samanthahirr: (Diptych)
[personal profile] samanthahirr
Title: Diptych
Pairing: Kris Allen/Adam Lambert
Genre: Romance, Action, Criminal AU
Word Count: 42,000
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: stalking, violence, language


Chapter  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6



Brad was pacing the living room and screaming into a phone, "This is the last time I ever work with you, you asshole!" when Adam finally got home.

Adam waited, thin-lipped and impatient, still agitated by Kris's unwelcome declaration. "I'm opening the Clos Du Val cabernet; you want some?" he offered once Brad hung up, because screw dancing; Adam needed to forget, and it sounded like Brad did, too.

Brad shook his head. "I'm in no mood to enjoy it. Do you know where Emilio is?"

"Am I supposed to care?" he asked, unable to keep the spitefulness from his voice.

"He's in fucking Venice. Shacked up with some Countess or Duchess or whatever. He says it's the best sex he's ever had, and he's giving up the life for her."

"Oh? …oh," Adam said, seeing the problem almost immediately.

"Yeah. So he's not coming back to finish the con, and I've got Justin all primed for the big payoff. I've been talking up my possessive, dangerous ex-boyfriend for weeks. How the hell is this supposed to work with no Emilio to scare Justin into paying?"

Adam smirked with petty satisfaction. He'd always hated the man, always been jealous of Emilio and Brad's long-running partnership. "I don't know, babe," he said. "It's just terrible."

"Don't play me, Adam," Brad huffed. "I can tell you're gloating."

Adam shrugged and settled onto the leather couch. "Me? Never."

"Shit. We were gonna do this at his family's place in the Hamptons this weekend. Where'm I gonna find a new Emilio in three days?"

"Lou's ex is back in town…."

"Ugh, he's way too straight. Justin would never believe I used to date him."

"Then…I don't know. None of your little friends can help? Oh…that's right: they're too little," Adam said, rubbing it in. After the day he'd had, it felt too good to resist.

"…You're not little," Brad said speculatively.

Adam's bruised heart stopped beating for four seconds. "No."

Brad slinked over to the couch and knelt next to him. "Adam, baby—"

"No."

"Come on! You're tall—way taller than Justin. He'd never try to fight you—"

"No way in hell," Adam said, his voice cracking. "Find somebody else."

"Adam," Brad said, his voice dropping into a cajoling whisper. A delicate hand slid along the back of the couch, coming up to tease the hairs at the back of Adam's neck, and another hand fell on Adam's thigh, achingly familiar. "Don't be like that. C'mon, just this once? As a favor for me?"

Adam couldn't move, paralyzed as that hand slid higher, and Brad leaned in to whisper in his ear, "It'll be so easy; it'll only take a few hours. You'll be so good at it, babe. And I'll give you his cut, 70/30, the same deal I gave Emilio."

Adam wanted to turn his head and take Brad's lips, coax that hand up to his cock and tell Brad how much he loved him, but the thought tasted like ashes and burned like dry ice, and his mind rebelled.

"Keep your fucking hands off me," Adam snarled, shoving Brad onto his back on the couch. He stood up and glared down at his ex-boyfriend. "Why don't you try asking somebody you haven't fucked and fucked-over yet? Oh wait, that rules out everyone you know, doesn't it?"

Brad's face paled.

Adam grimaced and turned on his heel, grabbed the bottle of Glenmorangie from the kitchen, and slammed his bedroom door behind him.


Helmut Kolle's Dying Torero


By Thursday afternoon, Adam had finished the scotch and switched to gin. Brad wrinkled his nose disapprovingly when Adam grabbed the Bombay Sapphire, but didn't try to stop him. So Adam let Brad join him in his bed, Brad's back propped against the headboard and Adam's head pillowed in his lap, sprawled out like Kolle's Dying Torero. It was an apt metaphor, he mused—stabbed through the heart and bleeding out slowly.

He let Brad talk, a steady stream of self-recriminations and apologies for opening old wounds. Adam ignored them all. He'd listened to Brad too much already.

He'd listened when they met on the L.A. black market scene, and maybe that was where everything had really gone wrong for him. Because Adam had fallen hard for Brad, for his sinfully pretty face and clever tongue, and for all the things he'd said he saw in Adam: talent, beauty, and someone capable of bigger deals than a glorified back alley pawn shop. Worst of all, Brad had said he loved Adam…but Brad didn't know the meaning of the word. To Brad, love was a feeling that welled up in his chest and had to be shared with whomever inspired it. Like his heart was overflowing, and he couldn't limit it to only one person.

