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Way Back When

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They had both agreed to take the next week off to be together. A much needed getaway was planned. The goal was to drive down to Kentucky and stay in a cabin. It wasn’t their first time doing this but it had been quite some time since they had a road trip.

Diane had fallen asleep within the first hour of the drive. She had stayed late at the office trying to finish up what she could of a few cases just to make her life easier when she returned home. Eventually she woke up when Kurt stopped at a gas station for coffee. He brought her a cup and they both grimaced at the dark liquid that had to have been sitting out for two days. They ended up laughing it off but deciding to throw it out after getting at least a little of the caffeine from it.

The second hour of the trip was spent in a comfortable silence as they watched the world come to life in the early morning. It was still just before 7am. Diane was now fully awake and as was Kurt. The silence was broken when Diane turned on some music. They had agreed on letting Diane play most of the music since Kurt wasn’t picky about what he listened to. He was one to settle for one radio station and stick with it. Diane was more specific about her taste and right now she wanted to relive some of her younger years. So, seventies hits were it.

Kurt grinned as he focused on the road. He could hear Diane singing along to the music. Her voice fit perfectly with every chord. The melody sounded like it was written just for her. He glanced over to see her focused on the scenery as she mindlessly sang along. It wasn’t the first time he had heard her sing but it certainly didn’t happen enough. “You should sing more.”

Diane was pulled out of her trance by the sound of his voice. “What?” She asked, clearly taken off guard by the statement. She hardly ever sang anymore but when she did it felt good and knowing he wanted her to do it more would encourage that.

“You should sing more. You sound good.” He nodded her way, though he was more focused on driving than looking at her expression but he could tell from the sound of her voice he had made her day.

She reserved a small grin as she looked back to the window. “Thank you. I used to be in a band.”

Kurt laughed a little louder than he meant to. He stopped when he realized Diane wasn’t laughing along. “Seriously? You used to be in a band?” 

“Yes. When I was in college I was in a band. A girl band.”

“Di, you’re messing with me right?” He laughed again, giving her another quick glance. She was still facing the window. “You’re kidding.”

“No, I’m not actually. I love music, dance, and anything to do with it. However, the law is my first love so I pursued that instead.” She confirmed with a nod he couldn’t see.

“You- Diane. You were in a girl band in college?” He was still taken aback by this. He couldn’t wrap his mind around it. He knew she danced and played piano throughout her childhood but he figured those were  just extracurriculars enforced by her parents. “Pictures or it didn’t happen.”

She giggled and shook her head. “I don’t know if you wanna see me in bell bottoms and platforms.”

“I might just show you my college basketball pictures if you let me see them.” He offered.

“You mean the type of basketball where you played in those tiny shorts and tight shirts?” She bit her lip. That might be an offer she couldn’t turn down. “Bet you were pretty sexy back then.” 

“Oh I was.” He said without a doubt. “So what do you say? We trade when we get home?”

“Definitely.” She grinned. “It’s a deal, McVeigh.”

He offered one of his hands to her and she took it. She laced their fingers together and brought his hand to her lips. She kissed his knuckles and that’s how they sealed the deal.

 

….

 

“You first.” Kurt nodded to her.

“No. Same time.” She countered.

He nodded. “Okay then.”

They sat across from each other at their kitchen table. Each of them held a folder with their pictures enclosed.

“I look different.” She said as she kept her hand pressed to her folder. 

“I’m sure I do too.”

“No. I mean I was brunette.”

With that he quirked a brow. “So what changed? If you don’t mind me asking.” Throughout their marriage she still found ways to surprise him. He had seen pictures of her when she was younger but never any around the time she was in college. He always wondered what she would’ve been like back then.

“Well, I was interning for Stern. He offered me a job but only if I slept with him-“

“Bastard.” He interrupted.

She gave him a look. She hated being interrupted. She cleared her throat. “I turned him down and it really made me think. I had been the same old Diane from birth to that point and I wanted to be taken seriously. I was going through a weird stage in my life and I needed to change that. So, I dyed my hair, left the band, and in the following years I ended up a name partner.” She sat back in her chair sporting a proud grin.

Kurt nodded with an adoring smile. “God, you’re great.” He laughed. “So you were brunette until your 20s and then you just up and dyed your hair blonde?”

“And I’ve been blonde ever since. It’s a power move.”

“It works for you. I would’ve never known.”

“There’s a lot for you to learn about me.” She grinned. She loved that they were still getting to know each other whilst knowing each other inside and out.

