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take this sinking boat

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Kris is actually pretty impressed they make it as far as they do.

It starts with the tour, then the move to LA to make the album (only temporary, Kris tells her, even though they both know that Kris isn't long for small town life). They make it through album press, and a totally trumped-up scandal involving photoshopped pictures, and his first headlining tour. They make it nine years (together), or almost three (of marriage), or nearly two (post-Idol), but eventually Katy misses Conway and hates California and hates touring, and their fights become so routine that Kris barely registers them anymore. She stays in Arkansas when he goes on his second tour - Decorating the new house, he tells the press. Spending time with her grandmother. It's all true, but it's also true that the house was bought as a last-ditch effort to keep them together, and somewhere along the way it became a parting gift from Kris to the only girl he's ever loved - a glaring, angry signpost at the crossroads of both of their lives.

Kris hasn't been back to the Conway house since he got off tour a month ago. His divorce papers are delivered to the suite he's living in at the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood, a stone's throw from Adam's new place in the canyon. He drinks a hundred dollars worth of tequila from the minibar before he calls for a car. He takes the papers with him, tucked in his messenger bag. It's perverse, he knows, but he doesn't want to be away from them. It's proof, he thinks. Irrefutable proof that he can fuck up as badly as anyone, that life is unfair and messy and he's finally going to disappoint a whole lot of people - his family, his fans, his management.

It's kind of liberating.

There are a handful of cars in the driveway when the towncar drops him off - Kris frowns at the unfamiliar sedan parked behind Adam's Lexus. He should have called first, but he didn't know how to say Hey, man, it's me, I'm coming over to drown my sorrows in your best scotch. Adam knew it was coming before Kris did, he's pretty sure. He's been fielding questions about Katy for months, stoically enduring concerned looks whenever he and Adam were alone together. It wasn't often anymore - mostly they were crammed in the back of a limo surrounded by handlers, or eating in restaurants with people from 19E, with Drake (or Nate, or Stephen, or whichever boyfriend Adam was sporting that month), or with Katy. Adam's never asked him outright if he and Katy were in trouble, which is Adam's MO; he opens the door and waits to see if Kris will walk in. It started at the mansion two years ago, when Adam opened his makeup bag and laid the contents out on the counter of their shared bathroom, foundations and nail polish and glitter and hair products with French names. "You okay with this?" he'd asked, and the question was weighted so Kris could come down on either side. "Man, your hair is going to kick my hair's ass," had been Kris's easy reply, and Adam's grin sealed their friendship right there.

They didn't talk about it. They didn't need to.

There's a crash from the back patio, and Kris can hear Adam's loud bark of a laugh. He rings the bell and it takes a full minute for Adam to answer it, breathless and smiling, wearing a soft grey t-shirt with a shiny scroll design printed along the front. The worn jeans Adam always wears when he's relaxing at home are sliding dangerously low on his hips. ("Dude jeans," he calls them with a wink. "Frat boy jeans.") His smile widens when he sees Kris, and he tugs him into a hug with one big hand. "What the fuck?" he laughs into Kris's hair, "I was just talking about you, and here you are! Come on, I have some people out back."

Kris doesn't ask what Adam was saying about him; he can guess from two years of friendship that it was either a scathing dissection of Kris's wardrobe or a fierce defense of his hetero-normative lifestyle. Adam's friends are pretty predictable in their conversational choices. He doesn't get a word in before Adam's got his hand, dragging him to the patio with its small, perfect pool surrounded by small, perfect men. His head is still swimming from the tequila, and his bag feels heavy against his shoulder, the thick manila envelope pressing against his palm when he folds his hand over it. He's not sure why he's here, but Adam's talking a mile a minute - about the new crop of Idol contestants, about Simon Fuller's death grip on Kris's career, about the new kitchen island he wants to put in - and it's nice. Familiar. He lets Adam steer him to a lawn chair and put a drink in his hand, lets the conversation around the pool wash over him.

He's had three more drinks before Adam plops in a chair next to him and nudges him in the leg with his bare foot. "You're quiet," he says with a small smile. Kris lolls his head back on the seat. He's heavy everywhere, his head and his fingers and his thigh where his messenger bag is propped against it. "Tired," he says, and he is tired, but his voice cracks a little on the word and Adam's smile slips into a concerned line.

