It was time to face the music.
Kristopher Allen was no Christian Louboutin. He wasn’t even Payless Shoes for Heaven’s sake. He sighed, thumping his head on his drafting table, pencil tapping listlessly on his sketchbook, and frowning at the pictures of low heeled, comfortable, practical shoes. It was so…uninspired. And the shoes that he had been drawing lately were so boring and ugly, he didn’t want to waste the last batch of red rose hand dyed leather that he had in his workshop by trying to make one of his drawings come to life.
He looked out at his small, intimate store. The shelves were dusty, the shoes were lifeless, and he needed to change the light bulbs in the display cases. All in all, his dream of owning his own specialty shoe store in the heart of LA’s fashion district was turning into a nightmare. He had bills coming out of his ears and if he didn’t make at least five sales this month alone, he’d have to close up his store and declare bankruptcy.
But Kris didn’t want to fail; he loved the business of shoes – and okay, he wasn’t all that great at selling shoes, but that was why he had Brad run the front of the store. Brad was his first friend in LA and one of the very few people he trusted with his life. Brad encouraged him to chase his dream and worked at his store for minimum wage.
"Darling, don’t think I’m a bitch or anything but you do realize that opening a shoe store in Los Angeles that sells the ‘practical’ shoe is kind of…well…impractical?"
"I really think that I can convince women that being pretty doesn’t have to hurt. Think of all the damage they do to their feet? I mean, five orthopedic surgeons tested and approved the built-in cushions that are made for my shoes."
Brad gave him a fond look and nodded. "All right, Kristopher, I believe in you. Let me help, okay?"
"But what about your work?"
"Pfft! Don’t you worry your pretty little face about my artistic work. This is more important right now."
Kris really wanted to believe that he had a niche market, that he could sell the pretty and practical shoe. In LA.
Argh! Who was he kidding?
The practical shoe was a myth. He knew women ruined their feet and put up with pain for a pair of killer heels; he just didn’t believe it was…necessary?
Sitting up, he flipped to a new page and sketched out a fantasy shoe. It was at least four inches high with a sexy stiletto heel and sexy straps that would climb up from the top of the foot to the ankle. He picked up a bright red marker and colored in the straps. He sighed, smiling a little as he traced his fingers along the paper. It was an orthopedic surgeon’s nightmare.
It was a beautiful shoe.
"I wish it was this easy," he murmured, taking a deep breath. He closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against his drafting table, sending a quick prayer of thanks to Heaven for his artistic talent and a special thank you for sending him someone like Brad to be his friend. He ended his prayers, like always, with a thank you for the good life he had, despite his problems with his business, and a wish for someone he could share his life with.
"Kristopher! Come here right this minute!" Brad called, grabbing his wrist and pulling him towards the back of the store to his workshop. "Where have you been hiding this?"
"Hiding what?" Kris said, confused.
Kris blinked, staring at the pair of shoes sitting on his workshop table. "What—"
"I could just cry!" Brad said, sighing deeply. His hands fluttered as he reached for the shoes. "If I were a woman, I’d kill to have these!" He picked them up and took a deep, shuddering breath. "Fuck it, I’ll wear them anyway. Could you make me a pair, darling? Size ten mediums? I can’t pay you because you don’t pay me enough for working here but I’m sure we can work something out in trade. Cassidy won’t mind if I give you blow jobs, not if I get a pair of these out of the deal and if he gets to watch."
Kris blushed and bit his upper lip, shoving half-heartedly at Brad’s shoulder. He should be used to Brad’s type of flirting by now, but he always managed to make Kris blush. "Shush, you! And stop fondling the shoes."
He took the shoes from Brad and stifled his moan at the feel of the shoes. The weight was perfectly balanced. He tested the stability of the stiletto heel and found it sturdy and strong. The wood was polished to a marble finish. The built-in foot and heel cushions were soft and would feel comfortable for the wearer. He looked at the leather straps, the white stitching absolutely flawless. Everything about the shoe was perfect.
"It’s your masterpiece," Brad said, his eyes wet and sparkling. "Oh Kris, I knew you had it in you. I really, really believed you could make it happen."
Kris didn’t know what to say so he gave Brad a hug and grinned when the other man kissed him on the cheek. "You’re a good friend, Brad Bell."
"I know," he said, wiping his eye and smirking at him.
"I can’t believe…these…these are the fantasy shoes I drew last night."
"Fantasy. I like it. Hmmm. I have a whole marketing plan for these shoes," Brad said, taking the heels from Kris and walking back to the store. "Get back to work, Kristopher, while I ply my magic."
Kris looked around his workshop. Everything was clean and his tools were in place. He saw the leather and wood shavings on the floor, but someone had used the broom to sweep the shavings into a neat pile. He walked to his drafting table and squinted at the messy notations on his sketch – measurements and design equations and…stuff Kris didn’t recognize because it didn’t look like anything he’d ever learned at the Fashion Institute.
What the heck was going on?
He heard Brad’s cheerful voice and he walked back to the store front to see him talking with three women, letting them hold and touch the shoes.
"…and here’s our adorable designer, Kristopher Allen!" Brad said, waving him towards the women.
Kris cleared his throat and blushed, walking towards them. "Hey."
"I was just telling them about the new Fantasy line that you’ve designed," Brad said, winking at him. "This is the first pair for this particular line. For now, anyway, right Kristopher?"
He just stared at Brad, biting his bottom lip at Brad’s bold lies. "Uhhh…"
"Kristopher is very shy but most creative geniuses are, aren’t they, ladies?" Brad said, giggling with the three women as they gave him interested looks. Kris was pretty sure that he was turning the same shade of red as the shoes.
"I have to…uhhhhh…" Kris pointed to the back of the store, backing away slowly from Brad and the women. "Workshop. You know. Have to make more shoes."
