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We Remain

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Dylan Christopher Minnette aka perfect Noah(and young Adam on the left)

Young Adam on the left & Noah on the right

(Wouldn't y'all agree if Dylan Christopher Minnette was their perfect son?)

 

 

***

 

Blake was woken up by a noise coming from one of the rooms of his small flat. He vanquished all the sleepness out of his head looking at the phone clock which was showing 2 a.m. Yawning, the 6'5 tall man got up and wandered towards the sole place with the lights on - his petite kitchen. Blake stopped in the doorway, and his heart skipped a beat. Right there, over the table, there was a mini version of Adam Levine. Their 6-year-old son was deep in his thoughts, so he didn’t even notice Blake’s approach right away. The freckle-faced boy kept ruffling his own dark hair, wearing the exact same expression that Adam had when he was upset or confused. For God’s sake, the kid even frowned in the same manner with those identical bushy eyebrows of his. Blake’s heart started to ache even stronger at that observation.

‘‘Hey, little buddy.’’ The Okie smiled softly at his child, approaching the fridge in order to get some milk for his baby nightbird. ‘‘Shouldn't someone be deep in his sleep? Come on, talk to me, scout.’’

His son just sighed copying his favorite rocker so awfully well, and that depressed Blake even more. But Shelton kept his warm dimply smile and winked at the kid, pouring the milk in his cup with that yellow-purple Lakers logo. Another micro-detail that reminded Blake of the strong bond that Adam shared with their son.

‘‘Dad, don’t you love daddy anymore?’’ The boy asked him all of a sudden, swinging his little legs from the hight of the chair he was sitting on. Blake almost choked on that question.

‘’Of course, I love him, bud. I love you both more than anything in my life.’’

‘’Then why don’t you live with us anymore? Cause daddy misses you, doesn’t he?’’

‘’He told you something?’’ Blake’s pulse quickened with hope right away.

‘’He doesn’t talk much about you. But I saw him crying over your picture a couple of days ago. He thought I wouldn’t notice, but I saw him,’’ the kid mumbled, ‘’I don’t want daddy to cry anymore. Can’t you just come back?’’ And then he looked up at him with his big blue eyes - the sole thing that he’s got from Blake. This child was indeed a pure miracle and the sole existence of their boy never ceases to amaze Blake.

His son looked at him expectedly, and now it was Blake’s turn to sigh.

‘‘It’s not that easy, little man. You know, sometimes people who love each other dearly can’t be together. I know it sucks, but once you’re grown up...’’

‘‘But I don’t want Elias to be my new dad!’’ The boy suddenly exclaimed

‘‘And then... wait a minute. What did you just say? Who’s Elias??’’

‘’Umm, I don’t know him well. Daddy says he’s a friend from work. Last week this Elias helped him with the ride home when daddy’s car had broken and the next day that mister sent flowers to our house. I think daddy don’t like him for real. He’s just polite with Elias, that’s all. I don’t like him though. He’s mean.’’

‘‘Why’d you say that? Did he do something to you or daddy?’’

Blake’s blood boiled immediately. He understood that he has no right to be angry with his ex-husband for not telling Blake about troubles with his car, or that he started to see someone, for that matter. But the countryman couldn’t help letting his jealousy eating his entire being. He was totally not over Adam, and he wanted to know what’s going on in his ex-husband’s life, even if they’ve chosen to go in separate ways. But if that Elias guy did something or even looked at Adam or their son in the wrong way, it was even worse. For the douche, of course. And what kind of name is Elias anyway?

‘‘Well, not quite. But he’s been saying bad things about you, and I don’t like it. He doesn’t say it when daddy is near, but he tried to talk to me the other day. Daddy took me to his work and while he was busy with his yoga group, I was waiting in his office when Elias approached me. He asked me how often you'd visit us and tried to convince me that you’d forget me with time. He said all fathers who leave tend to forget their kids one day.

Blake clenched his fists under the table, doing his best to calm himself.
So, the jackass had the nerve to say crap about him to the innocent child. He’d surely have a word with a mouthy bastard later.

‘‘Listen to me, little buddy. You trust me, right?’’

‘‘I do’’

‘‘There’s no such force in the entire Universe that would make me stop loving or caring about you. You and your daddy are the best things I’ve ever had in my whole life, so don’t you ever let that bullcrap to stuck in your wise head, deal? Promise it to your old man?’’

The boy’s pale face brightened and he nodded. After finishing his milk he suddenly started to giggle and Blake will be darned if it wasn't the most precious sound that he’d ever heard.
‘‘Ha! You said bullcrap, papa!’’

‘‘Dang it, just don’t tell your daddy that, okay?’’

The boy gave him a high five and Blake scooped him in a tight embrace, lifting his petite kid with his strong arms.

‘‘Now, our personal Queen Jet is ready to take you to our secret base location, what do ya say, agent?’’

‘’Ay-ay, captain, let’s fly!’’

Giving the boy a piggy-back Blake ran towards the boy’s room, spreading his arms in imitation of a plane, causing happy laugh coming out of his son’s mouth. The country singer caught himself on a thought that he’ll make sure that he does his best to continue be the reason of that precious sound.

Chapter Text

                                                                                

 

As soon as Blake parked his truck near the house that he formerly shared with Adam and got out of the vehicle, he heard the shouts from the backyard. It was Adam’s scared voice begging for help that made Blake run like mad. Followed by their son, the Oakie moved across the house in no time just to witness his ex-husband, who's been trapped on the sliding rooftop, apparently, for an uncertain period of time already.

‘‘Adam! How in the hell have you got your ass up there?!’’

‘‘Shut it, Shelton! I was clearing the house when I noticed that Noah’s snake escaped from the terrarium!’’

‘‘Mister Charlie has gone?’’

‘‘Don’t worry, honey,’’ Adam shout back to the frightened kid, ‘’your buddy had decided to bask in the sun for a bit. I spotted him through the attic window, but when I crawled out on the rooftop I couldn’t reach him. He’s still hiding behind that pipe in the corner.’’ Adam pointed behind his back, doing his best to balance his exhausted body on the curvy roof. ‘’When I tried to get back inside I figured that the window had automatically slammed shut. Now, I am about to have a panic attack, so please stop staring and do something, Blake!’’

Shelton, woken up after the initial shock, turned to Noah.

‘‘Okay, son, go to the garage and bring the snake’s hook and don’t forget to grab a container.’’ The next second they ran in separate ways, Noah towards the garage, and Blake - upstairs, to the attic.

Just hold on, baby, Blake prayed in his mind. He was perfectly aware of Adam’s fear of heights and found it cute at times as well as his ex’s ADHD issues, but right now it wasn’t so adorable. The perspective of Adam falling from the roof and hurting himself wasn’t anywhere near to amusing. He could only imagine how madly the brunette’s heart is beating right now and how numb his legs and arms must feel at this point.

Reaching the window, Shelton opened it wasting no time and leaned out offering his hand to Adam.

‘‘Come on, just go in small steps and I’ll catch you.’’

‘’Blake, I... I don’t think I can move. Like at all. Blake, I’m so gonna fall!!! I just... can’t!’’

Oh no. The Oakie knew his ex-husband all to well to indicate that he’s about to have a mental breakdown. So, without hesitation, Blake got his giant self outside, trying his best to refrain on the hill-shaped surface.

‘‘Just don’t look down, stay with me, Adam. Look into my eyes.’’ Adam locked his hazel eyes with Blake’s baby blues, feeling he’s close to dying of asphyxiation. Blake noticed that and kept talking to him. ‘’Already close to ya! Just two more steps. Come on, breathe with me. Breath in, breath out.’’

Petrified, Adam was mesmerized with the calming tone of Blake’s twang and repeated every breath the man took. It only took five more seconds for Blake to catch Adam’s sweaty hand in his.

‘‘I’m here, shhh, it’s okay, darling, everything is gonna be alright. Now, just move with me, would ya?’’ He quickly embraced Adam’s trembled little figure by the waist, and the younger man clung to his chest instantly, hugging back Shelton so tight that it was almost suffocating, but Blake didn’t give a damn about it. The taller man started to lead them back towards the open window, that he proactively secured from shutting. But just after a couple of steps Adam slipped in his sneakers and almost fell, squealing with a death fright. He’d rolled down from the edge if it weren’t for Blake’s strong arms that caught him the very last second.

‘‘I’ve got you, I’m not letting go, hear me? I’d never let go, baby.

With a bit of an effort, he pulled Adam’s light, yet well-muscled body back and continued to soothe him until they reached the safe place. ‘’Okay, that’s right, carefully, move forward. Almost there.’’

Once inside the house, Blake picked up his small quivering ex bridal style, and Levine hid his face in Okie's crook out of instinct. He quickly carried Adam towards the bedroom, cursing because the brunette still had had a hard time to breathe properly due to his anxiety attack.

Blake covered Adam with a thick blanket and tenderly pecked his sweaty forehead.

‘‘Lay down, take deep breathes, be back in five minutes, Ad. I promise ya.’’

Noah ran inside the room, giving to Blake all the necessary equipment to catch his Pantherophis Guttatus* and jumped on the bed, hugging his daddy from behind. Blake assumed that Adam would be okay with their son’s soothing comforting voice near and he himself still got a mission to do. God, he hated that disgusting serpent thing!

Coming back on the roof, he approached the brown-grey creepy crawler quite fast.

‘‘Okay, I hated you for so long, damn you, but I have to give you some credits for allowing me to be Adam’s hero just for once at least. I still hate you for making him suffer through, so don’t get high hopes that I’m starting to like you. You’re forgiven just for now. But no more Shawshank moves around here, ya hear that, creepy bastard?’’

With that, Blake carefully brought the lazy snake back to its house and went inside. The second he was in Adam’s bedroom, he was tightly embraced by Noah.

‘‘Okay, little man, your sneaky buddy is safe now, go and check on him.’’

‘’I’m so sorry, papa! I should’ve checked his aviary twice after I had fed him! Daddy could’ve hurt himself! It’s my fault! And you acted like a hero!’’ The boy hiccuped and Blake was fast to shush him.

‘‘Hey, come here you two’’ Adam, who evidently collected himself, called them from where he’s been laying, fixing himself into a sitting position. ‘‘Listen, buddy, I’m not mad at you, okay?’’ Adam took his son’s chin looking at him with all the affection he had. ‘’It was my dumb move to get out there without even thinking about such simple thing as taking a stupid hook with me, okay?’’ The kid nodded in the replay. ‘‘Just go and check on your friend and tomorrow we’ll buy him a new aviary. I guess Mr. Charlie got a little bored in that average glass box that we made him when you rescued him from your gat schoolmates. He’s no longer that little string, so he for sure does need a bigger house, what do you say?’’

‘‘Awesome! Daddy, I love you so much! And I’m so sorry that you were risking your life for Mr. Charlie. I was so scared for you! You’re not dumb, you’re my hero too, just like papa!’’ The boy clung to the brunette, kissing his chick and Adam tenderly brushed his son's messy dark hair, smiling and kissing him back.

‘‘Hey, then you’re one lucky guy, cause your papa indeed is a hero.’’ For the first time, Blake caught Adam’s straight glimpse, deprived of any fear, but full of gratitude and warmness. His hazel eyes shone so beautifully with those soft wrinkles around them that Blake lost it for a bit. He could pretend all he wanted that he was okay far away from Adam, but he still was madly in love with his ex-husband. Today’s episode became another affirmation that he couldn’t lose this man. He just couldn’t.

‘‘Hey, bud, how about you making some sweet cocoa for all of us after you see your tricky buddy? God knows, your dad needs some sugar now. You still remember how I taught you to do hot chocolate?’’

‘‘Papa, I’m six, not an infant!’’ The boy exclaimed causing loud laughing in the room.

Delighted with his parents' relatively happy mood, the boy decided to storm out of the bedroom and let them talk privately. Secretly, Noah Tollison Shelton-Levine was partly glad for this incident, because finally, his both fathers seemed not sad, like whenever they visit each other, but almost like their old selves. But the best part was that papa rescued his daddy like a true mighty superhero. Ain’t it how they won over their love in those comic books he was so obsessed with? Now, he's got his little sneaky friend to thank for this outcome.

 

***

 

‘’You sure you’re okay, Adam? You seemed to have a pretty awful breakdown back there.’’

‘‘Shoot, don’t remind me, cowboy. It’s over and I just want to forget this terrific moment of my epic embarrassment. You must've thought what a moron, huh?’’

‘‘Hey.’’ Blake interrupted him. ‘’It’s not embarrassing or funny, okay? Don’t you dare to even think that! I was dead scared for you. Don’t do that to me, okay? I’m an old bastard and might have a heart attack in one of these days.’’

‘‘You’re such an idiot, Shelton.’‘ That genuine smile on Levine's handsome face brought huge relief to Blake’s heart. He touched Adam’s chick like he still was not sure whether he was allowed to do that, but it felt so right at this moment. They went silent for a long moment. Adam broke the silence first, staring at his pale hands like he was afraid to even glance at Blake once more.

‘‘You called me baby. There, on the roof.’’ Adam whispered so quietly, that Blake wasn’t sure if Adam was upset with this familiar pet name or surprised.

‘‘I’m... Adam, I’m sorry, I just...’’

‘‘You shouldn’t be...’’ Adam finally locked their eyes once again and smiled with that disarming smile that melted the country singer’s entire being. Levine’s cheeks heated up, at last bringing color to his delicate face. Blake was so hypnotized by the way this man leaked his sensual lips, that he was scared to misunderstand the signal. The moment he got closer to Adam their son, oblivious to the tension inside, entered the room with a tray and three caps of chocolate, and Blake was almost sure, that read a small glimpse of disappointment in the hazel eyes. The three of them spent a quiet moment drinking their cocoa and Blake’s heart was resurrected with new hope. He’ll die trying to fix the things between him and Adam and sooner or later they’ll be a happy family that they used to be.

Chapter Text

Adam has been tapping random rhythms on a surface of the fitness club's cafeteria table for almost half an hour now, sipping his awfully healthy shake and thinking about his complicated life. He started a message for Blake for the umpteenth time but deleted it repeatedly. Adam's ADHD already started kicking him hard enough for his quite exhausted mind's poor attempts to collect all the thoughts together.

Levine realized that he screwed the pooch as soon as he arrived at work today and opened his gym bag, discovering that he’d forgotten to put there his medical treatment. Hence, he was forced to suffer through that disorder shit on his own. He tried to do some breathing practice, but the fitness center where he was employed as a yoga instructor has been buzzing particularly loudly today, almost deafening his ears.

His ex-husband's yesterday visit just stuck in Adam’s head and wouldn't allow him functioning as a normal being unless he'd deal with it. Also, because his luck was a bitch that day, he hadn't had classes for another three hours, so he was bored and anxious as fuck. Might as well take a day off at this point, telling his supervisor that he’s sick, but Adam knew better than going back to his empty house. Lately, it’s been notably tough to deal with a hollow oppressive vibe back home. The cold place grew too big since Blake was out of his life. It became only harder to struggle with loneliness as each day passed, and yesterday he’d been on such emotional rollercoaster, that Adam instantly felt what he was deprived of the whole time they've been separated.

It’s been the longest they’ve talk yet, to say nothing of carrying touches that Blake gave him after rescuing his idiotic ass from the roof. Just that little time Blake had spent with him and Noah resuscitated Adam like electroshock. And Levine would be such a hypocrite pretending that he ain’t feel a thing for that charming dimply cowboy anymore. Dammit, he still cared for Shelton and it irritated and annoyed Adam beyond reasons. Throughout his entire life the brunette has been such a control freak, but with Blake, he'd never kept a check on his conflicted emotions. Not while they'd lived together, not afterward.

Last day was such a mess, that all of a sudden Adam became aware that he didn’t even thank Blake properly. Once again, he started to type a message, guessing whether he should invite Blake for a dinner or not. All in all, Noah would be thrilled with this idea, won't he? Adam tried to shut his inner sneering voice, that mocked him, telling he’s just made excuses to see his studly countryman one more time. He was so not over Blake, dammit. How they'd ended up like that? Oh, Adam perfectly remembered, and the memory of their biggest fight still hurt him like hell. But Adam was naive believing that it would be easier for them to stay away from each other. Were they that foolish to cross what they'd had?

Fuck it! His voice shouted. Man up. You two can’t run from a conversation your entire life. Just when Levine was about to send the message, a tall well-built figure landed on a chair across the table.

‘’What’s going on handsome?’’ Asked the man with a european accent.

‘‘Jeez! Elias, you scared the shit out of me!’’

‘‘Don’t make me wrong, sugar, but I've been watching you for a while. You seemed pretty anxious even before I dropped my ass in front of you revealing myself. So tell me, what made you pout, beautiful? Maybe I could fix it?’’

‘’So you’ve been stalking me, huh? Now, that’s kinda creepy, don’t you think so?’’ Adam crossed his arms, slightly annoyed by one of the club’s constant clients and that extra attention Elias was paying to him. The sweaty blonde jock, who probably just finished his cardio training or something smiled with a lazy, yet dangerous grin.

‘‘I’d rather called it sexy.'' Elias Jørgensen chose the worst time in the history of bad timing to cover Adam’s free hand with his huge palms, cause just the next second Blake Shelton stormed into the cafeteria. Correction. Adam spotted a very angry Blake entering the crowded area, where they were sitting. The Oakie’s eyes darkened even more when he glanced at the grabby hands touching Adam. Blake instantly saw red and went straight to Elias, seizing him by the collar and punching the bloke so hard in the face, that the European guy despite all his hight, damn he was almost the same height as Shelton, would fell if it weren’t for Adam's reaction.

‘‘BLAKE! What the fuck?! What is wrong with you?!!’’

Blake ignored Adam’s outraged tone and pointed in the blonde’s chest ‘’If you want to say crap about me, grow the balls to say it to my face! But don’t you dare to say shit to my son, you bastard!’’

‘‘What the hell is he talking about, Elias?’’ Levine exclaimed confused.

‘‘I’ve no clue, Adam! Don’t you see?! He’s a madman! His place is in an asylum!

Blake went for him again with a fueling rage but was stopped by Adam.

‘‘Blake, I said KNOCK IT OFF!’’ Levine hissed utterly pissed by the scene. The yoga coach could tell that they’ve gathered enough witnesses for a reprimand from his bitchy supervisor later. But no matter how furious Levine was with Shelton’s actions at the moment, he wouldn’t crave trouble for his ex. And attacking one of the constant customers of their fitness club only promised troubles. Fuck it, if he'll be fined, Adam thought, Levine would deal with it, but the brunette knew that Elias was some sort of a serious businessman, so Blake was playing with fire here.

‘’Though I’m not surprised’’ Jørgensen spat tempting the fate, ‘’what else could be expected from a former junkie! I know who you are, Shelton, been reading local papers, 'an aspiring promising country talent screwing his career for drugs!' Well done!’’

‘‘Hey, watch it!’’ This time it was Adam’s turn to shut the jerk. Levine glared at the blonde with extreme fury. He knew Blake remained clean for a long period now, and seeing how the Oakie's face grimaced with visible hurt at the accusation pained Adam as well.

‘‘Listen, you tanned jackass, I warn you,'' Blake growled nonetheless, ''think whatever you want 'bout my ass, but if you ever will try to convince my son that I don't love him, or don't care, may the Lord help you...’’

‘‘You said WHAT, Elias?!’’ Adam exclaimed

‘‘Adam, come on, do you really want your kid near this psycho? Look at him, he’s inadequate savage! I was just telling the kid the truth!’’

‘‘Listen, first of all, spare me of telling what's best for MY child! And secondly, don’t you ever dare to meddle between Blake and my son, okay?! If anything, Blake is a great father, and if you say shit like that to my boy again, I'll personally kick your ass, am I being clear?!

Elias just looked at him in complete disbelief, lost for any words, and then Adam turned to Shelton, looking at the Oakie even angrier.

‘‘And you! Wait for me outside, NOW!’’

Belatedly, there appeared security staff, but despite Jørgensen's outraged mood, the blonde jock just grabbed his towel and left the place, not making any accusations, for Adam's relief. Levine could deal with an outcome from his boss later. For now, he went straight outsight, where Blake awaited him.

Once the Oakie inhaled fresh air, he realized how big he screwed things this time. Fuck, WHY he couldn’t get his head out of his ass around Adam? Now, when he was able to calculate that this scandal might get Adam in trouble, Blake immediately regretted of coming to the brunette's work. On his behalf, Blake just couldn’t think of another place where he could find this Elias. ''Gosh, dang it! What a dickhead you are, Shelton!'' He cursed himself. Blake was just so pissed when he was going to talk with a guy who brainwashed his boy’s head, but when he saw how this filthy animal was hitting on his lovely ex-husband, Blake just lost it. The Oakie has always been a possessive man, and Adam teased him in the past because of that, but this time he knew that crossed the line. He was just too scared of losing Adam when he just got his hopes back.

Blake practically jumped when Adam slammed the door of the staff entrance and went straight to him. The brunette was so adorable in one of those woolen comfy sweaters of his that he wore on top of his company’s tracksuit, but the dangerous look in hazel eyes was screaming that Blake’s ass is about to be whooped. Shelton just stared at Adam like a giant puppy that messed up pretty big this time.

‘‘Adam I...’’

‘‘Just what the hell were you thinking, you dimwit?!!’’ Adam crossed his arms, glaring at the tall man.

‘’I know, I shouldn't come to your work, but you can't blame me for my reaction on how this douchebag tried to mess with our son's head?''

''But it didn't give you any right to run and act like a complete barbarian! You almost broke Elias's nose!''

''So what? Were you THAT afraid for your new boyfriend?’’ Blake wanted to bite his tongue the second those words left his mouth. Why his brains turned into a mess when Adam was involved? The brunette stayed silent for a moment, looking at Shelton with an unreadable expression, before breaking the distance and... wrapping his arms around Blake’s neck. Adam even got up on his tiptoes like he used to do in order to take the tall man into a sweet warm embrace.

‘‘It’s not him I was scared for,'' Adam whispered gently, causing shivers rushing all over Blake, who was taken aback by this plot twist, ''it was you, you stupid country bumpkin.’’

After the initial shock, Blake hurried to hug his petite brunette’s body back, hiding his nose into Adam’s crook, praising his luck for once.

‘‘You know,'' Adam took a step back, looking at Blake with a soft expression, ''Noah is the smartest kid alive, thank God. Apparently, he got it from me'' Levine teased, making Blake chuckle ''and he's a sensitive boy as well, so he’d never for real believed that you’d stopped loving him. Ever, hear me, ding dong?''

Blake just nodded, not able to let his grip off Adam's waist, wrapped in the ugly woolen sweater.

''I know... I guess, I overreacted. Maybe.''

Just when Adam wanted to reply, in order to distract himself from Blake's strong arms around his spine, Shelton's phone started to ring, making them break the intimate embrace.

Adam listened to how Blake talked with a woman, who asked Shelton to come to a honky-tonk at the other side of LA as fast as he can.

Levine couldn't help wondering whether that Rene girl that Blake talked with was his new girlfriend or not. Blake hadn't had many female friends for what Adam knew, except for Carrie and Miley from the bar, where he worked as a bartender, and whom Adam knew as well. Blake has always been such a charmer and lady-killer, and sometimes Adam couldn't wrap his head around the fact that they'd even been together. Adam was also aware, that Blake had never been into guys before they met. Not even curious about experimenting, cause he'd been raised in a very conservative community. Until once Adam found him.

When Blake hung up, Adam tried to sound casual, clearing his throat.

''So who's Rene? A friend of yours?''

''Um, not exactly. You know that bar, where I've been working as a bartender for the past few months?''

''Yeah, sure?''

''Well, Rene owns it, and a couple of other country bars in the city''

''No shit! There's more than just ONE in LA? Never would've thought. Your country empire of doom ultimately took over this Stronghold!'' Adam joked and Blake just rolled his eyes.

''Anyway, seems she just offered me to play gigs in the bar, when I'm off my shifts.

''Oh! Wow. That's awesome man, isn't it?!'' Adam brightened excitedly. It was really immense for Blake. After Shelton lost his contract due to the troubles with pills addiction, the country singer was losing himself. He got addicted to some illegal painkillers after he got into an accident and hurt his shoulder so bad, that the sole solution for continuing work and providing his son was in swallowing that shit, which at least for a bit eased the horrible pain. Of course, when Adam found out, he begged Blake to stop using, and that's when their troubles started. Levine even took a second part-time job as a salesman - all for Blake could quit his addiction. But if at first, Blake used out of desperation and pain, with time he realized, that he just can't stop, swallowing them out of habit, even when there was no pain. It was a nightmare. For Adam, it was a time of sleepless nights of crying and fright for Blake, who'd taken to getting absent until the down too often, not clear with whom and where he spent those nights. And for Blake, it was just a numb period, like at some point he just blacked out and came to consciousness too late, once he already had lost Adam.

One night, Blake came home high as fuck and when Adam, exhausted and overstressed beyond himself, tried to reason with his drunk husband, warning Shelton that he'd leave him if Blake didn't stop using, the Oakie crossed the line. Blake in his drunken rage went really angry and accused Adam that he was the reason of why Blake lost his career. The Oakie yelled that he gave up everything that really mattered for him to be with Adam, and the brunette did nothing but bitching about everything all the time, annoying Blake to pieces. Levine had literally heard how his heart was broken into million pieces on that harsh words. Blake shouted many sickening words that night, perhaps, the countryman didn't even remember all of them himself by now. But Adam did. And his heart still bled on the memories of all of the awful accusations. But despite the fact that Blake's offensive confession hurt like he wouldn't believe, Adam wasn't necessarily the one to disagree with Shelton. Secretly, Levine always doubted and partly blamed himself for writing to Blake that first letter that dragged the man from Nashville and the career he always dreamed of.

So, to tell the truth, as much as it killed Adam to divorce Blake, a part of him felt a relief that he finally could let go Blake out of the cage that Adam's love turned out to be. After they'd separated, Levine nevertheless had made a goal to drug Blake out of the shithole, the countryman put himself into, placing the man into rehab. And once Adam was determined to complete some task, he would put himself on fire, but achieves his goal. Yeah, he was one stubborn son of a bitch. And thankfully, Blake finally was eager to cure, because of the frightful realization of what he lost. At the start of his rehab, Blake tried to apologize and begged Adam to take him back and start over, but Levine wasn't ready to go through that nightmare once again. He learned his lesson, and won't be wearing the role of a selfish person ever again. He'll never taste that horrible feeling like he's stealing Blake from a greater path again. Because if Blake loved him and was truly happy with their marriage in the first place, he'd never let Adam go through this hell. But Blake just wasn't honest with him from the start, collecting all the bitterness, and eventually shouted out what he really felt, and Adam had enough of it. Levine decided it was his redemption to help Blake to go back to music because no matter what, he'd never stopped loving the man, and now he knew for sure, he never will. During the divorce, Adam was sure, one day or another Blake will learn how to live without him and will continue to pursue music, - the one thing Adam never could implement himself, because the rocker gave it up voluntarily and had some time to really think about, before adopting. And with Blake, it was so sudden and hectic, that the man couldn't probably fully realize of what he's putting on the line.

So, this gig offer was great news, wasn't it? Even if it's not a big deal, it's the first coming back step for Blake and Adam was proud of him. The brunette told himself not to focus on the depressing memories right now, cause it was time to be happy for Blake.

''I don't know, I guess. Dang it, I just haven't expected it.'' Blake seemed befuddled after speaking with that woman, and somehow Adam didn't like the cowboy's deep frown.'' He knew Blake all too well, to know when Blake hid something.

''Hey, are you okay there, Big Country?''

''What?''

"I said, you ok?''

''No, how did ya just call me?'' Blake who just a second ago seemed puzzled and concerned was grinning like a loon, staring at Adam.

''Oh. I guess it just kinda slipped outta my tongue'' Adam shyly mumbled.

''I'm okay, rockstar.'' Blake replayed after a few seconds, showing his stupid dimples. Adam scratched his neck, looking away like a teenage loser in front of his crush.

''I guess, you better go to your bar then. And congrats, you know, with that gig. I know, it's important.''

''I guess I should go, yeah. And thank ya. Listen, Adam, I know I screwed today. But do ya think we maybe could talk later? I want to make up for ruining your workday.''

Adam's heart jumped a bit.

''Well, I kinda wanted to ask if you could make it to us later? Plus, we have to discuss Noah's birthday anyway.''

''Great! That would be just awesome! I'll call you later, okay?''

''Yeah, sure.'' The brunette waved at him and went back to the staff entrance.

''Hey, Adam,'' Blake called, making Adam turn around, ''they won't fire you, would they?'' He was still embarrassed for the mess at the cafeteria.

''Don't worry about me. Just try to think before you act next time. And no more violence displaying around the city, all right Sasquatch?''

''I'll do my best."

For you, darling, - Blake added in his mind.

