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“Which one is yours?” a woman in her mid-20’s in a hospital gown with a robe over the top asked Kurt.

“She’s the third one from the right,” he pointed as he answered.

“Oh, wow. She has a full head of hair. I can see the curls sticking out from her little hat. Mine is the second from the left. We get to go home in the morning. I can’t wait to get him home.”

“Me too. We’re not quite ready though. I thought I had another month at least. She wasn’t due until the middle of July.”

“Someone messed up the due date big time then somehow. Your daughter is bigger than my son and he was full term. You’re not all that tall – unless your wife is a lot taller than you.”

He turned and faced the woman. “Oh, not at all,” Kurt laughed. “Her mother is 5’3”.”

The woman looked at Kurt carefully. “She must have gorgeous dark curly hair for your daughter to have such lovely curls. If she gets your blue eyes, that will be a really striking combination.”

Kurt just smiled. “Thank you.”

They stood there in silence for a few more minutes before the woman walked away.

Kurt’s thoughts were muddled, but he wanted to clear them up as quickly as possible. He pulled his sleeve down and pushed the hospital bracelet he was wearing up so it didn’t show, and waited for a nurse or staff member to pass by.

“Excuse me.”

“Is there something I can help you with?”

“Where would the babies that were born five to six weeks early be?”

“Oh, you’re in the wrong spot. Follow me and I’ll show you. You can’t go inside and they’re a bit hard to see, but maybe the parents are around and can point out the baby you’re looking for to you.”

Kurt followed behind.

“Here you are, sir. If you need anymore help, just ask one of the nurses over at the station over there.” She pointed down the hall.

“Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it.”

“No problem.”

A couple of minutes later a nurse walked up and asked, “Looking for someone in particular?”

“Oh, I just wandered by. I’m waiting to see someone. How long do the babies have to stay in those incubators?”

“Oh, it depends on how early they are. Anything before a month, and usually they’re in there until their due dates, or close to it, before they’re ready to move on to a less intensive area like the regular nursery. Or sometimes they’re ready to go home.”

“I see. So, if they were born five to six weeks early?”

“They’d likely be in here for a good while. Usually their lungs aren’t fully developed yet, and they have feeding tubes because they don’t know how to suck yet. Even if they do, it wears them out before they get enough to eat and we have to supplement their intake through those little tubes you see taped to their faces.”

Kurt pulled his phone out and checked the time. “I better get moving. Thanks for talking to me.”  

“Sure. If you need any help finding the mother’s room, just ask.” The nurse walked away.

Kurt walked down the hall and around the corner. He saw a stairwell and opened the door. He walked down a half-flight of stairs and sat down on the landing at the top of the stairs. He pulled his phone back out and looked up what the nurse said.  

He looked up average birth weights for different gestational ages. All of the information he found fit with what the new mom had said to him. There was realistically very little possibility that Tracy had been born five to six weeks early or early at all since she weighed almost 7 pounds and was nearly 20 inches long.

Kurt tried to put himself back together and went back to the maternity ward.


He opened the door to Rachel’s room and stepped inside. Jesse and Blaine were keeping her company.

“She’s gorgeous. I went to check on her. I’m sure you’re exhausted. I’m going to let you rest. I need to get some things done at home since we weren’t quite ready. I’m going to go pick up the crib we had chosen and some other stuff. If there’s anything else you think of, just call me or text me.” He turned to Rachel. “I’ll be back in the morning to check in before I go to work.”

“Do you want me to come with you?” Blaine asked.

“No. It’s fine. No need in both of us schlepping around town. Whenever you’re done visiting, you can head home and maybe start to clean the room up a little so we have room to put the crib together. All the tarps are on the furniture still and the paint and stuff is still in the room even though we painted a week ago. We already found a rocking chair and a dresser, so we we’re set there. I’ll probably get a changing table as well.  Go ahead and order whatever you want for dinner and get whatever I like from wherever you order. If I’m out past dinner, I’ll just warm mine up whenever I get home. This way Jesse can go home and take a nap since we’ve been here since 4 this morning. He can come back in time for you to leave to get dinner and go home. That way, if Rachel needs something, one of you will be here and can go out and get it for her.”

“Sure. I’ll see you later then,” Blaine said.

