"You're quiet," Brad says the next afternoon. Adam is busy with his essay for Dr. Chamberlain on Socrates, bent over his library books and trying to figure out how to incorporate his last paper on pederasty in ancient Greece. Chamberlain had loved that one.
"I'm working," Adam bites out and Brad blinks.
"You're sulking, and usually I don't care, but usually I know why," he says bluntly and Adam half-chuckles.
"Long night," is all he says, and Brad hums.
"Barely saw you at the party," he notes. "Kris was wondering where you were."
Adam's pulse jumps at the mention of Kris's name, at the idea that Kris was looking for him. Brad giggles, and Adam wishes for the millionth time that he could have had a normal breakup, and wasn't stuck living with someone who could read him like a book.
"Wasn't feeling all that well," Adam mutters, and Brad just shakes his head.
"You're an idiot," he says, but he lets Adam get back to his paper in peace.
He doesn't see Kris again for a while.
It's not that Adam is avoiding Kris per se, but they don't really run in the same circles, and midterms are a bitch, and he has college applications due. And he also seems to be having a small crisis of conscience, which is just downright annoying. Adam has never been one for intense introspection - too many boys, too much fun, too little time to take it all in, and no time to waste on pondering his place in the world. But Kris is a contradiction in terms; Adam always assumed that to be good was to be boring, but Kris's life is anything but half-lived. He's truly happy in a way that makes Adam's chest ache sometimes, makes him feel less than.
It's just easier to not see Kris, because really. Adam has enough to do passing Dr. Henry's non-Western lit class. He doesn't have time for character-building bullshit.
Adam is really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. His parents aren't big on family meals - or, really, family anything - and Adam hates flying home to California for the holidays anyway. The airports are crowded, the flights are tedious, and all he gets for it is a kiss on the cheek from his mother, and a fight over which parent gets Adam for the meal proper. It's been five years, and Adam is still a prop in his parent's messy divorce. It's fucking ridiculous. He spent sophomore year in Texas with Brad, both of them still riding the high of daily sexcapades, trying to be quiet during morning quickies. Junior year Brad had invited him again, and they were trying extra hard to be friends, so Adam had gone. It had been... weird, for both of them, and there was an unspoken understanding that it was a failed experiment. So, for his senior year, Adam has booked himself a suite at the W in Union Square, with a reservation for lobster from room service and the promise of a soft king-sized bed and pay-per-view porn on the television. It's going to be amazing.
There's a bulletin board outside the dining hall with a notice from the Dean every year - a signup sheet for students who aren't going home for the holiday to come and have a feast at the Dean's house. Turkey with acquaintances and faculty members doesn't seem like a really fun way to pass the time, but there are always a handful of names on the list. Adam's looking at the schedule of room assignments for midterms when his eyes glance over the page and he sees Kris's name there, written in his wide, chicken-scratch handwriting. Adam blinks at the page a few times.
"Hey," he asks Anoop, sliding into the chair next to him with a small smile. Dinner tonight is pork chops, and Adam almost wishes he'd signed up for the kosher meals. He got extra buttered noodles on the side, though, and prays his waistline will forgive him.
"Hey yourself!" Anoop replies, thumping him on the shoulder. "You've been a ghost these last few weeks, man!"
"Eh, too much going on this year," he evades and Anoop just nods vigorously.
"Dude, if I never have to write another fucking essay about my future goals and aspirations, it will be too fucking soon."
Adam laughs and lets himself get drawn into the conversation around the table - who is in danger of flunking what exam, how the baseball team is doing in the playoffs, and, finally, plans for Thanksgiving.
"Everyone seems to be heading home this year," Joe says. He and his brothers are some of the few non-boarding students at Cowell's, and they usually take in a few strays. "Mom says she's going to have to force us to bring all the leftovers back here!"
"You're not going home, are you?" Matt asks, and Adam doesn't like the gleam in his eye.
