Length: 6600 words
Disclaimer: Not mine, clearly.
Notes: I was in Starbucks (on Nov. 5th) and the Christmas spirit was in full effect. I had to write something. It took a while, but this is finally it. Dec. 1st is appropriate for posting Christmas fic, no? Thanks to drgaellon for the beta, and jerakeen for cheering, always.
Never Too Old for Santa Claus
Kris tells himself that there is no better place to be on Christmas Eve. It's warm inside, Christmas music is softly playing, and he's snuggled deep in an armchair next to the fireplace. Around him, he can hear the chatter of other people, all happily gushing about presents and celebrations and time off for the holidays. If he closes his eyes, he can imagine that this is just like every Christmas he's ever spent at home—with family and friends, and warmth hugging him tight.
"Tall hot chocolate, extra whip."
Kris's eyes fall open as the barista yells out another drink order. His image of the perfect Christmas may be the canned Starbucks version, but everybody else here on Christmas Eve is buying into the same empty comfort—so maybe Kris isn't so pathetic after all.
He gets up from his warm chair next to the fake fireplace and stands in line behind a girl ordering a very long, very complicated-sounding beverage. He never could quite figure out the Starbucks menu. By the time he deciphers all the words between 'hot beverage' and 'coffee', he's too confused to choose between caramel moccachinos and strawberry-banana fruity concoctions, or some such things. He just wants a hot drink.
"Tall, mild," he says when it's his turn.
"Not very festive," a voice from behind says.
Kris half-turns and gives the guy behind him a small smile. 'Mind your own business,' the voice in his head says, but he just passes his two dollars to the clerk.
"You really should go with the Egg Nog Latte, or the Peppermint Mocha. Nothing says Christmas like an Egg Nog Latte." Now the creepy guy is leaning over Kris's shoulder and Kris really just wants to pay for his coffee and go wallow by the fake fire alone.
The clerk seems to like spreading fake Christmas cheer though, because she holds Kris's money in her hand, staring from Kris to the stranger. Finally, Kris turns all the way around, prepared to politely tell the guy that egg nog, and any hot derivations of it, is possibly the worst taste in the world, but then he stops. Because the guy behind Kris isn't some strange creep; it's Adam Lambert—the very famous, very well-known Adam Lambert that even Kris, with his limited star-gazing experience, would recognize anywhere. And maybe he is being a little forward, but Kris is a good Christian, and it's Christmas, that's like his holiday—it wouldn't do to be rude.
"Uh..." Great, so now he's an idiot in addition to being a pushover.
But Adam, who Kris is surprised to realize is actually as tall as he looks on TV, slides past Kris to the counter and asks the clerk for "One Extra Hot, Grande Egg Nog Latte, Extra Foam and..." he looks down at Kris. "Two?" he asks.
Kris shakes his head. "No, uh...the other one." What that is, Kris has no idea, but if it's not egg nog he'll manage to choke it down.
The clerk nods and slides Kris's two dollars back towards him. Kris shakes his head and doesn't pick up the money. He might be a starving artist, but he's not a completely broke starving artist who can't afford his own coffee.
Then the clerk says, "That'll be $9.64," and Kris crumples up his two dollars and shoves it in his pocket. He can't afford LA. And he really can't afford five dollar coffees.
Adam pays for both without batting an eye and moves to the other side of the counter with Kris to wait for their drinks. Kris chips a piece of silver flecking off the counter with his thumbnail, completely fascinated by the reflection of the white Christmas lights in the tiny fragment. Beside him, he can see Adam rocking back on the heels of his massive cowboy boots (you don't see many cowboy boots with jewels on them in Arkansas), but Kris is studiously trying to ignore the fact that Adam Lambert, Adam-fucking-Lambert, just bought him a mint-o-chino, and Kris is just standing there, not saying anything like a lame douche.
"So, cold out, hey?" Adam finally says, knocking Kris right out of his dream state so suddenly that his thumb slips on the counter and slices into the sharp edge he's created.
Kris sucks his thumb into his mouth, puckering his lips around the sharp copper tang of blood hot on his tongue. He draws his thumb out, wincing when he sees he's actually gashed it.
