“Well, hello. Aren’t you gorgeous.”
Kris sighs as an arm wraps around his waist and pulls him backwards against a tall, sweaty body. Plastering a polite smile on his face, he turns around.
“Hi,” he says. “I really can’t dance right now.”
The man pouts. Kris guesses that he probably gets a lot of mileage out of that pout; he certainly has the lips for it. It sucks for him that he’s not the first man in the club to accost Kris like this—not even the first tonight. People get really touchy-feely after a certain hour, and ever since Cass informed him that plaid shirts were not appropriate work attire, Kris has been getting more and more offers to dance.
“I really have to go,” Kris says, pushing the guy’s arm away. But all that earns him is a second arm snaking around his midriff. Wonderful.
Megan is probably half serious when she insists that he should flirt more with the customers, do his part to keep them coming back, but things will have to get a lot worse for the club for Kris to be able to find a smile for the guys who grope him.
“Aww, come on.” The guy leans close—close enough that his breath brushes Kris’ ear. “You’ll have fun, I promise.”
“I have to work,” Kris says, pulling back to look the guy in the eye. He’s normally pretty good at dealing with drunk people—a requirement of the job—and he really doesn’t want to have to call a bouncer. That’s never fun. “You need to let me go, okay?”
“No fair,” the guy mumbles, leaning down to press his face against Kris’ neck. Oh, hell no, Kris thinks and pushes him away with all his might.
Caught off guard, the guy stumbles back a step—they never expect Kris to be able to do that—and Kris slips away, making his way quickly through the crowd on the dance floor towards the bar. Megan’s going to have his balls for being late.
Adam doesn’t remember the first time he met Kris Allen. Their first meeting, to his recollection, is by the bar at Cass’ club, where Adam is getting his third martini of the night. That’s when he sees him—this tiny bartender, wife-beater sticking to his body with sweat. He’s exactly Adam’s type.
“Hi,” Adam says, smiling wide and flirtatious.
The guy spares him a passing glance, then does a double take and raises his eyebrows. Adam’s smile widens. Maybe he’s a fan.
“Oh, wonderful. It’s you again.”
Adam searches his memory for ‘tiny, cute and wholesome,’ and comes up empty. “Again?” he prompts, curious.
The bartender chuckles. “You were that drunk, I guess. Figures.” He moves to Adam’s right to give the sparkly-shirt-guy—who has been shooting interested glances Adam’s way all night—his drink and then turns back to Adam.
“What can I get you?”
Adam considers the question. He has a lot of answers for that one, and they’re all inescapably cheesy. The bartender must guess what’s going through Adam’s mind, because he just rolls his eyes and takes Adam’s empty glass, preparing him another martini.
More intrigued by what’s behind the bar than the goings-on in the dance floor, Adam climbs on a stool and rests his chin on his hands. “So,” he says, following the guy’s fingers with his eyes as he handles the bottles. So hot. No wonder he hit that. He congratulates his drunken self for the excellent choice. “I suppose I should apologize for not calling you?”
The guy gives him an incredulous look, his mouth dropping open suggestively. Adam could do a lot with that mouth. Adam might have already done a lot with that mouth. It’s a shame that he doesn’t remember.
“You really are a jerk, aren’t you?” the guy asks.
Adam’s answer would be yes, but the question is probably rhetorical.
Whatever the guy sees in his face, it seems to irritate him. “For the record, we didn’t have sex, and you don’t have my number,” he says.
Adam raises an eyebrow. Whatever he did to this guy, he’s kind of enjoying this. The tiny bartender is smoking hot when he’s angry, and his arms look delicious up close. He’s short and lean, but muscled. Adam wonders how tight his grip would be—on parts of Adam’s body he probably shouldn’t be bringing up right now.
Adam raises his hands up in surrender. “Honest mistake. No need to get touchy. I’m just going to sit here and enjoy the view.” The guy opens his mouth, but Adam interrupts him before he can talk. “I mean, my drink. Sit here and enjoy my drink.” He makes a show of taking a sip from his martini. The bartender looks like he’s trying really hard not to glare. It’s kind of adorable.
“Ah, Kris. I see you’ve met Adam.”
Adam grins at Cass, who just happened to walk into the war zone completely unaware and unprotected. This is getting better and better. Adam didn’t think he’d be having this much fun tonight; all he’d had in mind when he left home was getting a half-decent blowjob.
“Adam is an old friend,” Cass says, putting a hand on Kris’ shoulder, all buddy-like, and Kris sighs, eyes raised up to the heavens.
“Of course he is,” he says.
Life has given Adam plenty of lemons in his time, but anyone who’s expected him to sit idly by drinking lemonade has to be a total dumbass.
True, Adam never meant to become a soap star, and he didn’t think he’d still be alone at thirty with only one serious relationship under his belt, either, but neither of those things means that his life isn’t fucking awesome. It is. He has amazing friends, he’s making more money than he could ever have hoped for, and it seems like there’s an endless supply of twinks just throwing themselves at him.
Forget lemonade. His life is lemon fucking meringue pie.
Cass’ club is the perfect hunting ground for him. It’s a bi crowd, so he has the pretty, pretty women fawning over him, and he gets his pick of the men—short, tall, blond, brunette; it’s all there for the taking.
The only problem is that at the end of the day, it’s all a little too easy. Adam likes challenges, and God knows he isn’t being challenged enough by his job right now. That’s probably why he obsesses over Kris Allen so much; he’d found Kris attractive from the beginning, but the way Kris has been growing hotter and hotter with every refusal is unexpected. Adam finds himself abandoning his VIP table at the balcony and spending his nights at the bar, watching Kris move—the way his t-shirt rides up when he reaches for the upper shelves, the way he licks his lips when he concentrates on something, and how he has this fire in his eyes when he looks at Adam. Kris doesn’t mean it as an invitation, obviously, but Adam’s dick is taking it as one anyway.
Adam doesn’t blame it. Kris Allen is the most exciting thing to happen to him in years.
“Would you like to buy me a drink?”
Adam looks at the man taking the seat next to his, and then back at Kris, who is, as always, ignoring him. He’s been passing up most offers in favor of more Kris-watching for the last couple of weeks, but this guy is small, young and pretty—a combination Adam can never resist—and he has the most exquisite ass Adam has seen in weeks, so Adam decides to give the Kris-lust a break for a couple of minutes and accept the gift that’s dropped into his lap. His dick has needs, after all.
He gives the man a smirk. “Do I need to buy you a drink?”
The man grins at him. His teeth are a little too large. “Not really,” he says, saucy.
“That’s what I thought.”
“I’m Stanley, by the way,” the man says as he stands up, following Adam’s lead, as if Adam cares, and his hand immediately lands on Adam’s hip possessively. Adam can’t help sparing Kris a parting look, hoping for jealousy, despair, or at the very least curiosity, but finds Kris looking back, amused.
It’s a little annoying, to be honest, but Adam doesn’t let that throw him off his game. He’s an actor, after all. He can kiss a woman on camera and make millions of people believe that he’s turned on by it; hiding a little annoyance should be nothing for him.
