Disclaimer: Still not my boys, although I kind of love them like they were.
Word Count: ~8600 for this part
Warnings: None I think
Summary: James & Logan can't take the secrecy, Kendall has to know everything about everyone all the time, and Carlos just wants to make sure everyone still loves him best. (They totally do Carlos, don't worry ♥)
Previous chapters: Part 1 | Part 2
Author's Notes: I lied when I said this was going to be around 5 parts. Don't know what I was thinking. We're looking at more like 8, maybe? We'll see.
I've read over this part so many times it's beginning to seem weirdly familiar, and so now I'm wondering if I've seen some of these ideas in other fic. But I've read so much fic in such a relatively short time that I just can't remember :( It's all entered my subconscious and if any of it's leaked its way into this let me know and I'm really sorry!
Also, I would like to thank BTR for continuing to be the most amazing show ever. I was a little worried the latest episode would crush some of my plans for this fic, but with a slight adjustment it actually fits in sort of perfectly. So, Parts 1-3 take place before Big Time Rocker, with the rest continuing sometime after...I think.
Part 3: The Aftermath
The irony of locking himself in his bedroom closet was not lost on Logan. It might have been funny except that it really wasn't funny at all; he was having to face something he'd been putting off for years, something he thought he could put off for a few more months, and instead of actually facing it he was…well, in a closet.
James probably thought it was funny.
Damn him, Logan thought, ignoring the faint sounds of knocking and his own name through the door. This was all James's fault. Right?
Logan wanted to blame him, but really there wasn't anything to blame him for. Logan had agreed to the pact in the first place, Logan had agreed to the kiss that day, and…Logan had not hated the kiss. None of which was actually James's fault.
And James wasn't even the issue here, Logan knew. Not the most important one anyway. The issue was the fact that Logan didn't hate the kiss. It was more like the exact opposite, and what the hell did that mean? And if it meant what Logan thought it meant then what did that mean? What happened now?
James texted to make sure Logan was okay and Logan smiled in spite of himself. Their text conversation left him feeling a little better but still he stayed in the closet, thinking, for a good 20 minutes after James said he was leaving the room. Once Logan realized he was just following his own logic around in circles and not getting anywhere he figured it was time to talk to Mrs. Knight. She might offer a different perspective on things.
Talking to her did help, though not in the way Logan had expected. After he called her on his cell and asked her to meet him in his room—because he did not want to talk to James face-to-face, at all—she mainly just wanted to make sure he was okay and that he knew he had her support. But she wouldn't make any decisions for him. (She did, however, want to know if he 'liked' James. Logan had nearly jumped at the question, because he had refused to follow that potential logic train on his own and he didn't know how she had thought of it herself. Then he remembered that she had sort of walked in on him and James making out and that normally you wouldn't make out with someone unless you liked them. But Logan assured her that no, he and James were just friends, and that seemed to placate her.)
The part of the conversation that actually did help Logan reach a definite decision was what Mrs. Knight said at the end. She told him what she and James had talked about—that if Logan decided he wanted to be romantically involved with guys, it wasn't just his own life that would be affected. The whole band would be.
Logan had known that, but it took hearing it said to make it stick. Two members of Big Time Rush couldn't come out at the same time; it was too much for their fans to handle at once. There was no way James was planning on keeping anything a secret, but that was okay. James being bisexual (because Logan was pretty sure there was also no way he was done with girls forever) might actually give them a bigger fanbase, but if Logan came out too then people would just start assuming they were together, and fans might think they'd been keeping some big secret from them, and it would just get messy.
So that settled that. Even if making out with James had been possibly the most arousing thing Logan had ever experienced, there would be no more kissing boys as long as he was still a member of Big Time Rush.
Even with his decision made Logan still didn't really want to talk to James about it. Or the kiss. Because James would brag about it, he was physically incapable of not bragging about something like that. And Logan did not want to be reminded of his own eager participation in said kiss, because this was James. Occasionally insufferable, stupidly tall, ridiculously good-looking James, and Logan had always entertained the idea that James really wasn't a good kisser at all—maybe his teeth got in the way, or maybe he used too much tongue, or maybe he had excessive spit or…something—but now that hope had been shot all to hell because as it turned out James Diamond was in fact a damn good kisser.
He was also one of Logan's best friends. And that was sort of part of the problem, and led to that train of thought he had been avoiding while locked in his closet. Because Logan already liked James. Logan already loved James. There had never been anything weird about that before, because Logan felt the same way about Kendall and Carlos, too.
But now Logan had kissed James. Like, really kissed him. So now those friendly feelings of like and love were all wrapped up with other feelings: the soft touch of James's fingers on Logan's ear, the taste of James's tongue in Logan's mouth, the pressure of James's fingers on Logan's side…
And Logan didn't like it. It actually kind of pissed him off a little, that James had never stopped to think that maybe kissing was a bad idea because Logan wouldn't be able to shake the memory. And of course James probably wasn't having the same problem at all; he was already thinking about all the other guys he could make out with now, Logan was sure.