"Go ahead, honey, I’ve got this," Brad said, blowing him a kiss. He turned back to the women. "Isn’t he just so cute? Don’t you want to eat him up? Ohmygod! Which one of you lovelies is going to buy this Kristopher Allen original?"
Kris fled to the back and sat down at his drafting table chair, staring blearily at his sketchbook. Someone had come into his workshop and made those shoes! Who would do this? Was this a joke or something?
Why would someone do this?
"Kris! Ohhhhh. Em. Gee. I just sold those shoes for two THOUSAND dollars! I think I need to work on commission, don’t you?" Brad said, sauntering towards him, a wide smile on his face.
"Two thousand dollars!" Kris said, his eyes wide.
"And one of the women wanted to buy them even though they weren’t in her size!" Brad said, leaning against him and sighing dramatically. "Now, you need to make more, baby. Those shoes really were delicious."
Kris took a deep breath. "I have a confession. I designed them, but I didn’t make them."
"What do you mean?"
Kris showed Brad his sketchbook. "I drew the picture last night, but I didn’t actually make them. Someone came here and made these notations and the shoes."
"I don’t know."
Brad looked at the page and then back at Kris. "So…you have a shoemaking fairy godmother?"
Kris laughed and shook his head. "Am I going crazy?"
"Well, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth," Brad said, smiling at him. "And I don’t even know what that means, but don’t do it." He hugged Kris and stroked his head. "I’ll lock up and leave you to it, okay?"
"Thanks, Brad," he said, watching his friend walk back to the store. He heard Brad lock the doors and pull down the inside gate. He heard the alarms set and the cash register open. He knew Brad would do the receipts and fill out the appropriate bank deposit forms. It would be the first time that the business wasn’t in the red.
"Good night, Kris! I’ll make the evening deposit on my way home," Brad said, waving his hand as he made his way to the back door.
"Thanks! See you tomorrow!" Kris called, smiling at him.
He waited until Brad closed the door. He picked up the sketchbook and walked towards his workshop area, getting out all the supplies and tools to make a pair of the Fantasy shoes. He looked at the notations and carefully wrote out measurements that he was familiar with. Rolling up his sleeves and putting on his protective eye goggles, he got to work.
It probably said a lot that he was surprised to see people inside the store. He stood outside on the sidewalk, watching Brad talking to a dozen beautifully dressed women, smooth and easy, his face showing his pleasure. Kris sipped his coffee and watched as Brad placed the Fantasy shoe on the black velvet shoe display in the front window. He looked up and smiled at Kris, winking at him. Kris waved and pointed to the back of the store and then at himself to let Brad know that he would be in his workshop and Brad rolled his eyes and nodded.
Kris walked in the back and looked around his workshop. He was surprised to find that there were four pairs of the red rose leather Fantasy shoes on the workshop table. He scratched his head. Four pairs in the workshop, one pair in the front window – did the shoes multiply overnight? He really didn’t get it. He stared at his tools and his supplies – he would need to buy more leather because he was out of the red rose now.
He sat down at his drafting table, setting his coffee carefully in its holder and opened his sketchbook to a blank page. He picked up his pencil and began to sketch. He had a dream last night of something black and sexy, something with dark blue or deep purple straps. He wondered who his miracle helper was; and then wondered if Heaven hadn’t answered his prayers – well, one of them.
"Kris, I’m going to order Thai for lunch!"
"Okay, thanks," he murmured, not looking up from his sketchbook. He was getting hungry but he ignored the growls made by his stomach to continue drawing.
"Hey, you need to eat," Brad said, putting his hand on Kris’s shoulder.
Kris jerked up and blinked at Brad. "What?"
"The food’s here and you’ve been bent over your drafting table for four hours. Come on, have some food and show me what you’ve been working on."
Kris grinned, his stomach growling at the mention of food. He grabbed his sketchbook and followed Brad to the small kitchenette off the workshop area. He sat down with Brad and opened his sketchbook, eating quickly as Brad stared at the pictures.
"You have like fourteen pages of sketches," he said, blinking at Kris. "This is the most inspired I’ve ever seen you. And your designs…they’re gorgeous."
"Thanks," Kris said, his mouth full of spicy chicken. "I don’t know what’s come over me."
"Well, first of all, manners!" Brad said, throwing a napkin at his face. Kris caught it and closed his mouth, chewing quickly. "And second of all, I’m glad to see you happy. It’s been a long time since you’ve loved doing this."
He nodded, thinking that Brad was right. "Well, maybe the practical shoe was a long shot. It doesn’t make me a sell out that I’m designing heels, does it?"
"Does it matter? Your shoes are beautiful, Kris. They’re going to make a lot of people happy."
Kris grinned, looking over at Brad. "Can you keep an eye on the store for the rest of the day? I need to go pick up some new supplies, now that we actually have some money to buy supplies with."
"Sure, go ahead, have fun," he said, pointing to the black stiletto on the page. "And make this one tonight, baby. This is hot. I can sell this for double what the red shoes went for."
Kris nodded at the picture. "That one’s my favorite, too."
It’s funny how things happened. That black shoe that he and Brad both liked became the iconic shoe for the Kristopher Allen line. The Black Beauty would go on to be the hottest selling shoe of all time. In the three months since Kris designed that first red rose shoe, his little store became the new hot spot for anyone able to afford his shoes – thanks to Brad for continuing to up the price despite Kris’s protests.
"It’s supply and demand, darling. Plus, you’re hand crafting each pair." He grabbed Kris’s hands and held them up. "These are the hands of an artist and what you make with your hands is worth every single penny those rich Beverly Hills housewives pay for one of your shoes."
"You know, factory workers in South America hand craft each pair, too, but they’re not selling their shoes for $5,000."
