Fic: Suppose It's Too Much to Call Coincidence, 4/4
AIRPS, Adam/Kris, Kris/Other, various, NC-17
Summary: In which Kris finds a puppy and the laws of probability change dramatically.
Notes 1: AU and crack, with porn filling!
Notes 2: My eternal love to jamesinboots who is like, I don't know, the paxil or valium of fanfic panic or something.
"Okay, one," Adam says, sitting on the counter as Kris makes an early afternoon breakfast, "clear your schedule for the rest of the weekend. And maybe Monday and Tuesday, too."
Kris looks up from chopping up onions and delicious, delicious bacon; there is no member of the fat family that Kris was not taught to love. God protect Southern boys raised by food-loving mothers. "I--"
"Done," Anna says from the kitchen table, typing into her phone. "I love your PA, Kris. She's so helpful!"
"When you say sit, she sits," Kris says with a raised eyebrow, absently holding up a piece of crisp bacon for Adam. "I'm sure blind, terrified obedience is very endearing."
"It really is," Adam agrees, leaning down and biting off the bacon to the tips of Kris' fingers. Kris looks up, startled, hand hanging midair before he belatedly drops it, staring at the unchopped vegetables blankly for a few seconds before slowly picking up the knife, face stained pink. Adam smiles, pleased. "Now two--"
"Adam," Kris starts, looking uncertain.
"Two," Adam says, ignoring the half-hearted attempt at autonomy, "we are going out tonight somewhere where there are no ex-wives, accountant girlfriends, or PAs--yes, Anna, you have the house to yourself. Please don't do anything I wouldn't do, and only about half of what I would."
"Aww, you trust me." Anna puts down her phone, chin resting on her hands. "I'm touched."
"Three, Anna--kill your ex or make up or whatever, and get some sleep before something tragic happens, like you forget and start actually scheduling me meetings," Adam says grandly. Anna scowls. Kris tilts his head back to give Adam a sardonic look. "Okay, don't kill her. I think Cameron might notice the three of us sneaking into his backyard to hide her body and orange is so not my color."
Anna sighs as Kris buries a laugh against his elbow, avoiding onion-stained hands before returning to his chopping.
"There's a four?" Kris asks, dropping the mix of vegetables and chopped bacon into the egg mixture. "Someone has too much time on their hands."
"It has been a week where there was not nearly enough," Adam admits, glaring at Anna, who waves back and picks apart a muffin.
"I noticed," Kris murmurs, almost as if to himself; looking down, Adam sees the pale skin on the back of his neck turning red. "Fine, four, Anna, clear Adam's schedule--"
"Done," she says, finishing the muffin and licking the crumbs from her fingers. "And hey, omelets? What are you waiting for? I'm off tonight and I plan to use it as God intended; one spa, one make-over, and no less than six clubs, three of which I devoutly hope I will not remember going to."
Kris picks up a spatula and returns to the pan on the stove, butter already melted in a thin yellow film and mixing with the bacon grease over the bottom. Sliding off the counter, Adam picks up the bowl of egg and follows him. "Four was mine," Adam pouts as Kris takes the bowl away.
"And now it's mine. You can have five. What is that, by the way?" Kris leans one hip against the edge of the counter and looks at Adam challengingly. Spot skids in to find a piece of bacon someone dropped on the ground, and gives them both an approving growl before taking it delicately between his teeth and settling at Anna's feet.
"Five," Adam says blankly as Kris' smirk grows wider; for the life of him, he can't remember.
Kris grins, tapping Adam on the nose with the spatula. "You can tell me later." Turning to the pan, Kris concentrates on the giant omelette, and Adam finds himself watching Kris' tiny smile.
It hadn't occurred to Adam before how rare it was to have Kris to himself for an entire day until he actually has one; not since Vegas, he thinks hazily, but this is better, as they are both sober and Adam is not being traumatized by Kris' slowly escalating drunken revelations (thankfully lost to a beautiful blackout) regarding his sex life and Laura the PA's role in the horror. It's not just Adam's schedule; Anna has turned incompetence into a weird kind of genius, and Adam's never had fewer soul-destroying meetings a week in his life. Kris works himself hard; it's not the first time Adam's suspected that Kris uses work and a strangely surreal social life to try to outrun himself, but it’s the first time he thinks that he should really do something about that.
While Kris finishes loading the dish washer, Adam watches Anna finish up the next weeks' schedule, noting in approval that she has Kris' open as well. "I was wondering if you'd ever ask," Anna says in satisfaction, rearranging Kris' life neatly with a perfunctory text message to his assistant. "I'm off; I'll be back after lunch tomorrow to go over this week in case you want to make any changes."
"Get a new condo," Adam says, leaning against the doorway. "That neighborhood sucks anyway."
