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An Improbable Fiction

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Scene I: 

 

Kurt remembered the first time he ever saw Blaine Anderson. In fact, it was an encounter he could never forget if he tried.

Schedule out in his hand, checking and rechecking the room number as he walked down the crowded hall, and nervous as anything on his first day of classes at NYADA, Kurt turned the corner, eyes widening at the number on the placard by the door before entering the classroom only to see who he assumed was the professor already chatting it up with a bright-eyed, dark-haired guy with a painfully attractive smile. Kurt had a tendency to be early to everything; being ten minutes early was arriving on time, being on time was arriving late. But here was this guy already making himself comfortable, laughing and flirting with the professor, positively charming her before the clock even signaled the start of class. 

Kurt knew his type. Kurt also knew that he was going to hate Blaine Anderson.

Because his best friend Rachel Berry was a seasoned professional when it came to putting herself out there to be recognized first, to be top in the director’s mind or that of whoever had pull when it came to casting. She made sure she was unforgettable and unforgettably sweet. It disgusted Kurt how often and flawlessly her tactics worked. It made him even more sick when he thought about how he would never have the nerve or the confidence to do the same.  

The class gradually filled with students as they seemed to fall in after wandering lost in the jungle of NYADA, and Kurt was too busy checking his email on his phone to realize that the sly guy in the bow tie had concluded his all-too-friendly conversation with the professor and had taken a seat in one of the chairs set in a circle around the room. It took him another moment before he looked up from his now dark screen, silencing the phone and sliding it into his bag, and noticed that Mr. Let-me-throw-myself-in-your-face had taken the seat directly next to Kurt.

“Great,” Kurt said under his breath with a huff. He turned his head to the side, rolling his eyes and crossing his arms over his chest. Kurt tapped his foot impatiently on the laminate floor for a moment before he finally turned back to face the center of the circle where the professor had now assumed a position.

“Aren’t you excited for this class?” a deep voice hissed softly by his ear, and Kurt shivered and jumped slightly at the sound. He turned his head, reluctantly giving him his attention and trying his best not to let his distaste show on his face, but he wasn’t certain it was working.

The guy looking back at him just grinned, that same star-of-the-show smile he’d worn earlier, seemingly waiting for Kurt to agree with him.

His focus on the professor now completely derailed, Kurt cleared his throat and whispered as quietly as he could, “I was, until I missed the latter half of the directions for the first activity.”

“Sorry,” he said, offering him an apologetic look. “I’m Blaine, by the way.”

“Don’t you think this is hardly the time for introductions?”

“Actually, that’s exactly what we’re about to do,” Blaine said, rising from his seat along with the rest of the class.

Kurt, feeling disgruntled and slightly embarrassed, got quickly to his feet to join the ice-breaker game: they were to introduce themselves, say where they were from, and then say their name again paired with a food item that begins with the first letter of their name. 

“I’m Kurt Hummel, I’m from Lima, Ohio, and, um, I guess…Kiwi Kurt,” he finished. He couldn’t think of anything else that started with ‘k’. 

“Blaine Anderson. I’m also from Ohio - Westerville - and my food name will have to be…Broccoli Blaine.”

Kurt snorted, but the next person in the room began to talk, concealing his audible amusement.

After everyone had had their turn, they went back around playing a memory game until they all knew each other’s names well enough. They took their seats, and the professor passed out a paper copy of the syllabus, taking time and care to point out the class requirements, important deadlines, and the grading policy, and Kurt listened, marking things off on his own with a pencil. 

Then it happened again. 

“Can you believe it’s actually an assignment to see a show?” Blaine asked, leaning into Kurt’s personal space. 

Kurt turned his head slowly, keeping his lips pursed. “Well we are studying theatre, now aren’t we?”

“Well, yeah, but that’s not what I meant. I mean - never mind. Forget it. I just think it’s pretty cool that we get graded on doing something so enjoyable,” he mumbled the last part, looking down at his syllabus in his lap again.

