Fandom/Pairing: Kris Allen Band; Andrew DeRoberts gen fic
Rating: R (for language, not sexy times... sorry)
Summary: Um, so this is a gen fic detailing how Andrew DeRoberts's ice cold heart was melted by the likes of Kris Allen and his band. Kind of. 16k.
Knees are what you notice, and hands, when you sit next to someone in a car. Ryland’s knees are knobby under his tight jeans, and his hands are long and bony, just like the rest of him, pale except for discolored red patches across the base of his knuckles. He stares past Andrew out the window as the van shuttles them from the hotel to the venue and drums his thin fingers over his thighs, knees jiggling to some silent rhythm. Every so often his leg bumps into Andrew’s, but Andrew doesn’t mind.
He looks forward at the back of Kris’s head in front of him, and next to it Cale’s. The two of them turn to each other, bowing heads close, smiling and murmuring and laughing at some private joke Andrew can’t hear over Lizzie’s voice from the front passenger seat as she twists around to discuss the day’s schedule with Steve.
“Get Kris taken care of first,” she tells him. “He’s only got half an hour and then we’ve got Land Shark Stadium and the carpet right after.”
“Got it,” Steve affirms. He cranes his head back to look over Cale at Kris. “Land Shark, huh? What you doing there?”
“I’m—” Kris starts before trailing off and shooting a helpless glance toward the front. “Uh, Lizzie, what exactly am I doing?”
“Touring the stadium,” she explains as she flips through a stack of papers on her lap. “They’ll give you a jersey with your name on it, you go on the field and toss around a football, meet the cheerleaders, smile for the cameras and do some softball interviews, meet the Dolphins CEO and then more photo-ops and interviews. Just standard album promo.”
“Oh, that sounds cool,” he says, and then stops himself. “Uh, except for the cheerleaders. That could be awkward.” He thinks about it for a moment. “Though I’m sure they’re very nice ladies.”
“All these women throwing themselves at you, and it’s all so wasted,” Steve says, shaking his head like it’s a pity.
“I don’t know, man,” Ryland says, “I think they’d be more likely to throw him up in the air as part of their routine.”
Kris laughs hard at that, and soon everyone is else is laughing, too, not really because it’s all that funny but it feels like the thing to do when it’s this early and everyone’s a little tense. Even Andrew caves and laughs, a little. He has to admit the imagery is amusing.
“If that happens, I demand pictures,” Torres says.
When they eventually fight through traffic and arrive at the venue, Steve gets to work setting up the cables and amps and mics, and they spend the next half hour rushing through the set. It’s still morning and already the heat is inescapable; and by the time Kris is whisked off and returns a few hours later after the stadium tour and walking the carpet, it’s boiling.
Aside from the open air acoustics, it’s not a bad venue to debut new songs, Andrew thinks. A decent-sized crowd, but not too big. Low pressure. It won’t matter so much if it doesn’t go smoothly. The only way Andrew can tell that Kris might be a little nervous is the way he doesn’t say as much as usual during the final soundcheck, mostly only talking to Steve with gestures about adjusting the sound levels. But as soon as they come on stage and launch into the first song for real, whatever nerves might’ve been there evaporate, and Kris is just Kris— only amped up, cut loose more than usual.
Andrew tries to do what he’s supposed to; he stays in his corner, sunglasses on, standing in place and playing his parts. Except Kris makes that nearly impossible by bouncing across the stage at times with his spazzy dance moves, drawing attention to Andrew while rocking out to the music. It’s kind of distracting. He doesn’t know if he should reciprocate, play into the whole thing, or stay back, the man behind the curtain he’s always been, or what.
He doesn’t know what Kris Allen expects from him at all.
When Andrew gets back to L.A., Tessa has moved into the apartment.
“A heads-up would’ve been nice, you know,” he tells Brent while Tessa’s in the shower.
“Sorry, bro,” Brent says without sounding very sorry at all. “Her lease is up next month, and she got into this big fight with her roommate over an eyelash curler or something— she begged me. I was gonna tell you, but I figured it could wait until you came back.”
Yeah, when he came back and all her shit had already been moved in and Andrew couldn’t say no without looking like a complete asshole.
But he’s really not too angry about it. It makes some sense. Andrew’s going to be gone a lot over the next few months—or for however long this gig may last—and if Tessa’s living here, it’ll cut down on his portion of the rent. Besides, it’s Brent’s name that’s on the lease, not his.
