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A Picture is a Thousand Lies

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thousand lies banner by faith_mars

Part 1: A Wish That Should Never Come True

 

XS Nightclub
Encore Las Vegas
January 2011

 

Surrounded by 350 of his “closest” friends who came to Vegas to help him celebrate his 29th birthday, Adam Lambert was the glam prince of his domain. The music was his, it was loud and it was hot, the bodies on the dance floor were even hotter, pressing against him, celebrating life and beauty and love and sex and fame – all of the things that Adam represented.

It was his best birthday party yet.

The blond haired twink grinding against him tasted like cherry lip gloss. He was thin and short and fit perfectly against him, his bubble butt rubbing against Adam’s cock, hard and full and trapped deliciously under his tight leather pants. Adam closed his eyes, letting it all move through him. He moaned when the twink turned, clinging to him, his lips pressed against Adam’s neck, a hot tongue flicking against his pulse. Adam wrapped his arms around him and smiled, looking down into the slitted eyes staring up at him like he was a god.

Adam wished that he was the kind of guy that could take an anonymous fuck into the back room or the rest room and be selfish and get off in a willing mouth or willing ass. Maybe a few years ago he would’ve taken whatever was on offer, but now, it just left him bored and a little paranoid that the Twink of the Moment would sell him out. It might make his nights less lonely and he wouldn’t be in a hot club on his birthday without a date, but it was only instant gratification. He liked having fun, but he liked sharing the fun and going home with someone who knew him and wanted him, not Adam Lambert. No one wanted to believe that he was the greatest illusionist of his time, that he knew how to sell the sex god Adam Lambert image. And they all bought into it, along with his music; it was a legacy that Adam created and now was not the time to have regrets.

No regrets. Right. But he was tired of one night stands and indiscreet boys bragging about what Adam was like in bed. He was tired of being the darling of the paparazzi and seeing his relationships die on the tabloids before Adam even knew that it was over. He didn’t want to measure his life by the endless twink parade and he was so over being used. He was 29-years old now, he should be smarter than this; he should be able to have what he wanted.

“Come on, baby, take me upstairs. You got like a penthouse suite or something, right?” The twink husked at him, licking at Adam’s mouth. “We could order room service. You could pour Cristal all over me and lick it off. I’ll make it so good for you.”

Adam laughed, tucking his hands against the boy’s hips and holding him back slightly. “Thank you, but tonight’s not your night, honey.”

“It could be yours, though. Come on, Adam, you’re going to turn me down?” The boy had the nerve to say, smirking up at him. Of course he knew that Adam liked his boys younger and smaller. Who didn’t know? Unfortunately, that was all they knew.

“You’re gorgeous, but I’m not that easy,” he said, keeping it light. Adam never did a hard rejection – he knew what that felt like.

“You’re not getting any younger, baby.”

Adam pursed his lips and shook his head, really kind of taken aback by the insult. And it stung in all the right places. He gazed at the boy and gave him the ‘fuck off’ smirk that he saved for times like this. Adam wasn’t noble; he made sure it hurt right the fuck back.

“You mean, you’re not getting any younger, sweetheart,” he said, tartly. “There will always be younger boys than you in my life, no matter how old I am. Good bye, baby, thanks for the dance.”

He smiled and pressed a soft kiss on the boy’s lips. He pulled away before the boy could slip his tongue into Adam’s mouth or realize his mistake and try to grab Adam’s arm, try to pull him back. And with a wink, Adam moved away, letting the throb of the bodies surrounding him carry him from the twink.

“Your fucking loss, you old queen!”

Adam laughed throatily, throwing back his head and hiding his hurt. He leaned against the people surrounding him, sliding his eyes at the obnoxious little ass. Feeling mean, he called out:

“What are you doing at my party? I don’t even know you. Who the fuck let you in the door? It’s a private party. I’m going to complain to the manager about the quality of people that they let in. I’ll never have another fucking party here again if they let in the wannabes!”

He laughed again when the other pretty boys around them laughed at the twink, waving at the guy to get out of the club.

Fuck being nice. He was getting very fucking pissed about these kids making fun of his age. And if one more little shit said anything about him getting old, Adam wasn’t going to keep his mouth shut. He had a reputation as a diva with a temper to match and Adam wasn’t above using it to make a point.

“Bye bye blackbird,” Adam sang, waving his hand at the twink and turning his back on him.

And another would just take his place.

It would be different if they wanted to date him; but who was he kidding, none of them cared to get to know him and if they did, most of them just wanted to get to know him for his name and money and connections. And Adam was realistic and vain enough to know that the boys came after him with the predatory skills of a pro because he presented a big challenge for them – he was the ultimate trophy. But Adam was 29-years old tonight and he’d only get older while they would always be younger and lovelier and perfect. No amount of money or fame equaled being young and perfect. And though he loved all the trappings that came with being “Adam Lambert,” he sometimes thought that he’d trade it all in to be perfect forever.

He felt slick and beautiful bodies pressing against him and Adam closed his eyes, letting himself believe for just a few minutes on the dance floor that he was like them, just in that moment, timeless and forever.

***

He sprawled along the cushioned bench on the 2nd level private cabanas overlooking the outdoor pool. He watched as naked men splashed around in the water, smiling up the guests and luring some of the drunk or the bold into the waters with them. The club had gone all out for this party and he was duly impressed by all of the great service. Adam smiled, drunk on a dozen cocktails, half listening to his friends as they gossiped about the other guests or talked about Adam’s next album and tour.

“Hmmm, baby, great party,” Brad Bell said, squeezing against him on the seat and stealing a sip of his drink.

Adam kissed his temple and pulled him closer. Brad was his first love and he was fearless and individualistic and self-involved. But he was also street smart and generous and taught Adam about self-acceptance and seeing the world as something beautiful. Brad was definitely a man who lived by his own rules and beat his own drum. But, all of the things that he loved about Brad were what broke them up. Where Brad was adventure and excitement, Adam was family and security. He thought he was enough for Brad; but he could never say that Brad wasn’t honest because Brad was always clear that he didn’t do white picket fences and he didn’t do monogamy. When Adam’s career skyrocketed overnight, Brad kept him grounded and enjoyed the perks of being in Adam’s inner circle.

“Are you having a good time?” He said, grinning fondly at the smaller man, who was wearing body glitter and not much else.

“Your parties get better with every million you make, baby,” he said, teasingly.

But Adam thought he heard a hint of something else in Brad’s voice, something mocking and ugly and hurtful. The past couple of years were starting to put a strain on their friendship and Adam wasn’t sure if it was because of the demands of his career or something else – something he didn’t want to name because he needed to believe Brad was there as his friend and not along for a free ride.

Adam smiled, hiding his uncertainty, keeping his eyes on Brad. “You always benefit from attending one of my parties.”

“Of course I do, honey, I never said that I wasn’t an opportunist. You knew I was a total attention whore when you first met me – it was how I caught your eye.” Brad said, snickering. “Happy 29th, baby, you look good for your age. Next year, you’re officially too old for WeHo.”

“Thirty isn’t old, Brad.” He said, rolling his eyes. He pouted slightly to show that he was hurt and that he wanted Brad to quit while he was ahead. “Anyway, a person’s age isn’t important—“

“Thirty is too old to be chasing twinks who only want you anyway because you’re rich and famous. You’re going to end up being some boy’s trophy daddy.”

Adam frowned, all the good feeling of the festivities evaporating and leaving him cold. He couldn’t deny that that was one of his fears and to hear Brad say it like it wasn’t something Adam was afraid of…it pissed him off. He glared at Brad, sitting up and pulling away from him. “What?”

“Oh, come on, we used to always make fun of those old guys who’d come to the clubs, way past their expiration date, to look at all the pretty boys and wish they could still play – not that they could before, but you know, fantasies and all that,” Brad said, laughing throatily. “You seriously don’t want to become one of them.”

“I’ll never be one of them.”

“Once you hit thirty, you’ll be too old for the scene. You’ll have to give up club music and do ballads and emo crap. Not to mention the fact that you don’t want to lose your only asset with all those high notes that you hit.”

“What are you talking about?” He said, his voice low, the warning clear in his tone.

Brad turned and fluttered his eyelashes, giving Adam a coy smile, his hand stroking Adam’s arm. “You know I’m only being honest. I promised to always let you know when you started to fade.”

“Fade?” He said, angrily. He jerked his arm from Brad and pushed him roughly off of him. He saw Brad’s expression change from mocking to wariness and Adam narrowed his eyes, glaring at him. “Maybe you should be careful what you say to me. You’re not that far from hitting thirty either and what do you have to fall back on but me, Brad? Hasn’t anyone ever told you not to bite the hand that feeds you? Because I’m going to get sick of being fucking bitten.”

“Are you serious?” Brad said, softly.

“I’m so sick of hearing everyone talk about how old I fucking am,” Adam hissed at him, looking away.

“Adam, you know I was just kidding, right? I know you’re sensitive about your age and—“

“Of all the people here tonight, I would’ve thought that you’d at least have my back. If you know I’m sensitive about my age, then why the fuck are you talking about it?”

“God, Adam, I’m sorry—“

“I don’t want to hear it.” He turned to look at the people sitting around him, all of them watching him intently, their eyes predatory, probably trying to gauge just how far Brad had fallen out of favor and which one of them would replace him. “Guys, I want to—“

“Adam!“

“Get. Off.” He said, glaring at Brad and staring him down. He turned away when Brad just looked at him owlishly, moving so that he was half turned away from Brad. He leaned forward to the group of people sitting with him and put on a stunningly beautiful smile. “I want to go back inside, someone go grab a booth for me.”

He watched as several people scurried off, waving to him as they said that they’d find a booth right by the dance floor. Adam laughed and stood, putting his arm around Tommy’s shoulders, pulling the blond closer and nuzzling his neck as they walked into the club.

He didn’t see Brad the rest of the night.

***

Adam Lambert Residence
West Hollywood
February 2011

 

Being back in LA meant being back on a grueling work schedule, even though he was on break from touring and promotion. Seriously, Adam thought he needed a vacation, to get away from everything and everyone. He was still feeling stung and pissed off at Brad and refused to take any of his calls or text messages in the past four days since they came back from Vegas. They did this every few months – snipe and bark at each other, air their dirty laundry – and Adam would go over to Brad’s loft and they’d apologize and forgive each other again and again, water under the bridge until the next time. It was the same variation of the same theme.

He ran his spoon through the bland low carb breakfast oatmeal that his trainer put him on and made a face as he looked at the small notebook on the marble counter, taking notes on the things that Lane needed for him to do.

“—and I’m sending a courier with all the invitations that you’ve received while you’ve been on the road,” Lane said, her voice coming through clear on his speaker phone. “Sixteen bags of your fan mail went to your fan club team and they’ll go through all the gifts and cards and send you the ones that might be interesting for you.”

They stopped sending Adam his fan mail directly, especially when a few of the letters included death threats to him and to his family, derogatory messages, hate mail, letters begging him to give money, really obsessive pronouncements of love and adoration, lurid letters, and inappropriate gifts. Adam loved his fans, but he drew the line when it made him uncomfortable being around them. He knew that his fan club team always sent a batch of the letters to the FBI in case anything happened. Adam was prepared for all the craziness of fame, but some nights it scared him to his core that someone would get close enough to hurt him or someone he loved.

“Thanks,” he said, smiling. He knew his fan club team would forward the mail that rang true; and he loved reading the cards and letters from his fans. Some of them made him cry and he wanted to just go find these kids and tell them personally that life got a whole hell of a lot better because he was living proof that dreams did come true. “What else is on my schedule for the next three months?”

“You want me to start booking meetings with songwriters and producers?”

“Actually, I’d like to have some time off, Lane, if you can manage it.”

“How much time off?”

He sighed, drumming his hands on his kitchen counter. “About a month?”

“Adam, is everything okay?”

When he first started, people always told him to work with people who cared about Adam as a person, not just as a product. When he met Lane, she was young and energetic, just starting out in the business and didn’t really know a lot about what they needed to do. They were both blindsided by a lot of it, but Adam always trusted her and that was what mattered more in the end. Over the years, they became business partners and close friends and he respected her for all the things that she juggled in his professional and sometimes personal life.

“Mmmm,” he murmured, shrugging to himself. “Just getting a little burned out. I want a few weeks off to…I don’t know, wake up in my own bed and not have to worry about what to wear or do my hair or drag my ass to a meeting downtown or—“

Lane chuckled. “Okay, I know something must be up if you don’t want to do your hair.”

“Really, nothing’s wrong. I’m good, Lane. I just want to see my friends and not think about, you know, everything.” He said, smiling at the sound of her laugh.

He could hear Lane breathing through the phone, measuring what she would say to him. “That’s a lot of downtime, but okay, I can move some things around and reschedule a few TV show appearances and some other press. Can you be up for some phone interviews instead?”

“Sure, I can do them. God, thank you so much, Lane. Seriously.”

“Oh, don’t forget, Simon Cowell is having his annual bash tonight at his house. I already RSVPed for you.”

Adam raised his eyebrows, surprised and deeply pleased. “He invited me to his party? No fucking way.”

Simon Cowell was actually Lord Simon Cowell, allegedly a British royal who fled London and convention to live in LA. He had a castle built on top of the posh Holmby Hills of Bel Air, overlooking the downtown area. According to rumor and speculation, Simon Cowell was a hedonistic misogynist who played games with women to get them to do…unsavory things, and was often heard saying some very derogatory things about people in general.

However, he was also the legal guardian of a beautiful 12-year old Japanese girl named Nika Koyami and he doted on her endlessly; and he lived with a gorgeous guy named Ryan Seacrest, his partner for eight years now. Adam didn’t quite know what to make of Simon, but the reason why people forgave his quirks was due to his influence and connections to the most interesting people in the world. To be invited to Simon’s annual “February Evening” was a sign that he wanted to get to know Adam and maybe even offer him his friendship.

Lane chuckled. “Yes, super star, he noticed you so go and have fun.”

Adam stood up and patted his hair. “Ohmygod, Lane, what am I going to wear?”

He heard Lane giggling and could imagine her rolling her eyes at him. “Well, just wear something conservative. You know that Simon hates pretentiousness. You might want to just show up wearing jeans and a black tee-shirt.”

Adam made a face. “God, no, I wouldn’t be caught outside my house in something so boring.”

“Anyway, have fun, meet lots of interesting people,” she said, kind of fondly. He smiled, loving her just a little bit more for that. “Call me if you need anything, okay?”

“I will. Thanks, Lane.”

Adam ended the call and then ran up to his bedroom, turning on the lights and opening the doors to his walk-in closet. He crossed his arms and paced back and forth, wondering what would be appropriate. It was true that Simon didn’t care for pretentiousness or people who put on faked fancy airs or whatever. For all of his callousness, Simon was a down-to-earth guy who spoke his mind. Maybe jeans and a tee-shirt was actually a good idea. He went through his tee-shirt collection, wondering which one would actually make the cut.

***

Simon Cowell Residence
Holmby Hills

 

It wasn’t so much a castle but a French palace.

“Jesus Christ,” Adam murmured, staring out the window as the car moved down the white marble driveway and onto an open driveway that looked like it could hold 100 vehicles – maybe even a couple of houses. “Do you believe this?”

The driver laughed. “Never seen anything like it before. Kind of looks like something out of a goth horror movie.”

“Ohmygod, yes, exactly!”

The car pulled up to the front of the house, a team of sharply dressed valets and security were ready to escort Adam inside. They checked his name on the list and opened the doors to the kingdom for him. Adam bit his lip, smiling as he walked inside, his eyes going everywhere like a kid in a candy store.

Simon had a deep, hearty laugh and he walked towards Adam, dressed in a black V-neck cashmere sweater and jeans, his hand held out to him. “Ahh, Adam, I’m so glad you made it.”

“Thank you for the invitation, Lord Cowell.”

“Nevermind that nonsense, just call me Simon,” the older, distinguished man said, clapping Adam on the back. “Now come along, I have some people I want you to meet. You know, my boy, I’ve been following your career and I must say, I’m very interested to see what you are going to do with it.”

“Thanks, Simon,” he said, smiling. “I’m interested to see what I do with it, too.”

Simon laughed, cheerfully, leading him into the living room where about a dozen people turned to look at him. He leaned towards Adam’s ear and whispered, “welcome to the lion’s den. Do try not to get eaten alive.”

And the way that the people in the room turned to look at him, their eyes moving over him in the same way that he’d seen twinks look him over, Adam felt like he was fresh meat.

He was glad to see that everyone was dressed down, like they were staying in for the night, not like they were at an exclusive party hosted by the notorious Lord Simon Cowell.

Simon took him around the room, introducing Adam to the other guests. He wasn’t surprised to meet the president of a major movie studio, a handful of famous actors and actresses, and artists. It was the usual LA crowd. But he was surprised to meet, well, non-celebrity types: a real estate agent, a museum research intern, and a surfer. Simon seemed to take pride in “discovering” interesting people and putting them together in the same room. Adam laughed, enjoying the attention, but cautious all the same. He fielded questions about his music career. He admitted that he was interested in trying acting again, having started out in theater, but that he wasn’t actively seeking work. He joked about his tabloid life and found common ground with many of the others who were tabloid fodder as well. It was…deceptively non-threatening.

Simon’s partner, Ryan, sat beside him and gave him a friendly look. He looked to be just a few years older than Adam. He was tall, blue eyed, with sun bleached blond hair, and a sunkissed tan that made Adam a little jealous. He looked like the typical Californian – healthy and full of life, laugh lines around his eyes.