“Isn’t that the entire appeal of going to a performing arts school?” Kurt asked, feeling a little bad for shooting him down like that. “We’re the lucky, talented few who get to say screw academics and boring normal people jobs, we’re going to learn how to sing and dance.”

At that, Blaine’s face lit up, and he began to chuckle, a sound that hit Kurt’s stomach in a funny way.

“You’re funny,” Blaine said, looking back at Kurt. And then Kurt saw the amusement swirling and sparkling in his golden eyes, now wrinkled at the corners, the smile stretching across his face forcing his eyes into squinty crescent shapes. He blinked a few times, and the flutter of his long, dark eyelashes caused Kurt’s stomach to flutter.

“Thanks,” Kurt said, because he didn’t know how else to respond. He had lost the ability to come up with anything clever. Of all the names he’d been called, no one had ever called him funny before. He wasn’t sure if he even thought it was a good thing.

“Well, I’ll see you next class,” Blaine said, following the professor’s dismissal. “It was good to meet you, Kiwi Kurt,” he joked, and Kurt rolled his eyes.

“Don’t make it a habit. The name, I mean. If you must talk to me, just call me Kurt.” He packed his notebook and syllabus away and grabbed his bag to shoulder the strap. But as Kurt left the room, Blaine hung back, lingering by the professor until the room emptied out. And just before Kurt turned the corner around the door frame, he saw Blaine Anderson cozying it up with the professor just as he had been before, as if they were simply picking up where they’d left off.

Yeah. Kurt knew he was going to hate Blaine Anderson. 

 


 

Scene II:

 

They were back at the loft after classes had concluded for the day, and Rachel hadn’t shut up long enough for Kurt to even answer her initial question of how his first day went, rambling on and on about her dance teacher who she was sure was the devil incarnate with boobs and this amazingly hot TA she met in the cafe in between her 12:15 and 3 PM class. 

Kurt tuned her out as he stirred the contents of the pot a few more times before turning off the burner on the stove. As he set dinner on the table, Rachel finally took a breath, if only to inhale the warm, savory smells of the meal before getting right back into it.

“Thank you so much, Kurt. You won’t believe how hard it is to find vegan cuisine around campus. Brody showed me this one little section of the cafe, but it was barely anything, and I’m still starving. You would think that since we’re in New York, everything should be better, but apparently people's dietary needs are still not top priority -”

“Are you done, Rach? Because you need to stop talking in order to eat.”

“Oh.” She hastily stuffed a forkful of pasta into her mouth and looked as if she was about to try to open it again to speak, but Kurt held up a halting hand and glared at her. Her guilt shone in her now downcast eyes, and she proceeded to chew, mouth shut tightly. 

“Now that you’re occupied, can I talk?” 

Rachel nodded and lifted her hand in front of her mouth. “Sorry,” she said, her voice muffled.

Kurt took a sip of his soda before speaking. “’How was your day, Kurt?’ Why, thank you for asking, Rachel, it was wonderful. I made it to all my classes without being late, never got lost once. Did you meet anyone? Sure, Rach -”

“Kurt -” 

“Uh uh, Rachel. Just zip it,” Kurt said with a warning look and a corresponding hand gesture by his lips. “I had a great first day. But, seriously, things are a little faster paced here than back at home - at NYADA and in New York. It’s gonna take a lot of getting used to, but I think I’m going to really like it here,” Kurt concluded.

“You met someone..?” Rachel asked, seemingly missing everything else he had told her, her eyes alight in amusement. “You must tell me all about it, Kurt!”  

“I didn’t meet anyone, per se - at least, not anyone I’d hoped to meet.” 

Rachel narrowed her eyes, her chewing slowing. 

“There’s this guy in my intro to acting class, and he’s one of those…cocky, charming types. When I got to class, he was already in there kissing the professor’s ass, like he already knows who to schmooze to get what he wants in this college. There’s no doubt that he’ll make himself known and then go out for big roles - and get them.”

Kurt wouldn’t say it out loud, but he thought Blaine was like a slightly subdued version of Rachel with a Y chromosome and the equipment to boot. They could be twins. It was uncanny, really.