"Because rental prices in LA are that flexible," Anna snorts, shutting down the laptop and picking up a messenger bag with her other laptop and a small army of external drives.
"Find something and ask for a raise," Adam answers patiently. Anna hesitates, frowning at him. "Get a friendly real estate agent, have her pick something out, and then tell me what ridiculous amount of money I'll be paying for your continued services."
Anna tilts her head, staring at him for a second before nodding slowly, faintly surprised. "All right." Pulling the bag over her shoulder, she smirks. "Good luck."
Adam grins back. "Thanks."
After a post-late-breakfast nap, Kris and his guitar end up sitting on Adam's bed while Adam ruthlessly begins an extremely belated spring-like cleaning of his closet, though not without many a pang. Kris plays snatches of Taps at every brutal cut, ignoring Adam's narrowed eyes to mention, "I could go find a violin, if you want."
"Asshole," Adam mutters, worried to note that there doesn't seem to be a discernible change in quantity even though the pile accumulating on the bedroom floor has grown to the size of a small but noticeable mountain. "This can't be good," Adam says, frowning, not sure he's ready to kill himself trying to part with any of his shoes.
"You know," Kris says, setting the guitar aside, "you could just add a door to the next door bedroom and remodel that into a closet? No one wants to see you cry parting with a single sequin."
Adam looks at the wall. "That's genius," he breathes, and Kris collapses on the bed laughing. "What? What?"
Kris doesn't answer, and Adam abandons the leather annex in the back to stare him into helpless hiccupping giggles. Red-faced, Kris pushes himself up on an elbow and says, "Let's just stop your personal nightmare here and I'll call a contractor Monday, okay?"
"Done." Joining Kris on the bed, Adam stares at the pile of clothing slowly wrinkling on the floor and decides to leave it for the cleaning service. "Where do you want to go tonight?"
Kris tilts his head backward, looking at Adam upside down before hissing and rolling onto his stomach. "I--don't know?" Kris shrugs, one shouldered. "Somewhere I haven't been before? That would be pretty much everywhere."
Adam runs through his mental list; it's very long.
"Somewhere you like to go," Kris says unexpectedly, head resting on his folded arms.
"That doesn't actually narrow it down."
Kris sighs, put upon. "Somewhere you like to go," he clarifies, with weird, significant emphasis, like Adam isn't keeping up. Adam stares down at him. "Okay, pop quiz--you have a night off and a morning with no meetings. You go--"
"I need to get out of my head." Kris pokes the comforter with a slight frown. "Loud and glittery would probably do the trick."
Kris looks up at him through his lashes. "You know, unless it's too embarrassing to be seen with me--"
"Oh," Adam says with a slow smile. "That. I'll just dress you first." At Kris' alarmed look, Adam grins. "I'll restrict myself to your closet," which is a sacrifice, but he'll manage. "Go shower. "
Kris pushes himself up, giving Adam a suspicious look. "My closet."
"Trust me," Adam says cheerfully, "that's all I'll need. Check your bed when you're done."
Adam's nearly halfway done himself by the time Kris shows up, coming to the bathroom door with a petulant expression. "These are not my jeans," he starts, his voice trailing off as Adam picks up the mascara. In the mirror, Adam watches Kris' expression change, but before he can comment, Spot barks, getting both their attention as he skids by Kris and putters into the bathroom, going up on short hind legs so his front paws rest on Adam's calf and staring up with wide-eyed pseudo-affection.
"What do you want?" Adam asks suspiciously, crouching. Pulling back, Spot jumps, landing on Adam's leather clad knee and barking happily as Adam rubs between his ears. Coming up on his hind feet, he rubs his muzzle cheerfully against Adam's mouth, smearing his fur the dark red of drying blood. "That's an oddly appropriate look," he says with a grin, catching the tiny head in one hand. "Kris, hand me that--"
"I know which one," Kris says, voice strangely tight. Squeezing between Adam and the counter, he picks up the bottle and a cotton pad, kneeling beside them. "Hold him still--" Carefully, Kris cleans off the worst of the mess until the fur is only a faint shade of pink. Spot bares his teeth and licks Kris' hand before making a kamikaze leap to the floor and barking his way out of the room.
"That dog," Adam starts, shaking his head as he gets to his feet to check the damage in the mirror. "I swear he does this--"
Kris stands up too, dropping the pad in the trash then reaches for another. "Here, let me--your hands--" Kris looks down, pouring the cleanser onto the cotton. "I know how to do this."