He winks at Kris and points to his glass. “Keep an eye on my drink, will you? I’ll be back in ten minutes.”
Kris rolls his eyes and snorts. Adam makes it back in five.
Kris doesn’t understand the lure of the backroom.
He’s worked at other clubs before, and they’d all had some sort of arrangement for sex, some kind of dark corner, if not a specific room. He also knows that the majority of their clientele is there to hook up with someone. But he still doesn’t understand how they can do it night after night and not get sick of the trashiness of it.
He doesn’t think it’s because he’s a small town boy—which he really isn’t, no matter what Cass says—or because he has outdated views on sex. It’s just icky for him on so many levels. Probably mostly because he gets to see the room in proper lighting after closing. (Let’s just say it’s not a pretty sight and makes him wonder how people manage to get bodily fluids in such creative places.)
“It’s a roomful of strangers having sex,” Megan says with a shrug. As if that’s supposed to make sense.
“And that’s a good thing?”
“It’s sex, Kris. It’s never all black and white. Whatever gets them off…”
Megan is probably not the right person to have this discussion with. She’s a bit of a free spirit. She’s the kind of girl who had sex in the back of a truck on prom night. With a teacher. Named Mrs. Philips.
“I get that people have kinks or whatever. But this is just—embarrassing.”
“Exhibitionism can be very hot,” Cass comments on his way to his office, face buried in a folder—as it always is these days. He pauses at the door and looks up. “Do you think we should get mirrors for the backroom?”
Kris’ mouth drops open.
“You realize we don’t actually charge for the use of the room?” Megan reminds Cass.
“True. But blowjobs make people thirsty,” Cass points out.
Kris shakes his head and makes a strategic retreat to the other end of the bar. And people wonder why he blushes when they ask about his job. Sometimes it feels like he’s working in porn.
(Not that there’s anything wrong with porn. With the way the club finances are going, Kris doesn’t think he should rule anything out.)
“You must have led a very sheltered life.”
Kris glares at Adam, who has materialized out of nowhere and takes a stool by the side of the bar where Kris has begun stocking the shelves.
“For God’s sake, we’re not even open yet,” he mumbles. Kris knows for a fact that Adam has an actual job. He’s an actor or something. People know him; they ask for his autograph. How he also manages to find the time to stalk Kris 24/7 is a mystery.
“I think you need to spice up your sex life.”
“What sex life?” Megan snorts, grabbing the box of empty bottles at Kris’ feet. Kris kicks her in the shin.
“Kristopher, Kristopher,” Adam sighs, shaking his head. “It’s a crime to keep all that to yourself.”
Kris sees from the corner of his eye that Adam is staring pointedly at his ass and wills himself not to punch the guy right on the nose. Every day with Adam Lambert is a lesson in self control—and not in the way Adam is going for.
“Having sex in the backroom is a rush. It’s like watching porn, but more thrilling, because it’s live and not fake. Just the noises are enough to turn you on. And sometimes, you open your eyes, and you see someone staring right at you—probably picturing you fucking them, and it’s… it doubles the excitement.”
Kris puts down the whiskey bottle in his hand and stares at Adam. He’s trying to get a rise out of Kris, but this is hardly the most graphic of his attempts, and Kris is used to it by now anyway. He can even put aside the would-be seductive tone Adam uses and actually hear what he’s saying—which, knowing Adam’s love of scandalizing people with the truth, is probably not even an exaggeration on his part.
“You realize the only reason you need that kind of incentive is because you don’t know or care about the person you’re having sex with?”
Adam crosses his arms and leans forward, interested. Kris spots a tiny little smile playing at the corner of his mouth, the one he wears when he gets Kris to actually talk to him. Which doesn’t happen often.
“Fair enough,” Adam says generously. “Doesn’t mean I can’t have fun until I meet someone, though.”
Kris blinks, surprised. He hadn’t expected Adam to agree. It’s—disconcerting, and when he realizes that he’s just staring at Adam, who’s looking back at him, still smiling openly, he feels a surge of panic. “I guess some of us are just not slutty enough.”
Adam’s smile holds for a minute before it turns mocking. “That’s sweet. You’re the type that waits until he’s in love, aren’t you?” He widens his eyes innocently at Kris. “I bet your first time was like that. Your high school sweetheart, right? You waited until the right time, and then you snuggled and held hands, and it was perfect.”
Kris looks down and swallows the bile rising in his throat. It hadn’t been perfect. The house had been too cold, and Katy had bit him on the shoulder so hard that he’d bled. But yeah, it had been right.
“Yeah,” he says, clearing his throat when his voice comes out rough. “It was something like that.”
“How precious is that?” Adam chuckles. “Hard to believe he would let you go after that though. Didn’t you make forever and ever promises? Isn’t that how it goes?”
Kris looks up, catching the cold blue gaze of Adam’s perfectly lined eyes—the look in them mocking and calculated—and tells himself to just forget it. Why does he even bother talking to this guy?
The box at his feet has only two bottles in it, so he takes them in one hand while grabbing the empty box with the other, and turns his back on Adam, hoping he’ll be gone before Kris has to start his shift—which is not likely to happen, but Kris is an optimist.
“Oh, come on. Don’t run away,” Adam calls after him as Kris makes his way to the storage room in the back. He passes Megan, who’s busy with a tray of shot glasses, and gives her a smile when she bumps hips with him before letting him go.
The storage room is dark, and the door is propped open with a case of beer; before Kris can even think to move it, he hears Megan say, “A word of advice: If you do wanna get in his good books, don’t diss the wife.”
Kris trips over the case in his hurry to shut the door. He really doesn’t want to hear the rest of that conversation.
“I used to laugh at people who watched soaps, but oh my God, I am hooked! I can’t even bring myself to ask you what happens next—I don’t wanna be spoiled! It’s ridiculous. But oh my God, you’re so good.”
The woman puts a hand on Adam’s arm and laughs, like that’s the most hilarious thing ever. Kris dries the glass in his hands and shares a look with Megan, who makes a barfing face.
The things Kris dislikes about Adam Lambert are many and varied, but this trail of simpering bimbos certainly makes the top three. Adam isn’t interested in women one bit, and yet he always encourages them—Kris supposes it’s good for his ego—until he gets tired of the charade and finds someone with a dick to hook up with, and then the women drink themselves stupid, sharing their woes with Kris, who couldn’t care less about how amazing and sexy Adam Lambert is.
“Kris, can I have a pen?”
Kris throws the pen in his pocket toward Adam, along with a look that hopefully explains what Kris would like him to do with it.
Adam grins back at him. “Thank you.”
Call-me-Jessica grabs her signed bra, her now-braless breasts jiggling under her top, and hops off toward her table, where a bunch of her friends are waiting with bated breath.
Megan sidles closer to Adam and bats her eyelashes at him, smiling wide and fake. She does airhead so well. “Oh my God, Adam Lambert! We watch your show all the time. My son’s a fan. It’s his second favorite thing on TV after Teletubbies.”