Kurt left the hospital and took a taxi to get the things he mentioned. While he was sitting in traffic he looked up information on paternity tests. He found a company online with a 3-day turn around. He placed the order using the checking account he paid his school loans out of and had it shipped to Isabelle’s apartment. He called her to tell her what he had done and that he’d be by as soon as she let him know that it had arrived. He hung up quickly telling her that he would explain when he came to pick it up.


He spent the next week organizing everything in their flat. He spent the first two days that Tracy was still in the hospital going through his own clothing and selling and donating what he didn’t really need or wear often.  

He made a trip to the fertility clinic where he had gone in the fall and asked for the records for their pregnancy. He wasn’t surprised to find that Rachel had never made an appointment to come in for the IVF treatment.

He worked his way through the whole apartment cleaning and organizing. Jesse and Rachel teased him that he had gotten the “nesting” fever. He just smiled and nodded in agreement with them.

He got the test results back a week after Tracy’s birth. The results showed just what he had expected. He had already made an appointment with their lawyer for two days later.  


After the appointment, he bought a luggage set, some boxes, and packing tape. He planned carefully. He called Blaine and asked him to take Tracy with him to Rachel’s to pick up more expressed milk, so they wouldn’t have to go that evening. He arrived home just minutes after Blaine had left. He had everything ready to pack, so it didn’t take long. Once he had finished, he called a cab to go to Isabelle’s.  

When he arrived, the doorman helped him get his boxes inside. Kurt called Blaine again and asked him to meet him at the lawyer’s office.

“Why do you want me to meet you at a lawyer’s office? Tracy’s tired. She needs a nap.”

“You have her car seat. She sleeps in that just fine. There are a few things we still need to sign. Just meet me there in an hour.”

“Fine.”

Kurt arrived first and was taken into the lawyer’s office. Blaine arrived a few minutes later and was shown in. He sat down next to Kurt facing Mr. Keen, the lawyer Kurt and Blaine had hired for the adoption. He put Tracy’s carrier down gently on the floor between their seats and sat down.

Kurt picked up a set of papers from Mr. Keen’s desk and handed them to Blaine. “Please sign these and let’s just end this quietly.”

Blaine looked at the papers. “These are divorce papers?” He was completely blindsided. His face showed his utter bewilderment.

“They are.”

“I don’t understand.”

Kurt picked up the results of the paternity test and handed them to Blaine. “I’m not Tracy’s father. You are.”

Blaine sat staring at the results, unblinking for a second, not coming up with anything to say.  

“When I was incredibly busy before and during fashion week here in New York, from the end of August through the first week of September, Jesse was out of town. You stayed with Rachel because she doesn’t like staying alone when Jesse’s gone. You moved our fifth anniversary trip up a month because I was already going to Paris the last week in September. That way, I could get Isabelle to change the date on my ticket and we’d just have to pay for your ticket. We could spend the week before Paris Fashion Week together in Paris. Towards the end of Fashion Week here in New York, you convinced me that you and Rachel had decided that it was a good time to take her up on her surrogacy offer. Before we left for Paris, I went to the clinic you had chosen and filled out the paperwork and left the required ‘specimen’. I didn’t want to do it, but I was exhausted from working every evening and still working all day long with Isabelle. I honestly figured that it wouldn’t work the first time since it rarely does. I didn’t want to argue with you because I was just too tired, but I couldn’t figure out why you were so determined to have a baby that would be born two years after you had finished college and I’d still have six years of college loan payments to make. Rachel was on Broadway again, and it just didn’t make any sense. You didn’t even have a steady income, but you were so determined. Then about two weeks after I got back from Paris, you were super excited to tell me that it had worked on the first try and that Rachel was pregnant. A few weeks later, you went with her to the first ultrasound while I was at work. You were so excited about it that your enthusiasm rubbed off on me. You led me on for all those months about how much you wanted to be a dad and that you were excited and ready – all to cover over some drunken night or nights with Rachel. She deserves that Tony. She fooled me completely."

Blaine still sat silently staring at the papers in his hand.

“Just sign the papers. Mr. Keen can work with the hospital to get Tracy’s birth certificate changed. The adoption papers haven’t been filed yet, so that will make things easier. With the proof of paternity, your name will go on the birth certificate with Rachel’s and there will be no adoption.”

