doctor was key in her business, after all.
She guided him to her desk, where Kurt took the chair next to him. As he watched Tina leave, he saw her make a double-take to check out Mike with a smile on her face. The kind of smile he had never seen, but that Pam talked about when she referred to before the accident.
It turned out that Mike was more than happy to keep an arrangement with Pam. In fact, he even had the name of several other doctors he could refer to her. He thought the service was such a good idea that he wanted as many people as possible to benefit from it. Kurt was more than happy to be reunited with his old friend, and as he walked him to the door, he invited him to go out and get a drink some time soon.
“We could see each other Wednesday, if you want, go to the karaoke bar and see if your voice has improved since high school.”
“No promises there, but I’m down for the drink,” he said heartily.
They quickly exchanged numbers, and Mike left the office with the promise they would see each other in two days’ time. In a hurry to get to his next appointment, Kurt failed to noticed the smirk that Tina was harboring. She had just found the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone; Blaine got to meet Kurt and she got to see the cute doctor again. Really, it would be a win-win for everyone.
Three weeks later, and Tina was just about ready to throw in the towel. All the meetings she had tried to set up since then had ended up in failure. Something always seemed to happen that kept the two boys from meeting; like fate wanted them to stay away from one another.
But Tina Cohen-Chang had stopped believing in something as stupid as fate the day she got the call telling her that her boyfriend, already paralyzed from a car crash, had been killed in a car accident. Since that day, she had decided that you had to create your own fate; that you had to live and enjoy your life to the fullest every day. She could see that Blaine and Kurt were simply perfect for each other; they just needed a little push to see it. And she was just the person to give them that little push… well her, Sam, Pam and Mike. Really, they were making it a team effort.
After multiple failed attempts to make them meet outside of work, the team had concluded that the best way for them to meet was to fake an emergency; which is exactly what they did.
“I’m telling you, Kurt; I don’t know. She was doing her photoshoot with her boyfriend, and all of a sudden, she started panicking.”
“Anxiety attack?” She could hear the city behind him as she heard him shuffle through New York City’s crowd. Technically, if she had checked well, he had an appointment not too far from the office this morning.
“It wouldn’t be the first time.”
“Okay, then, do what you did last time!”
“I have no idea what was done last time; Blaine’s the one that helped her. He knows what to do because he’s had a few over the years; I did not and neither did Jeff!”
“Fine. I’m coming up, right now.”
Tina leaned back in her chair, feeling particularly proud of herself for their latest plan. Nothing could go wrong this time; they would meet.
Some could think that she should feel bad for lying to her friend; but really, it was only a fib. Marley did have a panic attack earlier during the photoshoot; except Blaine was actually able to calm her down; but Kurt didn’t need to know that.
“All right, I’m here. Where are they?” exclaimed Kurt, panting, as he came into the office.
“Kurt! In the studio!” she squeaked, barely able to contain her excitement.
She watched as Kurt made his way to the door; the anticipation was keeping her on the edge of her seat. Oh, she knew all about what Kurt defined as his type, but honestly, she thought that was all complete and total bullshit. After all, it’s not like you could decide who you fall in love with; it just happens and you’re left wishing that this time you didn’t develop feelings for a total asshole.
The studio door slamming loudly brought her out of her reverie, as she looked up and saw Kurt leaning against the door, wide-eyed.
His head snapped up. “Who is that, Tina? Who’s with Marley and Jake?”
“You mean the photographer?”
Just as he was about to open his mouth, the door handle jiggled and opened to let out a very confused Blaine. Tina barely had time to see Kurt dart into his office before Blaine spoke up.
“Did you need something, Tina?”
“Eeeuuuhhh… Yeah, I wanted to ask you something, but the phone rang, so the door slipped from my hand and slammed.”
“Oh, okay. For a second, I thought I saw someone else… Anyways, what did you want to ask?”
“Right… so… Mike’s coming to our monthly potluck tonight…”
“Yes, I know. I invited him; remember?”
“Yes, you did. Well, he was wondering if he could bring a friend.” No, he didn’t… but I have to get myself out of this hole I’m digging, she thought.
Blaine sighed loudly and rubbed his face tiredly. “Look, I know that you guys keep trying to set me and Kurt up to meet.”
“I don’t know-”
He lifted his hand up to interrupt her, “Tina, I’m not an idiot. You and Sam are pretty much the least subtle people on Earth. And while I appreciate that you’re both trying to pair me up with pretty much the most stunning man I’ve ever seen; I think you’ve done enough. It’s obviously not meant to be, and he doesn’t sound interested in meeting me, so…”
She looked up to see the conflicted face of her best friend and let out a sigh of resignation. “Fine, I’ll let you off the hook this time.”