“I wonder…” Megan says, looking down bashfully and fiddling with the oversized purse she keeps under the bar. “Would you sign his diaper?” She puts the thing on the bar; it’s a generic white diaper, with a dancing crab logo right in the middle. “It would mean a lot to him.”
Kris tries to cover his laugh with a cough—and fails.
“Very funny,” Adam says, pouting at the crab. “I can’t help it if I’m lovable.” He holds out his half-full glass. “Can I have a fresh one, please?”
“No, you can’t,” Kris pipes up before Megan can take it from him. “You don’t pay for your drinks; the least you can do is finish them.”
Adam raises an eyebrow. “Okay, Mom,” he says, gulping down the rest of his drink in one go. “Can I have one now? Or do I need a permission slip from Cass?”
Kris opens his mouth, but shuts it without a sound when Megan places a hand on his arm. “A couple of drinks won’t make a difference,” she tells Kris, taking Adam’s glass to prepare him a new one.
“Whatever,” Kris mumbles, drying a perfectly dry bowl.
Adam, for once, chooses to stay silent.
Though of course that doesn’t last.
“I didn’t know you were married.”
Kris has been hoping this wouldn’t come up—that Adam would just ignore the knowledge and keep hitting on Kris like always (though Kris has no idea how that became a desirable outcome). Adam doesn’t really care about Kris’ past; this is just another way to push Kris’ buttons. He considers ignoring it and just not answering, but Adam never lets up until Kris does, and the bar is full of customers right now; it’s not the time to start an argument.
“That’s because you don’t know anything about me,” Kris says.
“That’s because you won’t tell me,” Adam shoots back.
Kris scoffs. “You’re not interested in getting to know me.”
“How would you know? Did you even give me a chance?”
“Maybe if you stopped staring at my ass so much, I would have.”
“I stare at your face, too,” Adam says, eyes glued to Kris’ lips all of a sudden. “I can write poetry about your lips.” He grins. “I already have two verses, but I don’t know if they’re suitable for public reading.”
Kris feels the urge to punch Adam’s lights out bubbling in him again. He sighs and drops the towel in his hands.
“Megan. Switch sides with me, will you?”
The thing about Adam Lambert is that he really is as sexy as he thinks he is.
Kris isn’t sure where he falls on the Kinsey scale. He’s been with a guy or two before, is experienced enough to be comfortable with the crowd at the club, but when he thinks about having a relationship, it’s never with a man.
That doesn’t mean he doesn’t notice sex appeal when it shakes its ass in front of him.
Adam may be a jerk when he opens his mouth, but one thing Kris does appreciate about him is his honesty. He’s careless with people and full of himself, and he wears nonchalance like it’s his favorite accessory, but his weapon of choice is always the truth. He doesn’t lie; at most, he exaggerates. That particular personal trait, Kris thinks, also shows in the way he moves.
On the dance floor, Adam takes performing to a whole new level. His every move looks planned and choreographed, and yet there’s something wild and out of control about him at the same time. (Kris couldn’t say how that works; it just does, somehow.) Some of it is talent—the man moves parts of his body Kris didn’t know could be moved—but mostly it’s just charisma. The whole club watches the way he moves. Kris, personally, doesn’t try very hard to look away. That’s what Adam is going for, after all. He enjoys putting on a show. His smile is always the brightest when the music stops and he opens his eyes to find everyone staring at him. It’s a sort of childish, joyful smile. Kris would say he liked that look on him if he weren’t so sick of Adam’s other, less-than- endearing juvenile qualities.
“You’re drooling,” Megan sing-songs, giving him a wicked smile.
“Mind your own business,” Kris tells her.
“Just fuck him,” she advises. “Get it out of both your systems. Maybe he’ll even leave you alone then.”
“I’m not interested.”
“Really? Your dick tells a different story.”
If Kris doesn’t blush, it’s only because Adam has managed to cure him of that particular reaction.
“Do you kiss your son with that mouth?”
Megan presses a noisy kiss to his cheek. “Among other boys,” she says, admiring the smear of lipstick she’s left behind.
Kris swats her away and rubs at his cheek. He hates lipstick; it’s all oily and sticky. Katy never used to wear lipstick.
Hearing Adam’s laugh, he turns around, ready for the inevitable mocking, but it turns out Adam is too busy with a kid to notice Kris at all.
“No, seriously, just one second, I promise,” Adam says, trying to push the boy away—probably to get a drink of water. He’s drenched with sweat; he’s been dancing a while. But the boy whines and clutches at Adam’s hips, pressing them together—where, thankfully, Kris can’t see—and draws a long groan out of Adam, who whips the kid around in one swift move, pushes him against the bar and practically dry-humps him right there, between two empty stools, while noisily fucking his mouth with his tongue.
No one really pays them any attention, but Kris can’t not. They’re having sex right there against his bar. He feels flushed—turns out he hasn’t been cured after all—and tries to look away, but Adam opens his eyes just in time, catches his gaze and holds it—almost with a physical force. He pulls the kid’s face towards his chest, where his buttons are undone, and keeps staring at Kris, gaze moving from Kris’ lips to his neck to his eyes. Kris remembers Adam’s words from weeks ago—and sometimes, you open your eyes, and you see someone staring right at you—and that breaks the spell, throwing Kris out of the moment and back into the real world, where Adam Lambert is a slut, and Kris is humiliating himself because of him.
“We have the backroom for a reason, Adam,” comes Cass’ exasperated voice from behind Kris. “Use it.”
Kris mumbles something to Megan about getting some air and walks out before someone expects him to form sentences. He doesn’t need to feel more idiotic than he already does.
Cass bakes a cake for Megan’s birthday.
It leans to the right and wobbles dangerously as he brings it out on a plate, but Megan seems beside herself despite its deformities. She hugs them all, again and again, and eats two huge slices, digging in with her fingers and then smiling wide to show her chocolate-covered teeth.
Kris thinks she’s sometimes more of a kid than her son.
It’s two hours before opening, but Adam, as always, is there. He refuses the cake, but drinks glass after glass of the wine. He looks determined to get drunk tonight.
“You call that watching your girlish figure?” Cass taunts him, pointing to his glass—which is empty once again. “Do you know how many calories are in that thing? And who says no to chocolate cake, man? It’s like I don’t even know you anymore.”
Adam grins wide and shakes his hair out of his face. “Celebrating like a grown-up,” he says, pouring another glass and immediately downing half of it.
Kris sees Cass frown. “You okay, baby?” Cass asks, leaning in close to look into Adam’s eyes, voice suddenly gone soft. Kris feels like he’s intruding—this is obviously a private moment—but something about the way the two of them turn towards each other makes it impossible for him to look away.
“Yeah,” Adam says, smiling a small, insincere smile. He kisses Cass softly on the lips. “I’m okay. Don’t worry.”
