itsmadeofgold (itsmadeofgold) wrote,

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Fic: Start On The Inside (Work Your Way Out)

Title: Start On The Inside (Work Your Way Out)
Author: itsmadeofgold
Beta: norosegarden is my constant and kickass more-than-a-beta, and if you've ever enjoyed something I've written, you should thank her. And thank you abusing_sarcasm, for your encouragement and your deep, extreme awesomeness.
Pairing: AU Kris/Adam [AI8]
Rating: R (language, sexy stuff)
Word Count: 11,500
Warnings: Teenagers getting down. Angst. First person.
Summary: I don’t know why he wants me to trust him or why he thinks I should - since I don’t actually know him at all - but it seems like he kind of knows that I do, or that I will. That I’ll do whatever he says. And I can’t really deny it, so I just follow him down the stairs. Kradam high school AU.
A/N: I am full of feelings about this fic for several reasons and in varying levels of extremity, but if I start talking about that I won't be able to stop. So, I'll just quietly fret and say... I really hope you guys like this. ♥

It’s not like I specifically schedule time to stare at Adam Lambert or anything. It’s just that it’s school, you know, and school is scheduled and things happen at the same time every day and before you know it you’re in a routine.

I can’t help it that his locker is right next to my English class and I see him there almost every day. And it’s not my fault that he’s in physics at the same time as I’m in chemistry and the rooms are right next to each other; I see him on the way out of that period a lot of times. Sometimes it’s because I wait around near the door to be sure I do, but most of the time I don’t even have to do that.

I see him near the cafeteria a lot, too. He never actually seems to be in there, but I always see him in the caf lobby by the bathrooms, looking cooler than everybody else as usual. I don’t know if he goes in and smokes like some of the other kids or what.

I always knew I liked boys. I mean, I kind of knew. I had an idea. I knew I wasn’t really that into girls, and I had this feeling like maybe... I might be. You know. But since I’d never really hooked up or dated or anything it didn’t seem like something I had to advertise - I figured I should probably test the theory before I made it official or whatever.

But then Adam Lambert came back to school this fall looking like a rock star. I heard that he had traveled in Europe over the summer - some people said he was in a play in London but I don’t know if that’s true. He used to have this reddish-blond hair, but now it’s black and all choppy and spikey, and the front part hangs over one eye and has this fierce purple streak and it looks amazing.

He looks like he’s grown a foot and a half, too. All tall and broad, but skinnier at the waist. Like he shot up but lost weight or something, I don’t know. And he wears tight black pants and these cool t-shirts with studs and stuff on them, like he’s off to headline a rock show every day instead of being a senior in high school. I haven’t been able to stop looking at him all year. It’s really made me feel pretty sure that I’m right... about me.

Everybody has known that Adam is gay since he was in middle school, I guess. I was in elementary then so I don’t know exactly how that went down, just that when I got to the high school it was known that Adam was the gay guy. I guess he took a lot of shit for it at first, but they seem to mostly leave him alone now, as far as I can tell.

I can’t imagine anybody giving him shit now. He’s so intense-looking and tall; he looks like he could kick pretty much anybody’s ass.

He’s so, so hot.

I’m on my way to lunch, and I stop outside the cafeteria to get my wallet out of my backpack. I’m not stalling or anything, waiting to see if Adam shows up or whatever, I’m just trying to get ready before I get in line. But he does show up. Right as I’m zipping my bag up, all awkward and stupid with my wallet in one hand, he comes out of the bathroom and looks around.

I pull my bag onto my shoulder quickly and try to look cool. It’s impossible, of course, but I at least try not to look like... like I’m standing here waiting for a chance to stare at him. But I can’t not look at him, and then - oh my god - he’s looking at me. Eye contact. My whole body feels like it went cold and then super-hot in like a second and a half.

I honest to god don’t think he’s ever really looked at me before. Not that I noticed anyway, and I think I would notice. One time I held the door for him on the way out of the building and he said “thanks,” and I tried to say “you’re welcome” but couldn’t for some reason; I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with me. But that’s the only time he’s ever, ever talked to me, and even then I don’t think he really even looked.

But he’s looking at me now. And smiling. Then he’s walking toward me, and I don’t know what to do, because everything feels dreamy and tilted all of a sudden and I’m thinking maybe I just fell asleep in class. There’s no way this is real.

I try to tell myself that if it’s not real I should stop being so scared, but it doesn’t work.

He puts his hand on my arm, and then he seems to turn his smile down a little bit, like he’s trying to look reassuring, like he thinks I’m about to make a break for it or something. I don’t think my legs could move if I wanted them to, though, because he’s looking right into my eyes and I’ve tried to get a good look before, but it’s hard to stare at somebody’s eyes without them noticing, you know? So I knew they were blue and I knew that he wore makeup and that his whole look or whatever is really dramatic and sexy but like, I’ve never seen it up close like this and I kind of feel like I’m choking.

That’s such a dumb way to feel because a hot guy is looking at me (and touching me, too), but I can’t help it. My mouth opens, and no sound comes out.

“Come on,” he says, and he tosses his head back a little, like he’s pointing behind himself. I can’t stop looking at his eyes, though, my big dumb mouth still hanging open, so I don’t really know what he’s gesturing to.

He tugs on my arm and I follow, because if I don’t move my feet I’ll just fall over and that would be worse. When we get to the door around the corner from the cafeteria he lets go of my arm and steps aside, opening it and waving me through. I knew it wasn’t a classroom because there was no window in the door but I had honestly never thought to wonder where this door did lead. I step in and find I’m at the top of a long and dark flight of stairs.

The basement?

I turn to look at him and then I’m not sure what to do after that, because in order to say “uh, what?” I’d have to speak out loud, which I haven’t managed to do around him yet.

“Go ahead,” he says, still smiling a little bit, closing the door behind himself and then taking the first step beside me. “Trust me, OK?”

I don’t know why he wants me to trust him or why he thinks I should - since I don’t actually know him at all - but it seems like he kind of knows that I do, or that I will. That I’ll do whatever he says. And I can’t really deny it, so I just follow him down the stairs.

It’s easier than trying to talk, anyway.