Adam had listened and believed him. He'd built his reputation and fortune on a series of risky-but-successful sales while trying to live with an open relationship so Brad could share his too-much-love with multiple partners. He'd endured the sleepless nights when Brad didn't come home, the sight of other lovers' marks—Emilio's and countless others'—on his boyfriend's skin, each one making his professional successes ring hollow. He'd endured for two painful, faithful years, choking on his jealousy until he couldn't anymore.

The breakup had been fast and one-sided. Adam hadn't begged or given an ultimatum—he'd just given up and cut Brad off. Looking back, it was staggering how easily they'd transitioned from lovers to friends, as though Brad hadn't even noticed the difference. Adam loved Brad too much to walk away; he would do anything to keep Brad in his life, as a friend and business partner if he couldn't have him as his boyfriend. And if Brad saw the way Adam ached with each new lover Brad took, he knew better than to bring it up or bring them home.

So for Brad to ask that of him—to touch him like a lover and use him like a mark—and then come crawling, looking for forgiveness....

No.

Brad wasn't after anything—certainly not forgiveness. He was bestowing comfort and pity on his pathetic ex-boyfriend. In that moment, Adam hated them both; hated himself for needing the former, and Brad for offering the latter.

And he couldn't forgive either of them.




On Friday afternoon, with two empty bottles kicked under the bed, Brad placed himself in front of the liquor cabinet and folded his arms across his chest.

"Adam, stop it."

"Fuck you," Adam said and steadied himself on the back of a kitchen chair.

"I gave you a couple days, okay? But it's time for you to grow up and start coping."

"Fuck you," Adam repeated, because the words tasted as good as the lingering traces of gin. "Don't you have another guy to screw over?"

"I was supposed to be in the Hamptons with Justin, but I told him I had to stay in town this weekend; some asshole'd broken my best friend's heart, and he needed me to look after him." Brad stared him down, refusing to budge when Adam gave him a weak shove.

"You're an asshole," Adam informed him.

"That's what I just said," Brad agreed. "And whether you want my help or not, I'm not letting you fuck up your one legitimate line of business because of my 'faithless dick.'"

That sounded familiar. "Did I say that?"

"Pure Lambert poetry."

"Good. 'Cause that's what you are."

"Seriously, shut up and pay attention. You've forgotten the Wilkstone Gala is tonight, haven't you?"

"Go fuck…. Oh shit." Two of Adam's clients and a roomful of prospective clients would be in attendance. This was the networking opportunity of the season; there was no way he could miss it. He gaped at Brad, panic starting to seep through the ounces and ounces of alcohol.

"Exactly. Shower, now. And take this with you." Brad pushed a bottle of cold water into his hand and turned Adam around by the shoulders.

Adam stumbled toward his bedroom.

"If you need an extra hand in the shower, give me a shout," Brad called after him.

"Fuck you!" Adam yelled back, and walked into the doorframe.

He came out of his bedroom two hours later, somewhat sober but immaculate in his dark grey bespoke suit, the invitation tucked in his inside pocket. Brad was waiting in the living room, dressed in a three-piece Brioni and fabulous Ferragamo shoes.

"Going somewhere?" Adam asked sweetly, just to piss Brad off.

Brad rolled his eyes. "I'm not sending you to that gala by yourself. Come on, we'll miss the hot hors d'oeuvres."

"You actually think you're gonna be my plus one tonight?" Adam scoffed, walking past Brad to the front door. "I'd rather take Justin than you." Brad flinched, and Adam slammed the door on his way out.

He skipped the hassle of a car service and hopped in a cab, ignoring the two men in the sedan that pulled out to follow him. He was buzzed, angry, and still hurting from Brad's proposition; he didn't have the emotional capacity to care about the FBI tonight. But thirty minutes after he got to the party, a high-pitched giggle caught his attention, and he looked up to see Brad on Lou's arm, smiling and chatting with another art dealer.

Brad met his eyes and frowned, looking concerned. Adam finished schmoozing with Mr. and Mrs. Wilkstone and headed for the bar.

Lou drifted over to join him, her silver Rodarte draped dress sweeping across the marble floor, and he ordered her a martini before she had to ask.

She thanked him and said, raising the glass for a sip, "Brad says he's in the doghouse tonight."

"Try for the next week," Adam said. "Hey, you owe me from that time with the ivory vanity set, right?"

"Yeah?" she said suspiciously. "What do you need?"