 

***

Blake entered the bar with a shady feeling in his guts. He wasn't sure if Rene were playing her games with him or not, but he would like to know what in a world struck her to offer him this deal anyway. She never even knew that he was a singer, let alone she wasn't into country music at all. As the matter of fact, the blonde businesswoman took possession of these pubs only due to her messy divorce. All that Rene Stefani was truly into, - her fancy-schmancy design label. So, regarding the fact that in the past she didn't give a fuck to her side business, Stefani's recent obsession with those honky-tonks might seem quite strange for a clueless person. But not for Shelton. He as no one other had seen where that all might come from.

Ever since Blake started to work in the bar, that woman just wouldn't let him be. At first, she was super nice to Blake, meanwhile yelling and screaming at other bar's personnel like a mad witch. But with time her assertive attempts to hit on him became quite obvious not only for him but to his co-workers as well. She always visited the bar during Blake's shift and tried to flirt and seduce him. But the countryman remained indifferent, not because the woman wasn't hot, but because Blake couldn't help dreaming only of hazel eyes all his day and sleep.

When he looked at Adam, he saw all the hardship and sleepless nights over Noah's bed in that adorable wrinkles around his sweet hazel eyes, meanwhile, behind Rene's made-up painted face he saw nothing. When she stood too close to him, tempting what was left of his heterosexuality, he felt nothing but expensive yet repulsive perfume. Nothing even close comparing to Adam's masculine natural scent of home.

But it seemed like this woman couldn't just take no as an answer. The more he ignored Rene, the stronger her obsession become. For months she's been after him. Lately, he'd been thinking of leaving the bar for good, but he desperately needed money for helping to raise Noah and paying the bills, and nobody was keen to hire a former drug-addicted musician, who even couldn't keep his first serious contract. So, he decided that he'll continue to play it cool unless Rene behaves relatively harmless. At least, he hoped he was being some sort of a phase for the blonde. These rich people were impossible to comprehend for him, but Blake just hoped that sooner or later Stefani just gives up and gets bored of chasing him.

He entered the honky-tonk, bumping into a non-stop chatting duo - Carrie and Miley. He made good friends with these waitresses once he started to work as a bartender here. These southern gals practically became like little annoying sisters to him.

''Aloha, cowboy!'' Carrie saluted at him and Miley just winked.

''Hey Y'all.'' He waved back. ''Dang it, do you guys ever shut up? How is that Aussie of yours is dealing with all that noise, Cyrus? Poor lad.'' Blake joked at the impossibly loud and chatty teen.

''Oh, please, Blake! Liam is one lucky guy to have a girlfriend like me!'' Miley innocently blinked with her long eyelashes. What a child, Blake mused.

''That's right, girl!'' Carrie gave her a high five and Blake just rolled his eyes, leaving them be.

''By the way, the queen bitch is waiting for you in the administrator's room,'' Cyrus murmured making funny faces and nodding towards the stairs near the bar scene.

''Hey, watch your tongue, young lady, would ya? Your parents should've washed your mouth with soap.'' Blake replied in the same conspirative whisper

''To late. I'm beyond saving, Shelton. And my parents are at peace with that.''

''And ya better watch yourself, bro'' Carrie warned him mockingly, or someone's tongue would be in danger. The bitch didn't stop harassing ya, did she?'' His compatriot Underwood spoke quietly as well, so Stefani couldn't hear them from the second floor.

''Oh, come on you two. I can handle it. And stop gossiping around here, someone might hear ya.'' He shushed them.

''Gee, who cares?'' Miley snorted, ''old news. Anyone here knows that the ancient mummy wants to bang ya, old man,''

''It's not me who's old, it's you being a childish little runt...'' Blake grumbled

''Knock it off, guys. Hey, speaking of children, how is Noah?'' Carrie cooed. Once she saw the photo of his and Adam's son Underwood became obsessed with him. Miley and she were mutually amazed that the boy was a living image of both of his fathers. Like there were no woman involved at all. It was a pure miracle.

''He's... a cool boy.'' Blake smiled, with that bittersweet smile, and gals decided not to push further, bothering Blake with questions about his not quite often opportunities to spend time with his son.

''And how is Adam?'' Miley winked with that shit-eating grin, trying to cheer Blake up.

''Okay too, I guess... We actually talked like normal beings for once, like we didn't do for a long time...''

''Damn! Man up Shelton!'' Miley suddenly exclaimed, ''just quit with this pining, go and bring back your man already!

''It's not that easy, dang it! Why everyone thinks it's a walk in the park?! I caused Adam so many trouble and tonnes of crap, that I hadn't decided if I forgave myself yet.''

''Blake!'' The three heads turned to the voice from the stairway's top. There Rene was.

''Hello, ma'am'' Blake gritted her, and Miley almost cracked on how Stefani's plastic face twisted on that 'ma'am'.

''Could you please come up?'' His boss raised her overpainted eyebrow. ''I want to talk to you.''

''Sure.''

He went upstairs, while Rene glanced at the waitresses with a cold suspicious look, before hiding back at her office.

They waitresses shared a look and got back to their duties.

 

 

''Well hello, Blake-y,'' a thin woman in a sparkly outfit walked over in a snug space of the administrative room and sat on her wooden table in a relaxed mode. ''Haven't seen you for a while. Been busy with my fashion shows in Europe, you know? How have you been?''

''Um alright, I guess. Listen, I'd like to talk about the gig. Why are you doing this?'' He asked rather skeptical, trying to ignore her playful smirk.

''Ooh straight to business. I like serious men.'' Rene crossed her feet in the air, making her flashy skirt to lift up, which to her disappointment left Blake unimpressed. But she was a determent person. After pouring a glass of some luxurious drink she offered it to Blake, but he just shooked his head, refusing.

''So, what's the deal?'' The man repeated frowning.

''Oh my god, you're intense today. Tough and all that. You need to let it loose a bit, too.''

He raised an eyebrow and she fought the urge to roll her eyes. ''Okay, let's say, a little bird told me that you're a country singer or something. And you know what? Lately, I became a fan of that genre!''

Gee. And when did that happen? He wondered. She giggled excitedly with that cringe laugh of her's, that irritated anyone who heard it once.

''Alright, you've heard that I kinda can sing. So, you wouldn't even see if I am good enough before letting me on a stage of your bar?''

''Ah, Blake-y. Modesty is a sin that doesn't suit you.'' She jumped from the tabletop and sneaked to him like a cat in heat. ''Now, don't be silly and say yes,'' when she took him by his collar and whispered it right to his ear, he had enough.

''Alright, look,'' he gallantly pushed her away, untangling from her painted clutches, and making some distance between them. ''I accept your offer, cause I'd be a fool to refuse of some extra payment. I have a little child to pamper, after all.''

''Oh, yeah, how is your daughter by the way?'' She asked as if she cared

''It's a boy, and he's okay.''
Was she that dumb? He'd already told her about Noah.

''Ah, right, a boy. I would be glad to meet the little baby, he must be so precious! You have to bring him over here in one of these days! You know, what people say about me? I look natural with toddlers!''

Yeah, sure, natural my ass, he thought.

''He's actually six-year-old.'' That he told her too, but never mind.

''Oh, whatever.'' She grinned. ''Anyway,'' she obnoxiously violated his personal space once again, ''I always found you extremely hot, but fatherhood makes you even sexier... you are such a daddy...'' The devilish boss wrapped her hands around the bartender's neck, biting her botoxed red lips, so he was forced to be a bit harsher this time.

''Okay, just hold it. Let's make things clear, Rene.'' He got out of the embrace, ''I appreciate your generous offer, but we need to draw a line here. Let's keep it professional, okay? Why can't you just stop this?

"Come on, hottie, the more you resist, the more you turn me on, don't you get it, silly?!

''Told you, I'm not interested.''

''Don't you like what you see?'' She asked in a seductive voice. When she started to unbutton her semi-sheer blouse, Blake just panicked, grabbing her wrists.

''Just. Stop it. I can't.

''Why so uncrackable?!''

''I LOVE another!''

''Oh.'' She froze still at that. Her gaze got cold instantly, turning into a glare. She wondered what her rival looked like. Though people here gossiped about Blake's ex's outstanding looks and how the bartender still wasn't over his divorce.

''Look, sorry, I have to go to my duties now, the bar opens soon, have to check on clean glasses and stuff.'' He turned around and rushed to the office door with the intention to leave.

''Wait. Okay, have it your way. Let's forget what just happened.'' She rubbed her temple.'' Tomorrow you'll be scheduled as a part-time singer here, now you can go.'' Rene announced in a cool casual tone that confused Blake as hell, but he was all for forgetting what just happened and was fast to agree to his new position and get the hell out of here.

Once he left, she continued staring at the closed door, trying to calm her moody thoughts. No one ever had been resisting her that long yet. That man was something else, and he's a fool if he thought she's done with him.

''You can run all you want, boo. I'll get you sooner or later,'' the blonde vowed and poured some more alcohol in her glass. Sipping the liquid Rene just caught up one detail. She never saw Blake drunk, not even once. And he even refused a good expensive drink just now. Curious. Now, that was interesting food for thought.

 

***

''Noah, time to take bath!'' Adam shouted coming upstairs in search of his sneaky son.

''NO!!!'' The reply came fast.

The brunette found Noah, jumping on his bed, totally not fascinated by the prospect of bathing. Just as stubborn as his dimply-faced father. Adam shooked his head.

''Come on, buddy, you can't go to school like that, chicks don't dig stinky dudes, believe me.''

''NO!''

''Okay, let's do this, if you take a bath now, tomorrow we'll play that new video game of yours some extra time, deal?'' Adam felt like a horrible parent, but hey, bribing worked like magic.

''YAS, daddy!''

''And be sure, I'll beat you, rookie!'' Adam jumped at the boy and started to tickle him, causing an uncontrollable laugh to the kid. God, he adored his son's laugh. Levine threw the kid in the air and then kissed his cheeks, making him squeak, before carrying Noah to the bathroom.

Once they were done with washing, Adam helped his very sleepy boy to go to bed and went to the house's attic. The brunette still had an entire loft space to clean. A couple of days ago Adam figured that maybe some interior renewal would help him to clean the mess inside his head and heart. He actually picked up those tips from browsing some shitty site with articles about psychology, but Heavens knew, Levine needed some distraction.

Adam switched a lamp and went toward one of the boxes he left unpacked yesterday. A brown frayed book on top of the mess inside caught his attention and he opened it, settling his ass in a huge old chair with repressed springs.

It was their family album that he started to flip through. The first page overwhelmed his heart with bittersweet emotions. The tattooed young men held a tiny bundle - his newly born nephew. It was sometime after his cousin, Ronda, - Noah's biological mom, passed away.

Adam just came back in LA after graduating from college and thinking about forming an alternative band with his school buddies, when he'd heard about his dearest cousin's death caused by a car accident. Adam knew, that Ronda was pregnant. He was also aware that she planned to give the child up for adoption. Ronda had been writing to her cousin pretty often while Adam was in college. In one of her letters, she shared how she met that tall handsome guy at some country music fest in Nashville and how then, after one-night stand she went back to California to continue her studying. However, once Ronda found out she'd have a baby, Adam's cousin got terrified, cause the young girl wasn't ready to give up her future career plan. Ronda was about having a prestigious grant from her University, so, after a while, she found a perfect family for her not yet born baby. As the matter of fact, she was on her way to sign the contract with them, when some drunk ass had hit her by a car. The baby was delivered and saved, but unfortunately, the mother had gone.

Not in a million years could a young carefree rocker, who just spread his wings, thought that once he got his nephew in his arms, he wouldn't be able to ever let him go. But that's how it happened.

As soon as Adam took his sister's precious baby, a decision came out of nowhere. He adopted the baby despite his relatives' doubts. His mother was hesitant as Ronda's parents at first, well, because Adam was too young and single. The brunette couldn't take care of himself at times, for God's sake, let alone of a little baby! But seeing her boy's determination, she eventually got her son's side and guided him with his new fatherly role. Especially, after Ronda's mom and dad, who didn't want to deal with a newly born, moved to another country to forget the horrible tragedy.

Meanwhile, as Adam waited for all the adoption process to end, he decided to give a shot at finding Noah's biological father, just to let the guy know, that he's having a baby now, and if the dude was interested in the kid's life, well, Adam wouldn't mind them to interact. At least, it would prevent their family from sudden strangers came after his son in the future. Who would've known that Noah's father turned out to be an aspiring country artist from Oklahoma, who was still seeking himself in Nashville?

Adam recalled all the details and descriptions from what Ronda had been telling him in her letters about that southern guy. The most important, he got a full name, age and even birth date, cause Ronda mentioned that they celebrated it at the fest. That helped Levine to find the man through social network quite fast. The dude hadn't had a picture on his profile, but the age and other data were matching. Still doubting whether it was that same person, Adam sent him the letter anyway, without much hope. However, to the city boy's astonishment, in a couple of weeks, Blake Tollison Shelton showed up right at Adam's doorsteps, changing his and Noah's life once and for all. Adam remembered that day like it was yesterday.

 

''Yes, mooom, just...can you call me later? I have my hands full over here!'' Adam tried to heat some milk for his son while talking to his concerned mother over the phone and shushing the crying baby in his arms. ''Yes, they offered me a position of a yoga instructor, no you don't have to come over, please! I can handle it, they have a nurse room over there, I swear! Oh, shoot, someone's coming! It's the door ring, mom, have to go! Love you, bye!''

Adam grabbed the bottle and went towards the door, lulling his infant.

''Coming!''

Once Adam opened the door he was taken aback. There was standing the most gorgeous hunk, he's ever seen. It was a giant blue-eyed man in a plaid shirt, same bright color as his beautiful eyes. And Adam stood there in a dirty torn shirt stinking with baby's vomit and messy unwashed hair. Levine was also aware of his swollen face and dark bags under his tired eyes caused by sleepless nights by Noah's crib, so sue him if he felt super embarrassed at that moment. Was life that cruel, letting him run into that hot stud while he was at his worst? But the brunette was so hoping the sexy intruder was his new single neighbor, therefore Adam could fix the first impression later. Lord, just let him be his single neighbor, Adam prayed.

''Um, may I help you, man?'' Levine asked, trying not to drool too obvious at the stranger.

The guy just kept staring at him and an infant in his arms back and forth. After a long pause, the tall guy finally spoke.

''Is this... Ronda's Levine baby?'' The stranger asked in a deep voice with his thick country twang, that Adam felt weakness in his knees right away. Then the instinctive realization struck the brunette. Fuck, it wasn't some neighbor at all! That was…

''I'm Blake Shelton. I suppose it was you, who contacted me a couple of weeks ago?''

"Oh... oh! You're THE Blake Shelton?!'' Was it a universal joke?! Adam cursed. ''Damn, I mean... shoot! Just...'' Adam bubbled, making Blake raise an eyebrow. ''Okay, please, enter!'' Adam made space to let him in.

And that was it. Blake stormed in his life like a hurricane, turning his world upside down for good. At first, Adam was depressed, cause that gorgeous man turned out to be Noah's father, hence, he must've been straight as a poll, hence Adam had zero chances to give it a go with him.

Pretty soon, Blake declared that he's moving to LA, in order to be closer to his biological son. Adam saw how Ronda's passing away ate Blake, and he tried to convince Blake that no one from his family, including Adam, ever blamed Shelton for what happened to his cousin. She was quite a light-headed person, and first of all, it was she who never tried to contact Blake to enlighten the father about the pregnancy. But despite Adam's reassuring, Blake still felt the weight of guilt and helped to raise Noah as best as he could. That was the permanent reason why he left Nashville for good and got a job in LA, playing small gigs here and there. It didn't give Blake same opportunities like back to Tennessee, but at least he was near his son, with whom he was falling in love as each day passed by.

Things became even harder for Adam when after a month of knowing each other, the brunette found out what a great personality the Oakie had. Blake possessed a fucking hilarious sense of humor, for Adam's liking. He was charming and loved music equally as the rocker himself, but, moreover, he'd been super chill once he learned Adam was out and proud. So, it's safe to say that they became best friends from the get-go. But Adam secretly had been craving for more. Of course, Levine knew that hell freezes over before Blake would look at him the same way he looked at the cowboy. But apparently, Adam was the one who'd been blind, cause once, when Blake came over to visit them and stayed late, playing with Noah, the impossible happened.

Blake stood in the doorway to the child's room and watched how Adam singing a lullaby for almost a one-year-old Noah. Shelton was so mesmerized with Adam's voice and his facial expression, that the cowboy's heart filled with a mix of different emotions. At first, Blake thought that his affection to this city boy came from gratitude, cause if it weren't for Levine, he wouldn't know Noah at all. But lately, Blake started to notice, that whenever he came over and laid his eyes on this petite tattooed brunette, who became his best buddy in no time, his own pulse started to raise with no reason, and mouth went dry all of a sudden.

Plus Adam, being a little shit he is, kept provoking him, like on purpose bending over in his tight jeans, or loose training pants. The way his tender hazel eyes shone when Blake cracked one of his lousy jokes made Shelton's soul sing those ballads he never got to write. Blake admitted that he got hots for Adam already a while ago. And now, as Adam kissed his son (their son?), and silently signaled Blake to move his ass towards the leaving room, Shelton decided, it's now or never.

Adam got from a fridge two beers and throw one bottle to Blake, once they've settled their butts on his couch.

''Damn, what a day, right? And how awesome that I won the bet who'd be the first to teach Noah how to walk, Sasquatch! My son is a genius and I'm the greatest coach alive!'' Adam happily sighed.

''Well, technically he just made one tiny step and fell, not really counting. He's smart though, for that part, I'll drink,'' he saluted

''Aw, don't be jealous of my superpowers, dude''

''Cocky rockstar, you just have the advantage of actually living with him, while I just visit you two.'' Blake shot back, smirking. He was beaming with happiness when he saw how proud Adam was of this smart little boy. Somehow it made Blake proud even more, cause it was his kid as well. Wasn't that crazy? Their entire situation?!

''Whatever, just admit I'm a better mentor than you!'' Adam teased, putting his hand on Blake's lap without a second thought, and that made the countryman suddenly freeze like a deer in the headlights, not sure if he's got the guts to do what he's about to do.

''Hey, what's up, man? You look pale, you ok?'' Adam asked concerned, bending closer to him before detecting that he still got his hand on Blake's lap. Fuck. Just when Adam tried to mumble his apology, he was silenced by Blake's lips that were hungrily kissing the brains out of him. Stupefied after the initial shock, Adam wrapped his arms around Blake's strong neck, starting to kiss him back. Their bottles were dumped on the floor, pouring the liquid on the carpet, but Adam was ready to sacrifice it, cause Blake fucking Shelton was kissing him stupid and wandering around his slim body with his grabby hands.

Adam thought he would come then and there, cause the way Blake's skilled tongue was driving him nuts was able to steal someone's virginity, honestly. At some point, Blake had bitten his lower lip and Adam moaned so seductively that it turned on Blake even harder.

They broke the kiss just for catching up their breaths.

''You've no idea how bad I wanted to do this, baby'' Blake whispered, connecting their temples together and brushing Adam's nose with his. ''You've been driving me crazy all this time, darling...things you do to me...''

''Then kiss me, cowboy," Adam whispered desperately in a husky tone

Blake obediently did what he was told. He positioned Adam on his lap, making out with him for some more time, until his jeans started to pain him, due to Adam's tight ass that rubbed his groin so perfect, that Blake thought he'd lose what's left of his brains for good. Then the younger man suddenly got up, pulling Blake from the couch. Blake was more eager than ever to lift Adam's little body, grabbing him by his tempting buttocks and making him wrapping his legs around Blake's waist. Somehow they made it to the bedroom, where they've spent the first most incredible night in their life, making love over and over again. Once Blake felt what it was like to be inside that gorgeous specimen, he was lost forever. Having Adam that way was what must Heaven felt like, so Blake became addicted to their intimacy from the second they've touched each other that way. Adam on his side couldn't believe that he was that lucky to finally have the man, with whom he has been fallen in love for some time already. And what's bizarre, Blake felt the same way about his dorky ass.

How could he foresee back then what their future would prepare for them?

Adam took one last glance at the photo where he held little Noah. Adam himself was younger, had a shorter hair back then, but the look with which he watched his son didn't change a bit. He fell in love with this child the instant he laid his hazel eyes on the baby. But when that small creature opened his huge incredibly blue eyes and look at him with such curiosity Adam felt like he was struck by lightning, falling even harder. Blake's eyes stole his heart even before he met the guy.

Adam flipped the page, and his heart skipped a bit once again. It was him and Blake holding their adorable son.

Shelton has been his boyfriend for a year and a half already and it was Noah's second Halloween when they dressed their son as the cutest orange pumpkin in the world. Blake on the picture wore a batmen costume, trying to steal Adam's kiss, who was cheekily grinning at the camera, dressed as Robin himself.

The other picture illustrated their first trip to Oklahoma together.

Blake took Adam to a picnic, leaving Noah with Blake's sister, Endy. That southern belle was the sole member of Shelton's family, who agreed to support their relationship. Blake's parents weren't that understanding, because Blake fought his dad so hard in the past on the matter of pursuing music and not enrolling to the Fire Academy like his old man, that now Blake's actions seemed to them even more unreasonable. Mr. and Mrs. Shelton held an opinion that Blake gave up his career for nothing, even doubting that Noah was his son at all, despite all the similarity and the DNA test that Adam made him take when they first met. But Blake was okay with his parent's decision to stay away. At least he got Endy by his side, who despite being a conservative country gal, was very open-minded and friendly towards Blake's sudden declaration of love to a man, to say nothing of her suddenly awoken protective instinct to her brand-new nephew.

So Adam and Blake were very calm leaving their child with her for some time, while the cowboy decided to take Adam for a walk, hoping that local nature would impress the city boy as much as it impresses him since his childhood.

Adam was indeed fascinated with all this nature immersing after Blake literally fucked the hell out of him right in the fields. They had mind-blowing sex as soon as they were relatively far from the closest road, in the middle of nowhere. Blake took Adam, blaming his boyfriend's yoga pants, that was so out of this place. Adam screamed so hard, riding Blake's thick dick right there in the dirty wilds, that Blake was pretty sure they've scared all the local fauna around.

The picture was taken a bit after when they were goofing around, spent from their crazy mating session. Blake set a camera that they'd took with them on a tree branch and grabbed his laughing boyfriend giving Adam piggyback. They both were making silly faces while the camera automatically was making a round of shots.

Adam lightly touched the handsome face of Blake's younger version from the picture, gliding over the cowboy's wavy hair, outlined by the ginger sunset. Then he tenderly moved his fingertips to Shelton's charming dimples. This Blake had fewer wrinkles and his head absolutely lacked any gray hair. They were so optimistic and madly in love... what happened to them? Adam kept stroking Blake's face from the photo affectionately, not noticing that a tear rolled down from his own cheek until it dropped on the picture.

Adam didn't know how he fell asleep, but at some point he just lifted his feet on a chair, curling up in his sweater and pressing this book of memories to his heart, dozing off. He was dreaming of the bright blue eyes that night, clean like the sky and the soft lips tenderly whispering him the familiar sweet confessions of eternal love.

Chapter Text

Adam yawned, awoken by his quietly buzzing alarm clock. Once realizing that he still sat on the same chair in the attic, hugging the old album in his arms, Adam jumped off it, nearly falling on the flooring in doing so.

Fuck. Noah needed a ride to school and he overslept! What kind of a dick he is?!

"Dammit-dammit!" The brunette swore running downstairs in panic. However, when Levine got to the kitchen he froze. His awfully chill son already has been sitting on the chair and chewed his cereal.

''Hey champ!'' Adam greeted the boy, ''I'm SO sorry, little man, I'll be ready in five, just let me gather your...''

''Morning, dad! I already packed my breakfast,'' the boy grinned at his scruffy parent, surprising Adam with such independence.

''Oh. Wow.'' Levine blinked. ''Okay then, let me...''

''No sweat, I packed your lunch as well dad! Here,'' Noah pointed at the paper bag on the table, making Adams' heart sank with love and adoration. Although their kitchen table looked like a battlefield of the peanut butter and bread crumb, the brunette couldn't care less about the mess his son created in his determination to take care of Adam.

''Man, you're so funny and awesome, I just can't! Alright then, eat your breakfast, and I quickly...''

''Your tracksuit and the towel are in the gym bag'' Noah deadpanned, leaving Adam numb from complete disbelief and shock.

The brunette approached his boy, leaning to the child and giving him a peck on his temple.

"You're a miracle, bud. Shoot, sometimes I wonder, who's adult here?!''

''Sometimes I wonder that too, dad,'' Noah sighed dramatically, scratching his jawline in fake wonder. ''Now brush your teeth and hoop in the car or we're going to be late! '' With that, his son efficiently ended his breakfast and with all seriousness went waiting for his father in the car.

''Ai ai, Captain!'' Adam laughed hysterically lost for words.

After the quickest morning routine, Adam grabbed his fitness bag and keys hurrying to leave the house, but as soon as he opened the door, a huge bouquet popped right in front of Adam's face. Then, a blonde block's smiling face appeared behind it.

''Elias'' Adam asked perplexed.

''Hi there,'' Jørgensen waved. ''I just wanted to apologize. Look, I was thinking about that day, back at the cafeteria... I should've minded my own business, I get it...''

''Yeah, you should've'' Adam сut his mumbling off glancing at his boy who played with his laptop in the car.

''But I didn't mean any harm to you or your son! Please, accept it as a gesture of my regrets.'' He handed to Adam a magnificent bouquet of exotic flowers and gave Levine a seemingly sincere smile. ''I thought.. maybe, we could go somewhere after the gym, you know? We could walk in the park, take your kid with us?''

Damn, what he was supposed to do with such a stubborn admirer? Adam thought bewildered.

''Look... It's just... okay, thank you for the flowers, Elias,'' Adam took the bouquet and rapidly put in the vase in the hallway, ''but we're about being late to the school. Can we just talk later, okay?''

The blonde man's grin just brightened, oblivious to Adam's visible discomfort. Levine just nodded in response and run to his car, praying that he won't see the jock at the fitness centre at least today. That was unlikely though, but one could still hope.

 

***

Adam just said his goodbyes to Noah and was on his way to the car, when a middle-aged lady approached him at the school gate.

''Mr. Levine?''

''Yes, Madam?'' He turned to the woman.

''Good morning, sir! My name is Sumaya Adil, I'm a school counselor, nice to meet you.''

''Oh, nice to meet you too!'' The brunette politely shook her hand

''I'd like to talk to you about Noah"

''Is there any problems with my son? '' Adam frowned in concern. His boy never caused him any problems, Noah just wasn't a misbehaved type. On the contrary, he was smart, geeky and shy, moreover, Adam was concerned at times for the kid, hoping that his son would never experience what's like to be a target of some bullies. If you possess such a personality there's always a chance to drag the attention of some dicks. Maybe not now, but with each year passed the possibility will be increasing exponentially. Adam who was a dorky zit back to school knew better. Been there.

''Oh, it's not that. As the metter of fact, I wanted to thank you for your investing parenting, he's a very unique and gentle kid, to say nothing of his academic achievements,'' Adam beamed with pride at woman's praise, he knew how special was his little baby unicorn. Then he remembered today's morning episode with breakfast. Yeah, he was something else.

''As much as it might be flattering, I can't really take all the credit for this. Sometimes I even wonder how I managed not to ruin something to him.'' Adam shook his head

''Look,'' she reassured with a kind tone, assuming what might be laying behind Adam's sad smile. ''I'm aware of your family situation, Mr. Levine. So, considering the circumstances, it's safe to say, your child takes the whole divorce situation relatively well so far.

Adam had nothing much to say about it. He knew, his son, despite his age, was stronger than him. Evidently, took that from Blake. Adam himself used to cry every night after his parents separated. Funny how he hoped to never cause the same trauma to his own kids and it was a fucking disappointment cause he now lived his worst childhood's nightmare all over again. And the weight of the guilt was eating Adam continuously for that. But there was no other way. At the end of the day, he couldn't go on with that farce, knowing the person he loved was unhappy with him.

''Anyway,'' the counselor broke his miserable thoughts giving him some papers with a colorful advertisement. ''Here. I wanted to ask if you could sign permission for your son's participation in the school trip to the Big Dalton Canyon in Glendora Reserve organized by our naturalists' club.''

''Oh certainly! Isn't it safe though?'' Adam asked preoccupied, ''I mean, it's wilderness, a bit away from the city, would they be accompanied by a reliable guide?''

''No need to be worried, sir. There will be an experienced guide, plus, I myself will be in charge of the junior's group. We'll make sure that Noah's safe back.'' She assured the man, and Adam mused. His little lion cab was indeed a curious explorer madly in love with nature. This trip might cheer his son, and Adam eventually liked the idea.

''Alright then. Can I just take this pamphlet? Just want to notify my ex-husband about the trip, ma'am. I usually enlight Blake about any events concerning Noah, you must understand. If he's ok, I'll send the papers with my boy later.''

''Of course! And that's actually sweet. I'm sorry it's not my business, Mr. Levine. But it's nice to see that you and your husband... pardon me, ex-husband, have such relationship. It's a rare thing to maintain the civil attitude between separated spouses. But you two such a beautiful exception... I'm genuinely sorry you're not together anymore...