"Oh, you're bleeding. He's bleeding!" A star like Adam Lambert is probably used to getting exactly what he wants, so Kris really shouldn't be surprised when suddenly there are cloths and band-aids being thrown across the counter at them, and a manager is rushing over to ask if he can call anyone, and Adam is all up in Kris's personal space about to give mouth-to-mouth.
Kris tries to draw his hand back against his chest but Adam has it locked in a death grip. "It's fine," he mutters, but no one is listening to him. The manager is opening a bottle of peroxide and a package of gauze, and Adam is tsking between his teeth as he leans over Kris's hand like he's examining a precious stone.
"You really cut yourself good," he finally assesses, looking up to meet Kris's eyes for the first time.
Kris thinks he has found precious stones of his own—precious grey-blue stones in Adam's eyes that he could happily laze about and stare at all day. Then the manager produces a long strip of tape from a roll with a flourish and asks Mr. Lambert if there is anything else he can do for him; like Adam is the one bleeding all over the floor here. Adam looks away for a second and loosens his grip on Kris enough so that Kris can escape. He takes a couple of band-aids from the kit, despite the manager's protests that they really can call 911, and moves over towards his chair. He really just wants to sit and be melancholy and enjoy his coffee.
Shit, his coffee.
"Missing something?" Adam says with a smile, taking the empty seat angled sideways next to Kris's chair. He places both of their drinks on the table and reaches out for Kris's hand.
Kris hesitates; he doesn't want to be taken hostage again, but Adam makes a 'don't be a child' face at him, and so Kris gives over his hand. There is no more pomp and circumstance, just Adam placing the band-aids on Kris's thumb with whisper-fine touches and holding on for one second, two, three, until finally his hand slips free and Adam sits back in his own chair.
"Well," Adam announces picking up his drink and mock-toasting towards Kris. "There's the excitement I was looking for."
Kris picks up the other drink and takes a sip. Wow, that is one pepperminty drink. "You were looking for excitement at Starbucks?" 'On Christmas Eve?' he wants to add, but clearly, Kris himself is pathetic enough to be here, so he shouldn't judge.
"I just needed some air. And a holiday beverage, so..."
"Don't people, like...swarm you?" As if meeting Adam Lambert isn't surreal enough, meeting him in Starbucks is just downright odd. And he seems so normal. It's freaking Kris out.
"Well, I did wear my hat," Adam says defensively, patting the beanie on his head.
Kris bursts out laughing. Adam is over six feet tall and wearing bejeweled cowboy boots—a hat isn't going to stop anyone from recognizing him.
Adam joins in laughing. "I know it's just a hat. But people usually know enough to be cool...not that you aren't cool!" he adds quickly. "Damn, you hurt your hand and now I'm making you feel bad on Christmas Eve."
"Don't worry, I was feeling bad long before you got here."
Adam waits, his face indicating that he wants to hear more.
"Well, I'm not from around here."
"Really?" He does a good impression of acting shocked, but the grin on his face is a dead giveaway.
Kris kicks out his foot, fast, catching Adam right in the shin. He freezes and mumbles to himself, "I just kicked Adam Lambert."
Adam leans in and whispers conspiratorially, "Chill. Adam Lambert could use being taken down a few notches—or so I read on the newsstands."
Kris has to smile. He thinks this should maybe be more awkward—Adam opened at the Grammys last year—but Kris is alone in LA on Christmas Eve; maybe this is a present from Santa. He sits back in his chair and takes another sip of his drink—damn that is good.
Adam nudges Kris, gently, with his own foot. "Tell me more."
Kris shrugs. "Not much to tell. I just moved here. Can't really afford to go back yet."
"Can't afford to have people thinking you gave up on the dream?"
Adam explains, "The guitar case says you're a musician. The callused fingers say you're serious. The lack of money to buy yummy Yuletide drinks says you haven't made it big yet. And the general 'pity me' vibe says you won't admit any of these things to the folks back home in Mississippi. Close?"
Kris coughs. "Arkansas."