"Keep Brad away from me tonight."

Her eyebrows flew up. "Wow. You're having some crappy luck with men lately, huh?"

Adam ignored that and ordered another drink.

An hour later he was on his second or sixth glass of champagne, seducing a rising Russian fashion designer named Alexander something and having a fantastic time, thank you very much, Brad.

"I want you to model for me," Alexander was saying.

Adam giggled, the champagne bubbles making him feel lighter than air.

Alexander leaned close, breath hot on Adam's ear as he said, "Not just in my studio—in my Fashion Week show next September. I want to sew you into the tightest jeans you've ever worn, send you down my runway with the whole world looking at you: your face, your ass. They're both so gorgeous; you'll be my muse. I want to design my next collection around you. The blue of your eyes, your pale skin, those legs…. Adam, you inspire me."

Adam giggled again, because the very thought of him inspiring anyone was ridiculous, preposterous. And anyway, he knew better; by tomorrow, those promises would be forgotten. But Alexander had blond hair and tanned skin, almond-shaped eyes and white teeth in a narrow face. He was the handsomest man in the room, and all he wanted was Adam; Adam couldn't help responding to that, reveling in it. He lived and died on such compliments, and he needed them more tonight than he had in weeks, so he was happy to ignore the lies.

Adam let Alexander keep a hand tight on his wrist, trapping him at the bar—as if Adam could possibly turn his back on the sweet words spilling from Alexander's lips. He sipped the champagne and let Alexander covet him for a little longer, drawing out the moments before Adam would agree to go home with him.

"Take a walk," somebody said rudely, tugging on Alexander's arm, which jostled his grip on Adam's wrist, and Adam's happy daze evaporated.

He blinked his eyes and focused on the man standing in front of them—a short, angry man, with chocolate brown eyes and a far-too familiar face.

And it wasn't Brad.

Adam felt unexpectedly betrayed. This was supposed to be a safe place—private, invitation-only, no crashers admitted without waving a badge. Yet there Kris stood, in what appeared to be a Zegna suit—which should have been way beyond his salary—with a hand fisted in Alexander's beautiful sleeve.

"Hey," Alexander protested, knocking Kris's hand away with a disdainful sneer. "Let go, small man. You have no right to touch me."

"He's mine," Kris said, his gaze intense, hands in fists at his side. "Adam's mine."

"No, he isn't," Alexander said, at the same time Adam said, "No, I'm not."

"You see?" Alexander said. "You're embarrassing yourself. Leave, before you cause a scene."

"I'll show you a scene," Kris said, a dangerous look appearing in his eyes, and out of nowhere he punched Alexander right on the chin.

Alexander fell back against the bar, releasing Adam's wrist for the first time all night, and Adam gaped as Kris squared off for another blow. "What the hell!" Adam protested. "Stop it!"

Alexander growled something Russian-sounding and pushed off the bar, coming at Kris with a fast punch of his own. But Kris took a step back, grabbed Alexander's arm, and used it to throw him to the floor, hard.

"Kris, stop it!" Adam shouted.

Alexander rolled and kicked, catching Kris's knee and making him stagger before Kris grabbed the fashion designer by the lapel, dragged him across the polished floor, and punched him again. And then men were pulling them apart, some of the guests helping Alexander up, others pushing Kris toward the bar, toward Adam.

Kris caught Adam's hand and yanked, pulling him away from the mortifying scene.

The room blurred for a moment as Adam staggered after Kris, trying to go the opposite direction without being pulled off-balance. "Let me go, you dick! Let go!"

Kris didn't stop—didn't even look at Adam until he'd gotten them out on the rooftop terrace, and then Kris backed Adam against the railing overlooking Central Park and said, "You're mine."

It was so ludicrous Adam had to laugh.

"You are," Kris insisted, crowding against him, trying to force his conviction on Adam through osmosis.

And that shouldn't have been a turn on, not after Kris had ruined his perfect evening. But the way Kris's eyes were flashing, and the way he'd taken down a man more than a foot taller than him with only two punches…Adam couldn't help feeling a little breathless.

"You won't sleep with anyone else. I swear, I'll— I'm not gonna let you forget me."

Adam tried to push him away. "Jesus Christ, I fucked you once, and you won't fucking let it go. There is nothing between us."

That wasn't exactly true, Adam realized as Kris pressed closer, because Kris's hand was between them, gripping hard on Adam's wrist where Alexander had held him before. And Kris's thigh between his legs—that was definitely between them. And as Kris pulled Adam's head down, there was only the space for two breaths between them, then only one, and then none at all.

