Kris Allen: It was great! Adam’s a great guy. When I realized I was rooming with Adam, I was like, oh, great, put me with the best looking guy here, that won’t be distracting at all. I might have developed a little bit of a crush on Adam. Can I say that? I mean, who didn’t, right? Come on, he’s gorgeous.
After the interview, in the privacy of his own car, Kris started to shake. He’d just outed himself in Rolling fucking Stone, which was a pretty big deal. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, he’d admitted publicly to his embarrassing little crush on Adam. He needed to talk to someone, and, despite the circumstances, Adam’s name was the first to come to mind. Kris almost dropped his phone twice when he pulled it out to call Adam.
“How’d the interview go?” Adam said in lieu of hello.
“I think I just outed myself,” Kris said, voice cracking a little bit.
“Intentionally?” Adam said, sounding surprised at Kris’ comment, but not, Kris knew, at the truth of it. Adam had known that Kris was gay since the first time he’d pointed out a cute guy during Hollywood week and Kris had looked him over and said, “Nice ass.” Adam had laughed delightedly and gleefully drawn Kris into a game of ‘who’s cuter’ that had lasted throughout the competition.
Kris huffed a laugh. “Yeah, I think so.” He’d thought about it. A little bit. But he hadn’t made the conscious decision to do it. “Shit,” Kris swore. “I’m a little nervous now.”
“Do you want to call them, tell them to remove that part?”
“No,” Kris said immediately. His family and friends knew, and he wasn’t going to start hiding in the closet now. It had been too difficult the first time around, before he’d worked up the courage to admit it to himself, much less tell his family. (And Katy, who had been the least surprised of anyone, except his mom.)
“Well, aren’t you the brave little toaster,” Adam teased, but with enough sincerity for Kris to know he meant it as support.
It was exactly what he needed to make him stop freaking out. He gave a little laugh. “Not really. I just didn’t want to have to hide anything; that was bad enough back in high school.”
“Do we need to go out for a celebratory drink?” Adam offered.
“How about I bring over pizza?” Kris counter-offered.
“Deal,” Adam said. “I’m sure I have enough liquor in the apartment for a celebration.”
“Uh, there’s one other thing,” Kris said, more worried about telling this to Adam than outing himself to the rest of the world. “I may have told them that I have a crush on you,” he said in a rush.
“May have?” Adam said carefully.
“Did?” Kris said. There was a moment of soul crushing silence that Kris had to fill. “I don’t want things to be weird between us. They won’t be weird, will they?” he said worriedly. “Adam?”
“No, of course not,” Adam said.
Adam didn’t hesitate. “I promise.”
But they’d both been wrong; things had been weird.
They’d still hung out together, still sat next to each other at meals, still shared a room on hotel nights, still did interviews together, still turned to each other first when they had something to share – a new song, news from home, a joke, and people – Cantiello, fans, the rest of the top 10, including Danny – still called them ‘Kradam’. But things felt . . . off.
And Kris hated it.
Kris heard Adam mutter something from the bunk above him, but he was just on the cusp of sleep, so instead of inquiring about it, as he normally might have done, Kris ignored it.
“Kris,” Adam hissed more loudly. “What the hell is this?”
Kris grumbled a nonsensical reply into his pillow. They’d been going non-stop the last few days, with interviews and autograph signings and back-to-back concerts, as well as writing and recording songs every free moment he got, and he’d only managed to grab a few hours of fitful rest, even over the wheel well where he liked to sleep. Plus, he thought he might be coming down with a cold.
Adam was not to be deterred, though. He climbed down off his bunk and pushed aside the curtain hiding Kris from the rest of the bus. “What is this?” he demanded again.
Kris managed to open one eye and peer blurrily at the item in Adam’s hands. “Laptop?”
Adam gave a disgusted huff. “Move over.”
“Sleeping,” Kris whined.
“Sleep later,” Adam said without a shred of sympathy. “Explain now.”
Kris jerked his feet up so Adam didn’t sit on them, and then reflexively took the laptop Adam shoved at him. Kris squinted at the screen. Adam found Kris’ glasses and propped them on his nose. It took a second for Kris’ eyes to adjust enough to make out the words.
Kris Allen (shaking his head): Geeze, I wish I’d never said that.
Interviewer: Because it wasn’t true?
Kris Allen: Because it’s all anyone wants to talk about, and it makes things awkward.
Interviewer: You mean with all the other guys on the bus?
Kris Allen: No, I mean because Adam doesn’t feel the same way. (Allen shrugs) But we’re still good friends.
