Title: Too Far From the Start [Part 5/?] (a.k.a. James & Logan are NOT Dating)
Disclaimer: Still not my boys, although I kind of love them like they were.
Word Count: ~7800 for this part
Warnings: Heavy references to BT Rocker, language, and...Kendall lectures?
Summary: James has a plan, Kendall has an opinion, and Logan finally has a solution to his problem. Maybe.
Previous chapters: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
Author's Notes: As mentioned, this monster of a fic has a real title now! And since I seem to be incapable of writing succinct scenes and unplanned things keep happening I now can't even guess how many chapters this will be by the end. If anyone actually makes it through to the end of this with me you will totally deserve a prize.
And another thank you to BT Rocker, because the main plot point in the fic right now has been planned since the beginning, but that episode provided so much amazing context for it. ♥
Part 5: The Strategy
Kendall and Carlos had both been passed out on the couch when James got home. James had intended to wake them up—loudly—after his talk with Logan, but he was actually really tired and didn't want to deal with a potentially still excitable Carlos right then. So he just left them there.
In an act of quick thinking before he collapsed on his bed and fell immediately to sleep, James set his alarm for way earlier than he needed to get up the next morning. They were due in the studio sometime Saturday afternoon, but the morning was wide open, and James had some definite plans.
When his alarm went off, for a second James was really pissed thinking somehow he'd made a mistake and set it accidentally but then he remembered the reason he needed to be awake. He climbed down from the top bunk, sparing a glance at the bottom bed to see that Carlos did in fact make it into their room at some point during the night.
James grabbed the audition script Camille had given him, along with the copy he'd made for Logan, and crept out onto the balcony to see that Kendall had also apparently gone to bed. That was slightly disappointing for some mysterious reason, until James realized he'd been forming some sort of sleepy-morning plan. Sleepy-morning plans were not always James's brightest ideas, so he decided to chance a quick shower in an effort to wake up more. And be clean, because being clean was always a good idea.
After the shower James really wanted some coffee but he'd been a little afraid of coffee makers ever since Carlos had told him about that one that wanted to destroy the world, so he settled instead for some orange juice. Glass in one hand, scripts in the other, he made his way to Logan and Kendall's room.
He knocked lightly on the door, mainly wanting to avoid walking in on a naked Kendall, then when there was no response cracked it open and peered inside. No signs of nakedness, so James stepped into the room and closed the door. Then he walked over and sat cross-legged on the foot of Logan's bed, waiting for him to wake up.
In this instance, the sleepy-morning plan had been, in fact, an awesome idea. James had to make sure Logan didn't run away before following through on his promise to help James, and staking out Logan's room seemed like the best way to do that. Besides, Logan would totally freak when he woke up and saw James sitting on his bed, so it was a win-win situation.
James had intended to read through the script again while waiting. He'd already skimmed it a couple times, just enough to make sure it was something he could handle. Camille had been right about that too: it really was a perfect role for him. Nothing too demanding, at least for this particular scene; mostly he just had to stand around and look pretty while he was talked to. But there were a few speaking lines involved, and if James wanted to get them right he would need to read the script more carefully.
Except. Logan was kind of distracting, all asleep and quiet and, you know, not freaking out at James being so close. James had been having so much fun teasing his friend that he had almost forgotten what it was like to just be near him.
Or maybe he had totally forgotten, because James wasn't sure just being near Logan was ever like this before. His soft breathing, his calm expression, the way he was still mostly hidden in shadow with the early morning light coming in the window—all of it was weirdly captivating. Out of the four of them Logan was the quietest, stillest sleeper—James could hear Kendall rolling around in his bed on the other side of the room even now—but even knowing this James was still a little surprised at how…well, relaxed Logan looked. It made James smile a little.
It also made him want to ruin it completely. James wanted to touch Logan, touch his knee or his hip or his shoulder or his ear or his lips, wanted to make him stir and watch his eyes flutter open and see James there and just freak the fuck out.
Or maybe not freak out? Maybe Logan had not-so-bright sleepy-morning plans too, and maybe he would just smile and close his eyes again. And maybe then he'd scoot over a little, and James could lay down next to him and get some more sleep, because seriously it was too early to be awake on a Saturday.
Either of these possibilities sounded to James like an excellent way to begin Logan's morning, but one of them would probably end in James not getting the help he wanted. And since James couldn't do percentages like Logan and figure out what his chances were, he decided the best thing to do was just to sit there and wait until his friend woke up.