Adam braces a hand on the counter as Kris reaches up, expression intent. "I mean," Kris says, wiping slowly beneath Adam's mouth, "remember the--it used to drive you crazy when I'd forget to clean up before bed. I said I was too tired and you said--"
"You're never too tired for an appropriate skin care regime," Adam breathes, careful not to move as the pad wipes across the corner of his mouth, coming back stained dark. "Though let's face it, some of us had better numbers in the genetics lottery--"
"Whatever." Kris gets another pad; to Adam's surprise, his hands aren't entirely steady. "I--it's weird, but I used to watch you get ready in the morning a lot."
He'd noticed; at first, Adam had assumed it was a variation of straight-boy-at-the-zoo syndrome, but Kris' personality never matched the implicit accusation, and after a while, Adam had wondered if it was something Kris was used to seeing Katy do in the mornings, something normal in the Idol mansion when nothing else was. Adam's a performer by nature and personal preference; it's never bothered him to know Kris watched him, peeking over the edge of a book or glancing up from beneath a pillow before coffee. On tour after performances when Adam would get ready to go out, Kris would sometimes sit only a few inches away in the tight confines of the bus, already dressed but content to wait out the post-show adrenaline watching Adam before they left.
"I kind of missed it," Kris continues, head down. "It was, you know--" Kris cuts himself off and putting the container down, pad clenched in his hand. "I don't know. I just liked it."
Abandoning the crumpled pad on the counter, Kris picks up the jar and brush. "I remember when you taught me to do this," he shrugs, dipping the brush into the jar absently and leaning back against the counter and drawing Adam closer. "Hold still."
Adam had; he'd taught by example, and one night three shots past drunk, Kris had let Adam and Allison have their way with him, grinning at Adam kneeling between his legs on the couch because on tour, because sometimes you're too tired to walk one more step and you have make your own fun. He'd fallen asleep in Adam's lap, smearing pink and bronze and jade into Adam's shirt, bonelessly warm; it would be three days until the divorce papers came and Adam had still wanted to believe he was the kind of guy who would be able to let Kris go.
Kris reaches up, drawing the brush in a short line on his lower lip with a steady hand. Three strokes, then he dips the brush back in the jar blindly, eyes fixed on Adam's mouth. Adam braces his other hand on the counter, watching Kris in the mirror paint the smeared color perfect. When he's done, he blinks like someone just waking up and seems to realize he's trapped himself against the counter.
"So," Adam says a little blankly, watching Kris jerk, staring at him with faint panic, dropping the brush, "you really have been watching."
Color stains Kris' cheeks. "I--" Kris stops, licking his lips nervously, and Adam tries to decide what he wants to look at most. "Yeah," he breathes, head tilting back, eyes fixed on Adam's mouth. "I have."
Adam shifts his weight, leaning forward to brush a kiss against Kris' mouth, lips bitten red and soft, and Kris makes a surprised sound, the jar dropping with a soft plop on the rug. In the back of his mind, Adam remembers every time Kris watched him, feet away or barely inches, then Kris touches his face, callused fingers skidding uncertainly down his cheek.
"Adam," he breathes, and that's an invitation if Adam's ever heard one. Curling a hand in Kris' hair, Adam kisses him again, crowding him back against the counter. "Ow," Kris mutters, grabbing for the edge with his free hand. Reaching for Kris' hips, Adam takes the shorter path, licking away the sound and easing Kris onto the marble, one bare foot kicking Adam's knee before locking behind it like Adam had some completely insane idea of going somewhere else. Kris locks a hand behind his neck and reaches back, clearing the counter behind him with many breakable results but what-the-fuck-ever, Adam will go shopping. Later. Much later.
Then Kris pulls back, licking his lips, smeared messy red and swelling, eyes dilated black. "Pop quiz," he says huskily, "you have a night off and a morning with no meetings. You stay home. With me."
"Genius." Adam wipes excess color from below Kris' lower lip with his thumb and watches it slide between Kris' lips, licking it clean. Adam pulls it free and kisses him again, hot and sweet and Kris kisses back like someone who has been thinking about this for a lot longer than a few seconds, a few minutes, a few hours; like someone who used to watch him in a mirror and from the distance of another bed and thought about it then, too.
Before he knows what he's doing, he's got a knee on the counter and Kris is bent half against the wall, and well, this is familiar, but this isn't a club bathroom, and they have a goddamn bed. When he slides off, Kris makes a protesting noise. "No," Kris says, stubborn and a little vicious, using his teeth, and Adam almost forgets what he was trying to accomplish, "you don't get to--you can't do this, you can't--"
"Not here," Adam manages, realizing that while he doesn't really care that much where, his back will care very much later. Kris fights him, mouth distracting, sliding down his chin, and finally Adam catches both narrow wrists and bites Kris' lip, hard enough to feel him shudder. "Stop."