"Nah, but I have plans," he evades. Then, "I saw Allen's name on the Dean's list outside. Someone going to warn him there's usually a lecture on native american history and racial intolerance before they bring out the pies?"
The table laughs. Anoop leans back in his chair. "He said something about working over break? I don't know what he's working on, but he seems happy to just chill here for the long weekend."
"Better than fighting the crowds at Newark," Danny grumbles and everyone else chimes in in agreement.
Adam sips his tea thoughtfully.
What Adam really needs to do is get Kris Allen out of his system. If that comes with the added bonus of five grand, so be it.
He chooses to see Thanksgiving as a golden opportunity, a way to have time alone with Kris, to hear whatever sob story is keeping him from heading back to Arkansas, to pet his hair and slip some Maker's Mark in his hot cider and hold his wrists down against his mattress and fucking win this thing.
Fuck lobster and porn - this is going to be way more satisfying.
He starts nodding to Kris in the halls again, and chalks it up to general anticipation when his heart speeds up every time Kris smiles back. He goes to the last baseball game of the season, and hits up the afterparty with a bottle of tequila. He doesn't talk to Kris too much, just enough to hear him laugh a few times, get a sense of what might be going on. Kris is his usual jovial self, though, still as laid-back as ever, and as unlikely to do a tequila shot, even when Adam offers him a bare arm sprinkled liberally with salt.
"No," he laughs, batting Adam's arm away, and Adam can feel his eyes crinkle in the corners from laughing right along with him.
"You're square," he says with a shake of his head. Kris makes a shocked sound.
"I am not square, I am cultured and refined, Lambert," he drawls and Adam eyes him up and down, from his worn Converse to his brandless plaid shirt to his ridiculous hair.
"Oh, my mistake," he replies, dripping with sarcasm, and doesn't flinch when Kris winks at him.
He waits until the very last day of classes before break, when the dining hall is down to twenty or so hardy souls all rushing through dinner to make it out of town on time, before stopping at the bulletin board and adding his name to the Dean's Thanksgiving dinner list.
He doesn't mean to be up so early on Thanksgiving proper, but without a party the night before, and with Brad and the rest of his friends already home, Adam fell asleep watching a marathon of Project Runway and suddenly it's eight am.
He pokes around his room for an hour, thinks about finishing an essay that's due the first week of December. He wonders if there's coffee anywhere on campus, because he can't handle the intense joy of the Macy's Parade without at least a little caffiene in his system. It's doesn't take him too long to realize that the dining hall is most definitely closed for business. There isn't even anyone around to bribe to open the door, and Adam bemoans the Great Naked Ice Cream Social of his junior year that caused the administration to change all the locks.
He's on his way back to his room when he spots Kris walking across the quad, hands stuffed in the pockets of his leather jacket, scarf pulled tight against the cold. "Hey," he calls out, and Kris looks surprised to see him.
"You're awake, can't say I would have called that," he grins, and Adam shrugs.
"Thought maybe the early bird would get the fresh coffee, but sadly I'm out of luck."
Kris's grin turns thoughtful. "I might know where you could get a cup of coffee, if you're interested," he says.
Adam is usually a procrastinator, but he could definitely get a head start on his holiday project. He tucks his hand under Kris's arm. "Lead on, McDuff!"
Of course, Adam thinks when they get to the church. Adam didn't think Thanksgiving was a very churchy holiday, but clearly Jesus loved turkey as much as the next guy. He slows his gait, trying to think of a way to get out of this that wouldn't offend Kris.
Kris doesn't go up the front steps, though. He wanders around to the side of the building where there's a large hall, and when he knocks the door is answered by a middle-aged woman with a wide smile and dark hair piled on top of her head.
"Kristopher, thank God," she says in a rush. "Three hours to go, and the turkeys are fine, but I need potato peelers, stat!" She finally sees Adam standing there and stops, her smile getting bigger. "You here to volunteer today? We're expecting two hundred people by one o'clock, so we can use all the hands we can get!"
Kris grins at Adam over his shoulder. "Think you can handle it, rich boy?" he asks, and Adam shakes his head in awe.
