french_silk: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kh2rac/ (hearts)
[personal profile] french_silk
So... remember that old story for the Kradam Madness challenge I was supposedly doing? And remember how I finished it and never got a beta? And now its six months later, still unbeta'd, and never posted to the challenge? Well, here it is. Finally. And unapologetically. I haven't edited it since the last time I did in like, October, and it's my first one, but it could be worse. And now, without further ado:

Title: Closer to Fine
Author: french_silk
Rating: PG-13
Length: ~4800
Disclaimer: Sweet little lies.
Warnings: None
Prompt: via Jerakeen: Adam is the singer at Kris and Katy's wedding, where he mistakes Kris for someone else and accidentally kisses him, which causes Kris to reevaluate the whole marriage idea.
Notes: Title from “Closer to Fine” by the Indigo Girls

Summary:

Really, it was all Nora Ephron’s fault he was kissed in the first place.

He’d been ready. After a yearlong engagement; wedding plans that came together so easily Kris was convinced Katy had a fairy godmother working behind the scenes; and a bachelor party that, though small in size, more than made up for that in enthusiasm, he was ready.





- - - - - - - -
Really, it was all Nora Ephron's fault he was kissed in the first place.

He’d been ready. After a yearlong engagement; wedding plans that came together so easily Kris was convinced Katy had a fairy godmother working behind the scenes; and a bachelor party that, though small in size, more than made up for that in enthusiasm, he was ready.

And then he watched When Harry Met Sally.

In all honesty, he didn’t really watch movies like this on his own – he was more of an action guy. (Give him any clip with Bruce Willis and he could tell you what movie it was from and the year it was released.) Romantic comedies were more Katy’s thing, and some of them – he painfully remembers Failure to Launch - well, they usually squeezed through when Katy employed that pouty bottom lip and pleading big eyes thing she had perfected. So. He probably wouldn’t have seen this one if he’d had his way, but then again, he didn’t have the remote.

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t all Nora’s fault. Part of it was his own laziness.

For one thing, the remote was in the living room, and Kris was in bed, which was a problem. Granted he should’ve already been sleeping at that point – the wedding was tomorrow, he needed to be up early to double check some things – you know, normal “you’re about to be married” stuff – and Katy was already sleeping beside him, her blonde hair tousled about her face, some weird masque on so she would look “fresh and clean” before she had whatever compound applied for the thousands of pictures that would be taken.

Yeah, he should be asleep right now.

But – the TV was on. And, as much as he hated to admit it, Kris was the kind of guy who thought the remote was necessary in order for the TV to function.

It was a crutch, he knew it. But why it was in the living room was also his fault, since he did the good-battery bad-battery swap earlier to catch the game, and he’d left the bedroom remote in the other room. So. He watched TNT come back from commercial and a black screen filtered into opening credits. He sighed.

And when the title appeared, Kris turned over, deciding that if he was going to forfeit sleep, it wouldn’t be to this movie. So he closed his eyes, listened to the characters banter and did manage to fall asleep at one point. But then –

Katy socked him in the side during one of her sleep-fights. He was used to it, really, since he’d been sleeping in the same bed with her for about four years. It was fine, but it woke him up. And the movie was still on, since commercials made every movie half an hour longer than it had to be. And then Meg Ryan was faking an orgasm and he was intrigued, so he watched the rest of it at 2 am when he should’ve been dreaming about the Bahamas.

And then the end. He found himself cheering Harry on, grinning from ear to ear as he gave that last monologue to Sally, telling her how much he loved every inch of every crazy detail about her and that they were best friends and soul mates, and then she said she hated him but they were kissing and –

That’s when Kris realized his vows weren’t good enough.

Because, as practical as Kris was, Katy was romantic, and when she’d mentioned that she wanted them to write their own vows, he’d agreed.

But then again, he wasn’t the best with words, or public speaking, if you really got down to it. And while his friends had helped, and his parents had worked on the wording and phrasing, he couldn’t help thinking that it just… it just wasn’t right. Any of it.

And so that’s why, at noon, the wedding a few hours away, while he was double checking things at the reception hall, he had already scrapped his entire speech and was trying to unearth something closer to the heart.