Kris blinks hazily, startled, and Adam pulls him off the counter and through the door, over a pile of clothes that now that he thinks about it, he doesn't like anyway and pushes him onto the bed in a loose-limbed sprawl. Kris watches, wide-eyed, when Adam crawls after him, half-sitting up before Adam pushes him back down. Bracing himself on one hand, Adam tries to clear his head enough to ask some highly pertinent questions, and there's no possible way he'll remember how to form words if Kris touches him. Drawing Kris' hands above his head, he pins them with one hand. "Kris--"
"Either put up or shut up," Kris says, arching his hips distractingly. "You call me a tease--"
"Are we--having the same conversation?" Adam says, bemused, as Kris raises a knee, pressing against Adam's hip. "Kris--stop that, I'm trying to--" Kris grins, all teeth, spreading his legs and God, he can't even remember what he wanted to say. "I'm not stopping, cut that shit out."
Kris' eyes narrow. "I'm not drunk this time."
"You--what?" Context, context, context, okay, what the fuck?
"Last time," Kris snaps, like this is something they've discussed at length or something. "Then two tequila shots later you're getting laid in the bathroom and I'm about to marry an American Idol fan--what the hell was that about? Was that a message or something?"
Married, fan….holy shit, Vegas. "I didn't," Adam breathes. A serial killing orthodontist, an accountant, and an ex-wife later, and now he's finding out-- "Wait, wait, I don't--" Context: holy fuck, he is never getting that drunk again. "Huh."
Kris sighs, staring up at the ceiling with a patient look. "As a message, it was kind of the opposite of subtle."
"Well," Adam says philosophically, "that was a blackout I could have lived without. That wasn't a message." Before Kris can comment, Adam reaches down, twisting open the button on Kris' jeans. "This is. Any questions?"
Kris' breath catches, and Adam kisses him before this can get any more deeply into irritating revelations, because seriously? "That was rhetorical," Adam says when he lets Kris breathe again. "Very, very rhetorical."
"Um." Kris' flush brightens, and Adam wonders how far it goes down, then realizes hey, he can find out. Sitting up, he pulls Kris up and strips off the thin t-shirt, sighing a little in satisfaction. It's not that he's never seen Kris like this; it's that before now, he's never had the right to do anything about it. All flawless, pale-gold skin, the kind of slim body that's always been Adam's weakness, but it's the look on Kris' face that makes him push him down, stretching him out long and lithe, docile when Adam pins his wrists above his head to look at him.
"Take a picture," Kris says breathlessly, grinning up at him. "It'll last longer."
"Do you ever shut up?" But that's rhetorical too; Adam lets go of his hands and Kris twines his fingers in the blanket, arching when Adam eases the tight denim off his hips and down his thighs, the soft cotton of his boxer-briefs after, discarding them off the bed to follow the bright flush of heat spreading down Kris' chest.
Reaching back, Adam curls his hand around one narrow ankle, drawing Kris' knee up, palm following the rough hair up his calf, curling around his knee, dragging three fingers down the soft, pale skin of Kris' inner thigh to open him wider. Kris makes a startled sound, swollen lips parting to say, "Adam--"
"Don't interrupt," Adam says, digging his nails into the tender skin at the join of his hip; Kris gasps, head tilting back, revealing the long, perfect line of his throat. "Beautiful," Adam breathes; wanting Kris hadn't prepared him for how this would feel, seeing Kris spread out like this, belly jumping with every stuttered breath. He watches Kris' face as he licks a slow line over his stomach, sucking a kiss into the warm skin to hear Kris' breath hitch, shuddering when Adam thumbs pale pink nipples hard.
"God, you're perfect." Sitting back on his heels, Adam takes off his shirt, watching Kris' eyes dilate swallowing black and hungry, starving, has to kiss him while he works off his pants, leather slippery in his hands, wondering why the fuck he'd even bothered to put them on.
Impatience makes him clumsy and he can't bring himself to care, kicking off the leather and burying his hands in Kris' hair, lick away the stuttered moans when Adam presses his thigh against Kris' cock, wet head sliding against his skin, hips arching before Kris makes himself stay still. "Good boy," Adam whispers, "so good, I knew you'd be," and sucks new bruises into the arch of his throat, wanting to leave more on every stretch of skin, biting mine into the rough skin of his jaw, the sweet curve of his shoulder, red blooming where he pushes his fingers into the thin skin of Kris' hip.
"Adam," Kris says, another shivering arch against Adam's thigh, "Adam, please--"
"I'm going to take my time." Adam sucks one pink nipple dark red, grazing his teeth over the tip to feel Kris shudder; fuck slow and fuck easy, the taste of Kris' skin branded into his tongue. Shifting his weight, Adam braces himself on an elbow, cock sliding against Kris' in a white-hot tease. "Okay, I'll do that next time."