At any rate, until Logan had managed to reconcile all his feelings for and about James, avoidance seemed like the best option. At first it was easy; James kept his word and waited in the living room for Logan, texting him when Kendall and Carlos finally got home. Logan just stayed in his room, working on homework until dinnertime. But not looking at James during dinner proved more difficult, especially since Logan could tell that James kept trying to make eye contact. After dinner Logan stayed close to Kendall or Carlos, making sure he and James were never alone together.
All in all Logan thought he did a pretty decent job, especially since Kendall never mentioned anything about him acting weird. But the next day didn't go so well, because awkward tensions are always much more noticeable in a tiny sound booth. They were managing to sing okay, but Logan had to deny several times that something was wrong, while James just kept getting more and more pouty. When they were finally released from the studio Kendall announced he was going to the ice rink and asked who wanted to come with him.
Nobody answered at first. Logan knew if he went, Kendall would probably ask him what the weirdness had been about and Logan didn't trust himself not to spill everything. It wouldn't really be fair to tell Kendall what had happened when he couldn't even bring himself to talk to James about it yet.
So when Kendall looked at him and asked specifically if he wanted to go, Logan avoided eye contact and mumbled something about homework. They didn't even have homework that day, but he was pretty sure no one else actually realized that.
It worked; Kendall turned instead to James. Although this time he didn't bother asking, he just grabbed James and announced they would be back sometime that evening.
If Logan hadn't been so distracted, he would have realized how suspicious it was that Carlos hadn't volunteered to go with Kendall right away. As it was, he and Carlos ended up back at 2J with the place to themselves.
"Wanna play a video game?" Carlos asked almost as soon as they walked in the door.
"Sure," Logan said with a shrug. Apparently Carlos had forgotten about Logan's made-up homework. Which was good, because if he'd remembered Logan would have been stuck in his room pretending to do homework.
"Something simple. It's been a long day," Logan answered as he settled on the couch. Carlos tossed him a controller before sitting down as well.
Logan looked at the TV and saw that Carlos had picked a racing game. That would work. "Perfect," he said with a smile at his friend.
And it was, for a while. Carlos played on Kendall's save file because he had more options unlocked, and spent a good 10 minutes just customizing his car. Logan used his own file, which didn't have as much to choose from but did have everything set up just the way he wanted it. Once they started racing Logan was able to lose himself in the mindless repetition and good-natured trash-talking.
He didn't know what changed. Carlos didn't say anything at all about Logan or James's strange behavior, but after a while Logan could feel a pressure building up inside of him. Maybe it was because Carlos didn't say anything. Carlos just wanted to play video games with his friend. And Logan should just keep playing video games with him and pretend nothing was wrong at all.
Except. This secret Logan was keeping was sort of huge, and the need to talk about it was starting to tear away at him. He shouldn't have been avoiding James, they should have had their talk; or maybe Logan should have gone with Kendall, Kendall would know what to do, but it was too late now and—
"I kissed James," Logan heard himself blurt out without any sort of warning.
There was no response for a second. Logan could hear his own heart pounding in his ears.
Then Carlos said "What?" slowly, carefully, like he was afraid he'd misheard something important and wanted to double-check.
"Yesterday," Logan went on, unable to stop now. "James and I. We…we kissed." And then Carlos's car crashed and burned on the screen.
* * * * * *
"What do you mean, you and Logan kissed?"
Kendall was staring at James like that hadn't been a perfectly understandable statement. They were taking a break on the ice, still in their hockey gear, helmets and all. Since James wasn't really sure how this conversation was going to go he figured it was for the best his face was protected.
He hadn't really meant to tell Kendall about it. But Logan was avoiding him, which James thought was completely ridiculous, and here he was alone with Kendall and…well. It had seemed like a good idea at the time. Except that Kendall seemed to be having trouble with this explanation of his friends' behavior.
And people thought James was dumb.
"Well you see Kendall," he said in his best talking-to-idiots voice and using hand gestures for emphasis, "we were standing there in my room, like how you and I are standing here now, except without the hockey gear. And then I stepped up close to Logan and our faces moved together and—"
"I know what a kiss is, James!" Kendall said, the movement of his eyebrows not quite as impressive under the helmet. "And I really don't need details. Just—why did you and Logan kiss?"
* * * * * *
"James and I are not dating, Carlos," Logan said with a sigh. He had paused the game to avoid any more crashes, then set the controller aside as Carlos asked the question.
"Good," Carlos said, and while the confusion hadn't left his face at least he didn't appear so crestfallen anymore. "Because that would be weird. And James said you weren't going to."
Logan blinked. "Wait, are you talking about freshman year? You remember that?"
"Yeah," Carlos said with a nod. "The day that bully was picking on you. When we talked about how you didn't like girls and James might like guys."
"…Right," Logan said, surprised that Carlos remembered and embarrassed at the reminder of that conversation. "Well, okay, so after I left that day James followed me."
Carlos nodded again. "Right, Kendall thought you were upset so James went to make sure you were okay."
"Yeah. Except that wasn't the only thing, um…he had a plan. About…" Logan took a deep breath. No turning back now. "About how we could both figure out whether we actually liked guys or not. We made a pact."