"What's up?" he asks quietly, his eyes cutting across the yard to make sure they aren't being watched. The two guys in the pool (Javier and... something with an E. Evan?) seem too wrapped up in each other to be paying attention. The third guy is gone. Kris wonders how he missed that.

He blinks at Adam, eyelids as heavy as the rest of him, and shrugs. He can't say it, doesn't know how to push the words out when he feels like this, so he just lifts his knee and jiggles it so that the bag shakes loose and falls from its perch on his chair. Kris expects it to make more noise when it lands, expects a tremor, like an earthquake, but it just smacks lightly on the finished wood of Adam's patio. Adam raises his eyebrows and reaches down to pick it up. Kris closes his eyes and tries to remember what it felt like to breathe without this pressure in his chest.

It takes a minute - the clasp on Kris's bag is notoriously tricky - but Kris can hear the sharp intake of breath over the rustling of paper. "Kris..." he says, his voice heavy and sad, and Kris squeezes his eyes shut tighter. He opens his hand though, and is intensely grateful when Adam's finds it immediately, holding on tight and warm and dry. He holds on a minute, then squeezes, and then Kris doesn't know why he's suddenly pulling away; he opens his eyes to try and make a grab for the lifeline of Adam's hand. "Hey, guys?" Adam's got his falsely nice voice on, the one he uses in hour four of press junkets. "I hate to do this, but I just remembered I have an early radio thing, so..." Kris can hear them bitching and cajoling from across the yard, but Adam has them swept up and out in under five minutes, not even caring that they're dripping wet on his new bamboo floors.

Kris can't find the strength to get up, so he just waits until Adam's back, bare feet slapping against the wood until he's hovering over Kris, hands on his hips. "Shove over," Adam says, and Kris snorts out a laugh. Adam just rolls his eyes and shoves Kris over bodily, sliding in next to him until they're pressed thigh to hip to arm. He shifts up just enough that Kris's head drops to Adam's chest and Kris exhales a breath he didn't know he was holding. Adam's fingers cord through his hair. It might be weird, this kind of affection from anyone else. But they've been doing this since tour, since the first round of nights when they were too exhausted to care, and too lonely to be alone. It's just them, and Kris lets his fingers curl in the soft fabric of Adam's shirt. "How long?" Adam asks softly, and he could be asking a lot of things, but Kris's answer is immediate.

"Since the album," he says, because really that's when Katy wasn't first in his life for the first time ever. "Some people don't do as well as you with second place," he drawls, perverse amusement lacing his voice. Adam doesn't laugh. He just pulls Kris a fraction closer.

"You could have told me," Adam says, not angry, just concerned. "You know that--"

"Didn't want to say it," Kris says with a shrug and Adam sighs.

They lay there long enough that Kris starts drifting off, the warm LA air blanketing both of them, Adam's heartbeat steady under his temple. "Hey, how drunk are you?" Adam asks, jostling him just a little.

"Goes to eleven," Kris mumbles back and Adam's chest vibrates with a silent giggle.

"Come on, Nigel, time for bed."

It takes Adam three tries to get them both off the deck chair, and another two to get the patio door open. Kris can barely stay upright, but he can't tell if it's the alcohol or the fact that his body's finally getting over the rush of adrenaline he'd spiked when the papers had fallen into his hands. "You've been served," the guy had said, then: "Have a nice day." Kris rests his head on Adam's shoulder and laughs a little; he thinks his face must have been priceless. Adam props him against the kitchen counter with one hand and uses the bulk of his body to keep Kris in place.

"Here," Adam says with a small smile, "drink this." It's a glass of water - room temperature - and Adam slips him a few Advil too. "You'll thank me tomorrow," he adds when Kris makes a noise of protest. Kris doesn't even blink when Adam bypasses the guest room and drags them both to his master bedroom. It's massive, with a walk-in closet bigger than Kris's college dorm room, and a California king under a skylight. Adam just settles Kris on the bed, tugging off his shoes and the button down shirt he's wearing over his wifebeater. He putters around for a few minutes; Kris can hear the clang of his rings as they're dropped onto a metal tray, hears the water run in the bathroom as Adam goes through his nightly cleanser routine. They're sounds more familiar to Kris than he thinks they should be, more comforting than Katy's usual bedtime chatter about new curtains and work and coworkers he barely knows. Adam hums a little as he strips out of his shirt, let's his pants drop to the floor. He doesn't notice Kris watching until he's got soft sleep pants tied around his waist, and he smiles warmly. "You okay?"