Kris groans, shaking when Adam reaches between them, control eroding with every slick-hot thrust, sliding his thumb over the head of Kris' cock, watching Kris fall apart under his hands until he bites the lobe of Kris' ear and breathes, "I want to see you come."
Kris arches up into Adam's hand, panting every time Adam lets him breathe, nails biting crescents into his shoulders and scratching bright heat down his back, gasping, "Adam, please, please, Adam, God," until the breathless chant is Adam's name alone, and Adam tightens his grip, Kris drawn tense as a wire beneath him and tightens his grip in Kris' hair, holding his eyes and tells him, "Come on, baby. Show me. I want to watch it."
Kris goes still, and Adam can feel skin break beneath Kris' fingers, blood welling up hot, and he's shaking as he comes, dazed and panting desperately until Adam steals his breath, rutting against Kris's stomach until the world dissolves bright-hot like a thousand stage lights and a million screaming fans, like the way Adam fell in love with him, huge and burning away everything that was there before and leaving something else, someone else, brand new in his skin. Burying his face against Kris' shoulder, he mouths the sweaty skin until he remembers what it feels like to breathe.
He'll remember this for the rest of his life, of both their lives; pushing up, Kris dazed and pliant, fingers knotting in his hair when Adam slides down the bed, licking both of them from Kris' belly and teaching Kris what they taste like with his tongue, slicking two fingers wet to trail them down until he can slide them easy, easy into the tight heat of Kris' body. Kris gasps, thighs tensing. "Oh baby. We're so not done."
Kris doesn't even bother lifting his head, one hand raising to gesture in the vague direction of the door. "Yeah, no, I'm not moving. Maybe ever."
"It's not that I don't approve of this plan," Adam starts, because really, if Kris wants to spend the rest of his life in Adam's bed, well, who is Adam to interfere with such an important life decision, but that brings up the pressing question of food. And only a raw food diet by delivery will support this lifestyle choice.
Adam knows, knows that there are objections he could make to that, but right now, he's not sure what they are. Cooking is highly overrated and he could learn to like more vegetables, or at least fake it extremely well. "Kris--"
"So not kidding," Kris says, husky-low, drawling like pouring a line of honey slow, slow over bare skin. A little helplessly, he slides a hand down Kris's back, feeling the instinctive arch of his body. "Mmm."
"Food," Adam says, though really, that can wait. Just outside the closed curtains dawn is breaking, pale pink and gold slipping through the slit to pool on the floor. Gently, he presses his thumb into the hollow at the back of Kris' neck, rubbing just to feel Kris go boneless, and one day, this has to stop feeling like such a surprise, a revelation; one day, and he wants that day, this will be mundane, normal, unnoticed, to touch Kris like this, to have the right and the privilege and everything those words will mean. "I'm keeping you," he murmurs, bending down to press a kiss against the back of Kris' neck.
"Hmm." Kris uncurls, easing onto his side. "Okay." The brown eyes flicker open. "Pancakes."
Adam grins, kissing the tip of his nose, bending to taste the curve of his slow, pleased smile. "Pancakes."
"Make me pancakes," Kris answers drowsily. "And bacon."
"I can do that." He has no clue how to do that, but that's what the internet is for. Kris opens his mouth at the next kiss, hooking an arm around Adam's neck and pulling him down. Lazy making out on the body warmed sheets, half-asleep and barely moving, following the curl of Kris' tongue into the wet warmth of his mouth, and it's hours later before Adam emerges enough to remember, right, food.
Kris doesn't open his eyes, smiling sleepily from sheets twisted around him, murmuring, "Hurry," and "Bring syrup." He pauses, licking swollen lips. "A lot of syrup."
That is inspired advice.
Adam sets his iphone out of range of any potential kitchen-related emergencies and easily retrieved in case of fire (not that that Adam's ever set his kitchen on fire or anything. It doesn't count if it's someone else's kitchen), not surprised to find he actually has all the ingredients, because Kris is the grocery shopper in this family.
Adam's never done anything he wasn't good at it, and pancakes aren't going to start. Consulting the phone, he hunts up fruit (blueberries, huh), butter, syrup, flour, water, and a bowl, and works out how to combine them into something that won't require him to call for take-out or cause an impromptu test of his smoke detectors.
The oil is heating in the pan without any sign of random ignition, the batter is waiting, and the door rings, which is just. So. Typical.
Spot, curled up in his bed by the kitchen island, looks up, ears raising as he leaps onto the floor and skids three feet on his tiny ass before righting himself, barking wildly at a dead run toward the front door.
Reluctantly, Adam leaves the pan and follows the sound of Spot's cheerful barking, wondering how unlucky Anna must have gotten last night if she's here before noon. Mocking her is probably not appropriate employer-employee relations, but it's weird how little he cares these days.
