“You play beautifully,” Kurt said, standing at the edge of the piano. He’d watched him on and off all night, the ridiculously handsome pianist hired for the launch party.
“Thank you so much,” the man replied, offering up a 1,000-watt smile. “Do you have any requests?”
“Oh, I… maybe a standard? It feels like an Irving Berlin night.”
“It does, doesn’t it?”
He edged in closer as the pianist finished a bright classical piece Kurt could not place. After a short pause, he heard the first melancholy notes of “What’ll I Do.”
Kurt raised one eyebrow and leaned in. “That kind of Irving Berlin night, is it?”
“You wanted something with more pep? Maybe ‘Steppin’ Out with My Baby?’ Or—”
“No, this is lovely. Sad, but lovely.”
The man smiled again and said, “Then I won’t sing. If you’re sad now, the lyrics will really do you in.”
“I know. It always makes me miss someone.”
“The one that got away?”
“No. The one I haven’t met yet.”
“I know what you mean. It’s like feeling homesick for a place you’ve never been, missing someone you know you’re meant to love.”
Kurt moved two steps closer and let the party fade into the background as he listened to the haunting song. More than once he caught the man gazing at him, after which he would smile and look down at the keys.
Halfway through the song he man said, “I’m not usually this forward, but all night I hoped you’d come over and talk to me.”
Kurt took a deep breath. “Perhaps it’s the hour, or the liquid courage, but I must tell you—some of the best New York stories start like this.”
“At a party in SoHo at two in the morning, soundtrack by Irving Berlin?” the man teased.
“A talented artist meets a handsome stranger—”
“Ah, that story. I’m flattered you think I’m talented, and you… you are most definitely handsome.”
Kurt blushed, something he thought he’d given up along with his Broadway dreams and romantic, cinematic fantasies about love and destiny. “No, that’s… you’re the handsome stranger in this scenario.”
“Nope. I think I got it right,” he said, all flirt and sincerity. He finished the song, and then said, ”So what happens next?”
“In the story?”
Kurt glanced toward the piano bench, and the man nodded. He sat down next to him and said, “Is it too early in the season for a Christmas song?”
“More Berlin? Only if you sing it with me.”
Kurt nodded. “I’m Kurt, by the way. Kurt Hummel.”
Their eyes locked; there was no handshake.
“Blaine Anderson,” he replied, holding Kurt’s gaze. “It’s lovely to meet you… finally.”