Which is also why it was Nora Ephron’s fault he was dragged into the kiss in the first place, since he was so wrapped up in syntax and diction, he didn’t see the large, well-manicured hand until its owner already had him pressed up against the wall.

“Wh-What?” Kris managed, before he was being kissed eagerly, the man’s mouth licking into his, capturing Kris in a tender kiss. He was frozen at first, but felt his body relax, hearing what may or may not have been a soft moan escape from him. But. Who knows what one’s body does when it’s being kissed anyway, really. And that couldn’t mean anything, since kissing men was never actually on the agenda, Kris told himself, as the mystery kisser pulled away, catching Kris’s bottom lip gently between his teeth before letting the kiss end.

And it was when it ended that Kris kind of wished it hadn’t.

“I didn’t think you would come,” the man whispered, his voice deep and meaningful, as he began to pepper kisses along Kris’s jaw line.

“Um.”

Suddenly he pulled back, and Kris found himself looking at – well, up at – a guy with thick, dark hair and the clearest eyes he’d ever seen, which were now looking at Kris like he’d just killed a baby panda or something.

“Shit.”

“Sorry?”

“You’re not Taylor.”

“Who?”

“My boy – well, pretty much ex – boyfriend.” He stepped back, having dropped his arms from Kris’s hips almost instantly. “Sorry about that,” he said with a small smile, which seemed to counter, “but actually… maybe I’m not.”

Kris scratched the back of his head absently. “It’s uh, fine. No worries.”

The guy chuckled, and he had one of those deep, belly laughs, Kris realized, as he watched his eyes crinkle and bright smile stretch even wider. Kris liked that, he decided, before wondering why he was suddenly deciding on characteristics in men that he liked when several reasons would do to explain why he shouldn’t even be thinking about someone else. But.

“Well, I’m Adam,” he introduced. “…And I should probably learn not to drag any cute short guy with brown hair into kisses, I suppose.”

Cute? Kris could feel a blush creeping up his neck. But then – Adam. His mind buzzed. Why did that name sound familiar? He took a breath.

“Right. We’re not interchangeable, dude,” he joked, relaxing.

Adam’s stare changed slightly, as he took another step forward, resting an elbow above Kris’s head. Kris found himself catching his breath as Adam whispered, “So, I’m assuming you’re involved with this wedding thing?”

“Um, well, I’m—” Kris stammered.

Adam smirked, easing away from the wall. “Find me later,” he said casually, winking as he walked off in the direction he’d been heading before manhandling Kris into a kiss.

And what Kris couldn’t comprehend was why he wasn’t freaking out. Would it come later? Maybe? But if the warm feeling in his chest told him anything, it was that it had felt… right.

But he couldn’t think about this now. He shook his head and hurried off, wondering how he was going to get everything done before this whole thing started.

- - - - - - - -
If his mind kept betraying him, he was going to have to come up with something on the fly, which, you know, wouldn’t be cool.

It was just, every time he thought about his vows, he started thinking about that kiss with Adam. How he had crowded into Kris’s space, stealing his breath as he fit his hands to Kris’s hips almost effortlessly. It had just felt natural, if he let himself admit it. And what scared him wasn’t that he felt that way about a guy, which was an interesting development, it was more so that he felt this way about someone else, considering he would be married in a little over two hours.

And he didn’t know what to say to her. Or rather, how to describe his love for her.

“Maybe a list,” he decided, taking a small notepad from the desk. “Your smile?”

“Kris?”

“Yeah.”

“Hey man, I’ve been looking for you.”

‘Your belief in me,’ he continued, before looking up. “Sorry,” he murmured, seeing that Cale had walked in, another man with him. “Oh, hi. I’m Kris.”

The guy chuckled, holding out his hand. “Neil,” he explained, pumping Kris’s hand jovially. “Sorry, I’m running a little late.” He set down the large bag he was carrying and started removing some rather cumbersome-looking equipment, setting up a tripod and then removing the lens off of a camera. Oh, the photographer.