Kris nods before he can really process the question, but... yeah. Yeah, he's okay.

Adam crawls into the bed on the other side and tucks the soft sheets around them. It's big enough that there's no need to touch, but Adam slides close enough that his arm is pressed against Kris's, warm in the darkness.


"You get one more day of this, Kristopher," Adam says with an exaggerated sigh as Kris shuffles out of the master bedroom at two in the afternoon. Kris is in basketball shorts and a white tank top - the same combo he's been sporting since Adam went by his hotel to grab his stuff a week ago. There have been surprisingly few people over at Adam's in that time, for which Kris is eternally grateful. There's also been a steady stream of beer and fancy cocktails that Adam calls things like "The Monster Cock" and "My Piano Teacher Was A Perv"; Kris is sure they have more more innocuous names in the real world, so he'd never be able to order one at a bar. Which is sad, because the Monster Cock is really pretty delicious.

Kris has also been spending every night drunkenly passed out in his best friend's bed, but he's not really thinking about that just now.

Adam closes his laptop with a click, sliding it over to pick at a bowl of fresh fruit and yogurt. Kris smiles sheepishly and grabs a bowl for cereal. (Adam says he likes weird crunchy granola kinds, but when Kris makes him buy Cap'n Crunch at the store, he eats half the box.) His head has the same dull throb it's had every morning of the last week. He tosses a glance at the formal dining table and the envelope with his divorce papers still sitting there on the gleaming glass top. He considers a beer with breakfast, but the idea sends his stomach scurrying for cover. When he looks back, Adam is watching him. "You going to sign those?" he asks, and Kris can feel his cheeks heating up with embarrassment, maybe a little shame.

It's been a week, but the shock of it hasn't worn off entirely. Kris only read the papers once, downing a bottle of Cuervo that first day, but Adam had a lawyer friend over a few days ago to look them over. "She wants the house in Conway," Adam had said gravely, his face strangely alien in its seriousness. "Its her fucking house," Kris replied bitterly, because he really didn't want to be in Arkansas again for a while. "And she wants half, but only of the last three years, not future earnings, or alimony or anything. Monica says it's a decent deal." "Sure," Kris nodded, because it's nice that she only wants half of what he used to be, and not what he's becoming. Kind of karmic, really.

He didn't sign them, though.

"Maybe today," Kris says, but he knows that's what he said yesterday. Adam sighs again.

"I don't want you to rush into anything. You should call your lawyer --" he starts, and Kris shakes his head firmly.

"Monica's word is fine," he replies curtly. "I'll do it later today."

Adam's quiet until they finish eating, spoons scraping the bottom of their bowls, and they both clear the table with practiced ease. "You want to come with me to RCA?" Adam asks, and Kris thinks god, no, but he just shakes his head.

"Think I'll write a little." His acoustic is sitting on Adam's couch, and Kris has a few chords stuck in his head he'd like to shake loose. He thinks there are words there too, but the sound is already so sad, he's not sure he wants to know what they are yet.

Adam grabs his bag from over the kitchen chair and kisses the top of Kris's head as he heads out the door. "I'm bringing home some Thai for dinner," he calls, halfway out the door. "Hope you like your beef spicy. You know I do," and Kris can't help but smile at the joke.

The song, it turns out, is two songs, or maybe three, but none of them will flow. He keeps standing up to get a glass of water, or go to the bathroom, or check his blackberry, but every time he looks up he can see the envelope from Katy sitting on the table. He puts his guitar down, stands up, takes a deep breath, then another one. He walks to the table and slides his index finger under the flap, tips the envelope so that the papers slide out into his palm. It's not a huge document - not nearly as long as divorce papers for a rockstar could be - and he tries to read it again, but his eyes get stuck on Katy's name - Katherine Allen, Plaintiff - and his, right next to it. He wishes he could say she's different, that she's a stranger now, but he knows of the both of them, he's the one who's changed the most. He picks up the black pen that's tucked into Adam's book of crossword puzzles. He watches himself sign his name with detached fascination. He dates it, slides it back in the return envelope that was so helpfully included. He licks the flap, presses the metal tabs in place, puts it down on the table.