Kris groaned and pushed the laptop away. He remembered conversation, but he’d kind of hoped it had been a dream.
“She caught me at a bad time,” Kris explained – slash – whined. “‘M tired. And I don’t feel good.”
Adam frowned at that. He pressed the back of his hand to Kris’ forehead and Kris leaned into the touch. Adam’s hand felt cool against his warm skin.
“Are you getting sick?” Adam said worriedly.
“I think so,” Kris said miserably.
Adam got a determined expression on his face. He snapped his laptop shut and crawled out of Kris’ bunk. Kris pouted as he watched Adam leave, but he didn’t go far. Adam deposited the laptop into his bunk and rummaged around. A few seconds later he climbed back into Kris’ bunk with a handful of pills and a bottle of water.
“Vitamins and aspirin,” Adam said. “Take them. You’ve let yourself get run down,” he added as Kris obediently swallowed the pills, sounding both accusatory and guilty. “You need to sleep,” Adam said after he’d made Kris finish the water.
“Was trying to,” Kris reminded him archly.
Adam plucked the glasses off Kris’ face and pushed him to the back of the bunk. He laid down and pulled Kris down on top of him so his head was pillowed on Adam’s shoulder.
“Mmm,” Kris moaned as he relaxed against Adam. “Feels good.”
Adam held Kris close and rubbed his back.
“Missed this,” Kris said sleepily. “You don’t touch me anymore.”
Adam’s hand froze for a moment before returning to its stroking. “Kris . . . ,” he said, then stopped. If he said anything else, Kris missed it as sleep overtook him.
When Kris woke up he was drooling. He wiped the corner of his mouth on his pillow before he remembered that it was Adam’s shoulder, and Adam’s shirt. Kris glanced up to find Adam watching him with a fondly amused expression.
“I drooled on you.”
“I can see that.”
“We don’t have to be up yet,” Adam said, and nudged Kris’ head back down to his shoulder. He chuckled when Kris shifted around so his face wasn’t in the wet spot he’d created.
Adam kept his hand on Kris’ head, fingers combing through the strands. Kris sighed; it felt amazing. He closed his eyes and let himself bask in Adam’s attentions. Eventually, though, the alarm on Adam’s phone went off. Kris knew they couldn’t stay there all day, tucked away from the world in his bunk, but he wasn’t quite ready for that moment, the closeness he felt with Adam, to end; wasn’t ready to go back to things being weird between them.
“Come on,” Adam said gently. “Let’s get dressed and I’ll fix us both some breakfast.”
“Not hungry,” Kris grumbled as Adam pulled away from him, taking his warmth with him.
“You need something in your stomach,” Adam said, implacable. He whipped the blanket off Kris, ignoring his complaints.
Kris lay on his bunk watching Adam pull out clean clothes and toiletries. Kris glanced down at himself, at wrinkled tee and jeans, considering whether he’d be able to get away with wearing them one more day.
“No,” Adam said as if he’d read Kris’ mind, and then dumped Kris’ duffel on the bunk before heading to the small bathroom.
Kris was still half-heartedly sorting through his limited choices when Adam returned. Adam tossed his stuff onto his own bunk, then sat on Kris’. He took the duffel away from Kris and patiently pulled out a change of clothes for him.
“Come on,” Adam said as he drew Kris out to stand in the narrow aisle. “You’ll feel better after you’ve washed your face and brushed your teeth,” he went on, raising Kris’ tee up and pulling it over his head as if he was a child.
Kris was happy to let Adam do it; happy to have Adam touching him for any reason. Adam turned Kris around and gave him a swat on the rump to get him moving. Moments later Kris realized that he felt better after taking his morning piss. Kris washed up at the sink and brushed his teeth, and then stumbled back to Adam, who chuckled when he saw the state of Kris’ hair.
Kris was too enamored with Adam’s smile to work up much of a glare, but he did a better job of it when Adam tugged a clean tee on over Kris’ head, and even better when Adam reached for his waistband.
“I can do it,” Kris muttered, ducking his head to hide the blush.
Adam did have to steady him, though, when he stepped into the clean pair of jeans. He stuffed Kris’ dirty clothes in with the growing pile of laundry (thank goodness they had a hotel night after that night’s concert so he could sleep in a comfy bed and maybe get some wash done), while Kris sat on the edge of the bunk and tied his sneakers.
Adam refused to let Kris off the bus without eating something. Kris agreed to toast and juice, and Adam gave him another handful of pills. Kris did feel better after, but he attributed that more to Adam than to having something in his belly.