“I told him it’s alright, there’s not much to document here, anyway,” Cale joked, handing him his tuxedo bag. He glanced at the sheet of paper in front of Kris, frowning slightly, but before he could say anything, his cell went off. “Mrs. O’Connell? What’s wrong?” And then he was on the move again. “Kris, get dressed, would you? Daniel’s on his way – he’s stuck in traffic – and Charles and Andrew should be here in the next few minutes. I’ll be back soon, I’ve got to – well, I’ll tell you about it later.” He was down the hall a ways, but Kris heard him add, “Two hours!”

Just then Neil took a picture of Kris sitting on the vintage couch, and Kris groaned, knowing his was an expression of glass-eyed anxiety. Who had hired this guy, anyway? That crazy wedding planner Lauren that Katy had found? He sighed. Probably.

He went back to his list-speech thing, knowing he was simply complicating things by deciding he needed to fix it today of all days, but he just… How was he supposed to get married to someone he couldn’t even write a love monologue about without having his palms sweat? Shouldn’t this just be… easy?

Maybe it was nerves. He eyed the bottle of bourbon Cale had set up in the corner. Normally Kris would be criticizing the Mad Men-esque décor the entire room had, but now –

Click.

Kris flicked his eyes over at Neil, who had switched cameras and was taking pictures like he was a member of the paparazzi.

“Hey, um, Neil?”

“Yes?”

“I think that’s enough pictures for now.” Neil nodded curtly and then, to Kris’s relief, disappeared into the hallway, leaving Kris alone with his thoughts.

- - - - - - - -
“Oh, you’re not Taylor.”

Kris looked up into clear blue-gray eyes, cataloging the faint smudging of eyeliner and the spattering of freckles on Adam’s neck and jaw line. But this time, Kris was reaching out to him. The problem, though, was that Adam kept moving away, and then Kris was chasing him, running through hallways and doors until he stumbled into the reception hall, all the eyes of each side’s respective wedding party turning toward him as he pushed Adam against the wall, standing on his tip toes to press a kiss to his lips as –

“Kris.” He felt someone shake him. “Kris!”

“Wha-?” He looked around and found Daniel standing above him, Charles and Andrew not far behind, all of them already dressed. “Is it time? Am I late?”

“Not yet,” Daniel said, “thanks to moi, the best best man ever. C’mon, let’s get you suited up.”

And after he was dressed, Cale waltzing in not too long after – Neil taking too many pictures throughout, to Kris’s chagrin – it was time.

And all Kris felt was nausea.

- - - - - - - -
Unlike the romantic comedy his brother Daniel often compared his life to, there was nothing funny about where he was now.

“Was it the sushi? Man, I told Cale Half-Off Tuesday is not a good idea, especially at a place that’s gotten questionable reviews,” Charles exasperated. “You ok?”

Kris’s stomach churned in protest. “I’m in a five hundred dollar tuxedo, on the floor of a church bathroom, minutes before my wedding,” Kris explained, his voice low. “I think I’m closer to pathetic right now.”

Suddenly the bathroom door opened and he recognized his father’s voice. “Son? You ok?”

“Don’t ask him that,” Charles said, just as Kris threw up again. “I think its nerves.”

“Right. Kris? Do you need anything?”

He flushed the toilet, sitting back on his heels for a moment. “Just… time. I need time.”

“Right. We’ve gotcha buddy. You need time? Ok. Good thing Lauren hired entertainment for the reception, and whatever the extra cost for now, I’m sure we can cover it,” Charles rationalized. “Right, Mr. Allen?”

“Of course.”

Kris just groaned as he heard them leave, his mind racing. That dream. What did it even mean? Was he in love with Adam? Impossible. He hardly knew him. But –

The kiss. Something about it had turned everything sideways, Kris realized. So sideways, he couldn’t even begin to really explain why he loved Katy, much less why he wanted to marry her. And if he had to be honest, that’s why his nerves were getting the best of him. He couldn’t believe they’d been together for as long as they had, and then suddenly, the day of, he was questioning it all because of one kiss with one guy.

