They'd known the storm was coming even before they'd pulled into town, but still Adam had fought tooth and nail to keep the show going. His fans would be heartbroken, he argued, and this was the only stop they'd booked in the whole area. The only thing that would stop him from performing was the hand of God himself.
And hot damn, had He given it His best shot.
More accurately, He gave the city of Austin His best shot.
The floods happened fast, and since the night of his show they'd been trapped in the city, the interstates completely if temporarily gone.
They hadn't left the hotel since yesterday, not that they could have if they'd wanted to. The first few hours, they'd all bitched and moaned and whined and texted--this was the last show for a week, we need a fucking break--but as the waters and house and missing persons count rose, the staff and band crowded in each others' rooms, glued to the news.
It wasn't something he usually did. Adam knew himself; if he was safe and dry at home, or in another city, he wouldn't have been watching the damn television so long his eyes ached. Hell, he probably wouldn't even bother to turn it on after his Twitter feed inevitably exploded. He'd maybe send out well-wishes, tweet something, then go back to dicking around on his Iphone. But here, in the thick of it, to say that changed was an understatement.
Still, he'd tried to keep people's spirits up, but that was difficult when he could open the hotel room blinds and watch the rescue workers fish cars and chemicals and sometimes people out of the water.
It was getting late now. Monte had gone to call his wife, and everyone else was filtering to bed, leaving Adam alone with his swirling, turbulent thoughts.
He needed a fucking drink.
The hotel bar was surprisingly busy for being in the middle of a disaster zone. A few people hovered at the bar itself, but mostly they sat something somber at the restaurant tables, fixated on the plasma that should have been showing football or basketball or whatever was in season but was instead just constant footage of cars disappearing under river sludge.
Adam didn't even want to look at it, instead making a beeline for the bar.
"Martini on the rocks and a bottle of water, please."
The bartender looked at him, at the stack of plastic beer cups where there should have been glasses, and Adam could have slapped himself. The city was on a water conservation order, and he was an idiot.
Adam grimaced and smiled and grimaced again and said, "Just the drink, sorry."
The man next to him chuckled, a quiet, not quite mirthful laugh, eyes on his own drink. Adam looked him over. He was youngish, no older than forty, but his hair was a weird, brilliant silver. His clothes were amazing.
A vague feeling of recognition gnawed; he looked distinctly familiar.
The bar was mostly absent conversation, the few people around keeping to their own thoughts and drinks--the kind of atmosphere Adam loathed.
After a fucking unbearable moment, he hazarded, "So it's pretty bad out there..."
The man nodded in polite agreement. "It's not good, no."
Adam tapped the wood of the bar awkwardly as they sat in silence. "Yep..." he said, uncomfortable, but the feeling of familiarity was eating at him now.
"I'm sorry," he finally interrupted the stifling quiet, "have we met somewhere before?"
The beginnings of a grin flickered over the man's sharp face. He looked amused, if tired. "I don't think so. Anderson Cooper, CNN."
The embarrassed realization likely dawning on Adam's face sent the man--Cooper--into another set of tired chuckles.
"It's okay," he said, "I get that a lot." Adam noticed that he was almost imperceptibly slurring his words. Adam also noticed the effortless elegance of the lines of Cooper's pale face. He knew the name, he'd heard the rumors, and he hoped they were true.
Adam laughed nervously, though that nervousness was beginning to ebb. "Yeah, sorry," he said, "I'm not the biggest news-watcher. I've seen you a lot the past day, though." He shrugged. "I guess I don't have to ask if you're business or pleasure."
Cooper smiled, though it was hollow. He had piercing but weary eyes. "Yeah, that's..." he trailed off, sipping his drink--something that smelled like strong scotch. "News is at its most relevant at the worst of times." His smile twisted. "Not that this is the worst."
Adam was momentarily thrown by the words but shrugged it off. It wasn't exactly a rainbow atmosphere in here.
He grinned instead. "So, Anderson--"
"Call me Andy."
"Okay, Andy." Adam liked 'Anderson' better; it fit his regal if tipsy features.
His drink finally arrived in a bright red plastic cup. He laughed at it, taking a long sip before fixing his gaze back on his impromptu drinking buddy. "I'm Adam."
Anderson looked at him with amused incredulity. "I know who you are," he said. "And it's interesting you think I don't."
