KT (rensahannou) wrote,
KT
rensahannou

[fic, BTR] Too Far From the Start (a.k.a. James & Logan are NOT Dating) - Part 9

Title: Too Far From the Start [Part 9/?] (a.k.a. James & Logan are NOT Dating)
Disclaimer: Still not my boys, although I kind of love them like they were.
Pairings/Characters: James/Logan
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: ~6600 for this part
Warnings: Language, throwaway reference to BT Wedding

Summary: Kendall & Carlos continue to be helpful, while James & Logan have a talk about ~feelings~. Sort of.

Previous chapters: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Author's Notes: Okay. So. There are these fic things going on right now, namely the Harvestfest and Trick or Drabble, and since I am apparently insane I've decided to participate in both.

This means...I might not be able to update this fic as often as I'd like for a while. I am still writing it. There will still be updates! They just might not be as frequent as they have been (honestly I've been going at a much faster pace than usual with this thing so far). So I just wanted to let you guys know, and I hope you can be patient with me ♥ (And if you have time you should definitely participate in the events! They're not just for fic, either~)

Aaaaand thanks again to shisou_eimin for beta-ing ♥






(I am including the banner shisou_eimin made again because I LOVE IT ♥)



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Part 9: The Decision


"Do you think he knows that guy has been flirting with him since we got in here?"

Logan shook his head. "Nope. Well, not any more than he thinks everyone who sees him is flirting with him."

Camille giggled softly. "He's probably too distracted by the clothes."

"Very possible," Logan agreed.

They were in a small boutique not far from the cafe where they'd had brunch. Camille had mentioned a pie and ice cream shop a few blocks down and of course James insisted they go immediately. On their leisurely stroll down the street, though, they kept getting distracted by the small businesses on the way. This was the second clothing store they'd been in, and there had also been a pet store with a weekend adoption fair going on where they played with puppies and kittens for a good half-hour. Logan had also spotted some shop advertising a Halloween sale a little further down that he suspected they would be spending quite a while in.

One of the employees at this shop, an attractive, well-dressed guy who Logan guessed was around 20, had taken an instant interest in James as soon as they walked in. And James was…well, James, so he was basically flirting back unintentionally, because this guy knew stuff about clothes and kept complimenting James on the things he was picking out to try on.

Logan was sort of fascinated by the whole exchange, because it showed James really had no idea what he was doing when it came to guys. If the employee had been a girl James would have had her number already, but with this guy he was just being normally friendly and outgoing. It was an interesting contrast from when James had originally tried to pick up guys, because then he had been coming on too strong and ignoring hints when someone wasn't interested, while today it was the complete opposite. He wasn't turning on any extra charm, but he didn't need to either; the employee's interest only seemed to be getting stronger the more he and James chatted, while James was obviously unaware.

"You really like him, don't you?" Camille asked.

"Hmm?" It took a second for that to sink in, and then Logan turned to her, blinking. "What? Why are you saying that?"

She smiled, but it seemed a little…reserved, almost. "The way you're watching him. Your expression is even dopier than that sales guy's."

Logan raised an eyebrow. "Dopey? You're calling me dopey now?"

Camille shrugged. "I just call it like I see it." She turned her attention back to the hat display they were standing next to before saying nonchalantly, "But you do, don't you?"

"…I don't know," Logan replied, sighing a little and then giving her a half-smile. She glanced up at him, obviously expecting more of an answer. He turned away to fiddle with one of the hats before continuing.

"Look, I've been trying to figure that out for weeks and I just…can't. He's James. He's my best friend. He's fun to hang with when he's not driving me crazy. He's an idiot except when he's sort of brilliant. He makes me do stupid, stupid things and he's…sometimes kind of amazing."

"And he's really hot."

Logan rolled his eyes. "Yes Camille, and he's really hot."

"I really am."

Logan jumped in surprise, then spun around to see James grinning at him, arms full of clothes.

"We weren't talking about you," Logan lied.

"Liar," James replied immediately.

"Everything is not always about you, James."

"It pretty much is. Or at least it should be. Come on, I'm trying stuff on and you guys have to tell me how great I look."

"No we don't," Logan told him, quirking an eyebrow.