But. But maybe this was the way it was supposed to be. Who knew what Fate or Fortune or whatever had in store? Maybe, if Kris had had a chance to peek at his thread of the future, he would have seen himself first falling in love with a woman, but later on it would be a man that would come to open up another part of him.

And, as he put the pieces together, he knew he couldn’t go through with this.

He had to find Katy.

- - - - - - - -
“But mama, I really need to talk to her.”

Mrs. Allen shook her head firmly. “Kris, you know the rules. It’s bad luck!” she insisted, looking back over her shoulder as she tried to keep her voice low.

“I—”

She took a step forward and closed the door behind her. “Honey, I know what this is about.”

His brows furrowed. “You do?”

“Yes, of course. You’re nervous, and worried, what with this whole recent move to LA and all,” she continued. “But you’ve been here almost a year, and I know you were worried Katy would hate it, but she’s come into her own, Kris.” She took his hand. “She wouldn’t be in there if she didn’t want this. And neither would you.”

Kris took a deep breath as he closed his eyes. “Mama, that’s just… I just need to talk to her. Throw a wrap on her or something but… this can’t wait.”

She studied him for a moment, squeezed his hand gently. Kris had a sneaking suspicion she knew everything he intended to say, even though he hardly knew what would come out of his mouth at this point.

“Are you sure?” she whispered. He nodded. “Ok. Ok. Hold on.”

Kris stood outside the door awkwardly for a moment, thinking as he studied the ornate architecture of the old church. How do you tell someone you’ve loved for almost as long as you can remember that it’s just not right?

“Kris?”

He heard the hesitation in her voice as he turned around, a smile tugging itself across his face as he saw the large afghan they had thrown over her. But she looked… “You look beautiful,” he said softly, taking a step toward her.

She smiled. “Thanks. You don’t look half bad either.”

He nodded once and looked away. “I… could you walk with me for a minute?”

She pulled the blanket tighter around her. “Kris, what’s wrong? Kim said—”

“Walk with me.” He held out his hand and Katy took it after a second’s pause, lacing her small fingers with his.

Neither of them said anything as they walked down the hall, stopping at a small wooden bench around the corner. They sat, and Kris held Katy’s hand tightly.

“Katy, I… ”

Her hand squeezed his, much like his mom’s had earlier. “Kris, it’s ok. What is it?”

He massaged her hands with his. “Something… something happened today.”

“I’ll say,” she chuckled, and they made eye contact for the first time. “Do you know how many times my mom called Cale? He was in and out more than you’re at Chick-Fil-A in a month,” she said with a smile.

Kris returned it, but tried to press on. “Well, something… else, I mean. You remember this morning? When I went to check on the reception hall?”

Katy shook her head. “Kris, I told you Lauren would be handling all of that. That’s why we paid her, remember?”

“I just wanted to be sure,” he said offhandedly. “But anyway, while I was there, I… well, this guy… kissed me.”

No response. He tore his gaze away from their hands to look up at her, and for once, he couldn’t read her eyes.

“A guy… kissed you?”

“Yes,” Kris said simply. “I… I wasn’t expecting it. He kind of… pressed me against a wall. Ok, well, literally—”

“Did you… did you enjoy it?”

Kris held his breath. “…Yes.”

He felt her hands drop from his as she closed her eyes. “So… what? What are you saying? You want… you don’t want to marry me because you got kissed by some random guy? Or is it something else? Were you… have you—”

“No, Katy, it’s not that. I love you. I always have. That kiss this morning – and it was just that one kiss, nothing more – just, opened things up a little. I realized… I… I don’t think we’re in this for the right reasons.”

Her eyes narrowed. “The right reasons? Kris, we’ve been together for almost ten years.”

“I know. I just… I feel like this,” he reached for her hand, “I think we’re in it because it’s the next step. Katy, everyone, all our lives, has told us we would end up together, and we just… I feel like we just let them lead us here.”

She nodded, holding his hand tightly. “I… I think I get what you’re saying,” she said, and he could see the tears gathering behind her eyes. “But what I need you to know,” she continued, “is that I’m doing this because I love you.” She looked at him. “I love you, Kris.”