Adam throws his head back, laughing loudly. A few people look over at them, some for a moment too long, Kris notices, accompanied by a few whispers and stares. Kris suddenly feels bad for Adam. He wants to get his music out there, and have people listen to it, but he could do without the fishbowl lifestyle. Maybe Adam doesn't have the life Kris always wanted.
"So," Adam says. "Wait, I don't even know your name."
"Kris. Kris Allen."
"Well, Kris Kris Allen. What would you do for fun in Arkansas on Christmas Eve?"
Kris looks out the window at the green landscape. Palm trees and sunshine—well, by day at least—don't do much to get a guy in the Christmas spirit. The elderly couple he rents a room from are Jewish, so no tree. And he couldn't afford to buy even a small one on his own. Starbucks is pretty much his idea of 'home sweet home' this holiday season.
But a guy like Adam isn't going to care about Kris's 'bah humbug' attitude. "Just spend time with family, drinking egg nog, which I can't stand—no offense."
Adam sips his drink. "None taken."
"We eat a huge meal, and usually go ice skating when it gets dark. Then we open one present each before bed." Kris smiles, remembering last year when it was just him and Daniel and his parents, skating laps around the nearly deserted ice rink until they were too cold to feel their toes, and their cheeks were rosy red.
He shrugs and takes another sip of his drink. "Just memories, I guess."
Adam stares at his cup, then tips it back and takes a large mouthful. He sits forward, hands ready to push off from the chair. "Ready?" he asks.
"For..." Kris says hesitantly.
"To make some Christmas Eve memories." Adam picks up Kris's guitar case and heads towards the door. He turns, waiting for Kris to join him.
It's not like Kris has a choice. Adam Lambert just stole his most valuable possession in the world. As if he couldn't afford a dozen guitars of his own. Although, this night has taken a definite upswing since Adam walked in to the shop, so Kris really can't go wrong in following him. He takes his jacket from the chair and stands up.
"You're going to have to drive," Adam says as he pushes through the door. "You have a car, right?"
Kris gestures down the street towards the parking lot. "A truck, yeah."
"A truck! How backwoods-chic!"
Adam's long legs are loping down the sidewalk and Kris has to hurry to keep up with him. This is ridiculous—following a famous singer around on Christmas Eve because he's too pathetic to have any friends of his own to spend it with. But then Adam is also alone.
"So do you often hijack Starbucks customers to be your friend?"
Adam stops short and Kris almost slams into his back.
"If you don't want to go..." Adam says, turning to look down at Kris behind him.
Oh no, he didn't mean to hurt his feelings. Shit. "It's just...it's Christmas Eve..."
Adam starts walking again. "Well, I'm Jewish, but you probably already knew that."
Kris has no idea how he was supposed to know that. Then he remembers the newsstands. There probably aren't too many details about Adam's life that aren't well known by the general public. Not that Kris has ever followed much about the life of celebrities.
Adam is still taking long strides on the sidewalk, and chatting a mile a minute. "So my family just uses the holidays as an excuse to go skiing. I was going to go, but I just wanted some peace, you know? Alone time. You have no idea how hard it is to actually get a second alone to myself. Would you believe I had to pay my assistant extra not to call me tomorrow? Like a bribe just to get her to take a day off and not feel guilty about it." He slows as they reach the edge of the parking lot. "You must think I'm totally spoiled."
"No, it's just..." Kris hesitates. He doesn't want to hurt Adam's feelings again. "It just makes me appreciate normalcy."
Adam sighs. "I miss normalcy."
Kris points at the only truck in the nearly deserted parking lot and heads towards it. And he doesn't think a guy who wears bejeweled cowboy boots ever knew much about normalcy.
Adam gives simple directions and talks up all the silence in the truck. Kris is driving with no clue where he's going, one hand on the wheel, the other on his very delicious drink. And Adam is regaling him with tales of his first demo tape and how the record company guy actually cracked the disc in half.
"It was that bad, I'm serious!"
Kris finds that hard to believe. He's never really followed Adam's music, but his nearly nude concert tour where all he wore was a spandex skin-colored sheath, didn't go unnoticed...even in Arkansas. Adam is larger than life; he's a huge star—and tonight he's burning brightly in the tiny cab of Kris's pick-up.