So he sipped at his orange juice and realized that reading a script in the dark isn't really easy at all. And Kendall wouldn't stop moving, and he had loud weird breathing sounds that James was just glad he didn't have to deal with every night. Carlos mumbled in his sleep and sometimes he kicked the wall hard enough to hurt himself, but that was more entertaining than anything. James kind of wanted to throw something at Kendall, or at least yell at him to shut up.
Adding to the dark and the Kendall noise was the fact that James was getting cold. After his shower he had thrown his tank top and sweatpants on again, which seemed like a good idea at the time because it saved him a trip back to his room, but now his arms were cold. And his hair wasn't completely dry which wasn't helping things, and was Logan really worth all this trouble?
More light was flooding the room now, and even though James could read his script without as much trouble he was still about to at least take a break to blow-dry his hair. Skipping that step had been really stupid. But then Logan moved a little and, his attention caught again, James watched as Logan stretched his legs out, his toes hitting James's leg through the blanket.
Unable to help himself, James reached down and poked Logan's foot, watching his face for any reaction. A corner of Logan's mouth turned down a tiny bit, and then his foot was pushing against James's leg, like he was trying to kick away whatever was blocking him. James smiled, amused in a way that was different from the satisfaction he got from making Logan skittish and uncomfortable while he was awake.
This went on for a short while, James poking Logan and watching Logan fidget and push back in response. It ended with a change in Logan's expression, from a lip quirk to a full-on frown to something confused and adorable. James stopped poking, and without even realizing it held his breath to wait and see what Logan would do next.
Logan turned from his side onto his stomach, then stretched one arm out in front of him and made a wake-up-stretch noise. Then he sighed a little, and curled his legs back up as he rolled onto his side again. Except this time his eyes were open, and James had a grin plastered on his face when those brown eyes finally flicked in his direction. Logan blinked, and then it was like James had touched him with a live wire or a hot poker or one of those other weird metaphors about things you would never actually touch someone with. Intentionally. Probably.
"What the fuck, James?!" Logan yelled, voice hoarse from sleep, flailing as he sat straight up and pushed himself into the far corner of his bed. Kendall made some sort of groan-like sound.
"Good morning," James said, utterly pleased with himself. It was really, really rare to hear Logan say 'fuck,' and while James was always proud when he'd managed to force him into it (Carlos seemed to get a kick out of doing it, too, though his success rate wasn't as high), this time was a little different. James wasn't so much amused as he was interested in seeing what it took to make Logan say it again.
But that would have to wait, because the whole point of sitting around waiting for Logan to wake up hadn't really been to freak him out. That was a nice side benefit, but James had more important things planned for that morning.
"Good morning?" Logan said, breaking James away from his thoughts. "Good morning? Why are you in my room? Why are you in my bed?!" Logan was still looking sleepy and confused, and if James didn't know it would make the situation worse he'd reach over and ruffle his hair.
"Shh, it's early, people are sleeping," James said instead, trying to speak in a soothing voice. He pointed meaningfully over at Kendall.
Logan looked like he was battling with himself for a moment, glancing between Kendall and James, and continuing to be generally adorable. James took a second to contemplate this, because Logan had always been cute, but he hadn't always been hot. Now that he was, though, it made the cuteness more…something. James tried to think of the word, but then Logan was looking at him again, just him this time. The sleepiness was starting to clear from his eyes a little, and James couldn't tell yet what it was being replaced with.
"Why are you in my bed?" Logan asked, slowly.
Ah, James thought. Suspicion.
"You want some orange juice?" James asked, holding out his half-empty glass.
"Do I want some—no!" It seemed like Logan was trying to keep his voice down, but Kendall muttered something and flopped around some more. Logan glanced over at him. "If he wakes up I am totally blaming it on you."
"Meh," James said with a shrug.
They stared at each other for a moment, Logan still as far away from James as he could get while remaining on the bed. If he were being honest, James was actually a little surprised Logan was even still in the room, much less still on the bed. He'd expected to have to chase him down the hallway by now.
"Um…what's that?" Logan asked, nodding and pointing to indicate the papers on James's knee.
He grinned again. "That's what you're helping me with today."
Logan blinked, then shook his head a little. "Wait…is that why you're on my bed?"
James nodded. "I didn't want you to run away."
Logan brought a hand up to rub at his face, and James couldn't tell if the sound he made was a sigh or a chuckle. "James, I'm not going to run away."
"…You might have."
"I told you I would help you, didn't I?" Logan said, hand falling from his face as he looked straight at James, half-smiling.