“He wouldn’t leave me alone and insisted on rudely talking when the professor was talking…. And to top it all off, he’s really attractive,” Kurt groaned.

Rachel swallowed the food in her mouth, obviously eager to say her piece. “An attractive, confident boy wouldn’t leave you alone, and you’re complaining? I don’t see the problem at all.”

“Of course you wouldn’t see the problem,” Kurt said pointedly. “It’s the first day, and already I have competition in the form of a seemingly perfect boy who has already made an impression. I feel like I’m miles behind already, and the race hasn’t really started. I know how it’s gonna be, Rachel. Every audition I go to, every part I go out for...Blaine will be there, smiling and wooing and making me look like an untalented stick in the mud.”

“So, he has a name.” Rachel narrowed her eyes playfully at him. 

“Yes, his parents didn’t goof up on that.” 

“You’re just a right beam of sunshine, Kurt,” Rachel remarked. 

Kurt let out a drawn out sigh. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to sound so bitter. I just wish that the reality of performing arts and showbiz wasn’t always such fierce competition and that I was more versatile when it comes to roles. I mean, I can play anything, but not everyone wants me playing everything, if you catch my drift.”

“I do, and I know what happened to you in high school was rough. But I also think that maybe NYADA will be different...?”

“I doubt it, but lord knows I’m gonna keep fighting every step of the way,” Kurt said.

“I know, and I think it’ll all work out for you. Eventually, you’ll get what you deserve, Kurt,” she said earnestly.

 


 

Scene III:

 

Kurt sat staring at the email for a good five minutes, reading and rereading it, almost unable to believe that what it was announcing was actually happening. For their senior project, a few fourth year students in the drama department were organizing a traditional all-male production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. They were calling for students at all levels to audition. 

It was perhaps ambitious of him to audition and hope for any role as a freshman, but he knew that if he didn’t take a stab at it, it would do him no good. Shakespeare was something Kurt knew but was never given the proper chance in high school to really show off what he could do. And with an all-male cast, Kurt’s chances at a role were that much higher. The odds were in his favor, so to speak.

With a few clicks, Kurt saved the audition times and location to his calendar. Just as he leaned back in his chair, the door of the loft rolled open on its track, and in walked a distressed Rachel with what looked like a partially crumpled flyer in her hand.

“Have you seen this?!” She slapped the paper down on the table in front of Kurt, and he peered at it over his laptop, cautiously, as if it might explode. “It’s absolutely unbelievable. An all-male production?! Leave it to men to organize an all-male production and exclude women from yet another thing. The inequity of it all! Talk about un-equal opportunity casting,” Rachel huffed. “It just isn't fair.” She crossed her arms and glared at Kurt.

“As a matter of fact, I received an email about it, and, personally, I think it’s a wonderful idea.”

“Of course you do, you have a penis!” 

Kurt was unable to suppress a snicker at her outburst. “Calm down, Rach. Honestly, I’m happy that they’re only casting men, because it means I might actually stand a chance of being in the play. Besides, it’ll be refreshing to not have to compete with you for once.” 

“Very funny, Kurt,” Rachel said, clearly unamused. 

“I wasn’t joking. After all the drama in glee club, I can only be grateful that NYADA won’t be a repeat of high school.” 

“So you're going to audition then?” 

“Yeah, and I’m going out for the role of the Duke.”

“That’s incredibly ambitious of you, Kurt, especially for a freshman,” she told him, as if he hadn’t already thought that exact thought. “Don’t you think you should go for a minor role instead?”

“No, I really don’t think I should. I’m not going to sell myself short. It won’t do any harm to put myself out there and give it a shot, you know? And playing it safe never did either of us any good.”

Rachel let out a heavy sigh. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” She lifted the flyer off the table and glanced at it again, quickly reading the text. “The auditions are next week.” Her eyes flicked back up at Kurt. “Break a leg, I guess.”

Kurt grinned close-mouthed at her. “Thanks, Rachel.”  

