Type: Romance, friendship, a tiny bit of angst, and a little fluffy at times!
Word Count: 38,383
Rating: Hard R
Characters/Pairings: Adam, Tommy, Brad, Terrance, Neil, Sutan, the band and a few original characters. Pairing is Adam/Tommy
Disclaimer: Real people, but this story is fiction, and written for fun.
“No” said Adam.
“Think of the publicity,” Roger pleaded, nudging Lane with his elbow.
“No” repeated Adam.
“Yes,” agreed Lane, “think about it Adam, its perfect! Just think of what the Ga…”
“Perfect?” he exclaimed, interrupting. “Just how is it perfect that I have to go on a TV show to get a date? I can get a date anytime I want.”
“We know you don’t need a TV show to get a date,” said Roger, not quite managing to completely hide the disbelief in his voice.
Adam narrowed his eyes. “You may need to work on that line a little more,” he snapped. “Look ,” Adam paused, running a hand through his hair and then grimaced at the sticky residue left on his fingers, worrying about what Sutan was going to say, “I have to get ready for the performance. I can tell you all ‘no’ again afterwards.” He then turned on his heel and walked away.
“Now what do we do?” asked Roger.
“Leave it to me,” said Lane, pulling out her phone. “I know someone who may help us, if the request is worded just right.”
“So sweetie, I was talking to Lane…” Leila trailed off as Adam fixed her with a look.
“I can not believe they went to you about this.” He began pacing back and forth the floor of his dressing room. “What, they think I’m going to change my mind because my mom says so?”
“Yes,” piped in Neil, laughing. This was too perfect. If Adam went through with this he would have teasing material that would last for years: his big rock-star brother having to resort to a TV show to get a date.
“No one asked you Neil, so butt out.”
“Adam honey, sit down and listen to me for a moment,” Leila said softly, grabbing her eldest son’s arm and gently manoeuvring him into the chair beside her. “Not a word Neil,” she murmured to her younger son. “In fact, why don’t you go and do something, anything, just give us a moment here…please,” she added when it looked like he wasn’t going to move.
“Fine,” Neil huffed and left.
“Mom, I can’t do it. It’s embarrassing, having to pick a guy based on what goes on through the TV show.”
“Well yes, it could be,” she replied, “but Adam, you could work this to your advantage.”
“What do you mean?”
“OK. First, a major television network is willing to use their ‘Bachelor’ show for a gay man. Think about it sweetie, prime time television to find a partner for a gay man. I mean that alone is huge.”
“I know mom, believe me I know. That was the only thing that stopped me from saying ‘no’ the second after Roger told me about it. It’s just… I don’t,” Adam broke off. Leaning forward, he rested his arms on his thighs and buried his face in his hands. “I just don’t think I’m ready to meet someone,” he said softly.
Leila rested her hand on Adam’s back and rubbed gently. “You have final say on all the finalists,” she said.
Adam lifted his head and looked at her, allowing her words to sink in, and then smiled. “That’s true, and there is nothing in the rules that say they all have to be strangers!”
“OK, this is the final interview Tommy,” said Chantala as she plucked his eyebrows.
“Jesus, fuck, be careful with that thing.” He tried to pull away, but Mia’s firm grasp on the back of his neck as she styled his hair wouldn’t allow for much leeway.
“Adam will be at this. You pass this one, and you are on the televised show,” continued Chantala, ignoring his outburst. “And then the sky is the limit babe.”
“I can already see it,” said Mia, “Tommy and Adam, together.”
Mentally Tommy rolled his eyes; he still couldn’t believe he’d allowed himself to be talked into applying for The Bachelor. ‘I must have been really drunk and high to have said yes.’
“OK, all done,” announced Chantala as she spun Tommy around so he could see himself in the mirror.
“Wow,” he whispered, not quite recognizing himself. He was use to seeing the makeup but this was the first time he’d ever associated the word ‘pretty’ with his own appearance. Even the clothes were slightly different from the norm. The tight black jeans were standard enough, but the additional chains weren’t, as were the black boots instead of his usual creepers, long sleeved black t-shirt--strategically ripped, again adorned with chains--and topped off by freshly bleached hair.
“Wow indeed,” grinned Mia as she rested her chin on his shoulder. “You are going to blow his mind… well, blow his mind for starters,” she winked at him. “Play your cards right and you will be blowing a lot more.”
Tommy tried to return her grin but it didn’t quite come off.
Mia shared a looked with Chantala over Tommy’s head.
“Look Tommy, if you’re really not happy or comfortable with all this, including the interview, just back out,” said Chantala, rubbing his shoulder.
“I mean as fun as all this is, if you’re not OK with it we’ll back off and it won’t be mentioned again,” added Mia.
“No, it’s cool. Well, mostly cool,” replied Tommy, a genuine smile aimed as his two friends. “I’m just nervous. It hasn’t been all that long since I actually came out as bi, and I haven’t had that many male encounters before or after coming out. Appearing on a TV show with Adam Lambert is all little overwhelming.”
“You’re going to be perfect,” smiled Mia as she hugged him.
“Adam is going to love you,” said Chantala as she hugged him as well.
“I am not looking forward to this,” muttered Adam as he sat down beside Roger, Chris Harrison, host of The Bachelor, plus a couple of the shows producers, and his make-up artist Sutan.
“Oh honey think of it as shopping,” grinned Sutan. “Shopping for pretty boys!”
It had been a battle but Adam had managed to ‘secure’ four of the final contestants as personal choices, not ones that had to go through the interview process. If his people were determined that he was going to appear on this show, the least he cold do was surround himself with people he knew and trusted. Granted the other four would be random unknowns, but the elimination process would take care of them. The producers had decided that the viewing audience would know that Adam already knew four of the contestants, and that four would be random.
“OK Adam if you’re ready,” said Chris, “we’ll get started.”
Adam shared a look with Sutan, and then nodded his head.
Roger motioned to the man standing at the door, and he opened it.
A young man walked in, confident and very self-assured.
“Cute,” murmured Sutan.
“Yes he is,” agreed Adam. “Name, age and star sign honey,” he asked the man, giving him a big smile. ‘This may not be too bad, especially if the rest look like him,’ thought Adam.
“Mark Reynolds, 27, and a Gemini,” replied the brunet with a smile.
“This is nuts,” Tommy looked around the green room.
“Crazy, isn’t it?” a blond man next to him said.
“I’m Jason Granger.” He held out his hand. “So how did you end up here?”
“Tommy Joe Ratliff. I blame it on a crazy night out with friends, way too much tequila and pot,” chuckled Tommy. “You?”
“It’s Adam Lambert dude! Seriously gorgeous, talented and sexy. I couldn’t resist.” Jason smiled at Tommy, his eyes roaming slowly over his face. ‘And aren’t you gorgeous too,’ he thought.
The door opened and a young woman with a headset on appeared, “Lucas Cole?”
A dark-haired man seated over by the water cooler stood up. “That’s me.”
