“It’s just E, B, E, B, E, A, E, A, E, B, E! It’s not that hard.”
As soon as he said it David knew that the glare Kris was sending his way was probably deserved; that had sounded arrogant even to him. Kris was a good guitar player and even a bad one would be able to play that.
“I can play it David, I just don’t think that we should!”
“Why not? It’s the kind of thing that we did on the show which is what they’re looking for but it’s also a bit different.” David explained.
“It’s a stupid choice of song.” Kris’s voice was louder than normal due to his frustration. “I’m not saying it would sound bad, you’re probably right and it would be cool. But we are not getting up there and singing ‘And Then He Kissed Me’!”
David didn’t understand why Kris wouldn’t want to perform something that he was pretty positive would be great. Surely the whole point of ‘A Decade of Idol’ was to show both what they had done on the series and what they were like now. And taking a song and flipping it had been exactly what they had both done but they were both so much better at owning the stage now that it would be even better.
“Dude, we’re doing the ‘Then I Kissed Her’ lyrics. And even if we weren’t you are the last person I’d expect to be squeamish about something like this.” David argued. “I’ve never seen you care before.”
“Normally I haven’t just spent the past two years with people saying that I’m fucking my friend. I start singing this song and everyone’s going to be following me again and looking at Adam and he doesn’t need that and I don’t need that. I don’t want that.”
David had wondered how Kris was dealing with his ever decreasing privacy and now it looked like he had his answer; not amazingly well. He had been aware of what was happening as Kris had been torn to shreds by the press over his divorce but not being particularly close to the man he’d never spoken to him about it. It didn’t seem to matter how many times both Kris and Katy said that the split was amicable the tabloids were determined to put the blame somewhere and Kris and, by association, Adam had been the easiest targets.
“I don’t want...it’s just that...look you wouldn’t understand what that’s like okay.” Kris sighed.
“Have you heard the stuff about me and Arch?”
David smiled at Kris, trying to infect some levity into his tone, but it only half reached his eyes. He knew all too well what people over analysing every move felt like. Even if sometimes they weren’t 100% wrong they were nearly always at least 90% way off target.
“Yeah but no one actually believes that.”
“I wouldn’t be too sure.” David muttered to himself.
“Everyone believes this. They have since the show ended and it only got worse after the divorce.” Kris rubbed a hand over his face. “You should have read some of the stuff people were writing about us both.”
David rolled his eyes. One thing he’d learnt over his few years of fame had been that looking yourself up on the internet was never a good idea.
“I’ve told you before, I’ve told both of you before, do not google yourself.”
“I know I know it’s just...look can we not just sing something else?”
The weariness in Kris’s voice was obvious and David looked closely at his friend. The past four months since the divorce had visibly been hard on him; the bags under his eyes were more prominant than they had been since that first summer during the Idol tour. And while David hadn’t been paying that much attention to the Idol tour at the time, he’d been too involved in his own life, he had met Kris a few times during that period and his main memory of the man was how tired he looked. Well, that and his sense of humour. And a lot of plaid.
David decided that he would let Kris win this argument. He really didn’t want to make the other man more uncomfortable than he obviously already was.
“Okay, alright, I give. I’m still saying it would have rocked the place.”
David and Kris both picked up the pages of paper with the pre-allowed list of songs that they had dropped on the floor in front of them.
“How about this one?”
Kris held the paper up to David’s face and pointed to a song. David nearly laughed but was afraid that would be taken as assent. No matter how much he wanted Kris to relax this was one song on which he would put his foot down.
“No, no Donna Summer!”
“We could take out the electrics and just have the two acoustic guitars and some bongos and...”
“And Cake have already covered it and no one needs to hear another version of ‘I Will Survive’.”
Both heads went back to studying the list. A few songs caught David’s eye.
"‘More Than A Feeling’?” David suggested hopefully.
He started picking out the solo on his guitar, thinking that he might make a better argument by showing how awesome the song was. Looking at Kris he saw the shake of his head and sighed.
“How about ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’?”
“Clarkson?” Kris questioned.
“What is it with you and the 80s?”