Kris is about to get caught staring—he knows it, but he can’t stop himself—when thankfully Megan drapes herself all over his back to demand a birthday dance. Kris leads her to the dance floor, never one say no to her pouty face.
Dancing with Megan is… something Kris hadn’t even known he needed. She’s soft and loving, hugging Kris to her without reservation, touching him without even once making him think it could get awkward. Kris doesn’t have a lot of friends in LA and he hasn’t dated since he first came into town, so as embarrassing as it is to accept, he’s been kind of starved for affection. He figures that’s why he’s been volunteering more and more to babysit for Megan; children are always best when it comes to unconditional love.
Which now makes him feel kind of creepy.
“May I cut in?”
Cass takes Megan’s hand and twirls her around once and into his own arms. He winks at Kris and gestures towards the bar, asking him wordlessly to check if they’re ready to open. Kris nods his understanding. It’s not like he’s going to let Megan do the grunt work today.
He’s busy going through the checklist in his head, so he doesn’t notice Adam’s attempts to get his attention until his hand is captured in a larger one—warm and dry and unexpectedly soft.
“Dance?” Adam says, clearly repeating himself. “With me?”
Kris stares up at him, confused, as Adam pulls him in, arranging Kris’ hands around his waist comfortably. His fur-lined black jacket—which Kris realizes in embarrassment that he’s clutching at—feels very rich under Kris’ fingers, and Adam is solid, an immovable object, against him.
“I can’t—I have to—”
“I’m not contagious, you know?” Adam says, his face unexpectedly serious. “I’ve had a bad day, cut me some slack.”
Kris stops trying to pull away.
“Cass needs me to get this place ready to open,” he tells Adam, but, on impulse, takes one of Adam’s hands in his and gives it a reassuring squeeze. “I know you’re not contagious, but I really have to work now.”
He steps back, noting that this is the second time he’s dodging out of Adam Lambert’s arms with the same excuse. Adam isn’t as drunk this time as he was the night they met, though, and lets go with just a sigh.
“You never have any time for me anymore, Kris,” he says with mock-disappointment. “It’s all work, work, work.”
“Yeah,” Kris agrees. “Our relationship has definitely lost its spark.”
Megan’s on fire that night—flirting with everyone, dancing behind the bar, and even suspiciously losing items of her clothing with every passing hour. Kris is torn between watching her to make sure she isn’t getting herself into trouble and picking up the slack when she spends more than twenty minutes chatting up one customer. She’s a single mom who works too hard to take care of her family, so Kris doesn’t begrudge her this one night of letting loose, but there’s only so much of him to go around—and that’s why it’s almost three hours into his shift when he realizes that he hasn’t checked up on Adam since leaving him with that bottle of vodka.
In Kris’ defense, Adam doesn’t usually require checking up on. He rarely gets drunk, and since he’s always so eager to get into Kris’ line of sight, Kris doesn’t ever have to keep track of him to know exactly what he’s doing at any given time.
Now, he has to search the bar and the dance floor to spot him, and when he does, he blinks a couple of times to make sure he isn’t mistaking someone else for him.
But no. He knows that shirt. And that hair. And those hips. That’s Adam Lambert, alright.
“Um,” he says, sidling closer to the corner where Cass is sitting, nursing a beer. “What’s Adam doing?”
Cass follows his gaze. “Making out with a chick,” he confirms.
“Okay, then,” Kris says, slightly weirded out. Shouldn’t someone be stopping him? He must be very, very drunk.
“He’s really drunk,” Cass says, shaking his head fondly, but doesn’t seem inclined to get up and do something about it. “You should see him when he’s high. He makes out with furniture.”
Kris finds that oddly plausible.
Kris would have thought Adam would pass out hours ago, but it turns out that he has more stamina than that.
“Are you sure you want another one?” Kris asks, looking around for Cass, who’s nowhere to be found.
Adam makes an impatient gesture.
“Alright, man,” he says, filling Adam’s glass. “I hope you don’t have work the next couple of days, though.”
“Fuck work,” Adam says, drinking half the liquid in his glass in one go. “Fuck it with a huge black dildo.”
“Okay,” Kris drawls, eyebrows climbing up.
“Bunch of fucking cock-monkeys,” Adam mumbles into the glass. Kris thinks he probably doesn’t even know what he’s saying.
“You know what?” Kris says, bracing himself on the bar and leaning forward conspiratorially. “You should go home and sleep this off.” Adam snorts. “And if it’s going to help at all, that guy has been checking you out for over an hour.”
Adam looks up at Kris, not even glancing at the corner he’s pointing towards. “You want me to get laid?”
Kris shrugs. “It’ll help you wind down.” Kris doesn’t even want to examine how he knows what Adam’s like after sex.
“And you care because…”
Kris throws his hands up, frustrated. “I don’t know. You’re being weird. I’m trying to un-weird you.”
Adam looks like he’s trying to smirk, but what comes out is more like a sappy grin. “Kris Allen cares about my weirdness. I’m touched.”
Kris rolls his eyes.
Kris doesn’t stop by Adam’s side for another half-hour. He’s busy enough with Megan already gone, and to be honest, he’s waiting for Adam to finally pass out so he can call Cass and dump the responsibility on him.
Adam, as always, has to be inconvenient.
“You think that guy is cute?” Adam asks, gesturing to the guy Kris had told him was checking him out. Then he stares at Kris’ face, watching with uncanny focus for a drunk guy, as Kris mulls the question over.
“Not bad, I suppose. I’ve seen you hook up with worse.”
Adam shakes his head. “Not for me. Do you think that guy is cute?”
Kris gives him a suspicious look. “Not really.” He doesn’t know what Adam is after, but he’s kind of curious, so he plays along. He points to Curt, one of the regulars, standing by the door. “That one. He’s cute.”
Adam studies Curt for a couple of minutes, looking him up and down carefully, and then turns back around to announce, “I’m totally cuter.”
His indignant face surprises a chuckle out of Kris. “Well. Yeah. Who said you weren’t?”
“Huh.” Adam slumps forward, suddenly looking as drunk as he has to be. “Then why…” he trails off, looking pathetic and confused. Kris doesn’t need him to finish that question. Adam has a one track mind when it comes to him.
“I never said the package wasn’t pretty,” Kris tells him. “I just don’t like what’s in it.”
“But you haven’t even opened my package!” Adam whines.
Kris bursts out laughing.
Adam’s head hits the bar top, and this time, thankfully, it stays there. Kris calls for Cass to get Adam’s drunk ass home.
Kris has been in LA for a year, and he’s been through enough jobs to know that unless he’s going to be doing something music-related, working with Cass and Megan is the next best thing. He does want to play and sing and write again, and he’s always looking, won’t ever give up, but he also knows the likelihood of that happening is—well, right now, it looks almost as impossible as keeping the club afloat.
Cass told them almost a month ago to start looking for new jobs, because the numbers were just not getting any better. Kris dropped out of business school too early to know enough about this stuff to help, but Cass reassured him that there was nothing anyone could do anyway. Apparently, there’s just no way for them to get another loan, and selling or closing are the only viable options right now.