Then James turned on his sad-puppy eyes and after a second Camille was chuckling. "Lead the way, James," she said. James grinned again and started walking away, and Camille stepped behind Logan to steer him along with her hands on his shoulders.

"Ouch," Logan said, wincing a little.

"Oh, sorry!" she said immediately, and dropped her hand from his right shoulder. "I totally forgot about that, are you okay?"

"Yeah," he said, nodding. "It mostly just startled me. But you don't have to push me, I'm going."

He felt hands in the middle of his back before Camille pushed hard, sending him forward a few steps. "Then go," she said. Logan turned back to glare at her, then followed James.

They waited outside the dressing room for him and while there the flirty employee came up to them, smiling a little. Logan gave a tentative smile back, and Camille said hi.

"Hi," the guy replied. "So you two aren't shopping today?"

"Nope, we're just here for moral support," Camille answered.

Logan laughed, because James didn't need any sort of support to buy clothes. "He's trying on enough clothes for three people anyway," he added with a smile.

The employee chuckled, then seemed to hesitate for a second. "So…does he belong to either of you?"

There was a moment of silence while Logan tried to process an answer to that question. "Belong?" he finally asked.

"Him," Camille said, and Logan could see her jerk a thumb in his direction.

"What?! He does not!"

"Stop being so in denial, Logan."

"De…denial?! James does not belong to me, he doesn't belong to anyone! He's not a thing."

"It's just a figure of speech," the employee said.

"Exactly," Camille agreed, nodding.

"Well it's a stupid figure of speech," Logan shot back, crossing his arms.

"Oookay, let me rephrase," the employee said. "Would either of you be pissed if I gave him my number?"

"No," Logan said before he gave himself time to think about it. Then he felt a little weird, but he ignored it.

"Really?" That was Camille, sounding disbelieving.

"What, would you care?" he asked. She gave him a very distinct 'You know that's not what I mean' look. He ignored that too, and turned back to the employee. "Go ahead if you want." Given his success rate with asking guys out, it would probably make James's day to get a number from a random cute boy at a clothing store.

Then Logan turned towards the dressing room and asked loudly, "James, did you get lost in there?"

A second later the door opened and a head poked out. "Nope, I was just trying to listen to you guys talk about me."

Everyone was quiet for a moment, and then Camille started laughing. If she were a guy Logan would have smacked her.

Logan was still trying to think of something appropriately scathing to say when James turned to the nameless employee with what was now a definitely intentional flirty smile. "Number?" Logan rolled his eyes and shook his head.

"On the way out," the employee said, returning James's smile. They heard the bell on the shop door ring, and the guy looked back to see more customers walk in. "Well, you guys let me know if you need anything, okay?"

"Oh, definitely," James said. His tone made Logan want to throw his hands up in the air but he settled for another eye-roll.

When the dude left James stepped out of the dressing room to show off his outfit. Camille whistled appreciatively, making James grin. Then he turned to Logan. "Well?"

Logan shrugged. "They're clothes, James."

"Yeah, but how do they look?"

"…Like clothes."

James made a face. "Come on Logan, you have to tell me what I look hot in so I'll know what to wear for our date."

"You sure you don't mean your date with Mr. Thinks People Are Possessions?"

He got identical answering stares from both James and Camille.

"What?" Logan asked, looking from one to the other.

"You're jealous!" they said together.

Logan scoffed. "Jealous of what? The fact that if James wasn't so nosy he would have been totally oblivious until the dude wrote his number on the back of the receipt?" They were staring at him again, but the expressions didn't match this time. "What?"

"So mean," James said. "But it's cute."

"Don't you have more clothes to try on?"

"Yep. Lots more. Don't go anywhere," he said as he slipped back into the dressing room.

As soon as the door was closed Logan was about to let out a heavy sigh when he felt a hand on his wrist. He looked over at Camille, who put a finger to her lips before dragging him away. They didn't go far, but it was far enough that James probably couldn't hear them.

"What's up?" he asked her.

"You are jealous," she said. Her voice sounded a little odd.

"I am not," Logan replied automatically.

"Why are you being so stupidly stubborn over this? You like him, you don't want him to go out with that guy, why won't you just admit it?"