He finds the Jack Daniels behind the raspberry vodka on Adam's bar, and he drinks.

He's not sure how long he's been passed out when Adam finds him. He's in the bed, at least - he barely made it after throwing up for half an hour in Adam's bathroom. He can't really open his eyes, but when he squints, the room is dark. "Hey, come on, Kris," Adam is saying, over and over, his fingers tight on Kris's shoulder, one hand cupping the back of his neck, shaking him a little more forcefully than Kris is happy with.

"Stoppit," Kris manages to mumble and Adam's breath catches a little.

"Fuck, you total asshole," he says, angry and a little shaky. "What the fuck did you drink?"

"Dunno," Kris says. "'Lot. Time's it?" he mumbles and Adam looks scared, guilty.

"Late. After midnight. I ran into some friends who were having a party. I called, but when you didn't pick up, I figured you were writing." He smooths his hand over Kris' hair and Kris lets himself lean a little in the coolness of the touch. "Left you a message." He drops his head to the bed, lets himself fall back a little on his knees. "God, I've been trying to wake you up for ten minutes. I almost called 911."

"Sorry, sorry," Kris frowns, and pets the back of Adam's head clumsily. They don't move for a few long minutes, and Kris folds a few strands of Adam's hair between his fingers. They're thick and coarse, a little sticky when he rubs them together. "I signed them," he says, because it hurt a lot, but he also wants Adam to know he was strong enough to do it. He wants Adam to be a little proud of him.

Adam turns his head and presses his face into Kris's shoulder, grabbing Kris's hand as it slides over his cheek and folding their fingers together. "Good," he whispers and Kris swallows hard around a sudden lump in his throat. "Next step, real pants," Adam says then, and Kris lets out a surprised laugh.

"Yeah, okay," he says.


"Why are we watching Die Hard again?" Kris asks from his usual spot on Adam's couch.

"Hmm?" Adam says, glancing up from his laptop. He has the good breeding to look a little embarrassed.

"Dude, you aren't even watching! Why don't we put in something you want to watch?"

"No, whatever you want is fine!"

"Really?" Kris asks, a little sarcastically. He doesn't quite remember getting a choice on Die Hard.

Kris picks Love, Actually from Adam's shelf and drops it in the player. He remembers seeing it years ago with Katy, and smiling wide as they left the theater. Halfway through, he's wiping at his eyes with the edge of his sleeve. Adam slides in close on the couch and wraps an arm around his shoulder. "You want explosions instead?" he asks quietly and Kris laughs through the tightness in his throat.

"Nah, this is good," he says. Adam leans his cheek on Kris's shoulder and they watch the rest together.


He doesn't want to, but Adam talks Kris into a small press release about the divorce. His publicist is frantic, his management is livid that they didn't involve his lawyer in the divorce, his mom is angry that he made his private grief public at all. She wants him to come home, but Kris is pretty sure Conway's not home anymore. He just doesn't know how to tell his mom that. He tells her he has to stay in LA for work, and he doesn't like lying to her so he starts writing more, even though most of it won't ever see the light of day.

He doesn't leave Adam's house for most of a month, because he's not sure how to answer the paparazzi who find him at the studio, or picking up some Jamba Juice. "Did she cheat on you?" they ask. "Are you seeing someone now?" Kris doesn't know how to tell them that sometimes two people are just two people, and no one person is to blame. He thinks about telling them the only person he sees regularly at all these days is Adam, and smiles to himself as he elbows past them to his car. The reaction would be epic, and Adam's raised eyebrows and warm belly laugh would make it almost worth it. He really doesn't want to upset his publicist again, though.

