Bright Night, Chapter 8/15
Rating: PG-13/Possibly R
Pairing: Adam/OMC, mentions of Kris/OMC, mentions of Kraty, eventual Kradam
Warnings: Language, some violence & mentions of past abuse (Language and violence in this chapter!!)
Summary: AU taking place in summer 2013. Neil Lambert decides to attend his ten-year high school reunion, and drags his newly-engaged brother, Adam, along. Also attending the reunion is the recently-divorced Kris Allen, who was in love with Adam in high school, and who is confused about his feelings for him now. Adam and Kris quickly connect, but feel guilty doing so with Adam's fiance in the picture. Before long, though, they both discover something that makes their advances feel right, and it takes them on a night-long adventure that they will never forget.
Author’s Note: Sorry for taking so long with this chapter! I think you guys will like it though. ;) Hope you do. ♥
Kris was holding him, cradling him, as he wept bitterly after the scary confrontation with Sean. Kris Allen. Kris Allen, Neil’s old best friend and next door neighbor whom Adam used to babysit. He used to have the most obvious crush on Adam back then. Adam almost stopped crying at the memory of thirteen-year-old Kris flirting with him while Adam was supposed to be babysitting him, but he was once again reminded of Sean and a fresh round of tears sprang to his eyes.
Adam had been shocked when the door swung open and Kris was standing there, looking exactly the same, if not a little taller, than he had in high school. Adam hadn’t seen him, or even thought about him, frankly, since his own graduation day, over thirteen years ago. Although his relationship with Sean had kept him from babysitting Kris the last few years, Adam had occasionally passed him in the hallways at school, and he’d definitely spotted Kris in the crowd during his Graduation ceremony.
After that, everything had happened so fast. Sean dumped him, and Adam moved away, leaving all thoughts of Kris behind. Kris had been so off his radar for the past decade, but Adam was glad that he was there with him now. He was desperately yearning for comfort after Sean’s act of violence toward him- from just about anyone, since his fiancé wasn’t available on the phone. Relief had flooded him when the door opened to reveal Kris standing there- just the sight of a familiar, innocent face put him almost at ease.
He was bewildered at first at seeing Kris, but that faded away once he realized that it was Kris’s class reunion- Kris was Neil’s age. Then, about a million questions raced through his head: Does Kris know I’ve been crying? How long has he been in here? Did he see what happened?
Kris’s face held all the answers. His lower lip was sucked into his mouth, and his big brown eyes were widened with sorrow, creating a sad, understanding, and knowing expression. Adam reached out for Kris, just glad that it was someone he knew, and not some stranger, that was there and had seen it, who was now waiting with open arms.
Kris yielded to Adam’s silent request and wrapped his arms around Adam’s trembling frame, and that’s when Adam completely fell apart. He was just so exhausted from the pain he felt and from breaking down. He was terrified to leave the bathroom now, knowing that Sean was somewhere out there, and he was definitely back in Adam’s life, although Adam thought he’d gotten rid of him over ten years ago. All that, and the one person that Adam really needed to be there with him, needed to draw comfort from, was Josh. Yet his fiancé wasn’t answering his phone.
But Kris was there to hold Adam together, to do the job that was meant for Adam’s lover. Somewhere in the back of Adam’s mind, he told himself that a line was being crossed by Kris holding him like he was, and touching him so intimately, but Adam couldn’t have cared less. He’d gone through something horrifying, and Kris was making him feel better, safer, with every soothing word he murmured, with every brush of callused fingertips across his skin.
Adam had never, ever told anyone what Sean had done to him. Not Neil, not his parents, not Josh. He was pretty sure his parents had suspected something, but they’d been too distracted by their own marriage woes to pretend to care. He used to cry himself to sleep like this every night, but he’d never been comforted like this while he was. The gentle weight of the arms embracing him somehow made the burden of Adam’s past lighter. Someone finally knew. Someone cared, and was offering reassurances while he let it all out.
They stayed like that for what felt like forever- huddled together in the bathroom, Kris running his cool fingers through Adam’s hair, Adam letting go of all the dark, buried memories of Sean. Eventually, Adam’s crying got quieter and quieter, and he found himself completely numb and out of tears. He’d cried out all the tears he had.
Adam suddenly felt so tired from it all, and he just wanted to leave- yet he didn’t really want to go home. He wanted to get out of here and catch up with Kris. The shy little neighbor-boy who had a crush on Adam had transformed into a clearly very caring, sweet man. He drew back a little from Kris, who immediately stopped petting Adam’s hair and rubbing his back. Finding it hard to look at him after totally unloading his haunted past on him, Adam stared at the tile floor.
Adam needed to tell Kris that he was ready to go. He wasn’t expecting a ride home or anything, it was just that he was going to have to get a taxi because Neil and Hope probably weren’t ready to leave yet, and he didn’t want them to see him like this. And Adam didn’t want to wait for the taxi alone, for fear of Sean.
“Kris? Um,” he started, unsure of how to voice his statement. And although his voice was husky and his throat raw, his voice was no longer trembling or thick with tears, as it had been when he was talking to Sean. “I- uh… I think I’m, ah, ready to leave. I just, I don’t think I would have very much fun out there now,” he stumbled over his words as he gave the explanation. “Anyway, I really don’t feel comfortable waiting for my cab alone, so if you don’t mind, could you wait with me? It won’t be long.”