Opening the door just as it rings again, Adam forms the perfect remark in his head and then realizes that unless Anna shrank and went through another round of experimental hair, and had some serious plastic surgery, he's looking at Katy.
"Hey," she says awkwardly before Spot throws himself at her ankles, barking like it's going the way of the lime leisure suit. "Oh," she says, softer, crouching to pick him up, "so this is Spot." Lifting him, she smiles, rubbing her nose against his. "I've wondered what you looked like this time."
This time? Abruptly, Adam remembers that he really hates that dog. "Katy."
Shifting Spot to the crook of her arm, she looks up at him, a grin tugging at the corner of her mouth. "Adam. Can I come in?"
It's on the tip of his tongue to say no, because being an adult means you sometimes regress to the level of a fourteen year old girl with a potential for truly disastrous results. "Sure," he says, backing into the house and vaguely relieved he actually got dressed in anticipation of involving himself with things that could catch on fire.
Following him back to the kitchen, Katy takes a seat on a stool at the island, sitting Spot on the granite to bend down and stare into his eyes. "So everything's okay?" she asks and tilts her head like she's waiting for a response. Spot barks. "Good." Rubbing his ears, she smiles at Adam suddenly, brilliant like a new morning, and somehow, Adam had forgotten how beautiful she was. "It's good to see you again. How's everything going?"
Adam pours out a measuring cup of batter into the pan. It takes a lot of concentration to make perfect circles, after all. "Pretty good."
"I'd say better than good," she answers dryly. "Where's Kris?"
Spot barks something that seems eerily like a question. What, is she the new dog whisperer or something? "Yeah, hold on, let me get you down and you can go get him."
"Are you--" Adam turns around in time to see Spot trotting toward the stairs and so it's insane, insane is fine, he wants to stop Spot. Hand clenched around the spatula, Adam looks at Katy, trying to articulate something that doesn't sound psychotic. "He listens to you?"
That wasn't it.
"No, he just fakes it well," she answers fondly, which shouldn't be comforting, but it is. Chin in her hands, she sighs. "When he was a daschund, she'd do this thing with her tail--"
Adam puts down the spatula and turns off the oil; carbon monoxide poisoning? Does he even have gas? "Okay," he says slowly. "Let me start with what the fuck and--well, there's no 'and' here, what the fuck?"
"Right," she says, and it's like every phone conversation they've ever had all rolled into a surreal one. "I forgot. You probably don't remember--"
"Don't--wait, wait, no--what daschund?"
"Our dog," she says, eyebrows drawing together in confusion. "She was a daschund then--"
"You didn't have a dog," Adam says; this he knows. "I visited your house and raided your refrigerator and spent quality time on your couch. I would have seen a dog. You didn't even have fish."
"Well," Katy says, sounding doubtful, "he looks like a dog--"
Katy squints at him, like he's the crazy one here. "Okay, what is--" She stops, eyes widening. "Wait. You know about him!"
"Know what?" Katy opens her mouth. "And if I don't get an answer that isn't crazy, you're going to find out what I did to your ex-husband last night, sans euphemisms. Categorically."
Katy winces. "Ouch. The night you called me, you said he found a puppy and I told you--"
"You told me not to send it to an animal shelter and that it made Kris happy," Adam answers, voice rising toward something he will not admit is hysteria. "Not what I would call sufficient information--"
"Oh wow. I must have been really drunk." Katy settles her chin on one fist, bemused. "Crap. But didn't you guess--"
"Right." Katy frowns at her manicured fingernails, and Adam suppresses the urge to check his own; it has not been a week to check for flaking. "So. Spot wasn't always Spot. When I had her, we called her Gracie."
Adam stares at her, trying to interpret that into something possible.
Katy shrugs, studying her cuticles with an intense expression. "Is it too early for alcohol?"
"No," Adam says carefully, searching out the blender, "it's really, really not."
"It's--complicated." Katy huffs a laugh, finishing the first glass in a single swallow. "She sort of--I don't know how to explain it? She's lucky."
"Lucky." Adam examines the word and applies it to the last two years of Kris' life. "He's not lucky. He--"
"She--he--is like, I don't know, counting cards when you play poker? Or--okay, he fixes the odds. When things go right, they go really right, and when things go wrong, he--"
"Stacks the deck?"
Katy nods enthusiastic agreement. "That. She--he can't make Kris do anything, or anyone else, for that matter. But he sort of--changes the odds in Kris' favor? So if, I don't know, Kris does something that would not be to his benefit--"
"Like accidentally marrying a fan while I'm making out with Elvis in the chapel bathroom, or marrying Laura the PA on purpose," Adam says a little hollowly, thinking of a dog that's not a dog and a universe filled with coincidences that really aren't coincidences at all. "Hold on--Anna."