"And I meant it. I'll help you. But dude, you can't stake out my bed while I'm sleeping, you nearly gave me a heart attack."
"You're cute when you sleep." James blurted it out, but the way Logan turned red almost instantly meant it had been a good idea. "And, you know, there are tons of people out there who would just love to wake up to this face"—he used his free hand to motion at himself—"first thing in the morning. You should consider yourself lucky."
"James," Logan said, and there it was. That slight warning tone, quiet and this time sleepy, and it made James want to push back.
"So you're not going anywhere?" he asked, trying to seem innocent and slightly concerned.
"Not going anywhere," Logan said, shaking his head. "I'm all yours this morning."
James's eyes widened at that, and then Logan's eyes widened, and then Logan was blushing even harder. "I, I mean, um—dammit, you know what I mean!"
The irritated noise Kendall made barely even registered with James, who was trying not to let himself get distracted by Logan's phrasing and embarrassment. "So if you're not going anywhere, does that mean I can go back to sleep for a while? It's still way too early to be up on a Saturday."
"Um, sure, I guess," Logan said with a shrug. "If you want. But remember we have to go to the studio later."
"Yeah, I know. So can I sleep here?"
"What?" Logan asked, eyes widening and face still a lovely shade of red. "You have a bed, James!"
"Yeah, but it's…you know," James said, focusing all of his powers of Logan-persuasion into his expression and voice. "It's so far away. And I'm already here, and it's comfy and I'm cold, Logan. Feel my arms. I'm freezing. And I brought you orange juice."
"You brought yourself orange juice, and I am not feeling your arms get away from me James!"
"Shuddup," Kendall managed, groggy and rough. James paused in his movement across Logan's bed to glance over at him. Kendall was facing away from them, waving a hand in their direction. "Go do your kissy crap somewhere else," he mumbled. James was pretty sure that's what he said, at least.
"'Kissy crap'? Do you see what you did, James!" Logan huffed, pointing at Kendall, who was now sticking his head under his pillow.
James shrugged, then held his arm out again. "It's freezing, Logan. Just feel it."
"No!" Logan darted to the other side of the bed, apparently trying to escape. "If you want my bed just take it, James, whatever, I'm out of—"
He was mostly off of the bed when he was stopped by James's hand on his wrist. Logan froze, and for a second neither one of them said anything.
"See, isn't my hand cold?" James asked, and he was fighting down a grin but whatever happened this was so worth it. "I don't know if these blankets are going to be enough to warm me up."
When James had called 'game over' the night before he had meant it. He had meant it because he needed Logan's help then and he had to leave him alone to get it, but he had also meant it because he was done playing by those rules.
Starting today, touching Logan was no longer off-limits. In fact, if the light tremor that ran through Logan's body was any indication, James was pretty sure it was now a key strategic maneuver.
Although now James didn't know what else to say. He wanted to tug on Logan's wrist, wanted to pull him back into the bed but that probably would have been pushing things way too far, and what James definitely didn't want was a black eye. Especially with his audition coming up.
So instead he waited, breathless, and even from this angle he could see the wheels turning in Logan's mind, how he was trying to react to this situation logically instead of emotionally. James wondered what Logan was fighting; the urge to hit him, to yell at him, or to crawl back into bed with him?
James was so busy watching Logan's face he was startled by the touch on his hand. His eyes shot downward in time to see Logan gently but firmly pry each of James's fingers off of his wrist. James pouted a little as his hand was removed completely.
"Give me your glass," Logan said, his voice soft and a little unsteady, although he was obviously trying to sound no-nonsense.
"What?" James breathed. He didn't know why his own voice was sounding so weird. It wasn't like Logan had said anything remotely scandalous.
"You're not sleeping in my bed with a glass of orange juice. Drink it if you want it, and give me the glass."
James went for a last-ditch effort. "So you're not staying?"
"No." Logan moved the rest of the way off of the bed. He wasn't looking at James, but he held his hand out. "Glass."
James did as he was told, downing the rest of the juice and handing over the empty glass. This particular plan hadn't worked out as well as he would have liked, but at least he was getting some more sleep. "Wake me up in an hour, okay?" he said, settling down under the covers as Logan walked towards the door.
"Yeah," Logan said, and James wasn't sure what tone he was going for but all he sounded was distracted. Hopefully he wouldn't forget and let James oversleep.
After the door closed James snuggled his face into Logan's pillow, pulling the covers up around him as he took a deep breath and let it out slowly. The pillow smelled like Logan, which was weird because Logan didn't really have a smell to speak of. At least not one that James had ever noticed before. He'd have to start paying a little more attention in the future, but for now he was going to enjoy his small victory. He closed his eyes.