David ignored the jibe and turned back to the list. There had to be something that they could both agree on. The problem, David decided, with being known as two of the biggest revampers on Idol was that they now had to rearrange whatever it was they chose. And they had to pick something unexpected. Maybe if he found out what Kris’s other selections were it would be easier.
“What are you performing with Adam?”
He could tell by the relieved smile on Kris’s face that it had been an easier decision.
“We’re doing ‘Helter Skelter’ mixed with a bit of ‘Dear Prudence’.”
David hoped that he didn’t look quite as impressed as he felt. That was not the answer he had been expecting but it was one that he was now very interested to hear.
“Your choice?” he questioned already knowing the answer.
Kris nodded, a look of pride on his face. David wondered how Kris had managed to stay as open as he had been when he started on the show even with all that he’d been through. Sure, the emotions you saw on his face most now were frustration and annoyance but they were still clear as day, right there on his face.
“We both agreed on it, but yeah it was my suggestion.”
“And your arrangement?” David asked again knowing it was almost a redundant question.
Kris was obviously going for coy but he was failing by quiet a long way.
“I thought it would go well with his and my solos.” Kris explained. “It’s heavier rock than those, gotta let him scream occasionally, but it means they all fit together well.”
“What are the other songs?”
“He’s doing a rock/techno/trance/industrial version of ‘I Feel Love’...or at least that’s how he described it. And I’m doing ‘All Along The Watchtower’.”
“Dylan or Hendrix?”
“A little of both. We’re definitely bringing rock to the night. Figured most the others would be singing R’n’B and country so...What about you and Archie?”
David remembered how that meeting hadn’t gone any easier than this one. In fact, that had probably been worse. It was just hard to find a song that suited both of them and that they both wanted to sing.
“It’s a toss up between ‘Bye Bye Love’ and ‘Heroes’, we’re going to decide tomorrow.”
“Go with the Bowie.”
“You think?” David looked at Kris questioningly.
“I wanted to do rockier ‘Heart of Glass’ but we couldn’t make it work.” David confided.
Kris turned to look at David; his eyes wide and smile growing on his face.
“Dude, that’s it!!”
“We need to do ‘Heart of Glass’.”
“It really wasn’t working the other day,” he admitted. “It sounded awful.”
“That’s because the song couldn’t be more wrong for Archie if it tried. You and me however...both playing the electric guitar...”
Kris grabbed his IPhone and started searching. A few seconds later he held it up so David could see the video of Blondie he’d pulled up on youtube.
“Come on, you know it would work.” Kris’s enthusiasm for the song was almost infectious.
David watched the video for a second and the idea definitely held some sway. But he worried that the song might destroy Kris’s plan to keep his private life private.
“People would definitely read into the meaning behind this song if you sing it.” David spoke softly, not wanting to sound judgemental.
“Yeah, but...I don’t know. At least it would be singing about something that wasn’t a lie, wasn’t completely false.”
David took in Kris’s stance and the growing excitement in features. He watched as the younger man started playing around with a few chords, humming the melody of the song to himself in different keys as he strummed. He had been so vehement throughout the mess that all the accusations of cheating, both physically and emotionally, were false. But David himself had always wondered.
“So you and Adam never...?”
He couldn’t believe that he’d just asked, just come straight out and asked. Where had his subtlety gone?
“Sorry, sorry. I shouldn’t have asked that.” David apologised.
Kris was looking at him and under the force of his stare David felt like a bug being examined. Considering how uncomfortable he must have just made Kris he figured that a little discomfort of his own was only fair.
“No we...we never did anything.”
The emphasis on the word ‘did’ made David look at Kris in shock. That meant, that meant that there had been the desire to if not the follow through. And no matter how much a part of him thought that Kris and Adam were secretly doing each other he never really believed it. It was just something that he and Neal had joked about after the GMA performance.
“So you...there was...you wanted to?”
“Not exactly wanted to. No, that’s wrong ‘cause it wouldn’t have not been wanted but...but it’s Adam and he’s like a brother to me.” Kris tried to explain. “So although I can see objectively that he’s good looking he’s not exactly someone I want to kiss. Like I don’t want to kiss Allison. They’re family.”