Kris refused to look for another job. He’s always been a believer, and he hadn’t wanted to jinx them. Which was, in retrospect, just stupid, and will probably mean that he’s going to have to ask his father for money when he can’t pay next month’s rent, but it’s too late to do anything about that now.
Belief doesn’t work like magic; that’s something Kris has learnt well. He’d believed with all his heart that his marriage would work, but it hadn’t. He’d believed he could earn a living as a musician, but LA had other ideas. Just this morning, he was so sure he could be a part of a band again, but, well, that didn’t exactly work out either. Kris knows that life isn’t easy, or predictable, and that bad things happen whether you believe or not. He knows he just has to breathe, and that the bad times will pass—eventually. But some days, things pile up on top of each other so high that it becomes almost impossible to draw in any air.
Today is one of those days.
Kris had a band once, with people he loved, who were talented and who loved music the way Kris does. It doesn’t work like that in the business, obviously; you don’t get to play with whomever you want. That’s what Kris tells himself when he decides to go to the audition. He figures that even if they’re just a bunch of kids, he’ll at least get to play some gigs with them, get back into the scene without being center stage; and when he sees how shitty the band actually is, he thinks oh, well.
It’s not like he gets to pick and choose right now.
But when Drew, the drummer, says they’re looking for someone with a little more edge—no offense man, it’s not that you’re bad—Kris feels like laughing. The kid who can’t keep a beat is telling him he isn’t bad. It would be funny if they weren’t the ones with the regular gig and Kris wasn’t the soon-to-be-unemployed, completely broke musician, who hadn’t played to an audience in months.
But they are. And Kris is. And it really isn’t funny at all.
Kris leaves the audition in a daze, his guitar unnaturally heavy in his hands, and gets soaked to the bone before he even realizes it’s raining. It’s a punishing sort of rain, drops slapping him in the face and making it burn, which Kris finds oddly fitting.
He’s not supposed to be working tonight, but the club is closer to where he is, and he’ll be getting out of the rain faster if he goes there. But then he’ll also have to talk to people and explain to Megan, at least, how and why the audition ended up a bust—and that’s the last thing he feels like doing right now. He’s still trying to decide what to do when his phone starts vibrating in his pocket. He takes it out in resignation, knowing that it’s his mother calling for the third time that day. If Kris hadn’t already known the date, he would have thought to check by now. Subtle, his mother definitely isn’t. He debates over letting this one go to voicemail like the ones before, but then hits accept instead, because just how long is he going to run away from her, anyway? Getting it over with would be best.
“Kris, honey. How are you?”
Kris remembers that tone—overly-cautious, worried, pitying. It chased him out of Conway ten months ago, and it still manages to give him stomach cramps after all this time.
“I’m okay,” he says, voice rough.
His mother’s tone goes even softer.
“Oh, honey. I wish you’d come home. We miss you so—”
“Um. Mom, I—I have to go. I can’t talk right now. I have to work.”
Kris hangs up abruptly and sticks the phone back in his pocket, deep as it goes, as if that’ll keep it from ringing again. He looks around, not even sure which way he’s supposed to be walking, but then lets his feet carry him where they will. He doesn’t feel up to thinking anymore. Surely he can afford to not think for one night. Tomorrow, he’ll start picking up the pieces again; tonight, life needs to back off and let him be.
“Look who’s here!” Megan crows, spotting him. “The man with a band!”
Kris shakes his head no, pulling his shoulders up to contain his shivering. Megan’s face falls immediately. “What the fuck?”
It’s Thursday, so there’s not much of a crowd. Still, there are people at the bar trying to get Megan’s attention, which she doesn’t even seem to notice. She just stares at him, confused.
“Didn’t work out,” he says.
“Didn’t work out my ass. What were they, stupid?”
Kris shrugs, which brings on another bout of shivering.
“Man, you need to get out of those clothes,” Megan says, finally noticing that Kris is dripping all over the place. Kris nods mechanically.
“I have a change of clothes at the back,” he tells Megan, already walking towards the door.
“Need any help?”
Adam is smirking appreciatively, one eyebrow raised in challenge. They both know how this goes. Adam says something flirtatious, Kris blushes and glares, Adam takes it one step further, Kris wants to punch him in the nose. More often than not, Kris ends up walking away to keep himself sane—Megan says he takes Adam breaks. Tonight, though, Kris is so not in the mood for Adam’s whole song and dance. He opens his mouth to say as much, but then stops, reconsidering.
Maybe he’s finally snapped, that would certainly explain it, but his feet take him closer to Adam instead of away from him, sneakers making wet, squishy noises with every step, and when he’s close enough to touch, he has to consciously stop his hands from reaching out.
It’s ironic that he was rejected for being too safe this very same day, because right now Kris feels anything but. His heart is beating madly and his breaths are coming in short pants; he’s either going to punch or fuck someone tonight—and who better than Adam Lambert?
“Alright,” Kris says, noting with satisfaction that Adam’s gaze turns confused.
“Alright—you can get me out of my clothes,” Kris announces.
Adam’s brow furrows.
“This is a onetime offer,” Kris warns, impatient.
Adam still doesn’t move.
Kris rolls his eyes and grabs Adam’s shirt, pulling him up and towards the backroom. The people around the bar cheer behind them, following Megan’s example no doubt, but Kris doesn’t stop to give them the finger. If he stops, he’s going to think, and thinking would complicate things. But just short of the corridor leading to the backroom, Adam makes him pause, holding onto Kris’ arms and suddenly dragging his feet—because, obviously, he lives to make Kris’ life harder.
“What’re you doing?”
Kris lets out an incredulous chuckle. “I’m pretty sure you know what happens in the backroom.”
“I thought you hated that place.”
“At least I know the relatively clean parts of it.”
“Look, I don’t want you to—”
“Seriously?” Kris releases Adam’s shirt, now wrinkled all to hell, and takes a step back. “Months, Lambert! You’ve been after this for months! Now you’re getting cold feet?”
Adam hesitates, confused and unsure.
“Oh, forget it,” Kris says, shaking his head. “I can find someone else—”
Next thing he knows, his back is hitting the wall with a resounding thud, and Adam is kissing him, deep and wet, hands pulling his wet shirt up to lay claim to the chilled skin of his back. There’s nothing unsure or hesitant about this kiss; it’s exactly what Kris expected to get from Adam. Not that he considered the possibility—much. When Adam pulls away reluctantly, it’s only to fall back into the kiss again with a groan, pulling Kris up, meeting his lips and sucking them until they sting.
Kris thinks, Yes. This, exactly this.
“Okay,” Adam pants, his breath hitting Kris’ cheek. “Okay. We’ll just.” He looks around frantically, as if expecting a magic door to a secret bedroom to appear out of nowhere, and then straightens up and pulls Kris back the way they came. “We’ll use Cass’ office.”
