Length: 7750 words
Disclaimer: Not mine, clearly.
Notes: ontd_ai Auction Fic for stellabee, who generously donated $76 for a 7000+ word fic. We discussed me writing kid fic, but what came out was ridiculous Adam (fun, but ridiculous). It took me over a month to get this down right, but I get a real kick out of writing him this way, so hopefully it works! Thanks to drgaellon and minglingcrab for the beta, and jerakeen for being so patient all this time.
The Trouble With Kids Is...
The truth is that Adam doesn't really remember meeting Kris. If it weren't for the evidence, he'd deny having any knowledge of the guy; but a picture speaks a thousand words, or some such nonsense, and the picture presently displayed on his phone is yelling, 'Yes, you do know him, and you kissed him, you TRAMP!'
His phone can be such a bitch.
His phone can also make very annoying noises, like the chirping it is making now to signal an appointment. Adam doesn't remember making any appointments for this morning; but then, he doesn't remember kissing the guy on his phone either, and there are lots—did he have his phone set to speed snap?—of pictures to prove otherwise. The guy is pretty cute, too, Adam notices as he scrolls through the files. It's like watching a movie in stills, and backwards. There’s the drunk-posing for the camera, faces squashed together to fit into the frame; then the kissing–a few of the kissing—who took these pictures? Then there are the pictures of just Kris; of just a very cute, very drunk-looking Kris drinking lemon drop martinis—at least, that's what it smells like Adam spilled on his shirt—and clearly flirting with Adam.
How could he be blamed for ending up lip-locked with the guy? Really.
When his phone chirps again, Adam leaves the pictures and clicks through to see what this urgent appointment is. 'Coffee with Alli - I will break your balls if you are late.' These are the appointments his best friend leaves on his phone. On days when he has gotten maybe 3 hours of sleep and is completely in love with the idea of staying in bed with his phone and unraveling the mystery of the 'Kris3.jpg' picture of Kris's tongue licking Adam's neck. He really doesn't need this.
"Allison! I really need you!" So, he's fickle. He never claimed otherwise.
"I know, I know, always a crisis. How are you, sweetie?"
Allison is the sweetest girl Adam has ever met. He’d totally marry her if it weren’t for the age difference, and the fact that she doesn't have a penis. Other than that, she's his perfect mate.
Adam collapses into the booth across from her and takes a sip of the coffee she has waiting for him. "I'm awful. I'm dying. My life is over."
Allison takes a sip of her own coffee, barely raising an eyebrow. "Again?"
"Not funny. I'm serious this time. I met a guy, and he's so gorgeous, and I think we really hit it off."
"And the problem is..."
"I sort of don't know who he is."
"Seriously, Adam? Again?"
Not fair. This has only happened to him once before—well, twice if you counted the guy who borrowed Adam's phone and took pictures of himself naked. He's still traumatized from that one. And the other time was just a random guy he met at some party who kept calling him and making Adam guess his name. He gave up in the Ds—the guy just wasn't that cute.
He pulls out his phone and hands it to Allison. "No, really, this guy is special, I know it. I just can't remember much...well, not very much...okay, I can't remember anything at all. But I know he was special!"
Allison leans back in the booth, her coffee in one hand and Adam's phone in the other. The homage to Kris has to impress her. Surely she can see he's desperate?
"Okay, he's cute, I'll give you that much."
"But I don't see what you can do about it."
"Adam, come on! You hooked up with some random guy at a club, took a bunch of pictures of him..." She glances back down at the phone. "Or hired a photographer to take pictures of you both, because seriously, there is no way you could contort your arm that much."
Adam mindlessly rubs his shoulder. It does hurt a little.
"But all you have to go on is a first name. In this city? I don't think it's going to happen, dude."
Adam takes back his phone. She had stopped on the picture of Kris tipping Adam's martini towards his lips. He's laughing and smiling and his eyes are crinkled in that cute way...okay, he is seriously over the moon for this guy.
"Look at his face, Alli! He's so cute there, on my iPhone." Adam touches the screen. "Apple should make him their logo."
"Oh my God, it's worse than I thought."
"Come on, I'm desperate. Can't you see that I'm desperate?"
"When are you not desperate? Dragging me into your love messes. I've got enough of my own love messes to keep me busy, thank you very much. I need less crazy in my life. "
"But Kris isn’t crazy. Kris is..." Adam flips to a picture of Kris miming singing into a stir stick. "Kris is a singer!" he blurts suddenly.
"So?" Allison continues drinking her coffee like this isn't a glorious revelation.
