Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you

Adam/Tommy. Tour!fic. Drugs. Alcohol. Shenanigans. NC-17. ~59,000 words. For LBB.
Some casual, no-strings affection is exactly what Adam says he needs, what Tommy thinks he wants, and tour is a great environment to get it. But for something without strings, the sex with Adam leaves Tommy feeling awfully tangled up, and eventually something has to give.

Adam Lambert is a fucking fantastic kisser. Caught against a wall by Adam’s bulk, one hand cupping his jaw and the other braced beside a framed photo knocked crooked, Tommy’s got proof of exactly how good Adam is thrumming through his veins. He’s not hard yet, but if Adam doesn’t ease up soon, he’s sure as hell gonna get there.

Adam’s taken the whole band, newly formed and juiced with the possibilities he’s laid out in front of them, plus a bunch of his friends out for a celebration. A couple of Tommy’s new bandmates he knows by reputation. He’s fucking stoked at the chance to play with them, let alone hang out and talk shop. On his way out of the washroom, Adam had been on his way in, and Tommy hadn’t really thought about it before he slammed into Adam, arms wide open, to hug the fucking shit out of the guy.

When Adam does finally ease up sucking on Tommy’s tongue, it’s a slow, sweet winding down, his thumb brushing the corner of Tommy’s wet mouth as he draws back, licks the taste of Tommy off his smile. “Hi,” he says, probably what he’d meant to say before Tommy crashed into him like a linebacker.

“Hey,” Tommy says, heat prickling at his scalp.

Adam’s hand slides down, fingers curved around the side of Tommy’s neck like they’re drawn to the blush rising there, thumb stroking Tommy’s throat. “I like this hugging thing.”

“Yeah, like. I didn’t mean to attack you or anything, it’s just.” Trying for an easy laugh that comes out kinda manic he’s so jazzed, Tommy shakes hair out of his face. “This shit is really fucking awesome.”

Adam’s grin goes solar-flare bright. “If this is your definition of attacking me, I’m putting a clause in your contract immediately that states you can do it any time you want.”

Expecting Adam to let him up, Tommy laughs again when he doesn’t, smiles so wide his cheeks twinge. “And the, y’know,” Tommy says, gesturing vaguely at his mouth with two fingers.

“That one was all me. Call it a gut-reaction when small, pretty men throw themselves at me.”

Another laugh bubbles up before Tommy can throttle it down. Since they only met about a week and a half ago, this whole accidental make-out session thing should probably be more awkward than it is. But there’s good food filling Tommy’s belly, expensive booze heating his blood, and Adam is so fucking amazing it almost hurts to be in the same room as him. There are a couple of people in Tommy’s life that he’s greedy about, and would do really crazy kinds of things to keep close. He’s never seen them coming before, always sneaking up on him, like that day he turned around and bam, Mike had moved in. Looking up at Adam now, Tommy knows. Adam’s totally going to be one of them.

“Okay, so,” Tommy says, and gnaws on the inside of his lip. This part has the potential of going really, really badly. “Upfront and honest, I’m mostly sorta straight.”

Adam blinks, surprised, and gives a quiet laugh. “Mostly, sorta.”

“Like, yeah.” If Tommy weren’t clinging to Adam like a lemur, what he’s trying to say might have more weight, but he doesn’t want to let go. He’s always so fucking cold all the time since he stopped trying to pump up, and Adam’s big, warm, and really doesn’t seem to mind. “I’m not like, hitting on you. Just, you’re really fucking cool, and I’m sort of a freak about cuddling and stuff, and kissing is awesome?”

“It is,” Adam says slowly.

“Totally,” Tommy agrees, delighted Adam gets it. Sometimes guys don’t, and it’s this big whole thing. Drunk off his ass right now or not, Tommy’s totally planning on keeping Adam forever.

Through a lopsided smile, Adam says, “You are a weird little guy. I love it.”

“I know, right?” Hauling Adam down for another bone-crusher, Tommy gets a whiff of warm, spicy-smelling cologne. He tucks his nose into the crook of Adam’s neck and soaks it up, wallowing in Adam’s heat, the way he isn’t afraid to squish Tommy close.

Lifting Tommy up on his toes, voice muffled in his hair, Adam says, “This is going to be amazing,” like a promise it’ll take the end of the world for him to break.

*

It’s well past noon when Tommy finally hauls his ass out of bed the next day, and it still takes two cups of the sludge Mike calls coffee for him to clue in on what’s happening here.

“And like a ton of bricks,” Mike says in his obnoxious narrator voice, not even bothering to look up from the lyrics he’s noodling around with at the card table they use as a dinette set, “it finally hits him.”

“Aw, shit.” Tommy slumps down in a chair, drops his face into one hand. “Shit.”

“I was wondering how long it’d take you to realise,” Mike says, snagging Tommy’s mug to steal a sip. “You’ve been talking about him all week.”

Tommy hides his face in the table, hands laced on the back of his head. “Shit. Fuck.”

“All last week, too.”

Keeping his head down, Tommy says, “Quit being jealous I’m not in love with you anymore.”

“You’re still completely in love with me,” Mike says, followed by the quiet clink of his pen hitting the table. “If I were gay, we’d have moved to Canada, gotten married, and adopted two children and a brutally ugly Rottweiler by now.”

Tommy groans and tries shoving his face harder into the table. This shit happens to him all the time. Dave keeps saying it’s because Tommy’s totally afraid of getting his heart broken, so he falls in love with people he has no chance of relationships with, like his fourth-grade teacher, women who tell him point-blank they’re not looking to get involved in anything serious, and straight men.

And now, his gorgeous gay rock star boss.

“I’m not doing it,” Tommy declares, sitting up so quickly his head swims.

Both of Mike’s eyebrows fly up. “You’re quitting the band?”

“What? Fuck no.” Stealing his mug back, Tommy takes hefty gulp and makes a face at the sourness of burnt beans on his tongue. He gets up to dump it in the sink, rinses his mug, and pours up two fingers of Jack instead. It’s not like he’s ever actually been in love for real with Mike. Or Anderson. It’s just this thing where he gets in happy, domestic relationships with guys that end up his platonic life partners. And sometimes they make out. “I’m not falling in love with him.”

“Uh,” Mike says, eyeballing the whiskey.

“Nope,” Tommy says determinedly, and tosses back his drink. It blazes all the way down, hitting his belly and coating it in warmth. “We’re gonna play fucking awesome music, live out of the back of a van, and I’m gonna love him like a motherfucking brother.”

*

Rehearsals start on Monday. Adam spends the first twenty minutes outside the studio wigging out about a possible mix-up with the booking by the label while trying to look like he’s not about to lose his shit. They’ve got the better part of a month before the AMAs, more than enough time to get it together for one song, but Tommy gets it. Adam’s been on television with Idol, and on tour. This is the first time it’s all him. Everyone wants it to be awesome.

Peeling away from Monte, on lead guitar, and Longineu, their kickass drummer–guys Tommy wouldn’t have a fucking snowball’s prayer in hell of playing with if it weren’t for Adam plunking his skinny butt in the band–Tommy makes his way over to bump shoulders with Adam. “Hey.”

Adam glances down with a wan smile. “I’m okay.”

Tommy hugs him anyway. Adam’s arms fall around his shoulders to haul him in tight, and all the air in Adam’s lungs leaks free on a long sigh. “It’s like, half an hour delay,” he says into Adam’s chest. “Shit happens. It’ll be cool.”

“I don’t freak out about minor stuff,” Adam insists, resting his chin on top of Tommy’s head.

“Totally not freaking out,” Tommy agrees, and rubs his nose along Adam’s collarbone. “You got people to flip their shit for you. All you gotta do is get in there and sing your face off.”

Adam pushes Tommy back to look at him, nose crinkled on a laugh more like a giggle. “Thanks,” he says, and fluffs Tommy’s hair back up. “You’re like the St. Bernard of rescue hugs.”

“Now I gotta drool on you.”

A sharp whistle brings Adam’s head up. Twisting around, Tommy catches Monte waving on his way into the studio. “Finally,” Adam says, and gives Tommy another quick squeeze. “I swear I really am gonna put hug duty in your contract if you’re not careful.”

“So like, about that,” Tommy says, holding on tighter as Adam moves to follow the rest of the crew inside. “I wanted to make sure I didn’t mess shit up the other night.”

“The other night meaning the twenty minutes we spent making out in a back hallway?” Adam asks, bemused.

“Jesus,” Tommy mutters, hoping his face doesn’t look as red as it feels. He’s not a fucking teenager, or some love-struck Disney heroine. “Yeah, that.”

Adam says, “Baby, you’re going out of your way to make sure you’re not leading me on,” hauling Tommy in for another round of the hug that never ends, “so no, you didn’t mess up. Some casual, no-strings, no-expectations affection is probably exactly what I need right now.”

“Yeah?” Tommy says, Adam’s smile infectious. He caught through conversation at dinner the other night that Adam’s boyfriend called it quits. None of his business, so he didn’t pry, but amicable or not, breaking up sucks. If Adam needs a buddy, Tommy’s got that covered. “I can swing that shit in spades, man.”

Adam’s hand slides down to close around Tommy’s. “Let’s do it,” he says, striding off with Tommy in tow, stumbling and laughing trying to keep up. Tossing a glance back, Adam picks up the pace until it’s almost a run. They hit the darkness inside the studio with Tommy nearly crashing into Adam’s back as Adam swerves, drops an arm around Monte’s shoulders to haul him along in their extended hug thing.

Behind Adam’s back, Monte gives Tommy a look, one eyebrow raised.

“Shut up.” Adam shoves his sunglasses up into his hair. “You know hugs make everything better.”

“I know that look,” Monte says. “That’s not a hug look. That’s a look for something I know you didn’t have time to do out there.”

“Maybe he’s just really easy,” Adam says.

“I am,” Tommy agrees, “but dude, not like, in the street,” and Adam laughs so loudly it echoes off the roof, Adam’s arms slung around their necks pulling them in until their heads bump.

“Crazy kids,” Monte says, slapping both Adam and Tommy across the belly with one arm before he shrugs free to go talk with one of the studio mixers.

*

The next week, as Tommy’s putting some finishing touches on his face for the fucking awful early-morning dress rehearsal, his phone goes off. He ignores the first ring, busily layering on extra mascara, and the second and the third rings, before it hits him that he’s gainfully employed now. Cramming the tube into his mouth, he fumbles up his phone and slurs, “Hello?”

“Wow,” Adam says, laughing. “I hope you’re out of bed. I’m five minutes away.”

“What the fuck,” Tommy garbles, and spits the mascara tube out into his hand. “What the fuck, you coming to get me?”

Adam chirps, “I am,” his happiness chiming across the line almost enough to make up for the fact that it’s half past seven in the fucking morning. “Which number are you again?”

“Dude, I still haven’t found my pants.” Jabbing the applicator into the mascara and screwing it shut, Tommy sticks it back into his mouth to dig through the clothes piled on top of one of his broken amps. He comes up with a pair of dark jeans with a few scuffs that’ll pass for fashion instead of age, and a comfy striped shirt with long sleeves. Hauling stuff on as he tromps his way down the hall, he grunts hello-goodbye to Mike standing blearily at the kitchen sink, stuffs the mascara in his pocket and grabs his shoes to lace them up on the steps outside. “‘Kay, I’m out here, where are you?”

“Across the street,” Adam says, and Tommy looks up, finds him standing beside the open driver’s side door of a gleaming black car.

Tommy trots down the stairs, lips pursed in a slow whistle as he checks for traffic before sauntering across the street. Cars aren’t his thing by a long shot, but it looks good, matches Adam like an extension of his wardrobe. “This is the one from Idol?”

“Yep,” Adam says, sinking back into the seat. “C’mon, I brought coffee.”

“Coffee,” Tommy moans, shambling around the front of the car. Leaning across the seat, Adam pops the door open for him, and gives it another shove when it bounces almost shut. Tommy manages to catch it the second time around and drops into the seat. The leather moulds like butter around his ass, and he gives an appreciative wriggle. “Nice. The top go down?”

“Mmhm,” Adam says, and holds up a Starbucks cup the size of Tommy’s head. “Latte work for you?”

“So fucking works for me.” Greedily clutching it in both hands, Tommy gulps down three sweet mouthfuls. It’s the perfect temperature, and there’s just enough bite to it. Whoever Adam’s barista was, Tommy wants to marry them.

Eyebrows arched over his sunglasses, Adam says, “It really works for you.”

Not moving the cup from his mouth, Tommy nods. “I forgive you,” he mumbles around it.

Cranking the ignition and putting the car into gear, Adam asks, “I can’t believe I actually understood that jumble. What are you forgiving me for?”

“Fucking ass-crack of dawn rehearsals,” Tommy mutters, reluctantly disengaging from his coffee to slump back in the seat. “I thought rock stars were nocturnal.”

“Starving artists and mega-millionaires are. Those of us stuck in the middle do what the AMA chair tells them to do.”

Tommy slides Adam a sideways glance.

Adam laughs. “What?”

“I don’t think nobody tells you what to do,” Tommy says, fiddling with his cup before taking another sip. “Like, lotsa people probably try, and you smile and say yeah, yeah, that could work, and then you go do your own damn thing.”

Head thrown back, Adam laughs so hard he misses the light. The guy behind them lays on the horn. Adam takes the time to check the oncoming traffic before he swings to the right, completely ignoring the asshole. “I guess I do,” he says, thumb stroking the gearshift. “I got pretty sick of people telling me the way I should be a long time ago.”

“Like that, right.” Tommy lifts up his hand, fingers outstretched to show off his chipped black polish. “Shit looks cool. What are you gonna do about it, not wear it ’cause some jacked-up ‘roid jock says it’s gay? Gay’s not a fucking insult.”

Adam whistles quietly under his breath. He takes the next right even slower than the last.

“Sorry,” Tommy says. “I didn’t mean, like. Shit. It bugs me sometimes. You wanna dump me off at a bus stop?”

“No,” Adam says quickly, “no, it’s not that at all. I can’t remember the last time somebody straight said anything like that to me. Mostly it’s a no-go conversation zone.”

“People afraid they’re gonna stick a foot in their mouth?”

“Pretty much,” Adam says, shooting a quick grin across the centre console.

“Dude, I probably end up eating my toes twice a day, but like. You know, right?”

Slowing down for a red, Adam says, “I think so. You really don’t care what someone might think of you?”

Thinking about going the brazen, self-confidence route, Tommy says, “I care tons,” instead. “But sometimes I do shit just ’cause I know it’ll piss somebody off. People who deserve a kick in the ass, though, not like, deliberately giving somebody’s ninety-three year old grandma a heart attack.”

The light changes, and the car rolls forward a few lengths, turtle-slow. They don’t make it to the intersection before it flicks back to red. Tommy taps out a quick rhythm on his half-empty cup. If they don’t make it to the theatre soon, he’s gonna talk himself out of a job.

When Adam doesn’t say anything, Tommy starts gnawing on the inside of his lip. “Or like, because I want to. Like with the kissing thing.”

“Now you’re worried you upset me,” Adam says, a smile twitching at the corner of his mouth.

“Hell yeah I am. I didn’t, right?”

“No,” Adam says, hitting the gas as they finally get a green. “But I think you managed to confuse me.”

“Oh.” Tommy heaves a relieved sigh. “Awesome. Totally on the same page.”

Blowing through another intersection on a yellow, Adam flicks a glance in the rearview like he’s expecting Sheriff Buford T. Justice to roll out with sirens blaring. “I don’t even know what to do with you, Tommy Joe,” he says, shifting in the seat so he’s leaning closer. “You’re adorable, gorgeous, and I think you might be crazy.”

Tommy gestures at his face. “Not bad for like, half-asleep and on no caffeine, right? I figure I gotta throw some sparkle or some shit on it for the live show, though. Tart it up.”

“‘Cause it’s rock ‘n’ roll?” Adam asks, teeth flashing white in a burst of sunlight as they wind through traffic.

“Fuck yeah!” Tommy crows, fist in the air. “You know that movie? You totally know that movie, man, you are like, so Brian Slade.”

Adam’s laugh this time around has a darker note to it. He turns his hand palm-up on the gearshift, aiming a slanted look over his sunglasses Tommy’s way. “Are you going to be my Curt Wild?”

“Yes, fuck, hell yes.” Tommy slaps his hand down on Adam’s, the leather of Adam’s glove warm and soft against his bare palm. “Let’s like, fucking, do it. The way it’s gotta be done, right? Rock ‘n’ roll in your face.”

The rest of the way to the theatre, Adam holds Tommy’s hand. Tommy watches the scenery crawl by, nursing the dregs of his coffee, imagining the shit they could get up to with a label completely on-board with Adam’s style. If the album flies up the charts, there could be a more than a promo tour. He might actually fucking have a chance here to do what he’s always wanted to do.

In the parking lot, Adam cuts the engine, but doesn’t let go of Tommy’s hand. “I was going to wait to tell the band after rehearsal today, something to celebrate after the rough day I know it’s gonna be, but you’re here, and I’m dying to tell someone.”

“Shit,” Tommy says. He can’t even fucking imagine. His life since Adam walked into it has already been a freaking ride. “Fucking tell me already.”

“We got the Alexandria for a video shoot,” Adam says, excitement tightening his voice. “Only one day, but we got it.”

Tommy eyes pop. He’s never been, never had a reason to, but he’s seen pictures. The shit that Adam’s brain could do to all that old century architecture, grunge it up like its seedy history, an ocean of leather and lace and spikes and glitter, fuck, it’s gonna be like Moulin Rouge got double-teamed by a Vegas titty bar and a Berlin leather dungeon.

“Exactly,” Adam says, “whatever you’re thinking that put that look on your face, yes.”

Climbing out, Tommy’s hand still tingling with the warmth of Adam’s grip, Tommy asks, “When?”

“Sunday, I think. I hope.” Adam bumps the door shut with his hip, juggling phone, coffee and a small folder full of papers plucked up from the back seat. “Timing’s not great with the AMAs coming up, and it’s short notice. But a bunch of my friends are stoked about any video I get to shoot, and I think they’ll be willing to help out. I’ve got this underground dance club concept I really want to work with.”

Tommy heads around the back of the car, sliding his glasses back down. “It’s all really fucking happening.”

“It is,” Adam says, his smile so bright the sunglasses aren’t really helping. He stops short a few dozen feet from the entrance. “Fuck. It is happening.”

There’s no one else around to see the pure, shell-shocked glee on Adam’s face. Tommy’s caught a couple of Adam’s really awesome expressions–joy, mischief, that bedroom-sexy thing he does–but this one’s got to be Tommy’s favourite, hands fucking down. It’s naked and real, and Adam looks like a regular guy, not a reality television runner-up, or the next Freddie Mercury, just some random, gorgeous guy that’s been told the world is his if he wants it.

Tommy’s never been so grateful to be yanked out of his warm, comfortable bed into the blazingly-bright chill of way too early in the morning.

*

“You should totally do it,” Tommy says, “just like,” and grunts softly, miming yanking on a fistful of his hair. “Like that.”

Kicked back against a table sipping from a bottle of water, Adam shakes his head. “Sutan’ll kill me if I mess you up.”

“You can’t mess it up.” To demonstrate, Tommy ruffles his hair up like a cockatoo, then smoothes it back into place. “There’s so much shit in there it’ll go wherever the fuck you wanna put it. And it would be cool.”

Adam bites at the corner of his lip. “Don’t think I’m not into it. I am. I’d love to haul you around up there.”

“Awesome,” Tommy says. If they weren’t doing so many crowd shots, he’d totally go with the sex-club dom thing Adam’s working in the video, drop to his knees and play at Adam’s feet. Mauling the pretty boy wrapped up in mesh and chains will fit just as good.

“But,” Adam cuts in, “I get carried away pretty easily. It’d probably hurt.”

Tommy snorts. “What the fuck ever. Do whatever you want and buy me a beer later if I get some bumps and bruises out of it.”

Still doubtful, Adam says, “You’re really tiny, though.”

Tommy hikes up an eyebrow. “Dude, I thought you’d be all over that.”

“This is the problem,” Adam grumbles, slumping harder against the table. The chains dangling from his spiked shoulder pad glint in the spotlights. “I could end up flinging you halfway across the stage.”

“Long as you pick me up after,” Tommy says with a shrug, and cracks open another water.

“You really don’t care,” Adam says.

“Nope.”

“Well,” Adam says, straightening up, “okay,” and reaches out to grab a rough fistful of Tommy’s hair, yanking on it so hard Tommy goes tumbling into him. The sharp sting radiates all down Tommy’s spine, into his arms, the water bottle crackling as his hand clenches tight. Boots firmly planted, Adam doesn’t budge an inch.

Letting Adam take all his weight–not that Adam seems to notice–Tommy says, “Wow.”

Adam winces. “Too much?”

“No,” Tommy says, long and drawn out, “no, just like. Yeah.” Whatever Adam’s wearing, it’s thinner than it looks. The heat of Adam’s skin pours through it along with the steady thud of his heartbeat. Propping a hand on the table behind them, Tommy looks up, cheek pressed to soft, silken cloth that catches on his late-afternoon stubble.

“Oh,” Adam says, then smiles, an slow, sinuous curve of his lips. “You liked it.”

“Maybe,” Tommy says, pushing up. “Don’t let it go to your head. Like, either of ‘em.”

Adam laughs, flipping back to his regular, every-day grin. “It won’t have a chance if you keep shooting me down like that.”

“Just helping you keep it real.” Leaning against the table beside Adam, Tommy gives him a quick hip-check. “Do that up there, it’ll look fucking awesome on camera.”

“Right,” Adam drawls. “For the camera.” Chin raised, mouth taking on an imperious slant, Adam looks down at him, makes sure all Tommy’s attention is on him before his hand comes up, fitting finger by finger to Tommy’s throat. There’s enough time for Tommy to warn Adam off if it’s making him twitchy. Adam’s big hand pressed against his windpipe isn’t exactly what he’d call comfortable, but it definitely isn’t uncomfortable, either. Tossing hair back out of his face, he meets Adam’s gaze square-on.

“Shit,” Adam says, and gives a shaking laugh, his hand dropping. “I think I want to kiss you.”

Darting a quick glance around to see who’s watching–apparently nobody, but like hell he trusts that–Tommy shrugs again. “You can do that too, if you want.”

Looking like he’s aiming for light-hearted, when Adam says, “Maybe I will,” it comes out rough and honest instead, like he’s thinking about it, remembering what it was like to have Tommy pinned to a wall taking whatever he wanted to give. Tommy swallows hard, nerves tingling, a weird, jittery heat pooling in his belly.

“Band!” somebody calls, and Tommy jolts. Instead of breaking the mood, it cranks up another notch as he steps around Adam, turning to walk backwards so he can keep Adam’s gaze for a moment longer. Whatever’s in Adam’s eyes, it’s scary and thrilling, and kissing sure as hell isn’t the only thing Adam wants to do to him.

Biting his bottom lip through a grin, Tommy flips Adam off with both hands. Adam’s laugh is a low, sandpapery noise that rasps beneath Tommy’s skin. It sounds like a promise.

*

“Fuck,” Tommy says, bottles and brushes clattering to the floor as he grabs at the vanity, “fuck, you’re like, too fucking tall, Jesus, get down here.”

Adam laughs–always fucking laughing, so fucking pleased, all dark and delighted–and fits his hands to Tommy’s waist, lifting him up. Tommy flails and spits another curse and swats at whatever the fuck is jabbing at his back as Adam sets him down on the table. “Is this okay?” Adam asks, stepping between Tommy’s knees, a couple fingers on Tommy’s chin tilting his face up.

“Fuck, yeah, it’s okay, you gonna kiss me?”

“Baby,” Adam breathes, bracing a hand on the mirror to get in close. “All you had to do was ask.”

“I’m fuckin’ asking,” Tommy says, scooting to the edge to get his hands tangled in the front of Adam’s shirt, not much give with the corset thing he’s still wearing from the video shoot. “Fuck, fuck, c’mon.”

In general, Tommy’s a pretty mellow guy. He gets worked up sometimes, turned on, but he’s not a total horndog without a scrap of patience. During the shoot, the director had them play for real. They had a backing track to keep the pace, but they were the ones making the music, Adam’s was the voice filling the hall. The urge to move, dance, spilled out from the extras rocking out in front of the stage to the rest of the crew, lighting guys bopping their heads and the caterers joining in, the people from wardrobe and set design, everybody got in on it. It was the closest to a real show Tommy’s played in months.

And fuck, had they played. Adam went for it. Totally went for it, grabbing at him, slapping his ass, yanking his head back so far he felt the strain in his throat. The entire atmosphere was charged, prickling at him, lighting him up on the inside like whole universes being born inside his chest.

Mouth inches from Tommy’s, hands splayed wide on Tommy’s ass, Adam says, “Tell me if there’s something you don’t want.”

Tommy pushes closer, brushes their lips together, but holds off, waiting for Adam to go for it again. “I’m about as no-fucking-strings as you’re gonna get. I’m like, fuck, I’m not gonna say no to your tongue in my mouth, ’cause you’re really fucking good with it, and-”

“Good,” Adam says, one hand pressed possessively to Tommy’s jaw, fingernails scratching through the short hair at Tommy’s nape as he licks into Tommy’s mouth. It’s as amazing as Tommy remembers, better without the fuzzy overlay of a good drunk. Adam doesn’t waste time trying to feel out what Tommy likes, going right ahead and giving what he likes instead. Five seconds in, Tommy doesn’t have a fucking clue what he used to like before Adam got all up in his face.

Adam’s other hand slides over Tommy’s thigh, pushing up close to his dick and stopping a few inches shy. The drag of blunt nails along his inseam sparks fresh heat in his belly. None of the guys Tommy’s ever macked on really had the balls to push at him. They respected his boundaries a lot like Adam’s doing now, giving him the option, and a couple of times, Tommy’s been tempted. More than tempted. He’s never really been in a situation where giving in to that temptation seemed like such an easy possibility–there’s no big party they ducked out on, nobody’s going to come barging in looking for one of them or demand they get their asses off the couch before somebody jizzes on it.

“Shit,” Tommy says, slurred into Adam’s mouth, “shit, fuck, fuck, okay.”

Adam’s hand creeps up another half-inch as he sucks on Tommy’s tongue. Tommy’s dick jerks, slick wet seep inside his shorts. He grabs onto Adam’s wrist and shoves his hand up between his legs, breaking the kiss on a stuttering groan. Adam’s hand is so fucking big it covers Tommy’s junk completely. Like, the whole fucking works cupped in Adam’s palm, heel pressed to the head and fingers tucked over his balls, and Tommy falls back against the mirror, eyes shock-wide staring down at his hand holding Adam’s firm.

“God,” Adam says, rocking once, slowly, grabbing onto Tommy’s knee when it comes up, pushing it up further in a way Tommy’s never really been spread out before. “Fuck, are you sure?”

Tommy sucks in a quick breath, licks his lips wet. “Is it gonna do something for you to get me off?”

Groaning, Adam squeezes his eyes shut. Shaking free of Tommy’s grip, he flips his hand around, finds the shaft of Tommy’s dick in the tight bunch of his pants and frames it between thumb and fingers. “Would it change your mind about letting me touch you if it does?”

“Fuck, no, I just– Jesus.” Knocking more shit out of the way, Tommy shoves up on one elbow, tries to get the leverage to fuck into Adam’s grip. “Don’t want you to do it if you’re not getting something out of it.”

Adam stares down at him, breathing hard through his mouth, then says, “Fuck,” and claws at the lacings on his glove. Fumbling in to help, Tommy gets the laces undone and tries to haul the glove off over Adam’s hand. It gets stuck on the heel, and Adam lifts his arm to tug it the rest of the way off with his teeth. Tommy ends up getting stuck next, gaze fixed on the freckles sprinkled on the back of Adam’s hand, how big, long and thick, his fingers look.

“Second thoughts?” Adam prompts, flicking a glance at Tommy’s fly.

Tommy’s got a smart-ass answer for that one, but somewhere between his brain and his tongue, it goes missing. He digs at his fly, wrenching the zip down and peeling the flaps back, weirdly grateful he didn’t go commando at the stylist’s suggestion. Nobody was gonna get a close enough look at his pants to see a line, and he’s really enjoying the way Adam’s watching him reach under the band to pull his dick out. He strokes it once, a couple times more, then lets his hand fall away.

“Gorgeous,” Adam says, and Tommy can’t help a laugh. Adam’s eyebrow wings up. In all that makeup, and the spikes, he’s kinda intimidating. “You don’t think so?”

“S’a dick,” Tommy says, thumbing his shorts down a little more, wondering if maybe Adam wants to play with his balls too.

“But you like it.” Adam drags his knuckles up the shaft, fingers fanning out at the head to curl around it good and tight. A weird noise hitches in Tommy’s chest. “Or you wouldn’t be so happy to show it off.”

Watching Adam’s hand slide down, Tommy likes it a hell of a lot. He forces air into his lungs, trying to figure out when the fuck the last time it was he got some if this is hitting him so hard. It feels like he’s going to nut himself in thirty seconds. “Guess so.”

“I think it’s pretty,” Adam says, wicked slant to his grin as he leans down again, bumps a kiss to Tommy’s mouth before his gaze slips back to his hand on Tommy’s cock. “And out of the two of us, I’m the one who would know a pretty dick when it’s leaking all over my hand.”

Tommy hisses, “Shit,” like hearing Adam say what they’re doing makes it more real than the fact that it’s actually fucking happening. Not that he’s got any fucking illusions here. He is smack in the middle of getting a handjob from Adam fucking Lambert, and he’s got to grab at Adam’s wrist, make him hold off a second, because he’d like for this to last more than the time it takes to jack in an amp.

“Oh my god,” Adam says, rubbing his thumb over Tommy’s slit, making him arch away from the mirror, “look at you. Tell me you’re always like this, it’s amazing.”

It takes Tommy a few to parse through what Adam’s saying. He hears the words, and they mostly make sense, but Adam’s jacking him nice and slow, grip loose with no spit to slick the way, and Tommy’s pretty sure it’s the best fucking go anybody’s ever had at him. “Dunno,” he says through gritted teeth, trying not to watch as Adam wets his fingers. Fuck it, though, just, fuck it, he might not get another shot at this, so he shoves up, gets his mouth on Adam’s hand to help.

Adam curls a thumb under Tommy’s chin to slide three fingers into his mouth. Tommy startles, not expecting it, but he can work with it, go with the flow. Adam’s fingers taste like salt when he sucks, and Adam makes a ragged noise like it’s really getting to him, like it’s something else entirely Tommy’s sucking on.

Heat flares up Tommy’s neck, stains his cheeks red. If he ever did get somebody’s cock in his mouth, he’d probably be okay with it being Adam’s. Adam would be way less of an asshole getting head than Tommy’s been for most of his life, and probably way less of one giving it, too. Pulling off, Tommy sucks in a shallow breath and wipes at his mouth with the back of one wrist. He’s lucky enough he’s getting Adam’s hand, the last thing he needs to be thinking about is what Adam’s like sucking dick.

“What is it, baby?” Adam asks, wet fingertips trailing down Tommy’s dick, back up to rub one by one over his slit. “You thought of something you like, it’s all over your face.”

This is the most fucking conversation Tommy’s ever had during a quickie in his entire life. “Y’really wanna know?”

“I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t,” Adam says, getting his other hand around Tommy’s back to support him as he goes for slow and easy again, split-slick this time, perfect. “Whatever it is, if it makes you moan like that, chances are good I’ll like it.”

“Thought– Fuck.” Tommy’s fists clench tight. Sometimes if the sex is really good, he gets squirmy. Usually it’s not an issue since whoever he’s with is coming along for the ride anyway. But Adam’s all the way up there, only has a fucking hand on him for fuck’s sake, and Tommy has to grab at the edges of the vanity to keep from falling off it. Afraid he’s going to tip something over, have somebody running in here wondering what the fuck is going on, he locks his ankles together behind Adam. “Fuck, Jesus, maybe you should fucking hold me down or something.”

“Oh my god,” Adam says, “Tommy, oh my fucking god,” and gets his mouth all over Tommy’s again, quick bite-lick before he shoves inside. The rhythm of his hand slows down to match his tongue fucking into Tommy’s mouth, and that’s some fucking impressive coordination when Tommy’s squirming so much, trying to breathe and trying to think and trying really, really hard to not come right the hell now.

“I want to suck you,” Adam says, sending lust knifing hot into Tommy’s gut, “but I love your mouth, it’s so gorgeous, you’ve got beautiful lips, I want-”

Crazily, Tommy asks, “Wanna fuck it?” Adam’s breath hisses, and Tommy bites the inside of his bottom lip, holding back the weird noise bubbling up in his chest. It’s not the first time he’s said shit like that, definitely not going to be the last, but it might be the one where he actually fucking means it. There’s not much difference in going down on a guy than a girl, anyway. It’s all just skin. “Seriously, you wanna? I don’t, like, it’ll probably be a shitty blow, but if all you wanna do is get off,” and his voice sticks, words all jammed up in his throat like he’s got Adam’s dick down it already.

“Shut up, god, please shut up,” Adam says, “because I do, and I fucking will, I’d love to,” slurring as he gets in close for more kisses, finally clams them both up. He shoves Tommy’s shirt out of the way with his wrist and goes straight for the finish, Tommy’s balls drawing up tight and the heat in his belly like the inside of a fucking furnace. Like Adam’s thready groan is the oxygen it needs, it bursts out along his nerves in backdraft-pleasure, all the air in his lungs burnt up as he grabs at Adam, holds on with everything he’s got. It’s over way too fast, sharp-edged sensation scraping through his insides, making his heart jump and stomach quiver. Adam needs to stop jacking him, ’cause it’s maybe starting to hurt, but he can’t get the words kicking around inside his skull in any sort of order that’ll make sense.

“Baby,” Adam says, kissing a noise that sounds weirdly like a whine off Tommy’s lips, “god, you are so, so good, look at you,” and fuck, Tommy’s looking, staring straight at Adam’s hand shiny-wet with spit and come, the spatters glistening on Tommy’s belly.

Trying to push up, Tommy skids even further down the mirror, Adam the only thing keeping him from sliding straight off the dressing table onto the floor. “D’you want,” he says, reaching in the vague direction of Adam’s dick.

“I’m going to die,” Adam says, slippery hand skidding up Tommy’s chest, rucking up his shirt. He leaves his hand splayed there while he tugs open his fly, pausing before getting his cock out to push Tommy’s shirt up a little more. Slow to figure out exactly what Adam’s after, Tommy finally gets with the program long enough to jerk the bunched-up mess of mesh and leather buckles out of the way so Adam’s got a clear view of him from throat to balls. He figured what he’s got below the belt would been more Adam’s thing, but Adam bites his lip with an appreciative noise, curls a hand around Tommy’s side so he can thumb at one of Tommy’s nipples while he hauls his dick out with the other and starts jerking off.

Tommy’s mouth floods wet. There’s not a hell of a lot to see with Adam’s hand in the way, and his brain’s still orgasm-fried, but he gets the general impression of big, thick, and wet. In a daze, he watches Adam’s hand move over his dick, precome building at the tip swept down to slick up the shaft so he can go faster, maybe a little harder. Tommy’s gaze keeps flicking from Adam’s junk to his face and back. He can’t figure out if it’s hotter looking at what Adam’s doing, how he likes to twist his wrist so his palm rubs over the head, or looking up at Adam looking at him. He’s so into it he doesn’t really notice how close Adam is until Adam’s knuckles brush his softened cock, or that Adam’s totally playing with his fucking tit until a thumbnail scrapes roughly at his nipple, shocking a noise out of him.

“So fucking pretty,” Adam says, right as Tommy asks, “You gonna do it, you gonna come?” and Adam groans, shoulders hunching. He shoots into his cupped hand, the back of it resting against Tommy’s dick. The whole crazy, messed-up thing they’re doing here finally hits Tommy like a kick to the fucking head as he watches Adam lose it, and the only thing he can pick out of the jumble is he wishes that maybe Adam wanted to come on him, but didn’t have the chance to ask if he wanted that too.

Adam stays bent over the table, and Tommy, breathing hard for a handful of seconds. He gropes blindly for the box of tissues sitting perilously close to the edge.

“Wait,” Tommy says, struggling halfway up, “lemme see,” as he reaches for Adam’s hand, uncurling his fingers to get a look at the spunk smeared over his palm. “Fuck, we like. You really fucking blew it.”

Somehow, Adam’s laugh manages to sound smug and hysterical all at once. He doesn’t seem to know what to do with the hand Tommy’s holding, or he’s thinking about adding to the mess Tommy’s already wearing, or maybe he’s wondering what it’d look like if he’d shot in Tommy’s mouth instead, if Tommy would’ve swallowed it all, or if it’d be all over Tommy’s lips shiny like gloss.

“Shit,” Tommy says, and drops back too hard, clips the back of his skull on the mirror. “Ow, fuck.”

Adam gives him a sympathetic wince and bypasses the tissues, snagging a wetwipe to clean his hand. Folding it over, like he’s decided Tommy wouldn’t be cool with jizz-sharing, he scrubs at Tommy’s belly.

“Missed a spot,” Tommy says, kicking at the back of Adam’s shin before he throws the wipe away.

Adam’s eyes flash white all around his pupils. “You want me to clean off your dick?”

“You messed it up.”

“I think you just want me to grope you again,” Adam says.

“Trying to tell me you don’t wanna?”

Huffing a laugh, Adam curls a hand gently around Tommy’s dick, not so loose like he’s afraid he’ll break it or something, but careful like he knows it’s kinda sensitive still. When he’s done, he gives the wipe a toss into the trash. His hand stays curled heavy and warm around Tommy’s cock, thumb resting close to the head. One stroke, way too soon for it, makes Tommy shiver. The corner of Adam’s mouth tugs up. “I thought maybe you wanted to go again, but you’re not ready, are you?”

Tommy scrapes his bottom lip dry with his teeth. Used to seeing smaller, slimmer hands on his junk, his stomach jitters every time he breathes in and Adam’s big knuckles brush his belly. He breathes in deeper, longer, Adam’s fingers twitching when he scoots up to sit on the edge of the table. “Just gonna,” he says, hefting Adam’s dick in his palm, measuring the weight of it, the shape and the feel, how it’s pretty much the same thing as holding his own but really, really fucking different.

With a soft groan, Adam lists forward, his head bumping Tommy’s. “If you don’t want a second round, you should probably stop that.”