“You’re not what we were expecting.” He said, with a touch of a southern accent. Adam heard that Ryan was originally from Georgia. Well, he certainly was a peach.

Adam laughed. “To be honest, this wasn’t what I was expecting.”

“Oh, you mean you were expecting to swing from the chandeliers? That’s next month,” Ryan said, raising his eyebrow. “I’m sure you’ll get an invitation. Simon likes having you here.” He leaned in closer, lowering his voice. “He’s not quite as taken by some of the others though. It’s more of a social experiment than anything else.”

He felt his defenses going up. “What do you mean?”

“Simon loves to play games, as I’m sure you’ve heard, and most of it is true,” Ryan said, frankly. He gestured with his glass at the other people in the room. “You see, they all curry his favor, in one way or another, and Simon finds that people will do almost anything…for a price.”

Adam sipped his drink. “I’m not sure how I feel about being invited here then.”

“You don’t have to worry. You’re the only person here tonight who hasn’t hit up on Simon for something. So that makes you a small mystery to me, Adam. It makes me wonder why you’re here.”

“Part curiosity,” he said, smiling.

“And the other part?”

Adam grinned, meeting Ryan’s eyes. “You’ll have to figure that out, won’t you?”

Ryan laughed, patting his back. “Sure, Simon could help you with your career, but why would you need it? I don’t think you do. So what is it that you really want?”

Adam looked at the carpet and snorted to himself. “Such a philosophical question for a Hollywood cocktail party.” He looked over at the handsome man. “What do you want from me?”

He watched as Ryan stared at him, giving him a long and thoughtful look. “Simon always said that there was more to you than this.” He waved his hand at Adam. “I admit that I’m a little jaded by all the people that we’ve met over the years to believe in that; but I think you’re going to prove me wrong.” He leaned closer again and Adam smelled his musky cologne, felt his warm breath against his neck. “It’s going to be delicious to find out who you really are.”

***

Like every other kind of LA party that Adam attended, he ultimately got a little bored, but it was too early to leave without being rude to the hosts or the other guests. Despite what Ryan said, Adam understood that Simon’s influence could help him with the things that he wanted for his career – and Adam did have big plans. He wasn’t just interested in a music career; he wanted to try his hand in everything possible. But he was unnerved by the “price” that he’d have to pay to play; early in his career, Adam had jumped through various hoops until he got to a position where he was the ringmaster now. Adam didn’t jump anymore and he wasn’t sure he would if Simon asked.

And that was the real test here. He was sure of it.

But the elbow-rubbing was boring. Even in the relaxed atmosphere of Simon’s home, he knew that they wanted a performance and it was more important to get that performance right, here, than if he were on a stage in front of ten thousand fans. It was exhausting; like Adam didn’t do enough of that already. So he snuck away, just for a little while, until he felt like he could go back and put on his game face.

Adam sipped his champagne, a little buzzed, wandering through the opulent hallways, kind of lost but uncaring because Ryan gave him the run of the house. He looked at the ornate wood work on the walls, the marble statues, priceless paintings, and the ancient weaponry along the walls. He grinned, standing in front of an old, tarnished suit of armor, wanting to lift the face guard to see if there might be a ghost hiding under there.

He walked down the hallway and saw one of the doors slightly ajar. He paused and peeked in, looking into the room. It looked like some kind of memorabilia room. Adam peered around the edge of the door to see a young man looking up at something on the wall.

There wasn’t anything in particular that made the man stand out – he wasn’t very tall, had a mop of unruly dark brown hair, brown eyes, a cute button nose – but Adam couldn’t stop looking at him. There was something untarnished about the young man; like he didn’t quite belong in LA. He let his eyes move down the slim build, grimacing at the ugly turquoise and red plaid shirt – Christ, was he colorblind or something? – old jeans that were well fitting, the hint of a curve of what was probably a perfectly pert ass, to the battered black sneakers.

Okay, so the young man was totally Adam’s type. He quirked his lips into a half smile as he took his time looking over the unknown young man—

The unknown young man who was now staring at Adam.

“Oh,” Adam said, standing back, caught. He blushed slightly as the young man opened the door, gazing up at him. “Hi.”

“Hi,” he said, his voice low and soft with a bit of a southern twang. It was obvious that living in LA hadn’t softened the accent and Adam was pleased to hear it. “Were you…”

“I was just giving myself a tour and got turned around,” Adam said, smiling, and gestured the hallway with his champagne glass. “And I saw that the door was opened and…”

“And you were checking me out?” He said, his crooked smile and wide brown eyes showing his amusement. Adam wanted to hug him. “Come on in. This is one of my favorite rooms in the house.”

“Thanks,” he said, following the other man into the room. “I’m Adam.”

The man grinned, shaking his hand. “Kris.”

“Kris,” Adam murmured, feeling the firm grip of Kris’s smaller hand. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“Likewise,” he drawled, raising his eyebrows slightly.

“So what is this room?”

“I call it Simon’s trophy room,” Kris said, spreading his arms wide, gesturing to the room that was the size of a small ballroom. Every corner, every bit of wall space was filled with something…amazing. “Go ahead, look around. It’s like Simon’s holding a piece of human history in just this one room.”

“You…you’ve been here before?” He said, casually, looking at the photograph of a younger Simon with Jackie Kennedy, their arms around each other, laughing at something off to the side.

“Enough times to know about this room,” Kris said, just as casually.

That made Adam grin and he turned to look at Kris. From meeting all the people at the house tonight, Adam figured out that Simon was a collector. Adam understood why he was invited. He couldn’t figure out why Simon would be interested in Kris. Sure, he was…handsome and boyish, but beyond that, he was utterly non-descript. Adam could admit that if he saw Kris in a Starbucks, he’d think Kris was cute, but he wouldn’t notice much more than that.

He chided himself for being shallow. Of course there was more to Kris; he was in Simon’s house, on the night of his annual party, and obviously had been invited more than once. That alone made Kris interesting.

Kris snickered, rolling his eyes. “Still trying to figure out why I’m here, huh?”

“Do you read minds?” Adam said, laughing to hide his astonishment. He looked at the Platinum album for the Beatles, smiling at the signatures on the album cover insert, and a picture of Simon with them. “Sorry, I don’t mean to insult you or anything.”

He watched as Kris gave a crooked grin, shrugging a shoulder. Adam found it terribly charming and he bit back a grin, looking at Kris.

“Nah, don’t be sorry. I just know from prior experience, is all. Simon always drags me to his parties. He claims that I don’t have enough of a social life and he feels that he owes me some kind of fun time. The people he invites are always interesting, but…” Kris shrugged again, making a face. “I guess I’d wonder why I was here, too, if I were one of them.”

“Is that why you’re hiding out in here?” Adam said, looking at him.

Kris laughed. “I could say the same about you.”

“Maybe I don’t always like being at these parties, too.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” Kris said, laughing up at him. “But I have a hard time believing that.”

Adam took a drink of his champagne. “Don’t believe everything you hear, baby.”

Kris gave a soft chuckle, giving him a sideways look. “Yes, you’re right, you got me there.”

Adam slid his hand across Kris’s back, moving closer to him. He enjoyed the way Kris felt under his palm – warm and strong and unflinching. “So, tell me everything about you.”

It really was a gorgeous thing to see Kris laugh. He tossed back his head, eyes shut, mouth open, laugh lines everywhere. It made him look so open and approachable. Real. Someone that Adam could really like.

“Well, I suppose you get points for trying,” Kris said, his voice full of amusement. Adam noticed that Kris didn’t move away.

He was about to ask how many points it would take to get a date when he came across a series of gorgeous black and white photographs that caught his attention. They were framed in expensive black frames, immaculately matted under the glass. The pictures were of young African children, the dark of their skin so beautifully stark against the over exposed white of their surroundings. It was like the photographer captured a moment of absolute joy in the children’s faces, even though they were dressed in ill-fitting clothes that looked worn and dirty. He set his empty champagne glass on a nearby surface and leaned closer and held his breath, like he could feel what they felt, too.

“Amazing,” Adam murmured, his hand falling from Kris’s back.

“Almost as if it captured the soul, isn’t it?” Simon said, walking into the room.

Adam stood up and turned, smiling at the older man. “This picture…I’ve never seen anything so real. Not like this.”

“It’s hard to believe that the photographer once tried to convince me that his pictures were worthless, just – ohhhh, what was it that he said, Kristopher? Oh yes – just that they were sentimental rubbish from the point of view of a pimply teenager without a Prom date.” Simon said, snickering. Adam raised his eyebrows, totally not getting it. He watched as Simon turned to look at Kris. “I think that was verbatim, don’t you?”

Kris made a face and rolled his eyes. “You have a memory like an elephant.”

“Would you believe that picture was taken by a 16-year old boy?” Simon said, looking at Adam, waiting for him to comment.

“Wow. No way. I mean, not that I know anything about photography, but I know what makes a good picture. I mean, I can recognize how good a photographer’s eye is when I look at pictures of me.”

“It was one of my proudest additions to this room,” Simon continued, putting his hand on Kris’s shoulder. He turned and smiled at Adam. “And I do enjoy a bit of pride at having discovered such genius.”

Kris snorted at him. “I think you’re biased. The kid was just lucky that his dad knew you.”

“I am never biased,” he said, chortling. “I wasn’t biased then and I’m not biased now. I always knew that the boy who took that photograph would grow into his magical talents and become the world-class photographer that he is now.”

Adam watched as Kris’s face flushed a rosy pink. He ducked his head and scratched at the back of his neck. He grinned, flicking his eyes up at Simon and shaking his head. Simon placed his hand on Kris’s shoulder, shaking him gently. Adam watched the easy affection between Kris and Simon and wondered how they knew each other; if they were lovers. There was more than just friendship there; something close. Intimate.

He looked at the photograph and then looked at Kris. “You took these pictures.”

Kris shrugged and nodded. “Yeah.”

“Adam, I’d like for you to meet Kristopher Allen.“

“Kristopher Allen! Ohmygod, why didn’t you say something?” Adam said, looking at him. Kristopher Allen was a world-class photographer, the kind who was in the same league as Annie Lebowitz, Herb Ritts, Mario Testino, or Patrick Demarchelier – maybe even a step above them. But those photographers spent their lifetime gaining fame for their work and Kris was…he was unexpected.

“Simon tends to exaggerate,” Kris said, warmly.

“No, Simon’s right, you are a genius,” Adam said to him, smiling slightly.

“Thank you.” Kris said, meeting Adam’s eyes.

Simon chuckled. “You should invite Adam to your new studio and show him your gallery. Maybe Adam could sit for you as well.”

“Oh, that would be…I couldn’t impose,” Adam stumbled, looking wide-eyed at Kris. The vain rock star diva in him wanted to have Kris photograph him.

But Kris merely chuckled and looked up at him. Adam felt like he could see too much. “I like your face, the angles, the way that the light hits your eyes and cheeks.”

Adam smiled but looked away, a little unnerved by the way that Kris stared at him, seeing all of Adam’s flaws. He jumped slightly when Kris reached up, his fingers under Adam’s chin, raising his face slightly.

“You’re real photogenic. Great smile. Gorgeous eyes. You should come by my studio and let me see you, the real you,” he murmured, softly, a hint of curiosity in his voice.

Adam blushed slightly but nodded. “Thanks. I’d love to.” He looked at Simon and then at Kris. “Why is it that I’ve never seen a picture of you? I always thought Kris Allen was older.”

Kris rolled his eyes. “I stay out of the way of other people’s cameras.”

“Kristopher is camera shy,” Simon said, chuckling.

“There’s an old Chinese saying that a photograph steals a piece of your soul,” Kris said, gazing up at Adam. “Maybe I’m just a little superstitious.”

Adam barked out a laugh. “God, I hope not. With all the pictures of me that the paparazzi have taken over the years, I’d be pretty soulless by now.”

“Well, then, all the easier to turn you to the darkside,” Simon said, looking at him with interest. “So, I’m glad that the two of you have met. I seem to have interrupted something so I will graciously take my leave to tend to my other guests.”

Adam stared at Simon, letting out a soft laugh when Simon winked at him and wiggled his eyebrows at Kris. He turned and gave Kris a long look. “Not very subtle, is he?”

Kris shrugged. “Well, you checking me out was kind of a dead giveaway.”

“You’re not very star struck by me.”

“Do you want me to be?”

“No! No,” Adam said, quickly, shaking his head. Kris gave him an amused glance, tucking his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “No, I mean…wow, when did I get so bad at this? What I’m trying to say is that I’d like to take you to dinner tomorrow night and get to know you.”

“Hmmm. How about if we meet up for coffee and see how it goes?”

“Yes, whatever you want.” He kept the disappointment off his face and promised himself that he’d charm Kris into a real date with him.

Kris smiled, his face boyishly handsome. “One stipulation: It has to be private. No paparazzi. I don’t want to see my face on some tabloid thing.”

Adam laughed. “Okay, but that’s kind of impossible if we’re going to have coffee in LA.”

“I know a place,” Kris murmured, lips pursing slightly. “And if coffee goes well, how would you like to go to Paris with me? I’m doing a photo shoot for Madame Sarkozy in two days.”

Adam blinked at him. “Carla Bruni-Sarkozy? The French First Lady! Wait – you’re going to take me to Paris on a date?”

“Play your cards right, sure,” Kris said, smirking up at him. “Plus, you’re tall. You can help me adjust the lights.”

*****

Japanese Garden
The Tea House
Van Nuys

 

The Japanese Garden & Tea House was a spectacular spot, hidden away like an oasis within an unrelentingly urbane city, full of calm and quiet. They took a table in the corner and Kris ordered them green tea.

“So how do you know Simon?”

Kris used the bamboo whisk, swirling the green tea powder into the large ceramic bowls. “He’s sort of my Godfather.”

“Your ‘sort of’ Godfather?”

Kris grinned, looking up at him. “He’s an old friend of my dad’s. The story goes that when my dad was attending a gospel retreat in London, he saved Simon’s life and they’ve been friends ever since. We’re not Catholic so he’s not my Godfather in religious terms, but he’s always looked out for me since I was a kid. It’s just easier to call him my Godfather, I guess.”

“And he discovered your photography talent?” Adam said, watching as Kris turned the bowl three times, pushing it across their small table with both hands. “Thank you.”

“It’s a little bitter, if you’ve never had real green tea before,” he said, picking up his bowl with both hands. He flicked his eyes up at Adam and grinned. “It’s an acquired taste.”

Adam copied Kris’s movements and picked up his bowl, smelling the rich, earthy scent of the tea. He sipped it slowly and then made a face. “Wow, that’s…wow…”

Kris laughed, setting his bowl carefully on the table. “I did warn you.”

“Actually, it’s not too bad,” he said, going for a second sip. He made a face at the bitterness and set the bowl down. “Do you think they have Splenda?”

“Sacrilege!”

He watched as Kris leaned back in his chair, a smirk on his face, as he reached into his pocket, pulling out two familiar yellow packets. He tossed them on the table and Adam laughed, biting his lower lip and looking up at Kris. “Ohmygod, thank you.”

Adam picked up one of the packets and tore it open, spilling it into his tea bowl. He picked up the bamboo whisk and stirred it in. With a wide smile, he picked up his tea bowl again and took a sip, letting out an “ahhhhh” as the sweetness cut the bitter flavor of the tea. He set the bowl down and gazed at Kris.

“Do you always carry Splenda in your pockets?”

“What can I say? I’m a Boy Scout,” he said, chuckling and sipping his tea, brown eyes looking up at him over the rim of the bowl.

Adam had no doubt that Kris was a Boy Scout – that Kris was a lot of things. It wasn’t anything obvious, but he knew that there was something sly underneath the boyish and laid back exterior. He swallowed down his sudden lust and took a sip of his tea to distract himself from getting hard.

“So you were going to tell me how Simon discovered you,” he said, getting their conversation back on track.

Kris smiled, swirling the tea in his bowl. “I was fourteen when I went to Mozambique on my first mission trip.”

“Mozambique? That’s amazing.”

“We went over to teach music and reading and math. My mom let me borrow her camera – nothing expensive, just a normal 35mm film camera – to take pictures of my trip so that I’d remember how other people lived.” He grinned, looking up at Adam. “When I got home, my mom found the camera and had the pictures developed. She framed them and put them up in the house, showed all of her friends the pictures.” He chuckled, shaking his head. “Simon was visiting and he saw them, asked me about them. That Christmas, he gave me my first professional camera. I still use it, you know. It’s an Ernst Leitz Lieca camera.”

Adam made a curious face. “I don’t know anything about photography, aside from being in front of the camera.”

“That’s okay,” he said, kindly. “I don’t expect you to know – or care. A Lieca camera is pretty rare and it’s not the favored camera by other photographers. I like that my portraits aren’t digitally perfect, but I know how to use a darkroom to make adjustments to the exposure to make the most perfect exposure possible. I think that’s kind of my niche, you know.”

“So you don’t use a digital camera?”

“Sure I do,” he said, grinning. “I’m not an idiot. I love technology and what it’s done for photography. It’s just that for when I’m in my studio, I prefer to use my Lieca camera. But to be honest, not everyone will photograph well with it though. I don’t really know why. I think it has to do with the angles of an individual’s face.”

“Did you ever go to school to learn about, you know, photography?”