Adam has been so sure it wouldn’t happen that he’s never actually thought this through. Oh, he’s thought about the sex part a lot, has been jerking off to images of Kris on and off for months now, but he’s never considered the logistics of it ever happening at the club. It’s one thing to fantasize about bending Kris over the bar with everyone watching, another thing completely to actually go through with it. When push comes to shove, he finds that he’s inexplicably reluctant to do this in public—which is something he’s disinclined to examine too closely when he can think of only two reasons for it, both of which are too damning to even consider.
The office is blissfully empty and relatively quiet, and the lighting is perfect—Cass has always been an artistic fucker. Kris’ hand is cold in Adam’s, which reminds Adam of Kris’ wet clothes, and the mental image of peeling them off of him draws a moan out of Adam even before the door shuts behind them. As determined as he’d looked just minutes ago, Kris is now dazed, going with the flow and following Adam’s lead, and Adam takes advantage of that, manhandling him towards the large antique desk, pinning him against it and taking his mouth again.
Kris’ mouth is hot and hungry, and he tastes like rainwater. Adam takes his time kissing him—about which, he notes with satisfaction, Kris has no qualms—fast and without finesse at first, and then gentling, tasting—savoring the experience. By the time he lets Kris’ lips go, they’re red and puffy—perfect—and Adam knows the feel of them by heart.
He doesn’t give Kris time to think. He can see how tentative Kris’ decision to go through with this is. If this is Adam’s only shot, he wants to know he’s made the most of it.
He places Kris’ hands at the edge of the desk and makes him grip it tightly while Adam undoes Kris’ shirt buttons, one by one. Kris’ chest rises and falls under Adam’s hands; his breathing is shaky, and he’s still shivering. Adam wants to take him to bed and warm him up, all night and well into tomorrow, but this is what he’s got to work with right now—a desk in a softly lit room—and he’s going to have to make do.
Kris has a perfectly toned chest; not a lot of hair and a perfect tan despite the season. Adam follows the line of his collarbone with a finger and pushes his shirt back, palming his shoulders and running his hands down his arms. Kris shivers once as the wet material drags against his skin, but he doesn’t move away.
Adam has to lean down—way down—to fit his lips against Kris’ skin, but just the way it makes Kris catch his breath is worth the awkward angle. He tucks his face into the crook of Kris’ neck and breathes him in, wedging himself comfortably between Kris’ thighs and bracing his hands on Kris’ hips. His hands play with the edge of Kris’ jeans where the denim ends and the softness of Kris’ stomach begins, and his lips trail down Kris’ neck—sucking at his pulse point, and then moving even further down until they clamp on a nipple and draw a moan out of Kris, making his hands tighten their hold on the wood.
Adam’s erection is almost painful, trapped in his tight jeans, but he doesn’t want to let go of Kris to take care of it. And he certainly doesn’t want to scare Kris away—not now; he would never forgive himself—but he can’t stop his hips from moving against Kris’ thigh, rubbing his erection against him as he groans helplessly into Kris’ chest. Kris must be pretty far gone himself, because not only does that not freak him out, it spurs him on. He thrusts his own hips forward to meet Adam’s moves, clutching at Adam’s hair with one hand to pull him closer—as if Adam would ever pull away.
It takes Adam a while to get down on his knees, because a part of him wants to spend weeks exploring Kris’ chest; he has only so much willpower to withstand the torture of the friction, though, and the sounds Kris has been making are not helping.
Adam pauses with his hands on Kris’ fly and stares up; not exactly asking for permission, but checking. Just in case. Kris’ eyes are half-closed, eyelashes still clumped together from the rain, and he licks his lips, staring right into Adam’s eyes, giving permission without even needing words. Adam lets that look guide his unsteady hands.
Kris has a beautiful cock, which is hardly a surprise, considering the rest of his body. Adam takes a moment to enjoy the feel of it in his hand before he greets it with his tongue, licking a thick, wet stripe up the length of it. Kris makes a choking sound, half hurt, half amazed, so Adam takes the head into his mouth and sucks, wanting more of those sounds, wanting words even, to know how much Kris wants it. He doesn’t get words, but Kris’ fingers tighten in his hair, yanking him closer, and when he rolls his eyes up, Kris is biting his lower lip hard, eyes shut like he can’t stand to look.
That’s good enough for Adam.
Adam knows how to give a blowjob. He knows how to bring Kris right to the brink and keep him there, not letting him take that one last step into oblivion. He also knows how to make Kris fuck his mouth and tremble with the need for more, and then gentle his frustration, make him enjoy it, savor it, until he’s putty in Adam’s hands, completely at his mercy.
When Adam lets him come, his cock is down Adam’s throat and their hands are clutching at each other, pulling tight enough to hurt. Kris groans his release and slumps forward, bracing himself on Adam’s shoulders, panting through the aftershocks, nudging Adam to pull back when it gets to be too much.
“God,” he says, breathless, and stares down at Adam like he’s never seen him before.
Adam shoots up, so far beyond politeness that he doesn’t even consider the taste of come in his mouth before he locks his lips with Kris’, kissing him forcefully, biting at his lips without a care. Kris submits to him for a minute, but then breaks the kiss, keeping him at bay with a hand on his chest.
“Hold on. Gimme a second.”
Adam squeezes his eyes shut. He can give him a second. It feels like he’s been working towards this one orgasm for months now; what’s another second in the grand scheme of things?
Kris’ hands land on his fly and Adam’s eyes squeeze tighter, lips pressed together in a thin line. Thankfully, Kris seems too fucked out to tease him; he goes straight for gold. His hand feels perfect around Adam’s cock, his grip just strong enough, calluses on his fingertips dragging against the sensitive skin like a signature—there’s no way Adam could mistake that touch for anyone else’s.
“Kris,” Adam pants, feeling Kris lean his forehead against Adam’s cheek and picturing him looking down, watching Adam’s cock in his own hand. “God. Kris.”
Adam doesn’t last long; it’s actually a miracle that he didn’t come at the first touch. His breathing is still ragged when he opens his eyes, wanting to see for himself that yes, that’s his come on Kris Allen’s hand; this really did happen. Kris seems to be thinking along the same lines, because Adam hears him let out an incredulous chuckle as he lets go of Adam’s cock, spreading his fingers open to see the glistening come spread between them.
“So, this is awkward,” Kris says, his voice suddenly too loud in the room. He takes a step sideways, away from Adam, and then picks up his wet shirt, cleaning his hand with it.
Adam feels too slow to do anything but watch.
Zipping his pants back up, Kris shakes his head and chuckles. “Silver lining,” he says, almost to himself.
Adam can’t help but ask. “What?”
Kris looks up at him, taken aback, like he’d forgotten Adam was even there. “I’m losing my job, but now at least I won’t have to see you every night.”
Adam watches him leave the room, unable to utter another word.
When Adam stumbles his way back to the bar, Kris is nowhere to be seen. Megan puts a glass down in front of him, looking apprehensive; Adam doesn’t even ask what’s in it before swallowing the whole thing in one go.