“You’re up, follow me. There are still three places left.”
“Three places! We still have a chance Tommy Joe.” Jason took a seat and motioned to the one beside him, which Tommy took.
“Right, this guy looks a lot better, if a little too tall for me,” said Adam, sitting up in his seat. Since Mark, the rest of the wannabe contestants have not been promising.
“Oh hello you,” murmured Sutan.
“Hi there,” said Adam. “Name, age, star sign and height please.”
“Lucas Cole, 28, Capricorn, 6 feet.”
“And what do you do?” asked Sutan.
“I’m an artist…”
Tommy found himself really enjoying Jason’s company as they waited see if they’d be called. He was funny, and Tommy had to admit, very cute, and completely talked with his hands. In fact he never stopped talking, covering an array of subjects from music to cooking to even fabric softener at one stage. The guy could talk a mile a minute.
There had been six other guys in the room with them, but over the last ninety minutes that number had been reduced to three, and according to the woman--Melanie--who kept coming in and calling names, there were two places left.
And as if cue she came in again, “Jason Granger, you’re up.”
“Wish me luck,” Jason asked Tommy.
“Good luck Jason,” he smiled.
“HELL-O, I think I’m in lust.”
Adam looked up at Sutan’s words and a slow smile appeared on his ace as he took in the blond.
“If you pick him, and then he gets ‘eliminated’ can I have him?” he whispered in Adam’s ear, causing the other man to laugh.
“Hi,” said Jason grinning at Adam.
“And hi to you,” Adam smiled back. “Name, age, star sign, and what do you sweetie?”
“I’m Jason Granger, I’m 24 years young, I’m an Aquarius, and I am a dancer. And really you are a hell of a lot sexier in person.”
Adam laughed. “Oh I like you.”
Tommy paced the green room, ignoring the looks from the other three. He was sure Jason had been picked, that or he was still talking. Tommy chuckled softly to himself at the image of Jason pulling up a chair beside Adam and just chatting away about everything.
He sat down and started tapping out the bass line to Marilyn Manson’s The Beautiful People on his thighs. This went on for about a minute, until the door opened and Melanie popped her head in. “There is just one place left gentlemen. And Tommy Joe Ratliff, you’re up.”
‘Oh fuck, this shit just got very real,’ he thought as he stood up. Running shaking hands through his hair, he followed Melanie out the door.
“Well only one more final contestant to pick, Adam, out of the four remaining,” said Roger, stretching his arms over his head.
“Great, I can’t wait to get out of here; I need a…” he trailed off as Tommy walked into the room. “Oh my,” whispered Adam as he took in the tiny blond gorgeous creature who walked in.
“Oh my indeed,” Sutan nodded in agreement.
“Hi there,” greeted Adam with a smile, a smile that grew at the contestant’s nervous smile in return.
“Hello,” said Tommy, meeting Adam’s eyes.
“This is Roger, my manager,” said Adam, gesturing to the man on his right, “and this is my make-up artist extraordinaire Sutan Amrull,” he placed his hand on Sutan’s arm. “Chris over there is the host of The Bachelor of course, and the other two are Paul and Nicola, the show’s producers.”
Tommy nodded to each in turn, smiling only at Sutan.
“Just a couple of formalities first,” continued Adam, bringing Tommy’s attention back to him. “What’s your name, age, star sign, and what do you do sweetie?”
“My name is Tommy Joe Ratliff. Most people call me Tommy though. I’m 28 and a musician.”
“What instruments do you play?” asked Roger.
“Guitar mainly, but also bass and some keyboards.”
“And your star sign?” reminded Adam.
Tommy’s nose scrunched up as he thought about. He truly had no idea; he never paid any attention to things like that. “I’m not sure to be honest; I don’t have much interest in astrology.” He shrugged his shoulders. “My birthday is the 18th of October, but I don’t know what sign that falls under. Sorry.”
“That’s OK. It’s Libra by the way,” replied Adam.
“I’ll make sure not to forget,” grinned Tommy, feeling slightly more relaxed when Adam grinned back.
“Is the make-up just for today, or something you wear regularly?” asked Sutan. “Also it’s very well put on, did you do it yourself?”
“I don’t this wear this much regularly,” Tommy said, gesturing to his face, “but I’ve been wearing eyeliner and nail polish since high school, and lipstick not long after that. I usually do my own but my friend Chantala did today’s for me.”
“Well being a musician makes it easier to get away with wearing it,” grinned Sutan.
“As they say, Rock and roll’s a prostitute…” began Tommy.
“…It needs to be tarted up,” finished Adam with a huge smile. “You a Velvet Goldmine fan?”
“The movie is one of my favorites, and I’m a huge Bowie fan as well.”
‘Perfect, he’s perfect,’ thought Adam.
“If you get picked, there’s no problem with time off your job or anything like that?” asked Paul.
“No, none at all.”
“And that leads us to the main question.” Adam fixed Tommy with a stare, “why did you try out for this?”
“Truthfully, it was the result of a challenge from friends after a night with a lot of alcohol,” began Tommy. “But after my initial entry was accepted and I really started thinking about it, I saw it as an opportunity.”
“An opportunity for what?” asked Adam, his voice slightly tight, as he inwardly hoped Tommy wasn’t using this as a way to further his career as some of the other hopefuls had admitted to earlier.
“An opportunity to be completely comfortable with myself. It’s not that long since I could admit to myself I’m attracted to men. Before that I was angry, and even though I had encounters I found myself almost in denial afterwards. It’s even less time since I told my family and friends,” Tommy’s voice grew with confidence the more he spoke. A blush covered his cheeks, as he looked up and saw the soft looks on both Adam and Sutan’s faces. “And to be totally honest you are incredibly attractive Adam. I figured, why not?” Tommy finished with a grin, his cheeks still slightly pink.
“Oh honey, you are so in,” laughed Adam.
“Really? Just like that,” Tommy asked.
“Welcome aboard Mr. Ratliff,” said Chris, walking over and shaking a rather overwhelmed Tommy’s hand. “Melanie over there will give you all the details of when to be ready, what you can and cannot bring, etc.”
“OK cool,” stammered Tommy.
“What did you say his name was?” asked Monte, putting his phone on speaker as Lisa handed him Beatrix.
“Ratliff, Tommy Joe Ratliff,” repeated Adam.
“Never heard of him,” replied Monte after a moment. “Why?”
“Oh, no real reason. He said he was a musician and I was wondering if you’d heard of him.”
“It’s not like that Monte,” replied Adam.
“I didn’t say anything Adam. Leave it to me, I’ll ask around.”
“Mia, I have already told you, word for fucking word, everything that happened about five times now,” sighed Tommy. “I have not left anything out.” He rubbed his temple, tired from her good-natured but totally nosy interrogation.
“Sorry Tommy Joe, I’m just so exited for you.”
“I know, it’s all still a bit of a mind-fuck at the moment. And I haven’t figured out how to tell my mom and sister yet.”
“Chantala and I can do that for you,” grinned Mia.