* * * * * *
"A pact?" Kendall asked, and again he seemed to be having difficulties with the simplest of concepts. James had always thought Kendall was pretty smart, but this conversation was giving him doubts. "What the hell kind of pact involves making out with one of your best friends?"
"The good kind," James shot back, insulted. Then he realized that probably wasn't the most intelligent reply. "I mean, the kind that…well it worked, okay?"
"Yeah, it worked in making Logan avoid you and you two acting all weird today. Dude, how could you think this was a good idea? How could Logan think it was?"
"Because it was," James insisted, and he wanted to get back to playing so he could legitimately knock Kendall down. "And if Logan would just talk to me about it things would go back to normal and everyone would be fine."
"Normal? You've completely changed what's 'normal,' James. This isn't just about you, you know that right? It's not even just about you and Logan. It's—"
"About the band, I know," James cut in. "Your mom said we should all talk about it."
"My mom knows?"
"She…kind of walked in on us."
"Of course she did," Kendall said, turning to bang his head against the wall. James watched him, eyebrows scrunched, until he got it out of his system. "Just…tell me you guys were still fully clothed?"
"What? Dude, we made out, we didn't sleep together." James felt like he should have added an 'ew' after that, like maybe Kendall would have expected it, but he couldn't bring himself to. Logan wasn't 'ew' anymore.
And he wasn't about to tell Kendall that if Mrs. Knight had been a few minutes later they might not have been fully clothed anymore.
"I didn't say you did, there's a whole spectrum of things—whatever," Kendall said, shaking his head. "Anyway, yeah, this affects the band, but it's not even just about that. It's about us, the four of us, and if you and Logan start, like, dating or whatever it's going to—"
"We're not going to start dating," James interrupted him again. "It was just a pact. It's over now." Seriously, why did everyone assume they would date just because both of them were into guys? Not that Logan wasn't hot, or anything, but…they were friends.
"Okay, but—" Kendall paused and closed his eyes for a second. "You know what? Let's just play hockey. We'll talk about this when we get back home."
James thought it was probably the smartest thing Kendall had said since they got there.
* * * * * *
"Aww, you guys made a pact on your own?" Carlos was looking a little pouty now, and Logan tried not to be incredulous.
"I don't think this is a pact you would have wanted in on, Carlos," he said, raising an eyebrow. "The pact was that if either one of us hadn't figured things out by graduation, we would…kiss each other. And then yesterday James decided he didn't want to wait anymore, so…" Logan shrugged, blushing.
"Oh. Well…I guess I get it then, but…you kept it a secret all this time?"
"Not intentionally," Logan tried to explain. Carlos still looked like he felt left out, and it made Logan feel weirdly guilty. "It was just…too embarrassing to talk about."
"Why?" Carlos asked, confused again. "It was a good plan. That's what friends are for, right? To help you figure things out when you can't do it on your own?"
Logan sighed again. "It just was, Carlos. It still is. I mean, I wouldn't even be telling you now except…I don't know. Things are weird now."
"With you and James? You were both out of it today. Oh, and that explains last night too, I guess…"
"Last night?" Now it was Logan's turn to be confused. He really thought he'd been acting perfectly normal the night before.
"Yeah, you were acting like you were mad at James or something. Wouldn't talk to him or look at him or anything. I figured he just did something you didn't like," Carlos explained with a shrug.
"So uh, is James a good kisser?"
The question caught Logan completely off guard and he could feel his face turn red again. He looked at Carlos for a second, trying to figure out why he would even ask something like that, but all he saw was open curiosity.
How is Carlos so much less freaked out by all this than I am? Logan thought to himself.
But he tried to relax, and rolled his eyes. "He's James. What do you think?"
Carlos laughed at that, and relaxing got a little easier. "Well, yeah, he talks big, but you know I always secretly thought maybe he wasn't any good at all. And that's why he never dates the same girl for very long, you know?" Carlos had leaned in and lowered his voice almost conspiratorially during that last part.
Now it was Logan's turn to laugh. "I used to think the same thing!"
"Really?" Carlos asked with a bright smile.
"Yeah," Logan said, and he knew now that talking to Carlos had been exactly what he needed. "I mean, he can't have everything, right? He's got the looks and the smooth-talking and the swagger and all that. Being a crappy kisser would balance it out at least a little."
"Exactly," Carlos agreed, nodding exuberantly. "So?"
Logan let his face fall. "Yeah no, he's actually a really good kisser. No luck there." Damn him, Logan added to himself.
"Oh," Carlos said, sounding a little disappointed but not at all surprised. Then his expression turned thoughtful. "Well, maybe he's bad in bed."
Logan barked out an involuntary laugh, then stared wide-eyed at his friend.
"Wait, don't tell me…" Carlos said slowly, looking back at Logan. "You guys didn't…?"
"No!" Logan nearly shouted, hands moving wildly to thoroughly refute that theory. "God, no! I was just surprised that you would say something like that."
"Oh," Carlos said again, and laughed.
They were on the verge of an awkward silence now, Logan could tell. He grabbed his controller again and hovered his thumb over the pause button. "Ready go to again?" he asked, eyebrow raised competitively.