''Yeah, me too.'' Adam tried to swallow a lump in his throat smiling politely. ''Well, thank you for your offer, I'm almost positive Blake wouldn't mind to let Noah as well as me. I must go now.''

''Thank you, Mr. Levine. Have a nice day an take care.''

''You too.''

Adam jumped in his car and dialed Blake. After several useless attempts to reach Shelton, Adam put his phone in the pocket sighing. This bumpkin probably muted the damn device. So typically. Levine glanced at his watch, it was too early for his first yoga class. An idea struck him. Why not pay Blake a visit? The brunette suddenly thought. Maybe he would even see Blake's rehearsals if he's lucky. Anyway, he must tell his ex about Noah's trip outside the city. Hiding the excitement behind excuses, Adam started the engine and drove straight to Blake's honky-tonk.

 

 

Blake's day started not so well. Like at all. He was late for work, yelled at by his renter for delaying with his payment and, on top of that, had forgotten his phone. Whenever he was away from his phone, Shelton started panicking in paranoia that his son would call him and he wouldn't be able to answer. He didn't want his little boy thinking he's not important to Blake. Especially, after that Elias's douche words. And what if Adam called? Blake wondered. Although, it was extremely unlikely. Why would Adam call him? Unless, something happened to Noah... no, stop imagining this bullshit, dumbass, The Oakie ordered himself.

Blake was going through some verses of one of his songs during a break with a bar's band when an annoyingly cheerful voice greeted him.

''Blake-y! There you are! Look at you, you look like astonishing on the scene!'' Rene stormed in the main hall, throwing her little brand purse somewhere in the corner. As always, all flashy and irritatingly loud.

''Hello, ma'am. Just trying to recall all these notes. Tomorrow is my first come back performance, kinda.''

''You don't have to worry, boo. Everything will go smoothly, I'm sure.'' She leaked her unnatural lips and invaded his personal space.

''Rene.. what the..''

''You look so hot and studly on this high chair with your guitar, I can't take it anymore,'' without hesitation she grabbed him by the collar and pressed her lips to his, living the man numb from shock.

 

Adam parked a car near the bar in high spirits. With each step to the honky-tonk, his pulse quickened as it always did when he was about to meet his blue-eyed ex.

Near the entrance, he bumped into Carrie and Miley, who apparently just arrived at their shift. He was warmly greeted by the cheeky Cyrus and got a hug from Underwood. He liked both gals and was glad that Blake had at least these two in his life. The girls let him in through the staff entrance, right across the kitchen.

''Let me guess, pal, you're not here to eat the best steak in LA or just for listening to my beautiful voice?'' The teen girl winked at Adam. ''Come on, admit it, here to check on your man?''

Carrie slapped Miley's shoulder and Adam just rolled his eyes.

''Don't bug him, friend,'' Carrie shushed her, and Miley just showed her tongue in response. ''You'll probably find him practicing on the stage, Adam. Big day tomorrow for our cowboy, right?'' Carrie warmly smiled at Levine.

''Indeed.'' He nodded, grinning. ''Thanks, girls, I leave you then. Wanted to discuss some stuff about Noah's school activities''

They cooed and made Levine promise to bring Noah with him in one of these days. Adam assured he will and waved at them rushing to Blake, already excited to see him again. What Adam saw, when he walked in the semi-dark main hall made his stomach sick. It was like a sudden kick in the guts. Completely unexpected and painful. There, on the lighted stage, Blake was kissing with some curly-blond woman dressed like a slut in her jean shorts and fishnet stockings.

Adam knew what it feels like when Blake Shelton breaks your heart. The taste was too familiar. But that doesn't mean it become easier with time. The irrational anger arose in himself. Holding back the burn in his teary eyes, he stormed out of the room, hurrying as far away from here as possible. He trembled, not knowing how to handle all these emotions. Adam hated himself for still loving the dimply bastard who could only toy with his heart. Why his heart was so fucked up and still tried to see some signs of love in Blake's actions? Adam would laugh on how pathetic he must've been still hallucinating the echo of longing in Blake's blue eyes if his soul didn't bleed right now. No. His ex was perfectly fine without him if he's got a hot chick wantoning him like that.

On his way out Adam ran into Miley almost knocking the gal from her feet.

''Auch! Geez, brother, what's got into ya?!''

''Sorry." He muttered an apology, not facing Cyrus and throwing the school booklet in her arms. ''Could you give it to Blake? Just tell him, I signed Noah on a school trip this weekend if he cares. We need to reschedule their time together later.''

''Wait, are you leaving?! Adam, what...''

''Later, Cyrus.''

He stormed out of the bar like he was chased by hellhounds. Miley immediately moved in the main section of the bar just to witness petrified Blake, lips red from Rene's lipstick and her shameless boss herself standing in Blake's personal space with that creepy smug smile of hers. Cyrus cleared her throat, making Blake jump from the woman.

''Sorry to disturb,'' Miley said in that particular tone which told the teen gave zero fucks about interrupting whatever the fuck she was interrupting. She looked at Blake accusingly, immediately understanding what happened to poor Adam. ''Shelton, your husband,'' Miley deliberately threw the 'ex'-part away, ''just dropped by and left this to ya. So, call him, whenever...'' she gave Rene a look ''ya ain't busy.''

''Adam was HERE?! When???" Blake's eyes widened instantly

''He left like a minute ago, said...'' Blake didn't let her finish, pushing Stefani away and running out of the bar, ''..that you need to talk about Noah'' Miley muttered finishing the sentence into the void. The girl turned to Rene who seemed pissed with the waitress unwanted appearance. You bet, Miley thought. She must've screwed this witch's plans to rape Blake right here.''

''What are you staring at? Don't you have work to do, lass?'' Rene exclaimed scowling.

''Yeah, I sure do, ma'am,'' Miley snorted, chewing her bubblegum. The teenager was probably the sole person from the staff who was completely unintimidated by her boss. Well, because Miley was Miley. She turned around bouncing her ponytail and left Rene angry as fuck. That cheered Miley's mood at least a bit.

 

Running out of the bar, Blake looked around. He brushed his hair in dread, searching for his brunette's silhouette desperately. Adam couldn't saw him and Rene, could he? Darn, darn, darny-darn! Blake swore. But maybe Adam didn't see that kiss? The fate couldn't be that cruel?! Then why Levine didn't even say hello?! And why Adam was even paying him a visit in the first place?!! Could something happened??? All these thoughts tortured Blake as hell. His instant urge was to call Adam immediately, but then Shelton remembered that he forgot his phone. DANG, IT! That's probably what made Adam get here, of course! Levine probably couldn't reach him by the phone. You, stupid fucking no-brainer! Blake cursed himself.

Shelton went back to the bar, looking for Miley. He saw the girl speaking in a low tone with Carrie behind the bar counter.

''Hey, kid, what exactly did Adam said when he was here?''

''So what do you care?'' Cyrus checked her nails, ''don't you have a bitch in heat to worry about?'' She, at last, raised her head, glaring at him coldly.

Underwood refused to look at Shelton at all, disappointment clear in her eyes. But Blake didn't have time for explaining whatever they might imagine. He had to clarify things with Adam first.

''Could you just tell me?'' Blake greeted his teeth, not in the mood for this drama. ''Did something happened to him or Noah?'' Miley snorted not amused and pushed the papers Adam left, so it slid across the bar counter's surface towards Blake.

''He brought these and asked to tell you that your son is going to some sort of safari out of the city. Looked like he wanted to rearrange your schedule with Noah or something," Miley added. Blake took the Reserve's advertisement flipping through the pamphlet. At least nothing serious happened, that eased his heart.

''Look, I forgot my phone and need to call him, can I borrow your's just for a minute?''

''Why? What's the point? Not sure he wants to hear you right now, I mean I wouldn't. That stunt with our queen bitch was too much of a sight, you know. '' Miley deadpanned confirming Blake's fears. So, Adam did see them.

''Listen, what happened...''

''Oh, spare us, Blake!'' Carrie suddenly broke the silence sharply. ''How could you? I thought you wanted to make things right with Adam. Clearly, we all were wrong. Sorry, you're our friend, but I'm a second away from kicking you right in the balls! What? In the end, couldn't resist that whore?"

''Would you guys just shut up and listen to me?!''

''Good luck explaining yourself to Adam.'' Miley dropped her napkin fiercely and dragged Carrie out of the room, leaving astonished and frustrated Shelton. What the fuck he was supposed to do now?

 

Adam couldn't remember how he'd got to his house, it was a pure miracle he hadn't earned a speeding ticket or avoided crashing. Eventually, Levine called his administrator and took a sick day. He just couldn't coach spiritual meditation, when his own essence was ripped apart. Being an awkward sloppy mess Adam accidentally broke the vase with the flowers from Elias. Cursing everything, and trying to clean created mess, Adam cut his palm and that when he had enough. Why does everything in his life have to break so easily? Wrapped in one of those hideous sweaters of his Levine didn't even make it to his bedroom. He just grabbed some napkin to wrap his cut and fell on the carpet in the living room, ended up crying like a baby for hours over his stupid heart until his exhausted ringing mind passed out.

He was awoken by a loud knock in the front door. Adam got up, feeling as if his body was beaten thanks to dozing off on the floor. His cut slightly stopped bleeding, but the rug was soiled with dry blood. The brunette glanced at the clock, thanked God he didn't oversleep his time to get Noah from school, but he was ready to kill whoever woke him up in such violent way. Not even bothering to fix his looks, Adam went to the front door just to open to... Blake fucking Shelton.

No. Adam wasn't ready to face this man so soon. He still pictured that sickening kiss and that made him feel like punching Blake so hard. Although, the little rational what's left of Adam's brains kept him from doing so. Blake wasn't his. He never was. Why was Adam bitching now? Hadn't he learned his lesson? It's pointless to suffer over something that doesn't belong to you. Taking a deep breath Adam collected himself.

''What?" The brunette blatantly asked in a harsh tone

''Adam, I.. Were you crying? And what's THIS?! You hurt???''
Blake took his palm, expecting his cut, but Adam shook it off.

''No big deal. Just accidentally broke a vase with flowers.''

''Flowers? From whom?'' Blake narrowed eyes, tightening his jaw. Like he cared. And that pissed Adam.

''From a friend, my uncle, chupacabra, whatever, none of your business!''

''Adam, you're seeing someone?'' Blake asked in a suspicious tone. How dare he?! Adam couldn't believe him.

''So what if I DO?! Guess what?! I'm a FREE man, Shelton, so I do what the fuck I want! Since you successfully moved on, don't you think I too deserve my little piece of shitty happiness?!!

That tirade hurt Blake. The sole thought that Adam wants and can be happy with someone else made him sick in his stomach.

''Adam... I know, you came today, and what you saw... I didn't...''

''What makes you think I still care in whose mouth you put your tongue?'' Adam almost shouted, clenching his fists.

''Then why did you cry?! I know you were! Your face is puffy and eyes are red''

''No shit! Well, I tell you this, Shelton, not everything is about you! I was pissed because of the stupid fucking vase I broke, and it was a gift from mom! Shouldn't have left Elias's bouquet at the high shelf.'' Adam shot back, not filtering his words.

''No fucking way! You're dating THAT bastard after all?!'' Blake accused outraged

''Well damn I AM! In fact, he asked me out tonight!'' Adam hissed back

''Not a chance! You're not actually going...''

''Watch me!'' Adam took the phone out of his jeans and dialed the Norwegian.

''Hello, Elias!'' Yeah, I wanted to ask, how about that Italian restaurant near the fitness club? Seven? Great! No, actually, my mom was going to drop by, so she can stay with Noah tonight. Perfect!'' Adam ended the call glaring at Blake.

''No you didn't! Adam, you're not going out with that jerk!" Blake demanded in that tone that enraged Adam even more.

''Screw you, Blake! I'm so gonna do it! Who are you to order me around?!'' Adam yelled angrily.

''FINE!'' Blake yelled back.

''FINE," Adam repeated dumbly.

The air was literally loaded with testosterone and both suddenly awkwardly froze. Damn, pissed off Adam looked even hotter Blake suddenly thought, blaming his own body that reacted to the challenge in the brunette's eyes.

''Just go back to your girlfriend and leave me be. I'm exhausted and don't have time to argue with you now. Seriously.'' Adam's tone suddenly became begging and that depressed Blake. It was pointless to keep convincing Adam that Rene and he weren't a thing, not when Adam in such a shitty mood. The Oakie just nodded and raised his hands up in the air.

''Okay. I'll go."

With that, Adam shut the front door right in front of Shelton's nose.

But don't think we're done. He ain't gonna get ya, baby. Never till I breathe. The countrymen swore to himself hopping in his pickup truck and leaving Adam's property.

 

***

 

Adam had been on different dates in his life. There were boring, exciting, strange and casual encounters… but he never had been feeling more awkward than that night.

Elias picked him at seven all dressed up like they were going to one of the Queen's garden parties. Adam who'd never dig suits felt a little out of sorts dressing a bit more casual than Jørgensen. Levine suddenly thought of his ex. One of many things he loved about Blake, the Oakie was so self-contained that he could wear his flannel shirts and denim jacket anywhere and still be the center of attention due to his natural charisma. Adam never cared how Blake dressed up, more interested in how to undress his heck of a lover. Then, getting in the businessmen's fancy sport car Adam languorously thought of times when he could comfortably put his legs up in Blake's old pickup and make fun of the country radio, secretly humming to it. Adam shook his head. Dammit. It's SO not the time to compare everything to his life with Blake.

Once in the restaurant though, Adam relaxed a little, trying to make a conversation. He even got interested by his date's individuality. Apart from Jørgensen's boring business stuff, the guy was also involved in some wild animals' rights organization. That impressed Adam and even attracted a bit to the European. Then, right in the middle of their fun chat, Adam spotted them.

It was Blake and some petite ginger-head girl with long wavy hair. Adam almost choked on his salad spotting them on the other side of the restaurant hall. Thank God Elias was sitting with his back to the pair. Adam thought he was dreaming. What was wrong with Shelton crushing his date like that?! The confusion and irritation almost suffocated the brunette. Blake's companion wasn't the same blonde he was kissing at the bar. Interesting, what about that slutty chick? Adam shook his head. Was that matter?

''You're okay?'' Elias patted his hand in concern, almost making Adam jump.

''Um. Sure, sorry. I think the chief overdid with paper in my salad.'' Adam grabbed a glass of water and drank it in one gulp, feeling a pair of the eyes observing him from the distant corner. Perfect! Fucking bastard sat on purpose facing him, eating Adam with an intense look. So the obnoxious idiot planned that. That impossible country prick! Adam knew, his chicks flashed just as he glanced at Shelton once again, and while Elias cluelessly thought it's Levine's reaction on his tender caresses, it actually was Blake's smug dimply smirk that made Adam's blood boil.

Shelton too took the girl's hand in his, leaning closer to her and whispering something, not losing his eye contact with Adam though. That outraged the brunette beyond all possible reasons. Who this stupid motherfucker thought he was playing with?!

Adam tried to focus on Elias's words but all he could do watching the pair in the corner who apparently was having a good time, chatting and laughing on something.

On the third course, Adam had enough. Blake leaned extremely close to the girl and played with her flame lock of hair.

Adam who drank wine at the moment opened his mouth out of the resentment and spilled all the liquid on himself.

''Shoot!'' Grabbing a napkin in order to save his shirt he also knocked the cutlery from the table and feeling like a total moron, excused his clumsy self to the bathroom.

''I am so sorry, Elias. I'm not feeling well tonight.'' He apologized to his date and escaped to the restroom like a fucking coward.

 

Adam stormed into the bathroom, unbuttoning his shirt staying in his white tank top.

''Fucking hell!'' He threw his soiled piece of clothes in front of him. He looked in the mirror, bending over the sink surface. The next moment there came a click of the door. Blake walked in the toilet just a second after him. What a bastard. Then, Shelton closed the door locking it for good. Adam's heart dropped at that noise and somehow it knew, even before Adam's brains what would happen next. But despite that, infuriated Adam still refused to look at his ex.

''You're a fucking asshole Shelton,'' that's all Adam could say before Blake approached him.

Then the madness started.

The Oakie moved so quickly, catching Adam's body in his strong arms that Levine didn't even have time to comprehend what was happening. He scooped Levine in the tightest embrace from behind and then turned Adam like a rag doll pressing his lips to Adam's. And honestly, Adam was so tired and angry and confused with all the complicated shit going through his mind and heart that he couldn't fight it anymore. The physical attraction between them always been so strong that it was impossible to resist. Once Blake caught Adam's soft mouth with his, Adam waved to his sanity goodbyes giving up to the cowboy's mercy. The Oakie's familiar scent turned Adam on in one click, making him forget about the world outside this door. They tortured each other's tongues for some time, pouring all the frustration and sexual tension out, until Blake grabbed Adam's butt, making him squill. Levine moaned offering his neck for the taller man's greedy lips.

''Who...'' Adam gasped between kisses, ''who's that gingerhead?'' The brunette questioned in demand and moaned once again making Blake painfully hard right away.

''No one. Just a buddy from the bar's band. Ain't matter. It's only you who matter, baby, only you.'' He caught Adam's mouth for another filthy deep kiss, lifting Levine in the air and positioning him on the sink surface.

Adam felt insane flame overwhelming his body by being manhandled like he was wanted like he was actually mattered. The brunette was so lonely for such a long period of time that he was about to embarrass himself in front of Blake cause he was ready to come any moment. It became even worse, once Blake started massaging Adam's already hard cock through the tight dark pants Levine was wearing tonight.

Blake pulled away, not taking away his skilfull hand, looking at how Adam narrowed his hazel eyes under his bushy eyebrows, completely losing it to Shelton's touches that drove him crazy. Not wasting any more time, Blake unbuttoned his jeans, turning Adam backward, making the brunette facing the mirror in front of him. Adam being a needy little shit turned his head and captured Blake's lips once again, making the taller man lean closer, holding him by the neck and rubbing his ass against Blake's groin. Shelton unleashed the younger man's pants just enough to prepare his sweet hole for his big cock that was currently in pain from the need to be inside this pretty creature. He soothed the discomfort from the fingers with his kisses, noting that Adam wasn't just tight, but fucking narrow. How long has it been since his ex-husband had been fucked? Was it possible that no one touched him since they broke up? The thought of Adam having sex with another made Blake's blood boil but he didn't stop with preparation. He needed to fill Adam and mark him as soon as possible, but he wouldn't hurt him ever. He hesitated a moment though. Blake was aware that he himself hadn't had anyone, but would Adam be angry later if Blake had him without a condom?

''Baby, I'm going to push in now, and I don't have condoms. But I swear it's been only you. No one, but you, little sweetheart.'' Somehow that convinced Adam. Levine knew, if anything, Blake wouldn't ever risk his son's another father's health.

''Just put it in already!'' Adam hissed

Electricity ran through Adam's blood as he felt Blake in him, thick and hard pushing all his buttons in the right way, making his soul shoot for the stars.

The walls of Adam's warm contracting entry burned at every sensation, with each push of his significant length taking Blake in a whirlwind of ecstasy, straight to Heaven.

''Baby, you are so damn tight. Fuck Adam, you feel incredible.'' Blake bent him even closer to the marble surface, quickening his temp, making Adam shudder in pleasure like a complete mess.

''Hadn't anyone since you were gone.'' Adam gasped desperately seeking for some air. ''Fuck. Harder. Come on!'' Levine pressed back allowing himself being invaded, parting his wet lips desperately looking for air.

Those words went right through Blake's heart making it sing with joy and his unhealthy possessiveness. Adam's sweet confession made him the happiest bastard on the planet right now. He rushed to assure his lover that Adam was too the only one for him.

In the mirror on the wall, Blake watched as his ex-husband's eyes were rolling at each brush on his prostate and that made Blake go absolutely crazy from the mad feeling of having Adam like that. They danced for some time like a pair of wild animals having the most insane hot sex in the restaurant's restroom. At some point Blake pushed particularly hard, making Adam's body shudder from head to toes in the most mindblowing orgasm he had in a long time. The hot pulsation of Adam's inner muscles did the thing and Blake lost it, pressing Adam so tight to his chest, finally filling himself like a whole as he continued to chase his pleasure pushing in the loose delicious hole.

They both stayed immovable for some time. It seemed like all the coherent thoughts were banished from Adam's head under the waves of the afterglow. But once Levine collected himself and could realize what they'd done, he got out from Blake's embrace. How it could be more messed up? He came to spend a romantic evening with a nice person and ended up making love to his ex-husband in the public place like. Who does that?! He's so fucked up that he must be struck by lightning right now. Adam sucked so much that he couldn't even look up at his own reflection right now. The brunette was so frustrated with his reckless actions.

Levine turned from Blake, and buttoned his pants, fixing himself. Blake was doing the same when the knock came on the door.

''Adam, you ok?'' Elias's concerned voice came from the other side of the door.

''Yeah, I'm... sorry. Just sick. I'll be back soon, but please, could you call me a taxi?''

''Of course, but can you explain, what happened?''

''Guess it's a food poisoning.'' Adam felt disgusted with himself, lying like that. He's so screwed up.

''Oh. Can I give you ride then?''

Blake glared at the door, wishing he could strangle Adam's assertive date.

''Elias, please, the taxi.''

''Alright then.'' There was a sigh behind the door, the distant footsteps and then the silence again. Blake made an attempt to reach Adam, trying to take the younger man by the hand, but Adam moved it away making Blake's heart drop.

''Adam...''

''Just. Don't.'' Adam whispered avoiding the question in the blue eyes.

''But sweetheart..''

''It's not right. I... I don't know what to think. I'm confused. We both came with dates here and now... I'm sorry. Give me time, Blake. I need to really think about what happened.'' Okay, to be honest, the hot lovemaking with his ex-husband was the last thing Adam wanted to think of right now, cause there was a danger of losing himself once again to this fucking madness. But sooner or later he needed to manage the mess he got himself into, so there was no easy way out.

Blake felt bitterness in his throat from Adam's words, but he could get it. His petite lover was still frightened like hell to get together with him, but Blake would give him as much time as Adam needed. If only it guaranteed the happy outcome for him... And nevertheless, Blake decided to accept Adam's wish.

''I get it. Darling. Hey, look at me.'' Blake made a step towards his ex, taking him by the cheek. Take whatever time you need. I'll be there, okay, baby? Shhh, I'll be there.

Shivering, Adam couldn't take it any longer. He closed his eyes letting the lone tear slide on his pale skin and nodded at Blake. He took his dirty shirt and walked towards the door. Looking back one more time, he left, leaving Blake dealing with his aching heart.

Chapter Text

This Saturday night at the bar was extremely overcrowded. Country fans were curious to see the comeback guy from Nashville with a redemption story. But Blake hadn't felt even a quarter of the excitement from this night as he had expected. Strange. This first step back to his old self was supposed to give him that forgotten heat of the moment. But only after losing the most important part of his life that actually ever mattered, he understood. Blake just didn't care anymore about anything if he ain't got Adam. They say everything is about the degree. He thought he had hard times when he lived with Adam and was missing his music. Now Blake could see what a blind bastard he was, a selfish prick that took the love of the most outstanding man in the world for granted. The life without his husband turned into the living hell. The food lost its taste, the weather its colors and his artistry was just a howl thing through which he could only transcend his pain now.

 

Yesterday's accident in the restaurant torment Shelton setting a slow agony inside his mind. It was cruel to have Adam just for such a short moment, but the Oakie understood why he needed to retreat. Adam was so damn scared and he had his reasons to be. Blake messed up too many times. Not many people could forgive what he'd done to Adam, let alone forget. So Blake kept convince himself to grab his balls and make what it takes to wait for Adam. Until then all he could do is to keep trying to be the better version of his old self, if not for himself, for Adam and their son for sure.

 

The only thing that made Blake came up to the stage today is the video chat he had with his son earlier that morning. Noah was on the road outside the city and, and was super thrilled to call his father. The boy was disappointed that he'd miss his papa's concert, but Blake assured the kid that his gig at the club would start after midnight, a bit too late for Noah to be awake anyway. His son wished Blake the best of luck and said that he loved him, and that was more than enough to raise Blake's spirits.

 

The bar band played the third composition when the Oakies eyes caught the familiar silhouette in the crowd. At first, Blake thought his delirious brains confuse wishful thinking with reality, but even after Shelton closed his eyes and opened them again, the little figure in the leather jacket and motorcycle boots still stood there, leaning against the wooden wall in the semi-dark corner. Adam was standing too far away from the stage for Blake to read his facial expression, but Shelton could swear, he noticed a quick smirk under that cap that covered messy dark hair. Ironically, that same moment Blake was playing the song he wrote just recently for his beloved brunette. Adam hadn't heard it yet, and Blake couldn't think of a more suitable chance to sing it to his ex. He cleared his thought and started the lyrics...

I've been a walking heartache

I've made a mess of me

The person that I've been lately

Ain't who I wanna be

But you stay here right beside me

Watch as the storm goes through

And I need you

Blake disappeared in the music. For the first time, in a really long time, he sang with such devotion pouring his heart to his destined one. It was indescribable. The man didn't even notice that the entire tune he kept his eyes closed, perhaps, too scared to look up for Adam's reaction. Once the final chords were made, Blake took a deep breathe and opened his eyes only to discover that the spot where Adam stood was empty. The country singer jumped from the chair he sat not paying attention to the insane ovations and whistles. He tried to pick from the audience the one person he was interested in right now. Blake has already convinced himself that he imagined Adam's presence when he, at last, spotted the figure in dark leather moving through the crowd towards the exit.

 

The rest of the concert was a simple blur for Blake cause he couldn't help being distracted with one thought on his mind. Adam was here. He came. There's hope, and Blake is damned if he won't act.

***

Adam was sleeping when his phone buzzed notifying him with a new message. Then it buzzed again and again. And again. Adam took his device cursing. What he detected with his only one eyelid opened was a round of messages from Shelton, damn him. They all were with the same context, like, 'Are you sleeping?' or 'Please, wake up.'

And, oh dear Lord, their son did a mistake showing Blake what emojis are.

Adam groaned loudly in his pillow. At least he wasn't afraid to wake his son with the foul language as Noah was far away in the school camping trip.

 

'Well. Let me think DUMBASS,' Adam typed back, still with only one eye opened 'I guess NOT since you are attacking me with your SMS's.

 

'Yay, finally! Where are you now?'

 

'Like what do you mean? In my bed. Trying to sleep while some bumpkin annoys me as fuck.'

 

'Look out the window on the backyard. From Noah's room side.'

 

'The hell?'

 

'Just do it'

 

Adam picked up his dead self-body not fully ready for what Blake had in his halfwit mind. He walked to his son's room bear chest, only in his silly comfy pajama pants. Yawning, Adam pulled up the window, feeling like a blow of fresh air casts away the sleepness and... then he saw Blake. His crazy Sasquatch of a husband stood right in front of his window with a guitar, lighted by their garden lamps. Oh boy. Adam was awakened by that sight in no time.

 

"What... What's all this?!'' Adam hissed thanking Blake's brains at least for not putting a show from the front yard, where all the neighbors could spot him.

 

''Just listen to this one, okay?" Blake begged

 

And all Adam could do in response to numbly nod.

 

Blake smiled at Adam so warmly, that the brunette's pulse quickened right on the spot.

 

Countryman's fingers brushed the first chords and Adam got lost in this improvised serenade, mesmerized with this familiar melody. Of course, Adam remembered this one. Blake wrote that song for him and sang it on their first date at the cheap pizzeria. The mere recollection immediately made his heart beat in the maddening rhythm bleeding with love and longing.

If I could

I would dare

Feed your dreams

And starve your fears

If I could

Light the world

We could sit

And watch it burn

We could fall asleep inside the glow

So tell me what I gotta do to win you over

You'll never have to wonder if you need another

You'll never have to wonder if I understand

And every time you reach for me you'll find a handout, oh...

Never in his entire life, Adam Levine would've thought that one day he'd know what felt the young daughter of Capulet when her beloved Romeo stood right in front of her balcony. The brunette grinned like a loon on that thought. How he could resist that stupid fucking dimwit serenading him the most romantic song in the Universe in the fuck o'clock?! Adam felt the weakness in his knees hearing Blake's deep voice and the genuine emotion of each sweet confession through the melody.

Adam leaned on the windowsill resting his chin on his fists not care anymore that he resembled some whining vanilla girl. As long as he had his prince in cowboy boots from the dusty South eying his half-naked tattooed body like this, Adam could enjoy his fairytale.

If I could

I would dare

Feed your dreams

And starve your fears...

Blake almost whispered the last words not able to broke the eye contact with those hazel teary eyes.

Once he finished the song he put away his guitar leaving it behind the bushes. But what came next completely took Adam's breathe away. Shelton fished the sole red rose out of nowhere and headed straight to the house's side, with a clear determination on his face.