“Eh thanks, but no,” said Tommy with a small laugh. “If the two of you really want to help you can come shopping with me this weekend. I’m going to need stuff for when I go to the house.”
“Oh we are so there, we’ll have you the belle of the ball,” she winked.
“Why do I have to go?”
“You did say you wanted a job for the summer,” reminded Eber.
“Yes a job, a real job,” argued Neil. “Not a gig babysitting a bunch of boy-toys for Adam.”
“It will be fun sweetie, you and Adam, together, bonding,” said Leila.
Neil snorted and then glared as Adam sniggered.
“Come on Neil,” a laughing Adam said as he threw an arm around his brother’s shoulders, “let’s go bond.”
One Week later in The Bachelor House
“Hello gentlemen my name is Lane. I am Adam’s PA, and for the duration of the show I’ll be your basic rounder-upper and fountain of all knowledge,” the blonde woman introduced herself with a smile. “I’m here to answer any of your questions. Are there any questions at the moment?” There were murmurs and shakes of the head. “OK, good. The charming, happy gentleman to your right is Neil. He’s Adam’s little brother, and is kind of my PA for the duration of the show. Don’t mind the scowl, he’s really a sweetheart, aren’t you Neil?”
“Bite me,” muttered Neil, leaning against the wall.
“See,” grinned Lane, “a sweetheart.”
Tommy shared a smile with Jason. He had been so delighted to discover that Jason had made it to the show as well. They hadn’t really had a chance to talk, as everyone kind of arrived at the same time and Lane had rounded them all up.
“First thing is we’ll let you get all settled in your rooms. You will of course be rooming with another contestant. Unfortunately you don’t get to choose your roommate.” This statement brought a few groans.
“Oh don’t worry; I’m sure you’ll get on with whomever you’re paired with.”
“How are the roommates chosen?” Tommy asked softly, suddenly aware of all eyes on him.
“Adam actually picked the pairings,” answered Neil, pushing off the wall and walking over to the group. “It was a long, very scientific and complicated process,” he added with a roll of his eyes.
“Astrology?” asked Tommy with a grin.
“Astrology,” confirmed Neil, smiling at Tommy.
“So with Adam’s ‘process’ here are the room pairings,” Lane opened her binder and took out a pen. “Lucas, you’re with Brad. Jason, you’re with Cassidy, Tommy, you’re with Terrance, and Mark you are with Joshua. Lucas, Brad, Mark and Joshua, if you come with me, I’ll show you to your rooms.”
“And the rest of you can follow me,” said Neil.
From the camera room in the house, Adam watched what was going on in the main dining room. He’d watched as Mark took in everything around him--in fact it was kind of creepy the attention he gave to everything except what Lane was saying. He smiled at the interaction between Tommy and Jason, but Adam wasn’t quite sure what he thought of the looks Jason was giving Tommy when the other man wasn’t looking. He decided to ignore that for the moment and would worry about it if it became a problem.
He had decided on the room pairings in part with astrology, but the plan was always to have someone he knew in with one of the random contestants. As he watched everyone leave the room Adam leaned back in his chair. There was to be a dinner this evening for him and the eight contestants, all on camera of course.
Not for the first time and most definitely not the last, Adam wondered what the hell he had gotten himself into.
“So, Tommy is it?” asked Terrance as they were left alone in their room. “Nice to meet you,” he said as he held out his hand.
“Yep,” Tommy replied, taking the offered hand and shaking it. “Nice to meet you too man.”
“Have you any preference for a bed?” Terrance gestured to the two beds in the room.
“As long as it has a pillow,” grinned Tommy.
“Cool, I kind of need to have a bed near a window.” Terrance dropped his bag on the bed. “So the big get together dinner is this evening.”
“I heard Lane mentioning it.” Tommy sat on his bed. “Do you know anything about it? Is it a formal thing?”
“Casual enough, jeans, t-shirt kind of thing,” Terrance looked Tommy up and down. “Minimal make-up,” he grinned. “It’s a meet and greet in a more casual atmosphere, at least I think that was the ‘official’ description, but it also counts as the first group date apparently. So Tommy, what do you do?”
“I’m a musician. I play guitar, bass, and keyboards now and then.”
“Interesting. Have you played with anyone I would have heard of?”
“Probably not,” sighed Tommy. “Mainly garage and metal bands. But I’ve had a couple of good auditions to work as a session musician with some bigger names. So hopefully something good comes from that. What about you Terrance, what do you do?”
“I am a dancer,” and Terrance did a twirl to illustrate. “I’ve done a few shows, Rent, Wicked.”
“Wow, you’ve been on Broadway?”
“Yes, for a run of Wicked. It was amazing.”
“I bet it was. That’s what I want, to be on a stage, playing music, crowd cheering and singing along.” Tommy leaned back on the bed and for a moment, in his mind, lived his dream. But soon enough reality bit and he looked over and gave Terrance a sheepish grin. “Sorry, got lost in the moment.”
“Absolutely nothing wrong with that Tommy. Gotta have a dream…” he waggled his eyebrows.
“I am so not singing the next line,” Tommy laughed.
“Has everyone settled in OK?” asked Adam the moment Neil and Lane entered the room.
“All the inmates are in their cells,” quipped Neil, earning the finger from Adam.
“The dinner will be taped tonight for the second half of the opening episode on Thursday; it is also going to count as the first group date. The first half will include small clips of everyone’s interview, plus the pre-recorded interview you did earlier Adam, and it will finish with your thoughts on the contestants after the dinner. This dinner ‘date’ is set for all the contestants and yourself Adam, but is there anyone else you’d like there?” Lane asked.
“Yes, Sutan, please. I’ll need a buffer. And Neil too,” he glanced at his brother.
“Oh no way,” Neil was shaking his head, emphasising the ‘no.’
“Please Neil. Think of the ‘bonding’,” Adam joked, but with a hint of pleading in his voice.
A loud put-upon sigh escaped Neil’s lips as he looked at his older brother. “I can say what I want?”
“Within reason Neil, they are going to be filming,” reminded Adam, “and I think the producers would like not to spend all the time in the editing room.”
“Fine then, I’ll go, but this is another one that you owe me Adam.”
“Thank you Neil, your sacrifice is greatly appreciated,” Adam rolled his eyes.
Tommy stood in front of the mirror fixing his hair. For the dinner, he’d gone with tight black pants that kind of looked like snakeskin, and a light tan colored t-shirt with a picture of Jimi Hendrix on it. He’d also kept his make-up to a minimum.
“Whoa boy, talk about rocking the tattoos,” Terrance’s voice sounded behind him. “That’s some artwork. May I?” he gestured to Tommy’s arm.
“Go ahead,” smiled Tommy.
Terrance gently took Tommy’s wrist and turned his arm over, taking in the horror figures inked on the slim arm. He moved to the other arm, smiling at the John Wayne tattoo, before letting out a whistle at the red rose that stretched the length of his forearm.