Brad fluttered his lashes. "That’s because they don’t have someone as amazing as me to do their marketing for them."
Kris really couldn’t argue with that. "I just don’t want to be greedy."
"Oh, Kris, you’re so sweet. The fashion industry is more cut throat than anything Hollywood could offer. Greed has very little to do with how things work," Brad told him, sagely. "Just let me handle this so we can both become rich and famous."
It only made sense that Kris made Brad his business partner.
When LA’s hottest actresses came to his store and wore his shoes on the red carpet, the paparazzi and the media followed. House of Allen was elevated to luxury boutique status and Kris finally found his niche as a designer who made designer shoes by hand.
"I feel kind of guilty being labeled as a designer who made all the shoes."
"Right, because admitting that you have a shoemaking fairy godmother sounds any better? Honey, you can be eccentric, that is perfectly acceptable in this business; but you don’t want to be labeled crazy, okay?"
Brad insisted that Kris "open" his workshop to his customers. He liked his privacy and created his prototypes while Brad ran the front of the store, but Brad kept calling Kris an artist and thought it would be cool to let his customers see the "artist-at-work".
"Darling, you know this is a great idea. People come here to see you because you’re hot and you’re cute and you’re shy – it’s a riveting package."
"Riveting?" Kris rolled his eyes. "You know, sometimes I just sit at my workshop table and stare off into space."
Brad giggled. "You can totally play up the tortured artist thing. People love that!"
They hired contractors to put in a soundproof window at the back of the store that looked into the workshop. Customers could watch Kris working at his table, hammering out some part of the shoe with his small mallet. Sometimes, Kris would sit at his table and just stare at his sketchbook, hand pulling at his hair, biting at his bottom lip. Sheer frustration would make him frown and he’d hide behind his drafting table for the rest of the afternoon, unhappy about everything.
Money wasn’t ever a problem anymore; Kris had more than he knew what to do with. Between the two of them, they were able to pay off the bills and Kris made sure that Brad got a really nice bonus for those months when he worked for nearly nothing. And at the end of every day, Kris offered his prayers to Heaven, hugged Brad goodnight, reviewed his accounting ledgers to see how much they made in daily receipts, and spent a few hours working on new designs or prototypes.
And every morning when Kris and Brad came to the store, there were shoes lined up all along the workshop table, sometimes dozens of pairs in all different sizes, and Brad would spend an hour arranging and rearranging the displays on the shelves. Kris didn’t know why he bothered because it wasn’t like the shoes stayed in the store long enough to be displayed. They were usually sold out within the first couple of hours of the store opening and Brad spent the rest of the day measuring feet and managing all the special orders that women placed. The waitlist was now at 7 months for a Kristopher Allen original.
"I think I’m going to stay in the store and see what actually happens when we’re not here," Kris said, nervously.
"You think that’s a good idea? What if they know you’re here and…it scares them away or something?"
Kris made a face. "It’s been three months and I’m a dick for not trying to find out what’s going on; at least to say thank you to whoever it is that comes here and…I don’t know."
"I’ll stay with you. We’ll hide and stay really quiet and see what happens," Brad said, clutching Kris’s hand.
Kris left his sketchbook on the workshop table and he and Brad hid under his drafting table after covering it with a large sheet of canvas. He thought it was kind of stupid and obvious, but he didn’t have a better idea.
"How long do you think we should stay?" Brad whispered against his ear.
Kris shrugged and shook his head.
"You should sleep and I’ll take first watch."
Kris woke up to the sound of gentle hammering and Brad asleep, drooling on his shoulder. He shifted Brad slightly so that he was propped up against Kris’s chest and he pulled aside the canvas covering the table to see someone with black hair standing at his workshop table.
The man was naked. He wore Kris’s leather apron to protect his parts, but from the view of the back – and Kris acknowledged that that was a very lovely behind – the man was naked and working on his shoe designs!
He started humming and Kris sighed, sinking back against the wall under the table, a half smile on his face as he watched the man work. He had wide shoulders and nice arms, his skin was pale and he seemed to have freckles everywhere. Brad mumbled and Kris held his breath, putting his hand over Brad’s mouth, but it only made him make more noise.
Kris dropped the canvas. "Shhhhhh!"
Brad opened his eyes and blinked up at Kris, his eyes widening in question. Kris nodded and placed his finger over his lips, letting go of Brad’s face. He gingerly lifted the canvas to show Brad.
He watched as Brad’s lips formed into an "ohhhhh," his brown eyes nearly bugging out of his head. He turned to Kris and mouthed "ohmygod!" and Kris widened his eyes and nodded back, mouthing "I know!"
They turned and continued watching the naked man as he hummed along to himself, quite cheerfully, and finished working on the shoes. Kris watched as he put the tools away, swept the floor, and took off the apron. Kris closed his eyes and put his hand over Brad’s eyes, who grabbed Kris’s wrist and dug his fingernails into his skin to protest. Kris dropped the canvas and pulled Brad’s hair meanly in retaliation and Brad nearly kneed him in the balls as they silently fought over giving the naked man some privacy.
The struggle ended when Brad licked Kris’s cheek and Kris pushed him off, wiping off his cheek with his shoulder. They both scrambled out from under the drafting table to find that the naked man was…gone.
"Was it just a dream?" Brad said, rubbing his eyes and yawning noisily. "God, he was gorgeous."
Kris walked to his workshop table to find six pairs of beautifully completed high heels. He touched them lightly, sighing to himself. Even on his best day, Kris could finish maybe two pairs a day. The mystery naked man could finish six pairs, sometimes he finished more if the design wasn’t too complicated. Kris dropped his face into his hands and took a deep breath.
"I really don’t understand what is going on," he said, shaking his head.