Kris shook his head. “Not really. I mean, I took a class in high school as an elective, but nothing formal.”

“So you’re basically a self-made photographer.”

“To be fair, Simon helped me a great deal. I took my camera with me everywhere, took a million pictures the first few years. Simon was the one who told me to think about a career with my camera. He purchased my first pictures – the ones in his house – and he helped me with my first few gallery shows. After that, I took on odd jobs here and there. It just…kind of happened.” He said, chuckling softly.

“This is where I say something very cheesy, isn’t it?” Adam murmured, grinning at him. “I’d probably say something about your talent and your incredible eye. Maybe I’d even say that it was in the stars or that you were born to do this.”

“Very cheesy,” Kris agreed, laughing softly.

“Well, then I won’t say anything like that then,” he said, looking at Kris.

“Good. I’d hate to see you lose points for being lame.”

Adam widened his eyes and laughed. “Just tell me, am I on the plus side or the minus side so far?”

“So far?” Kris smiled at him and licked his bottom lip. Adam watched the tip of his pink tongue move across his plump flesh. Kris caught him staring and gave him a crooked half smile. “I’d say that…I hope your passport is up to date.”

***

“You’re not going to hold it against me if I didn’t like the green tea?” Adam said, grinning at Kris as they walked around the gardens.

He smiled at Adam, hands tucked into his back pockets. Adam thought he looked so young and unspoiled in that moment. “No, I promise. It’s not to everyone’s liking and you don’t have to pretend for my sake, all right.”

“But I do love it here. I’ve never been here before.”

Kris blinked. “Never? You grew up in California, how could you have missed this?”

“I never had anyone take me here before,” he said, shrugging. “Most of my dates occur in hotspots where we’re seen and photographed. You’re probably the first person I’ve met who didn’t want to be photographed with me and I don’t mean that in a bad way.”

Kris nodded, chewing on his lower lip. “I guess since I’ve been behind the camera and can see what a photograph can do to someone’s life…it’s never been worth it to be in front of one.”

“Speaking of photographs…will you show me your gallery? I’d love to see your work. I’ve seen a lot of it in magazines,” he said, his hand brushing against Kris’s hip. “But it’s not the same as seeing something in a studio, up close and personal.”

He watched as Kris’s lips curled into a smile, stepping closer towards him, tilting his chin up to meet Adam’s gaze. All he would need to do was just lean down and brush his lips across Kris’s mouth.

“Up close and personal, huh?” Kris murmured, his breath warm against Adam’s chin. “You sure you want that? It’s not the same once you get up close and personal. Sometimes, when you look at a picture up close, you see nothing but the flaws; the beauty loses its mystery.”

Adam licked his lips and stared at him. “But sometimes, you only see what’s perfect, right in front of you.”

Kris sniggered, his face flushing slightly. He stepped back and grinned up at Adam, nodding slightly. “See what’s perfect, huh?”

“Too cheesy?” He winced, making a face at himself.

“It’s a good thing for you that I happen to like cheesy.”

*****

Kristopher Allen Studio
Downtown Los Angeles

 

Adam squeezed into the passenger seat of Kris’s blue hybrid, both of them laughing as Adam tried to find a more comfortable position for his legs. He didn’t notice the usual LA traffic or the drive to the studio, his attention completely on Kris as he flipped through various radio stations, eventually giving up to put in a compilation disk of his favorite Beatles songs.

Kris turned onto Wilshire Boulevard and drove into an underground garage of a high rise building and parked his car, leading Adam to the elevators to his 14th floor office space.

“I’ve only been in town for three months,” he said, bouncing on his feet slightly. “I used to have a studio in Manhattan.”

“Why did you move to the west coast?”

“Just needed a change in scenery,” he said, smiling slightly. “Or maybe I just got tired of taking vanity pictures of New York debutantes.”

Adam barked out a laugh. “So you traded that in for Hollywood? I don’t know, Kris, I think you might want to go back to New York.”

The elevator doors opened to a plush hallway, a long row of smoked glass walls down the long hallway. Kristopher Allen Studios was frosted on one length of the glass wall and he pushed the glass double doors into the gallery, looking over his shoulder at Adam. Adam looked around the well lit room, white walls lined with large black and white portraits of familiar celebrity faces, interspersed with smaller frame pictures of unfamiliar faces but no less interesting.

“Kristopher, I thought I told you not to come into the studio today,” a woman’s voice said, a hint of amusement in her tone. “You know what they say about all work and no play.”

Kris laughed and rolled his eyes. “Adam Lambert, this is Katy O’Connell. She keeps me sane.”

“Among other things,” the lovely blonde haired woman said, raising her eyebrow. She reached out her hand and Adam shook it firmly. “Adam, it’s wonderful to meet you.”

“Thanks, it’s nice to meet you.”

He watched as Katy gave him a long look over, her blue eyes moving over his face carefully. She smiled reassuringly and turned to Kris. “Well, since you are already here, why don’t you check your inbox? I can keep Adam company for a little bit.”

“I thought I wasn’t supposed to be working.” She gave him a look and Kris winced and let out a groan. “Adam, do you mind? It won’t take me very long.”

“Go ahead,” he said, smiling. “I’m going to look around.”

“Katy can give you the tour,” he said, walking towards one of the doors at the back of the rom. “Be right back! Katy, don’t tell him any embarrassing stories!”

Adam watched as Kris disappeared and turned to give Katy a wide grin. “Please do tell me embarrassing stories.”

Katy chuckled and took his arm, leading him into the gallery. “Kris and I have been friends since high school and I’ve been working as his manager ever since he opened his first studio. I have a lot of embarrassing stories and I like to share.”

He liked her right away and turned to look at the portraits on the walls. “These are amazing.” Each picture was gorgeous and emotional. He liked that they were different from the professional pictures that were usually sold to magazines. It was as if Kris captured something special – some quality that Adam didn’t know how to name – of each person’s face; in the way that he captured the essence of a person in the eyes.

“They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul,” Adam murmured, staring at the face of an elderly man, his face creased with wrinkles and age spots, but there was still a spark of life in the eyes.

“You should commission Kris to take pictures of you,” she said, looking up at him. “I know he’d love the challenge of getting your eyes right. Very blue eyes are difficult, even with perfect lighting and exposure. I bet that no one has ever captured the true color of your eyes.”

Adam smiled, looking away. “I don’t think it’s my eyes that people want to take pictures of.”

He watched as Katy laughed, shaking her head.

“Okay, you better not have told him anything weird about me,” Kris said, breathlessly, like he had run back to them.

“Really, don’t be a wuss,” Katy said, slapping Kris’s arm lightly. “I’m going to check your booking schedule to see when you can have Adam come in for a sitting.”

Kris nodded quickly. “Yes!” He turned to look up at Adam. “I mean, if you don’t mind – I mean, we can make arrangements to fit your schedule and—“

“Kris, I’ll be here, just tell me when and what time.”

“Okay,” he said, chuckling to himself. “Thanks. Yeah, that works.”

Adam stopped in front of a large picture. It was of Katy. She was laughing, her head turned slightly, eyes closed, her long hair billowing out around her face. He grinned, feeling intense joy from looking at the picture. He turned to see Kris looking at him, a small grin on his lips. Adam wanted nothing more than to just lean down and press his mouth against Kris and suck on that bottom lip.

“I don’t see any pictures of you,” he said, looking around the studio.

Kris shrugged. “I’m not really photogenic and I don’t like having my picture taken. I think the last time I actually sat for a photographer was for my high school yearbook picture – and I don’t think it was all that good.”

“No one’s high school yearbook picture is ever good. I was tall and fat and had red hair,” Adam said, putting his arm around Kris’s shoulders. “I think you’re plenty photogenic. I bet you were cute.”

“I was pretty much a short, shy, skinny kid with a camera.”

They walked back towards Katy’s desk and she picked up her iPad, tapping her fingers on the screen quickly.

“So I can move a couple of appointments around and give you a two hour block on Monday,” she said, looking at Kris, who peered at the screen and nodded to her.

“Hey, you don’t have to move anything around for me.”

Katy and Kris both gave him a look and Adam laughed, raising his hands in the air and giving in gracefully.

“If you give me the name of your assistant, I can make sure that it’s official,” Katy said, smiling brightly.

“Actually,” Adam pulled out his iPhone and opened his calendar. “I’ll put it on my calendar now.”

“Great,” Kris said, clapping his hands. “So, you want to see the rest of the studio?”

“Yeah, I really kind of do,” he said, nodding.

“Katy, we’ll be in the back,” Kris said, pointing his thumb towards the pair of doors.

“Try not to make a mess,” she said, quirking her eyebrow at him.

“Katy!” He said, scandalized. Adam watched as Kris blushed slightly and laughed. He exchanged a look with Katy and wiggled his eyebrows as Kris took his hand, leading him towards the small hallway past the studio.

“That’s my office; Katy’s office,” Kris said, pointing to a set of doors. “This is the studio space.”

They walked into a large white room with high ceilings, dozens of different light stands by the wall. There was a discreetly curtained off area – probably for changing – professional grade make-up counter and mirrors, and a long row of tables to hold supplies. A simple black stool was in front of a white backdrop. A couple of industrial sized fans were tucked away into a corner. It wasn’t different from any of the studios that Adam visited for his photo shoots.

“Do you only take portraits?”

Kris shrugged. “It depends on the client. I used to do fashion shoots but I just couldn’t stand the drama sometimes. I mean, not all of my clients were difficult, but I’ve had to work with a few personalities that I will never work with again.”

“Naomi Campbell?”

Kris snorted and rolled his eyes. “She threw her cell phone at Katy. I overexposed all of her pictures and told her that we’d sue her if she didn’t pay. I tripled my usual fees and then took Katy out shoe shopping.”

“Seriously, I think I love you.”

“Come on, I’ll show you my real office.”

Kris led him into another room and Adam was surprised to see a blacked out revolving door. “I’ll go first, you follow me, and take one step into the room, okay? It’s dark in there and you might get a little disoriented so take just one step.”

“Yeah.” He watched as Kris stepped into the revolving door, pushing it slowly, and Adam ducked in, pushing the door gently until he was on the other side. He took a step into the pitch black room and stopped. “Kris?”

“Right here,” he murmured, taking Adam’s hand. Adam jumped slightly and Kris’s chuckle was warm and friendly. “I got you. Two steps forward, please.”

Adam fought against his uneasiness, taking two steps and grabbing hold of Kris’s hand. “I know it’s a dark room but I didn’t know that it was going to be this dark. How do you – my eyes aren’t even adjusting. You must have night vision or something.”

“Just used to being in a dark room.” Kris breathed out a soft chuckle and Adam sensed that he was close, feeling the warmth of his body heat on his side. “Two steps to the right. Put your hand out at hip level. You should be able to feel the counter there.”

“Yeah,” he whispered, his fingers touching the edge of the cool surface. It gave him a sense of comfort, of being grounded in the darkness. “Wow.”

He heard the scrap of metal, his hearing on high alert now. The sound startled him, his heart beating faster and seemed so loud in the quiet room.

“There’s a stool right behind you. Here,” Kris said, taking the hand that he was holding and guiding him to feel the stool behind him. “Sit down and just take a second. Your eyes won’t adjustment to the darkness all the way, but you won’t feel like you’re totally blind.”

“This is so weird. I’m…kind of freaking out here.”

“It’s okay, I’m right here.”

Adam sat down gingerly and took a deep breath. His sense of smell was stronger in the darkness – the smell of chemicals, a little bitter, a little sweet. He could hear Kris moving about the room and he turned his head, trying to follow the sound.

“Kris?”

“Right here,” he murmured, just a few feet from his left. “I’m going to turn on a small red light. Close your eyes until I tell you to open them, all right?”

Adam closed his eyes. “Yeah.”

He heard the click and immediately felt that there was light in the room.

“Okay, you can open your eyes now.”

Adam opened his eyes slowly, blinking through the darkness, and let out a soft sigh when he saw the subtle red light coming from a small lamp. He looked around the darkroom to see Kris grinning at him. “Hey, there you are.”

“Didn’t mean to freak you out,” Kris said, walking towards him. “People aren’t used to how black I keep my dark room. It helps me see better when there’s no light or color.”

He smiled, reaching out to take Kris by his arms, pulling him closer until Kris was standing between his legs. “I think I need a little something to keep me from freaking out.”

“Really? What is it that I can give you?” Kris said, playfully, his hands moving over Adam’s shoulders until his fingers were dancing across the back of his neck and into his hair.

“Hmmm…I’m sure you’ll think of something.”

Kris snickered softly but leaned closer, his breath warm on Adam’s cheek as he placed his lips gently on his face. “This?”

“Yes.”

“And maybe this?” Kris moved his lips down his jaw and placed a kiss right where he could feel his five o’clock shadow coming in.

“Mmm-hmmm.”

“I know what you want,” he whispered, slipping his mouth up Adam’s chin, pressing them against his lips. Adam held him by the hips, feeling how slender he was as Kris licked between his lips. He let out a soft sound of approval and Kris chuckled, breathless and shivery, dipping his tongue into Adam’s mouth but darting out before Adam could enjoy it.

“Such a little tease,” Adam said, running his hands up Kris’s back, moving to hold his head still as he deepened the kiss, sliding into Kris’s mouth and tangling with that playful, teasing tongue. Kris made a pleased moan, moving even closer against Adam, feeling hot and firm and wanted.

Kris pulled away from the kiss and Adam chased after his mouth, protesting that it was over. “Well…I guess after that, you’ll have to come to Paris with me.”

“Really?”

His eyes had adjusted a little bit more to the darkness of the room. He could see Kris’s eyes, kind of reddish-brown in the red light from the lamp; it gave him such a devilish look – coy and temptation in his crooked smile.

“Like you had any doubt that I would ask you to go with me.”

Adam grinned and shrugged. “I don’t want to take anything about you for granted.”

“This is going to be some kind of first date,” Kris said, chuckling softly.

Adam could only agree.

*****

Elysee Palace
Paris, France

Adam thought Carla Bruni-Sarkozy was gorgeous. He was used to meeting celebrities and politicians, it came with the job of being a rock star, but he found himself crushing hard on Madame Sarkozy, completely star struck by her beautiful smile and her easygoing manner.

The make up artist put on the finishing touches of her face powder and Adam watched, his own expert eye drawing his attention as Kris strolled around them, taking pictures with his camera.

“I want the pictures to be about me as a woman,” she murmured, looking at Kris through the mirror. “I miss just being Carla.”

“I understand,” Kris said, smiling slightly as he brought the camera to his eye.

Adam watched the way that Kris was so quietly confident and competent with his camera. On the plane ride to Paris, Kris talked about how he wasn’t going to use his digital camera, that he had brought his 35mm film camera for the sessions. It was like Kris instinctively knew what medium was best for his clients.

“May I?” Adam said, holding out his hand to the make up artist for the large cosmetic brush.

“Mais oui.”

Adam tilted Carla’s face and looked at the color palette and selected one that had peach tones. He dipped the brush into the pressed powder and then blew the excess off, dusting along Carla’s high cheekbones, giving her a subtle and natural glow on her cheeks.

“I’m impressed with your eye make up,” she murmured, grinning at him. “Did you do it yourself?”

“Years of practice, sister,” Adam said, chuckling.

He heard the shutter of the camera and looked up to see Kris snapping a series of pictures of them.
Carla turned and looked at Kris. “I would like to have copies of these pictures, Kristopher.”

“Do you want me to just email them to you?”

“Oui.”

“Done,” Adam said, standing back to look at her. “Perfect.”

Carla laughed, her eyes crinkling at the edges. She reached out and stroked her thumb down Adam’s cheek, giving him a fond look. “You are lovely. I can see why Kristopher likes you.”

He smiled, feeling incredibly shy, and snuck a look at Kris. He was watching Adam with a small grin on his lips, nodding his head just slightly in agreement with Carla. It made Adam feel giddy inside. It had been such a long time since he felt safe with someone; that Kris was with him not for his celebrity but because he liked Adam.

He helped her out of the chair and they turned to Kris expectantly.

“I’d like to take a series of pictures in natural light,” he said, cocking his head slightly and looking her over. “This is what you will wear?”

She looked down at her simple white button-down shirt, faded jeans, and gorgeous turquoise silk and beaded slippers. She grinned at him. “This is how I look when I’m at home.”

“Show me your favorite places in the palace,” he said, warmly. “The places that you go to when you want time to yourself, away from everyone.”

Adam refreshed his own make up, giving his face a quick dusting with translucent powder before handing the brush back to the make up artist. They exchanged a smile and he nodded his thanks to her, hurrying off to catch up with Kris and Carla.

He followed slowly behind them, looking around the palace – because he was in a freaking palace – wishing he could stop and take a closer look at some of the gorgeous artwork and tapestries. His booted feet moved silently across the plush carpets, half listening to Kris and Carla speaking softly about the last time Kris visited them. Adam widened his eyes, staring at the back of Kris’s head, wondering again how Kris’s work put him in the path of people like Simon Cowell and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

She led them into a ballroom and she walked to the tall windows overlooking the garden. “This is my favorite spot in the whole palace. In here, I don’t have to worry about the world out there. It’s my little haven.”

Kris looked around the room and began opening the curtains, letting in the sunlight. Adam went to the other row of windows and began opening the curtains, too. In just a moment, the ballroom took on an ethereal rosy glow, the light coming in dancing off the massive chandeliers above them, creating colorful diamonds on the hardwood floor. Kris winked at him and lifted the camera, looking through his viewfinder and turning around the room.