“Depeche Mode’s Violator album cover,” Tommy explained. “It’s the second newest tattoo.” Turning his arm over, he showed Terrance the ‘Libra’ symbol. “This is the newest one.”
“Libra, your star sign?” he asked, and Tommy nodded. “That is so cool man, so am I. October 8th.”
“I’m October 18th. Actually before the final interview with Adam I couldn’t have told you my star sign. Then Adam asked me what it was and I couldn’t tell him. He was the one who pointed out I was a Libra, so after getting chosen I got it tattooed so I wouldn’t forget.”
Terrance laughed softly. “We are so going to get on, my little Libra brother. Everyone better watch out!” He snapped his fingers, and Tommy laughed.
Adam stood in the little room off the main dining room running through some of the routines he used to calm down before going on stage. And that was exactly how he was viewing this whole TV show, as a performance. He was going to go out there and give them Adam Lambert in all his glittery brilliance.
“Is it safe for us to come in?” a whispered voice sounded.
“Of course it is,” replied Adam with a grin.
A side door opened and Brad, Cassidy, Joshua, and Terrance walked in.
“This place is sick,” grinned Brad, hugging Adam and kissing his cheek.
“I know, that’s a major network for you,” Adam said as he greeted the others with hugs and kisses. This was one of the other stipulations he had managed to get. Before any major gathering of everyone, he would have a chance--off camera of course--to talk with his four friends.
“So, how has everyone settled in?” he asked. “Or, more importantly, how are your roommates?”
“Well mine’s a doll,” began Brad. “And also tall and gorgeous. He’s really nice Adam, but totally not your type. He is a total top.”
“Yeah he seemed really nice at the interview, but I knew he wouldn’t be my type. What about you Cassidy?”
“Jason, again nice guy, never shuts the fuck up though. But he is cool, and talks a lot about one of the other contestants--Tommy. I believe they met in the green room before their interviews and hit it off.”
“Oh interesting,” replied Adam, trying to be nonchalant, but he knew it didn’t work when Brad and Terrance shot him a look.
“And you Josh?”
“I’m not sure about this Mark guy. He’s trying too hard. There’s something there I just haven’t figured it out yet. But leave him with me, I’ll get to it.”
“Of that I have no doubt. And last but not least, Terrance?”
“Oh Adam, Tommy is just fabulous. He’s gorgeous, and shy, and adores his music, and is so passionate about it. I really like him. He’s a Libra as well, which of course you knew. Also did you know he got a Libra tattoo on his arm so he’d never forget his star sign?”
Adam smiled softly at this news; he’d known at the interview if anyone was going to mess the carefully constructed script he had planned for this show, it would be Tommy Joe Ratliff.
As soon as Tommy entered the dining room he made a beeline for Jason.
“No place names,” was Jason’s greeting, earning a confused look from Tommy.
“What are you talking about?”
“Sorry, there are no place names around the table, which means we can sit beside who we like,” explained Jason.
“That just means everyone is going to scramble to sit beside Adam,” said Tommy.
“Exactly, so we can sit beside each other and you can so tell me all about your tattoos,” grinned Jason as he gently touched the John Wayne tattoo on Tommy’s arm.
It was at that exact moment that Adam and most of the others walked into the room. Adam’s eyebrow rose almost to his hairline as he saw Jason’s hand on Tommy’s arm.
“Hope we’re not interrupting anything, Tommy boy,” Terrance shouted across the room.
“And if we are, can we join in?” added Brad, causing everyone to laugh, Adam included.
“Oh, you’d be more than invited to join in,” winked Jason. Tommy just shook his head, a light blush coloring his cheeks.
“The cameras will be here momentarily,” announced Adam. “Now I know it’s not going out live, and of course it will be edited, but I’d like to remind you all to watch your language, and your manners, and behave,” he finished with a waggle of his eyebrows. “This dinner is a get to know one another affair, just basic introductions, kind of a way to let the audience know a bit about each of you. OK, any questions?”
“Is there going to be alcohol?” asked Tommy, “I mean, if you want us to behave and not swear,” he grinned, “alcohol may not be the best idea.”
“Oh shit I never thought of that,” groaned Adam. “Look, fuck it, there will be wine and beer, just don’t go mad OK?”
There were murmurs of ‘of course not’, and ‘we’ll be angels’ along with sniggers and giggles.
‘Who am I kidding?’ Adam thought. ‘I hope the editing team, the producers, Lane and Roger will forgive me.’
Adam’s fears were, so far, unfounded. Yes the language had got a little fruity by the time the main course was taken away, and the jokes and discussions had progressively got dirtier as dessert was served, but all in all it wasn’t too bad.
The whole evening had started out a little quiet and awkward, but as soon as introductions where out of the way, and a couple of bottles of wine were consumed, everyone started conversing with a lot more ease.
Adam had sat back and indulged himself in some serious people watching, only getting involved when he was addressed directly. He already knew Josh, Cassidy, Terrance and Brad, so it was the other four that held most of his interest. Jason was definitely the most open and friendly, while Lucas was little guarded at first but soon began loosening up and displaying a surreal of sense of humour and totally bonding with Neil--which for the life of him Adam couldn’t figure out why, until between the first and second course he heard their heated discussion about politics. Mark--well Mark he couldn’t quite figure out. He talked politely enough to everyone, but never got overfriendly or revealed too much about himself. What he did do was watch everything that was going on around him; in fact he had caught Adam’s eye on more than one occasion and always broke away with a sly smile. Adam made a mental note to have a chat with Brad about Mark later.
If Brad and Jason were competing for the loudest and chattiest, Tommy won the quietest award hands down. He only really talked to Terrance and Jason at the start, but Adam could see him getting a little more comfortable. He’d meet Adam’s eyes with a smile when he caught him looking, and he completely clicked with Sutan. It was quite amusing to watch, the two really couldn’t be much more different, but Sutan had asked Tommy a simple question about his make-up and suddenly things just went on from there. As Adam glanced across the table he could see the two of them in deep discussion.
“What are you two so cozy about?” he asked after a moment of not being able to hear what they were saying.
Sutan looked up and, fixing Adam with a saucy grin, replied, “dressing up in drag.”
Adam’s eyes widened and he did not suddenly have a mental picture of Tommy Joe Ratliff in a short skirt and corset, and he would cut the tongue out of anyone who suggested he thought anything of the sort.
“I asked Sutan if he had ever dressed up in drag,” explained Tommy.
“And I was telling Tommy all about my adventures in drag.”
“Have you ever gone drag Adam?” Tommy asked a small smile on his face.
“Of course,” he replied. “As part of ‘Burning Man’ and the ‘Zodiac Show’.”
“Mmm interesting, I’d like to have seen that.” Tommy looked at Adam through the curtain of hair that fell over his eyes.
‘Little tease,’ thought Adam.
“You may still get the chance Tommy,” Adam said cryptically.