“So, you’re leaving us?”

“I’m leaving you. Tracy isn’t mine.”

“But how is it any different if she’s mine? We can still sign the paperwork with you as the adoptive father and Rachel can sign the papers. She’ll still be ours.”

“She’s yours and Rachel’s. Jesse will be as shocked by all of this as I was. I haven’t said a word to him. Rachel can still sign the paperwork to relinquish her parental rights. And then Tracy will be yours alone. You two and Jesse will have to figure all of that out.”

“We can still raise Tracy as ours. No one has to know.”

“No. The deal was that Rachel would be our surrogate. That’s not the same as being the baby’s mother. You know that. Or maybe you don’t. Surrogates almost never provide the egg. Did you even look into how surrogacy works? I had to choose the egg donor. I chose all traits that match your looks and overall interests. I did my best to choose someone who would create a baby that had a combination of our looks and talents. So, Tracy having dark curly hair like you didn’t surprise me. The anonymous egg donor I chose had dark curly hair and warm hazel eyes. She’s an opera major, plays the cello, and played volleyball in high school. She had a high GPA. I put a lot of thought into the selection of the egg donor that day.” Kurt paused and reached for a tissue and got his crying under control. “You had sex with Rachel. You lied to me. You manipulated me. I’ve heard the rumors for years that you’re a panty dropper when drunk, but you’ve insisted that they were just silly rumors meant to be jokes since you’re gay. I’ve forgiven you three times for the three times I know of that you’ve cheated on me with men since we’ve been married. This makes the first time that it was with a woman, but if those rumors have any merit to them, it’s not actually the first. I’m done. You and Rachel have hurt me for the last time. Please just sign the papers.”

“But I don’t want a divorce.”

“You should have thought of that before you slept with Rachel. Sign the papers here and now and this will be a quiet ending. I’m leaving for Paris to go to Men’s Fashion Week tomorrow, which you already knew. I was supposed to be back before she was born. Anyway, after my fashion week assignment ends, I’m taking a short-term leave of absence.”

“What about Broadway?”

“Our 6-week run at the Beaumont Theater ended two weeks ago. I’m not leaving anyone in a lurch. But that is not the topic of this discussion. Do you want a quick and quiet ending to this? Just sign. You can read through the papers. I’ve been very generous. After covering the cost of Mr. Keen’s fees, I have taken the funds from our joint savings account that we have put equal amounts of money in for the last two years, which is the same account that you’ve been using to pay Rachel’s doctor’s bills. She can repay you for the medical bills that have already been paid. The two of you can figure out how to cover the cost of the delivery and hospital bills.”  

Blaine began to speak, but Kurt didn’t give him a chance.

Kurt went on, “I have been covering the cost of the flat and utilities since we moved in two years ago after I got promoted at Vogue. I’ve given Mr. Keen bank checks to cover the expenses for the next two months, which is when the lease is up. I have graciously allowed you to keep the entirety of the deposit on the flat, despite the fact that I paid it when we moved in. That will allow you to put a deposit on a new place, if you choose not to stay in the flat and resign the lease. I changed the utilities to your name, so those deposits will be yours as well. All of the financial stuff is delineated. Feel free to read through it, but I have been fair.”

“You’re serious about all of this? Half of the savings should be mine.”

“I found where you had hidden the bills and I looked through them when I was cleaning up. I ended up with less than half of what had originally been in the account. If I were you, I’d consider myself lucky. I’m not asking you to repay me for using part of my half of the money on those bills.”

“We’ve been together for nine years and married for five and a half. I love you, Kurt. I don’t want a divorce.” He looked at Kurt longingly and mustered up his best “I-love you-don’t-do-this-to-me” look.

Kurt looked away. “Sign or we’ll go to court. And you know that won’t put you in a good light. Court transcripts are not sealed in divorce cases. I’m not going to stay with you. If you sign now, it’s over. If you drag this out for a decade, I will still not be with you. It’s over – for good this time.”

Mr. Keen spoke. “Mr. Hummel has been fair in his offer. I have all of the paperwork for baby Tracy’s birth certificate as well.” He offered Blaine a pen.

