samanthahirr: (golden years)
[personal profile] samanthahirr
Title: Ready Now (If You Can Wait a Little More)
Fandom: American Idol (Adam/Kris)
Word Count: 44,500 [complete]
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: No infringement on the rights of real people intended. Not profiting in any way.



Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI



Friday

Kris was so worn out by rounds two and three that he slept almost to noon, not even waking when Adam got up. When he finally crawled out of bed, aching in places he didn't know he could ache before, he found wet towels on his bathroom floor—apparently Adam had gotten so used to hotel-living he'd forgotten that apartments didn't automatically come with fresh towel service—and a note on his kitchen counter that read "you only own plaid !" When he checked his phone, he found a message from Adam, They're all v. confused, with a link to a TMZ photo of Adam, flanked by his body guards, walking into the club two hours earlier in one of Kris's white wife-beaters, his favorite tan-plaid shirt hanging open over his broad shoulders.

Didn't know I was providing the costume, too, Kris texted back.

Adam responded immediately: Yeah, K said plaid was the way to your <3.

Sing me the Lumber Jack song tonight!, Kris demanded.

Adam sent him a frownie face and threatened to let the costume designer go at the shirt with a bedazzler.

Kris didn't tease him about raiding his wardrobe again.




An accident on the 405 held him up nearly half an hour, and by the time Kris's cab pulled up at The Crystal Club there were only a handful of people still out on the sidewalks, most of them smoking or talking on cell phones. He got a few looks from Adam's fans, but nobody approached him until he got inside. Before he could even pull out his ID for the bouncers (and his hackles only raised a little as he eyed them), a woman in a staff t-shirt grabbed his elbow and pulled him into a back hallway. She slapped a VIP access sticker on his thigh and sent him down the hall to the backstage area, telling him his party was waiting.

Side-stage he found Allison chatting up one of the guitar techs, lustfully fondling the strings of an electric guitar. He grinned and picked her up from behind until she squealed and squirmed out of his grip, bounced up and planted a kiss on his lips.

"Thank god you're here. You totally missed Adam's freak out."

"What freak out?"

"I don't know, but he was running around the green room with half his face done and flapping his hands a lot. Katy had to calm him down."

Kris checked his phone, but Adam hadn't sent him any messages since the last one early that afternoon: Sang two songs, sound fine.

"Should I talk to him?"

"Are you kidding? Bad luck to see the bride; you'll totally jinx him! Katy's upstairs—go that way." She pointed at a set of narrow steps and pinched his ass when he turned his back.

Upstairs was a small green room with a private balcony overlooking the stage. He found his friends hitting the open cooler of beers and Katy standing out on the balcony, leaning over the railing. "Hey," he called, stepping out with a beer in hand. The crowd noise below them was a thrilling murmur he recognized from his own tours, and the hairs on his arms prickled with the electricity.

"Hey!" she smiled, turning around to see him.

She looked him up and down, checking out what he'd decided to wear, so he held his arms out and did a turn for her. "How'd I do?"

"Fair," she admitted, reaching out to smooth down the collar on his black blazer. He'd figured black on black would be acceptable—if nothing else, it would probably match his boyfriend.

"I heard Adam freaked out?"

She waved his concern away. "Just being a diva. He'll be perfect."

"What was he stressed about?" She looked at him pointedly until he flushed and stammered, "He knows I love him; this show doesn't mean anything now. It's just icing."

"Really romantic icing," Katy insisted, folding her arms.

"Okay, fine. Really romantic icing." He folded his arms right back at her and shook his head. "I can't believe you made him do all this. You honestly thought I couldn't get there on my own?"

"I was pretty sure hell would freeze over before you said anything to him. I wasn't willing to take that chance. And neither was he, or he wouldn't have gone through with it."

Kris sighed at how little faith the people he loved had in him.