"You mean are you ready to lose again," Carlos shot back immediately, focusing his attention on the TV screen.
"Bring it, Carlitos," Logan taunted before unpausing the game.
They played a few more rounds and Logan was relaxed again, probably more than he had been since before this whole mess began. This was fine, he could do this…at least until James got back. Then Logan wasn't sure what he was going to do.
Apparently Carlos was wondering the same thing, because halfway through a race he asked, "So you and James are gonna be okay, right?"
"What do you mean?" Logan was stalling for time.
"Well, you said 'things are weird now'. They won't stay weird though, right? I mean, you had the pact, and so you kissed, but you're still best friends and all, right?"
"Of course we are," Logan said immediately, wanting to put any fears Carlos had to rest. It would take more than an uncomfortably-comfortable make-out session to change that. "I'm not mad at him or anything. He just…wants to talk about things and I don't."
"Why not? You're talking about it with me."
Logan rolled his eyes. "Because, Carlos, I didn't make out with you."
"Oh." Carlos was quiet for a moment, but that didn't last. "I still don't get it."
"Because, we kissed, and I liked it, and now I can't even think about James without remembering it, and—" His car was going crooked and Logan tried to correct it, but too late, it was careening off a cliff. "Damn it!" He dropped his controller on the seat next to him.
"So you did like the kiss?" Carlos asked, not looking at Logan. He was still racing, though Logan had no interest in participating anymore.
"Yeah, Carlos, I did," Logan answered, sounding as defeated as he felt. He sank back against the couch cushion.
"Then the pact worked."
Logan sighed. "I guess."
Carlos chuckled a little, and Logan shot him a look that he didn't even see. "Well, dude, if you kissed him and you liked it then that means you are into guys, right? Unless you're just into James," he added, laughing outright.
Logan didn't say anything, but he could feel the heat rising in his face. Why did this subject keep coming up when Logan was trying so hard to pretend it didn't exist in the first place?
"…Logan?" Carlos said after a few silent moments passed, glancing over. "You're…you're not into James, right?"
"You're about to crash again," Logan told him, nodding at the screen. Carlos focused back on the game as Logan tried to figure out how to word this. "And I'm not. At least…I mean, I don't think I am. Because how ridiculous would that be? But how am I supposed to know? Yesterday we were friends. Today we're friends who made out, and it's…it's so embarrassing, Carlos, I can't even tell you how embarrassing it is. Because you weren't there, but man, that kiss…" Logan leaned forward again and covered his face with his hands. "And how am I supposed to know? How do I tell if it was because James is a guy, or just because he's James? I didn't have any weird feelings for him a day ago, so why the hell can't I tell anymore? And how am I ever supposed to look him in the eye again?"
When Logan finally looked up Carlos seemed to be deep in thought. Which was never a good sign.
"I got it!" he shouted, and Logan wondered if that was his cue to leave as fast as he could. But Carlos was grinning at him, and Logan knew it was already too late. "You just need to make out with some more dudes," Carlos said, shoving Logan lightly on the shoulder.
"That's the only way to really tell for sure, duh Logan." Carlos turned in his seat to face Logan, looking rather pleased with himself. "If you want to find out whether you like kissing guys who aren't James, then you have to kiss guys who aren't James."
Logan narrowed his eyes in thought. That actually made a disturbing amount of sense. "You mean…I need a larger sample size."
"Uh…sure? But anyway, I can help you with that. I know tons of guys."
The words along with the expression on Carlos's face made Logan have to hold back a laugh, because he could tell how genuinely he meant it. Logan smiled at his friend. "Thanks for the offer, Carlos, but I think I'm gonna have to pass," he said, amusement in his tone.
"No, really," Carlos insisted. "I know some cool guys. I can totally set you up."
Logan smiled again, then stood up. He decided not to ask if Carlos actually knew whether any of these guys were even gay. "I don't doubt it, buddy. But it doesn't matter, because I already decided I'm not going to be kissing any more guys for a while. Do you want anything to drink?" he asked before heading towards the kitchen.
"Yeah, just…bring me whatever." The exuberance had left Carlos's voice, and Logan watched him through the refrigerator door as he got their drinks. He looked like he was thinking again, and whatever he was thinking wasn't happy.
"Look, if I change my mind," Logan said on his way back to the couch, "I'll definitely take you up on that offer. Okay?" He handed Carlos his drink and sat back in his spot on the couch.
That hadn't seemed to help much. Logan watched Carlos play with the lid on the bottle, and tried to figure out how to make this better. "Want me to text Kendall and see if they're done playing hockey yet?"
Carlos shook his head. "Nah, if they're still playing then James probably hasn't told him what's wrong—oops."
"Wait…wait, do you mean…" Logan jumped up from the couch and pointed a finger at Carlos, who was cowering behind his bottle. "Kendall dragged James off to the rink so he could press him for information? And what, that left me with you? This whole playing video games and getting me to talk about my feelings was a Kendall plan?"
"Sort of?" Carlos offered, peeking out from around his drink. "Kendall didn't think you two would talk if you were together. And I tried asking James what was wrong last night, he wouldn't tell me. So…" Carlos shrugged. "But I didn't make you tell me anything! You said it all on your own!"