It’s kind of dark when we get down there. There are these little orange lights on all the walls but the overhead fluorescents are off. It’s kind of spooky with the giant furnaces and stuff, piles of boxes and old desks and chairs throwing weird, slanty shadows, but at the same time it’s really cool. Like this whole other dark corner of the school I didn’t know about, and it’s kind of mysterious and sexy and Adam Lambert is bringing me here.

But why?

I turn around and he’s standing right there. Right there in front of me, and he’s looking at me with this tiny smile on his face. I swear to god I was on my way into the cafeteria to eat lunch about five seconds ago. Wasn’t I?

Adam puts his hand on my face, cupping my chin, and tilts my head up. He leans down and presses his lips softly against mine - he kisses me. The first one is kind of like a question, and then he waits a second - like he’s gauging my reaction, which as far as I can tell is just to be paralyzed - and then comes back again, harder.

I literally can’t breathe. I mean, I guess I wouldn’t be able to breathe anyway because I’m kissing - I’m kissing Adam Lambert - but this is not the same thing. I feel like my lungs are going to explode or my heart is going to stop or something.

He definitely doesn’t smoke.

It doesn’t last that long. After a few seconds he pulls back, running his hand down over my chest before pulling it away. He’s smirking at me. It doesn’t look mean, though. It looks friendly. Like we’re in on the same joke.

“Thought so,” he says. “OK, come on.” He turns and heads back toward the stairs, and I follow him.


I am finally alone in my room, after a day that seemed endless. School and then band and then driver’s ed and then dinner; Jesus. And I have homework, too, but right now I just need to think for a second before I freak out.

I sit down on my bed, put my face in my hands and close my eyes.

OK. So, first, Adam Lambert knew I was gay. He knows I’m gay. I don’t know how he knows that, because I have literally never told anybody, ever. I never even admitted to myself that I was totally sure about it until today. So, I guess he could just tell, which is freaky.

Does that mean everybody else can tell? I don’t think so, because nobody’s ever given me shit about it and I think they would. I know they would. So it must be like a thing where gay guys can just tell?

I guess that’s kind of awesome then, because once he decided I was gay, he kissed me. And if he can tell who all the gay people are - I wonder how many there are that I don’t know about - does that mean he likes me? Or thinks I’m hot or something?

Unless he was just testing, to make sure. Like he was keeping score or something, and that’s how he can tell. And he doesn’t really care about me either way.

I mean, not like I think he really cares about me, you know. Just interested, maybe. Enough to make out in the basement. That’s not nothing, right? I mean, it’s weird, but it’s definitely something.

And... it’s actually kind of cool. It’s kind of really cool, because Adam Lambert kissed me at school today. So it was pretty much a good day, right?



I’m not really sure what to do now. Should I, like, hang out and see if I can bump into him outside the caf? I can’t really try to sneak looks at him like I used to, now that he knows who I am. Not that he knows who I am, but you know. I would have to hope he comes up to me, otherwise I’d look creepy if I didn’t talk to him. I don’t think I can talk to him, though, so if I’m here when he gets here it might be really awkward.

It might be a better idea to just go in and eat. I don’t want to look like I’m waiting for him or something, that would be pretty pathetic. And hey, maybe a little hard-to-get wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Probably nothing would happen anyway. Just because he did that one time doesn’t mean he’s ever going to do it again. For all I know he did it on a dare.

I’m turning around to go into the cafeteria - already hating myself for doing it - when I feel a tug on my backpack. I turn my head and there’s Adam behind me, at arm’s length, pulling. He’s smirking at me.

It occurs to me, then, that people can see us. Adam’s giving me this eye and it’s scrambling my brain and making me blush and it’s awesome, but it’s also pretty blatantly flirty. It’s one thing if Adam knows I’m gay, but I don’t think I want everyone to know.

Not just yet.

So I have this urge to freak out, or like, pull away from him or something. But then I hate that reaction because I really don’t want to pull away. What I actually want is to go wherever he wants to take me because he’s looking at me now like I’m cute and I didn’t even really know that I’ve been waiting my whole life for a boy to look at me like that, but it turns out I have. And I don’t want to have to worry about who sees or what they’ll think or who they’ll tell, I just want to say “yes” to whatever it is he’s asking me.

Everything is crazy, all of a sudden. But it’s amazing, wonderful crazy. I think.

I kind of don’t care what everybody else thinks. Or I decide to act like I don’t. I am still nervous, but I don’t want to be. But I also don’t want to get in trouble for making out in the basement so I try to look inconspicuous as I follow him to the door.

We go down the stairs and just like yesterday, suddenly he’s right there in front of me. And he puts his hand on my face again, and then he’s kissing me. And again, it feels a little bit like all my major organs are shutting down, like my body isn’t equipped to handle this, like I must be generating smoke or steam or something.

He doesn’t ask any questions this time, pressing against me like he doesn’t need permission, opening his mouth a little bit. I feel his tongue against my lip for a second, so I open my mouth, too. I’m on fire, but somehow his mouth feels warm to me anyway.

I can’t believe I’m really doing this - that I am actually able to coordinate my brain and body enough to respond to him - but I am. I’m making out with Adam Lambert right now, and I have not died. I can feel the part of myself that wants to spaz out - to scream or run away or hide or something - fighting in the back of my brain. I won’t let it out, though. This is too good.

It’s so good. I want to snuggle in closer. I want to climb him or something, I don’t even know.

I don’t know how long it’s been when he pulls away. He leaves two last little kisses at the corner of my mouth before he does, and then he smiles down at me. His lips are all red, I can tell even in the low light, and I know mine are too. They’re tingling.

I think it’s time for me to finally say something out loud, and I’m feeling pretty great about myself right now, so I say, “hey.”

And then I realize that’s probably a really stupid thing to say at this point - should I have tried to say something smooth, or something? - and look at the ground, embarrassed. Maybe it was better when we didn’t talk.

“Hey,” he says, and for some reason it surprises me. I look up at him and he’s still smiling.

He’s so beautiful, I seriously don’t know what to do. I manage to smile, though, a little bit. I try to think of something else to say. Something funny, maybe. Or at least charming. I come up empty, though. I can’t stop looking at his mouth.

He laughs, I guess because I’m staring, then says “come on,” and turns to the stairs again.