"And hey, you think you know everything that's gonna happen just cause you saw the set list? Think again." She had that devilish smile on—the one that said she had plans and he wasn't going to like them. "I happen to know Adam didn't tell you everything."

"Whatever you've got planned…." She grinned even wider, and he narrowed his eyes to tease, "I bet you stole it from Lifetime."

"Oh!" she gasped, outraged. "Oh, that's just mean. I swear, you are going to thank me for this, Kris Allen, or so help me God."

He nodded and saluted her with his beer, "I'll take that bet," and walked back into the green room and found a spot on a new-looking couch next to Cale. He kicked up his heels on the low table, happy to drink his beer and wait now that he knew Adam wasn't in any kind of trouble.

Cale clinked beers with him and then cleared his throat and said, "I'm only gonna ask one question, and then we're never gonna speak of it again, do you hear me?"

Kris sipped his beer to hold back a laugh; he had a pretty good idea what Cale would ask. "Mmhm," he nodded.

"Is he as good as the websites say?"

"Dude," he said with a dramatic pause and everything, "you can't even imagine."

Cale scowled, red creeping up his neck, and turned back to his own bottle. "Okay. I'm very happy for you. And now we will never talk about it ever again."

"He did this thing with his tongue—"

"Shut up!" Cale yelled.

"Seriously, he can push the whole thing—"

"I don't wanna hear it!"

"Ooo, are we talking Adam-sex?" Allison demanded, sitting down on Cale's lap.

"No!"

She wrapped her arms around Cale's shoulders, stole a sip of his beer, and said, "'Cause I wanna hear all about it."

"Gaah!" Cale fled the couch, lifting her up so he could wriggle free, abandoning his drink to her evil clutches.

Kris promptly relieved her of the beer and set it on the table. She pouted at him, but he shook his head. "Sorry, Rugrat."

"Come on, it's not like I haven't drank with you before." He held firm, and she settled back against the cushions. "Well then, tell me about sex with Adam. Has he fucked you yet?"

Taunting Cale with it was one thing, but no matter how old she got, Allison would always be 16 to him. Kris turned pink and looked at the half-empty bottle in his hand. "Oh look, need a refill. Back in a sec…." He stood up and sought shelter with Will and Anoop by the cooler.

The opening act went on while Kris was telling Anoop about the feud he'd almost started with Carrie Underwood. Once the drums started, they couldn't hear each other over the speakers hanging right outside, so the three of them gave up on talking and went out on the balcony to watch. It was some 80s cover band Kris had never heard of, wearing tight white bodysuits and throwing glitter all over themselves. At least the crowd seemed to like them well enough.

Kris leaned over to yell in Katy's ear, "Oh wow, you know what, I think he really loves me!"

"You suck," she yelled back and patted his hand on the railing.

When the openers were finished, Matt belched loudly and looked down at the packed floor. "There's nothing in the world like this, is there?"

Kris shook his head, reminded again to be grateful for his career, his recording contract. Despite all the stress 19E caused him, he owed them everything, from his hundreds of thousands of fans to meeting Adam in the first place.

"That's why I can't stop," Matt admitted. "I got a taste on the show. And then that tour. I gotta get that back, for myself."

"You will," Kris assured him, bumping their shoulders together.

Matt nodded and watched the crowd of mostly-women, stripped down to minimal clothing in the humid heat, try to crush even closer to the stage while the tech guys reconfigured the microphones. "Seriously," Matt muttered, staring. "That's hot."

Kris couldn't help laughing just a little at the inappropriateness.

At 10:00 exactly the house lights dimmed, the crowd screamed loud enough to shake the steel beams under the balcony, and Kris's heart unexpectedly squeezed in his chest. Anoop and Allison tried to fit in around them, so Kris stepped behind Katy and wrapped his arms around her, fitting his chin easily over her shoulder so he could see below.

"This is all for you," she reminded him, tipping her head back to see him out the corner of her eye. "So you'd better love it."