His heart hurt just looking at her like this. Her eyes reddening, mouth pressed into a thin line. And what was he saying, anyway? He did love her. So how could he…? No. It wasn’t fair to her; he couldn’t be the one that made her feel like this, now, after all they’d been through together. Maybe… maybe he just should’ve had some of Cale’s bourbon like he had planned, and then this might not be happening.

Their eyes locked once again and he pulled her close, burying his nose in her hair. “You’re right. You’re right,” he whispered, holding her close. “I do love you. I do.”

- - - - - - - -
He was doing this. He really was. He was going to be married.

“Fuck, there you are,” Daniel said sternly, running into Kris outside Katy’s room. “Where’ve you been? That dude’s run out of material and has started telling jokes – some pretty bad ones, to be honest. Come on, let’s get this thing on the road.”

Kris was taken down a different hallway, through another door, and then he found himself in front of their family and friends. He swallowed. Right. He could do this.

“And then the doctor says, ‘Well, I got the results two days ago!’”

Kris turned to look at who was speaking, hearing a punch line to a joke that managed to get only a few chuckles. And then he felt his heart race. Adam.

Adam was… the entertainment. That was why his name had sounded so familiar. And that also explained what he’d been doing at the reception hall. Kris watched as Daniel rushed toward where he was standing down the aisle, whispering low in his ear.

“Good news, folks! The groom has arrived,” he announced, handing Daniel his microphone as he turned around. And when his eyes found Kris’s, Kris could easily read the bewilderment in them. He looked away.

Suddenly music filtered in and then the processional began as Daniel returned to Kris’s side. There was no turning back now, he realized. Katy. He loved Katy.

The whole procession went smoothly, and then it was time.

The music changed, the doors opened once again, and –

No one was there.

Kris couldn’t believe it.

“Dude, it’s ok, you know women,” his brother whispered, his voice low, clapping a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “Relax.”

The music kept playing, and it went on for an awkward stretch of time until the guests started giving each other questioning looks, and then there she was.

She was gorgeous, with her hair down, blonde bangs swept slightly off her face. But she wasn’t moving. She just stood there, looking at Kris from the doorway, and it was then that he saw how red her eyes were, the tissue balled in her hand. He took a step forward.

“Hey, what are you doing?” Daniel asked. “This isn’t how we practiced—”

“I need to talk to her,” he said simply, as he marched down the aisle, ignoring quizzical looks. When he reached Katy, he took her hand, and they walked past parents, the wedding planner, and a few others he’d never seen before, not stopping until they were outside. Parked in front of them was a white limo, which was waiting to take them to the reception hall after it was all over. Except, somehow, Kris knew that wouldn’t be its destination anymore.

He turned back to her, and took her hands. “Katy—”

Her tears were falling freely now. “No, Kris, let me,” she said, her words choked. “I… I thought about what you said.” She sighed. “You were right. When I think about… us? I do see how far we’d come on our own, but… then there were also our families, and the small town-ness of it all and I just…”

“It’s ok,” he murmured.

“I love you Kris. I really do. But this—”

“It’s not for us,” he finished, as she pulled him into a hug, crying on his shoulder. He just held her close, knowing that this was right, no matter how hard it was. “I’m sorry Katy. I’m sorry,” he whispered, because apologies were the only thing he was good at, and he meant this one, down in his bones; he hated making her hurt.

“No,” she countered, pulling back, wiping away tears. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

He pulled her close again, and he knew, somehow, that they would be ok.

- - - - - - - -
“Was this Eric Segal book mine or yours?” Katy called from the living room, where she was busy packing up a box of her stuff. She was moving back to Arkansas because, as she explained, LA really wasn’t for her. He appreciated that she had tried the city for so long, though, given that the reason they were there was because he wanted to pursue a career in music.

“Uh, yours?” Kris guessed, sorting through some things in the bedroom. “You’re the one that can pull quotes out of it so, I say you keep it.”

He heard her laugh as he walked into the room, finding her kneeling in front of their small book shelf slash DVD case. “What about Donnie Darko?” she continued.

Kris smiled. “Actually, I think that one’s mine.”