When we get to the top and he pushes the door open, I’m blinded for a second by the bright light of the hallway. I squint against it, looking down for a second. When I look back up, I see Adam walking down the hall toward the gym, away from me.


School is impossible. I have a quiz in geometry and I’m supposed to be taking notes on some stupid movie in English and I just can’t think.

What is going on?

I’m trying to see this objectively. If I were somebody who was watching this from the outside, what would they think was happening? Maybe I’m too close to the issue, you know? OK. So, two days in a row, Adam Lambert grabs me from the hallway at school and takes me to the basement. And then, he kisses me.

He kissed me even more today than he did yesterday.

I have to stop there, because that’s where the problem comes in. I can’t think this through objectively, because I can’t think. As soon as I get to this part, I drift off. I’m remembering it - his mouth, his tongue, his breath, his skin - and thinking about where it could go if it lasted longer. And I’ve always been so careful not to think about that kind of stuff, especially at school, but I can’t make it stop.

There are so many possibilities. Not even dirty stuff, just... what would it be like to touch his face?

It doesn’t look like Adam was just checking to see if I’m gay. Today was kind of... intense, and I don’t think he can really doubt that I’m more than happy to make out with him. So I guess we kind of have that understanding now.

I’m not sure if he knows my name. I don’t really think he cares.

That should probably bother me. But then, I probably should’ve put up some kind of resistance at some point, or at least insisted on a conversation. I’ve been kind of easy, I guess. I can’t really feel ashamed, though, because I think it has more to do with the fact that it was him than that I’m just, like, up for it.

I’m glad it was him, anyway.

And even though I feel like I should be thinking more about what this means and where it came from, all I can do is hope it happens again tomorrow, and imagine what it will be like if it does.

Maybe that’s OK, for now.


On Wednesday there’s no denying that I’m waiting for him. I’m leaning against the wall that juts out between the cafeteria area and the corner where the basement door is nestled, trying to look nonchalant. I think I’m doing a decent job at it, actually; I’m feeling good about myself today. I put some stuff in my hair this morning and tried to make it do something interesting, and wore a t-shirt I used to think was too tight for school.

It looks really nice on my chest, I think.

I start smirking when I see him coming down the hall toward me. I want to grin or laugh or scream or something because yay, here he comes! Again! But I keep it in, reminding myself to take deep breaths.

He walks past me, winking as he goes, and opens the door. I glance around quickly to be sure nobody’s looking, then dart inside. He follows right behind me, and we almost run down the stairs. I am still moving when I turn around, walking backward as he approaches me.

I hit the wall and he puts one hand on either side of my head before leaning in, and I make a pathetic little whining noise when he finally presses against me. Well, I think it’s pathetic anyway; he just smiles and nips at my bottom lip. I can’t believe how sweet he is. Isn’t he supposed to be a predator or something? Using me? It doesn’t feel that way.

I move my hands up, surprised at how steady they are, and put one first on either side of his neck and then slide them up to cup his face. He seems to like that, pushing into me harder, with a soft humming in the back of his throat. I move my fingers over his skin, and it’s soft and warm; then over his the cold metal of his earrings as I slip further back, into his hair. I am marvelling at myself, at what I am capable of, when I grab two thick handfuls and he growls into my mouth in response.

We go on like this until I feel like I’m going crazy; that feeling of wanting to climb him, of feeling insane with need to do something, is back times a million, but now the something that I want to do is starting to become clear in my mind. None of the ideas that I’m coming up with are really possibilities for the basement during lunch.

He is everywhere all around me, gasping hot into my mouth with his hand on my neck when the bell that means we have three minutes to get to class rings.

“Fuck,” he says, panting.

I’m panting too, and I feel like my blood is on fire and I’m about to explode, and I can’t even imagine having to be in class in three minutes. So yeah, fuck is right, except I can’t think of anything to add to it or a way to respond so I just nod, and then laugh once, weakly.

He turns and looks at me, and his face is kind of confused.

“Tomorrow?” he says.

I look at him blankly for a second because, hello? Obviously. But right after that it hits me that he’s really asking, like suddenly he wants permission. Which is weird, and I’m not sure what it means but I think it has to be good, right?

“Yeah,” I say, and smile a smile I hope says of course.

He smiles back. “Cool,” he says. “Don’t tell anybody, though, OK?”

That kind of deflates me a little, but not enough to complain about - I’m still buzzing. And who would I tell, anyway?

He’s already turned toward the stairs.

“Hey,” I call after him. He turns and looks at me, his eyebrows going up as if to say yes?

“My name is Kris,” I say. Adding by the way with my smirk.

“I know,” he says, with his own of course smile.

I step toward him and he steps toward me, and he leans down to kiss me again. And this feels different; it feels like a balance tipping, like things falling off of shelves.

I can’t let that show, though, because he is pulling away with a satisfied little smile, patting my cheek as he turns away from me again. As I’m finally making my feet move to follow him, the late bell rings.

I guess I’ll have all of detention to think about this.


It’s not a schedule, just a routine. Every day I meet Adam outside the cafeteria, every day he opens the door while I glance around for teachers or over-curious kids, and every day we go downstairs and kiss until the bell rings. Forty minutes that seem a little bit shorter every day.

Sometimes I make it to class on time, sometimes not. I’ve had more detentions in the last three weeks than I’d had in my life before that, and I am two away from getting suspended. I should be worried about that, I guess, but the times when it would be most helpful to worry - like, say, when there was still a chance of getting to class on time - it’s hard to think about anything but Adam and his mouth and his hands.

Especially in those last few seconds, when I know it’s almost over and I have to start the wait all over again.

I think he likes me. We still don’t talk that much, but he always smiles at me. I keep waiting for him to be in a bad mood, or not show up someday or something, but he is always there, and the first thing he always does is smile at me.

It’s always the last thing he does, too. Right before he takes off.

Given how happy he is to spend time with me in the basement, I have pretty much figured out at this point that the running away thing is not because he doesn’t like me, but because he doesn’t want to be seen with me. Or he doesn’t want to risk standing next to me in public long enough for me to say something that implies we know each other.

Or maybe he doesn’t want me to think that we actually do know each other.