A single spotlight turned on, illuminating a baby grand piano at the far side of the stage, and he grinned. "Really? I coulda sworn this part was for you."

"What?" she asked, as though she didn't know what he was talking about.

"Nothing." Katy could swear up and down that she'd done all this for him, but that was Katy's favorite Harry Connick Jr. song Adam was about to start the show with. If she'd put a little Christmas present to herself in the set list, Kris wouldn't hold it against her.

Adam stepped into the light in a black tuxedo and bright white dress shirt with the top few buttons undone, a bow tie hanging open around his neck. The shrieks cranked up another octave, and he sat down at the piano with a smile and a wave to the crowd. Kris was so floored at Katy's gall putting Adam in an absolutely cliché tux that he didn't even realize the significance of the piano until Adam placed his fingers on the keys and played a few soft jazz chords, taking his time and letting the notes fill the space.

The crowd quieted down and Kris's throat tightened up. Because Adam didn't play piano—couldn't play piano. Kris had tried to teach him; they'd spent a few bored mornings in the Idol mansion playing around in the practice rooms. Adam could read music, could play some scales with his right hand, but was hopeless at coordinating his fingers into chords. After three days of drills, Adam had thrown up his hands and vowed he would only learn to play if his life depended on it, à la Goonies.

And now, Adam had learned. He was obviously nervous, watching his fingers the whole time and taking an extra half-second between chord changes, but Adam had learned and kept it a secret. For this. For him.

Kris's jaw hung open and his eyes started watering before Adam had even sung the first smooth note, so slow and heartfelt. He hugged Katy tighter, as close as he would get to admitting to her that maybe he'd been wrong; maybe Katy wasn't the only sucker for over-the-top romantic gestures.

It was almost too much, watching Adam play and sing for him. Kris took a relieved breath when Adam crooned the last line of the verse a cappella, sliding off the piano bench just as someone in all black slid in on the other side to take over, and the spotlight followed Adam to center stage as the lights came up on the rest of his band for the chorus of What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

Katy gave a blissful sigh as the last notes faded into applause and said, "He has to sing that for me every year."

Kris nodded, speechless. Adam was standing twenty feet away from him in front of a room full of his fans, wearing a full tuxedo glowing in the spotlight, and looking up at Kris. Kris couldn't even clap, just gripped the railing and tried not to jump over it to get to him, to make the emotional intensity stop. Adam nodded like he understood, gave an almost embarrassed smile, and then turned back to the crowd and shrugged off the jacket.

Which set the shrieks off again, because Kris had been wrong about the "full" part of the tux. Adam had removed the sleeves from the dress shirt, and now he shook out his bare arms, making the swirls of silver body glitter flash in the stage lights. The silver and blue cummerbund was cinched corset-tight, and wide patent-leather cuffs covered his wrists. He winked at the crowd, batted huge black eyelashes, and struck a pose in ridiculously tight black slacks, slipping into the familiar role of glam god.

"I don't know about all of you," Adam purred into the microphone, "but I came here to party!" Everyone in the club screamed back at him, including Kris and his friends. Adam snapped his fingers, and Monte and LP kicked out the opening riff to Music Again, and a troupe of silver lamé-clad dancers ran out to surround him, one of them handing him a white Michael Jackson hat to match the spats and a black boa to match the fingerless gloves.

The intensity eased off after that. No matter how personal the lyrics were, or how nostalgic the cover songs made Kris, it was still intended as a show. It didn't have to hurt like a raw wound, like regret for all the time he'd wasted, unless either of them let it. The way Adam had mixed Kris's songs in with his own, Adam's fans didn't even notice the second layer to the show. The Bon Jovi was just a nostalgic throwback and a cute nod to the opening act. The Allman Brothers didn't sound country at all when Monte poured that much soul into the guitar.

But Cale picked up on what was going on somewhere during 3 Doors Down. He leaned over and shoved Kris's shoulder until Kris turned his head to mouth, "What?" at him.