"Well, honey, all I can say is that whatever prayers you’ve been sending up to Heaven, keep it up because Heaven’s answering them." Brad leaned against him. "Did you see that ass? It was a fucking peach!"
Kris elbowed him and rolled his eyes. "Does Cassidy know that you check out other guys?"
"Of course Cass knows! I’m not blind, Kristopher. I’m totally allowed to look all I want. Just can’t touch without permission," Brad said, snickering.
"Whose permission?" Kris said, curiously.
"Cass, of course!"
He sighed; he really knew better than to ask.
Kris walked into Cassidy’s very hip and very goth/punk store on Melrose Avenue and smiled at Brad’s boyfriend. Cassidy gave him a hug. "Brad said that you could help?"
"Oh Kris, I’m so glad that you’ve decided to give up the plaid," Cassidy said, taking his hands and looking at him kindly. "I mean, you’re a gorgeous little thing and plaid really isn’t your color."
Kris made a face and grinned. "What’re you talking about? I have a shirt in every color in plaid."
"No, Kristopher, no. How many times do I have to tell you that you are a beautiful boy and beautiful boys like you need to wear beautiful things?"
"Come on, cut it out. Anyway, I didn’t come for me," he said, blushing slightly. "I came because…I want to buy a gift for someone. Brad said that you’d have some things that he might like."
"Really?" Cassidy said, giving him a long look. "Brad didn’t say that you were seeing anyone. Are you seeing someone?"
"No, not quite," he said, smiling. "I’m a…secret admirer?"
"Stalker. I like it," Cassidy said, chuckling. "Come with me, pretty one, and let’s go shopping. Do you know his sizes? Forget it, why am I asking you, you don’t even know your own sizes!"
He watched as Cassidy snorted, rolling his eyes. "Use your hands and shape him out for me."
"Uh, he’s about…this tall?" Kris said, raising his hand a few inches over his head.
"About six feet, six one. Okay, go on. Show me his shoulders."
Kris sighed. "He’s about…like this?" He tried to remember the mystery naked man’s body size in terms of his workshop table area. "Maybe?"
"I can’t believe you went to the Fashion Institute and you didn’t develop any kind of fashion instinct."
"I design shoes. Shoes go with fashion."
"Humph! You’re lucky I love you anyway," Cassidy said, smirking. "You sit down over there and I’ll put something together for you."
"Thanks, Cass," he said, laughing to himself.
Kris folded the jeans and the shirt, and placed the wide hand-tooled leather bracelet on top of the clothes on his workshop table with his sketchbook. He picked up his pen and wrote a short message in his sketchbook:
Hi. My name is Kris Allen. Thank you for helping me all this time. I’m so stupid and rude not to have thanked you before now. I hope that the clothes will fit and that you’ll like them. I hope you’ll tell me your name and why you came to help me. Anyway, thanks again.
Kris came into the store before sunrise and found the clothes gone and his sketchbook on his drafting table. He bit his lip as he walked towards it and saw that it was opened on the same page as his note. He gasped when he saw a short message in a bubbly, messy scrawl:
Hi Kris! I’m Adam! I liked the clothes a lot and everything fit! I love your designs! Okay, bye!
Adam had underlined ‘a lot’ and ‘love’ five times…and liked using exclamation points.
Kris was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more, but Adam’s message made him smile and he hoped that there could be more in the future.
Each night after that, Kris left Adam a small gift of some kind: Pinkberry cupcakes, more interesting clothes from Cassidy’s store, a really cool necklace that Kris made from different metals. He and Brad left notes for Adam in a new notebook that Brad named the "Kris+Adam Diaries."
Brad’s notes were…well:
Dear Adam, You have a gorgeous ass! If I didn’t have a boyfriend, I’d totally let you fuck me – unless you’re into threesomes, then Cassidy would totally agree! By the way, Kris has a crush on you! I keep telling him to seduce you but he’s a total virgin and shy!
Kris spent a lot of time editing Brad’s messages to Adam with a black Sharpie.
Adam’s notes were always so cheerful:
I don’t think I’ve ever tasted pink cupcakes before! Yummy!!!!!!
The new shirt is really awesome!
Every morning, Kris woke up and ran to the store because he wanted to read Adam’s messages to him.
"Why don’t you just stay and, you know, talk to him?" Brad said, nonchalantly. Kris was pretty sure that "talk" meant something a whole lot naughtier in Brad-speak. He could always tell by Brad’s "nonchalant" behavior.
Kris shrugged. "I don’t want to jinx things."
Brad rolled his eyes. "Kristopher, you’ve been thanking God for a good life since you were born. Maybe this is His way of giving you a reward."
"Uh, I don’t think it actually works like that," he said, smiling widely. "He gives you opportunities when it’s the right time."
"So why don’t you just take the opportunity in front of you and go for it?"
Kris grinned, feeling shy. "Maybe it’s not the right time yet?"
Kris had a brilliant idea:
Adam, please trace an outline of both of your feet in the notebook.
He came in the next morning to find that Adam had traced his feet, including his toes, in the notebook. Kris chuckled to himself and told Brad that he was going to the textiles store to pick up something for a special project.
Kris spent hours looking for the perfect leather and paid a small fortune for everything. He hadn’t ever designed or made boots for men before so he was a little intimidated by the prospect of creating something new. It would be a project that would take him at least a week and maybe at the end, he’d present the boots to Adam in person.
It was an exciting thought.
Kris worked diligently on his special project for Adam. Once he finished one of the boots, he showed it to Brad.
"Ohmygod! I love it," Brad said, eyes wide and voice high-pitched. "Why don’t you make things like this for me? You don’t love me."
He smiled, rubbing a cloth over the snakeskin. "I do love you."
"Well, not enough to make me a pair of snakeskin boots!"