It was dizzying, having Kris's lips on him again. Adam gasped for air, his head spinning from the alcohol and adrenaline, from Kris's teeth on his lower lip, and it was so, so good. Adam's hands stopped pushing and grabbed Kris, pulling him in tight. He rode his cock on Kris's thigh and got a hand on the back of Kris's neck, squeezing to let Kris know who was in charge. Kris gave in, let go of Adam's wrist and just held on as Adam gave him what he wanted.

He had Kris's jacket off and was working on the buttons of Kris's shirt when Kris panted, "Adam, Adam, stop, please."

Adam squeezed him brutally tight and then eased off, blinking in confusion. "You don't—"

"Home, okay? Let me take you home. Please."

Adam tried to think straight, but he was distracted by the scent of Kris's aftershave, the rough stubble under Adam's lips. Situational awareness slowly filtered in. They were on the terrace, glass walls and sheer drapes all that separated them from the party inside, and…he was this close to having sex in public again, fuck.

"God, they would've seen…" Adam mumbled, awed by the close call.

"I wouldn't let that happen," Kris said.

"You're so good to me," Adam sighed, gratitude welling up as Kris saved him from disgrace in front of his clients and peers.

"I will be, I promise," Kris said, shrugging his jacket back on and cupping Adam's cheek for a moment. Kris threaded their fingers together, and Adam kissed him one more time before letting Kris lead him back into the party and to the elevators. If people looked at them, Adam didn't even notice, too mesmerized by Kris's ass in those fine, fine, form-fitting Zegna slacks.

Adam didn't remember much of the cab ride beyond street lights strobing past the windows, Kris on his lap, warm lips and roving hands, and Kris's ass shifting over his hard cock. The last glass of champagne hit sometime during the ride, and he went with it, enjoying the floaty feeling even as Kris's touch and body weighed him down. It seemed to go on forever, a maddening tease as they rushed through the night, and when they tumbled out of the cab at the end of it, Adam was surprised to realize it had taken forever.

"Your place," Adam said, squinting up at the red-brick apartment building. Why the hell had they come all the way to Brooklyn?

"Yeah," Kris said, and took Adam's hand again to tug him into the small, dirty lobby and its small, dirty lift.

"I know where you live," Adam mumbled.

"Yeah, here," Kris said, starting to unbutton Adam's shirt as the elevator slid slowly upward.

"No, I…I had a photo of this place."

Kris looked up at him and smiled so brightly Adam had to kiss him again.

Brad's photo had only been of the outside of the building, so Adam had overestimated the size of the apartment itself. "How do you live here," he giggled, leaning heavily on Kris as they stepped into the closet-sized apartment.

"I don't wanna talk right now," Kris said sternly, and Adam laughed some more and pushed Kris down on the twin bed so he could fall on top of him.

They writhed together, hips thrusting and hands pulling at clothing. It was fantastic—mind-blowing, even—until Adam got the best idea of his life. "I'm gonna fuck you," he said.

"Okay, yeah," Kris panted.

"Naked," Adam prompted him, and lost a chunk of time between getting up and standing naked on a pile of clothing, expensive silk and wool tailoring crumpled under their feet.

"How do you want me?" Kris asked, something strange about his tone as he looked at the bed with wide eyes.

He was so gorgeous, shoulders just like Adam had imagined, muscles standing out in sharp relief as though sculpted in marble. If Kris had been a sculpture in a museum, Adam would have taken up drawing just to sit in front of him for hours, tracing that body.

But Kris was real, warm skin instead of cold marble, and Adam couldn't wait to touch. He slid his hands over Kris's chest and up to those shoulders, bending down to kiss and bite at one. Kris moaned and held still for it. He let Adam circle and admire him, Adam's fingers and lips darting in to trace a shadowed patch of skin or to play along a line of muscle. And his ass, god, those pants hadn't lied, it was really that round and squeezable. Adam squeezed with both hands, and Kris moaned, looking over his shoulder at Adam, his eyes nearly black in the overhead fluorescent light.

"You're perfect," Adam decided after he'd finished caressing Kris's thighs and returned to kiss his lips.

Kris leaned against him and shivered, clearly willing to let Adam do anything he wanted. And oh, how Adam wanted.

"Do you have stuff?"

"Yeah," Kris said, turning to fumble his dresser drawer open. He turned around with lube and a strip of condoms, an eager blush on his cheeks.