"There's nothing to admit," Logan said, returning the scowl she was giving him. "And what's up with you anyway? You've been acting…weird, today."

Camille stepped back from him. "This isn't about me, Logan. It's about you being stupid, and leading people on, and—" She stopped, and took a breath. "Look, just go tell that guy you don't want him asking James out."

Logan studied Camille for a second. Something was definitely going on with her, but he was starting to get a little pissed. "Why do you keep trying to tell me what to do? You're being worse than Kendall. Even if I did care what's going on with James and his…boutique-boy I wouldn't say anything about it, because in case you forgot I'm trying to not broadcast my sexuality to the world and oh my God what if he knows who we are?"

"What?" Camille sounded concerned, and Logan realized he was starting to panic. In a major way.

"What if he knows, Camille? What if he knows who we are and you basically just told him I have a thing for James and what if he tells people and—oh fuck the restaurant!"

"Logan? Logan are you okay?"

He really, really wasn't. "How could I have been so stupid oh my God I let him hold my hand and kiss my forehead and ask me out in public and anyone could have seen! And what if they took pictures and posted them online? Everyone will know and our fans will hate us and no one will buy the next album and—"

"Logan!" Camille's hands were on his shoulders, and she'd been trying to look him in the eye but Logan couldn't focus on anything. Finally she grabbed his chin and held it, forcing eye contact. "Logan, calm down."

He shook his head rapidly, feeling his heart pound against his chest as he tried to catch his breath. The scenarios were playing out in his mind and this was it, this was going to be the end of BTR and it was his fault, for letting this thing with James come this far.

"Guys?"

"Over here, James," Camille said, but Logan wasn't paying attention. He was trying not to throw up.

"What are you—dude, Logan, what's wrong?"

"Everything!" Logan told him, eyes wide. "Everything is wrong, everything's ruined…"

"He just needs some fresh air," Camille said.

"Okay. Come on, Logan," James said, and then there was an arm around his waist. That didn't really help Logan's state of mind any.

"James get off of me!" he hissed, smacking at the arm.

"You can't leave the store with those clothes on anyway," Camille told him. "I'll take him outside, you can meet us out there."

A few minutes later Logan was leaning forward against a building outside, trying to breathe normally again as Camille rubbed his back soothingly.

"Better now?" she asked him.

"Yes and no," he told her. "I really can't believe I was that stupid. If anyone saw us…"

"Logan." Her tone was stern, and he glanced over at her. "That cafe was full of old people. Well, older people, anyway. I picked it on purpose, you know? I don't think you have to worry about any of your fans seeing you in there."

He turned around to settle his back against the wall and sighed. "I hope you're right. But I can't…I can't do this, Camille. I can't go out with him. I knew that, I've known that forever, but…dammit he makes it hard to remember."

"Logan!"

Logan turned his head to see James hurrying towards them, a worried look on his face. "Hey," Logan said with a smile. "You didn't have to leave, I know you had more clothes to try on."

James shook his head. "I can go back. You're more important than clothes."

"Am I?"

"A little, at least," James answered with a flash of a grin. "So what happened? Did you go crazy with jealousy? Were you having dirty thoughts about me and shop-dude? Er…" James looked down at a piece of paper in his hand. "Nathan?"

"…You stopped to get his number?!"

"Was that bad?" James asked, wide-eyed and innocent.

Logan opened his mouth to say something, but he had no idea what it was so he shut it again.

"I give up," Camille said with a sigh. "You two are impossible, and I've done as much as I can. You're Kendall's problem now."

"I knew he put you up to this," Logan told her, feeling vindicated.

"Does that mean we're going home?" James asked. "Do we still get pie first?"

"It is really good pie," Camille said. "Logan, you okay to go?"

"Yeah, I guess," he answered. "Let's go get some pie."

Much to Logan's relief, the issues of his freak-out and any potential dates weren't brought up again while they were out. And Camille had been right, it was some pretty tasty pie.

When they got back home Logan wanted to head straight to his room so he could have some quiet time alone to just think and figure all of this out, but he should have known better. Because James had told Carlos about asking Logan out, and of course Carlos had told Kendall, and so both of them were waiting in the living room that afternoon.