The next couple of weeks passed by and Tommy found it all rather surreal. The cameras were in full sight; everywhere he turned there was cameraman pointing his bloody camera at him. There had been a few more of the four-man dates with Adam. Tommy’s group had included Lucas, Brad, and Josh, and while Terrance and Jason were the two he was the closest too he found himself enjoying all their company, especially Brad’s.
Well, that was until he got to spend an hour alone with Adam. The others were enjoying themselves in the pool while Adam and Tommy sat on the sun loungers and just chatted, about the show, themselves, music, and make-up. It was the most Tommy had ever talked in his entire life, and he had enjoyed every minute of it. When talking with Adam, no matter who else was there or what was going on around him, Adam gave his full attention to you. And as they talked, Tommy found himself noticing more and more things about Adam. Like how soft he looked with no make-up on, how his eyes seemed brighter when not ringed in kohl, how his hair looked like velvet with no product in it, and that his lips were just as full with no gloss on them. All that, and how fucking adorable his freckles were. That night, after their talk, Tommy dreamt about kissing every freckle on Adam’s body and woke up with a hard-on that could cut diamonds. As he quietly made his way to the bathroom, he sent silent thanks that the cameras weren’t allowed into the contestants’ bedrooms.
Some of the others, especially Jason, Brad and Terrance, played up to the cameras. Deep down Tommy knew he had to put himself forward if he wanted any chance to stay around, but that just wasn’t him, so what he did was try and make himself come across as just quiet and a little shy but not aloof. Thankfully, having Jason and Terrance around him a lot helped that. You couldn’t help but laugh and get dragged into whatever they were doing, he found their enthusiasm infectious and could feel himself coming more and more out of his shell thanks to their company and friendship.
Like last night, they’d taken it upon themselves to teach Tommy how to dance, despite his rather vocal opposition that he couldn’t dance and more importantly didn’t want to dance.
“Nonsense Tommy boy,” Terrance had said. “We’re just going to show you how to shake that rather tiny but perfectly compact booty of yours.”
He’d tried, really tried to dig his heels in but with the two of them dragging him Tommy soon found himself away from the safety of the corner and in the middle of the room. Terrance stood one side and Jason the other, pressed right up against him so that when they moved their hips Tommy moved his.
They led him through a series of simple steps, and after a few attempts Tommy found himself laughing and getting a little more into it.
“That’s it Tommy, shake that ass,” cheered Jason.
Cassidy turned up the volume on the stereo and the bass line in the song playing thundered through the room.
Adam moved slowly from his chair to stand unnoticed behind Tommy. He grinned and Jason and Terrance then grabbed Tommy’s hips pulling him back against Adam’s chest.
Tommy let out a small gasp, but settled back when Adam murmured, “relax, it’s just me,” in his ear. They moved slowly at first, Adam letting Tommy get use to the rhythm, and then he tightened his grip on the slim hips and began moving with more intent. As the bass thumped so did Adam and Tommy.
“You know,” Brad said conversationally to Lucas, Cassidy and Mark, “I was never a huge fan of dry humping, especially if I’m not the one humping or being humped, but damn if those two don’t look seriously hot doing that.”
The other three all nodded in agreement, their eyes fixed on Adam and Tommy.
Lane sat down opposite Adam and Neil. “Good morning gentlemen,” she smiled.
“You seem happy,” commented Neil, pouring her a coffee.
“I am,” she replied. “I just got back from a meeting with the powers-that-be, and they were gushing over the ratings and the online activity and discussions about the contestants.”
That perked Adam up and he leaned forward in his chair. “So what are they saying? Is it all good?”
“It’s all very good,” confirmed Lane. “Ratings are high enough to keep the network happy, and the general consensus among the viewing public is good. In fact, there are forums online about the contestants, discussing who their favorite is, who they think your favorite is. And on top of everything else Adam they love you. There are messages from people who never heard your music but since seeing you on this, and liking what they have seen, are rushing out and buying your album. In fact, sales are up 30% since the show started.”
“Any negative press?” asked Neil, earning an eye-roll from Lane and his brother. “Hey just living up to my name,” he added, a hint of smugness to his voice.
“Some, but very little. The usual anti-gay protests and some family groups, ‘think about the children’ and all that.”
“So, who are the favorites? What are the fans’ saying about them?” asked Adam, eager to know; he’d look more into negative press later.
Lane rummaged through her bag and pulled out a handful of printouts. “OK, Brad, Terrance and Jason are very popular, but given their personalities and complete ease in front of the cameras that’s not really a surprise, and there are quite a percentage of viewers that think one of them could end up being the ‘one’.”
Adam laughed at Lane’s exaggeration.
“Lucas has quite a few admirers,” continued Lane, “as does Cassidy, but neither is seen as finale material. The same can be said for Josh. Mark is the least popular one; people really don’t know what to make of him.”
“They’re not the only ones,” agreed Adam, “there is something very off-putting about him, but I’m going to keep him around for another little while.” He paused as he took a sip of his tea. “So, what’s the word on Tommy?” he asked, trying not to sound too eager for an answer. He knew Lane could see right through him if the smug grin she gave was anything to go by.
“Oh, he’s doing OK,” she replied, winking at Neil.
“OK? Just OK?”
“Relax Adam, I’m only teasing. They love him… he is by far the most popular contestant. Viewers have really enjoyed watching him come more and more out of his shell, plus the fact he is absolutely gorgeous has helped.”
“And your little ‘bump and grind’ had the fan-girls and boys nearly breaking Twitter,” added Neil.
Adam sat back in his chair and smiled. The next group date was being planned and Adam was going to make sure there were plenty of opportunities to spend some time alone with Tommy.
Tommy was awakened from another dream about Adam on Saturday morning by a squeal. As he peeled his eyes open, he saw Terrance jumping up and down.
“Fuck man, relax,” he murmured, burrowing under the covers again. “It’s like the middle of the night.”
“We’re off to a country fair for today’s group date, and then there’s an actual elimination ceremony tonight with tuxes and red roses. Well, I think Adam is going to use a red rose. And everything is preceded by one-on-one interviews with us all.”
That caused Tommy to sit up. “Oh wow, it’s only been a couple of weeks, and all the dates have been group ones. I haven’t had any real interaction with Adam. He can’t have made a decision yet on who to send home, can he? And an interview, like an on-camera going out to a television audience kind of interview?”
Terrance shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know, maybe the dinners and such gave him enough to know who’s not up for it. And yes, an on-camera interview.” While Terrance didn’t know who Adam was going to eliminate, he did know that unless Tommy did something monumentally stupid at the fair today he was definitely safe.
“OH MY GOD!” An excited Brad dashed in their room. “Elimination ceremony tonight ladies!” He high-fived Terrance and went to do the same to Tommy, but Tommy lied back and pulled the covers over his head.
“I know! I hope Adam uses the red roses,” said Terrance.
“Red roses, glittery purple dildos, I’m easy,” grinned Brad,
“Oh shut the fuck up the two of you,” Tommy’s muffled voice cried out. “And as funny as it would be to see Adam handing out glittery purple dildos do you really think the network is going to allow that?”