Adam never asks if he wants to move in. He basically does, though; slowly his clothes and his books and his laptop and his growing collection of Nikes end up strewn around Adam's ranch house. He lets his hotel reservation expire without telling Adam - he figures if Adam ever needs him to leave, it will be easy enough to get a new one. Most nights he spends in Adam's room. Sometimes Adam doesn't come in until five or six in the morning; when he thinks Kris is still passed out, he'll just wash his face and slip under the covers still smelling of weed and sweat and sex.

Kris doesn't call him on it. It's Adam's bed, after all, and they're both being very good about not mentioning that fact.

He's writing a lot, so his hours are erratic. Adam's hours have always been erratic, so they make pretty decent roommates, sharing pizza at 3am and talking about industry shit that they're both dealing with, sitting quietly in the same room and working on chords and lyrics and arrangements. They've both got one album out and another in the works, but they've never officially collaborated on anything. Kris wants to tell nosy reporters that they collaborate all the damn time, on snippets of songs that no one else will ever hear, songs they make up on the fly that make them both laugh. They get high a lot too - more in one month than Kris ever did in college. He likes it, the way his body feels heavy and warm, the way his fingers tingle as he strums his guitar.

Kris hasn't spent much time with Adam's friends before. He knows a few of them - Monica the lawyer, Henry the bartender, Brad and Drake and the boyfriends he always manages to stay friends with even after they break up. Now he finds himself squashed into sofas with them on movie nights, or mixing drinks at Adam's bar for boys in too-tight tank tops. They're fun. They're bawdy. They flirt. Kris has been in the business a while now, but the way LA boys flirt with him is still shocking enough that he blushes to his toes even as he laughs and shakes his head. "That's why they keep doing it," Adam whispers in his ear, eyes glittery and unfocused. "You're adorable when you blush." Kris doesn't mind it, not really. Not when he's tipsy and warm on Adam's patio, and a boy with pretty eyes and strong hands offers him a back massage ("no strings!"). His eyes are closed and he's hissing a little as the boy kneads a particularly sore spot. "God, that's awesome," he mumbles, swaying back into the press of his fingers. "Right there, harder, yeah." He hears Adam clear his throat and peeks his eyes open to see half the assembled party watching. His cheeks flush scarlet.

"We need to get you laid," Adam says.


It's always been Katy. Since he was fifteen years old, it's been Katy he's had every first with, and he's pretty fucking proud of that fact. She was the belle of their high school class, and they waited until prom night senior year to have sex. Adam had laughed his ass off when Kris told him, years ago, in the dark of their Idol bus lounge. "That is so Donna on 90210," he'd said, but Kris didn't care. It had been cliche and silly and terrifying and weird and awesome. They'd gotten better at it too - Kris wasn't a prude, and they liked sex. Loved sex. They loved sex. And it was good sex - who cares that they'd only ever had it with each other? But now Kris is a 26-year-old divorced guy who has no idea how to go about having sex with non-Katy-shaped people.

Adam didn't lose his virginity until he was twenty-one. Kris remembers thinking that was sweet, until he asked Adam how many guys he'd slept with since then.

Kris is used to losing that game, but Adam's score is still impressive.


Adam sits him down in the kitchen on a warm Saturday morning. "Okay," he says, oddly serious. "What are the top five qualities a person has to have for you go on a date with them?"

Kris blinks at him. "Um. They have to be nice?"

Adam sighs. "God, you suck at this," he says, and Kris isn't sure if he's talking to Kris or himself. Adam takes a sip of his coffee. "There are a lot of people in LA who want to hook up with you, sir, so you need to pay attention here. Five things you want in a potential mate. And... go!"

"I," Kris starts, and huffs, arms crossing. "This is stupid. I've been divorced for two months--"

"When's the last time you actually saw Katy?" Adam asks, waving his hand over the table. "You've been a single guy for a lot longer than two months," he says, kindly but firmly. Kris frowns at the tabletop.

"I just want someone who's nice," he says. "Who's not going to get mad when I have to go on tour. Who has her own stuff going on."

"Low maintenance," Adam nods. "Obviously. What else? Physical characteristics?"

"I don't care about that," Kris says, because he's been with Katy long enough that he doesn't even know how to look at other girls anymore without comparing.

"Yeah, you do," Adam grins. Kris makes another huffy sound and Adam laughs. "You do! You like blonds, but I think you'd run screaming from the silicone blonds in the valley."