This is, hands down, turning out to be the best night Kris has had since he arrived in Los Angeles. He smiles to himself and takes the next turn that Adam indicates. Right into a nearly deserted parking lot with huge white lights bathing everything in an ethereal glow.
"What is this place?"
Adam reaches across the cab, placing his hand on Kris's chin and turning his head until Kris is looking past Adam out the passenger side window...directly at the largest outdoor skating rink Kris has ever seen.
"You are shittin' me!" Kris climbs out of the truck and walks around to Adam's side, staring out at the rink stretching before them. He knows it's possible, and it's staring him right in the face, but he just hadn't paired outdoor skating with warm, California weather.
"What? How?" Kris has lost the ability to speak.
Adam climbs out of the truck and stands next to Kris, slinging one arm across Kris's shoulders. "It's not like we don't know what ice is in California," he teases.
They walk up to the booth, where Kris insists on paying for their skate rentals. No, he can't afford it, but Adam bringing him here is more than enough. They sit on a bench at the edge of the ice to lace up their skates. Kris is done first and Adam nods at the ice, signaling to go ahead. Kris does, bursting onto the glassy surface like a rocket. His blades carve tiny shavings off the ice as he picks up speed. He passes a family skating in a circle near the middle of the rink, and a couple lip-locked as they glide around the edge. He's flying when he reaches the end, sliding one foot behind the other effortlessly as he takes the bend and heads back up the ice. He looks up for Adam, expecting him to be skating up the other side by now, but doesn't see him anywhere. Then Kris notices a figure way up at the other end of the ice, hanging onto the boards for dear life, shaking legs about to collapse beneath him.
He glides over to where Adam is shakily trying to get his balance. Kris skids to a stop, kicking up ice all over Adam's jeans.
"Need a hand?" Kris asks, grinning.
Adam laughs. "I thought this was supposed to be like riding a bike."
"Once you learn you never forget?" Kris asks.
"Um...more like if you watch figure skating on TV you'll know how to do it."
Kris bursts out laughing. "You've never been skating? Seriously?"
Adam shakes his head, his feet sliding back and forth on the ice, his hands attached to the boards in a death grip.
"Come here," Kris says, reaching out to pry Adam's fingers free. At the look of complete terror on Adam's face, Kris softens his voice and holds Adam's hands more firmly. "Don't worry, I've got you."
He slides his skates backwards, pulling Adam away from the boards. Rocking his feet sideways, Kris makes slow progress out onto the ice. Adam's skates barely make a move at all except to glide along with Kris's.
"Okay, this isn't so bad..." Adam barely has the words out of his mouth when he tips too far forward, over compensates to regain his balance, and falls backwards onto the ice—pulling Kris right down on top of him.
"Umph," Adam grunts when Kris falls on top of him.
"Sorry, sorry!" Kris says, scrambling to get off.
Adam is lying on his back on the ice, making a weird choking sound. He rolls onto his side, wrapping his hands across his stomach, and Kris wonders if he hurt him. Then the choking morphs into a breathless laugh, and Adam gasps to get some air.
"How much...how much you think they'll get for their picture?" He laughs again, and points over at the couple, who have stopped skating and are now taking pictures of Adam and Kris with their phones. And not even trying to be subtle about it.
"This happen a lot?" Kris asks.
Adam sits up, trying in vain to dust the ice flakes off his jeans. "All the time."
"God, I'd never go outside." Kris stands up, and leans down to give Adam a hand.
"Well, I could hide in my closet, I guess." He makes it to his knees and pauses, grinning up at Kris. "Been there, done that."
Kris blurts, "I know what you mean," before he can stop himself. When he woke up this morning, he had a list of things he was going to accomplish. Coming out to a famous singer was definitely not one of them.
Adam gets one skate on the ice and Kris tugs to get him all the way upright, but Adam has apparently never heard of inertia, or has no idea how to compensate for it, because Kris only ends up pulling Adam forward onto his hands and knees again.
Adam finds this hilarious. He laughs, gasping for air. "I'm going to have to crawl to the boards, aren't I?"