"Your PA? Yeah, that's totally Spot's work." Katy looks at Adam through her lashes, eyes sparkling in amusement. "I guess he really needed to stack the deck this time. The thing is, in the real world, everything doesn't happen for a reason--sometimes, it doesn't mean anything. With Spot, when he's working, everything means something." Katy pours them both second glass. "No one will ever remember seeing him five minutes after they've left him. There are no pictures of me and Kris with Gracie or you and Kris with Spot because the paparazzi forget they have pictures. I brought him to Idol and when I visited at the beginning of the tour, and no one remembers a thing. That's how he works."
Adam tries to process this; on balance, it makes a surreal sort of sense when combined with rum. "Why does he--"
"It's what he does." Katy meets his eyes; it's impossible to look away. "Do you remember Gracie now?"
Adam shakes his head. "No," he starts, then feels something shift, something click, something move--and over the nauseating bend of reality, Adam sees Katie smile, bittersweet like dark chocolate, like a chocolate, a chocolate--. "Gracie."
"She was--" Adam gropes after the not-memory; she was small and chocolate brown, round as an overstuffed sausage, getting tangled beneath his feet and curling up in his lap before leaping off the couch when Kris opened the door, darting out into the night. "She ran away."
"You met her a dozen times," Katy says, looking at her half-empty glass. "But it's only the last time that counts."
It was raining; a storm that emerged unexpectedly from a clear sky, gentle rumble to water-logged downpour, soaking the ground to mud in minutes. "Our last night in Conway," Adam breathes; how could he have forgotten that? "She ran out the door and you said--you said she'd never done that before."
"She never had." Katy traces a finger through the condensation fogging her glass before taking another drink. "What happened next, Adam?"
"Kris went after her." In the middle of a storm, in the middle of the night, of course he would, of course; the surprise wasn't that Kris went, it was that he remembered to put on shoes, even if he forgot both pants and a coat, like a flannel shirt could protect him from a night where lightning would turn the sky as bright as noon. "Lightning," Adam says, appalled. "I wanted to kill him. What the hell--"
"And you said--"
"Oh fuck this, I am not explaining to America that their American Idol drowned in a mud puddle." Adam remembers the night in bright slices of time, too-vivid like a fever dream. Stepping off the porch into the pouring rain and unable to believe Kris could possibly, possibly be real, trudging through ankle deep mud with lightning lighting the world in ragged bursts, looking for his dog. "And I--" Grabbed his coat, went onto the porch to search the endless dark that seemed to have swallowed Kris whole. "Did--did I forget to put on shoes?"
"Oh yeah." Katy grins, crossing her arms on the granite and resting her chin on her hands. "It was hilarious when I thought about it later."
Adam eyes the level of alcohol remaining in the blender and divides the remainder of the rum-heavy slush between their glasses. Concentrated on the bottom, it has a kick, burning his tongue and all the way down; weirdly enough, it helps him think. "I found Kris," Adam says, catching the memory more easily now, smoothing into familiarity, as if he'd never forgotten at all. "He stopped when I shouted at him, only a few feet from--" Nothing. It stops there. "He stopped. And he looked at me and--" Adam struggles; it's just out of reach, what happened that night. "I--I don't know."
Katy nods. "You won't remember the next part; don't try. You were gone an hour, but you both thought it was only minutes. I didn't want to believe you, but I did anyway."
Gracie had climbed from Kris' arms to Adam's, curling up wet and cold against his chest, nosing at his mouth curiously, and Adam remembers Spot doing that only hours ago--a soft nuzzle and a cheerful bark, holy shit....
"Before she was Gracie, she was Rufus," Katy says softly. "He was a Labrador. Kris had had him for as long as he could remember. I must have met Rufus a hundred times, but I only time I remember is the last. We were walking down the street and the crosswalk sign turned before we were halfway across. Rufus met us on the other side and followed us home. His mother said we were gone an hour, but it only felt like minutes.
"The next day, Kris stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and told me we were being followed. When I turned around--" Katy catches her breath, eyes distant. "When I turned around, he was picking up this--this little bundle of dirty fur and then it moved. Kris bathed her and I brushed her out and then I gave her her name. That night, his mother sat me down and told me everything that I've told you." Leaning back, Katy wipes her eyes. "I--his mother and I, we always said the day I met Rufus for the last time was the day I fell in love with Kris, that Rufus knew. But I don't--I think it's the other way around. I think that's when Kris fell in love with me."
Reaching for his still-full glass, she pulls it from his nerveless fingers. "So. Any questions?"
Less steady than the amount of alcohol he'd had could ever excuse, Adam picks up the blender. "Screwdrivers?"
"Like you wouldn't believe."