“That good, huh?” Megan says, pouring him a second one.
Adam shakes his head. He doesn’t know what to say.
“Look,” Megan says, sounding worried, “it’s been a bad day for Kris. It’s the anniversary of his divorce, and there was this audition that for some fucked up reason didn’t work out, and what with everything with the club…” She sighs. “He’s just not having the best of days is all I’m saying.”
“This was probably not the right time for you guys to hook up.”
“You think?” Adam mumbles, taking another big gulp from his drink and letting it burn its way down his throat.
“What did he do?” Megan asks, sounding almost afraid to hear the answer.
Adam shakes his head. “Nothing,” he says dismissively. It’s not like Kris did or said anything contrary to what he’s been saying to Adam all this time. “He just… doesn’t want to see me again. Which is just as well, I suppose.” He doesn’t say that it made him feel like a dirty whore. Why is that even surprising, anyway? Hasn’t he been working on that image since forever? If it walks like a whore and talks like a whore…
“Oh, for the love of God—”
Adam waves the platitudes away. Fuck this pity party.
“What’s this bullshit about the club?”
There are more important things in life, after all. Adam may be a whore, but he’s a whore who knows how to be a good friend. And it sounds like maybe Cass needs his best friend to get his head out of his ass now.
It’s 8 AM the next morning when Kris’ extremely annoying doorbell chimes. He knows who it is before he opens the door; there’s only one person evil enough to wake him up so early.
“Good morning, sunshine,” Megan says, striding in and dumping Ryder into Kris’ arms. “How did you sleep?”
Kris mumbles something unintelligible, scratching at his hair. Ryder helps him out, pulling at the hair falling in front of his face.
“Oh, good,” Megan says, dropping her purse on the floor and taking a seat on the couch. “I’ve got five minutes, so we need to make this snappy. What the fuck did you do to Adam last night?”
“Language,” Kris chides her. He sits in the armchair and puts Ryder in his lap to free his hands, just in case he needs to cover the kid’s ears.
Megan waves a hand. “Oh, he doesn’t know what I’m talking about yet.” Ryder giggles at his mother’s hand gestures; Megan makes a face at him. “You don’t know what I’m saying, do you, baby?” she asks in a stupid voice, making Ryder laugh and fall backwards into Kris’ chest. Kris wraps an arm around his middle to keep him there.
“So, spill,” Megan prods, looking at her watch. “I don’t have time for details. You guys had sex, and then what?”
“And… that’s it,” Kris says. “I changed my clothes and left.” He shrugs.
“Then why did he look like somebody ran over his grandma? Twice?”
It’s way too early for Kris be solving puzzles. “How should I know? I didn’t do anything.”
Megan stares at him, long and hard, and just when Kris is beginning to squirm, clucks her tongue. “You’re an idiot.”
“What? What did I do?”
“No, seriously,” Megan continues, ignoring him. “You’re both idiots. I don’t know how gay men ever have relationships. One man is bad enough, but two? Forget it. You can’t possibly get anything done with all that combined stupidity.”
Kris sighs. “Megan. Spit it out. I’m not even awake yet.”
Megan waves her hands again; Kris has no idea what it’s supposed to mean, but Ryder’s loving it. “He said you never wanted to see him again. He was heartbroken.”
Kris blinks. “It’s not like we were dating. He hooks up with someone every night. It was just sex.”
Megan gives him a look that clearly says I can’t believe how dumb you are. “You’re not exactly just someone, are you? He was sad. Do you know what he looks like when he’s sad? He looks like a puppy. I wanted to take him home, Kris; that’s how bad he was.”
Kris does know that puppy look, and yes, he’s been tempted to take Adam home once or twice himself. Thankfully, Adam bounces back pretty quick, and Kris never really wants anything to do with him when he’s back to his usual detestable self.
“Look, I don’t understand how his mind works, and I honestly can’t be bothered to figure it out. He wanted sex, he got sex. End of story.”
“That is so not the end of this story,” Megan says, getting up. She rummages in her purse to take out a bottle and put it on the coffee table. “I have to run. I’ve got a job interview. You guys hang tight; I’ll be back in an hour.” She blows Ryder a kiss and heads out. “And then we’ll talk. Don’t think I’m letting this go.”
The door closes behind her, and Kris shares an exasperated look with Ryder. “What do you say we sleep some more, little man?”
They go back to bed.
Kris would have loved to call in sick the next night, but it’s a Friday night and he could never leave Megan alone in that madness. Sure, Cass would try to help, but they all remember the last time Cass tended bar, and closing shop or not, Kris doesn’t think they need any more scorch marks on the furniture.
He goes in late though, just in case Adam shows up before opening. Frankly, he doesn’t need the humiliation or the aggravation, and he’s not sure if he can take it, anyway.
“Hey, lazybones,” Megan calls to him, expertly ignoring half the people yelling orders at her. “Where the hell have you been?”
“I’m here. I’m here. Sorry,” Kris says, dropping his backpack and starting to serve drinks immediately. It takes them ten minutes to get rid of the backlog, and only then does Kris find a moment free to ask, “So, did you get the job?”
Megan laughs, delighted. “I did. And then I told them to go fuck themselves.”
Ooookay, Kris thinks. “Um. Why?”
Megan’s eyes open wide with surprise. “You don’t know yet?”
“Don’t know what?”
She pushes him towards the back. “Go talk to Cass. Go on.”
“What? But. Why? Megan?”
By the time Kris turns around, she’s already gone back to work.
Cass never closes his office door when he’s inside, so Kris just walks in, no need to knock.
“Kris!” Cass says, looking up from the paperwork in front of him and taking off his reading glasses. “Where the fuck have you been? Megan was drowning out there.”
Kris scuffs his foot. “Yeah, I know. Sorry.”
“Well, don’t let it happen again,” Cass says, making Kris snort. That’s kind of a ridiculous thing to say, considering that they only have two more nights of work left.
“Megan told me to talk to you,” Kris says, “I don’t know what she was going on about—”
“Oh, yes.” Cass grins wide—wider than Kris thought it was possible for his lips to go. “We’re not closing. You still have a job.”
Kris replays that last moment a couple of times in his head to make sure he got it right and then says, “What?”
Cass nods. “We’re not closing.”
“Adam is becoming a partner,” Cass explains.
“Adam Lambert,” Kris clarifies.
“Well, yes, how many Adams do we know?”
Kris tries to make sense of this new information, but can’t—which is not at all surprising, because when did anything involving Adam Lambert ever make sense to him anyway?
“Why would he do that?” Kris asks, almost to himself, but Cass hears, and it makes his head snap up.
“Because he’s a good friend?” he offers, surprised. He shakes his head, disappointed—in whom, Kris has no idea. “Look, Kris, I know you two are a bit…” he makes a weird hand gesture Kris chooses to read as entangled, “and he’s taken the pigtail pulling a bit too far, but Adam really is a very good guy. I’m not gonna tell you how to live your life or who to date, but if I thought for one second that Adam and I would be a good match? I wouldn’t let him go for the world.” He puts his glasses back on. “That’s my two cents and all the meddling I’m willing to do.”
