Disclaimer: I own nothing except an overactive imagination and way too many plotbunnies.
Free Kurt – Isabelle style
This is part of the Free Kurt event, where different fic writers all present a take on how the proposal from 501 could have ended better for Kurt by use of one character. I decided on Isabelle Wright, and here you have 2020 (fittingly) words of “Free Kurt - Isabelle style”.
“Getting a choice means you gotta make one. Relax. Hear what the guy has to say. All you gotta do is say yes, no or maybe.”
“Is there another option?”
Kurt turns towards Dalton, steeling himself to go inside and meet Blaine. To start a new phase of his life - their lives. And then his phone rings.
“That can wait, can’t it, buddy?”
“I just need to check, oh, I have to take this. I’m sure it won’t take long. Just…” He walks a bit, not wanting his dad to hear if this is one of those calls.
“Isabelle! Is there something wrong?”
“No, no! Well, a little, but! You're just the guy to fix that. I remember right that you were flying back today, right? Would you be amenable to show up at Vogue, paid time, and help out at a party? Chase was supposed to be there and write about the outfits, but Marcel is in the hospital so Chase has to cover for him.”
“I...don't know if I'll be able to make it in time.”
“Traffic? I'll send a car for you, obviously, and pick an outfit from the vault.”
“I'm sorry, I mean I'm not sure if I'm going to make my flight.”
And he isn't. It hasn't hit him until now – how? why? – that even though he left with plenty of time to get to the airport and through security it might not be enough to also get through the proposal. He'd thought so, before, but really when he actually thinks about it? That would depend on Blaine being brief. Oh, and letting Kurt leave after. Is he going to want me to do that? Or is he expecting us to do something together?
Surely Blaine must have planned for Kurt making his flight though? Or made other arrangements? I'm already checked in though, I did that yesterday. So clearly no one's changed my flight.
“Kurt? Is something wrong? Are you... Are you not at the airport? Did something happen with your dad?”
Isabelle's voice is rising, worried, and he takes a second to feel cherished by that while hurrying to calm her down.
“Oh no, he's fine. Just, I'm not at the airport. There was a detour. I... I'm at a surprise proposal.”
“Wait, what? Didn't you go down alone? Oh, did blond and cute go with you after all?”
“No, Adam didn’t... We're over.”
“You broke up? You left here 10 days ago, dating Adam , and now you’re telling me that not only did you break up with him in that time, but also you started dating someone new? And you’re being proposed to? Am I hearing this right?
“What happened, Kurt?”
“I couldn’t commit to Adam. He offered to come with me, you know that, but I turned him down. That was pretty telling, that I didn’t want him to come with me. If it’d been serious, if I’d been willing to commit to him, well… I wouldn’t have said no then, would I? If I didn’t want him here with me during this, if I didn’t want him to come with and meet my family and friends, then clearly I wasn’t that invested.
“Better to break it off then.”
It had hurt, sure, because he’d really enjoyed being with Adam, but once it’d been pointed out to him…
“Okay, say I buy that - and we’re talking more about that when you come back, mister, don’t you doubt it! - what about this new relationship? How can you be ready to commit to someone else this soon?”
“I never had a problem committing to Blaine.”
There’s silence at the other end, enough that Kurt starts questioning if the call’s been disconnected.
“You…” Her voice does a funny thing, and she starts over again. “You’re back with him?”
When he confirms it Isabelle starts talking fast, clearly not willing to let him say anything else.
“Blaine. Cheated on you after 2 weeks, Blaine. Blamed you for it, Blaine. Almost got you in trouble at work, Blaine. Made you feel like shit for months, Blaine. You’re back with him. And he’s proposing? You got back together, what, five minutes ago?”
Yesterday, Kurt thinks. We got back together yesterday. He doesn’t say that though.
“We were together for a year and a half. It’s not like he’s some stranger. This is, I always saw us ending up here. This was my dream, Isabelle, for so long.”
“”Before, and I cannot stress this enough, he cheated on you. How can you be sure he won’t do that again? After all, you’re coming back to New York. He’s going to be in Lima, still in school. That didn’t work so well last time.
“As you said, you didn’t have a problem committing to him. He on the other hand...”
It stings, to hear Isabelle reference such a painful experience so casually. Kurt swallows it down though, arguing back.
“It’ll be different this time. He promised he’d never hurt me like that again. And he signed Oprah’s non-cheating contract.”
Except he hadn’t, not yet, but he’d promised to do it and surely that has to mean something?
“The fact that a non-cheating contract even entered the picture isn’t exactly the strong argument you seem to think. At least not in his favor.
“Kurt, honey, I'm saying this from a place of love. Have you completely lost your mind?”
And that, that hurts. He’s not crazy. This is the right thing to do. Everyone else thinks so, so why can’t Isabelle see it?
“Now, I’m not going to tell you that you can’t date someone, or get engaged, or hell, even married - though I do hope he doesn’t have an officiant standing by - but what’s the hurry? Why does he have to propose now?”