That dimply faced bastard in his stupid denim jacked took the rose in his mouth and started to breach the house by climbing the wooden joists of the house construction. Clearly, their hedgerow wouldn't bear Blake's tall figure, so Adam was fortunate his crazy Romeo had chosen a bit safer way. Blake never tore his baby blues from Adam's mesmerizing eyes, locking their hearts and souls together. Levine silently took a step back making a room so Blake could hoop through the window. Once inside, Blake fell on his knees gallantly giving Adam the rose like a southern knight and making the rocker blush like an innocent virgin. Adam took the flower inhaling the magical aroma of this fairy night. He brushed Blake's scruffy cheek and took the older man by the hand making Shelton stand up. Blake was bewitched with the snow-white skin of Adam's beautiful face glowing like a pearl in the moonlight.

 

''I saw you there. You were at the bar, weren't ya, little flower? Did ya like the performance?''

 

''Well, I heard some country mafia doom show transited through LA. Couldn't miss it. Wanted to see what their freak frontrunner looked like. Must admit, he was hot'' Adam teased in a quiet whisper.

 

Blake sneered.

 

''Watch it, baby. Ya know how jealous I am. Although, I bet the bastard couldn't beat the serenade I sang to you just now, my little faux-hican,'' Blake teased back, outlining Adam's bangs.

 

Well, maybe... Just maybe. But seriously, that gig at the bar was awesome. I recorded some cool stuff for Noah. He'd be thrilled to know what an awesome country star his papa turns into by night.'' Adam added softly, making Blake grin warmly.

 

Not able to resists those sinful lips anymore, Blake bent down and kissed Adam like there was no tomorrow. Adam enveloped his arms around Blake's shoulders affectionately, still having the rose in one hand and tenderly massaging the taller's man scruff on the neck with the other free one. That caused Blake sweetest shivers all over his body.

 

Little by little the kiss got more profound and dirty. Blakes' palm outlined Adam's naked well-muscled spine getting closer to the ribbon of his loose cotton pants. Suddenly, it became dangerously hot in here, so both men moved to the bedroom, piece by piece losing their clothes.

 

Blake practically carried the clingy brunette to an enormous bed, leaving him there as a delightful pray. Adam laid in an inviting pose, biting his lips and was it Blake or his smoking hot lover was looking even more handsome than ever eyeing him through his narrowed provoking eyes?

 

Blake quickly threw out his shirt and jeans, covering Adam with his strong figure observing the sex god in front of him with a predatory look. But once Blake's guards were down, he quickly was defeated by the brunette's little body. The cheeky bastard. Adam climbed on top of his hips straddling the cowboy and rocking his hips in a slow maddening pace that was killing Blake.

 

''Oh, the city boy wants some rodeo?''

 

''This city boy is so gonna rock your world, cowboy, you just watch it.''

 

''Oh, I bet you will, sweetheart. But this night I got something special for ya.'' Blake regained his position on top and started to drive Adam nuts by savoring every inch of his tattooed body with wet kisses. He got lower, tracing the shivering skin.

 

''Oh... my...'' Adam gasped in a husky voice when Blake pulled down Levine's boxers with his teeth, releasing his hard twitching flesh.

 

''Be patient darling.'' Adam's smartass complains died in a loud moan when the wet heat of Blake's mouth surrounded his dick.

 

''Fuuuuck'' Adam cried encouraging Blake to go further. The Oakie tried to think of those expert moves with which Adam always made it so good for him in the past, so he hoped he wasn't sucked at this as well, pan intended. Adam tried to pull him away, but Blake only pressed his fingertips on Adam's creamy hips harder, pinning the younger man so he couldn't escape from this sweet torture. At last Adam came, grabbing the sheets in his fists and screaming Blake's name drifting on the waves of pure satisfaction.

Blake took the opportunity while Adam was returning his consciousness, and reached for the nightstand where Adam always kept the lube. Joining back to the world of the living, Adam pulled Blake back dragging the man in the filthiest kiss. It was a perfect distraction while Blake's thick fingers started to press on Adam's entrance. The lube eased the sensation, so he kept going. After some time Blake released his lover's puffy wet lips and glanced one more time in the gleaming hazel eyes lit by the moonlight.

Finding the silent approval, Blake set his partner's body in a more comfortable position, spreading his legs and slammed in, making them both moan in ecstatic pleasure. Adam's inner muscles were like the softest butter hugging Blake like home. The throbbing sound of their intimate dance and his beloved's panting like that was too much of a ravishing sight for Shelton. Blake was amazed at how he hadn't ended up blind from the sight of his lover leaking his wet lips from each hard brush on his prostate.

 

''Like that? You like that, sugar?''

 

''Yes. Please. More.'' At this point, Adam lost all his coherent thoughts, just able to feel the pure want between his gasps.

 

Blake connected their temples brushing their noses and entwining their fingers behind brunettes head. Adam's hips were responding to each thrust, humping back at the same pace. Eventually, he ended up bounding his legs behind Blake's waist, making him go in a frantic rhythm.

 

Adam lost counts of how many times he came that night, but this time it was more than just about the hot physical satisfaction for both of them. It was a fairy tale that reunited two drifted broken souls that finally remembered what it's like to be home again. Falling asleep, the both of them prayed that this beautiful dream would never end up.

***

Adam was awakened by the playful ray of sunshine flinching and trying to hide his nose in someone's warm crook radiating with a familiar masculine scent. On that thought, he opened his eyes wide.

Blake was steadily snoring just two inches from his face. Adam couldn't help beaming with insane happiness in his chest. For a couple of minutes, Adam was afraid to move. Was it that reckless to set his foot in the same river twice? How long this time they remain? All those obscure thoughts have been eating him since that time in the restaurant's bathroom, but at this point, Adam tired of being sorry. The one thing he knew for sure, their love was worth another shot. Blake worth everything. Call Adam helpless stupid fuck, but he just couldn't give up on Blake. He never could. Pushing all the negative thoughts away, Adam scratched. After all the shit he went through he deserved to be happy, even if just for one more moment.

He grinned like a lazy cat and pecked the Oakies nose tracing all his face with soft kisses. Blake who's been already awake for some time tricked him and captured Adam's mouth deepening the kiss and positioning the lean body on top of him.

 

''Morning, beautiful'' Blake gasped in a hoarse voice

 

''Hey there'' Adam blushed drawing circles on Shelton's chests and feeling the hardness pocking his still loose entrance from the night

 

''I recall someone wanted to play in riders with me, well, what a great chance?''

 

''Alright, cowboy, you had it coming'' Adam who was shamelessly rubbing his ass against Blake's groin by the moment, positioned himself right on the leaking dick with wonderful ease, making Blake stifle with desire. They ended up making love in the slow maddening pace this time while Adam was giving it to Blake like the filthiest rider ever.

 

Their morning started even better than the night ended. The next time they got up, Adam abruptly awoke Blake in a less tender way. He was muttering and dressing up, hectically bouncing around the bedroom. Blake almost got dizzy from the brunette's speedy moves.

 

''What's the rush?'' Blake yawned, observing his attractive lover

 

''It's Sunday!"

 

''So?''

 

''Noah is coming back, dumbass!''

 

''Oh.''

 

''Blake, don't get me wrong.'' Adam sat on the bed near his ex-husband, who just became his secret lover, isn't it crazy?. ''You see, I don't want Noah to see us together, like together, cause I don't want to hurt our kid.''

 

''What are you talking, sweetheart? He will be thrilled knowing we are back together!'' He caressed Adam's cheek, ''we are together, aren't we?'' Blake added unsurely

 

''Yes! It's just... let's take it slowly this time, ok? I don't want his hopes back just to disappoint him later. If something happens to us, I don't think Noah will be ready to take it the second time, you know what I'm saying? It's just for some time okay, babe?''

 

''No, I see what you mean. And you're right, darling.'' Blake sighed.

 

After a moment of silence, the Oakie went back to his optimistic mood though.

 

''You know. This secretness actually spices all things up, ain't it? Admit it, you just loved how I climbed through the window last night!'' Blake wiggled with his brows, and Adam rolled his eyes, spanking the Oakie's laughing ass.

 

''You're an idiot! Get your lazy butt up right now! We're going to school to get our boy back from his safari. The bus must arrive by noon.''

 

''Oh shoot!'' Blake suddenly frowned

 

''What?''

 

''Noah's present! I got him a birthday present and I forgot it at the bar yesterday.''

 

''Okay, no worries, Sasquatch. We drive to your bar, get the pack and then go after our baby, ok? And remember! Keep it PG in front of the child! I'm serious!''

Blake just laughed, squeezing the brunette's ass, making Adam glare at him and escape to the bathroom. Blake fell back on the bed just to lay there for a couple of minutes and thank the Universe for bringing him back home and returning him the reason to live again.

***

''He got laid!'' Was the first comment Miley shoot at him when Shelton entered the bar, while Adam waited for him in the car outside.

 

''I bet he did!'' Carrie snorted in agreement

 

''What, are you two had stopped being mad at me?'' Blake smiled back, ''and apart from that, when y'all became psychics?''

 

''Ah, Blake-y, it's just impossible to be angry with you more than for a day. Plus, I'm glad you finally came to your senses and patched things up with your man!''

''Oh yeah? And how you figured that out kiddo?''

''See, if you'd banged the bitch mummy that runs this place, I bet you wouldn't have had this smugly happy expression on your dimply face, old man. Hence, the only option that could do a miracle erasing that kicked puppy expression you wore for days is Adam. Hence, we're happy you finally back together. Which is actually sickening as hell'' Miley grimaced

 

''Oh, come on, she just saw you and Adam making out in the car through the window'' Underwood explained.

 

''Now it makes sense'' Blake laughed.

 

Miley wanted to make a smartass remark, but their attention was dragged by the loud announcement from the TV on the bar wall.

'We interrupt our regularly scheduled programme with breaking news. The tragedy happened at 11:25 am when at the eastern entrance to the city a highway bridge collapsed sending cars plunging at least 150 feet to the ground. What we know so far is that about 10 vehicles, two trucks, and a school bus were involved in the accident, all trapped under the collapsed construction. Meanwhile, the city authorities suspect that a structural weakness initially caused such a disastrous collapse due to the irresponsible technical maintenance. 18 people are confirmed dead by the Interior Minister, however, the number of injured people trapped under the pillars of rubble is still unknown. The priority for the rescues is to go through all the concrete and steel, but the created traffic jam and chaos made it difficult for the rescue team. For now...'

Blake couldn't understand the following words as all the blood drained from his body. Miley gasped in shock and Carrie put hands over her mouth in disbelief. Blake still refused to accept what was the reporter announcing when Adam's cheerful voice came from behind.

 

''Took you a fucking while, Shelton! I got so bored, you know that I can't sit on my ass straight more than for two minutes! Hi ladies! Why you all are so...''

 

Adam followed their gazes. Once he heard the news reporter, his body shattered. Blake reacted fast catching Adam, whose face became grey just as he listened to the shocking announcement. The following reporter's words made it even worse.

'We've just been informed that the school bus packed with children and trapped under the tonnes of concrete wreckage was on his way from the Glendora's Reserve as the school that owns the vehicle confirmed that the bus hadn't come back at the main parking lot as scheduled...'

''No.'' The brunette gasped not accepting the dreadful reality, clenching Shelton's jacket, ''no. no. no. no... that can't be... Blake, tell me it's not our boy! It's NOT MY SON OVER THERE! TELL ME!!!

 

''Shhhh, we don't know anything yet'' Blake who was as well close to having a stroke tried to somehow soothe Adam, cause the brunette seemed to lose his mind right now.

 

''Dear Lord...'' Carrie gasped, tears in her eyes.

 

Adam pulled Blake away and stormed out from the bar like madman followed by Shelton. They both jumped in Blake's pickup for the longest ride in their lives.

***

The road to the disaster's epicenter seemed like eternal torture.
The traffic jam drove them both insane. Once they reached the destroyed highway Adam jumped out of the car not even bothering that Blake hadn't yet stopped the engine.

When Adam saw the actual extent of the disaster in full size, he screamed like Blake never heard him before. It sent chills down the Oakie's spine. The mad brunette in tears and panic ran to the emergency squad's coordinator shouting and yelling in an attempt to find out something about his son.

 

''Sir please, calm down. Our team does the best they could. We still try to figure the damage's expansion, cause apparently there's a sub-surface system under this area, and that's what is complicating the rescue operation.'' The large middle-aged specialist tried to reassure him. ''Any inaccurate move and everything can be buried even deeper under the ground.''

 

''Calm down?! How can you ask me to do so when my little baby boy is out there under the fucking collapsed platform?!!!'' Adam finally broke down in hysteria, when Blake ran up to him hugging his trembling figure from behind. When Shelton noticed the rescuer commander though, his eyes widened in recognition.

 

''Mitchell?''

 

''Blake Shelton? Richard's boy? Damn, it's been years.'' The old man stared at the Oakie in disbelief.

 

''Yeah. We've gone a long way. Mitchell Warren was stationed in the same unit as my dad, Blake explained to the confused Adam. ''Mitch, it's my husband, Adam Levine, our kid was in the school bus that stuck under that collapse.''

 

''I'm sorry to hear that, lad. And I understand your panic, Mr. Levine. But right now we must be tough and trust our specially trained groups to do their jobs.

 

''Hey, Mitch, I heard ya mentioned that there's an underground tunnel system under the epicenter?'' Blake questioned the coordinator, and Warren nodded ''I assume you'll send some of your squad from the shaft side, is there any chance that I can...

 

''No, Blake.'' The old man interrupted him, perfectly aware where this all going to. ''That's excluded, boy. I'm well aware that you got some training in the past and your dad even tried to sign you for fire academy, but it's not the time for improvisation!''

 

Adam knew that once Blake had been faced to choose between two drastically different careers. His ex-husband was a very skillful man and Adam could always rely on him whenever they were on a trip in the wilds or in other extreme situations. And Levine like no other understood Blake at this moment. Hell, Adam himself wasn't specially trained but still was ready to risk himself, shoveling the steel with his bare hands just in order to bring back his son safe and unharmed as soon as possible.

 

''Look. Mitchell. It's our little boy we talk about. I promise, I won't cause any problems, I'll listen to the orders and won't make a breath without your command. Man, you must understand, I can't just sit and not do crap while our child is out there trapped and scared!

 

''Damn you, lad!'' Warren pinched his nose bridge quickly calculating. After the moments of thinking he spatted'' So be it. You'll get the necessary equipment in the track, and will listen to EVERY damn word I say, Shelton! Ya won't make a step without my command, moving right behind me, or I swear, I'll order to move your ass back here and tie you. And after this ends, I'll personally kick your butt, got it?

 

''If Blake goes, I go too'' Adam stated

 

''NO,'' Blake cut. He turned to the brunette, leaning closer. ''Adam, I need you to stay here and wait for us, baby.'' Adam stubbornly shook head absolutely not okay with this perspective, but Blake was intransigent on this one. He took Levine's chin, looking in the hazel eyes with a promise. ''I swear, I'll do everything I can to bring back our son. Just wait here in case the squad from here rescue the kids from the bus sooner than we do. Noah will need you by his side once he's out, okay love?''

 

Adam nodded, unable to hold his tears again. He briefly hugged Blake almost suffocating him.

 

''Just promise me, you'll be back safe as well okay? I swear to God, Shelton, if something happens to you I'll resurrect your stupid country ass to personally strangle you, okay?'' Adam couldn't help bubbling like a maniac, but he was afraid enough for their son, and now the man he loved with all his heart was voluntarily going under the fragile unstable construction that could fall down any moment.

 

''I promise you that, my little faux-hican.'' Blake rubbed their noses and Adam kissed him with all the love he had to the taller man. Mitchell Warren meanwhile pretended that he checked the tunnel's blueprints, thoughtfully giving them some time to say goodbyes.

 

After a minute though the old man cleared his throat

 

''Okay, lad. If we go, we must go now. We won't tempt the fate and put some struts from the tunnel for additional safety.

 

''Let's do this then.'' Blake agreed and turned to Adam once again. ''Be strong. Think about how we all get out of this crap and will throw the best birthday party for our little man, okay?''

 

''I will." Adam closed his eyes nodding. ''I love you, Blake. I've always loved you.'' He whispered quietly.

 

Despite the circumstances, Blake sincerely smiled at his beloved

 

''I love you too, baby.''

 

With that, he was gone after Mitchell ordered to paramedics have Adam examined, so they could give the guy some sedative treatment.

Chapter Text

Blake and Mitchel's group were moving through the tunnel quite fast.

The entire path was divided into small sections, where at each point, Warren left two guys from his team to install safety struts. After another interval, they finally saw the spot where the tunnel had been cut by the wreckage from the collapse and they've heard the first distant voices calling for help. Warren immediately commanded

''Okay, Johnson, Botengue, you put another steel support frames here. Shelton, Yankovsky, follow me. They hurried to the block made of concrete and iron spikes. The heavily built man named Yankovsky switched a circular saw on while Blake and Warren shoveled the chunks coughing from the dirt and dust.

''Heeeelp'' They've heard a chorus of children's' voices. One particularly high familiar voice made Blake's heart jump.

''NOAH! Son, can you hear me?!''

''Papa? Papa! I'm here!''

''Okay, we found the bus! There are children, still alive!'' Warren reported to his radio communicator. ''I need any reinforcement, E.M.T.S, and a first aid kit at the tunnel entry, do you copy?''

Blake started to throw away all the rubbles from his way with greater zeal like it were feathers to him. His little boy was alive and that what motivated him to keep working harder. Ultimately, they'd cleared enough space to finally get through. The smashed bus was pinned upside-down under the biggest concrete platform.

Blake froze for a second when he saw the driver's bloodied body thrown through the broken windshield. Warren reached the body, but there was no pulse. To reach the kids were a bit more difficult, as the inner cabin was deformed, and both sides of the bus, as well as its top, was blocked by the unmovable chunks. The only path left was through the windshield, so the rescuers started to pull the driver's dead body. It was an arduous task though, as the body was stuck cause his belt was jammed. After minutes of sweat and curses, they dragged the driver, destroyed the left pieces of the broken window, so the children wouldn't cut themselves and started to pull out the scared trapped kids. One by one, almost all of the juniors were out, Yankovsky and Warren carried two unconscious students on their arms, but thankfully there were no seriously injured. However, Blake still didn't see his son among the rescued

''Noah, can you hear me, boy?'' Blake crawled inside the deformed vehicle, illuminating his path with a flashlight. Eventually, he saw his kid, along with a crying eastern girl with dark-coal curly hair and a motionless female adult figure at the very end of the bus. He thanked all the Gods in the Universe that his boy was still breathing and held himself relatively well. All the tension from not knowing if your child is still alive at last left the Oakie's body, leaving only the determination to get Noah out as soon as possible.

''Dad! Over here! We can't move! The seat in front pinned us!'' His son shouted

''Okay, champ, just hang on! Talk to me as I'm getting to y'all. Are you hurt? Can you feel your legs and arms? Is there any pain in your stomach or head?''

''No, nothing of that, papa! I can feel everything, I just can't move it cause this thing is pressing us!''

Blake exhaled one more breath. At least, Noah wasn't critically hurt. He turned his head shouting to Warren

''Mitch, my son is stuck on the back of the bus, there are another kid and an unconscious woman. I'll get them! Get other children out of here and hurry the paramedics!''

''No, I can't leave you! Crawl your ass back, I'll release them myself!''

''No time to switch places! We don't know how long the tunnel will hold! GO, dang it!''

''Damn you, Shelton!'' Warren spat and settled the injured child in his arms more comfortable, nodding to Yankovsky to move to the exit. ''Hang on there lad, and be careful'' Mitchell yelled to Shelton ''I called the backup, the aid is on their way here!''

''Copy!'' Blake answered and started to move forward. He approached Noah in a very short time despite the obstacles on his way.

''Hey there little buddy. You sure nothing hurts? Your head is not spinning?'' Blake asked concerned, checking the crumpled seat that was pressing the kids.

''Positive, dad. I'm okay, just hurt my elbow, that's it.'' The boy promised.

''What about you, young lady? Are you in pain?'' He greeted the child next to Noah

''N-n-no, sir,'' the tiny girl in squashed glasses hiccuped, ''I'm just s-scared!''

''Shhh, don't be,'' Noah took the girl's hand like a true gentleman. ''It's gonna be ok, my dad will get us out, I promise. Blake warmly smiled at them.

''My mummy isn't answering, why she isn't answering?'' The girl turned her head to the unconscious woman who sat next to them.

''Is it your mommy?'' Blake checked the woman's pulse, feeling the instant relief. It was strong and steady. But her temple was bleeding. The girl's mother probably passed out hitting her head.

''It's Mrs. Adil, our counselor, and Nijah's mom,'' Noah explained

''It's okay, darlings. Nijah, I promise, your mommy is gonna be fine.'' Blake assured the girl. ''Now, let's get you two out of here.'' With that Blake pulled the seat with all his strength, groaning and tensing every muscle in his body. It wasn't working. The damned thing stayed steady as a rock. He pulled again and again, earning scabs on his palms, but he didn't care. Every minute counted and he couldn't stop trying. After several useless attempts to pull the seat with his hands, he changed his position.

''Okay, little ones, lean a bit sideways.'' Blake sat shoulder to shoulder with his son, leaning his back against the bus's back wall and pushing his legs up against the stubborn front seat. It was a bit difficult due to his hight, but the countrymen managed to regroup. Blake took a deep breath and pushed with all his might and will, clenching his teeth and sweating like pig.

''Come oooooooonnnnn'' Shelton grunted. With an impossible effort, the damned seat FINALLY was moved off freeing the kids. Blake scooped them in his arms, so they wouldn't fell, cause the children's legs were numb from sitting in one position for hours. He carefully dragged them out of the bus, placing Noah and Nijah on the ground and checking on them once again.

''Thank God, y'all okay!'' Blake hugged them quickly, kissing his son's head affectionately. But it wasn't time to relax. Not yet. Just in time, the paramedics entered through the tunnel's hole, running up to the children.

''There's a woman still in the bus,'' Blake reported. ''You get the kids out of here and I'll follow after I'll get her out of the vehicle,'' The Oakie commanded to the medics. They nodded, but Noah clung to his father.

''Dad, I'm staying with you.'' So much like Adam, Blake thought with a sinking heart.

''Noah, you need to watch over your friend,'' the man glanced at the girl ''I'll get her mommy and we all meet outside, I promise. Your daddy is waiting for you up there, don't make him wait any longer, bud.''

''Daddy's here?!'' Noah brightened, but then hurriedly hugged Blake.

''Promise, you'll follow right after us, okay?''

''I promise sweetheart.''

With that he let his son go with medics and climbed back into the bus.''

To drag an unconscious adult was a bit more challenging, but not impossible for such a strong man like Blake. He got the counselor out of the vehicle without difficulties, just cutting his forearm on a windshield.

But as soon as he reached the tunnel, the ground started to shudder. The last-second Blake noticed a massive rock was about to fell from the fragile construction above them and all he had the chance to do is to cover Mrs. Adil with his own body. The rock fell right on Shelton's shoulder, that was traumatized years ago in the accident causing the man the intolerable pain. He cursed, the shoulder pained like a bitch, but the Oakie continued to move driven by the will to survive and see once again Adam's and Noah's faces. He took the school counselor bridal style running like mad through the dark shaft. The entire tunnel started to shudder, and the rubbles began falling from everywhere. He just prayed that the paramedics were already out with his son and that he himself would make it sooner than he'd be buried here for good.

***

Adam was having a very hard time to settle his nerves and anxiety as he waited for the news at the rescuer's tent. The place smelled like dust and blood, and the cries around only fuelled his panic attack.

At some point, the sound of the sirens, shouts, and screams overwhelmed his mind. Adam prayed and prayed for his little boy when frantic flashbacks started attacking him, deafening the buzzing noise around.

 

"Mrs. Levine?"

His mom got up as the doctor showed up at last while the younger version of Adam was nervously cracking his knuckles in the hospital's corner.

''Yes? How's my niece?''

''I'm sorry to tell you but her injuries were non-survivable. The spinal damage was fatal for her. I'm so sorry for your loss.''

It shocked them hard. Adam who just arrived from college and heard about the car accident and his cousin's condition silently comforted his mom, patting her shoulders. He couldn't believe Ronda is gone either, his kinswoman was too young to die.

''The baby is healthy and ready to meet his family though''. The doctor added tiredly. Shortly after, the nurse brought a tiny bundle and gave it to Adam who stood the closest to her.

Adam heard from the distance how his mom explained to the doctor between her cries that Ronda wanted to give the baby for adoption. And how they still must wait for Ronda's parents in order to decide what to do next. But the moment Adam laid his eyes on the sleeping baby in his arms he forgot anything and everything around him, not knowing how to breathe. Adam Levine never dealt with newly born. Well, with babies in general. He was a young punk rocker with a head full of dreams who just broke up with his partner back to college. But it was like someone switched something in Adam the moment he said his first 'hey' to this bundle. The baby was so little and fragile, faced this cruel world all alone with his adorable miniature trembling lips, that Adam's heart sank. Something ancient and strong awoke deep in the young man's soul. The need to protect and care that he never felt before. It was like a lightning struck. From that day on Adam decided that he'd never ever let this lonesome child face any difficulty on his own. Cause Adam be there by his side.

 

Another flashback.

 

Adam was making soup for supper while Blake was working late.

As the brunette was cutting onions, there came a patter of little feet in the hallways.

''Daddy!'' The four-year-old boy came running up to him, hugging Adam's legs from behind.

''Heeey, buddy! What's up?'' Adam put the knife away and got down on the knee in front of his son.

''Dad'' the child asked suspiciously, ''are you clying?!'' Noah frowned in concern looking so much like Adam, that it amazed his parent. But the thing Levine loved the most about his little boy - was Blake's blue eyes. God indeed blessed them with this miracle, cause the one thing Adam couldn't physically give to Blake was a child. And somehow they were given Noah Tollison Shelton-Levine, who shared their blood and was the living image of both his dads.

''No, buddy,'' Adam sniffed, ''I was just cutting stupid onions. You don't wanna smell those.'' The adult patted Noah's adorable chubby cheek.

''I don't want you to cly.'' The boy hugged his father's neck with his tiny hands. Then his son pulled away and tossed his pocket. ''Hele! Take my candy, papa gave it to me, you'll feel bettel!''

''Awww. Thank you, honey.'' Adam kissed his son wiping his own tears which weren't already been caused by onions. He felt like the luckiest guy in the world.

That same night Adam woke up to drink some water, but when he came to the kitchen he heard some noise inside. Levine hesitated to walk in, hiding behind the entrance. What he spotted there is how his son was collecting all the onions from the kitchen closet mumbling with all the seriousness ''nothing will eva make dada cly again. We don't need onions hele.''

It overwhelmed Adam's heart with strong emotions. How on earth did he deserve this angel?

 

Another blurry recollection.

 

Adam and Blake were walking with Noah in the park. It was an early February. The dark-haired boy was chasing the pigeons, while his parents followed him slowly from afar, Blake was warming Adam's hand in his pocket, entwining their palms and proudly playing with the golden ring on Levine's finger. Suddenly, Noah slipped on the ice and fell busting his lip and losing one tooth from hitting the ground. Immediately there followed a loud child's cry.

Blake and Adam ran up kneeling by their injured son.

''Shhh, champ, don't cry.'' Blake soothed him, wiping the blood from the swollen lips.

''Hey buddy, look at me'' Adam took the kid's chin looking in his red puffy eyes. ''The pain will go, hear me? The tooth will grow with time. It's gonna be okay, my man, I promise. I've got you.''

It always astonished Blake how no matter the situation Adam always was able to calm their son with his confident yet kind voice just with a snap of his fingers. Despite the fact that Adam wasn't Noah's biological father, the two of them shared a very special bond. Maybe the boy just believed to every word Adam said unconditionally, and that what made him stop crying right away, cause if Adam said the pain will go, it will.

 

A year later it's been the other way around. Adam was crying like a little baby trying to deal with his crashed marriage. It's been the night after he signed his divorce papers.

The five-year-old Noah came to his dad's room, climbing on the awfully enormous bed.

The little kid didn't say anything for a moment, just hugging Adam's trembling body in silence. God knows Adam didn't want to scare his little boy, but the distressed broken man just was so juiced by Blake's addiction and all their fights that he couldn't switch off his hysterical cries.

''I love you, daddy. I'll never live you ever, okay?''

Adam chocked on those words. The brunette couldn't help but smile through his tears touched by the child's naive will to cheer him up. It should be the other way around. It's Adam's duty to take care of his boy, the brunette told himself.

''Ah, my little sunshine. I know. I love you two, my lion cub.''

What would he do without Noah? Adam thought, brushing his son's hair. He'd certainly die without his cherub.

Noah was his little link to Blake, the innocent angel, the sole existence of whom made Adam keep going even on his worst. When Adam thought he couldn't go on, even after he lost Blake, he still got their son.

 

And it was fucking unfair that the destiny was trying to take him away now.

Adam who just got back from the whirlpool of those hectic flashbacks suddenly fell on the ground having the eventual mental break down from the gained stress and fear for his son's life.