“Adam, would you close the last two curtains, please?”

“Sure,” he said, closing the curtains. The room seemed to light up with a deeper intensity.

“Thanks, that’s much better,” Kris said, looking up at him to give him a smile. He turned to Carla and watched as she leaned against the window, looking at them with her eyes lowered, a small grin on her lips.

“You are together, no?”

Kris blushed slightly. “We’ve only known each other a couple of days.”

Carla raised her eyebrow. “I think perhaps that by the end of the day, you will have a new lover.”

Adam snickered, licking his lips and smiling widely at Kris. He saw the look of want on Kris’s face, his brown eyes looking Adam over.

“You are young and lovely, always so boyish, Kristopher, whenever I see you. If I didn’t know better, I would say that you are immortal,” she said, wistfully. “While all I do is grow older and my beauty fades. Pretty soon, I won’t be worth taking pictures for fashion magazines, only to be mocked for being wrinkled and ugly.”

Adam understood what she meant.

“Your beauty isn’t fading,” Kris said, taking a quick series of pictures with his camera, the shutter snapping multiple times. “Your beauty matures over time, but it doesn’t ever fade away. When I look at pictures of you when you were just starting as a model to the pictures of you now, I much prefer the woman that you’ve grown into.”

Adam hid his smile as Carla clucked her tongue at Kris, her eyes bright with amusement. Simply put, Kris Allen was a silver-tongued devil and Adam was just as enchanted by him as Carla.

“Darling boy,” she purred, smiling at him. “I think I must leave my husband and marry you.”

Kris chuckled, pulling down the camera from his face. “Well, aside from the fact that I like guys, it sounds good to me.”

“I’m sure I have enough access to bedroom toys to keep you happy,” she said, shrewdly. Adam laughed as Kris blushed. “Very well, is that all? I would like to have some pictures taken in the garden.”

***

Adam followed them through the palace to the immaculate and lush gardens in the enclosed area. He spotted several suited guards pacing around the grounds, watching them but giving them privacy. Adam set up the portable lights where Kris needed them, but he looked across at the lawn to see a croquet game set up.

“Do you play, Adam?” Carla said, standing beside him.

“No, I’ve never. I’ve only seen it in movies or pictures.”

She placed her hand on his arm, tugging him gently. “Come, I will teach you how to play. This is a game for ladies and gentlemen.” She gave him a sly look. “But I must warn you that I do not play like a lady.”

Adam threw back his head and laughed, looking over his shoulder at Kris who was busy snapping pictures of them with his camera. He grinned at Adam and nodded, using his eyebrows to tell him to play.

He was surprised to learn that the rules were simple. She gave him the blue ball so that he could go first. “So I just hit the ball through the two hoop thingies?”

“Wickets, darling, they’re called wickets,” she said, amused. “But yes, give it your best shot.”

He felt kind of silly bent over, holding the mallet in his hands and swinging it between his legs. “Don’t you dare take a picture of me doing this, Kris!”

Kris laughed and Adam lifted his head to see Kris grinning behind his camera, the shutter clicking wildly.

“Don’t pay him any attention. Focus on the game,” she said, tartly.

Adam managed to get it through the first wicket and frowned, standing up. “Why didn’t it go further? I hit it hard!”

Carla laughed at him as she hit her ball through the first wicket, hit his ball, and then it went through the second wicket. “I am a gorgeous champion!”

“We’re only at the second wicket!” Adam shouted at her, all semblance of gentlemanly behavior out the window with the way she snickered and taunted him. “No more Mister Nice Guy, Madame!”

“As you Americans say, bring it on,” she cackled, twirling her mallet with arrogant malice. “It is also still my turn and I am going to give your ball a whack!”

Kris snorted as he walked towards Adam. “Don’t feel bad. You didn’t know she was going to be such a croquet shark.”

Adam made a moue of his lips and then glared at Kris when he heard the camera shutter. “You did not just take a picture of me pouting!”

“I think I did,” Kris said, dancing away when Adam tried to grab his camera. “No touching the camera, dude!”

He watched as Carla slammed his ball way across the other side of the lawn. “WHY!”

“Because I always win,” she said, sweetly. “Your turn.”

***

“I’ll send the proofs to you in a couple of days,” Kris said as Carla led them to the private entrance, the Rolls Royce waiting to take them back to their hotel.

“I’m sure it will be lovely. Only you can make me look like a real woman,” she said, kissing his cheeks. She turned to Adam and lifted to her toes, kissing his cheeks. “And you must take very good care of our Kristopher.”

“I promise,” he said, quietly.

Kris handed over his cases to the driver and waited for Adam at the car door, slipping into the back seat and moving over to make room for him.

“Merci, Madame,” Kris called, waving to her.

“It was lovely to meet you,” Adam said, smiling at her.

“You are most welcome any time,” she said, patting his arm.

“I demand a rematch.”

“Come visit me again and we’ll see.” She kissed both of his cheeks again. “Go and have a lovely time in my city before you return home to yours.”

“Well, we have a pretty important date,” he whispered to her, glancing over at Kris. “Any advice?”

She smiled at him and stroked his cheek. “Be kind to each other.” She tugged him closer, her smile turning wicked. “And fuck him until he screams.”

*****

“So where are you taking me on our date?”

Kris laughed, looking at him. “You’re kidding, right? I took you to the Elysee Palace. I don’t think I can top that.”

Adam curled his arms around Kris’s waist and smirked. “We could order room service and stay in for the rest of the night. The hotel does have a gorgeous view of the city. We could open all the windows and put the mattress on the floor in front of them and we can shock the other hotel guests by how noisy we’d get.”

“That’s very presumptuous,” he said, grinning. “To be honest, I’ve only been to Paris for work and never got past the touristy places.”

He sighed dramatically and rolled his eyes. “Kristopher, you disappoint me. It’s a good thing that I have been to this city a number of times and made it out of my hotel to go explore.” He pressed a kiss on Kris’s mouth. “Come on, I’ll show you my Paris, if you’re up for it.”

“I’m up for anything,” Kris said, cheekily.

***

Adam took him to the famous Lido de Paris Show on the Champs-Elysées, one of the best cabaret revues in Europe. He watched as Kris took it all in, his eyes going everywhere, completely enthralled by the spectacle.

“But that’s not real cabaret,” Adam whispered in his ear, his hand stroking down Kris’s firm thigh as the taxi took them into 4th District and stopped in front of a non-descript brick building on a fairly darkened street. Adam paid the driver and took Kris’s hand, pulling him to the single black door with the word “Kofi” on it.

“Are you sure we’re in the right place?”

“Trust me,” he said, winking at Kris and knocking briskly on the door. A moment later, the door opened and a beautifully painted woman peered down at them. “Bon soir, mademoiselle. Mon ami et moi voudrais saisir votre domaine.”

She gazed at them for a long moment and then opened the door. “Bien sur. Profitez de votre visite.”

“Merci.” He turned to Kris and saw him staring at Adam. “What? You never asked me if I could speak French. You just assumed that I didn’t.”

“Ne jamais laisser me supposer quoi que ce soit de nouveau.”

He laughed and led Kris down the narrow flight of stairs to the basement. It was smoky and dark, muted conversations in different languages filtering through the room. He looked around the large open space, people lounging on the pillows on thick carpets everywhere. He spotted a cozy little loveseat near the back of the room and tugged Kris behind him as he stepped gingerly over various bodies, enjoying the looks on their faces as some of them recognized him. He sat down and tugged Kris against him, wrapping his arms around Kris’s shoulders and nuzzling his neck.

He traced his hand up and down Kris’s inner thigh, feeling his body heat under the soft denim. Kris smiled and turned his head to look up at him.

“Are you seriously going to get me hard in a public setting?”

Adam licked around his ear. “It’s only fair because I’ve been hard since dinner.”

“I’m impressed by your stamina.”

“You haven’t seen nothing yet, Kristopher,” he whispered, nipping the top of his ear.

Kris licked his bottom lip. “I’ll let you distract me from the show this time.”

Adam laughed, tucking his forehead against Kris’s shoulder.

***

Much later, Adam dragged him a Moroccan lounge where they lounged on the carpeted floor, drank spiced wine, and smoked from a hookah. He fed Kris little tidbits of vegetables dipped in some kind of honeyed sauce, licking his fingers as he gazed at Kris.

“I almost died in Morocco.”

“What happened?” He said, taking a long pull of the smoke from the hookah pipe, letting the chocolate flavored tobacco fill his senses.

“I got an infection and had to be rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. They had to take out my appendix. It wouldn’t have been anything critical but the infection weakened my immune system and the surgery put my body into toxic shock. I was in the hospital for two weeks. My parents came, Simon even came and paid for my hospital bills, flew us home in his private plane. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so worried – well, besides worried about Ryan or Nika.”

“Your relationship with Simon is…unusual.”

Kris licked his fingers and looked up at him. “Are you asking me if it’s sexual?”

Adam shrugged. He was unbelievably curious. And he wasn’t sure if he was ready for an answer.

“It’s not,” Kris said, simply. “Though, I guess you’re right that Simon’s interest in my sex life is unusual, but nothing that bothers me.”

“What do you mean?”

“Put it this way, when I graduated high school, Simon took me on a month-long trip through Asia. First class and five star hotels all the way – the only way that Simon lives, you know. But one night, he took me into Macao, to an expensive brothel, and hired two prostitutes for me.”

Adam laughed, looking over at him. “What? No fucking way! What did you do?”

“I was a horny 18-year old virgin, what do you think I did?” Kris said, chuckling. “Simon paid a lot of money to make sure that I lost my cherry professionally. I just wanted to make sure he got his money’s worth.”

“Ohmygod, Kristopher!” He said, looking at the faint blush on Kris’s cheeks. “So…did he hire you two girls?”

“A girl and a boy, actually. Simon said that I shouldn’t have any kind of sexual hang ups, that life was to be tasted and enjoyed for all of its flavors, not just one.”

Adam snorted, rolling his eyes. “So which flavor did you like best?”

He watched as Kris dipped his finger into the honeyed sauce and moved across their small table to trace the honey on Adam’s bottom lip. He grinned, sucking the sauce from his finger, watching Adam the whole time, and then leaned forward to gently suck the sauce from Adam’s lip, hot tongue sliding into Adam’s mouth. Well, that answered that question.

***

Adam pressed Kris against the white stones of the beautiful Pont Neuf bridge between Rive Gauche and Rive Droit along the Seine, kissing his mouth and finally taking what he wanted from Kris’s teasing lips. It was near dawn and Adam felt rejuvenated, like he could stay awake and kiss Kris against the stones until the morning sun rose above the city.

“Mmmm…best first date ever,” Kris murmured, smiling up at him.

Adam traced the swollen lips with his fingertip, meeting Kris’s pretty brown eyes. “It doesn’t have to be over.”

“I do remember you promising to shock the other hotel guests with all of our noise. What kind of noise did you have in mind?”

“The kind where you scream my name,” he husked, grabbing Kris’s hair with both of his hands, holding him still, and licking into his mouth over and over again until he felt Kris’s body melt and submit and harden with want.

***

Hotel George-V

 

Kris was not a submissive lover.

Under the plaid and plain tee-shirts, he had hidden strength, his hands pinning Adam’s shoulder to the bed as he rode his cock hard, gritting his teeth, sweat dripping down the side of his face as dark eyes stared at him, watching Adam nearly breaking apart from how good it was.

Adam gripped Kris’s hips, fingers bruising firm flesh, in an attempt to make him go slower, or thrusting hard with his hips to make Kris go faster, or groaning mindlessly as Kris squeezed around his cock, chuckling as Adam trembled right on the edge of pleasure and pain, not letting him have either.

“Please, Kris—“

“Not yet.”

“Please, baby, I have to come.”

“Just wait a bit more,” Kris said, arching his back and sinking down slowly on him, the squelch of lube and the slap of sweat damp flesh and the smell of musky sex making Adam’s head spin.

If Kris didn’t let him come soon, Adam was going to grab him and throw him on the bed and fuck him until they were both sore and hoarse and screaming with pleasure. He stared at Kris, hair matted down everywhere, chest and cheeks flushed a dark rose, his own cock hard and shiny with pre-cum dribbling everywhere between them. Adam wrapped both of his hands on Kris’s cock and began stroking him, feeling victorious when he gave a loud and shaky groan.

Kris leaned down and wrapped his hands around Adam’s shoulders, grinding down and against him now. They both panted harshly, Adam’s eyes tearing from the salt of his own sweat, but he wouldn’t let Kris go now, not when he had Kris’s attention. He smirked, one hand curling down to cup his tight balls, his other hand working the head with rough and relentless strokes. Kris groaned, tossing his head back, fucking himself down fast and hard on Adam’s cock. He felt his toes curl, digging his heels into the bed, loud shouts coming out of his mouth. His hips rose off the bed, shoulders and head digging back into the mattress, teeth gritted hard as he was flushed with painful pleasure. He felt Kris tighten around his cock, fluttering hard around him, as his hands became wet with Kris’s come.

Adam collapsed on the bed, his hands dropping on the sheets, panting deeply to catch his breath. He felt Kris shudder above him, his ass still squeezing around him, milking every last drop of come out of his cock.

“God fucking damn, baby…”

Kris snorted, looking down at him, breathlessly. “I like the top.”

*****

Part 2: A Life of Depravity

 

Kristopher Allen Studio
Downtown Los Angeles

 

Adam wasn’t normally self-conscious. Since he and Kris returned from their first date in Paris, there was nothing that Kris hadn’t seen of him and nothing left for Adam to hide. But sitting in his studio in front of the camera, his face naked of make up and wearing just a white shirt and black jeans – Adam didn’t remember a time when he let himself be photographed like this. It was more revealing than anything he had ever done; it made him more vulnerable than being half naked.

“Relax,” Kris said, standing behind his old fashioned camera. It was set up on a tripod and Kris held a portable shutter button attached to the camera on a long black cable.

Adam sighed and let out a nervous laugh. “Sorry. I’m just…it’s a little…”

Kris turned to Katy and smiled at her. “Would you mind if Adam and I were alone for a little bit?”

“Sure,” she said, nodding solemnly. She walked up to Adam and took his hand. “Don’t be so worried, you’re going to look amazing.

“Thanks.”

She squeezed his hand and made her way back into the main gallery. Adam made a face at Kris and then laughed at himself.

“Sorry, I must be one of those difficult clients.”

“Nah, you’re not the worst. Everyone gets a little nervous in front of the camera, even veterans like you,” he said, smiling. He walked towards Adam and placed his hands on Adam’s shoulders, rubbing the tension gently. “Look, I know you trust me. I’m not going to make you look stupid. I want to capture that part of you that you hide from the world. I want to see the man that went to Paris with me. Think of the camera as my eyes and let me see you – the real you.”

Adam met his gaze and then smiled, letting out a deep breath. “I guess I can’t always shake the diva in me.”

Kris laughed and then leaned forward to kiss his lips, just a soft brush of his mouth against Adam’s. “I kind of like the diva, too.” He tucked his chin to his chest and stared into Adam’s eyes. “Back to business?”

“Back to business.”

“Okay.”

He watched as Kris walked back to the tripod, his lips curling into a smile as he watched Kris’s cute little ass under his tight jeans. Very nice.

Kris snickered. “I know that look.”

“I like checking you out.”

“You’ve seen it all,” he said, looking into the viewfinder, his fingers adjusting the lens again. He stood up and pressed his finger on the shutter button, the individual click of the lens a loud snap in the quiet room.

“It just means that I know what’s under there now,” Adam said, smiling prettily.

Kris pressed the shutter, smiling. “I liked that one.”

“I just can’t believe that I agreed to let you take pictures of me without my face on. Can’t I have just a little bit of make up? Like a bit of powder to hide the scars.”

Click click.

“What you think is an imperfection just makes you more real.”

“Do you always know the right thing to say?”

Kris grinned, shyly. “I just tell the truth.”

Click click click.

Adam laughed. Click.

“You always say the right things at the right time. I’ve never been with anyone who just likes – this. Me like this.” It was the most honest he’d ever been with someone. Even before he was famous, when he was dating, he never let any of the boys see him like this. Brad was the last person he loved who saw him – but Brad was also one of the people who urged Adam change.

Kris looked at him and raised his eyebrow. “You don’t have to be ‘Adam Lambert’ with me.”

He stared at Kris for a long time, his stomach clenching tightly. Kris met his gaze steadily and pressed the shutter. Click.

“That was the one,” he murmured, biting his bottom lip thoughtfully. “I think that was the one that captured your soul.”

***

Adam sat on the metal stool, watching Kris work in the darkroom. A small red light lamp gave them a little light and Adam enjoyed watching Kris’s hands – he knew intimately what those hands could do to him – and he grinned to himself, getting lost in the way that Kris touched him.

“What’s that dreamy look about? Or should I even ask?” Kris said, looking over at him.

He laughed softly. “Just thinking that I don’t want these pictures sold anywhere.”

“There’d be a bidding war for them,” Kris murmured, picking up the edge of one large sheet of photography paper and carefully putting it into a large container of solution. He picked it up and then placed it into another container.

“I’d be honored to have it in your gallery, but it’s such a private moment.”

“Tell me what you were thinking about.”

Adam swallowed. “You.”

Kris turned his head and looked at him. “Yeah?”

“I could be myself with you.”