“Maybe later?” Tommy asks, ducking out from under Adam to grin at him. “Like, if you wanted to, I’d be cool with it.” Tucking Adam’s dick away takes more work than it should, thanks to the tight-ass pants he’s wearing and the slight tremor in Tommy’s hands. It’s not like he’s nervous or anything. Sex is sex and cock is like, whatever. If Adam’s into it, no big deal. “If you’re cool with it, I mean.”

“I realise I’m mostly out of the loop on this,” Adam says, a few second’s hesitation before he follows suit and puts Tommy’s dick away for him, “so is this something straight guy friends do that I should know about? I’m really very sure it isn’t, and that you’re this bizarrely wonderful creature that’s stumbled into my life, but, um.” There are a couple wet spots on Tommy’s shorts, and Adam smoothes his hand over them, leaves his palm resting on Tommy’s junk like he’s not ready to quit touching yet. He looks like the worst thing he can imagine right now is Tommy bursting his bubble.

“It’s like, whatever,” Tommy says, and wriggles off the edge of the table onto this feet. Adam makes to step back, give him room, but Tommy’s legs aren’t completely on board with this standing thing yet. He grabs at Adam’s arm to keep close, and keep his ass from making friends with the floor like it did with that table. “You’re hot, I’m into it, we both get off. D’you really gotta worry about defining shit?”

Wryly, Adam says, “I think this one comes pre-defined as friends with benefits.”

Tommy shrugs. “Okay, so we’re that.” He pats Adam’s chest. “You need a quickie, you let me know.”

Adam catches Tommy up in a hug almost as good as the sex. The sex that Tommy just had with his gay boss. That right there is one of the things Tommy’s not gonna think about. Adam really seems okay with it, and fuck, Tommy is so okay with it, because that shit was hot, and they’re both adults here anyway.

Catching Tommy by the chin, Adam tilts his face up, warns, “I’m going to kiss you again.”

“Sure,” Tommy says, “whatever, if you want,” with Adam’s breath warm on his lips, then Adam’s mouth is on his soft and sugar-sweet.

*

In the back of the cab after another dress rehearsal for the AMAs, Adam laces his fingers tight with Tommy’s. “You’re sure you’re okay with this?” Adam asks for the fourth time since they left the theatre. “I’m not asking you to play boyfriend. If it gets weird, you can absolutely bow out, I’ll make sure you get home. I just-”

“Chill,” Tommy says, squeezing Adam’s hand. Scooting his butt across the seat, he snuggles in close to Adam’s side. Adam’s like some giant reverse touchstone–if he’s staring to go crazy, physical contact is the quickest, easiest way to calm him down. “He’s not going to think you’re trying to shove me in his face or some shit like that. You promised you’d go, you don’t wanna wing it on your own. Dude, he’ll get it.”

“Right,” Adam says, and drops an arm around Tommy’s shoulders, nervously rubbing his anxiety out on Tommy’s arm. “He’ll get it. God, I hope he gets it. He’s an amazing, talented person, I don’t want to lose him entirely.”

Tommy snorts a laugh. He’s known Adam less than a month and has some serious doubts anybody could ever carve him out of their life completely. Get pissed at him, maybe need some time away–Adam can get pretty intense–but not cut off cold-turkey until the end of time. He gives Adam’s hand a squeeze and his cheek a quick peck.

Adam’s chest expands on a deep breath. “Thanks,” he says, and squeezes back.

Lights are blazing bright, the opening already in full swing by the time they pull up. Tommy’s by the curb so he climbs out first, holding the door while he waits for Adam. There’s a couple by the entrance that don’t pay him any attention until Adam’s by his side, then they’re boring holes into his skull the whole way to the door.

“What is it?” Adam murmurs.

Tommy puts a sliver of space back between them. “If that dude had a knife, he’d bury it in my balls.”

Almost inside, Adam glances over Tommy’s head and laughs sourly. “Baby, I think he’d rather use it to cut off mine. It’s okay, though. He’ll spend the night hoping we’ll spontaneously combust, but he won’t actually throw a match on us.”

“You got a fucked up definition of ‘okay’,” Tommy mumbles. The span between his shoulder blades prickling, he drifts closer to Adam.

Adam’s arm immediately goes around him. “I promise, you’ll be fine.”

“Booze,” Tommy says, spying a server with a laden try. “Get me two of those and I’ll be fucking awesome.”

“Lush,” Adam accuses happily. As he moves off to wrangle some bubbly, Tommy finds a seven-foot square photograph to stare at. Surrounded by a decent crowd, Tommy’s not worried about somebody’s stiletto jammed into the base of his skull.

“Are you a friend of Drake’s?” the girl at his elbow asks. She’s got bright pink hair streaked with black, some pretty awesome tats, and a surface piercing on her cheek glinting red in the light.

“Innocent bystander,” Tommy says. A quick scan of the room doesn’t cough up any familiar faces. Not that Tommy’s sure he would recognise Adam’s friends if the place was packed with them, he’s met so many over the last few weeks. “You?”

“Friend of a friend.” She nods at the photo in front of them. “He’s pretty good.”

Tommy gets music. Chords, progressions, pitch, that all makes sense to him. He’s not saying this photo doesn’t, but he’s always figured art is like music–it’s got to make you feel something. What you feel doesn’t matter, as long as you do.

Adam can come back with that booze any time now.

“Oh,” the girl says, one eyebrow slyly quirked. “You’re with him.”

“Yeah,” Tommy sighs, watching as somebody else corrals Adam for a chat. “But like, no. Not like, y’know. It’s not a thing.”

Taking a sip of her champagne, the girl hums softly.

“Jesus.” Tommy rolls his eyes. Mike gave him that exact same look when Adam swung by to pick him up for rehearsal again. They are so not together. “I’m in his band.”

“Is that what he’s calling it these days,” she says.

“I play bass,” Tommy tries. “You know, he sings and stuff? And– Oh hey, thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” Adam says, tucking a chunk of hair behind Tommy’s ear once his hand’s free. Champagne would’ve done the trick, but Adam found him beer. Giving a thumbs-up, Tommy chugs half of it. Adam’s eyes go wide.

“Wow,” the girl says. “That’s some denial right there.”

“Denial?” Adam echoes, glancing between them. “Do I want to know?”

“Band,” Tommy croaks, beer backed up on the lump caught in his throat. “M’in it.”

Slowly, Adam says, “You are,” and shoots the girl a worried look.

Tommy doesn’t have the first fucking clue what to say here. Outing Adam as needing the moral support to get through the night seems like an asshole thing to do. He doesn’t give a shit what the girl thinks, but Adam might. Adam’s the one with a PR rep and a career to manage.

“Tommy,” Adam says, “oh my god, baby, breathe. It’s Roxie.”

“Fuck,” Tommy says, relief weakening his knees. He shoves a hand back through his hair and laughs. “I thought, fuck.”

“I can’t believe you didn’t recognise her,” Adam says, resting a hand in the small of Tommy’s back in case he needs the support.

“I can,” Roxie says. “Last time I saw him, he was drunk off his ass.”

“We were celebrating!” Tommy waves his cup vaguely in the air. “And you, shit. You are so fucking cruel.”

“You saw that though, right?” she says to Adam. “How he was going to go along with whatever you said.”

Adam smiles over the rim of his flute. “I did.”

When Roxie looks over, all Tommy’s got is a shrug. Adam’s stuck in that weird place after a breakup where you’re almost done with hating the person who broke your heart, and starting to remember why you loved them in the first place. It’s rough. If Adam had asked him to come as a date, he would’ve. “Could always say I’m your rebound. We tell everybody it was a fun ride, then we get back to making music.”

“Oh my god,” Adam says, laughing and hauling Tommy in for a sideways hug. “I love you.”

“‘Cause I’m badass,” Tommy says, top of his head nuzzled in under Adam’s chin. “And you got me beer, so I’ll let you get away with that shit.” When Adam doesn’t say anything, he looks up. Drake’s across the room chatting with a circle of three people, watching them out of the corner of his eye. “Shit.”

“Good luck telling him you’re not together now,” Roxie says.

Adam straightens his spine. “We’ll tell him. It’s up to him if he wants to believe us or not.”

Tommy would almost rather jump off a cliff. Or straight up tell Drake that yeah, they screwed around, but it’s no big thing, except then maybe Drake would get it in his head that he’s really gotten under Adam’s skin. Looking at the guy now, he seems to be stuck in the wanting to make Adam miserable phase. Which maybe he isn’t, and Tommy’s pulling some overprotective shit, but either way, Tommy’s not letting Adam run that gauntlet by himself.

“Alright, rock star motherfucker,” Tommy says, leaving his hand loose by his side instead of tucking it into his pocket like he wants, just in case Adam needs it to hold onto. “Ready when you are.”

“I’m ready,” Adam lies, and goes to face his ex.

*

“Really,” Adam’s saying, standing at Tommy’s door, “thank you so, so much. God. That was.” He slumps heavily against Tommy, sending them stumbling back a few steps into the wall beside the old barbecue, and laughs. “Not as bad as I thought it’d be, and so much worse than I’d hoped.”

Tommy pets at Adam’s spiky hair. “Wasn’t that bad,” he says. “Got through it without leaving your nuts bobbing in the punch bowl.”

Adam giggles. Full-on giggles, drunk off his glittery ass. “You say the best random stuff,” he says, groping at the back of Tommy’s neck, then the wall, trying to prop himself up. Once he manages, he gazes down with the dopiest look on his face ever. “And you’re a sweetheart for letting me make out with you in the bathroom.”

“Oh, yeah, big fucking trial that was. Like, no, no,” Tommy says, pitching his voice high, “please don’t fucking blow my mind with your fucking awesome kisses,” then lets it drop back to normal tone. “That would be terrible, right.”

“Do I?” Adam asks, fingers curled along Tommy’s jaw with his thumb flirting near the corner of his mouth. “You really like it?”

With a sharp laugh, Tommy shoulders Adam off, grabbing onto the front of his shirt to make sure he stays vertical. “Come the fuck on, you don’t need me stroking your fucking ego.”

“Maybe I want you stroking something else,” Adam says, low and dangerous, the shiver it sends rippling under Tommy’s skin barely started before Adam’s eyes go wide and he slaps a hand over his fucking mouth, muffling another giggle. “Oh shit, I said that. I can’t believe I said that.”

“Dude, I can.” Fishing in one pocket, Tommy hauls out his keys. “You wanna?”

Adam looks a the dark windows. “But, your housemates.”

“Out partying,” Tommy says, and shrugs. “You don’t have to worry, they won’t say anything. But if you’re not into it, that’s cool too.”

“We shouldn’t,” Adam says, crowding Tommy against the door. “We really shouldn’t. And I shouldn’t tell you this, but I can’t stop thinking about what you looked like when you came for me. Or the way you stared at me after, like you felt cheated I didn’t let you jerk me off.”

Since they’re admitting stuff, Tommy says, “I kinda was. Watching was awesome. Really awesome. But you got your hands all over me, and didn’t give me the same chance.”

“Not all over you,” Adam says, and closes his eyes, sucks in a sharp breath. “Fuck.”

“Yeah,” Tommy says, sliding his arms around Adam’s waist under the jacket, tugging up the hem of his shirt to get at bare skin. “Yeah, we could like, I could give that blow a shot.”

Hissing another curse, Adam turns partway around and signals the cab to go on without him. It peels away from the curb with an annoyed screech, but Tommy gave the guy a hefty tip and he was only down there waiting for three minutes, tops. Adam says something Tommy doesn’t catch, tail end of it garbled by the kiss Adam’s already in the middle of laying on him.

Tommy fumbles for the doorknob. “C’mon, we can, shit,” he says, tripping over the threshold as he twists the key and the door falls open. Following close, Adam catches him with both hands, turns him around in the dark to press him against the door as it clunks shut. Groping for the lights, Tommy stops short of flicking them on, picturing going to his knees right here in the slivers of light shining in from the street, opening up Adam’s jeans and getting his mouth on Adam’s dick.

Adam’s really, really big dick that Tommy’s got cupped through his pants. A groan slips into Tommy’s mouth through their kiss, soft and muffled. The angle’s weird, and it’s really fucking strange to think about how that’s another guy’s cock Tommy’s feeling up, and the thrill’s the same as when he’s got his hands on a girl even if the shape isn’t. “You’re drunk enough to let me give this a go, right?” Tommy says, tugging at Adam’s zipper. “And it’s not gonna matter when it sucks, you’re gonna come anyway?”

“Wait,” Adam gasps, making a grab for him on his way down and missing by a mile, “wait, oh fuck, please, I have to see you if you’re gonna do this. Is that okay?”

Tiny electric sparks zoom along Tommy’s nerves. He swallows hard, says, “Yeah, yeah, okay,” Adam’s fucking crotch right there in front of his face when the lights blaze, the shape of his hard dick clear through denim. Both hands braced on the wall, Adam edges in another half-step, and Tommy doesn’t even think about what he’s doing before he presses his open mouth to the fly.

“God,” Adam says, boots skidding wider on the tile as Tommy struggles to get his belt out of the way, coordination fucked to hell when Adam gives a shallow thrust, rubs against Tommy’s face. Tommy can actually fucking smell him, thick, heavy heat, stomach twisting up into knots as he finally gets Adam’s pants open, reaches inside.

Tommy stares at Adam’s dick in his hand, says, “Holy shit,” because holy fucking shit, it looks even bigger down here. Not sure how the hell he’s going to manage all that, he shoves Adam’s jeans down further instead, gets his balls out so the whole package is on display. And then he’s got to take a minute. Make sure his lungs are still working, his heart’s still beating, all that jazz.

“You’re killing me,” Adam says, one of his hands skidding down the wall to rest lightly on the back of Tommy’s head. “You don’t even fucking know what you look like, I don’t know if I want to kiss you or fuck you or get you a drink.”

Tommy rasps, “Whiskey might help,” flushing hot as he clears his throat. “Dude, do I just like, I don’t even fucking know. You’d think I never got head in my life.”

“Honestly, baby, right now, you could bite me and I’d probably love it.”

“That a suggestion?”

“That’s please fucking do something,” Adam groans. “Anything.”

Figuring he might as well go for it, Tommy gets a hand back on Adam’s dick, resettles his fingers around the base a couple times to make sure he’s got a good grip before he aims it for his mouth. From there it’s pretty easy to stick it in. He scrapes Adam with his teeth maybe once or twice while he’s trying to get started, Adam’s thigh quivering beneath the hand Tommy’s got braced on it, but he figures out how to keep his jaw wide pretty fast, and his tongue firm, and then he sucks.

Adam’s hand convulses in his hair. “Oh my fuck.”

A quick upwards glance tells Tommy that was a good thing. He figured, but seriously, you never fucking know. He works on getting some movement with his hand before he tries coordinating the suck-stroke-lick deal he likes, really enjoying this whole figuring shit out thing he’s got going on here. Adam’s not complaining, or bitching him out about taking his time, and sometimes, that’s all a guy really needs to feel appreciated. The happy, shocked noises Adam’s making don’t hurt, either.

Or when Adam starts trash-talking in this dazed, sweet way, “I love your mouth, you’re so fucking tiny, I can’t believe how fucking tiny you are but you just, god, you can really take it, open up wider for me, Tommy, fuck, please, c’mon, little more for me,” and Tommy has to pull off entirely, prop his head against Adam’s leg and breathe.

“S’okay,” Tommy says, wiping at his mouth with the back of one hand. He’s got the taste of Adam’s dick in his mouth and he doesn’t know what to do with it, or with how much he likes it, wants more of it, but he seriously can’t breathe with his mouth stuffed full. It doesn’t even make any fucking sense. He’s got a fucking nose, for fuck’s sake.

But Adam’s still talking, whisper-rough, Tommy’s name again, and please, please don’t stop, if he likes it at all please keep going, Adam’ll warn when he’s close so Tommy doesn’t have to take a shot in the mouth, and Tommy barks a laugh, shakes hair off his face to lick at Adam’s balls. Adam’s voice cuts out entirely, the noise of Tommy sucking wet kisses onto the side of his dick loud in the sudden silence, and Tommy moans at how filthy it sounds, how fucking crazy it is for him to be on his knees in the front hall sucking Adam off.

“It’s good,” Tommy mumbles between kisses, rubbing his lips over the head of Adam’s cock to hear his voice break, “it’s really, really good, I like it, your dick’s fucking hot.”

Adam’s hips jerk, his cock skidding through Tommy’s fist to smear his cheek wet. “Sorry,” Adam says, strained and thin, and combs his fingers through Tommy’s hair, holding it off his face. “I can’t, I’m going to come so fast if you tell me stuff like that, I can’t even fucking handle it, oh my god.”

Edging Adam back so Tommy can jack it a bit, give his jaw a break, Tommy asks, “‘Cause yours is the first I got all up on or something?” When Adam’s breath hisses in through his teeth, his dick jerks. Fucking throbs in Tommy’s hand like a heartbeat, and next thing Tommy knows, he’s got it stuffed halfway down his throat, Adam’s shout echoing all through the house and his head. Since he doesn’t start choking on it, he figures maybe it was his idea, and he gets back to business, seriously excited about the idea of making Adam jizz. Excited in the whole turned on way, and the eager, jittery way, like when he got his hands on the brand new bass he bought for auditioning, or the first time he answered the phone knowing it was Adam calling.

If Adam sticks to his promise to warn before he blows, Tommy misses it. He’s so caught up in everything else going on that when Adam fucks in, he goes with it, and keeps going with it, sinking into the rhythm. Then his mouth’s filled with spunk, some of it sliding down the back of his throat, and he makes some sort of startled noise that makes Adam try to fuck in harder. Without a chance to think about it, Tommy ends up swallowing, eyes flying wide as he does. Adam’s staring straight at him, mouth soft and pleasure-slack, and Tommy pulls off, wipes at his face with one hand and stares at the small smear of come on it.

“I fucking,” Tommy says, throat working, “you jizzed in my mouth and I fucking swallowed it.”

Adam hits the floor on his knees like somebody cut his strings, hands on Tommy’s face and tongue shoved so deep into Tommy’s mouth it’s like he’s chasing after his own come. Tommy burbles something Adam ignores, too busy yanking Tommy’s jeans open. “You fucking did,” Adam says, like maybe trying to suck Tommy’s tongue out of his head was just him checking to make sure, and fists Tommy’s dick, “and I’m not sorry, I really not sorry, that was so hot, I felt you do it, baby, saw your face. You’re so fucking hard, you got off on it.”

Any arguments Tommy might even be thinking about making get blasted straight out of his head when he comes. One minute he’s fucking Adam’s fist, the next, bam, he’s done, shooting all over Adam’s hand, his jeans, the fucking floor. “What the fuck,” he wheezes.

Unhelpfully, Adam kisses him. Since this seems to be Adam’s default mode for dealing with him, and it’s fucking fun, Tommy goes with it. At least until his knees start complaining about the hard tile, and he starts shivering because he’s sitting on the floor with his fucking cock out covered in jizz.

Tommy pushes at Adam’s shoulder. With a disgruntled noise, Adam eases off, and Tommy says, “Gonna clean up,” as he stumbles onto his feet, grabbing onto Adam’s shoulder for balance. “Bathroom’s this way.”

“Next time we’re waiting until we get to a bed,” Adam grumbles, as if it isn’t his fault shit went down the second they got inside. Taking the hand Tommy holds out, he clambers up, fixing his pants one-handed so he doesn’t have to let go. He holds on all the way down the hall to the bathroom, right up until Tommy runs the taps to wash his hands and scrub at his sticky mouth.

“Not going to brush your teeth?” Adam asks, taking his place in front of the sink.

In the middle of taking off his shirt, using the dampness where he dried his hands on it to wipe off his belly, Tommy counters, “You objecting to my blowjob breath?”

Adam shrugs and rinses soap off the edge of the sink. “Some guys don’t really like it,” he says, glancing in the mirror. He freezes. “Wow. Oh my god, Tommy, wow.”

About to shuck his dirty jeans, Tommy looks down. “What?”

The tap left running, Adam turns around and takes hold of Tommy’s wrist, wet hands dripping all over the bathmat. He trails a fingertip along Tommy’s Freddy tat, all the way up to touch Regan’s face. “How did I miss these?”

Tommy shrugs. “S’cold out, don’t wear short sleeves.”

“They’re amazing,” Adam says softly, turning Tommy’s arm up, stroking all the dark, thick edges, the stylised spatters of blood. “Really, really amazing.”

Goosebumps prickle along Tommy’s arms, making Adam grin. “And freaky and weird,” Tommy jokes.

“Definitely freaky and weird,” Adam says, rubbing briskly at Tommy’s arm to dry up the water, warm him up. “But in a really good way. Anything you wear forever on your skin should be for yourself, the way these are.”

Tommy doesn’t ask how Adam knows they’re all for him. Sometimes he doesn’t have a clue where the fuck Adam gets his ideas, and other times–most of the time–it’s like Adam’s plucked them straight out of Tommy’s head. Happiness bubbling up through the post-orgasm glow, Tommy rocks up on his toes to give Adam a quick, closed-mouth kiss. “Just gonna grab a pair of shorts,” he says, settling down. “I’m way too wired to sleep. You can totally crash in my bed if you want.”

“I’m good,” Adam says, following Tommy across the hall to his bedroom. Not needing the light, Tommy nabs a pair of underwear and a clean tee off the pile of laundry by his door, hauling on the shirt first. He hesitates a second before dropping his shorts to tug the clean ones on. With Adam watching, straddling the strange line between a guy friend you don’t care about seeing your naked ass, and the one you know wouldn’t mind getting all up in it, there’s a weird thrill buzzing along Tommy’s nerves.

“That is so sexy,” Adam says, catching him with one arm slung around his waist when he gets close. “You don’t even care that I’m watching you.”

“Already saw it all,” Tommy says.

Adam’s hand grazes his ass, a pretty clear hint about what he hasn’t seen yet. “Are you going to be cold in that?”

“Blankets on the couch,” Tommy says, bumping Adam off with his hip so he can lead the way to the living room. “Wanna watch a movie, or play some games or something?”

“I suck at video games.” Hanging back while Tommy shakes out a couple blankets and bundles up in one, Adam settles down on the couch right beside him, one arm along the back so his hand drapes over Tommy’s shoulder. “What’s up for movies?”

“Think I got Terminator in the player,” Tommy says, digging the remote out from under the cushions. The other remote is on the table, Adam grabbing it up to flick the television while Tommy takes care of the DVD. The title screen for M*A*S*H loads up. “Or like, that.”

“That works,” Adam says, shifting around so Tommy’s leaning more on him than on the couch. “Don’t tell anyone, but I’m only biding my time until you let me touch you again.”

Tommy’s grinning as he hits play, cranking the volume down so it’s mostly background noise but still loud enough to hear if they want. “Wanna make out like teenagers?”

“Oh god,” Adam says, delighted, “can we? When will your housemates be home?”

Tommy says, “Might not be home at all,” Adam’s hand already sliding underneath his blanket to palm his bare thigh, and he tosses the remote aside, spreads his legs so Adam can keep heading north. With a hand cupping his junk, Adam kisses him, and kisses him, soft to hard, biting at his lip and sucking away the sting. There’s a rush of cooler air as Adam pushes the blanket aside, slips his other hand up under Tommy’s shirt so he can rub at Tommy’s nipples, and it’s all really, really good, and happening really fast. When that’s as far as it goes, he makes a what the fuck noise, and Adam smiles, kisses him some more.

“Like teenagers,” Adam says, nosing in under Tommy’s jaw. “I want to see how much you’ll squirm.”

“A fucking lot,” Tommy grunts, but he’s not really complaining. The booze or the orgasm or both are finally catching up to him. Lazy touches and lazier kisses totally work.

*

The front door sticking jolts Tommy awake. He blinks into the darkness, recognising the scratch on his bare legs as his couch, the warmth cocooning him as his blanket, and the grumbling lump beneath him as Adam.

“Fucking door,” Dave mutters, keys jangling, and Mike says, “Said you were going to plane it down,” while Tommy says, “Shit.”

A beat of silence, then from Mike, “Tommy?”

“In here,” Tommy says, trying to find the energy to crawl off of Adam. Which would be a hell of a lot easier if Adam weren’t clinging to him like an octopus, holy fuck. “Fell asleep watching shit.”

“You slept, for real?” Dave says, silhouetted in the hallway.

“Yeah, and like, could you not turn on the light?”

Mike says, “Sure,” another silhouette appearing at Dave’s shoulder. “You okay? You sound trashed.”

“He is trashed,” Adam says, startling everybody. “Sorry we crashed here. Do you guys want your couch back?”

There’s a long, drawn out silence where Dave and Mike silently commune, and Tommy tries to butt in by staring holes through their heads. Like true housemates, they ignore him. “No, it’s cool,” Dave says, “you can carry on with whatever.”

“Sleeping,” Tommy stresses. They didn’t get around to anything more before Adam conked out on him. If he’s got to be fair about it, though, he was pretty close to passing out, too. Adam only went first. He pokes Adam in the ribs. “C’mon, you can take my bed.”

Either Adam’s completely forgotten his worries about Tommy’s housemates spilling the beans on them, or he trusts Tommy’s word that they’re golden, because he says, “With you in it, right?” Dave wolf-whistles, and Adam laughs. “Oh come on, guys, I’m not going to kick him out of his own bed.”

“Not for breakfast, anyway,” Dave says, a leer in his voice. There’s a thump that’s probably Mike’s elbow in Dave’s gut, and Mike says, “G’night, see you in the morning,” as he hustles Dave along.

Both of Adam’s arms settle around Tommy’s waist, his hands spanning the small of Tommy’s back, fingertips just brushing the top of his ass. “They seem nice.”

“Yeah,” Tommy snorts, “nice. You want to get a cab out now so you don’t have to deal with the hazing you’re gonna get in the morning?”

Adam’s stroking fingers hesitate. “Do you want me to leave?”

Rolling his eyes in the dark where Adam can’t see it, Tommy thumps down onto Adam’s chest. “S’not what I said.”

“You could’ve been implying.”

“I don’t like, imply shit,” Tommy says. Because he can, he rubs his cheek against Adam’s chest. Not the same as cuddling a girl’s tits, but Adam’s got muscle definition along with some nice, comfortable give. Guy tits will totally do. “I wouldn’t kick you outta bed for breakfast, either.”

“That was definitely implying something,” Adam says, combing back Tommy’s hair again. During a blowjob, Tommy totally gets it, but it’s dark now, and Tommy’s not doing anything except breathing, so he’s not so sure what Adam’s tying to see. But it still feels good. “C’mon, baby, up. Let’s go cuddle in your bed.”

“Aw, shit,” Tommy says, hiding his face. “They so heard you say that. Now it’s gonna be baby-baby-baby all fucking week.”

“I could offer to beat them up for you?”

“Dave’s a pussy. Take out Mike first, he fights dirty.”

“I’ll tell my people,” Adam says as Tommy climbs off him, then he climbs off the couch. At the bright flare of his phone, he hisses. “Shit, it’s almost five.” They couldn’t have crashed much later than midnight, which means Tommy got close to four hours sleep already, and he feels like he could manage another five. Considering he’s been living on catnaps for the last week, it’s fucking awesome.

Untangling Tommy’s blanket from his legs, Adam takes his hand to lead him to his bedroom, feeling his way through the dark with his feet. “You’re kind of a pig,” Adam says once they’ve made it safely to the bed.

“Busy,” Tommy says, groping at the tangled sheets, “doin’ stuff.” He crawls in, shivering at the chill of crisp cotton after flaking out on Adam’s warmth. “You comin’?”

Shoving something crinkly out of the way, Adam settles down on his knees beside the bed, chin resting on his folded arms. “I’ve got interviews at ten. If I go back to bed now, I’ll be groggy when I get up again.”

“Fuckin’ Mike,” Tommy mutters.

Adam trails his fingers along Tommy’s forearm, tracing ink in the dark. “Do you have trouble sleeping? They seemed surprised.”

Tommy says, “Sometimes,” scooting closer to the edge of the bed. Adam’s face is only a couple inches away. He hopes that crinkling thing Adam pushed aside wasn’t a skin mag. “Means I’m destined for the rock star lifestyle. Insomniac guitarist.”

“Put that on hold for tonight, okay?” The mattress dips as Adam leans up, guides Tommy into the goodnight kiss he should’ve gotten out front hours ago. “G’night, baby.”

Tommy mumbles, “G’night,” and, “G’luck tomorrow,” or at least something that sounds close to it. He manages to stay awake long enough to hear the front door close, sticking again so Adam’s got to yank it shut. He’s pretty sure he falls asleep grinning.

*

Something nails Tommy in the gut, then hits his bed, vibrating. Shoving the pillow off his head, he gropes through the sheets for his phone, slumping back in relief when it stops.

“We got a no-fucking-on-the-couch rule,” Dave says from the doorway.

Tommy sticks one hand out from underneath the blankets to flip him off.

“Your girlfriend’s been texting you all fucking morning.”

“Not m’girlfriend,” Tommy slurs, and rolls over with a groan. Opening his eyes sounds like way too much effort to be worth it. “Didn’t fuck on the couch.”

“I told you he didn’t,” Mike says. Good ol’ Mike, always got Tommy’s back. “I think they did it in the hall.”

“Oh, fuck you,” Tommy says, rolling over to heave upright, his legs tangling in the untucked sheets. “Fuck you both.”

Dave and Mike exchange another one of those looks, and Mike says, “So much for not getting involved.”

“M’not involved. He had this thing his ex put off, artshow shit, and took me along as his like, wingman. And then we got drunk and watched stuff and passed out,” Tommy says, finally getting his legs free. “He’s a good guy.” More looks. Tommy rolls his eyes. “Seriously. You can fuck off anytime now.”

“It’s almost noon,” Mike points out.

“So?”

Dave says, “We know way too much, man. You’ve been a fucking corpse all morning. You got laid.”

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Tommy says, and gropes through the mess on his floor for a pair of sweatpants to haul on. “We fucked around. It’s not serious. You want a fucking play-by-play or what? ‘Cause if you wanna hear all about how I sucked the fuck out of his big cut cock, you lemme know.”

“You… are not actually joking,” Dave says, and finally shuts his mouth with a snap and goes the fuck away.

“One of you got spunk on his boots,” Mike says conversationally.

“Serves the fucker right.” Tommy drags both hands back through his hair, scratching at his scalp. “Quit lookin’ at me like that.”

“How does having sex with him fit into the ‘not going to fall in love’ plan?”

“Aw, you jealous?” Tommy asks through a forced grin. “C’mere, I’ll give you a lick.”

“No, really,” Mike says, folding his arms as he settles against the doorjamb. “I’d like to know.”

Tommy sighs, shoulders drooping. Dave’s easy to rile up, but Mike, Mike’s fucking glacial. And he’s always seen straight through Tommy’s bullshit. “Fuck if I know, okay? But it’s casual. He’s not looking for anything ‘cept something pretty to get all up in.”

“You’re alright with that?”

“So fucking alright with it,” Tommy says. “You done grilling me now?”

After a moment’s uneasy silence, Mike says, “Yeah, okay. Want a hug?”

“Oh fuck please,” Tommy says, zombie shuffling through the mess of crap on his floor to get into Mike’s open arms. Mike squeezes the shit out of him, and Tommy goes limp with relief, face buried in the crook of his neck. This talking about feelings crap is tough.

“You’d better not be blowing him in there!” Dave hollers.

*

Backstage after the AMAs while Adam’s out giving sound bites, Tommy spends twenty minutes hunched over his phone on YouTube watching Adam try to eat his face on national television. The worst part is, he barely remembers it. Nerves had been killing him the entire time, so close to fucking up his playing, and all he really remembers is thinking oh shit when the roar of blood in his head turned to a hot rush south and his legs almost went out from under him. He watches it happen again, and again, bites back more crazy giggling.

“Britney and Madonna all over again,” Monte says for the third time.

“Nobody said shit about them locking lips.” Tommy’s are still tingling. They hadn’t planned on a kiss, but seconds before it happened, Tommy knew it was coming. Adam gets this look when he’s about to dive in for some sugar. This dark, predatory, better-hold-onto-your-fucking-balls look.

Monte goes, “Hm,” non-committally, and asks, “You all packed?”

“Yeah. Crap’s already in the car.” Tapping nervously at his knee, he checks the time. “Adam on our flight?”

Stuffing something else into a knapsack, Monte nods. “Probably have to meet us at the airport.”

“Oh,” Tommy says. “Yeah, ‘course.”

“Kid, you okay?”

“M’fine, I just.” Tommy’s leg jiggles. “I really fucking hate flying.”

Monte makes another one of those, “Hm,” noises.

“Dude, what?”

Instead of an answer, Monte says, “C’mon. Text Adam from the car, tell him we’re on our way.”

Feeling a little like a child, Tommy gathers up the sweater he left unpacked along with his headphones, and follows Monte out through the warren of halls backstage. He texts Adam along the way, hoping everything’s going alright, and spends the ride to the airport trying not to throw up. Once he’s through security, it’s even worse. He should’ve gotten drunk.

A familiar chime from his phone frightens the shit out of him. thru security, u at the gate?

Already on his feet, Tommy texts back, y.

“That Adam?” Monte asks, hat tugged down low over his eyes.

“Yeah. He’s through security. I’m gonna go meet him.”

Monte grunts and settles down deeper into his seat.

As late as it is, there’s still a fair-sized crowd. Tommy rounds the corner of a cart selling souvenirs, spotting Adam standing more than a head taller behind a family attempting to wrangle up three small kids. Adam dodges the one they’ve got on a leash, glitter sparkling at the corners of his eyes when he flashes the mom a smile. He’s washed off most of the performance, his hair down and his clothes normal, everyday jeans and a tee, but he looks like a rock star still.

“Hey,” Tommy says, and watches his smile flip over to relief.

Adam says, “Tommy,” and wraps him up in a hug. Nestled against his chest, Tommy hugs back as hard as he can. Adam doesn’t look it, but he’s strung tight, thrumming with tension. “ABC cancelled.”

“What?” Tommy shoves back to get a look at Adam’s face. “Motherfuckers, you serious?”

“Yeah, I,” Adam says, and breaks off with a snort. “I thought there would be backlash. I hoped for it, maybe. But for some homophobic corporate mogul to tell me that kissing another man makes me fucking inappropriate-”

Kissing Adam right there in the middle of the airport probably isn’t the best idea ever. But Adam’s pissed off, and it’s making Tommy pissed off, and he knows what people are like, how they judge and hate. All throughout Tommy’s life, his gut-reaction to things that tick people off for no good reason is to quietly, and very deliberately, do them.

Adam huffs a surprised noise, resisting for a split-second before he gives in, sinks into it. Compared to most of the kisses they’ve shared, including the one that’s got ABC’s panties in a twist, it’s sweet, chaste. It makes Adam sigh, and a fraction of the tension holding him stiff melt away.

“I’m fucking exhausted,” Adam mumbles into Tommy’s hair. Keeping an arm slung around Adam’s waist, Tommy leads him to the small cluster of seats they’ve appropriated. At Monte’s light snoring, he makes a rueful face. “I’d love to do that right now.”

“Should start boarding in a few,” Tommy says, settling down beside Adam as close as the seats will allow. “Sleep all the way to New York if you want. Let everyone on the ground worry about the douchebags.”

Once they’re on the plane, after he fiddles his phone into airplane mode so he can still listen to music on it but before the steward is done with the pre-flight announcements, Adam conks out. Tommy’s got the aisle seat, Adam’s got the window. Monte’s one row back with the others right behind him sharing a row. There’s absolutely no one for Tommy to talk to as the plane starts taxiing for the runway.

“Shit,” he hisses under his breath, clutching at the armrests. Flying is safer than driving. A few hundred people choke to death on food every year. He is not going to come out on the other side of this horribly mangled.

“Oh my god, baby,” Adam says, grabbing at his hand, his face, “baby, are you okay, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” Tommy grits out. “What’re you doing awake?”

“You were starting to sound like the victim in one of your freaky horror movies.” Tugging his other earbud out, Adam twists sideways in the seat, rubbing at Tommy’s hand with both of his. “You didn’t tell me you’re afraid of flying.”

“M’not afraid of flying. I just don’t like it.” Something in the back clunks. Tommy throttles back a whine.

“Here,” Adam says, shoving up the armrest between them to tuck Tommy in close. “Does closing your eyes help?”

“Not really. I can still feel it.” Adam, warm and solid against him, that’s helping a bit.

Adam starts stroking his wrist beneath his sleeve, tracing over veins, the knobby bone on the side. “When’s the last time you flew?”

“When I was five maybe? Long time ago. I don’t really like travelling.”

“Oh,” Adam says, frowning.

“Not like that. I mean, I like seeing places. There are tons of cities I’d love to visit. It’s just getting there sucks. Always figured if I got the chance, I’d be touring in a van.”

“A bus. Any touring I do is gonna be in a bus,” Adam says, shifting Tommy so he’s lying half on Adam, Adam’s fingers playing with his hair. His voice sounds thicker coming straight up through his chest, almost drowning out the sound of the thrumming engines. “The Idol bus was cramped, but it was way better than I thought it’d be. Kinda cosy.”

“Cosy’s not what I picture,” Tommy says. “Cramped, totally. Dirty, smelly, full of like, guy shit.”

“Just because your place stinks like guys doesn’t mean my tour bus is going to.”

“You like guy-stink,” Tommy says, wrangling up Adam’s other hand so he’s got something made out of flesh and bone to cling to as the engines spike to a high-pitched whine. “It gets you hot.”

“Wonder why I like you, since you smell like pink bubblegum all the time.”

Tommy laughs, nose wrinkling. “Bubblegum, what the fuck?”

“You do! I don’t know if it’s your hairspray or what, but you smell as much like a Valley girl as you sound like one.”

“Fuck off,” Tommy says, and Adam launches into a spiel from Clueless, acting like he’s imitating Tommy’s voice with likes and totallys and dudes sprinkled all over the place. It doesn’t block out the g-force as the plane takes off, but it’s a distraction, Adam leaning close to his ear to tell him that like, y’know, his hair is so totally for sure pretty, and like, his eyes are really super gorgeous, y’know, like, incandescent.

“You’re a dork,” Tommy says, his heart giving up on trying to burst out of his chest and settling for rattling his ribcage instead. “Big fuckin’ dork.”

“You love me, pretty baby,” Adam says, tugging their joined hands over into his lap as he slumps further into the seat. “Wake me up if you start to freak out again.”