Kris rolled his eyes and laughed. "I promise that once I finish Adam’s boots, I’ll make you a set of black boots in the softest kid skin leather out there."
"Really?" Brad said, looking at him, his bottom lip sticking out in the cutest pout. "And maybe a set for Cassidy, too?"
He nodded, setting the boot on the workshop table, gazing at it. "Okay. A set for Cassidy, too."
"Good luck," Brad said, giving him a hug and looking over at the finished boots. "He’s going to love them."
"Thanks. I hope so."
"And he’s going to love you, too, Kris, so stop being such a wimp."
He scratched his head and let out a nervous chuckle. "Just get out of here, all right?"
"I left lube and condoms in your desk!" Brad called, blowing him a kiss at the door.
"Good grief, get out of here you crazy person!"
Brad laughed and waved, closing the door firmly behind him.
Kris sat down at his drafting table chair and turned on his iPod, hooking up the mini speakers. He thumbed his playlist and selected the Beatles Revolver album and "Got to Get You Into My Life" came to life, the brass section hitting him right in the gut. He didn’t know when Adam would appear; so he tucked his head on his arms on top of the drafting table and closed his eyes, letting the music and words take him deep into his thoughts.
"Ooh, then I suddenly see you,
Ooh, did I tell you I need you
Every single day of my life
Got to get you into my life
Got to get you into my life"
He woke up to someone stroking his head. Kris grumbled something and turned his face against his arms. Probably Brad trying to wake him up. But the soft laugh didn’t belong to Brad. Kris opened his eyes and sat up quickly, staring at Adam.
"Hi Kris," he said, smiling widely. "I was wondering when you were going to visit me."
Kris blinked, looking him over. He was wearing one of the dozen shirts that Kris had left for him and the black jeans with the studded leather belt. He wore the necklace that Kris made for him. Naked or fully dressed, Adam was pretty darn hot.
Adam smiled, patting his back. He took a couple of steps back and held out his arms at his sides. "You like?"
"Yeah," Kris drawled, nodding slowly. He blinked, feeling his face getting hot. "I mean, uh, you look great. I’m glad that the, uh, everything fits."
"You’re the first person to ever leave me presents and notes," Adam said, ducking his head shyly. "Thank you."
"Are you kidding? You—you pretty much saved my entire business," Kris said, scrambling to get off the chair and to his feet. He looked into Adam’s blue eyes and bit his lip. "Thank you, Adam. I don’t know who you are or how you found me but…yeah, thank you for everything. I can’t think of a way to ever pay you back for what you did for me."
"Awww, that’s sweet," he said, grinning at him. "Come on, show me your designs and let’s work on some shoes together. It’ll be nice to have you for company. Finally."
Kris let out a stupid sounding laugh and then cleared his throat. "I…I made something for you."
Kris looked down at his feet. He smiled seeing that Adam wasn’t wearing any socks or shoes. "I hope you’ll like them."
"I love all of your presents!"
Kris motioned for Adam to go towards the workshop table. He had covered the boots with a piece of canvas and he gently pulled the canvas away, showing Adam the snakeskin boots.
"These are…for me?" Adam said, staring at the boots. Kris motioned with his hand for Adam to go to the boots, nodding at him.
He watched as Adam stood in place, just staring at the boots, his cheeks flushing slightly pink. His ears – they were a little pointy at the tips – were turning a little pink as well. His eyes were so blue and wide, staring at the boots; his mouth dropped opened and he wore an intense expression on his face that was part amazement and part disbelief. Kris held his breath and bit his lower lip.
"Go on. They’re yours."
"They’re gorgeous," he said, stepping closer to the table and stroking the boots with his hands. "Kris, these are perfect."
"I forgot to bring you socks. I’ll remember tomorrow night."
Adam sucked in a breath and turned, folding his arms around Kris in a tight hug. He tucked his face against Kris’s neck and trembled. Kris wrapped his arms around Adam’s back, patting his shoulder gently. He pressed his forehead against Adam’s shoulder and let out a sigh, realizing that Adam was the perfect height to give him the perfect hug.
"Thank you, Kris," he said, finally pulling away. His blue eyes looked wet and glittery. "You’re so talented and wonderful. I can’t believe you made me boots!"
Kris smiled up at him and opened his mouth to tell him that it was a long time coming when Adam bent his head and kissed him.
They both moaned and Kris pretty much just melted against Adam. He clung to Adam’s neck and let him lick and taste and nip at his mouth. Kris closed his eyes and made a funny whimpery sound when Adam sucked on his tongue. He gasped when he felt Adam’s hand slide down his back to curl over his butt, squeezing him in a firm and teasing grip. He moved his mouth down Kris’s cheek, to his earlobe, and down his neck. Kris just leaned back and enjoyed the feel of Adam everywhere.
"When the Council gave me this job, I had no idea that it was going to be like this," Adam murmured, smiling at him.
"Council?" Kris said, gazing up at him. He stared at Adam’s kiss swollen mouth. Was Adam talking? He wanted to push Adam against his drafting table and climb him and kiss and kiss and kiss—
"The Elf Council for Cobblers," Adam said, taking a deep breath and giving Kris a kiss on his forehead.
"What?" Cobblers? He stared up at him. "You—you think you’re an elf?"
Adam nodded. "I am an elf! I’ve been apprenticed to the Head Cordwainer for 145 years and when I finally got my Journeyman’s license, the Council gave me this job!"
"What? Wait. Did you say 145 years? And…the Head Cordwainer?"
"Yeah! He’s quite popular now in your world. His name here is Jimmy Choo."
Kris considered that for a moment. Actually, Jimmy Choo being an elf kind of explained so much about him. But:
"You’re an elf?"
"And you—you’re 145 years old?"