"On your stomach," Adam said, ushering him to the bed.

Kris threw himself down on the narrow mattress, burying his face in the lone pillow, and that was just so ridiculous.

"Next time we're doing this in my bed," Adam announced, kneeling unsteadily between Kris's thighs and slipping a slick finger into his tight hole.

Kris shivered again, rolling his hips encouragingly, so Adam pushed in with a second. He got lost in the feel of him, so hot and velvety tight around his fingers, and drifted for a time. When he blinked his eyes open once more, his own cock was weeping for release, and Kris was groaning, a steady litany of "oh" and "please" coming from the pillow as three of Adam's fingers thrust into him.

"I'm gonna fuck you so good, honey," Adam mumbled, licking up Kris's spine and kissing the muscles over his shoulder blade. "You're not gonna walk straight for a week."

"God, Adam, do it," Kris begged, rocking his hips back on Adam's fingers. "I want you so much. Wanna feel you inside me. Please."

"Yeah," Adam groaned. He tried to pick up the condom twice and missed both times.

Kris twisted under him to take the packet and unwrap it, then reached back and rolled the condom onto Adam's cock, fingers shaking and eyes black with desire.

"Fuck," Adam swore and urged Kris up on his knees.

Kris's forehead was still on the pillow, but his face was turned toward the side, and Adam could see him biting his lip, his whole body shaking with need.

"Shh, I'm here, honey. Open up for me," and he pushed forward, his cock rocking against the ring of muscle and pressing, pressing, until he slid in.

Kris gasped and whimpered, high-pitched and broken, and Adam held his hips and pushed in further, until his balls were nestled up against Kris's, and they were skin to skin.

"Fuck yeah," Adam panted, trying to catch his breath. His pulse was pounding in his temples, making it hard to balance on the mattress. He held onto Kris for support and thrust, out and in, and the bed squeaked under them.

"Oh my god," Kris said, his forehead rolling back and forth across the pillow as Adam did it again, slow and almost-steady. "Come on, I can take it."

So Adam did, his fingers digging into Kris's hips, bolts of pleasure racing up his spine like lightning as his cock slammed forward, chasing his orgasm in Kris's tight, hot embrace.

"I'm gonna, oh, Adam, I'm gonna," Kris gasped, and Adam realized Kris was jacking his own cock, hand working furiously as his ass clenched around Adam's cock.

"Do it," Adam ordered, thrusting faster, giving up on any kind of rhythm just so it got both of them there. Kris groaned and collapsed, gasping for breath. His muscles clenched spasmodically around Adam's length, maddening, sweet friction as he pushed in again, once more, until Adam was overwhelmed and falling, too.

Kris's back was slick with sweat, the smell of them both mingled where Adam's nose was buried in Kris's hair. He never wanted to leave that spot. But when Kris moved under him, pushing him off, Adam pulled out and fumbled the condom off, tossed it onto the bedside table for lack of a better place to put it. Kris turned on his side, making room for Adam on the mattress. Grateful, Adam threw an arm over Kris's side and laid his head on the pillow. Kris was kissing his neck, the room was spinning happily around him, and he closed his eyes and let it whirl him away.




Metal clinked softly against metal, jingling keys scraping across raw nerves, and Adam blinked his eyes open to squint balefully at the sound.

Light pierced the narrow window, and he groaned. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to get his bearings beyond "in bed," because someone was holding keys, and there were footsteps coming toward him.

A soothing hand touched his cheek, lips settled on his, and Adam sighed with pleasure as a tongue slid into his mouth, tasting of toothpaste. He kissed back leisurely, taking his time waking up so the hangover wouldn't start pounding.

Those delicious lips finally pulled back, and Adam risked opening his eyes so he could see Kris's smiling face hovering over his. Adam smiled back and reached out a hand to pull him down again.

"Nuh uh," Kris said, catching Adam's hand and folding it back on the sheets. "I have to go get us some breakfast. Don't worry, I'll be right back with your quadruple caramel non-fat macchiato." Kris gave him another smile, pecked Adam's unresponsive lips, and headed out the door, whistling.

Adam lay frozen in Kris's bed, his skin crawling as he remembered how all this had started: with a spilled cup of coffee…and Kris not bothering to ask what he'd ordered. That hadn't been a chance meeting. Of course not; Kris had been tailing him from the beginning, figuring out a way to use him, to get access to his condo….

Adam blinked and sat up, looking around.