Even though the arrangement works in his favor, he’s more than happy to busy himself with ten hour a day band rehearsals. Tessa’s nice enough, but she only works part-time at American Eagle, which means she spends a lot of the day hanging around the apartment. She also has this habit of sitting on the couch watching the CW and gabbing loudly on the phone to one of her girlfriends at the same time, for, like, three hours straight. It’s easier to just not be around all day and only come home at night after she and Brent have already gone to sleep.
They get about a week after the tailgate debut to practice as a full band, before Kris and Cale leave to do some acoustic radio shows. It’s not a lot of time, but enough for them to hammer out a few more songs off the album and smooth out the rough edges of the ones they’ve already learned. The last rehearsal on the Friday before Kris and Cale leave, Lizzie orders everyone pizza—a welcome break from the two closest dining options within walking distance: Ethiopian and a Subway.
“Lifesaver!” Kris exclaims when Lizzie appears, balancing three boxes in her arms. He swipes one off the top and opens it right there, stuffing his face with a slice of pepperoni until Cale comes over and takes the box from him.
“Here,” Andrew offers, relieving Lizzie of the two other boxes.
“Thanks,” she says as he sets them down on the nearest table, brushing aside some extra cables to make room. She pushes her blonde hair behind her ears and grabs a slice of veggie lover’s for herself with a napkin placed underneath it. There’s something kind of funny about watching her eat—the way she takes a small bite and chews it thoughtfully, almost dainty. Not the way he’d expect someone as brusque and no-nonsense as her to eat.
He doesn’t look for too long, though, because Lizzie would undoubtedly give him the death glare if she caught him staring in her direction. Just as he’s finding somewhere else to turn his eyes, Ryland comes up from behind and picks up the biggest pepperoni slice left. Andrew follows him over to sit on the floor with everyone else. They could probably round up enough chairs if they wanted, but everybody seems content to sit on the rug, even Lizzie.
While Andrew lowers himself to the floor, careful not to drop his pizza, he overhears Torres talking to Cale and Lizzie about Napa, where he has some family, and Kris asking Steve about the black t-shirt he’s wearing that says DEATH TO THE PIXIES across the front.
“You’ve never listened to the Pixies?” Steve is saying to Kris, all wide-eyed. “Shit, go buy Surfer Rosa right now. It’s amazing.”
Andrew says, “I’d start in chronological order with Come on Pilgrim.” When Kris looks over at him, he finds a loose thread in the rug with his free hand and tugs on it until it unravels. “It was their first release. I think—I mean, I like going from the beginning and getting context for the later releases.” He shrugs one shoulder. “That’s just me, though.”
Kris nods. “I’ll check it out.”
That night, Andrew ransacks his closet and digs out the big cardboard box full to the brim of old CDs. He rifles through it until he finds what he’s looking for— the Come on Pilgrim EP. The case is battered and half-broken when he pops it open, but the disc itself only has a small scratch or two.
He considers setting it aside to lend to Kris, or maybe burning him a copy to keep. He’s pretty sure he’s got Surfer Rosa and Doolittle somewhere in the box, too. But he only contemplates the idea for a few minutes. If Kris really wants it, he can buy himself a copy, and he probably only said he’d check it out to be polite anyway. And by the time he gets back he wouldn’t even remember the conversation at all.
He leaves the CD out for himself anyway. It’s been awhile since he’s given it a listen.
Lizzie tags along with Kris and Cale for the radio shows, so it’s just Ryland, Torres, and Andrew for rehearsals, with Steve observing, practicing as much as they can without two of their band members. The sessions don’t last as long, and they spend a fair amount of the time just jamming instead of actually playing Kris’s songs.
The thing is, Andrew actually likes spending time in rehearsals. At first it was nice just to escape the apartment, but now he’s starting to get used to the guys. To Ryland, who he can talk to like they’ve known each other for years and who can go toe-to-toe with him geeking over jazz musicians; Steve, who can make any story he tells (ones that usually veer on the dirty side) laugh-until-you-cry hilarious; Torres and his easygoing manner, the way you think he might be spacing out during a conversation but will pipe up with some comment that tells you he’s been listening to every word.
And the truth is he misses playing with Kris and Cale. It doesn’t feel right, practicing these melodies with no one to sing them. So it’s nice when they come back for a few days of rehearsal before they all head to New York.