What would he do if somebody called him on it? Deny it? Say he was just having some fun with a handy and willing sophomore?

That’s the part that kind of bugs me. Because I know that that isn’t it. Or, I feel pretty sure it isn’t. I mean, I never thought in a million years that Adam Lambert would show interest in me, or that I’d ever even get to kiss him, let alone spend hours of my life doing it. But now that he is showing interest in me, I think it’s real. It feels real. At least for as long as we’re downstairs.

I know it’s not like I have a lot to compare it to. But he never seems fake to me, and apart from the hauling ass as soon as the bell rings, he’s always really nice to me.

The other day, he slipped his hand up the back of my shirt and said “I like your skin,” real quiet into my neck while he was kissing me. He left his hand on the small of my back all the way to the stairs that day after the bell rang, like he wasn’t ready to be done touching.

I know that feeling.

I want to always be touching him. It’s all I think about anymore; I feel like my whole life is nothing but waiting. I feel so stupid about it, but I actually miss him sometimes. It’s hard to explain because it seems like that shouldn’t be possible, like there’s no way I could even really know him enough to say that I miss him, but I do anyway.

I really want to talk to him. I feel like once we finally do start talking, it’ll be easy. I just don’t know how to start and I can’t figure out why he doesn’t want me to, because it’s so obvious that he doesn’t. He never gives me a chance, and whenever it feels like we’re about to have an exchange that lasts more than thirty seconds - I mean other than an exchange of spit - he bolts.

But other than that one giant question mark, I feel like I do know him, kind of. Maybe something more important than his favorite movie or his favorite song, even. Because he has so many kinds of kisses, and they all seem to say something different; each one is a puzzle piece.

Some days the kisses come soft and gentle and quiet, in the middle of the room, with his hands on the sides of my face or on my back. We’ll pass the whole period like that sometimes; other times those soft kisses can pick up momentum and by the time the bell rings we are all wrapped around each other and gasping.

Less often, he pins me to the wall. I kind of love that the best of all, but I would never tell him that. I don’t know why, it just seems embarrassing or something. But it’s amazing the way he can be everywhere around me at once, and how much I love that feeling. Sometimes - especially on those against-the-wall days - I feel like he’s telling me in kisses all about what else he’d like to do. I mean, we get intense a lot of the time and it’s not exactly family-friendly even on the mildest day, but it’s still just kissing. A little bit of touching. He’s never tried anything else, despite the fact that I always feel like I’m dying the whole time and I know he does too. He tells me all about it with his kisses when he’s got me on the wall, and I can see very clearly what he wishes we were doing.

Just one time I tried pinning him against the wall. He went, just to humor me, but I had to get up on tiptoe to reach his mouth and wasn’t very convincing as far as aggressors go, I guess. He laughed and spun me around. I was more than OK with that.

So what I know about Adam Lambert now is that he has a soft side and a sense of humor. He might look like he could kick your ass - and probably he could - but I think he’s kind of gentle on the inside. He has this delicate touch - especially on my face - and a huge, ridiculous smile that makes me feel like I won the lottery every time he gives me one. Sometimes he just radiates care. So I don’t have to have a deep conversation with him to know that he’s a good person. He couldn’t hide it if he wanted to, and I think he kind of does.

I used to think he looked so scary, and I know that he still does look scary to everybody else. That’s why they all leave him alone, and he has this reputation as the badass homo or whatever. It totally works for him, but I can see now that it’s a costume. He isn’t the tough guy that the leather and studs suggest.

But that doesn’t mean he’s not fierce. Or even that he’s not badass. He’s essentially good, but he’s also strong; forceful and intense. The bruises all along my back - from his hands, the wall - are enough to prove that.

Of course whenever I gasp or make any kind of that-hurts sound, he immediately eases up, asks if I’m OK.

So he’s like a hot, badass caring nurturer, I guess. With incredible blue eyes and soft, thick hair, who can do wonderful things with his tongue, but can somehow kiss dirty without it, too. You can learn a lot from kissing somebody, it turns out. I think I have learned enough to know that I kind of love him.

I mean, I think. I would never tell anybody that. Not that I can tell anybody anything about this, but whatever.

I guess it doesn’t really matter what I call it, because pretty much I just can’t stop thinking about him, and all I do is wait. I’m scared someday it will stop, that he won’t be there, but so far he’s been completely constant so all I can do is trust him, I guess.


It’s a slow and gentle day today; Adam seems kind of mellow. Just low energy, not less enthusiastic. It’s nice.

He’s got his arms hung loosely around my waist and is lazily, slowly licking across my bottom lip before kissing me softly, over and over until it turns into one long kiss.

He seems really happy. I wonder what’s going on in his life.

The minutes fly by as they always do, and finally Adam pulls away, sighing, and says “time’s almost up.”

Sometimes we don’t talk at all. There are days when he leaves without saying a word. So the times when he does talk, I am always so thrilled to hear his voice that I feel like an idiot and suddenly don’t know where to begin.

“That sucks,” I say, thinking it’s probably not the best start as far as luring him into conversation goes. I should be better prepared if I ever want to finally get to the talking.

“Yeah,” Adam says, and takes a step back, looking at me. He spoke again after my lame answer? He really is in a good mood today. And the bell hasn’t even rung yet - does he want to talk?

“So,” I start, desperate to take this chance if he’s really giving it to me, searching for a question to ask him or witty comment or something. “How did you know about the basement? Is this, like, your regular spot or something?”

Oh, my god. Why did I start with that?

Did I just imply that he’s a slut?

Well, he might be one, though.

But I don’t care. So why did I ask?

He laughs a little bit, looking down. He doesn’t look offended or anything, so that’s good. “No,” he says. “Nothing that seedy.”

I love the way he talks. This is why we should do this more.

He looks up again, smirking. “I ducked in that door one day when I was a freshman. I was hiding from some juniors who had heard there was a fag in the new class.” I cringe. “It was kind of good luck, though, really,” he continues, shrugging. “Nobody even notices that door, and I’ve never seen anybody else down here. It’s cool to have my own secret place.”

He doesn’t look upset, or seem especially traumatized about having to hide from upperclassmen back then. I’m glad. I don’t like to think of that - of him hurting - and knowing that he seems OK now makes it easier not to dwell on it.