Kris in sweatpants about five sizes too large and a t-shirt from a late nineties indie band is almost painfully cute; carrying a tiny, reality-bending dog just puts the icing on the entire adorable picture.
Spot barks happily, wriggling free of Kris' arms and leaping for the arm of the couch to crawl down Adam's thighs and settle on his chest, licking his nose joyfully. "Now you like me," Adam breathes, ruffling his fur. Spot cocks his head, and he doesn't say finally, but he looks it. Kris bends over, resting his hands on Adam's bare knees, currently bent over the arm of the couch.
"Why is Katy asleep on the other side of the couch?" he asks carefully. "I'm leaving out the fact you're both drunk in our living room and it's not even noon because I'm pretending it's not happening. Just lie."
"Frozen screwdrivers," Adam answers expansively. "Better than mimosas."
"I made her wait, made Gracie wait," Katy says, heels abandoned by the stool and pitcher balanced in one hand, because if they're going to get as drunk as Adam thinks they need to be, they'll need someplace comfortable to pass out. Settling on the couch, she sighs. "She would have followed you both the next day, but she had to wait for me, like Rufus had to wait for Kim. She told me--she told me this was when she had to learn the difference between giving up and letting go; it only took her a day. It took me a little longer."
"Pancakes?" Kris asks a little helplessly. Spot curls up in the space between Adam's shoulder and neck, snuffling curiously. "Did you light something on fire?"
The fire alarms didn't go off (that he remembers), so Adam's going with 'no'. "I don't think so?"
"Right." Kris turns away, padding toward the kitchen, feet barely visible beneath the folds of soft cotton, one hand scratching absently at the back of his neck and the shirt riding up to reveal the small of his back exposed by the sagging waist of the sweatpants. Adam will never be too drunk to appreciate that kind of view.
"It's not fair," Katy says from beneath a fall of blonde hair as she eases onto the couch, one bare foot kicking Adam's shoulder until he sits up. "Not to anyone. Not when it takes two to make a marriage and only one of them is still in love enough to want to."
From the kitchen wafts a smell that under non-vodka-and-rum circumstances would be delicious; Adam cringes, wondering if he has the energy to crawl somewhere free of cooking pancakes and wait to die. Katy groans softly, burying her face in the cushions. "What is--"
"Kris is cooking because he hates us." Kris isn't subtle in making a point.
Katy stills, then abruptly, Adam's being suffocated beneath blonde hair. Pushing it aside, he sees Katy staring down at him. "When did Kris learn to cook?"
"But it's even worse when neither of you are, and what you're holding onto isn't the person you love, but what you think they were supposed to be."
"He's always cooked," Adam answers; he's getting used to conversations he doesn't understand. "Why?"
"Huh." Pulling her hair back, Katy shudders and lies back down with a slow, stomach-rolling bounce. "He couldn't even boil an egg."
The smell of bacon penetrates the room in all its greasy, nauseating glory; oh fuck you, Kris. Life lesson fucking learned. "I'm so not making it through the eggs," Adam tells the ceiling as Katy makes a choking sound.
"He doesn't know; don't try to tell him. He won't remember five minutes after you're done. He remembers them all, but not like we do. I think, for Kris? Spot just wants to be his dog."
A small, stomach churning eternity later, the sound of feet padding from the kitchen encourages Adam to open his eyes. Kris circles the couch, crouching to give Katy a glass of something before coming back to look at Adam, eyebrows raised, and extending the second glass. "Here. It'll help with the hangover so you can eat."
"I love you," Adam breathes in abject gratitude, sitting up and regretting it, but the cool glass is pressed into his hand and he drinks it down without bothering to twitch at the taste. When Kris takes the glass back, he's smirking.
"How long do I have?" Adam counts the years of Kris and Katy's marriage; it won't be enough, nothing less than the length of his life could ever be, but he'll take it. He'll take it and never regret an hour, a minute, a single second. "Before--before Spot--"
Katy reluctantly lifts her head from his shoulder, frowning at him blearily. "How long--oh. Oh. Right, you need to get Kris to take you home to his parents." Scrambling clumsily to her knees, she grabs for his chin and makes him look at her, mouth curving in an affectionate, so very drunken smile. "You can meet their dog. He's a golden retriever. His mother named him Dave."
Kris puts the empty glasses on the coffee table, coming back to the couch and looking down at Adam. "Feel better?"
"Maybe." Reaching out, Adam wraps a hand around Kris' wrist, pulling him into his lap and kissing the surprised sound from his mouth. Cradling Kris' face between his hands, Adam watches the smile slip into something startled and serious. "I love you. You know that, right?"
Kris leans forward, pressing his forehead against Adam's and dragging in a shaky breath. "Yeah. I guess I do."