-s-

Kurt stood frozen in place, staring blankly ahead, eyes unfocused and looking past the crowd gathered in the hallway. But he couldn't remain oblivious to his competition for long, because as soon as he caught sight of that dark-haired, preppy hobbit standing outside the audition room and getting chummy with one of the upperclassmen, he swallowed, and a scowl took over his face. 

“Hey...are you Kurt?”

Kurt whipped around only to come face to face with an obscenely attractive brunet, and he found himself grinning stupidly, wondering how he knew his name. He was glad to be distracted from Blaine's presence, especially in this manner. 

“I’m Brody Weston. Rachel Berry told me you’d be here for an audition.” He held out his hand, and Kurt took it. “I’ve heard so much about you, and it’s nice to actually meet you.”

“Likewise,” Kurt said, his grin falling away a little. He let go of his hand. “So, you’re the hot TA who’s been showing Rachel the ropes here. Are you a senior?” 

“Junior,” Brody said. “I’m not one of the people who organized this, if that’s what you’re wondering. Nah, I’m here for the same reason you are.”

“Any particular part in mind?”

“Sir Toby, for sure. I mean, who wouldn’t want to play a free-loading, conniving, belligerent drunk? Being one of the older guys trying out also makes it more likely I’ll be cast as the uncle or even the sea captain. Have you talked to anyone out here? Most of you guys are all freshmen.”

“I haven’t, but that’s good to know,” Kurt said, glancing around and finally allowing himself to really take in his competition. “I’m going for Orsino,” Kurt told him.

“Whoa, that’s gonna be tough. I’m sure almost everyone here is after the lead.”

“Yeah, but I’m hoping it all comes down to talent, and, if so, I have this in the bag.”

“You’re confident. That’s good. That little Ohio high school you attended must have been great since it produced headstrong individuals like you and Rachel.”

“Hardly, but wanting to get out of there definitely made us fighters.”

“Brody!”

A petite blond wrapped his arms around Brody, smacking a noisy kiss on his cheek. 

Brody laughed. “This is Aiden,” he told Kurt, “Aiden, this is Kurt.” 

“Nice to meet you,” Kurt said, briefly shaking his hand. 

“No doubt he’s going out for one of the female roles,” Brody said. 

Aiden hummed affirmatively. “I’m as gay as they come, even in a school like NYADA. Everything’s pretty queer here - except for my pal Brody. But drag is my middle name; I’m no stranger to the art and am prepared to work it,” he said with a snap of his fingers.

Kurt knew Aiden was right about the queer factor at NYADA: everyone was gay until proven otherwise. It was nice to be part of the majority for once. 

“I’ve never understood the appeal of drag, but more power to you,” Kurt said. “People always thought me being gay meant I like to wear dresses and heels, but that’s just not me.”

“Oh, honey, I’m sure you’ve given it a try at least once,” Aiden said. 

“Only for costumes...” Kurt paused, “and in private a few times,” he admitted.

“I knew it! There’s a queen in every one of us. For all I know, you’re lying and you could be wearing lacy panties this very moment - or maybe that’s just me,” he added with an exaggerated wink.

Kurt chuckled and shook his head. “Even if I was, I wouldn’t tell you.” 

Oh! He’s fresh, Brody! I like you, Kurt. Judging by the looks of it, Brody will probably be the straightest piece of man meat in this production. Check out Whitney over there already working it.” He pointed over to a black man in heels and then called out, “Yaaas, girl!”  

“Are you also a junior?” Kurt asked. 

“I’m a sophomore. Brody here took me under his wing last year when I was an itty bitty frosh. Seems like he does that a lot, offers his expertise and his services to many a newbie. I just haven’t left him alone since.”

“Nope. Can’t get rid of him,” Brody said with an affectionate grin.

Someone finally opened the door of the audition room and called out. “Aiden McMahon!”

“That’s my cue. Gotta go! Talk to you soon, Kurt.” And he was off, disappearing into the room. 

“He’s quite a colorful person,” Kurt said. 

“You should see him drunk,” Brody said almost to himself. “He’s a great guy, a lot of fun. Never boring, that’s for sure. I’ve seen things with him I never thought I would.”