"So, what exactly are you doing?"
That was Kendall, and apparently putting his pillow over his head hadn't helped things because he sounded way more awake than he had before.
"Getting an extra hour of sleep," James answered, turning over to face the wall.
"I mean with Logan."
"Um, sleeping in his bed? Logan's not even in here, dude."
"James." Kendall's tone was turning serious, but James really didn't want to discuss this with him. "What's your end game here?"
James thought about saying 'Sleeping,' but then he thought ignoring Kendall might be a more effective strategy than trying to piss him off. Ignoring Kendall had never actually worked in the past, so James wasn't really sure why he thought it would now, but it couldn't hurt to try, right?
"James. Answer me."
"There is no 'end game,' Kendall," James said with an irritated sigh. He was supposed to be enjoying this win, but Kendall never did like it when James won anything. "Not everyone has a master plan all the time like you do. Step 1," he went on, holding up a finger for Kendall to see and mocking more than a little, "get into Logan's bed. Step 2—"
"Get into his pants?"
James's hand dropped back down as his mouth hung open in surprise. He really didn't know what he'd been about to say, but it wasn't that. "Maybe," he managed, not wanting to give Kendall the satisfaction of knowing he'd been caught off-guard. James hoped the way his voice cracked on the word was just his imagination.
"You do know if you hurt him Carlos and I are going to be really fucking pissed at you, right?"
"Hurt him?" James said, his mouth working faster than his brain as usual, and running with the interpretation of that statement most likely to make Kendall shut up. "I don't think I like you speculating about the details of mine and Logan's potential future sex life. If Logan wants to be adventurous—"
"God, James, shut up," Kendall said, sounding vaguely disturbed. James grinned at a mission accomplished. "You know that is not what I meant. If he starts having feelings for you—"
"He won't," James cut in, tired of this subject being brought up. "We're friends."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"You know," James said, finally rolling back over to look at Kendall since apparently there would be no more sleeping this morning, "the friend zone."
Kendall quirked an eyebrow, which looked even funnier than usual because of the angle. "And you know that's complete and utter crap, right?"
"No it's not," James insisted, propping his head up with one hand to look down his nose properly at Kendall. "It was in that one movie, and Lucy even said—"
"Lucy," Kendall interrupted, both eyebrows raised now, "just got out of a relationship, is trying to focus on her music, and probably didn't want to deal with the headache that is you and Carlos competing for a girl just because she's new. She said what she needed to say to get you guys to leave her the hell alone."
"You don't know what you're talking about," James huffed.
"And you've never been in a real relationship," Kendall countered. "But Logan has. Sort of. And do you remember how he and Camille even started?" Kendall sat up, and James let him keep the height advantage because Logan's bed really was comfy.
"What do you mean?" James asked, trying to think back. "Like, how she used to smack him out of nowhere? Except sometimes she'd kiss him instead?"
Kendall nodded. "Well, I was talking more about the kissing part, but yeah. She liked him, and after she forced enough affection on him he started liking her back." James looked at the floor, processing this, but Kendall wasn't done yet. "Logan isn't you, James. He can't separate the physical stuff from the emotional stuff, and if you keep flirting with him all the time and he falls for you and you break his heart I think I'm going to have to kick your ass."
James's eyes shot back up to look at Kendall straight on, an unexpected anger rising in him. What the hell made Kendall think he could lecture James about Logan?
"Don't get pissed at me," Kendall said, a slight smile playing across his features. "I'm not trying to threaten you or anything—"
"Could've fooled me," James muttered.
"I'm not. I just—you know what, just forget it. Forget I said anything, James. You and Logan are big boys, you can figure this out on your own. I just—" He sighed. "Logan burned popcorn yesterday, James."
Confusion overrode James's anger, and he blinked at Kendall. "What does that have to do with anything? And wait a minute, Logan never burns popcorn. He listed that as one of his 'special skills' on those fake resumes we had to make in middle school."
"I know, that's my point!" Kendall said, hand flying out in an exasperated gesture. "It was when you sent that pic of your date."
"Oh. Well, the guy was really hot, Logan probably just got distracted." There was something about that statement James didn't really like, but he was too busy trying to win whatever argument this was with Kendall to worry about it right now.
"I think it was more the message with the picture that distracted him, James."
"Message? What—oh," James said as he remembered. Then he started feeling really uncomfortable, because that whole thing had been…confusing.