He watched as Kris grinned, turning his attention back on exposing the picture. He let out a soft sound and then picked it up, carefully shaking it off excess liquids, and then clipped it to a wire line.

“That’s you.”

Adam slid off the stool and walked across the room to stand in front of the large photograph. He’d never seen that expression on his face before – the way that his eyes looked so pale, lids heavy with want, mouth slightly parted. He was impressed that his skin looked smoothed out, the lack of shadows on his face. It reminded him of what he wished he could look like – young, pleased, beautiful, perfect – immortal.

“Wow,” he whispered, wanting to reach out to touch that man’s perfect face.

“The Lieca camera loves you apparently. I don’t think I’ve ever taken a picture of that quality before.”

“You’re just saying that.”

“You’ve seen my work, you tell me.”

Adam turned and pulled Kris into his arms. “It’s amazing. I love it.”

“It’s yours. I’ll have it framed and delivered to your house later.”

“Thank you,” he said, breathlessly. “I wish I could be like that forever.”

Kris smiled. “You are now.”

He kissed Kris and made a pleased noise at the taste of him – coffee and mint and some kind of lemon candy – and licked against his mouth until Kris let him in, moaning into the kiss.

Kris let out a sharp groan when Adam pushed him against the counter, dropping to his knees and undoing Kris’s jeans. He pulled them roughly down to his thighs and scratched Kris’s skin with his nails in his haste to jerk down his boxers. He took hold of Kris’s cock and cupped his mouth around the tip, sucking hard and fast. Kris pushed his fingers into Adam’s hair, taking handfuls and gripping him tightly, holding him still as he slid his hips forward, pushing more of his cock into Adam’s mouth.

They were both greedy for it and it didn’t matter who was doing the sucking. Adam stared up the line of Kris’s trim body to look at his face, the flash of red light reflected in his slitted eyes as he stared at Adam, mouth open in a pant.

And just over Kris’s shoulder was the photograph of Adam, staring back at him. It made him shiver, feeling the eyes on him as he tightened the suction on the head of Kris’s cock tip, licking the pre-cum out of him. He heard Kris keen but Adam couldn’t stop staring at his photograph.

Kris groaned, his thighs tensing and Adam looked up at him, tasting him in his mouth, strong and metallic, hard flesh getting even harder as Adam’s lips felt bruised and wet; dirty on his knees, pulling the pleasure out of Kris like he was forcing Kris to feel it.

“Ah—Ah—Adam!”

He watched as Kris came apart but his gaze moved to the picture of his own face, the way that his eyes watched him, from just behind Kris’s shoulder, as if he was behind Kris and holding him close. It sent a thrill through him to imagine what it would be like to have Kris like this and then to share him. It made him feel strangely victorious and he smirked back at his own face.

*****

Adam Lambert Residence
March 2011

 

Despite Kris’s conservative family and upbringing, he was surprisingly open-minded and up for anything. One of the things that he had learned about Kris was that Simon played a major role in his life, not just professionally but also personally. It was like Kris was living this double life – the good son, the philanthropist, and the respected professional on one side; the ravenous predator disguised as a cute and harmless boy next door on the other – and Adam wasn’t always sure which Kris he would meet from one day to the next.

He loved that duality in Kris; he was comfortable going with Adam to his favorite clubs, not a bit shy about taking his hand and pulling him to a corner of the club and taunting him with such a believably innocent grin and “fuck me against the wall, you know you want to with everyone watching”. But he was also just as comfortable staying in and lounging against Adam on his huge sectional, giggling into his shoulder as they watched “The Hangover” on his flat screen.

“Life is duality – there’s good and evil; there’s rich and poor; there’s ups and downs,” Kris said, licking melted caramel off Adam’s stomach. “Simon taught me that I could have whatever I wanted, just as long as I kept my house orderly, you know what I mean?”

“It’s like my stage persona versus who I am in real life.”

“Yeah.” Kris dug the tip of his tongue into Adam’s belly button making him shiver, sucking out every drop of caramel, looking up at him as he rimmed the opening playfully. “Simon and Ryan liked you a lot. They want us to have dinner with them again.”

Being part of Simon’s and Ryan’s world was something new for Adam. Sometimes, he felt like he and Kris were at the mercy of Simon’s beck and call, at the whims of a man who was a Royal and was born into a world of unknowable privilege and entitlement and expectations. It was stratospheres higher than what Adam was used to and he was sometimes intimidated by how easily Kris crossed into Simon’s world, looking over his shoulder and holding out his hand for Adam, his brown eyes knowing Adam’s insecurities but not using them against him.

Like Adam was the innocent one; maybe he was.

It was dazzling to be drawn to Simon’s cold fire and the life that he led. Adam was rich and he had access to all the playthings that a young bachelor rock star could want; but Simon had power and influence. He watched enough people bend over backwards to fulfill Simon’s whims. He watched Simon play his games with unsuspecting people; watched the way that Kris licked his lips in anticipation of the game; the way that Kris and Ryan had the luxury to tease Simon without consequence.

“Tell me what you want in your life, Adam,” Simon said, gazing thoughtfully at him.

Adam wasn’t sure if he wanted Simon’s laser-like attention. “I want what everyone wants.”

He laughed, uproariously. “What everyone wants – don’t be so bourgeoisie or so boring. You already have what most people would kill for. What if you could live a consequence-free life, what would you want then?”

“There’s always consequences,” he said, carefully.

Simon leaned towards him, his deep voice softening. “Guilt-free and able to do anything that you wanted.”

He heard Ryan and Kris laughing and turned to look at Kris, who turned his head and met Adam’s gaze, offering him a warm smile.

“Kristopher is a remarkable young man.”

Adam nodded, looking at Simon. “Yeah, I think so.”

“I have to admit that I feel a deep sense of pride when I look at him and not just for the things that he’s already accomplished. My pride is in the way that he lives his life so unapologetically. He does what he wants. He’s not accountable to anyone but himself. And yet he has a heart so large that he is never fully cut off from his humanity.” Simon stared at Adam for a long moment. “That’s the life Kris wanted and has. Now, tell me what it is that you want.”

He looked at Kris again and saw him the way that Simon saw him. Adam noticed the way that Kris looked around the room, his eyes moving across people, selecting one, discarding the next, calculating, observing, and measuring. He was subtle, but he was sizing up everyone around him. Adam didn’t understand by what standard Kris measured people, but he understood that nearly all of them fell short in some way. He speculated on how deep Simon’s influence went in Kris’s education of the world – and just what it was that he taught a young and impressionable Kris.

And when Kris turned and put his gaze on Adam, he wondered how Kris measured him. Did he find Adam lacking in anything? Was he playing Adam for a fool? Even though they had only known each other a short time, Adam was sure that Kris cared for him and Adam admitted to himself that he was already a little in love with Kris.

“I want him in my life.”

Simon chuckled and Adam broke away from Kris’s eyes to look at the older man. “He’s quite clever, our Kristopher. You expect him to be whatever it is that you believe him to be, but yet you cannot stop trying to figure him out. I think that’s his true power. He’ll never bore you.”

And Adam heard Simon’s unspoken question: Will you bore him?

“Fundamentally, people are weak and stupid as cows. Easily led into the slaughterhouse and never wiser for it,” Simon said, his lips curling derisively. “Don’t tell me that you’ve never looked at one of your little fans, seeing them curry your favor and wanting nothing but to please you simply because of who you are, and thought, ‘I could kill that little fucker and no one would ever care’. Admit it, Adam.”

He frowned, taking a long sip of his drink. “I don’t actually think that.”

“I find most people live on their knees, whether they realize it or not,” Simon said, not acknowledging Adam’s reply. “They ride on the coat tails of those who are out there, the prime movers if you will, and exist as nothing more than parasites, climbing beyond their means because they want what others have. I must say that women tend to use their sex to attain their means; and men aren’t above getting on their knees to suck a little cock or kiss a little ass.” He sneered a bit and then turned to look at Adam. “Never get on your knees, Adam, unless the person you’re with is worth the price.”

He wanted to ask if that was how things were between Simon and Ryan, but he didn’t actually dare.

Adam snorted. “I stopped getting on my knees a long time ago, Simon. I put in my time, trust me.”

Simon nodded, looking him over. “Yes, I dare say that you did put in your time, my boy. But look at where you have gone. It takes more than just talent and ambition to be where you are.” He smiled, his blue eyes crinkling slightly. “And Adam, this is only the beginning for you. I see in you a little bit of myself when I was a much younger man. It took me a long time to see the world the way that I do. You could say that I’m just jaded or cynical, but in all honesty, I think I’m quite a pragmatist. I understand the human condition, the need to want and to have, and the drive that is inside a man to go after what he wants to have.” He grinned again and then looked over at Kris. “Don’t be fooled by his innocent smile. There is nothing about Kris that isn’t there for a purpose.”

***

Adam was no stranger to the kind of offers that came his way as he became more popular and infamous and rich. There were perks to being a rock star and he never lacked for invitations to parties. In the beginning of his career, Adam joyfully and gleefully took everything that was available, but he never gorged himself on excesses. He was incredibly grateful for what he had, but that burning intensity wasn’t there anymore. He wasn’t quite at the stage where he expected the fawning and the fans and the absolute adoration of thousands of people. He simply knew that it was there waiting for him.

His life was what he had always dreamed about: the fame and fortune, the lifestyle, the boys who wouldn’t have given him the time of day now begging for five minutes of his attention – and Adam lapped it up like a thirsty man deprived. But in the last couple of years, as he grew out of his insane early 20s and his insane lifestyle, Adam yearned for acceptance in a different way. When he looked at Kris, he felt like it was right there in front of him, reachable and stable, that Kris was perfect for him. He could have his fantasy and his fun and then go home with Kris, knowing exactly all the reasons why he wanted to be there with Adam.

“So there’s this private party in Pacifica tomorrow night,” Kris began, looking at him, his face carefully neutral.

“What kind of party?”

Adam looked up from the exclusive catalog of Prada’s fall line of menswear when Kris didn’t answer right away.

“The kind of party where people don’t talk about what happened there.”

Adam raised his eyebrow and smirked. “Kristopher, are you inviting me to a sex party?” He laughed, tossing his head. “Is it going to be all ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ where we wear masks and have ritualistic sex with people?”

Kris rolled his eyes. “God, no. That’s totally lame, man.” He huffed out a chuckle and smiled at Adam, his eyes becoming warm with intent. “The host is a friend of Simon’s and he holds these special parties once a year, usually it’s always in a new location. This year, it’s in Pacifica, and no one knows about the party until the day before.”

Intrigued, Adam raised his eyebrow and dropped the catalog on the floor, reaching for Kris and pushing him down on his back on the cushions. He slipped between Kris’s legs and settled his weight gently over him. “Mmm…tell me more.”

He kissed down Kris’s neck, nipping him on his favorite places.

“It’s an auction. There’s a boy inside of a gold cage. I’ve heard that he’s exceptionally pretty, he’ll bring in about two million, maybe more.”

Adam stopped nipping and raised his head, looking at Kris. “Uh…what?”

“It’s all very legal and consensual,” he said, sinking his hands into Adam’s hair.

“Like…for sale? Like S&M slave sale?” Adam’s eyes widened. “You mean this kind of stuff actually happens?” He shivered at the idea. “What—is it like white slavery? Uh—human trafficking? How old is the boy? Is it child porn or something? I don’t think—“

“Shhh, calm down. It’s legit and everyone is over the legal age and there are contracts and financial trusts held by Swiss banks and—if you’re not sure, we don’t have to attend.”

Adam licked his lip. “Have you been before?”

Kris blinked up at him. “I was the boy in the cage. Once.”

“Ohmygod. Kris?” He swallowed. “Who bought you? How much—what happened?”

He watched as Kris grinned at him, slow and hot. “How do you think a twenty year old kid set up a studio in Manhattan?”

“What was it like?” He whispered, running his hand over Kris’s head. It turned him on to think of Kris in a cage, naked and tied up, on display for people who could afford to buy a pretty boy, all of them looking at Kris and touching him. It turned him on so hard.

“Amazing,” Kris murmured, smiling slightly. “I’ve never been so free in my life.”

“You’re not going to tell me who bought you, are you? It wasn’t Simon—“

“No,” he said, laughing. “Okay, seriously, Simon and I have never had sex of any kind. He was my contract negotiator.”

“God, it’s like he was your pimp or something,” Adam said, frowning slightly. “How long were you…bought?”

“Two weeks. The buyer took me to his private villa in Corsica.”

“What did you have to do?”

“Everything,” he said, heatedly.

Adam swallowed again and stared at Kris. He could imagine all the ways that it could’ve gone wrong – all the ways that Kris could’ve been tortured and hurt or killed. “And it was okay?”

“I cried when I had to leave.” Kris chuckled, stroking his face. “I wonder how much you’d bring in. How many people would love to purchase some of your time and keep you for a little while?”

“How much would you pay?” He said, giggling softly and pressing Kris against the cushions, grabbing his wrists and pinning him down.

“I’d give everything I had.”

“Awww…baby, that’s so hot,” he whispered, licking Kris’s mouth. “But no one wants to buy a soon-to-be thirty year old rocker. I bet you brought in more than two million dollars.”

Kris moaned as Adam rubbed over him, not bothering to hold back his weight now as he covered Kris completely. He loved it when Kris just gave in to him like this. He loved the drowsy look of lust and want in his eyes, the way his mouth was kiss swollen and a deep pink, and the flush of sweat on his forehead. Adam licked his cheek and bit Kris’s earlobe, feeling him arch and twist under him, nowhere to escape but to take whatever it was that Adam gave him.

“How much did you bring in, Kristopher? Hmmm?”

He slid his hand between them, feeling Kris hard and hot under his palm. He dragged his hand roughly over his covered cock, watching Kris’s face.

“Two million?”

Kris moaned when Adam squeezed his cock hard enough to be painful.

“Five million?”

“God, Adam—“

“Ten million?” He bit Kris’s earlobe. “Such a slut.”

“Please!”

“If I bought you, what would you do for me?”

“Anything,” he said, arching his neck and looking up at Adam through lowered eyes.

Adam tightened his hand around Kris’s cock, his grip merciless. He watched as Kris arched into his hold, legs trembling slightly. He gritted his teeth and his face turned red.

“I’d do anything for you,” Kris nearly wailed, bucking against him. “Please, Adam, please—“

“Pull down your pants and turn over. I’m going to fuck you bare.”

***

Adam startled awake, gasping slightly as his eyes opened, staring up at his bedroom ceiling. He couldn’t remember the dream, but he felt uneasy and scared. His hand reached across the bed to feel Kris’s naked back, warm and real under his palm. He breathed a sigh of relief and quietly got out of bed, checking to make sure that Kris was sleeping undisturbed.

He stretched and walked out of his bedroom, making his way to the kitchen to get a bottle of water. He drank long and let out a deep breath, trying to figure out why he was feeling so weird.

Maybe he should check his email since he was awake anyway as his month off was coming to an end and he knew Lane would have new commitments for him. He didn’t think he was going back to sleep anytime soon. He could always wake Kris and see if he wanted to play – Kris was always willing to play and Adam grinned to himself, remembering how he had made Kris beg for it all night long.

He turned on the small desk lamp by his laptop and looked at the framed photograph that Kris gifted him. He absolutely loved this picture—there was something wrong with it. He moved closer and saw that his face was discolored and a little gray. He frowned, picking up the lamp and holding it up closer to the picture. His eyes were bloodshot and looked almost red rimmed. He could see his cheeks marked with scars.

“What the fuck?”

He set the lamp down and reached up to take the frame off the wall. He placed it on his desk and then walked to the light switch to turn on the master lights.

It was like his face had aged in the picture. He frowned deeply and reached down to touch the glass when he saw something wiggling under the surface of the picture.

“Fuck!” He gasped, twitching away and standing up. He took a step back, staring down at the picture. “What the—“

It was a maggot. How the hell did a maggot get under his picture? And it was tearing and pushing its way out of his eye. Adam made a face and slammed his hand down on the glass, smashing the maggot dead. It left a gross residue, ruining the picture completely.

He sighed, rolling his eyes and shaking his head. He’d have to ask Kris to make him another print. It was kind of creepy how that picture had started to turn colors like that, making him look like he was dying.

***

Club Den
West Hollywood
April 2011

 

Despite all of his seductive wiles, Kris danced like he was being electrocuted. It was hilarious and charming and adorable; sometimes Adam was so embarrassed for him, he couldn’t actually dance with Kris but instead pulled him close and let Kris rub against him until they were both hard and hungering for it.

Club Den was a new Hollywood club and Adam accepted the invitation and VIP treatment on its opening night. They had a cozy velvet booth; their marble table was littered with drinks and platters of exotic fruits. Adam tucked Kris against him, alternately feeding him juicy bits of kiwi with his fingers and kissing the taste out of his mouth.

“Adam! ADAM!”

He pulled away from Kris’s lips, annoyed at being disturbed, and turned to glare at the interloper just beyond the roped off section. His eyes widened. “Brad.”

“Brad?” Kris murmured, leaning back against the velvet booth, cocking his head slightly and looking at Brad.

“My, um, ex. We’re still friends. Sort of,” Adam said, lamely.

“Well, don’t be rude,” Kris said, looking at the security guard and waving for him to let Brad into the VIP section.

“Hi,” Brad said, moving to give Adam a kiss, but he turned his face so that Brad ended up kissing his cheek.