“M’not gonna freak out,” Tommy grumbles, promising right then and there he’s gonna let Adam sleep the entire flight away. He pops in his earbuds one-handed, cycles through his playlists to find something mellow, and resolutely closes his eyes.

Tommy makes it all the way to northern Texas, where they hit a patch of turbulence that has the fasten seatbelts sign lighting up. Almost biting through the inside of his cheek, he gently elbows Adam in the side, deciding if that doesn’t wake Adam up, he can at least say he tried if Adam gets on his case later.

But Adam’s eyes immediately open. Voice sleep-rough, he starts telling Tommy about singing to the stars at Burning Man and swearing they were singing back, though Brad insists it was Neil, and Neil insists it was Brad, and Adam doesn’t care what they say, the universe is made of sound.

*

“S’fucking freezing,” Tommy says, shivering in the gust of sub-arctic air that spills into the elevator from the lobby. He’s bundled up in three shirts and a hoodie, and somehow, winter’s icy fingers still manage to find skin. He crowds in close behind Adam.

“You own twenty-seven sweaters,” Adam says, tugging off his scarf. “I can’t believe you didn’t pack any.”

“I’m in so many layers I’m already waddling,” Tommy grumbles, “if it weren’t so fucking– urk.”

Grinning, Adam finishes looping his scarf around Tommy’s neck, making sure it’s all fluffed up with the ends tucked in. “If we ever make it international, we’ll have to buy you a snowsuit.”

“What the fuck, snowsuit,” Tommy says, yanking his sleeves down over his gloves in preparation for a mad dash through the bitter chill to the waiting van. “Buy me a portable heater.”

In the van, Tommy practically crawls from the back seat into Adam’s lap in the front to get at the vents blasting heat. “Is there a Starbucks near the studio? It’s fuckin’ early, man.”

“About half a block east,” the driver says. “Mr. Lambert needs to be at the studio, but I can drop you off on the way.”

“They’ve probably got coffee there, baby,” Adam says, reaching up to grab onto Tommy’s arm as they take a sharp corner, squeezing through before the light changes. “It’s cold outside.”

“Be okay long enough to get some caffeine,” Tommy says, and to the driver, “Dump me off close to the door.”

The driver takes him right up to the curb, blocking off a taxi trying to pick up a passenger. It’s kind of an asshole move, but Tommy appreciates it as he darts through the cold into the coffee shop. The line moves almost too fast for his liking, and a couple minutes later, he’s speed-walking down the pavement, ducking around to the back parking lot hoping somebody remembered to tell the burly security dudes he was coming.

“Ratliff?” says one of them in a voice like whiskey-soaked jazz. Tommy nods, and starts hoping security is this guy’s day-job. If he can sing at all, it’s probably fucking amazing. “Elvis said to look out for a little guy in a punk scarf.”

“Get inside, popsicle,” says the other guy, opening the gate.

Inside isn’t much warmer than outside, at least until he finds somebody to lead him through the zig-zagging hallways to where the rest of the band is setting up for soundcheck. Adam’s off to one side reading a prompter, somebody at his elbow scribbling random notes onto a clipboard.

“Thanks,” Tommy says to his guide, then winds his way through people and equipment to bump Adam’s elbow. He holds up the extra coffee that’s been keeping his hand warm. “Latte works, right?”

“Aw, thank you!” Adam says, slinging an arm around Tommy for a sideways hug. He lingers there, blowing on his coffee before taking a sip and nodding when the guy with the clipboard starts talking. Tommy flicks a glance the band. He should be over there setting up. Monte lugged his bass in for him, but it’s not Monte’s job to tune it.

“I gotta,” Tommy says, jerking his chin.

“Yeah,” Adam says absently, then seems to catch on. “Oh, right.” One more hug, a kiss pressed to the side of Tommy’s head, and he lets go. “Be over in a minute.”

As Tommy gets busy unpacking and jacking in, and digging through his stuff trying to find his monitor, he catches a couple of the glances Adam slings his way, and more than a few of the ones Monte slings Adam. Usually they’ve got that silent communication thing down pat, but they’re both off today, Monte one second too late to catch Adam, or Adam one second too fast. Finally, Monte switches to catching Tommy’s eye instead.

Tommy gets snagged on the second try. From behind his coffee, he asks, “What?”

“Nothing,” Monte says, then, “you brought him coffee.”

Tommy shrugs. “He lent me his scarf.” And might have to pry it from Tommy’s cold, dead fingers if he ever wants it back. Not only is it warm, it smells like Adam, spicy and mellow all at once.

“I’m not saying it’s any of my business,” Monte says.

“…okay.”

“Talking’s good,” Monte goes on. “Means nobody’s got any ideas they shouldn’t.”

“Are you like, seriously,” Tommy says. “You need a banjo and a shotgun if you’re gonna give me this talk.”

“Not a talk,” Monte says, casually kicking his pedals into place. “If we were having one, it’d be because somebody thought we needed to, and we don’t.”

“Gonna be honest here, you’re confusing the fuck outta me.”

“Don’t confuse the bass player, Monte,” Adam says, coffee in one hand, mic in the other. “You guys ready?”

“Oh hell yeah,” Tommy says. He loves Monte. Monte is fucking kickass. But anything to shut him up right now, holy shit.

Adam says, “Awesome, let’s do it,” and the backing track cuts in, thankfully killing any chance Monte’s got to say something else Tommy really doesn’t need to hear.

Soundcheck leads straight into wardrobe and makeup for Tommy, and he ends up spending twenty minutes longer than he really needs in the chair because the girl doing his face is funny and cute and keeps wanting to put more and more eyeshadow on him. He likes the way it looks, so he lets her do what she wants. Nobody’s going to be paying that much attention on him during the taping, but whatever. It’s fun, and he’s got this whole appearance thing to keep up now since he’s Adam Lambert’s bassist.

When Adam gets a load of it, and the clingy, vaguely see-through shirt Tommy nabbed for the show, his mouth goes slack, lips parted.

“C’mon, Lambert,” Tommy teases, getting a total kick out of the way Adam’s gaze slides down, climbs back up as he straps on his bass, “not the first time you’ve seen me all dolled up.”

“It never gets old, is the thing.” Impatiently, Adam waits for the guy hovering around him with the makeup brush to finish touching up his face. The second the guy backs off, probably to find more goop to cover up Adam’s freckles, Adam heads over to rub Tommy’s shirt between a couple fingers. “This looks really, really good on you.”

“Kinda drafty,” Tommy says, pointing out the places where the weave is so thin it’s barely even there. But it looks cool, and he’s only got to wear it for a bit.

Adam’s hand pushes up Tommy’s forearm, like he’s looking for the edges of Tommy’s ink to trace. “Thank you again for the coffee.”

From the look on Adam’s face, the timbre of his voice, coffee’s not what Adam’s got on his mind. With so many people milling around them, the familiar electric jitter Tommy gets in his belly when Adam’s this close is pumped up a few thousand watts, making his heartbeat stutter. “Thanks for the, um, the scarf.”

“I had an ulterior motive in lending it to you,” Adam says, moving in closer to speak softly in Tommy’s ear, his fingers brushing the shell like he’s tucking the wire to Tommy’s monitor more firmly behind it, but what he’s really up to is stroking along Tommy’s piercings, making them clink. “Now it smells like bubblegum.”

Tommy laughs. “I don’t smell like no pink bubblegum, c’mon.”

“Sometimes you do,” Adam says. His hand rests loosely on the back of Tommy’s neck. “Sometimes you smell even better, warm and sexy and hard.”

Tommy’s throat sticks when he swallows. “Shit.”

“Is it okay if I tell you that? And that I wish you were staying with me instead of going home. Your first time in New York, I should take you out, let you see the city.” Adam’s hand slides down, gooseflesh prickling in its wake, to settle in the crook of Tommy’s elbow a gentler mirror of the death grip Tommy’s got on his arm. “I never did get that chance to suck you off the other night, even though you said I could.”

Tommy doesn’t really remember Adam asking, but if he had, Tommy’s answer would’ve been oh fuck and yes please. There are way, way too many people here to risk talking dirty back at him, and that guy with the makeup brush is probably honing in on Adam by radar right this very second, but Adam’s gotta know how much Tommy is so a-oh-fucking-kay with the idea. If he were any more okay with it, he’d be transcendent.

“I want to know what you like,” Adam goes on, apparently not one bit worried about somebody overhearing. “If you’ll squirm as much with my mouth on you as you did with my hands. If you’ll let me kiss you anywhere I want.”

Staring at the bank of shuttered windows, imagining the crowd just the other side of it, Tommy says, “You gotta stop. Can’t play if you got me all messed up.”

“Think about it.” Pulling back, Adam fixes a lock of Tommy’s hair, smoothing black through blond. “If you’d want that. Because I’ll give it to you if you do.”

Voice stuck, Tommy can only nod.

And think about it. A lot.

*

Thirty seconds after the tweet goes out, Tommy’s phone starts ringing. He tumbles backwards over the arm of the couch to land in a careless, sprawling heap on the cushions as he thumbs connect. “You’re crazy,” Adam says, his smile radiating warm across the line. “They’re going to run with that for weeks.”

“Babyboy,” Tommy singsongs, making Adam burst into a laugh, “s’what you get for callin’ me glitterbaby.”

“But you are!”

“Yeah? Well, so’re you.”

“A glitterbaby?”

“My baby,” Tommy says, not even thinking.

But Adam only laughs again, warm and pleased, as Tommy’s gut clenches. There’s a soft rustle from the other end, then the clink of a glass. “I really wish you’d been able to stay out here with me. I love New York, but it’s not as much fun without friends around.”

“You’re coming back soon, right?”

“Aw, you miss me too.”

“Pft,” Tommy says, scooting closer to the heap of blankets on the other end of the couch. “Just makin’ sure you’re not gonna go all jetset diva on our asses, fly off to Dubai or something instead of coming home to do that Vevo thing. I got bills to pay.”

“I’m not a diva,” Adam protests, in that way where he means that maybe, sometimes, he might be, but not on purpose. “If I were a diva, I’d fire you for failing to pine in my absence.”

“Dude, I’m not a tree.”

“Sapling.”

Tommy can’t keep the stupid grin off his face as he says, “Fuck you,” and wriggles around to get comfy. Sounds like this is gonna be a long, rambling chat, not one of Adam’s quick check-ins.

Out of the blue, Adam asks, “Are you thinking about it?” and Tommy sucks in air so fast he chokes.

This time when Adam laughs, it’s that crazy, bedroom-sexy sound, whispery like skin on skin under sheets. “About me kissing you, Tommy Joe.”

“Like, I wasn’t. I was just kinda thinking ‘hey, it’s Adam, cool’, and now it’s like–” Tommy doesn’t know what the fuck it’s like. Sure, he’s thought about Adam getting all up in his business. From the day Tommy learned which way Adam swung, he wondered if he’d be Adam’s type, and that when they first met, if Adam did the whole picturing him naked thing he does when he runs into a girl so cute and sweet and sexy he can’t help imagining what it’d be like to touch her.

“Tell me,” Adam says.

Mike’s out. Dave’s at his girlfriend’s. There’s nobody to hear him except Adam. His face is flaming like he’s standing on a podium in front of a crowd of ten thousand. “Shit,” he says, with a shaky laugh, “tell you like, where I’m thinking you maybe wanna kiss me?”

Adam makes a low, agreeable noise.

“I know where I want you to kiss me.” Tommy can’t believe this is a conversation he’s in the middle of having. With his fucking boss, Jesus.

“Tell me,” Adam repeats. “Please, baby.”

Tommy bites his lip. If he were chatting up his girl, he’d go soft to start, talk about how much he loves kissing her mouth, when she nips at his neck. But Adam’s a guy, and not really even his guy, and he gets the feeling Adam knows exactly what he’s thinking right now anyway, like Adam’s got a secret entrance to the base of Tommy’s brain. “Thinking ’bout you kissing my dick like you said you were gonna,” he says, his hand skidding up the inside of his thigh barely stopping shy of palming his junk. “And if you’d like, ’cause I like having ‘em played with and all, if you’d suck on my nuts a little for me, before you really got down to it.”

Mostly a groan, Adam says, “Before I get down to what?”

The hot, hectic jitter of Tommy’s insides is dizzying. He squeezes his eyes shut. “You really wanna get your mouth on my ass like that?”

“God, I do,” Adam says, and sucks a sharp breath in through his teeth. “So, so bad. You’re gorgeous, I love your dick, I bet the rest of you is just as pretty. I want to see you.”

Any second now, Tommy’s going to remember how his lungs work. Seriously, any second.

“Is it too much?” Adam asks, and all Tommy can manage is a squeak. He’s played with his hole before, curious enough to try some stuff out, but nothing involving tongues, and not much more than a fingertip. Flying solo, he tends to get way too caught up in his dick to really give it a shot, and when he’s buried in sweet, slick heat, his ass his seriously the last thing on his mind. “Baby?”

“Yeah, no,” Tommy says, wincing at how weird he sounds. “I mean, not too much, no. S’not my usual thing, y’know?”

A long second of silence, then, “Do you like it?”

“I don’t know?” There’s a pause so long Tommy pulls the phone away from his ear to make sure the call’s still connected. “Adam?”

“Sorry,” Adam immediately says, “I just,” and he pauses again, breathes out slowly, laughs. “I’m so turned on right now, and it’s really hard not to ask you to try it for me.”

Tommy blurts, “Like, try it right the fuck now try it?”

“Yes,” Adam says, and laughs again in a way that suggests he’s dead fucking serious.

Tommy sits up, looking around. He doesn’t have a fucking clue what the hell he’s looking for. Possibly a waver in the nice solid fabric of his reality. “While you’re on the phone?”

“That would be amazing, baby. I’d love it.”

“Jesus,” Tommy says, groping for the back of the couch as he stands. “I can’t even like, fucking seriously. You wanna listen.”

“I heard you move,” Adam says. “Are you alone? Please tell me that’s the sound of you closing your bedroom door.”

“Whatever the fuck you’re smoking, you gotta bring some back for me.” Not that Tommy needs it, since Adam nailed it–he totally shut the door, and now he’s standing three feet from his bed with a hand on his fly. “You don’t have me on speaker or anything, do you?” As weird as this is, speaker would be weirder.

“No,” Adam says. “Where are you?”

Jamming the phone between his ear and shoulder, Tommy unzips. “Bedroom. Taking off my clothes, ’cause apparently I’m fucking crazy.”

Adam makes a noise Tommy hasn’t ever heard before, rough and eager, kinda pained like it’s killing him to be thousands of miles away from the shit about to go down in here. Bizarrely, it might’ve been easier to do this with Adam in the room. Less like a show that way.

As Tommy settles down on the bed, sheets tugged all the way down and shirt flung aside, he says, “So, um. How d’you wanna do this?” Figuring it’ll probably get messy pretty soon, he nabs his crumpled towel off the bedpost and spreads it over the mattress, not really caring the towel’s damp still from his shower a few hours ago.

“Play with your cock first,” Adam says. “It’ll be more fun if you’re hard.”

Tommy glances down at the thick curve of his dick resting against his belly. “Yeah, uh.”

“Baby, you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.” There’s another rustle across the airwaves, and Tommy’s hit so hard with the image of Adam sprawled out on a hotel bed, jeans shoved down to his knees and dick in hand, that his chest goes tight. “It’s so hot imagining you doing this for me, but I get carried away, and–”

“No,” Tommy cuts in, “I mean, like, already there. You still want me to jack it?”

Adam’s groan is loud in Tommy’s ear. “From talking about it?”

Wondering what the fuck’s wrong with him, it’s not like Adam’s watching, or that he’d have an issue if Adam were, Tommy palms his junk. His hips rock up off the bed, and he quickly grabs onto his dick, gives it a couple strokes avoiding the head. “I guess, yeah,” he says, voice hitching, “I’m like, I’m really fucking hard.”

And his cock fucking jerks, precome beading thickly at the tip, when Adam says, “Put a hand between your legs, baby. Rub around your hole for me.”

Not sure if Adam means dry or not, Tommy rolls over and goes for the lube tucked between his bed and the nightstand. Staying half on his belly, he drags one knee up, the phone creaking in his grip as he reaches back to smooth it along his crack. Even if he’d done this a million times before, with Adam’s breathing heavy in his ear, he’s sure it’d feel like the first.

Rubbing his hole wet doesn’t feel like much. Not good, not bad, so he rubs his dick against the scratchy cotton towel. That spikes the sensation up to something more like a good time he’d be maybe interested in having. Feeling pretty loose, he goes ahead with pushing in.

“Fuck,” Adam says. “You did it already, didn’t you?”

Chalking how Adam knows up to half a lifetime of fucking pretty boys, Tommy says, “Yeah,” sliding the tip of his finger free, rubbing around his rim a bit more before going back in, waiting for it to get really good.

“Baby,” Adam says, “baby, c’mon, put me on speaker. Use both hands.”

Reluctant, Tommy clutches tighter at the phone. The vague burn when he pushes in isn’t so great, but the slow slide back out sends ticklish relief skittering all along his nerves. Getting more of his fingers wet, he goes in deeper, Adam’s breath rattling in his ear, the echo of a noise like Adam’s casually jacking along with him. “Shit,” Tommy says, shivering, really doing it now, fucking himself on his fingers. He drops the phone onto the pillow, clumsily thumbing speaker, and reaches down to fist his dick. “Oh, shit. It’s like, fuck. I fucking like it.”

“Enough to come?” Adam swallows thickly, so close and loud enough that it feels like he’s right there, watching. “Tell me what you’re doing. Please, I need to know.”

Tommy licks his lip, scrapes it dry. “Just, kinda,” and he breaks off with a shaky laugh. “Pretty much fucking ‘em. Feels good when they, y’know, when they slide out?”

“God,” Adam breathes. “Go deeper. Keep your fingers curled towards you dick, you’re going to love it.”

“Hang on,” Tommy says, flopping over onto his back, knees draw up, feet planted. He’s got his balls cupped in one hand, lifting them out of the way, and he’s about to stuff his fingers back in his ass when he gets a good look at himself. He barks a laugh. “Fuck, I look like such a fucking slut right now, this is crazy.”

“I wish I could see,” Adam says, giving Tommy the split-second urge to snap a picture. But that is crazy, really fucking certifiable. He gets back to it instead, having to breathe out slow when he maybe pushes in too hard. “Easy, nice and slow and easy,” Adam tells him. “I want to hear when you find it.”

Knowing it’s his prostate he’s looking for, Tommy’s got his doubts he’ll be able to reach it on his own. He is so fucking game to try, though. The thick, full-up feeling he gets when he pushes in deeper than before makes his stomach clench, and he keeps going, stroking gently, trying not think about how fucked up it is to feel his own insides squeezing soft, slick and hot around his fingers.

“You ever try fucking me, you’re gonna bust a fucking nut,” Tommy says, forcing the words out steady as Adam moans for him. “‘Cause I am like, really fucking tight, and I bet I’d feel really fucking good on your dick, all soft and– fuck. Fuckright fucking there, holy shit.

Adam says, “Baby, god, I want to, I want to so bad, keep going,” and Tommy’s got no fucking problem doing that, not at all. He’s barely even jerking off anymore, holding his dick firm, thumbing at the head every now and then when he thinks about it but his attention’s on his ass, the strange pressure way down inside. It doesn’t feel anything like the frantic need to fuck that gets him when he’s playing with his cock, harsher than the sweet ache when he tugs on his balls, but so fucking good.

“Jesus,” Tommy says, staring blindly at the ceiling, both hands working, slick-sounding and obscene, and Adam says, “Yes, please, c’mon, let me hear you, oh my god, I wish I were doing this to you, I want to see your face, I want to watch you come,” and Tommy squeezes his eyes shut again, arched up off the bed with his fingers shoved so hard up his ass he’s almost strangling his fucking dick as he shoots. By the time he drops back down, he’s ready to pass out.

“Tell me it was good,” Adam says, and fuck, he sounds like he’s about to go off.

Sluggishly wiping his hand off on the towel, Tommy nudges the phone closer, curling around it like he could touch Adam through the miles separating them. His voice doesn’t sound like his own when he says, “Fucking weird. It was really fucking weird, and so hot, and I like,” he breaks off with another disbelieving laugh at the noises Adam’s making, like hearing all about Tommy fooling around is really fucking doing it for him, “think I got myself in the face I came so hard. And maybe next time I want you to do it for me, make it last longer, show me what it’d be like if you fucked me–” and then Adam’s coming, Tommy can fucking hear it, Tommy totally trash-talked him off.

When Adam’s breathing evens out, Tommy says, “Wow.”

Adam gives a self-satisfied chuckle. “That was amazing. You’re incredible. I can’t believe that was your first time.”

“I date girls,” Tommy reminds him. “They’re not so interested in my ass, y’know.”

“Does it bother you that I am?”

“Fuck no.” Now that they’re not both caught up in the moment, Tommy’s reconsidering the whole bit about Adam’s fucking giant cock anywhere near his ass, though. Fingers are one thing. Fingers are generally slim, and a hell of a lot more dexterous than dick. He’s probably more into having his ass played with than getting it fucked. “I think maybe you’re kinda delusional, ’cause there ain’t much of an ass there, but if you wanna rub one out over it, sure.”

“I’m going to pretend you meant that literally.”

Less than five minutes ago, Tommy had one of the best orgasms he’s had in weeks. This is generally the point where he flakes out, not where he considers hanging around for another go. “You wanna come on my ass?”

Adam lets out a strangled groan. “Tommy–”

“Fuck yeah, you do,” Tommy says. He’s so got Adam’s number now. “You wanna mess me up. Bet you would’ve fucking loved it if you got me in the face when I blew you.”

“Oh my fuck,” Adam says, muffled. “You’re going to kill me.”

Adam’s so fucking honest and open about stuff like this, acting like he thinks Tommy is the fucking sexiest piece of ass ever. It feels like Tommy can say anything, want anything, and Adam’ll be right there with him loving every second. It makes Tommy want to do crazy, crazy shit. Way crazier than fingering himself while Adam’s on the phone listening. “When d’you get back?” Tommy asks.

“Not soon enough. I get in late Sunday night.”

That really isn’t soon enough. Tommy slumps face-first into his pillow and sighs. It’s getting kinda chilly naked on top of the covers. And he should clean up before Mike wanders home. “‘Kay. Text me when you land so I’m not stuck wondering if you’re in a pile of smoking scrap metal or something.”

“You’ve got to get used to flying if you want me to take you around the world, you know.”

“As long as I got somebody’s hand to hold, I’m good.” Heaving a sigh, Tommy sits up. There’s come spattered on his chest, shiny-wet beside his nipple. He swipes at it, smiling ruefully. Almost reached his face, anyway. “G’night, babyboy.”

Adam’s laugh is warm, happy. It burrows ticklishly under Tommy’s skin. “Sleep good, Tommy Joe.”

When Tommy comes back from the bathroom a few minutes later, there’s a text waiting from Adam, asking if he likes kielbasa. Imagining Adam’s laughter, Tommy texts, u know me, put anything in my mouth.

lol ;) comes back, almost as good.

*

“Sorry,” Adam says, wriggling by his best bud Danielle in the dark, big drunken grin plastered on his face as she slaps his hip. He slings an arm around Tommy, nuzzles in close. “Hi, baby.”

Up on stage, Lady Gaga’s having some sort of powwow with the crowd between songs. She looks fucking awesome up there. They’re a lot alike, her and Adam, when they perform. Owning the stage, the audience, getting inside everybody’s heads. She even does that freaky thing where it feels like she’s looking straight at you from yards and yards away.

As Gaga heads back to front and centre, Adam says, “Dance with me,” tugging Tommy out in front of him.

Tommy keeps a tight grip on his beer. “Don’t dance.”

“Yes you do. I saw you.” Hands slide down to frame Tommy’s hips. Adam’s mouth brushes his jaw, tingly-shivery pleasure skittering down Tommy’s spine. Wondering what the fuck Adam’s done with his drink, Tommy sees the half-empty cup caught between his thigh and a few of Adam’s fingers. “Shaking your tiny little ass.”

The familiar, thudding backbeat of Lovegame kicks in, Adam starts whisper-singing in his ear, and Tommy is fucking gone from the second Adam’s said, “I wanna kiss you.” It takes him until Adam’s singing about wanting to touch him for him to twist around, crashing into Adam’s mouth with Adam already on the way down. Adam tastes like booze and fruit and waxy lipgloss, everything about him, from his kiss to his hands guiding Tommy to the rhythm, soft and giving.

Except for his fucking cock in the crack of Tommy’s ass.

“Shit,” Tommy says, falling out of the kiss. Gaga keeps on singing, the audience going wild, screaming along with her, as Adam hooks an arm around Tommy’s waist, pinning him. Danielle’s moved in close to Adam’s other side, another guy from Adam’s platoon of friends to Tommy’s, like they’re both in on Adam’s plan, using the dark and the surging crowd to hide what Adam’s doing. Tommy’s kinda into it, but kinda not, too many people around, and then Adam’s hand skidding over his belly dives down to squeeze his junk.

Adam’s saying something, maybe singing again, who the fuck knows, they’re fucking dry-humping in the middle of a Gaga concert. This is not the sort of shit Tommy gets up to. He can’t figure out if Adam grinding against his ass is weird or good or both, and then Adam shifts, hauls Tommy back by the hand splayed over his dick, and Tommy can actually fucking feel the shape of Adam’s through their clothes, how hard he is, how bad he wants it. And that is so motherfucking hot Tommy’s maybe gonna die.

Giving in, Tommy slaps his free hand over Adam’s and humps into Adam’s palm along to the beat, quick and fast, until he figures out how to rock back into Adam too, smooth roll of his hips like he’s got something to ride.

“God,” Adam says, and, “Fuck, Tommy,” putting them back on Gaga’s rhythm like he’s afraid one of them is going to cream it. His mouth brushes Tommy’s cheek, almost a kiss before he leans back, and Tommy glances up, sees Adam looking down at where they’re grinding against one another, eyes dark and heavy like he’s imagining Tommy naked, spread out and wet, opened up on the shove of his dick. Tommy’s drunk enough he’s not thinking about the logistics of that anymore, or exactly what it’d feel like to have somebody else inside him; all he’s got room for in his head is the way Adam looks right now, dazed and helpless one second, viciously turned on the next. His hand tangles in Tommy’s hair, yanking Tommy’s head back, and Tommy gets hit so hard with the image of Adam fucking him like this, just like this, halfway up on his toes and pinned, no choice but to take it, that he shudders, seriously almost drops his beer.

Lips pressed close to Tommy’s ear again, Adam says, “I’d be so amazing for you. Eat you out and suck you, do it so sweet and slow you’d think you were gonna die before you got to come. I’d make you come so hard, baby. So fucking hard.”

“Gonna do that right fucking now,” Tommy mutters. Inside his shorts is sticky-wet, clinging to his cockhead. It’s so fucked up and so fucking good. If he unzipped, maybe Adam would even get a hand in.

Before he gets a chance, the song ends. Adam collapses into Tommy’s seat without warning and Tommy goes tumbling in after him, beer sloshing over his hand. He lands in a heavy, sideways sprawl, choking on laughter, then on Adam’s tongue. Right as he’s getting into it, Adam’s fingers stroking over his chest find his nipple, circle around it in a way that’s kinda hot, and then Adam fucking tweaks it, making him squeak into Adam’s mouth.

“Oh my god,” Adam says, trying to keep kissing him, rubbing at his stinging nipple with a thumb, “make that noise again, I love it,” and the fucker fucking pinches, the shock of it arrowing through Tommy’s chest straight down into his belly. Tommy squirms away, cracking up like a drunken idiot, and Adam bites his neck. Really fucking clamps on, all teeth and tongue, freezing Tommy in place.

And then Adam’s pushing him to his feet again, already more than halfway through Alejandro, dancing while Monster blasts, and by the time Gaga starts singing about being so happy she could die, all Tommy can think is, Fuck, lady, me too.

*

Tommy stumbles out of the limo on Adam’s heels. “Oh hey,” Adam says, swooping around to catch him, smiling the same great big dopey smile that Tommy’s wearing. He gets one of Tommy’s arms dragged across his shoulders, one of his tight around Tommy’s waist. “You are so wasted.”

“Kept givin’ me drinks,” Tommy says. Next to Adam’s boots, even wearing Creepers, Tommy’s feet look way smaller than the perfectly respectable size nine-and-a-half he is. He leans harder into Adam, as if lugging his wasted ass around is payback for daring be tall. “Fuckin’ giant, carry me.”

The last thing Tommy’s expecting is Adam to say, “Okay,” and scoop him up, arm behind his knees. Considering how much Adam drank, he probably should’ve. Adam giggles and nuzzles at his cheek. “You squeaked again.”

“Did fucking not.” They’re heading for the stairs. The cramped, narrow stairs, with the ninety-degree turn that Tommy sometimes has trouble navigating on his best days. “Jesus, Jesus, put me down.”

“No,” Adam says, jostling Tommy around as he resettles his grip. “Got you now, never letting you go.”

“Dude, if you’re trying to kidnap me, you gotta turn around and stuff me back in the limo.”

Adam sets a foot to the stairs. “Hang on, baby.”

“Oh Jesus,” Tommy says, squeezing his eyes shut, both of his arms flying around Adam’s neck. The warm smell of Adam’s cologne and the clean sweat dampening the back of Adam’s shirt fills his nose. Thanks to the booze, he forgets completely about the insanity that is Adam carrying him up to his door and focuses on the shift of Adam’s muscles, the steady rhythm of Adam’s breath, the sweaty hollow of Adam’s throat. Hauling himself in closer, Tommy kisses the side of Adam’s neck, soft and kinda weirdly chaste.

Like a total freak.

But Adam’s smiling as he sets Tommy down in front of the door. “Home before the coach turns into a pumpkin.”

Tommy strains to hear the sounds of people moving around inside the apartment. “Is Prince Charming comin’ in or what?”

“I’d love to,” Adam says, making no move to follow through. He catches Tommy’s face between his hands instead, taking the time to really look at him, like he’s trying to memorise the slant of Tommy’s forehead or the slight upwards turn at the end of his nose, or the way Tommy’s lips are already parted, licked damp, waiting. The kiss Adam gives him is sweet, gentle, like this is some Hollywood romance, Tommy the girl of his dreams he’s trying so desperately to win over. Like in a lot of those movies, Adam had him at hello.

With one last little kiss, Adam lets go to head back down the stairs. “Don’t forget we’ve got rehearsals for New Year’s!” he calls from the sidewalk.

Dumbstruck, Tommy watches Adam climb in, the door slam shut, and the limo pull away from the curb. He fumbles for the knob and stumbles inside. The living room is dark, the television on but muted, Dave and Mike sprawled out on the couch in its dim glow. “Hey, Cinderella,” Dave says.

“I hate you both,” Tommy groans.

*

“This is fucking crazy,” Tommy says, raiding Adam’s minibar. New Year’s Eve and he’s in a fucking top-floor hotel suite, dawn creeping up on the horizon. He’s buzzed out of his fucking gourd, high on music, this rock star life, on Adam pressed half-naked to his back, the hand Adam’s got stroking up the inside of his thigh. He’s down to his shorts and a tee. Adam’s lost his shirt but still has on his crazy-ass sparkly pants. The weave is rough, scratchy against bare skin as Tommy straightens up. “Found more champagne,” he says, hefting the bottle.

“Open it,” Adam says, his hands wandering higher, sneaking under Tommy’s shirt. “I want to lick it off you.”

Tommy tears clumsily at the shiny foil. Adam cups his junk through his shorts, making his grip on the cork slip. “Dude, you gotta give me a second here, can’t– oh fuck.” Giving up on getting into the booze, Tommy sags back into Adam. Adam’s fingers found the slit in his shorts, and now they’re on his bare cock, stroking his balls. “Fuck, take it out.”

Busily mouthing kisses along Tommy’s neck, Adam says, “No. I want to play with you. Open the bottle.”

“You are fucking playin’ with me.” All fucking night, from the stage to the after party, the after-after party, on the ride from Paramount to their hotel, Adam’s been all over him. Since even before that, the shit they got up to at Gaga’s concert playing on endless loop in Tommy’s brain. They’ve had time for more than the few handjobs they’ve traded over the last couple weeks, but Adam hasn’t pushed, and Tommy’s been scared shitless to try. Knowing Adam wants to fuck him is one thing. Riding his fingers is another. Taking that monster cock up his ass is a whole other universe of seriously fucking insane. That he’d probably have an amazing time barely registers through the tight clench of his chest when he thinks about it.

Only a few spatters of champagne hit the carpet when Tommy finally wrenches the cork free. He grabs for one of the glasses strewn throughout the room, not caring that it’s a tumbler and Adam’s probably going to have a heart attack over him pouring it full of champagne.

“Take this off,” Adam says, tugging Tommy’s shirt up. Fumbling the bottle onto the table, Tommy lifts his arms, shivering in the draft of cool air that follows. Adam’s hands skim lightly down, ticklish near his armpits and even worse skimming down his sides, hooking in the band of his shorts. “All of it. I want to see you naked.”

“Fucking pushy,” Tommy says, bracing a hand on Adam’s shoulder as Adam goes to his knees, Tommy’s underwear tugged down to his ankles. Tommy had a hell of a lot more to say, but once he’s stepped out of his shorts, his brain catches up with what’s going on here, and with his hand already on Adam’s face, thumb dragging over Adam’s lips, Adam’s mouth right fucking there three inches from his dick. “Fuck.”

“Mmhm,” Adam agrees, and sucks at Tommy’s balls.

“Fuck, fuck,” Tommy says, knees buckling. He slumps back against the open minibar, heartbeat pounding in his skull as Adam nudges his legs wider, crawls in between them to suck kisses on the insides of his thighs, lick at his dick hands-free. Chasing the precome smeared along his shaft, Adam catches the head between crazy-soft lips, goes down on him inch by lazy inch. More than the slick, sucking heat, Adam looks fucking amazing doing it, a flicker of blue eyes behind thick, dark lashes, the even darker fall of his hair. Tommy pushes his fingers back through product-sticky strands, holding it off Adam’s face so he can watch. Glitter rains down to the carpet.

Adam pulls off way too soon. His mouth is wet, glistening, and Tommy can’t help touching it. Wanting to fuck it. Adam’s teeth snag his fingers, cheeks hollowing as Adam sucks them in to the knuckle, tongue teasing between. Letting up again before Tommy’s ready, Adam climbs to his feet, gives Tommy a wicked smile and a kiss that tastes only a little like where his mouth just was. “On the bed.”

“No way,” Tommy says, putting a token bit of distance between them, bottle caught up in one hand and the tumbler in the other. “You lose the cockblocking shit, too. Gimme some skin.”

The same as if Tommy had asked for him to pass the pepper, Adam casually unzips. Standing there in freckles and glitter, he’s gorgeous. Even more gorgeous when he slides his thumbs into the waist of his pants and shimmies them down, taking whatever he’s wearing underneath along for the ride. Tommy’s seen his dick before. He fucking sucked it, he knows what it looks like, that Adam’s big and cut and leans a little to the left when he’s hard, but this is so fucking different.

Hand skimming his cock, letting Tommy keep the distance between them, Adam asks, “Okay?”

“Holy shit,” Tommy says, backing towards the bed, spilling more champagne when he stumbles down onto it. “Fuck, c’mere, I wanna, I wanna rub all fucking over you, Jesus Christ.”

“Scoot back, baby,” Adam says, already there to take the tumbler out of Tommy’s grip. Setting it on the bedside table, he dips a couple fingers in, drags them wet and cool along Tommy’s collarbone. The mattress dips as Adam kneels on it, straddling Tommy’s legs. “Lie down, let me look at you.”

Wriggling closer to the centre of the bed, grip white-knuckled on the neck of the champagne bottle, Tommy eases down onto his back. Adam goes back for more booze, fingers dripping as he traces them along Tommy’s ribs, stuttering dry when he circles a nipple. He goes back again, swooping back down past Tommy’s bellybutton, angling out over his hip, back in again towards his cock. Both hands braced on the bed, gaze on Tommy’s the whole way, Adam leans down, follows the path his fingers took with his tongue.

“Don’t have to fucking– shit,” Tommy says, arching up as Adam’s tongue dips into his bellybutton, heat flooding his dick like Adam’s sucking him again. “Don’t gotta warm me up, I’ll fucking put out, lemme get my hands on you, Adam, fuck, c’mon.”

Catching Tommy’s wrist, Adam pins it to the bed, smiles down at him alley-cat smug. “D’you want to fuck me?”

Tommy’s heart stops, his whole universe screeching to a halt. But Adam keeps smiling, stroking his side. It doesn’t look like he’s teasing. He even takes the champagne bottle out of Tommy’s hand, setting it on the nightstand beside the tumbler.”You mean like, fuck you, put it in you kinda fuck you? ‘Cause I thought you didn’t, like, you said you don’t–”

“Not with random hookups, no,” Adam says, then laughs. “Not with a lot of people. But you’re not a lot of people, Tommy Joe. And I think,” he adds, brushing a kiss across Tommy’s mouth, “I think you’d be a really sweet fuck.”

Tommy can’t even fucking breathe. And it’s not even the whole anal sex thing–been there, done that, still enjoy the fuck out of it every now and then, but when he’s got a girl, warm and wet and willing, he almost always wants the slick, easy give of the usual way. Adam is the complete and total opposite of everything he thought he ever wanted.

“Oh fuck,” Tommy says, so insanely grateful for the booze thick in his blood when Adam’s hand closes on his cock. “Fuck, yes, I’d fucking love to. Can I, I can get you ready, right?” Grabbing onto the back of Adam’s thighs, Tommy drags himself across the sheets, pushing both hands up to cup Adam’s ass, really get a good feel for it while he can in case Adam’s not into it. “I want to, I wanna finger you so fucking bad, let me do it?”

Adam laughs, looking delighted and relieved all at once. What the fuck he was worried about, Tommy doesn’t even have a clue. Anybody with a pair of eyes would think twice before writing off the chance to have a go at Adam. “You can do whatever you want, baby,” Adam says, kissing him again, “as long as you don’t try to make me come before you’re in me.”

Tommy flings an arm across his eyes. “You gotta not say shit like that, or I’m gonna be the one losing it.”

Darting in to nip at Tommy’s jaw, Adam says, “Come up here,” and climbs off to lie down on his side, head on the pillows. Tommy rolls up on one elbow to look at him, stroking a hand along his calf. “Here,” Adam says again, giving the sheets in front of him a pat. “I want to watch you while you do it.”