“From the top!” Kris says after they’ve run through Is It Over for the third consecutive time, even though it’s one of their more smoothed out arrangements. He’s pretty sure Kris just wants an excuse to play it again. He seems to be in a good mood—not that Andrew’s ever seen him in a bad mood, but he looks particularly happy today.
As they start again, Andrew watches the way Cale watches Kris. He does that a lot— studying the way they interact with each other, the weirdly worshipful gaze Cale directs at Kris when they’re singing harmonies, the way Kris goes out of his way to include everyone else in their jokes and stories like he’s trying to make it explicitly clear how much everyone in the band is wanted.
Then he watches Kris, tries to see in him whatever it is that Cale sees—what Cale claims to have seen from the very beginning. The guy can sing, and he’s a good enough performer. That much Andrew knows.
But there has to be something else. Something more. Something he hasn’t seen yet.
New York comes and goes, and if it’s a blur for Andrew, he can only imagine what it must be like for Kris, whose schedule is packed with back-to-back interviews and album promo on top of the GMA performance.
Despite his busy day, the first night when Kris gets back to the hotel, he and Lizzie come straight up to Torres and Ryland’s room where everyone’s congregated. They’d spent the last half hour passing Cale’s guitar around, trying to play as many songs as they could think of about New York. Cale had already played “New York State of Mind” to start things off, and Andrew followed it up with the first song he thought of, Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel No.2.” So far Torres won for most unique with his rendition of Kajagoogoo’s “Big Apple,” even if he couldn’t remember all the chords offhand.
When they mention the game to Kris, he takes the guitar and strums out an acoustic version of Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind,” and even though it’s spur-of-the-moment, it’s uncanny how awesome it sounds, like he’s been practicing it forever.
But he stops abruptly after the first chorus. “I want to walk to the Empire State Building,” he blurts out. “Who’s in?”
Torres—always game for anything—immediately says, “I’ll go.”
Ryland glances over at Andrew, like he’s seeing if Andrew wants to go, like that’ll affect whether he decides to go or not—which is sort of strange, but sort of nice. So Andrew shrugs amiably, and Ryland looks back to Kris and says, “Yeah, why not?”
“You’re taking a cab, right?” Lizzie says.
Kris rolls his eyes. “It’s, like, three blocks away,” he says. “We’re not taking a cab. The cold air’ll be good for us.”
“Tell that to your immune system,” she replies. “I swear to god, if you get sick—”
“You worry too much, Lizzie,” Kris says—he’s the only one who can get away with saying that type of thing to her. She never bites his head off; in fact, Andrew thinks she secretly kind of enjoys it when Kris snarks back at her. “You coming or not?”
She grumbles under her breath but follows them out of the hotel. The sun has long since set, and the whole city is lit up in yellows and reds and greens. Andrew thinks there’s something almost magical about being in a city like this at night. The sidewalks aren’t too crowded, well, for New York, anyway, and everything is quiet and busy at the same time, cars rushing by and the bitter wind blowing so hard it drowns out the noises of people talking around them. Even the car horns don’t sound as loud as usual. His breath frosts out in front of him as he walks, following Kris’s lead, his shoulder occasionally bumping into Lizzie’s next to him. She’s gone quiet, too, head tipped back a little as her eyes scan the lit-up skyscrapers surrounding them on both sides. Maybe she’s feeling the same thing Andrew is.
Three blocks turns out to be closer to six, and two people recognize Kris along the way, a twenty-something couple and a gray-haired woman old enough to be his grandmother. He stops to chat briefly with both, patiently poses for a cell phone shot with the couple and signs the back of a grocery receipt for the grandmother, the only thing she has at her disposal.
Eventually they reach the building and get into the line for tickets, and Andrew can almost feel his toes again by the time they’re finally allowed up to the observation deck. He has to admit, it’s worth the wait. The view of the city is magnificent, all of it spread out before him, every building alight and twinkling. The city is almost pulsing with energy, and Andrew feels it, too, buzzing in his veins. Alive.
It’s a little weird to perform on a tiny stage in the GMA studio with cameras stuck in his face, but Andrew just focuses on his guitar and the music and tries to forget they’re there. Kris, of course, has no such problem. He’s used to cameras. American Idol winner and all.
There aren’t any more rehearsals until after Thanksgiving—there’s no point, since Kris will be busy doing promo every day until then. Tessa and Brent are going to her parents’ house in Santa Barbara for the long weekend, so Andrew’s looking forward having the apartment to himself, sleeping all day and watching whatever channel on tv he wants and ordering delivery from his favorite Chinese place and not having to do anything he doesn’t feel like doing.