Right next to a dry-erase board that said 'Ideas for James & Logan's Super-Fun First Date!' at the top and had the numbers one through ten listed down the side.

Carlos was grinning at them like this was the most exciting thing in the world. Kendall was grinning at them like he was about to watch a great show.

Logan silently moved 'Find new friends' higher up on his mental to-do list.


* * * * * *


"I refuse to be a part of this," Logan said as they sat on the couch.

"You're already a part of this," Kendall told him, then pointed at the dry-erase board. "See, your name's up there."

"I don't even know what 'this' is," James said. Although he was a little more interested in finding out than Logan seemed to be.

"This," Kendall explained, "is exactly what it says it is. A brainstorming session for 'Ideas for James & Logan's Super-Fun First Date! Yay!'" He pointed at each word in turn, including the tiny 'Yay!' shoved in the corner.

"I added the 'yay,'" Carlos informed them.

"We don't need to have any brainstorming sessions!" Logan protested.

"Maybe we do," James said tentatively.

"…What?"

Logan was looking at him in confusion, and James tried not to be embarrassed. "Well, I mean…you've never been on a date with a boy before, and…" I've only been on one… "And Kendall and Carlos went to all this trouble, and all."

"We really want to help," Carlos said.

"Because you two are completely hopeless on your own," Kendall added.

"Oh screw you Kendall," Logan said, standing up from the couch. "I don't want any part of this, okay? I haven't even decided whether I'm going on the stupid date!"

James looked up at Logan, eyes wide. "'Stupid date'?"

"That's not—that's not what I meant, James." Logan sighed. "I just—I need to think, okay? And you two need to mind your own damn business."

"This is our business, Logan," Kendall said, in a tone that wasn't exactly friendly. "I've been saying from the beginning this is going to affect things—"

"You think I don't know that?" Logan cut in, obviously getting angry. "You think I can't see how badly this could all end up? But dammit Kendall, you can't force us into anything. Or out of anything, or decide where we're going on our own date! You either trust James and me or you don't, and stop trying to fucking control everything. And stop sending us babysitters, this wasn't any of Camille's business either. Now I'm going to my room, so just—leave me the hell alone for a while."

He turned, fuming, and soon had disappeared into the hallway. James jumped up to follow, but Kendall stopped him.

"Let him go, James."

James looked at Kendall for a second, then started walking again.

"James, he said he wants to be alone…" Carlos said.

"You don't understand," James said, turning back to them. "If I leave him alone he's going to say no." As soon as they'd had a minute alone together, Camille had told him why Logan freaked out in the store.

"Would that be so bad?" Kendall asked. "I mean, it would make things so much simpler if you two just stopped all this."

"I don't want simple," James said, the words flying out of his mouth with no conscious thought behind them. "I want Logan."

Carlos grinned, then glanced at Kendall. "Told you."

"Yeah, yeah, you can stop saying that now," Kendall said, waving a hand at Carlos. "Whatever, James, just give him a minute to cool down. Let him start feeling sorry for himself 'cause no one came after him."

"…Oh. Okay."

"In the meantime let's plan your date!" Carlos said, excited. "Okay, so Kendall wouldn't let me write down anything before you guys got home, but I have some awesome ideas."

———

"Go away, James."

James cracked the door and stuck his head inside. "How'd you know it was me?"

Logan was laying on his bed, staring up at the ceiling with his hands resting on his stomach. "I just figured it was."

"Oh. You really want me to go away?"

"Yes."

After debating with himself for a few seconds James started backing out of the door.

"Wait," Logan said before James had closed it again. He heard a sigh. "Get in here."

James did as he was told, then walked over and sat on the edge of Logan's bed, watching him.

"Are they still brainstorming?" Logan asked after a second.

"They were when I left."

"I wonder what made Carlos change his mind about everything?"

"Oh, I asked him about that," James told him.

"Really?" Logan looked at him for the first time since James had opened the door, but quickly looked away again.

"Yeah," James said with a nod. "He said when he realized how much we like each other he felt bad for standing in our way." That was all Carlos had said, but James figured there was more to it; something must have convinced him he wouldn't be left behind. Or someone.