He was in Kris's little apartment. Kris had taken him home, meaning Kris's place, not Adam's condo. Why? It would've been the perfect opportunity for Kris to search the place with Adam passed out for hours. The headache kicked in without warning, the vengeful ghosts of scotch, gin, and champagne screeching bloody murder in his ears, but Adam forced himself up, telling his body to keep it together long enough to escape. There was no way he was gonna still be lying naked in Kris's bed when Kris got back. Hell no. He took a step toward the bathroom and almost tripped over the tangle of jackets and dress-shirts on the carpet.

Fuck. What was it about Kris that ruined so many of Adam's clothes?

What was it about Kris, period? What the hell did he want from Adam…besides Adam's cock; Adam couldn't remember last night very clearly, but he was sure there'd been a lot of begging.

The clock was ticking. He had no clue how far Kris would have to go to find a place that served macchiatos, but he wasn't going to wait around to find out. Adam started grabbing up clothes and caught a price tag that fluttered loose from Kris's jacket pocket. He blinked at it, looked at the jacket suspiciously, and then tossed both into the corner behind the bed.

Catching his warped reflection in the steel elevator doors on his way down, Adam had a sudden recollection of last Saturday's walk of shame. Thank god Kris had gotten him out of the gala before he'd made a spectacle of himself. But some damage had definitely been done; two men fighting over him in front of clients was not the classiest business move. Just before the elevator doors opened, Adam's head throbbed even harder with the humiliating thought that he might actually make it onto Page Six before Brad.

Adam was reaching for the dingy lobby doors when he spotted two men in crisp Wall Street suits walking across the street toward Kris's building. He couldn't make out their faces, but he recognized their type from Brad's surveillance photos. FBI.

He swore and frantically looked around the lobby for a place to hide. Luck was with him; he found an unlocked door to the stairwell. He left it cracked so he could listen as the Feds entered the lobby.

He held his breath as he waited, hoping they wouldn't hear the roaring of his pulse through the door. The men didn't say anything, just stepped into the elevator and headed up…to Kris's apartment? Almost definitely. And who did they expect to find up there—Kris? Adam? Kris could have set him up and cleared the scene so the Feds could move in for the….

No. Adam had looked into Kris's eyes last night, touched him and made him beg. Despite the lack of evidence to back it up, Adam just couldn't believe Kris would set him up now.

As soon as the coast was clear, Adam ran out the door and hailed a cab home.




"Look what the cat dragged in," Brad drawled.

"Hey, Brad," Adam sighed, slumping onto the couch next to him.

"Oh, are you speaking to me again?"

God, his thing with Brad was so old news compared to what was on his mind this morning. He rubbed his fingers over the throbbing nerves in his forehead and said, "Yeah, I forgive you."

"You look terrible. Did you even look in a mirror before kissing your blond friend goodbye?"

If Adam had had any iota of pride left after that painfully-pothole-ridden drive, it would've curled up in a corner and died. He didn't even try to rub the makeup off or straighten the wrinkles in his suit. There was no point trying to cover up anything this time. "Who?" he asked.

"That guy you were all over last night."

Right, Alexander something. Adam tried to remember what the designer had looked like, or even just the rest of his name, but his memory of that part of the evening was pretty foggy. Holy fuck he'd been wasted.

"I couldn't find you," Brad frowned at him. "I looked everywhere so I could warn you; your FBI stalker showed up at the gala. Good thing you'd already left."

"Yeah, um," Adam said, "I need your help with that. With him."

Brad smiled. "I'll always help. Anything you need, consider it done."

Steeling himself, Adam blurted, "I…Ihadsexwithhim. Um. Twice." His cheeks flamed as he waited for Brad to decipher his words, and when Brad's eyes started to pop out of his head, Adam buried his face in his hands.

"You fucked the Fed?" Brad said, enunciating clear and slow.

Adam nodded.

"Twice?"

He nodded again.

"When? Last night, clearly…."

"Last week. At John Varvatos."

"At…. At John Varvatos?" Brad whistled. "Jesus, babe. I know he's cute but…are you trying to get arrested?"

"Okay, see," Adam said, grabbing onto Brad's segue so they could skip over the public-sex part, "that's where I need your help. Kris says he quit."

Brad snorted.

"Yeah," Adam agreed. "I thought he was just trying to get an invitation back here. But last night we went to his place. He could've had hours to search this place last night, but he didn't. So I mean…if he isn't trying to get in here, why's he coming on to me? Is he a Fed or not?"

"What's it even matter? Just use a little self-control, stop fucking him, and you'll be safe!"