Kris nods. "Yep."
He mutters something about this picture being able paying for the kids' college education and starts making his way to the boards on his hands and knees. Kris gives the couple a dirty look and they at least have the decency to look slightly ashamed. The family has left the ice, and now the couple skate off as well. Excellent. Kris has no idea how he's going to get Adam upright and keep him there, but at least they don't have an audience.
"Okay," Adam pants, reaching up to hold onto the boards. He manages to get himself onto his feet and looks at Kris. "Now what?"
Kris laughs. "We go again, slower." He takes Adam's hands again and moves away from the boards. Adam follows, concentrating on Kris's instructions, moving his feet back and forth across the ice. They make it almost halfway up the rink together, slow and shuffling.
"Hey look at me," Adam exclaims suddenly. "I'm skating!"
He takes his eyes off his feet and looks at Kris, grinning widely. Kris's breath catches in his throat. Adam is so gorgeous, and he's staring at Kris with such pure joy—Kris isn't sure this moment is even real.
Then Adam attempts another step and they fall to the ice again, this time Kris goes down first, hard, and knocks his head on the ice before Adam crashes down on top of him.
"Oh shit, fuck, fuck it," Adam gasps.
Adam is wriggling like a beached whale trying to get off of Kris, and everything sounds fuzzy and far away. Kris stares up into the night sky, the white beams cutting the darkness with such intensity that he can imagine snow drifting softly down on top of them. He blinks, tries to clear his head, and then Adam is looming over him.
"Are you okay? Are you hurt?"
Kris grins, noting with curiosity that Adam has a lot of freckles. He never knew that before. And he wears eyeliner. It looks...
"You're very pretty," he says to Adam.
Adam blinks, tilting his head as is he's trying to examine Kris. He leans in—Kris imagines he's the one floating upwards instead—and softly touches his lips to Kris's. Tiny fireworks go off behind Kris's eyes, heat radiates from his lips outward across his face, and he bursts out laughing into Adam's mouth.
Adam draws back, his expression questioning.
"You just paid for my college education," Kris gasps, thinking it's the funniest thing he's ever said.
The expression on Adam's face says he clearly does not agree.
"Wait, I didn't mean..." Kris tries to explain. But Adam pulls away, out of his field of vision. Kris sits up, rubbing the back of his head. Adam is crawling to the boards with purpose, but they are out in the middle of the ice. It's a long crawl.
Kris gets to his knees, waits for the fog to clear, then makes it to his feet and glides over to Adam. He whirls around in front of him, cutting off his path. "Wait, please?"
Adam turns sideways and keeps crawling. "You try to do something nice for someone. That's the last time I waste five bucks on a Peppermint Mocha for anyone."
Kris has to grin. He really didn't mean to insult Adam, and he knows he can apologize if he can just get Adam to stop and listen to him, but Adam is so damn cute crawling across the ice. He has white ice flakes all over his clothes—he looks like a cute little polar bear.
"Wait, please wait." Kris catches up to him again and drops down on his knees in front of him. He puts his hands on Adam's shoulders, stilling his progress. He bites his lip, shrugging. "I guess I'm not cool in front of superstars after all?"
Adam sits back on his legs, frowning and refusing to meet Kris's gaze.
"You know, this is kind of your fault, when you think about it," Kris says.
That at least gets him a glare.
"I mean, you did save my life back at Starbucks, and you bribed me with that drink. Then you gave me the best Christmas present I've ever gotten." Kris looks around the rink, settling his eyes back on Adam—who is looking at him with a little less resentment. "All that is bound to go to a guy's head."
"And the kiss?" Adam asks, not smiling, but not exactly frowning anymore.
Kris leans in close to Adam's face. His heart is pounding so loudly he thinks Adam will hear it. But Adam is just waiting expectantly and Kris decides to go for it. This kiss is much better. Adam's lips are soft and supple, and he tastes like egg nog. Kris thinks with surprise that egg nog doesn't actually taste so bad this way.
They pull apart and Adam is silent. Kris has either just made a really great move, or completely blown any chance he had at even being Adam's friend. Either way it was ballsy—that has to count for something.
