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On the Waterways

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A vacation. That’s what they told him back in Los Angeles; he needed a vacation away from the fans and the stress of the recent album tour and everything else that had fucked up in his life so far. Breaking up with Gray who tried to sell him down the river for a laugh and a dime, his new album hitting such a heights as to have his very own personal stalker, and the whole rumour about him and that guy in the supermarket ….

Yeah, he needed a break.

He’d walked out the door that day with a ticket to Venice (first class! Some good things do come out of making it big), reservations made in a discreet hotel and a order to not return to work for fifteen glorious days on pain of being on house arrest or worse.

But he’d take Venice over anything else, anyway.

When he landed with only a rucksack he’d been instantly transported to his stage days – just hitching it with a few jeans and t-shirts and a wallet of savings, making his own way without bodyguards or his staff. No fancy clothes, or a mountain of luggage or hundreds of pieces of paper for every contingency ever from the legal department. Just him and some good CDs that got him through the worst times and best of all….

No expectations.

In Venice, he wasn’t Adam Lambert, Idol runner-up, singer, songwriter, performer and rising star. He’d left that in the airport bathroom of LAX when he’d taken make-up remover to his face and let his face out from under the frowns and stress lines. Here he was just Adam, with freckles and Queen t-shirts with holes in the sleeves and eyeliner that he could choose to apply.

So he set out to his hotel like a fucking tourist and while people whispered and looked at him, nobody asked him to sign something and a little old lady offered him a fat juicy peach and patted his cheek after he carried her shopping up the steps to her building and in general…

Life was good.

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Day eight of his vacation, and he’d already settled into a rhythm of life, and memories of hell back Stateside were slipping away like water through his fingers.

He rose at nine, had breakfast in the hotel restaurant, and went exploring for the rest of the day – sometimes following huge groups of tourists, sometimes taking a map and advice from the hotel desk staff and going rambling on his own into amazing stately homes and galleries.

Nobody questioned him, nobody asked his name, nobody cared. He was just another face and Adam was never so glad to be part of the crowd.

Now, he unfolded the map in his lap and tried not upset the low riding gondola that was taking him back to the closest waterway to the hotel and wondered where to go tomorrow.

Why not ask a native? A voice that sounded suspiciously like his mother prodded him and he shrugged. Why not ask the gondolier – he’d know everything around here. Like taxi drivers back home or something.

“Hey, do you know  what’s good to see around here?” he squinted through his sunglasses (Ray Bans but who knew?) and waited for a reply.

The guy just shrugged.

Adam tried again, “Museums, art galleries… Buildings?”

Nothing. The guy just shrugged, pushing them further along the waterway and Adam huffed. He wasn’t quite as used to being ignored as he used to be, it seemed, but it fucking grated, alright? Months of people jumping to answer his every request only to be ignore by the fucking taxi driver – gondolier. Whatever.  “You could at least say you don’t know.”

“Of course, sir.” That accent wasn’t Italian but he couldn’t quite place it… Come to think of it, the guy didn’t look Italian – he looked more Scandinavian than anything – blonde haired and blue eyes…

Really pretty blue eyes, actually.

Fuck. He had to pick the fucking boat with the transfer student didn’t he?  The goddamn pretty gondolier transfer student…from the place where that goddamn physic told him his love would be from…

But he was still fucking annoying for not answering his question  -

 

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Later, Adam would tell the police translator who would tell the actual police officer who would tell his commander like a fucking game of Chinese whispers that he had no idea where the freak with the gun came from and it was true.

One minute he had been fuming over the gondolier’s rudeness and the next, he’d been flat on his back, the map in his hands with a bullet hole cutting out a large part of the map – right over his fucking hotel, actually – and the attractive but annoying gondolier sprawled on top of him, holding him down with one hand and that was a fucking big gun right next to Adam’s head as he bellowed “SECRET SERVICE! HANDS IN THE AIR AND DO NOT MOVE!”

Well, how about that then?

In his defence, he’d picked up a gondolier for a ride home, not a fucking shoot-out so when he’d got up the brain cells to ask questions, he figured he could be forgiven for asking, “Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see him?”

What?!”  The guy holding him down looked at him incredulously but then more shit happened and Adam was a little fuzzy on the details about what exactly happened because he’d been in fucking shock at the time but somehow they ended up dumped in the canal, and his map floated away and he was very grateful all he had on him was a wallet in a waterproof baggie in a zipped pocket of his jeans.

But the water was kind of cold and wet and it didn’t taste too good and then more police turned up in a motorboat and hauled away the guy who looked more than a little insane – albeit with a rough American accent - but Adam didn’t know him from Jack, and then they’d been left in the water while someone towed away their gondola for evidence.

Only after it disappeared under the bridge was Adam finally aware that he was now stranded in the middle of a deserted waterway with a vague promise that sounded like, “Back in a minute!” from one of the police officers but could be “back in ten hours!” for all he knew and there was no getting out of it.

“Hi.” Well, conversation is always nice wherever you are and Adam was raised to be polite. So he said something and it was dumb but it was a start. A wet one but eh, he’d take it.

“Hi.” The other guy looked a lot more friendly now, but that could just be the lack of the stupid hat. The grin might have had something to do with it, though.

“So… You come here often?” He didn’t know what possessed him to say it – maybe the shock made him dumb – so dumb he was reduced to shitty pick-up lines from the 80s but he wasn’t exactly thinking at the time, and he’d just said it.

He was lucky to be able to speak the words, he knew.

The other guy looked at him like he was the fucking insane one for a minute and Adam bobbed up and down in the greyish water and decided then and there to give up singing and retire to the top of a mountain and become a hermit because he would never get over the fact that he tried twice to pick up a guy during a shootout.

With bad lines to boot.

Ah. He’d obviously offended the guy – maybe he wasn’t gay or something and Adam backed off fast. Small he might but the force he’d knocked Adam down with had been impressive. So had the speed. Time to back track that road and fast.

“Umm. Okay. I’m gonna swim over here and we never have to see each other again and I’ll disappear off and I’m sorry for being so fucking rude and I was I admit –“

“I don’t have sex on the first date.”

“And I’m sure you don’t need – I’m sorry?”

“No sex. On the first date.”

“Umm. That’s…. Good?” He’d never been so thrown off in his life but those baby blues sparkled at him and he found his own mouth tugging up into a smile.

“Sauli.” The guy extended a hand under the water and it was quite possibly the weirdest introduction in his life – not to mention the wettest and the most dangerous as well – but he had a good feeling about this.

He reached out and took the guy’s hand in his and smiled. “Adam.”

Yeah. That vacation was definitely a good idea.

 

 

 

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That pic inspired it. The secret agent part came from his hat and too much Coke.