"You sneaky little bastard," he says and Kris laughs.
"Whatever, I'm not lying. Isobel makes a great pot of coffee. You could stand a good deed in your life, Lambert."
The woman, Isobel, looks between them for a second before rolling her eyes. "You," she says, pointing at Kris, "grab a sack of potatoes and a peeler. You," she says to Adam, "coffee is in the back of the kitchen, next to the donuts. Are you any good at pies?"
"Hey!" Kris says, offended. "He gets pies and I get potatoes?"
"You're clearly a lying liar, and this one looks like he doesn't do much manual labor."
Adam's not sure whether to be offended or grateful, but Kris's huff of indignation makes him giggle. "Here, kid - what's your name?" Isobel asks.
"Adam, wonderful, this is the pie making station." She leads them to a long table set up in the hall, covered in bowls full of sliced apples and cans of pumpkin. There is an older woman already there, carefully measuring out sugar and cubes of butter. "Betty is in charge, just do what she tells you. Betty," she adds, and the older woman looks up, "be nice."
Betty eyes Adam suspiciously. "You any good at baking?" she rasps, and Adam would place good money on there being a pack of Newports in her handbag.
"Doubt it," Adam replies. "Last time my mom cooked anything, I was twelve and it came out of a box. I can follow directions okay," he adds, pulling off his wool coat and laying it out of the way. "Just don't put me on something that's easy to fuck up and we should be okay." Betty looks at him sharply, then nods.
"Good, get your ass over here and stir this until I tell you to stop."
Adam makes more pies in three hours than he has ever seen in his entire life.
The time flies by pretty fast - it seems Betty has a weakness for Tim Gunn, but hates asymmetrical hemlines, so she and Adam have plenty to talk about - and by the time they open the doors to the first wave of Thanksgiving feasters, he's totally forgiven Kris for tricking him into coming. Kris, Isobel and a dozen other volunteers stand side-by-side in the food aisle handing out plates of turkey and mashed potatoes and green bean casserole and fresh rolls while Adam and Betty man the dessert table, Betty bitching at Adam to "cut the damn things in even slices, what the hell, kid?"
Adam catches Kris's eyes across the room and waves. Kris shakes his head, clearly impressed that Adam lasted this long. Adam doesn't realize they're staring at each other until Betty snorts. "Wow, you're not obvious at all," she says.
Adam puts his hands on his hips. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"You like him that much, ask him out," she says, and Adam huffs.
"You're a dottering old woman and you should mind your own business."
"I'm a bored old woman, and you should stop being a chickenshit and ask him out," she replies. "He a great kid, but he could use a little loosening up."
"And you think I'm the guy for the job?" he asks.
"I think he could use someone with a little style, a little class," she replies, almost smiling, and Adam's chest aches just a little. He's pretty sure he's not the guy Betty thinks he is, and he's absolutely sure he's not classy enough for Kris. He thinks about Cook and the bet, about Jason and Halloween, and he thinks he's probably the least classy person he knows.
It's two more hours before the crowd is down to a handful of stragglers, and Isobel sends them off with covered plates and kisses on the cheek.
"Come back any time," she says.
"I'm Jewish," Adam winks, and she flicks him in the arm with one long fingernail.
The walk back to campus is lovely - the leaves crunch under Adam's feet as he walks and the sunlight makes everything feel just a little warmer. Kris bumps his shoulder.
"Didn't think you'd stay for the whole thing," he says and Adam shrugs, blushing a little.
"Didn't have anything better to do."
"The Dean's thing is at four - you still gonna go?" Kris picks at the edge of his plate, carefully wrapping the plastic wrap over the edge.
Adam has a whole apple pie in one hand, a full plate balanced in the other. He gestures with both hands, "I don't think I'm going to be hungry."
"Me either," Kris grins up at him. "You want to ditch that and watch movies and eat pie?"