"Noooooo, I’m really 360 years old. It just kind of took me awhile to figure out what I was good at. I was an apprentice for Celine Dion but we kind of had a fight about our singing. I mean," Adam ducked his chin and blushed slightly. "I think I’m a better singer than her and we were constantly fighting over musical styles, you know?" He shrugged, smiling shyly at Kris.
"Wow?" He gulped. "So Celine Dion is an elf, too?"
Again, it explained so much. Kris was kind of leaning towards alien, but, you know, elf. Whatever.
"Mmm-hmm. Apparently, after she got married and started having babies, she stopped touring and putting out albums. Now she just sings in this place called Vegas."
Kris blinked. "This is so…I don’t even know what to think, Adam."
Adam laughed, hugging Kris again before letting him go. "You’re so cute. And honestly, are you sure you’re not one of us because you have these cute little pointy ears. Little elf ears."
Kris grabbed his ears and made a face. "Uh. Okay? But. No? I’m pretty sure I’m human."
In all of his thoughts, Kris never once really believed that Adam was his shoemaking fairy godmother – uh, godfather – but he really kind of was. He watched as Adam pulled on the apron and started pulling off the tools that he needed from the tool wall. Adam turned on all the workshop machines that would be necessary. Kris watched as he grinned at the boots as he walked back to Kris’s drafting table, picking up the sketchbook, placing a gentle kiss on Kris’s cheek that made Kris catch his breath, and flipping through it to look at Kris’s latest designs. There was something enchanting about the way that Adam was so sure of himself; that confidence without ego was really, really sexy.
"These are gorgeous," he murmured, setting the sketchbook on the workshop table. "Ohhh, can we do these in purple? I loved making those other purple leather shoes. Tell me, did people like them?"
"They sold 20 minutes after the store opened and there’s a waitlist of 57 women," Kris said, looking at him. "Sooooo…really? An elf?"
Adam laughed, rolling his eyes. "Why is it so hard to accept?"
"I don’t know? Because it’s…" Kris stopped himself; he didn’t want to insult Adam.
"Oh, honey, why don’t you just sit down? It’s really late for you. I know you’ve been up all day and it won’t take me very long to finish this, okay?"
Kris sat down and blinked at him. "Okay."
He watched as Adam worked quickly and deftly, his hands producing the first shoe in just a few minutes. Kris picked it up and checked the craftsmanship, completely awed by Adam’s skills.
"Everyone is going to be so jealous when I go back home to show them my new boots," he said, cheerfully. "They were totally jealous when you started giving me clothes and the other gifts. Apparently, none of the other elves receive gifts from their hosts, you know? I mean, not that we need to get gifts or anything but I think you’ve kind of spoiled it for everyone else. All the other elves were thinking that they should leave notes and try to get in touch with their hosts now."
"There’s not a lot of contact between, uh, hosts and elves?"
Adam shook his head, working on the sole of the next shoe. "Not really. We’re not really supposed to interact with you? I mean, it’s not illegal or anything, just kind of…not done, I guess. King Eber said that there was a time when elves were welcomed to the human world but there was a misunderstanding and a war and the humans asked the elves to keep to our world." Adam shrugged, sanding the sole of the shoe. "It’s kind of sad because we shouldn’t have to hide from each other. I mean, you and I are a perfect example of all the good things that could be."
"Yes. Right. Right." Oh yes, so right.
Adam grinned at him. "You really are too cute for words, Kris."
Kris watched as he sighed, hands on hips, as he looked at the workshop table and all the shoes that he finished. "Well, I think I’m done for the night. Was there anything else that you needed me to do?"
"You have to leave?"
Adam bit his lip and shrugged one shoulder. "Well…"
"Because if you don’t have to leave, maybe we can go out and do something. Are you hungry? I know a great little diner that makes the best burgers and fries," he said, stepping closer to him. "And you could wear your new boots if you wanted."
He watched as Adam blinked, his lips quivering into a wide smile. "Really? You want me to stay a little longer?"
Kris nodded. "Yeah. I mean, if you don’t need to go back or, you know, have a special elf friend back in, uh, your world."
"I don’t have any special elf friend," he said, taking a deep breath. "Oh wow, this is so awesome! I can’t wait to go and visit this diner for the burger and fries!"
Adam sat down on the stool and reached for the boots. He slipped one foot and the other into the snakeskin leathers. Kris had lined the inside with the softest leathers that he could find and he watched as Adam closed his eyes, obviously wiggling his toes inside the boots.
"Mmmmm…feels so nice," he murmured, huskily. "It feels like someone is stroking my feet. Hmmm…my feet are so sensitive." He opened his eyes and peered down at his new boots. "My feet look awesome! And they’re so big! Look how big my feet are! And this heel! It’s so high! I think I’m even taller now."
Kris swallowed, looking away, his face blazing hot. Oh yeah, he had big feet, all right. Big feet. Big…everything. There was a tight ball of pleasure in his gut. "Oh. Ummm…okay.
Adam reached out to take Kris’s hand. "Okay, I’m ready to visit this diner for burgers and fries."
Kris squeezed his hand and chuckled. "Do you know what burger and fries are anyway?"
"No, but it sounds terribly exciting!"
Every night, Kris waited for Adam to appear, part of him nervous that Adam wouldn’t show up, but he always did. They worked together in his workshop, side by side. Kris often played the Beatles’ Revolver album on his iPod speakers and was really quite blown away when Adam learned the words and started singing along. Kris was really surprised by Adam’s voice and he made it a point to find songs that fit Adam’s out-of-this-world vocal range. Adam seemed to really love Lady Gaga so Kris downloaded her albums and taught Adam the words to her songs and enjoyed watching Adam shake his butt as he sang and danced around the workshop.
Kris even asked Adam to design his own shoes and Brad basically had an orgasm when Kris showed him the shoes that Adam created.