“So, you ready?” He asked with an excited smile.

She gave him a nod with a nervous grin. She slid her folder across the table and put her hand down on his as it slid over to her. She had found a stack of photos from her band years and put them in there. Some of them were stuck together but she figured he wouldn’t mind it.

Kurt’s eyes raked over the gorgeous images of young Diane. She did look different. Her hair was much darker and cut into a bob with bangs that went across her forehead. She looked so free dressed in outfits mostly in purples and golds and vibrant greens. Her platforms must’ve been killer in person considering her height.

“We were very inspired by ABBA.” She said as she saw him come across a picture of her and her band. She smiled fondly at the memory.

“Check out those boots.” He chuckled. She looked so beautiful dressed in a short white dress and over-the-knee white boots. The purple cat on the front of the dress was very fitting for her. “You looked hot.”

“I still look hot.” She laughed. She turned her attention back to his pictures and found herself fond of his look. It wasn’t too hard to pick him out. She had seen old pictures of him plenty of times. She even kept one on her desk. “You might have better legs than I do, McVeigh.”

“Maybe back then but I think you’re winning that now.” He winked at her.

She continued to flip through the pictures. He had such a baby face in some of the photos. The ones taken before he grew out his beard were the most jarring. “Kurt!” She could barely speak through her laugh. “The sideburns!”

“And the mustache.” He smirked.

“I want this framed.” She teased. She kissed the picture of him. It was honestly an image she would’ve loved when she was younger. The sideburns, the mustache, they were a combination made for true love back then. Not to mention those tiny shorts again. Diane was beginning to like basketball.

“Only if I can frame this one.” He held up a picture of her sitting at a bar in a flowy green skirt and satiny white halter top. It was definitely a candid picture. It made his heart flutter.

“You know, I wouldn’t be mad if you did.” She smiled back down at his photos before saying something that had been on her mind since seeing them. “Why do I feel like you were one of those kids who looked old their entire life?”

Kurt’s eyes shifted up to hers. He was not amused at all. He sat back in his chair and gently laid the pictures back down on the table. “The fuck is that supposed to mean?”

Diane was getting a kick out of this. “I don’t know. What do you want it to mean? I still married you.”

“Di-“

“You’re old now. What does it matter? You can’t go back and fix your face.”

He simply groaned and leaned forward against to resume his task. He found two photos stuck together and slowly pulled them apart to reveal the bottom one. When he saw it his mind was filled with questions.

“Diane.”

“Yes?” She asked, not looking up to answer him.

“You look.. different here.” She looked very different there. She looked heavier, fuller. She didn’t look stick thin as usual. It wasn’t just that but she was only heavier in one place.

Diane looked over and snatched the picture back from him in a heartbeat. “Nothing. It must’ve gotten warped.”

“Diane. You’re a terrible liar.”

“Would you believe it was the freshman 15?” She tried.

He shook his head. “Seriously, I can tell when you’re lying.”

“I was pregnant.”

“Excuse me?”

“I was pregnant.”

“I’m only going to ask this once and I’m praying the answer is no but it’s not Stern’s is it?” He asked all too seriously. If it were Stern’s baby he would be disappointed considering what she told him just a moment before.

“Oh no. Not a chance! Not Stern’s. Just a lover of mine from the past. Someone I had a fling with who worked for Daddy.” She could see his eyeroll and it made her giggle. Most of her lovers had worked for her dad. She had a thing for older guys in suits. She also liked the challenge. “He didn’t know it at the time but I was pregnant when Stern tried to sleep with me.”

He gently pulled the picture from her fingertips to take a look at it again. “So where’s your kid?” He wondered. He started to realize he really didn’t know Diane’s past in great detail. However, he couldn’t be mad about it because he had withheld some information of his own from Diane.

Diane was surprised he was being so calm. But how could he be upset with her? Just a month ago she had found out he had been married before and hadn’t told her. They resolved it like adults but it was still shocking that he hadn’t told her.

“I gave her up for adoption after she was born. Her name is Jessica. She’s gorgeous.” She took the picture back from him and smiled at the image her pregnant self.

“You kept in contact?”

“Brief contact. We check up every now and then. She’s married now. She works, she’s planning a family.”

“Can I meet her?”

“You want to meet her?” She quirked a brow.

“Of course I want to meet her. She’s your daughter. Does she know about us?” He pulled the picture from her again and wondered if she looked just like Diane. He wondered if she acted like Diane at all. Knowing there’s a Diane Jr. out there was a hard concept for him to grasp.