When he learns of Andrew’s Thanksgiving plans—or lack thereof—Kris tells him he can come stay with him in Arkansas if he wants. “My mom makes, like, the most amazing Thanksgiving dinner ever. I know everyone says that, but I mean it.”
“It’s true,” Cale agrees. “I can attest to that. His mom’s cooking is awesome. Sublime, dare I say.”
“Yeah, and if you don’t want to travel, you can have Thanksgiving at my place,” Ryland offers. “Carrie and I don’t do a big thing really, but you’re more than welcome.”
“Or mine,” says Torres. “I’ll be in San Diego at my mom’s if you wanna come. She’d love it.”
Andrew waves them off—he’ll be flying back to Ohio for Christmas soon anyway, and he’s looking forward to the time alone—but he actually believes that if he wanted, they’d really let him take them up on their offers. Even Kris.
Maybe Kris, especially.
He indeed spends Thanksgiving like he planned, camped out on the couch in his pajamas with pork chow mein, fried rice and spring rolls, eating out of the carton and sleeping on and off whle watching a Friends marathon. (Of course, the one time he has the television to himself, there’s nothing on he really wants to watch.)
Ross is complaining about Rachel’s trifle tasting like feet when his phone goes off. He thinks it might be his mother again— even though he already talked to her earlier—but when he picks it off the coffee table, Kris’s name flashes up at him instead.
“Hey,” Kris says. “So what are your feelings on dump cake?”
Andrew mutes the television. “I, uh, think I need to know what it is before I can express an opinion one way or another.” He has no idea what dump cake is comprised of, but the name alone does not sound appetizing.
“It’s kind of like a baked cobbler thing,” Kris explains. “It’s got fruit and nuts and stuff. My mom made you one.”
“She didn’t have to do that.”
“Be glad she did. It’s the most delicious thing you’ll ever put in your mouth. I’d lie and tell you it sucks so I could have it to myself, but it’d be too mean to deny you when you’ve never had it before. Seriously, it’s great.”
“I’ll take your word for it,” Andrew says, and he’s glad Kris can’t see his face because he’s smiling like an idiot. “Tell her thanks for me.”
“I will,” Kris says. “How’s your Thanksgiving going?”
“Fine. I’ve slept through most of it.”
Kris groans with envy. “You’re living the dream, man. My dream anyway.”
“I thought you had a break from promo?” Andrew asks. It seems really unfair to make the guy work over a holiday weekend.
“I do,” Kris says. “I’ve just been busy. You know, family stuff. Everyone wants to talk and catch up and I’m dead on my feet. Like a zombie. I’ll probably faceplant into the turkey tonight.” His laugh is a short huff of air, like he’s too tired to put more effort into it than that. “It’s good though. Nice.”
“Good,” Andrew says. “Enjoy the break. You deserve it.” And he’s not just saying it—Andrew doesn’t like saying anything just to say it; he means this. He’s seen how hard Kris works, and he never complains about it, not ever. Not in front of the band, anyway. Andrew’s worked with some good people and some bad people but no one like Kris Allen.
He guesses that’s something to be thankful for.
The label’s lined up radio promo all the way up through Christmas, which means jumping from state to state to play short sets. But it’s okay, because every time they perform things seem to go more smoothly. They’re ironing out the kinks, and with every show, Andrew feels like he’s getting the hang of it—he’s figuring out what Kris wants, how much he can show off, how to react when Kris comes over to him during solos. The guy just wants to jam, really.
Cale’s girlfriend Kate meets them in Chicago. They walk into the hotel lobby and there she is waiting—tall, slim, model-pretty. Her brown hair is straight and glossy, and she’s wearing this dark gray pea coat over sheer black tights and high heels, which isn’t really sensible for December in the Midwest, but they make her long legs look even longer. She breaks into a smile and holds out a big brown teddy bear with a green scarf tied around its neck to Cale. He takes it and envelopes her in a tight embrace, pulls back long enough to kiss her hello and then hugs her again.
After introductions all around, they head to the hotel restaurant for a group dinner.
“Cale’s told me so much about you guys,” Kate gushes over her wine glass. She holds it lazily by the stem, like a movie star or something. “You must be excited about Letterman!”
Kris turns to Lizzie. “When is that again?”