"Yeah, that's," Adam scrambles, because he really, honestly can't think of anything he'd rather do tonight - just pie and movies and Kris tucked next to him on the couch - and it's fucking terrifying. "Sure."
Kris's room is exactly what Adam would have pictured - it's cluttered but not overly so, baseball cleats in the corner, his guitar laying against the arm of the couch, piles of books on most surfaces. Kris's movie collection is hilariously lame, and Adam shakes his head for a few minutes before picking out Grosse Point Blank.
"You like assassins?" Kris says with one eyebrow raised.
"Cusack," Adam replies, and Kris nods.
"Understood, man." They pop the movie in the DVD player and Kris grabs two plastic forks from a pile of takeout menus and packets of soy sauce. They just prop the pie on an old pizza box between them and dig in as John Cusack shoots at people. Adam loves this movie, and he's delighted when Kris laughs at all the right times - he wouldn't have pegged Kris as a dark humor kind of guy, but he's been wrong about a lot of Kris-related things this semester.
"Seriously, why hasn't he done a decent movie since this?" Kris asks as the credit roll.
"High Fidelity," Adam counters and Kris shrugs.
"Eh. Mostly that was Jack Black, with Cusack whining about being a terrible boyfriend."
"I will give you Malkovich," he concedes, "but everything else is just chick flicks and badly made espionage."
Adam settles back into the couch a little more with a groan. He's totally full, but he can't seem to stop eating little bites of crust from what's left of the pie. "You know, he pretty much set the bar with Say Anything, and after that it was going to be a lot of downhill."
"We could watch that if you want?" Kris says, and Adam turns his head to look at him. Kris is sitting close enough that their knees are touching, his eyes half-closed. He smiles at Adam and Adam has to force himself not to lean in to kiss him.
This isn't a fucking date, he reminds himself, but oh, man, he kind of wants it to be. Adam just nods and Kris nods back, and makes Adam laugh with his overwraught groans as he struggles off the couch.
He pops a new DVD in the player and flops down close enough that he's leaning into Adam's side, the pie forgotten on the coffee table. "I am never eating again, holy hell," he says, and Adam tries to focus on the television screen and not on the spot where Kris's fingers are brushing the outside of his thigh.
Adam loves Say Anything, almost as much as Pretty in Pink, but watching it with Kris is an exercise in distraction. By the time Lloyd and Diane break up, Kris's head is on Adam's shoulder. "I never understood why he stayed out there so long. What if she wasn't even home?" Kris murmurs as Lloyd stands outside her window, boombox in the air. His breath tickles Adam's neck.
"It was a grand gesture," Adam says. "It doesn't need to make sense." Kris tilts his head up and Adam makes the mistake of looking down; they're so close Adam wouldn't even need to move six inches to kiss him.
"You're a closet romantic," Kris says with a slow smile, and Adam suddenly can't fucking breathe.
"I have to go," he says, standing up fast enough that Kris has to catch himself with one hand to not fall over on his side. "Sorry, I just. Haven't called home yet, or anything." Kris is looking up at him, sleepy and confused, and Adam pulls his coat on, eager to have something to do with his hands that doesn't involve touching Kris right this instant.
"I'll see you tomorrow at dinner, right?" Kris asks, standing up and tucking his hands under his arms, unsure.
"Don't know," Adam says, and backs toward the door. "I have a shitload to finish before Christmas, and Perry's breathing down my neck about my history paper. We'll see," he finishes lamely, and manages to get himself down the hall and out to the quad before he has to stop and close his eyes and lean against the side of the chapel building.
Adam Lambert hasn't been a closet anything since he was fourteen, but Kris Allen has somehow turned every table on him. Closet romantic indeed, he thinks, and waits until he sees the light go out in Kris's bedroom window before trudging back to his dorm room.
"Oh my God, you fucked him," Brad says the first time Adam crosses the quad to avoid running into Kris.
"NO, fuck, just. Shut up," Adam hisses.
"Huh. I thought the strategy was fuck-then-avoid, not the other way around."