“Stop spoiling my fun.” Brad began poking Tommy through the covers.
“Ouch, cut that out,” Tommy squirmed, trying to get away form Brad’s fingers. “Fuck you’ve got pointy fingers.”
“Hope I’m not interrupting anything.”
Tommy sat up, slapping Brad’s hands away to see a grinning Neil leaning against the door.
“Oh Neil, your timing just sucks. Brad, Tommy and I were about to get a little orgy going,” grinned Terrance.
“Or perhaps you could join in,” winked Tommy even as a blush colored his cheeks.
“Not fucking likely,” Neil back away and hurried back down the corridor, the laughter of the other three echoing behind him.
“Oh honey,” gasped Brad, “I think Terrance and I have been a bad influence on you.”
“Definitely,” agreed Terrance, “I feel so proud, our little Tommy is growing up…” he mocked wiping a tear from his eye and suddenly found himself with a mouthful of Tommy’s pillow.
They were travelling to the fair in a coach, a rather luxury coach mind you. All eight contestants, plus Adam, Lane, Neil, Sutan and a shit load of cameramen, with everyone but Neil and the cameramen sipping champagne.
“This is going to be so much fun,” grinned Adam, clinking glasses with Sutan.
“Would never have pegged you for a country fair kind of guy,” said Mark.
“Oh honey, this is no ordinary country fair,” Adam winked.
“Why does that not surprise me,” laughed Jason, nudging shoulders with Tommy.
“OK, so how out of the ordinary is this fair?” asked Cassidy.
“It’s got cotton candy, a Ferris wheel, tacky country fair games,” said Adam. “Just with a glittery LA drag queen twist to it.”
“Oh fuck,” murmured Tommy, as he looked up at the Ferris wheel. “OK, that attraction is completely off the list of things to do.”
They were all wandering around, taking in the sights. As Adam had said it was pretty much like any standard country fair, except for all the stalls were being run by drag queens, most of whom seemed to know Adam or Sutan, and even a few that knew Brad.
“Wanna throw some balls pretty boy?” a redheaded drag queen called out to Tommy, winking as she did.
“Yeah Tommy,” called out Jason, “let’s see how you handle some balls.”
“Cheeky,” laughed Adam.
“God, lay off the ‘balls’ puns,” said Tommy as he stepped up. He handed over his $5 and ‘Lydia’, as the name badge stated, handed him three balls.
“Give it plenty of arm action Tommy,” Lucas called out.
Tommy rolled his eyes and took his first shot. The ball skimmed by the target, rocking it slightly, but it remained on its little pedestal.
“Ooooh close to the money shot there Tommy Joe.”
“Come on Adam, that was a bad one,” chuckled Tommy before turning back to take his second shot.
Ignoring the sniggers behind him Tommy took a breath and threw the ball; it hit the target dead centre and knocked it to the ground.
“YEAH,” he exclaimed raising his arms in the air. “Score!”
“Way to go Tommy,” grinned Adam, taking the smaller man in a hug. Tommy’s arms dropped and wrapped around Adam’s shoulders.
“That was pretty good arm action, where’d you learn to throw like that?” asked Neil.
Tommy pulled back from Adam a little, although they kept their arms around each other. “Played baseball in school until I realised team sports were not for me. I learned to throw pretty well though.”
“Well honey, pick your prize,” said Lydia.
Reluctantly dropping his arms from Adam, Tommy turned to look at the display of prizes. He let out a laugh when he spied a particular object. “Oh that one please,” he pointed.
“Oh, good choice pretty boy.” Lydia handed it to him.
“Well, what did you pick?” asked Jason.
Tommy just grinned at him and walked over to Brad. “For you,” he said, handing the other man his prize.
Brad looked confused as he took it, but when he looked down and saw what it was he burst out laughing. “Well remembered Tommy, very well remembered.”
“What is it?” demanded Adam.
Brad held up a glittery purple dildo, and the moment he saw it Terrance started laughing.
“What, what’s the joke?”
“Sorry Adam,” gasped Terrance. “Just while the three of us were in Tommy’s bed this morning, glittery purple dildos were a topic of conversation.”
“Believe me Adam, you do not want to know,” muttered Neil.
“Oh I do,” said Adam, “Brad Bell you have some explaining to do.” He approached his friend and, throwing his arm around his shoulders, led him away, asking him to explain.
It was a fun day, a fun, tiring day, and Tommy was glad it was nearly over. He sat on one of the benches sipping a beer as he watched some of the others try to win prizes on the surrounding stalls. The Ferris wheel was just to his left.
“Having fun?” A voice sounded beside him and he looked to his side to see Adam.
“Yeah, a lot more that I thought,” answered Tommy. “Have a seat,” he gestured to the spot beside him.
Adam took it and sipped from his bottle of water. “So, Brad told me about the dildo conversation.”
Tommy chuckled softly.
“And while I agree it would be fun to hand them out at the elimination ceremonies, I don’t think the network would go for it.”
“Pity,” said Tommy glancing at the Ferris wheel before turning his gaze back to Adam.
Adam stood up and held out his hand. “Come on.”
Tommy cocked an eyebrow as he put his beer down and took Adam’s hand. He was pulled to his feet and Adam linked their fingers together.
“Where are we going Adam?”
“It’s a surprise Tommy Joe.” They walked slowly and Tommy was more interested in the feel of Adam’s hand in his than in where they were going. It was only when they were right in front of an empty carriage on the Ferris wheel that Tommy realised what was going on.
He stopped and let go of Adam’s hand. “I’m sorry Adam, but no.”
“Please Tommy, just one trip round.”
“I-I can’t go up in that… it’s, it’s way too fucking high. I’m useless with heights Adam.”
“Damn it,” muttered Adam. “OK, OK sweetie, if you really can’t do it we won’t. I just thought it would be nice.”
The look of disappointment on Adam’s face warred with Tommy’s fear. He stepped up close to the taller man and took his hand again. “I’m sorry,” he said again. “I’m sure one of the others wouldn’t have a problem,” he suggested, even though he hated the idea.
“Probably,” replied Adam, “but I kind of really wanted to share it you.”
Tommy looked up at the wheel again and sighed deeply. “OK, I can try. If it moves really slowly, and if at anytime I want to get off it gets brought back down and you really, really do your utmost to make sure I don’t look down,” he said, giving Adam a shaky smile.
“Really, you’re sure?” asked Adam. “You have to tell me you’re sure.”
“I’m sure,” said Tommy, “mostly…”
“The minute you’re not comfortable, we stop,” and with that Adam linked his fingers through Tommy’s and led him to the wheel.
“Please tell me you are getting all this,” one of the producers asked cameraman number one and cameraman number two.
“Absolutely,” they both replied
‘Don’t look down. Don’t look down. Don’t look down,’ became Tommy’s mantra as he and Adam took their seat on the wheel. Adam wrapped an arm around Tommy’s shoulders as they were secured.