Adam stayed next to Kris the rest of the day, concern on his face, a steady hand on Kris’ back, and always ready with a bottle of water (“Drink it all, you need to stay hydrated.”), aspirin, or even a bag of vitamin C drops he’d sent someone out to buy. Every free moment they had, Adam found a chair or a couch and forced Kris to rest. Adam plied him with more water before soundcheck, and even more before Kris went on stage that night. He was there to help Kris change his shirt before the group number, and with an arm around his shoulders to help him off the stage after.
“It’s just a cold,” Kris had tried to tell Adam once, but he’d fallen asleep almost before the words had left his mouth, his body tipped to the side, his face smooshed against Adam’s arm.
After the show Adam apologized and cut their autograph signing short. Kris wanted to protest, because he hated disappointing the fans who had come out to see them, but he was dragging. He thought the slightest breeze might knock him over. The sounds of disappointment turned to noises of concern when Adam told them that Kris wasn’t feeling well.
Kris obediently let Adam guide him to the bus and he crawled into his bunk. He made room for Adam, who slid in beside him without having to be asked, and immediately opened his arms for Kris. As soon as Kris was settled against him, Adam pressed a kiss to the top of his head. Kris fell asleep with Adam’s shirt clutched tightly in his fingers, and Adam’s, “I missed this, too,” in his ears.
A couple hours later the bus stopped and Adam helped Kris out of the bunk. He shouldered both duffels and half carried Kris, whose eyes didn’t want to open, and whose feet didn’t want to work properly, into the hotel. Adam propped Kris up against the counter and signed for their room, taking both keys from the clerk before guiding Kris to the elevator.
Moments later Adam lowered Kris onto the bed. It felt like he’d lost some time, but the mattress felt too good beneath his back for Kris to care overmuch. Adam removed Kris’ sneakers with care, as if they were made of porcelain rather than more hole than material, but Kris batted ineffectually at Adam’s hands when they moved to his waistband.
“Not tonight, honey, I’ve got a headache,” Kris mumbled.
Adam made a sound that Kris thought might be amusement, or surprise, but he efficiently got Kris out of his jeans and rolled him under the covers.
“Here.” Adam helped Kris sit up and pressed a bottle of water to his lips. “Drink a little more before you go to sleep.”
Kris drank. Mostly because it was easier than arguing with Adam. Besides, he was a little bit thirsty. He laid back down and fought to keep his eyes open so he could watch Adam get ready for bed. They closed without his permission and Kris had to settle for listening to Adam move about the room, though he was keeping quiet in deference to Kris. Soon the light went out, and the other side of the mattress dipped as Adam climbed in beside Kris, rather than into the second bed.
Kris wanted to reach for Adam, but he didn’t have the energy to make his muscles obey his commands. He whimpered his unhappiness with the situation. Adam moved up behind him with a gentle hand and a soft, “Shh.”
Kris sighed in pleasure as Adam pulled him back against him and curled an arm around him. Kris raised his hand to Adam’s, and fell asleep with their fingers twined together.
Kris’ insistent bladder woke him the next morning. He’d shifted in the night, turning so he was snugged up against Adam’s side, head back in its spot on Adam’s shoulder, his hand warm beneath Adam’s tee. Kris froze when he realized that his fingers were curled in Adam’s chest hair. Very slowly Kris spread his fingers out, pressing his palm flat against Adam’s skin. He slid his hand down, telling himself he was just removing it from beneath Adam’s shirt, and not copping a feel.
Kris realized that Adam was awake only when his stomach muscles jumped and he sucked in a breath at Kris’ touch. Kris’ eyes shot up and his gaze met Adam’s own hooded eyes. He couldn’t quite make out the expression in them, and was afraid to make too great of an effort to decipher it. Kris jerked his hand out the rest of the way from under Adam’s shirt as if he’d been burned.
“Sorry,” Kris said, his voice rough with sleep. “I’ve gotta pee,” he added, and he rolled away from Adam and stumbled to the bathroom.
Kris had to will away his morning erection before he could relieve himself; after, he spent a long time washing his hands. He’d have stayed in the bathroom longer, but he figured it was already reaching the stage of ridiculousness. Kris turned off the bathroom light and pulled open the door slowly, hoping fervently that Adam had fallen back to sleep.
Instead, Adam stared intently at Kris, as if he’d been watching the door, waiting for Kris to emerge from hiding. He flipped back the corner of the covers and said, “Come back to bed.”
“What time is it?” Kris said, glancing at the curtained window even as his body responded to Adam’s authoritative tone and took a step forward.