Blaine didn’t take it.

Mr. Keen continued, “I’ll remind you that you did sign a pre-nup when the two of you officially got married here in New York in December of 2014. Infidelity was listed as a cause for you receive none of Mr. Hummel’s assets in a divorce. He has been more than generous.”

He reached out and took the pen. He placed the stack of papers on Mr. Keen’s desk and began signing them. “I’m not doing this because I want to. I’m doing this to keep the press from potentially getting any details. I don’t want Tracy reading gossip and lies in the future.”

“Blaine, I don’t honestly care why you’re signing. Just get it over with.”

Blaine finished signing the forms in all the indicated spots. Mr. Keen took them and looked them over and then handed them to Kurt, along with a second pen. Kurt signed all of the forms and gave them back.  

Mr. Keen signed in all of the places he needed to sign, notarized the paperwork, and put it in the file.

He took the second smaller stack of forms out of a file folder and handed them to Blaine, who looked them over, declined to sign, and handed them back.

“I’m not going to sign these right now. I need to talk to Rachel.”

Mr. Keen nodded. He put the papers, along with an official copy of the paternity test for Tracy’s birth certificate in the file folder as well.

“Everything for the divorce is in order. Both of you have signed all of the paperwork, so it should all be finalized within 4-6 weeks.”

He called his secretary in to make copies. The silence in the room during the wait was deafening. To keep from crying again, Kurt looked straight at the wall behind Mr. Keen’s desk, willing himself not to look at the baby he had helped care for during the last week. He lost his resolve after a few minutes and stared down at Tracy in her carrier. He couldn’t hold the tears back.

As soon as the secretary returned, Mr. Keen gave Kurt a copy of the divorce papers.

Kurt stood to take them and offered his hand to Mr. Keen. “Thank you,” Kurt said.  

“You’re welcome.” Mr. Keen turned to Blaine. “I’ll give you a copy as well, but you need to make up your mind about the adoption issues. Someone’s name needs to go on that baby’s birth certificate.”

Kurt got up to leave as Mr. Keen started to give Blaine his copies of the divorce papers. He left the room quickly without even putting the file in his satchel. He could hear Blaine coming up behind him, but he had no interest in talking to him, so he picked up his pace and headed out of the building.


He jumped in a waiting taxi and had the driver take him to the Central Park Zoo. He walked along the main path near the zoo for a half-hour or so, and then he sat on a park bench and called Burt.

“Hey, kiddo. We’ll be heading out tomorrow morning.”

“Tomorrow? I thought you were coming next weekend.”

“We’re too excited and we wanted to surprise you, so we changed our flight to tomorrow. We didn’t want to wait. We thought we could help Blaine out while you were gone to Paris for a week.”

“Dad, there’s something I have to tell you. Is Carole there?”

“Yeah, let me get her.” Burt called for her.

“I put you on speaker.”

“You need to cancel your flight and any reservations that you made. Tracy’s not mine. I asked for a divorce and we just finished signing the paperwork.”

“I don’t understand, honey.”

Kurt used his hand to block his mouth and spoke a little more quietly. “Blaine is Tracy’s father. He slept with Rachel. I’m not staying with him again.”

“What do you mean ‘again’?” Burt asked.

“I never told you because I was embarrassed. You remember when Blaine and I broke up not long after I came to New York.”

“Yeah.”

Kurt moved off the path and stood behind a row of tall shrubs. “He cheated on me.”

“He what?”

“You heard me, Dad. He cheated on me. I forgave him. He swore he would never do it again.”

Carole said, “You just said he slept with Rachel?” It was taking her a bit to process what was going on.

“Yes. He has quite the lady’s man reputation, but he’s always laughed it off saying it was a joke that the women he knew spread around to tease him because he was gay and they thought he was good looking. But he’s had three affairs with men that I know of in the five years we’ve been married. I took him back each time. I shouldn’t phrase it that way. I never kicked him out. I just forgave him and went on with my life. But I’m done. The two of them have hurt me too many times. And now my heart is breaking because I’ve lost the baby I thought was my daughter.”

“Oh, honey.”

He could hear her crying. He knew this would break her heart as well. She had wanted to be a grandma so badly,and with Finn gone, Kurt was only one who could give her that. And now – now she had no granddaughter.