“OK,” he murmured, as he caught sight of the one of the cameramen getting into the seat behind them. Rolling his eyes, he turned his full attention to Tommy.
“If I throw up on you Adam, it’s totally your own fault.”
Adam laughed. “I’ll take full blame.”
The operator blew on a whistle and suddenly the wheel began moving. “Oh fuck, oh fuck,” muttered Tommy.
“Close your eyes Tommy, and do not open them until I tell you, OK?”
Tommy immediately shut his eyes tight and nodded his reply.
As the wheel moved, Tommy could feel himself getting higher and his stomach somersaulted. All the while Adam murmured to him nonsensical things, and hummed a couple of songs.
A couple of minutes later the wheel came to a stop. “Keep them closed.” Tommy could feel Adam shift a little beside him.
“OK, open them now,” Adam whispered.
Biting his bottom lip Tommy opened his eyes to see Adam’s face right in front on him.
“Hi,” he said softly.
“Hi back,” Adam replied. “You feeling OK?”
“Yeah, I’m not going to throw up or anything.”
“Good,” Adam replied, and made to move.
“Whoa, where are you going?” Tommy grabbed him.
“Just moving out of your way, I wanna show you something. Don’t worry I won’t let you look down.”
Adam settled back in the seat, Tommy’s eyes on him the whole time. “Just look out Tommy, just out.”
Taking a deep breath, Tommy’s eyes moved from Adam’s to look out. “Wow,” he exclaimed, “what a view.” The sun was starting its descent below the horizon, so the landscape was painted in reds and oranges.
“Yeah it’s pretty amazing,” said Adam, his arm slung around Tommy’s shoulders. Tommy leaned his head against Adam’s shoulder and sighed contently. He forgot that he was whatever number of feet above the ground and that there were cameras watching them; he just basked in the feeling of the man beside him.
“It would be amazing to stay here,” sighed Adam.
“Yeah I’d love to be able to never look down again,” laughed Tommy.
“Well there is that of course,” mock-pouted Adam, looking down at Tommy as he looked up at him. “God, you’re fucking gorgeous,” whispered Adam, cupping Tommy’s cheek and rubbing his thumb delicately over his cheekbone.
Tommy can feel his cheeks heating up as he let one hand slide softly up Adam’s chest, over his shoulder to rest on the back of his neck. “So are you,” he murmured as he put a little pressure on the back of Adam’s neck, pulling his head down as he moved his own head up.
For a brief moment Adam paused, his breath gentle against Tommy’s lips. Tommy’s tongue slipped out to wet his bottom lip and with that, Adam closed the small distance between their mouths.
Both their mouths were already slightly open, so Adam wasted no time capturing Tommy’s top lip, while Tommy sucked gently on Adam’s plump bottom lip. There was a low groan from both of them before Adam took control, covering Tommy’s mouth and sliding his tongue inside to tangle with the other man’s. He used the hand on Tommy’s cheek to tilt his head and he deepened the kiss, while his other arm settled around Tommy’s waist.
Tommy pressed himself closer, one hand clutching Adam’s jacket. They parted briefly to get oxygen before diving back in again.
The Ferris wheel had started moving again, bringing them back down, but neither noticed the movement or the cameraman behind them with his camera zoomed in on their mouths.
Adam’s tongue licked itself around every part of Tommy’s mouth before sucking Tommy’s tongue into his own where Tommy repeated the favor before tangling their tongues together.
As the wheel brought them back to earth Adam and Tommy parted, smiling softly at each other. Tommy ran his tongue over his swollen lips and Adam groaned, leaning back in again…
“Dear lord Adam let the poor guy get his breath back! He looks light headed,” Cassidy called out.
A different sounding groan escaped Adam as he laid his forehead against Tommy’s shoulder. “Shut up Cassidy,” he said although it came out muffled.
“Damn, you two look hot on camera,” said Terrance, fanning his face.
“Yeah, either of you ever considered porn?” asked Brad.
“I’d pay to watch you,” grinned Jason.
“Me too,” said Lucas. “Me three,” agreed Josh.
“I don’t think so,” muttered Tommy, catching Mark’s eye, and noticing that unlike the others he was frowning instead of laughing.
“Well gentlemen if you’ve all had you fill of entertainment for the afternoon; it’s time we were heading back. You need to make yourselves all pretty for tonight’s ceremony,” said Lane.
While everyone started moving towards the coach, Tommy and Adam exited the Ferris wheel. As they made their way after the others Adam took Tommy hand, and lacing their fingers together they headed to the coach, a small smile on both their faces.
So in the build up to the ‘live’ eviction ceremony, Adam and Tommy’s kiss on the Ferris wheel was broadcast everywhere--on the news, on the web. E! Managed to show it from about 50 different angles, matched only by TMZ with about 100. Perez Hilton couldn’t contain himself and made his feelings known the way he does best, drawing on pictures of the two of them. There were offers from a couple of gay porn sites and of course to top it all, they broke Twitter.
Of course there was the negative press, as the usual suspects campaigned for moral decency, but the positive far outweighed the negative.
“So Tommy, how are you finding things so far?” asked Chris.
“Things are good,” he replied, glancing briefly at the host before looking down at the floor. “My roommate and I get along, so that’s good.”
This was what Tommy was dreading, the damn interview. While they were going about their business around the house he was OK. Yes the cameras were everywhere and he knew people where watching, but there was none of this one-on-one interview crap.
“You’re very popular with our viewers. How do you feel about that?”
“It’s kinda weird, but cool.”
“And last question for the moment. That kiss today with Adam, boy was it a scorcher…”
“It just happened,” interrupted Tommy, “and it, it was amazing,” he blushed slightly. “And before you ask, no I don’t think it guarantees I won’t be eliminated later. Is that all?” The rest came out in a rush Tommy desperately wanted this interview to end.
Chris smiled at Tommy. “Yeah that’s it.”
“Smooth interview Tommy,” grinned Cassidy.
“Fuck off,” he replied.
“OK gentlemen, watch the language, we’re going live…” murmured Lane, as she disappeared out of the view of the cameras.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first elimination ceremony here on The Bachelor. And without further ado, let’s bring out contestants: Cassidy, Lucas, Josh, Terrance, Brad, Mark, Tommy, and Jason.”
The studio audience clapped and cheered as each man came out, dressed in a tuxedo, although not with white shirts--each man had a different color--and took his place.
“And last, but most definitely not least, our ‘Bachelor’, Mr Adam Lambert.”
The crowd went nuts and Adam walked out. His hair was high and full of glitter, make-up just perfect, and he was dressed in a grey suit with a black shirt and black boots. Adam smiled and waved at the audience before walking over and standing next to Chris. “Hi Chris.”
“Hello Adam. OK, everyone knows how this works. Adam, you call out a name, they walk up and you offer them the rose, and if they accept they stay. So, the floor is all yours Adam.”
Adam walked over to the small table with the vase of white roses. He took one out and turned to the group of men. “Brad, will you accept,” he held out the rose.