"I don't think I'm ready for LA blonds," Kris says lightly, but he's thinking of Adam's friend Susie who has fabulous tits and purple-streaked hair and a sleeve of tattoos. He's not sure he's ready for that either.

Adam hums a little, taps his blue-tipped fingers against the counter. He's not wearing any makeup, and Kris maps the freckles on his face, his lips, the cluster under his ear. "You like the natural look," Adam says, and Kris can feel the blush starting to bloom on his cheeks, but he pushes down the reasons why.


"What do you think of these?" Adam sticks his left foot out and wags it a little from side to side. Kris shifts the weight of Adam's shopping bag to his right hand and tilts his head. The boots are silver snakeskin, with a solid, square toe and a chunky two inch heel. "They make you look like you have robot feet," he says, and Adam snorts.

"Not the ringing endorsement I was hoping for, but. Yeah, point." He takes them off and the sales girl hands him another one, supple brown leather with a gold brocade along one side. "Want to go to Marchetti's after? I'm having a cannoli craving."

"After you buy up half the store?" Kris grins. "Sure." They've been shopping for what seems like most of a day, but Kris's watch assures him has only been a few hours. So far, Adam has bought three pairs of shoes, a pair of jeans with black leather stitching up the side, and a black t-shirt that looks like all his other black t-shirts, but which apparently is made of platinum, if Kris goes by the price tag. Adam wrinkles his nose at the fit of the brown shoe and takes it off before Kris can even comment.

"One more?" Adam says as the sales girl hands him another black boot.

"Well, okay, but I think you already own those."

Adam pauses and inspects the boot closely. "Well, shit." He looks up at Kris with a sheepish grin, and Kris laughs. "Cannolis it is!" Adam laces up his shoes and they don't notice the paparazzi outside the store until they're tugging the door open. Adam stiffens for a second before pasting on a smile. Kris tugs his aviators out of his collar and puts them on. "Showtime," Adam says quietly before taking his bags from Kris and pushing the door open. It's been two years, but Kris still flinches at the first barrage of flashbulbs.

"Hey boys!" Adam laughs and Kris raises one hand in a tentative wave. There are a lot of them, and they're all standing between Kris and Adam and Adam's car, parked half a block down. They're yelling things that Kris has mostly managed to tune out; mainly they're talking to Adam anyway, trying to get a reaction with taunts about his last flame, quotes from some homophobe on Fox News. There are a couple of lines thrown his way too, mostly about Katy and if he knows if she's seeing anyone. Kris grits his teeth and ducks his head down. The pack only parts slightly when Adam starts walking directly through them, Kris trailing behind. They make it ten steps before Kris gets bumped by a guy who's got at least a hundred pounds on him. He stumbles a step to the left, and he can hear Adam's sharp intake of breath. "Not cool, asshole," he says coldly, smile slipping from friendly to feral as he grabs Kris's wrist and pulls him out of the pack and down the block.

Kris gets in the car and Adam guns the engine once, twice, giving the guys surrounding his car exactly five seconds warning to get out of the way before he's peeling out of his spot with a little more speed than Kris is comfortable with. Kris is pretty sure one of the guys fell over in his hurry to jump clear. "Jesus," Kris says, a hysterical laugh edging into his voice. "Hey, Mario Andretti, I think we lost them."

"You okay?" Adam asks with a serious expression. He keeps glancing at Kris in the passenger seat, eyes flicking from his face to his wrist. Kris looks down to find his fingers rubbing at it absently. Adam's grip was pretty intense; he can still see the outline of Adam's fingers in his skin.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Kris says, and he's not even really shaken up by it. Adam is, though. His fingers are white knuckled on the steering wheel.

"That motherfucker," he spits out. "I knew we shouldn't have gone out without Big Mike."

"Right, because Big Mike loves accompanying you on shoe shopping expeditions," Kris rolls his eyes. "It was fine."

"It wasn't fine," Adam grits out. They drive in silence for a few minutes before he says "Sorry. For grabbing you like that."

"You can grab me any time," Kris says with an exaggerated leer and Adam laughs, finally.

"Promises, promises."


