Kris is turning over the sign in the window when the door jangles noisily and one black-tipped hand slips through and waves at him frantically -- "wait, wait! Don't close yet, I just need a minute!" -- before pushing the door all the way open and being followed by some serious snakeskin boots, or, boot actually, as the exceedingly recognizable rock star barrels inside hopping wildly on one foot. He throws his back against the door, arms spread dramatically wide, physically barring Kris from kicking him out -- as if Kris would ever. He encounters that look of distress on a daily basis, and it never gets any easier to turn down.
It's a simple, unglamorous thing being a shoe salesman, but it still takes a certain kind of person with a certain kind of people-pleasing and comforting skill. You have to at least fake it really well, but it's better if you mean it, and Kris, well, he just likes making people happy. And it turns out shoes? Make some people very, very, very happy. Every day he's confronted with panicked, frustrated customers looking for that certain color or style or fit, and it's silly, but rewarding, sending them off with the perfect shoe that lights up their entire face. So Kris has been on the end of his fair share of disproportionately desperate people with their list of never-ending shoe emergencies, but he's not sure anyone's ever come close to wearing the kind of desolation that wracks every line of Adam Lambert's long, lean, leather-encased body. That outfit, Kris notes, feeling faint. Wow.
Adam stares at him, eyes wide and unblinking.
"Can I help you?" Kris asks politely.
"Could you just-- I know you're trying to close, but I've got--," and here he thrusts the boot he's holding out in front of him, "--and my usual place doesn't have the right size thingy for the, it's my--" He trails off and pushes the dangling heel on his boot sadly, before looking back up at Kris and continuing, "I don't even know what happened! It just snapped off, I almost died, it was completely humiliating, and I can't change costumes now, my costume was totally made to complement these boots!"
"Those are some boots," he agrees, nodding solemnly, biting back his amused smile because what do you know? The towering superstar rock god is cute. Like, Zorro cute.
"Yes!" Adam cries. "Aren't they? They're one of a kind, and I need them tonight in stomping, wailing out, working order, and you can't be closed, my watch says I have a few minutes left, it must be slow!" Adam keeps waving his arms, his shirt cardigan cape thingy slipping down over bare wrists. "But you have to help me! Matt said you do repairs here, too, and that you have the best parts..." He trails off as Kris walks closer and inhales sharply when Kris gently pries him off the door.
"Here, why don't you sit down. You're right, you got here just in time. I was trying to close early, you caught me. Don't tell my boss, ok?" He smiles. "Why don't you take off your other boot and give them both here? Let me get a look at how the heels measure up."
Kris clucks his tongue as he examines the pair. "Hmm, yeah, it's not bad at all. You just need the right-sized tap, and I should have something that'll do fine. I can get it done in maybe fifteen minutes, no problem."
"Really?" Adam asks, breathlessly.
"Really," he says, not able to help the grin this time. "It's a close call, but I think they'll make it," he teases.
"You're a lifesaver," Adam breathes, and then doesn't draw another audible breath as he watches Kris fix the boot heel as if he's performing some kind of harrowing surgery. He tries to block out all the anxiety rolling off Adam in waves, because those are delivery room deathbed looks, and Adam Lambert is just ridiculous.
It's a little embarrassing the way Adam stares at him, because as amusing as all the over-the-top theatrics are, they don't take away from the fact that Adam is seriously hot and that Kris has had a thing for him for a really long time. Kris focuses intently as he coats the nails with glue and hammers the new tap into place trying not to think about how Adam Lambert in person is sort of blowing his mind, because the guy does exist, somehow, and he's every bit as glittery, fabulous and drop-dead gorgeous up-close in real life. All that, and he's just plain adorable, too. And god, the way Adam's looking at him, hands actually pressed to his heart? A guy could get ideas.
If he thought it was confusing before, though, it's nothing compared to how he feels when Adam kisses him. "Thank you," he breathes, brushing his lips across first one cheek then the other, before pressing sweetly against Kris's slack mouth. "Mmm, my hero," Adam says. His eyes are closed, and he's smiling, and Kris can't wrap his mind around a single thought.
Adam sighs and backs away reluctantly, and that's when the whirlwind starts up all over again. "I don't even want to know what time it is, Lane is going to kill me," he wails. "Oh! How much do I owe you? No wait, I don't have anything on me, oh god, I am never making it to the show on time, I'm a fucking dead man--"
"Hey, uh," Kris interrupts. "Don't worry about it. It's on me."
"Are you sure??"
Adam really needs to stop looking at Kris that way, like he's saving Adam's entire world instead of just basking in the guy's presence for as long as it lasts. "Well, heroes don't get paid, right?" he asks, and it's meant to come out flippant, but he can't help the flush.
He's still grinning all the way home. Adam Lambert kissed me, he thinks to himself, and what do you know, Kris feels a little superhuman after all.
Things are back to normal the next morning as he drags himself out of bed, because of course he ends up with back-to-back closing and opening shifts. All very normal up until the moment Kris spots Adam pacing on the sidewalk wearing the same outrageous outfit he had on last night all the way down to the boots and clutching a cup of coffee with both hands.
"Um," Kris says.
"There you are! I was hoping you'd open."
"Um, did you-- Have you even slept yet?"
"Nope!" Adam answers cheerfully. "I'm about to pass out, but I had to drop by first. I couldn't end my night without introducing myself to you, I can't believe I was so rude! I mean I can, you saw what happened to my heel, but still, terrible manners. Adam Lambert," he says, and the grin he flashes is blinding.
"Um, yeah, I know? You're kind of really famous. Um, I'm--"
"Kris," Adam murmurs. "K-R-I-S, Kris," he says, nodding at Kris's nametag. "It's already in my phone and everything. See?" He fishes out his phone and waves it around, pointing out the blank entry. "Just waiting for a number," Adam says sadly. "Pretty sure I can't let my night end without getting it. Pretty sure it wouldn't be the best night ever anymore."
Heart hammering loudly in his ears, Kris takes the phone and keys in his number carefully, and when he finally meets Adam's eyes, the look in them makes him catch his breath. Because Adam may have been looking at Kris like he was some bigshot hero last night, but the sharply interested way Adam's looking at him right now is even better.