Later, they remember that night in pieces, full-color and ragged edges, like pictures ripped from the pages of a magazine. As it's happening, though, it feels more like a movie, soft filters and cameras focused in tight, and the whole world existing only for the two of them, for their story. A story that begins, as so many do, with a glance.
Adam's happy that night. The novelty of touring has long worn away, but the prospect of an end to it all, a last show slowly starting to appear at the corner of the calendar...somehow, it makes everything seem a little shiny again. And anyway, he's done working for tonight. Tonight, he has a drink in his hands and his friends at his side and a hotel room all his own to go back to, and there's no reason he should go back to it alone. None at all.
He dances a little and drinks more, until his mouth is smiling on its own and the world looks pleasantly vague around him, inconsequential. Somewhere, a person is laughing, high-pitched and non-gendered, and it's contagious even though Adam isn't in on the joke. He laughs, and leans back in his chair, and watches the rainbow pattern the lights make on the ceiling. He's singing to himself, under his breath, maybe has been for a while. No one hears, or notices, or cares, and Adam grins.
The candy appears on the table as if by magic, and all the labels are in Finnish. Adam runs his fingers through it for a while before pulling out a round sucker wrapped in clear plastic, small (more Dum Dum than Tootsie Pop) and red (cherry in every language, surely). He slips it eagerly into his mouth, the taste of vodka heavy and tired on his tongue, quickly overwhelmed by sugar and something not-quite-cherry...strawberry, maybe...but close enough.
He doesn't mean to look. He's halfway dozing, letting his tongue play over the ridges of the candy as it begins to melt away, when he hears the laugh again, startlingly clear against the blended background noise of unfamiliar words and always-familiar club bass. His head falls forward, chin bumping against his chest, and his eyes blink open, and he glances in the general direction of the laugher, mildly curious.
He's small, shorter than the rest of the group he's with, and the way he's leaning back on the bar only exaggerates the effect. His jeans fit him really fucking well, tight but not painfully so, not to the point of discomfort. And he's smiling with all his teeth, pure and bright and really, genuinely happy.
Adam can't really see much more. He doesn't need to.
He doesn't remember getting to his feet, exactly, but then he's walking, right into their little circle. The conversation stops dead, and the guy looks up at him, eyebrows raised and the corner of his lips quirked in amusement. A dozen lines spring to Adam's head before he realizes – suddenly, twistingly – that it's more than likely not one of them will be understood.
He pops the sucker back into his mouth mostly to buy himself a few seconds – better than standing in awkward silence, anyway. It's pure luck that he's still watching the guy's eyes, sees how they drift down from Adam's eyes to his lips, how they flash when Adam pulls the candy back through the wet ring of his mouth with a soft pop.
Then he reaches out and holds the lollipop in front of the small pretty Finnish man's mouth, offering it, like a totally ridiculous person who has no idea how to say would you like to come back to my hotel room and get naked with me in any language but his own. In about three seconds, he is going to be very, very embarrassed.
The man's smile widens, and then he opens his mouth and uses it to grab the candy right out of Adam's hand.
It should be silly, childish even. Instead, all Adam can think about is that now he knows what it'll taste like, this kiss when it comes, strawberry sweetness that matches his own.
He grins, and the Finnish man takes the lollipop in two fingers and pulls it away and grins back, and suddenly Adam realizes.
This is only the beginning.