 

''Adam!'' He heard someone's voice called him from afar, but his body didn't care anymore utterly turning off. ''Hey, Adam! Someone, please help!'' Adam blacked out, at last, never seeing who caught his exhausted body.

 

 

 

After awhile Levine went back to his conscious indicating that he's been hooked up to a pain pump, still in the middle of the madness at the improvised triage unit that resembled some portable military hospital. Elias Jørgensen sat near the surface where Adam's motionless body was temporarily placed.

''Hi, how are you feeling?''

''Noah… Is there any news?'' Adam mumbled not quite feeling his tongue. ''Did they find the bus? How long was I out for?''

''About 20 minutes,'' the Norwegian accent reached Levine's ears ''I'm sorry Adam. I arrived as soon as I saw you in the news among the victim's parents. And no, they've got nothing yet. Apparently, the bus trapped somewhere under one of the biggest platforms.''

''It's too fucking long.'' The brunette groaned, feeling dizzy from the liquid shit they gave him. ''I know they do what they can… but what if Noah…''

''No, you're not going to be pessimistic now. We must hope for the better.''

''Thanks, Elias,'' Adam said softly, staring at the tent's ceiling. ''You don't have to be here,'' he added after a long pause

''The thing is, I want to,'' the businessmen stated

Adam sighed and decided to change the subject. ''Fuck, this IV... they gave me some strong stuff, my head is throbbing….''

Adam never had the chance to finish the sentence as the second later there was a very loud crash outside and the ground started shaking.

Adam's heart dropped, and once everything stopped shuddering, the brunette pulled out the needle out of his arm and ran outside towards the collapse.

There were wast pillars of smoke and dust outside the tent that made everyone around coughing and screaming more.

''What... what happened?!'' Adam stopped the first stranger grabbing him by the shoulder.

''Dunno, pal! My guess is one of the tunnels couldn't hold the pressure cause there was a big bang out there!'' The heavily-built bearded man with a bandaged arm shouted to Adam. ''The part of rubbles dropped like a house of cards!'' The giant stranger pointed to the newly created pit not far from them.

Adam's gaze followed the location where he was pointing.

''NOOOOOOOOOOO'' Adam screamed like a wounded animal, falling on his knees. It was the area through which Blake was supposed to go using the tunnel.

''Adam. Geez. Get up'' Elias appeared by his side and tried to reason with him, making an attempt to drag the pale man from the ground.

''NO! Let go! They're in there! You don't understand! They both are there! My son and husband! I NEED TO FIND THEM!

''Adam, you can't go there, it's too dangerous!

''I DON'T FUCKING CARE! I don't wanna live if something happens to them!''

''It's gonna be okay, they gonna make it.'' Elias tried to reassure Levine stating the positive outcome as the fact. As much as the Norwegian didn't like Adam's ex-husband for making Levine's life miserable, his rivalry with Blake ain't mattered right now. The businessmen realized that he truly started to care about this broken person in his arms, so he prayed that bastard from Oklahoma would make it.

Seeing Adam's inadequate condition, Elias, honestly, was one step away from going after Shelton's ass by himself.

 

As if it wasn't enough, a moment later a very furious woman ran up to Adam followed by the arguing paramedics. Adam recognized the blonde skinny female who was kissing Blake that day at the bar, but he couldn't think straight right now, let alone arguing with the woman.

''Ma'am, please! It's not the place to make scandals! This patient,'' they pointed at Adam ''is a parent of one of the kids trapped under the collapse! He had had a shock and been treated with the sedative. Leave him alone!''

''I don't care!'' Rene Stefani approached Levine and started to yell Adam like a mad witch.

''YOU!'' She pointed at the brunette with her painted claw accusingly ''I was told Blake entered into that tunnel! How could you let him do that?! If something happens to him it would be on you!

''Hey, lady! I would appreciate if you'd lower your tone!'' Elias yelled back outraged, protecting Adam from the furious dame.

''And no one asked you, so shut up!''

''Or what?!'' Elias provoked her.

''You don't know who you are talking to. Rene switched on the foreign businessman, looking at him with a challenge.

''Please, I know the barbies like you. Nothing behind flashy attitude,'' Elias deadpanned

''Why do you even clung to Blake like a leech if you have this Cerberus as a guard?'' Rene turned to Adam once again, ''aren't satisfied with just one dick, are you, little whore?'' She spatted

''Look. I warned, you better watch your mouth!'' Elias threatened

 

''Hey, they've got something!'' One of the rescuers from afar shouted stopping the argument between Rene and Elias.''

Adam ran to the bunch of workers who apparently were pulling someone from the tunnel with the safety straps. Elias caught Rene by her wrist and drag her away for a conversation. Adam never turned around to look for them, too concerned about his husband and son.

The first figure has been rescued, was a tiny little girl with broken glasses. A chunky dark-haired man in the suit ran up to the girl crying and kissing the little child.

''Pull out, there is another one!'' Someone commanded. It was the longest two minutes in Adam's life. At last, the lifting belts were up, and he spotted his son, dirty from head to toes, but alive and unharmed. He ran like mad to Noah, hugging and kissing him, crying similar to another parent near to him.

''Thank Lord! Jesus, Noah! I love you so much, my baby boy!'' Adam held him tightly, praising the Lord again and again for this miracle.''Are you okay? Oh my God! Nothing hurts?''

''I love you too daddy! Don't worry, I wasn't hurt, I promise!'' Noah clung to his neck, and Adam lifted up the boy, turning to the tunnel entrance with hope. But the smile instantly wiped from his face, as no one else followed after. Just a pillar of dust from the dark pit.

Come on, Blake. Adam prayed. Come on, love, where are you?

''Papa rescued us. He stayed to help Mrs. Adil, Nijah's mom'' Noah whispered, hiding his head in Adam's crook.

The chunky man in the suit who hugged his daughter next to them overheard that and looked at Adam with widening eyes. Apparently, it was his wife, who Noah talked about. Adam closed his eyes praying the Universe to create the last miracle for them when the noise came from the dark tunnel.

 

''Hey! Over there!''

 

Adam opened his eyes and saw the most incredible sight in his life. The craziest bastard Adam ever loved got out of the pit, carrying the unconscious woman in his strong arms coughing from all the dust around.

''Shelton, you damned lad! You made it!'' Warren whistled from where he stood.

It was like a resurrection for Levine. His heart returned to him. Adam quickly let Noah to the ground and the boy ran up to his exhausted papa. The paramedics and Mr. Adil took Sumaya from Blake's shaking hands, so the Oakie finally could reunite with his own family.

Despite his tiredness, Blake lifted Noah with ease. Adam who approached him second later didn't waste any time, kissing Blake like there were no tomorrow. Noah hid his face in Blake's shoulder closing his eyes too happy and scared to break his parent's reunion.

''I thought I lost you, babe...'' Adam whispered, brushing their noses.

''I'd never do that to you, love. Never again, sweetheart.'' Blake kissed him some more, hugging his husband and son tightly and feeling alive like never before. Suddenly the sharp pain went through his shoulder making him sniffing and let Noah to his feet.

''What...what's the matter, babe, are you hurt? Let me call the doctors!'' Adam started to panic.

''Nah, it's okay, just a bit tired. It's gonna be alright, I swear, baby.'' Adam didn't look convinced but the next second Blake was called from behind. It was Mrs. Adil husband and Nijah's father.

 

''Mr. Shelton?''

''Yeah?''

''God bless you! You saved my daughter and wife. I will be forever in your debt!'' The man with an eastern accent shooked the Oakie's hand and hugged him, kissing Blake's cheek. The sight of it made Adam laugh, cause Blake made a very funny face after such affection display.

''Anyone would do the same'' Shelton answered rubbing his neck

''God bless your family! If one day you'll need my help, just call me.'' Mr. Adil gave to them his card with a signature 'The District Attorney.'

The man thanked Adam, Blake, and Noah one more time and said his goodbyes leaving the astonished couple.

''Hope we won't need his services ever.'' Blake joked and Adam agreed, ruffling Noah's head.

''Let's just go home. We still have a birthday party to do. But after we all take a good nap and our papa takes a looong hot bath.''

Noah jumped at that with excitement.

''Wouldn't miss it in a world, birthday boy'' Blake said, '' and touche, darling, that's just what I need right now. The three of them left the place exhausted like hell but happy as never before.

 

However, they didn't make it far, as Blake collapsed on the ground hissing from the sharp pain in his shoulder. Adam screamed for an ambulance but Blake couldn't hear it, passing out at last.

Chapter Text

Adam sat in the municipal clinic counting seconds. No. That couldn't be happening again. He was living the same nightmare just like when Blake had hurt his shoulder a couple of years ago. But this time it was much more terrifying for Adam cause he knew the possible outcome for them. What if Blake starts using again?

 

''Hey dude, how are you holding up?'' Adam was approached by Jessie Carmichael, his childhood friend who moved back to LA from NY where the young man had been studying music. The skinny ginger guy arrived just a couple of days ago and rushed to the hospital as soon as heard about the accident. It's funny how Jesse was the only one out of Adam's buddies who supported Levine during Blake's addiction and divorce. Carmichael truly hadn't been a fair-weather friend. Together they sat and waited for the doctor's detention, while Adam's mom, Carrie, and Noah were visiting Blake in the hospital room.

''Trying not to freak out. Just can't believe it's happening again, Jess. It's just like that time, but scarier, cause last time I didn't saw a shit coming to us.''

''Listen, bro. You two made it last time? Let's stay positive and listen what the doctor suggests, okay?'' Carmichael sat near his friend and patted his shoulder. Adam leaned on Jesse like a lost child, grateful with his best friend's returning. His chill optimistic vibe always comforted Adam with his hippie aura.

 

''Mr. Levine?''

 

Adam jumped from his seat

 

''How is Blake?!''

 

''Well, Mr. Shelton had torn his rotator cuff and has a hairline fracture in his shoulder. But the forecast is rather optimistic, we're gonna put a shoulder sling on him, although...'' the doctor sighed and Adam closed his eyes, already aware where the conversation is going. ''As you know, the toughest part is a drug treatment here, due to your husband's history with oxycontin.''

Adam swallowed his dark memories and nodded.

''There's no need to sound the alarm yet though,'' the doctor tried to reassure Adam, ''we just gonna take slow steps and sign your partner to our best drug abuse therapist, who'll monitor Mr. Shelton's recovery. I witnessed people went through similar situations and emerge victoriously. For him, it's just a matter of motivation and support from now on.''

Motivation. Adam thought. If that's what would help Blake to go through the pain and win this game, Adam will give him all the motivation in the world. Yes, he scared as fuck, because last time Blake got an injury, they went through the abyss trial. But this time Adam won't give up. They've come a long way, and Levine was determined to move the world in order to help Blake's recovery.

Somehow, Adam calmed his inner fears, because dammit, Blake must be the one here who is scared as hell, and Adam needs to be the strong one. They'll get through this together. On this one, Adam would be tougher in his goal to help Blake be himself again.

The doctor patted his shoulder and left.

Adam followed by Jesse walked back to Blake's room, where his son was telling some exciting story to his father, while Carrie was having a conversation with Mrs. Levine by the doors.

''Honey, what the doctor said?'' His mom approached Adam with concern. It warmed the brunette's heart how his mother was attached to Blake like the Oakie was indeed her second son. Adam couldn't be more grateful that the most important people in his life had had such a bond.

''Mostly he's positive that everything is gonna be okay. We just have to be careful with you know... the treatment'' Adam sighed trying to convince himself that they'll be fine.

''Well, if the doctor says, it will be.'' She hugged her dear son tightly, patting his spine. ''I'm so sorry, but I must leave now, honey. My patients wait for me too. His mom was working with children with special needs at the facility on the other side of the city. So Adam was perfectly understanding with her need to go. Her visit was enough to raise his spirits. He turned to his friend.

''Jesse, could you please give my mom a ride. I don't want her to use a taxi.''

''Of course, man! Mrs. L. always at your service'' Jessie politely smiled at the elder woman.

''Aww, you have always been the kindest of Adam's squad.'' She graciously smiled back

They said their goodbyes and left Adam and Carrie by Blake's room.

''You're holding up?'' Carrie patted his shoulder

''I'm trying,'' he sighed. ''Gonna talk to him now.'' Adam turned his head observing how his son was humoring Blake.

''No more words. I'll take Noah to the cafe on the first floor, so you can chat in private, okay?'' Underwood offered

''Thanks, sis,'' he hugged her and the blonde girl called his son.

''Hey, Noah, why don't you come and show me where they have coffee here? Along the way, we'll grab some goodies for your dads.

''Sure,'' Noah jumped from Blake's bed, hugging his papa carefully avoiding his injured shoulder. ''Daddy, can I go with Carrie?'' Noah asked Adam and Levine nodded, thanking the gal without a word for her discretion. He needed to have a moment with Blake one on one.

''Sure, buddy!'' He ruffled his boy's hair and let them go.

Then Adam walked in the chamber and sat near Blake staring through the window on the opposite side of the room.

''How are you feeling?'' Adam cleared his throat

''Better since you're here, baby,'' Blake confessed and Adam finally looked at him straight in the blue eyes. After a moment, the brunette took the countryman's hand in his and leaned closer to his ex-husband. ''Adam... I swear I don't need those pills anymore. As long as I have you, I can endure any pain if it takes me to be clean. I promise I won't put you through that crap one more...''

''Shhhh.'' Adam put a finger on Blake's lips. ''We are gonna make it, babe. We'are so gonna make it this time.'' Adam swore in a whisper. ''You will get better, and I'll be right by your side, love.'' Adam locked their mouths sealing this promise with an intense kiss.

 

 

They didn't hear the distant clack of the high heels in the corridor.

 

Rene was going to visit Blake at the hospital as soon as she'd heard that the wretched waitress of hers spilled the address to Miley before leaving the bar. Stefani approached the door she was looking for, but the door wasn't closed, so she froze in disgust on the sight of Blake making out with his ex-husband on the hospital bed. That lousy pathetic boy was clutching what she thought belonged to her and that pissed the blonde over the edge. The way Blake's hand wandered over Adam's ass, and how the brunette hands ruffled Blake's gray hair outraged her with jealous beyond the limits. Stefani watched Adam with an urge to scratch out his shameful eyes. Then the two men stopped eating each other mouths and she overheard their little talk.

 

''I make sure you won't become an addict again. I talked with your therapist, babe. We'll choose a special treatment. You won't deal with those pills again. I won't let you fall, I swear.''

 

''I'll do my best, all for you, my love. I'll do anything cause you gave me the reason. You are my strength to fight, my little faux-hican.''

 

So, Blake was a drug addict? What an interesting piece of information. Not necessarily shocking for her, but on the contrary, it confirmed all her observation, how she never saw him drunk or high, even while the guys from the bar band were fooling around with weed and other stuff. She was distracted from that thoughts when someone called her from behind.

 

''Rene? What are you doing here?''

 

She turned away on her hills just to face Carrie looking at her with a suspicious look. The girl held by the hand a dark-haired little boy who was frowning at Rene with those familiar bushy eyebrows. That was strange, the kid was nothing like the blonde waitress, so unlikely it was her child. As the matter of fact... the boy was the living image of... that wretched Levine! But at the same time, he looked at her with those blue eyes so much like Blake's! But how was that possible??! She hadn't met Blake's son yet, but knowing that the brat was the identical copy of that lowlife who stole her man, just made everything fucking intolerable for her!

Noah who was quite a sensitive boy did a step back not letting off Carrie's soft hand, and definitely not liking how the skinny woman with high fixed blonde curls stared at him.

''Underwood,'' Not looking away from the child, Stefani gritted her teeth hiding her hatred behind the mischievous smile. ''Shouldn't you be in the bar?''

''My shift starts just in a couple of hours'' The lass retorted, holding her chin up. The Okie girl overlooked behind Rene's shoulder and smirked. Adam was laying near his husband, enveloping his hands around Blake's torso and hiding his nose in Shelton's crook, while Blake was patting the brunette's head. So, the bitch finally got a dose of her medicine.

''Oh, I see. Well then. I was leaving anyway.'' Rene threw one more glare at Noah. Underwood certainly noticed the hatred towards the boy under the mask of that plastic surgery victim's made up face. Carrie pulled the child closer, ready to protect her friends' son with her teeth and clutches like a lioness.

Once the witch had gone, she turned to Noah

''Okay, honey, let's back to your dad's. It's time for me to go too, and I want to say goodbyes to your parents, okay?''

Noah nodded letting her go forward, but the boy hesitated to walk in just yet. He turned his head and looked over Rene's walking figure. Just before the scary woman turned around the corner of the hospital hall Noah overheard her harsh threat ''that pathetic yoga clown will pay me...''

 

Then she disappeared and the kid just stood in the hollow corridor with a very bad feeling about the woman's terrible words. Whatever she was plotting against his daddy, the now almost seven-year-old boy was seriously determined to prevent.

***

''Geez, I've been worried to death, friend. How is Blake?'' Miley asked Carrie who just entered the Bar and swiped her scarf tiredly.

''The doctor said he'd hurt his old wound pretty bad. However, Adam is by his side now and, honestly, that all our big guy really needs to be cured now,'' Carrie stated. ''And OH. By the way! Guess who showed up in the hospital today?'' The waitress added, pulling the skin on her face in the imitation of the botoxed mummy that made Miley laugh.

''No way! That bitch? Oh, she's looking for troubles! Did she bothered my man Adam?''

''Thank God no. Actually, I caught her in front of our lovebirds while they were making out. She'd got all green on that sight I swear!''

''Karma is a bitch isn't it?''

''That's right, girl!'' Underwood smiled, but then remembered something curious. ''So what's up around here anyway? I saw a chick with a detective badge leaving the bar when I walked in.

''Gahr... I thought you'd never ask. Tonight I found another junkie OD'd in the toilet. Can you imagine?! This has gone too far, sis, this place never was some dirty crackhouse! And all these rumors among our owns that someone sells this new modified stuff that kills people...I'm sorry but if this continues, I'm not working here anymore. Even Liam was bugging me to quit lately, cause he's concerned about all these cases.

''I too want to know what's going on, girl, but what do we have? Have you noticed when it's even started?''

''As the matter of fact...I think I do...'' Miley suddenly seemed distracted by some thought, and then her eyes widened, ''OH SON OF A GUN! Carrie, I actually do! Remember that crackhead named Paul who was hospitalized a couple of months ago? He also was bugging you to give him your phone?''

''Yeah? So?''

''He was the first victim! And when that happened? That's right, it was just the first week after Rene was signed as an owner of this place robbing her ex in the court!''

''Oh my... Alright, she's creepy as fuck, but you don't think...''

''I think it's not a coincidence that this place has transformed in some meth house for druggies. I don't know what about you and me, but it's for sure about damn time for Blake to stop playing with fire and quit this place. At least while the bitch is running this bar. He tested his will enough to be proud, sober, and all that stuff he did to redeem himself while working here, but I'm concerned about the old man. Especially now, when he just cleared the things between Adam and him.''

''Gosh... I don't know what to think, Miley.'' Carrie looked puzzled. ''What if we..'' suddenly, Miley cut her words by raising her head up to the second floor, and clearing her throat.

''Ma'am, anything we can help ya?''

Rene stood at the ladder leaning on the railing of the private terrace. She observed them with suspicion, gave them a look and walked into her office, locking the door.

''Tell you. She's a fucking creep. And definitely hides something.'' The teenage stated

''True. So what we gonna do now, girl?''

''That's the words I was waiting from ya.'' Miley smiled in a conspiratorial tone.

***

Noah walked in the house followed by Adam who supported Blake. The Oakie wasn't even limping, but Adam still clung to him, his protectiveness mode all up.

''Hold on, babe. Let me help you with the jacket.'' While Adam was busy with nursing Blake and his armband, Noah spotted his Pantherophis Guttatus blatantly chilling in the hall corner. Yikes! Not again, Noah freaked out. The kid turned to his parents, who were too busy with each other, and recoiled towards Mr. Charie, ninja-style, wishing his parents wouldn't notice that the snake escaped once again. The boy opened his backpack, put it soundlessly on the floor and pushed it with his leg towards the snake so it could crawl in it, while the kid was watching over the adults. Thankfully, his serpent friend seemed to like dark comfy places, so he quickly crept into his human's bag just the second before Adam and Blake turned their heads to Noah.

The boy grinned at them with an innocent smile.

''Sooo, guys, I guess, I'd go to check on Mr. Charlie, he must be hungry!'' Noah announced cheerily. ''By the way, can I let him hang out at the backyard for a bit after I feed him? I promise I'll stay watch over him!''

''Alright, bud! Go ahead!'' Blake winked at the boy

''But don't forget to wear your sweatshirt, okay? It's almost evening and getting cold.'' Adam added concerned like a papa bear he is.

''I will!'' With that Noah stormed out the hall grabbing his backpack with the hidden serpent inside. Phew.

 

''So, how about a long hot bath I promised you?'' Adam turned to Blake whispering to him in a seductive voice.

''Hmm sounds awfully appealing.'' Blake wondered. ''But you know what? I'll accept only if you join me.''

''Alright cowboy, but no any forbidden moves unless we are in the bedroom behind the locked door. I don't wanna traumatize our son.''

''You heard him, he'll be out playing at the backyard.'' Blake winked with that conspiratorial smirk.

''I warn you, Shelton! You better behave yourself, or I'm gonna whoop your country ass later.''

''Oooooh, is that a promise?'' Blake cheekily grinned with his dimples.

''You're the dumbest! Let's no waste time, and go upstairs!''

''Oh, I am all for that, lover boy!''

***

The hot water indeed relaxed them right away. Adam laid on Blake's chest, trying not to lean on his left shoulder. The brunette raised his lean leg bending the knee and splashing the water.

''If you're trying not to make me hard as fuck by showing off your precious self like that you're doing a crappy job, honey.'' Blake made a trace of kisses behind Adam's ear, making Levine gasp in moans.

''Could've figured it myself you know, since your thang has been shamelessly poking my ass for some time already.''

''I'd argue who's shameless here, but I suggest to end this pointless talk and get to the business by relocating to the bedroom. What'd ya say?''

''Remarkably smart idea coming from you, Sasquatch''

With that, Adam helped Blake with a towel and they moved to their room, locking the door in case Noah would want to come in.

The minute they were hidden from the outside world, they attacked each other's lips with hungry kisses. Adam couldn't describe the feeling when Blake was kissing him, brushing his face with his scruffy chin. After all these years, those kisses still steal his reason making him forget everything. With time the passion between them only kept evolving.

Ever since their hospital making out, Adam was turned on like a teen in his puberty. Blake knew his husband well enough, to notice - when Adam was stressed out like that, he needed a good fuck to release all the tension from his body. And that what Blake was more than happy to provide his lover with. But first, Adam intended to make his hero-husband forget about all the pain he endured, by giving him the most incredible blowjob in his life. The brunette kissed Shelton one more time before getting down on his knees and took off the towel that covered his man's groin.

''God... Adam...'' Blake gasped, grabbing the brunette's wet messy hair transforming it in a mohawk. The sight of Adam, all wet from the hot bath sucking him so beautifully with his sensual leaking lips and drops rolling from his dark-coal hair drew Blake insane. It was in the top five hottest views in Blake's life, which all by the way included his sexiest lover. The countrymen swore. Adam just had no idea how beautiful he was. Inside and outside. The most remarkable man he ever met. Blake considered himself a flattered fool who won the lottery to have such a forgivable and loving person by his side. No wonder, Shelton couldn't hold for much longer, coming hard in this sweet warm capture, that Adam's mouth was. The brunette leaked his hard-working lips like a lazy cat glazing at the tall man with his gleaming hazel eyes and that seductive smirk that made his softened dick twitch with new energy.

''Come, here, love.'' Blake pulled Adam on the bed with his uninjured hand, positioning his naked lover on his laps.

''I was so scared for you'' Adam suddenly confessed, leaning his face towards Blake's. ''So scared... You were there, under the collapse and I couldn't find you, and I thought... I thought I'd lost you...'' the tear rolled down Adam's cheek, and Blake hurried to kiss it away.

''Shhh, baby... I'm right here with ya, little flower. I ain't going anywhere. Let's forget that episode. From now on I want you to feel only pleasure and happiness''

Blake's palm went down circling Adam's little pits on his lower back, getting closer to his entrance.

''Babe...'' Adam pulled away for a second, ''I don't want to cause you any pain... if your shoulder…''

''Bullcrap. The one thing that makes me forget about the pain is this. It's you, sweetheart. I need you, and I'm going to make you forget about all the stress too. I know what ya need darling…I promise it won't hurt me in any way.'' Blake kissed his nose lovingly and Adam just couldn't resist.

After prepping Adam with his skillful fingers, he finally made them both be lost on the waves of the long-awaited pleasure.
The brunette panted feeling like his body was sinking not into the mattress but in the clouds of Heaven with each steady thrust, Blake gave to him. Neither of them could ever share this with anybody else. It was so much more than the mind-blowing fucking. It was a spiritual experience where the two hearts in love shared not only the best they had had in themselves but all the pain and the darkest desires of their souls as well. All their fears were drowning in this redeeming dance and they both at last truly believed that as long as they are together there is no such force in the universe that can break them apart.

After giving his lover one last hardest push, Blake groaned, coming right after Adam, feeling how his inner muscles contracting, hugging him in its wantoning warmth. Adam laid under him cheeks flushed from the indescribable arousal, and Blake couldn't resist to kiss him, still enjoying the sensation of being inside the man he loved.

''I love you, Blake.''

''I love you too, sweetheart.''

It was so much more than just a corny confession. It was a promise that from now on everything will be fine.

Chapter Text

It's been several weeks since the collapse, and it was like a dream for their little family. Blake moved back with Adam, so the brunette could watch over the Oakie's recovery. It all seemed good, but the happiest of all was Noah.

The boy literally became a ball of energy since his parents have been back together. However, Noah never forgot about one particular woman who scared him at the hospital. From what he already knew that lady owned the place where his papa worked, and if the rumors at the honkey-tonk were true, she wanted to steal his papa from him and daddy. Yeah, those chatty adults mistakenly underestimated the smart kid who collected information like a pro agent while he was hanging out at his papa's. Till now, though, that Witch didn't make any attempts to hurt his daddy, but Noah has been kept his ears open just in case. As the quiet lull never meant to be a good sign in films and comics the boy watched and read so often, the little brainiac decided to take a proactive approach in this situation.

 

 

Currently, the little conspirator has been sitting behind the bar counter and chatting with Carrie who was polishing glasses, while Blake was rehearsing with the band behind the bar scene.

 

''... and soon papa will propose to daddy, can you imagine?!''

 

''Shut the front door! They are gonna MARRY?!'' Carrie exclaimed with excitement

 

''Shhh!'' The boy put down a finger on his lips, ''it's a huge secret though! Daddy doesn't know yet. But I saw how papa was hiding away the box with a golden ring the other night. He decided to replace their old rings with new once. I also overheard how dad was talking with a priest who was visiting us when daddy was out at his fitness club.'' Noah confessed.

 

''You are a little sneaky thing!'' The girl laughed delighted with such piece of information.

 

''So, this time it all will be for real. With church and everything!'' The kid announced with all seriousness

 

''But you lost me, buddy. Hadn't they had a church wedding?''

 

''No. Last time my dads hadn't had the real ceremony, they just signed their official partnership with a lawyer. So this time papa will arrange the real wedding.'' The kid beamed with pride

 

''Thank you, Jesus! Freaking finally!'' The waitress praised the Lord, clapping and jumping.

 

The two of them continued gossiping, while a very pissed blonde woman was eavesdropping right from behind the corner.

 

''So, Blake decided to put a ring on that worthless loser. Not again!'' Rene spat angrily. ''No no no, that couldn't be happening! I won't share what's mine. That wretched insect won't take what belongs to me. No one dares!'' Stefani rushed from the place she stood, clucking with her hills, and that dragged Noah's attention. Of course, Rene was oblivious to the child's little strategy. The boy knew from the start that Stefani was spying on them and deliberately made sure that the witch could hear every word. Apparently, that scary woman heard them well. Now it was the time to act according to his prepared plan. Noah Tollison Shelton-Levine put out the smartphone gifted to him on his birthday and stared at the display pretending to wear a surprised expression on his freckled face.

 

''Oops, Carrie, my daddy waits outside! I've gotta go!''

 

''But what about Blake? Is he aware Adam comes taking ya?''

 

''No, don't disturb him from rehearsals! We are um... Having a surprise of our own for papa. Just say to him daddy picked me up.''

 

''Okay, little schemer...'' She agreed, looking uncertain

 

''Gotta go then! Bye!'' The boy grabbed his backpack and run outside, hoping to run after Rene and at last find out what was she plotting against his daddy. He just hoped he made her pissed enough, so she could finally reveal her evil plans.

 

''Bye sweetheart!'' Carrie waved at the strangely acting boy and got back to her duties.

 

 

 

Rene got inside her fancy car, slamming the door and punching the wheel enraged beyond all possible reasons.