"Hmm. What did you tell him?"

James reached out to trail fingers along Logan's arm before answering him. "I didn't tell him anything; Kendall started talking again. Something about stip…stipu-somethings."

Logan rolled his eyes. "Stipulations? He mentioned that to me, but I didn't bother asking what the hell he was talking about."

"Yeah, I kind of tuned him out. I think he just doesn't want us to forget he and Carlos exist." Logan let out a soft chuckle, his fingers twitching as James stroked the back of his hand.

"…Do we like each other, James?" Logan asked a moment later, his voice a rough whisper.

The question made James's chest feel tight, made his breath catch in his throat. He played with Logan's fingers instead of answering, and failed to suppress a shudder when Logan turned his hand around so their palms were touching.

"We're best friends, Logan." James pulled his feet up on the bed so he could turn some and hold Logan's hand properly.

"You asked me out on a date, James."

"Camille told me to." Logan looked at him then, not buying his excuse. "What? She did," James said, eyebrows raised in his own defense. "And you said you would think about it. Except…I don't want you to."

"Oh? And why's that?" Logan asked, turning his gaze back up to the ceiling. James looked down at their hands clasped loosely together, Logan's thumb moving slowly against James's forefinger. Just like before, he couldn't help staring. Holding hands with Logan like this was weird, weirder than the idea of kissing him ever had been, but James liked it.

"Because," James finally said, "if you think about it you'll say no. Camille…told me what you said at that store. About how you can't go out with me."

"That's because it's a bad idea."

"It's just one date, Logan," James said, looking at his face now.

"People might recognize us."

"Um, so? That would be awesome. And it's not like they would know we're on a date. We're friends, dude. We hang out all the time anyway."

"They would know if you can't keep your hands to yourself. Or your lips."

There was a slight edge to the words which James didn't at all think was deserved. Even if he did feel kind of bad for being the cause of Logan's freak-out. "I'm sorry about the restaurant, okay?" James said. "I forgot we were in public. I just…really wanted to touch you. And I like holding your hand, Logan." It was way more embarrassing to say it this time than it had been before.

The little smile on Logan's face made it worth it, though. "That's kind of my point. Because I didn't think about it either. But we can't take chances like that, not if we don't want the rumors to start flying."

"I'll do better."

"Yeah, it's not just you I'm worried about."

James grinned at that. "We could just have a date here."

Logan laughed. "Here? As in the Palm Woods, or the apartment?"

"Well, I meant the apartment, but I guess the park could work too."

"Uh yeah, that's a no on both counts."

"Why not?" James asked, pouting some.

"The park's too public, and people go on picnic dates there all the time so it's way too obvious. And if we tried to have a date here we'd just end up making out on the couch again." Logan's face was red by the time he finished talking.

"And…why is that a problem?"

"Because then you'd be telling me it wasn't a real date and try talking me into going out with you again."

"We could forget the whole dating thing and just make out sometimes."

Logan was quiet then. A little too quiet, James thought.

"Hey," James said, squeezing Logan's hand. "That was a joke. Mostly. Stop acting like you're thinking about it. I wanna go out with you." James surprised himself by saying it; normally he would be totally cool with skipping an actual date and going straight to the making-out part.

"Why? Dating is so complicated."

"I don't want simple," James said, echoing his words from earlier. He still didn't know what he meant by them, but something told him they were the truth. "I want you."

Logan looked at him, eyes wide in surprise. James shrugged and smiled.

"…Just one date?"

James nodded. "Just one. It's not like we're getting married or anything."

A second later and Logan was smirking. "Yeah, if I see any white roses I'm running in the other direction."

"Haha, very funny, jerk," James told him, poking him in the ribs with his free hand. "So…is that a yes, then?"

After another moment's silence Logan sighed. "I was thinking—"

"I told you not to do that," James interrupted.

"Shut up, let me finish," Logan said, digging his fingers into the back of James's hand for a second. "I was thinking, I told Kendall he could either trust us or not, but that sort of goes both ways. He and Carlos—what?" Logan asked, as James started giggling.

"'Goes both ways.' Like us," James said, raising his eyebrows suggestively and grinning like the immature teenager he apparently was.