About to scoot in, Tommy pauses. “Where’s your stuff?”

Adam twists around to pull open the drawer in the nightstand. A string of three condoms and a small bottle of lube hit the bed, the lube rolling until it hits Tommy’s knees. He picks it up, eyebrow arched. “Figured I was a sure thing, huh?”

“Hoped,” Adam says, reaching out to tug him down so they’re lying face to face, Adam’s leg sliding over Tommy’s, hooking on Tommy’s hip, his hand sliding down Tommy’s forearm to lace their fingers together. “I love your hands.”

“It’s paying guitar,” Tommy says, “makes ‘em strong,” busily focused on keeping air moving in and out of his lungs as Adam pops the top on the lube, spreads it over their fingers, then drags Tommy’s hand down, pushing it between his legs, up past the soft, heavy weight of his balls into the crack of his ass. There’s nothing but warm skin shaved smooth, and Tommy’s head drops down, forehead resting on Adam’s collarbone and gaze fixed on the hard curve of Adam’s cock as Adam’s touch slips away, leaves him with his fingertips pressed to Adam’s asshole. Other hand pressed to Adam’s chest, Tommy bites his lip and rubs the rim wet, barely pressing hard enough to feel muscle resist. “Jesus.”

Adam hums quietly, the sound thrumming up through his chest sinking into Tommy’s bones. “Go on, all the way.”

With car-crash pile-up jamming Tommy’s voice, he angles his finger to sink in, the strange, jittery clench of his insides turning to full-on shudders at slick heat clutching at him. He’s going to get to feel that on his fucking dick. Adam’s going to let Tommy get all up in it, really seriously fuck him. Groaning crazy-loud, Tommy bites at Adam’s chest, Adam’s fingers carding his hair as he starts kissing and sucking and licking anywhere he can reach as he works Adam open.

Adam sighs, rolling easily onto his back when Tommy pushes, keeping his legs spread as Tommy leans up over him, nuzzles into the thin trail of hair low on his belly. “Knew you’d be good,” he says, hips rocking up as Tommy tucks a second finger in beside the first, keeps going easy and slow and careful though every part of him is screaming to get inside Adam right the fuck now.

Hand braced on Adam’s hip, Tommy says, “I want to fuck you like this,” and drags his fingers through the bit of slick leaked onto Adam’s stomach. “I’ve gotta fucking see you take it.”

“Anything you want, baby,” Adam says, arms stretched out above his head, knees drawing up, Tommy framed between them.

Tommy gets a hand on Adam’s balls, hefts them out of the way and shifts to the side so the light falls square on Adam, shows the lube glistening on his ass, Tommy’s fingers pushing up into him. Edging closer, thighs tucked under Adam’s, knees spread as wide as they’ll go, Tommy catches Adam’s dick in his other hand, jacks it with Adam watching, eyes heavy, the curve of his smile even heavier. He doesn’t say a word when Tommy reaches for the condom packets, tearing one open to roll on a rubber one-handed.

“So fucking sexy,” Adam says, and Tommy flings him a shaky smile, finally getting his dick in close enough to rub the head along Adam’s crack. Adam tenses, then loosens up again, eyes slipping shut as Tommy pushes in. Tommy doesn’t get far before his eyes are snapping open again, his mouth going slack. “God, that’s so good, keep going just like that, baby.”

“Tryin’,” Tommy grits out, figuring Adam’s the one guy he can admit to that this is really fucking getting to him, and it’s taking everything he’s got not shove the whole thing in him in one go. “You’re so fucking tight, I just wanna–” He falls forward onto one hand, fist tangling in the sheets. It’s not fucking normal how good this feels.

“Go harder if you want,” Adam says, low, kinda husky, like his throat’s gone tight and his tongue thick. His hand finds Tommy’s through the twisted blanket, his other hand splayed wide on his belly, fingers spread out around the base of his dick. “Put it all in me, and fuck me.”

“Jesus,” Tommy says, “Jesusfuck,” because this is crazy, so fucking crazy, it looks so good watching his dick push into Adam, feels even fucking better, and when he gives up fighting, fucks the rest of it in, Adam moans for him, a thready noise caught high in the back of his throat.

And then moans again on the slow drag out, the fuck back in. Sharp and shallow a couple times to really loosen him up so Tommy can go deeper, imagine how it must feel from the way Adam’s mouth falls slack, eyes tightly shut.

When Tommy tries to get a hand on Adam’s dick, make it better, Adam swats him away, pins his wrist to the bed. “Don’t wanna come yet,” Adam says, “just wanna feel you.”

Tommy twists his hand free and grabs onto Adam’s hips, goes long and slow, air molasses-thick in his lungs. He shoves in closer, trying to get at Adam’s mouth, wanting to taste the quiet noises that come shivering out of him. Adam’s eyes flash open, the soft start of a smile fucked loose as his arm drops around Tommy’s back, nails digging in lightly.

“Fuck, get your legs up,” Tommy says, jostling free a sound that started out as a laugh and ends up a ragged groan as he grabs Adam behind the knee, hooks both of Adam’s legs in the crooks of his elbows to fuck in harder, short, shallow thrusts that get Adam panting for breath, groaning again when Tommy dials it back, dragging this out for as long as he can. Adam’s cock is thick on his belly, slip-sliding through precome, and it’s gotta be now, Tommy’s got to see Adam loose it this fucking second.

Adam hisses, “Shit,” when Tommy finally gets hold of his dick, jacks him hard and fast right near the head. “Wait, not yet, I–”

“Said anything I wanted, babyboy,” Tommy says, backing off a bit but not letting go. “I wanna see you go off, wanna make it happen.”

“Just fuck me, I promise I will, just, please, baby,” Adam says, as close to wrecked as Tommy’s ever fucking heard him, and what the Jesus is Tommy gonna do, say no to Adam Lambert fucking begging Tommy to dick him senseless? Sliding his hand off Adam’s cock, he curls an arm beneath him instead, braces a hand on the back of his thigh to hike his ass up so Tommy can bottom out, grind into him, pull back nice and long and do it all over again. Sweat tingles at Tommy’s hairline, prickling along his back in waves that heat, cool, heat again, hardly a pause for breath in the sounds pouring out of Adam sweeter than when he sings his heart out, because all of this is for Tommy, only him. Just tonight, all of Adam is his.

“Please come,” Tommy rasps, the slick, wet noise of him moving inside Adam so fucking close to driving him over the edge. “Please, I gotta, let me jerk you off, I’m gonna come, I gotta come so bad.”

“So close,” Adam says, his hand fisted tight in Tommy’s hair, using it like a leash to keep Tommy going, fucking into him so hard and fast Tommy’s lungs are burning, “almost there, baby, don’t stop, don’t fucking stop, I love it, you’re so fucking good,” total mindless trash-talk as he fucking finally comes, Tommy’s hand flying to his cock to feel it pulse, get the mess dripping all over his fingers and down onto Adam’s belly.

When Adam’s grip on Tommy’s hair goes slack, Tommy chokes on a growl, shoves his legs up hard and fucks into him short and sharp and desperate. He’s so fucking loose it’s easy, and Tommy comes staring at the come spattered high on Adam’s sweat-slicked chest, come and glitter and freckles all shining in the lamplight. He drops one of Adam’s legs to grab his jaw, shoving their mouths together in a clumsy kiss before his body gives out on him, his cock slipping free as he slumps down onto Adam in a useless wheezing heap.

“That was fucking insane,” Tommy mumbles long minutes later, still trying to figure out this moving thing he used to know how to do.

“Mm,” Adam says absently, fingers combing through the hair damp at Tommy’s nape.

“You came on my fucking cock.”

Adam’s laugh is a lazy, satisfied rumble echoing through his chest. “Told you I would.”

“I didn’t fucking think you meant just my dick, holy fuck, Adam. Just. Fuck.”

A slight tug on Tommy’s hair brings his head up. “You liked it?” Adam asks, thumb brushing gently beneath Tommy’s eye, black makeup probably smeared over half his freaking face.

“‘Like’ is a pretty fucking sad word for it. I can’t even fucking think of a word right now. Fucked ‘em all straight outta my head.” Tommy drops his head back down. Adam smells like sex. The whole room smells like sex, but Adam smells like the fucking best kind, warm and dirty and thick. “Can’t even fucking move,” he grunts.

“I hope you can move soon,” Adam says. “I’ve got this room for most of tomorrow, and there’s a giant tub in the bathroom I was looking forward to trying out, and there are extra blankets in the closet.”

Tommy tucks his arms close to Adam’s sides. It is starting to get a bit chilly. “You askin’ me to sleep over?”

“Breakfast in bed tomorrow.”

“Fuckin’ sold,” Tommy says. “Wake me when you’re done pruning.”

“Nuh uh, Tommy Joe,” Adam says, levering up, disrupting Tommy’s comfy perch. Tommy makes a grab for the condom before it spills everywhere, making even more of a mess, and ties it off, looking around for something to dump it in. The trash is too far away, but Adam’ll make pissy face at him if he dumps it in the champagne left to warm in the tumbler. With a sigh, he shuffles off the edge of the bed and gives it a toss into the trash. “You fucked me, you get to cuddle me in the bath until all the ache is soaked out.”

Picturing Adam lounging wet and soapy between his legs, all spread out against his chest, Tommy says, “Yeah, okay, if I gotta.”

“Damn straight you gotta,” Adam says, sliding off the bed a hell of a lot more smoothly than Tommy managed, and Tommy wasn’t even the one who got done up the ass for half the fucking night.

It goes pretty much exactly the way Tommy thought it would, him leaning against the edge of the tub and Adam leaning against him, except it’s even fucking better. Adam’s all fucked out and relaxed, humming lazily as Tommy strokes soapy hands down his chest, even letting Tommy wash his dick, reach between his legs again to clean lube from around his asshole. It feels hot and swollen against Tommy’s fingertips, sore, but Adam only makes a vague, contented sound, his head tipped back onto Tommy’s shoulder.

“S’my favourite,” Adam says, sleep-hazy, the partying and the booze and sex catching up with him all at once. “Having somebody around after the really mind-blowing sex.”

“Not really the fuck-and-run type,” Tommy admits, picking up the flute of champagne he salvaged from the bottle. Adam claimed he’d had enough, and yeah, Tommy’s head is swimming. The booze probably isn’t really going to help with that,.

“I can’t wait to sleep with you,” Adam says, sounding like he’s already bundled under the sheets. His fingers flick absently at some bubbles. Trying to veto the bubble bath ended in total failure. Tommy doesn’t like the smell of it–he’d actually much rather sleep with his nose jammed into Adam’s armpit–but Adam’s a hedonist, and he is the one with the sore ass. “I hate sleeping alone. It’s always so much better when there’s someone to hold.”

“You’re gonna make me the little spoon, aren’t you,” Tommy says, his glass clinking on the tile.

Adam’s eyes open a fraction. “Is that okay?”

Tommy’s very used to sleeping alone. “We can give it a shot.”

Eyes closed again, Adam smiles.

They’re both so done by the time they crawl out that it takes two of them to strip the bed. Tommy has slight guilt over the mess on the duvet, but water-based lube, a bit of jizz and some champagne isn’t going to ruin it. A pain to wash, maybe, but this place probably has industrial machines. They can handle it. Probably not the worst thing that’s ever ended up on hotel room sheets, anyway.

It turns out they don’t need the extra clean blankets. Adam is a fucking furnace, and he wasn’t lying about the cuddling. Lights turned out, he scoots into the centre of the bed, holding the light sheet up for Tommy to crawl in after him. The minute Tommy settles down, Adam’s on him like an octopus, arm around his waist, leg tucked in between his, slotting them together from shoulder to thigh like pieces of a puzzle he’s going to make fit or else.

“Wow,” Tommy says, staring into the false dark. Outside, the sun’s been up for awhile.

“Not good?” Adam asks.

“No, yeah, it’s okay,” Tommy says. “It’s good. Being the little spoon’s fucking weird.”

“Next time, you can be the big one,” Adam says, and Tommy’s heart gives one hard, slow thump. He doesn’t doubt Adam means it. There’s going to be a next time. Tommy gets to have this–the screaming crowds, the rock star parties, the posh hotels, Adam lust-drunk and touch-dazed, hard and wanting, gratefully mellow and cuddly and happily holding Tommy close–he gets to have it all.

Squeezing his eyes shut, he breathes out long and slow, and concentrates on the sleepy rhythm of Adam’s thumb stroking his belly.

*

Adam’s only been gone, like, three days. They’ve gone way longer without seeing one another before, only a few texts and maybe a phone call or two to stay in touch, but this time, waiting for Adam to pull up the drive, Tommy feels like he’s going to vibrate out of his skin. He thinks about calling Mike, or Mia, or the fucking pizza delivery guy, anything to distract him from being surrounded by all of Adam’s stuff, everything fucking smelling like Adam, without Adam actually being here. He’s never fucking housesitting for the guy again.

Maybe he shouldn’t have slept in Adam’s bed.

Around half past three, two hours after he got the text from Adam saying the plane had landed and he wasn’t dead, comes the sound of the Mustang rolling into the drive. Tommy thinks about playing it cool, casually flaked out on the couch watching movies waiting for Adam to come in, but he thinks that’s kind of an asshole thing to do, and Adam might need help with his luggage or something.

Tearing open the front door and bounding down off the stoop as Adam climbs out of the car is probably not the most suave Tommy’s ever been in his life. Neither is launching himself straight at Adam, nor clinging to the guy like a fucking monkey, but Adam’s laughing, and hugging him, so Tommy’s having a hard time caring.

“Hey, baby,” Adam says, ruffling Tommy’s hair.

Biting back, Never fucking go away again, because that’s just crazy, borderline possessive, and probably not the best thing to say first thing, Tommy says, “I ate all your food.”

“I told you to,” Adam says, gently extracting himself from Tommy’s grabby hands to go lift his suitcases out of the back. “It all would’ve spoiled anyway.” Tommy goes to lift one of the suitcases out of Adam’s grip, and Adam yanks it back, says, “No, no, this one,” while shoving the other smaller one at him.

Lips pursed, Tommy stares at it.

“Your present is in the big one.”

“Dude, you got me a present?”

“Of course I did!” The Mustang chirrups, locks engaging with a clunk, as Adam heads up to the front door. “You housesat for me, of course I brought you a present,” Adam says, shaking his head as he disappears inside.

When Tommy makes it in after him, wondering what the fuck Adam’s got crammed in the tiny suitcase that weighs fifty fucking pounds, Adam’s already in the bedroom, his other suitcase opened and clothes slung everywhere over the bed. “Aha!” Adam calls, and turns around, blinks at finding Tommy right there behind him. “Thank you for housesitting for me,” he says, presenting the crinkling bag with a flourish.

It’s bright green and gold, kinda heavy, shaped like a potato chip bag. Tommy squints at the script on it. “Cod Chips?”

“You do like salty things.”

“Chips made out of fish?”

“You wanted more fish in your diet.”

“I’m pretty sure turning something into salty snack food totally kills all health benefits,” Tommy says. He gives the bag a cautious shake. He does love chips. And fish is pretty tasty. The whole fish chip thing, though, he’s not so sure about that.

Adam won’t stop grinning at him.

“You’re a total shit.” Tommy tears open the bag. The smell of old, dried-up fish smacks him in the face. Breathing through his mouth, he tries to keep his nose from wrinkling.

Sniffing at the air, Adam says, “Wow. Maybe you should eat those outside.”

“What’re you talkin’ about,” Tommy says, “smells delicious,” and, bracing himself, pops one into his mouth.

Adam’s whole face scrunches up.

“Huh,” Tommy says.

“I’m never going to kiss you again.”

“They’re good!” Demonstrating, he chows down on a few more.

“I don’t think I thought you’d actually eat them. Maybe put them on your bookshelf like a Canadian trophy.”

“Pussy,” Tommy says, crossing the room with a small chip held out. “Try it.”

Adam ducks, hands flailing. “What, no.”

“Try it,” Tommy says, shoving it at his face.

“They’re for you!”

“And they’re motherfucking delicious.” Giving up on getting Adam to eat the chip, Tommy drops it back into the bag, clutching at the top to keep them from spilling all over the carpet as he grabs at Adam, wrestles him in to mash their mouths together.

Adam stumbles around making noises like a dying buffalo, hands grabbing randomly at Tommy until he remembers that he knows how to play dirty and he jabs his fingers into Tommy’s armpits. Tommy holds on, and holds on, and then it’s too much, his insides are squirming, his skin is crawling. He squeaks, muffled by Adam’s mouth, and lets go.

“Ha!” Adam crows, licking his lips. When the taste hits him, he makes a face and scrubs off his mouth with the back of his arm. “You little shit.”

“S’delicious.” Tommy smacks his stinging lips together. “All salty and fishy.”

Face like a thundercloud, clawed hands outstretched, Adam takes a menacing step forward.

“I stopped,” Tommy says, cautiously backing out into the hall. “I won’t do it again.”

“Oh honey,” Adam says, and Tommy’s stomach pulls off a fancy somersault, landing somewhere around his feet, “it’s too late now.”

Tommy screams, “No!” at the top of his lungs and takes off running. “No, Adam, I’m sorry, don’t–Oh fucking Jesus.” Adam is right fucking behind him. God damn motherfucking giant legs. Tommy takes a hard right into the kitchen, his chances of making it to the front door fucked, but maybe if he gets the table between them, Adam’ll lose interest. He skids to a stop clutching a chair. “Please don’t tickle me.”

Adam says, “I didn’t want to eat the chip, either,” voice perfectly calm, at total odds with the evil glint in his eye and his smirking face. “I think you missed your chance. You owe me.”

“Blowjob?” Tommy asks hopefully.

Adam shakes his head. “Take it like a man, Tommy Joe.”

“I don’t like being tickled,” Tommy tries.

“Liar.”

Heat prickles at Tommy’s face. Mike’s supposed to be the only one who figured him out. All the other guys Tommy’s mock-wrestled with never went for the armpits. Not manly enough or some shit. But the very first time he and Mike got into it for the remote, Mike went straight for all the vulnerable spots, and Tommy ended up a panting mess on the floor curled around the boner he hoped Mike wouldn’t notice.

Of course Mike fucking noticed. And didn’t care, but fuck, it’s the principle of the thing.

Adam arches an eyebrow expectantly.

“Like, twenty seconds,” Tommy mutters, shuffling out from behind the table, leaving the chip bag crumpled on top of it. “I didn’t even get any tongue.”

“Because you’ve got nasty salt cod breath,” Adam says, backing towards the living room, coaxing Tommy along like a lamb to slaughter.

“I’m gonna breathe on you so much,” Tommy threatens.

“Mmhm,” Adam says, pointing imperiously at the carpeted floor.

“Put fish oil in your shampoo,” Tommy says, gingerly lying down, his stomach already squirming, only getting worse as Adam straddles his thighs, pushes his shirt up so he’s all half-naked and vulnerable to evil tickling fingers. He breathes heavily through his mouth, sort of trying to pre-emptively pay Adam back for what he’s about to do, but mostly trying to keep his heart from beating out through his ribcage.

Taking hold of one of Tommy’s wrists, Adam stretches his arm out above his head, holding it down. “This is kinda sexy,” Adam says, trailing his fingertips lightly across Tommy’s belly, halfway between a tickle and a caress. “You look really good down there.”

“Maybe you should like, jerk off on me instead. That’ll teach me.”

“It’s a thought,” Adam says, fingertips trailing up Tommy’s side, still feather-light, angling across his chest before they get too close to his underarms. Tommy ends up squirming away in anticipation anyway, and Adam’s grin turns feral. “Maybe later.”

Tommy squeezes his eyes shut, but that makes Adam’s trailing touches even worse. His nerves are so fucking messed. His insides are all twisty and his cock is thickening up, and his breathing’s gone shallow already.

“So fucking sexy, baby,” Adam says, and starts skittering his fingers all around Tommy’s underarm, the maddening itch building and growing and snaking into Tommy’s belly, making him twist and buck. Letting go of Tommy’s wrist, Adam goes straight for his armpits, digging in and then ghosting fingers down Tommy’s sides, digging in again, fucking torturous. Tommy can’t help trying to fend him off, arms tucked close to his sides and then grabbing at Adam’s hands, but Adam’s always one step ahead of him, getting him in the neck, his armpits again.

“Stop!” Tommy hollers, laughing helplessly as he bats at Adam’s hands, “oh fuck, stop, stop, I’m sorry, I won’t do it again!”

Taking hold of both Tommy’s wrists, Adam pins them above his head. “I’m not sure I believe you.”

Tommy drags in a few shuddering breaths. “Gonna put fish flakes in your cereal.”

“You little bitch!” Adam crows, delighted, and his fucking diabolical hands are back, fingers skittering around so fast Tommy can’t keep up, doesn’t even fucking know where to grab because everywhere’s crawling, driving him fucking insane. He can’t even fucking breathe anymore, his lungs are going to burst. And still Adam keeps tickling, and tickling, and Tommy’s writhing, wheezing, sweat tingling at his hairline, the small of his back, and he’s so fucking hard it almost hurts.

“Please,” Tommy rasps, “s’enough, can’t,” barely able to lift his arms, but he can’t stop struggling, pathetic and weak and helpless and probably hardly even a blip on Adam’s radar anymore.

“God,” Adam says, “god, Tommy,” and there’s a rough tug, the grate of Tommy’s fly yanked open. Tommy whines when Adam tugs his dick out, whines even louder when Adam starts jerking him off fast and frantic, like Adam’s the one who’s fucking dying for it. “I want to fuck you so bad, baby,” is a hot push against Tommy’s mouth, and Tommy’s nerves are still buzzing, he’s still twisting, phantom-tickles sparking beneath the palm Adam fits to his side. “You’re so fucking gorgeous, I want to see you move like that on my dick, see you all strung out, helpless, so fucking,” and then Tommy can’t hear a fucking thing through the rush of blood in his ears as he comes.

Adam wiping his hand clean on Tommy’s stomach barely registers. The sound of Adam spitting, then the slick, wet slap of him jerking off manages to make it through the white noise in Tommy’s head, and he struggles to open his eyes. Adam’s hunched over him, head down, eyes wide fixed on Tommy’s cock resting in the mess on his belly. “C’mon,” Tommy says, sandpaper thin, and reaches for Adam’s thigh, “c’mon, do it, fucking do it if you wanna,” and Adam groans, fingers digging hard into the carpet as he shoots. Tommy sucks in a sharp breath, stomach hollowing, at the warm splatter of come, not exactly new to getting jizz on all over him but so fucking different when it’s not his.

“Tommy,” Adam says, spunk smearing onto Tommy’s cheek as Adam cups his face, kisses his, “I couldn’t, fuck, I should’ve asked, made sure, god, Tommy,” and his hand drags down, skips over Tommy’s rucked-up shirt to get at the mess glistening on Tommy’s skin, rubbing it in. “You make me so fucking crazy,” he says, a rueful laugh as his hand stops short of Tommy’s dick, fingers twitching like he wants to see it slicked wet with his own come.

“Didn’t have to fucking ask,” Tommy says, dragging hair out of his face, up off his neck, to get some cool air touching overheated skin. “I got down here for it, didn’t I?”

“Yeah, but.” Adam bites his lip and huffs a laugh. “Letting me fuck around with the tickling thing isn’t the same as inviting me to maul you.”

“Kinda really is.” Seriously, Adam’s brain ends up in some weird places sometimes, and it’s not like Tommy’s ever opposed to orgasms. “Welcome home, by the way.”

Flushed and smiling, eyes bright, Adam laughs. “So much better than an empty house and rotten vegetables.”

*

“Fucking Mexico,” Tommy says, leaning heavily on the balcony railing. He’s so full of tequila he can barely stand up, pot smoke swirling thick in his fuzzy brain, and it’s awesome. Tomorrow they’re back in smoggy LA, fucking Burbank, but tonight, he’s in paradise. “Dude, you’re killin’ that thing.”

“Shouldn’t've left me with it,” Adam says cheekily, plucking out another twangy string of notes. His gaze flickers down as Tommy settles back against the railing, then crawls back up again like a slow-motion pan. The night air’s so warm, Tommy’s in a ribbed tank and boxers. Adam’s on the bed in just a pair of board shorts, the battered acoustic guitar they picked up from a street hawker for fifty bucks balanced on his knee. “Thought you were gonna show me how to play?”

For the fifth time tonight, Tommy says, “Not a very good teacher,” and crosses the room, shoving at Adam’s arm to get the space to wriggle into his lap. Sweat-sticky, bare skin catches. With a muffled giggle, Tommy rubs his shoulder against Adam’s bare chest, imagines the scrape of sand, the sharp chemical smell of chlorine clinging to it. He buries his face in Adam’s neck and tastes nothing but salt, smells only the heat of Adam’s skin.

“S’okay,” Adam says, “not a very good student.”

“Alright.” Tommy smacks his hands together, wrestling the guitar out of Adam’s grip. “Let’s do this thing. Put your hands on mine.”

“Put your little hand in mine,” Adam singsongs, nuzzling into the crook of Tommy’s neck.

“Hey, c’mon,” Tommy says, laughing and ducking his chin, “pay attention. Tryin’ to teach you shit.”

“Said I was a terrible student.” But Adam obediently settles his fingers over Tommy’s, thumb lightly stroking the curve of Tommy’s thumb.

Tiny sparking shivers skitter along Tommy’s skin. He wets his lips, thinking about Adam’s thighs pressed tightly to his hips, the warm, thick heat of Adam’s cock against the small of his back. He leans into Adam a little more. “So we’ll start with like, chords. Chords are easy.”

“Says you.”

Making sure Adam’s paying attention, Tommy runs through a couple, fully intending on having Adam try them out after he repeats them a few times. Halfway through his second go, Adam starts stroking his fingers, almost messing him up. By the time he gets back to the start, Adam’s kissing his neck, his shoulder, saying, “I love your hands, baby, keep going,” and Tommy’s fingers sink into something slow and bluesy on autopilot, steady seductive beat as his head falls back, Adam’s teeth scraping his throat.

“God,” Adam says, his hands pushing along the insides of Tommy’s thighs, spreading them wide, “I want to do everything to you. I can’t get enough.”

Tommy’s hands fumble to a stop. “Gonna touch me?”

“Keep playing,” Adam says, rubbing at Tommy’s belly, his thighs again, staying way too far away from his dick. Swallowing hard, Tommy tries picking up where he left off, but it’s stuttering, choppy chords again with Adam’s fingers stroking over his dick, nudging cotton aside to barely brush bare skin. Trying harder, Tommy gets something close to the bar blues shuffle going, and Adam’s answering laugh vibrates low and sultry through his chest, a palm finally cupping his junk, giving his dick a slow, stroking squeeze.

“Fuck, yeah, c’mon,” Tommy says, concentrating like a motherfucker, fingers stumbling every now and then but keeping the shuffle going as Adam works his cock over, the head caught against his belly by the band of his shorts, precome smearing everywhere. Rocking into Adam’s hand messes up his playing even more, but he’s quick to get back to it as Adam eases off, the threat to stop if Tommy does coming through loud and clear.

Tommy doesn’t last through one more progression before he blurts, Adam’s thumb circling his slit over and over and over, filling his belly with ticklish pleasure, “You should fuck me.”

Adam muffles a groan in Tommy’s back. He says, “Baby, I want to,” almost like he’s trying to say no.

Clumsily setting the guitar aside, Tommy tries to twist around, but Adam holds him firm. “I know you fucking want to,” Tommy says, grabbing at the back of Adam’s hand, pushing it harder against his dick. “Wanted to for weeks, fucking months. S’fucking killing me thinking about it, always fucking wondering what the fuck it’s like to get your dick up inside me, if I’m gonna like it as much as your fingers.”

“You’re drunk,” Adam says, but he’s pushing a hand into Tommy’s underwear, fingers curling behind his balls, and Adam’s breath catches, sticks, when a quick tilt of Tommy’s hips gets him rubbing over Tommy’s asshole. “You’re drunk and you’re high.”

“I’m really fucking turned on,” Tommy says, not even trying to refute the rest, “and I get off thinking about you doing me, I get off so hard, you don’t even fucking know, I think about it when I’m blowing you, when you’re kissing me, all the fucking time.”

“Fuck,” Adam breathes, and the room slants sideways, Tommy’s centre of gravity completely fucked for a split-second as Adam tumbles him down on the bed. The guitar twangs as it’s knocked to the floor, and something else hits the carpet after it, an empty bottle or a glass. “Roll over, baby,” Adam says, putting Tommy on his belly, Tommy’s heart lurching as Adam skins off his clothes, doesn’t even give him a chance to try struggling out of his shirt on his own, and, “spread out for me,” as Adam’s already pushing at Tommy’s thigh, getting his knee skidding up higher on the sheets.

Head spinning, Tommy closes his eyes, rests his forehead on his folded arms so he’s got space to breathe. “Jesus,” he says, Adam’s hands on his ass pulling the cheeks apart, fingers stroking all along his crack, over his hole. When Adam doesn’t say anything, or do anything else, Tommy twists around, finds Adam staring down at his ass, mouth slack, breathing hard.

“I love it,” Adam says, and Tommy’s about to say Seen it before, but Adam hasn’t. Touched it, got in a few fingers while he blew Tommy once, but that’s all. Never really fucking looked at Tommy like he’s looking now, thumb spit-slick pressing in, pre-show to the main event. “You’re so gorgeous, you’re going to be so, so good.”

Hiding his face in the covers, Tommy says, “Fuck.” They’re gonna do this. Adam’s gonna stick it in him for real.

The mattress shifts, and Adam presses a kiss to the back of Tommy’s thigh, one cheek, the base of his spine, meandering all the way down to kiss his hole. Tommy tenses up on reflex–that is his fucking asshole Adam’s nuzzling–but it feels good, the fun kind of ticklish, and then Adam licks him and it’s fucking amazing.

“I know,” Adam says, smile in his voice, and Tommy doesn’t think he said anything, or made a sound, but who the fuck knows. Soft, teasing licks turn to quick, sucking kisses, a tiny nip to Tommy’s sac, Adam’s hand still stroking down his thighs, over his ass, holding onto his hips to keep him in place when he starts to squirm. He knew it’d be good. It’s Adam’s mouth on him somewhere really fucking sensitive that nobody’s really paid much attention to his body before, and Adam is seriously amazing at what he’s doing back there, settling into a rhythm that gets Tommy rocking down into the mattress and then switching it up without warning, knocking Tommy for a total loop.

When Adam’s tongue pushes in, Tommy makes a weird little hiccuping noise that turns his face hot. He’s not even sure what the fuck Adam’s doing, but he can tell the difference between fingers and tongue, and that’s Adam fucking licking inside him. He shoves both hands back into his hair, fists it tight, and gives up a moan so loud he’s pretty sure the fucking windows rattle.

“Should’ve done this months ago,” Adam says, words humming against Tommy’s hole, an entire universe of really fucked-up and incredible. “So fucking loud, Tommy Joe, you love it.”

“It’s your tongue,” Tommy says, voice and heartbeat both hitching as more pressure gets added to the mix, deep and thick, Adam’s fingers pushed in him, “in my fucking ass.”

“Gorgeous little ass,” Adam says, further away than he was a second ago, and Tommy makes the mistake of glancing back as Adam palms his ass wider, watching his fingers go in all the way, slide out and drive in again harder.

Unbalanced, Tommy asks, “Like it?” getting a hand on his own ass to help, trying not to think too hard about stuff, but Adam groans, says, “So fucking much, baby, you’re so tiny, I can’t wait to see you take it,” and then it’s all Tommy can imagine, his hole stretched wide around Adam’s fingers, Adam’s cock, Adam actually fucking inside him.

And Adam’s not even fucking close to done, all, “You’re going to look so good,” and, “I want to touch you after, feel how loose you are,” and Tommy tucks his face in the crook of his elbow as Adam hikes his hips up. He scrambles to get his knees under him while Adam gropes for the bottle of Wet left carelessly on the nightstand from when they’d traded handjobs that afternoon, sticky and hot from being out in the sun.

Dirty talk isn’t anything new. But it’s really fucking different when it’s Adam back there talking about how tight he is, how sweet he feels clenching up on Adam’s fingers and Adam can’t wait for him to do that on his dick. It’s almost too much to handle hearing about, his stomach all in knots, his cock aching, leaking all over the coverlet, he doesn’t know how he’s going to survive actually doing it.

Clinging to the edge of a cliff, Tommy figures fuck it, might as well jump, and he says, “C’mon, put it in me,” an electric thrill shooting through him when Adam chokes on nothing. “Been priming me for months for this, right? Talking me into fingering myself, getting your dick in my mouth, fucking coming down my throat, jerking off on me, got me all ready to take it, quit making me wait and put your fucking dick in me already.”

That said and all, Tommy’s still not so sure he’s ready for it when Adam’s suited up, cock pushing at Tommy’s hole. He tenses up again, and shakes his head when Adam strokes his back, asks, “Baby?”

“It’s okay,” Tommy says, forcing muscles to relax, his stomach knotting up even tighter. “I’m good, I just, I really fucking want this.” Taking hold of his cock, he gives it a couple easy strokes, holds it cupped in one hand as he breathes out. “C’mon, go.”

As Adam starts to push, it’s all Tommy can focus on. Everything’s narrowed down to slippery, thick heat opening him up. It doesn’t burn much, not like he expected, but it doesn’t take long for his guts to feel heavy, overfull. Struggling to keep from clenching up, Tommy tugs on his dick again, letting out a shocked noise when pure pleasure ripples through him.

Adam slows, almost stopping.

“Fuck, no,” Tommy gasps, shoving back, jacking off harder as the full feeling spikes again, “move, fucking move, give it to me.”

Adam fucking moves. Bottoms out in one smooth pump, grinds into him to really let him feel it, and then fucks, short and sharp and barely sliding out at all. Tommy’s balls draw up tight and he tries tugging them down, tries squeezing his dick to make orgasm back off, but nothing works. He’s got about two seconds to gasp out a warning and doesn’t manage much more than a hiss before he’s coming so hard he almost fucks himself right off Adam’s cock.

Hands hooked on his hips, Adam yanks him back, fucks him all the way through it. There’s so much going on he burns right through the afterglow, clutching desperately at his dick as Adam pulls out almost all the way, fucks straight in to the balls again on one stroke. That full-up feeling’s back, getting heavier, thicker, starting to ache. Then aching worse, and worse, and Tommy curls in tighter around it, shifting restlessly hoping it’ll swing back around to good. He can’t stop moaning long enough to ask Adam to ease up, give him a minute.

“Tommy,” Adam says, bending down low, sparking a fresh rush of pleasure as he mouths at Tommy’s back that doesn’t last long enough to make the ache better. “So fucking amazing, I love it.”

“Yeah?” Tommy grits out, and he could manage asking Adam to back off now, but he doesn’t want to, he’s not aching that fucking bad, and Adam’s whispering all kinds of dirty, gorgeous things in his ear, telling Tommy how much he’s wanted this, how good Tommy is, so small and sweet, shaking and shivering and moaning for him. “Y’gonna come?”

“So good,” Adam hisses, not really an answer. Feels like he’s close, though, that smooth, rolling rhythm gone, and Tommy’s wound up so fucking tight waiting for it, hoping it’s soon, that he’s making the churning in his guts even worse. Trying to breathe through it kinda works, and Adam’s fingers tangling with his are so very fucking welcome, giving him something real to clutch at, something made of flesh and bone. When Adam grinds in so deep it feels like Tommy’s gonna choke on it, he knows that’s it, Adam’s coming inside him, and it doesn’t matter one fucking bit that there’s a condom separating them.

As Adam’s full weight bears down, Tommy grunts, “Fuck,” and tries to crawl off Adam’s dick. Adam levers up to slip free, and Tommy curls tight around the thick ache in his belly finally easing. Everything feels sore and swollen and weird.

Adam stays on hands and knees above him, stroking his side, waiting.

“M’good,” Tommy says, “m’good, just, fucking intense.”

“You already came,” Adam says, managing to sound disappointed and delighted all at once. “Baby, I was going to suck you.”

Tommy wheezes a laugh. Now that Adam’s not fucking up his insides, he’s feeling okay. Weirdly hollow, and he wishes like fuck his hole would quit fucking twitching, ’cause it fucking stings when it clenches up, but not so bad.

“Sore?” Adam asks, hand light on his ass, thankfully not trying to spread him open again to take a look. “Let me run you a bath?”

“Yeah.” Warm water’ll probably help. “But no fuckin’ ylang ylang shit.”

“No bubble bath,” Adam agrees, a smile in his voice and the kiss he presses to Tommy’s shoulder.

The mattress dips as Adam climbs off, and Tommy waits until he hears the splash of water before he cautiously reaches back to touch his hole. Breath hisses in through his teeth. It feels slippery and hot and puffy, stinging and then aching too when he pushes at it. This is nothing at all like getting fingered. He’s going to be feeling this for days.

“Let me see,” Adam says, but not like he’s all gung-ho to admire his handiwork.

Shoving his face even harder into the pillows, Tommy spreads his thighs slightly, jumping when Adam’s hands gently cup his ass to open him up. Even gentler fingers skim over his asshole, barely pressing in like he did. “You look okay,” Adam says, kinda worried sounding. “Does it hurt?”

Rolling over slightly to make sure Adam’s not wearing that oh-my-god-disaster face, Tommy says, “Feels like it got fucked.”

“I meant inside, baby,” Adam says, resting his hand on Tommy’s hip. “Let me check?”

“Jesus,” Tommy says, wetting his lips. It’s seriously not that bad. “If you wanna.”

With a murmured warning, Adam slides a finger in. It takes everything Tommy’s got to not clench up. He can feel Adam pressing against his insides, and it’s kinda clinical at the same time it’s kinda hot in a really fucked up way. It’s not turning him on or anything, but it’s not, like, horrible.

“Okay?” Adam asks, watching his face. “No ‘oh my god get it out’?”

“S’okay,” Tommy says. There’s a bit of burn, some ache, but like a shallow paper cut or an old bruise. “Didn’t break me with your fucking giant dick.”

Adam smiles, relieved. “C’mon,” he says, carefully tugging Tommy up. “Bath’s almost ready.”

Wincing as he stands, Tommy lets Adam gather him in close, practically carry him into the bathroom. “Gonna clean me up n’ cuddle me?”