“Brad.” He said, smiling warily, uncertain if Brad was going to be sweet or a total bitch. He hadn’t spoken to him since their fight in Vegas.

“Who’s the new eye candy?”

Adam glared at Brad and placed his hand on Kris’s back. “This is Kris Allen. Kris, this is Brad Bell.”

“Nice to meet you,” Kris said, his smile genuine. He watched as they shook hands. “We could be twins or something.”

Brad grinned slightly, looking from him to Adam. “Well, I am the glorious prototype of his type.”

“Brad—“ Adam warned, narrowing his eyes at him.

“It’s been months. I haven’t seen you since your birthday. Were you ever going to call or visit?”

“I’ve been kind of busy.”

Brad slid his eyes to Kris, looking him over. “I bet.” He rolled his eyes and smiled widely up at Adam. “I’ve missed you. I think we should get together soon and catch up. Obviously, you have a new boyfriend and you’ve been keeping him all to yourself.” He gazed at Kris. “I can see why, he’s adorable.”

Kris smiled shyly and blinked, looking up at Adam. “I think that’s a great idea.”

No, that was not a great idea.

“We’ll see,” Adam said, plainly.

“You’re welcomed to join us,” Kris said, sweetly.

Brad smirked, his eyes sly. “Thanks, baby, but I’m with other people. I just came by to say hello. It was nice to meet you.”

“Same here.”

“Don’t be a stranger,” he said to Adam, his tone cheerful but Adam had known Brad long enough to hear his warning. Or I’ll fuck this up for you.

“Sure.”

He watched as Brad left the VIP area, disappearing into the crowd of the club. He didn’t know he was holding his breath until he felt Kris’s hand on his thigh, squeezing firmly.

“You with me?” He said, earnestly.

“Yeah,” Adam said, turning to smile at him. “I was just…”

“You can tell me later,” Kris murmured, leaning towards him and nuzzling the soft skin of his neck, just under his ear. Adam smiled when he felt Kris’s warm tongue lick at his earring. “Want a quickie?”

Adam was never one to say no to Kris.

***

He stood at the bar, tapping his hands to the beat on top of the counter, when he felt a warm and slim body press against his side. He smiled, arm moving to curl around Kris, when he stopped to look at Brad’s tense face.

“Hey.” He moved his arm away and turned so that he wasn’t pressed against Brad.

“Why the fuck have you been ignoring me? I’ve been calling your ass for months and—“

“Excuse me?” He said, glaring at Brad. “Where the fuck do you get off talking to me like that?”

Brad narrowed his eyes. “Don’t take that diva tone with me, bitch. I’m not one of your precious little fan boys. I knew you when you were just another struggling theater act so don’t even think about pulling this shit with me now.”

“Fuck off. I’m not in the mood for one of your melodramatic scenes.”

“Damn it, Adam—“

“No,” he said, firmly, raising his chin and staring Brad down. “We’re not doing this right now.”

“Then when?”

He knew that if he didn’t actually talk to Brad, then Brad wouldn’t let things go. “Come over tomorrow afternoon. Kris has a photo shoot so—“

Brad smirked. “So the little wifey won’t be home?”

“Don’t fucking call him that. You don’t know him.”

“And he doesn’t really know you, does he?” Brad said, sneering at him.

“Actually, I know him pretty well,” Kris said, sliding against Adam and putting his arm around Adam’s waist. “The other things…” Kris shrugged, smiling slightly. “We’ll figure it out along the way.”

Brad pursed his lips and pasted on a smile. “Whatever you say, baby.” He grinned up at Adam. “See you tomorrow.”

“At two.”

He blew Adam a kiss. “It’s a date.”

Adam sighed and rolled his eyes. He wrapped his arm around Kris’s shoulders. “It’s not like that.”

“I know,” Kris said, smiling slightly. “Come on, let’s go home. I need a back massage.”

*****

Adam Lambert Residence

 

“You can begin your apology at any time.”

Adam raised his eyebrow and stared at Brad. “My apology for what exactly?”

“For starters, for being a complete bitch to me at your birthday party and then for completely ignoring me.”

“Feeling left out in the cold, baby?”

Brad stepped closer to him. “Don’t start with me, Adam, I’m not here for this shit.”

“Then why the hell are you here?” He said, rolling his eyes.

“Despite everything, we are still friends. I still love you and I give a damn if you live or die. And I want to know what’s going on with you. I’ve talked to all of our friends and they’ve said that you’ve been blowing them off, too. And who is that guy Kris? Where did he come from? He doesn’t look glittery enough to be one of your usual boy toys.”

Adam smirked, leaning against the kitchen counter, watching his ex. “Careful, Bradley, your little claws are showing.”

“I’m not jealous—“

Adam laughed, throwing back his head. “God forbid that Brad Bell is ever jealous.”

He watched as Brad let out a sigh, his small frame deflating a little as he jerked out one of the chairs from the small eat in kitchen table, sitting down hard. He scratched his neck and then looked up at Adam.

“Are you still pissed at me for what I supposedly said? Because if you are then I’m sorry.”

Adam closed his eyes and made a face. He really couldn’t stay mad at Brad for any real length of time. They fought, they made up. They had too much history between them; too much water under the bridge. Adam knew that he couldn’t cut Brad out of his life, not completely anyway. They shared too many of the same friends, went to the same clubs, and liked the same things. “Fuck. I’m sorry, too.”

“I think you might have over reacted.”

“It still hurt me to hear you tell me that I was getting old.”

He watched Brad wince and nod. “Yeah, I’m sorry for that.”

Adam ran his hand through his hair and picked up his coffee mug, taking a small sip. “I met Kris at Simon Cowell’s annual party back in February. We’ve been together since.”

Brad’s eyes widened and he grinned slightly. “You got invited to Lord fucking Cowell’s February bash! Holy shit. Ohmygod, tell me everything!”

Adam laughed, shaking his head. “It was kind of…anti-climatic, actually.”

“Pfft. You probably got bored and wandered off during the party,” he said, chuckling.

“I did,” he said, nodding. “I was just walking through the house – which is fucking magnificent, by the way – and I saw this guy wearing the ugliest plaid shirt hanging out by himself in one of the rooms. I was checking him out when he caught me looking.”

Brad smiled, nodding quickly. “He is fantastically adorable. You always did have good taste in your boys.”

“And for our first date, he took me to Paris, introduced me to the French First Lady, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about him every single minute since.” He smiled into his coffee mug and then looked up when Brad didn’t say anything for a long moment. He wrinkled his forehead. “Something wrong, baby?”

“You’re in love with him.”

Adam bit his lip and smiled. “Yeah. I am.”

“You haven’t been in love with anyone since…”

“Since you. Yeah.”

“And he’s not just using you for…”

Adam chuckled. “His name is Kristopher Allen.”

“Why does that name sound familiar?” Brad frowned. “The photographer?” He opened his mouth and stared at Adam. “The photographer Kristopher Allen? No way! I thought he was like old or something.”

“Apparently not,” he said, warmly. “I didn’t recognize him when we first met, too. Simon introduced us.”

“How is it that cute and adorable knows someone like Simon Cowell?”

“I know, right?” Adam laughed, shaking his head. “Anyway, long story short, I don’t think Kris is using me for anything.”

Brad fell back in his chair, biting his tongue. “Wow. Adam.”

“Just tell me that you’re happy for me.” He paused, looking at the kitchen floor. “And if you’re not, please lie to me.”

“Baby, I am happy for you. I know you’ve always wanted the whole white picket fence and all the works,” he said, smiling slightly.

Adam knew what Brad didn’t say: What I couldn’t give you.

*****

Club Babylon Haze
West Hollywood

 

“He’s pretty,” Kris whispered against his ear.

Adam turned to see Kris nodding towards the very pretty blonde twink dancing in front of them, making eyes at Kris. “Hmm…he reminds of that boy at the Pacifica house.”

Kris bit his lip and smiled up at Adam. “What would you have done if you had actually won that boy in the auction?”

“Tied you both to my bed and fucked you both for days,” Adam said, smiling when Kris giggled against his neck. He flicked his eyes to look at the dancing blonde. He really was very pretty, all long limbs and slim frame. His hair was floppy around his eyes as he worked his body for Kris – and it was all for Kris. Adam appreciated the way that he twisted his hips, turning so that they could check out his perfect bubble butt. “Want to take him home with us?”

Kris grinned, lifting his face to press a kiss on Adam’s mouth. “Sure, why not.”

“I’m going to pay our bill and you can ask the pretty boy if he’d like to fuck your mouth.”

***

Adam Lambert’s Residence

 

The boy’s name was Julian.

He watched as Kris took Julian’s hand, smiling demurely as he led him into Adam’s bedroom, brown eyes earnest and innocent as Julian touched his face with his hands, running them down Kris’s cheeks and neck, down across his chest and arms.

“You can kiss him,” Adam said, looking at the boy. “He likes kissing.”

Julian chuckled. “I wasn’t sure if I was allowed.”

He didn’t need any more encouragement, bending his head so that he could press his mouth on Kris’s lips, taking his time and making Kris whimper softly.

“Get undressed. And then take off his clothes slowly. Show him off to me.”

“It’s not like you haven’t already seen it all already,” Kris said, grinning at Adam. He was right – this wasn’t the first time they had brought a pretty boy to bed and let him strip Kris naked.

Kris let out a giggle as Julian gave him a quick kiss, hot smile on his face as he took a step back, pulling off his tee-shirt and tossing it on the floor. He shucked off his pants, naked under his jeans, and kicked off his shoes and pants. He watched Kris watching Julian, who licked his lips as he reached for the hem of Kris’s shirt, fingers slipping underneath to touch Kris’s skin, lifting the cotton slowly. He dropped Kris’s shirt and walked behind him, kissing his neck as his hands slid down and across Kris’s chest. Adam smiled as he met Kris’s eyes, enjoying the show very much, greedily watching Julian’s hands stroke down Kris’s belly to undo his jeans.

“Yeah,” Kris whispered, leaning back against Julian as the boy pushed his hand under the waistband, curling around his cock.

Adam leisurely toed off his boots and lounged on the Californian King, propping up the side of his head as he watched.

“You can do whatever you want to him, but don’t mark him and don’t hurt him,” Adam said, firmly. “Put him on the bed and suck his cock.”

“My pleasure,” the boy murmured, turning Kris and pushing him on the bed.

Kris laughed as he fell back, just a few inches from Adam. He raised his head and pressed a kiss on Adam’s lips before letting out a surprised moan, falling on the mattress. “Oh God…yes.”

Adam watched as Julian sucked Kris down, his hands running up Kris’s stomach and chest, eyes on Kris’s face.

“Don’t let him come.”

Julian pulled off and laughed. “It’s going to be like that, huh?”

Adam raised his eyebrow. “He’s mine. I’m going to make him come later.”

“Come on,” Kris urged, sliding his hands into Julian’s hair. “Come on, don’t stop.”

“Say please,” Julian teased, licking Kris’s inner thigh.

“Please,” Kris whispered, excitedly. He looked at Adam. “Please.”

“Do it slowly, get him to the edge. I’ll tell you when to stop,” Adam said, moving closer to Kris as Julian crawled between Kris’s legs, shouldering him open and licking Kris’s cock from base to tip before sucking him back into his mouth.

Adam buried his hand in Kris’s damp hair and smiled, kissing the gasps that he breathed into Adam’s mouth. He slid his hand across Kris’s chest and flicked one of the nipples with his fingernail, feeling it pebble and harden against his fingertips. He grabbed hold of one and pinched it hard, twisting it fiercely. Kris broke the kiss as he let out a moan that was part pain and pleasure, arching and wanting more. He pinched it again, harder, wrenching another loud moan from Kris, his body shuddering so hard that Adam heard Julian choke, grabbing Kris’s hips and holding him down.

“That’s enough,” Adam said, putting his hand in Julian’s soft hair. He grabbed a fistful and pulled him off. He had to tug harder when Julian resisted, only pulling off reluctantly when Adam tightened his hold painfully.

“Watch the hair, man,” Julian complained, reaching to shake Adam’s hand from his hair.

“Damn it, come on,” Kris muttered, pouting slightly.

Adam laughed. “Was he getting you close, baby?”

“Yes.”

Julian moved up to his knees, breathing hard, and Adam turned to look at him. He was toned and tanned, prettier now with his mussed up hair and swollen lips. He flicked his eyes down his lean body and looked at the long and narrow cock standing hard against his lower belly.

“Fuck his mouth,” Adam said to Julian. “Come down his throat.”

“Jesus,” the boys breathed out, shaking his head. “You two are fucking intense.”

“I want to see you choke him with your cock.”

“You said not to hurt him.”

He laughed, thinking about all the things that Adam had done to test Kris’s limits. He apparently didn’t have any and that turned him on more than anything he had ever done with anyone else in his past. “Trust me, you’re not going to hurt him. He likes it rough and hard.”

“Fuck, it’s always the quiet ones.”

He knee walked up the bed and swung his leg over, straddling Kris at the shoulders. He leaned down to brace one hand on the bed, the other stroking his cock as he lowered his hips to press the tip of his cock against Kris’s mouth.

“You’re so fucking hot,” Julian said to Kris, smiling down at him.

They both moaned as Julian sank his cock into Kris’s willing mouth, slow and deep and steady until Kris was choking with it. He moved both hands to the bed, grabbing the bed covers, hips moving up and down slowly.

The boy closed his eyes and let out a deep sound of pleasure. “Oh God…fuck, baby, that’s so good.”

Adam bit his lip and dropped his hand to his own cock, hard and tight under his leather pants. He squeezed his cock hard, watching the way that Kris was trapped under Julian, who was snapping his hips faster now, less careful or considerate, chasing after his pleasure.

Kris groaned at a particularly hard thrust, his hands on Julian’s hips to slow him down.

“Grab his wrists and hold him down,” Adam said, licking his lips.

Julian grabbed Kris’s hands and jerked them up by the side of his head, pinning him down with his weight. Adam laughed at the way Kris struggled but Julian was far more determined and laughed breathlessly as he fucked into Kris’s mouth, watching the way Kris’s eyelids fluttered.

“Oh baby, I know you like this,” Adam whispered into Kris’s ear, huffing out a soft laugh when Kris shivered. “But I liked seeing you struggle.”

Julian started putting more power into his thrusts, short and rabbity now, Kris groaning around his mouthful, the noisy sound of flesh moving in and out of Kris’s wet mouth and Julian’s loud pants the only sounds in the room. Kris’s eyes were closed, his whole body focused on Julian’s cock, letting go and letting him in.

He licked his palm and wrapped it around Kris’s cock, hard and hot against his palm. Kris gurgled and choked, the shock of pleasure making him buck his hips, heels digging into the mattress.

Julian groaned. “Oh…fuck…fuck…yeah…”

“He’s going to come,” Adam murmured into Kris’s ear. “You can taste it, can’t you? He’s going to come in your mouth and you’re going to suck and swallow it all, aren’t you, Kristopher? You’re going to let him use you and you’re loving every second of this, aren’t you, baby?” He stroked Kris harder and faster, squeezing around the tip and holding his hand still to let Kris fuck into his palm.

He made a keening sound and Adam watched Julian carefully, seeing the hot flush on his chest, knowing that he was going to come soon. He could feel Kris’s desperation as he fucked his hand and he grinned, letting go quickly as Kris whined his frustration and Julian groaned throatily, pushing deeply into Kris’s mouth and shaking as he came.

Adam watched as Kris tried to swallow it all, his throat moving frantically, hips bucking the air. He drooled down the edge of his lips as Julian ground into him heavily.

“Get off him,” Adam said, sharply.

Julian trembled, taking loud panting gasps. “Just—just give me a second, man.”

“Off. Now.”

Julian exhaled loudly and pulled his cock out of Kris’s mouth, falling on the bed on the other side of him.

“Get out.”

“Yeah. All right,” Julian mumbled, getting off the bed.

Adam didn’t bother watching the boy as he moved off the bed, scrambling to get his clothes and shoes. He barely registered him leaving. All he could see and smell was Kris, so beautifully debauched and used with his wet and swollen mouth, chest rising and falling quickly, cock so hard that it looked painful. His arms were still over his head and he blinked lazily at Adam, licking his lips.

“Such a good boy,” Adam crooned at him, rolling on his back to the bedside table, opening the drawer to get the lube. He moved up to his knees, grinning down at Kris as he unzipped his leather pants, pushing the edges away to pull out his cock and balls. He smoothed the lube on his cock and chuckled as Kris watched him stroking himself. He wore a smug little smile as he moved his legs apart even further, looking up at Adam with nothing but challenge in his eyes.

Adam didn’t prep him. He guided his cockhead to Kris’s opening and pushed inside of his hot, smooth ass, laughing when Kris whimpered and arched his neck, head moving on the bed.

He grabbed the back of Kris’s knees and pulled his legs up and held him open wide, sinking his cock into him fast and deep.

“Adam—“

Adam bent over and kissed him, tasting the boy in his mouth, and he licked and bit at Kris’s mouth, sucking on his wicked little tongue, both groaning as Adam fucked him, slamming into him with quick jerks.

Kris grabbed onto his shirt and moved off the bed, pushing back just as hard and fast, panting like he couldn’t breathe, and all Adam could feel was how tight he was and that he was going to come any second now.

“Ohmygod,” Kris babbled, eyes squeezed shut and mouth open. “Oh God…ohmygod…”

Kris let out a loud whine and Adam felt him tighten his hands on his shoulders, knees and legs banging against his sides, and ass clenching around his cock, coming with just Adam’s cock inside of him.