“I’m sorry. I can’t really talk anymore right now. I’m leaving tomorrow for Paris. I took an extended assignment. I may have some boxes shipped to you if I decide to stay even longer. I don’t want to leave them in Isabelle’s guest room closet indefinitely.”

“How long are you staying?”

“Until the end of August, as of right now. I’m taking a temporary position for two months at the Vogue Paris office after Men’s Fashion Week in Paris is over. You can still email me and we can Skype. Is Dad still with you?”

“Yes, honey. He’s just not saying anything.”

Burt finally spoke. “He’s cheated on you five times that you know of in the nine years you’ve been together?”

“Well, technically, we’ve been together eight because we were split up for nearly a year total before we got married, but yeah. I really have to go now. I’m in Central Park and I don’t want to break down here. I need to get to Isabelle’s and get everything ready to fly out tomorrow morning.”

“Let us know that you’re safe after you get there.”

“I will.  Don’t say anything to anyone until after we talk again, please.”

“We won’t.  We love you, honey.”

“I love both of you, too.”


Four days later, very early Monday morning Kurt was awake and getting ready to get up. His phone chimed with an incoming email. He checked it and saw that it was from Jesse. He felt like just deleting it, but he knew he needed to read it.

Kurt,

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get this written, but things have been very hectic here the last few days. When Rachel told me Wednesday evening about the mix up with her pregnancy and the doctor telling her that the baby had type B+ at her check up, eliminating you from being her father, I was both shocked and elated, and then I realized how devastated you must have been. I am truly sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine how disappointed I would be to find out a child I thought was mine was not.

“Well, Rachel and Blaine have done their best to make sure THAT never happens.” He continued to read.

By the time I got back from the theater Wednesday evening and learned of the situation, it was too late for me to call you since I knew you were flying to Paris for your job on Thursday morning. Although, given the circumstances, I don’t know what I could have said to improve the situation.

“There’s nothing. Trust me. Absolutely nothing will improve this situation.”

Thursday morning, Blaine graciously brought the items that had been purchased for the nursery over to our place and Barbra has settled in well here. He told me then that you had filed for divorce after finding out about the affair he had with the crew hand from Virginia Woolf. I was irate with him. I completely understand you divorcing him. The timing could not have been worse for you. First, you find out that he cheated on you, and then Rachel tells you that the baby is mine and not yours. I can only imagine the emotional distress.

“I don’t have to imagine the distress. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. There are no words.”

Thursday afternoon, Rachel spent time with the lawyer handling the adoption to get everything with the birth certificate straightened out. Since the process hadn’t been completed, it didn’t take long to sort things out. Her name is now Barbra Grace St. James. We didn’t feel it made sense to give leave her with the name that you and Blaine had chosen, giving one of you the option of using that name when you have a child of your own.

“I’m sure Rachel and Blaine went straight to the lawyer and asked him to discontinue the adoption proceedings, and then she went straight to the hospital to amend the birth certificate herself. ‘Tracy’ was Blaine’s choice, so I don’t really care.”

Blaine was completely broken emotionally about losing you and the baby, so Rachel asked him to be Barbra’s godfather. He’s offered to watch her during the daytime so that Rachel can get back on the stage for rehearsals.

“How magnanimous of him to agree to watch his own child.” Kurt rolled his eyes.

I know we have never been close, but we had put the past behind us. You have my deepest sympathy for what has happened. I’m not sure whether you will want to have any part in Barbra’s life when you get back to New York, but we are not opposed to her having another uncle, which is how Rachel is referring to Blaine. With what happened, I’m figuring that you won’t want that role, but it’s there if you’d like it.

Best wishes,
Jesse

“‘Uncle Blaine’, yeah, right. If he’s going to keep sleeping with women when he’s drunk, Uncle Blaine better get a vasectomy. And I have no interest in being ‘Uncle Kurt’ to baby Barbra. I just can’t.” His rage and sadness came crashing over him and he began to weep.

He hit reply, but then had no idea what to write. He sat staring at the screen with the cursor blinking, waiting for him to come up with something to say. Eventually, he wiped the tears from his eyes and he began to write.