"Mister Newsman, yeah," he teased, flashing his brightest-kilowatt smile. He couldn't help it; the guy was halfway to sloshed and, really, very pretty. "I try to play the humility card, don't ruin this for me."
"I somehow get the feeling you don't do humility very convincingly," Anderson said wryly. He eyed him probably not as discreetly as he thought. "Or subtlety."
Anderson knocked back his drink and motioned for another. There was no way that wasn't at least his third one.
"Yeah, well," Adam said, "you don't exactly strike me as the party-hardy type either."
And there was that sad smile again, permeating the alcoholic haze. He covered it with a laugh. "Hey, I do New Years with Kathy Griffin."
Wow, the glass on this man's closet was really polished to a shine. Adam bit his tongue but smirked all the same. "Party animal, I like that."
Yeah, he was slinking it up all over the place and it was probably pretty obvious, but everything else right now was so fucking depressing, and here was this famous news anchor on his way to hammered but definitely giving him the eyes.
Anderson leaned in, maybe swaying, maybe intentionally, expression unreadable, and said, "Some kind of animal."
Adam almost shivered. He wasn't sure if those words were darkly flirtatious or just dark, but either way he felt the heat of rushing blood to his head.
And then Anderson stood and stumbled, and Adam took back what he'd thought earlier; that last drink was at least his fourth or fifth.
He couldn't pursue this, not when he was barely buzzed himself, but he could still help the guy into his literal (if sadly not his metaphorical) bed. The paparazzi and even the overzealous fans were far, far away from here, but still, no one wanted to be wandering around drunk.
"Come on," he said resignedly, "let's get you back to your room."
"I'm not quite that far gone," Anderson said, though his unsteady legs betrayed the calm half-sobriety of his voice.
"Yeah, well, I just want to make sure you get there okay."
He must have realized the futility of arguing with Adam, instead just sighing his acquiescence and telling the bartender to bill all to him. Adam wasn't going to argue; no one here was in the poorhouse.
Anderson's room was a few floors above his, it turned out, and though the journey was uneventful, by the time they'd made it up the elevator, the liquor was definitely beginning to hit the guy. The home stretch of hallway was blessedly short, but by the time they reached the door Anderson was beginning to lean against him. Adam frowned as disappointment seethed in him.
Anderson fumbled for his room key and swiped it twice before it worked, but whether that was the alcohol or the nature of plastic keys Adam wasn't sure.
They stood on the threshold of the dark room in silence for a moment.
"Thank you," Anderson said. "Maybe I'll see you around."
Adam shrugged. "Yeah, but hopefully not like this."
Anderson leaned heavily against the doorframe, that sad look that seemed to always lurk under his features playing at the surface. "You're a good kid, Adam."
"You know I'm almost thirty," he quipped, wincing inwardly; that wasn't his favorite thing to admit, but he played to the situation. Anderson was smart, worldly, and Adam wasn't about to come off like a teenage gayboy clubrat.
Anderson just smiled softly, eyes closed as though in deep thought but more likely focusing on staying upright, and when he looked at Adam again his face was unbearably sweet. "Good night."
Adam smiled back, waited until he heard the lock click, and left.
They still hadn't left, but at least they had a decent reason now. Adam Lambert was stranded in town; of course the telethon drives wanted him. And really, he was happy to oblige. He wouldn't just escape unscathed the reams of lost pet signs and bottomless rescue workers and the whole slew of other awful shit he'd seen in person and behind reporters.
It was all he could do to give back at least something.
The telethon was short enough notice that he was the headliner, playing with a few honky-tonk musicians and some local big-names. It was the kind of gig and audience he normally hated, but this time he'd just been happy to help. He'd still played all his stuff acoustic, though.
Now, though, as night crept in they were finally done, with only the most essential of his group still hanging around, set to depart early tomorrow morning. They'd just finished packing equipment, and it was time to rest.
He was waiting for the elevator when he saw him--Anderson Cooper, striding through the hotel revolving doors, all Prada suit and cool hair. Adam had watched more news in the past two days than he ever had in his life; even without their flirty if drunk little meeting the other night, he would have recognized him.
He looked so collected in the daylight without the nakedness of scotch, Adam couldn't tell if he was the type to acknowledge the other night or pull that oh I was so wasted, I don't remember anything, definitely not hitting on you, what are you talking about bullshit.
And when he managed to catch Anderson's eyes after a maybe too-enthusiastic wave and noticed the slight blush spread over his pale skin, he really hoped was Andy wasn't the latter.
