"Do I look okay?" Sauli asks once again.
Adam looks over and grins at his boyfriend before giving his hand a reassuring squeeze. "You look great."
"At least I can sit inside and relax while you give your interviews." Sauli smooths his tie and gives Adam a nervous grin.
Adam bites the corner of his lip and gives Sauli a pleading look. "Well, actually, I was hoping you'd walk in with me." Adam lets the sentence hang in the air. He tilts his head slightly and raises his shoulders in a small shrug.
"The red carpet?"
"Yeah. I'd really like it if we could walk it together," Adam's voice takes on a slightly begging tone.
He watches Sauli rub his hands down his thighs and take a deep breath. Adam's heart sinks when he sees the slight shake of Sauli's head, "Adam, I don't know."
"It's not like we haven't been seen before," Adam starts explaining but Sauli's shaky laugh stops him.
"But that's different."
There's something inside Adam that's telling him it's right that Sauli be beside him tonight, at the American Idol finale, where his career started. And Adam's always been one to follow his gut. Afterall, they wouldn't be here together now if he dismissed his instincts when they were shouting at him to call Sauli after that first night.
They were right then and he knows, deep inside, they're right now. He just needs to convince Sauli.
"Why is it different?" Adam presses when Sauli gets quiet and his face turns serious.
"What if someone asks me something?"
Adam blinks. "Then you answer it?"
Sauli shakes his head again and looks out at the window, carefully avoiding Adam's gaze. Whatever is bothering Sauli, he needs to know because, unfortunately, this is Adam's life now. They've discussed it and he thought Sauli was okay with it. But maybe now that reality is here, Sauli's getting cold feet about the whole thing. Adam tugs on his hand to get his attention.
Sauli slowly turns his head and Adam can see the apprehension, and fear? "Sauli, what is it? You know you can tell me anything."
"I know," comes the soft voice.
"Do I look terrible or something?" Adam tries to joke, but his nerves get tighter when Sauli doesn't even crack a smile. "You don’t have to if you don't want to. I, well, I guess I want to show you off to everyone but I would never make you do anything you're not comfortable with."
"It's not you," Sauli assures him. After a short pause, he adds, "I wouldn't want to embarrass you." Sauli's voice was never as hesitant as it is right now.
Adam's scrunches his eyebrows together trying to make sense of what Sauli said. "You'd never embarrass me."
"My English isn't so good," Sauli says with a humorless chuckle.
Adam's protective streak kicks in when he hears how unsure Sauli is of himself. He scoots closer on the seat. He wraps him in his arms and gives him a kiss on the cheek.
"I think you're perfect," Adam stresses while he holds Sauli's precious face in his hands.
Sauli smiles. "You do but, Adam, I don't want to disappoint you and if I have to talk, well I don’t know. My accent and everything."
Adam strokes his cheeks. "Aw, honey. I love you. I want you to have fun tonight. If you'd rather go inside when we get to the red carpet, it's okay."
Adam wishes Sauli could see the person he sees - a beautiful, confident, man. But Adam suffers with bouts of insecurities from time to time and he'd never push Sauli into doing anything he's not comfortable with. Besides, it's not like this is the only event they'll ever attend together. It's only the first of many.
Sauli places a soft kiss on Adam's lips before laying his head on Adam's chest. "I love you."
"I love you too. Now let's get going before we're late."
Sauli climbs out of the car to the screams of the fans. He smiles when he sees Adam waving to them. He stands back, with Lane, while Adam does a couple of interviews. He's so proud of him. There's no doubt in Sauli's mind he'll be a big star one day, and Adam is more than capable of handling it. He's grounded, sweet, humble, and grateful for all the opportunities he has now. Adam's told him so many times how blessed he feels.
He watches Adam start down the red carpet to the yells for his attention and he sighs to himself. That's his boyfriend standing there. His. Nobody else's. For some reason Adam's chosen him, loves him and at that moment Sauli feels the most overwhelming feeling of love in return. His heart swells until he swears it could split his chest in half. He's too busy thinking about Adam and how he feels about him that it takes a minute before he realizes Adam's holding his hand and mouthing the word "please". Sauli watches the slight shift of his head towards the photographers and it hits him Adam is asking him one last time. He looks into Adam's eyes and smiles at how ridiculous he's being.
He takes a step forward and Adam gives him the most amazing look before he turns to the line of people waiting to take their picture. They stand there - together, hand in hand - while the cameras snap away, yelling Adam's name. A few moments later, Sauli squeezes Adam's hand and lets go, signaling Adam that it's his turn to do this solo. Adam pats him on the back and leans down to whisper, "See, that wasn't so bad." They share a little laugh before Sauli walks off to wait in the background.
Sauli looks at the man he loves and he feels like giggling like a geeky high school boy who got asked to the prom by the star athlete.
He let Adam show him off. Instead of feeling self-conscious, it made him feel like he could conquer the world, do anything. He bites his lip to keep from smiling too wide. He has a feeling it won't take much convincing next time.