Like, really seriously confusing. Because on the one hand, James was sort of flattered that Logan even cared. And on the other, he didn't want to make Logan sad. And on the other, why would it make Logan sad? And on the other, dating guys was new and exciting and James never would have admitted that the whole night, whenever he thought about the possibility that guys might expect or even want sex on the first date it made him all kinds of nervous and maybe just the tiniest bit freaked out.
And that was just way too many hands.
"Look," Kendall was saying, his voice a little softer now, "I know you and Logan have always sort of had your own thing, or at least you have for a long time, and I'm not trying to dictate how you interact, or whatever. And I know you're still not happy that he doesn't want to go public about liking boys—"
"That's his decision," James said quickly. Although James had been planning on telling Logan all about what he was missing out on.
"And I thought at first maybe that's the reason you were doing all of this, trying to force him into being more open, since I know you've always liked being in charge of Logan's romantic life—"
"What are you even talking about?"
"Come on, James, you've been responsible for practically every first date he's ever been on. I always thought it was kind of weird that you never seemed to want to help Carlos as much, but now that I know about that whole pact thing I guess it makes more sense."
"Okay, you've lost me. Can I just go to sleep now?" This was requiring way too much thinking, and James needed to conserve his brain energy to use later when Logan tried changing his mind once James told him what he needed help with.
"I mean—well, it's not important. What is important is for you to try thinking about how you would like it if it wasn't you. If it was just some random guy flirting with Logan constantly, making him flustered and uncomfortable, and not doing any of it because he actually wanted to date him, but just because…it was fun. How would you feel about that?"
And James was thinking about it, so when Kendall asked the question there was no hesitation. "I'd want to kick his ass."
Kendall threw his hands up in the air. "Progress! So James? Don't make me want to kick your ass. Okay?"
James was feeling confused again, but this was still an argument so he ignored it. "You know Kendall, you keep saying you're going to stay out of it and then you keep threatening to not stay out of it."
Kendall blinked a couple times, and James let himself feel a little smug. "Well, you know…it's way too early to be awake on a Saturday."
"Progress!" James said, imitating Kendall but grinning widely. "Now if you'll excuse me I only have so much time left to enjoy napping in Logan's weirdly comfortable bed." He flopped back down on the pillow.
"I know, right?" Kendall said. "I mean, I thought we all had the exact same mattress but Logan's feels way nicer than the others."
"How do you know that?" James asked, eyes narrowed, not sure whether he should be confused or amused or…angry?
Kendall shrugged before falling back on his own pillow. "Sometimes I want to take a nap and there's crap all over my bed and—don't look at me like that," he said, eyebrow up. "You and Carlos switch beds all the time. And you know I've been in both of those, too."
"Yeah, when we first got the beds. Like almost two years ago."
"That's what you think," Kendall said with a smirk. Then he rolled over.
"What?" James asked, eyes wide. "Kendall, what are you talking about? …Kendall?"
* * * * * *
Logan was shaking by the time he got to the kitchen. It made him feel really, really stupid, but he couldn't help it. He set the glass down in the sink as carefully as he could manage before running into the bathroom and locking the door. On mornings where Logan was the first one up and about who wasn't deathly afraid of coffee makers he normally liked to start the coffee, but right now he just couldn't.
He grabbed the edge of the sink to try and steady himself, then caught a glimpse of his reflection in the mirror. Logan did a double-take, staring at it with wide—and surprisingly dark—eyes. He was flushed, his hair was a mess, and he looked—well, he looked like all of the vaguely dirty thoughts he'd been trying to ignore since James had basically asked if they could cuddle in bed together were written plainly across his face.
The shaking got worse.
Logan had been feeling increasingly out of control ever since the kiss, but this was beyond anything he should have to put up with. James had crossed a line, except Logan wasn't sure where that line was or when it had been crossed or even whether he actually minded that it had been.
But that couldn't be right, Logan knew. Because he had told Carlos weeks ago that he was pretty sure he didn't like James. And he'd been trying to confirm that since then, but James had been playing this little game with him and Logan had been allowing it and it was supposed to stop when James finally got a date, but somehow, somehow, things were a million times worse now.
Because Logan couldn't stop thinking about it, about what would have happened if he'd stayed, if he'd given in to that pressure on his wrist and fallen back into the bed. If he'd curled up next to James, breathing him in and watching him from inches away as James drifted back to sleep.