The US Weekly headline blares "LAMBERT AND ALLEN: MORE THAN FRIENDS?" with a cover photo of Adam's fingers wrapped around Kris's wrist. It looks like they're holding hands.

Kris groans and puts his head on the table. Adam pats his hand gently and takes another bite of his pancakes. "It was only a matter of time, baby."


"I can't believe my publicist is making me go out on a date," Kris scowls at his reflection. Adam stands next to him, looking critically at his choice of jeans and black button down.

"She seems nice," he says absently. "Also, are you sure you won't wear the green one? I love the green one." Kris glares at him and Adam giggles. "No, come on, it'll be fun. Have the crabcakes, compliment her dress, hold open doors. You know all this stuff."

"Yeah, but I have met this girl one time, Adam. One time. What if she's like... racist? Or chews with her mouth open?" He pulls on his leather jacket and steals another glance in the mirror. His stomach is heavy and his palms are sweating. His first date in nine years, and what if she's a vegan or something?

Adam raises his eyebrows. "We could still go with eyeliner," is all he says and Kris can hear him laugh as he stomps out the front door.

He's halfway down Sunset when he gets a text. youll be fine. have fun!!!! come home after and well have a bowl and watch talk soup. He smiles and tucks the phone in his pocket. He's already at the restaurant, waiting nervously at the table, when Adam sends a follow-up: or get her wasted and fucke her. srsly if i c u befor dawn im disssowning you.

Kris laughs even as the blush runs up his cheeks. someone's already wasted, I see.

if shes hot, bring hr hoem and well take orgy pix for teh enquirer!

Kris puts the phone in his pocket when she arrives but he keeps it on vibrate. Adam sends him texts at random intervals all night. Kris never checks them, but he finds it strangely comforting every time his phone vibrates against his hip.


He doesn't sleep with the girl - Angela - on the first date, but he does on the third. They leave some club where Kris never got to leave VIP and Kris is pretty drunk already; when she leans on him, a strawberry-blond curl tickling his cheek, her hand warm on his lower back, he only hesitates a little when she suggests a cab back to her place.

He doesn't stay the night, mostly because he gets the feeling she doesn't want him to. He gets back to Adam's at four in the morning. He thinks about maybe crashing out on the sofa, but nixes that idea when he opens the door to find Adam sitting on it. "Hey," Adam says, and there's this little twinkle in his eye, like he wants to be flippant and funny, but he's holding himself back. Kris really wishes he wouldn't hold back - he's already feeling a little hungover, and totally weird, and Adam being Adam would kind of improve his night a lot.

"Hey," Kris says, and when Adam tilts his head forward expectantly, all Kris can do is shrug.

"Excellent!" Adam crows, and waves him over, patting the seat next to him. "Spill, spill, spill!"

"There's... god, no," Kris groans, and Adam laughs again. Kris really just wants a shower, actually; his skin is still sticky from sweat and lube from the condom, and he smells like perfume and, really, it wasn't that sexy. It wasn't bad, but... "It was okay," he says and Adam says "Awwww" and pulls him closer. "I don't know," Kris shrugs again, "I kept worrying I was gonna mess it up, and then she was really quiet."

"After?" Adam asks, and he's turned a little so one knee is folded onto the sofa and he's looking at Kris directly. Kris has never been a kiss-and-tell guy, but he's heard enough details of Adam's sex life that he figures it's fair.

"No, during," Kris says, and flushes a little at the memory. "I mean, Katy wasn't, like, a pornstar in bed, but this girl was just silent. I kept wondering if she was just, like, sleeping with her eyes open." That wasn't exactly true, since her hands were everywhere at once, it seemed, squeezing and tugging, but it makes Adam laugh, and Kris grins at him.

"Okay, adding 'loud in bed' to your list of must-have's," he notes.

"No, that's. I don't need loud, but someone who, like, has fun? That would be great." Kris leans back into the sofa cushions and sighs. "Or maybe I'm just not that good at it."

When he looks over, Adam's shaking his head at him.


"I've seen your moves, Allen. And I am pretty confident that's not actually possible. All that hip action has got to--"

Kris kicks him lightly in the knee, but his chest feels warm and light. When he opens his mouth, his words come out halting and soft. "I just. Katy and I were friends for a long time before we slept together, and I think. I'm that guy. The feelings guy. Tonight was just... awkward."

