Pairing: Adam Lambert/Kris Allen
Summary: So everyone has been doing their own version of the epic Kradam nail polishing. This is mine.
Disclaimer: Uhm, fiction.
“I’m bored,” I whine, collapsing down onto the foot of Kris’ bed with a sigh.
He ignores me for the most part, pulling his feet up out of the way, but otherwise seemingly unfazed. He continues to strum the chords of his guitar, pulling the pick across the strings in a methodical fashion with his head tilted back against the headboard.
“I’m bored,” I repeat, more forcefully this time, slamming my palm down onto the mattress so that the reverberations interrupt his careful plucking.
He tilts his head down towards me and rolls his eyes with a huff. I know he’s sulking, but it’s starting to affect my mood as well. Worse, I can’t for the life of me figure out what he’s so bent out of shape over.
“Why don’t you go find Allison and rehearse or something?” He inhales sharply and suddenly things are so crystal clear I feel like a fool for not immediately realizing the reason for this rift.
“Oh my God,” I say, sitting up straight and pointing an accusatory finger in his direction. “You’re jealous!”
“No,” he responds stiffly, but his voice is uneven and his eyes are looking everywhere but into mine.
Last week when we discovered that we would be performing duets, Allison and I had naturally gravitated towards each other. Our similar styles seemed like an obvious pairing, which left Kris teaming up with Gokey. I knew it wasn’t the best arrangement on a personal level, but there was no doubt in my mind that Kris’ talent would only be amplified by our four-eyed competitor‘s messy vocals.
“You’re mad I chose Allison,” I say as he repositions his fingers across the strings and begins strumming softly on his guitar again.
This time he just shakes his head, looking down intently at his hands, even though I know he can easily play without watching their movements.
“Honestly, Kris. What could we have even chose to sing?” I ask, standing now and waving my arms in exasperation. There is the tiniest trace of panic in my voice. I can’t believe I had been so oblivious to this issue.
He sighs and stops playing, gently placing the guitar down on the empty place of mattress I once occupied.
“It isn’t that you chose Allison over me,” he mumbles, crossing his arms over his chest. “It’s that you left me with Danny as my only option.”
I run a hand through my hair, further mussing the already haphazard strands.
“So, what? You wanted me to offer to pair up with Gokey?”
Kris shrugs and now I’m feeling slightly put out by this new revelation. This is, after all, American Idol, and despite the fact that my personal relationship with the all-American Southern boy has transcended the competition, we‘ve agreed to duel it out for the title.
“Your vocals are better than the three of us combined. You’ll sound amazing no matter who you sing with,” Kris adds, scooting to the edge of the bed. He dangles his legs off, kicking at the carpet with the toe of his sneaker.
Now I’m angry and it isn’t just because Kris assumes I should sacrifice myself in the name of our friendship. I despise his self-deprecating assessments and his inability to accept that he’s made it to this stage of the competition because his talent is on par with the rest of ours. Our vocals are not better or worse, just different.
“We aren’t even being judged on those performances!” I shout, now pacing back and forth in our shared bedroom.
“Maybe not by the panel, but America will be watching.” Kris groans as though he’s only just realized and collapses down sideways onto the bed.
I guess he has a point. My anger fades and I’m left with guilt and a hint of fear pooling in the pit of my stomach. I know I could have used this opportunity to make an absolute fool out of Gokey. I could have completely overpowered him with my vocals and range while Kris and Allison melded their voices into a complementary performance. As per usual, I had been distracted by the opportunity to put on a good show.
My face must reveal my inner turmoil because Kris pulls himself up into a sitting position and offers me a small smile.
“And maybe I was a little bit jealous that you chose Allison over me,” he admits.
Whether it is true or just for my benefit, I appreciate the effort. I also feel the need to assure him that isn’t the case.
“I would never chose Allison over you,” I say softly and it’s the truth.
Of course my first thought had been to pair with Kris, but I quickly realized we would never have enough time to tailor a song to our differing styles. His voice is smooth and gentle, and you find yourself holding your breath to capture every sultry syllable. Mine is loud and powerful and pulse-pounding. A week would simply not be enough time to properly mesh our vocals.
He grins up at me now from his place on the bed, and this time it’s wide enough to reach the corners of his eyes. I know it’s genuine and I know it’s a smile saved for me. Still, this whole ordeal makes me uneasy and I feel the irrational need to somehow make things right. If this costs Kris the competition, I’ll never forgive myself.
Idly, I chew on my thumbnail. The live show is only hours away, so my options are slim. I’ve already pissed of production with all my requests so it needs to be a low budget gesture. My mouth stills and I retract my finger from between my teeth, staring down at the chipped polish with new appreciation.
“What are you doing?” Kris asks as I dart across the room to my suitcases and begin rummaging through the bags. There’s laughter in his voice and I’m hoping it’s a sign of his improved mood.
When I find the coveted glass bottle among the snakeskin boots and silver studded belts, I pluck it up and return to Kris’ bed with a triumphant grin. Holding the bottle between my fingers I shake it out in front of me.
“What?” Kris asks, his eyebrows knitting together in obvious confusion. “Black nail polish?”
“Yes,” I answer. “Give me your hand.”
Now his eyebrows shoot up his forehead. He tucks his hands into his sides, shaking his head vehemently back and forth. “No way Adam. That’s your thing, not mine.”
“Well, now it will be our thing,” I respond, unscrewing the top of the bottle.
He continues to stare at me incredulously with his lips pressed together in a thin tight line before sighing. “The media will eat this up. They miss nothing. There will be Polish watch oh-nine and tabloid controversy.”
I shrug. I know how this competition works and I know America’s innate obsession with conspiracies. But I don’t really care. I hold out my hand for Kris’, but he hesitates.
“I’m singing with Allison tonight,” I whisper quietly. “But I’m choosing you and I don’t care what anyone else has to say about it.”
He sighs and for a moment I think he’ll refuse me again, but then slowly, his arm extends out towards me.
“Not too much. One nail.”
Kris rolls his eyes but smiles and I figure I’ve won, but I won’t push my luck. I cover the thumbnail on his left hand in black polish with careful even strokes, then the right one.
“This is ridiculous,” he says, looking down at my handiwork with a small shake of his head.
“You’re ridiculous,” I quip, returning the jab. “I can’t believe you were jealous.”
Seconds later, a tiny girl wearing a headset leans in through our doorway and announces were needed in hair and make-up stat. I’m still nervous about tonight’s performances, but the sentiment is reserved for our solo songs only.
I know Kris will do well, because I believe in him more than he even believes in himself. And now I’ll be out there with him, wrapped around the microphone in a desperate grip, providing him with strength and courage and maybe even the subtest bit of relief that what we have goes far beyond this competition and the voting and the pressures. Even after the polish chips and flakes and fades away, he’ll know, I’ve chosen him.