It also makes it seem less... scary.

I knew talking to him would be good.

“That is kind of cool,” I say. “I mean, not about the hiding part, but just... you know. Having your own place. Sorry.” I know I’m blushing now. So him talking is good, but I still suck at it. “I’m really glad you have it.” I smile, hoping maybe a little flirt will help.

When I look up at him, though, he doesn’t look like he minds my bumbling. He’s looking at me like... like I’m a puppy in a pet store window or something. I might just be crazy and deluded, but I seriously think that look he’s giving me right now is the exact same way that I look at him. I recognize it, and I know what it means. And I want to scream at him to admit it, but I’m scared if I do I’ll break the spell and it will be over.

He is just opening his mouth to say something else when the bell rings, and he closes it again, deflating. He gestures for me to follow when he starts turning toward the door.

“Hey,” I say. He turns back to me. “Was it really bad?”

He frowns. I think it’s the first honest-to-god frown I’ve ever seen on his face, and it makes me tense. “Yeah,” he says. “It was pretty bad. But it’s better now, and school doesn’t last forever.”

I nod. We just look at each other in silence for a moment, then he shrugs - what’re you gonna do? He turns, and I follow him up the stairs.


I have to get out of here on time today. I had detention again yesterday and I’ve got the entire rest of the semester to go and just one more tardy before I get suspended. There’s no way I’m going to make it. I’m so screwed.

Maybe I should tell Adam about this, so he’ll help me out or something.

Why the fuck doesn’t he get in trouble for being late anyway? He’s never in detention. Maybe the teachers just don’t deal with him, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because he’s a senior. It seems grossly unfair, either way.

But then there he is, walking down the hall toward me with purpose, eyes focused on mine. We’re not even through the door yet and I already know there’s no way I’ll be telling him about my tardies today. I barely remember they exist.

My heart is pounding already. Today’s going to be a wall day, and there is nothing else.

Five minutes later I already know I’m going to have fresh bruises on my back. As hard as he’s pushing against me I’m pushing back, and it’s such an amazing contrast to yesterday that I have to marvel at these light and dark Adams, and how much I enjoy them both. He bites me a little bit today; not enough to leave marks, just nipping under my jaw, my neck. I am breathing heavy.

I feel old - mature. Like I’m experienced. I can’t believe how fast I went from never-been-kissed to a kissing encyclopedia, but Adam’s been a pretty great teacher. I haven’t even had sex yet (and I know I shouldn’t even be thinking about it but I am, I can’t stop) and I already know we’ll - we’d - be great at it. Because he’s doing that thing again where he talks about sex with his kissing, and I’m talking back. Saying yes.

It’s hard to stop when the bell rings, and I know there’s no way in hell I’m going to be on time today and I’m fucked anyway, so I let myself linger. He finally breaks away and I sigh and say “why did you bring me here?” with my first breath, and I didn’t even know I was going to say it.

He doesn’t seem surprised at the question; he just answers it, leaning his forehead against mine. “Because I wanted to, and I could tell you wanted me to,” he says.

“You could tell?”

“Yeah,” he says, smiling. “You think I just took a shot in the dark, dragging some random guy down here?”


The late bell rings. We both act like we don’t hear it, and I feel like we just crossed a line.

“You weren’t that subtle, Kris,” he says, and it’s the first time he’s ever said my name.

I blush.

“Did you think you were?” His smile grows, and he pulls back to get a better look at my face, like he’s enjoying my embarrassment.

“I don’t know,” I say. “You never looked at me, though. I didn’t think you noticed.”

“I am capable of being subtle. Maybe someday you will be, too.” He laughs. “It’s called peripheral vision.”

“So what did you see, then?”

His smile gets smaller, but it doesn’t look like he’s unhappy with the question, more just like he’s thinking. I wish I could hear his thoughts, the things he thinks of saying and then decides against.

“A really, really cute guy,” he says, finally. “Who was obviously really into me. And kind of adorably dorky about it.”

He beams, and I smile back at him. I’m nervous, though, because we are outside our boundaries and talking feelings and I am sure I’m going to screw this up at any moment.

“You just had to have me in the basement, huh?” I say, my smile going lopsided.

His smirk matches mine. “Yeah, I guess I did,” he says.

I want to talk more, but I guess he’s done now because he is leaning down to kiss me again and I can’t say no to that. I am still against the wall, but he isn’t pushing against me now. He’s just all around me, one hand on either side of my head.

I am now skipping class on top of all my tardies and I’m pretty sure that’s going to be two or three days of being suspended, which means my mom will now be getting involved. And even worse, that’s a lot of Adam time to miss. What a clusterfuck.

My back and my knees and my feet hurt - and I could seriously use a drink - by the time the bell at the end of the period rings. Adam puts his head down on my shoulder, sagging at the sound. I’m shocked, because it seems like he’s not ready to be done, like he’s considering just finishing out the school day down here.

The thing is, I would do it. I couldn’t say no - wouldn’t want to, even. But truthfully, I could stop now and be happy, too. If he wanted to do something else for the rest of the day, that might be awesome. Even if he just wanted to hang out. That would make it perfect, really. It would mean something and I would be thrilled.

But instead he stands up straight, smiling as he takes my hand, then leads me toward the stairs. When we get to the top, he leans in and kisses me once, lingering for a second. He lets his hand fall out of mine while he’s opening the door with the other, and in the next second he’s through it and gone.


I’d barely sat down in last period yesterday before I got called to the office. I guess my health teacher didn’t waste any time letting them know I’d skipped.

The vice principal told me, as I’d already known, that I was over the line for suspension. Two days. But, he said, if I were suspended I couldn’t take part in any extracurricular activities either, and they need me in band.

We’ve got States coming up.

So he said he was willing to give a little bit, if I promised to get my shit together. I nodded and thanked him and told him I would, knowing that the chances of me getting my shit together actually weren’t that great. Anyway, he ended up giving me a week of detention and one day of in-house suspension, which isn’t so bad. I’m used to being in detention by now anyway.

He didn’t call my mom and he didn’t ask me what I’ve been up to, so I guess that went just about as well as it could’ve.