“She does. She’s seen pictures.” She nodded slowly. “So you want to meet her? You’re not upset?”

He locked eyes with her and gauged her worried expression. He calmed her fears by placing his hand in hers. “I’m shocked that you didn’t tell me but I can see why you didn’t. I’m not upset. She didn't ask to be born and you didn’t plan on having her. You were young.”

“I’ll contact her and see if she wants to do dinner one night.”

“That sounds good to me.” He got up from the table and pressed a kiss to her forehead as he left the room. “I’m gonna get some picture frames if you wanna ride with me.”

Diane laughed and left her worries behind in favor of hanging out with her man.

Chapter Text

“Are you nervous?” Diane asked.
 
Kurt was standing at the kitchen window waiting for Jessica to pull up. His stomach flipped when Diane spoke. He wouldn’t admit it but he was quite nervous to meet her daughter. He wasn’t sure what to expect of a child he had no prior knowledge of. One that could possibly be a carbon copy of Diane. One that could despise him for his difference rather than adore him like Diane does.
 
Diane knew getting an answer from him was a 50/50 shot. Most of the time she got nods, one word answers, sometimes a sentence. So she just sighed and wrapped her arms around him from behind. Her head came around to plant her lips on his cheek. “She’ll love you.”
 
“And if she doesn’t?” He asked. She watched the quirk of his brow through the reflection in the window.
 
“Then I’m kicking you out, McVeigh.”
 
“I’d like to see you try, Lockhart.” He grinned at her through the window. His smile grew at her laugh.
 
“You’ll be fine. She’ll like you. I’ve told her about you.” From what Diane could see Jessica was excited to meet Kurt and had wanted to meet him since she first spoke of him.
 
“How often do you see her?”
 
“A few times a month. Sometimes more than that if we want to catch up.”
 
“What does she look like?”
 
“Kurt.”
 
“Fine.”
 
Within the next minute Jessica had pulled into their driveway and she was walking up to the house. She noticed the couple watching as she walked in and waved to them with a smile that mirrored Diane’s.
 
The knock on the door came and Kurt took in a deep breath. He tried to breathe out all of his nervous energy. He gave Jessica a soft grin from behind Diane as she opened the door.
 
Jessica hugged the older woman and greeted her with a chuckle. “I know, I know I cut my hair again after I declared myself to be growing it out. I couldn’t resist.”
 
“It’s adorable. I love it.” Diane replied. If there was anything about her personality that Jessica had inherited it was definitely her love for short hair. It was timeless, trendy, and gorgeous.
 
Kurt took this moment to really take in the fact that Diane had a daughter. A daughter that looked so similar to her save the red hair. She even had the same shade of red on her nails.
 
Diane looked back to her husband after embracing the younger woman. She could tell he was becoming more relaxed as she spoke with Jessica. “Jessica, this is Kurt. My husband.”
 
Kurt’s eyes met Jessica’s as he heard his name. The two of them shook hands and he found himself smiling at the contagious grin Jessica had. “It’s nice to meet you.”
 
“And you as well. Diane’s told me so much about you. She’s head over heels from what I’ve heard.” She teased. She looked him up and down. The plaid shirt and the jeans just screamed southern to a Chicago native such as herself. “So, you’re the cowboy.”
 
“Yes ma’am. The horse is in the back along with the rest of the farm.” He nodded to her. His mustache curled up on the sides to convey his humor.
 
Diane was loving the almost instant friendship between the two. She could see them getting along quite nicely.
 
“And you’re the baby bump I saw in those pictures?”
 
Jessica curtsied. “The one and only.” She then locked in on Diane. “I’d like to see that if you don’t mind. I can’t imagine you being anything but stick thin.”
 
“She probably went up to a size two at most during her pregnancy.” Kurt muttered.
 
“Pregnancy was healthy for her. It finally put her over 10 pounds.” Jessica laughed.
 
As much as Diane disliked the jokes being made about her she liked that two of the most important people in her life were getting along. So she wouldn’t ruin their fun so quickly.
 
She quickly fell into the outside of the conversation so she could just watch them interact with each other. She had no idea what they were saying. She was merely watching the way Jessica’s eyes lit up when Kurt spoke and the way Kurt laughed at her jokes. For once she felt like she had done something truly right. It wasn’t often that she spoke of her daughter and when she did she never allowed anyone to meet her. She had been so afraid of the judgement, the questions, the rude comments. However, Kurt McVeigh had welcomed Jessica into their home as if she were an old friend they were catching up with. That southern hospitality of his was in full effect and she loved it.
 