"This—this is unbelievable!" Brad moaned, staring at the heels. "It’s like I died and went to shoe heaven."
Adam smiled and his cheeks brightened. "Thank you, Bradley."
Kris loved it when the three of them would stay after hours in the workshop. Sometimes, Cassidy would stop by and Kris would sit at his drafting table, watching the three of them talking animatedly about clothes and shoes and fashion and singing. Brad brought in a huge flat screen TV and Kris had wireless Internet and cable put into the store. MTV was their favorite channel and Adam would just stare at the screen, fascinated by the music videos.
One night, Kris went out to pick up food for them and when he came back, there was a thin and tall, dark-haired man standing over Adam, lining his eyes with a black eyeliner.
"What’s going on?" Kris said, setting the bags of food on the workshop table.
"Kris! This is our friend Sutan. He’s a make-up artist," Brad said, waving his hand at the other man.
Sutan smiled and shook Kris’s hand. "Hi Kris, it’s nice to meet you. I love your shoes, by the way."
"Sutan totally placed an order on four pairs of shoes," Brad told him. "He’s a drag performer."
"Shoes totally makes the outfit," Sutan said, his voice low and amused.
Kris smiled, leaning against the table and watching as Adam was transformed – not that he needed all of that, Kris thought. It just made him even more…gorgeous. Adam blinked and looked at Kris.
"Is it—is it okay?"
"You look beautiful," Kris said, smiling at him. "I like the new look."
"Really?" Adam said, nearly bouncing on the stool. "Brad and Cass and Sutan said that we should all go out to a club! To dance!"
Kris chuckled, raising his eyebrows. "Oh really?"
"Come on, Kris, you need to go out and shake that little bon-bon, too," Cassidy said, looking at him. "And really, it’s very unfair of you to keep Adam all to yourself. He should know what he’s missing."
Kris’s smile wavered a little. He was kind of afraid of that. He couldn’t imagine that Adam would find him interesting after a night out in a WeHo club. "Nah, go without me, okay?"
Adam moved away from Sutan to look at him. "Do you not want me to go?"
"No, no, you should go. You’ll love it," he said, looking into Adam’s concerned eyes. "They’ll make sure you have a good time."
"But you don’t want to go with us?"
Kris shook his head. "I’m not really a club kind of guy, Adam." He saw that Adam was going to change him mind and not go. "Hey, you really should go. I want you to go. It’s fun. You really will love it."
"Are you sure? Because if you’re not sure, then I don’t want to go—"
Brad, Cassidy and Sutan protested loudly, all three of them talking over each other, saying that Adam should go, that Adam would love it, that Adam had to experience the nightlife.
But Adam only looked at Kris. "Kris?"
"It’s okay," he said, meaning it. Who was he to hold Adam back from all of these wonderful new experiences and Adam’s new friends? "Have fun."
"Okay," he murmured, softly. He turned his face back to Sutan so that he could finish his make up.
Kris sighed, hugging all of the boys, waving to them as they dragged Adam out of the back to Cassidy’s SUV. He leaned against the wall and watched the vehicle pull down the alley towards the main street. Kris sighed, biting his lip, and went back inside the building. It would only be a matter of time before Adam would be pulled into the world by the beautiful people and the wild colors and the ecstatic playtime of the young and the rich and the fun.
He sat down at his drafting table and stared at Adam’s latest designs, tracing the bold lines with his fingertips.
"Baby, you’re going to sleep away the best part."
Kris murmured, hiding his face into his pillow, grumbling.
There was a puff of warm breath against his ear and Kris shivered, letting out a soft moan.
"Kris…Kristopher…wake up, wake up, wake up."
Kris opened his eyes to slits and turned his head to see Adam leaning over him. "Adam?"
"Mmmm…" he kissed down Kris’s cheek, nuzzling his jaw and nipping at his neck. "You taste so good."
Kris gasped and turned on his back, looking up at Adam. His make up was still perfect, his long black bangs falling over his eyes. "What—how did you get in?"
"Bradley did something to the locks and opened the door."
Kris rolled his eyes. "I swear, he’s in so much trouble."
"Brad and Cassidy showed me a very interesting movie," Adam said, his voice low and husky. Kris closed his eyes and shivered when he felt Adam’s fingers tracing up and down his bare arm. "They called it gay porn."
Kris opened his eyes wide and stared at him. "What?"
He giggled. "Gay porn. It was sex and it was really, really hot."
"Brad and Cass said that I should have gay porn sex with you," Adam murmured, tugging the sheets and the soft quilts down, making a pleased sound when he revealed that Kris was wearing a tank top and boxers. "You sleep in clothes?"
"Yeah?" He swallowed. "They—they showed you gay porn?"
"First they showed me straight porn. It had a woman in it. I liked it. But I liked the gay porn better," Adam said, looking at Kris. He smiled, his eyes trailing down Kris from his head to his toes. He ran a large hand up Kris’s leg. "You have such soft skin. Is your skin soft everywhere?"
"You have a beautiful bottom," he said, gently patting Kris’s butt. Kris made a funny sound and Adam chuckled, caressing his butt with his palm. "Fits perfectly."
"I wonder what else fits perfectly?" Adam said, his hand trailing over his hip and then down towards his hardening cock. Kris closed his eyes and breathed noisily when Adam’s hand curled around his cock over the fabric of his boxers, stroking him in a slow, tempting circle. "Mmmm…you’re getting so hard and wet."
"Adam, what—what’re you doing? Do you even know what you’re doing?"
"I do now," Adam said, confidently. "Brad and Cassidy gave me pointers."
Kris narrowed his eyes in a pique of jealousy, unable to meet Adam’s gaze. "Did you…with them?"
"No, I didn’t have gay porn sex with them," he said, shaking his head. "I only want to have gay porn sex with you, Kris."