But now I have to find Adam and let him know what’s going on, because I won’t get to go to regular lunch while I’m in lockdown today.

I run to his locker first thing, before homeroom, and as I get closer I see him, talking to a senior girl with bright pink hair. It looks like he’s laughing at something she said. His smile falters when he sees me coming toward him and he closes his locker quickly, nodding and saying something to the girl before turning and walking down the hall.

“Adam!” I call after him, but he doesn’t turn around.


I’m supposed to be doing nothing but schoolwork while I’m in suspension today. I’m at a stupid tiny desk in a stupid empty classroom with just two other guys - both sitting on the other side of the room - and what I guess has to be a substitute teacher. I’ve never seen him before.

He’s pretty much asleep, I think, his face propped up on one hand.

So this is actually like some kind of bizarre sensory deprivation torture. Because there is nothing for me to do - nothing at all - but think about Adam. I am doodling in my notebook - guitars and trees and arrows - but it is not a distraction. It’s just a motion my hand is making while my brain spins.

What the fuck was up with him this morning? Seriously? I know he wants to keep whatever it is we’re doing on the downlow or whatever, but that was ridiculous. And totally uncool. It’s not going to ruin his life or his reputation or whatever it is he’s worried about if he just acknowledges me one time.

I keep looking at the clock, watching the hands inch up toward lunchtime. Is he going to be mad that I’m not there?

Will he put it together that I was trying to tell him I wasn’t going to be there?

God, I really hope he’s not mad. And how stupid is that? I’m the one who should be mad. He was a dick, and I think he owes me better than that. I’m not... I mean, he doesn’t own me. The only reason we do this kissing thing anyway is because I let us, because I like him. I could say no; it’s not like we only do it because he wants to. Does he think he can do whatever he wants, like I’m a sure thing?

I mean, OK, obviously I’ve been a sure thing the whole time so far, so maybe he wouldn’t be totally wrong to think that.

But maybe that’s not OK anymore.

Part of me is sort of thrilled at the idea that he might be a little bit hurt or worried when he sees that I’m not there today. Like maybe it’ll teach him that lesson, and things will change. Like maybe it will lead to some big romantic revelation. But another part of me is horrified at the thought of him thinking I’d stood him up - because I never would, really. And another part is worried he’ll just be pissed and that’ll be the end of it.

I’m sure he’s got plenty of options.

I think I’m a good one, though. But I guess he doesn’t really consider me an option at all.

Maybe I’m wasting my time. I mean, maybe this whole thing just isn’t good for me. My grades are tanking, I can’t not be late to sixth period, I’ve got the vice principal with his eye on me now and the only reason my mom doesn’t know is because he was in a good mood yesterday. For what, so Adam can ignore me? Just grab me at his convenience, give me those big wonderful smiles and tell me I’m really, really cute, then pretend I don’t exist when there are other people around?

I’m not OK with that. That is fucked up, and I can’t believe how stupid I’ve been. How I’ve just let him run out on me day after day, and I’ve just kept coming back. He must think I’m such an idiot.

I am an idiot.

I prove it to myself immediately, when my very next thought is about seeing him tomorrow, and my stomach turns over on itself.

I am completely pissed at him and myself and the entire situation in half of my brain, while the other half is just dying to see him again.

I cross my arms and put my head down on my desk, managing not to groan out loud. I think maybe I could use a nap, too. Unconsciousness sounds really good right now.


I didn’t even bother pretending that I wasn’t going to look for Adam today. All last night I thought about it, and I knew that in the end no matter what arguments I threw at myself or how aggravated I got, I was always going to go back. The arguing was just like going through the motions.

So I’m standing here trying to look relaxed, and probably failing.

The cafeteria lobby empties out as the last few kids make their way inside. I realize suddenly that Adam should be here by now, and one beat later it is obvious - of course - that he’s not coming. I could wait for him - tell myself maybe he got held up or something - but I know it would be pointless and just make me feel worse. He’s not coming.

I stand him up, he stands me up.

I had been worried about talking to him, about ruining everything by wanting too much or something. But this, really, was the worst case scenario.

Of course.

I shake my head and for a second am not sure what to do. Oh, right; I guess I could just go to lunch. I have to stop and try to remember what I told my friends I was doing that kept me from sitting with them anymore.

Tutoring, or something. Math tutoring? They probably don’t care anyway.

I feel like this will probably hit me pretty hard later, but for right now I think I’m just going to hold it back and get through the school day. At least I won’t be late to sixth.


I didn’t do anything wrong.

Did I? I mean, I don’t think I did. This is his fault, isn’t it?

The thing that sucks the most is realizing that he probably isn’t thinking about this at all, while I am torturing myself. Well, maybe he’s thinking about it a little bit, but not nearly as much, I’m sure.

Maybe there is no fault, because there wasn’t anything in the first place.

That doesn’t feel right to me. But what the fuck do I know? I’m just a stupid kid who will do anything for a pretty boy, apparently. I don’t even feel as bad about that as I should, because I only did it because I liked him so much. I was just... I mean, maybe he really was just using me, and maybe it’s no big deal for him to walk away.

But I didn’t see it that way. Whether it’s because I’m a dumb kid with no experience or what, it still felt like more to me.

And this sucks.

I roll over in bed, forcing myself to close my eyes.


It’s Friday, and I am thrilled; I think two days of not having to wonder when and if I’m going to see Adam will be a huge relief.

Part of me really wants to try waiting for him again at lunch today, like he’ll change his mind. I can’t decide if that’s romantic or just really, really sad.

Walking out of chemistry, I look to my right at the stream of seniors coming out of physics. I haven’t been doing this as much lately - trying to be subtle, you know - but this time when I do I see that Adam is there, and he has turned his head to look at me. His expression is blank, but looks kind of open; he doesn’t look angry at all. I don’t know what that look is supposed to mean, and my eyebrows go up, saying well?

He sighs, and then shocks me half to death by walking toward me instead of away.

“Come on,” he says, as usual, and points to the bathroom down the hall. I follow him, because that’s what I do, apparently.

He checks all the stalls when we get in there and, once he’s satisfied that we’re alone, turns to face me.

“I don’t have time for this,” I say. “I can’t be late for class again.”

