Meeting Chris… is not what she expects.
She knows they’re fucking – everyone knows they’re fucking – and that they’re good friends, but she hasn’t really hasn’t put much thought into his relationship with Darren. If she’s being honest, she assumed he’d be swooning boy, taken in by Darren’s charisma like everyone else.
Everyone else but her, obviously.
The reality is somewhat different.
It’s been half a year since their relationship was turned on its head (again, and why can’t it ever be smooth sailing with them?), but Mia’s enjoying the new rhythm they’ve settled into. They’re both having the time of their lives.
She knows that they’re working Darren to the bone, but she’s equally sure that he wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s finally struck the right balance with her job; she’s no longer feeling like the incompetent new kid, but there’s still so much to learn every day. The band is becoming this amazing force she could never have predicted, and it’s exercising her creativity in ways she thought she might never get again once she swore her soul to TV.
They see each other as often as they can, and fuck other people when they can’t.
They’re brilliant, together and apart, and they’re rocking the world.
That doesn’t mean that it’s always easy. The bite of his broken promise still stings, the echo of “one semester, then graduation, then you and me, and New York, together” ringing in her ears when she’s spent too many hours staring at her computer, trying to splice the video together just right.
It’s nothing screaming on stage and some fantastic Skype sex (oh God, just the thought, seeing his head arched back and panting her name and sweating and jerking himself off while she thrusts desperately onto her own fingers) won’t fix.
They’re good. They’re great.
(Sometimes she misses him so fucking much).
It’s one of those miraculous occasions when the universe decides to give them a break and they’re in the same place at the same time. He’s only in New York for three days, but he’s staying at hers and they’ll have evenings and mornings and waking up at 2 am just to know that they’re both still there.
He’s going to see her perform, and she’s hosting a party after the Don Hill gig so he can meet her new friends and she can meet his. It’s a little weird, what with his friends being world-famous celebrities, but she knows that her people aren’t the type to be star-struck.
(Well. Almost all her people. Devon may put up a cool, badass front, but his googly eyes are a sight to behold).
For the guests, it looks like the party is a huge hit.
For Mia, less so.
Everyone’s mingling great, but she’s been referred to as “Darren’s Mia” or “Mia-Darren’s-Girlfriend” or asked if she has a job (like she’s some fucking trophy wife, seriously) one too many times. She glances over at Darren, where he’s bright-eyed and laughing with Joe, apparently in desperate need to catch up given that it’s been a whole month since they saw each other in Chicago for Starship.
Her heart twists and she has to get out, this apartment no longer big enough for her friends and her boyfriend and all of these fucking feelings flying around.
She grabs her pack of cigarettes and mutters something about getting some air, flying out of the apartment and down the stairs like it’s on fire.
The cool spring air is bracing on her skin – a jacket didn’t factor into her mad rush – and she lights up with shaking hands, sagging against the brick wall of her building as she tries to compose herself. Because she doesn’t do this. She’s not some delicate little flower that needs to be protected from the idiocy of others and she’s definitely not loosing her mind over some guy that lives on the other side of the continent and fuck.
She hears the door open and turns, expecting Garrett or Charlene, armed with useless platitudes and an offer to help her fuck the pain away.
It’s not either of them.
It’s Chris Colfer, somehow simultaneously awkward and relaxed, glancing down at his feet and then back up at her.
“Bum a smoke?”
She nearly chokes on hers. “Angel-face smokes? Won’t it ruin your precious voice?” It’s harsh, but she’s not feeling particularly charitable at the moment.
“I could say the same to you. Yeah?”
Shrugging, she shakes one out into his waiting palm, tossing him the lighter. He lights and sucks in a lungful and, somewhat surprisingly, doesn’t cough, breathing a steady stream out into the street.
He really is beautiful up-close, pale skin lit by the faint light from the cigarette.
“They all love you, you know. Harry keeps going on about how amazing your band is, and Dianna wants to shave your head and make your hair into a wig for herself. Which, OK, that sounds ridiculously creepy, but it’s just how she shows affection.”
She snorts. “Yeah, I’m the belle of the ball. Only my prince is in another castle.”
“Mario references? Be still my heart.”
There’s a pause. Mia still doesn’t know why he’s really down here.
“Don’t love him.” And… shit. Was that just out loud?
He smiles at her wryly. “Don’t project.”
There aren’t words for how much she hates him right now.
“Come on. Is he really as bad as all that?” he asks, hesitating on the words.
No. That’s the fucking problem, doesn’t he see that? That she promised herself, over and over again, that she was going to follow her dreams, always, and she’s worked herself night and day to get here. And somehow, she’s gotten further than even her wild imagination could take her, but now there’s something that almost maker her want to throw it all away.
Because sometimes, in her weakest moments that she doesn’t tell anyone about, she starts looking up apartments in LA.
Because she loves him and fuck, fuck, fuck.
She’ll never do it. She knows she’ll never do it because then she really will become what all those stupid people keep saying about her, just “Darren’s Mia” and she might as well just quit her job and stay home and knit and have a hot meal on the table when he comes home. Just another sad, kept wife, giving up all her dreams for the sake of a beautiful man who sang and fucked and danced and laughed his way into her heart.
She’s so lost in her own thoughts that she forgets, for a moment, that Chris is still standing there, and jumps slightly when he opens his mouth again, eyes way too knowing.
“Yeah. You’re right. I guess he is.”
Yeah. He is.
“Look, Mia, this probably isn’t my place, but … I think I know where you’re coming from.”
She scoffs, but it’s half-hearted and slightly watery.
“Do you know how many times I’ve been asked what it’s like to kiss him? How many people want to know how I feel about” – he rolls his eyes slightly – “our epic romance? Last year, the people who liked my story liked it for me. It’s not that way anymore.”
He moves so he’s standing straight in front of her. She has to look at him.
“But we are making something beautiful together. And that’s worth all the idiots in the world.”
And he gets it, he gets it completely.
Those two words are almost more than she’s actually said this entire conversation, but from the look on his face, he knows what she means.
He stomps out his cigarette and turns to head inside.
“And for what it’s worth, I’m still hoping that someday I’ll find that person that gives me the look you just had on your face. Hopefully without the added misery, but I’m starting to think that if they keep giving me crying scenes, I might need the practice.”
She smiles. “You will. Just be careful when it comes.” (And, shit, when did she start becoming the one with useless platitudes?) “Good luck, Chris.”
“Good night, Mia.”
She sighs, and slumps back against the wall.
The night is still young, though, and her boyfriend is in her apartment. She’s going to go and dance and shriek and kiss him, and they’ll fall into bed, tangled and content.
She’s going back up. Just… one more minute out here.