“Oh most certainly yes honey,” grinned Brad, taking the rose and hugging Adam.
This pattern continued, through the calling of Lucas, Cassidy and Terrance, each one accepting.
Adam picked up the next rose, “Tommy, Tommy Joe, will you accept?”
“Yes,” smiled Tommy, taking the rose from Adam’s hand and leaning up to kiss Adam’s cheek.
“I’m glad,” whispered Adam, smiling as Tommy walked off to join the others.
Jason was the next called, and he off course accepted. That left Josh and Mark. Adam picked up the last rose and looked between the remaining two men.
Taking a deep breath he said, “Mark, do you accept?”
Mark’s relief was very evident as he stepped forward and took the rose, saying “yes.” Adam pulled the man into a hug. He felt the man stiffen at first before relaxing a little and returning the hug. Releasing him, Adam turned to Josh. “Sorry,” he said.
“It’s more than OK,” Josh replied.
Adam had wanted to get rid of Mark; there was something about the man that was … unsettling. But Josh had work commitments, so he volunteered to be the first one eliminated.
“And so we say goodbye to Josh,” said Chris, “but there are still seven men left. Who will be next to go?”
The following day while they were all having breakfast, Neil came in with an envelope. “Seeing as the first elimination has taken place, the ‘date’ set-up has changed slightly,” he said. “There will be two groups of three dates and one of you lucky gentlemen gets a single date with Adam. Not that I’d know what a date with Adam is like, but, well, let’s not even go there and yes before any of you ask this is awkward for me hence why Adam told me to do it. The envelope contains the names that make up each group and the lucky single one. Have fun guys.” He handed the envelope to Cassidy, and then left the room.
“I suppose you want me to open this now?” he asked, a smirk on his face.
“I’m not going to dignify that with an answer,” replied Brad.
Cassidy quickly tore open the envelope. “OK, Lucas, Terrance and Tommy are in one group, Brad, Mark and myself in the other. And lucky Jason gets the one-on-one with Adam, which is a trip to the beautician followed by dinner.”
Jason literally squealed, “I have the most perfect outfit, I’ve been dying to wear it. Oh I’m going to need to borrow Sutan…”
Tommy laughed along with the others at Jason, but there was a feeling of disappointment and, if he were honest, jealousy at not being the one picked.
The two group dates were over quickly, and Jason and Adam’s beauty date ended after a couple of hours. The house was then subjected to Hurricane Jason as he rushed around trying to find the perfect outfit while Sutan tried to pin him down so he could do his make-up. Eventually a fabulous looking Jason headed off for his dinner with Adam.
It was after 11pm and with the exception of Lucas, who’d gone for a swim before calling it a night, and Mark, who had gone to bed, the rest were waiting for Jason to get back. Tommy was half inclined to call it a night and go to bed, but some masochistic part of him wanted to hear how Jason got on. He liked Jason, he really did, but he really didn’t like the idea of Jason and Adam together.
Just as it hit midnight a slightly drunk but completely happy Jason entered the house.
“Spill it,” demanded Brad before the guy had a chance to close to door.
“It was amazing,” Jason said, his words slurring. “The food, the champagne, the company, god Adam is amazing! And to top it all off, a really hot kiss to end the evening.”
A red-hot ache burned in Tommy’s chest at Jason’s last words. He forced a smile onto his face as everyone else laughed. He knew it was irrational to think that Adam wasn’t going to kiss some of the others, but that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt any less.
The next day Tommy used one of his ‘personal’ hours, time when there were no cameras or other people around, to call Mia. He’d had the need to talk to someone outside the house, and who better that his best friend. With any luck Chantala would be with her.
He dialled her number and then settled himself down in the ridiculously comfortable armchair. The phone rang three times and was then picked up.
“Mia, you OK to talk?” he asked.
“Tommy Joe, of course I am. So good to hear from you. Chantala and I were just talking about you.”
“I wondered why my ears were burning,” he chuckled, “is she there as well?”
There was the muffled sound of someone moving on the other end of the phone, and couple of minutes later Chantala’s voice called out “hi Tommy.”
“You have me on speaker don’t you?” he asked.
“Yep,” they both replied.
“So, enough chitchat, tell us everything,” says Mia.
“What’s to tell? You two have seen everything. Hell, I’d say you’ve seen more than me.”
“But the kiss Tommy,” pleaded Chantala.
“I have no idea about the Adam/Jason kiss, I haven’t even seen it,” he replied, hoping he sounded nonchalant about the whole thing. Being on the phone he missed the look his two best girlfriends shared.
“There wasn’t really anything to see,” commented Mia. “It was nowhere near as hot as yours was.”
“And can I just say Tommy Joe, it was very disconcerting watching you kiss a guy and think it was hot,” interrupted Chantala.
“What do you mean, ‘nothing to see.’ Jason said it was amazing.”
“And I’m sure it was,” said Mia. “But Tommy, it was nothing but a drunken kiss, sloppy more than sexy really.”
“Oh,” he said.
Again the two girls shared an unseen look.
“Tommy,” began Chantala, “the two of them got on well, but there really wasn’t any passion between them, and…” she trailed off.
“And what?” He prompted.
There was silence on the other end of the phone.
“Oh stop your creepy communication through staring,” he snapped after a couple of minutes of silence. “Just because I can’t see you doesn’t mean you aren’t doing it.”
There was a deep sigh that Tommy guessed came from Mia seeing as she was the one to speak next. “Tommy, both Adam and Jason spent the best part of their conversation over dinner talking about you.”
“Me?” And he’ll cut anyone who said that he squeaked that out.
“Yeah,” said Chantala, “it started with Adam asking Jason what he thought of the other contestants, and he was nice about everyone except Mark. I’m not sure about him Tommy, there’s something weird about him. In fact Mia doesn’t even think he is gay, and I’m inclined to agree with her.”
Tommy wanted to comment on that, but Chantala kept going. “Anyway Jason was very complimentary about everyone else, but you--you he downright gushed about. And that just started Adam off, so they spent the best part of the main course and dessert plus a bottle or two of champagne waxing lyrically about how great Tommy Joe Ratliff is.”
Her comment about Mark was momentarily forgotten as a warm glow started in Tommy’s stomach at the thought of Adam talking about him.
“Stop thinking about Adam Tommy, we can hear you,” laughed Mia.
“Very funny. OK, before this turns into a completely embarrassing conversation for me, tell me your concerns about Mark…”
After his phone call Tommy went back to his room and thought about what the girls had said, especially their theories about Mark. He wondered if he should tell anyone, and if so whom exactly should he tell. One of the other contestants mightn’t be the best idea, in case one of them was friendly with Mark--although no one seemed to give the impression that they spent any time with him. And Tommy couldn’t recall ever seeing Mark hanging around with anyone in particular.
He thought about telling the producers but quickly dismissed that idea; they’d probably think he was trying to cause trouble. But he had to tell someone, and tell him or her away from the cameras.
- Part Two