"So, Kris is a singer...and..." The fog is lifting slowly, Adam's mind is composing a mental picture...a very fuzzy mental picture, but he'll take what he can get. "I think he sings kids' songs. Or writes kids' songs. Or something about kids and songs and I told him how I loved performing for kids at the theatre..."
Allison spits a mouthful of coffee across the table. "You did what?"
"What?" Adam is offended at her tone. And she got coffee on his favorite jacket.
"You told him you loved whom? I know you didn't say children. Because Adam Lambert and children just should not be in the same room together."
"Jeez, you make it sound like I'm a pedophile or something."
"No, no, no. You hate kids. Pedophiles love kids, last time I checked."
Now she’s just being mean. He doesn't hate kids...well, not exactly. He just thinks that they don't really have a purpose. They're like miniature people without manners...or facial hair. And they always have dirty faces. Is it really that difficult to look in a mirror once in a while?
"All I'm saying is that if you and this dream guy bonded over your shared love of children, one of you is going to be severely disappointed. And somehow I doubt it's going to be..." Allison picks up his phone again. "...'Kris43.jpg'".
"So I told a little white lie..." He stares at Allison until she stops laughing. "We could still have something special. It's not like he spends all day with kids or anything, right? I can totally handle a few nursery rhymes."
Adam ignores her. "At least I remembered that he sings and performs and maybe I can find him in some performance somewhere. All is not lost."
Allison places her cup on the table and leans across to pat the back of his hand. "Honey?" she says softly, her voice gentle and sweet. "Do you have any idea how many guys there are named Kris in this city?"
That's it, their love affair is over. Adam needs a perfect mate who is willing to go along with his crazy.
A whole week goes by without any progress on OFK (Operation Find Kris). Allison texts him that it might as well be Operation Fuck Kris, because that's all Adam is thinking about, but he ignores her. She's busy dealing with her own crazy; he's going to handle his by himself from now on.
Each night, he goes back to the bar where he met Kris, because at least he can remember that much—but it’s useless. He even posts a picture of them on Facebook—because you never know who might know Kris—but it doesn't generate any leads. Adam stays out until 3 AM sipping lemon drop martinis at 'their bar' before finally collapsing into bed, worn out from the hunt.
When his phone chirps at him at 8 the next morning, he almost throws it against the wall. He really has to stop letting Allison program in her own appointments. He's definitely more of an 11 AM riser. His phone can't take a hint apparently, because it keeps chirping. Finally, he grabs it and pries his eyes open to read what the appointment is.
'Kirs Gog' at 9 AM.
What the hell is a Kirs Gog? Adam clicks the details and reads a choppy note clearly not written by him; or at least, he doesn't remember writing it.
Music @ playland, king/niag, be theeer!!1!
That’s…somewhat helpful. It's music, and it's urgent, and a Kirs Gog is...oh God! Could it be 'Kris Gig'? Maybe? Yes, it totally could be. He’s found Kris!
He reads the appointment again for clues. Music—that fits. Playland—Adam has never heard of it. King/niag—King Street and Niagara Street? Maybe? It's a bit west of where he lives, but he knows the area. And Kris clearly put this in his phone last week so Adam would 'be theeer!!1!'
Okay, a bit weird maybe, but if Adam was willing to make out with the guy on camera, essentially, then he was clearly into him last week. How awkward could this morning be? Well. Possibly very, but Kris was really cute. If he hurries he can make it to...he checks his phone again...King and Niagara? Yeah, he can definitely make it there by 9 AM. He just really needs a shower first.
Adam's hair is still wet when he bolts out his door at 8:55. He's never going to make it by 9, but he can get there fashionably late, perhaps. It's a gig; no one will notice if he slips in late. He doesn't stop for coffee. There's fashionably late, and then there's 'I was late but I cared more about caffeine than you.' Adam isn't sure how into this guy he is, but he wants to make a good first impression anyway. Technically, he supposes, it's a second impression, but that hardly counts when you can't remember the first.
He finds the door to Playland easily. It's red, with a huge hand-painted sign out front. Not what he'd expect from a music club, but then, most of the clubs he frequents don't keep AM hours. Adam isn't sure what kind of place this is. He opens the door and walks inside...then walks back out and slams it behind him.
Clearly this is someone's idea of a joke.
He grabs his phone and dials Allison's number. "He's been infested."
"I need less crazy in my life, remember? Less crazy."
"No, seriously. I found the guy and he's been infested."
"The guy? You found Kris? Yay! Now we can have less crazy!"
"No, no, but that's the problem. He's infested with dirt and lice and...and cooties!"
There is silence on the other end of the phone. "Alli?"
"Where are you?" she asks.
"At Kris's gog. I mean, gig."
"He invited you to a gig? And you are there right now?"