“Cuddle you so much, baby,” Adam says, his hold on Tommy tight, possessive.

Settling down into the water’s a relief until it hits his ass, and then it’s that sharp, raw sting. He grits his teeth and waits for Adam to climb in after him, and then Adam’s hands are on him, rubbing goosebumps of his arms and pulling him back to rest on Adam’s chest. There’s silence for a minute, a couple water drops falling from the spout to drip into the bath, and Tommy can’t help asking. “So, it was good, right? Like, you got off pretty hard.”

“Oh my god,” Adam says, a breathless rush. “Is that what’s been bothering you? Baby, it was incredible. You were amazing. I can’t believe you came the first time like that.”

Tommy bites at his lip. “Like what, on your dick?”

“Yes, god.” Adam’s arms tighten in a hug. “I had all these ideas, grand plans, you know me,” he says, a soft laugh echoing off the tile. “Wine and candlelight and seduction, but whiskey and pot and Mexico is probably more your style. I don’t even care, as long as it was amazing for you.”

“Well, y’know,” Tommy says, “I got off, so it wasn’t all bad.”

Shocked silence descends. Twisting around, Tommy grins up at Adam’s guppy face.

Adam’s mouth works, and then he gives a shaky laugh. “God, you are such a mouthy brat,” he says, rubbing his cheek against Tommy’s wet hair. “I’m so glad you wanted to be in my band.”

“And learned bass for you.”

“That too.”

“In a week.”

“Oh my god, shut up,” Adam says, and hugs him so tight he can’t breathe.

*

“I don’t like, have my own room,” Tommy says, and winces. The phone’s hot against his ear from being on it so long, and he doesn’t mean to sound like he doesn’t want Delmy to come to the show. He’s wondering why she’s showing an interest now after radio silence for so long, but that’s no reason to be a dick. They had some good times when they were together.

She laughs, says, “I remember how this works. I can book my own room if you’re sharing with the band.”

Tommy glances up at Adam flaked out in the sun by the casino’s pool. Sharing with the band, right. The rest of the band that isn’t going to be here until tomorrow.

“Yeah,” Tommy says. Feeling Tommy’s gaze, Adam sits up slightly, sunglasses sliding down his nose so he can peer at Tommy over the rims. Tommy’s stomach clenches. “That’d be good. So, um, when do you think you’ll get here? I’ll meet you or something.”

Sounding happy, she fills him in on the details. He hopes she does that thing she used to do where she assumes he’s not paying one bit of attention to her and texts him all the important parts, because for once, he kinda isn’t. Adam’s in the middle of chasing after the straw in his ridiculously large cocktail with his tongue, and Tommy’s feeling a little distracted.

“Okay,” he says when it sounds like she’s winding down. “Great. See you tomorrow.”

“This is great,” she says, “I’ve really missed you,” and Tommy winces again, mumbles something about missing hanging out at Tallyrand with her, and thumbs disconnect. He is the world’s biggest asshole.

“You look like someone told you your dog just died,” Adam says as Tommy shuffles his way in Adam’s oversized flipflops back to the loungers. He drops down on one and flings both arms over his face. “Oh god, you don’t have a dog, do you?”

“Don’t got a fucking dog,” Tommy says, muffled. “Dude, you’ve been to my place.”

“He could live with your mom!”

Tommy drops his arms. “My ex is coming to the show.”

“Oh,” Adam says, frowning. “That’s good?”

“I think she’s thinking that maybe we could, y’know.” Tommy waves vaguely. “Like it wouldn’t be fucking disastrous.”

Adam sips at his drink, forehead crinkled in thought. About a minute later, he holds it out to Tommy.

“Yes fucking please,” Tommy says, bypassing the straw to gulp down a couple giant mouthfuls. Then a few more, and just one more, and muffles a burp in the crook of his elbow.

“You’re so sexy,” Adam deadpans.

“She’s gonna want me to stay in her room.”

Taking back his empty glass, Adam eyeballs it and sets it aside on a low table. “Do you have that type of relationship with her?”

“No,” Tommy says, then remembers the time they both got drunk at one of Anderson’s parties and ended up boning in the laundry room. He doesn’t think it was anything aside from a one-time thing. But then, they didn’t say it wasn’t, either. They really didn’t say much. “Maybe?”

Adam looks doubtful. “You should probably talk.”

“Yeah,” Tommy grumbles. “Maybe. ‘Cause I don’t, like, it’d be great it something just happened, right? Fell into my lap kinda thing. But I’m not looking for what she’s maybe looking for? Not like, looking for it.”

Adam nods. Then says, “I have no idea what you just said.”

“Fuck you,” Tommy says, puffing a laugh as he rolls over onto his belly, cheek pillowed on his hands. “Wanna go upstairs?”

“It’s gorgeous out,” Adam says, and points at the pool. “Look at that water sparkle. We should swim.”

Tommy looks a the water, then back to Adam. He knows damn well which one he’d rather dive into. “Gonna get kicked out if I blow you in the pool.”

Adam’s mouth snaps shut with an audible click. “Oh. That kind of go upstairs.”

“S’cool if you’re not in the mood.” Tommy can’t remember a single occasion when Adam hasn’t been in the mood, but maybe this whole ex-girlfriend thing is bothering him. Tommy gnaws on the inside of his cheek. “You’re, uh. You’re still cool with me sharing your room?”

“Yes,” Adam says, way too fast. “Of course. I invited you here early, of course it’s alright.”

“‘Kay,” Tommy says, resisting the urge to poke at the tiny hole in the seam of his lounger’s cushion.

“If you want to move your things later, that’s okay too. Not that you have to,” Adam says, scratching at his scalp. “I mean it doesn’t matter to me. Either way. Whatever you like.”

Right. Tommy swings his legs over and stands up. “C’mon.”

Perplexed, Adam asks, “What, where?”

“Upstairs,” Tommy says, grabbing Adam’s wrist to haul him up. “You’re bein’ all weird and shit, so I’m gonna suck your dick until you quit it.”

Adam says, “Oh,” again, his gaze sliding down to Tommy’s mouth. His eyes go dark. “Okay.”

During the elevator ride up, Adam’s careful to keep no less than five inches between them at all times. He leads the way down the hall, keying open the lock, and slips inside before Tommy’s made it to the door. When Tommy finally gets inside the room, he’s relieved to find that Adam’s already got his shirt off and is picking at the knot on his swim trunks.

“Good,” Tommy says, pushing Adam’s hands aside to take over. “Thought you were gonna be weird about this or something.”

“What’s there to be weird about?” Adam says, his hand sliding into Tommy’s hair as Tommy goes to his knees beside the bed, tugging harder at the knot. “Your ex-girlfriend’s coming to the show hoping to get back together with you and you’re about to suck me off, there’s nothing weird there.”

“I told you,” Tommy says, yanking the string so hard it finally gives up the ghost. He shoves Adam’s trunks down and spits in his palm, takes hold of Adam’s semi-soft cock to jack it thick and full. “I don’t wanna get back together with her. I want you to fuck my mouth for me and blow your load down my throat.”

A hot rush of blood makes Adam’s dick jerk in Tommy’s grasp. “God, okay,” Adam says, his grip in Tommy’s hair going tight as Tommy rubs wet lips over the head, wanting to take a quick moment to remember all the shit he loves about sucking Adam off, everything down to the texture of Adam’s cock on his tongue to the way it fills up his mouth, makes him doubt he’s ever going to manage cramming the entire thing in. He sucks hard right from the start, keeping his teeth out of it and making sure he gives lots of tongue, ’cause Adam’s knees almost give out on him every time he pays a lot of attention to the ridge. For a straight guy, Tommy’s gotten pretty fucking good at the whole cocksucking thing.

Less good at taking it when Adam’s fingers curve under the hinge of his jaw and Adam fucks in, cock grazing too close to the back of his throat and making him want to gag. He fights the urge, trying to stay loose and relaxed and keep breathing like Adam’s told him a zillion times. Like Adam’s telling him right now, petting his hair and his face, saying it’s good, he’s doing so good. He clutches at the back of Adam’s thighs, shivering when his cock rubs wetly against the inside of his shorts.

“I love that this gets you hard,” Adam says, voice rough, heavy, as he fucks in again, and again, slow, steady strokes rubbing Tommy’s lips red and thick-feeling. Not raw yet, but if Adam went harder, faster, or keeps it up for longer than the few more minutes it seems he’s going to last, they will be.

Pulling off, Tommy licks his lips. The taste of salt-sweat and Adam explodes fresh onto his tongue. “Changed my mind,” Tommy says, yanking off his tank. “Jerk off on me.” Adam’s eyes flash wide, then slide slowly shut as he backs up the few steps he needs to sit on the edge of the bed. Tommy crawls after him, shouldering his knees wide to settle between them, and palms his cock through his shorts. “I mean it, c’mon. Jerk off on me and then blow me while I’m covered in it.”

“You are so fucking dirty,” Adam says, one hand wrapped around his cock, the other catching Tommy by the chin, pulling him in so Adam’s cockhead grazes his lips on every other stroke. He sticks his tongue out, licking at Adam’s dick every now and then, but mostly letting Adam rub on it. When Adam really goes for it, Tommy can’t look away from Adam’s hands on his junk, like he’s never fucking seen the guy jack it before, and he ends up having to grab onto Adam’s legs to keep from hauling his dick out and jerking off onto the carpet.

“Baby,” Adam says, strangled low in his throat, his hand on Tommy’s face asking him to stay right where he is and take it. Fingertips digging into Adam’s thighs, Tommy shuts his eyes tight, breathes heavy and fast through his nose waiting for it. He jerks when come streaks warm across his cheek and he tries shuffling down lower on his knees, keeping his face tilted up. The next shot takes him across the mouth, some of it spattering his tongue, and he swallows before he thinks about it, how maybe Adam wanted to see it there. He opens his mouth up again just in case, but the rest ends up on his throat, dripping slowly down to his collarbone as Adam’s cock rubs over his lips again, pushes a fraction inside. Tommy sucks hard, so hard Adam whines.

“Get your hands on me,” Tommy says, shoving Adam back, crawling up on top of him on the bed. “Fuckin’ Christ, Adam, c’mon, I’m gonna fucking–”

“God,” Adam says, “Tommy,” and stuffs both hands down the front of Tommy’s trunks, balls cupped in one palm and the other rubbing over the head of Tommy’s dick. Tommy pushes at his clothes, getting them as far down as he can while he’s straddling Adam, and fucks into the hand Adam wraps tight around him, a little too dry and a little too rough but so fucking good. Braced on one hand, Tommy scrubs the other over the mess on his face, pushing it into his skin, not even giving a shit what the fuck’s going on now as long as he gets to come.

“Wait,” Adam says, trying to slow him down, “wait, c’mere, I want it in my mouth.”

Tommy scrambles up, kicking his shorts the rest of the way off. Sitting on Adam’s chest, hand cupping the back of Adam’s neck to help support him, Tommy pushes his dick in, fucks Adam’s mouth fast and shallow. But Adam keeps pulling on his hips, fucking with his rhythm trying to get him to kneel up. He gives in, and Adam falls back flat to the bed, fingers digging into Tommy’s ass as he fucks down, his cock hitting the back of Adam’s throat, wedging in.

A whole slew of filthy curses come pouring out of Tommy, and Adam only moans, choked-sounding, and urges him in deeper. Figuring if he’s gonna die right this second, might as well die happy, Tommy does what Adam wants, fucking jams his cock so far down Adam’s throat he can’t possibly be able to breathe. Tommy can’t fucking breathe, slick, wet muscles squeezing his cock so fucking tightly, working him over as Adam swallows and swallows, and he maybe manages to whine a warning before his balls draw up tight and the heat that’s built and built and fucking built in his belly bursts free to pour straight down Adam’s throat.

“Jesus, fuck, Jesusfuck,” Tommy spits, rolling off the second he can fucking move. “Adam, fuck, your fucking throat, what the fuck,” and Adam rolls right over on top of him, crushing him to the bed and sticking his tongue in Tommy’s mouth. Adam’s tastes like come, and cock, and fuck, he’d taken it all, fucking all of it, Tommy’s cock shoved straight in him to the root.

Pushing Tommy’s hair out of the way, Adam bites at his chin. Then his jaw. Then his mouth again, half-kisses, trailing down to lick at Tommy’s throat, with a groan he realises Adam’s tasting jizz on Tommy’s face.

“Fuckin’ kinky bitch,” Tommy mutters, patting clumsily at Adam’s hair.

“You got me to come on you,” Adam rasps. “On your face, Tommy.”

“You fucking deepthroated me,” Tommy tosses back. “The day before a concert!”

Adam’s smile is slow and wicked. “And you loved it.”

“Came so hard think I fucking pulled something.” Tommy flops back, his arms loose on Adam’s shoulders. They’re both warm and sticky, but it feels so good to have Adam on him again, so much naked skin pressed to his, that he doesn’t really care. He cuddles in close, breathing deep the smell of skin and sweat and sex. “Better make some of that stinky tea stuff.”

“Can’t,” Adam mumbles. “Pretty boy sucked my brains out.”

“Pretty boy’s getting squished,” Tommy says, pushing at Adam’s shoulder. “C’mon, before your throat gets too sore.”

“Can’t,” Adam whines, burrowing closer. “You do it.”

“Can’t,” Tommy drawls, “there’s this gorgeous rock star flaked out on top of me.”

Adam’s head comes up so fast he almost clocks Tommy in the chin. He smiles big and wide and dazzling. “Aw, you called me gorgeous.”

“Yeah, deal with it,” Tommy says, managing to get enough leverage to roll Adam off. “And go make your fuckin’ tea.”

Adam says, “And a rock star,” like a great big dork.

“Oh Jesus,” Tommy mutters. “Never mind, I’ll fucking make it,” and Adam says, “Yay!” all raspy and sweet.

*

Fantasy Springs is big, bright and beautiful in the way a lot of Los Angeles is, only a lot less in your face about it. For a casino, it’s downright relaxing. Sitting under a palm tree with Delmy beside him on the lounger isn’t. Adam had stopped by to say hello about an hour ago, after Tommy sent him a text that was supposed to be his cue to get Tommy the fuck outta here, but Adam’s sometimes slack on the guy code. Aside from that whole bit where Delmy coolly and calmly assessed Adam and came up with a long, pointed look aimed Tommy’s way, she’d been pretty good meeting him. No star-stuck flailing, no gushing. She’d been nothing but polite. Adam totally got the silent hint she dropped and got lost so fast there were tiny puffs of dirt in his wake.

“I’m only saying it’s maybe a little weird,” Delmy says, sipping her drink.

“I remember you saying that a lot,” Tommy says, wondering if she’d give him that look again if he went for another beer.

“I saw the kiss, Tommy.”

“Everybody saw the fucking kiss. It was on television. It’s on YouTube.”

“Nobody was really surprised,” she goes on, the same as if Tommy hadn’t spoken. “You’ve always been really easy-going, though. It’s one of the things that’s great about you.”

Maybe if he weren’t so easy-going, he’d tell Delmy to shut up. But she hasn’t really done anything. That doesn’t mean much to the unsettled, angry feeling brewing in his gut.

“But sometimes you’re too easy-going.”

“Fuckin’ tell me about it.” Getting up, Tommy says, “Back in a minute,” and heads for the cabana bar set up poolside, his phone in hand. To Adam he texts, thnx a fucking lot.

what’d I do? comes back immediately.

left me with her. Tommy digs a ten out of his wallet and slaps it down on the bar.

don’t be an ass,, Adam writes. talk to her.

“Some fucking help you are,” Tommy mutters, and ignores the weird look the bartender gives him to say thanks for his beer. He shuffles back to the loungers, and Delmy, and this way leads to certain doom.

Delmy jumps right back in with, “Your mom worries about you, you know,” like he’d hit pause or something.

“I’m living my fucking dream,” Tommy says. “I mean, shit, look around. We’re doing international promo next. There’s gonna be a tour.”

“You don’t like travelling,” Delmy points out.

“I don’t get it. Are you trying to talk me outta doing this or something? Seriously.” He drags a hand back through his hair, fluffs it up. His lips are dry, and he wants to dig out his gloss, but Delmy’s giving him that look again. The one that makes him feel like he’s five years old caught doing something he shouldn’t.

She leans against his shoulder. “I’m just worried that maybe you could end up doing something you don’t want to do because you feel pressured.”

Tommy drags in a slow breath. There are tons of good things about Delmy. Right now, he can’t remember a single fucking one. “I’m not, okay? Quit worrying. Don’t like, harsh the bassist’s mellow a couple hours before showtime.”

“You’re not a bassist,” she says. “You’re a guitarist. You’re a really amazing blues guitarist, and this is a stepping stone for you.”

The second Tommy says, “It’s not,” he realises he means it. This isn’t a stop on the road for him. If it leads to other side projects, maybe the chance to play in a real blues band, to play lead guitar once or twice, that would be awesome. But he wants to do this. He wants to play with Adam, and tour the world, and perform music that changes people’s lives. Adam’s music. “Seriously. This is it. I’m gonna do this for as long as Adam wants me.”

“I thought you wanted a family.”

“I do,” Tommy says, and he means that too. “There some reason I can’t have both?” Delmy’s gaze cuts down and to the side, her mouth going thin. He sits up straighter. “What the fuck’s that supposed to mean?”

“Your friends joke about it all the time, and it’s never bothered you. I’ve always thought that was incredibly open-minded,” Delmy says carefully. “A lot of guys would get upset.”

“You’re not fucking serious.”

Delmy shrugs one shoulder. “Your mom wants grandkids.”

“Jesus,” Tommy says, and laughs sharply. “Wow.”

“What?” Delmy says. She pushes at Tommy’s shoulder. “I’m being completely honest with you. You could do the same.”

Tommy can’t fucking believe this shit. “You’re seriously sitting there asking me if I’m letting Adam fucking Lambert stick it to me in exchange for a shot at the big time.”

“No,” she quickly says. “No, that’s not what I’m asking, Tommy, god. Why do you have to be so crude?”

“So what are you asking?”

“I’m not asking anything! I’m saying,” she says, much more evenly, “that a lot of people that might be interested in you for you might be discouraged because of some of the things you do on stage. They might think you’re not available, or not interested anymore.”

“This is all really abstract, like, double-speak shit.” Standing up, Tommy digs out his phone again. “I’m glad you’re here to see the show and all, and I hope you enjoy it ’cause Adam’s a fucking kickass singer, but I don’t want to talk about crap like this. Because it is crap. Total bullshit.”

“It wouldn’t be so off-putting if he didn’t keep saying how straight you are,” Delmy says, standing up to stay eye-level with him, “and then grope you in front of thousands of people.”

“Hey,” Tommy says into the phone when his call connects. “I’m coming up, that okay?”

“What?” Adam says. “Already? What happened, are you–”

“Be there in a few,” Tommy tells Adam, then, with Adam babbling questions in his ear, says to Delmy, “There are worse fucking things than being groped by Adam Lambert, okay?” which shuts Adam up faster than Tommy’s dick stuck in his mouth.

“This is what broke us up both times,” Delmy says. “You and Mike, and you and Anderson, and now you and him.”

“Oh my god,” Adam says quietly.

“We’re not together,” Tommy says. “We didn’t even talk about getting back together. We tried being friends, we hooked up, then we didn’t talk for like, months.”

Delmy’s mouth thins down to a tight, unhappy line. “This isn’t how I meant for the conversation to go.”

“Well, just, think about what the hell you wanted it to go like, okay? I gotta go get ready for the show.”

“Tommy,” Delmy says, at the exact same time Adam does, and Tommy grits his teeth. Even softer than before, Adam says, “I’m sorry.”

“Fuckin’ right you are,” Tommy says, and sighs. He doesn’t look back to see if Delmy’s watching, or thinking about following, as he heads for the bank of elevators inside. “That was fucking brutal.”

“She sounds like she loves you,” Adam says.

“She loves this idea she’s got of me.” Tommy jabs the call button for the elevator. “But there’s too much about me she wants to change, man. Which fucking sucks, because she’s gorgeous, and she can be sweet and amazing, but only when I’m not being, like, me.”

“What she said about Mike,” Adam says cautiously, leaving it hanging.

“Me and Mike never did fucking anything.” Tommy slumps against the railing inside the car, shivering in the overconditioned air. He didn’t even want to do anything with Mike. Maybe be his platonic heterosexual lifemate or something, but not like, suck his dick. Not that he didn’t considering it a time or two, just not in any way like he considers sucking Adam’s dick. With the getting hard and stuff. And then actually doing it.

“Ah,” Adam says.

“What’s ‘ah’?” Tommy grumbles, watching the numbers count up.

“You told her about us.”

Tommy gnaws on the inside of his lip. The elevator chimes, doors swooshing open, before he’s got an answer. “I’m like, down the hall. See you in a few.” He thumbs disconnect.

Adam meets him at the door. “That was bitchy.”

“Didn’t wanna talk about it in the hallway,” Tommy says, waiting until Adam steps back to let him inside. Shutting the door, he leans against it, scrubbing a hand through his hair again. “I didn’t say anything about us. Not really something she’s gotta know, y’know?”

“She really didn’t want me around,” Adam says, pulling Tommy’s hand from his hair. “Stop tugging on it, you’ll give yourself a headache.”

Tommy knuckles hard at one eye. “Already got one. She was, fuck. Making this whole big deal out of the stuff we pull on stage. Like I’m up there actually rubbing one off on you.”

Heading for the minibar, Adam cracks it open, pulling out a small, single-serving size of vodka and tequila each. “Here,” he says, opening the vodka and holding it out. “Shooting booze seems to be your preferred coping mechanism.”

“Makes me think I’m cool like the Duke,” Tommy mumbles, and knocks it back. He raises an eyebrow at the tequila Adam holds out, shocked there’s no salt and a slice of lime to make it proper because that’s the way Adam rolls, but he takes it anyway. It burns all the way down and hits his stomach like lava.

“Better?”

“Yeah.” Hauling off his shirt, Tommy rubs cooling sweat off the back of his neck and lets it drop to the floor. He heads for the bed. “C’mon.”

“While I think sex is a very healthy alternative to shots–”

“Shut up.” Tommy flops down on his back. “Crawl on up and cuddle like you’re fucking supposed to after my ex rakes my ass over the coals.”

“Oh baby,” Adam says, already on his way. He pauses long enough to strip off his shirt when Tommy complains, then stretches out halfway on top of him, knee tucked between his calves and head pillowed on his chest. “I thought maybe this would be good for you.”

In middle of twining Adam’s hair around his fingers, Tommy pauses to snort a laugh. “She dumped my ass twice.”

“I’m sorry,” Adam repeats.

“We tried the whole friends thing.” Tommy’s not so sure Adam wants to hear this shit. While Adam’s his friend, he’s also Tommy’s boss, and on top of that, the guy Tommy’s doing. Messy all the way around. “But like. Some of the shit she was saying, man. As if playing your fucking sex kitten on stage is gonna ruin me for life, and marriage, and kids and a place in suburbia and all that, Jesus.”

Adam’s voice hums through Tommy’s chest when he speaks. “You’d be great with kids.”

“Right? Like you. Kids fucking love you.” Rubbing a hand over his face, Tommy shoves his fingers back through his hair one last time and tucks his arm under his head. “I don’t even fucking know what she was trying to get at.”

“Touring will be tough,” Adam says. “I don’t know if I’d be able to be with someone and not be able to bring them along for the ride.”

Tommy’s mouth goes dry. He works his tongue around a bit and swallows. “Someone you got your eye on courting, Mr. Lambert?”

Laughing, Adam looks up, his chin propped on the back of one hand. “No. But I’ve got you, and I’m going to bring as many friends with me as I can. You’re my plus-one for when I can’t get a date, right?”

“Long as I don’t gotta wear a tie.”

“Hey,” Adam says, rising up on his hands and knees to crawl up close enough to kiss, “you look really good in a skinny tie, all buttoned up.”

“You just want something else to haul me around by.” Palming the back of Adam’s head, Tommy drags him in to make good on that kiss his eyes are promising.

“Do not,” Adam says, their lips brushing, “like your hair just fine,” and then nobody’s talking at all anymore.

*

That night during the show, there’s sometimes this weird vibe like Adam’s thinking about playing around with him but doesn’t, and then a couple other times when Adam’s got that stubborn look he gets when people are trying to tell him what to do and he goes for it in spades. Maybe it’s their families in the audience. Maybe it’s Tommy’s ex down there with his parents–his dad, who shouldn’t be out of the fucking hospital but try stopping him–and that conversation hanging over their heads. Either way, Adam’s on fucking fire, and he looks awesome in all those shiny blue-black feathers matching his hair, the hat that makes him look slick as a conman, and his legs are fucking amazing in those pants. Halfway through the set, Tommy gets hit with a crystal-fucking-clear memory of those legs wrapped around his hips, Adam stretched out beneath him, and in five seconds flat he’s hard enough to pound fucking nails.

He’d totally rather pound Adam.

An eternity later, the show’s over, no encore thank fuck. Tommy hurries to pack his shit away, thinking about their make-out session earlier that afternoon that didn’t have a chance to get past some really amazing heavy petting. He shoots Adam a text asking if he’s planning on crashing in his room, and if he’s up for some company, as he heads out of the theatre.

“Tommy,” somebody calls.

Slowing, he turns around, ready to offer up some autographs and a few pictures if they’ll let him slip off quickly. Instead of fans, he finds Delmy, and further back by a potted palm, attempting to give them some space, the ragtag collection of significant others of some of his bandmates.

“The show was incredible,” she says.

He smiles, gut-reaction to the compliment, and turns his phone over in his hands. “Thanks.”

Taking a deep breath, she goes on. “I wanted to apologise about this afternoon. I wasn’t expressing myself very clearly.”

“S’okay,” Tommy says. “Kinda used to it with me and you, y’know?”

Delmy’s smile falters. “I was hoping maybe we could give being friends another shot? Without the rest of it getting in the way.”

“Friends, yeah,” Tommy says. “I mean, maybe we should. Adam’s always talking about how he and his ex are really awesome friends now, and he’s glad they tried.”

There’s a flicker in Delmy’s expression, something that makes Tommy think maybe friends isn’t where she was hoping it would stop. He backs up half a step. “I should like, with the band.”

“The band,” she asks, eyebrows raised, “or Adam?”

“That isn’t–”

“It is,” she says, thankfully soft enough the people milling around probably can’t overhear. “I think the sooner you’re ready to admit that, the better for you both it’ll be.”

This time, Delmy’s the one making the smooth exit while Tommy’s standing there like an idiot. It takes him a couple seconds to realise his phone’s chiming. Flipping it over, he finds a text from Adam.

y. so much, baby. get here quick.

Tommy goes.

*

“You’re pining,” Mike says.

“What the fuck is up with that word.” Tommy throws his controller down on the couch, collapsing back with his hands over his face. “People keep using that word.”

“And it means exactly what you think it means.”

“Shut up.”

Mike sighs. “You’ve been stuck in the house all week.”

“Doin’ my thing,” Tommy mumbles. “Y’know, that thing I do. Where I don’t go out.”

Dryly, Mike says, “Yes. Moping.”

“I’m not fucking moping!”

“You’ve checked your phone seventeen times in the last ten minutes, you’re fucking moping. Either call him, or go cuddle one of his sweaty shirts, or fucking something.” Mike shoves his shoulder. “Sex him up over the phone if you’ve got to, I don’t care. Just do it.”

“Fine, okay, fuck,” Tommy says, and throws on his jacket, grabs his boots and Mike’s keys. “I’m borrowing your fucking car, asshole.”

“Bring it back in one piece this time!”

“Fuck you,” Tommy mutters, stomping down the stairs.

Way too long later, he pulls into Adam’s driveway. Sitting there with the engine idling, he wonders if he’s seriously pathetic enough to do this shit.

He totally is.

Inside Adam’s place feels lonely. Dropping his keys onto the table in the hall, he quickly punches in the code to the alarm. He’s not sure who gets the call when Adam’s out of the country, but whoever it is, he doesn’t want them wondering what Tommy’s doing over here while Adam’s gone. Adam turned him down when he offered to housesit again. Said it wasn’t fair for Tommy to be stuck watching his place while he was gone for so long.

“I’m fucking crazy,” Tommy tells the empty kitchen. Predictably, it doesn’t have an opinion.

Shedding his jacket and leaving it slung over a chair, Tommy heads for the bedroom. If he’s going to do this, he’s doing it all the fucking way. His boots he leaves in the hall, and his sweater at the foot of the bed. The rest of his clothes he leaves on as he crawls under cool sheets and shoves his face into Adam’s pillow. It smells way too clean. Adam’s mom must’ve been over to tidy up for him, and thrown them into the wash.

He’s not gonna cry. He’s fucking not.

Digging his phone out of his pocket, he goes to open up the last round of texts he and Adam exchanged. Total random shit that shouldn’t make him feel better but does. When his phone starts ringing, he almost drops the fucking thing.

“Hi, hey,” Tommy says in a rush, jamming the phone to his ear.

Adam’s laugh is pure warmth flowing across the airwaves. “Hi. Did I interrupt something?”

“No.” Burrowing all the way under Adam’s blankets, Tommy closes his eyes. It almost feels like being back in Cabo, the air hot and close. “I was just like, it’s weird. I was thinking ’bout you.”

“Yeah?” Adam says, quiet and intimate under the sheets, happy. “It’s amazing here. Every five minutes there’s something else I want to show you.”

“Like what, spill,” Tommy says, and Adam starts talking about, like, fucking everything, from this barista in Australia who made a latte for him a half hour before the store was open, to this squatting statue in the middle of some fountain that he thought Tommy would find hilarious, to how every single treat in a Japanese vending machine was plastered with smiles, like eating pounded rice cake would be the best thing to ever happen to you (Adam pauses to say it is pretty tasty), to accents to fans to things Tommy isn’t even sure exist because he’s falling asleep while Adam talks, and bits and pieces of dreams are horning in on the conversation.

And then it’s morning. Sunlight streams in through the half-open blinds. Tommy rolls over, wincing at the ache of the phone imprinted on the side of his face. He’s sticky-warm under the blankets, his clothes clinging uncomfortably from being slept in.

“Good morning,” comes a woman’s voice from the doorway.

“Oh shit,” Tommy says. Leila waggles her fingers in a little wave, smiling. “Uh.”

“Would you like some breakfast?” she asks.

Not really what Tommy expected, considering he broke into her son’s house to sleep in his bed. Well, he has a key, but still. “Um, sure?”

“Good,” she says, and pushes away from the doorframe. “Wash up and brush your teeth. I’ll drive.”

Tommy grabs up his phone and stumbles to the bathroom. Before he does anything, even breathe, he types out, dude ur mom caught me in ur bed. am i gonna die?and sends it off. Like Adam, Leila doesn’t really seem the murderous type. But also like Adam, she seems fiercely protective, and he wouldn’t want to put money down on which one’ll win out when it comes to family.

By the time he’s done taking a leak and cleaning up, Adam still hasn’t replied. It’s probably like, four in the morning where Adam is. Staring into the mirror, Tommy fluffs his hair, thinks about the last time somebody’s parents gave him The Talk, and, shoulders hunched, shuffles off to face the music.

In the car, Leila’s conversation is simple, mostly safe. She asks about jamming with the band, how long Tommy’s been playing, if he always wanted to be a musician. Partly out of self-defence, and partly because once Tommy gets started on the whole music thing it’s kinda hard to shut him up, he tells her about the beat-up acoustic he bribed his mom into buying for him with the promise of doing all the chores for six months (which he mostly made good on), and a couple bands he’s been in (all of them pretty awesome dudes but not as awesome as Adam’s dudes), and how he got shit for not having a backup plan for when music failed him.

“You sound just like him,” Leila says, smiling with Mona Lisa’s mouth.

Tommy realises they’re in a parking lot already, stopped. “We, um, share a lot of ideas,” he says, hand on the door. There’s a big sign in the window of the building in front of them with a pancake flatter than his ass pictured on it. He should’ve known Adam’s mom wouldn’t bring him to somewhere like IHOP. “This is it?”

“Mmhm,” she hums, sliding out into the sunlight. “Adam prefers American pancakes, but I’ve always loved Dutch style.”

Tommy says, “Awesome,” and follows her out. He’s up for trying something new. Skipping ahead a few steps, he grabs the door to hold it open for her, belatedly realising she might think he’s sucking up. She doesn’t seem bothered, though, smiling that same, bemused smile at him that Adam sometimes does. Adam is so his mother’s son.

Once they’re seated, and Tommy gets a good look at the menu, the churning in his stomach turns to a hungry growl. “Oh man,” he says, “it’s like, they put bacon in the pancake.”

Menu on the table, hands folded in front of her chin, Leila says, “Adam said you don’t have a sweet tooth like he does.”

Salty pancakes. Tommy’s gonna eat seven of them to make up for the travesty that was living his life not knowing about the existence of Dutch pancakes. There are ones on the menu that come with fruit and stuff, so he figures they’re a lot like crepes, but whatever. Bacon. In his pancakes.

Placing his order, he’s pretty sure the poor waitress thinks he’s high. He mentally promises her the best tip ever.

Leila’s laugh drags his gaze away from where the server vanishes into the kitchen. “I see why he likes you,” she says.

Nervously shoving his hair back behind his ears, Tommy tries, “Because I might eat his food before he can?”

“No,” she says, and sips at the cup of tea the server brought along unasked when coming to take their order. “You enjoy things. Music and movies, pancakes with bacon. You love life the way he does.”

Tommy can’t help a snorting laugh. “No way, I’m a total hermit. Not really big on parties and crowds and stuff.”

“I didn’t say that,” Leila says, putting her cup down. “Whatever you do, you love doing it. So does he.”

Tommy tugs at the sleeve of his jacket. The server shows up then with his coffee, and he’s so beyond grateful for something to do with his hands that he bumps her tip up another ten percent. It totally feels like he’s being vetted here. Adam wouldn’t tell his mom they were like, sleeping together, though. Not with it being so casual.

But maybe she knows anyway. In that way where moms always know. Somehow, Tommy’s mom knows something is up. She hasn’t asked, but with the way she’s hollering at Dr. Phil over Twitter every five minutes, she’s gotta. Tommy’s not really impressed with her coping method, so he hasn’t brought it up. Safer that way.

Leila’s still watching him, as calm and patient as a predator waiting to pounce. Not that he thinks she’s gonna tear him to pieces or anything, it’s just disconcerting, that’s all. He clears his throat and gulps another mouthful of too-hot coffee. “We’re not dating. I mean, if you thought we maybe were. I needed a place to crash last night.”

She doesn’t look like she buys it. But instead of giving him the third degree about it, she asks, “Housemate troubles, or girlfriend troubles?”

“Neither,” Tommy says, and works hard to hide a wince. He so sucks at this subterfuge shit. “My housemates are cool, and I don’t have a girlfriend. Tough to find somewhere to be alone when you share a house, though, and I kinda needed to be. Think I forgot to tell Adam where I was when we were talking last night, but I think he’s okay with it?”

There’s something in the look Leila’s giving him that he can’t nail down. Not angry or annoyed, that’s for sure, but not really happy, either. “I must’ve misunderstood,” she says. “I thought he pointed out a girl named Delmy at the casino.”

“No,” Tommy says, way too fast, making Leila’s eyebrows wing up in a look just like the one Adam gave him. He almost chokes on his tongue trying to get the next words out, then has to swallow them back down again and work up a smile for the server that brings their food out. Tommy’s looks absolutely fucking amazing. He wonders if he’s gonna be able to eat it. “She was. A long, long time ago. And she was maybe hoping to give it another shot, but I’m not, I mean, she’s a really awesome person and all, but we don’t click. Not where we’d be good for one another.” He scrubs a hand over his face and gives a weird barking laugh. “We kinda make each other crazy in really not awesome ways.”

“Strange that Adam thought you were together,” she says, perfectly evenly, not one bit accusatory. It’s impressive.

“I think he thought maybe we would give it a shot?” Picking up a fork, Tommy starts rolling his pancake up like a rug and cuts off a big chunk. “Or that maybe we’d be friends like him and Brad. But, um.”

“You don’t think so,” she says, spooning some mixed fruit and cream onto her pancake.

Tommy says, “Friends would be cool,” and quickly stuffs his mouth full. Bacon or something gets stuck in his throat when he tries to swallow, and he gulps coffee to get it down. As soon as the lump hits his belly, he forks up another even bigger chunk.

Leila reaches across the table, hand laid on Tommy’s arm. “I’m not interrogating you, Tommy. I’m wondering why I found you in Adam’s bed, drooling on your phone, while he’s halfway around the world, but I’m not going to make you tell me.”

Keeping his mouth shut right now would be the very best thing he could do. Instead of playing it smart–he never fucking plays it smart–he says, “I was lonely. Adam’s place is cool, and I’ve got some good memories there, so I figured, why not.” Leila nods, and glances down at his breakfast. Far less frantic than before, he takes another bite. When she doesn’t say anything else, spooning up a strawberry from her own plate, he relaxes another tiny fraction. “The girlfriend thing is stressing me out. My mom’s worried I’m gonna end up alone or something.”

“Moms worry about those sorts of things,” Leila says.

“Yeah, but. It’s not like I got an expiration date. I don’t wanna be with someone for the sake of being with someone. That’s just.” He waves his hand vaguely. He doesn’t want to say dumb, even if he thinks it is, because some people really do want that out of life. “I want someone I wanna be with. Someone that’s not looking for anything more than just being with me.”

For a minute, Tommy thinks he’s maybe said too much. This is his boss’s mom he’s out to breakfast with, for fuck’s sake. But Leila gives him another smile, and taps a finger against her cup. “I could use more tea. More coffee for you?”

Tommy doesn’t even look into his mug to see if it’s empty. “Yes, please.”

*

“I don’t care if you’re not in the budget,” Adam’s saying, grabbing onto the bar above Tommy’s head as the SkyTrain, Vancouver’s answer to the problem of building a subway in a city that doesn’t really have much in the way of stable underground, sails around a curve in the track, “next time, you’re coming with me. I’ll pack you myself if I have to.”

Tommy laughs and clings harder to the pole in front of him. It’s close to the last train of the night, but headed from Davie Street back out to Richmond, there are plenty of seats open. Despite that, Adam’s drunk enough that he thinks standing is a good idea, and if Tommy sits down, he’ll lose Adam pressed against his back, and that would be like, fucking disastrous. Plus, Tommy’s pretty sure he’s the only thing holding Adam up.