Jesse,

I appreciate your condolences for both of my situations, however I must request that you not contact me again. I wish you, Rachel, and Barbra all the best.

Kurt

After he hit send, he blocked Rachel, Jesse, and Blaine from being able to email or call him. At least he knew what the “official story” that was going to become “history” was. Jesse believed what he had been told.  

Every choice Kurt had ever made to keep the peace and stay friends with his former classmates hit him like fists. Despite being there for all of them, he was the battered and bruised one. This was the last time. This was the KO. He wasn’t going to step in the ring again. It was time to let it all go.  

In the eight years since he graduated from high school, he had graduated from NYADA, had a short run of starring on Broadway, worked in the theatre field as a costumer, and had worked his way up to a professional job in fashion. He was in Paris, on assignment. He was getting paid to be in France, someplace he had always dreamed of visiting. He was successful despite their lack of support, and he could move forward without them in his life at all – somehow. Bad friends weren’t better than no friends. He’d just have to make new friends. Or just get used to being alone, which seemed infinitely better than being constantly pummeled emotionally.

Kurt opened Skype and selected Carole’s name and sent her a message. A couple of minutes later, his Skype bell rang. He answered.

“Hey, honey.”

“I’m sorry to wake you up, but I didn’t want this to wait.”

“It’s alright. We’ve been waiting to hear from you after your initial call to let us know that you had arrived safely. That’s why I had turned on the message alert sound.”

“I heard from Jesse.”

“Oh?”

“Rachel told him there was a mix up with the pregnancy and that the doctor informed her of that last Wednesday. That since the baby had type B+ blood that Jesse must be the father and that she was already pregnant when she went in for the in vitro process. Jesse’s no expert on pregnancy and he wasn’t involved at the fertility clinic, so he can never get the records. So, anyway, Rachel and Jesse will be raising the baby, whom they’ve named Barbra Grace. Blaine is her godfather. They are calling him ‘Uncle Blaine’. The end.”

“So, they’re just going to lie to Jesse?”

“Yep.”

“And you’re not going to tell him the truth?”

“I didn’t do anything to Jesse. There is nothing for me to tell. Him knowing does not affect my life in any way. I don’t see how telling him is my place. Barbra isn’t mine. I have no claim to her. Telling Jesse won’t change that. I told Blaine that he and Rachel had to deal with it, and this is how he and Rachel chose to deal with it.”

“I see.”

“Oh, and Blaine told Jesse that I found out that he had had another affair – with one of the crew members of the show we did recently. So, Jesse has half of the truth on both issues. Rachel’s baby is not mine. Blaine cheated on me and I divorced him. He seemed to think that was a reasonable course of action. He also sent his condolences for losing a baby that I thought was mine.”

“What an ironic mess. It tells me that he would most likely divorce Rachel, leaving her with Barbra to raise on her own. Or with Blaine’s help to raise her.”

“That was the impression I got as well. I’m just walking away this time. I’m just refusing to engage again. Bowing out and staying out of it seems the thing to do. For all I know, Blaine did have a fling with one of the guys on the stage crew. It certainly wouldn’t be out of the norm.”

“It’s such a mess.”

“It is. And I feel awful about you and Dad. Maybe someday I will find a good guy and we’ll have a child, but I just don’t know.”

“Honey, there’s no pressure. None at all. You have to live your life. Right now, you need time to heal. That’s one thing I would do differently. I would have gotten Finn help when he dealt with Quinn. At the time, I didn’t realize how invested he was and how hurt he was by the whole thing.Try to find someone who can help you work through all of this.”

“I’ll think about it. I’ll let you try to get some sleep. I have to get ready to go into work. It’s after 6 in the morning here.”

“As you said, the baby being Blaine and Rachel’s instead of Jesse and Rachel’s has no impact on our lives. We’ll keep the details of what we know to ourselves and only give the truthful version when specifically asked. The baby turned out to not be yours. You divorced Blaine because of infidelity on his part. And you’re working in Paris for a while. But honestly, other than a few guys at the shop, I doubt anyone will ask us. People would be more likely to ask you.”

“Thanks. I’m honestly hoping that they’ll ask the two of them and not me.”