"Yes, well...sort of. I'm still outside this..." Adam cranes his neck around to look up at the hand-painted sign...complete with hand prints along the bottom of it. How could he not have noticed the hand prints?
"...I'm outside this Playland place." Adam drops his voice to a whisper. "There are kids inside!"
"Yes," Allison responds dryly. "I got that from the cooties."
"I know! What am I going to do?"
"Are you shittin' me, Lambert? Seriously? I have to find some new friends." Allison pauses, Adam wonders if she is just going to hang up on him. "All right, so let me recap. This mysterious Kris guy, whom you fell in love with over martinis and drunk phone porn, invited you to a gig on the night he met you, when he clearly was not as drunk as you were. You are going to let a few kids stand in the way of you and...what did you call him...the best thing to happen to Apple since the MacBook?"
"I am hanging up now. And you are going to go inside that day care, or whatever the hell kind of place he plays at, at 9 in the morning, and you are going to talk to him. At the very least. Oh, oh! At the most, actually. No kissing; think of the children."
Allison hangs up and Adam stands there with his phone in his hand for another minute. He doesn't like kids. He really doesn't like kids. He hasn't been around very many, but the ones he has met are always sticky, and usually leaking from somewhere. Nobody should have that many fluids coming out of their body; it's just not right.
He takes a deep breath and opens the door again. The sound inside is deafening. The kids are working their problems out by squealing, or maybe they just have an awful lot of pent up energy; either way, Adam can't hear himself think. And there are so many of the little runts. There must be fifty of them scattered around the room, all shouting and talking and getting gross sticky fingers all over the toys. Ugh—Adam has the heebie jeebies just watching them.
He’s looking around for a safe haven, an adult to talk to—so anyone looking doesn't think he's a creepy guy trying to steal one of the kids or something—when his eyes fall on Kris. He's kneeling down on the floor talking to a little blonde girl, who appears to be crying. His fingers feather her cheeks, wiping away the tear tracks. She smiles and nods at something he says; he kisses her head and stands up. It's sweet—touching—and now…Kris has cooties all over him.
Adam doesn't know if coming here was a good idea. He hasn't had a coffee, and there are kids…but then Kris turns around and Adam gets his first good look at him. Kris's head is bowed away and he's smiling, laughing at some secret joke Adam desperately wants in on. Kris raises his eyes to Adam and the burst of smile across his face takes Adam's breath away. He takes it all back. Coming here is the best idea he's had all week.
"You came!" Kris says, grinning as he walks over to open the gate that prevents any of the kids from escaping.
Adam shrugs and smiles. His phone didn't do Kris justice; he's even cuter in person. And shorter. All of the pictures were of them sitting down. Huh...Adam thinks he can live with it, though. Kris has a guitar slung over one shoulder and he's grinning at Adam with this impossibly cute, crooked smile. Yeah, Adam can definitely live with this.
The kids though—that's another story.
"So you actually play here?" Adam asks.
"Yeah," Kris says, looking around. "I do shows for the kids. They really get a kick out of singing along. We do activities and play games..."
He hesitates, looking up at Adam. "...and you think this is completely ridiculous. I know you are way more into this as a career..."
"No, no, it's not that. I just..." Hate kids? A bit harsh for 9 AM, maybe. "...I don't do many morning gigs." God, he can barely remember telling Kris that he was a singer. Kris doesn't seem to have the same memory loss issues that Adam is struggling with.
"Yeah, yeah, mister 'big shot paying gig.' When you're a struggling artist, you take what you can get." Kris grins at him.
Adam makes a mental note not to drink lemon drop martinis again.
"I should get started; twenty kids aren't the most patient bunch."
Twenty? Adam could have sworn there were at least twice that many. Must be the volume of their voices—makes them appear more numerous. He glances at the kids. There are day care workers trying to herd them into a rough circle on the carpet, but it looks more like a rhombus to him. Half of the kids are sitting still and staring at Kris; the other half are fidgeting or playing with a toy. One little guy is trying to stand on his head, and another is just bawling his guts out. Adam has dealt with rough crowds before, but this one takes top prize. Kris must be a saint on top of everything else; that, or he has some other motivation for getting up at the crack of dawn to play for a bunch of kids.
Adam turns towards the counter at the back of the room and spies an oversized bottle of hand sanitizer. Perfect. He'll hang out there and give himself a sponge bath while Kris is playing.
