“Kurt, we need you over here!” Jill calls out over the sound of far too many brides examining their reflections. Kurt checks himself in the mirror, dusting a speck of lint off his coat and straightening his pocket square, before heading towards Jill’s voice.
“What seems to the problem, Jill darling?” Kurt asks, waiting outside a curtained-off cubicle.
“Randy’s busy altering the dress for his first head to hem,” Jill, one of the production managers, says hurriedly. “Lola thinks she has a good candidate for the third one, but it’s going to have to be you, Kurt. You’ll have to do the introduction and find her the dress.”
Kurt tries not to let his mouth gape open as he stares at her. “Jill, I—I’ve barely been on screen.”
“Nonsense,” Jill says brusquely. “You’re perfect. The last episode you were in, we got so many raves on the website. You’ll understand the bride’s concern, too, I think. She doesn’t want to be upstaged by her groom’s brother.”
“Her groom’s brother?”
“Yeah, get her alone for the interview portion,” Jill says, snorting. “She’s hilarious. The brother isn’t famous, but the groom kind of is, and she’s actually a farrier! I didn’t know anyone was still a farrier.”
“What does a farrier do?” Kurt asks, frowning at the information sheet Jill shoves in his hand, and by the time he looks up, Jill’s halfway across the room, walking backwards and grinning broadly at him as she waves. “Great,” Kurt mutters under his breath, skimming the information sheet. Grace Lawrence, age 30, getting married on New Year’s Eve ‘at the groom’s brother’s insistence’. Great. Instead of bridezilla, Kurt will be putting out fires set by brother-in-law-zilla.
When he pokes his head into the curtained area, though, and takes a look at Grace, he decides it would be a pity not to help out the farrier who drove into Atlanta for the day, even if he still isn’t sure what a farrier does.
“Yes?” The blonde woman uncrosses her legs, cowboy boots hitting the floor with a clunk, and stands up, closing her iPad. “I’m Grace.”
“Kurt Hummel. I’ll be working with you this afternoon. Would you mind answering a few questions for the camera?”
“No, of course not!” Grace smiles at Kurt. “Should I take my jacket off first?”
“I wouldn’t,” Kurt advises. “It’s far too cold in here not to have a jacket on.”
“You’re right,” Grace laughs. “It really is. Sure. What kind of questions?”
Over the next five minutes, Grace talks about her wedding, her fiance, the dress of her dreams, and the fears she has about her fiance’s brother stealing the show.
“He’s a performer,” Grace explains. “Always has been. Cooper’s a little bit famous for acting, and I guess his brother was always a little bit jealous. He went to a fancy acting school in New York City and I think he’s just trying to recapture his high school glee club days of singing pop tunes and jumping on chairs.” Grace shakes her head. “After a couple of years with no luck in acting or related fields, he started working in banking, and now he’s getting a Master’s in finance. I’ve heard about this a million times. So it’s important that my dress be a real showstopper.”
“I agree,” Kurt says candidly. “You want something dramatic yet tasteful, so he’s upstaged immediately. He reminds me of an ex-boyfriend of mine, actually,” Kurt admits, thinking of Blaine and his propensity throughout high school to leap onto chairs, pianos, or any other handy piece of furniture. “We’ll find you the perfect dress, and then some dramatic hair and makeup. Sound like a plan?”
“Absolutely,” Grace agrees. Then she drops the real bombshells. “Two things. Cooper and his brother will be here for any reveal. Also, what do you have in red?”
‘Red’ is not a word that Kurt expected to hear at work very often. He expects it even less when he’s selected, out of all the rising designer-consultants, to accompany Randy on one of his ‘To the Rescue’ road trips. Atlanta, after all, was the city he was assured would be traditional. It’s in the south, almost everyone had said. Even the girls that say they are ‘edgy’, Becka and Jane told him, really want a classic style.
And for most of the day, that’s held true. Grace’s request sends Kurt running for the style books to find out what dresses can be ordered in red. There aren’t many, though, and she quickly rejects style after style of the white versions, which have traveled with them.
“Tell me what you like best about each one,” Kurt finally instructs, pointing to the five rejects.
“I like the asymmetry on that one,” Grace says after a second, pointing to the first one. “The waistline here. The cap sleeves that are barely there. The circular train. Oh, and this neckline.”
“Hmm. Okay.” Kurt nods once and instructs Jane to find one of the dresses he’s thinking of, while he goes to the fabric bins that travel with them.
He’s digging through the third bin when his phone chimes with an incoming message and a picture, and Kurt shakes his head, smiling fondly. The television exposure, the increased responsibility, the further opportunity; all of them are reasons to travel, but ‘To The Rescue’ is on its fourth (and final) stop of this tour, and Kurt’s ready to find his way to the airport late in the night to catch his flight home.
The fourth bin finally yields what he’s looking for, and after twenty minutes with a dress and some basting stitches, he finally has a dress to present to Grace.
“It’s beautiful!” she gushes, hurrying to try it on. “I love the red overlay. It’s perfect!”
Kurt feels absolutely cheesy every time he asks the question, but it’s required for the cameras, so he pastes on a smile. “Are you saying yes to the dress?”
“Then let’s get you some makeup and hair, and you can knock the socks off Cooper and his scene-stealing brother,” Kurt suggests. He grabs a piece of paper and sketches out how he thinks Grace should wear her hair and makeup, and then goes to wait for her big reveal.
He peeks in on the first two big reveals with Randy, and then when they start to escort in the featured crowd for Grace, his eyes widen. Of course. Cooper Anderson does have a small amount of fame for acting, and his little brother has always loved to steal the spotlight from anyone and everyone, no matter how much he might profess to care for them.
Before Kurt can duck behind the curtains, Blaine spots him. “Kurt! Kurt Hummel! I knew you worked for Randy, imagine running into you here in Atlanta!”
“Hello, Blaine,” Kurt says, letting out a tiny sigh. “I wouldn’t have expected you to be in Atlanta, either.”
“Cooper spends most of his time here! He’s a regular on Witch School, and they film it here. I’m just in for the weekend.” Blaine seems to have grown up a bit in the nearly five years since Kurt last saw him, because he remembers to ask about the other person in the conversation. “And you? How are you? How’s the boyfriend?”
“Husband, actually,” Kurt corrects him, a trifle smugly, “and we’re doing quite well. This job has been amazing.” He turns to Cooper and smiles. “Grace was a great deal of fun to work with.”
“Yeah?” Cooper’s smile is still as achingly, blindingly bright. “The last stylists she worked with, for a couple of premieres and things, they weren’t happy.” He digs in his pocket and pulls out a battered business card. “Call me next week, maybe you could help her figure out something about the People’s Choice Awards.”
“Sure,” a surprised Kurt manages to quickly say. “But take a look at her before you commit to anything.”
“Oh, she’s always lovely to me,” Cooper says, completely sincerely. “But I know how hard these are on her.”
“I’ve told you, Cooper,” Blaine starts, and Kurt tunes him out, giving last minute instructions to the behind-the-scenes crew.
When Grace comes out in her custom-made dress and red veil, Cooper’s jaw literally draws, and when Kurt sees the brief look of chagrin on Blaine’s face, he turns to look at Grace.
From the ever-so-slightly smug look on Grace’s face, she saw it too.