Adam smiles at him, a small, secret smile that reminds Kris how well Adam knows him. "Of course you're that guy. That's why you're my favorite," he stage whispers. "But don't worry, I won't tell anyone."

Kris kicks his feet up on the coffee table and sighs. "No more dates for a while," he says, and Adam yawns widely, arms stretched above his head.

"Good call. Come on, sex machine. Bedtime," he says, and tugs Kris to his feet and down the hall.


Adam's friend Alexis does tarot card readings. Kris has been told things like that are the Devil's handiwork, but that's along with Ouija boards, smoking weed and Adam himself, so he pretty much just thinks it's a neat party trick. He sits at the small card table in Alexis's living room and tries to focus on the cards and not on the swirling party happening around him. "Okay," Alexis intones with a bit more theatrics than Kris thinks is necessary, "The Wheel of Fortune means you're having rapid changes in your fortunes, for good or ill it does not say. But paired with the Eight of Wands it suggests a positive, healthy direction," Kris nods, hums a little, and tries not to roll his eyes. Way to vague it up for me, he thinks.

Adam's somewhere in the house, probably with the boy he came to "throw against the nearest surface and ravage", as he'd put it in the car. Kris is happy enough meeting some new people. Unlike most of their industry parties, this one doesn't have the set of up-and-coming actors Kris barely recognizes, or the starlets in skimpy dresses. This is a Burner party, and Kris is almost entirely out of his element. It's kind of fun, but he wishes now that he'd let Adam talk him into the leather pants and tight green t-shirt combo he'd been pushing. In his trusty plaid shirt, Kris feels totally out of place.

There's a Knight of Cups card down now ("sensitive, creative, romantic," Alexis says dreamily), followed by a card that says Lovers, and Alexis starts talking about growth and adulthood and choices. Kris tries to listen, but two guys stumble into the room just out of his line of sight and start making out against her bookshelf. Kris shakes his head every time his eyes wander in that direction, but he loses the train of Alexis's conversation when one of the guys lets out a moan that sounds suspiciously familiar.

Kris flushes pink, grateful for the low lighting, and cuts his eyes over his shoulder to see Adam's fingers slide into some guy's hair, mouth open and eyes closed as the guy sucks an impressive hickey onto his neck. The guy is shorter than Adam by more than a few inches, hair fair against Adam's tan skin, and Kris has a perfect view of Adam's face as their bodies rut against each other. He's pretty sure he's staring, but Adam's making this sound that Kris can feel in his palms, his chest, running along his spine. He's heard plenty about Adam's hookups, but he's never seen Adam in full make out mode. He's never heard Adam with anyone, his voice projecting the same combination of sex and perfect control Adam exudes on stage, with this added undercurrent of want. When Adam's eyes flicker like he's about to open them, Kris turns forward quickly and blinks at the table, his heart pounding.

There's a new card on the table - a tower with a bolt of lightening hitting it - and Alexis is watching him with wide eyes. "Wow, that's... interesting," she says, and Kris can barely hear her following "This symbolizes that you're entering a period of intense self-discovery..." over the rush of blood in his own ears.


He feels like he should have seen it coming, should be able to track the slow shift in his feelings for Adam from friends to... this. He should, but. Honestly, he can't.

He watches Adam tug on his jacket and laugh at someone's joke, his shirt slipping a little to reveal a sharp, purple mark on his throat. Kris ducks his head, focuses on the scuffs on his Vans like everyone will be able to read what he's thinking on his face. To the world, Adam has always been a sexual being, but to Kris he's just been Adam - no makeup, hair wet from the shower, fuzzy sleep pants and easy smiles and good advice and strong hands to hold on to.

Now he wants to push Adam against that bookcase himself, bite the bruise at the base of Adam's neck and make him buck and moan in surprise. Or maybe, Kris thinks, maybe the other way around...

Kris takes a sharp, sudden breath. This is not actually happening to him, he thinks. This is not actually possible.

Adam puts a hand on his shoulder. "C'mon," Adam says, warm and inviting, and Kris's pulse jumps.