"Okay, so you can skate and you can kiss. But can you get my ass off this ice and back in your truck?" Adam says, grinning like a little kid.
Kris laughs and nods, his cheeks hurting from smiling so widely. He absolutely can. They make it to their feet and do a half-shuffle, half-glide to the bench. Adam collapses with a sigh.
"Now," he says. "I want to watch you skate some more!" He slaps Kris's ass playfully and shoos Kris back onto the ice.
It's freeing—feeling the wind on his face, and hearing the sound of his blades carving the ice. Kris makes it up the rink and around the turn, but he can't take his eyes off of Adam on his way back down the other side. There's a look of wonder and joy, mixed with curiosity and discovery, on Adam's face. Kris has traveled to many places, and he's seen a lot of amazing things in his life, but he decides right then and there that the most beautiful sight in the world is watching Adam watch him.
They finally make it back to Kris's truck and Adam gives directions without telling Kris where they're going. He's talking about his first launch party and how his manager paid a girl to dress up and pretend to be his date.
"He didn't tell me about it. So, here I was at this party by myself, or so I thought, and there's this blonde thing hanging off every word I say. Every time I tried to excuse myself to go talk to a hot guy she just followed, like a little puppy!"
Kris laughs. "How long did it take you figure it out?"
"Oh, not until my manager came over to us and she said, 'Nice to see you again.' Bimbo."
Kris laughs even harder. "Is this guy still your manager?"
"He came out of the closet a year after I fired him, and now lives in San Francisco with his husband and three dogs."
Kris can't stand it. Adam's life could be a sitcom. He's laughing so hard he can barely see.
Adam gestures for him to take a left turn. "Just up here on the right," he says. "You can park anywhere."
Kris pulls into an open spot and peers out the window. "Where are we?"
"Home," Adam says as he opens the door and climbs out. He turns around to look at Kris, still sitting in the truck with the engine running. "Coming?"
Kris thinks exchanging numbers would have been the expected way to end this evening, but then, this evening has been anything but what he expected. He shuts off the engine and opens the door.
"Bring your guitar," Adam calls to him.
Kris hurries to catch up, again, following Adam into a high-rise building. The lobby is ornate—marble floors, and a glass desk with a bored-looking security guard sitting behind it. At the sound of Adam's heels clicking on the floor, the guard jerks to his feet.
"Evening, Mr. Lambert."
"Happy Holidays, Bert."
Bert looks Kris up and down as they walk to the elevators, like he has to pass inspection before he'll be allowed in the building.
"Don’t mind Bert," Adam says as they enter a waiting elevator. "He's a bit protective."
"You need a lot of protection?"
"Have you seen my fans?" Adam asks, incredulous. "Those people are nuts!"
Adam punches the P button, and Kris wonders what the hell he's doing here. Adam is a superstar. Adam is a mega-superstar. A mega-superstar who just took him skating and kissed him. Kris smiles to himself and watches the floors tick off as they rise up. He's completely out of his element and totally head over heels lusting after this guy. Most people standing in an elevator with Adam Lambert would probably be freaking out and asking for his autograph. Kris is holding his guitar and going to visit a guy he just kissed.
Maybe he hit his head on the ice harder than he thought.
The elevator dumps them out right into Adam's apartment. Adam bounds down the three stairs, but Kris hangs back and stares in awe at the room laid out before him. It's dimly lit, but Kris can tell it's a wide-open space. There's a kitchen area off to his left, two oversized couches next to a TV on his right, and just in front of him is a baby grand piano on a small dais, with a row of vintage guitars on display next to it. Kris lays his guitar down and walks over to stare at the guitars. He's in love.
"Nice, hey?" Adam says, coming to stand behind Kris.
Kris looks up to see that Adam is staring out the window. Kris follows his gaze and notices for the first time that the wall is all windows. Three complete walls are all glass with a spectacular view of the blue-black cityscape stretching out at their feet, the lights winking and blinking to an inaudible tune.
"That's one way to describe it." Kris lives out of one room with his guitar case serving as a makeshift writing table on his bed. This is pure opulence.
