“Are you sure about this, Mr. Anderson?”
Carrie Bradshaw is a tiny woman - slender as a reed with long, blonde hair that curls gently around her shoulders and down her back. She’s wearing a short, tight white dress and sky-high, blood-red Manolo Blahnik heels, but even then the top of her head barely reaches Cooper’s shoulders. Cooper has done a lot of stunts in his day (he’s jumped out of a plane and at least two moving cars), but he can’t imagine taking three steps in those shoes without breaking his ankle, or his neck. His publicist probably wouldn’t want to explain that kind of an injury to the press.
Carrie is holding an envelope in her hands, turning it over and over. Inside, is a check that doesn’t begin to cover the worth and value of what he’s paying for.
“Of course I’m sure,” Cooper says, and he watches as Carrie quirks an eyebrow at him and then slides the envelope into a top drawer of her desk. Cooper wants to sigh in relief - Kurt deserves the amount on that check and more, so much more. But at least this is a start.
“He’s going to know it was you.” Carrie comes around her desk and leans back against it. She folds her arms across her chest and crosses one ankle over the other; her legs are long for her body and, even though he knows she’s married, Cooper takes a moment to appreciate the muscle tone of those legs. “Thousands of dollars don’t just magically appear on paychecks. Not without a little something extra to go with it.”
Cooper shrugs. He’s done arguing about this. “Just make sure he takes it, ok?” Kurt is doing something amazing for him; a little money is the very, very least Cooper can do for Kurt, and for Blaine.
Carrie smiles at him, soft and so very knowing, and inclines her head at him in acknowledgement. Kurt is her assistant, handpicked from almost nowhere, and in some ways he is her protégé. Cooper knows that Carrie will take care of Kurt in her own way.
Cooper gathers up the small stack of books that he’d brought to Vogue with him in hopes that Carrie would autograph them - she had. He’s not ashamed to admit how much of a fan of hers he is, but he probably should have brought some sort of bag with him.
Cooper tries to be stealthy as he leaves her office, he really does. This is Kurt’s place of work and he doesn’t want to cause any sort of scene if he can help it. But he’s got an armful of Carrie Bradshaw’s books and he’s kind of stupidly recognizable these days. He manages to make it down the bustling hallways and onto an elevator without anyone asking him for an autograph, or taking a picture of him with a smart phone.
“Hold that elevator!” A voice booms down the long hallway and Cooper instinctively reaches out to press the open door button, almost dropping his books in the process.
A tall man, taller than Cooper, and much broader, jogs into the elevator. “Thanks. I didn’t want to wait for another one. Those damn kids down in purchasing keep holding up all the elevators.”
The man turns around and Cooper’s jaw drops. It’s Mr. Big himself.
Act cool, Cooper, he thinks.
“Hey, I know you,” the other man says when he catches sight of Cooper. “You’re that actor - Anderson, right? Cooper Anderson.”
Cooper thinks he just might faint. Mr. Big knows who the fuck he is. “Yes. Cooper. That is me. I am Cooper.”
This is not acting cool. He is still pressing the open door button and the elevator isn’t going anywhere.
“You just got another Oscar nomination, didn’t you?”
“I - yes, sir.” It’s his second, and the thrill of it, the pride, is never going to get old.
“Oh please, call me John.” John Preston looks down and sees the books in Cooper’s arms, the ones with the bright covers that are so obviously authored by his wife. “Just don’t call me Mr. Big.”
“I would never.”
John just hmms a little and cocks a dark eyebrow at him. “I take it you were in to see my wife. Getting a suit made for the show?”
“Just dropping off payment for it, actually. Personal touch. Don’t want to come across as an egomaniacal douchebag actor.”
John grins roguishly at him. “You gonna let go of that button, son, or are we going to hang out on this floor all day? I’m supposed to meet Carrie, but I think I just missed her.”
Cooper flushes darkly and presses the lobby floor button. The doors finally slide shut and the elevator begins the long descent down the Condé Nast building.
“That is an excellent tie you’ve got on.” Cooper says, apropos of absolutely nothing. He doesn’t know where it comes from; sometimes he just says things.
“Oh, you like it?” John fingers the tie looped around his neck. “Carrie brought it home the other night. She says it matches this suit, or my eyes, or something. It’s just easier to let her pick things out, you know? It’s kind of her job. I’d be in black and white every day if it were up to me.”
“Is it Dolce?” Without even thinking to ask if it’s ok, Cooper reaches out and flips the tie over, exposing the tag on the back. Sure enough, it’s Dolce and Gabbana. Cooper does know his designers.
“You want it?” John asks, and Cooper looks up at him in surprise. Damn but the man is tall.
“Honestly, it’s not really my style.” John shrugs and starts to unknot the expensive tie. “Even if Carrie says it matches my shirt or something.”
“Yeah ok.” Cooper sets the books down on the floor of the elevator. “Here, take mine in trade. Can’t send you to your extremely fashionable wife underdressed.”
Cooper is wearing a simple black skinny tie with a pair of fitted jeans that cost far more than they should, a white button down shirt, and a dark Armani sport coat. He’s just dropping off a check, but he knows he’s bound to be photographed at some point. He can’t be seen schlepping around Vogue in sweat pants and one of Blaine’s worn NYU hoodies. But the sky blue woven silk tie that John is taking off and handing him wouldlook good on him too. And it would certainly make his own bright blue eyes pop.
The elevator reaches the lobby and the doors open once more just as Cooper is looping the new tie around his neck. Carrie is standing there, purse in hand, with a coat draped over her arms. Her eyes dart between Cooper, her husband, and the switched ties.
“I…don’t even want to know,” is all she says.
Cooper thinks he probably shouldn’t tell Kurt about this.