He shot her a dazzling smile before turning back into the studio to finish the shoot.
“Kurt? Want to explain to me what the hell that was?” she asked, coming into his office and seeing him with his head on his desk.
His head shot up. “That photographer; is it Blaine?”
He groaned and dropped his head back in his arms.
“Just my luck.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means I know who he is!”
“You what now?”
“I know him. Well, not really, since we’ve never talked; but I’ve seen him plenty of times at the karaoke bar. He was always with a hot blonde guy, so I thought they were together.”
“Yeah, no. That’s Sam and he’s 100% straight, except for the 06 incident that we are not allowed to mention.”
Kurt shot her a look before turning his head to look out the window. He continued in a small voice. “I’ve been looking at him for what seems so long; I always called him the exception to my type. I can’t believe he’s the guy that all of you have been trying to set me up with. Had I known…”
“It’s not too late!” cried Tina, leaping up from her seat.
“You heard what he said, Tina. He doesn’t really want to meet me anymore.”
“Oh, as if he really meant it! The guy has had a crush on you ever since he saw you at the bar all those weeks ago.”
“Crush. On. You. Do you really need me to spell it out for you? He’s been trying to meet you ever since he learnt who you were. He kept making excuses to hang around the office; hoping to catch a glimpse of you.”
“I-I don’t believe you!” he stuttered. There was no way that the guy he had been admiring all this time was actually into him!
“Well, you better believe it. Now go out there and introduce yourself so this stupid avoiding dance of yours can finally end!”
Kurt leaped out of his chair and stalked across the office, but when he swung the door open, he was disappointed to see the studio door open and painfully empty.
“They’re gone,” he whispered. “Tina! They’re gone!”
“Eum, they went to the park,” came a male voice from his left; definitely not Tina.
“Hello, Mr. Hummel, nice to see you again.”
“I told you already to call me Kurt. Were you here for the photoshoot with Marley?” Jake was Marley’s boyfriend and (bless his soul) was the one that had written that heartfelt letter to Pam to get Marley’s makeover. They had reconnected when she had realized that he couldn’t care less about her hair; all he wanted was for her to be healthy.
“Yeah, but Mr. Anderson thought it’d be a good idea to get some shots in the park out front. I was just coming back up to grab his lenses and a hat for Marley.”
Tina popped up from behind Kurt. “Why don’t you go grab the lenses and Kurt can go get a hat that goes with Marley’s white summer dress?”
Ten minutes later, they were all riding the elevator down, Tina included. There was no way she was missing out on the big moment, plus she needed a picture as proof to win the betting pool she had with Mike, Sam, and Pam.
What happened next, Tina would describe as the moment in a romantic comedy that makes you hate the couple because they are so cute.
Kurt, slightly shaking from nerves, walked towards the park with Jake by his side. When they got near enough, Marley recognized the young stylist and catapulted herself into his waiting arms. After a lengthy hug, and after he had arranged her hat appropriately, Kurt finally turned and faced Blaine.
As for Blaine, he was still too shell-shocked to register what was happening around him. When Marley had yelled out Kurt’s name, he had briefly thought he was imagining things. But no, there was the man of his dreams in all his glory. The light hit his beautifully perfect face just right, and without thinking, Blaine brought up his camera and took a shot of the young man. When said young man had turned to him, Blaine was certain he could die a happy man right at that moment.
“Hi. I don’t think we’ve officially met. I’m Kurt.”
When he realized that the gorgeous man was talking to him, Blaine snapped out of his reverie to grab his hand. “Hi, I’m Blaine. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”
Tina just had the time to snap a picture, before Jake cleared his throat to break the extremely long handshake.
Blaine quickly dropped Kurt’s hand, but the goofy smile on his face remained.
“Right, we need to finish the photoshoot,” Blaine said, disappointed that he couldn’t talk to Kurt. “Would you like to stay?” he asked Kurt, not wanting him to leave just yet.
Kurt nodded his head. “Let me just go grab my bag from inside and I’ll be right back.”
“Great, we only have a few shots left to take. Coffee after?”
“That’d be perfect.”
And it really was.
So was the potluck dinner that night, where Tina won the betting pool after snapping a picture of the two sharing a soft kiss on the couch.
A picture she put in a folder along with the one of their first meeting at the park; they would come in handy someday.
And that Monday, as she listened to Kurt gush about his weekend with Blaine, she knew that the special moment where those sweet pictures would be useful would come soon.