Adam lays a hand on Kris's shoulder, the edge of his fingers brushing the side of Kris's neck. Kris shivers and turns around to stare up at him. He wants to kiss Adam again. He wants to reach up, and grab his neck, and kiss him until he forgets he's ever kissed anyone before, ever. He can feel himself leaning forward, ready for whatever Adam has to offer.
"We need drinks!" Adam announces, spinning around so suddenly that Kris actually stumbles forward. "I have beer, wine, vodka." Adam picks up a bottle of vodka from the wet bar and frowns. "I used to have vodka." He grins at Kris. "Pick your poison."
"Uh, I probably should get going...soon, I mean. It's late..."
"But we didn't have presents," Adam says. "You can't have Christmas without presents, right? Isn't that what you said?"
"You're Jewish." Kris is pretty sure that means no presents.
Adam walks back from the kitchen holding two bottles of beer. "I'm Jewish, but you're not. And you can't have an authentic Mississippi Christmas Eve without presents."
"Right." Adam hands him a bottle. "Stay?" he asks, his face screwing up into the cutest 'pretty-please' grin.
Kris relents. After all, really, how could he possibly resist Adam's 'pretty-please' face?
Adam herds Kris over to one of the huge couches—so impossibly soft that Kris wants to marry it and have its little couch babies—and rushes back up towards the elevator. Kris hears his guitar twang when Adam lifts it out of the case. Then there is a rustling sound and Adam appears back before Kris with the guitar not so subtly hidden behind his back.
"It's not much," Adam says, grinning. "But with limited time and resources, I got you this." He presents the guitar from behind his back. It's the same old guitar that Kris has had for years, with a bright pink feather boa tied around the neck.
"I didn't have any ribbon," Adam explains.
Kris bursts out laughing and takes the guitar. There is a feather caught beneath the strings that he has to fish out as he unwinds the boa.
"Well thank you very much," Kris says. "But if you're giving out guitars..." He looks longingly over at Adam's collection.
Adam play punches him and sits down beside him on the couch. "The guitar isn't your present, not really. You have to play it."
Kris raises his eyebrows.
"For me. Play something for me."
"You want me to play you a song?"
"Well...not just me. I want you to play Adam Lambert a song." Adam bites his lip, and takes a deep breath. "I want you to play Adam Lambert the song you'd play if you were performing on stage somewhere, totally into it and loving the moment. I want you to play your fucking heart out. And then tomorrow—or maybe the next day, because it is Christmas—Adam Lambert is going to call his agent and tell him about the amazing guitar player he just discovered, and get you a real audition."
Kris is confused. Adam has no clue if he's any good, and this was an evening of spontaneity...of making a new friend. An audition cheapened it.
Adam must see the hesitation on Kris's face. "Maybe I'm totally wrong, and maybe you don't want this. But you wouldn't be staying in LA over Christmas if this wasn't important to you. And what kind of asshole would I be if I didn't use whatever connections I have to give you a step up? If it wasn't for you, I'd probably still be crawling off that ice rink!" He grins, leaning forward to place his hands on Kris's knees. "I barely know you, but I think you deserve this. Prove me right."
Kris exhales slowly, nodding silently in acquiescence. He's suddenly more nervous than he's been all night. He positions his guitar and starts picking a familiar melody.
Didn't mean for the kiss to come in
Wasn't part of the script that was given
Please forget, wipe it away
Wipe it away
Don't let me stay
Adam is quiet when Kris finishes. Kris leans over to pick up his beer, suddenly uncomfortable.
"You have to say something," he finally says, nudging Adam with his leg. "Tell me you hated it. Just get it over with." His heart picks up pace as he stares at Adam's face. Why isn't he saying anything? Kris's heart is going to beat its way right out of his chest if Adam takes much longer.
When Adam speaks, his voice is soft. "What's it about?"
Kris shrugs. "Regret, I guess. Just...a bad decision."
"When did you make it?"
Kris shakes his head. It's not about him...not exactly. "No, it's about...about someone who feels bad. Who wants to apologize."
Adam keeps looking at him, like he's waiting for a better explanation.