 

''Damn you! First, the cops who were sniffing around in hope to dig something up on my drug traffic. And now this wretched wedding!'' The irritated woman rubbed her plastic temple abused by regular facial injections. ''How can I deal with that insect Levine, when that bitch with a badge, Hudson, had my dealers right by the... wait a minute.'' Rene suddenly shut herself calculating. After a second or two, carefully reflecting something on her mind, she suddenly came with a plan. She dug her clutches into the wheel and started the engine. ''Don't get too cheery, little brat,'' Stefani glared at the bar, where Blake's son was still probably bragging about the upcoming surprise for their precious Adam. ''There will be no wedding.'' Rene scowled putting her glasses on and driving away from the bar. She headed straight to one place where she could find her rival.

The one thing Stefani didn't notice was a tricky little boy who jumped in her truck and heard every word while she was bitching about the situation.

Evidently, Noah's plan to provoke the evil lady with the wedding news worked, now the petite mastermind wanted to see what this witch was up to.

***

Adam was collecting his stuff after a yoga lesson with his last group for the day when Elias called from behind.

 

''Adam.''

 

''Oh, hey.'' Adam shook his hand, greeting the european jock.

 

''Haven't seen you for a while at the club. You look better. I mean, after the accident. Happy to see that. How's your son?''

 

''Yeah.'' Adam rubbed his neck. ''I had been gone home sick, you know, to take care of Blake and our boy. Noah is great, actually. His psychologist said the accident hadn't affected him in any way, thank God.'' I wish I could say the same about myself, Adam thought, acknowledging that lately, he hasn't been sleeping well seeing the accident all over again in his increased nightmares. ''Blake recovers quickly, though. We are together now, you know.'' Levine summed up, giving to Elias apologizing look. What was the point to lie? Jørgensen turned out to be a good guy and Adam didn't want to confuse him any longer.

 

''Oh. Well. I'm happy to hear that.'' The man nodded, totally not thrilled with the news.

 

''Yeah. Thanks, I guess.''

 

''You know, I just wanted you to know. I will be gone in a week. Moving back to Europe.''

 

''Oh.'' Adam looked perplexed. He obviously didn't know what he could say to the man who was attracted to him and with whom he was on a single date, which Adam had screwed up because he ended up making love to his ex-husband. To say it was fucked up would be an understatement. ''Elias, I am sorry that things…''

''Don't be. I see now that you, sadly, still love that bastard from the South.''

''I really do,'' Adam affirmed not seeing the point to deny the obvious truth.

''Well, that's a bummer. But that's not all I wanted to tell you. Adam, I know, we spend very little time together... However, from what I already know, you were dreaming about your own music career once. And if one day you'll get sick of that annoying Oakie of yours and will chase your own artistry... Just know, I've got friends in Europe, really reliable producers, who could check your stuff. So, that's it. Whenever...

''Okay, I see.'' Adam interrupted him politely. ''Thank you, man. But I'm not interested in this anymore, Elias. I mean, I genuinely appreciate your offer though. It's just now I've got different values in life.'' Levine smiled thinking of Noah and Blake.

''I can see that. But remember, you can call me anytime, handsome. You know, if your giant spouse will mess things up again.''

''Hope he won't.'' Adam laughed. ''Anyway, thank you again. And Elias, I'll remember your support there, at the bridge.''

''Sure. Take care, Adam. You're a special man.'' The blonde bloke waved at him and went away.

''Take care you too." Adam sighed through a sad smile and went in the opposite direction.

 

 

Levine walked out of the club and headed to the parking lot. The brunette tried to recall which items he needed to buy in a grocery shop for Blake's favorite ragu when another familiar face blocked the way to his car. Now that was someone he wasn't ready to see.

''What are you doing here?'' The brunette asked narrowing his eyes and squeezing the gym bag he carried over his shoulder.

''Ooh, we aren't very nice, are we?'' Rene took off her glasses and stared at the yoga instructor with an arrogant smirk

''Tell me one reason I owe you my niceness? Maybe on the account of you've been harassing my husband? And don't play innocent here. I saw you kissing him that day at the bar. He told me about you, you know? So listen, you lecherous tramp, if you keep busting my husband's balls, you'll know how unfriendly I can be.''

''Well, that's a matter of perspective, sugar. What did Blake tell you, boy? That it was me who attacked him with that kiss? Please, you're so naive! I tell you that. If it weren't for you he'd be already right at my feet!''

''At your feet? Is that how you define love? You're spoiled disgusting coat rack! This man would never be at someone's feet! If you think...''

''Alright, enough of that idiocy!'' She cut him off. ''Now you listen to me, you pathetic cheap trash. I give you 24 hours to do as I say, otherwise, I'll report Blake Shelton to the proper authorities for the drug selling at my bar, am I clear?''

That was like a completely unexpected punch in the gut for Adam. Drug selling? What the fuck was she talking about?

''Come again?''

''You heard right. He's been one of my dealers-shmilers over some time already. What, didn't see that coming, duh?''

 

No, Blake wouldn't…

 

''You're lying. He can't... he wouldn't...'' Adam mumbled feeling how the ground was slipping under his feet.

''Seems, after all, you don't know Blake-y that much. We've been in this deal together for a while. He's been selling voluntarily, just to please me. But if you even start to think of giving me to the cops, your precious son would have to get used to visiting his daddy in prison too.''

Adam couldn't believe to what he was hearing. No. This couldn't be happening! Tears ran down his face from his from his burning eyes. He barely could apprehend to what this woman was telling to him further.

''You got one day to break up with Blake or I'm gonna put him in the place where neither you or your son will ever find him.''

''B-break up? What do you mean break up?''

''Are you retarded? Does this expression have too much of different meanings?'' She scoffed

''Why are you doing this?'' Adam dropped his bag, not feeling his numb body from shock anymore.

''Are you really that dumb? I want you and that little brat out of Blake's life. For good. This man will be mine and only mine. I'm not the kind who shares toys.''

''Is that what he is to you? A toy?'' Adam couldn't believe in that kind of cynicism.

''None of your business. Your part is to convince Blake-y that you don't want him near you and your little bastard. You can say whatever you want, of course with a condition. Under no circumstances, you are allowed to tell him I made you do that. He can't know that I have anything to do with your break up.''

''But... do you even hear yourself?'' Adam gasped through tears, ''we have a little boy, it's Blake's son! How can I separate the father from his own child? You don't want me near Blake - fine, but keep him and Noah apart? You must be out of your fucking mind!''

''Well then. It's too bad that you can't think of something creative that would restrict me from this unwanted burden. You know I never wanted to raise children, let alone to take part in others' fostering. Pitty. Seems like poor Noah will have to learn what's like to have a father in jail. And oh, dear, I hope you know that these days anything, literally, anything can happen behind those bars. One false move and someone could hurt our Blake. I'd hate to know that Noah suddenly became an orphan.''

''YOU!'' Adam grabbed her wrist blinded with rage caused by these cruel words. ''You are sick! You're completely mental! How could you do that? What for?!''

''Let go of me,'' Rene yanked her arm taking a step back. ''I wouldn't recommend you to touch me ever again you pathetic lowlife. You ask me what for? I never lose, silly. And once I lay my eye on something, I get it. One way or another.''

''You're a heartless wicked scum.'' Adam flipped hands through his own hair trying to not lose his mind right away.

''I know, sugar. It's a dog eat dog world. That's why zeroes like you never win. Now. Do we have a deal?''

Adam closed his eyes, feeling like that woman ripped his heart with her bare hands and crushed it under her high hills. He was so stupid to believe they would finally live happily ever after with Blake. Why the destiny was so cruel to them?

''I... I'll do it.'' He whispered out of despair.

''I'm sorry, what did you say?'' She smirked

''You DEFF? I said I'll do it!'' Adam yelled, clenching his fists in frustration and cursing the fact that Stefani was a female. No matter how much he hated this soulless bitch right now, he could never hit a woman. Not that it would help him anyway.

''That's a smart decision, boy. So, since we understand each other it's time to go for me. Won't say that I had a pleasure to meet you again.''

 

She left Adam crying at the parking lot and went back to her car. Noah, who had the chance to get out of her trunk and witnessed everything hiding behind one of the cars at the lot didn't know what to do. His first impulse was to run to his crying daddy, who dropped his gym bag and sat on the pavement where he stood. But, upon reflection, the kid stopped himself from doing so. First of all, by revealing himself, he only will make his daddy freak out. Ever since the bridge accident, his daddy has been jumpy every time Noah was going for a walk or remained alone with no adult supervision. And now he practically ran away from Blake's watch, so it will only make daddy angry with papa. Plus, Noah won't make it easier for daddy if he tells his parent that he'd heard that despicable woman's evil ultimatum. No, he must do something. To call papa and spill the truth to him is not an option either. Noah heard that witch perfectly. If he tells papa the whole truth, he'll confront her and she will be capable to make the cops arrest his father. No, he needed an ally here. That's right! Not seeing another choice, Noah ran to the nearest bus station. He needed to get back to the bar as soon as possible.

Once in the bus, Noah still couldn't get out of his head the image of his broken crying daddy. He put out his phone and dialed a number.

''Uncle Jesse? Hi! Yeah, it's me, Noah. Uncle Jesse, could you please call my daddy and come to him? It's just, daddy's college called to the bar and I answered papa's phone. Yes, I'm hanging at his work today. Anyway, she said daddy was leaving the club crying and he looked pretty bad. Yes, papa is busy right now, and I'm worried about daddy. You can? Sweet! Bye then!''

Noah hid his phone and stared through the bus window. He hoped Mr. Carmaichael could stay with daddy while he'll sort all the mess the evil witch poured on their way.

 

 

The road to the bar was longer than Noah had expected. Thankfully, though, his papa was still at rehearsals when he got back, hence Blake didn't notice his absence.

''Oh, hey buddy,'' Cyrus greeted him by the entrance while she was taking out the trash, ''hold it, but how come you're still here, little bug? Carrie said to me that Adam drove by and took ya…''

''Miley!'' Noah stopped her breathing heavily from running. ''I need to talk to you and Carrie! It's urgent!''

''Of course, bud. Gee, relax, take a breath. Let's get inside and find untie Carrie.''

***

''Thank's for the ride, Jesse.'' Adam broke the silence once the ginger musician parked Levine's car by the house. Carmichael didn't like the empty look in his friend's hazel eyes and his creepy cold tone at all.

''Bro, you didn't tell me what happened? Are there any troubles at work? Cause as far as I'm concerned, you and Blake are cool now.'' Jesse asked concerned

Adam kept quietly staring through the windshield, now starting to scare Jesse. His buddy carefully patted the brunette's shoulder. ''Come on, dude. You're creeping me out. When your son called…''

''My son.'' Adam seemed to wake up all of a sudden. ''I need to call my son. Thank's Jesse, that's right, I need to call my son. You can go home. Blake and Noah will be back soon.'' Levine got out of the car but Jesse followed him not amused by Adam's spooky behavior.

''Hey, wait! Dude, I don't know what happened but I can't leave you when you acting so odd.''

''It's nothing, Jesse, I promise. I just had an argument with my supervisor, but I'll be okay, I swear. Please, go home Jess. I'll just probably take my medicine and get a good nap, I guess.''

''You sure, bro?''

''Yeah. Totally. It's all good.''

''Okay, then. But hey, if you'll need anything…''

''I promise, I'll call you, mom!''

''Deal, dumbass!''

''Bye.''

''See you, Ad.''

 

Adam waved him and entered his house. Once the door separated Levine from the outside world, the smile had gone from his face and the brunette crumpled to the floor, sliding against the front door. Tucking his head on his knees he cried and cried for what seemed like an eternity. How he was supposed to tell the love of his life to get out of his and their son's lives? What he was supposed to tell their baby son? After grieving for hours, the exhausted and devastated man raised his head and screamed like a wounded beast letting all his rage and frustration on this fucking injustice. He didn't know how long he'd been sitting there, on the cold floor, perhaps, until his body went completely numb. Wiping his tears, Adam took his phone and dialed Blake. It's now or never. This was the day when Adam's Levine heart died.

***

Blake was collecting his instruments when his telephone rang. He looked at the display and his heart started to beat faster. It was so stupidб but even after all these years, all things about his beloved brunette made Shelton's pulse quickening and heart beating like mad. Let it be dumb as fuck, but he still got this silly smile on his old face as soon as those four letters on the display formed his favorite name. He quickly pressed the 'reply' button.

''Hey, baby. I was just thinking 'bout your sweet ass. How's your day, sweetheart?''

''Blake.''

There was something terribly wrong with how Adam pronounced his name. It got Shelton chills and instantly wiped away his playful smile.

''Did something happen?''

''No.'' Adam cleared his throat. ''Actually, yes. Blake, could you please take Noah and come home earlier today?''

''Adam, what the…''

''Just.'' Adam sniffed. ''Just, it's important. I'm okay, drive safe, please. We… we need to talk about something.''

''Okay,'' Blake replied not knowing what to think.

''Okay then, see you.'' Adam hung up on him, leaving Blake confused as fuck.

Shelton ruffled his grey hair and went after Noah. He found his boy chatting with Miley and Carrie at the staff room. Odd, but when he entered the three of them stared at the Oakie with very weird looks.

''Papa, you finished?'' Noah broke the silence, trying to sound casual.

''Yep, buddy. Actually, your daddy just called and asked us to come home. So, why don't ya grab your backpack, champ, and jump in the pickup, and I guess I'll go and ask Rene for the rest of the day off.

''Okay, dad.'' The boy turned to the waitresses and mouthed silently to them ''remember, no matter what, don't tell him, please'' and then Noah added, this time out loud ''Bye, Carrie. Bye, Miley''

''See ya, bud'' Underwood smiled at him, and Miley just fist bumped the kid.

The boy stormed out the room and Blake was ready to follow him when Miley suddenly called him

''Hey, Shelton''

Blake turned around and noticed how Carrie pulled the teenage girl's wrist saying something to her with that strange look in her eyes.

''Y'all acting very weird, you know that?'' The man grumpily said

''Even more than usual?'' Carrie interrupted what Miley was going to say, smiling at him

''More or less.'' Blake raised his eyebrow. He didn't like this strange tension in the room. Not a bit. ''Cyrus, did ya want to tell me somethin'?

The teen glanced at Carrie, then at Blake again. After a pause, she spoke.

''Nah. Just take care, old man.''

''Aha. Sure, kid.'' He snorted. ''Well, I guess, see ya tomorrow?''

The girls nodded, and Blake finally left them. Once he was out of the staff room Miley swore.

''Gaaaarh! We should've told him!'' The teen hit the table in frustration.

''Tell what?! Have you heard Noah? Blake would probably go to that wicked bitch and she'd throw him in jail!''

''And what we are supposed to do now?! You realize why Adam would want Blake to come earlier today? It'll be a miracle if the old guy won't get a stroke after he hears what Adam is about to tell him!''

''Awww, I knew, after all, you care about Blake more than any of us!'' Carrie tried to defuse the tension.

''Shut up. Of course, I care, as much as you do. And I'm about to strangle that fucking harpy! No one mess with my homies. And that manipulative psychopathic bitch just crossed the line. I'll kill her!''

''Calm down. We need to keep our heads cold now and be smarter.''

''So what do ya suggest, genius?'' Miley took a stand, hands on hips.

''As the matter of fact, you already did that, girl. Remember that old plan you offered?''

''I can't believe you! You said yourself - it was dumb!''

''And what choice do we have now? True, I said it was risky, but I think it's time to make bold moves. Our friends' happiness is on the line.''

''You're right. Let me call Liam then. He's got the key part in our scenario after all. And meanwhile, you go to that criminal hag and ask the bitch if we could take tomorrow's shifts instead of Danny and Jack, so tonight we could be off duties.''

''Deal! Go ahead, sis. The harpy is on me''

''Cool then. We'll stop her faster than she could pronounce botox'.''

''Sure as hell.''

***

Blake saw Adam's scrawny figure sitting on the porch just as he parked his car. The brunette has been lazily throwing a baseball in the air with one arm, staring on the yard grass unfocused. Noah got out of the car, ran to the brunette and hugged him tightly, already knowing that his dads will have a serious conversation this night. The boy prayed his daddy had had the strength to go through this one. Noah was slightly more concerned for daddy in this case, cause Adam was acting a bit strange after their school bus episode, practically not letting Noah from his side. His daddy's panic attacks occurred more often after the bridge collapse, and honestly, the kid didn't know how Rene's ultimatum would affect him this time. The kid just hoped that Carrie and Miley would come up with something, and better sooner than later.

''Daddy, you did cut onions again?'' Noah asked looking at Adam's puffy eyes.

''What, honey?'' Adam asked patting his child's cheeks

''Your eyes are red again.''

''Oh, yeah. You got me, little man.'' Adam sadly smiled through a blurry gaze of new tears and kissed Noah's temple. ''Why don't you go to the kitchen? The dinner is ready.''

''Okay, dad.'' Noah kissed Adam's cheek and didn't press the topic further. He quickly ran inside to wash his hands.

When Blake approached Adam, Levine stood up, collecting his guts before facing Shelton.

''Adam, my Gosh, what happened?'' Shelton didn't have to be a genius to figure that his lover has been crying.

''I promise, I'll tell you everything. But first, we'll have the dinner. We need to take Noah to the bed before we'll have a talk, okay?'' Adam's voice sounded even more bitter than he looked, but Blake decided to do as he was asked. If Adam said after the dinner, so be it.

 

Their supper went pretty much in silence. Once done with his meal, much to Noah's dismay, the boy was sent to the bed. He kissed Blake and was taken to his room by Adam, while papa had been left to clean the dishes. Adam stayed with Noah, laying by the boy's side until the kid was deep in his sleep. Adam patted his son's messy hair and kissed him goodnight tenderly, not really knowing how he'll explain Blake's disappearance tomorrow. Levine sighed heavily rubbing his swollen eyelids, then got up and headed to their own bedroom. Blake awaited him in the corridor, so he silently followed Adam, eaten up with the need to know what the hell happened to his beloved.

Once Blake locked their door and turned to the brunette, Adam gave him the oddest, most intensive look causing Blake shivers. This look was like a muted scream, like Adam tried to shout out something, but he just kept eating Shelton with that stare.

''Adam, what…''

''Shhhh…'' In two steps his lover approached the Oakie and touched his dry lips with a finger.

''I can't.'' All that Adam was able to say before attacking Blake's mouth with his. Blake, to put it mildly, was taken aback by that. The whole evening Adam looked like he'd been told that Lakers would never ever get the Cup, and now he acted like a horny teen all of a sudden. Something was completely wrong.

''Adam, can you hmfff… baby, just hold on!'' Blake gently pushed his tiny lover away and looked in his glassy eyes.

''What? You don't want me?'' Adam asked like a child who was deprived of his favorite candy.

''Don't take me wrong, sweetheart. You're hot as fuck like always, but what's got into ya? You wanted to talk, right?''

''Forget it. We'll talk tomorrow, okay? I need you right now, pretty please? Everything else can wait for tomorrow, I promise. Blake, I want you.''

Just this last night with you. Give me one more night, Adam cried inside.

Levine kissed the taller man once again pulling Blake by the neck and stealing his reason for good. The Oakie instantly pulled his husband closer, feeling the heat of Adam's body and giving up to his mercy. The closeness of his rocker turned Blake on like he wouldn't believe, so both quickly got lost in a whirlpool of mutual passion. Could Blake imagine what was torturing Adam's soul at the moment? How could he? But somehow, his loving heart told him that more than any soothing words, Adam needed this right now. Just the unspoken closeness that would embrace them with its wings of unconditional love.

Adam practically ripped Blake's plaid shirt, leaving marks on the countryman's neck and chest. Shelton swore and lifted his greedy lover up massaging Adam's buttcheeks and making him panting with needy noises. Never in his life, Adam wished to know what it would feel like - to kiss his beloved husband for the last time, and yet here he was. Kissing the love of his life with all he got, knowing that tomorrow he'll be forced to say the last goodbye. And it was so fucking unfair that in that same moment that stupid fucking song Adam hated so much started playing in his head all of a sudden.

But tonight I'm gonna give in one last time
Rock you strong in these arms of mine
Forget all the regrets that are bound to follow
We're like fire and gasoline
I'm no good for you
You're no good for me
We only bring each other tears and sorrow
But tonight I'm gonna love you like there's no…

...tomorrow…

Oh, how Adam hated that fucking song. Yet, it compiled all the pain Adam's bleeding soul was transcending at the moment. If this was his last night by his husband's side, Levine was determined to take the most of this moment. Tomorrow, he'll tell Blake to leave him first thing in the morning. He'll convince the Oakie that they can't go on. Adam will lie, if necessary, say that he's ready to accept Elias's propose to move to Europe. Everything, so Blake would believe that they never meant to be. He'll be strong for Blake's safety. He's going to do anything to keep Blake safe, free and alive. He'll put his ego away, not bothering that this time Blake's withdrawal would most likely kill him. Fuck it, he'll try to continue existing for their son. But tonight, he'll be loving Blake like never. And he will be loved.

 

That night, the walls of their cozy bedroom were witnessing the continuous whispers and promises of eternal love till the very down. Exhausted by Adam's extraordinary wildness and extra fondness at the same time, Blake dozed off before the brunette, professing his love to Adam one more time, and Levine from his side just laid silently in the dark, afraid to even blink. He didn't want to sleep at all, losing his last chance to enjoy the happiness of cuddling with his favorite bumpkin, hearing the beating of Blake's heart that once belonged to him. As soon as he heard the first snores from his man, new tears shred Levine's pale face, but he didn't make a noise, praying silently for the morning would never come.

Ruffling his lover's grey hair, Adam started humming the sudden melody that was born in his mind that night, which soon transformed into random lines that tormented his heart

Here I am waiting, I'll have to leave soon
Why am I holding on?
We knew this day would come, we knew it all along
How did it come so fast?
This is our last night but it's late
And I'm trying not to sleep
'Cause I know, when I wake
I will have to slip away
And when the daylight comes I'll have to go
But tonight I'm gonna hold you so close
'Cause in the daylight we'll be on our own
But tonight I need to hold you so close

Ooh whoa, ooh whoa, ooh whoa...

***

''Okay, can someone please explain me, what exactly we're doing here, hiding behind the bushes in front of this freakin' spaceship of a house in the middle of the night like a bunch of creeps?! Is it even legal to be here?'' Liam Hemsworth complained, trying to warm up his cold hands.

''Babe, I told you! We need to expose that two-faced psycho for what she is.'' Miley rolled her eyes, watching her boyfriend's clueless face,'' I mean our boss.''

''That's right,'' Underwood added. ''We suspect, that Rene Stefani is responsible for setting the drug trade in all the honkey-tonks she owns.''

''Sweet as! And what exactly WE are doing here? Isn't it's cops' business?'' Liam tried to reason with girls.

''Here's the thing, brother,'' Carrie replied, ''I too tried to tell her off this idea once Cyrus suggested to bring down Stefani to face the justice. But our bitch-boss plots to pin this drug thing on our buddy Blake, cause the witch is insanely obsessed with him and since Blake is going to marry the love of his life, which is not her, Rene is ready to put him in jail if she can't have him.''

''And Blake really loves Adam, I told ya their story'' Miley added, ''so, we are sorry, muffin, but at this point, we have no patience to sit on our asses and watch how that ancient gargoyle ruins our friends' lives.''

''Exactly,'' Carrie agreed, ''can you believe that the psycho wants to throw Blake in prison just so she could prevent his and Adam's wedding?! She's mental! She blackmailed our guy and threatened, if he won't get off of Blake, she'd accuse Shelton in drug selling, and considering our friend's history with addiction... boy, he's screwed. And it's even getting better, did I mention that if Adam dares to tell anyone either, she'll report on Blake all the same!''

''Bam. Perfect evil plan.'' Miley concluded.

''Damn. Hold it, but if your Levine guy ain't supposed to tell anybody about this crap, how in the hell you two figured about the blackmailing?'' The Aussie asked amazed.

''Their son came to us,'' Carrie smiled, proud with the little boy's intelligence.

''Noah is a little genius! He didn't tell Adam or Blake a damn thing and came straight to us for help. And I'll be damned if we don't save this boy's family, muffin.'' Miley stated

''Okay, I get it, sweet bun'' Liam threw his hands in the air in surrender, ''so what's our plan?''

''That's my man!'' Miley beamed

''Simple. We need to get inside her house, find Rene's laptop and copy all the information we can find.'' Carrie dangled a hard drive in front of Aussie's nose. ''I'm sure there's gotta be evidence of her dirty side business and the info about all the dealers. Sure as hell, there will be not even a hint on Blake's involvement. So, with all that data we'll crush her in court, as she's got nothing on Blake!''

''Ah. Now I get it. I've always wondered why a hot chick like you,'' Liam snorted at Miley, ''would date a nerdy IT guy. Quite useful in the field, huh?''

''And you thought I'm with you for your pretty eyes, muffin? Please!'' Miley joked.

'''Kay, but seriously, how we'll pass the security?'' Liam wondered

''See that guy smoking near the entrance?'' Miley poked her boyfriend's shoulder

''Ya, so?''

''It's one of Rene's security stuff. One of us just needs to go and hit on the guy, and...''

''What?! Are you mad? No way I'm watching how you flirt with an armed bloke in order to break into someone's property!''

''Calm down, babe. Who said it's gonna be me or Carrie?''

''Come again?'' Liam stared at his girlfriend confused.

''K-hm... Here's the thang, Hemsworth.'' Carrie cleared her throat. ''We've already checked the guy when he was hanging out at our bar, following Rene like a loyal pet he is. It turned out... darn it, I don't exactly know how to put this for ya...''

''He's gay, end of the story,'' Miley stepped in out of patience. ''So, obviously, this part is for you, my stud. And don't freak out, okay? I believe in you one hundred percent. No one would resist that adorable face.'' The teenage girl patted Hemsworth's cheek, looking at the guy with her innocent expression.

''Yeah, defo.'' Liam puffed sarcastically. ''Ain't gonna work! How did you imagine that? I just approach that fella and say 'hey mate! How 'bout some good root?! He'll crack me in no second!''

''Don't be such a drama llama!'' Miley shushed him. ''All you've gotta do - pretend to be one of Rene's design houses models. Let's suppose you came to your employer to discuss a contract but didn't know she'd be absent. Say whatever, but you need to be invited in the house, convince the dude to wait for Rene inside, and then all you've got left to do is to knock the guy with some Rohypnol,'' Miley took a small jar of pills out of her purse and passed it to her boyfriend.

''Blimey! Woman if I didn't know you, I'd be scared!'' The Aussie exclaimed astonished by his girlfriend's scheming skills.

''Well, you better be. And you better not be getting used to flirting with others and stuff. This is my only free pass for ya, gorgeous, and I do that in the name of Adam's and Blake's love! Well, to a greater extent for my soul bro Adam, but whatever .''

''Geez, it's like I'm living my elder brother's drama with his skinny Shakespearian Englishman crush all over again!'' Liam shook his head grunting.

''And what about them?'' Underwood suddenly took an interest in that story.

''Garh. Not now, friend,'' Miley stopped Carrie, ''it's another long intense gay story I'll tell ya later. Now we should focus.''

''That's right.'' The Oakie gal nodded, ''back to business. Hemsworth, you think you can deal with that man?''

The Aussie glanced in the direction of the security guy who was lazily chilling, leaning against the wall.

''Sure, just a piece of piss!'' Liam scoffed. The young man nervously fixed his leather jacket, tousled his messy hair and went with a confident walk towards the house entrance. God, things he was ready to do for Cyrus!

''Good luck, cutie pie!'' Miley cheered

''Lord, I hope we won't screw this up. We won't screw this up, right? What if something happens? I mean, I feel terrible to make Hemsworth go through this, friend! Does he even know how to act with a guy in this situation?''

''No sweat, girl! My man got it. As I said, Liam saw enough gay drama in his family to catch the basics.''

''Maybe you already spill what's the story with his elder brother?''

''Believe me, Carrie. It's a whole anotha story that calls for tequila and a long night of sobbing and pining. So, maybe really, next time. Once we are done with this shit.''

''Well, I'll hold ya to that.''

Chapter Text

Adam was walking in the woods, enjoying the ruffle of leaves under his feet. It was the late fall, but the warm sun rays were still peeking through the local centuries-old trees. The young man inhaled the fresh air, closing his eyes. Such clean and familiar blow could belong only to one place. After some time, he finally recognized the area he currently wound up. It was Oklahoma. And not just that, he knew this forest… It was…

''Adam.''

The brunette turned around and saw a female kindly smiling at him with those familiar green eyes. But this can't be! How is this possible?

''Ronda?''

''I missed you so much, cousin.'' She held her hand out, inviting him to come closer. Adam approached her and got her small hand in his squeezing it gently, tearing up because of sudden emotions.

''I miss you too, little sister,'' he smiled through tears, looking at the young woman. She was as beautiful as he remembered her.

''I wanted to thank you, Ad. Noah is a wonderful boy.'' She said, and that made Adam broke in new tears.

