Rachel claimed she wasn’t nervous about their duet but Kurt knew better. She kept sitting on her hands to avoid picking at her bright red nail polish. Kurt was leaning against the wall next to her. The audience’s applause was beginning to die down, which meant the group before them was bowing and walking off the stage.
“Ready?” Kurt asked.
Rachel took a deep breath and nodded. She took his hand and they walked on stage together. They each stood in front of a microphone stand as the music started to play. The theater was packed. Everyone’s attention was on them. Kurt spared one last glance at his partner and smiled before opening his mouth to sing.
Five minutes later, Kurt and Rachel were crying on each other’s shoulders backstage.
“We did it,” Rachel repeated. “We really did it.”
“Don’t get your hopes up, Berry. We performed but we don’t know who’s winning this thing.”
Rachel pulled back from their embrace to look Kurt in the eyes. “Kurt, we got this in the bag.”
Though he agreed with her, Kurt didn’t want to convince himself they won only to have it ripped away.
Sitting in the audience watching the other musical groups and duos was torture. Rachel was back to sitting on her hands and Kurt’s leg hadn’t stopped bouncing since they took their seats. All contestants had reserved seating in the first three rows.
The group of boys currently performing were all dressed in blazers and introduced themselves as the Warblers. Kurt tried to focus on their female pop music medley, which included the likes of Gaga, Spears, Perry, and Swift, but he couldn’t keep his eyes off of the boy swaying in the back row. Each boy from the group had their own solo so Kurt was waiting for the curly-haired boy to take center stage.
He was only slightly disappointed when the boy came forward and spoke part of the bridge of Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
“To the fella over there with the hella good hair.” Kurt would be damned if the boy wasn’t pointing in his direction. “Won’t you come on over, baby. We can shake, shake, shake…”
Another boy took his place and belted out a few lines of Madonna diminishing any hope of hearing the curly-haired boy sing at all. However, Kurt was pleasantly surprised to see the curly-haired boy had winked at him as he walked off the stage.
After the Warblers had finished, the three judges took the stage. Rachel reached over to grab one of his hands as the judges walked on stage. They first congratulated all the contestants and decided to announce third place.
Third went to a group that sang and danced to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Kurt thought their performance was classic while still being challenging.
Second place went to the Warblers, who all whooped excessively as they stood with their trophy and check.
And finally, first-place.
“If we could get a drum roll please,” one judge asks.
“Our first-place winner of the night is a duo: Kurt Hummel and Rachel Berry!”
Rachel was pulling Kurt up on stage before her name had been fully stated. She squeezed his hand so tight as they accepted the trophy and envelope with their $1,000 check inside. Kurt pulled Rachel next to the Warblers to stop her from going rogue and making an acceptance speech.
“I told you so,” Rachel whispered to him. “We had it in the bag.”
The judges made some closing notes thanking the audience for spending their Friday evening with them at the Franklin Theater and asked for a final round of applause for all their winners and additional performers of the night. As they dismissed everyone for the night, Kurt felt a tap on his shoulder.
“Hi, I just wanted to say you were both phenomenal tonight. It’s no wonder you nabbed first-place.”
Kurt felt like he had cotton in his mouth but luckily Rachel gave him time to comprehend what curly-haired boy had just said.
“Thank you, I’m Rachel Berry and this is the best duet partner a girl could ask for…”
“Kurt Hummel. Thank you, we were only extremely nervous about it.”
“It certainly didn’t show,” he replied.
“Shame we didn’t get to hear you sing,” Rachel commented.
“Alas, next time perhaps.”
“It’s probably why we won over your group. You guys were amazing.”
“Thank you though I doubt my singing would’ve topped the magic that happens when the two of you harmonize.”
“Blaine!” one of the Warblers called. “Pictures!”
“I gotta go, lovely sharing the stage with you both.”
Blaine walked back to his group.
“He’s cute,” Rachel said.
“Yeah, he is. Do you think─”
“We should celebrate our achievement with drinks? Yes, we should.” Rachel grabbed his hand and dragged him off stage.
Kurt ignored the pit in his stomach telling him to go back and get Blaine’s last name and phone number.