“Di?” Kurt asked. He winked at Jessica because Diane’s expression was so dazed. They both found it amusing.
 
“Hm?” Diane cleared her throat as her eyes refocused on the pair in front of her. “Yes?”
 
“Dinner?” He offered.
 
“Yes, let’s.” She nodded with a wide grin.
 
That grin almost took Kurt out. She was beaming. So was Jessica. He didn’t know her too well just yet but he had a feeling he would end up being a close friend with Jessica just as Diane was.
 
…..
 
After dinner the three of them sat in the living room with a glass of wine. Jessica sat in the armchair with her legs crossed in front of her. Kurt took note of the fact that Diane was sitting the exact same way. He found it endearing.
 
“So, you two go to Kentucky often?” Jessica asked.
 
“Yes, Kurt has a cabin there. It’s our home away from home when we need a break.”
 
“Is that where you’re from?” She took a sip of wine. It looked so graceful the way she drank it. Diane could see the poise just radiating around her. What Diane didn’t know was that Jessica was thinking the same thing about her. 
 
Kurt nodded. “No.” He shifted slightly in his seat to offer his hand to Diane. Diane took it almost instantly. It was an automatic thing to do now.
 
One word answer, Diane thought to herself. She wasn’t surprised. She wondered if Jessica would be bothered by it considering how much he had talked when she first arrived.
 
Then Kurt cleared his throat to speak again. His throat had gone dry for a moment. “But I like it there. I lived there for a while during my first marriage. When we divorced I moved to Illinois. It’s better for business.”
 
Diane was shocked. Jessica easily pulled three sentences out of one question and it took Diane at least a few months to do that. She was amazed but listened closely as Jessica continued to lead the conversation.
 
The redhead quirked a brow. “Oh, you were married before? Any kids?”
 
He shook his head. “Yes, I was married before. Diane knows.” He clarified as he shared a brief look with his wife. “No kids. Never found the right time or the right person.” He took a healthy sip of his wine and waited for the next question from Mini Diane.
 
Diane hadn’t ever gone this long without speaking except during court. This certainly felt like court. Maybe Jessica had gone into the wrong profession.
 
“You think Diane’s the right person?” Jessica grinned widely and sat up straighter in her chair.
 
Diane choked on her wine. Kurt rubbed her back as her coughing died down.
 
“She is but I’m old.”
 
“Grandkids then.”
 
“You kinda need a kid for that dontcha, Jess?” He nodded to her. His smirk evident around his glass.
 
“Hm. I guess you’re right. You could always adopt an older kid.”
 
“We could but I’m enjoying the alone time with my wife. I wouldn’t so easily give that up.” He cast a glance at Diane who seemed to be satisfied with his answer. Satisfied enough to squeeze the hand that was placed in her lap. She granted him a smile and couldn’t help but steal a chaste kiss from him.
 
“So, you never thought about having kids?” Jessica interjected.
 
“I did. I even thought about what it might’ve been like to have a kid with Diane. One that looked exactly like her.” His gaze shifted between Diane and Jessica. Maybe his dream wasn’t too far off considering her mirror image was sitting just across from them. He thought deeper about it and was finally pulled out of his thoughts when he realized exactly what was going on. “What is this? A testimony?” He laughed.
 
Both Diane and Jessica cackled. They had planned on this. Diane had given her brief tips on how to get Kurt talking. She didn’t think it would actually work, but hey her daughter was as great at cross-examination as she was.
 
“I asked Jessica to get a few words out of you. I can’t believe it took just a few hours to get you to open up like that, McVeigh.”
 
“She’s good at it.” He shrugged it off. Not mad about it all. How could he be when Diane was grinning the way she was? Her twinkling green eyes warmed his soul.
 
“I can’t be nearly as good as the great Diane Lockhart.” Jessica beamed. Any compliment that related her to Diane was astounding to her. She loved being compared to the elegant woman who gave her life.
 
“Jessica’s a pediatrician.” Diane added. “But I think if she ever wanted to get into the law I might have a spot at the firm.” She gave the younger woman a look.
 
“Oh no. I love my job Diane. You know that.”
 
“Your skills rival hers are you kidding me?” Kurt interrupted.
 
Diane looked quite offended at that statement. “Excuse me?”
 
Kurt quickly backtracked. “It’s nothing against you, hon. I’m just saying she’s good at it. Just as good as you are.”
 
Jessica grinned at that. “Must be in my blood.”