“I can drive you, Adam,” Kris offered evenly, which made Adam’s head actually snap up so he could look at him in bewilderment. “I mean, if you want,” he added, now seeming uncertain. “I, uh- well, I know I wouldn’t be able to go out there and have a good time now either. I’d be too worried about you.” Kris grimaced as that last sentence left his mouth. “Sorry, that was a little too…”
Kris trailed off and didn’t finish his sentence, but Adam knew exactly what he’d meant. Kris thought he’d overstepped a boundary by saying that he’d be worried about Adam. But his words weren’t crossing the line- that would be the way he’d held Adam earlier. But Adam didn’t care. Josh hadn’t been there, Kris had. Big deal. Kris had done a good deed, had done what any decent human being would have done- he simply helped out his friend while they were in the midst of a complete fucking breakdown. But maybe it was his arms that were still around Adam that qualified him for overstepping any boundaries.
Adam shook his head vigorously, and that left him dizzy for a moment, from the alcohol he had drunk, and the impact it had as it had hit the concrete wall when Sean shoved him. “No, Kris. It was sweet,” he assured, and gave a tiny smile that probably looked more like a frown. “And really, you don’t mind driving me away from here? Did you come with anybody? Is your wife here?” In all honesty, Adam had been about to say boyfriend, but then he vaguely remembered Kris dating a girl name Katy in high school, and Neil had told him a long time ago that Kris had gotten married.
But Kris’s empty ring finger and his pained expression made Adam think that he’d made a poor choice in words. “I’m actually not married anymore,” he stated shortly.
Adam felt guilty, but how was he to know? He hadn’t seen the guy in over ten years. “Oh, I’m sorry I brought it up,” Adam mumbled.
Kris just shrugged half-heartedly and said coldly, “It’s fine.” He sounded distracted, too, like he was lost in his own dark thoughts.
Fuck, now I feel like an asshole. “So, uh, I’m ready now- if you are- but just gimme a few minutes. I’m sure my makeup is all over my face.” Adam had hoped the comment would lighten the tension, and thankfully, Kris did crack a smile. There we go.
So Adam stood up from where he’d been sitting on the john for what felt like ages, his legs stiff, and his back aching. He slowly made his way over to the sinks to wipe off his smudged makeup, with Kris trailing awkwardly behind him. As soon as Adam lifted his hands to his face, he saw in the mirror that Kris’s eyes grew wide, and he was staring at the angry red nail-marks streaked across Adam’s arms.
“Oh! That looks bad! Are you okay?” Kris asked, sounding concerned, as he stepped closer to Adam.
It was Adam’s turn to say “It’s fine,” and this time he meant it. With the pain in his back, and his exhaustion, and complete emotional numbness from crying so hard he ran out of tears, he couldn’t even really notice the sting from where Sean had dug his claws in.
After several minutes spent dabbing at his eyeliner and completely stripping his face of foundation, Kris and Adam finally left the bathroom. Adam was relieved for some reason to find that back in the gym, the music and the party had kept going, the world had kept going, life had went on.
Before they reached the middle of the gym, where the music was so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think, Kris leaned up to Adam and shouted into his ear: “Did you come here with Neil?” And Adam, his voice too shot to strain by yelling back, just nodded, and Kris nodded back in understanding and kept talking. “You want to go tell him where you’re going, while I go get the car?” Then, after a beat, he added, “Or you want me to come with you?”
Adam had to contemplate this for a second. Did he want to be alone for even a moment, while he searched for his brother? Or did he want to walk to a long ways to the car in the dark with Kris? Adam decided that he’d be safer alone in the crowd of partygoers than with tiny little Kris as he walked in the dark, where anything and anyone could be lurking.
Adam leaned down to Kris’s level and spoke in his ear, “You go get the car.”
Kris gave Adam a small smile and stood on his tiptoes to reach his ear again and say, “I’ll be just out front waiting for you.”
Adam nodded in response, and walked in the direction he remembered Neil’s table to be. On his way, he thought, Damn, Kris thought of everything. He’s so attentive. Whoever divorced such a sweet, caring guy is obviously a total dumbass.
Kris watched Adam walk away, half of him genuinely looking out for him, and half of him just wanting to watch that sexy ass of his as he bounce-strutted off. Kris mentally scolded himself for even thinking of Adam like that, after he clearly had an emotionally nightmarish night, but it was just that thirteen-year-old part of him that would never die.
Kris was so glad that Adam had agreed to leave with him. He knew he couldn’t try to come onto him or anything- the man was engaged, and very delicate at the moment- but he’d be able to get the hell out of this school and talk to him, at least.
God, he’s so incredible, Kris thought, remembering specifically how Adam had completely broken down in the bathroom, yet minutes later had tried to make a joke to comfort Kris after he’d accidentally brought up the divorce. He’s such a charming person. And Jesus, so strong.
Kris watched Adam until he disappeared into the crowd and he could no longer see him, and then he began to move himself. He shuffled all across the gym, trying to dodge people who were dancing. And he steered himself around the table Cale, Chris, and Andrew were at, knowing that they’d ask him why he was leaving, and try to convince him to stay, and they’d all make such long arguments and rants about him leaving that Kris would be extremely late and Adam would be outside waiting alone. So, yes, he avoided that table.
Finally, he thought, as he walked out of the gym and stepped under the bright lights of the lobby. He just kept on walking, closer to the front door, closer to his car, closer to his night with Adam. He wasn’t even really watching where he was going, and suddenly, he hit something hard. Not something- someone. They’d cut in front of him when coming out of the hallway beside him.
Kris lifted his gaze from where it had been on the floor to see who it was. The person was short, with long blond hair, and was holding hands with a giant, body-builder-type dude beside her. She was staring at him in wonder. Kris was suddenly breathless and speechless and dizzy all at the same time, as a whirlwind of emotions and memories started coursing through him. Holy shit. He had just run into his ex-wife.