"What the fuck is he doing?" Cale demanded, knowing full well how much Kris had obsessed over that album in college.

Kris blushed, but he knew Cale wouldn't see it in the dim light of the balcony. "Impressing me," he yelled back, owning his embarrassment the way Adam had done.

"Jesus Christ." Cale shook his head and turned back to watch the show.

The time absolutely flew by. Kris almost wished he hadn't seen the set list, because he'd been keeping track in his head and he knew Adam was almost done—the show was amping up to midnight with Adam's biggest single, If I Had You, and Kris sang along loudly, meaning every word of it.

Allison grabbed Kris and Katy's arms during the second chorus and yelled, "I'm gonna crash the stage for the finale. Come on!" and started dragging them toward the stairs.

Kris half-expected Katy to stop Allison, but she just laughed and let herself get dragged, tugging Kris along by the wrist behind her. They made it down the cramped staircase without falling to their deaths, and Kris blinked against the brighter lights at the edge of the stage, Adam that much closer now. He took a few moments to enjoy the pelvic-thrusting at eye-level, not bothering to hide his leer from Katy.

When the song ended, Adam shouted the last line pointing at the ceiling like always, but staring right at Kris. Kris started to smile back, wondering if he was cheesy enough to blow Adam a kiss, and then someone was putting a guitar strap over Kris's head, and Katy and Allison were pulling the blazer off his shoulders, and Kris froze and blurted, "What are you doing?"

Adam was beaming at him and telling the crowd, slightly out of breath from the choreography, "You guys are so amazing, for serious. If it weren't for all your love, I don't think I would've made it here tonight. So for this last song, I wanna bring out someone special for you. He's extra special to me. Kris Allen, get up here."

The crowd cheered, and Katy and the guitar tech shoved Kris up onto the stage. He stumbled up the steps, clutching the body of the guitar and feeling completely unprepared for no good reason. He knew this song; he'd spent an afternoon on the tour bus teaching Mike how to play it. But Bowie was Adam's favorite, and Kris had completely missed the personal significance of Golden Years as the finale song; the surprise of it left him feeling caught with his fly down in front of a thousand witnesses. Speaking of which, he made a quick check under the guitar. Safe.

Monte intercepted Kris on his way over to Adam, shouted in his ear, "You lead, I'll follow."

Kris nodded automatically, knowing better than to doubt Monte's improv skills, and stood in front of Adam and Adam's fans, all of them smiling at him.

"Ready, baby?" Adam asked off-mic, his cheekbones stunningly high under the blush and lights, his lips covered in a shiny silver lipstick he'd applied more suggestively than was humanly possible during For Your Entertainment.

"You're…." He couldn't think of any one word that captured how audacious and incredible Adam was, so Kris just shook himself all over and went with it, laid into the classic groove, Monte, LP, and Tommy following right behind him. Monte sang the back up wop-wop-wops without harmony, and Kris got a clue and drifted over to share the microphone, taking the lower of the two notes. Monte beamed, and Tommy tipped his head at him, although that might have just been Tommy's trademark thrashing.

Adam grinned and bopped and shimmied around the stage, dipping his dancers and working his hips for the crowd. He really dug into the vocals, growling the low notes and popping into a breathy falsetto for the flirty descants. It was Adam at his most campy, and Kris couldn't take his eyes off him, a black and white, shimmery magnet of sex.

It was the best time Kris had had all night, all week, all year, playing a song he loved, with Adam singing promises that things would only get better, flirting with him in front of what felt like the whole world. Kris couldn't contain the giddiness and smiled until his cheeks ached with the goofy smile he always tried to avoid in public.

The fifth time through the chorus, though, he realized he'd let himself become distracted making plans for 2011 with Adam, and he suddenly wondered if he'd missed a signal to stop, and they were still following his lead. He caught Monte's eye, who jerked his chin at a large digital clock side-stage. 11:58:20. "Keep playing 'til the countdown, and then strum," Monte said in his ear.