“What?” he says, like that’s the least of my problems. He’s probably right. “I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s going on.” He looks almost as confused as I feel, and I don’t know how that’s possible. Isn’t he the boss of this little situation?

I laugh. “You don’t know what’s going on?” There should be some kind of sarcastic joke after that, I think, but I can’t come up with one. I want to say something about my imminent lateness again, but I know how lame that would sound; I also know there’s a timer somewhere ticking down the seconds to my next suspension. Fuck.

And then of course the bell rings.

“Fuck!” I say, and it feels better out loud. But still sucks. Everything sucks right now, which is weird because Adam is right here and usually when he’s here, things are good.

“Chill out,” he says. “I’ll get my mom to write you a note.”

“Your mom?”

“Yeah.” He shrugs. “She’s one of the admins in the office. Teachers don’t even bother writing me up anymore, they know she’ll get me out of it.” He grins. “She’s pretty awesome.”

“Well, shit,” I say. “I could’ve used a little help in getting out of the eight million detentions I’ve taken in the last month and the fucking in-house I had to do Wednesday.”

“You were suspended?”

“Yes,” I say, emphatically. “I tried to tell you, you asshole.”

His eyebrows shoot up and, strangely, he smiles. “Hey,” he says, trying to sound insulted. “How was I supposed to know what you wanted?”

“Um, by listening to me instead of running away?” I say. “Since the part where you were an asshole was when you totally ignored me because there were people around, it doesn’t really matter what I wanted to tell you. Plus, you then blew me off. As like, what? Retaliation? So that was an asshole move born out of an asshole move.”

He blinks. “I’m not an asshole,” he says, almost like he’s perplexed at the idea.

“I know you aren’t.”

“You just said I was.”

“Yeah, well.” I shrug. “You’re acting like one. But I don’t think you really are one.”

“How do you know? Sounds like you think I’ve been treating you like shit.”

“I just know. I can tell.”

“You like me,” he says. “So you think I’m nice no matter what I do.”

“Whatever,” I say. “Obviously I like you. That’s not really the question, I don’t think.”

“I am nice,” he says, blatantly not addressing what the question is. “I never meant to hurt your feelings. I thought we were having fun. Weren’t you having fun?”

I notice the past tense in there and start to get scared. How could I get scared again when I’ve already spent so much time thinking it was over anyway?

“Yeah, I was,” I say. “I... am.” I can’t believe my mouth is moving and these words are coming out. I think the disaster I’ve been afraid of is happening right now and I can’t seem to stop it.

“I tried to tell you I couldn’t be there the other day. I didn’t want to hurt your feelings. But then I thought, well, maybe your feelings wouldn’t be hurt at all. Maybe you’d just be irritated or inconvenienced or something, you know? Because I don’t really know what all this is to you, but I...” I stop, shaking my head. I don’t even know what I’m trying to ask for. “You could at least say hi to me in the halls,” I say, and that sounds so fucking weak my shoulders sag. “You don’t have to hold my hand or anything crazy. Just act like I’m your friend, that would be nice. Or give me your phone number. Or something.”

Wow, that sounded even worse outside of my head than it did in. I didn’t even think that was possible.

When I look up, I feel like my heart is about to stop because he’s looking at me with this apologetic expression, and it’s just terrifying. I knew it. Pity.

“Oh god,” I say, cutting him off before he can even speak. I don’t even want to hear what he’s going to say. “Sorry. I just... nevermind. Forget I said... forget it.” I start trying to walk out, because this would be infinitely less painful without having to hear him apologize for leading me on or something, but he puts his hand on my chest and blocks my way, shaking his head.

“I wanted to keep it casual,” Adam says.

I nod, looking down. I guess I’m not going to get to escape the let-down speech after all.

“It was never that I didn’t like you,” he continues. “It would just be so, so much easier to keep it simple. You know?”

“You never said hi to me or anything,” I say.

“OK, fine,” he says. “I’ll say hi to you. You’re like obsessed with that.”

“No, I mean,” I’m shaking my head. “I mean, you just took me or whatever, never said hello. Never told me your name, even. Just knew that I knew it, right? Or it didn’t matter. I don’t think you’ve ever said hi or hello to me. It’s kind of shitty. Like I’m just a toy you pick up and play with and then put back down when you’re done. Not even worth a hello or goodbye.”

His eyebrows knit together in the middle. “Yeah,” he says. “I think you’re right. It wasn’t supposed to be like that, though.”

“How was it supposed to be?”

“I saw you, like, every day. And you were always staring. At first I thought it was kind of unnerving, really, because most people notice me but they don’t stare like you did. And after a while it started being kind of hot because, I don’t know if you know this, but, you’re seriously cute. But like, don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t really date guys from school, much less underclassmen. I’m just putting time in here until I can get the fuck out, you know?”

I nod, my mouth turning down.

“No, no... don’t look like that. It wasn’t, it wasn’t like I was just going to have some fun or whatever, and try to mess with you. I thought you’d be really excited, too. Like it could be this kind of fun, romantic, mysterious thing, you know?” His eyebrows are up near his hairline now, his face as open as it can be, begging me to understand. “I thought it would be awesome, like if I had a crush on a guy, and he just grabbed me and kissed me? That would be really cool, right? And I really wanted to kiss you, so it seemed win-win.”

“Oh,” I say, though I’m still thinking it through. He looks so excited, though.

“So I thought if it wasn’t meant for us to be a real couple or anything, but we had a mutual attraction and stuff, then we could at least make the school year memorable. And have a cool story, you know, if nothing else. I thought it would be fun. For both of us.”

I arch one eyebrow. “You told me not to tell.”

“Well, yeah,” Adam shrugs. “Secret mystery basement affair. What fun would it be if everybody knew?”

I know I’m staring at him like he’s crazy now, but it’s only because this is so not even close to what I was expecting. I don’t have any kind of response to this. Because it is kind of crazy.

But there’s something starting to build in the back of my mind, something that’s telling me maybe it’s a really painfully adorable kind of crazy, and maybe I really like it.

“OK, well,” I say. “It was really exciting, you’re right.”

“Good!” he says, throwing his hands up.