Adam's elevator arrived, and he ignored it. He'd never believed in coincidences anyway.
Anderson maybe hesitated for a split second, but he was walking over now, hands in his tailored pockets. A smile spread over his handsome face, and while Adam's heart didn't quite flutter, it got somewhere close.
"Hi, you're still here!" Adam said, then immediately caught himself and winced. "But I guess that makes sense. News to cover, yeah?"
Anderson's smile didn't falter. "Always. But I leave late tonight, actually. Got a red-eye back to New York."
"Yeah, I've got a show in Fresno, so we're out in the morning."
Anderson ran a hand through his hair. "I'll be honest, I'm surprised you're still in town. The roads have been clear enough to leave since last night."
Adam shrugged. "Yeah, well they asked me to do a telethon. I've been here since this started, you know? I couldn't just leave like that."
A moment of thoughtfulness passed over Anderson's face.
"So..." Adam ventured, "you want to go for a drink? Again?"
But the hotel lobby was crowded and full of shelter-seekers, maybe a few who could actually afford it. The bar was probably just as busy.
"Ah, no," Anderson said in a tone that echoed Adam's own worry, then: "But I have bourbon in my room if you're interested."
Adam stopped. He'd heard that right. Anderson had to know exactly what he was inviting, and goddamn right he was interested. He fought hard to keep the too-obvious enthusiasm from his face.
Instead Adam nodded. "Yeah, I could go for that."
It was blessedly quiet in Anderson's room, far away from the crowds and desperation. The only smells now were cool air conditioning and faint musk. They didn't bother with the lights; the setting sun cast enough light to see.
Adam couldn't help but feel a little guilty escaping to high-rise heaven with so many people still miserable down below. He stared a little sullenly out the window, trapped in thought until Anderson grasped his shoulder and put a cold drink in his hand.
His jacket was gone, and he was smiling softly. "You look like you might need it."
"Yeah, probably." Adam returned the smile and drank. It was good, even though bourbon wasn't really his thing. "I think I'm just overwhelmed or recovering or something. I've never seen anything like this before."
Anderson didn't reply; he just stood silently next to him, sipping carefully and looking contemplatively out the window, though his gaze was at the twilight horizon and not the streets below.
Adam finished the liquor fast, probably bad manners but fuck it, he just wanted to bask in that warm buzz. Anderson refilled it with a smile and no hint of reproach.
"I don't even get how you do it," Adam said.
Anderson's sigh was heavy, like the universe was weighing it down. "Well..." he said, "this isn't the worst the world has to offer."
Adam stared at him. "...For me it is," he said earnestly. "I saw a dead body yesterday. They were pulling it out of the water." He shuddered, shaking free of the memory. He hadn't been at all very close to the rescue workers, and as soon as it happened he was rushed away, but he caught the news about it later and the thought of how the old lady must have struggled to keep afloat in muddy floodwater was probably stay with him for a while.
He continued, "For you, that's maybe probably nothing, but it scared the shit out of me." He had an idea of what Anderson had been through--after their meeting, Adam had wiki'd him, which felt surreal, and read a few posts on a forum, which just felt creepy--but... "Just because there's worse shit out there doesn't make this okay."
The silence at his words was salient, almost suffocating, and Anderson just stared at him with those crazy blue eyes and a depth Adam couldn't fathom. He really didn't want to venture any further down this path of conversation.
"Sorry," Adam said with a grimace, "that got a little heavy." He shrugged off his jacket and sat on the windowsill, ankles crossed, resting his head against the warm glass. "Still, tell me how you do it. How you get through your job every day."
Anderson shrugged. "The same way anyone does, I guess. Read, go out when I have time." He swirled the ice in his glass, looked Adam over, and poured himself a second. "Escape."
Adam held his own under that lingering, definitely interested gaze. "Watch American Idol, apparently," he quipped.
"Only when I absolutely have to."
Adam rolled his eyes but laughed all the same. "You know you love it. You can't fool me, you're friends with Ryan. Speaking of which--"
Anderson cut him off. "I know exactly what you're about to ask, and I couldn't tell you." Couldn't, or wouldn't? So enigmatic, these people.
"You're gay though, right? I mean, I haven't, like, read you wrong, have I?" Of course he hadn't, but Adam still wanted to hear the answer.
"No," Anderson said wryly, "I think you're pretty safe in assuming."