David was not sure he understood. Not wanting to kiss a 17 year old, yeah that he got, that he got loud and clear. But how Kris had said they hadn’t ‘done’ anything really made it sound like there was at least the thought of doing something.
“But you said you hadn’t done anything.”
“Well we didn’t.”
“You emphasised the ‘done’, like you were hinting that you wanted to.”
David watched the realisation of what he was saying cross Kris’s face.
“Oh no, we talked about it, in a theoretical sense.” Kris stated like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“A theoretical sense?” David was genuinely confused.
“Yeah, you know, as in if we were to kiss, as two men, what would it be like? How would it be different from...”
David held his hand up to stop Kris. He was finding this a little hard to follow.
“You’re telling me that you quizzed Adam on what kissing him would be like?”
“Well yeah. Although it was more kissing guys in general.”
“You wanted to know what kissing guys was like?” David queried.
“Yeah, I mean, I’m all touchy feely with my friends but we’ve never actually made out.”
“So you talked about it?”
David looked at Kris like he’d gone mad.
“But you didn’t do anything?”
“Why the hell not!”
He knew that his voice was a little louder than would be appreciated but still, who talks about kissing rather than just trying it?
“I was married! I would never have cheated on Katy, on anyone. And it was Adam! It would have been weird.”
David was trying very hard not to laugh at the look of absolutely horror on Kris’s face. But he was glad to see that LA hadn’t removed Kris’s morals from him, even if he did find some of them rather amusing. Well, that and the fact that someone had a reason to ask Adam Lambert for a kiss, someone who would probably not be denied, and they had not taken it. That was also a very funny thought.
“I’m pretty sure that Adam would have been fine with it.”
“He doesn’t like me like that. God, I wish everyone would stop thinking that just because he thinks I’m cute he automatically wants to get in my pants.” Kris argued.
“Dude, half the world wants to get in your pants.”
“Half the world doesn’t even know who I am.”
“But those who do want to do you dude.”
Kris rolled his eyes at that. Obviously he’d been taking less advantage of his new fame than David himself had.
“Well nothing happened okay? And nothing is gonna happen.” Kris sighed and put his head in his hands.
David looked at him carefully. He’d already stuck his foot in his mouth once today; he didn’t intend to do it again. But he wondered. He couldn’t help but wonder.
“Do you still want to know what kissing a guy is like?” he asked.
Kris looked up at David and the expression of wariness and shock that was on his face nearly made David take back the question. Maybe he had just stuck his foot in it again.
“Well...it’s just...look...yes okay, yes. I still want to know what kissing a guy is like.”
“For curiosity or something else?” David wasn’t sure he even needed to know the answer but he wanted to.
“A bit of both.” Kris’s voice was quiet but resolved. “I, I think I might like guys that way but I know I like women and I just thought that it would be good to know if guys...if even a slightly sexual act with them did it for me the same way. That and everyone else seems to think I’d enjoy it so why not see what they’re all talking about.”
David studied Kris and, making his decision, placed his guitar back in its stand and got off of his chair. Kris was looking at him warily as he moved towards him. This was the right thing to do, he was helping a friend. He had helped Archie in the same way once he’d turned 18 and although he wasn’t as close to Kris as he was to Archie, and although Kris was older and David didn't feel anywhere near as protective of him, this was something he could do. He could help him figure this out. Hell he might not be Adam, and shit did that man know how to kiss, but he was pretty damn good at it even if he did say so himself. Adam had said so as well. Reaching Kris’s chair David lent down and placed his hand on the back of Kris’s head. Kris flinched slightly at the contact.
“I’m not going to hurt you. I promise.” His voice was husky with what he assumed could probably only be desire. Maybe he wasn’t doing this purely to help a friend after all. Oh well.
He looked Kris in the eye has he waited for confirmation that he should proceed. Seeing Kris nod David leaned in the rest of the way.