“But I think it went wrong somewhere, because now I actually like, like you. A lot.” I’m blushing. I so wish I could turn that off somehow. When I realize I’m blushing I get more embarrassed and blush more. It’s cruel, really. My voice gets quieter. “I know you didn’t mean for that to happen. But I can’t help it, so. I’m not sure I can do the secret mystery basement affair anymore.”

“I know,” he says, nodding. “Listen, when you didn’t show up the other day, I thought you were pissed at me for not talking to you in the hall. I thought you were just blowing me off, you know? And I couldn’t believe how upset that made me. I stood there for a few minutes and waited, and then I felt so stupid. That I would let myself get so caught up in this when it wasn’t supposed to be serious. So then I didn’t go the next day. Not even really to get back at you, just because I... I didn’t want to wait for you again. I felt like an idiot enough already. I didn’t want to be the one left standing there.”

“I was,” I say. “I was there.”

He sighs. “Then I should’ve gone.”


“We have communication problems,” he says.

I laugh. “Yeah,” I say. “Because you never let us talk.”

“You’re right,” he says. “I’ve been doing this all wrong.” He shakes his head. “I just get lost in the concept, you know?”

All I can do is grin at him. He’s kind of ridiculous, it turns out. Kind of stupid and endearingly insane and I feel like I could just stand here and talk to him all day and that would be the most fun I could possibly have.

“Let’s think of a new concept,” I say. “We can keep the secret affair part. But take the mystery and basement out. Wait, no,” I correct myself. “Keep the basement. But, you know, expand. We can have a secret affair in the basement and other places, too. And, like, via text message.”

He’s grinning back at me, and then he takes a step forward. “OK,” he says. “I can do that. But how secret of a secret affair do you want it to be? Do you want people to know that we’re friends? You’ll probably get shit for that, you know.”

I shrug. “I don’t care.”

“People will probably think you’re gay if you hang out with me all the time.”

“I am gay.”

Whoa. I’ve never said that out loud before. It doesn’t feel weird, though.

“Yeah, but once they know...”

“I don’t feel like I have to announce it or anything, but I won’t lie about it either. Let’s see how it goes, OK? I can be subtle. You don’t have to protect me.”

“I will, though,” he says. “I mean, if you need it.”

I smile. “Thanks. Hey,” I say. “Do you want to expand the affair to my basement? My mom works until ten on Fridays. I’m just saying. We have a couch down there.”

“Yes,” he says, and finally closes the gap between us, leaning down to kiss me. Somebody could walk in at any minute but I don’t care; my arms move of their own accord to wrap themselves around his neck while his wind around my waist, pulling me up into him.

Long moments go by before we break apart, and I’m burying my face in his neck. He smells good; I think it’s his shampoo.

“You ready to go down to the office?” he says, taking a step back, leaving his hands on my hips.

“Yeah,” I say. “See you at lunch after that?”

“Yes,” he smiles. “Of course.”

“OK, come on,” I say, and head for the door. He follows behind me.

“Oh, this is so cool,” he says. “You’re going to love my mom.”



I am laying on the couch in my basement and Adam is on top of me, draped over my body like a blanket. He has one arm hanging down beside me, propping him up on the floor, while the other is pinned under us, fingers curling through my hair. He is kissing me like he would if I were up against the wall in the basement at school; it’s so much nicer laying down. His mouth feels soft and warm, as always, and so familiar. Kissing Adam is something I know, something I feel good at.

But it feels just a little different now. More legitimate, or something; possessive. Like he’s finally really mine to kiss, and I’m not just stealing little moments that don’t belong to me. I like this feeling. And I really like being underneath him like this, because he’s hitting an entire new angle on my mouth right now and it’s amazing. We are wide open, his tongue pushing deep, and it is so incredibly dirty I want to do this forever.

He’s moving, too. His whole body is rocking in a wave over me, and every time he moves his crotch it grinds into mine, and it feels like electricity going off everywhere. He’s slowly shifting to the side so that his thigh is between my legs and mine is between his, and fuck every time he moves it’s a little more, I wind a little tighter. I am starting to breathe kind of fast, gasping into his mouth and then finally breaking away - I have to - to gasp at the friction.

Oh, fuck.

I feel like I’ve lost control of what’s going on here because my body is lighting up, fire and electricity in weird combinations in all my limbs and through my veins and it’s like, I know I’m going to come in about two seconds, but it’s almost terrifying to consider because I’ve never felt anything even remotely like this, so I can’t imagine how much more intense it can get. I dig my fingers into his back, his t-shirt crumpling under my palms.

He pushes into me again, grunting lowly in my ear and then ducking down to kiss my neck, immediately rolling into me again, and then again, and then he bites my neck and - oh, oh god - I’m coming. I arch up, pushing against him hard, until it almost hurts even though I’ve never felt this fucking amazingly good in my entire life, and I feel him go tense against me, the hand on the back of my neck tightening.

I can’t believe this is happening.

I can’t believe that just happened.

Adam is sweaty and smiling, breathing heavy and nipping and kissing at my neck while I wait to stop shuddering. After a minute he starts humming a little bit, as if warning me that he’s about to break the silence; I love the feeling of his lips on me, the vibration of his voice on my skin. I feel like I could purr right now.

“I do like you,” he says.

I laugh quietly. “Good,” I say, although I’m not entirely sure where that came from. He sounded like he was answering a question, but I don’t remember asking one.

“I just don’t think I was ever clear enough on that,” he says. “And I really do, so. I just thought I’d better let you know.”

“OK,” I say, smiling. Then I shift uncomfortably; he pushes up on his hands and takes his weight off me. We both sit up, but he leaves his hand on the back of my neck, his fingers still moving there, giving me goosebumps. I look down. “So, this is kind of not at all smooth, but, I need to go upstairs and change?”

He chuckles. “Yeah,” he says. “I could kind of use a bathroom myself. Can I see your room?”

“Sure,” I say, standing. I turn to face him, and his cheeks and lips are all red and he is smiling - not one of the big, spectacular grins, just a small, happy little smile. I put that there; both the flush in his cheeks and the smile on his face. I’m feeling pretty smug about that, I can’t lie.

I grab his hand and pull him up, and we walk up the stairs together.



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