"I'm not--" Adam huffs and pulls his scarf tighter around his neck. "Look, I'm just not interested anymore."
"Soooo, that's why we can't say hello to him?" Brad asks, blinking, and Adam hates everything ever.
"It got boring," he says, and feels a twist in his gut at how fucking laughable that lie is, "And he's like a little puppy; I don't want him following me around."
Brad opens his mouth, then shuts it and stares at him. "Okay," he says finally, "that is some amazing bullshit. You want to tell me what happened over break?"
"You want to go say hi to him?"
"No, God, what is--"
"You want to hold his hand and ask him to the Winter Formal?" Brad finishes and Adam can't stop from blushing, even though he knows Brad will notice immediately. Which of course, he does. "That. Is. Priceless," Brad crows, throwing his head back to laugh. "You have a total crush on this guy! Amazing."
"Fuck you," Adam says, but mostly he's resigned himself to weeks of teasing over this.
The avoiding works, mostly. Adam and Kris wave in the dining hall, and even have a meal or two at the same table, but Adam suddenly finds plenty of reasons to be in his room. His papers get monumentally better, and when he gets his final grade from Chamberlain, he almost wants to send Kris a thank-you note for making him a lovesick hermit basketcase. He hasn't gotten grades this good since freshman year.
Brad teases him about it for about a week before he gives up and just starts sighing a lot.
"Maybe he'd want to go out with you," he tries one night and Adam throws a pillow at his face.
"He spends his time feeding the poor, Brad. He wears a cross unironically, and doesn't understand fashion and he's as wholesome as fucking baseball and apple pie...," he trails off, thinking about Kris pulling a slice of apple out of Betty's pie and popping it in his mouth, and how his fingers probably would have tasted like apples and cinnamon. When he looks back up, Brad is smirking at him.
"I know. Go away." Adam crosses his arms, sulking, and Brad plants a kiss to the top of his head before heading to a study group.
Matt and Anoop corner Adam after his last final.
"You are the worst friend ever," Anoop says, shaking his head. Matt slings an arm across his shoulders and leans in.
"Seriously, you suck, hardcore. How are we supposed to know what's cool if you aren't around to tell us?"
Adam laughs. "I've been busy, fuckers."
"Yeah, okay, but you are done now, so, party time, Lambert." Anoop flanks him on the other side, and neither one of them will listen to his protests when he sees they're headed for Cook's annual Christmas bash. Brad meets them at the door with a grin.
"Good boys!" he says, and ignores Matt's attempt at a fist bump.
"What are you doing?" Adam says, pleadingly, and Brad just straightens Adam's tie.
"I don't care if you have a twink gangbang to get to - you are coming inside and having a drink."
"Fine, one drink," Adam glares, and Brad slips his arm into Adam's and pulls him inside.
It's already pretty rowdy; everyone's abandoned their jackets in a pile on Cook's bed, and Adam spots more than one guy in nothing but a tie. There's a keg - something only David Cook could ever get away with at this place - and Adam takes a proffered glass of punch in one hand and tries to lighten up. He doesn't see Kris anywhere, and Anoop and Matt are already pulling him into a conversation about next semester's Spring Fling. Matt is head of the entertainment committee, and they are already butting heads about how to spend their ample budget. Adam nixes anything that could be found at a traveling carnival, and Anoop nixes anything that includes the word 'glam', and Matt does his best to try and please everyone, which makes Adam laugh. Some things never change.
He's having a good time, and he doesn't even mind the punch - sticky sweet and red and making his head swim a little. He gets up to get another cup, weaving his way back to his friends through a sea of people. He can see Cook holding court by the useless fireplace and raises his glass in hello. He makes it another three steps to the corner of the hallway before someone crashes into him from behind. Adam stumbles around the corner and ends up pressed hip-to-shoulder with Kris, his drink mangled between them, sticky liquor seeping through their clothes.
"Oh, gross," Kris says, and Adam's heart stops.
"Oh my god, I am so sorry," he says, eyes wide, but Kris is giggling, shaking small drops of the drink off his hand.