Adam ground into him and gritted his teeth, the intensity of it whiting out his vision. He couldn’t believe that it was always like this with Kris; that he’d feel pleasure so acute that he thought he would lose all sense of himself. It blew his mind and he was sure that they were both screaming as pleasure raced down his spine. He laughed, falling on top of Kris, wrapping his arms so tight around Kris as he came harder than he ever had in his life.

***

Adam Lambert Residence

 

“You missed two interviews and a meeting with the label,” Lane said, staring at him.

Adam smiled and shrugged. “I’ve been a little busy lately.”

“Are you working on something?”

“Not quite,” he said, biting his lip and grinning at her.

Lane rolled her eyes. “God, please don’t talk about your sex life.”

Adam laughed, rolling his eyes. “Look, maybe it’s time that people should live on my schedule for a change.”

“I think they already do.”

“I love you, Lane, but I’m still on vacation.”

“Adam, it’s been nearly three months—“

“Tell them that they fucking owe me time off for all the fucking money I’ve made them over the years! I mean, do your fucking job, okay? I don’t want to be distracted right now. I’m trying to have a fucking life for the first time in a long time and I’m so sick of everyone butting into my fucking personal life! So just do your job and keep those assholes off my back for a little while longer, okay!”

She stared at him, her mouth dropping slightly. Adam frowned, surprised by his anger. He had never yelled at her or talked down to her before in the seven years that they worked together. But he really was sick of being handled, even by Lane.

“When you grow up, give me a call,” she told him, standing up and grabbing her carry all.

“Lane. Come on—“

She ignored him and left the living room quickly. She didn’t even slam the door behind her. Adam was kind of impressed.

His phone beeped and he sighed, picking it up to see a number of missed calls, voicemail notifications, and dozens of text messages. He ignored them and opened the one from his mom.

Call me, sweetheart. Worried about you.

Adam rolled his eyes and tossed his phone on the sectional. He walked up the stairs and made his way to his bedroom, his cock hardening in anticipation. Before Lane’s surprise visit, he had tied Kris to his bed and blindfolded him. He walked into the bedroom to see Kris waiting for him, at his leisure, his cock purple and drooling, hard for at least half an hour because of the cockring Adam slipped on him before going downstairs to answer Lane’s relentless ringing of the doorbell.

He shucked off his robe and got on the bed. “Now, where were we?”

*****

Adam Lambert’s Residence
May 2011

 

Adam never gave the ruined picture to Kris. He felt something in his gut to keep it and to keep it hidden. He took it out of his office and put it in one of his spare rooms that he used as a junk room, keeping the picture covered and hidden behind one of the many boxes.

After Kris went to sleep, Adam came to look at his picture, seeing how grotesque it had gotten over the past few months.

”Don’t take this the wrong way but your skin…it’s flawless,” Kris once said to him, stroking his fingers wonderingly down Adam’s cheek.

Adam laughed. “I got a new dermatologist,” he lied easily, pleased that Kris found him perfect.

“I always thought you were beautiful before but now…I don’t even know,” Kris said, kissing across Adam’s chest. “You’re perfect.”

And Adam was perfect. He felt different and he knew part of it was because of Kris; but the other part of it was because of the picture and what was happening to his image.

He watched his own face die a little every day. And every day, Adam felt more alive. He didn’t think he’d even age. All the little wrinkles and crow’s feet that he saw line his face were gone from his face, but they started to show on his picture instead. Adam believed that as long as he kept the picture, he could do whatever he wanted and he’d never suffer for it.

Simon once asked him what he’d do with a consequence-free life. Adam once believed in consequences, but as he gazed disgustedly at his own face, he was sure that he didn’t have any consequences any more.

***

Adam opened the door and smirked. “Brad, what do I owe this pleasure?”

“Lane and your mother called me,” he said, pushing past Adam to walk into his house. “You’ve been skipping out on work and missing meetings with your management – do you want to lose your contract?”

Adam slammed the door and laughed. “They’ve made so much money off me, trust me they’re not dropping me, not when there’s a hundred other labels out there that would sign me in a fucking minute.”

“Wow. The fame has finally gotten to you. I never thought I’d see the day that you’d buy into your own bullshit.”

Adam snorted. “It’s not bullshit if it’s true, baby.”

“What’s wrong? What is it? Are you on something? Is it drugs?” Brad said, putting his hand on Adam’s arm. “You can tell me.”

Adam blinked at Brad, incredulous and amused. “You think I’m on drugs?” He laughed right in Brad’s face.

“Fine. If it’s not drugs, then what the fuck is wrong with you!”

“There is nothing wrong with me!” Adam screamed at him. “In fact, I’m fucking perfect! Take a good look, Brad, this is what you gave up.” He laughed and held out his arms, raising his eyebrow. “You missed your chance, baby, you could’ve had it all! But you’re too much of a fucking coward—“

“Ten years later and you still want to rehash this!” Brad yelled back. “How many times do I have to fucking apologize for breaking your heart because I’m sorry, again, baby, that’s how this fucking story ends!”

Adam crossed the room, grabbing Brad’s face, cradling him gently with his hands. He softened his look and bent down to kiss him.

“What’re you—“

Adam pulled him closer, remembering all the things that Brad liked best, all the ways to turn him on and get him hard. He held Brad still when he tried to pull away and raked his nails down Brad’s back, nipping at his lips. He felt Brad sink against him, kissing him back needy and rough.

Adam crowed as Brad wrapped his arms around his neck, clinging to him now and moaning softly. He could feel Brad hard against his thigh and Adam laughed, pulling away and jerking Brad’s arms off of him.

“Yeah, I thought so,” he said, cruelly.

“What—“

“I think we’ve outgrown each other. We don’t have anything in common anymore. I mean, it happens to even the best of friends. They go in different directions and don’t need each other as much as they used to.”

Brad blinked at him and frowned. “What the hell does that mean?”

“It means that I don’t need you in my life anymore.”

“You think you can just cut me out of your life like that?” Brad said, mockingly. “You’re the one who wanted to be friends—“

“And now I don’t. I recognize that I made a mistake when I tried to stay friends with you after we broke up,” he said, shrugging. “I don’t need you anymore. You don’t have to give a damn if I live or die now.”

Brad made a face. “Oh, because you have Kris.”

“Yeah, that’s part of it.”

“And what else?”

Adam smiled. “What else is there?”

“You’re a fucking asshole, Adam,” Brad said, turning to the front door.

He waited until Brad opened the door. “Oh, baby, I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t blog about me anymore. I mean, it would be kind of petty and immature to talk smack about me.”

Brad sneered over his shoulder. “Go to Hell.”

*****

Club Zoom
West Hollywood
June 2011

 

Adam licked his lips and took his hand, pulling him through the throng of bodies towards the restrooms. He laughed as the people lining the narrow hallway watched as he tugged his Twink of the Moment into the men’s room, stopping to kiss his hellos to people he recognized, walking past the stalls to an empty wall space. He turned, leaning against the wall, pulling the twink towards him with a wide smile, leaning down to kiss that wide mouth.

He didn’t even have to ask, the twink knew what he wanted and he was more than happy to give Adam everything. He pushed the twink down the length of his body to the boy’s knees, settling back as the twink undid his pants, parting the leather and wrapping his warm lips around the tip, sucking and licking his cockhead.

Adam dragged his fingers through the gelled strands of his hair, looking down to see the twink looking up at him, mouth working like a fucking pro. He sighed, arching his back, thrusting into his throat. He shivered when he felt the boy swallow around him and grinned, opening his eyes, watching as other bodies moved near him, their moans mingling with his moans, turning him on even more. He hissed and tightened his hold on the boy’s hair, looking down at him, thrusting his hips in sharp, fast movements, feeling the pleasure growing, heating up his body until he couldn’t hold back anymore. He groaned loudly, his voice rising higher and echoing off the marble, as he came into the boy’s willing mouth.

Ahhh, fuck, that was good, so damn good. He loved getting sucked; the boy had a mouth on him and Adam wouldn’t mind getting another chance at burying his cock down his throat.

He pulled the boy off his cock and watched as he sat back on his heels, licking his lips and giving Adam a smug smile. Adam chuckled, tucking his cock into his pants and doing up the zipper and the button. He stroked his fingers across the boy’s jaw, his thumb caressing the swollen bottom lip, and tapped the tip of his nose with his index finger.

“Will I see you later?” The twink asked, smiling prettily up at him.

Adam never made promises.

He pushed off the wall and walked past the twink still on his knees – no doubt someone would kiss the taste of Adam’s come out of his mouth and take care of him – and Adam went to wash his hands and to see how his make-up was holding up.

***

Adam Lambert’s Residence

 

He walked into his bedroom, still reeking of club and anonymous sex, and smiled when he saw Kris wrapped up under the sheets, vulnerable and adorable as a sleeping kitten. He tugged the sheet from Kris and moved it slowly off his body, his smile widening when he saw Kris naked underneath.

Adam sat down on the side of the bed and licked at the sleeping cock, wetting his tongue as he traced the outline of the warm flesh, feeling it harden. Kris made a restless sound, sighing deeply in his sleep. Adam pinched the foreskin, pulling it down so that he could lick and suck on the tip, his cock so pretty like this, just on the cusp of getting hard and showing interest.

He slipped it into his mouth and started to suck, slowly, enjoying the flavors and inhaling the scent of Kris’s musk. He looked up to see Kris’s head moving on the pillow, turning from one side to the next, his body coming awake now. Adam groaned deeply, feeling his cock getting harder and thicker in his mouth. He loved starting like this – Kris quiet and soft, hardening and growing inside of his mouth, moving down Adam’s throat with an unstoppable insistency.

Kris groaned, blinking his eyes opened, hands sliding on the sheets. “Adam?”

Adam sucked hard, pushing down the foreskin with his tongue, licking over the tip and pulling out more of his taste. “Mmmmmmmm.”

“Yeah…”

He pulled off of his cock and grinned at Kris, looking up at him with a sleepy smile. He moved off the bed to kneel beside it, grabbing Kris’s legs and rearranging him, pulling him to the edge so that he could sit back on his heels and suck him at his leisure.

“Adam…so good…”

Kris’s fingers tangled in Adam’s hair, pulling at the gelled strands, his foot stroking up and down Adam’s ass.

“Happy birthday, baby.”

Kris chuckled, sighing deeply. “Not until next week, dude.”

“Happy early birthday then.”

He bent his head and pulled Kris’s cock back into his mouth, bouncing it with the flat of his tongue, listening to Kris giggle lightly. Adam didn’t get on his knees anymore. He liked seeing the boys on their knees, mouth too full of his cock, eyes looking up at him as if he were a god.

But there was Kris, always his for the taking, and Adam only got on his knees for him.

*****

Part 3: At World’s End, Amen

Some Dark Alley
Downtown Hollywood
July 2011

 

Adam Lambert died in a dark alley behind some VIP club, shot twice in the chest by a mugger who took his wallet, not recognizing that he had killed a rock star.

Except Adam didn’t die.

He was actually kind of amused that his killer pissed in his pants when Adam stood up, poking his fingers into the holes of his shirt, grinning at him.

“Give me my wallet back now,” Adam said, holding out his hand and raising his eyebrow at his would-be killer.

The guy threw the wallet at him and ran down the alley as Adam laughed after him. He sighed and picked up his wallet, putting it back in his pocket, and examined his ruined shirt under the lamp light. Two small bullet holes had ruined his Paul Gaultier original. What the fuck was wrong with people today?

*****

Adam Lambert Residence

 

Adam checked his picture, stroking his fingers down the glass as the maggots and puss and rotted flesh ate away at his face. He didn’t even look human anymore, barely recognizable at all.

A part of him – the part that was still sane and human – knew that his soul was dying. The things that he used to love, he didn’t even think about anymore. Family, friends, career, music, singing – none of them mattered, not like the way he felt when he was with Kris, buried inside Kris’s body, sharing with him every careless whim that struck his heart. Nothing mattered than to see Kris spread out on his sheets or pressed against the wall, brown eyes begging him for more. A part of him recognized that he was losing it; that he needed help; that the picture of his festering face was a sign that something was wrong.

And Kris would smile at him and hold him and kiss him and whisper “I love you” into his skin and ride him and fuck him and laugh with him and Adam remembered nothing but the taste of Kris and how he craved more more more, so much more; and unbelievably, Kris was always willing, always ready, always with him.

Every day was a new adventure with Kris, his pretty boy guide into a life of excess and debauchery. Every night was a new discovery of himself, testing his own limits and feeding his greedy desire to want and to have it all.

When Kris would smile his guileless smile at him, brown eyes twinkling with inner mirth and knowledge, Adam was only all too happy to take his hand and go out into the city with him, out to their dazzling gateway to unfathomable pleasures.

*****

Adam Lambert Residence
August 2011

 

“Kris! Dinner’s ready, baby!” Adam called from the dining room. He looked up when he didn’t hear a response. “Kris!”

He walked into the living room – the TV was on, camera equipment scattered on the coffee table, dirty black sneakers by the sectional.

“Kris!”

He heard something thud and break from the second floor. He took the stairs and walked down the hallway, looking into the bedroom, his senses on high alert when he saw that the door to his junk room was open.

“Kris?” He said, walking into his junk room to see Kris kneeling on the carpet, staring with wide eyes at the picture, the broken glass releasing the maggots and gore on his white carpet. “Hey—“

“What—what is this?” Kris said, getting to his feet and backing away so quickly that he slammed into the wall. “Oh God, what is that, Adam? What did you do to your picture?”

“I didn’t do that. It just started happening.”

“What?”

“It started happening right after you gave me that picture,” he said, shrugging. “You said that you took a picture of my soul. Well, baby, that’s my soul.”

He watched as Kris pressed his hands against his eyes, taking a deep breath. “Ohmygod. Ohmygod. You think I did this to you? Your—your soul? What is wrong with you!”

“Baby, there’s nothing wrong. Everything is perfect – I’m perfect,” Adam said, his voice soft and reasonable. He grinned, walking towards Kris, trying to hug him. He frowned when Kris moved quickly away, shaking his head and walking out into the hallway. “Kris?”

“I can’t—oh God, Adam, what’s going on? I don’t understand.”

“Come here, Kris—“

“No!” He said, sharply, and then took a deep breath. “No. I’m—I have to go. I just need some air and—“

“Where are you going?” Adam said, grabbing his arm and tightening his hold when Kris tried to pull away from him. “Kristopher—“

“Let me go, Adam.”

“No,” he said, smirking at him. “You belong here with me.”

“Adam, I said—“

Adam jerked him close, wrapping his arms around Kris, keeping Kris’s arms trapped by his side. He growled and kissed him hard, biting his lip until he could taste the metallic tang of Kris’s blood.

“Damn it, Adam, no!”

Adam hissed, pulling Kris down to the hardwood floor of the hallway, grabbing his hair. “Just hold still and let me have you.”

“No—fuck! Stop it, Adam!”

He chuckled, licking up Kris’s neck. “I know you love it. And you know I love it when you fight.”

“Get off of me!” Kris tried to kick him but Adam rolled away, using his bigger build and his physical strength to pin Kris down to the floor. “Adam, stop!”

Adam laughed, flipping Kris on his stomach, one hand grabbing his wrist and twisting his arm behind Kris’s back. He wrenched his arm up and felt Kris go still, his body tense under him. “Shhhh…I don’t want to hurt you.” Kris groaned angrily. “God, this fucking turns me on.”

“Please don’t do this,” Kris whispered, his free hand slapping the floor. “Please, Adam!”

“I love it when you beg.” He said, sliding his hand under Kris, ripping the front of his jeans open and jerking his pants down.

“No, don’t!” Kris tried to scramble away and Adam giggled hysterically.

He felt a sharp pain across his nose and he stopped. Kris slammed his elbow into Adam’s cheekbone and Adam groaned, rolling off of Kris to grab his face.

“What the fuck, Kris?” He watched as Kris got to his knees, glaring at him. “I think you broke my fucking nose, you little shit!”

“Fuck you!” Kris said, holding his arm close to his chest. “Fuck you.”

He saw Kris get to his feet, doing up his jeans and jerking down his shirt to cover the front of his ripped pants. Adam made a grab for his ankle when Kris walked past him, but Kris shook his off.

“I’ll kick your face in if you don’t let go of me,” he snarled at Adam.

Adam laughed and let go of him, watching as Kris ran down the hallway. “Come on, Kris, I thought we were just having a bit of fun!” He laughed again, sitting up against the wall. “Kris! Come on, baby, don’t be like that!”

He heard the front door slam and Adam stopped laughing, wiping his nose with the back of his hand. He wasn’t even bleeding. And his nose wasn’t broken. He got to his feet and walked into the junk room, looking at the broken picture on the floor. He walked closer, staring at the blood and bruises showing on his face in the picture.

This was going to be a bitch to clean—

“Help…help me…”

Adam stared at his face, the cataract white eyes moving in its sockets, mouth moving painfully.

”Help me…help…help me…”

Adam screamed, falling against the boxes, scrambling on his hands and feet, backing away from the picture. “What the fuck! WHAT THE FUCK!”