Logan sighed and rolled his eyes. "Kendall and Carlos have obviously put a lot of thought into this themselves, so maybe we need to trust them too. If they think it can work…"

He trailed off, and James tried to stop snickering and interpret what he'd said. "So…you're going to let them plan our date? That'll make Carlos happy; he's really excited about it."

Logan laughed. "That wasn't exactly what I meant, but I guess. And then, if anything goes wrong…" He paused, and looked up at James with an expectant smirk.

James barely had to think about it to know what Logan was getting at. "We can blame Kendall?"

"Exactly," Logan agreed with a grin.

James grinned back. "Scoot over," he said, motioning with his head. Logan looked at him for a second, obviously hesitant, but then he did it anyway. Without letting go of Logan's hand, James turned around and settled on his back next to Logan. "Your bed is really comfortable."

"I know." They laid quietly next to each other for a few minutes, and James could feel himself starting to doze off when Logan spoke again. "Hey are you—nevermind."

"Am I what?" James asked, blinking back the sleepiness.

"Nothing. It's nothing, don't worry about it."

"Tell me." James poked him again.

"I just—okay, it's none of my business, but I was just gonna ask if you were planning on calling that shop guy. But it's nothing, so. I didn't ask."

James thought for a moment. He actually had been planning on it—that guy was cute, and could probably get him some sort of discount—but… "That would be weird, wouldn't it?"

There was no answer at first, but then he felt Logan shrug. "Maybe. Actually I think it would probably make this whole thing a hell of a lot less scary."

Surprised, James turned to look at Logan but all he could see was the side of his face. "You're still scared?"

"I'm terrified, James. You're not?"

Now it was James's turn to shrug. "I don't know, I mean…not like I was yesterday. Now it's more like…the good kind of scary."

Logan chuckled. "See, I don't think there's any such thing."

"You know what's weird?"

"What?"

"I actually kind of like that about you."

"Since when?" Logan asked, surprise in his voice. James could feel him shift a little, and when he glanced over again Logan was looking at him.

"Since always, maybe? I've never really thought about it before. Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Like what?" Logan asked, his expression unchanging.

"Like—oh," James said, a sly smile spreading over his face. "Like you want to kiss me."

"You're so full of it," Logan said, but he was blushing.

"Am I?" James reached up with his free hand to touch Logan's cheek, holding him in place while James moved in closer.

"Hey!" Carlos's voice was muffled through the door, but it was still loud. "Kendall wanted me to find out if you guys are making out in there?"

"Yes!" they both answered right away, then grinned at each other.

"Oh. Kendall, they said yes!" Carlos shouted.

Logan laughed, and James leaned in to kiss him quickly on the mouth. Logan smiled at him as he pulled away. "We should probably get back out there."

"I'm pretty cool with just staying here," James said, squeezing Logan's hand.

"Yeah well, I'd like to have some sort of input on our own date." Logan sat up, prying his hand away from James before pushing him lightly. "Go on, get up."

"Now Kendall says to cut it out and get your asses back out here," Carlos yelled from the other side of the door.

"Tell Kendall to fuck off!" James yelled back.

A pause, then: "Kendall, James says to fuck off!"

Logan was quietly cracking up. "Okay, now we have about 10 seconds before Kendall tells Carlos to drag us out of here, or about 20 seconds before Kendall does it himself. So get up."

"I have a better idea," James said, not giving Logan the chance to respond before grabbing him and pulling him back down.

Logan landed half on top of James, which was exactly what he was going for. "James!" Logan said, indignant and startled, but James just grinned and grabbed the back of his neck, holding him there.

"Oh come on guys, gross," they heard Carlos say, and James glanced over to see him stopping on his way towards the bed. "You knew I was right out there!"

"You didn't have to open the door," James said, pleased at Carlos holding his hands up in front of his face, blocking them from view. James had kind of hoped it would be Kendall walking in on them, but he'd settle for this.

"Kendall told me to come get you!"

Logan managed to pull away from James then and swiftly pushed him off the bed, his body making a loud thunk as it hit the floor. Ignoring his cry of pain, Logan hopped over James and strode towards the open door.

"He's all yours, Carlos," Logan said, then he was gone.