“Psh, of course it is. You and that man crush of yours,” she sighed, setting it back down. She paused, turning toward him. “So wait, is it really a man crush, or…?”

“Crush. It’s redundant otherwise,” he said with a smirk, picking up the large box for her and folding it closed.

“Well, I should point you to that new movie he’s in, if it’s that serious,” she replied with a grin, picking up another smaller box and moving it to the table.

They spent the rest of the afternoon taking boxes down to his car, and by the end of it, Kris felt like a piece of himself was moving on, setting itself free.

“This is right, Kris,” Katy reaffirmed, touching his forearm briefly. He nodded, and looked back at the almost empty room. This was right. And they would be ok.

“I know.” He gave her a small smile and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “Come on, I don’t want you to be late for your flight.”

- - - - - - - -
The lights in his eyes, the cheers from the crowd – he still couldn’t believe the applause was for him. Well, granted, it wasn’t a large audience, but still. It was… nice. “Thank you. Thanks,” he said humbly, waving as he slung his guitar onto his back, heading offstage. It felt incredible to be doing what he loved, and while this was his first real “gig” – a six-song set at a small bar in east LA – he could definitely do this for the rest of his life.

And that he might be good enough for this dream to come to fruition? Well, that was just crazy. Straight crazy.

“Wow, they really loved you out there,” a familiar voice said casually as he entered the dressing room. And when they made eye contact, Kris could place him instantly. Adam. Except this time, he was wearing a practically see-through shirt, what Kris assumed was a pound of glitter, and smoldering eyeliner that seemed to make his eyes stand out even more than they did on their own. “Hey, do I know you?”

Kris smirked. “You sang at my wedding.”

His brows furrowed. “I did? When was it?”

“About two months ago?”

“Hm.” He seemed to be thinking as he squeezed a drop of what Kris thought was glue onto a small rhinestone, applying it to the corner of his eye. He looked back at Kris and then recognition dawned. “Kris.” Kris nodded. “But wait. If I recall correctly, you… didn’t get married that day.”

“No, I didn’t.” He continued smiling. “And if I recall, it was your fault, too.”

Adam sighed. “Look, if you had bothered to do any research about me, you and your almost wife would’ve known that accidental kisses are like, my thing, apparently. In fact, I also believe I apologized. And if you’re claiming I ‘turned’ you or something, let me just say—”

Kris took a step toward him, closing the space between them. “That’s definitely not what I’m saying.”

Adam paused. “Then what are you saying?”

“I’m saying thank you.”

“Thank you?”

“Yes. Thank you.”

“For… kissing you? Or supposedly ruining your wedding?”

“Uh… both?” Kris shrugged. “And you didn’t ruin my wedding anyway. Nora Ephron did.”

“The woman that wrote the screenplay for When Harry Met Sally?”

“The fact that you know that solidifies this theory.”

Adam smiled. “Look, I wouldn’t go blaming Nora. If it wasn’t meant to be, it wasn’t meant to be.”

“It wasn’t, and I know. So… thanks. For everything.”

“…Everything.”

Kris had moved to where he’d set down his messenger bag earlier, taking off his guitar smoothly. “Well, yeah. I realized my man crushes were actually crushes a few days later. So.”

“So…”

“So I guess this cute, short guy with brown hair may be just the guy you thought he was.”

Adam crossed the dressing room in two long strides, towering over Kris just like in the dream Kris had been having since the day of his almost-wedding. “What are you really saying then, Kris?”

Kris reached up. “That you shouldn’t be talking.” And then he was on his tip-toes, kissing Adam again, feeling him open up beneath his lips as his hands anchored themselves in his hair. It wasn’t like the first time – earnest, Kris thinks – it was more… honest. And, Kris decided, as he felt warm hands settle onto his lower back as Adam crowded him into a corner of the small dressing room, he had to stop blaming Nora. Because actually? This moment, this feeling in his chest, where his heart feels bigger than the Grinch’s? And this tiny grin-inducing tingle that has settled into the base of his spine? He felt like he could float on this feeling for forever.

So really, if anything, he should be thanking Nora for opening up a path he never thought he would take, because this? This was the closest to fine he had ever felt.

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