Kris starts off with 'Itsy-Bitsy Spider.' Adam had no idea there were actually 10 verses to that song; he swears Kris is just making them up after the fifth one. But the kids all seem to know the words, and Kris moves effortlessly into 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star' and then a bluesy rendition of the 'Alphabet Song.' Adam's musical horizons are being blown wide-open, he's got to admit. The kids’ clapping and singing along is still freaking him out a bit, but none of them are touching him—and he's in his happy place here by the sanitizer.
When Kris finishes, kids once again climb all over him. Adam is seriously going to have to get over his kid issues if he wants to see this guy again; clearly, Kris doesn’t have that kind of repressed trauma (he's sure that's what Allison would diagnose him with). Kris peels the tiny people off of him one by one, stopping to talk to a little blond boy for a minute, before finally making his way over to Adam.
"So, you stayed; that must mean you didn't hate it." His smile is as big as the room and Adam has an impulse to create Kris-Album2 for his phone.
Instead, he settles for trying to extend this sort-of date. "It was awesome. And it would be even better if it wasn't at the crack of dawn. You wanna grab a coffee or something?"
"I would, I mean I do, but it's just..." Kris gestures over his shoulder towards the kids.
"Oh, you can't ditch them yet?"
Kris half-smiles, half-frowns. "No, I...why would I want to ditch them?" He's still smiling, but Adam suddenly gets that Kris really digs these kids. Like there is no other place in the world Kris would rather be at this moment, including anywhere that would involve Adam and a jolt of caffeine.
He tries to cover for himself. "I just meant I thought you were done here, and we could talk, or whatever. But if you're booked for another set...or something..."
Kris smiles and nods his head, his tongue pushing his lower lip out as he does.
"What?" Adam feels like he is missing out on the joke.
"You really don't remember much about the other night, do you?"
"What? No, I...I knew your name, and that you were cute." He shoots Kris his 'fuck-me' smile. It's never failed him before.
Kris reaches out to take Adam's phone out of his hand. Adam had of course been practicing his favorite pastime while he killed time over at the sanitizer—browsing pictures of Kris and trying to add mental speech balloons to the scenes—so the first thing Kris sees is a picture of them lip-locked over a drink.
"You got a lot of these?" Kris teases.
Adam refuses to be embarrassed—it's a testament to how much he digs this guy, right? So what if it appears needy and desperate? Adam just needs to get him alone for a few minutes and have some adult conversation. And then adult interactions. He can totally prove that he is neither needy nor desperate.
Kris scrolls through the pictures, seeming to enjoy them as much as Adam does.
"What's my last name?"
"Me. The guy you took 50 pictures of, and apparently saved every one of them. What's my name? Where do I work? Where am I from?"
Whoa. Nobody told Adam there was going to be a test. He would have studied if he'd known there was a test—studied what, he has no idea, but he certainly would have come better prepared. Kris has been all he thought about all week. That should count for something.
Adam shrugs, shooting for nonchalant. "So my memory of our hook-up is a little fuzzy. I dragged myself out of bed at ass-o'clock in the morning for your little kid-gig. I think that says something, right?"
Kris hands back Adam's phone and smiles. "It does. And I'm really glad you came. But you don't have to pretend to like kids to get in my pants."
'Well, what do I have to do?' Adam wants to shout. He's covered in cooties and he did it all for Kris. That should speak volumes.
But Kris doesn't hear any of that; he just turns and walks away, back towards his guitar and the children.
"Hey, wait!" Adam calls after him.
Kris turns and smiles. "It's Allen," he says. "And I'm pretty sure my number is in there if you change your mind."
"So it was like the most awkward exit in the history of awkward exits. The day care worker practically showed me to the door—like some kid-bouncer! I got bounced from a day care, Alli. I'm a pervert."
Allison reaches over with the bottle of vodka and tops off Adam's glass. "Honey, you wouldn't go anywhere near the kids. That is kind of like the opposite of pervert."
"How pathetic am I? I'm in love with a guy who loves kids. And he sees through me! He's not supposed to see through me until the third date...at least!"
Allison shakes her head and pours more vodka for herself. "You are not pathetic. Well, except for those pants..."
Adam is wearing his 'there-is-no-point-in-living' grey sweatpants that he has owned since high school. They are his security blanket. They fit him even when he's up five pounds from eating break-up ice cream sundaes. Allison is the only living person he would ever let see him in them. That's how much he loves her—he'll even take abuse about his favorite pants.
"They make me feel better." Adam mutters and sips his vodka. "Unlike a certain best friend..."
"Hey, you dug yourself into the hole..."
"But I don't remember doing it!"
"Okay, okay. You really like this guy. Obviously, you must have led him to believe that you were cool with the whole playing-with-kids thing...and oh my God, that just really came out wrong." She takes another drink of vodka and appears to think over Adam's most pathetic predicament. "I just don't know how you manage to do it. Somehow, in your drunken escapades, you set yourself up as a guy who likes kids, and you so clearly don't. Kris is obviously smart, by the way. I think I would really like him."