''I am… I'm so sorry, Ronny. I didn't know what is the right thing to do… All this time I felt guilty because I didn't know if I had the right to take your baby when you had already found a perfect family for him… It's like… it wasn't stealing, but I still can't get off that weight… Thinking over and over, what if you could see and judge me for how I raise your boy. Our boy. But I love him with all my heart. I swear, I loved him ever since I saw him as a fragile bundle in that hospital. And now I… I'm letting him down, aren't I? I am about to take from him his second parent, but I'm so torn…I swear, to God. I'm so lost, Ronda, I'm so lost!''

She hugged him tightly, soothing his trembling body.

''Shhh. Adam. Look at me.'' Ronda took his face in her soft palms, looking right in the hazel eyes. ''How can I judge the man who fixed my fatal mistake after my death? Adam, you've always got the biggest heart in our family. You have absolutely no reason to feel even a pang of slight guilt. You got nothing to do with my death. Neither does Blake. It's life. Everything happens for a reason, I see it now, from the place where I found my piece, and I can tell you now. If anything I'm proud of in my short terrestrial life, full of missteps and foolish choices, it's Noah, and how this baby changed your world. And how you changed his. The thing you did for me, adopting Noah… I would never be able to thank you enough. I can do the one thing, though. Do you know why I brought you here? You recognize this place?''

''I think I do,'' Levine gasped, ''but why, Ronny?''

She quietly smiled at him with that same look his mom gazed at him when he was a child.

''Just follow me, cousin.''

They went in silence, hand in hand, walking deeper in the woods. Instinctively, Adam knew where they were heading, and this memory lane washed his chest with a wave of strongest feelings. After a while, they stood hiding in the backwoods, hearing some noise. There were voices. He knew them. He remembered. Then Adam saw them. It was indescribable.

 

There, in a small grove, right under an old Oak, stood two men. It was them. The younger version of him and Blake. They were holding their hands whispering the most important vowes in their lives. In awe, Adam saw how his younger self tenderly patted Blake's cheek grinning like a loon. Instantly he felt the joy he had been feeling that moment, years ago. How could he not remember how he felt, it was the day of their secret wedding. They've just officially legalized their relationship in LA and made joint custody over their two-year-old son. And the next day they'd traveled to Oklahoma visiting Blake's sister. Shelton decided to organize a surprise for Adam, by taking him to this sacred place he loved when he was a child. It was just the two of them, but for Adam, this secret ceremony meant the World.

''You know, this place has been my shelter ever since I was a kid.'' Blake cleared his throat, ''I came to this Oak when I had been scared or confused. My parents didn't quite understand my obsession with music. I was always afraid to disappoint my old man who wanted me to enrol in a Fire Academy following his footsteps, but in the end, I couldn't betray my true passion. I've come here, talked to this forest and I could share anything with it, not afraid of being judged. That is why I call it - the place of truth. Here I wrote my first songs, it was my inspirational temple.'' Blake shyly smirked. ''And now it's our place, my love. Because you have become my inspiration. You're my strength and home. I want us to swear that whatever troubles the life will throw at us, we remain honest with each other. I swear that I will always tell you the truth, sweetheart and for better or worse I remain by your side, my little faux-hican because I love you and our little son more than life. I love you so much, Adam.''

''And I promise that no matter what, I'll stay loyal and honest with you, Blake. I'll never be the same anymore. Just three years ago I thought I knew what I want from this life, but then you stormed my life like a hurricane, turning everything upside down. Call me insane, cowboy, but ever since I laid my eyes on our child, somehow I felt a connection with you. I knew I loved you, even before I met you, isn't that crazy?! You two are my everything, and I love you with all my heart.''

They kissed deep and tenderly, and then Blake gently pulled away, taking something out of his pocket.

''I know, we already have our rings, and yes, we hadn't got the chance to exchange 'em in Church, which is now I regret, but I've also got something else for ya.'' With all his affection, the tall man carefully put a silver necklace on Levine's neck. ''Plese, take this as a sign of my love and faithfulness. Let it be a reminder of how much you mean to me even if it happens that I'm far away from ya, darling. I've got the same one on me, see?'' The Oakie pulled his west aside, showing to Adam the identical jewel.

''Blake...'' Adam gasped and took his husband in the tightest embrace. Blake scooped the brunette's light body and started spinning laughing Adam above the ground.''

 

Adam from the future could just watch them and feel dizzy from the happiest memories of his life. He turned to Ronda and beamed through tears.

''I get it now. Thank you so much. For reminding me.''

''I'm happy to do so, Adam.'' She patted his shoulder. ''I know you're standing at the crossroad, cousin, but you've always been a fighter. So fight for your love. Stick to the truth and you'll win. You deserve to be happy more than anyone.''

''Ronda, are you real? If I'm dreaming this, how you...''

''Oh, I am very real, dear. I will always be right in here,'' she touched Adam's chest, '' never doubt that.

Adam wanted to say something else, but suddenly everything started spinning, and his cousin's silhouette became blurry. Then his dream was interrupted.

 

 

''Adam, can you hear me? Baby, wake up!''

Levine abruptly spiked at the bed in the sitting position. He automatically touched the silver necklace on his heavily breathing tattooed chest. Strange, but for a second it seemed like it was burning his skin. Adam turned to his right finding a very concerned Blake staring at him like Adam grew two heads.

''What happened?'' Levine asked, disoriented

''You've been crying in your sleep, darling. You got me scared as hell. Did ya have a nightmare?''

Adam's lips trembled and he enveloped Shelton's neck with his hands, leaning closer.

''Gosh, Adam, it's okay. It's just a bad dream. I'm here.'' Blake hugged his petite lover's body, tenderly patting his creamy skin.

''Actually, it was a good dream, Blake,'' Adam whispered, resting his head on his man's shoulder. ''One of the happiest memories of my life.''

''Then why'd you cried?''

''I saw Ronda, Blake.''

''Oh. Honey...''

Adam pulled away looking in those blue eyes.

''I saw her as I see you now. She was so real. And what's important, she helped me understand something.''

''And what's that, baby?''

''I think it's time for us to talk about yesterday. But babe, please. You have to promise that you won't interrupt, or freak out, or come to some conclusions before I'm done talking, okay?''

''Alright, but can you already spill what's got into ya yesterday?''

Adam let out a breath and started to talk.

***

Rene has been going through her papers when detective Jennifer Hudson entered her office at the bar.

''What's this nonsense?! Haven't you ever heard of knocking, detective?'' Stefani narrowed her eyes at the woman with a badge who was accompanied by the other two officers behind.

''I warned ya, doll. I'll get to the bottom of your little business sooner or later. Now, you better cut the act. Rene Stefani, you are under arrest for the drug trafficking at the chain of facilities you own.''

''That's outrageous! What basis is there for charging me?! I'm going to sue the bastard accused me of libel!''

''Not so fast.'' The detective hissed in a low voice, coming closer and eating Stefani with a sharp glance of her brown eyes. ''We ain't talk 'bout some reggo, doll. You see, I waste my time on scum like you instead of being at my nephew's birthday cause you got yourself in serious trouble selling some diesel like Capital H, is that so?''

''That's absurd! Well, I confess, we had a couple of cases finding some junkies in our toilets, but they could buy that stuff anywhere!''

''Oh, spare me! We've got solid evidence that has been already submitted for forensic examination. Now, guys,'' Hudson ordered, ''arrest this criminal and let's get done with that. And confiscate each piece of paper and electronic data from this place. Damn, my head is aching like a bitch and I still need to make the time to buy a present for my nephew.'' Detective complained, massaging her temple.

 

''You all will regret this!'' Rene yelled as they were handcuffing her.

 

As police were leading the blonde woman outside, she accidentally overheard the two waitresses she hated so much chatting in whispers. ''So, what do you think about Noah? Do you think the cops will be questioning our boy? In the end, it was him who heard every threat she threw at Adam.''

Miley and Carrie were standing having their backs to Rene, so noticed their arrested boss too late to shut their mouths in time.

 

So it was the BRAT! Rene couldn't believe it! After all, she underestimated that runt! The second she knew that it was this disgusting spawn who reported on her, she went mad. Rene didn't care how, but she vowed that she will make them all pay. Levine and his dearest little brat were the first in the line. They all will know how to cross her road.

***

''So, now you know. And I hope you agree with me, that we need to take time out.'' Adam, at last, tore his gaze from the bed sheets raising his head. He didn't dare to look at Blake while retelling the dialog with Rene.

Blake on his side couldn't believe what he just heard. His body was paralyzed from shock. How did it happen that he let the things with Rene to went so far?

''Time out? What... what are you saying?''

''You have to understand, I do that for you, for Noah. Blake, we once promised to each other - no lies. That is why I'm telling you the truth right now, risking everything, so you could understand. We gotta do as she demands. There's no other way!''

''THERE IS!'' Shelton exclaimed loudly, waking up from his shock and gripping Adam's shoulders. ''I will simply KILL her!''

''And will be locked for the murder, moron! Thanks, I'll go with the first option - drug selling!'' Adam hissed sarcastically

''Adam, you didn't believe her... I didn't do it, I swear!''

''Does it matter now?'' Adam tiredly asked

''It hell is! Adam, did you believe her or not?!''

Adam looked at him in silence and after a long pause, he pulled his lover in another embrace, whispering ''No. No, Blake, I didn't.''

''Gosh, Adam, you scared me here for a bit...''

''You idiot!'' Adam hit him lightly, pulling away, ''I'm telling you that a psycho bitch wants to accuse you in serious crime, and all you care is whether I believe in your innocence right now? Really, Shelton?!''

''It's you who's silly, baby. You are all that matters to me. And Rene can go to hell with her accusations! We'll figure something out, darling, but like hell I'm gonna give up on us once more. I won't do that mistake the second time! I won't refuse from you again!''

''Blake.'' Adam cut him off. ''You need to listen to me. You and I... we gotta go our own ways...''

''Adam!''

''No, Blake! It's not just about us! I... She made it clear! She'll put you in jail, and not just that! She implied that she's able to hire someone to hurt you, even KILL, Blake! I won't stand it, Blake, Noah either! Let his father be away, but ALIVE!''

''Do you hear yourself, Adam?! How is the absent father is better? Come on, we can't live in the same city and be far away from each other, love! We tried!''

''That is true. You know,'' Adam lowered his gaze, sensing how Blake's body tensed ''just yesterday I saw Elias. He proposed to visit Norway with him. Said that I could try to start over there. Don't you see a solution in it? I mean, it's not forever, but at least it'd be easier for both of us if we took some distance for a while.''

''Oh, don't tell me it's about him?! Is it? Adam, tell me honestly, do you feel something for that bastard?''

Adam sharply looked at Blake and then sighed.

''I love you, Blake. You are the love of my life if you still didn't figure it.''

''Okay, I am sorry, I didn't mean to ask it... It's just my stupid jealousy, baby. But if you don't love him, then why...''

''BECAUSE! Blake, if something happens to you... I can't even imagine that!''

Adam, at last, broke up in tears.

''Hey, shhh,'' Blake scooped his lover, comforting exhausted brunette. Maybe Adam's words made sense after all. Maybe it's for the best if Adam and Noah would leave the country for some time, while that crazy woman was around. Considering her threats she could be dangerous for Adam and their little son. Maybe it's wise to send them away, while he'd himself dealt with that possessed woman? How exactly Blake was going to deal with her, he didn't know yet, but for sure, at this point, he was ready for going very far to be with his family and punish the fucked-up bitch who tried to ruin his life once again. They sat there like forever, not able to keep their hands from each other, and Adam didn't exactly know, but somehow, he blacked out in Blake's strong arms from all the stress.

At some point, a thought came to Blake's mind. He stopped to lull the brunette, kissed Adam's temple and left their bed. The Okie got dressed up and found a card in Levine's wallet.

Quietly leaving the house, he sat in his pickup and glanced at the card one more time. It was his last hope. He dialed the number.

''Mr. Adil? It's Blake Shelton, yeah, right! How's your family? No, I just call... Listen, I've got serious business to discuss with you, and honestly, I don't know who else can help me, can we meet? Yeah, cool, I know this place, it's actually just over the street from my old apartment. Be there in thirty minutes. ''

***

Next time Adam woke up, Blake wasn't near. Levine jumped from the bed and ran downstairs.

''Daddy, where's papa?'' Noah asked rubbing his sleepy eyes.

''I... I don't know, little man.''

Dammit! Please, let him be not with Rene! Blake couldn't just go straight to her and make something stupid like confronting the crazy bitch, could he? Calculating the chances, Adam quickly ran up to his son.

''Okay, buddy, let's do this. I'll drop you at granny's for some time, cause I need to go after your papa, so please go upstairs and dress up as quick as you can, okay, champ?''

''Got it! But Daddy, I need to tell you something''

''Later, baby, okay?'' They both ran back to their rooms and Adam prayed that he would be able to find Blake sooner than the countryman would make the situation worse.

***

Blake parked his car and got out, hiding the keys in his denim jacket, when two men and a woman approached him.

''Blake Shelton?''

''That's me.'' The Oakie nodded

''L.A.P.D. I am detective Hudson. We'd quite given up on catching you by your rental apartment after the landlord said you moved back to your ex-husband, and yet here you are. Evidently, it's our lucky day. You need to come with us.

''Am I being arrested?''

''Depends on how much the truth you'll put in your testifies. Today's morning we arrested Rene Stefani. No need to deny that you know the owner of the bar where you work as a bartender and part-time singer. Though taking into an account her own words, we need to check, what kind of job she really made you do there.''

So, Rene was arrested. Hence, she probably tried to drug him with her. Well, whatever they'd tried to put at him, he was innocent, and he'll be damned if he didn't prove it.

''All right, I'll go, I have nothing to hide.'' The Oakie agreed.

''Wise choice,'' Hudson stated.

''What's going on here?'' All of a sudden a dark-haired man in the suit interrupt their conversation approaching them from the side. It was Mr. Adil. ''Blake, hello, I saw you through the cafe's window. Are there any troubles? Miss Hudson, what are you doing here?'' Of course, Mr. Adil, as the chief attorney immediately recognized one of the best detectives in LA.

''This man is a suspected in our case, sir. So, if you excuse us, we don't have much time.''

''Mr. Adil. This is exactly the case I wanted to talk about,'' Blake quickly told him, ''I am completely innocent and would do anything to prove it in court. But neither I or Adam have money for a good lawyer. This woman, Rene Stefani wants to ruin our family, that is why she's doing this! She does it to ruin my marriage!''

''Okay, Blake, hold on. Miss Hudson, why don't we go to your headquarters and sort everything out. I know this man and his family. My wife works at the school which his son attends. You won't make any accusations until he'll tell us his version of the story. Of course, in his lawyer's presence. Don't worry, Mr. Shelton, you'll get a diligent specialist.

''Thank you, Mr. Adil.''

''Will thank me later, after all, if you are innocent, we need to know the truth.''

''Then I'm ready to go.''

***

''What do you mean you let her GO?!''

While Mr. Adil questioned Blake in the presence of his defender, Jennifer Hudson decided to check on Rene Stefani. Imagine her rage once she knew that her idiotic lieutenant released the criminal.

Right now the young officer was hiding behind the folders, barricading himself from a furious detective.

''I couldn't do a thing, ma'am! Her lawyer came up with this paper signed by one of the Ministers. Apparently, she got some connections in the government. Someone posted bail and Miss Stefani provided her release under the guarantee of her place of residence.

''DAMN! I don't care if it was the Pope himself! She's mine person of interest!'' Jennifer Hudson yelled.

What she was supposed to do now? Enraged by the stupidity of the younger officer she started to pace thinking what's next. The district attorney Adil asked to have one on one with that Shelton guy and his lawyer before she'll testify him anyway. So she got nothing to do in the department right now. What a day! Throwing one more violent glare at the scared officer she stormed out from the common office.

***

Adam just dropped Noah at his mom's, when his phone rang. With trembling hands, he answered it, running from his Mrs. Levine's house, not noticing that he was being followed from afar.

''BLAKE?! Where in the hell are you?!''

''Adam, just don't freak out, baby, but... I'm at the police station.''

''YOU WHERE?!!"

''Okay, calm down! I was just going to talk to Mr. Adil when police officers came to me and ask to come with them.''

''No, why they... This couldn't be! Rene promised to give me time! SHE PROMISED!'' Adam repeated like a maniac, feeling like throwing up.

''Adam, didn't you get it? That woman is mental! You couldn't trust her words, sweetheart. Anyway, please, I'm asking ya, just try to stay calm. Breathe, or you'll get a panic attack. I'm alright so far, I told everything to the district attorney and he seemed to trust me, same as my lawyer. He's a total pro.''

''Total pro? Where in the hell you got one?''

''It's our common's friend generosity.''

Adam blessed Mr. Adil in his mind.

''Babe, I'm on my way! Just hold on!'' Levine rubbed his temple running to his Sorento.

''What about Noah? You didn't tell him, did you?''

''No, he's at mom's'' Adam replied, ''Okay, I'm in the car, just hang on, Blake.''

''Of course, love.''

Adam hung up and rushed to the L.A.P.D station.

***

Noah couldn't just sit and do nothing. He started to doubt whether his actions were right in the first place and what if he only messed all things up? He just needed to know what's going on with his dads. He waited until his granny took a nap and sneaked out of the house, fixing his backpack. Somehow it felt a bit heavier. Perhaps, he forgot to pull out some of his books from there. Anyway, the kid couldn't stay in the house and wait for news. He knew something happened to his papa and he needed to figure it out. That is why he decided to head to his papa's bar. Miley and Carrie were the only left who could help him.

Unfortunately, he never made it to the bus station, as Rene Stefani herself blocked his path, appearing out of nowhere. Noah gasped taken aback.

''Finally! What a perfect coincidence that you sneaked from the house. Couldn't wait for that old hag coming out with you, but the fact that I caught you alone is better. No extra witnesses, stupid runt.''

''What do you want?'' Noah frowned his bushy eyebrows. So much like his rotten daddy's, she thought

''You'll go with me now and quietly if you still want to see your parents alive.''

''What did you do to them, evil witch?!!''

''I said quietly!'' Rene hissed looking around. Her luck there were no people in the howl side-street she cornered the boy. ''Get in my car, we'll just have a ride to your daddy. I actually just want to talk to him, and if we all come to some agreement, I'll leave you be.''

''You won't steal my papa! I won't let you!'' Noah warned her, trying to look fearless

''I said get in the car, or one call and I'll make my people hurt your precious daddy. So, what are you gonna do, brat?'' She took out her phone with a clear threat in her eyes

''Please, don't do that! I'll go.'' The boy agreed

''Now we're taking. Move.''

She buckled the kid, throwing his backpack at the back seat and after looking around, went to the driver seat. Stefani started the engine looking at the child with a satisfied smirk. Levine will pay for stealing her man and ratting her to the cops. She too will now take the most precious thing from the skinny scum. She's got nothing to lose now, the police will look for her either way, so the sick woman decided if she'll be put in prison, at least she'll make them all pay for ruining her life.

 

Noah got goosebumps from her scary laugh but told himself to be brave for his dads.

His papa and daddy were mighty superheroes, and he didn't have the right to let them down like a little scared baby.

Chapter Text

''So, you're saying my husband staying here?! Can't you do something?!''

''Calm down, Mr. Levine,'' Blake's lawyer replied with a thick British accent. ''As the matter of fact, I heard the police department just got a rather strange call from the two absurd women, who insist they've got something that might help to my client's case. They already heading here and will be questioned by detective Hudson. Till then Mr. Shelton remains here. By the way, are you familiar with names Underwood and Cyrus? I believe that's how those women identified themselves.''

''Yeah, that the girls who work with Blake,'' Adam replied confused, ''but what they might have on...''

Then Levine's phone interrupted them. He excused himself and answered the call.

''Mom, I can't talk right now…'' Adam didn't understand what she was saying at first, because of her hiccups, but then she repeated it, and Adam's blood drained from his body. ''WHAT? How? When?! Mom, please, don't cry, can you specify? Did you check the house? Entirely? Have you called the cops then? Okay, stay there!'' Adam hung up and stared at the lawyer like he saw a ghost.

"Something happened, sir?'' The British middleaged man looked at the pale brunette with concern.

''My son…It's not true…'' The second after, Adam's body shuddered and the young man would fell if it weren't for the lawyer.

''MISTER!'' The lawyer exclaimed, supporting Levine, who seemed to feel dizzy. ''Hold on, sir, you need to sit down, I'll grab you a cup of water.''

''NO!'' Adam suddenly yelled, ''My son is missing! You don't understand, I need to find him!'' Levine pushed the lawyer away, 'tell my husband I had to leave!''

Adam stormed out, leaving a very perplexed man in the room alone.

***

''Where are we going?''

The boy was asking the same question for the umpteenth time pissing Rene off. Her sick obsession with Blake, mixed with rage and panic triggered all the hatred and darkness in her, so she acted as a woman possessed. At this point, her mind completely flipped out, so she pulled out a gun, threatening to a child.

''If you won't shut up, I'll shut you, annoying runt.''

It was enough for Noah to back off. He was scared now for real, they've been driving throughout LA moving on a highway that was leading out of the city. Wise beyond his years, Noah just now allowed a thought that the monstrous harpy could've tricked him. What if his parents are safe now, and she just kidnapped him? What was she planning? He carefully pulled out the phone Adam gifted him with a hope to reach his parents. All Noah was able to do during the seconds she looked away from the rearview mirror, is to press his daddy's emergency number and hide his phone under his lap. Although he positioned it in that way, so the mic still could record their conversation. Noah prayed the Lord, his daddy was okay and could pick up his phone.

***

Out of the purest luck, Adam was driving not too far away from the highway where Rene's car was moving.

Levine just disconnected with the police, after giving them Noah's phone number with a hope they could track him because he gave up on trying to call his son himself. There were long beeps, but no answer. After some time Adam's phone rang again, and Levine almost dropped it, when he saw Noah's name on the display

''NOAH! Where are you???!''

There was no answer following after, but instead, there came strange rustling on the line. Then, he could hear distant voices.

''I don't like your car, marsh green is a stupid color.''

It was his son talking!

''Excuse me?!'' Rene's voice almost made Adam squash his phone.

THAT FUCKING BITCH! Noah was with that woman! But how?! They said she was arrested! Did she escape? Now Adam was afraid to breathe. He didn't know whether his son dialed his number accidentally or not, but then his clever boy spilled the model and the color of Rene's S.U.V., as well as the highway sign with the mile point they currently were passing, confusing Rene as fuck. However, just right after, there came more rustling through the phone.

''What's that? Give it to me right now stupid runt! Oh, thought you're that smart?''

Her voice became clear and loud, and Adam could even hear her breathing now. Apparently, she found out Noah got the phone. There was no point to play charade anymore.

 

''Rene.'' Adam gritted his teeth, clutching the wheel. This woman just awoke the animal in him, cause the claws were out and Adam was gonna cutting throats for his cub like a wild beast. ''I don't know how you got away from the police, but if you harm one hair on my son's head, I swear to God, you'll know my wrath. And believe me, you don't want to know it, cause your worst nightmare will seem like a rainbow comparing to that. Now, here's the deal, you let my son go — and we'll end this, I'll make sure the cops won't follow you. All you have to do is leave my family alone for good. If not, you'll be begging for mercy once I'll get to you, I can promise you that.

 

''Well, look who we've got here.'' She snorted, ''Levine. Took you a while to call. Forgot you have a child? What kind of a parent you are? I get it, been busy to ratting me out to the law, right? And I thought we've got a deal. Oh, snap, thought I wouldn't know? You disappointed me beyond the limit. I warned you, you don't do as I say, you pay. Anyway, now your precious son is having someone who could take care of him. Cause I've made sure that his precious papa who had chosen the wrong side would be rotten in prison. And you will observe and suffer, cause I took everything you love. Does it hurt? To feel helpless, to be deprived of something important? How it feels to lose, tell me, failure?

''Look. I didn't do shit, okay! You called the cops on Blake first! I don't know who called the cops on you, it wasn't me! Rene, please, let's be reasonable. You don't want to hurt my baby boy, Noah is an innocent child, you want to hurt me! I beg you, let him go and you can have your revenge with me!''

''Don't play a shrink with me!'' She suddenly got angrier. ''If it wasn't you who called the cops, then it was your lil spawn all by himself, who loves eavesdropping so much. And nasty boys deserve bad karma.'' Then she laughed again, scaring Adam even more.

''Listen to me, if you don't let me talk to my son...''

''Sorry, the brat is not up to the link. Try to call later''

''Rene, I know where you are, I'm very close to you. If not me, the next highway patrol will stop you, there's no way to go. Release my son now, or I swear to God, you won't like my rage.'' Adam warned in a dangerous tone.

''Ohhh I'm about to pee my pants! You want the brat? Then go and take him. I dare you!''

 

She hung up and Adam swore speeding up. He was not that far from them. Adam drove like a madman, maneuvering in a fast stream of vehicles.

 

 

Very soon he finally caught up with Rene. There, in the distant front, he saw her car. Adam pressed on the accelerator harder, turning the next speed, but just when he was ready to swerve into oncoming traffic, trying to overtake another S.U.V, a giant truck got out of nowhere, racing directly at him.

''SHOOT!'' Adam rapidly turned the wheel coming back in the traffic.

Created noise and signals behind made Rene look back and spot Levine.

 

''Look who joined the party.'' She mused, glancing at the child behind, ''alright then, let's play a little with your daddy!''

Noah turned around, spotting his dad's grey Sorento right after them. The boy's heart raced immediately. ''Please, stop!'' He begged the woman.

''Shut up! And seat back straight, hands on your knees so I could see them, tricky runt.'' She forced him at gunpoint. ''One more stunt like that with your phone and you'll know my real fierce.''

 

Meanwhile, Adam tried to outrun two more cars separated him from Rene, but the ongoing traffic just won't let him do that. At one of the fork roads, Stefani noticed a highway patrol in front of her, which made her boldly jump on the different exchange that led to a suburban loop route. Levine sped up, but there was almost zero chance to repeat her move and sneak between the dense flow right after. Yet, Adam ferociously pressed the gas and boldly snuck through the gap between two cars, - white sport car and a red ford. The ford brushed up against his car's side, hitting it and making the brunette's body shook, but Adam never tore the gaze from the vehicle he chased. He fixed his eyes on the back of the kidnapper's car, blaming himself.

He shouldn't have left his son alone! He had vowed that he'd never leave his son's side, and yet here he was. Chasing the criminal who wanted to hurt their innocent boy. If something happens, he won't be able to look in Blake's eyes anymore. Hell, he wouldn't want to live then. It was like the collapse accident all over again, but worse. Now his son's captivator was a mad woman who was ready to do literally anything to his little baby. And that what made the rage and fury inside him overtook his panic. He was driving on the pure adrenaline. Eventually, his Sorento was able to line up with her Chevrolet. He opened his window and yelled at her

''PULL OVER! NOW!''

The next second, she rolled down her window as well, and Adam cursed. She got a fucking GUN, pointing at him.

Fuck!

''Go to hell!'' She pulled the trigger

''DON'T!'' Noah screamed, getting his seat belt off and grabbing her by the shoulder, but the shot rang out.

Thankfully, Adam sharply pressed the brakes, slowing down, and that made her miss. He drove back out, positioning Sorento right behind her Chevrolet once again.

 

''If you touch me one more time, stupid runt, I'll shoot off your head and throw your body under your daddy's wheels! Put back your belt on and don't move! NOW!''

Noah did as she ordered, trying to put his fear away, he must have come up with something to stop this mad witch, but she still had a gun!

 

"Crazy bitch!'' Adam swore, trying to figure of how to make her stop.

 

He was pursuing Rene, coping her erratic driving, cause now they were passing a curved road. Ahead to the north, Levine detected a bridge coming across the local canyon lake. That was not good. He knew this place. He must make her decrease her speed before she will reach the bridge! It was an old construction, too dangerous to move with such speed!
He grabbed his phone.

''Come on, pick the fucking phone!''

 

 

Noah's phone started to ring again. Rene hesitated at first but picked it up after all. This chase became an amusing game for her.

''Aren't you tired, pretty boy? You ain't gonna catch me.'' She laughed maniacally.

''Listen to me! You need to pull over! It's an unstable bridge, dammit! You are not gonna make it if you won't slow it down!''

''You wish!''

''I SAID PULL FUCKING OVER!" Adam's yelled at her, but apparently, the woman's mental condition reached the point where he could no more reasoning with her. She ended the call and threw it out of the window, pissing Adam off even more.

 

 

Rene made it to the bridge when Noah's eyes widened. The kid suddenly saw how something was crawling right up Rene's bare leg, as she was wearing the short skirt. At first, Noah couldn't believe it! It was his serpent, that judging by his unzipped backpack, somehow sneaked into it before he left the house. Noah froze and the moment later Rene lowered her gaze, feeling something on her skin. Once she noticed the snake she squealed at the top of her voice, severely steering the wheel out of terror. The snake instantly reacted by bitting her leg, making the blonde scream even more and squirming in a chaotic way. Despite the fact that the bite of this particular Pantherophis Guttatus wasn't toxic at all, it wasn't as painless as a needle pinch.