Later that day, he had his first meeting with his new boss for his temporary assignment. He went on his official tour of the department where he’d be working, even though his position didn’t start for another week because he still had to complete his assignment at Men’s Fashion Week for the New York office. He left the office at lunchtime and had decided to try a place near the office that his new boss had recommended.

He opened the door and stepped out onto the sidewalk and scanned the other side of the street for the café’s name.

“Kurt?”

He jumped because he was so surprised to hear his name. He turned back towards the voice.

“Sebastian?”

“In the flesh. It’s been, what?” He paused thinking. “Seven years since I’ve seen you? What are you doing in Paris?”

“I’m here on assignment for Vogue New York for Men’s Fashion Week. Once that’s over, I’ll be working here at the Paris branch for two months.” He paused and thought. “And you’re right, it’s been a little over seven years since that day at Dalton.”

“I don’t attempt to keep up with anything in Ohio, but I saw a bunch congratulations comments on your wedding on Facebook, what five or six years ago? Did Blaine come with you?”

“It was five and a half years ago. Blaine and I are not together anymore. The divorce should be final in about four weeks or so.”

“Should I be congratulating you or giving you my condolences?”

“Both, I suppose. Congratulating me for finally regrowing my spine. And condolences for having lived so long without it, while putting up with his philandering.”

Sebastian looked surprised by Kurt’s statement. His phone pinged with a text. “Excuse me,” he said. He pulled his phone out of his pocket to check the message he had gotten. He put his phone back after replying. “Well, are you free for lunch? Juliette just stood me up.”

“Juliette?”

“Yes, my friend from law school got a job here. She and I were meant to have lunch together, which is why I was standing here when you came out.”

“You’re a lawyer.”

“I am.” He puffed his chest out and pretended to hold onto the lapel of a suit jacket, while sounding quite arrogant, yet teasing at the same time. “All the Smythe men are lawyers, all the way back to the beginning of humankind, according to family history.”

“Not your career of choice then?”

Sebastian shook his head in defeat, pursed his lips, and rolled his eyes. “Makes no difference what I want. It never did. If it had, I wouldn’t have spent my last two years of high school in rural Ohio. But I did manage to convince my father that I could be a respectable lawyer here in Paris where I grew up. I graduated from law school, passed the bar exams, and I’m a bona fide CAPA certified avocat. I graduated last year and did an additional year of specialization. My program ends a week from Friday. I will officially start practicing law in two weeks when I start my first professional job.”

“Congratulations.”

“Thank you.” Sebastian smiled. “You didn’t say yes or no on the lunch offer.”

“Oh, sure. My new boss suggested that café across the street.” He pointed to the right, down the block a little.

“That’s actually where Juliette and I were going to eat.”

“Lead the way. Crossing the street is still nerve-wracking, even after living in New York for so long.”

Sebastian laughed and started walked down the sidewalk.“So, you’re going to be here until the end of August?”

Once they crossed the street, Kurt answered him. “Yes, I’m basically just going to be doing my job from here. I’ll be attending events and writing articles, using Skype a lot to continue to do my job in New York. With a 6-hour time difference, I’ll basically be working second shift – 3:00-midnight local time. I’ll have to start earlier some days, of course, due to scheduling here. I’ll spend my mornings sightseeing and going to all of the places that never fit into my schedule when I’ve been here for Fashion Week before.”

“Sound like fun.”

They were seated at the café and the server gave them menus. They each looked them over and made their choices.

“I think so. I’m hoping to do a few weekend trips via high-speed train, and I’m making at least one weekend trip to London, leaving on a Thursday morning so that I can see five shows in three days and maybe spending time with an old friend if he’s got the time.”

“So, you’re still involved in theatre then?”

“Oh, definitely. I work on contract as a costume designer, and I just finished my run on Broadway three weeks ago now. This is like a working vacation. A vacation from my second job while continuing to do my day job.”

“Sounds exhausting working two jobs.”

“It is, but I needed the money and I enjoy both, so I kept doing both. I think that long-term, I’d like to only work part-time at Vogue so I have more time to be involved in theatre, but Vogue is a steady paycheck and I have student loans to pay. I’m assuming that money has something to do with your career choice, or lack-of-choice I should say.”

“It does.”

Before Sebastian could give any details, their food was brought out and the two of them began to eat.