“Early,” was all Adam said. “Come on, you need to rest.”
Kris wasn’t sure he could rest, not with his body so aware of Adam. Still, he obediently slid onto the mattress and let Adam pull the covers over him. Kris was afraid to roll over and touch Adam after what had happened earlier, but Adam showed no hesitation. Kris didn’t say anything when Adam drew him close, just allowed Adam to arrange him the way he wanted him. Which was exactly the way Kris liked to be, cuddled up next to Adam with his head on Adam’s shoulder.
Kris was stiff, at first, but that didn’t last because it felt too good laying against Adam like that. Kris closed his eyes and listened to Adam’s heart beating steadily beneath his ear, and let himself relax into Adam’s hold. Until Adam spoke, softly, almost as if he was reluctant to disturb the moment.
“Do you still have a crush on me?”
Kris couldn’t stop the groan from escaping. He hid his face against Adam’s shoulder and said, “I wish I’d never said that.”
“Why?” Adam said, his voice tight.
“Because you got all weird afterwards,” Kris said. “Even though you promised you wouldn’t,” he added, unable to keep the accusation out of his voice. “I wish I could take it back,” Kris said, unable to stop now that the dam had broken open. “If I could do it over again, I never would’ve said anything.”
“I don’t want you to take it back,” Adam said.
“Yes, you do,” Kris argued petulantly.
Adam choked off what sounded like a chuckle at Kris’ comment. Kris would’ve taken offense, but Adam was petting him, and it felt really nice, and he didn’t want him to stop, so he didn’t say anything, just pouted into Adam’s shirt.
“I really don’t,” Adam finally said.
“You got all weird,” Kris repeated the charge.
“I did,” Adam admitted softly. “But not for the reason you think.”
“Then why?” Kris said, plucking at Adam’s tee.
“When we first met, I couldn’t believe you were even real. You were the cutest, sweetest, sexiest thing I’d ever seen,” Adam said.
Kris shook his head; he wasn’t any of those things.
“You were,” Adam insisted. “You are. Everything about you – your smile, your ass, your stupid hair . . . .” Adam patted Kris’ stupid hair. “. . . turns me on.”
Kris’ fingers froze as hope and disbelief warred inside him.
“Sometimes,” Adam went on, “the way you looked at me, I’d get so fucking hard. And then you said that, about the crush, and I had* to stop touching you, I was hard all the time,” Adam ended on a note of frustration.
“But . . . then . . . I don’t understand,” Kris whined. “Why did you . . . ?”
“There’s a difference between you having a crush, a very harmless crush, and you wanting me to throw you down on the bed, and tear your clothes off, and lick you all over,” Adam said vehemently, and then deflated. “So.”
“Oh,” Kris squeaked as his body responded to the images Adam had planted in his mind. “But. Can’t I have both those things?” he asked carefully.
Adam’s hand stopped moving, and Kris pushed his head against it until it resumed its motion.
“Do you . . . do you want that?”
“The licking thing?” Kris said. “Um, yes?”
“Kristopher,” Adam warned.
Which was just . . . really? “I told the entire world that I have a crush on you, Adam, what do you think?” Kris said, frustrated.
When Adam didn’t say anything, Kris chanced a quick glance up at him. He looked, well, stunned. Kris gripped Adam’s tee for leverage and raised his head until their lips met. Adam pulled back almost immediately.
“I have morning breath!”
“I don’t care,” Kris said.
Adam was touching him again, and there was a very good chance that Adam was going to keep on touching him, and not just, like, on the shoulder. Determined, Kris crawled up Adam in a sudden burst of energy and curled his hand around the back of Adam’s neck. He held Adam still as he smashed their mouths together, ignoring the awkwardness of noses bumping and teeth clacking.
Adam finally got with the program and the kiss smoothed out. He took control of the kiss, tongue sliding between Kris’ lips, mapping his mouth. Kris jerked back suddenly.
“Wait, I’m sick,” he said, holding up his hand between them to ward off Adam’s attempts to reinitiate the kiss.
“I don’t care,” Adam growled.
“I’ll make you sick,” Kris protested, but Adam rolled Kris to his back and licked the words right out of his mouth.
Kris’ prediction came true, and a couple days later they were sharing a box of tissues, a bottle of cough syrup, and throat lozenges, but Kris didn’t care. Even with his nose all red and his hair standing up because he couldn’t be bothered to fix it, Adam was the most beautiful person in the world. And Kris was right where he wanted to be, snuggled up against Adam’s side, offering him another tissue when he sneezed.