He knew that his stubble would be different for Kris; Katy had many qualities but a beard was not one of them. He tried not to push too hard, didn’t want Kris to have to explain stubble rush to the next person he saw, but Kris’s hand came up around his head and pulled him closer. The tentativeness that David had thought Kris would approach the kiss with was nowhere to be seen. He had thought, going into it, that he would lead the kiss but Kris was fighting for dominance strongly. Kris’s guitar was still on his lap and pressed between them. David could feel the wood sticking into his chest. The kiss was, to be perfectly honest, one of the best David had ever had. And wasn’t that a surprise.
Eventually they pulled away from each other. Sure enough Kris’s face was now red and his lips puffier than normal. David was pretty sure he looked less than presentable as well.
“Wow!” David exclaimed.
Kris smirked, he actually fucking smirked.
“I’ll say it again, I know how to play it, I’m just not sure that I should.”
Once David had regained his equilibrium he sat back down on his chair and picked up his guitar. He had to place it slightly further forward on his lap to avoid his now rather prominent hard on.
Kris hadn’t said anything else and instead had gone back to noddling around on his guitar.
“So did you...do you...I mean was it...” David was aware that he sounded like a lust struck teenager but fuck he had not been expecting that.
Kris blushed. Okay, so there was the Kris he was used to. This was the one he knew and not the assertive, forceful man who had kissed him so thoroughly only a few minutes ago.
“Yeah...I kinda did.” Kris glanced up at David quickly. “Although I might need a few more attempts to really be sure.”
And now David was completely turned on and desperately needed to get himself under some form of control. He needed to focus on anything other than what had just happened. Why were they here? Rehearsal, perfect!
“Well we still need to practice the song a bit but as the band won’t be here till tomorrow maybe you might wanna, I don’t know, maybe do someone something afterwards?”
David tried not to look too mortified at his slip of words. Kris didn’t look at him but the smile on his face meant that he had definitely heard David’s mistake.
“Sure, that would be cool...after we get the song though.”
“Oh definitely. After the song. Cause we need to be the best duet on the show.”
“I think we might have some way to go for that. Ignoring the fact that you and Archie, and me and Adam are going to kick ass, Kelly and Ruben are singing a jazzy blues version of ‘Hey Ya!’ which’ll probably tear the house down.”
Now there was definitely a challenge. Apart from poor Jordin and Taylor who had, as far as he’d heard, found absolutely no middle ground between their very different styles everyone else, David knew, was going to rock it out of the park. There was a reason they were the winners and runners up. But that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to try and stand out in his own way; and on this duet in their own way.
“Good for them. But we are going to sing Blondie and we’re going to bring the rock to a new level.”
“I think that maybe we might need a lot of practice sessions to get it as good as it can be don’t you?
The smirk was back on Kris’s face and David was worried that, after that kiss, no matter how many times they were in the same room they wouldn’t actually get much practicing done.
“You’re quite the little dictator aren’t you Allen? Forcing your song on Adam and now demanding I practice a lot.”
David hoped that he was pulling off his ‘dirty’ smile because otherwise he probably looked really stupid right about now. Kris’s laugh made him wonder if he had, in fact, failed at being sexy but the blush that spread across his cheeks made David think he was probably not too far off.
“I think you’d benefit from the rehearsals as much as I would.”
And now David was once again trying to focus on something other than the image of Kris underneath him.
“And I didn’t force anything on anyone. He wanted to sing ‘Telephone’. It was for the greater good that I put a stop to that.”
At least one of them was focusing on the music. David couldn’t stop the laugh that burst from him.
“I would have paid to see you and Adam sing Gaga.”
“Well I would pay to not.”
“He honestly thought Gaga was a good idea for the show?”
“He thinks Gaga is a good idea for everything.”
“Well Debbie Harry was Gaga before Gaga was even born.”
David pulled his guitar closer to him and knocked it right into his erection. How the hell had he forgotten that was there? Maybe it was the image of Kris trying to keep up with Adam’s dance moves that had taken his mind off of it. But although it wasn’t as hard as it had been the contact was still enough to remind him very firmly of its presence; its now stinging presence. He let out a small squeak.
“Are you okay?” Kris asked, immediately shifting to concern.
David nodded in response, not willing to try his voice yet. Once he was composed again David strummed the C chord on his guitar. All of a sudden this rehearsal couldn’t end soon enough. There was somewhere much, much more fun that they both needed to be.