"Except you are never going to meet him if you don't figure out a way to fix this."
Allison tops off his glass of vodka, again. He's going to be drunk before they ever come up with a plan.
"Why don't you just call him? He put his number in your phone right?"
Adam hands her his phone. "He said he did, but it's not there. Kris Allen...it's such a cute name too. I would have had fun texting that name..."
"Did you actually look for his name in here?" Allison is staring at Adam's phone.
"Yeah, I looked under K and A. I even checked the appointment from this morning. Nothing."
"Did you look under C?"
"No, it's Kris with a K. That's what all the pictures were called. And his name was written on the board at the day care."
"Yes, but did you look under C?" Allison tips the phone towards Adam and there is it—Chris Allen.
"Holy shit!" Adam grabs the phone and stares at it some more. Kris with a Ch—of course! "I'm an idiot!"
"No, you just can't spell." She tops off both of their vodkas and sits back on the couch. "Now, how are we going to attack him with your charm?"
Allison's plan seems solid. They will compose the perfect text message to Kris, full of just the right amount of charm and humility. And sexiness; Adam insists that there be sexiness. Allison reminds him that they only have 160 characters—she isn't a magician. He drinks her last mouthful of vodka for that one.
But it's a good plan, except they have been staring at his phone for an hour and they haven't typed even one character yet.
"How about, 'I'm a jerk, fuck me now, please,'" Allison suggests.
Adam moves over to his side of the couch and closes his eyes to concentrate.
"Or, how about, 'I only hate kids, not you. Fuck me now, please.' Yes?"
"You are not getting any more of my vodka."
"Just tell him you made a mistake but you really want a second chance. Keep it simple."
Keep it simple. He can do that. He types a message and hits send before he can rethink it.
Great music, had fun
He reads it aloud to Allison. "Well, at least it's done."
"And now we wait," Allison says, getting herself more vodka. She wavers as she stands up from the couch. "Oh, I just might be making love to your couch tonight."
"Sure, sure." Adam is too engrossed in his phone to care much about what she is saying. "He's not writing me back. Why isn't he writing me back?"
"Give him a chance. Maybe he's crafting the perfect message back to you, which, may I say, yours is not."
"Hey, I am under great duress here."
"Duress that you applied yourself."
"Do you want to sleep here or not?"
"Oh, baby," Allison says, flopping back down on the couch and dragging a blanket down across her shoulders. "I'm the most action you've seen in weeks."
Adam leaves her on the couch and takes his phone to his room. Kris will write him back; he has to. No way they spent the whole evening together having so much fun (Adam is pretty sure from the pictures that they had fun) only to have it all ruined by his dislike of children. 'And the fact that you LIED,' the voice in his head taunts, but he tries to ignore it. He'll just lie down and hold onto his phone until it vibrates to signal that Kris doesn't hate him, and really will give him a second chance. His message may have been lame, but it was safe—surely Kris will at least write him back.
Kris doesn't write him back. Not in the hour he lies awake staring at his phone, and not by 3 AM when Adam wakes up to frantically check his messages. He finally falls back to sleep and dreams about the kitten he had when he was a kid. She would crawl into bed with him and curl up on his chest, purring and vibrating warmth right through his thin T-shirt.
"Good kitty," he mumbles and reaches up to stroke her soft fur. His hand lands on something hard and solid and then the cat stops vibrating and yelps at him instead.
"Kitty!" Adam yelps, sitting straight up in bed. His phone, which had felt an awful lot like a cuddly kitten a few seconds ago, falls to the floor. Adam scrambles out of bed after it, his legs tangling in the sheets until he follows the phone onto the floor with a thud, his cheek mashed against a sneaker and his fingertips just brushing the edge of the phone.
"Fucking cat," he moans, and hauls his phone along the floor until he can pick it up properly. There's a message waiting for him, and he clicks through, breathless, to see that it's from Kris.
"One syllable! He hates me!"
From the living room, Adam hears Allison groan. "Too fucking early, Lambert."
Yes, it is too fucking early. Too fucking early to be blown off by a guy that he is really into and with whom he would really like a second chance to prove that he can play nice with children...and not in a dirty-old-man way.
He writes Kris back before he even thinks about it.
I'm a jerk, second chance?
There, he just came right out and asked for it. Kris can't deny that he's bold at least.
Have the kids all week, maybe next
He's playing for the kids all week? Surely they let him go home in the evenings? But it doesn't matter. He's being blown off for children. It's over.