"Oh. Oh wow…"
Kris didn’t always take the bull by the horns, he wasn’t that kind of guy; but he wasn’t stupid enough to know that this was an opportunity of a lifetime and that maybe Heaven was giving him a reward for being a good man. He reached up and dragged his fingers into Adam’s hair, watching as his eyes close, a throaty moan coming from him. Kris smiled and grabbed a handful of thick hair, pulling him down to kiss that wide, sexy mouth.
He was breathless and a little dazed by the time Adam pulled away. He was sure headed towards being a kissing expert at the rate that he was going. Kris was kind of floating in endorphins and lust and emotional victory – Adam wanted to have gay porn sex with him -- and he watched unabashedly as Adam stripped off his club clothes with a hot smile on his face. He reached down and pulled off Kris’s tank top and pulled down his boxers, sighing as Kris splayed his arms and legs on the bed, letting Adam look all he wanted.
"How did I get so lucky?" Adam murmured, draping himself over Kris, moaning when their heated skin touched.
Kris curled his arms around Adam’s neck, one of his legs curling around Adam’s hip. "Sometimes, Heaven does answer prayers."
Adam giggled and kissed him. "Want me to show you what I learned from those movies?"
Kris groaned, staring up at the ceiling as Adam kissed down his chest, wide hands stroking him everywhere. "How many of them did you watch?"
"Only the good ones."
Kris closed his eyes, his hands going into Adam’s thick hair, pulling the gelled spikes apart while Adam’s mouth slipped lower and lower, hot and wet tongue tasting him everywhere. He panted and mewled when Adam started sucking and licking his cock. Kris tightened his hold on Adam’s hair. "Yeah…God, Adam, you—you’re a fast learner."
Adam chuckled. "Just wait until I show you what I learned what to do with my cock."
Of course there was a happy ending.
Adam went back to his elf world and asked the Council if he could remain permanently with Kris in the human world. Kris worried for a couple of days, nervously chewing on his nails and slouched behind his drafting table, unable to sleep or draw or anything while Adam was gone. He promised that he’d come back; that the Council never turned anyone down if the request was sincere. Elves were notoriously romantic and Adam was terribly in love with Kris, all hearts and roses and fantastically designed high heels.
"He’s going to come back," Brad consoled, petting him gently.
Kris nodded. "I’ve been praying…and I hope it wasn’t selfish of me to ask for Adam to come back."
"That’s not selfish, baby," he said, smiling widely. "I don’t think there’s a god out there who wouldn’t send you someone to love."
He chuckled and blinked up at Brad. "Have I told you today that you’re my best friend?"
Brad’s pretty face broke out into a wide smile and his eyes danced with delight. "I always knew, but it’s nice to hear now and again."
Kris gave him a hug, squeezing him tight until Brad complained and giggled against his ear. He smacked Brad’s butt. "Go on, go home to your man, give him one of your special, you know, kisses."
"Blow job. Come on, Kris, say it. Just once."
He rolled his eyes. "I can say blow job."
"He really, really can."
They turned and Kris jumped off his stool, running over to Adam to give him a full body hug. "You’re back!"
"Yeah," Adam said, hugging him back just as tight. "And I can stay."
Kris grabbed his arms and leaned back, smiling up at him. "Good. Stay with me, okay, until you want to get your own place or whatever."
"Maybe you guys can buy a house," Brad suggested, walking towards them and giving Adam a quick hug.
Adam’s eyes widened as he looked at Kris. "A house? Really?"
"Maybe it’s time I did get a house," he said, nodding shyly. "Now that there’s going to be someone else living with me."
"Yay!" Adam cheered, bouncing on his feet. He looked around the workshop and didn’t see any shoes or sketchbooks. He frowned and raised his eyebrow, looking at Kris. "Someone didn’t do any work while I was gone."
Kris shrugged. "I was kind of depressed."
"Because of me? Oh baby, I’m here now," Adam said, swooping down to give him a long, firm kiss.
"That is so disgustingly sweet," Brad said, snickering at them. He blew them a kiss and walked towards the door. "See you tomorrow – no, in fact Kris, you should take tomorrow and maybe the next few days off." He was using that nonchalant tone again. But this time, Kris fully agreed with him.
"I think that’s a good idea." He smiled up at Adam. "You know, I was thinking about something while you were gone."
"Since your designs have become so popular, how would you like to be our business partner? Allen and Lambert Designs."
Adam’s eyes widened and he sucked in a deep breath. "You want me to be your business partner?"
"I think it has a really nice ring to it."
He watched as Adam nodded frantically, his hand over his mouth.
"And I know you and Cassidy love designing fashion…maybe Allen and Lambert Designs should expand into…unknown territory," Kris said, smirking slightly.
"Well, it would be better for me to do fashion design since…" Adam looked pointed at Kris’s blue/green/gray plaid shirt.
Kris laughed, wrapping his arm around Adam’s neck, kissing his warm lips. "Okay, you have a deal."
Adam hugged him again, his laughter full of glee and happiness and love. Kris sent a quick prayer to Heaven, always thankful of his good life, his great friends, and his thriving business. But most of all, Kris was thankful to Heaven for sending him Adam, this strange Elf who came into his life when he needed him the most.
Kris blushed when Adam whispered all the naughty things that he was going to do to Kris all night long. He peered up at Adam and bit his lip, watching Adam’s eyes moving over his face.
"Have I told you today that I love you?"
Adam smiled, stroking his finger along Kris’s ear. "Today and every day."
It was worth all of Brad’s extra teasing and knowing looks when Kris and Adam came back to work after three days; and the delighted and victorious glint in Adam’s eyes as he placed the soft cushion on Kris’s chair, helping him sit down gingerly.
It was totally worth it.