That, at least, was better than the other thoughts, the ones where James wasn't really wanting to sleep at all and after he had Logan back in the bed he held him close, kissing the corner of Logan's mouth until Logan couldn't take it anymore and turned to face him, and then they were a mess of lips and limbs and James's hands were all over Logan, from his ear to his neck to his hip and then back up, under Logan's shirt, and his hand was cold and Logan gasped and James laughed against his mouth and—
Logan turned the water on in the shower, a more difficult task than usual because he couldn't hold his damn hands still. Then he stripped clumsily, trying not to fall over as he got out of his pants and underwear, refusing to look down at himself the whole time. He was hot all over and when he stepped in the shower the water was so cold it stung but he didn't care. He wanted these images gone, he wanted James out of his head, and it was a damn good thing no one else was awake yet because when he was done ridding himself of these things he didn't want to be asked a single question about why the shower had been running for so long.
"You're auditioning for a role?" Logan was more than a little surprised; he never would have guessed this was what James needed help with, but James just nodded.
It was a couple of hours later, and Logan was feeling like himself again. His…personal time in the shower had left him with a newfound sense of clarity. Everything made sense now, and Logan knew he could handle anything James threw at him just by thinking rationally.
Logan was attracted to James. It was as simple as that. James was tall and pretty and yeah, really hot, and there was no point in denying Logan had quite enjoyed their kiss. If Logan had to accept the fact that he was attracted to guys at all then he had to accept that James was a rather fine representation of their gender.
And there was nothing wrong with that. There were no rules against being physically attracted to your best friend. Especially when that best friend insisted on constantly using his pretty face and his perfect body to keep Logan off-balance, which probably was against the rules but Logan's friends always had trouble with rules. Anyway, since they'd known each other James had been a source of occasional frustration for Logan; now he was a source of sexual frustration as well. If Logan had to take an extra shower sometimes or maybe lock himself in his closet every now and again to take care of that frustration then that's what he would do.
No big deal.
Logan had said before he needed to 'normalize' his and James's friendship again, and if this was the new 'normal', then…so be it.
The rest of the early morning had gone relatively smoothly. Logan started the coffee when he got out of the shower, and before long Mrs. Knight wandered in from the hallway, followed not long after by Katie. A cup of coffee and some morning chit-chat later and it was time to wake James up, which Logan was now confident he could actually do.
He'd found James sprawled across his bed like he owned it. With a smile and a shake of his head Logan reached down and jerked the pillow out from under James, then hit him softly with it.
"That's enough beauty sleep, James," Logan said, thumping him again for good measure. "Come on, I made coffee and Mrs. Knight is making breakfast."
The third time James was hit with the pillow he finally reacted, grabbing it out of Logan's hand and whacking him with it instead. "That is not how I wanted to be woken up," he grumbled sleepily.
"Well you should be more specific next time," Logan countered, stepping back until he was out of James's reach. "Are you getting up now, Kendall?" he asked, looking over his shoulder at the sleeping form stretched out in the other bed.
"Go 'way," was the mangled reply.
"Logan, help me up," James whined, turning Logan's attention back towards him. James was holding an arm out, waving it pathetically at Logan.
"No chance," he replied immediately. "I don't want you pulling me into bed with you. Now come on, I thought you wanted me to help you with something this morning?"
James made a noise that was half disappointment and half aggravation, but he started pushing the covers off of him anyway. "I'm coming, I'm coming."
Later, once Carlos finally made his way downstairs to join them for breakfast he'd started bombarding James with questions about his date, and James seemed only too happy to oblige. The one thing Logan wanted to know James had already answered for him the night before, and he would have been perfectly fine not ever hearing any of the other details. But the way James kept giving him pointed looks as he talked about 'how much fun' everything had been led Logan to believe he would have been hearing it all one way or another.
Mrs. Knight, while seeming happy that James had enjoyed himself, also kept glancing over in Logan's direction. He smiled at her every time he noticed, trying to reassure her that yes, he was okay with not going on his own super-fun boy-dates, no, it was not bothering him to hear about James's super-fun boy-date, and especially that no, he did not want to go on a super-fun boy-date with James. Because Logan wasn't sure which thing she was concerned about, so he wanted to cover all three.
Logan did take notice when Carlos asked if James was planning on going out with the guy again, and watched with mild curiosity as James thought about it. "Nah, I don't think so," he finally answered, taking another bite of his oatmeal. Logan smiled, not really surprised, but Carlos gaped at him and demanded to know why, if the evening had been so amazing.
James shrugged, and Logan pretty much knew what he was going to say before he said it. "Because that's just one guy, Carlos. There are so many other guys out there that I haven't gone out with yet. Why deprive them of the pleasure of my company?"