"You two just get weirder all the time," Carlos observed, holding out a hand to help James up.

"Maybe," James admitted as he stood up and brushed himself off. Then he fixed Carlos with a meaningful look. "But he's a really good kisser."

"I'll take your word for it," Carlos said before adding with a grin, "I mean, I haven't kissed him since, like, third grade."

James laughed and returned the grin. "I knew you remembered that! You should mention to him sometime, he'll totally freak out."

"What, why? I mean, I know I wasn't as good a kisser as he thinks you are but—"

"Wait, he said that? That I'm a good kisser?" James asked eagerly, eyes wide. Carlos nodded. "When? When did he say that?"

"Um…when he told me you guys kissed. The first time."

"Ah-HA!" James shouted, triumphant. "I knew he thought so! Logan!" James ran out of the room, intent on throwing this in Logan's face.

"You guys are so weird!" Carlos called after him.


* * * * * *


Half an hour later and they were no closer to figuring out where James and Logan should go on their date. Logan still thought the whole discussion was sort of ridiculous, but he'd realized quickly that James was right—Carlos was really excited about it. Eventually it had hit him: this was Kendall's way of making sure Carlos still felt involved.

So as silly as it was for the four of them to be planning this date together, Logan was okay with it. Especially since he really was intending to blame Kendall if everything went to hell like Logan was still pretty sure it would.

"What was wrong with the movies again?" Carlos asked.

"Because they'll start making out in the theater," Kendall told him. Logan made a face but didn't argue.

"Oh. And…what was wrong with the zoo?"

"We've both been there like three times," Logan sighed.

See, this was the problem. Anything that Carlos suggested (the entire board was filled by this point) had something to disqualify it. Either it was someplace James and Logan had already been, with all the guys or on previous dates, or it was something they had no interest in doing (like a haunted house; Carlos was pretty disappointed when that one was shot down). And if not that, then it was something 'too date-like' that might cause suspicion, or had an atmosphere too conducive to making out. Like the movie theater. Or it was something competitive like bowling or mini-golf and Logan had visions of yelling and throwing things and property damages and…no. Just no.

"I still don't know what was wrong with the beach," James pouted from his seat next to Logan.

"Oh really?" Kendall asked. "You don't see what could possibly be wrong with you two having a super-romantic beach date?"

"No one said anything about a super-romantic anything," Logan said, frowning.

"It's just the beach!" James argued. "No one's going to think anything if they see us there!"

"Carlos," Kendall said, turning to him. They were standing on either side of the dry erase board. "Take a look at our friends here. I want you to use your imagination."

"Okay," Carlos said with a nod, giving James and Logan a scrutinizing look.

"Now, Carlos, imagine they are not sitting on an orange couch in a living room. Imagine, instead, they are sitting on a blanket on the beach."

"Got it."

"And now pretend you don't actually know them. Would you think they were on a date?"

"Oh. Um…oh. Yeah. Probably?"

"What?!" Logan said, incredulous. "We're just sitting here!"

"No," Carlos said, shaking his head. "Like, okay, I know you guys, so I get it, but…"

"When you guys sat down there was like a foot of space between you," Kendall explained. "Now look at you."

Logan did. And then he kind of saw their point, because James was pressed about as close as he could get to Logan without being in his lap. Logan hadn't even noticed. "James!"

"What? What did I do?"

"You are invading my bubble, James."

That made Carlos laugh, while James just stared at Logan with this amused look on his face. "Is that a problem?"

"Well, I mean, not right now, but—we are seriously never going to be able to go in public again." Logan leaned forward and put his face in his hands. "This is hopeless."

"We can just go with you guys and make sure you don't do anything too…couple-y," Carlos suggested.

"We are not a couple!" Logan said, the fear flaring up for a brief moment.

"Haha, you mean like a double date?" James asked, and Logan wasn't looking at him but he could hear the grin.

Carlos apparently thought that was the funniest thing he'd heard all day, while Kendall just gave an impressive eye-roll.

"That could be fun," James continued, and Logan wasn't sure which of his friends' reactions he should copy. "Logan and I haven't been on one of those in a while."