“Said it was cool,” Tommy says, tilting his head back so he can look up at Adam. Not that he sees much beside the bottom of Adam’s chin, and maybe a sliver of nose. “I hung out with your mom, and used up all your fancy-ass shampoo. It was a good time.”

“God,” Adam says, and rubs his cheek against the hair buzzed short on one side of Tommy’s head. “My place is always so cold and empty when I’m gone for awhile. Coming home to find you there was amazing.”

For the maybe dozenth time, Tommy says, “Sorry I just, like, moved in.”

“No,” Adam squawks, grabbing onto Tommy around the waist like he thinks Tommy’s going anywhere while they’re rattling along at sixty miles an hour a couple dozen yards above the ground. “No, I loved it. I’d make you do it next time except you’re not staying behind ever again.”

“You said that like, five times already,” Tommy says, “you gonna handcuff me to your luggage or something?” and Adam growls, “Don’t tempt me,” in Tommy’s ear, hot and kinda drunkenly, and like he absolutely means it.

Busy digging up a reply, Tommy’s one step behind as Adam swings around to fall easily into one of the seats. “C’mere,” Adam says, and drags Tommy down, Tommy tripping over his own feet and then Adam’s knees, and though he started out with his back to Adam, somehow he ends up straddling Adam’s lap face to face, his knees on the seat. Adam sinks lower, grip settling on Tommy’s hips to steady him as the train rocks.

“Just gonna look at me,” Tommy asks, “or you gonna kiss me?”

“Gonna kiss you so much,” Adam says, smiling widely, but he makes no move to do it. Tommy thinks about the others left behind, maybe still partying, or maybe already in a cab on their way back to the hotel. He hadn’t really put two and two together when Adam had dragged him out into the street, too much alcohol in his veins and the night air so fucking freezing he burrowed into Adam’s side, not caring where they were going as long as it was somewhere warm. Looking down at Adam now, he knows exactly what Adam wants.

As Adam’s hands slide down to cup his ass, the next stop is announced and the train slows. Tommy doesn’t get it until the door swoosh open, then he’s scrambling up, hauling on Adam saying, “S’our stop, c’mon, shit, c’mon,” not sure why the fuck he’s in a panic. They stumble out onto the platform, Adam laughing and Tommy panting like he ran a fucking marathon.

“C’mon, baby,” Adam says, and, lacing their fingers together, drags Tommy into the River Rock Casino, making a beeline for the elevators and from there, Adam’s room. The door slams shut behind them with Tommy’s brain still on the SkyTrain heading for the airport. Adam nudges him back against the wall, hands sliding over Tommy’s jaw up into his hair.

Tommy gets as far as, “Adam,” before Adam’s tongue is in his mouth, tasting of booze and salty peanuts, and Tommy tries going with it like he usually does, letting Adam lead since that’s what gets Adam off. But he can’t relax, all wound up, and he fists his hands in the front of Adam’s shirt, shoves him back.

“What,” Adam starts, and then he’s the one swallowing words as Tommy yanks him down for more kisses, pushing him back step by slow step to the bed. He stumbles when he hits the side of the mattress, and Tommy gives him another rough push. Hitting it flat on his back, he scrambles up on his elbows, mouth slack and, “Oh god yes,” tumbling out of it as Tommy climbs on top of him, tearing his fly open to get a hand inside.

“Wanna watch you fuck it,” Tommy says, pushing Adam’s shirt out of the way and spitting in his palm to make it slick and easy. Still not easy enough, though. He really wants to see Adam go for it. Listing sideways, he scrabbles at Adam’s bag still on the bed, hooking the strap with his fingertips to drag it closer. Adam always puts the lube in the same pocket, so it’s a quick find. He rubs a big dollop of it between his hands and gets both back on Adam’s junk before Adam’s managed to do much more than blink.

Adam says, “Oh my god,” again when Tommy tugs at his balls, rolls them in one hand while the other’s wrapped loose around his dick. Playing with them keeps Adam squirming instead of fucking, these high, squeaky noises caught in his throat as Tommy starts jacking, his eyes wide open like it’s just too fucking much to handle. Tommy’s not even sure what the fuck he’s doing, feeling Adam up, groping him everywhere, and when Adam’s knee bumps his lower back, he shoves his hand down further, the teeth of Adam’s zip scraping up the back of his wrist as he gets a few fingers snugged against Adam’s hole.

“I wanted,” Adam says, breath catching as he falls back flat to the bed again, clutching one-handed at the duvet, “god, Tommy, I wanted to fuck you, please, it was so good.”

“Yeah, well, you’re gonna fuck my hand for me instead.” Scooting back, Tommy sits down on Adam’s legs, pinning him. “Both of ‘em. Fuck ‘em and ride ‘em, babyboy. That work for you?”

Adam makes a noise that sure as fuck sounds like okay to Tommy, and he crooks his wrist, lets the restless, desperate push of Adam trying to fuck up into Tommy’s grip rock him down onto Tommy’s fingers, too. It works like a fucking dream. Like the best motherfucking dream ever. Adam settles into a sweet, rolling rhythm, dick hot in Tommy’s hand, his body even hotter clenching tight around Tommy’s fingers. Adam’s head is tipped way back, his mouth moving like he’s still trying to talk, or maybe just trying to breathe.

“Come on, baby, c’mon,” Tommy says, pushing against Adam’s insides, getting him to rock up harder, pause shuddering at the peak. “Give it up for me, I wanna see you fuck, wanna see you move, wanna see you come so fucking hard for me, make you pass out it’s so good.” Adam’s palm smacks against Tommy’s forearm. He grabs on like he’s about to fall off the side of a cliff, nails close to cutting into Tommy’s ink. Tommy doesn’t even think about shaking him off, just says, “Harder, fucking do it harder, know you can, fucking felt you giving it to me.”

Adam twists, gasps out something like a warning. Tommy gets a hand covering the head of Adam’s cock just in time so come spills all over his fingers, so he can feel the push of it, the way Adam’s dick throbs when he presses hard against Adam’s prostate. He keeps stroking the sweet little spot, leaving his other hand still, coaxing every last bit out of Adam until he starts shuddering, moaning like it hurts but he doesn’t want it to stop.

Almost as reluctant as he is desperate, Tommy drags his hand out of Adam’s pants, carelessly wiping lube off on Adam’s shorts to open up his own jeans. With his other hand, the one absolutely fucking covered in Adam’s come, he hauls his cock out, jacks it rough and fast staring down at Adam flaked out on the bed, all in a mess with his shirt rucked up, junk glistening in the low light with come and spit and lube.

One of Adam’s eyes cracks open. He says, “Shit,” like it’s a fucking shock that Tommy would want to get off after that, and pulls out some fancy, unbelievable bucking roll thing that knocks Tommy off his perch. Tommy hits the bed on his side, head spinning, and Adam doesn’t even bother to roll him over before sucking him in. It’s wet and sloppy and a fucking mess, and Tommy’s seriously impressed he lasts twenty fucking seconds before he goes off.

Long, long minutes later, Tommy starting to shiver because he’s lying here with his junk wet, Adam says, “Okay. That was good too.”

“Fuck you, good,” Tommy says, aiming to smear the mess on his hand across Adam’s face. “S’fucking awesome.”

Adam says, “Ew, no come-swapping games when it’s cold,” and flails vaguely at Tommy’s arm, managing to knock it far enough off-course his face is out of immediate danger, even though his neck isn’t. Tommy manages to get a hand-hold on the hair at Adam’s nape, making sure he takes the time to really rub it in. Rolling his face against Tommy’s belly, Adam mumbles, “Brat.”

“But I put out, so it’s cool.”

“Jizz in your hair next time,” Adam threatens.

“Been there, done that.”

“M’gonna pass out.” Heaving a sigh, Adam tries sitting up. He doesn’t get far. “Gonna pass out, and this is gonna be gross tomorrow.”

Ever practical, Tommy says, “Worry ’bout it then,” and Adam grunts, managing to clamber up enough that it’s not so cold cuddling together.

Three hours later when they wake up, it’s totally disgusting. Tommy bitches and Adam laughs and they wash up. They write the duvet off as a lost cause until housekeeping can rescue it, and crawl back into bed, Adam tucking Tommy into the curve of his body, keeping him warm.

The mess was so worth it.

*

April slips into May, into June, and they’re on fucking tour. A real, vaguely schizophrenic with the way it zigzags all over the damn place, cross-country tour. He’s on a tour bus. His own god damn motherfucking tour bus.

His head’s gonna explode.

“I know, right?” Allison says, bounding by to fling her stuff into her bunk. She flings herself in after it and starts tearing through it, turning her tiny living space into an excellent replica of a teenaged girl’s domain in ten seconds flat. “Bet you’re glad we’re not flying.”

“Can’t tour by airplane,” Dave puts in, carefully stowing his guitar. “Man, this is something. Opening for Adam Lambert on a national tour.”

Allison sticks her tongue out. “Newbie.”

“Can’t all be American Idols, either, squirt,” Tommy adds. And like, speaking of. He knocks his fist against the side of Allison’s bunk. “Gonna go find boss man. Back in a few.”

“Ooh,” Allison says. “Boss man. Adam must like that.”

Halfway down the stairs into the sunlight, Tommy flips her off. Outside is bustling, everybody busy setting up the venue to pull off one last rehearsal before opening night. He’s nervous, and excited, and it doesn’t seem to matter he’s been playing shows for months already with these guys. It’s gotta be perfect. He’s gonna give it everything he’s got.

He finds Adam inside the Kirby Centre surrounded by a circle of techs. How the first stop on Adam’s Glam Nation turned out to be Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Tommy doesn’t even want to know. Picking a path through the cords strewn all over the place, he heads over to Adam, catching snippets of conversation but more than that, the stress in Adam’s voice. He doesn’t know what it’s about, but he doesn’t need to. When he bumps into Adam’s side, Adam’s arm goes around his waist. He stands there, not really listening anymore, as Adam’s voice gradually modulates, and somebody says something that makes Adam smile.

“Oh thank god,” Adam says, people bustling off, breaking into their own groups to do whatever the hell they all just decided on. He kisses the side of Tommy’s head and mumbles, “How’d you know I needed a hug?”

“Psychic vampire powers,” Tommy says. “Gimme the code to your bus. I wanna see this bed Sutan’s bragging about.”

“It’s not Sutan’s bed,” Adam says, and turns them around, his arm still on Tommy’s waist, to head back outside. “It’s my bed. And if I find anybody in it that’s not invited, I’m gonna expect sexual favours as payment.”

“Better make sure Allison knows that.”

Adam cringes. “Oh god, way to destroy all my sexy fantasies.”

“God giveth boners,” Tommy intones, “and god taketh boners away.”

Adam rolls his eyes and totally fails at fighting off a giggle.

At the bus, Adam tells him the code, and lets him head on up first. It looks less like a band bus and more like a motorhome with mansion aspirations. Making noises like he’s not impressed, Tommy heads for Adam’s room in the back past the bunks that look as tiny and cramped as the ones on his bus. The door’s already open, and Tommy steps inside, lips pursed in a low whistle. “Fuckin’ hotel room on wheels,” he says, crossing over to give the bed a curious poke. It moulds around his hand soft as a squished marshmallow. He flops down onto the sheets in a careless sprawl, eyes closing as he heaves a satisfied sigh. “Cool. You can go back to work now, wake me when it’s showtime.”

The door snicks shut. “What did I tell you about crawling into my bed uninvited?”

Keeping his eyes closed, Tommy says, “Not uninvited. Totally gave me the code.”

“I don’t think it works that way.”

Adam’s shadow falls dark over Tommy’s face. He grins, and wiggles deeper into the bed, getting comfy. “Nap time. Check back later.”

“Oh, I really don’t think so,” Adam says, mostly a fucking growl, and grabs onto Tommy’s junk through his jeans. Tommy barely bites back a yelp, honestly not expecting that shit right off the bat, his eyes flying wide open. The first thing he sees is Adam’s hand on him, squeezing gently, and then his gaze shoots up, lands on Adam’s wicked grin. “If you’re in my bed, I get to play with you.”

Swallowing hard, Tommy says, “‘Kay.”

Adam’s eyebrows shoot up. “Okay?” he echoes dumbly.

“Yeah.” Totally calling Adam’s bluff, ’cause absolutely fucking anybody could walk onto the bus looking for them, Tommy tucks his arms beneath his head and spreads his thighs wider. “What’re you gonna do? Gonna just like, feel me up or what?”

Indecision flickers across Adam’s face, then his eyes narrow. “Yes,” he says, and, taking hold of Tommy’s shirt at the hem, shoves it all the way up under Tommy’s armpits. He tears open Tommy’s fly next, and Tommy flashes back to the very first time they did this, him crammed onto a vanity in the refurbed Alexandria hotel and Adam above him in leather and spikes, Adam getting off on just looking at him. His heartbeat stutters to a split-second stop and almost doesn’t start again.

Wriggling around, Tommy shoves his jeans down just far enough to make sure Adam can see it all, then grabs onto his shirt, thinking about hauling it off, and remembers at the last second he’d only held it up out of the way that first time. So that’s what he does this time, breathing hard and heavy while Adam looks down at him, so much heat in Adam’s eyes Tommy wonders if he’s gonna end up sunburnt.

“Baby,” Adam says, soft and weirdly reverent as his hand strokes up Tommy’s side. He swings a leg over to straddle Tommy’s thighs and gets his other hand involved, fingers curved over Tommy’s pecs, the curve of both thumbs and forefingers framing Tommy’s nipples. He gives a small squeeze like Tommy’s got tits or something, then rubs his palms up over them, and nerves spark like maybe he’s onto something. A little nipple action’s never been a bad thing, but it’s not like Tommy’s had somebody focused on them before like Adam’s focusing now.

Adam says, “Hold onto your dick, baby,” thumbs rubbing back and forth, and back and forth, “just hold it for me, don’t play with it.”

Licking his lips wet, Tommy wraps a hand lightly around his cock. He’s getting hard already, what the fuck. “Thought you were gonna play with it for me.”

“I’m so going to play with you,” Adam says, and scoots down, tee catching on Tommy’s damp cockhead. Fingers spread wide around Tommy’s nipple, Adam licks it wet, faint, ticklish pleasure tripping down Tommy’s nerves, then rubs it with his fingers, his lips, making sure it’s good and sensitive for when he gives it a rough suck.

Tommy’s spine bows. “Holy fuck,” he spits, because seriously, what the fuck. That took him from mostly there to so hard he’s aching, and Adam grins, tongues at his nipple again, winding up the tension in Tommy’s belly so tight it feels like a string about to snap. And then Adam bites, fucking bites, and sucks, and strokes fingertips up Tommy’s sides so lightly he knows it’s gotta tickle like a son of a bitch. A noise wedges in Tommy’s throat, stuck halfway between a gasp and a giggle, and Adam nips his way up to lick at the curve of Tommy’s arm. That fucking tickles straight up, but Adam fucking pinches his nipple at the same time, and that messes it all up so bad Tommy’s not sure if it’s awesome or terrible or both.

“Beautiful,” Adam says, leaning up to kiss Tommy’s mouth. But that’s no reprieve, Adam’s fingers rubbing at wet skin, stuttering dry on their way over to gently pinch at Tommy’s other nipple, wake up more buzzing nerves. Tommy twists away with a grunt and Adam’s hands skid up his sides, grabbing onto him under the arms, thumbs right there to dig in while Adam licks at his chest, nibbles and bites and sucks and seriously drives him fucking insane with the crazy, manic buzzing nailing him straight to the bone.

And then Adam says, “Oh my god, I want to fuck you so bad,” and Tommy’s stomach lurches. “So, so gorgeous, baby, I love it,” is a smear of words against Tommy’s throat, “can’t ever stop squirming, can you, gonna find a way to do it one day, wear you out so much you can’t even move,” and Adam kisses him, kisses him so hard his lips sting and he thinks about doing it, letting Adam inside him again.

With a grunt, Adam flops down beside him on the bed, curling a hand possessively over Tommy’s still clutching at his junk. “If we didn’t have a show to do tonight,” Adam says, leaving it hanging. He moves his hand lazily, hardly jacking Tommy at all, but Tommy’s insides light up like the New York skyline at midnight. “Come on, baby,” he says, mouthing in under Tommy’s jaw, “nice and slow for me.”

When Tommy comes five minutes later, Adam’s voice quiet and sweet in his ear, Adam’s hands big and warm on his skin, gently coaxing, he’s so twisted up inside he can’t think.

*

By the time Tommy hits the stage that night, his head’s not straightened out at all. The crowd is going nuts. It’s like he’s high, and drunk, and he’s maybe a little turned on, and his fingers are fucking itching to play.

Then Adam’s silhouette appears, and the frenzied thrumming in his bones does an about-face, slamming into him so hard he takes a few quick, stumbling steps closer to the stairs. He wants Adam’s hands on him. He wants Adam’s hands, and his mouth, and his fucking dick. Tommy doesn’t even fucking care if it hurts again, he wants that connection.

Three lines into the first fucking song, Adam’s singing to him. Maybe Adam’s a little mixed up with the lyrics, because Tommy’s got no illusions about who’s the hunter and who’s the prey in this scenario. He makes it past the bass solo, barely, and then Adam’s pressed against him, hand dragging up his chest, sparking the fresh, thrilling sting of skin teased sore. Breathing hard through his mouth, he pulls away, concentrating like fuck on getting his fingers to do what they need to do on the strings.

The whole fucking concert ends up like a game of cat and mouse. Adam struts and sings his soul raw and everybody screams for him like Tommy wishes he could. Like moth to flame, lightning to ground, Tommy’s drawn to him, heat flaring low in Tommy’s belly every time they touch. Every time Adam fucking looks at him, and Tommy knows what he’s thinking, imagining, wanting.

When it’s over, Tommy’s even more of a fucking mess than he started out. And that is seriously fucking saying something. The next venue’s only a three-hour drive away, so they do their thing outside the buses, then pile on, heading out the few miles to their hotel. Inside the lobby, Adam says, “We’ll have enough nights crammed into those bunks,” while Lane hands out room keys. “Tonight, bitches, we party!” The crew whoops, Adam beams, and the concierge looks like he’s about to eat his tie.

The following morning, Tommy wakes up in Adam’s bed with the worst dry mouth he’s had since Mike’s twenty-fifth birthday, and a whole lotta come crusted in his pubic hair. He rolls over with a groan, burying his head under the pillows.

“Oh god,” Adam moans, “baby, don’t rock the boat.”

And that pretty much sums up Tommy’s life for the next three and a half weeks.

*

Wherever the fuck they are in Virginia, at the end of July, summer’s kicked it into high gear. Tommy stumbles off stage absolutely fucking soaked in sweat, and it’s so gross he’s cringing as he peels off his clothes to dive into the venue’s shower. He’s so into the rush of cool water pounding against his back that he doesn’t notice the door opening, or Adam climbing in behind him until warm hands settle onto his waist. He yelps, whipping around so fast his wet hair smacks Adam in the face.

“S’what you get,” Tommy says, grinning.

“Holy shit,” Adam says, reaching for the taps, “your balls are going to crawl up into your throat,” and turns on the hot, dialling Tommy’s sub-arctic dip up to a pleasant North Atlantic wallow. “You’re chilled already.”

“Man, it was hot up there. And like, what’re you doin’ in my shower, anyway? Don’t you got your own, rock star?”

Adam lathers up the giant CostCo bar of soap Tommy picked up for the trip. He doesn’t even bitch about it, because hey, that’s pure organic olive oil soap, thanks very fucking much. It’s good shit. “I do have my own. But it doesn’t come with one of you.”

“Don’t think this means I’m washing your back,” Tommy says as Adam soaps him down with bare hands, not one bit shy about making sure he gets right in Tommy’s armpits, or the crack of his ass, or even between his fucking toes. Adam spends enough time soaping Tommy’s balls he’s sure he’s about to get some before Adam moves on, leaving him grumbling and clinging to Adam’s shoulder.

Tommy totally ends up returning the favour. He also totally expects Adam to do something about the wood he sprouted ten fucking minutes ago.

“There’s a hot tub,” Adam says.

“What’s that got to do with my freakin’ boner?”

Grinning, Adam crowds Tommy against the tiles. They’ve been in here way too long. Somebody’s gonna start wondering soon. “There’s also weed.”

“Dude, there’s always fucking weed,” Tommy says, shifting around trying to get Adam to pay attention to his dick. “Don’t have to boil my balls to get it, either.”

“But I wanna sit in the hot tub with you, and watch you toke up, and grope you where no one can see.”

Tommy squints through the spray. “You totally already hit it.”

Adam’s grin goes incandescent.

“Fucker,” Tommy mutters, and lets Adam drag him out to put on some fucking shorts.

It turns out there are actually other people in the hot tub, Taylor and Terrance and a couple girls and another guy Tommy doesn’t recognise. Tommy’s first mistake is thinking this means Adam’s groping plan is out the window. His second mistake is assuming that means it’s safe to sit next to Adam when Adam pats the seat. His third one, and he’s starting to see a trend here, is taking the joint Adam lights up for him.

Halfway through his first hit, Adam’s arm is around his shoulders, and by the time he surfaces from the third–or fourth, who’s really counting here–Adam’s arm has slid down and he’s totally feeling up Tommy’s ass underwater. The jets are on high, churning the water up, so Tommy’s pretty sure nobody knows Adam’s fingers are inching under the band of his shorts. Really pretty sure. Almost totally sure.

Terrance is staring straight at him. “Are you planning on giving that a suck, or just holding it?”

Tommy chokes. Everybody cracks up. It’s totally hilarious, except Adam hand is all the way in his shorts and he’s maybe holding Tommy’s dick a little. Just like, a bit. If there’s any such thing as Adam Lambert doing anything small when it comes to dicks, anyway. Purely out of self-defence, he sticks the joint in his mouth, breathes in deep and holds the hit for the slow count of five before letting it slink free. Licking smoke off his lips, he asks, “How’s that?”

Sinking lower into the water, Terrance fans at his face. One of the girls and the guy applauds. Adam, all dark eyes, liner still smudged around his lashes, looks like he’s giving serious consideration to stealth-jerking Tommy right here in front of everybody. Except there’s no way that’s gonna stay stealth for more than fifteen seconds. Tommy knows he’s loud, and he squirms. While he’s at peace with his hot twink porn tendencies, he’d mostly rather not have an audience.

“I’m gonna,” Tommy starts, at the same time Terrance claps his hands together and says, “Party bus!”

Taylor whoops, scrambling out of the tub. Everybody else surges after him in a chaotic rush, water splashing everywhere while Tommy desperately tries to protect the pot. He’s still in the middle of figuring out how the fuck he’s gonna stand up without losing his shorts, and if he manages that, how he’s gonna hide his wood, by the time he notices they’ve left him and Adam behind.

Adam sighs, and scoots in, Tommy sitting low enough in the water he can sling an arm around Tommy shoulders, hauling him in so tight the jets almost rock Tommy into his lap. “Better smoke that,” he says.

“Think I’m high enough.” But Tommy’s barely feeling it, way too much of his attention his dick, so he takes another slow draw.

Head tipped back, eyes closed, Adam says, “This is it.”

“S’what?”

“What I’ve always wanted. This is my dream.”

Tommy would say he’s got his doubts Adam’s dream involved a half-naked bandmate toking up in a hot tub, but this is Adam, so maybe it totally did. Maybe all of it’s falling exactly into place. All they gotta do is have the guts to keep going.

“Holy shit,” Tommy says, eyeing the spliff. “That hit me like, all of a fucking sudden.”

“Finally. Sit in my fucking lap already, I want to cuddle.”

“Fuckin’ pervert,” Tommy says, laughing as he clambers up. His perch isn’t all the comfy until Adam’s arms wrap around his waist, holding him steady, and then he’s able to sink back, enjoy the swirling water, the cool prickle of skin dried by the soft breeze, the way Adam’s humming softly in his throat, happiness bubbling up in sound. Tommy could stay here forever, mellow in Adam’s arms, in Adam’s life. For fucking ever. “Thought you were gonna grope me?”

“Nah,” Adam says, sounding like he’s both miles away and inside Tommy’s head. “Just wanna hold you.”

Tommy says, “‘Kay,” and takes another hit, watching as the smoke curls through the stars.

*

A week later, they’re in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Adam’s sitting on the table in the bus’s lounge, trashiest cowboy hat Tommy’s ever fucking seen perched at a rakish angle on his head, his laptop open and tinny camera phone audio blasting. Somebody’s spliced the first ten to fifteen seconds of every single fucking time they’ve performed to make a video tribute to the evolution of Fever. It’s fucking ridiculous, and hot, and he’s kinda embarrassed to see what a total moonstruck moron he is up there sometimes.

“This is so amazing,” Adam says, rewinding about half a minute. “Wow, Tommy.”

Tommy risks a peek over Adam’s knee. It’s the Washington show again. It’s been the Washington show for the past five fucking minutes. He’d say he’s getting tired of seeing Adam grab him, but it takes him straight back to filming the For Your Entertainment video every single fucking time. He rubs absently at his throat, stubble rasping, as on-screen Adam’s hand closes around it again. Phantom pressure sends a shiver whispering under his skin.

“C’mon,” he says, slapping Adam’s thigh. “Thought you wanted to go like, shopping or some shit.”

Adam glances up, startled. He hits pause on YouTube, then closes his laptop, setting it aside. “This doesn’t bother you, does it?”

“That hat kinda offends me on a primal level.”

“Hey, don’t knock the hat.” Reaching up, Adam tilts it further away from his eyes so he can keep his gaze steady on Tommy’s. “I know it’s been ramping up on stage lately. Since New York, really.”

“It’s been fucking awesome. If it bugged me, you know I’d say so.” Takes a lot of shit to get under Tommy’s skin, anyway, and besides that, it’s not like some on-stage PDA is gonna do it.

“I know,” Adam says, waving his hands. “I know, I know.” Scooting off the table, he grabs up his knapsack, pats down his pockets for his wallet. “And I know I’m prone to getting carried away. I just wanted to make sure.”

“Quit worrying,” Tommy says, heading for the door. “People are gonna say shit. Didn’t care at the AMAs, don’t care now.” Outside, the sun is blazing bright. Tommy unhooks his sunglasses from the collar of his tee and slides them on. “So where’re we going?”

“Not far.” Adam slings his backpack over one shoulder, angling his hat back down to shield his eyes. “I’m almost afraid to make you walk more than twenty feet in those things.”

“Hey, I like being taller.”

“Well, I like you small,” Adam says, arm settling around Tommy’s shoulders as they head north from the theatre’s back lot. “Are you going to let me buy you something this time?”

“What d’you mean, ‘let you’?” Adam’s long, leggy gait doesn’t work so well when they’re both sober. Ducking out from under Adam’s arm, Tommy catches his wrist instead, poking at his palm until he gets with the program and laces their fingers together. “You can buy me all the shit you want. I totally need new socks.”

Sounding mortally offended, Adam says, “I’m not buying you socks.”

“I love socks. Socks keep my toes warm.”

“Oh honey, they really don’t.”

“Fuck off,” Tommy says, and bumps Adam’s shoulder. “Think how fucking bad it’d be if I didn’t have socks.”

“Like sleeping with a penguin.”

“Man, you ever seen penguins fuck? It’s total trippy shit. All this crazy wing flapping.” Feeling Adam’s gaze on him, Tommy arches an eyebrow. “Dude, what? The wing thing’s true. Discovery Channel.”

“I don’t doubt it. And I’m not really shocked it’s something your brain filed away as important to remember.” Waiting for the light at the crosswalk, Adam tightens his grip on Tommy’s hand. His thumb stroking along Tommy’s knuckles really shouldn’t take up as much of Tommy’s attention as it does. “Almost there, by the way. That’s the market up there.”

Tommy squints at the jumble of canvas roofs strung between a sprinkling of buildings. “A farmer’s market, seriously?”

“Yes, a farmer’s market,” Adam says, pulling Tommy across the road when the light changes. He’s smiling so wide Tommy can count all eleven freckles on his lips. “Seriously.”

“Oh man.” Tommy picks up the pace, angling for one of the canvas booths. “Do you think they’ve got cranberries? I fucking love cranberries.”

A rough yank on Tommy’s arm has him wheeling around, almost slamming into Adam’s chest. He puts up his hand at the last second. Aside from a slight grunt at the impact, Adam doesn’t even seem to notice. “Stay still,” Adam says, “I’m going to kiss you,” and Tommy does, even though he thinks maybe a sidewalk in the middle of downtown Knoxville isn’t the best place for it, while Adam goes ahead and plants one on him, quick and happy with a tiny flicker of tongue. “I thought you were disappointed it wasn’t, I don’t know, a hole in the wall pub with stuffed animal heads on the walls and some guy named Handsome Bob serving up beer out of casks he cracks open with his head.”

“Yeah, that’d be pretty cool too,” Tommy says, “and also kinda terrifying, but this works. I bet some farmer’s totally got big fuzzy socks his wife knits for him to sell.”

Beaming, Adam gives him another quick peck. “Let’s shop.”

It turns out nobody has cranberries, but Adam finds one guy with some scraggly-looking kiwis that are so perfectly tart Tommy goes back to buy three more. Adam stares, fascinated, as Tommy gives another one a quick rinse in a drinking fountain and eats it like an apple. “Doesn’t it bother you?” Adam asks.

“The skin? Nah.” Taking another big bite, Tommy licks juice off his fingers. “S’only a bit of fuzz.” Like ball fuzz, he doesn’t say.

“Right,” Adam says, “speaking of fuzz,” and they’re off again on a slightly less-focused search for fuzzy socks, which is more like what Tommy imagined shopping with Adam in a sprawling market would be. Apparently shopping for something Tommy wants to eat takes precedence over stopping for a quick second to check out the antique watches someone repairs and sells.

There’s a consignment store near the far end of the square, mostly women’s fashions in the window, but Adam ducks inside anyway to check out the costume jewellery. He manages to find a oversized, blue-black stone ring with iridescent swirls through it that fits on his pinky. “Find bling in a fucking haystack, man,” Tommy says as they walk back out into the sun, Adam with his hand up to admire how the light hits his prize.

“Since it sparkles, I’m not sure that’d be hard.” Pausing near a telephone pole jammed right in the middle of the walking path, Adam glances around. “Are you hungry? Looks like a food court up ahead.”

“I just ate, like, a dozen kiwis.”

Adam rolls his eyes. “I meant for something with a bit of protein to it.” Decisively, he takes Tommy’s hand. “Let’s get some meat into you.”

Biting hard on his bottom lip, Tommy grins.

“Don’t even.”

“Didn’t say nothing.”

“Because that’s terrible.”

“Didn’t even laugh!”

“You didn’t have to.” Not content with holding Tommy’s hand, Adam drags him in for a one-armed hug like a threat. “I know how your mind works.”

“Yeah, ’cause that’s not where yours went two seconds before you said it.”

“Regardless,” Adam says, and marches Tommy up to a grill twice his size to order a couple of steak kebabs to go. Unhelpfully, Tommy’s stomach growls.

“Shut up,” Tommy mutters, and eats his freaking amazing kebab, the veggies still crunchy and fresh and the steak blushing pink in the centre, so good it melts on his tongue.

As they’re wandering through the stalls, some of Adam’s manic shopping energy bled out for now, Tommy catches a few sidelong glances aimed their way. It’s probably because people recognise Adam, but Tommy can’t help wondering if they’re wondering the same thing he’s been trying figure out for the last two hours. He and Adam have gone shopping loads of times before. Usually with a group, sure, but sometimes only the two of them. Actually, a lot of times only the two of them. Whatever. It’s never felt like a date before.

This isn’t a date. He knows it’s not a date. But it feels like a date.

Maybe he kinda wants it to be a date.

“Shit,” Tommy says.

Busy wrangling up the cherry tomato about to fall of his kebab, Adam says, “Hm?”

“Nothing,” Tommy says, slightly too fast if the way Adam’s eyebrow wings up is anything to go by. “Dropped a veggie.”

Adam says, “Aw, baby, can’t take you anywhere,” and slows down, holding up his tomato. “Here.”

Tommy doesn’t think. Doesn’t even consider thinking, just holds onto Adam’s wrist to steady it and plucks the tomato from between Adam’s fingers with his teeth. Adam’s eyes go a little heavy, maybe a little dark, and Tommy so shouldn’t have done that. And he so totally shouldn’t dart back in to lick up a seed clinging to the side of Adam’s thumb, but he does anyway. It feels dangerous and thrilling for no good reason at all.

“Tommy Joe,” Adam says, very slowly, “you’re not trying to tease me in public, are you?”

Tommy makes sure his eyes are nice and round. “Nope.”

“Because if you were,” Adam says, and leaves it hanging.

Tommy bumps Adam’s shoulder with his again, like they’re fucking teenagers or something. “Yeah? If I am, what?”

Taking a quick look around, Adam heads for the central square, and the bigger building beside it that houses on-site administration. Gnawing on the inside of his cheek, Tommy follows along. Every now and then, he flicks a glance Adam’s way. Adam’s gaze is set resolutely forward.

“Shit, man,” Tommy says, hot on Adam’s heels as Adam ducks inside the building, takes a quick left down a blank hall. “Feel like you’re gonna whack me or something.” Three seconds before Adam shoves a door open, Tommy catches sight of the washroom sign bolted to the front of it. He stumbles over the threshold, nerves in knots and a shaky laugh caught in his throat. “No way, seriously?”

Pulling Tommy away from the door, Adam pushes it shut, pushes Tommy up against it. The sound of a lock clicking into place ratchets up Tommy’s spine. “You did ask what if.”

“Like, here?” It’s a pretty small bathroom, only a toilet with a couple metal bars bolted to the walls around it, and a sink and a mirror directly opposite the door. Tommy’s staring right at his own startled expression. “You want a bathroom fuck?”

“You can tell me no.” Yeah, right. Like Tommy actually fucking could. Like Tommy would fucking want to. Everything Adam’s done, even the stuff that scares the shit out of him, isn’t anything Tommy wants to go without. Instead of an answer, Tommy shuffles his feet further apart, making space for Adam to settle between his legs, and Adam groans, “God, why can’t I keep my hands off you?” It doesn’t sound like Adam’s really asking. More like it’s fucking killing him.

“Dunno,” Tommy says, letting the stroke of Adam’s knuckles along his jaw tilt his head back. “There some reason you’d want to?”

Adam’s fingers push into Tommy’s hair, fisting it tight. Pulse tripping at the echo of footsteps in the hall, Tommy tightens his grip on Adam’s arm. Tommy would do it. He’d fuck Adam in here, right now. He’d go to his knees on the dirt-scuffed tile if Adam wanted, let Adam put him on his belly again. It’s so fucking crazy how much he wants to give Adam absolutely anything.

Everything that’s in his head must be showing on his face. About to kiss him, Adam stops and stares. Dick going stiff in his shorts, Tommy squirms a bit, trying to work it out of the crook of his thigh without letting Adam go.

Totally out of the blue, Adam says, “Tell me no.”

“What?” Tommy asks, voice hitching.

“Tell me no.”

“Are we doing kinky sex games now?” Tugging on Adam’s belt, Tommy tries to get him pressing in close. “‘Cause you gotta warn me first if you want me to play hard to get or whatever.” Serious roleplay’s not really currently in Tommy’s sexual repertoire, but hey, neither was cocksucking. He learns fast.

“We’re in a fucking bathroom,” Adam says, rough all around the edges. “There are people outside. They could hear. They’ll see us after, and they’ll know.”

Tommy starts to say he doesn’t give a flying fuck, because he doesn’t, and stops. Maybe Adam cares. Maybe all the buzz about them being an item is seriously cutting into Adam’s dating pool. Not that he’s said anything about wanting to date, and he’s getting laid pretty regularly, which is doing just fine for Tommy, but maybe Adam wants more. Maybe Adam’s done fucking around, this whole thing was him trying to do some buddy shit, and Tommy had to go and fuck it up.

“Yeah,” Tommy says, and licks his lips, ignoring the sharp twist in his chest. “Yeah, like, maybe we shouldn’t.”

Adam drags in a breath so deep he shudders with it, almost like he’s settling back into his skin. He lets up on Tommy’s hair, and Tommy rubs absently at his scalp. There’s not much to do about the boner in his jeans except give it a couple minutes.

“I’m sorry,” Adam says.

“Dude, whatever.” When Adam eases off, Tommy straightens up, tugs his shirt back into place. “S’okay.”

Waiting for Tommy’s go ahead to open the door, Adam doesn’t really look like it is.

*

The weird vibe lasts all through the show that night and into the morning, and then into the day after, and the one after that. It’s seriously driving Tommy nuts. Everything else aside, because it’s not like he hasn’t gone three days without a fuck, he’s aching for a hug. Sasha gives great hugs, and so does Neil, strangely fucking enough–or maybe not considering how he’s a Lambert and all–but they’re not the fucking hugs he wants. Sunday night, after the show in Louisville where Adam fucking kissed him on stage again after a couple weeks of teasing licks, he marches his skinny ass onto Adam’s bus, straight down the hall to Adam’s room, and does something he’s never done before. Adam’s room is Adam’s space, and Tommy’s got no claim on it. He barges right the fuck in anyway.

Adam jolts upright, the book he was reading tumbling to the floor. “Tommy?” he asks, tight and worried. “Tommy, what is it, is everything okay at home, what-”

“I want a fucking hug.”

Adam’s mouth works silently a few times before he gets out another, “What?”

Just in case somebody gets it in their head to follow, and Tommy’s mainly thinking Neil here, Tommy makes sure the door is closed tight. He got enough sideways, knowing looks on his way back here, the gang doesn’t need to see more. “I miss you, and I want a hug, and you’ve been weird for like, days, and next time we’re fucking in the god damn bathroom.”

Adam scoots to the edge of the bed. “I don’t think-”

“Unless you really didn’t want to. And if that’s the case, then like, I don’t know, don’t drag me into one next time and give me sex face and everything.”

Blinking, Adam says, “Sex face?”

“Yeah. You know.” Tommy waves a hand vaguely in front of his face. “That look you get when you’re horny.”

“According to the internet, I’m always horny,” Adam says, wry.

“They’re not wrong.”

“I’m not exactly turned on right now.”

Tommy winces. “Sorry. I didn’t mean, well, I kinda did, but, like. I hate it when shit’s weird. If you wanna cool it for awhile, s’okay.”

“Just like that,” Adam says.