 

In horror, Adam witnessed how the Chevrolet in front of him started to do a zigzag motion, and then at all speed high, it flew off the road, breaking the bridge's wooden barrier and fell into the water.

 

 

''NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!'' Adam screamed.

 

 

Levine saw the car's flip like in slow motion, and then there came a splash that stopped his heart. Losing his mind, Adam got out of his own vehicle abandoned not far from the bridge. Without thinking twice, the brunette jumped from the wooden construction right after the drowning car.

Firstly, he couldn't detect the car cause it was extremely dark under the troubled water, but once he did, Adam swam to the drowning Chevrolet as fast as he could.

Reaching the car, the man pulled the doorknob but it wasn't working, the car was closed from the inside. Adam hit the window out of frustration. He couldn't break it just like that. Levine leaned closely against the glass, trying to detect his son's silhouette. His heart dropped when he saw that Noah was buckled and unconscious. Instantly, he remembered that Rene's window must be opened, as she tried to shoot him. Adam quickly swam to the driver's door and luckily reached inside and unlocked the damned doors. First of all, he rushed to his son, unbuckled the boy, and pulled him out, ascending up. The second they were out of the water, Adam greedily inhaled the air, shaking his head and blinking from all the wetness. His son still was unconscious, but Adam refused to think he's gone. They just need to get to the shore, and his baby boy will wake up. Just a bit more.

Making it to the landfall, Adam carefully laid his child on the muddy ground and placed his ear next to Noah's mouth and checked his neck with fingers. The boy didn't breathe but still got a weak pulse.

''Come on, honey, don't do this.'' Adam bound his palms at the kid's nipple line and started rhythmic chest compressions. Come on. Come on. Please. Adam counted seconds for not losing his mind completely. The pushes didn't work and Adam felt like giving up to the panic attack. But he collected his guts and pinched Noah's tiny nose. He refused to stop. His boy will make it, dammit! Adam leaned and covered the child's mouth with his, sharing breathes with him over and over again. When he was ready to start pressing the boy's chest again, Noah suddenly started to cough, spitting water all around.

''Noah!'' Adam carefully supported him by the back, ''it's alright, baby, it's alright, you're breathing, oh God, you're breathing! Shhh, it's gonna be okay...''

''Daddy! I was so scared for you! You saved me like a superhero.'' Noah mumbled still not feeling entirely well.

''Shhh, just lay down, buddy, I need to get back''

''Dad, where are you going?!'' Noah weakly grabbed him by the wrist

''Just rest for a bit, I'll be back soon, I promise you that, okay?''

Noah nodded and laid back, closing his eyes tiredly

''Outta boy,'' Adam kissed him and raced back and dived in the lake like a pro swimmer.

 

Adam Levine wasn't Saint and he hated the blonde woman with all his guts, but even that won't permit him to let that crazy woman die just like that. She will live and face justice. He swam back to the car, pulled her body and headed back. Rene was heavier than Noah, and her head was bleeding, apparently from hitting the wheel, but Adam stubbornly kept to work his muscles. Completely exhausted, he set her body near to Noah and checked her as well. She was breathing, and her pulse was okay, so he ran back to his car, where he left his phone. Grabbing his device and the woolen sweater, Levine hurried to his trembling son and wrap the brunette baby in the warm piece of clothes. After doing so, Adam called 911 and reported his location.

Rene coughed and groaned, dragging Adam's attention, but still laid without moving though. The temptation to punish the bitch who almost killed his little angel was so big, but he didn't let his fury to overwhelm him completely. Though the thought of strangling her came across his mind. But Adam wasn't a murderer. It was enough drama for the day anyway. In the end, the brunette was just happy with Universe, that his son was alive. This time Levine won't let this woman run from justice once again. Drug selling, and now kidnapping? He'll make sure that she'll get what deserves.

''Daddy, what about you? You gonna catch a cold," Noah asked concerned, now fully awake sitting on the ground in Adam's hideous sweater.

''It's gonna be okay, buddy. I'm a tough guy,'' Adam scooped his boy from the ground, kissing his cheeks. Noah leaned on Adam, resting his head on his parent's shoulder, and Adam felt alive again. He was sure, somewhere from above Ronda still watches over them like a guardian angel. Suddenly, Noah lifted his head and called Adam.

''Dad, look! Over there!''

Adam turned around and they both stared at the lazily moving snake that just crawled out of the water.

''Buddy, isn't it…''

 

''Mr. Charlie! He was with me when that lady asked me to come with her. Daddy, I was so scared, she threatened that she'll hurt you if I'm not coming. And then, when we were passing the bridge, Mr. Charlie got out of my backpack and bitten her by the leg. I've no idea how he ended up there, but it saved me! You both did!''

''Wow.'' Adam gasped, staring at the serpent.

 

There was something divine about this creature. As they say, what goes around, comes around. Noah once saved the little snake from the cruel kids in school who were torturing the poor thing. And now it returned the favor to its little savior.

''Let's get Mr. Charlie in the car then,'' Adam suggested, ''I don't think I have anything like the fitting box in there though...''

 

''Actually,'' Noah thought, ''I think it is the time for Mr. Charlie to be free. He indeed grew up too much for our house and proved that he has an independent spirit. Plus, he healed a long time ago. I guess I was delaying Mr. Charlie's liberation cause I love Mr. Charlie too much. And I'll miss our time together.''

''What a wise words from you, young man.'' Adam beamed with pride, leaning to his son, brushing their noses.

At last, the sirens came, acknowledging the police and medics arriving.

''Dad, what happened to papa?''

Adam sighed.

''I'll tell you everything on our way back, okay?''

Noah nodded, and they went to meet the rescue team.

Chapter Text

''Papa!''

''Oh my God!'' Blake fell on his knees in front of their son right in the hall of the L.A.P.D. station. He kissed him, lifting the exciting child up. Then he spotted Adam and shortened the distance, making the three of them hug tightly. ''I was going mad when my lawyer said what happened, but they wouldn't let me go. Gosh, dang it, I was so afraid for you two, but couldn't do crap!''

''You said 'crap' papa!'' Noah giggled, making his parents laugh

''Thank God y'all alright. When they told me, that Noah almost drowned…''

 

''We are all right, babe. Now, when all ended, everything is gonna be okay, cause we are an unbreakable team.'' Adam smiled, kissing his beloved countryman.

''Damn right'' Blake smiled back through the kiss and whispered to Adam's ear, - ''I knew what you did at the lake, Adam. The cops told that too. You literally gave our son a new life literally by breathing it in him. You're as good as his biological dad.''

Adam teared up on that and kissed him one more time.

''Eww, you two are gross.'' Noah giggled, observing his parents' silly behavior.

''By the way, how that happened that you are released so quickly?'' Adam asked, ''Noah and I just got the time to go home, change our clothes before coming back here. Not that I complain, though,'' he added seeing Blake's raised eyebrow

 

''Well, you see…''

 

''It's all thanks to my gorgeous boyfriend!'' A loud cheerful voice came from behind. Adam, Blake, and Noah turned around to see Miley, Carrie, Liam and Mr. Adil approaching them.

''What's up guys!'' Adam greeted their friends. ''Mr. Adil, I couldn't thank you enough for helping with Blake's case.

''Oh, no need to thank me. I'm not a lawyer after all. I just pursue justice, as well as miss Hudson. And wouldn't let the innocent man go to jail. And the rest did the defense counsel. Speaking of whom, if you excuse me, Blake's lawyer and I need to discuss the details concerning these young people,'' the district attorney pointed at Cyrus, Underwood, and Hemsworth, ''and the methods they used to expose the criminal and obtain the evidence of Blake's innocence. It was them who called the cops on her. Don't worry, Shelton. After all, I owe you with the life of my child and wife, and in this particular case, I can be more flexible towards your friends than, let's say, Miss Hudson. And do not worry about her either. She'll be busy building the case against Rene Stefani anyway, to care about you too. But you all have to promise, no more unauthorized moves in the future. Hear me? All of you.

They all nodded like scolded children.

Mr. Adil shook Adam's hand one more time and went away.

''Phew. That was close.'' Miley grinned, satisfied with the outcome

''What did he mean by unauthorized methods?'' Adam looked at the gang suspiciously.

''Let's say, Liam, hacked Rene's computer, and due to that info, found a guy who supervised all Stefani's dealers.'' Carrie started.

''That's right, we didn't know what exactly we were looking for, but then we just got lucky! My muffin found a very valuable dirty oppo on that dude, that came in very handy when we confronted him. See, that compromising data were affecting his marriage, so the douche was ready to surrender and confirm that Blake Shelton never was one of the dealers and had never sold anything for Rene Stefani. The guy was ready to spend just a couple of years in jail but to keep his wife. It's amazing what a man can do for love.'' Miley sighed dramatically.

 

''Wow. Just wow.'' Adam was literally speechless. ''To say I'm impressed is an understatement. I guess I owe you, Hemsworth,'' the brunette shook the younger man's hand. Blake did the same.

''Ta'' Liam smirked, '' I heard many things about your family, so couldn't stay away. Miley's mate - my mate too. Not that the whole operation was so much of a big deal anyway.

''Yeah, sure, even that security guy's seduction. You seemed so natural making goo-goo eyes at him, Hemsworth'' Underwood coughed.

Liam looked at her with a death glare, and the rest just laughed hearing the incredible story of the whole operation in details.

After a while, they all said their goodbyes and everyone went back to homes.

***

Several weeks went by.

Blake left the bar after another performance. He just ditched one important call from a serious producer, but he's got another, more important thing on his mind.

A tiny box under his jacket has been warming up his chest, right near the heart. Today was the day. The day when he finally will propose to Adam again and reunite with the man he loved more than life to be with him forever. He even had talked to a priest. Though, perhaps it wasn't a wise move, to arrange things with the priest this early? What if Adam says 'no'? Well, of course, they finally untied a bundle of obstacles and there was no more ambiguity between them. But still. He made Adam go through some serious shit, first with addiction, then with Rene. When he heard that she was trying to shoot Adam, he was glad that she was locked up at the detention facility, cause otherwise, they might lock the Oakie too for Lynching and that would mess his wedding plans. Now, Blake was even more relieved to know that the cuckoo woman who almost killed his husband and son was transferred to a different state and locked in an asylum at the other end of the country.

But still, there was always a chance that something might go wrong. Even without a third person.

 

''Man up, old bastard,'' Blake ordered to himself. ''You got out of the pit hole, remain sober, and this handsome man had already said 'yes' once to you. Everything will go smooth.'' Or at least Shelton hoped so. When Blake sat in his pickup, his phone rang. Unexpectedly, it was the call from Mrs. Levine.

 

''Hey, Mama Levine. How are you doin'?'' Blake greeted her cheerfully. He adored that lady.

 

''Hi, son! I wish to say the morning started great, but then I found out that you decided to escape on another continent without letting me know! And when exactly did you think to enlight me?! I know, Adam and you want to make up for all the lost time apart, but Norway?! Really?! And what about Noah?! You could've let me know earlier, so I could take a vacation from my classes and babysit my grandchild!''

 

''Another continent? Norway? What are you talking about? Where all that came from?'' Blake asked confused as hell

''You lost me, honey! I'm telling that Adam visited me today and forgot his phone. Twenty minutes ago they called him from some airway company to confirm that Adam bought two tickets to Norway, the flight is tonight... Blake...'' she stopped unsure, '' you didn't know it? What's going on, son?''

 

''Mama, can I call you back later, okay?''

 

The Oakie dropped his phone and started the car immediately. Adam couldn't…

Why? Was he running away with Elias? Was the second ticket for Noah? Was Adam capable to run away just like that? Without even telling Blake? Took their boy to another continent? No, no, no...

 

Blake never drove as fast in his whole life as that evening.

 

 

Parking his pickup, he spotted Noah playing at the porch with a ball. At least the Oakie made it while they were home. Blake felt the instant relief.

''Papa!''

''Noah, where's daddy?''

''Inside. Packing, I guess,'' the boy replied confused.

Blake paled and stormed in the house, running upstairs. He opened the bedroom door wide, breathing hard and sweating like a pig. His heart skipped a bit. Adam indeed was packing a bag. The younger man turned around noticing Blake's sudden return.

The Oakie ran up to his beloved and fell on his knees, wrapping his arms around Adam's legs

''Blake, what are you doing?'' Adam asked quite in shock, raising his bushy eyebrows.

''Please don't do it. Adam, I love you, I swear I'll be good to you, but please don't leave me. Don't ever leave me! You can't do this to us. To our boy. You are the love of my life, hadn't I told you that enough? I will, if you want, I will say it every day, every minute. Please, I can't breathe without you, you're my soul, my heart, my everything. Adam, not only I love you for your heart of gold and the way you support me, but I also love how you drive me nuts, having the guts to confront me and wiping all the shit out of my head when I do something wrong. That means you care. Every time we fight, you prove that you want me to be a better man. And for that, I love you dearly. Here.'' Blake put out the box with a ring, showing it to Adam. ''I know, we've sort of been going through hell lately, and I know, mostly because of me, but baby, I wouldn't trade any minute of my life that I know you. I swear I'll be the most caring spouse and make up for all the rough crap I put you trough. Please, give me another chance, give us another chance...''

 

''Blake''

 

''I know, Elias promised to introduce you to some serious labels, but you don't have to leave LA to achieve your dreams. I always believed in your talent and I'm sorry for not noticing that you still miss your craft. You gave up on your dream raising up our son, letting me be the one who could realize his ambitions. But Adam, you have to know, that I don't need all that, if you say yes, I am ready to be the one who stays home, cooks the dinner and cleans the house!''

 

''Blake''

 

''I know you've been secretly writing songs, you never quit on writing, did you? I saw you doing so just the last night when you thought I was sleeping. Darling, I swear I let you start your own band as you once was dreaming when we just met. I mean, Jesse is back in LA now and he would be definitely on board with it! Baby, just recently I was approached by one producer, his name - Adam Blackstone, I didn't tell you, cause I said no to him when he offered me a deal. After all that happened, I realized that playing the music I love, I mean real country stuff at the bar is enough for me to be a happy artist. Because what really makes me happy is you. And you're all I need. Sorry, all I wanted to say if that Blackstone guy could only hear your outstanding voice...''

''BLAKE!''

 

''What?!'' Blake suddenly was awoken from his insane tirade

 

''Are you... proposing?'' Adam asked

 

''Ummm. Kinda?!''

 

Only now Blake acknowledged the tears in those mesmerizing hazel eyes.

 

''Come here you fucking stupid bumpkin!'' Adam pulled him from the floor and jumped at the taller man with the deepest loving kiss ever. Noah was heading to his parent's room to ask permission to go to his friend's, Nijah's Adil, birthday party tomorrow, but when he witnessed his parents all over each other, the kid rolled his eyes. Those adults. Forget to close their doors all the time. He politely did it for them and went to his own room to play video games. When papa kissed daddy, they usually forget to count the time he spent behind the gaming console. Perfect!

 

Once they pulled away from each other, Adam was grinning like a loon, feeling high from the things Blake's tongue did to his mouth.

 

''I don't get tho,'' Shelton asked, frowning his eyebrows. ''Is that a yes?''

''You're an idiot, Shelton!'' Adam laughed wrapping his arms around Blake's neck

''But what about Elias?''

''Elias who?'' Apparently, Adam was still intoxicated with their kiss. ''Oh Elias!'' Adam brightened, - ''Good guy. What about him?''

Is that a joke?! Now Blake was lost.

''Adam, I'm talking about the tickets to Norway! Today's flight! Hello, Earth to Adam?''

''What tickets? What flight?'' Adam finally seemed like waking up

''You mom called and said that some manager from the air company called to remind you about registration for the flight to Norway, which is TODAY!''

''Norway? Wait a sec... Oh. OH!''

Now Adam started to laugh like lunatic and that troubled Blake. He started afraid for his beloved's brunette mental condition. At last, wiping his tears from a good laugh, Adam spoke

''I ordered them the evening when Rene cornered me and threw that ultimatum. I didn't know what to do unless remembered the talk with Elias that same day. And then it seemed like a solution. I even told you the day after that I considered that option. I knew we couldn't be able to stay away from each other and not looking for a chance to see each other, so out of pure impulse and panic, I booked them. Yes it was childish, but I left a gap before the flight for several weeks, so I could get everything in order before leaving the country, quitting the job, etc. And then that madness happened with Rene and Noah's kidnapping and I completely forgot about damned tickets, can you imagine?''

''So you are not leaving? But why are you packing?'' The Oakie couldn't catch the point.

''Blake. It's my gym bag. I got yoga classes today, you dimwit.'' Adam snorted

''You got yoga clas... OH! Baby!'' Blake lifted the brunette like a feather and started to spin him around the room and kiss again and again.

Soon their tender kisses became filthier and hotter, and their bodies relocated on their enormous bed. Thanks to Adam's rhythmic movement with which he rubbed his ass against Blake's groin, the Oakie became painfully hard in no time.

''Adam, but what about your work?''

''Are you really care about that right NOW?'' Adam glared at him, and then added, ''groom?''

''Straight to the point, groom.'' Blake lazily smiled at him, possessively squashing Adam's buttcheeks with his grabby hands. He was so gonna die from Adam hotness. He leaked Adam's neck when the younger man pulled away, meeting his eyes.

''Although, on second thought,'' Adam pretended to rethink,'' maybe we should wait till the wedding? You know, I'm not that kind of girl...''

''WHAT?!'' Blake exclaimed bewildered. ''Baby, but...you wanna marry a living partner, right? Cause if we stop now, I'm not sure I can survive it''

Adam laughed hard and kissed his nose

''Relax, cowboy. Kidding!''

''Such a tease! Come here!''

Blake pinned Adam under him, covering the brunette with his body, and continued to torture his neck and chest possessively living his marks. His right hand was massaging Adam's length through the pants in the sweetest torture, while Levine was scratching his spine. Blue eyes eagerly ate his astonishing lover. It never ceases to amaze Shelton how he won over this man with such outstanding looks and the heart of gold.

Adam panted and cried, cheeks flushed from the desire and need. Blake, encouraged by the sweet plea in Adam's moans decided to go on. They quickly got rid of the rest of the clothes, and the Oakie started to prep him. Adam's hole, fortunately, was still a bit loose from their last night fucking, so it took them less time. Blake easily took his fingers further inside Adam, massaging his prostate so deliciously good, so all Adam could do is to throw his head back and call the Oakie's name again and again almost soundlessly cause he hadn't forgot that they aren't alone in the house. Levine's entire nervous system sang from the incredible sensations that his lover's skillful hands were giving to him.

''Babe... I won't last, please...'' Adam begged in a whisper

''Shhh, gonna give you what you need.'' With that, Blake, at last, replaced his fingers with his dick, making Adam see the stars.

''Oh my...'' Adam cried covering his own mouth with a palm, pure lust radiated from his hazel eyes.

Shelton obediently did as his man prayed and started thrusting at a quick pace, making Adam rock his hips back in the same rhythm. The passionate erratic dance of their sweaty bodies drove them both completely mad. Blake stroked his lover's lean hips, leaving his fingertips on the smooth white skin. Having this delicate, yet strong and independent creature giving himself with such passion made Shelton feel like the king of the world.

''I love you. I love you so darn much, my little faux-hican'' Blake confessed over and over again between thrusts and wet kisses.

''Ahh... love you too, Big Country,'' Adam breathed out, leaning closer, embracing the bigger man tighter.

They both came almost at the same time, wasted and satisfied from the ecstatic pleasure they shared with each other. Blake, still intoxicated by his lover's scent hid his nose in Adam's sweaty crook and inhaled that mindblowing fragrance that only Levine had. His length was still inside the brunette, which caused Adam shivers and additional bliss in his afterglow.

They laid just like that for a long moment, afraid to disturb this moment with unnecessary words, just enjoying their heartbeats and the bond that has connected their souls, perhaps even since another life.

***

Adam felt like throwing up.

''Damn, dude, relax. You look like you're about to jump from the skyscraper and not to marry.'' Jesse scolded him, fixing the brunette's tie, while they were sitting in the limo parked in front of the church.

''I'm not sure which option is scarier anymore, bro.''

''Come one, Ad! You ARE marrying your ex-husband! You've done this before!''

''And yet, I feel like a virgin, Jess, can you believe it?!'' Adam gulped, laughing nervously, ''even despite last night Blake and I...''

''Oh, spare me!'' Jesse wrinkled his nose, pushing his shoulder lightly. ''Look, you look superb in this sweet suit! Gonna blast everyone out there, starting with your giant guy. Now, take a deep breath in and breath out. Yo go to your man and just say 'yes'. What could possibly go wrong?''

''Oh, that is debatable. I could give you a million...''

''Okay, hush! That's enough'' Jesse commanded.

The next second Noah opened the door of the limo and cheerfully jumped in beside his parent.

''Dad! It's time! We gonna be late!'' Adam's mini version in his cute little tuxedo was going to carry the rings before his daddy, so he was pumped like no one with an entrusted honor and was dying to get down to business as soon as possible.

''Oh God, my legs are numb,'' Adam mumbled, ''does someone has a plastic bag to breathe into?''

''Then it's time to move them!'' Jesse chuckled and pushed the groom out of the auto under the child's laugh.

 

Inside the Church, Blake was pulling his tie for the umpteenth time making Carrie, the maid of honor groan in irritation.

''Can you keep your hands to yourself please! If you'll destroy the look I created for the wedding picture, I'm gonna kick your ass,'' the Oakie gal threatened.

''Damn it, sis, it's just... why are they late? What if something happened?! Adam can't back out, can he? Oh God, what if he changed his mind?!''

''Darn it, you're impossible, I swear!'' Underwood rolled her eyes.

''Hey, old man, don't worry,'' Miley approached them leading Liam by the hand. ''If Adam won't show up, we all get back to the bar and get drunk and will dance till morning. Except for you, Shelton, of course!''Cyrus joked

''Common, babe, don't press it! Can't you see, the man is a bundle of nerves,'' her boyfriend defended Blake

''Thanks, Hemsworth.'' The Oakie nodded, glaring at Miley.

A second later Jesse took up his position of the best man and finally announced that the second groom is here. Blake instantly turned to the entrance and the doors finally opened.

 

There He was. Beautiful as never before. For a second Blake couldn't see anyone except his stunning brunette in a sharp tuxedo. His heart dropped at the gorgeous sight of this man. Then the man of his dream slowly started walking down the aisle, led by Blake's father. Another beautiful miracle that happened before their wedding. Endy out of her stubbornness finally reconciled Blake with their parents. After all that their family had gone through, Mr. and Mrs. Shelton at last reached for their son and grandson, accepting Adam as a new family member as well.

Noah was beaming leading the whole procession, his chin proudly up, and a pair of golden rings shone on the silver platter he carried.

Blake's blue teary eyes were locked with Adam's hazel, wet as well as Shelton's, the whole path. Lastly, the long-awaited brunette stood by his side, and Blake finally took his little hand in his, and the ceremony started.

For a second Adam got lost in the flashbacks, recalling the long road that had been leading them to this day. The first time they met, first time Adam realized, that his heart starts to beat faster when he sees or hears Blake, the first time they accidentally touched their hands, the first time they kissed and the first time they made love to each other. And of course, none of that wouldn't happen if not for their little boy. Noah was the little angel who was sent to bind their hearts forever.

The voice of the priest, at last, asked him the most important question, and Levine turned to Blake, who looked at him with hope and expectation in his blue eyes. Adam winked and said

 

''I do.''

 

Blake grinned like the happiest bastard on planet Earth, showing his dimples, and with a priest's blessing pulled the brunette closer and connected their lips, sealing the infinite love they shared. Everyone started applauding, but Adam couldn't hear it. All he could hear is the voice of love that sang in his heart.

 

 

 

Later, when they danced in the hall room they rent for their wedding, Blake decided once again to talk with Adam about something that still bothered him.

''Hey, hubby''

''Mmm?'' Adam mumbled, not opening his eyes and leaning to Blake's chest as they were slowly moving to the rhythm of their first dance.

''I just wondered if you have called to Mr. Blackstone.''

Adam raised his head, looking at him right in the eyes.

''Babe, don't start it. I told you, I don't need it. If someone needs to take his offer it's you.'' Adam pecked his lips and brushed their cheeks, enjoying the scruffiness of Blake's chin.

''But Adam, don't you want to try? For me? You could just send him your notes...''

''Blake. Stop it. It was always your dream to make a name in music. All I ever wanted - is to be by your side. I know, you want that too, but I'm totally okay if you start to work with this guy. In fact, if you won't send him your CD, I'll do it myself, I warn you, Sasquatch.''

Blake looked at Adam with a strange look and then kissed Adam once again.

''CD! Of course, I'll send him the CD, I promise.''

''Good boy. Now, how about we sneak from all these people in a more quiet place? You think they notice?''

''Well, at least the part of the guests from my side are all drunk by now, so the relatives from Oklahoma wouldn't mind for sure.''

''Perfect. Then take me away from here.'' Adam whispered in a husky voice, provocatively biting his sinful lips.

''As you wish, my love.'' He lifted Adam, bridal style and steal him in their mutual happy future.

EPILOGUE

The thirteen-year-old boy stood at the private airport squinting from the LA bright sun. His father held a tiny toddler, who curiously was looking around, widening her hazel eyes and observing the huge birds made of steel.

''Dad, aren't they supposed to be here by now?'' Noah asked in his transformed teenage voice.

''Patience, buddy. Their manager warned that the plane was delayed cause of some technical stuff.'' Blake replied, setting the girl with curly light-brown hair a bit more comfortable on his chest. She looked even smaller in his giant arms.

''There!'' Noah suddenly yelled pointing at the landing plane.

Blake fixed his cap and smiled. His hair became grayer, the face acquired more wrinkles, but his pulse still fastened with the same excitement at the thought that he was about to see his husband whom he was missing like crazy, while Adam was on his international tour.

At long last, the aircraft's door opened and a familiar figure in the leather jacket with a road bag and a guitar behind his back showed up.

Noah ran to Adam, who took off his dark sunglasses and harried to embrace the kid.

Levine threw his bag on the ground and hugged his boy, who grew even taller, while he was away. Evidently, took it from Blake. Adam ruffled the teen's hair and happily checked his freckled-faced boy. Then they both approached Shelton and Blake passed to the rocker their two-year-old daughter.

''Stieve! Oh my God, how I missed my little princess.'' Adam closed his eyes and held her closer to his heart. She was another best decision in their lives. Adam always wanted a girl, so they had decided to find a birth mother through a private clinic, mix their semen and let the destiny decide this time. That's how their little family became bigger. Noah was thrilled with his little sister, as well as his parents.

''Dada!'' The girl happily giggled definitely recognizing her parent.

Blake couldn't help shedding a tear on the sight.

Then Adam stepped closer to his husband and kissed him stupid. Blake pulled him by the waist and Noah just groaned at such affection display, but still ran up to them and joined their group hug.

''Darling, why don't you take your daddy's bag and put it in the car. He must be tired of jet lag.'' Blake winked at the boy.

''Sure!'' Noah hugged Adam once again and did as he was asked.

''We missed you like crazy, rockstar'' Blake confessed

''Yeah? And whose that brilliant idea was to replace his CD with mine and send it to Adam Blackstone, making me the world-wide known singer, hm? Now deal with the outcome, bumpkin.''

''Well, I promised you that I'd send the CD, but never specify, whose it would be. And you must agree, it was hella awesome idea. I still got the contract nevertheless, we both became famous anyway. But the most satisfying part, - I made you get rid of that horrible job when you worked as a yoga coach. No more attractive jocks sneaking around and trying to hit on ya, pretty boy.''

''Aha. That was your devilish plan, cowboy?'' Adam snorted, lulling the sleepy toddler in his arms. ''You did everything so I could no more be around sweaty hunks, is that so? And what about an army of fans who are after me now, genius?''

''But at least now you are separated from people by the stage. And your band have tonnes of security. To my relief.''

''You are possessive bastard.'' Adam cheekily grinned.

''Can't blame me for real,'' Blake pulled him again, grabbing by the butt.

''Yo! Hold your horses, cowboy! At least wait for getting to our bedroom.''

''Can't. Missed you so darn much, baby.''

''Me too, love. But hey. I got good news. Starting with the next tour, Maroon 5 decided to take our families with us on the road, what do ya say?

''No joking?''

''Like at all. You see, Jesse got the kid too now, and I miss you so fuc...'' Adam glanced at the toddler in his arms, ''freaking much! So we decided, what the hell?''

''Adam! That's awesome!''

The prospect of being altogether during his husband's tours just skyrocketed Blake's mood. Shelton suddenly thought that needed to come to his own manager with the same request.

''Let's go announce it to Noah?''

''Oh, I bet he'll be beyond the moon.''

Blake grabbed Adams guitar, took the brunette by the hand, and they went to the car where their son waited for them. Adam loved to return home, especially when he was welcomed by the most important people in his life.

They couldn't dream for the more perfect happy ever after.

 

No matter what, they remain.