He had a point. Logan sighed. "Whatever, it's fine. You were both going to find out soon enough anyway; Mama Knight said we all needed to talk."
Carlos cocked his head at Logan. "How does she know anything about this?"
Yep, Logan was blushing again. "She was putting away laundry and, uh, walked in on us?"
It started with a snicker, but then Carlos was full-out laughing, falling over on the couch and rolling back and forth a bit.
"It's not funny, Carlos!" Logan shouted indignantly.
"No, it's hilarious," he managed between cackles.
"Dude, I will hurt you with this pillow if you don't stop that right now," Logan threatened, grabbing one of the thicker throw pillows from the couch.
"Ooh, Logan's gonna hit me with a pillow, I'm so scared," Carlos teased.
Logan threw the pillow at him and plopped back down on the couch with a huff.
"So," Carlos said, still laying on the couch, "does that mean when the other guys get back we're having a band meeting?"
"I guess," Logan said with a shrug. He was sure Kendall would have a lot to say about all this.
"Do you want to talk to James first?"
"No," Logan answered, shaking his head slightly. He really didn't.
"I think you should anyway."
Logan glanced over at Carlos, eyebrows raised. Carlos was looking up at him, his expression about as serious as Carlos could get. Logan never liked that look.
"If he wants to talk," Carlos said a little slowly, like he was choosing his words carefully, "then you should talk. That's what best friends do. And maybe it'll help you figure out how you feel, y'know? Although I still think kissing other guys is the best way to do that."
Something in his friend's tone caught Logan's attention. "Carlos…" he began, wondering why it was only occurring to him to ask this now, "why is it such a big deal to you how I feel about James? Are you still afraid we're going to start dating? And…why would that even be a problem?" It would be a problem, Logan knew, but he didn't know if Carlos thought so for the same reasons.
"Because it would be weird," Carlos said, looking up at the ceiling.
"That's not an answer, dude." Logan smiled as he said it, trying to sound encouraging.
"I…I don't know, I guess…it's nothing, it's…stupid." Carlos still had the pillow, and he threw it up in the air before catching it again.
"I'm sure it's not stupid, Carlos," Logan said gently. "Come on, look at all the stuff I've been telling you. You can tell me this."
Carlos hugged the pillow to his chest and sat up, but he still wouldn't look exactly at Logan. "It is stupid, because it's really nothing, it's just…you and James already hang out a lot."
Now Logan was confused. "We all hang out a lot, I'm not sure I know what you mean."
"I mean…" Carlos paused, and he had his thinking face on so Logan left him alone for a minute. Then his expression brightened, and he continued. "Okay, this is going to sound really weird, because I've never even had a big brother and James is younger than me, but you know in movies and TV and stuff how the cool big brother is the one who'll hang out and play games with you, and you do all the stupid fun stuff together, and sometimes you get into fights but they never mean anything and you never really want to hurt each other?"
Carlos was clearly expecting a response so Logan nodded, although he had no idea where this was going.
"Okay, but then sometimes, the cool big brother likes to hang out with his cool big brother friends, and even though you know your big brother loves you, and his friends are super-awesome, you still know he'll never really think of you the same way he thinks of them, because doing stupid fun stuff together and sharing a room and giving up the last piece of pie sometimes makes you an awesome little brother, but it doesn't make you one of the cool big brother friends."
And now Logan was feeling a little heartbroken, because that didn't make any sense at all but at the same time it totally did, and how long had Carlos been feeling this way?
"Dude, are you going to cry?"
"No!" Logan said, blinking and wiping at his eyes to make sure. "But Carlos, I had no idea, I—"
"Don't apologize," Carlos interrupted. He was smiling. "That probably was a bad way of explaining it. I still see both of you all the time, but…I don't know, I guess it's just when you and James are hanging out sometimes it seems like…like it's just you and James, and the rest of us not-as-cool-kids can't even touch you."
"Carlos you are totally cooler than me," Logan blurted out without thinking. He was about to recant or modify the statement or something but Carlos's grin stopped him.
"And anyway," Carlos went on, "it's better now that Jo's gone and Kendall's around more." His eyes went wide. "That was a really terrible thing to say, wasn't it?"
Logan laughed. "Maybe, but it's true. I didn't even realize how much I'd missed him till he was back. I mean, not that he ever really went anywhere, but…" Logan shrugged. "And you said not to apologize but I'm sorry if I've been hogging James. I totally didn't realize it."
"Well he's been hogging you too, so there's nothing to be sorry for," Carlos said with another smile. "And so yeah, I mean…if you two started dating it'd be weird in a lot of ways, but I guess mainly…"
"You're afraid you'd be lonely," Logan finished for him.
"I told you it was stupid," Carlos said, and it looked to Logan like he might be blushing a little.
"It's not," Logan told him. "It's actually a completely legitimate worry. Except there's nothing to worry about, because James and I are not gonna start dating."
"Are you sure? You don't even know whether you like him. And you won't kiss other guys to find out. Why won't you?"