"You're a menace, Lambert," Kris says, looking down at his ruined shirt, and Adam stares at the way his eyelashes fan out across his cheek.
"That might not stain if you rinse it out right away," Adam says, and Kris nods.
"Cool, c'mon," he replies and tugs Adam two steps down the hall to the bathroom. Adam closes the door out of habit and when he turns around, Kris is already tugging his shirt off over his head, pulling the cuffs off his wrists and dropping it in the sink. "Gimme yours," he says, holding out his hand, and Adam blinks at him. "Adam, I'm guessing your shirt costs more than my entire outfit. Let's try to minimize the damage."
Adam unbuttons his shirt with numb fingers and hands it to Kris, watches him rinse both under cold water, rubbing the fabric together like they do in films, rugged poineer folk washing their clothes in the river. "Does that actually work?" he asks, bemused.
"Hell if I know," Kris grins over at him, "but it can't hurt, right?"
"Unless the stain spreads," Adam sighs, and reaches out to grab Kris's wrist to stop him, "then the whole thing is kind of pink."
"...Right," Kris says, voice just a little strained, and Adam doesn't let go of him as he turns around. Kris is looking up at him questioningly, tongue darting out to wet his lips, and Adam can see a warm flush across his cheeks, down his chest, tries not to let his eyes wander lower, to Kris's taut, pink nipples.
"Adam," Kris says, suddenly quiet.
"Yeah?" Adam replies, just as quietly.
"You're a hard guy to read." Adam can feel his pulse jumping under his fingers.
Kris smiles a little. "Then maybe I just need a few more hints?" he asks, teasing, and Adam can barely think straight. They're so close, close enough that half a step would have them pressed skin-against-skin, and Adam's breaths are coming in short, shallow pants.
"I don't know what--"
"Did I do something wrong? Because I thought, maybe, you were interested," Kris says, stammering a little. "But then you just... nothing."
"I know. You didn't... you're kind of hard to read too, you know," Adam says, because he's not really sure what's happening here.
"I don't think so," Kris says, and if Kris keeps standing this close, looking up at him from under those lashes, Adam might not be able to stop himself from doing something he's promised himself he wouldn't.
"Kris," he starts, rubbing his thumb over Kris's wrist, but before he can finish Kris is leaning up on his toes, chin angled up, and Adam can't help but close the distance, their lips just brushing at first before Kris moans a little and presses closer. It's a hot, searing kiss - not tentative at all - and Adam reaches his other hand up to tangle in Kris's hair, to pull him closer and bite at his lower lip. Kris's fingers tighten in his belt loop and yank him closer still, and Adam shudders when they rock against each other. They make out, all lewd tongues and tiny gasps, until Adam can't breathe.
"S-shit," Kris curses as Adam tears his mouth away. Kris's arm winds around his neck, pulling him down at a sharp angle, and Adam growls a little, low in his chest before grabbing Kris's ass in both hands and lifting him up onto the counter, pressing him back against the mirror. Kris's legs wrap around his waist for balance and he looks up, mouth red and swollen, eyes wide and dark. Adam bites at Kris's jaw, savors the taste of him, tries to remember why he ever thought this could be a bad idea. Kris is practically made for him, fitting together like puzzle pieces.
"Fuck, you are so gorgeous," Adam whispers before nosing along Kris's throat, kissing his neck where his clavicle juts out sharply.
"Adam," Kris keens, and his whole body shivers when Adam bites down gently, then a little harder. Kris's fingers fist in his hair.
"God, Kris," Adam groans and then Kris is tugging his head back up for a kiss as Adam's hands slide up his thighs, over his slim hips, up the smooth planes of his back. Kris kisses taste like coca-cola and red vines and something sharp and smoky, and Adam can't fucking get enough. Kris places one hand flat against Adam's chest and Adam braces to be pushed away, but all Kris does is touch, his fingers ghosting over Adam's nipple, his stomach, before coming to rest on the button of his pants. Adam kisses him deeper, a silent okay to whatever the hell Kris wants to do here, and Kris moans deep in his chest before slipping his fingers into the waistband and popping the button free.