“Twelve days,” she answers automatically, without even looking up from cutting her food. The amount of information she has at her immediate disposal never ceases to impress Andrew. Sometimes he can’t even remember if he thought to pack enough clean underwear.
He mentions this later to Kris, back in their room. In a generous gesture, Kris gave Cale and Kate his room, the nicer suite on a higher floor. It’s the first time he and Andrew have roomed together. The first thing Kris did was go into the bathroom and shut the door to call Katy, which was stupid, since Andrew would’ve cleared out and hung with Ryland and Torres if he wanted privacy, but Kris didn’t ask.
“Lizzie’s brain is scary,” Kris remarks, shrugging off his plaid shirt and trading it for a threadbare Beatles t-shirt. His whole body sways with the movement, like it’s almost too exhausted to stay standing, and Andrew can’t remember the last time Kris didn’t look tired. “I don’t know how she does it. I love it, though. I wouldn’t even know what day it is if it weren’t for her.”
He climbs under the covers, and Andrew switches off the lamp beside him, plunging the room into darkness.
“I listened to Come on Pilgrim,” Kris says into the darkness, and Andrew opens his eyes, even though he can’t see anything anyway; he didn’t realize they were talking still.
“How’d you like it?” Andrew asks. He can’t believe Kris even remembered.
“I think I need to listen to it more,” he says. “It’s pretty... rough. Interesting, but rough.”
“You’d probably like Surfer Rosa better, like Steve said. Most people like that one best.”
“Hmm,” Kris hums, and goes quiet for long enough that Andrew thinks he’s drifted off, but then he says, “You’re good at guitar.” It’s a quiet comment, almost a half-sigh, and Andrew actually pinches his thigh to make sure he’s not asleep and dreaming this. “Like, really good.”
Andrew tries to think of some intelligent response, but all he can come up with is, “Thanks.” He pauses, and maybe it’s his own tiredness, or maybe it’s the fact that the room is pitch black, that it almost doesn’t feel real, because there’s no other reason for him to be so sincere when he adds, “You’re not bad yourself.”
“Yeah?” There’s this hopeful edge to Kris’s tone, so earnest, that makes Andrew’s heart do a painful dip in his chest. “Not like you, though,” he says. “But I wanna be. I wanna get better. I need time to work on it. I just need time,” and then his voice trails off completely, and a few seconds later Andrew hears his breathing, deep and steady, and knows he’s asleep.
“Raphael is clearly the best,” Ryland says. “How is this even up for discussion?”
He bunts the hacky sack over to Kris, who passes it to Cale, who drops it. Torres started them on this, with all the time spent waiting in airports for connecting flights and in the back of venues, and it’s like 2002 all over again, kicking a hacky sack around in the quad before class. It’s not the worst way to kill time at the CBS studio, waiting for the stage to finish setting up. Andrew wonders if Cat Deely’s around somewhere. He’s always had something of a crush on her.
Cale picks the hacky sack up off the ground and says, “I don’t know, my favorite was always Donatello.” He kicks it over to Torres, who bounces it skilfully off one foot a few times before sending it back to Ryland. Show-off. “I like that he’s a lover more than a fighter.”
“Yeah, and it takes a real turtle to wear purple and still kick butt,” Kris agrees. Ryland shoots the hacky sack to him, and Kris bounces it off his knee to Andrew. “But Raphael’s my favorite too. Kind of a wildcard, but in the end, he gets stuff done.”
“I have to go with Donatello,” Andrew says, deflecting the hacky sack with his ankle. His half-hearted kick only gets it halfway to Torres; he never was good at this game, even in college. “He’s the smartest. Brains over brawn.”
It’s funny because he doesn’t think there’s ever been an issue where he and Cale fell on one side and Kris and Ryland on the other. Even one as trivial as Favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Cale even leans over to give him a high-five of Donatello-loving solidarity.
“What about Michelangelo?” Torres says. “He’s the one you’d want to party with.”
“All right, they’re ready for soundcheck. Time to break it up,” Lizzie says, appearing out of nowhere—something she has a habit of doing—and tucking her Blackberry in her back pocket. “Besides,” she adds as they all file out of the green room, “you’re all wrong. Leonardo or bust, people.”
Everything moves so quickly that it’s almost impossible to do anything other than live in the moment. Andrew can only take one day at a time, so the fact that he’s performing at Madison Square Garden doesn’t sink in until the actual day arrives.