"I guess...I guess it's kind of about me and my ex-girlfriend. My only girlfriend." He shrugs and tries to smile to soften his words. "I mean, it's not a big deal or anything. It's just, well, we were young and I hadn't figured out I was gay, really. So we dated, and she wanted to wait, you know, so we did. And then when we tried to..." He makes a rolling gesture with his hand.
"Roll a barrel down a hill," Adam adds. "I get it."
Kris shakes his head; Adam must think he's an idiot. "You know, it just felt wrong, and I couldn't. And she cried, and I thought I did something horrible. I thought I was broken." He thinks back to Katy's pretty face marred with tears when he told her he couldn't have sex with her. They were seventeen, and Kris was the only guy in school that didn't want to sleep with her—the only guy she wanted in the whole world. He broke her heart.
"She ever forgive you?" Adam asks, his voice quiet.
Kris shrugs. "She's married now, seems happy."
Adam takes a sip of his beer. "So the song was about her? The kiss, the regret?"
Kris shrugs. "It's about the thought of regret. Of doing something you regret and waiting to erase it."
"Erase the kiss," Adam clarifies.
"Yeah, erase the kiss."
"And do you want to erase any other kisses?"
Kris thinks Adam must be joking, because tonight has been nothing short of amazing. But Adam is staring at him with intense sincerity. He really wants to know. Like he's really wondering about Kris's intentions.
Slowly, Kris lays his guitar aside. He reaches out to place his beer on the table, then removes Adam's bottle from his hand and does the same. Their legs are touching, but there is suddenly far too much space between them. Kris slides over to mold his leg against Adam's. Adam's head is tipped down, and Kris drops his gaze even lower, peering up through his lashes to catch Adam's eyes.
"Thank you," Kris says softly. "Thank you for the drink, and the skating, and the song. For giving me a Christmas." He smiles, hoping his words are unnecessary and that Adam knows what he's thinking already. "And thank you for the kiss." Kris leans up and paints the softest whisper of a kiss on Adam's mouth. His hand reaches up to slide along Adam's face, deepening the kiss and pouring all of his gratitude and awe and jumbled emotions into the gesture.
Adam kisses him back. When he breaks free, he stares into Kris's eyes. "You're not entirely to blame for breaking this girl's heart."
"She didn't have any other boyfriends that turned gay on her."
"But you weren't the only one in the room, either. I mean...just look at you, you're so..." His eyes search Kris's face. "You're beautiful, and you're gay. No one should ever make you feel bad about that."
Adam's gaze is piercing, cutting right into Kris's skin. It's too intense; Kris has to duck his head away. But Adam reaches out to pull his chin back.
"Look at me," he whispers. His eyes rake over Kris's face like he's committing every detail to memory. Finally he nods, his lips set firmly. "Yep, I'm right. That face is far too cute to be wasted on a woman."
Adam's hands slide up Kris's cheeks, pulling him closer. They tumble back into the couch, and Kris is sinking down into the softness while Adam is furiously dragging him up a steep climax. The tentativeness is gone, erased by want and need and pure desire coursing through Kris's veins. Adam's hands are molesting Kris's shirt, and Kris wants this. He wants Adam and he wants happiness, and for the first time in a very long time, he's going to allow himself to have it all. He opens his eyes, staring at Adam's eyelids, all blue eye liner and sparkly accents. He's only known Adam for a couple of hours and he's already in love. It's the most amazing feeling in the world.
Adam pulls away, his parted lips reddened and glistening. From somewhere in the apartment, there's the sound of a soft chime. Adam looks over his shoulder, then back down at Kris. He smiles, closing his eyes quickly.
"What?" Kris asks.
"It's 12:00," Adam says.
Kris extracts his arm from where it has become wedged between Adam's leg and the couch, and glances at his watch. He's right—it's 12:00 AM, a new day. Christmas Day.
Adam grins brightly and leans down to kiss Kris's lips. "So, Kris Kris Allen, did Santa bring you everything you wanted for Christmas this year?"
Kris doesn't answer. He just slides his hands into Adam's hair and reaches up to kiss him again. It has been a long time since Kris stopped believing in the magic of Santa, but tonight, in LA, with this amazing man...he believes.