"So why not just come out with it, then?" As it were.
Anderson fixed him with a hard but not annoyed look. "It's important to me that my personal life doesn't influence my journalism."
Adam guessed he understood; public perception was such a bitch, even for him, and appearance of impartiality in Anderson's field was probably worth so much more than it was in music.
"And anyway," Anderson smiled again, but it wasn't soft. "It's not like I'm trying to hide anything right now."
Adam set his glass down and stood slowly. He stepped into Anderson's personal space. Anderson didn't push him out.
"I'll never breathe a word, you know," Adam said softly, and that weird, gorgeous hair bristled under his fingertips.
Anderson leaned so slightly into his touch. "You seem the honest-to-a-fault type." The warmth of his words ghosted over Adam's lips, and there was no trepidation in them.
"Maybe, but I'm not stupid. And I'm not that type of person."
"No," he agreed, "you're not."
Then Anderson slid his hand over Adam's shoulder, fucking annihilating the crumbling barrier, and at that very second Adam kissed him.
He tasted like bourbon, and Adam sort of wished they'd been drinking something else, but that was okay because Anderson was kissing back, pressing into him, pushing his tongue into his mouth, dragging his hands down Adam's back.
Adam pushed him onto the bed and straddled his lap, legs hooked over Anderson's hips, arms coiled around his neck, hands in his hair as he forced the kiss deeper and longer.
This was so not enough.
He stopped and tugged his shirt off with fluid ease--the hotel room air couldn't touch him.
"So," Adam breathed, "this workin' for you?"
Anderson returned his grin as he unbuttoned his own shirt and shrugged it off. "...I'll manage."
Adam stared. He'd felt the hard muscle under his shirt, yeah, but holy god was this guy cut. If he hadn't been smaller than Adam he would have felt self-conscious; instead all he could see was sinewy shoulders and smooth muscle and pale skin and it was just hot as fuck.
Adam kissed him again, close and languid, let his hands explore, felt his whole body flare up at the contact. He felt Anderson's hands set on his cheek and hips, and when they pulled apart again Anderson looked down in bemused wonder at his fingertips, now smeared in TV-ready eyeliner.
Adam laughed. "You don't fuck guys like me often, do you?"
That hand on Adam's hip clenched. "You could say that."
Adam ran his tongue slowly along Anderson's teeth and said, "I'm breaking pattern for you, too."
"I'm flattered," Anderson said, then unzipped his pants, and Adam got the hint. If he wasn't hard already, Adam's careful, teasing strokes would do the trick.
And when Anderson did the same he'd find no need--Adam was so on the way there, but the cool hand on his dick still saw stars behind his eyes and a wrenched cry from his throat.
Adam grabbed Anderson's jaw hungrily and sealed their mouths together, pulling, sucking the air from Anderson' lungs and savoring the sound of his own heartbeat pounding in his head until neither could stand it anymore. Adam grinned breathlessly as Anderson stared at him, lightheaded and face flushed and breathing so hard.
Anderson was good at this, but Adam had been at it barely ten years and he was better; he felt a shameless swell of pride at that.
He was so much harder now, so was Anderson, and he just rode him, grinding his dick over Anderson's through waves of heat and stifled groans and way too much fabric.
He was so done with those pants.
Adam disentangled himself from Anderson's lap and practically ripped the fucking things off him, letting Anderson kick them off while he kneeled on the floor and devoured the sight.
"Let me take care of you," Adam whispered, and with only a second's hesitation Anderson lay back on the bed, legs dangling off the bed and arms splayed around his head but gazing down at Adam.
Anderson was rock-hard now, practically shaking in anticipation, so Adam couldn't help but suggest his breath over his cock.
Anderson groaned. "Oh my god, just--"
And Adam did--slow, tantalizing swirls of his tongue, but getting faster, firmer, broader until he finally swallowed almost the whole length of his dick, and his mouth was fucking magic and he knew it, so he wasn't surprised when Anderson's hands clenched in his hair, trying to force him deeper, faster.
Adam gently tugged Anderson's wrists from his hair and pushed them flat against the bed. "I'm in charge right now," he said.
"Bossy," Anderson grinned, but his voice was getting rough. Adam didn't answer, just dragged his lower lip over delicate skin.
Another minute of it and Anderson's hips were wrenching, jerking as Adam wrested every ounce of self-control Anderson thought he had from his body. His hands were back in Adam's hair, but he let them stay this time, let him practically facefuck him, and just drank in his excruciating moans.