"Breaking the five minute rule, boys," Cook says loudly, not even knocking as he opens the door, and Adam pulls back like he's been slapped. Oh, shit, shit, shit, he thinks, tries desperately to think of a way to shut Cook up before he says something damning like, "Whoa, fuck me! I totally didn't think you'd be able to pull this one off, Lambert!"
Kris is looking at him head tilted in confusion. "Cook," Adam rasps, but Cook is leaning on the doorframe, weaving a little, and Adam knows a drunk Cook isn't going to remember anything about discretion or gentleman's agreements. Sure enough:
"Seriously, man, I was convinced that was money in the bank. You are truly the fucking master of the straight boy seduction." Adam knows Cook woudn't be saying this if he was sober enough to stand up unassisted, and he's also totally guilty of making the bet with him in the first place; otherwise he's pretty sure he would have beaten him to death with his towel rack by now.
As it is, Adam lowers his eyes and prays that Kris isn't following any of this, but Kris pushes him back a step and stands up. When Adam chances a look at his face, it's stony, jaw set.
"It was a bet," he says, low and quiet and Adam closes his eyes. "How much?"
"Five grand," Adam says, slumping against the wall.
"Wow. Good to know I didn't come cheap, I guess." His voice is rough and caustic, but Adam can sense the tension, the hurt underneath it.
"Kris, it's not," Adam starts, but he doesn't know how to finish the sentence. "I'm sorry."
"Yeah," Kris says thickly. "Me too." He pushes past Cook and through the throng of guys behind him, dozens of pairs of eyes studiously avoiding him, the gossip mill already churning.
Two days later, Adam is still in bed, curled half on his stomach in his knotted sheets. He feels the bed dip behind him and Brad's warm fingers curling around his shoulder. "Hey, how're you holding up?"
"Not great," Adam manages, and Brad rubs his back. "He's still not answering his phone."
"Yeah," Brad says and Adam closes his eyes.
"How bad is it out there?"
"What, you mean, how bad is the rumor mill? So far Kris is getting plenty of sympathy but..."
"No one thinks you're the bad guy. They're all just kicking themselves for not warning him off of you in the first place."
Adam lets that sink for a second before he laughs, hard and mirthless. "They totally expected that of me. They totally expected that I would fuck him up. Wow, that's--"
"Adam, come on--"
"No, that's pretty fucking spot on, don't you think? He probably should stay far the fuck away from me. I bet he's heard every story by now, every guy I sweet-talked into bed and then never called again."
"Look, this is completely self-defeating, Lambert. Points of fact: You were a big old slut. You made a stupid bet. You fell head over heels for this guy, on day fucking one, which I noticed even if you didn't. If you think he's too good for you, boo fucking hoo, get out of bed and go mack on some cute freshmen. If you want Kris, you have to fight for him," he finishes, digging his fingers painfully into Adam's ribs.
"He won't talk to me," Adam says, exasperated.
"Of course he won't, you publicly humiliated him in front of half the school. He thinks you're in your room gloating and counting your millions or whatever. In, like, a monocle. he needs a little turnabout, a little fair play before he'll be able to talk to you without thinking the whole school is laughing at him."
"So you're saying I should... what? Publicly humiliate myself to show him I love him?"
"I don't know, Lambert, you're the theater queen. But whatever you do, it needs to be big. Huge."
It takes Adam less than two days to put the whole thing together. Archie is strangely helpful in the music department, and Joe and Kevin drive him to a vintage store the next town over. It's cold out, so Adam lets himself mess up the outfit with his black fingerless gloves, but everything is perfect down to the letter. Brad looks at him and shakes his head.
"You don't look half bad. Still ridiculous, but not half bad."
"Good," Adam says and steels himself one more time before grabbing the boombox and walking out the door.