Kris nodded and leaned into the microphone to sing again, mind returning to his goal to make this the best night of next year, too. It started with kissing Adam….

It finally clicked. Kris finally realized what he'd missed when he'd thought he'd figured out Katy's plan. He'd focused on the spectacle, the public humiliation. But the movie scripts always ended with a kiss. The hero earned that kiss; he deserved that kiss by the end of his humiliating speech. Katy had shoved Kris out on stage just before midnight for only one reason. Kris marveled at her genius for a distracted moment. If he and Adam hadn't already sorted themselves out, if Kris had still had any doubts about Adam's feelings for him, this concert would have obliterated them all. And yes, he would have gotten up the courage to kiss Adam at midnight; he would have risked public rejection with everyone watching.

Katy could manage his life any time, he decided.

The stage lights suddenly started strobing, and big numbers flashed on all the walls of the club. Adam stopped singing mid-phrase and yelled, "58, 57, 56," into the microphone and then held it out over the crowd as they started counting down with him.

Kris and the band switched to frenetically strumming the same chord over and over, LP killing himself to pound as many drums as he could in one minute.

"It's the end of 2010!" Adam shouted into his microphone over the crowd's chanting. "I hope you've done everything you wanted to do, seen everything you wanted to see. Kissed everyone you wanted to kiss." Kris couldn't see the leer, but he could hear it in Adam's voice, and the countdown dissolved into hoots and squeals until Adam got it back on track. "43, 42, 41! I want you all to make me a promise. I want every one of you to not be afraid. You're beautiful, you're loved. If there's someone you love and you've been too afraid to tell them, I want you to take that chance in 2011. Trust in the universe and put the love out there. 19, 18, 17! And if they're in this room, if they're dancing next to you right now, you know what to do. In 10, 9, 8…."

It was laying it on a little thick; Kris didn't dare look at the balcony, where he was sure Cale was dying. But when Adam turned around and looked at him, something in his expression read like the original script; a kind of hopeful expectation, like he wasn't sure Kris would actually do it, and Adam wasn't going to make him.

Kris didn't hesitate, jumping the gun at two-seconds to midnight. He slid the guitar behind his back and grabbed Adam's shirt, rhinestone button covers popping off under his fingers, leaned up and kissed Adam as the music crescendoed.

The lights went floodlight-bright, and glitter exploded into the air at the stroke of midnight, raining down over everyone. Kris closed his eyes and let the screams of the crowd, the pounding bass, and crashing cymbals fill his ears louder than his own heartbeat.

They were still kissing when the band started the traditional Auld Lang Syne sing-along, Monte doing an impressive job with a Hendrix-style guitar solo that almost drowned out the cheers from the crowd. Kris tipped his head the other way to get a better angle on the kiss, slid a hand into Adam's hair and sucked on his tongue, thankful Adam's costume hadn't involved platform boots. If he'd had to climb Adam to get this kiss, by God, he would have, but the YouTube videos would have been humiliating.

Adam rocked his hips against Kris's and held him trapped in his arms. Above them, Kris thought he heard some familiar catcalls. He ignored them in favor of the way Adam's cock was pressed against his stomach, Adam's lips soft on his.

The second time through Auld Lang Syne, Tommy nudged them from behind with his bass guitar. "Adam," he prodded.

Adam just licked deeper into Kris's mouth and slid a hand down to squeeze his ass. Somebody was prying Adam's other hand off Kris's lower back and Kris turned his head to protest, caught a flash of red hair, and Allison started singing into Adam's bedazzled microphone, carrying on with the show.

Kris laughed and wondered if Katy was going to kill them for blowing the dismount, and then stopped caring when Adam tugged at his hair to bring him back in for another never-ending kiss.




THE END
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samanthahirr

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