Carlos was starting to pout a little again and Logan sighed. "I'll get into that when everyone's here, I don't want to have to repeat it over and over. And I told you, I'm pretty sure I don't like James. It's just that this whole thing is still really new and it's going to take me a while to…normalize our friendship again, I guess. But you have nothing to worry about, Carlos. And anyway, this is James we're talking about. He's probably already got a list of all the guys he wants to ask out now."
That got a chuckle out of Carlos, and Logan felt a little better. "Come on, let's get out of here," he said before hopping off the couch.
"I thought we were having a band meeting?" Carlos asked, but he got up as well.
"If Kendall and James get back and we're not here they can just call us. I don't feel like sitting around waiting for them. Did you want to save your game?" Logan asked, gesturing at the screen.
"What? Oh, no, I'm not supposed to save on Kendall's file."
"Okay." Logan hadn't done anything worth saving on his own file, so he turned the system off. "Where do you want to go?"
"I don't care. Somewhere fun. The pool?"
They were headed towards the door when it opened in front of them. Kendall stepped in, followed by James, and one look at their faces told Logan James had indeed spilled it all. For a second all four boys just stared at each other. Then—
"You told Kendall!" Logan accused, looking at James but pointing a finger at Kendall.
"You told Carlos!" James said at the same time, mirroring Logan's pose.
"You didn't say I couldn't!" they both yelled, now pointing at each other.
"Well, now that we're all on the same page," Kendall said, and Logan glared at him as he closed the apartment door, "I guess it's time to talk about this."
"What's there to talk about?" Logan said, annoyed. There was plenty to talk about, but that didn't mean he'd do it willingly. "James is going to start dating boys, I'm not. There, we talked."
"Wait, what?" James said, and Logan didn't even have time to glance at him before James was grabbing his arm, right above the elbow.
"James, what are you—"
"We need a moment," James said before herding Logan down the hallway and into his and Kendall's bedroom.
Logan was pushed—a little roughly, if you asked him—into his room and turned around to see James closing the door. "What the hell, James—"
"What do you mean you're not going to date guys?" James stalked towards Logan and Logan had to take a couple steps back to keep from being loomed over. Plus he just wasn't sure he wanted to be that close to James yet.
"Exactly what I said."
"Okay, that's a really bad explanation," James said, arms crossed in front of him. Then he uncrossed them again to gesture as he continued. "You can't even try telling me you don't want to. I was there for that kiss, Logan, remember? And I know I'm an amazing kisser and all, but unless you were doing a really good job of pretending I was a girl through that whole thing—"
"No," Logan said. There really was no point in even trying to go that route. Besides not wanting to lie to any of his best friends about this discovery about his sexuality, Logan had very clearly said James's name while they were making out. So there was no way to hide that he was completely aware he was in fact kissing a boy.
"Good, because then I'd be a little insulted."
Logan rolled his eyes, but didn't say anything.
"So what is it then?" James went on. "Did I set the bar too high? You don't want to be disappointed by anyone else? That's it, isn't it? I get it. James Diamond is a tough act to fol—"
"Cut it out!" Logan said, louder than he meant to. He walked over to his bed and sat down. "I'm not going to date guys because both of us can't."
"Why not?" James asked, following Logan to sit next to him.
Logan tried really hard to resist the urge to scoot away but he couldn't. James was sweaty from playing hockey, but the scent of manspray still lingered on him. Logan was smart; he knew smell was linked to memory, and he couldn't risk the most recent memory associated with the smell that was uniquely James.
"Because," Logan said after moving a safer distance away, "it would be bad for the band."
"No it wouldn't."
"Yes it would. And if we were actually having our band meeting, like we were doing before you manhandled me in here, Kendall would agree with me."
"Well I don't care," James said, and Logan looked over at him in surprise. "It's stupid for you to have to hide this."
Logan actually smiled. James didn't really realize what he was saying, but it was nice of him to say it. He was reminded of the day before when James said he'd been sacrificing opportunities to kiss other guys because he was waiting to complete their pact. That really had been sweet…and kind of adorable.
It was also a really good excuse for Logan to use now.
"I don't have to, I choose to," Logan said, forming a plan as he spoke. "I don't date much anyway, it's not like I'm going to be missing out on anything. And this isn't something I'm willing to risk the band on. For now I'm just…okay with my life staying the way it has been."
"Well, if…" James stopped, and he looked confused and unhappy and determined all at once. "If you're not going to start dating guys then I'm not either."
"No, don't do that," Logan said, taken aback. "You were so excited about all this. I never have been. It makes sense for you to be the one to come out first. And besides, you were sacrificing for me, right? Because you misremembered the pact?"
"Yeah, thanks for reminding me how stupid I was," James muttered.
"That's not what I mean. I mean, now it's my turn. Let me sacrifice for you. At least for a little while. We can take this whole thing one step at a time. You're just the one making the first step."
"Second," James corrected. "The first step was the pact, and we did that together."
"Right," Logan conceded. "So…we're agreed, then?"
James sat quietly for a moment, staring at the floor. "I don't like it," he said, and Logan waited since he could tell there was more. "But if…if this is really what you want…"
"It is, James," Logan said, nodding. "It's what I want, and it's what's best for all of us. Trust me."