"So what did he say?" Allison asks as she pads into the bedroom. She's dragging her feet on the floor and the blanket is still wrapped around her shoulders. She looks down at him. "Comfy?"
"Excellent, I'll take the bed." She climbs in above him and moans softly.
He might as well get up and join her. No use listening to her being comfortable while he's still lying on a shoe.
"He hates me," Adam laments when she snuggles up against his shoulder. He tips the phone towards her so she can read the messages.
"He's busy. He gave you a 'maybe next' option."
"But he could have suggested coffee, or a drink, or even a chat sometime. 'Maybe next' is a blow-off."
"'Maybe next' means that he is busy right now, but he's not giving up on you. 'Maybe next' means you still have a chance."
"'Maybe next' means he chose playing for the grubby-pawed children over me."
Allison opens one eye and stares at him. He stares back. What does she expect him to do? Kris is playing for the kids and...Kris is playing for the kids! Right now!
Adam jumps out of bed, earning another moan from Allison at the loss of warmth. "He's playing there again today. I can just go there and be all super-kid-friendly and he'll see that I am charming and sexy and want to fuck me right there. It's perfect."
Allison's voice trails after him as he heads towards the bathroom. "Remember...no fucking in front of the children. And you might not want to call them 'grubby-pawed' in front of Kris!"
Adam is running from the subway to the door of Playland when he almost bangs right into Kris. He's standing outside holding his guitar case in one hand and a tray of coffees in the other, and Adam nearly takes both of them out as he screeches to a stop.
"Oh, oh my God, I'm so sorry!" Adam lifts the coffee tray out of Kris's hand and lays a hand on Kris's shoulder to steady them both. "I didn't want to be late."
Kris smile is pretty small, but at least it's not a frown. Adam will take it.
"Late for what?" he asks.
"Late for my favorite kid performer and his awesome audience."
"No, wait. I was an idiot yesterday. It was early, and I totally didn't remember you putting that appointment in my phone so I ran to get here, and I wasn't expecting kids, and..."
"And you were totally weirded out that the place was crawling with children. I get it. You're a single guy, no kids, don't want any. It's fine."
Adam never said he didn't want kids. Well, actually, he's never really given it that much thought. It was just this vague concept that sometimes got batted around among his gay friends, but no one ever seriously said they were going to go out and find a surrogate or something. He just wasn't in a kid place in his life right now.
"My life...it's complicated," Kris says, shrugging. "And I don't have time to date guys who just aren't into kids. Or don't know if they are."
He reaches out to take the coffees back from Adam but Adam pulls away. "Give me a second chance. I can do kids...I mean, I don't do kids, I would never do kids. But I can be good with kids." He smiles. "I just haven't met one that I particularly liked all that much yet."
"But you really want to come in to a day care and listen to twenty kids sing 'Itsy, Bitsy Spider'?"
"I never knew there were so many verses! It's fascinating!"
Kris smiles and takes his hand away from the coffee. "Okay, fine, you can come in. But I have to check with the owner first. I can't be bringing strange men in there every day."
"I'm not a stranger. I'm with the band." Adam grins. "And I will even show up bearing coffee." He holds up the tray that Kris has bought. "I'll be a hero."
Kris shakes his head and opens the door. Adam holds his hand up to one of the warm coffees; he really wishes he had one to drink himself. But he's getting his second chance. He can be nice to a couple of kids and maybe take Kris out for a proper coffee afterwards. The caffeine will be his reward.
There's a knock on the window and Kris waves for Adam to come inside. He takes a deep breath. This is not going to be a big deal. He will just slip in to the back of the room and watch the singing. Then he'll make nice with a few of the kids and show Kris he can do this. He has never really spent much time with kids before; maybe he can learn to love them.
He opens the door and walks inside. A day care worker grins at him way too brightly and takes the coffees. Then he turns around, and thirty little kids scream 'ADAM!!!' and launch themselves at him. There's a kid climbing up his torso, two wrapped around each leg, and several miniature hands are pulling on the back pockets of his jeans. And there is Kris. Standing across the room, guitar slung across his shoulder, smile breaking his face. He's grinning and laughing and something in Adam's brain clicks into place. This is worth it. This is totally worth it.
Kris starts playing almost right away. It takes the first few notes of the song for all of the kids to break free of Adam, but they eventually all make their way onto the mat and take their places, all except one little girl who is sitting away from the group, playing by herself at a table. She doesn’t look too threatening, alone like that. Adam watches her for a bit and then eases over to crouch down beside her, tucking a small bottle of hand sanitizer in his pocket, just in case.
"Hey, I'm Adam."
