Disclaimer: Yep. No. Still No.
Waiting in the crowd outside the stage door, Julia shivers intensely, cursing her choice of outfit; even for May, the night air is like ice against the bare skin of her legs, nipping through her light jacket and blouse easily. After 10 minutes of chills and nerves, she's about to call it quits when a ripple of excitement goes through the crowd as the stage door opens and she hears, "Julia? Julia Albain?
Perking up, she moves towards the door and can't contain her excitement when she sees Celina in doorway. "Lina!' Julia cries, jumping into the arms of her old friend. "Jules! As happy as I am to see you, the curtain drops in 10, so I'll take you to the dressing room and then I gotta scoot."
Julia nods, and soon they're weaving down multiple hallways and sets of stairs until Julia is certain they're completely lost. Suddenly, Celina stops and Julia finds herself face to face with a door that reads 'Darren Criss.' "Celina, I –"
"Trust me Jules, Lolo told me everything. We'll catch up soon!" She explains as she unlocks the door, winking. "Good luck!" And with that, Julia is ushered in, alone, left leaning awkwardly against the door; her anxiety is alive and kicking now.
Sitting gingerly on the leather couch opposite the vanity, she peels off her jacket. Breathe… Glancing around, Julia is struck by how similarly the dressing room resembles Darren's freshman dorm room - photos everywhere, including dozens from their Michigan days and StarKid productions. Caught up reminiscing, she almost misses the small photo pinned in the bottom corner of the mirror's wooden frame.
Removing it, Julia fingers the image delicately. She remembers well this photo of her and Darren, dressed in costume as Hermia and Lysander, during Michigan's 2008 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
That particular show, the 2nd of 3 performances, she'd been feeling sorry for herself after messing up a monologue and so, hoping to cheer her up, Darren had carried her around set in a fireman's hold the whole night, raving about how talented and beautiful she was and how he couldn't let any other man or woman have her.
Lost in that memory, Julia doesn't hear the door creak open.
She gasps in surprise, slamming the picture down on the vanity and twirling around. "Darren…" She breathes, and she can't help noticing how foreign his name feels on her lips. However, Julia also cannot deny that the man before her, decked out in a 3-piece tuxedo & top hat, is a welcomed and attractive sight.
And before she can say anything, Darren is on his knees before her for the second time that evening, but this time, he's fervently apologizing.
"Julia, I am so sorry. I know tonight was a surprise and completely uncalled for, and I had no right to impose on your special night, and I promise, if you want me to, I can take it back righ –"
"Yes." She replies once more, this time with a watery grin.
"You…want me to take it back?"
"No." She answers, tears pooling now.
"Then…" Darren's voice trails off as he realizes what she might be saying. "You… You want to…"
"Yes." Julia mumbles, overwhelmed by her tears now, both hands flying to her face in order to hide her ruined makeup. She's so happy, but distraught that she doesn't even listen for Darren's response. And when she feels a pair of arms envelope her, instead of speaking up, all she can do is cry harder. She realizes, now, how empty her life has been without him over the past year.
"I've missed you so much Jules. So much it hurts." Darren confides, pulling her closer. They cling to one another for several minutes until a loud knock at the door startles them apart.
Straightening his costume and giving Julia's hand a tight squeeze, he opens the door… and he blanches. "Dare-Bear! There you are! What are you doing all cooped up in here! You ran off so quickly…" Regales a woman with long blonde hair and enough makeup to rival a drag queen. Dressed in a chartreuse, corseted gown, she resembles a fairly unstylish invitée of a Gatsby-themed party. "Oh hi! I'm Chastity, who're you?" The woman asks, strutting into the room confidently.
Before Julia can respond, Chastity adds haughtily, "Just so you know, you're, um, sporting some nice mascara streaks…"
"Rude much Chast? It's been a long night for both all of us, so if you don't mind, we'd like to be –"
"But wait! Who the hell is she and why is she here!? You actually promised you'd go out tonight – I'm sure whatever it is can wait, especially for a fan."
Julia reddens considerably, but out of embarrassment or anger she's not sure. All she knows is that this woman is pissing her off, royally. Stepping back a ways to ensure she doesn't slap this woman, she's surprised to be stopped by an arm around her waist.
"Chastity, if you don't have anything nice to say, I'd prefer that you didn't say it at all, especially to my future wife." And this time when Julia blushes, it's from a rush of satisfaction and love.
"That's right. This is my fiancée Julia, so if you have anything more to say to her, you can say it to me as well." He clarifies defiantly, enjoying the familiar scent of Julia's perfume. Almost immediately, an unpleasant pout settles over Chastity's features and, looking Julia up and down one last time, she turns on her heel and stalks out of the dressing room.
The room enters into a short silence until Julia cannot contain the small giggle that seeps past her serious façade. "Is she always like that?" She asks casually, leaning into his embrace. "Yep." He replies. "But you know us theatre kids, always going after what we want and not taking no for an answer…"
Julia chuckles and a smile creeps its way onto her face as she wipes away the last of her mascara. "We always were a stubborn bunch…"
"Yeah, I mean, it's not everyday you have to ask your fiancée to marry you twice!" Laughing, she swats his chest, completely in awe of the reverent look on his face; she can't believe that, after all this time, he's looking at her like she's the center of the universe.
Sighing, she leans in and gives him a quick peck on the lips before pulling back, trying to memorize the feel of his lips against hers. It's been far too long.
And suddenly, his lips are on hers again, and she can't ignore the intense feeling of need that sweeps through her. Julia's hands work their way into his hair while her hips, moving involuntarily, shift closer to his, eliciting a breathy moan from both parties. Satisfaction courses through her and she can't help the smile that forms against his lips, but he's just getting started. Thrusting his tongue into her mouth as a distraction, his hands slip under her blouse and start caressing her curves, moving higher, skirting the swell of her breasts, higher and higher until he's nearly undone the clasp of her bra –
Breaking away abruptly, he stifles another groan as he drinks in Julia's swollen lips and heaving chest. "Yeah?"
"The gang is all outside the stage door. Er, or, they were! They kind of caused a fangirling commotion so I moved them all to lounge. But anyway, they're dying to see you two, so quit making out and get out here!" Celina calls jokingly, and the couple blushes as they listen to her receding footsteps.
Then, Julia and Darren turn each other again; this time, it's not awkward or unfamiliar – it feels right. So she grabs his hand and laces their fingers together and looks him in the eye. "Alright Future Mr. Albain. Are you ready to face the harassment of our friends?"
Holding her gaze, he can't help the shit-eating grin that settles across his features. "Only if you are, Future Mrs. Criss. I think I can face anything with you by my side." Rolling her eyes, she grabs her jacket and pulls him towards the door and they're off to announce their engagement for the first time and for the first time in forever, everything is totally awesome.
A/N: I hope you liked it! I've had the ending mapped out for a while, but I never got around to finishing it… But here it is now, in all its cheesy glory!