"Fine," James finally said. Then he looked at Logan, directly at him, and Logan felt his heart start to speed up. "So why have you been avoiding me?"
James gave him a 'dude, please' look and Logan stood up from the bed.
"See, you're doing it again! Did I do something wrong? You said you were okay with kissing me, and I mean, that was a really good kiss and—that's it isn't it!"
Logan heard James jump up and he didn't at all like where this was going.
"You're avoiding me because you're afraid you can't resist me now," James said, voice low in an apparent attempt to be sexy and alluring, but he sounded a little too giddy to pull it off.
"That's ridiculous," Logan said, and it was. Logan wasn't concerned he couldn't resist James.
He was more concerned with whether he would actually want to.
"It's totally not. You can't stop thinking about it, can you? About kissing me."
"Just shut up, James." Logan was starting to get annoyed now. "It's already embarrassing enough, you don't have to rub it in."
"I'm not trying to embarrass you, I—"
"Yes you are!" Logan turned to face James, cheeks hot. "Look, I know it was just a pact, and just a kiss, and just an experiment, and you're over it, but it's confused the hell out of me and so until I figure all this out—"
"You think I'm over it?"
The look on James's face was odd. Logan shook his head to clear his thoughts. "Yes, of course I do, because you are, you've already got the next five guys you want to make out with lined up in your head, don't try to tell me you don't."
"Okay, that is true, but—" James stepped closer to Logan, so quickly Logan didn't have time to back away before he was caught up in it, in the closeness and the smell and the memory— "You think that means I'm over it? I told you Logan, you're a really good kisser. You really think I wouldn't kiss you again in a heartbeat if you'd let me?"
Logan swallowed, trying to fight his memory and the heat radiating from James but he was having some difficulties. If he looked at James's face, at his eyes or his mouth there would be no fighting it at all so Logan kept his gaze squarely on James's shoulder.
"But see? You won't let me," James said, and when he took a step back Logan felt like he could breathe again. "I guess that's because you're the smart one. I mean, I already told Kendall we weren't going to start dating."
"And I told Carlos," Logan said, finding his voice at last. That reminded him of something, and he felt like it was something he needed to tell. He sat down on his bed again before saying, "I also found out why he's so against the idea."
"Because he would feel left out."
Logan's eyebrows shot up. "How did you know that?"
James looked at him like that was a stupid question. "Because he's Carlos. I knew that the first time he asked us about it, back when we made the pact."
"Oh." Well, Logan felt dumb now. "Did you know he already does, though? Feel left out?"
"What? What makes you say that?"
"He told me. Well, in a really weird, round-about way, but…yeah. Apparently he feels like you and I are in some kind of cool kids' club and he's not a member."
James scoffed. "That's ridiculous, Carlos is totally cooler than you."
"That's what I—hey!" Logan said, realizing mid-sentence what he was agreeing with.
A grin flashed across James's face. "But seriously, he does? I don't get it, we're with Carlos all the time."
"Yeah, I mean, me and him share a room so we're together every night. And we're with him at breakfast and at school and at the studio and during interviews and stuff…"
"None of that really counts, James. I didn't realize it until he pointed it out, but you and I do hang out a lot, without Carlos or Kendall." And that was true. Logan had known for a long time that things were a little different with James, but he had had no idea they were spending a noticeably large amount of time together. Like James, he had thought all four of them were together pretty much all the time.
"Well, Kendall was always busy with Jo and all."
"Yeah, but what about Carlos?"
James looked at him for a second, and then his face fell. "We're terrible people, aren't we?"
"We might be. I'm worse, if that makes you feel any better. You're the cool big brother, I'm the friend who steals you away."
"…What?" James asked, clearly lost.
"Nothing," Logan said, shaking his head. "The important thing is that we know now, so we can fix it."
"Right," James said with a nod. "Wait…does that mean I don't get to hang out with you as much?"
Logan considered that, his face scrunched up in thought. "I don't know. But that's probably for the best right now anyway. I think we need to keep a 5-foot distance until we're well past this whole making-out thing."
James blinked. "You want to take out a restraining order on me?"
"Yes James," Logan said dryly. "I'm going to get a court order keeping you away from me. I would just write up a contract for you to sign, but we know how well that works."
James hardly missed a beat. "Hey you let me wear those shoes!"
"Whatever." Logan waved his hand, dismissing the whole subject. "Are we like, done here now? They're going to start thinking we're making out again."
"They probably already started thinking that."
"God, they're going to be thinking that forever now, aren't they? Any time we're alone together."
Logan stood up and started walking towards the door, then suddenly he felt James right behind him. "Hey Logan," James said, leaning down way too close to Logan's ear, "I've told you twice now what a good kisser you are, but you haven't said anything to me."
It took every ounce of willpower Logan had not to shiver at the hot breath passing across his left ear. "You're right, I haven't. Five-foot distance, James," he said, then stepped quickly away and opened his bedroom door.
When he did, Kendall and Carlos spilled into the room, falling on top of each other on the floor.
"Well I guess we already had the band meeting," James said brightly. "Come on Carlos, let's hit the pool."