”Help…please help me…help me…help me…help me…”

*****

Five Months Later

The Franco Room
Downtown Hollywood
January 2012

 

It’s late at night and I can’t sleep
Missing you runs too deep
Oh I can’t breathe, thinking of your smile
Every kiss I can’t forget
This aching heart ain’t broken yet
Oh God, I wish I could make you see
‘Cause I know this flame isn’t dying
So nothing can stop me from trying
Baby you know that maybe it’s time for miracles
‘Cause I ain’t giving up on love
You know that maybe it’s time for miracles
‘Cause I ain’t giving up on love
No, I ain’t giving up on us

The Franco Room reminded Adam of the days before he became a pop icon rock star, the days when his life was about finding a venue to play a gig and sing a few songs. Except now, it meant something more than just getting a record deal or even getting enough money to pay the rent.

He came back to LA a changed man. He sold his rock star mansion, donated all of his things to charity, and moved in with his mom. He’d lost too much weight and put his hair back to its normal ginger but more of a dark auburn now. It was a way to put that other Adam Lambert behind him and move forward with his life.

It was a time for change anyway.

Unexpectedly, he was richer now than when he was an actual rock star from the royalties of his previous six albums selling out again by the millions when the tabloids reported his “break down” and his move to Jaipur, India as “finding his soul”. Little did they know that they got it right that time. He didn’t miss his old rock star lifestyle, but he missed the music and being on a stage performing for people.

The new image, the new acoustic music and ballads, the small venues – he was happy to be this Adam Lambert. The places were always packed on the nights that he performed; and he knew that they were a mixture of curiosity seekers and gossipmongers; some were true fans who embraced his new music. Adam didn’t care about the excesses anymore. He wanted what everyone else wanted with his life – love, security, stability, happiness, passion.

He held his glory note at the end of the song and let his voice fade into the air. The applause and cheering started before he even took a breath and he smiled out at the appreciative audience, bowing his head.

“Thank you,” he said, chuckling softly. He looked at his small band – Robert on piano, Nick on guitar, Sandy on drums – and he stood up from his stool, making sure to acknowledge his people, sharing the spotlight.

“Encore!” Someone from the audience called.

Adam laughed into the microphone, looking out at the crowd. “Really? You’re not completely depressed by all the tragic love songs yet?”

They laughed with him. “Sing ‘Fever’!”

“’If I Had You!’”

“’Outlaw of Love!’”

There were more cheers and catcalls.

Adam grinned and shook his head. “Sorry, guys, but I don’t perform songs from my old albums anymore. It’s a legal thing.”

“Boo!”

“I know, right?” He said, chuckling.

It was the one concession Adam made when he returned to RCA, wanting his name back so that he could sing his new music. He could keep his name, but he couldn’t publicly perform any of the songs that he made while under the RCA label. If it meant that he could have his name and be a free agent, then it was an easy enough deal to accept.

***

“Nice set,” Tommy said, sipping his beer.

Adam sat down at his table and grinned. “Thanks.”

“You wrote that for Kris, didn’t you?”

“I think all of them are for Kris,” he said, shrugging. “Does he know that I’m back in LA?”

“Yeah.”

When he came back to LA, he was surprised to learn from his mom that Brad had reached out to Kris. And not only just reached out to Kris, but pulled him into his life. Brad was hard to refuse on the worst of days; it made him happy to know that his friends were looking out for Kris.

He wondered if Kris wanted to see him or at least talk to him? He wondered if Kris could ever forgive him?

“How is he?”

“Closed up his studio a couple of months back,” Tommy said, softly. “He started doing mission work and documenting with photographs the lives of others. He’s been doing some work with National Geographic and a few local non-profits.”

Adam smiled, nodding. “That’s great. I’m glad he’s doing okay.”

“He’s not doing okay, Adam,” Tommy said, his voice low and deep. “None of us are doing okay. You fucking ran off for months – not only that, you totally ignored us for a year and then you—“ He stopped, taking a deep breath, looking around to make sure that the people near them hadn’t heard him.

Adam didn’t flinch. He met Tommy’s angry gaze and nodded. “I’m sorry.”

Tommy sighed and picked at the label on his beer bottle. “Yeah, well…” He smiled slightly and glanced at Adam. “Brad is still pissed at you. Cassidy and Sutan, all the others, Monte, Alisan, Dani – they’re coming around. They want to see you – well, they’re getting used to the idea of wanting to see you.”

He was glad; he had missed his friends – he hadn’t realized what he had done, cutting them out of his life like that. It was something he was starting to work through with the therapist that his mom found for him.

“I missed you – all of you,” he said, softly.

“We missed you too, Adam,” Tommy said, simply. “I’m glad you’re back.”

“Thank you for, you know, being the middleman, I guess?” Adam said, chuckling slightly. “I mean, that you’d be willing to talk to me and let me know how everyone is doing.”

He looked at Adam for a long time. “You’re different now…I mean, different even from before you went wacko on us last year. It’s like you’re not fighting yourself anymore.”

“I had a lot of time to just think about the things that mattered to me,” he said, shrugging. “And I feel like I did get some of my soul back, if that makes any sense.”

“That’s good, real good,” Tommy said, smiling at him.

Adam nodded, feeling so grateful that he didn’t have words to truly tell Tommy how he felt. He had a feeling that Tommy understood, though, and from the way he rolled his eyes at Adam and reached out to put his hand on Adam’s back, it felt a lot like forgiveness and love.

Slowly, he was working on rebuilding his friendships. It was hard and he was ashamed at having to reveal it, but he told Tommy everything, about all of it, the bad and the ugly, because he knew that they would have to know if they wanted him back.

Tommy reached into his pocket and pulled out a crumbled piece of paper, sliding it across the table towards Adam. “Happy birthday, man.”

Adam chuckled and picked up the paper, opening it. “What is it?”

“Kris’s cell phone number.”

He swallowed, his hand shaking as he memorized the number quickly. He blinked and then glanced up at Tommy. “Did—did he give this to you?”

“He said for me to wait until your birthday. But he said that he wasn’t ready to talk to you yet. He just wanted you to have it.”

Adam nodded, fighting back tears. It was the lifeline that he needed. “Thank you.”

*****

Starbucks
Downtown Los Angeles
February 2012

 

“I like this new look,” Lane said, smiling at him. “Not glam prince, but not just guy next door.”

Adam giggled. “I don’t think I’ll ever really be guy next door.”

“Well, guy next door in WeHo anyway.” She sipped her drink and let out a sigh. “I’m working with a new musician. Her name’s Tasha and she’s a real up-and-coming singer and songwriter.” She grinned, looking up at him. “She’s not quite as diva as Adam Lambert, but she has potential.”

He laughed. “You’re never happier than when you’re making someone famous.”

“You should do some press,” she said, thoughtfully. “Talk about what you went through last year. You know Barbara Walters loves you. You could get your name and your new music out there—“

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” he said, chuckling. “I didn’t ask you to have coffee with me to pick your brain about publicity. We’re friends, Laney, and I…I need you to be my friend, okay?”

She bit her lip and smiled, nodding. “Okay.”

“Besides, I don’t want to do any kind of official media press. It’s just…there’s no control over the message, you know? I’ve been thinking about creating a blog or something for our band, that way we control the information, not someone else; not some label or management team or PR team or handlers – none of them, just us.”

“Yeah, okay.” She let out a sigh and laughed. “Okay, never mind, I’m not going to even going to try and give you advice right now. But I’m here for you if you ever want it.”

“Thanks,” he said, meaning it. He cleared his throat and looked at her. “I want to apologize for what I said the last time we were in the same room.”

Lane made a face and nodded.

“I am so, so sorry for saying those things to you,” he said, taking a deep breath. “I never should’ve abused our friendship and our professional relationship and partnership like that. I never will again.”

“Okay. Apology accepted.”

“You guys make it so easy for me to just…”

“I don’t want to see you grovel. You’re my friend.” She reached for her carry all and opened it, pulling out a business card. She slid it across their table and smiled at him. “This is my friend Lucy. She’s an A&R rep for a new indie label that she started last year. They’re called ‘Four Note Productions’ and she’s looking for new talent. I told her about your new music and she’s really interested in meeting you.”

Adam took the card and put it in his pocket. “Thank you, Lane.”

“You know RCA would take you back if you even thought about it,” she said, carefully. “You could even negotiate a contract where you have more creative control and probably even a ton more money.”

He did know; they had already asked several times, coming to visit him at the Franco Room, mailing him copies of contracts that had bigger and bigger percentages. “But it’s not right for me anymore. Anyways, I like the idea of starting fresh with a new label. I’ll enjoy the boutique treatment. Anyway, I have enough money and I don’t think I can handle the fame again; it’s about the music.”

“You know, I like this new Zen version of you,” she said, giggling softly. “In all the years that we worked together, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you like this before.”

“Like what?” He said, laughing. “Not crazy? Not diva?”

“Like you’re actually happy.”

Adam smiled, tracing his fingers on the table. “I could be happier…” He looked up at Lane and blinked, frowning slightly over her shoulder.

It was Ryan and Nika. He watched as Ryan spoke to Nika, his handsome face animated, both of them laughing together. He looked as beautiful as ever. Ryan put in their order, paying for it, and they walked towards the pick up area, leaning against the counter. Ryan looked up and around the café, his eyes moving over Adam quickly and then coming back to stare at him.

Adam offered a polite smile and Ryan returned it, hiding the surprise on his face. He wanted to go to Ryan and ask about Kris, but he knew it wouldn’t be the right thing to do. He wondered how Ryan survived it; the life that he had with Simon. He hadn’t survived it; he’d broken and nearly destroyed the one person that he loved. Ryan looked at him again, handing a cup to Nika, putting his arm around her shoulders and guiding her out of the store.

It wasn’t a life that Adam could handle; what was Ryan made of that gave him the strength to stay?

***

Pennyworth Theatre
Downtown West Hollywood
March 2012

 

When Tommy gave him the handwritten invitation to Brad’s one man show at the Pennyworth, Adam was ecstatic.

“Bring flowers – a lot of them,” he said, smirking at Adam.

Adam bought the biggest bouquet of yellow roses and waited for Brad backstage. He loved watching him perform, even if he didn’t always understand Brad’s seriously intellectual performance art. It was worth it just to see Brad come alive on the small stage; and to see him bow and blow kisses to his fans in the audience.

“Hey.”

Adam turned, staring at Kris. He inhaled quickly, nearly choking on his gum and dropping his armful of flowers. “Kris. Hi.”

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

Kris laughed softly, looking up at him. “You look good; I like your new look.”

“Thank you.”

“You seem…happier.”

“Getting there,” he said, nodding at him. “How are you?”

“I’m…getting there, too.” He said, softly.

Kris was tanned and healthy; his hair was longer and he was letting his facial hair grow out. He looked like a man who didn’t have any demons. His eyes weren’t guarded and Adam was relieved that their destructive relationship hadn’t taken Kris’s humanity.

“You look beautiful, Kris,” he said, warmly. “I’ve missed you so much. I have so much to explain and so much to apologize for and—“

Kris touched his arm and met his eyes. “We have time to talk later. Tonight is for Brad.”

Adam swallowed and nodded. “Okay.”

“Bitches!”

Adam and Kris turned, laughing as Brad came up to them. He hugged Adam fiercely and he felt Brad’s forgiveness and Adam nearly started crying, burying his face against Brad’s face, the flowers getting crushed between them.

“You were wonderful,” he whispered, holding Brad close. “So good, Brad, so good.”

“I know!” Brad said, cheerfully. He winked at Adam and let him go, turning to give Kris a long hug. “Hey, kiddo, thanks for coming!”

“You’re going to have to explain what that was all about, man,” Kris said, chuckling. “And keep in mind that I’m a country boy from Arkansas.”

“Pfft,” Brad snorted, rolling his eyes. “Don’t even pretend that you’re that stupid.” He took their arms, leading them towards his dressing room. “Come on, boys, let me take a quick shower and you can take me out for food and drinks.”

Adam kissed the side of his head. “You got it.”

***

They made sure that Brad made it into his condo. He watched as Kris tucked Brad into bed, laughing softly as Brad demanded a bedtime story from Kris and a foot rub from Adam. He started snoring as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Kris locked the door with his key and he smiled, looking up at Adam. “He’s kind of, uh, hard to say no to, you know?”

Adam laughed. “I know.”

“He’s been a good friend to me,” he said, softly.

“I’m glad.” Adam took a deep breath. “Would you…would you like to have tea with me some time, Kris? Like at the Japanese Tea Garden maybe?”

“You know, I haven’t been there since…well…”

“It’s okay if you’re not…if you don’t want to, Kris.”

Kris looked at him and smiled. “I’d love to go back again. So…yes.”

“Yes? Uh, how about Saturday?”

“Sure. Okay.”

“Kris—“

“Shhh…later. We can talk about it later. I want to know everything and…I have a lot to tell you, too.” Kris smiled and ducked his head, scratching his neck. “I went to a couple of your shows at the Franco. I love the new music, the new everything. I think you’re going to be even bigger than you were before.”

“I…wow, Kris…thank you.” He let out a relieved laugh. “But seriously, I don’t think I want all that fame again. I just…want to perform.”

“Adam, you were born to be a star. At least now,” he said, shrugging. “You have the benefit and experience of hindsight, you know?”

“On everything – I’d do everything differently if I had a second chance.”

Kris smiled at him. “Me, too.”

***

Leila Lambert Residence

 

“Hey mom,” he said, walking into the kitchen and kissing her cheek. He smiled at her and went to pour himself a cup of coffee.

“You’re exceptionally cheerful this morning.”

He sipped his coffee and leaned against the counter, grinning. “I have a date with Kris on Saturday afternoon.”

Leila turned to look at him and he could read the worry on her face. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?”

“I’m going to do it differently this time, mom,” he said, taking a deep breath. “I love him; and I know he loves me. I know that what we had before wasn’t healthy, but I’m different now and I think he’s different now, too. I know we can make it work this time. It’s my second chance, mom, I’m not going to mess it up this time.”

“Sweetheart, I know you think—“

“Mom, please,” he said, setting his cup down and walking towards her. He got on his knees by her chair and took her hand. “I just want to be happy with what I have. It won’t be like last time. I already have the money and I know what my life was like when I had all the fame – so I don’t need either anymore. I have my music, I’m getting my friends back, and I think Kris and I can have the kind of life I’ve always wanted. I know I can do this.”

“I know you believe you can but it’s not going to be as easy as you think.”

Adam chuckled. “I know it’s not going to be easy. I know how screwed up I was last year but I’m not going to put all the blame on Kris, okay? I was there, too. I was a consenting adult in everything that we did, everything that happened.”

“I’m just…I just want you to be happy and okay.”

He kissed her cheek and smiled. “Me, too.” He got off his knees, laughing at the new aches in his knees and his back. “Thirty kind of sucks, huh?”

Leila giggled, smacking him playfully. “Just wait until you get to my age, young man.”

He kissed her cheek again and got his coffee cup, going to his bedroom. He closed the door and walked to his desk, setting the cup down as he opened the drawer. He took a deep breath and reached for the innocuous looking paper inside. Carefully, he picked it up and unfolded it slowly. He closed his eyes when it was fully opened, telling himself to be brave and to look.

He opened his eyes to look at his face. It was the picture that Kris took of his last year. Except now, it wasn’t a grotesque reflection of his soul, but a perfect imitation of his smiling face. He traced the picture with his eyes, making sure that there weren’t any signs like last year, signs of disintegration or destruction. He was relieved to know that there was nothing wrong with the picture.

A picture was worth a thousand words; but it was also made up of a thousand lies. He had spent his 20s living a thousand lies – the last year was the culmination of those lies. He was determined to live a life that wasn’t just a beautiful illusion, but based on the truth, even if that truth hurt him.

Maybe it was time to put the picture in a frame and put it up on the wall. He felt like this was a beginning – a fresh start that he was going to do right this time. He was nervous and excited and elated at the thought of his date with Kris on Saturday.

It was going to be different this time. He knew what was at stake and what he would lose if he fucked up. He wasn’t going to lose himself again; and he wasn’t going to lose Kris. He placed the picture on his desk and picked up his robe from the back of the chair, walking into the bathroom.

*****

Epilogue

 

Leila carried in Adam’s folded laundry, putting them on his bed. As much as she loved having her 30-year old son back at home, he really needed to do his own damn chores. She looked around his room and smiled, a warm wave of nostalgia wrapping around her. He was her first born and she remembered what it was like the first time the doctor put him in her arms, his eyes so big and so uncommonly blue, the shock of red hair on his big head.

She turned to leave but stopped, the picture catching her eye. It was one of her favorites; he was so beautiful in it. Kris really did have some kind of supernatural magic in his photography talent. She smiled, reaching out to grab the doorknob, when something else caught her eye.

There was something moving under the picture. She walked closer, squinting slightly to see what it was. She peered closer and looked at that place right under his eye – something was definitely moving under the paper, pushing out against the picture surface.

And there was a tiny little tear and she could make out something coming out. She should go to her room and get her reading glasses but—what on earth was that? It was a bug under there—but how did a bug get under the frame?

She raised her hands to take the picture frame off the wall but stopped when something started to push out from the small tear. It was wiggling and pushing and twisting, determined to get through the hole. Leila stared at it, raising her finger to tap on the glass at the small, flesh colored—thing—that was starting to poke out from the hole.

“What is that?”

She took another step closer, frowning as she watched the bug working on the hole to make it bigger and bigger. She stifled a scream, her hand pressing against her mouth, as she watched in horror as a maggot slithered out from the hole.

 

THE END.



thousand lies wallpaper by faith_mars