He grins at Kris, looking happier than he’s seemed in weeks, and shoos him away.
“Go get people drunk. I’ve got paperwork.”
The night drags on.
Kris is confused and busy, which is never a good combination; it makes him forget orders and serve people the wrong drinks. Some customers are already too drunk to notice, but others do, and most of them are not very polite about it. After the third time Megan has to charm a guy with apologies on his behalf, she glares at him and points down to the floor. “Down. Now.”
Kris sits on the floor with his back against the bar and hugs his knees so he won’t trip Megan.
Adam is not at the bar. That’s what’s throwing Kris off. He’s sitting at his VIP table, which he hasn’t done in months, and now Kris doesn’t know what to think. Is this another game? What’s he trying to accomplish here?
Once upon a time, Adam Lambert was very simple to Kris. He was hot, and he was a jerk, and he was to be avoided at all costs. But now, there are things that just won’t fit into that assessment. For one thing, Kris knows Cass well enough to know that he wouldn’t defend just anyone like he does Adam. He wouldn’t care about just anyone like he cares about Adam. Kris doesn’t know what to do with that. And there’s the sex—that Kris can’t categorize or name or explain. There were sparks and chemistry, that much Kris had expected, but there were also the looks, the touches he still doesn’t understand. There’s the fact that Adam stopped him from going into the backroom, the fact that he kissed Kris like he never wanted to stop.
Kris stands up and waves a hand at Megan to tell her he’s taking a break. Then he ducks out from behind the bar and climbs the stairs to the balcony two at a time.
There’s only one way to find out what Adam Lambert is all about. And that is to ask him.
Adam is staring into space when Kris spots him, completely blanking out on the woman sitting next to him. The woman seems happy enough to talk to herself, occasionally laying a hand on Adam’s thigh, probably getting a thrill out of touching a celebrity.
Kris doesn’t have the time to wait for her to be done. “I’m sorry,” he says, sitting on Adam’s other side and leaning over him to give the woman a very serious look. “I need to have a moment with Mr. Lambert. It’s important.”
She glares at Kris and then looks over at Adam, hopeful, like she thinks that he’ll ask her to stay, but Adam just shrugs. “Sorry, darling. This is important.”
She stomps away, annoyed.
Adam gives Kris a questioning look.
“You didn’t look like you were enjoying that conversation.”
Adam’s eyebrows say well, duh. “They’re fans. You can’t exactly say no to them. That would be rude.”
That makes no sense to Kris whatsoever, but it’s not what he came here to discuss. “Cass told me what you did. I don’t understand why—”
“I didn’t do it for you,” Adam says hurriedly.
Kris stops and blinks, eyebrows drawing together in confusion. “I didn’t think you did,” he replies.
“Oh.” Adam looks away. “Good.”
Kris stares at Adam’s profile, and something in the way he’s holding himself—so tightly wound—kick-starts the gears in Kris’ mind. He’s never seen Adam look so uncomfortable before. And come to think of it, he must have never seen him without make-up before either, because it turns out Adam has freckles. Kris didn’t know that.
There are a lot of things he doesn’t know about Adam.
“Tell me something about yourself,” he says. He feels stupid doing this, and it’s most likely going to end with him wanting to punch Adam, but…
Adam stares at him silently for a while, and then rolls his eyes. “I have a big dick, but you already know that.”
Kris stares back, nonplussed. This is the last chance he’s willing to give, but he has to give it; he can’t just say fuck it and walk away. He has this nagging feeling that he’s misjudged Adam—not that he’s accepting the blame for that one—and that he’ll regret it if he lets this go.
They keep staring at each other until Adam blurts out, “I wanted to be Madonna when I was a kid.”
“No, I’m serious.” Adam grins, warming to the subject. “I wanted to sing and dance and wear those clothes—plastic bracelets and all.”
“And what happened?” Kris asks, leaning back in his seat.
“I did get to dress up as Madonna once or twice, but the singing thing never took off.”
Kris raises an eyebrow. “Are you any good?”
“Oh, I’m the best,” Adam says.
Kris believes him. It’s hard not to in the face of all that self-confidence. “Tell me another one.”
“You—” Adam pauses, licking his lips nervously. “You don’t owe me anything.”
Kris nods. “I know that.”
“Okay,” Adam says, determination hardening his eyes. “I like you,” he tells Kris. “I like you a lot. Maybe even—I mean, I think—Maybe—” He shuts his eyes tight and shakes his head like this conversation is physically paining him. “I just really like you,” he bites out finally.
“Okay,” Kris says.
“But I’m not going to hit on you anymore, because that would be really sleazy when I’m your boss.”
“You thought it wasn’t sleazy before?” Kris asks, amused.
“It wasn’t as sleazy,” Adam defends.
“Well, alright,” Kris says. “If you say so.”
“I say so,” Adam says, fiddling with the paper umbrella in his drink. It looks like he’s drinking some kind of fruity cocktail. Kris hopes he didn’t get that instead of a martini. It’s not the best impression to make on a new boss.
Kris has already reached a decision, but he can’t bring himself to say it out loud. He has met so many different incarnations of Adam Lambert, he doesn’t know if he should believe that this, here and now, is the real one. He’s not a gambling man. It’s just not in his nature to throw his chips in and hope for the best.
He does it anyway.
“I’m going to ask you out,” he says, biting the bullet. The look on Adam’s face tells him he definitely made the right call. Adam looks astonished—and ecstatic.
He gives Kris a sudden, toothy grin. “Really?” he asks, trying to work some bravado into his voice, and failing miserably.
Kris nods. “Yes. On Sunday, if you’re free? I’m babysitting Megan’s son. You can watch cartoons with us.”
“Babysitting,” Adam repeats. “Okay. I can do that.”
“It’s going to be a kid-friendly date,” Kris warns. “No sex. No kissing. No dirty jokes.”
“Alright,” Adam agrees easily. He looks excited.
Kris gets butterflies in his stomach—which is just ridiculous. He hasn’t felt that since… Wow. A really long time.
“It’s a date,” he says inanely, rising up and wiping his sweaty palms on his jeans. “I better go help Megan out. I left her alone at the bar.”
Kris has only taken two steps away—on legs that are slightly wobbly and very much tingly—when Adam stops him, grabbing his wrist.
Adam’s hand slides down Kris’ wrist to his hand, holding his fingers in a loose grip and caressing his palm with a thumb. It makes Kris want to shiver, which he thankfully manages to hold back, though just barely.
“Can there be hand-holding on this date? That’s pretty kid-friendly, right?”
Kris looks down at their joined hands and nods. “Yeah. There can be hand-holding.”
Adam lets his hand go with one last squeeze. “Good. I’m looking forward to that.”
Kris turns around and walks away.
He feels Adam’s eyes on his back, probably checking him out, but for once, it doesn’t really bother him.