"It's important," Adam snapped. "I need to know what this means."

"Adam," Brad said, a disapproving frown on his pretty lips. "You know this isn't a good idea."

Adam stood up and flailed his hands. "Obviously it's a bad idea. But given my track record, odds are good I'm gonna end up fucking him again at some point. So could you maybe spare an hour and make some goddamn phone calls so I'll know who I'm fucking?"

"He's really gotten to you, hasn't he?" Brad asked, the concern plain in his voice.

Adam slumped against the wall. "He said he loves me," Adam said, surprising himself with the confession.

"Lots of guys tell you that," Brad pointed out. His face held a follow-up question that Adam couldn't answer.

"I know," Adam admitted, feeling lost. He couldn't even explain it to himself, why he'd held onto Kris's words from Wednesday. How could he possibly explain it to Brad?

Brad watched him silently for a minute and then stood up. "Alright, I'll see what I can find out. Now do us both a favor and clean yourself up. It's freaking me out seeing you like this."

"Thanks," Adam said gratefully, and headed for his bedroom.

He was almost through the door when Brad called, "I'll bring back coffee. You want a caramel macchiato?"

Adam stopped in the doorway, banged his aching forehead against the frame, and groaned, "Fuck no, anything but that."




The doorbell rang while Adam was typing up a coded response to a dealer in Israel with a line on a Klimt that had been bouncing around the black market for years.

"Could you get that?" Adam called, but Brad was already opening the front door.

"Oh, hi!" Brad said, and then, "Adam, it's for you!"

Adam paused mid-spell-check to join Brad at the front door.

An ex-FBI agent was standing in the hallway.

Adam shot Brad a dirty look for setting him up. Brad shrugged and stayed right where he was, looking back and forth between the two of them with an interested tilt to his eyebrows.

Kris was shifting nervously on the doormat, staring at Adam with his bottom lip trapped between his teeth. A sense memory from last night hit Adam—biting that lip himself, Kris's taste and moans—and Adam's eyes dropped to the bruise he'd sucked on Kris's neck. He couldn't help the hot rush of satisfaction that it was so visible, high above the collar of his jacket.

"I was worried about you," Kris said softly. "They didn't bother you, did they?"

Adam blinked and focused on his words instead of his skin. "The agents at your place this—"

"For god's sake, Adam," Brad interrupted. "Kris, won't you come in?"

Adam glared at Brad again, but Kris slid past him into the condo, looking around eagerly.

Adam kept one eye on Kris and hissed at Brad, "What are you doing? It isn't clean—"

"So take him out on the balcony, and I'll take care of it. Relax, Adam, I have a plan." Brad gave Adam his well-rehearsed 'trust me' smile.

Adam rolled his eyes. "This plan doesn't involve me fucking him 'til he goes away, does it? 'Cause I'm pretty sure you thought that was a bad idea."

"Funny. Just keep him outside for a few minutes, don't scare him away, and I'll come get you when it's clear."

Adam took a deep breath, held back some choice insults, and relented. "Hey, Kris," he called, stopping Kris just before he got too close to Adam's computer screen. "Come outside with me." He tipped his head toward the balcony, and Kris smiled.

"Okay."

Brad shooed them out with an infuriating "You kids play nice" and locked the door behind them, trapping Adam on the 6th floor balcony with Kris.

"I'm so sorry," Kris said once they were alone, earnest and reaching for Adam's hand.

Adam dodged and sat in one of the two chairs, pointing Kris to the other so Adam could keep the table between them. But Kris grabbed the chair and dragged it around the side of the small metal table to sit right beside Adam.

Adam suppressed a shiver as a chill breeze whipped around the side of the building. He should've grabbed a coat before coming out here. Kris looked so warm in his leather jacket. Warm and delicious—

"I'm sorry. I didn't know they were gonna come looking for me," Kris continued. "I never would've put you in that situation…god, did they do anything? Threaten you?"

Adam kept his hands folded in his lap for warmth, safely away from Kris's strong, warm fingers, and shook his head. "I was already leaving. We passed in the lobby. They didn't see me."

Kris took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Thank goodness. They must've thought I was crazy when I kept asking what they'd done with you."

That probably wasn't the only reason they'd thought he was crazy, Adam thought. Throwing away a career in law enforcement to trail after a criminal like a love-sick puppy was another good one. Adam glanced through the French double doors and spotted a short streak of movement dashing across the living room. "So," he stalled. "What'd they want? I mean, you don't work for them anymore…."