"Stop, stopstopstop," he stammered, "top left drawer."
Adam wiped at his mouth and grinned like a cat. Anderson was clutching at his head, eyes clenched shut trying to come back down, and it was gorgeous. Within maybe five seconds Adam's pants were off the rest of the way, and he was so ready.
"Top or bottom?"
Anderson shook his head, the desperation evident on his face. "Christ, I don't care."
Adam's grin only grew. He was gonna fuck an older man into oblivion.
In moments the condom was on and he was prepped--one finger, two finger, three, Anderson all legs bent and still flat on his back and probably gonna stay that way with all the delicious writhing he was doing. Adam climbed back over his body, reveling in this flushed, out-of-control face staring up at him.
He grinned breathlessly, stopped completely. "You good?" Anderson fixed him with the best glare he could, and Adam kissed him a last time, giving him that necessary moment. "You're good."
Then he pushed in, as much as he could which wasn't enough, and the heat and tightness that gripped him stole his breath. "Ohgod fuck." Anderson swore something similar, and he pulled out and tried again, deeper, felt legs wrap around his waist, deeper, gripped Anderson's hips, there we go. He stayed like that for a second, fighting the overwhelming heat in his chest and around his dick, then pulled out and did it again.
Adam's thrusts were slow, languorous, and Anderson pushed back deliberately, gripping his arms and making amazing sounds in the back of his throat with every second deeper. It was still so fucking tight, and Adam buried his face in Anderson's neck, breathing hard, and once he caught his breath and thought he was ready, whispered into Anderson's ear: "'S'your network know you have the best ass on the fucking planet?"
Anderson laughed through hitched breath. "Don't see..." he struggled, "why they'd care."
Adam nipped at his throat, his thrusts picking up a little. "I don't know," he said, sitting up as Anderson lifted his hips, arched his back, took his dick deeper. "...It's pretty damn newsworthy to me."
Anderson grunted and followed him up, clutching him close, breathing hard against him. He pulled Adam back, back, back until Anderson was up against the headboard, and let him push in again, faster, even faster. Anderson's head rolled back and hit the headboard with a groan and Adam knew he'd hit the sweet spot.
He bit the flushed, sticky skin at Anderson's collarbone and paused in movement, letting himself be buried deep inside him, the heat overwhelming, bucking his hips in short little jerks to hit that spot over and over and over.
Anderson's mouth fell open in choked gasps, fingers tearing at Adam's hair and locking his arms and legs so tight around him. He finally managed to mumble something that sounded like, "behind," or "mine," but it didn't matter because he'd pulled off and faced away, kneeling on the bed, legs spread, and Adam practically crushed Anderson's hips and ass onto his cock.
Anderson gripped the top of the headboard like it was the only thing keeping him afloat, and god that was so hot, that he was doing this to him, fucking him to the edge of the earth, and Adam worked as hard as he ever had in his life.
But he was getting close now, a mess of hard thrusts and stuttered grunts and that goddamn almost-itch he was so ready to scratch.
A quick reach-around, several long, steady strokes and Anderson was done. He twitched, tightened, spasmed, moaned, swore, and Adam thrust through clenched teeth and beading sweat as Anderson rode it out, and finally Adam cried, "Oh god, Andy!" and went blind and died of heatstroke and all that other shit fucking amazing orgasms feel like.
Adam lay there on top of him for a long moment, boneless, struggling to catch his breath, drenched in sweat, and still reeling from the aftershocks. With the last of his energy he rolled over, peeled off the condom, knotted it and tossed it aside.
Anderson had slumped face down on the bed and hadn't moved. Sweat beaded over those well-toned, now well-fucked muscles and Adam felt like king of the world.
"God, you..." Anderson finally managed, slurring into the mattress.
Adam stared up at the ceiling with unfocused eyes. "I know, right?" he grinned.
What felt like hours but was probably only minutes later, Anderson finally got up.
"I have a flight in four hours; I need to shower and pack," he said, grabbing a towel from the room closet. When Adam didn't move, Anderson threw the towel at him and smiled. "You coming?"
His number was in Adam's phone, but they hadn't talked much. They were both so busy, and bicoastal, it wasn't a surprise.
Austin was doing better, getting back to some semblance of normalcy despite the property damage.
Nothing really changed, except...
Adam always caught the news.
* * *