Nothing was said after that, though, because the door opened then and Katie walked in. The guys all stared at her for a second, and Logan could almost feel Kendall trying to decide whether this was something she needed to have any knowledge of.

"Hey, what are you guys up to?" she asked as she walked past the kitchen.

"We're trying to figure out where James and Logan should go on their first date!" Carlos replied happily.

"Carlos!" All three of them had said it, and he looked around at them sheepishly.

"Dude!" Katie said, and they turned their attention back on her. "You two are dating now? When did this happen, and why didn't anyone tell me?"

"We're not dating," Logan clarified. "We…are going on a date."

"Yeah yeah, whatever. You know your fans are going to freak, right?"

"See?!" Logan said, gesturing at Katie before falling back against the couch. And landing on James's arm, which was probably why James had put it there.

"We're counting on them not finding out," Kendall said. "Hence this date-planning meeting. Although…we're having a little trouble coming up with good ideas."

"Hmm." Katie stepped towards the dry erase board, scanning the list. "Uh yeah, these are all pretty terrible," she said, nodding. Carlos whimpered a little, and she turned to him. "Oh, sorry Carlos. They're not bad in general, but you guys have some specific requirements, so none of these will cut it. I mean, ice skating? Seriously? Do you guys want to just carry around signs that say 'hey we're on a date'?"

"That one was mine," Kendall said, sounding grumpy.

Katie shook her head silently before wiping off every idea on the board, and with the face Carlos was making you would have thought someone just stepped on his last corndog. "Marker," she said, holding out her hand. Carlos glanced at Kendall, who nodded, and Carlos handed over the marker with a sigh before retreating to the couch.

"I liked your ideas," James told him.

"Thanks, buddy," Carlos said, attempting a smile.

And then the meeting started all over again.

————

Carlos was quiet for a long time as the discussion went around in circles. Logan didn't even think he was paying any attention, until suddenly he sat straight up in his seat and blurted out "A play!"

They all turned to see him grinning from ear to ear, his whole face lit up. "What?" Kendall asked.

"A play," he repeated. "They can go see a play."

"Why a play?" Logan asked, curious.

"Because," Carlos said, like it was obvious but he still enjoyed getting to explain, "plays have acting, and James likes acting. And Logan likes smart stuff, and plays are smart, right?" Logan blinked at him, but Carlos wasn't done. "And I haven't been to a play since that field trip freshman year but like, they're not as dark as movie theaters, right? So you wouldn't have to worry about the kissing thing as much. And people who go see plays are all, y'know, intellectual and stuff, so they're not going to recognize you. Or care that you're two dudes seeing a play, 'cause they'll just figure you're all intellectual too."

Everyone was quiet for a long moment, until finally Katie spoke. "Good idea, Carlos, I'll put it on the board."

"It's a brilliant idea!" James said. "Isn't it, Logan?"

"I have to admit, I am impressed," Logan said. It actually wasn't a bad idea at all, as long as they could find a play he and James both had an interest in seeing.

"Good job Carlos," Kendall said. He was sitting on the couch too now, having given the meeting over completely to Katie, and he turned to give Carlos a fist-bump.

"Dude," James added, leaning in for one as well.

Carlos looked at Logan, fist held out expectantly. Logan smiled and bumped it, making Carlos grin even bigger as he sat back in his seat, obviously proud of himself.

"Huh. So I'm done here, then?" Katie said.

"Looks like it. Thanks, baby sister," Kendall answered with a smile.

"Sure thing, big brother. So, any other major secrets you guys wanna clue me in on?"

"James has an audition this week," Carlos said.

"Carlos!" James shouted, reaching across Kendall to smack at him.

"Sorry!"

"James has a what?" Katie asked, eyes narrowing dangerously at James.

"Okay, well, I think I'm gonna go finish my homework now," Kendall said, jumping up and hurrying out of the room.

"Yeah uh, me too?" Carlos agreed, following him.

"I think I'll go see if they need any help," Logan said, and started to scoot off the couch when James's arm tightened around his shoulders. "James—"

"Stay," he said, and the fear in his voice was ridiculous but Logan sighed and gave in anyway.

I'll never be safe again, Logan thought. It was terrifying.

----

Part 10

Tags: big time rush, fic, james/logan
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