And well, Kurt doesn’t have an answer to that - and he’s searched, having asked himself the same question.
“He’s just, he’s always been excitable. Besides, seize the moment, you know? You never know what happens.”
He can’t be sure, but it sounds like Isabelle is muttering something about finding him a therapist. Surely not though?
“And I, Isabelle, it took me forever to find Blaine. What if I never meet anyone else who makes me feel the way he does?” Kurt politely ignores the hrumpf on the other end.
“Honey, you’re young. So, so young. You have your whole life ahead of you. And if it doesn’t happen? I am more than twice your age.” And wow, things had to be really serious if Isabelle was admitting to that. “I’m single. I’ve never been married, or engaged. I don’t have kids. By now, I’m pretty sure neither of that will change.
“Does that make me - or my life - worth any less?”
“No! Of course it doesn't. Just... It’s not what I want for me,” Kurt adds in a low voice.
“And that’s okay. As I said, you’re young. You have time to get to where you want to be. It doesn’t have to be a race. Not everyone find their place - or their person - at 20. That you would walk through life and never meet anyone else who could love you, and appreciate you? That’s impossible.”
Kurt feels the word sink into him, and before he can think twice he whispers “dad said I looked like he was driving me to my execution”.
“Wait, what? Look, I know that as your boss I don’t have the right to tell you what to do with your private life, but I’d like to think that I’m a little more than just your employer. So please, listen. Don’t be in such a hurry to do this. Not after just a few days. Not if you’re unsure enough that you look like that. Please. Come back to New York. Take some time to think. To just date again and adjust to how you’ve changed. Because that’s going to change how you are together as well.
“Put yourself first.”
Put himself first? Kurt isn’t even sure how to do that. It means disappointing his dad. Disappointing Blaine. He...doesn’t have a great track record with that.
But that’s his answer right there, isn’t it? He isn’t thinking that what’s right for him is to walk inside and let Blaine propose. He’s thinking about walking away.
“I’ll call you when I’m back in New York, okay? Bye Isabelle. And...thanks for listening.”
He walks back to the car and his dad, who’s looking kind of worried.
“That took a bit longer than I thought. Everything okay?”
“Yes, I think it is.” In the corner of his eye Kurt spots people spying from Dalton’s balcony and the door, looking restless. Apparently he’s not following the script.
“So, ehm, can you just drive me to the airport like we agreed?”
Burt Hummel looks like a stranded fish, and under other circumstances Kurt is sure he'd find it amusing. Now, not so much.
“What? What about-”
“I decided that I did have another option, one that doesn’t mean listening to Blaine. I’m not ready to say yes to what he wants to ask me, and I want to leave.”
“What about Blaine? Are you really going to leave him hanging like this?”
And ouch, that might be justified, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt to hear it from his dad. Isn’t my dad supposed to back me? Where was this attitude when it was Finn? And right, he’d forgotten for a bit, the memories swept away in his dad’s pushy encouragment. Burt had hated Finn’s engagement to Rachel, not to mention the wedding-that-wasn’t.
“Good to know whose side you're on.”
They stare at each other. Kurt has folded so many times in similar situations, but this time he’s going to stand by his decision.
“I gotta say, buddy, this isn't like you.”
“Well, maybe my usual habit of doing not what I want but what I think the people around me want isn't working for me any longer.”
Which is true, and how could he have let himself almost be backed in a corner like that? but his dad takes it badly.
“This is… This is because of whoever called you right now, isn’t it? Why are you allowing her to change your mind like this? Not five minutes ago you were going to at least hear Blaine out. Who's this Isabelle to tell you not to?”
“Apparently the only person in all of this who’s on my side.”
“Hey! That's not fair!”
“Not fair? Life’s not fair! And you know what, something else that’s not fair? Dad, you told me you thought I looked like you were driving me to my execution. We both knew it was a proposal, yet that's how you thought I looked. And somehow that didn't make you question anything? I couldn't tell you if I was okay or not. Again, you didn't question it. I asked you if there was another option to answering him! Again, you just told me to go ahead. To listen to what Blaine had to say.
“Isabelle didn't tell me what to do, she told me to listen to myself! She reminded me that I do have options. I'm the one choosing which one to take, and that's going to the airport and then back home.
“Now, are you going to drive me?”
Kurt waits for an answer. Once he finds himself beginning to count seconds he gives up. He walks over to the car, grabs his bags, tells his dad he'll call once he lands and starts walking. His blood is pounding in his ears, to the point where it’s all he hears, and he just. Keeps. Walking. Reaching the end of the driveway makes it feel better, but not safe, not yet. He takes the first corner, twists through the sidestreets with hurried steps, looking for a place to hide and make a call.
Ten minutes later he’s in the back of a cab, heading towards the airport, with his phone turned off and his heart in his throat, feeling utterly, heartbreakingly relieved.
~The End ~