“Casual’s the thing, right?” It doesn’t sound like a hell of a good time to Tommy, but then, he’s been too close for way too long. If Adam needs him to back off, he can back the fuck off. “I’m not gonna go totally nuts and throw shit, and like, shank you in your sleep or something if you need some space.”

Propping his elbows on his knees, Adam drops his head into his hands. “God,” he says, staring at the floor. “I didn’t think tour would stress me out so fast. On Idols, it was so easy.”

Tommy takes a few steps away from the door. “It’s different when you’re the one running the show. We all got your back. You know we do.”

Adam doesn’t look up, doesn’t say anything at all, but somewhere in there is Tommy’s cue. He moves over on instinct, and Adam’s arms come up, wrap around his scrawny hips to hug tight, Adam’s face pressed into his middle. Combing fingers gently through Adam’s messy hair, Tommy says, “Told you from day one, whatever the fuck you need.”

“Don’t need space,” Adam mumbles, pressing in harder, probably close to suffocating himself in Tommy’s belly. Tommy keeps petting his hair, his shoulders, seriously hoping there’s no waterworks in the plan. If Adam breaks down like that, Tommy’s gonna tear the world apart until he finds a way to make it better.

Finally needing more than a stale breath of air, Adam eases up a fraction. “If I’m so tired of people needing things from me already, what am I going to do? This is my life. People are always going to need things.”

“They’re gonna want things,” Tommy says. “There’s a difference. People want shit, you’re allowed to say no. Only time somebody’s gonna need something from you is when you let them need it.”

Adam gives a quiet, bitter laugh. “Oh, sure, make it sound so logical and simple.”

“Just easier to see from where I’m standing.”

The noise of people moving around out front brings Adam’s head up. Reaching for his phone without letting Tommy go, he flicks at the screen. “Almost time to head out. Are you going back to your bus?”

Busy trying to flatten out an unruly chunk of Adam’s hair, Tommy asks, “Need me to stay?”

“Yeah,” Adam says, voice thick in his throat, “yeah, I’ll text Monte in a bit, tell him you’re staying over here,” and he’s got his phone in his hand, he could do it right now, but Tommy’s already on his knees, face tilted up, lips parted, heart on his motherfucking sleeve.

*

It’s half past three in the morning. Hotel rooms are cheap in Hollis, Oklahoma, so he’s alone. The window’s wide open, but outside is dead quiet. The hallway when he steps out into it is filled with white noise from the air conditioning. Shivering, he shuffles past the doors one by one, waiting until one of the numbers sticks with him. He leans against it for a moment before remembering he needs to knock if he wants anybody to know he’s out here. From inside comes the sound of a bed creaking. Tommy closes his eyes and knocks again, and again, and again.

Tommy sways when the door swings open, blinking into the dark and staring hard at Adam’s face. “Baby?” Adam asks, reaching out. Looking straight into Adam’s eyes, Tommy sees the moment it hits him like it hasn’t managed to hit Tommy yet. “Oh baby,” Adam says, gathering him in close, Adam’s skin warm from the bed, smelling soft like sleep, “baby, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

“I need to go home.” Tommy remembers saying that into the phone after the line had gone dead. His mom said for him to come home.

“Don’t worry about it,” Adam says, rocking him slowly. Adam’s bare toes make deep dents in the plush carpet. The threshold is cold against the bottoms of Tommy’s feet. Adam’s got his toenails painted again, and Tommy wonders why he never bothers to paint his. It looks pretty cool. “I’ll take care of it. Lane’ll take care of it. There’s an airport right next door.”

“I can’t,” Tommy says, and Adam shushes him, says, “You don’t have to do anything,” so Tommy lets Adam hold him, his cheek resting on Adam’s shoulder, and blinks too-dry eyes as Adam starts to hum quietly. He can’t stop shivering, even though he’s warm where he’s tucked against Adam, Adam’s hands rubbing more warmth into his back, but Adam doesn’t seem to mind.

When the melody starts to repeat, Tommy asks, “What’re you singing?”

“I don’t know. Can you come inside? You’re freezing, baby.”

Tommy glances down. He forgot to put on a shirt, and his feet are bare. He’s not sure if he put on track pants when he left his room, or if he’d woken up wearing them. Maybe he slept in them, but then, he usually sleeps in a shirt, too.

“Don’t worry about what you’re wearing,” Adam says, an arm around Tommy’s waist pulling him into the room. When the door closes, it goes pitch black. “Just come get under the blankets.”

Shuffling across the room, face tucked close to Adam’s neck, Tommy says, “Don’t turn on a light.”

“I won’t, baby. Wait a second.” There’s a rustle of cotton, then Adam’s hands are back, guiding Tommy down. “Scoot in, okay? Into the warm spot.” There’s not much of a warm spot left that Tommy can find, but he shuffles back anyway, stopping when the mattress dips, as Adam climbs in after him. The dark’s not so dark anymore, and he can make out the lighter slope of Adam’s shoulder, the white cotton blankets Adam pulls up around them. “I’m so sorry, baby.”

“I knew it was gonna happen,” Tommy says. Around his middle, Adam’s arm tightens. Adam’s breath is warm in his hair, Adam’s heartbeat strong against his back. “They told me chances weren’t good. But he was doing better.”

Adam doesn’t say anything. There’s nothing he really can say. There’s nothing Tommy can say, or do, either, but the words come tumbling out anyway. He’d really hoped. He’s glad his dad got to see him on stage, got to know that he’d finally done it, taken hold of his dream, but he’d hoped. He’d thought about praying to a god he doesn’t believe in for his dad to see it again.

“It’s not your fault, baby,” Adam says. “It’s no one’s fault.”

“I know,” Tommy says, heat prickling at his eyes, burning dry. “I know that.”

Softly, Adam strokes his belly. Adam’s done that for him before, giving comfort when he’s caught colds, easing the soreness in his tummy when he’d gotten sick on food that had gone off in the bus’s fridge, and sometimes, maybe only once or twice, before Adam’s hand slid down to cup his cock. Tommy’s never really noticed before that where Adam touches him as much as the way Adam touches him depends on what Adam’s trying to offer. He’s never really noticed a lot of things about the way Adam reacts to him.

Swallowing the weird thickness lingering on the back of his tongue, Tommy rests his hand over the back of Adam’s and pushes it decisively down. Adam immediately goes tense. “Baby?”

“Please,” Tommy says, curling his fingers tighter over Adam’s. He’s not even close to hard. He doesn’t even know if he’ll get there, but there’s a terrible hot churn in his gut, and he needs to feel something, anything, else. “If you can do it, please.”

Still, Adam hesitates. Tommy can’t blame him. Tommy’s probably completely insane, he can’t even cry. “I need to know what you’re asking me to do.”

Talking’s too hard, and it’ll take too long, and it means giving Adam the chance to convince him this isn’t what he wants or needs right now. Trying to swallow down that weird metallic burn at the back of his throat, Tommy shoves at the waistband of his pants, kicking his legs under the blankets to get them off. When he rolls back against Adam, Adam’s hand settles on his bare hip, and he pushes it down again, towards his ass this time.

“I don’t,” Adam starts, trying to talk him out of it anyway.

“Don’t have to,” Tommy says, pushing Adam’s fingers into the crack of his ass, holding them there as long as Adam isn’t fighting him. “Don’t even have to want to.”

Cool air rushes in as Adam moves away. Tommy tries to bite back the noise that wants to come spilling out of him, getting it for the most part, but enough leaks free that Adam hears. “I’m not leaving you,” Adam says, his breath warm on Tommy’s shoulder. “If you want me to do this, I need things.”

Not even trying to force his voice even, Tommy says, “Okay.”

Lying there listening to Adam move in the dark, Tommy starts to shake again. It doesn’t really make much sense. He does really well on his own. Most times, that’s when he’s at his best. In the few minutes before the bed dips again, and Adam slides back in behind him, he decides he never wants to be alone again.

Warm fingers brush Tommy’s cheek. “Can I kiss you?”

Staying on his side, Tommy twists around enough for Adam to reach his mouth. He tries kissing back as best he can, knowing he’s asking for a lot here, and if he were in Adam’s place, he’s not sure he could do it. But everything feels like it’s moving either too slow or too fast for him, making his kisses clumsy, sloppy, probably not very good at all. It’s worse when he hears the snap of the lube opened, the quiet thump of it against the pillow as Adam drops the bottle, smoothes the back of his slicked hand over Tommy’s hip.

Afraid Adam’s going to hesitate again, that he’s not going to go through with it, Tommy says, “Adam, please.”

“It’s okay,” Adam says, forehead resting on Tommy’s, “I’m not leaving you, baby, I’m right here,” and eases a finger inside. The same as before, it doesn’t feel much of anything, not bad, not good, definitely not enough to make the churning stop. Some sort of urgent noise bubbles up through Tommy’s chest, and Adam kisses his shoulder. “Just breathe, and let me do this.”

Biting down on his lip, Tommy nods.

The dull ache grows as Adam presses deeper, not yet trying to loosen Tommy up like he did the first time. There’s more pressure, a sharper spike of it that mellows fast as Tommy’s breath hisses in through his teeth. “That’s it, baby,” Adam says, drawing free to slide in with a thicker bunch of his fingers, easily finding the same spot again, rocking steadily against it. “Move with me.”

Searching for something solid to hold onto, Tommy reaches up, grabs onto the back of Adam’s neck. It’s not enough yet, but it will be. Once Adam’s really inside him.

“Easy,” Adam says, and Tommy thinks maybe any other time, he’d tell Adam to fuck off with the easy bullshit, he wants to get fucked. Right now, though, the soft whisper of Adam’s voice, the slow, easy pressure opening him up, is exactly what he needs.

Adam’s thigh bumps the back of his. “Move with me,” Adam repeats, giving a slow, rolling thrust, the heat of his cock still trapped in his briefs strange and disorienting for a minute. Adam never sleeps with clothes on. That he’d stopped to put on shorts before following Tommy into bed brings another thick lump clogging up Tommy’s throat. “Don’t think, baby. Just move.”

“If you’re not hard, I can suck you,” Tommy offers, voice hitching weirdly. “This is really messed up, I get it, but I can get you there.”

“I’m there,” Adam says, his hand caught between them as he rolls closer, presses his dick firmly against Tommy’s ass. “I’m always there with you.”

Biting at his lip again, Tommy reaches down, gives enough time for Adam to tell him no before he reaches into Adam’s shorts, finds Adam’s dick hard and thick and pulls it free. It feels the same as it always does in his hand, kinda strange, still so thrilling, stupidly familiar. One thing he’d never thought he’d know would be another guy’s cock as well as he knows his own.

“I always want you,” Adam repeats, fingers working a little faster, more strain creeping into his voice as Tommy strokes him. “I think I’m always going to want you. Even when I’m with you, when I’ve got you, I want more.”

Crazily, Tommy says, “Don’t use the rubber.”

Adam sucks in a sharp, whistling breath. “Baby-”

“Haven’t fucked anybody but you for months. I’m clean. I am, I promise.” When Adam’s fingers slip free, Tommy thinks he might finally fucking cry. But no heat takes their place, no sweet stretch, no ache to fill the nothing left behind. “I promise, I trust you, I don’t want to feel fucking latex, I want to feel you.”

“If I tell you I might not be safe, will you let me get a condom?”

Gritting his teeth against the reckless no that wants to come bursting free, Tommy says, “Yes.”

“Okay.” Adam breathes out slowly, nudging at the back of Tommy’s leg again, getting him to slide it up a bit. “Okay,” he says again, and presses the head of his naked dick to Tommy’s asshole, presses in.

“Fuck,” Tommy says, almost rolling onto his belly before Adam’s hand clamping to his hip stops him short. It’s nothing at all like before. Skin on skin’s rougher, harsher, lube easing the way but nothing close that same slippery-slick push. This is so much better. More real. Just more.

“Oh my god,” Adam says, rocking slowly deeper, his balls heavy and hot brushing the tops of Tommy’s thighs. “God, Tommy, I haven’t, it’s been so long since I did this bare.”

Hand sliding down, Tommy cups his junk. He’s pretty close to hard, and it feels good to just hold it, let the warm buzz of pleasure sweep through him. “S’good?”

“It’s amazing, you feel incredible, god. Fuck.” Panting roughly, Adam pushes in hard, groaning an apology as his fingers dig into Tommy’s hipbone. “Sorry, I couldn’t– I fucking,” and he breaks off on a shaking laugh, presses his forehead even harder to Tommy’s shoulder. “Please don’t move, or I swear, I’m going to come.”

Not moving is easier said than done while Tommy’s wedged wide open around Adam’s dick, pulse starting to pound inside his skull. The urge to move, to fuck, burns through the hollow emptiness inside, and he’s so full already, close to bursting with Adam in him, it should hurt. It almost does the same way something too sweet makes his teeth ache and his jaw cramp, except this is everywhere at once.

Right before the thick thrum inside Tommy’s bones peaks to something unbearable, Adam says, “Okay?” and Tommy says, “Yeah, yeah, okay,” and Adam moves, a long, slow careful drag with his hand on Tommy’s hip holding him steady, sliding up to press against his belly on the even slower push back in. One more time like that, like Adam’s making sure he can take it, and when Tommy stays loose for it, Adam goes a little harder, a little faster, finds a rhythm and fucks.

Tommy turns his face into the pillow, moans, “Jesus.”

“No,” Adam says, “no, look at me, let me see you.” A hand curved against Tommy’s cheek turns Tommy away from the pillow, not much to see in the dark except shadowed features, nothing to hear but Adam’s voice, the whisper of cotton on skin, the slick, wet noise of them moving together. “Tell me it’s good this time.”

“S’good last time.”

“Don’t,” Adam says, grip going briefly tight. “Don’t lie to me. Not now.”

“I’m not,” Tommy says, trying to get at Adam’s mouth, kiss the truth into it. Everything’s so raw, unreal in the darkness. It’s easy to tell Adam things Tommy hadn’t wanted to admit to himself. “Came too fast, and it got weird, it kinda hurt, but it was good. It was.”

Adam’s rhythm stutters. “But it’s not-”

“Not like that now, so not fucking like that now,” Tommy says, “doesn’t hurt, just feels good,” the last of it mostly lost in Adam’s mouth closing softly on his bottom lip, barely there and gone as Adam finds that rhythm again, slides his hand down to cover the one Tommy’s got curled loosely around his cock. Adam doesn’t try to jack him, just holds him, Adam’s other arm pushing under his shoulders, lifting him up to pull him in closer, then holding him there, back to chest. Adam’s hand almost spans the width of his ribs, his heartbeat held in Adam’s palm.

When Adam starts to shake, when Tommy can actually feel him fighting the urge to fuck harder, finally come, Tommy says, “C’mon, don’t, just,” and Adam groans, starts to pull free, like he thinks Tommy doesn’t want it in him. Tommy scrabbles to get a grip on Adam’s hip, trying to haul him back in, make him go deep again. “Didn’t mean that, meant don’t fight it, let it go in me.”

Adam groans again, rougher, throatier, and fucks back in hard, the quick snap of his hips almost enough to jostle Tommy out of his arms except he’s holding on so tightly. “You too,” Adam grits out, giving Tommy’s hand a brief squeeze but not forcing him into it, making it his choice if he wants to get off while Adam’s still in him. He hadn’t wanted to, he was going to wait this time, make sure he didn’t fuck up the good, but Adam’s so close, Adam’s fucked him like he wanted, Adam’s going to come in him like he wants, Adam’s doing everything, anything, Tommy asks. Breathing hard, Tommy switches his grip to start jacking, and he’s not even past the first stroke before he’s moaning so loud he shocks himself into shutting up.

“Oh, god, no, let me hear you,” Adam says, hand sliding down to cup Tommy’s balls, “you sound so good, baby, so fucking good. Don’t hide it.”

“I’m gonna come so fucking fast,” Tommy says, the crazy, illogical fear that as soon as he does, this isn’t going to be what it is anymore needling into him. “You first, oh fuck, please, you first.”

“God, not a problem,” Adam says, and drives in a couple more times, hesitating longer on the peak every time like he’s almost there, so close, and then he is, biting down on Tommy’s shoulder like he can’t help it, holding onto Tommy so tightly Tommy’s ribs creak. Adam could probably break one of them and Tommy wouldn’t even notice. He’s got to come right fucking now while Adam’s still in him, wet and going slowly soft. Gulping air, Tommy rocks back, trying to keep Adam buried deep for a bit longer, keep fucking. A handful of seconds, maybe a minute or two after Adam, Tommy comes, and it’s sweet and thick strung out like warm taffy, a bone-deep kind of endless that leaves him exhausted and heavy, slumping back into Adam’s arms.

“It’s okay,” Adam says, sliding his leg between Tommy’s, tucking Tommy into the curve of his body, “baby, it’s okay, it’ll be okay,” and Tommy doesn’t get it, he really doesn’t get it, not until the rush of blood in his ears eases off and he can hear the catch in his breathing, the small, choked noises echoing through it, muted and hurt. He’s not crying, his eyes are still dry, but there’s pressure building inside his head, his lungs, close enough that it doesn’t matter.

Twisting around in Adam’s arms, not caring one bit about the mess they’re in, or smearing it all over the sheets, Tommy buries his face in Adam’s chest and grieves.

*

“You don’t have to,” Adam says, shitty reception making his voice sound tinny and distant. “Cam can cover you on synth.”

“I know,” Tommy says, winding deeper into his aunt’s house, trying to get away from the clumps of family he’s not ready to deal with. There’s food fucking everywhere. He ends up in the laundry room, closing the door quietly behind him. There are two casseroles and a pudding on the washing machine. He slumps against the dryer, eyeballing the casserole wrapped in cellophane. It might be edible. “But I want to come back. I need to. There’s too much– Everybody’s talking about it.”

Adam makes a quiet, sympathetic noise. He gets it. There’s stuff Tommy wants to talk about, stuff he doesn’t mind talking about, and shit he’d rather poke out his eyeballs than have to suffer through. “I was gonna see if maybe there was a flight going out tonight,” Tommy says. He’s already packed and everything. Not that he unpacked to begin with.

“Baby,” Adam says, and the laundry room door bangs open, Tommy jolting upright hissing, “Mom, Jesus.”

“I’m sorry, sweetheart,” Dia says, struggling under the weight of another thirty-pound casserole. Jamming the phone between his ear and shoulder, Tommy quickly takes it from her, thumping it onto the dryer. “I didn’t know you were in here.”

“Yeah, I kinda,” Tommy says, squinting at something sticky clinging to his thumb. He rubs it off on his jeans. “I needed a couple minutes.”

Dia’s gaze flickers to the phone. “Is that Delmy? She called earlier to say she’d be over.”

Stomach going heavier than whole sorry collection of casseroles behind him, Tommy leans against the dryer again, switching the phone to his other ear. Across the line, Adam’s silent. “No, s’work stuff.”

“Ah,” Dia says, then softer, “oh. Well. Okay.”

“Be out in a few, okay?”

Disappointment clear in her eyes, Dia says, “Of course, sweetheart,” and leans in, pecks Tommy on the cheek. “Whenever you’re ready.” When she goes, she leaves the door wide open. Tommy sighs, swinging it shut and collapsing back against it.

“Great,” he mutters, “more shit to deal with,” and instantly feels like a total ass. His mom just lost her husband and Tommy’s being such a dick avoiding her. But she keeps looking at him like she’s so afraid she’s got more to lose. Stuff she doesn’t even have yet.

“I wish,” Adam starts, stopping so abruptly it sounds like he choked on something. “I’d make this easier for you if I could.”

“S’what you say now. Wait ’til I’m drunk-dialling you at four in the morning.”

“Anytime,” Adam says, no hesitation at all. He’s not even joking.

Tommy can’t help a small smile. It feels good for the brief moment it lasts. “I’d better go.”

“Text 9 if you need an emergency exit.”

That smile comes creeping back. Tommy’s never felt worse in his fucking life, and here he is, hiding out in the laundry grinning at his phone. “Gonna pull me through the phone all Matrix-like?”

“If I have to.” There’s a quiet rustle, then soft thump, like something dropped to the floor. “I mean it. Call me if you need anything.”

When Tommy says, “I will,” he means it, too.

Cutting the connection is one of the hardest things Tommy’s ever done. Definitely in the top ten. Stepping away to stare at the back of the door, Tommy decides, is in the top twenty, and actually opening the fucking thing is at least number three on the list. The rush of hushed noise, lowered voices and careful steps, clinking dishes, people moving around like everything and everybody’s made of glass, hits him like a semi careening off the highway. He doesn’t want to do this shit. For a terrible, perfect moment, he thinks about crawling out through the window like he did when he was a teenager, running off to hide in the dried-up culvert three blocks south.

The second he steps out into the hall, somebody he barely recognises says, “There you are. Your girlfriend’s in the kitchen, honey,” and gives him a pat on the ass to send him on his way like he’s actually fucking seven.

Tommy stuffs his phone in his pocket before the death-grip he’s got on it destroys his one and only link to salvation.

Hoping to find Mia, or Chantala, or fucking anybody else, Tommy gets Delmy standing near the fridge, helping his mom pull down extra plates from the cupboard above it. Dia touches her shoulder, smiling for the first time since Tommy’s plane landed, as she asks Delmy to set them down in the dining room. Fresh guilt slices into Tommy’s gut. His mom always loved having Delmy over.

“Oh,” Delmy says, spotting him. She looks around for somewhere to quickly put the dishes, and one of Tommy’s aunts swoops in, freeing up her arms so she can fling them around Tommy’s shoulders. She hugs him tight, tighter than she’s maybe ever hugged him before, and Tommy’s so grateful when she doesn’t say a word that he hugs her back just as hard, his face buried in the sweet softness of her hair.

As she finally pulls away an eon later, the only thing she does say is, “I brought wine,” and Tommy remembers why he loved her once. How when she got him, she really, really got him.

*

Despite what Tommy might’ve said, he hadn’t actually planned on sneaking out into the backyard at three in the morning drunk off his ass squinting at his phone trying to find Adam in his contacts. He’s not even sure what the fuck he’s doing, it’s not like they’re dating. But Adam said call if he needed to. Adam’s the best fucking friend he’s got, and that’s what he needs.

Not so far gone he doesn’t realise Adam could–and should–be sleeping, Tommy shoots him a quick text, nothing more than a hope-filled 9?

Exactly half a minute later, his phone rings. Adam’s groggy, “Tommy?” answers his hello.

“Shit,” Tommy says, slumping against the tiny gardening shed, the only place in the yard hidden from sight to anybody in the house. “I knew you’d be fucking sleeping.”

“Baby,” Adam says, raspy and thick, almost absently over the whisper of cotton as he rolls over, probably sits up to flick on a lamp. Any time somebody wakes Adam up with a phone call, that’s what he does. “You should be. Tell me you’re not up drinking alone.”

Tommy glances down at his half-empty flask of Jack. “Not anymore.”

“Oh, baby,” Adam says again, heart-felt, sad.

“It’s not even– It’s not even fucking this, okay,” Tommy says, waving his hand at the house jammed to the rafters with relatives he doesn’t actually hate, but he’d rather not see for the rest of his life if he could help it. He doesn’t begrudge them their time here. Dad was more than his dad; his dad was somebody’s son, brother, uncle, friend. It’s not even that some of them are so subtly homophobic that they don’t even realise the shit they say pisses him off, or that his aunt with the three chihuahuas she calls her babies gives him suspicious, sideways glances every five seconds, like she’s got to know for sure if he’s an emo punk rocker or a gay goth twink or what the fuck ever. It’s not even that they all make him feel like a teenager again, itchy in skin too tight for him, still a year away from saying fuck it to the world and painting his nails if he fucking wants, lining his eyes in black, playing with the idea of stealing Lisa’s lipgloss to make his mouth shiny, liking the idea of somebody thinking he’s hot, or sexy, or even pretty.

This isn’t home anymore. Not his mom’s place, not his muggy little apartment, not Burbank, not even California. “I’m gonna fly out tomorrow morning,” Tommy says.

“Okay,” Adam says. There’s another cottony rustle, and Tommy just listens for a minute, closing his eyes to picture Adam sleep-rumpled and warm, a hotel room with Adam’s clothes all over it, a couple empty bottles of coconut water on the desk. “Can you be at the airport by six?”

Tommy lets out a long, slow breath. “Christ, can I ever.”

Adam says, “Okay,” again, and there’s more silence, the click-clack of keys. “Ticket should be in your email soon.”

Hot, prickling pressure builds behind Tommy’s eyes, and he swallows once, a couple times, drops his head between his knees and tries to keep breathing. “Thank you,” he croaks. His chest feels so tight he thinks he ribs might break, and Adam makes a quiet shushing noise, says it’s okay, he’s coming home, everything’ll be alright.

*

When Tommy walks off the plane, back in Oklahoma, his legs are weirdly steady. He’s sleep-deprived, half-drunk, operating on auto-pilot as he heads past the baggage claim to the main doors. But he’s back. He’s back, and he totally believes everything Adam said to him last night.

“Tommy,” Adam calls, like thinking his name summoned him up out of thin air, and Tommy stumbles. He doesn’t get a chance to turn around before his bag’s lifted off his shoulder and he’s folded into a hug, enveloped in a cloud of fresh-from-the-shower warmth. Legs giving out entirely, he sags into Adam’s arms. Somebody ruffles his hair. Blinking, he looks up to find Sutan smiling down at him, his bag over Sutan’s shoulder.

“Hi,” Tommy says, not having to work for a smile. Adam gives him one more soft squeeze before letting go, staying close in case Tommy’s legs feel like taking a break again.

“I’m driving,” Sutan says, the set of keys to a rental dangling from one hand, “don’t take too long,” and he’s gone, out into the sunlight with Tommy’s knapsack.

“I was going to ask if you got some sleep,” Adam says, brushing his thumb lightly over the dark circles beneath Tommy’s eyes, “but that’s a stupid question.”

“I flaked out on the plane for a bit.” His hands empty, Tommy stuffs them into his pockets.

Adam drops an arm around Tommy’s shoulders, steering him towards the doors. “I have a bed, and I have movies. And beer.”

Tommy doesn’t really want the beer. He already feels like he’s soaked in a cask of it overnight, like he’s fermented and distilled, maybe even a little yeasty. Which, gross.

“That is gross,” Adam agrees, and if he thinks it’s weird Tommy’s turning down booze, Tommy can’t tell. He should think it’s weird. Tommy’s Adam-sense is all fucked up. Straight from day one it was like he could read Adam’s mind, and now he hasn’t got a clue. It leaves him unsettled, antsy, even when he’s curled up in Adam’s bed later, half-asleep with whatever movie Adam picked out for him to watch droning on in the background.

Eventually, he falls asleep, and then Adam’s rousing him again with apologetic whispers, saying, “You didn’t want to sit this one out, baby,” and Tommy grunts sleepily, shuffles from the bus to the venue to the stage. Once he’s there, fingers on the strings and Adam’s voice filling his world, it’s better.

Less awesome when the concert’s over, the high fading, but when he gets up the next day, they do it all over again, and then the next, snapshots of cities like postcards in his head, until he wakes up one morning with the bus trundling down a Florida highway in September. He knuckles sleep out of his eyes and rolls over, snuffling in surprise when he bumps into a solid wall of heat.

“Good morning to you, too,” Adam says, propped up on one elbow.

Tommy scrubs at his eyes again. “You watchin’ me sleep, Lambert?”

“Watching you snore.”

“Don’t snore.”

“You really do. Like a bellows.”

“You can totally fuck right off,” Tommy says, and burrows deeper under the sheets.

Adam scuttles down beside him. “Let’s go to the beach today.”

“Beach, what the fuck,” Tommy grunts, because beaches are wet, and cold, and bright, and there was this one time he got sand in his asscrack trying to be smooth and debonair or some shit with a girl. It didn’t go very well. He’s kinda bitter.

But Adam’s giving him that look. Adam’s I’m-worried-about-you, let-me-make-it-better, I-really-think-this-will-be-good-for-you look, and Tommy is so fucking whipped. The real kicker is, Adam always makes it better. It might take him a month and a half of laser-focus cuddling, but he’ll do it. All the places Tommy’s been hurting on the inside, heart-raw, are tender still, but the sting’s gone, and the ache isn’t so bad. Most days lately, he doesn’t even notice.

Adam’s smile inches wider. “Aw, fuck,” Tommy says, and Adam breaks out into a grin, knowing he’s won. “Fucking beaches.”

While Tommy flops back in bed, arm flung over his eyes in despair, Adam bustles about his tiny room gathering stuff together, towels accidentally swiped from hotel rooms and nova-resistant sunscreen and Tommy’s swim trunks, which makes Tommy very, very suspicious about how long Adam’s been planning this. Before he can ask, Adam’s swooped out into the bus proper, greeted by a chorus of hellos from people that sound way too awake. Grunting, Tommy rolls over to dig his phone out of his jeans.

Quarter to two in the afternoon. Adam never sleeps this late. Wondering how long Adam lay there watching him drool all over the pillows makes his stomach go fuzzy-hot. They haven’t really done anything since Tommy bailed after the funeral. It’s not that Tommy hasn’t been interested, exactly. There’s been some lazy making out, Adam’s hands resting on him warm and heavy but not pushing for more, and it’s been okay. Things were weird in his head, and his memory of the night he got the news is weirder still, blurry and indistinct like a dream. Like it wasn’t actually him and Adam curled together in the dark. Like maybe it didn’t happen, but he’s thought about it so much he remembers it like it did.

Things are still kinda messed up in his head, but when Adam pops back through the door, two bottles of water caught between the fingers of one hand and a travel mug in the other, Tommy forgets all this self-reflection bullshit. He sits bolt upright, grasping desperately at the sweet smell of coffee made exactly the way he likes it.

“I knew that would get you up,” Adam says, sitting down on the bed, one leg tucked under the other, and handing the mug over. “We’ll be at the hotel in about twenty minutes.”

“Coffee,” Tommy says, nose buried so deep in the mug he’s probably absorbing caffeine through his lungs.

Smiling happily, Adam flops back on the bed, tapping away at his phone. Tommy watches him over the mug’s rim, waiting for conversation to start, something random and unimportant to pass the time, but Adam seems content enough to lie there, flicking a glance Tommy’s way every now and then along with another smile.

Eventually, Tommy settles back, propped up on a mound of pillows, and lets time meander by all on its own.

*

“S’cold.” Hunkering as deeply in his towel as physically possible, Tommy knees his lounger closer to Adam’s. “S’fucking freezing.”

“Aw, baby,” Adam says, hat tugged down low over his eyes. “Spread out in the sun for awhile.”

Adam is so not getting it. “But I’m cold,” Tommy says, and sticks his hand under Adam’s shirt.

Adam shrieks, fucking shrieks, flailing wildly, and his ridiculous hat goes tumbling into the sand. “Oh my fuck, don’t touch me!”

“But I’m cold,” Tommy repeats, grinning as he flops onto his lounger, kicking up sand.

Rubbing furiously at his tummy, Adam mutters, “I think I have frostbite.”

Loathe to loose the tiny bit of heat Tommy’s built up inside his cocoon, he edges his fingers out just far enough to make threatening claws.

“No,” Adam says, scooting upright, “no, Tommy, no.”

“You haven’t cuddled me all day,” Tommy points out.

Adam instantly wavers. It’s totally not fair for Tommy to trot that one out, because Adam’s being so careful with him, the best fucking friend ever. Adam’ll joke around when he needs it, play like everything’s fine, or produce a joint out of thin fucking air, or pet his hair while they’re watching movies, letting him pretend he’s not close to tears remembering when he got his first guitar, or how his dad was afraid he’d starve to death as a musician but wouldn’t try to tell him to get a real job already.

Eyes narrowing, Adam says, “You’re trying to use me.”

Tommy shrugs.

“You don’t want cuddles. You want to leech body heat.”

“I could want cuddles, and the leeching thing is a happy side-effect.”

Adam grudgingly opens his arms. Tommy says, “Fucking A,” and clambers on top of him, snuggling in close, searching out all the spots Adam’s clothes have been tugged askew and there’s delicious vulnerable skin for Tommy to get his hands on.

“I’m going to freeze,” Adam says, and Tommy clings harder, stretched out on the lounger with the damp towel dragging in the sand.

From two seats over, Cam says, “You’re our noble, fearless leader. Taking one for the team.”

“I thought you were sleeping,” Adam hisses. “You could’ve warmed him up!”

“Could’ve,” Cam agrees. She adjusts her sunglasses. “Didn’t.”

“Why do I have to employ strong, independent people who don’t conform to traditional female-oriented nurturing roles?” Adam moans, sounding an awful lot like a complaint except for the way he’s holding onto Tommy way harder than Tommy’s holding on to him.

“You nurture,” Taylor says, scrubbing vigorously at his wet hair as he plods through the sand. “You nurture so much, you’re practically my mom.”

“I do not,” Adam grumbles.

“One day you’re going to feed him food you’ve already chewed yourself,” Cam says, and Tommy snorts, because okay, that was awesome, and totally something Neil would say, if Neil weren’t out frolicking in the waves still. Also, gross, in a really cool way. Tommy’s impressed.

“That’s gross,” Adam says.

“He is kind of bony,” Taylor says. “Like a little baby bird.”

“M’not bony,” Tommy mumbles, too busy soaking up Adam’s heat to manage much more than that, and a half-assed slap to his belly. “Call me Buddha.”

“Your tiny beer-bump doesn’t count,” Adam says.

Wriggling around, Tommy elbows Adam in the side. He likes his beer belly, okay? He’s kind of proud of it. He’s going to exercise the fuck out of it once they’re done touring, but eating like crap and drinking his weight in beer and having something to show for it is totally a sign that he’s getting old. Getting old is cool. And a way better option than the alternative.

Tommy opens his mouth to tell everybody about the grey pube he found last night, because that’s definitely something that needs to be shared, and somebody calls, “Hey, Adam! Adam! Adam!”

“What the fuck,” Tommy mutters, squinting into the sunlight.

“Paps,” Taylor says, edging around the umbrella to give Tommy some cover as he climbs off Adam slowly, and really fucking reluctantly. Light glints off the forest of telephoto lenses that have sprung up out of fucking nowhere.

“So much for incognito,” Adam grumbles.

“Hey, it worked for like, a whole hour.” Tommy has no idea how the fuck they managed longer than ten minutes without someone shoving a camera in Adam’s face. He steals a dry towel off the lounger next to him, swaddling up tight. He might be at peace with his belly but that doesn’t mean he wants it plastered all over the internet.

Adam gives the cloud of locusts a few shots, smiling and waving, throwing up a peace sign or two. They keep snapping after he’s turned his back to them, and by then, Brooke’s wandered over, and Taylor’s hovering, staring out over the water like he’s communing silently with Monte, who wanders over with Neil in tow.

“Adam,” some paparazzo calls, “Adam, give us a smile! Just one more!”

“You can’t tell me they have no idea how insulting that is,” Neil says. Tommy reaches out for his tee shirt dangling off one of the chairs, almost out of range. Grabbing it, Neil plunks his ass down on Tommy’s lounger and hands it over. “Parasitic assholes.”

“I’m trying to be philosophical about this,” Adam says, his mouth a thin, unhappy line, his eyes tight at the corners. “You’re not helping.”

That one guy keeps calling for a smile, turning kinda mean when Adam ignores him, asking shit about the AMAs that nobody seriously cares about anymore, for real, and then getting into the personal stuff, if Adam’s seeing anybody, he’s got any hardcore male fans desperately chasing him across the country, has he hooked up with any of them, has he left behind a swath of confused middle Americans, on and on and on.

“I’m gonna get a beer,” Tommy says, clambering up. “Anybody want something? Adam?”

“No,” Adam says tightly, deliberately settled back down, lounging for all he’s worth, like he’s isn’t one bit pissed, not one bit at all. It’s a good front. Paps are probably even buying it. “Thanks, though.”

Before Tommy goes, he gives Adam’s shoulder a tight squeeze. And maybe his fingertips trail over Adam’s neck a little, along his jaw, maybe they don’t. Touching Adam, being in Adam’s space, is second nature. He seriously doesn’t think about it until he’s back, beer in hand, and Adam’s trying to kill somebody.

“What the fucking fuck,” Tommy blurts, breaking into a run.

“Oh hell no, no way,” Neil says, fucking dive-bombing Tommy from behind, catching him with one arm around the waist like he weighs fucking nothing. Which is a pretty shitty thing to do when Tommy’s trying to keep Adam out of jail, for fuck’s sake. “Kick me in the shins and end up afraid to sleep for the rest of your life.”

“Fuck you,” Tommy snarls, shaking him off. Taylor’s into it now, but not scrapping, thank fuck. Taylor’s a wiry little shit, crazy-ass dancer’s muscles everywhere, and while Adam obviously isn’t done trying to commit a felony, he lets Taylor haul him off the worm that’s grinning from ear to ear. “Why the fuck aren’t you over there?”

Neil folds his arms and glowers. “I’m over here, keeping you out of it.”

“What the fuck happened?” Flying off the handle is not Adam’s deal. And at a fucking pap, what the Jesus. “And get out of my way, he’s done, okay? He’s cooled off, look.”

Hands balled into angry fists, Adam wouldn’t be done if it weren’t for Taylor steering him back to the loungers, but whatever. He’s done enough.

“You know he’s probably lying,” Monte’s saying when Tommy rejoins the group, Neil hot on his heels like Neil thinks he’s gonna go bust a cap in somebody’s ass. “If he had those pictures, he wouldn’t have tried to get a rise out of you.”

“Fucking pictures of what?” Tommy cuts in.

“Nothing,” Adam’s quick to say, and Monte rolls his eyes. At least somebody realises that shit’s not gonna fly. Adam’s protective streak is cute and all, but not super-subtle. “He said he had pictures of you.”

“Which he probably doesn’t,” Monte says, and Tommy asks, “Why the fuck would he want pictures of me?”

“Of you,” Brooke clarifies, except not really, not until she gestures between him and Adam.

Icy-cold fingers slip down Tommy’s spine. “Oh. Shit.”

About to sit down on the lounger, Adam stands straight back up. He’s strung so tight he’s practically fucking humming like a transformer about to blow. “Fucker,” he spits.

Tommy drags a hand through his hair. “But like, that’s no big deal? People’ve been saying for months that we’re together or some shit.”

Everybody starts flinging looks at everybody else. Deep, meaningful looks, like there’s a whole conversation going on right over his head. Nobody’s even got the balls to look at him straight-on.