Carlos seemed to consider this before accepting it as a sound argument. Logan just laughed.
Eventually Kendall emerged from the hallway as well, and after a quick shower and a quicker breakfast he said he was going to enjoy his morning off by the pool. Carlos shoveled a few more spoonfuls of cereal into his mouth before hopping up to follow him, and then they were both gone. Katie had already disappeared somewhere, and after Logan and James helped Mrs. Knight clear the dishes she headed out herself to do…mom stuff, or something.
Which left Logan alone with James, but that was okay. Logan could handle this now. He did insist on both of them actually putting real, daytime clothes on before they got into whatever it was James was needing, and now they were back in the living room, sitting on the couch and facing each other.
And James wanted Logan to help him rehearse.
"You're auditioning for a role, and you want me to help you run lines?" Logan asked, trying to understand this situation but having some difficulties.
"Exactly," James said, nodding again. He was smiling, but he actually looked a little nervous to Logan.
"But…don't you have Camille for that sort of thing?"
James's eyes widened ever-so-slightly and then his face fell, and suddenly Logan realized what he'd just said.
"No, no, I didn't mean it like that James, you know I'm over that!" he said hurriedly, feeling sort of terrible. That accidental kiss had been a whole year ago, and Logan had been over it not long after it happened in the first place. "I just mean, she's an actress, and you two are friends and all, so it makes sense—"
"She's busy," James cut in. "You should know that."
"I should?" He barely saw Camille as it was. He never knew what was going on in her life anymore. She hadn't even bothered to tell him when she landed that new role.
"Yeah, you two are—wait, what are you two now?" James asked, looking a little concerned.
"What do you mean? We're friends. I mean, I guess. We haven't really talked much lately."
"Oh." Now James looked a little confused. "But, the day that Lucy moved in—"
"Yeah that," Logan interrupted, not meeting James's eyes. Camille's mysterious in-character appeal was…confusing, and embarrassing in hindsight, and Logan really didn't want to talk about it. "That, um. Is a long story. Which we don't have time for right now."
"…Okay. But, so, you're not like, into her again or anything?"
Not Camille, no. Now super-spy Milla, on the other hand… Logan coughed. "No. Definitely not into Camille at this point in time. But anyway, this whole building is full of actors, so why do you need my help?"
James fidgeted a little, and Logan could see clearly now that he was nervous. It was kind of cute. "Well, I'm not an actor. Not yet, and…I mean, with Camille it's not a big deal, because she is my friend, and she's a good teacher, but with other people…" He shrugged. "And I've been trying to study, or whatever, I've been reading Camille's acting magazines, they're really pretty interesting. And the way she was talking about that movie she's gonna be in it seems like a lot of fun, so when she told me about this part on it—"
"Wait!" Logan nearly shouted, startling James into silence. "Wait…wait just a minute," Logan said more quietly, trying to appear calm. "Are you telling me that this role you're auditioning for is…is on Spy High?"
James gave Logan an apprehensive smile. "Yeah. It's not a big part or anything, but—"
"Oh God," Logan breathed, completely unaware he had said anything. His mind was being taken over by images of James-the-super-spy, long black trenchcoat and dark sunglasses and one of those cool hats Logan didn't know the name of. No wig, James never needed a wig, but he would have an accent. Yes, definitely an accent…and he would be smart and suave but a lone wolf, you know, spies can never get too attached to anyone. Their lives are too dangerous. And spy-James would constantly be in danger, infiltrating secret organizations and retrieving stolen technology and getting his clothes all ripped up taking down bad guys—
Logan was pulled out of his fantasizing by the soft touch of knuckles running down his cheek. "Logan?" a familiar voice said, and when his vision refocused there was James, too close but why was Logan supposed to care again?
"James," he said, voice so close to trembling it should have been embarrassing.
With a worried smile and his hand still touching Logan's face, James chose to ruin the moment entirely by saying, "Dude, you look like you're about to start drooling."
Logan blinked, jumped back on the couch and brought his hand up to rub at his mouth. "I was not!" he shot back, indignant.
James chuckled. "I don't guess you're going to tell me what you were thinking about?"
"You guess right," Logan answered, shaking his head to clear it.
"Hmm, I bet I could guess, though," James continued, voice low.
Logan could feel himself blushing now. Maybe James could guess, maybe he couldn't, but Logan didn't want to find out either way. "Don't we have a scene to rehearse?"