Kurt let out a laugh and scanned the audition crowd again, his eyes locking on a guy who was dressed a bit like a glam rocker and looked out of place. “Who’s that?” he asked.

“Oh, that’s Elliott. He’s in my year. He’s a good guy, just mostly keeps to himself. When he’s on a stage, though, he really comes alive. It’s awesome.”

Brody seemed to know everyone, which Kurt used to satisfy his curiosity. They chatted as a few more people were called into the room, entering and exiting in relatively short intervals, and then Kurt's name was finally called. He took a deep, steadying breath and followed the casting director into the room. 

 


 

Scene IV:

 

Kurt stood before the small panel of seniors, slightly intimidated by the way they stared him down. 

“Hello. I'm Kurt Hummel, and I'll be auditioning for the role of Duke Orsino.”

“Go on,” prompted the one seated in the center, who had quite the head of voluminous hair.

Kurt read off the passage out of the packet supplied to him, doing his best to put all the right inflections and emotion into the monologue without overdoing it, and he delivered the poetry like it was a second language in which he was fluent. He didn’t stumble over any words, and once he was through, he felt really good about it.

Kurt took a small bow to approving looks and quiet applause.

“Thank you,” he said. 

The three seniors leaned over and whispered a few things to each other before sitting up and facing Kurt again.

“Thank you - uh,” the director looked down at the contact sheet in front of him, “Kurt. You’re a freshman?”

“Yes,” he answered and then swallowed, shifting nervously from one foot to the other. 

“You’re pretty good for a freshman. We were really impressed. I’m sure you’re familiar with the play?” Kurt nodded. “We would like to offer you a lead role -" 

“Oh my god! Thank you so much!” Kurt blurted out, and the guy held a finger up, wanting to finish his thought. 

"But...we have a bit of an odd request,” the guy with the great hair continued, and Kurt quirked an eyebrow, wondering what on earth it could be. 

“We would like for you to do a chemistry reading opposite our other potential lead,” he explained. 

Kurt thought that it was perhaps a bit bizarre for a stage production, but he’d do whatever it took, so he nodded and said, “Okay.”

With a deep breath, Kurt turned his head to look over his shoulder as one of the guys opened the door and called someone in. Kurt stopped breathing when not but seconds later, none other than Blaine Anderson was standing a few feet off from him, beaming like a crazy person, eagerly awaiting direction. 

Kurt let out an irritated huff, but he reminded himself that he was very close to securing a lead role, so he couldn’t blow it. He couldn’t allow his loathing for Blaine to get in the way of his chance at getting his foot in the door at NYADA. Fake it, Kurt told himself...it shouldn’t be that hard, he was an actor, after all.

“Just this one scene will be necessary,” the guy said as he handed both Kurt and Blaine scripts. “We may cut you off, but unless we do, just keep going and stay in the moment.”

“Blaine, you’ll be reading for Duke Orsino, and, Kurt...could you please read for Viola?” 

Kurt’s stomach flipped uneasily, and his heart plummeted. How could he have not seen this coming? Of course they would offer him a lead role - the lead female role. Because Kurt Hummel wasn’t like the dashing, could-pass-for-straight asshole standing across from him and now gazing into his eyes, waiting to begin. Kurt Hummel would always be the effeminate boy who everyone expected to put on a dress, wig, and heels for others' amusement and then call it a day. Blaine reeked of masculinity, despite his small, slender build. He never made any terribly bold or questionable fashion decisions that even remotely said pansy. His voice was deep and smooth, and the guy had hair on his arms and face - and probably his chest. He was all hard edges and tanned skin. He was everything that Kurt was not. So there Kurt was, gently clearing his throat, his eyes downcast as he scanned the script, feeling as small as he did back in high school because he wasn’t a Romeo - but a Juliet - no Marlon Brando, and certainly no Brad Pitt. 

Blaine began to speak, jumping right into it, assuming the role and making direct eye contact with Kurt. 

“Cesario, thou know’st no less but all. I have unclasped to thee the book even of my secret soul. Therefore, good youth, address thy gait unto her; be not denied access, stand at her doors, and tell them there thy fixed foot shall grow till thou have audience.”