It’s something he’s imagined. Of course he’s imagined it; every boy who ever dreams of being a rock star someday imagines playing a show at Madison Square Garden. Okay, so maybe in his mind it wouldn’t exactly be like this—he’d seen himself front and center, headlining, even after he came to realize his voice would never be strong enough for anything other than supporting harmonies.
Maybe he’s part of a supporting band for a solo act, but it doesn’t—it doesn’t feel like that, it hasn’t felt like that in awhile. It feels more like this is a band, a real one. He can’t put his finger on when things shifted that way, but they have, and he’s pumped for tonight.
They wander around backstage while Kris does the press line alone. The place is crawling with people, staffers with headsets and other bands and techies and assistants and entourages. It’s insane.
When they spot John Mayer at a distance in the green room, Ryland bumps his shoulder and hisses, “Adam Levine beat the crap out of him once.”
Andrew laughs. “Shut up. Seriously?”
“Hand to god,” Ryland says, holding a hand up like he’s swearing an oath. “I was there. It was a glorious sight to behold, let me tell you. One punch and bam! Mayer was on the ground. Guy’s not as badass as he thinks he is.”
John Mayer’s not the only one they see— they spot Orianthi and Jordin Sparks come in and back out, and bump into some of the guys from The Fray. Joe King stops to talk with them for awhile, trading stories about the latest shows they’ve been doing, and recalling working with Kris over summer. After awhile he wanders off to track down their drummer, but not without a promise to find them later so he can catch up with Kris.
Adam Lambert’s supposed to be here too, Andrew knows, but he hasn’t seen him yet. He wonders how Kris feels about that. Adam’s only come up in conversation a few times, and Kris is always complimentary, but Andrew doesn’t know much about him. Adam was friendly when they met briefly during the guitar demo session, seemed pretty cool, but that’s about as far as his feelings on the guy go.
One time, not long after the AMAs, Kris took a phone interview in the practice space during a break, and Andrew could tell the interviewer was drilling him about Adam because Kris kept saying things like, “Adam’s just Adam,” and “He’s a great guy,” and “We’re two completely different artists.” When he’d hung up the phone and tossed it back to Lizzie, he sank down on the couch next to Cale, and Cale said in this exasperated voice, “Man, when are they gonna stop asking you about him all the time?” But Kris just shrugged and said, “That’s the way it goes, I guess,” and a minute later they were back to rehearsing.
After awhile Kris meets them in the green room with Lizzie in tow, looking happy and relaxed, so Andrew figures press must’ve gone well.
“I talked to Jim,” he says to Cale, and then explains to everyone else, “Jim Cantiello. He’s with MTV. He’s a really cool guy.”
Just then Justin Bieber comes near them to scoop some M&Ms out of a candy bowl from the table they’re all leaning against. The kid looks at Kris and says, “Hey, you’re from American Idol.”
Kris laughs and says, “Hey, you’re Justin Bieber!”
The two of them talk for a minute, a conversation which ends when Bieber punches Kris in the arm with this weird manic laugh of his and walks away. He didn’t say one word to Andrew but it doesn’t matter, Andrew decides he hates him anyway. Well, he already hated him. Which sounds callous since the kid is, like, twelve or something, but he’s the embodiment of everything Andrew hates about pop music, overproduced and contrived and auto-tuned to within an inch of his fucking life, and his bowl haircut is annoying, and that’s enough.
The enormity of performing at the Garden doesn’t hit Andrew fully until right before they’re scheduled to go on. Kris gathers everyone into a circle backstage, and for a second Andrew thinks he’s going to lead a group prayer or something since they’ve never done this before, but then he says, “Put your hands in.”
Everyone complies, Andrew putting his hand on top of Ryland’s, feeling Cale’s on top of his own. Kris says, “Let’s rock their faces off tonight, all right?” and everyone says, “Right!” and it should feel stupid, Andrew thinks, and lame, except it doesn’t—all he feels is excited and on the verge of giddy, even, pumped up on adrenaline.
That same feeling lasts when they take the stage, only amplifies when he gets a clear look out at the massive audience. It’s only two songs, going by so fast he can’t take it all in, but it’s enough. On the last, the single, the crowd sings the words back to them, and Kris lights up in this way Andrew’s never seen.
But he gets it, because he feels it too—because right as they hit the last chord, Kris locks eyes with him, and even though it’s just a fleeting moment, he’s sharing this with Andrew, sharing it with Torres and Ryland and Cale too. The energy, the music, the roar of applause and cheers. All of it.