"I'm Brie.” She blinks at him and sticks a finger in her mouth. “I'm not supposed to talk to strangers."
Adam nods. Smart kid. "Well, maybe I can..." He looks at what Brie is doing—coloring pictures of princesses. Adam loves princesses. This will be a breeze. "Maybe I can just sit here and color, too. Would that be all right?"
She shrugs. Adam takes that as acceptance.
His long legs will not fit under the table in any position. Brie giggles as he tries to balance his ass on the chair and slide one leg under the table at a time.
"You're a giant," she claims, bursting out laughing.
"Yeah? Well, you're a midget!"
"I'm not a midget. I'm regular 5 years size."
Adam tries the table from another angle, getting one knee underneath if he twists his body sideways. He's a human pretzel and Brie is only laughing more.
"All right, I'm a giant. Any suggestions?"
"Daddy sits on the pillows."
She points to a pile of pillows stacked near the table. Those do look comfortable. Adam untwists himself from the chair and grabs a couple of pillows. He sits Indian style beneath the table and actually comes up to about the same height as Brie.
"There, now I'm ready for coloring." He reaches out to a stack of coloring sheets, all of princesses. Sleeping Beauty, perfect. He selects a purple color.
"You're doing it wrong," Brie says.
He has a crayon and a piece of paper. And he did not go outside the lines.
"She doesn't wear purple."
"Oh, well, maybe this is the dress she wears to the ball."
"No, her ball gown is pink, and blue, and pink, and blue. The fairies change it."
Adam thought he knew his fairytales—Sleeping Beauty pricks her finger and the prince kisses her to wake her up. He doesn't remember anything about multicolored dresses.
"Well maybe Sleeping Beauty can pick purple like a compromise? You know, half blue, half pink? So all the fairies get what they want?"
Brie huffs and reaches into the pile of crayons for a yellow one. "She's not Sleeping Beauty yet, she's Briar Rose, but really her name is Aurora. Everybody knows that."
Adam has never heard of Briar Rose, and he loves fairytales. Apparently, he has a lot to learn. This Brie chick knows her stuff.
"Well maybe you could tell me the story of Briar Rose. I've never heard it before."
Brie drops her crayon and looks at him, wide-eyed. "You haven't? Mister Adam, you need help."
Adam laughs. Yes, maybe he does.
Adam is still coloring when Kris finally finishes singing. Brie has regaled him with the tales of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White (that Queen was a real bitch). She even told him the story of Giselle—Adam is absolutely certain that there was no princess named Giselle when he was a kid—and how Giselle made dresses out of curtains and how Brie's Dad hid the scissors on her because she tried to do the same with the curtains in her room.
He really is enjoying just quietly spending time with this little girl. One-on-one, he can totally handle. Twenty kids screaming and crawling all over him is another matter. He'll have to remember to thank Kris for the organized ground assault by child (and find out what Kris's worst fear is at some point and use it against him in return).
A little blond boy approaches their table when the singing ends. "Brie, Dad says we can have McDonalds later if we clean our room. But you should do it because you slapped Mackenzie last week and you didn’t even get in trouble."
Adam looks up, amused. Bribery in day care; he loves it.
Brie doesn't even look up from her coloring. "You ate cookies on your bed, and I saw you."
"Well you pulled Ginger's tail, and I saw you."
"Well you sat on..."
Kris walks over to the table and puts his hand on the little boy's head. "Jackson sat on my guitar case and you saw him, and Brie stood on the dining room table. Right, little miss?"
Adam looks up at Kris, confused. How the hell does he know so much about these kids?
"I know everything," Kris continues, smiling first at Brie, then at Jackson. "Daddy is very wise."
Daddy? No fucking way.
"Why don't you two go play in the sand table? I want to talk to Adam for a few minutes."
Brie and Jackson scurry off, Jackson pulling on Brie's pigtails as they run. Fear is choking his airway, but even Adam has to grin when Brie flicks out her tongue behind Jackson's back.
Kris folds himself down onto the floor beside Adam, reaching over to angle Adam's coloring sheet toward him. "Good job. But Cinderella wears blue."
"So Brie informed me," Adam says roughly. His daughter. Holy fuck, no wonder Kris was so offended by his reaction to kids. He has a couple of them already!
"Yeah, she's a real stickler for the rules. Jackson colors the sky green, totally drives her mad."
"So they're...they're twins?"
Kris furrows his brow, smiling a little. "Yeah, I told you that the other...oh...you don't remember. Right."
Adam furiously colors Cinderella's hair Cornsilk Yellow (Brie's suggestion). No, he most certainly does not remember Kris having kids. Or being married, or previously married, or whatever the hell deal he has going on to give him a pair of kids. Really cute kids, Adam has to admit, but still...offspring.