Kurt cleared his throat again briefly. “Sure, my noble lord, if she be so abandoned to her sorrow as it is spoke, she never will admit me.”

“Be clamorous, and leap all civil bounds, rather than make unprofited return.” 

“Say I do speak with her, my lord, what then?” Kurt answered with an imploring look, moving in toward Blaine ever so slightly.

Blaine’s eyes looked crazy, like they were burning into Kurt’s, oozing passion and frustration. “O, then unfold the passion of my love, surprise her with discourse of my dear faith: it shall become thee well to act my woes; she will attend it better in thy youth than in a nuncio’s of more grave aspect.”

Kurt grew quiet for a beat, his eyes flicking toward the floor before meeting Blaine’s once more. “I think not so, my lord.”

Blaine gingerly grabbed Kurt’s arm, startling him a bit and sending a prickling heat through his body. “Dear lad, believe it. For they shall yet belie thy happy years that say thou art a man. Diana’s lip is not more smooth and rubious. Thy small pipe is as the maiden’s organ, shrill and sound, and all is semblative a woman’s part. I know thy constellation is right apt for this affair.” Turning to imaginary people, Blaine went on, “Some four or five attend him. All, if you will, for I myself am best when least in company.” He looked back at Kurt again, taking a step back. “Prosper well in this, and thou shalt live as freely as thy lord, to call his fortunes thine.”

Kurt swallowed hard. “I’ll do my best to woo your lady—yet, a barful strife—whoe'er I woo, myself would be his wife.” 

“Okay, thank you, you two! That’s all we needed to see,” the lead director called out. “Please check your emails on Friday for the final cast list, which will also be posted just outside this room. We'll attach a digital copy of the script, so you can get a head start on your lines.” 

“You were great,” Blaine said, following closely behind Kurt as they left the room. 

“Thank you.” Kurt's face was burning, and he picked up his pace, keeping his head held high and avoiding eye contact with Blaine.

“You’re welcome.” Blaine shoved his hands in his pockets, and, much to Kurt’s dismay, he continued to follow him down the steps toward the building’s exit. “How cool is it, though, that we’re only freshmen, and we’ll be playing the lead roles?”   

“It’s swell,” Kurt said without much enthusiasm. 

“I mean, I guess nothing’s set in stone yet, not until they send out and post the actual cast list." He shrugged. "They could change their minds.” 

Kurt stopped in his tracks on the walk just outside the door. “Don’t you have class or somewhere you need to be?” he finally asked. 

Blaine seemed unfazed. “Nope. I’m done for the day.” 

“I see. Well, I’m quite busy, so, if you’ll excuse me, I have some errands to run and a needy roommate to get home to.”

“It was nice talking to you again. I’ll see you soon, Kurt,” Blaine said as Kurt made a quick escape. Blaine gave a parting wave, but Kurt never turned back around to see it, and his shoulders slumped as he watched Kurt walk away.

 


 

Scene V:

 

Come Friday, Kurt was itching to check his email, but there was something more exciting about visiting the physical posting of the cast list to receive the news. He quickly got himself together for his history of theatre class, which was a bitch to sit through, his anticipation building with each passing second. When it was over, he rushed to the other side of campus to check out the bulletin board. 

When he got there, he was surprised to see Rachel standing beside Brody, both staring intently at the list. 

“I don’t get it,” Rachel said, her brow furrowed. “Why is she allowed in the production, but I’m not?”

“I’m more a man - and a woman - than you’ll ever be,” Unique threw right back at her. 

“Again, it’s the penis thing, isn’t it.” She let out an aggravated groan. “It’s not fair at all. And you got cast as Olivia. Are you going to be able to handle that?” 

“Honey, it’s just another Friday afternoon for Unique,” she said, turning on her three-inch heels with a dramatic wave of her hand before strutting off down the hall, clacking all the way.

“Kurt!” Rachel said when she spotted him, a bright, broad smile immediately taking over her features. “Hurry! Come have a look!” 