It's a quick walk across campus to Kris's dorm, and Adam doesn't look at a single person as he walks past. They watch him, though, he can tell, and there are more than a few laughs behind him, footsteps that tell him he's being followed. Alright, he thinks. Here we go.
Kris's window is on the second floor and Adam stops far enough away that he'll be visible from any window on that wall. He presses play on the tape player and turns the volume all the way up before hoisting it over his head. It's heavy as fuck, but Adam is going to go the full Lloyd Dobler here, aching biceps be damned. The opening notes of 'All These Things That I've Done' strain against the speakers, and it's not long before the song is at full volume, echoing off the brick walls. Adam can hear the murmur of voices behind him, but he keeps his eyes fixed on Kris's window.
It's not a long song, but Adam didn't want this to be an empty four minute gesture. When the last chorus fades out, the first verse loops back in again, thanks to Anoop and GarageBand, and Adam stays put. Maybe Kris won't come out at all, like in the movie, but he's going to stand there for as long as he can hold this thing over his head. He's going to stand there until the entire school sees him, until every whisper in the dining hall is about what a lame, freaky sap he is. He's going to stand here until Kris hears this song, and knows.
It's over ten minutes before Kris comes walking around the side of the building, coat pulled close around him. Adam doesn't even see him at first, doesn't move his eyes from the window until the murmurs behind him get louder, a few hushed voices saying "oh, shit!". Kris is watching him, wary, and Adam swallows hard.
"What are you doing, Lambert?" he asks, stopping close enough to talk, but not close enough to touch.
"Grand gesture," he says, and his teeth are chattering a little from the cold. His fingers and forearms are numb from the cold, the wind blowing cold through his t-shirt, his stupid loose pants.
"Put that thing down, you look ridiculous," Kris says.
"Kind of the point," Adam grits out and the corner of Kris's mouth twitches.
"Okay, then, put it down because you're making my arms tired just looking at you. Also, this song is not this long."
Adam winces as he puts the boombox down on the ground, turning the sound down but not off. "I know. Anoop looped it."
They stand there staring at the ground for a long minute before Adam clears his throat to say, "I'm sorry. You don't have any reason to believe me, but that bet was the stupidest thing I've ever done."
"Word is you collected on it yesterday," Kris says, smiling coldly, and under any other circumstances Adam would have been impressed by Kris's ability to be calm and cutting.
"I gave it away," Adam says quietly. "Look, I know I don't deserve a second chance here, but I like you, a lot, more than I've liked anyone in a long fucking time, and I just wanted you to know that. That I wasn't faking it. Anything it takes to prove that to you, I'll do it."
"You gave it away," Kris says, voice far away.
"Yeah, it wasn't... I didn't want it," Adam says. "It's not about--"
"Isobel had someone slip ten thousand dollars cash into her mailbox yesterday. You wouldn't have anything to do with that, would you?"
Adam sighs. "You weren't supposed to know about that."
"Yeah, well, she called me in tears, man. That's just. You seriously gave ten grand to my soup kitchen?" Kris steps closer, eyes wide with something almost like gratitude, Adam thinks Kris isn't getting it.
Adam grabs Kris by the shoulders and looks him straight in the eyes. "It's not about the money. Fuck the money. I am head over heels for you, okay? And you can tell me to go to hell, since I probably deserve that, but that part has to get through."
"It's getting through," Kris says, smiling slowly, and Adam nods. He's breathing hard as Kris takes a step closer. "You're not done proving to me that you're a jackass," he says, and Adam nods again. He would talk, but Kris's eyes are crinckling in the corners, and Adam's chest is seizing up. "And you're going to have to do all sorts of lame stuff with me, like help me move, and carry my books, and watch football games." He slips his fingers into Adam's and winds them together.
"And hold hands?" Adam says, barely a whisper, and Kris leans up on his toes.
"And definitely hold hands, that's totally lame," he says, and Adam barely registers the catcalls and applause from the student body behind them as he pulls Kris close and kisses him soundly.