"Do you do this often? Black out?" Kris asks.
"No, I didn't black out, I just..."
Adam blushes and pushes his coloring sheet away. Time to face the music. "All right, so I may have blacked out. But I remembered that you were a singer, and that we talked about kids."
"And that you led me to believe you loved them."
Adam shakes his head. There is no way out of this without just telling the truth. "Look, obviously, I really liked you. I do really like you. And I knew we must have hit it off, because I could remember feeling that it was a really great night."
Adam is so glad to hear Kris confirm that, because until now it's really just been one of many options. "And so I may have lied about totally loving kids so you would think I was cool with what you did, which I am cool with, I just don't see...I just don't get..."
"What's so great about kids?"
"They ask so many questions!" Adam blurts.
Kris bursts out laughing and looks towards where his kids are playing. "They do ask an awful lot of questions. It's even worse when they're with Katy. They have all these questions about when the baby is going to be born, and if it will magically turn into two babies like them."
Kris must be having a conversation with another person because Adam is completely lost.
Kris seems to pick up on his cluelessness, though, because he prompts him with hints. "Katy and Scott, the kids' mom and stepdad? Who are expecting a baby? And whom you met at the bar and who took all those pictures?"
Adam has a vague recollection of a blonde woman telling him to say 'Blow Job!' before snapping a picture.
"I feel like I'm giving you the CliffsNotes version of my life...again."
"I am really, really sorry. Do you need a CliffsNotes version of mine? Because I will make you a hardcopy if you’ll forgive me."
Kris smiles. "No, I remember most of what you told me. That you are a singer/actor/dancer in a theatre company. And that you really like lemon drop martinis. And that you have a best friend who is going to looooove me." He falls silent. "And that you really don't want to date a guy that has kids."
Adam feels like a piece of shit. He barely knows anything about Kris and he's judging him based solely on him having children. He was obviously totally into him at the bar, and he knew about the kids then. And he didn't care. Or at least the pictures on his phone reveal a guy who didn't care. Is he really going to let a couple of kids—a couple of very cute, very smart kids—stand in the way of what might be a really great relationship?
"Do you have to stay here all day?" Adam asks.
"No, I just usually hang around and help out a bit on Tuesdays—volunteer."
"Right, and today is Wednesday. So you're free until McDonalds time?"
"If they clean up their room."
"Good luck with that." Adam laughs. "Let me buy you a coffee and maybe we can fill in some of the gaps. Like how you managed to have kids in the first place, and what hot new games they recommend for PlayStation, because my skills are seriously lacking."
Kris looks him over, taking his time to decide. "Deal," he finally says. "But they're five. They probably aren’t interested in the same games as you."
"Oh, I don't know about that," Adam says, stiffly unwinding himself from his position on the floor. "I'm really a big kid at heart."
"Maybe that's why you're so nervous around them. Afraid you'll get found out?"
Adam leans down and offers Kris a hand to get off the floor. "You, sir, might just have a point. And Allison is going to love hearing about this."
"Allison is the best friend, right?"
"You so win at this game."
Kris smiles. "Let me just tell Brie and Jacks I'm leaving, and you can try catching up."
Adam follows Kris over to where Brie is playing with a truck in the sandbox, and Jackson is about to rip the wheels off a Transformer trying to get it to turn from a car into a robot.
"Here, let me," Adam says, kneeling down. He swiftly flips the legs out of the belly of the car and pops the head into place. "There."
"Wow, do you have this one too?"
Adam laughs. "No, but Transformers have been around for a long time. My brother and I used to play with these when we were kids."
"See, Jacks?" Kris says. "I told you Transformers were old."
"I thought you just wanted to play with my toys," Jackson grumbles.
"Well…" Kris rumples his son's hair. "Alright, I'll pick you up later and you will have to clean your room before McDonalds, okay?"
The kids grumble and mutter until Kris gets okays out of both of them. He leans down to hug them, giving each one a kiss before finally turning back to Adam.
"Ready?" Kris asks.
Adam nods. He is so ready. Kris has kids—two kids. By some woman that Adam has apparently already met and has no recollection of. This is going to be an interesting story; he can feel it.
As they walk towards the door, a thought suddenly strikes him. "So, just to be clear, you are gay, right?"
Kris pushes him out of the day care and follows behind, laughing. "You're questioning my intentions now?"
"Well, you did sleep with a woman...or else those are some very magical kids."
Kris tips his head back and laughs loudly. Adam slings an arm across his shoulder and walks beside him toward the coffee shop down the street.
Yeah, this is going to be really interesting.