“Okay,” Tommy says. He’s not pissed. He’s not. He’s kind of upset they’re not telling him something, but whatever. “We gonna moon the shitheads or what?”

*

Tommy means to ask about whatever the hell they’re all keeping from him. If he asks Adam anything point-blank, Adam won’t lie to him. Never has, never will. But there’s show after show after show, Florida to Washington, and then wham, the American leg of the tour is over. Tommy spends the two days he’s got before they leave for foreign shores stumbling around in a tour-daze, nothing feeling exactly real anymore, because he’s going to fucking Singapore. And Japan. Fucking Japan, fucking finally. They’re going absolutely fucking everywhere Adam told him about, all the shit that he missed last time.

gonna eat so much sushi, Tommy texts Adam while he’s supposed to be packing his carry-on following the very specific international-traveller instructions Lane printed out for everybody.

They’re not really all the different from the usual airport rules. But this is the sort of shit Lane worries about.

Adam doesn’t text back until six the next morning, when Tommy’s finally sleepy enough to try going to bed. He squints at it, the screen floating, and thinks he smashes out a reply before he tumbles face-first into bed.

In the morning, from a vending machine! Lol is waiting for him. He seriously has no idea what the fuck that’s supposed to mean, and he could go back through his outbox to see what the hell Adam’s talking about, and if he was maybe sleep-texting, but he’s lazy. Besides, he needs something to talk about on the plane. It’s a long fucking flight.

Really, really long.

And then he loses his fucking passport.

On the motherfucking plane.

“Holy shit.” Adam stares open-mouthed at the Hong Kong immigration officers waiting to escort Tommy to a secure room. “Are you serious?” he asks, darting a quick glance at Lane. “He can’t even leave customs?”

“It’s not a big deal,” Tommy says, though, okay, it’s kind of nerve-wracking. Passports are pretty much a ‘please-don’t-shoot-me’ card in his mind. “I’ll get a temporary one. This kind of shit’s got to happen all the time.”

Adam looks lost. It’s totally not what Tommy’s expecting. Adam’s been Mr. I Got This for fucking ever. There have been some bumps, maybe some bruises, but not this wide-eyed, almost blank incomprehension, like he’s five years old and somebody’s taken his binkie, promising to give it back only after he recites the entire Pledge of Allegiance backwards in Latin.

“Hey.” Tommy drops his bag and flings his arms around Adam’s shoulders, hoping he’s not going to get tasered in the back for giving the guy a hug. “My own fucking fault. Shoulda kept it on me. But it’ll be cool. Embassy’ll get me a temp one, I’ll get to Singapore, and then I’ll like, fly home and get a rush job on a replacement. Easier’n taking a leak.”

Adam’s laugh puffs Tommy’s hair. He squeezes tighter. “I wanted you to come to Bali.”

Fuck. Bali. They’ve been talking about it for weeks. How it’s gonna be like Cabo, just sun and sand and fruity drinks with little paper umbrellas in them, no paparazzi, no interviews, no demands. Tommy doesn’t know how the hell he forgot about it, even with this whole fuck-up.

If somebody actually stole Tommy’s passport, he seriously fucking hates their stinking guts right now. “I’m sorry,” he says. “I’m really fucking sorry.”

Carefully, Lane says, “Adam.”

Adam flinches so slightly nobody else probably even noticed, but Tommy’s hanging onto him like a lemur. Again. He felt it, and he feels it when Adam drags in a deep, bracing breath before letting go. “The guys are going to ride you for weeks on this one.”

Tommy hefts his bag. It’s a good thing he’s got his phone on him, and his laptop. “So make Neil carry my new passport once I get it.”

“Maybe I will,” Adam says, kinda like a threat, but more like he means he’s the one who’s going to be carrying it from now on, so Tommy’s got no choice but to stick close.

That’s probably not what Adam’s saying. Tommy wouldn’t mind if it were, that’s all.

Tommy totally plans on watching them until Adam’s out of sight, but the guards have other ideas. They politely hustle him off to some sort of designated neutral zone, assuring him that his representative has been contacted. A lifetime of exposure to Hollywood’s clusterfucks has a tight ball of nerves squirming in his belly, but aside from being bored out of his skull, his phone and laptop on the table right in front of him but kindly requested to remain powered down, it’s not so bad. Somebody gets him some water, and then a muffin. The worst part is waiting for the other shoe to drop. The worst part is waiting.

“Mr. Ratliff?” a woman says, startling him out of his daze.

“Yeah?” he croaks, and winces, reaching for his water. “Sorry. I’m half-asleep here.”

She waves that away, settling down in a chair with a stack of papers thicker than Tommy’s thumb. “It’s always so dry in here.” Catching his gaze on the papers, she laughs. “Don’t worry. All of these aren’t for you.”

Tommy’s shoulders slump. “I was seriously kinda worried.”

“This won’t take long at all,” she says. “The longest part is waiting for the checks to go through, but that’s more of a time difference issue. Unless there were some concerns over issuing your previous passport, this should be relatively pain-free.”

That’s nice and open, and full of so many ifs, ands, or buts that Tommy doesn’t even want to consider counting them. He’d even sorta liked her when she first came in. He still kinda does, even if she’s about fifteen times more intimidating all of a sudden. “Not that I know of?”

“Good.” She whips out a pen. “Let’s get started.”

It turns out her idea of not taking long at all and Tommy’s don’t really gel. By the time they’re done two hours later, Tommy’s hoarse, and he has no clue how the hell she’s still holding that pen, let alone managing to write with it. Getting a passport in the first place was seriously not so hard.

Eventually, she bustles off, and somebody brings him another water. Certain he’s not going to be able to sleep, he puts his head down on the table anyway, cushioned by his arms, and closes his burning eyes.

And almost shits himself hours later when somebody gently raps on the table. He reaches for his phone automatically to see what time it is before he remembers it’s off.

A guy he hasn’t seen before hands him a sheaf of papers. “Once you’re through customs, you may turn on your phone, Mr. Ratliff.”

“Thanks,” Tommy says, standing up too fast. He grabs onto the edge of the table as a weird cramp goes up his leg. Ignoring it, and the guy’s raised eyebrow, he gathers up his stuff as fast as he can, offering the guy another hasty thank you.

Customs doesn’t take too long, in between flights, but it’s fucking long enough. He tries not to fidget too much in the queue, or do any of those nervous, impatient things that tend to alert the TFA guys back home. As soon as he’s got the all-clear, he hightails it for the airport proper. He should be looking up flights to get his ass to Singapore. Instead, he tries calling Adam.

“Hey,” he says, after it goes straight to voicemail. “Thought you’d be out of the air by now, but, um, maybe you’re sleeping. If you’re sleeping, don’t get up, man. I got my temporary passport, so I’m on my way. Or like, I will be, after I try Lane to see if there’s like, some special code or something I gotta use to get the company rate. And um, yeah. I’m sorry. I’ll see you soon.”

Tommy doesn’t want to hang up. It’s Adam’s freaking voicemail, though. He mumbles something else about flight times and needing a drink as he books it through the airport, finally managing to shut up and cut the fucking call already when he gets to check-in. About to call Lane, he notices he’s got like, seventeen messages waiting. The first one, naturally, is from Lane, with complete instructions on how to get his scrawny ass the fuck outta here.

He seriously fucking loves that woman.

He doesn’t seriously fucking love flying. Flying without the troupe is even worse, nobody to distract him, nothing to do but drink his limit in overpriced booze and cling to the armrests with his pre-concert mix blaring in his ears.

And think. About his dad, his mom, his future, about him and Adam and whatever the fuck Adam still isn’t telling him about that shitstorm on the beach in Miami. He is never missing a single fucking flight ever again, because one thing he doesn’t want to have the fucking time to do, is think.

*

“Jesus,” Tommy says, tucking his scarf in tighter to his throat on the way outside to grab some coffees. Mid-November in Stockholm, it gets dark fucking early. Like, maybe eight hours of sunlight to the whole day kind of early. Soundcheck ran late, yeah, but not so late that it should be twilight already. “Why’s the world gotta be so fucking cold?”

Isaac flings him a sideways glance. “Are you quoting song lyrics at me?”

“Dude,” Tommy says, laughing. “No?”

“‘No?’ as in I would never, or ‘no?’ as in I’m not sure?”

“Um.” Tommy bites at the inside of his lip. “That second one there. What?” he says when Isaac snorts. “I got a lot of shit rattling around up here!”

Isaac’s arm drops around Tommy’s shoulders. It immediately throws off his gait, because Isaac is actually fucking shorter than Tommy–which is not why Tommy loves the guy, but it really doesn’t hurt. “I bet you do, man. I can’t believe you said that.”

Busy trying to keep their steps in line, Tommy mumbles, “Said what?”

“‘I’m not going anywhere unless he slaps me across the face and tells me to get out of his life’? I know you’re not subtle, Tommy J, but that was so not subtle, it might actually be the most subtle thing you’ve ever said.”

Tommy scowls. “You know that didn’t make a fucking lick of sense.”

“Now I can’t believe you just said ‘a lick of sense’, cowboy.”

As hard as Tommy tries, he can’t keep his frown in place. “Shut up,” he says, elbowing Isaac in his bony ribs. “I’m on a Duke marathon.”

Isaac’s eyes light up. He wriggles in closer, grinning like a fucking maniac, eyebrows waggling.

“Jesus,” Tommy says, laughing. “Dude, fine. Duke marathon in my bunk tonight.”

“We should appropriate Adam’s room for it. We spent twenty minutes telling the world how awesome Adam is, he owes us.”

“I’m pretty sure sucking up isn’t in our contracts.”

“We’re good employees, taking initiative.”

“Right,” Tommy drawls. “Take some initiative and buy me my coffee, Hopalong.”

“Yessir, Mr. Duke, sir.”

When they get back to the bus, Adam’s out, along with almost everybody else. There’s some snoring in the back that’s got to be Neil, and Cam’s flaked out on one of the couches, eyes closed, earphones on. Tommy makes for Adam’s bed, toeing off his boots and tugging one-handed at his scarf. “Disc’s in the player,” he says, muffled behind cotton.

Isaac doesn’t ask questions, nabbing the remote and scooting up on the bed beside him. Nobody asks questions anymore. Sometimes, Tommy catches a look or two, like somebody wants to ask, but they never do.

“You remember Miami?” Tommy asks as the opening montage plays.

Isaac’s shoulders scrunch. “Aw, shit. I knew it was eventually going to be me.”

“You gonna tell me?”

Isaac sighs, flicking at the tab folded back on the cover of his coffee. “There’s not a lot to tell. You were there.”

Sitting up, Tommy scoots down so he’s facing Isaac head-on. It feels confrontational, and he doesn’t like it, but somebody’s got to give him some fucking answers or he’s gonna go nuts. When the pap’s side of the story didn’t show up online, he figured there really was nothing to it. And Adam’s totally settled down around him, not afraid to hug him close anymore, or give him a quick peck on the mouth when they’re out exploring cities, but Tommy’s got the feeling that’s more because they’re in Europe than anything. Adam hasn’t been shy about kissing other guys when they’ve been out at clubs, either.

“Shit,” Isaac mutters. “Don’t look at me like that.”

Tommy very slowly raises both eyebrows

“Fuck.” Isaac scrubs a hand over his face. “I hate it when you do that. Alright already. Okay? Just stop looking at me like that.”

“Cool,” Tommy says, easing up and sipping his coffee. “Spill.”

“I didn’t hear it all. But,” Isaac says, and he waggles a finger, like the but is very, very, super-important, “I’m pretty sure the pap said he had photos of you groping Adam. I mean, like you had your hand in his shorts.”

Tommy’s mouth falls open. He’s pretty handsy, sure, he’ll ‘fess up to that, but getting all up on Adam’s dick? In the middle of a fucking public beach?

“I know, right?” Isaac shakes his head. “Cuddling is not groping.”

Tommy wouldn’t have. He wouldn’t. He was pretty out of it, sleep-groggy and maybe a little buzzed, but he wouldn’t be so fucking careless. Hugs are one thing, and some flirting, and kisses are probably pushing it, but Adam kisses all his friends hello and goodbye and nice to fucking see you. This thing he and Adam have, it’s mellowed out. Super-casual. Fun and easy, and if they haven’t had time for much more than a blow or two, or some sloppy handjobs, it’s ’cause they’re fucking tired. They’re always together anyway. That’s what Adam needs, and that’s what Tommy loves.

“And the pap went on about boy toys that don’t put out, or if your hand was all he got, or something equally moronic and insulting. He was talking shit, TJ. All he wanted to do was piss Adam off.”

“That’d do it,” Tommy says, and scrubs his mouth dry on the back of his hand. “You’d think this crap only happens in the movies.”

“It doesn’t matter what some fake-a-bake South Beach star-chaser thinks he saw.” Grabbing onto Tommy’s shoulder, Isaac bumps their forehead lightly together. “Whatever you and Adam do, or don’t do, it’s your business.”

“Yeah.” Tommy swallows the lump in his throat and nods. “Yeah. Okay. Fuck this shit. Let’s watch a movie.”

Isaac gives the back of Tommy’s neck a quick squeeze. “Okay. But you’re going to have to rewind it for me, because I don’t have a clue why that guy just got shot.”

*

In December, they play the final show, the final encore, party straight into the dawn. They fucking did it. Adam’s first international tour. Fucking sold-out international tour.

Most of the group splurged for rooms in the same hotel Adam’s set up in until he finds some place to live. Tommy’s got one right down the hall from Monte and Lisa. That’s not where he ends up.

“Not yet,” Adam says, dragging Tommy over the threshold into his room. His hands cup Tommy’s face, palms sweaty. His pupils are blown wide open, his makeup trashed, his hair in crazy spikes like Tommy’s hands have already been in it. Which, they kinda might’ve. “Don’t go yet.”

“‘Kay,” Tommy says, letting Adam push him up against the back of the door. It’s so fucking easy to spread his legs for Adam now, grab onto Adam’s shoulders as Adam yanks open his jeans, angle his hips so Adam can get a hand on his junk, rub at his dick and palm his balls and push further back, fingertips pressing at his hole. Adam hasn’t actually fucked him in months, almost half a year, for fuck’s sake, and he knows that’s kinda weird. What he’s been getting has been so fucking amazing, though, Adam’s mouth on his cock, tongue and fingers up his ass, working him over so good he can’t move for a long, long time after.

When Adam pushes harder, groans into his mouth, Tommy’s knees go to water. He slurs, “Bed, bed, c’mon,” pushing Adam towards it. He’s ready to get fucked again. Just the two of them and this amazing thing they have between them, nothing but what they’re doing together, no hiding, no grief, just this.

Tommy hits the bed on his back first and Adam crawls over him, alcohol-soaked kisses sweet and hot. Between one and the next Tommy’s shirt gets yanked off, then his jeans, his shorts. He’s grabbing at Adam’s clothes at the same time, grunting as seams tear and not caring, not caring at all because this is it. They don’t need these costumes anymore. They need bare skin and more sloppy kisses, and Tommy’s knees up and spread for the push of slick fingers. There’s a rubber on the bed that Adam doesn’t use, because they don’t need that either. Tommy’s breath cuts out mid-exhale when Adam pushes carefully into him, slick and slow and easy even without a whole lot of prep, that’s how much Tommy wants this.

And Tommy feels it, really feels it down deep in his gut, this frantic, buzzing need that tightens his grip on Adam’s shoulders, digs his fingernails into skin. But it stays slow, Adam’s weight crushing his knees to his chest and all the air out of his lungs, and every thrust is long and hard, like Adam’s trying to really get inside him, get so deep Tommy’ll feel it for days. Adam keeps telling him how good it is, how amazing he is, shit that should come off like total stock lines but sound so real with Adam’s voice breaking on the vowels. Breaking the same way Tommy feels like he might, burning up inside, so fucking crazy and getting louder and louder, begging for something that a year ago he never would’ve thought he wants as much as he does.

Adam buries his face in Tommy’s hair and comes, moaning ragged curses and Tommy’s name and a whole bunch of other stuff that doesn’t make any sense rattling through Tommy’s hazy brain. Tommy tries holding on harder when Adam goes to pull out, because he’s there, he’s so fucking there, ready to go with Adam still inside him, but Adam scoots back too fast, dick slipping free, and dips down to suck Tommy’s cock straight into his mouth before Tommy can fucking twitch. He bucks up wildly, grabbing up two thick fistfuls of Adam’s hair, fucking in hard before he remembers Adam’s voice, fuck, Adam’s voice.

But Adam doesn’t need that anymore, either, not for a while, and he lets Tommy fuck his mouth and his throat for a handful of perfect seconds until Tommy can’t hold anything back anymore. When Tommy comes down Adam’s throat, Adam’s staring straight at him, mouth raw and eyes rimmed in red and smeared eyeliner, only a thin ring of iris showing around shiny black. Adam holds him cradled on his tongue while the aftershocks fade, then pulls off slowly, almost delicately, and presses a kiss to the sweaty crease of his groin.

Leaving a hand tangled in Adam’s hair, pins and needles in his leg where Adam’s leaning heavily against it, Tommy closes his eyes and tries to breathe.

*

When Tommy wakes up in his own bed two Saturdays after the end, it still doesn’t feel real. He pokes at his blankets in the semi-darkness, rolls over to shove in face into his pillow, and thinks about how he should maybe find something to do that isn’t drink himself stupid. Maybe he should start small. With like, a shower. And then a few cups or a gallon of coffee. He should visit his mom. He should call Mia. He should make Mike move all this fucking crap out of his goddamn bedroom that he’s been tripping over for weeks because it’s not a fucking storage room, okay, he lives here.

“Fucker,” Tommy croaks, grabbing something random off the nightstand and tossing it at the door. It thumps to the floor about a foot shy. “Fucker, fucking shit, like, all over my fucking,” and he gropes around for something else to throw, finding something heavy and thick and giving it a pitch.

Two minutes later, while Tommy’s still trying to catch his breath from his bout of displaced frustration, his bedroom door opens, bright afternoon sunlight flooding in around Mike’s silhouette. Tommy hisses and shrinks away. “You rang, princess?”

“Still fuckin’ live here,” Tommy grumbles into the blankets.

Mike says, “Note that I did not rent your room out in your absence.”

“Yeah, ’cause I paid for it.”

“I could’ve sublet and made double,” Mike says, the horrible blades of sunlight growing less sharp as he eases the door shut behind him. “You smell like a brewery.”

“Coffee,” Tommy wheezes, scrunching deeper into his cave.

“NASA called. They want your liver to power the next shuttle launch.”

“Fuck,” Tommy groans. “Why did I want you in here? Go away.”

“You missed me,” Mike says, shuffling through the crap on Tommy’s floor to get to the bed. He grunts sourly, like he regrets getting closer, and Tommy grins viciously into the dark. Serves him fucking right. “Possibly you want me to mend the shattered pieces of your tender broken heart.”

Tommy grunts. “Suck dick, Nash.”

The bed heaves alarmingly as Mike plunks his ass down on the edge. “I’d hate to say I told you so–”

“Fuck you, you love to say you told me so.” Mike’s been telling him ‘I told you so’ for fucking months.

“For fuck’s sake,” Mike snarls–snarls, which is so unlike Mike that when he grabs for the blankets, Tommy’s too stunned to keep a grip on them. “Telling you I told you so is only fun when you’re not actually bleeding out through your fucking soul.”

“Wow,” Tommy says slowly. “Are you writing lyrics again? ‘Cause that’s cool. You should use that one.”

Mike starts shoving at him. “Get up. Get up. Get up.”

“Jesus Christ,” Tommy says, flailing stupidly for a grip on the mattress or the headboard or anything to keep from tumbling out of bed onto his face. He totally misses and ends up eating sock.

“Excellent,” Mike says, and toes him in the ribs. “Progress. Try not to drown in the shower.”

“Fuck you,” Tommy mumbles around a mouthful of skanky carpet. Christ, when was the last time somebody vacuumed in here? Planting both hands on the floor, Tommy heaves up to his knees. He wobbles alarmingly but makes a pretty smooth grab for the overloaded nightstand, and somehow between it, the bed, he makes it to his feet. Mike applauds politely. Tommy gives him the finger.

“Save that for the shower.” Mike grabs onto Tommy’s elbow as he starts to weave his way to the door. “I mean it,” Mike says at the threshold, the light already on in the bathroom, a few towels heaped on the toilet seat. “Don’t fucking drown.”

Leaning heavily against Mike, Tommy says, “Fine, whatever,” and deliberately wobbles a bit more, just so Mike’ll have to hold on tighter. Christ Jesus, he is so fucking pathetic, but he doesn’t care, he seriously does not fucking care. Mike’s hand on his bare arm is the most human contact he’s had all week, and Mike runs warm, almost hot, and all he wants–

“For fuck’s sake,” Mike repeats under his breath, and folds Tommy into a rib-crushing hug. Tommy buries his face in Mike’s neck, clinging for all he’s fucking worth. This cold turkey shit is not for him. How anybody can go from pre-show hugs and movie-night cuddle piles and being flopped on by random bandmates every hour of every day to this kinda soul-sucking nothing is so totally beyond nuts. It’s like being dumped. Being fucking dumped right on his fucking ass.

Scratching at Tommy’s dirty, tangled hair, Mike says, “Man, you really do stink.”

Tommy butts his head against the underside of Mike’s chin. Mike sighs and doesn’t let go.

*

Phone jammed between his ear and his shoulder, Tommy cracks his knuckles one by one with shivery, satisfying pops. Monte’s pointed silence pours over the line. “Yeah, no, I didn’t forget,” Tommy says. He didn’t exactly remember, but he didn’t forget. It’s on his calendar somewhere. His calendar that he hasn’t looked at in weeks, not since the show he did with Monte at Molly Malone’s right after tour’s end. “Uh, thanks, though.”

“No problem,” Monte says, easy as anything, as if he hadn’t called Tommy up and said, “Saturday,” in this fifteen-ton voice like he’s the fucking Godfather.

Flopped on the other end of the couch, PS3 controller gripped loosely in one hand, both of Mike’s eyebrows shoot for his hairline.

“Yeah,” Tommy repeats, gaze skipping over the paused screen to one of his vintage horror posters hanging slightly crooked on the wall. “So, I’ll, uh, see you.”

“Wow,” Mike mouths after Tommy’s thumbed disconnect.

Nodding, Tommy tosses his phone onto the coffee table. “Fucking tell me about it.”

“I mean,” Mike says, gesturing with the controller, “and I was all the fucking way over here. Dude didn’t even say anything.”

Tommy nods again, quick and jerky. “I think it’s a dad thing. He knows shit.”

“Fucking terrifying,” Mike says. “Oh man, you’re so gonna get it.”

“I didn’t even do anything!” When Mike’s eyebrows try to vanish into his hairline, Tommy rolls his eyes. “You know what I meant. It’s not like we were, y’know. And it wasn’t– And tour’s over, so.”

“It’s awesome how you can’t even finish a sentence right now.”

“Shut the fuck up.”

Snatching up the remote, Mike flicks off the television. “Have you even tried calling him since you crawled out of your cave?”

Tommy snaps his fingers impatiently at the screen He’s totally kicking ass here.

“Text? Email?”

“He’s fucking busy, okay. The guy’s still living out of a hotel.”

“You find that out on TMZ?”

Tommy throws his controller at Mike’s head.

*

Way too early Saturday morning, before the doors open to the public, Tommy clutches a takeout coffee to his chest and winds his way through booths and stages and milling professionals to Orange Amp’s setup. Monte’s already there chatting up a couple guys who hold themselves like behind-the-scenes dudes, sound techs and mixers. Attending the NAMM Show last year, being able to play all those guitars and test out the merchandise without being stared at like he was some punk pretender, that was fucking cool enough. To be one of the guys people are here to see and talk to, somebody behind a table instead of starry-eyed in front of it, that’s fucking awesome.

He’s gonna fucking enjoy it.

“Tommy,” Monte says when he walks up, and pulls him in to introduce him to the Orange guys running the booth. Talking shop is easy. And fuck if it doesn’t feel good, his world narrowed down to specs and strings, things he’s always understood, never let him down. Somebody puts a bass in his hands and he feels it like coming home, really home, not some room in a house he doesn’t recognise. He catches Monte watching him a couple times throughout the day, taking his measure, but whatever Monte sees, he doesn’t feel the need to comment.

Not until the crowds are thinning and Monte’s sitting there tuning random guitars, ambushing him totally out of the blue with, “He thinks you’re mad at him.”

“What the fuck,” Tommy grunts, lungs seizing. He takes a couple deep, painful breaths. “Seriously. The fuck?”

“Don’t ask me why,” Monte says. “But he does. Are you?”

Tommy is seriously fucking glad he’s sitting down right now, and there’s a big, sturdy table in front of him to grab onto. Otherwise, he’d be on his ass on the fucking floor. Monte’s doesn’t do this shit. Monte is like, Switzerland. “Of course I’m not fucking mad at him, what the fuck. Dude. What the fuck. Did he fucking, like, did he say that?”

“No.” Monte pauses to tighten a string. “He didn’t have to. Neither one of you were exactly subtle about falling in love.”

That ice pick buried in Tommy’s chest jerks. He’s sitting there staring at Monte like a tool, mouth dropped wide open, eyes bugging out. Because Adam and him, they didn’t– It wasn’t–

Catapulting out of the chair, Tommy claws his phone out of his pocket and takes off for the service hallways. He’s not thinking as he hits speed-dial one, or as he lifts the phone to his ear, or as Adam picks up after two rings and says, “Tommy, oh my god, tell me you’re going to Sutan’s party.”

Tommy blurts, “What?”

“The Drag Race premiere? On Tuesday?” The familiar chirrup of the Mustang’s locks engaging echoes over the line. “I know how much you need some time to recharge, but it’s Sutan.”

Dimly, Tommy remembers getting the text from Sutan, and the email invite. He knows he must’ve RSVP’d, because Adam’s right–it’s Sutan. Even if Tommy’s had his head up his ass for the last month, there are some things you don’t do, and that’s bail on your friends. “Yeah,” he says, voice weirdly rough. “Yeah, I–”

“Thank god. Terrance and Taylor are going. You can be our voice of reason. I hear guitars. Are you at NAMM?”

Tommy’s brain clunks, shudders like a ground transmission, then starts up again, chugging along in the opposite lane. “Like hell I was gonna miss it.”

Over the ding of an elevator, Adam says, “Got time to tell me all about it?” and Tommy opens his mouth to let the whole day come pouring out of it. Adam throws in a comment here, a question there, and it’s so much like it used to be that Tommy doesn’t think about it. He doesn’t think about it after he hangs up, either, or when he gets back to the table to help Monte pack up, and he doesn’t mention that it didn’t sound like Adam was worried about Tommy being ticked at him at all.

He does give Monte the hairy eyeball when he thinks Monte isn’t looking, though.

*

Mike’s leaning on the kitchen counter fiddling with his phone when Tommy shuffles out of his room Tuesday night. “Anybody coming to pick you up?” he asks, watching as Tommy hefts the quart of vodka to pour another naked shot and knock it back.

“Cab,” Tommy rasps through the burn. He’s pretty sure the bottle was mostly empty when he started in on it that afternoon.

Mike puts down the phone and looks at him. Tommy makes an unhappy noise way down low in his throat and gropes for another shot. “So you’re gonna talk to him.”

“No,” Tommy says, and when Mike’s fucking eyebrow wings up again, quickly adds, “yes, I’m gonna, but not like, not tonight. Big party. Lotsa people. I’m gonna do it, like, later.”

“Later,” Mike repeats. “Like in the back of the car you know he’s gonna rent to bring you home?”

Screwing up his nose, Tommy reaches for the vodka. Mike, the fucking five-year-old douche, grabs it and shoves it behind his back. “If you don’t talk to him, I’m going to fucking invite him over for a sleepover or something and make you do it while he braids your hair, you fucking know I will. Don’t fucking test me, Ratliff.”

“Jesus Christ, when the fuck did you become Judith Martin’s evil fucking twin?” Tommy jabs at finger at the bottle. “Gimme that.”

Mike holds the bottle high above his head, as if the extra half inch of height he’s got on Tommy will make a difference. “I’m going to change the locks.”

“I fucking pay rent!”

“My name is on the lease,” Mike says with a nasty twist to his mouth. “Yours isn’t.”

“Fucker,” Tommy huffs, sagging against the cool countertop. “Yeah, I’m gonna talk to him. I just gotta figure out what to say. ‘Cause, like, you were here, man. We said no strings.”

Shaking his head sadly, Mike says, “You are so blond, Tommy Joe.”

“Fuck you,” Tommy says, too tired to even try packing any heat in it. And maybe too drunk. Fuck, he hopes there’s booze at the party. He can’t imagine any self-respecting drag queen throwing a party without booze. Maybe he can get in on Sutan’s tab. He makes a half-hearted grab for the bottle.

“You’re gonna tell him everything, like a fucking Lifetime romance.” Keeping a wary eye on Tommy’s grabby hands, Mike brings the bottle down and pours up half a shot. “You’re going to be honest and open about your very special feelings. You’re gonna be a motherfucking adult.”

Tommy groans, “Motherfucker,” right back at him and holds up the empty glass for more.

*

The thing is, Tommy totally plans on going through with it. Like he said, not right away, but he’s gonna do it. He thinks about it on the cab ride over, and while he’s hugging Taylor and Terrance hello, and while he’s congratulating Sutan, and while he’s standing under Adam’s arm listening to Adam ramble on about his plans for the next album, the next tour, the next everything. It doesn’t really seem like the time to bring up the whole emotional turmoil thing, and it’s so fucking good to be out with these guys again, Tommy changes his mind about not hitting the afterparty. And once he’s there, that doesn’t seem like a good time, either.

It seems like an especially epic bad time when Adam gets a call he ducks outside to take.

“Don’t worry about him, sweetness,” Sutan says, dropping an arm around Tommy’s shoulders.

Tommy can’t help staring out the door Adam disappeared through. “He looked kinda pissed.”

“He’s tired of living out of a hotel. Wouldn’t you be?”

“Well, yeah, but.” Tommy frowns and scratches at his jaw. He’s seen Adam ticked off about pretty much anything and everything that’s able to get under Adam’s skin. The way Adam’s mouth went tense, his eyes narrowed, that didn’t seem like house drama. That look was personal. “I’m just gonna go check on him,” Tommy says, slipping out from under Sutan’s arm.

Finding Adam in a crowd isn’t usually hard. Tonight it’s even easier with those heels he’s hiding under the ragged hems of his jeans. He’s pacing back and forth behind some pillars separating the front walk from a small, shadowy garden. Tommy hesitates at the edge of the fancy cobblestones. They’re not dating. They’ve barely spoken in weeks. It’s not like it’s ever been Tommy place to pin the guy down and make him spill about whatever personal shit is eating at him.

But Adam’s always kinda just spewed it all over him anyway. And Tommy never once minded. Tommy fucking liked it, because screw this no strings crap, he’s invested. Like seriously invested. Beyond the whole best friends and benefits shit.

“Hey,” he says quietly, just to make his presence known, as he steps onto the weird spongey gravel.

Adam’s face goes from relieved to worried to carefully guarded in five seconds flat. He’s got the phone smushed against his ear, knuckles white, rings glittering in the muted light. Tommy waits, fingertips jammed into his pockets, for some sort of signal that this is a totally private conversation and he should get his skinny ass gone. Adam yanks the phone away from his ear and mashes his thumb against the screen without even saying goodbye.

About five dozen openings scroll through Tommy’s brain. None of them sound good. This is crazy. Adam’s the easiest guy in the world to talk to. He’s just gotta like, get it fucking out there.

“You okay?” Adam asks, before Tommy’s got the chance. “It’s pretty crowded in there.”

“Yeah,” Tommy says. “No, I mean, nah. It’s cool. I was just, like–” he gestures lamely at Adam, and the phone clutched in Adam’s hand.

“Checking up on me?” Adam asks, mouth wry.

Tommy shrugs. “Habit.”

The slight crook at the corner of Adam’s mouth fades out like the last scene in a movie. “I’m okay,” he says, digging for a pocket to stuff his phone in. “Thanks, though.”

“No, fuck.” Tommy yanks a hand through his hair. “Like, yeah, it’s habit, but, I wanted to. Check on you. I mean– fuck.” It’d be really cool if he could say this had gone better in his head. If he’d fucking planned for once, instead of going with his stupid gut all the time, maybe Adam wouldn’t be giving him that too-blank face right now. “Are you mad at me?”

Adam’s expression flips over to something comfortingly confused. “No?”

“Because I’m not. Um, mad at you.”

“Okay,” Adam says, nodding slowly, and like he totally doesn’t get it at all but he’s worried Tommy’s on the verge of some sorta breakdown or something. Which fucking sucks. This isn’t supposed to be about him, or like, even Adam. It’s about them. Fucking them.

“I fucked up,” Tommy says. That’s as good a start as any. “I said no strings, right, and I meant it. Except it got all fucked up.”

Beneath the makeup hiding Adam’s freckles, he goes white. Like, pure shock-white, and that is a fucking trick with the warm lighting out here and the industrial-strength shit Tommy knows Adam cakes on his face. He looks like somebody just told him the world’s gonna end tomorrow.

“Shit,” Tommy says. “Shit, fuck, fuck.” This is gonna hurt so fucking much. Way to get shot down like a motherfucker, Ratliff. “I get it, you said the same thing. And like, you meant it too. It’s on me, I totally fucked it up, and I knew I was gonna do it, but I did it anyway. Stayed with you. Even though we weren’t like together or anything, it kinda felt like we were, and I kinda acted like it, and I’m fucking sorry, okay?”

“Wait,” Adam says, his face all scrunched up, and fuck Tommy so hard if it doesn’t make his chest hurt. He really should’ve fucking known better. He did know better, and he went ahead and fell in love anyway. “Just, wait a second. What are you sorry about?”

Tommy opens his mouth, then closes it again. Mostly he’s sorry he broke his own fucking heart. There’s gotta be something better than that he can tell Adam, though. If he says that shit, Adam’ll go all guilt-ridden on him.

“Because I’m not sorry at all,” Adam says. “Well, I am, but not about the last few– god, it’s been over year. I’m not sorry that happened.”

Tommy blurts, “What are you sorry about?” and then has to physically fucking stop himself from punching his own stupid face.

Adam smiles, and it’s not a good smile. Tommy’s seen scowls that are more comforting than that smile. “I’m sorry you meant it when you said no strings, because I don’t think I ever did. I’m really sorry that I’m not what you want, Tommy Joe.”

It feels like there should be a moment where the world drops out from beneath Tommy’s feet. Or everything goes silent, the music fucking stops, something big and huge and dramatic. But the crowd behind them keeps on partying, the world keeps turning, the sky stays clear. And Tommy says, “Bull-fucking-shit.”

Adam’s mouth drops open.

“Yeah,” Tommy says, marching straight up to him and like, slapping him in the chest, what the fuck, they’re totally in a chick flick. “Bull-fucking-shit, you heard me. Not what I fucking want, what the fuck, what the fuck. I wouldn’t've fucking done shit with you if I didn’t want you. And like, fuck that shit, and the fucking mind-blowing sex that I really fucking enjoyed, okay, all of that, fuck it. It was like, you. Jesus Christ. That’s what you’re fucking hung-up on, isn’t it? That you got a dick.”

“No,” Adam busts out, except totally in that way where what he’s really saying is yes but he doesn’t want to admit it. “You want a family. A wife and kids and a suburban house and a Prius hybrid, Tommy, you’ve got your family fucking car picked out. You want to get married.”

“Yeah, and?” Tommy goes to hit him again, punch him this time, and he just stands there like he’s gonna take it, like it isn’t out of this world for Tommy to fucking punch somebody. “You fucking don’t?”

“I can’t!”

“When has that fucking stopped you before!”

“Shit,” Adam gasps, staring wide-eyed over Tommy’s head. He catches Tommy’s fist and holds it to his chest, grip so tight the bones in Tommy’s wrist grate. “Stop. Tommy, stop.”

“Sorry. I’m sorry, I just–” Tommy wrenches his hand out of Adam’s grip. “I shouldn’t have, I’m sorry.”

“No, shit, it’s okay.” Adam’s still watching the crowd milling way too close-by. If it weren’t for the music pouring out into the night, everybody would’ve fucking heard them. People probably fucking saw. The street is crawling with paps. “You’re right. God, you are so fucking right.”

“I know,” Tommy says, and rub his wrist where it’s still smarting. “About what?”

Adam huffs a weird, soundless laugh. “I thought I was done letting people tell me what I can and can’t do. I guess not.”

“Well, like,” Tommy says, this weird, crazy type grin trying to take over his face, “you kinda can’t have babies in the whole bun in the oven way, but you can still have ‘em. Fucking obviously.”

Really kinda tentatively, Adam says, “And I can have a house in the suburbs, and a stupidly fuel-efficient family car if I want. But not the same way Monte’s got it.”

“Don’t fucking need it the way Monte’s got it, Jesus Christ, man. One kid. One.” Tommy thinks about it for a second. “Maybe two.”

Adam’s lip twitches. “You don’t wanna be outnumbered, huh?”

“Fuck no.” Tommy gives his wrist one last rub, more like a nervous tic than anything. “So, uh, we’re on the same page here, right? Like, I love you.”

“Oh wow,” Adam says, that twitch turning to a full-on goofy grin. “Say it again.”

“Dorkass,” Tommy says, and maybe he’s thinking about shoving Adam in the chest again, like they’re carrying on or something, but instead it turns into him sorta falling against Adam and hugging the fuck out of him instead. “I’m in total stupid love with you.”

“Oh my god, baby,” Adam says, muffled in Tommy’s hair. “Me too. For so long. Total stupid love.”

Tommy shoves his face harder against Adam’s chest. “This really is a chick flick.”

“I know, I love it.” Adam nuzzles the side of Tommy’s head, nose kinda poking him in the temple. “I love you.” He’s holding on so tight it hurts, but like fuck Tommy’s gonna tell him to stop. Like, ever. The vibe from the crowd behind them is way too interested, like maybe a couple of ‘em got wind of the shit going down out here, and if they know, then getting through the gauntlet of paps–fucking paps–in the street is gonna be hell. It’s gonna piss Adam off, because he hates them getting into his personal life, and it’s gonna piss Tommy off for pretty much the same reasons on top of him hating how it gets to Adam, but what the fuck ever. They’ll get through it.

Maybe Adam’s driver for the night’ll even clip one of ‘em, just a little, if Tommy asks really nicely.

End

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