Through James's babbling Logan had gathered that he wanted to do this with someone he was comfortable with, or someone who wouldn't judge his acting, or…something. Whatever the reason, it seemed like it was important to James that Logan be the one to help him.
Although Logan wasn't entirely sure he could make it through a whole scene with James in character as a spy.
"Right," James said, face brightening. "Here." He handed Logan one of the copies of the audition script, and Logan glanced at it to skim through the character descriptions at the beginning. Before he could get very far, James was talking again.
"Okay, so, you're going to be reading the part of the spy Felix, and I'm Oliver, a regular civilian—"
"Wait," Logan said again in mild surprise.
"Yeah I know, these names aren't great, Camille said sometimes they end up changing them before filming starts. I mean, they should at least give the spy dude a cool nickname, like…" James's eyes lit up, and Logan didn't have the heart to interrupt him. "Like 'Diamond.' That would be an awesome spy name! Man, I wish I was auditioning for that part, I'd totally get them to use it."
"So you're not auditioning to play a spy?" Logan asked. That was what he wanted to know anyway.
"Nope, this is just for a small supporting role. As a…non-spy."
"Ah." Relief and disappointment both flooded Logan, and he deftly ignored them both. "So who's playing this Felix guy, then?"
James shrugged. "Camille said she thinks they haven't made a final decision yet. Apparently they're having a lot of trouble casting it."
Logan cocked his head and watched James carefully. "So…why aren't you trying for it? You just said you wished you were."
"Well…" James looked down at the script he was now rolling up between his hands. "I mean, it's a bigger role, I don't really have time for that right now with the band and all. And, you know, they'll want a real actor for that sort of part. They probably have guys in mind already, so... Camille said I should try for this small role, she said it would be perfect for me, and…" He shrugged. "I trust her."
Logan was feeling a good mix of emotions now. He had half a mind to call Camille right this instant and ask her what her problem was, telling James he should ever settle for less than what he wanted. But logically, she was the one in the business, so maybe Logan should trust her too. Plus James was right, a decent role in a movie would take up a lot of time, and they were still working on the new album.
"James," Logan heard himself saying, and at least he managed not to return the earlier gesture and run the back of his hand along James's cheek. James looked up at the sound of his name, and Logan smiled. "You know if you really want that part you should go for it, right? The point of Big Time Rush isn't to hold you back from your dreams. We'd figure something out about the scheduling."
James gave him a brilliant grin, and Logan felt himself smiling back sort of stupidly in response. His heart was pounding insistently, but Logan could deal with that too.
"I can't," James finally said, still smiling. "I mean, Camille has been crazy busy already, and they haven't even started the main filming yet. There's so much promotional stuff to do and everything, and if I was playing the part everyone would be wanting interviews with me and photo shoots and stuff." Logan laughed, but didn't bother saying anything. "But the album is the most important thing right now, no matter what. So yeah. A small role is good. It gets me some exposure, and that's good for the band, too, plus I can see what acting's really all about and if it's as great as Camille says it is. But, um…"
James faltered, and before Logan could react there was a hand brushing lightly against his face again. He tried to hold still, because he could handle this, dammit.
"Thanks, Logan," James said, his smile soft.
"Right, sure, anytime, James," Logan stammered, the pounding in his chest now joined by a distracting but strangely pleasant fluttery feeling. "So, um, maybe later after we've rehearsed some we could switch, y'know, just for fun, so you can at least see what it's like to be a spy."
Logan was looking anywhere but at James while he said this, afraid making eye contact would reveal more than he wanted about his own interest in seeing his friend in that role. Which was totally not why he was suggesting it, of course. This was for James.
"Sounds awesome," James said. "Okay, so do you want to read the script over first, or just dive right in?"
"Um, yeah, let me skim it at least real quick," Logan said, glad for something to focus on. He could feel James watching him as he read, and it didn't take much skimming to realize why.
"James…" he said, very slowly, not looking up from his script.
"Yeah Logan?" There was a slight trepidation in James's voice.
"These characters…" Logan flipped to the next page and scanned it quickly, and yeah, he was definitely right. Another page, and Logan's eyes widened as he caught the stage instructions towards the bottom. "James!" he said again, looking his friend straight in his pretty, guilty, hopeful hazel eyes, "These characters are a gay couple!"
James smiled nonchalantly but his body had tensed, like he was ready to spring after Logan if he decided to bolt.
"Yeah. Is that a problem, Logan?"
And too late, Logan realized that just like that day three years ago James Diamond had sucked him into one more completely terrible idea.