With bated breath, Kurt took a few steps toward the cast list and then fixed his eyes on the heading before reading down the list of names. 

 

Twelfth Night Cast List:

 

Viola/Cesario - Kurt Hummel

Duke Orsino - Blaine Anderson

Sebastian - Sebastian Smythe

Antonio - Adam Crawford

Countess Olivia - Wade “Unique” Adams

Sir Toby Belch - Brody Weston

Sir Andrew Aguecheek - Elliott Gilbert

Maria - Aiden McMahon

Fabian - Dion Reyes

Feste - Chandler Kiehl

Malvolio - Jean Baptiste

 

Director - Jesse St. James

 

Kurt wasn’t surprised by the outcome of the auditions, but at the same time, it momentarily stopped his heart to see his own name right there at the very top of the list. It was the first time he’d ever had the honor, and his chest swelled with pride. Then he slowly deflated as his gaze dropped down to the name directly below his, his stomach feeling a little sick.

“You got the lead!” Rachel said, hugging his side. 

“Yeah, I really did,” Kurt said flatly, still not taking his eyes off the name. 

“What’s wrong? I know you didn’t get Orsino, but you’re the star of the show, Kurt.” 

“It’s him. He got the role of the Duke.” 

“Huh? Oh - Blaine? He’s that guy from your acting class, right?” Rachel asked as if she didn’t know by now. 

“Yeah, that guy.”

“Excuse me!” A guy in a beanie and Ray-Bans stepped up to the list, leaping and clapping when he saw his name. “Yes! I got Feste!” He turned to Kurt. “How did you fare...?”

“That’s him, right at the top!” Rachel boasted. “Kurt Hummel.”

“Oh! Viola! How wonderful!” He thrust his hand forward. “I’m Chandler, by the way.” Kurt offered his hand in turn, which Chandler shook vigorously, not letting go. “It’s really great to meet the star of this production. I know we’ll be seeing a lot of each other now. I haven't seen you around. Are you a freshman?” He finally freed Kurt’s hand from his grasp. 

He flexed his fingers down by his side. “Yep, this is my first year at NYADA and in New York.”

Chandler clasped his hands together in the air by his chin. “That’s so exciting! Isn’t New York amazing? It’s my second year, and I just love it here.”

“I’m still settling in and becoming familiar with the neighborhood.” 

“Well, if you ever want someone to show you around, give me a call -” Chandler took out his phone and handed it to Kurt. “Here - give me your digits.”

Kurt hesitated before exchanging phones and programming his number into Chandler’s before swapping back.

“If you haven’t been to the Village yet, you must go! I can take you whenever you’re free - maybe even this weekend?”

Kurt was overwhelmed and taken aback by Chandler’s overenthusiasm and candor. “It’s very nice of you to offer, but I’ll have to let you know. How about I shoot you a text...?”

“Sounds perfect! I hope to hear from you, Kurt! Unfortunately, I need to get going - I have another class. See ya!” He waved, beaming brightly at Kurt, and then took off down the hall.

Kurt stood there dumbfounded, and, although Chandler had been the one doing all the talking, once he was gone, Kurt finally felt like he could breathe again. 

“I could be mistaken, but I think he just asked you out, Kurt,” Brody said.

“That was impressive,” Rachel said, her eyes still wide in astonishment at the exchange she’d just witnessed. “That Chandler got right down to business, and he was in and out before you even knew it.”

“That was actually kind of terrifying,” Brody said. “Hope he’s not like that in the sack...”

“C’mon, guys, he was just being nice. Even if he was asking me on a date, it might not be such a bad thing. Despite the constant bouncing like an overexcited puppy that needs to pee, he is pretty cute, and it could be nice to spend a night out in the city.”

Rachel shrugged. “Well, you have his number now, so it’s your move.”

Kurt considered it, but it dawned on him just how much work he needed to do to learn his lines, especially now that he knew he’d gotten the lead. Compared to the musicals and plays he was so accustomed to, Shakespeare was an entirely different beast. He would text Chandler to be polite, but going out this weekend was almost certainly out of the question.