Kris shrugged. "They don't like what I've been doing: following you, screwing up their surveillance. They tried to tell me to stop." He gave a small laugh. "Can you imagine?"

"Yeah, telling you to stop hasn't worked for me, either," Adam agreed ruefully.

Kris leaned closer, and Adam caught the scent of his aftershave, spicy and enticing. "I told them I'd made my decision. I knew what I was doing and I wasn't gonna stop."

"Of course not," Adam said faintly, feeling off-balance. He pulled his arms tighter around his chest as the wind cut through his chunky-knit Laneus cardigan.

"You're cold," Kris said, already sliding off his jacket. "Do you want my—"

"Don't," Adam said, putting a hand out to stop him.

He wanted to reach out and drag Kris into his lap again, kiss him and rub up against his warm thighs. But there were still too many questions to resolve before he could let that happen again. Brad had confirmed this morning that Kris had quit the Bureau, but Adam wasn't sure he wanted answers to the rest, and this tug of war between his brain and his body was exhausting.

Adam wavered briefly when Kris's smile faded, but he held his ground. "Just sit there. Okay?" He hadn't meant for it to sound pleading.

Kris looked down, staring at the distance between them like it was a physical barrier he didn't know how to get over.

Adam stewed in his guilt and bit his tongue.

Brad finally let them inside after three minutes of frigid silence. "Adam, your lips are blue," he chided. "You didn't take a coat? It's November." Brad gave Kris a friendly smile. "He always needs someone to take care of him."

Kris shrugged and stood in the middle of the living room, watching them nervously. Adam ignored Brad's taunt and gave the condo a quick once over—it didn't look like Brad had missed anything incriminating.

"We haven't been introduced," Brad said, still forcefully bright. "I'm sure you already know everything about me, but it's so much more polite to start with an introduction. I'm Bradley Bell." He held his hand out, and Kris reluctantly shook it.

"Kris Allen."

"Charmed. Why don't we sit down?" Brad ushered them to the leather couches and pushed Kris down on one sofa before pulling Adam down on the opposite one and pressing close to Adam's side.

Kris looked twitchy, watching them from across the coffee table.

"So?" Brad asked. "How do you know Adam?"

Kris shot Adam an incredulous look, but Brad didn't wait for a response.

"Adam and I go way back. Los Angeles, years ago. We knew the same people, went to the same clubs; it was inevitable we'd hook up. Destined, even." He was overselling it, a dreamy note in his voice and a nostalgic smile on his face, and Adam narrowed his eyes, trying to guess his game. Brad continued, "We were lovers for years," and he boosted himself up to drape an arm around Adam's shoulders.

"I guess you could call me the love of his life," Brad said, and Adam nearly shoved him off the couch. They'd just spent the last few days establishing that Adam's feelings for Brad were still strictly off limits—he did not need Brad bringing them up again. Least of all in front of someone as seemingly unstable as Kris.

Kris's face was stony, and Adam spotted the fists balled in his lap. He felt suddenly torn; he should really warn Brad how dangerous Kris could be with those hands, but he kind of wanted to watch his ex get knocked on his ass, too.

"You probably read all about our relationship in our files, right? Anyway, I just thought it'd be polite to be up front about it." The sweetness faded from Brad's voice as he finished: "Because if you think for one second you're getting a free shot at Adam here, you are so wrong. I'm not letting you anywhere near him without making damn sure of you. If you want a chance with him, you're gonna have to get past me first."

Adam blinked at Brad, mouth hanging open with astonishment. Brad was a great actor, but after years together Adam had gotten good at telling his lies from his truths. Right now, however, Adam couldn't tell if Brad was acting or not. It was deeply disturbing.

Kris was wound tighter than a spring. "What do you want?" he asked, eyeing Brad warily.

"I wanna know everything," Brad said, letting go of Adam and leaning forward. "How the Feds found out about us, what they have in our files, what their next move is gonna be." Kris opened his mouth, his face angry, but Brad snapped, "I don't care what confidentiality agreements you signed, or what your old friends are gonna think of you. If you want Adam, you'll tell us everything."

Adam sat, stunned, watching the two of them stare each other down like gunslingers in the street. Tension crackled in the air for a long moment, and then Kris looked at Adam and caved, his whole body deflating and sagging against the couch. His hands uncurled, falling limp at his sides.

"What d'you wanna hear first?" Kris asked, resigned.





Chapter 4
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samanthahirr

October 2014

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