"Awesome!" Carlos said, disentangling himself from Kendall and hopping up to follow James to their room. "I can tell you about all the guys I know. I was going to help set Logan up, but he said he wasn't interested."
"More for me then. Okay, cool, so you're my wingman. This town won't know what hit it."
Their conversation faded, and Logan looked down at Kendall, still on the floor. He shrugged. "At least you don't have to repeat everything?"
"You're unbelievable," Logan said, reaching down to help Kendall up.
"And you're a liar," Kendall responded, brushing himself off before closing the door again.
"Come again?" Logan raised an eyebrow at his friend.
"You both are. Neither one of you is really okay with this."
"I don't believe we said we were."
"No, you did," Kendall corrected, and Logan didn't feel like reviewing what he could remember of the conversation line by line to try to prove him wrong. "But that's not the point, the point is that you're both doing a better job of fooling each other than you should be, which leads me to believe that you're both too busy trying to fool yourselves to realize it."
"Okay, Kendall, I am not in the mood for a lecture right now so if you want to speak like a normal person—"
"You're not sacrificing anything for him." That shut Logan up. "Or for the band, which is I'm sure what you're telling yourself. I'm not saying you don't have a point, because you do, and that's what our band meeting was supposed to be about. But the reason that's spawning all these other reasons is that you're terrified. Of what it means for you to find out you're not as straight as you were always hoping, and of what you'd have to deal with if that was made public."
A fight was sparking in Logan, but with just him and Kendall in the room there was nothing to kindle it. One look at those annoyingly knowing green eyes and Logan retreated to his bed with a sigh.
"I never said I wasn't scared."
"No, you managed to avoid the subject entirely. Which made it easier for James to do the same thing."
"What?" What did James have to be scared of?
"See, that's what I meant. You know James as well as I do, maybe better, I should really not have to explain this to you."
Logan stared blankly at Kendall. "James wants this, I don't—"
"Think, Logan. What did James say when you told him he was taking the first step alone?"
"He said…" Logan tilted his head as he tried to remember. "He said he was taking the second step, since we had already taken the first step. Toge—oh my God I'm an idiot."
Kendall shrugged at him, eyebrows agreeing silently.
"Why didn't he say anything!" Logan said, trying to keep his voice down because he didn't know if James and Carlos were still in the apartment. "If he didn't want to go through this alone he should have—damn it, James!"
"He didn't want to try and force you. Or he might not even realize it himself. You were both so preoccupied with making it about the other person that you didn't stop to really examine your own feelings."
"I examined my own feelings plenty, thanks."
Kendall rolled his eyes. "Fine, but James didn't. I don't think he found the time between planning his future conquests and worrying about why you were avoiding him."
Logan sighed again and fell back on his bed. "So what am I supposed to do? Change my mind about the whole thing so we can come out at the same time, the rumors can start flying and our fans start hating us?"
"Logan, you do whatever is best for you. Just don't forget that James needs your support more than he lets on."
"I know that," Logan said, irritated that Kendall felt like he needed the reminder.
"I know you know, that's what this whole conversation has been about. Because he knows you're scared too, he just hasn't realized it. Or decided not to bring it up, or—my understanding of James's mind only goes so far." Logan chuckled. "The main thing is we all need to present a united front on this. James needs to know we're behind him 100%, and when it starts getting brought up in interviews we have to know what we're going to say. And when you change your mind, or if you ever start feeling the slightest hint of resentment that James gets to be who he is and you have to hide—"
"I'll tell you guys, don't worry. I'm not going to do anything stupid."
"See, you say that, but I seem to remember you agreeing to a pact that involved making out with your best friend."
"Shut up, it was a good idea. Sort of. Okay, it was a terrible idea, but it worked at least."
"Yeah, you found out you really like kissing James."
Logan reached for his pillow, leaned up a little, and lobbed it at Kendall's head. Kendall caught it with a laugh, and Logan dropped back onto his bed.
"You know," Kendall went on, "I am glad you two have both decided you won't start dating. You have enough drama as it is."
"The next thing I throw won't be so light and fluffy, Kendall."
"That's my cue to take a shower, then. Mom said we're on our own for dinner tonight, so after I get out we'll swing by the pool to grab the dorks and find something to eat. We can work out the details of letting the fans know that BTR has a gay—or bi?"
"Bi," Logan said. "I think. We didn't actually talk about that."
"What about you?"
Logan shrugged. "No idea. Carlos suggested I make out with other guys just to make sure I'm not only into James. And if you laugh I will find a textbook to hit you with."
Kendall chuckled, but Logan pretended not to hear it because he didn't feel like finding a textbook. Or risking the damage to the book that could come from throwing it.
"Anyway, we'll figure out the plan of action. And we'll watch James try to hit on guys, it'll be fun."
Logan smiled. He heard the door open, and said "Hey Kendall?"
"Why the hell do you have to be so wise and knowing all the damn time?"
There was a barely even a pause before he answered. "That's just how I roll."
The door closed before Logan could find something else to throw.
End-of-chaper notes: So I don't think I'm actually going to write the scene where James tries hitting on guys for the first time while the other boys watch and laugh, because I'm not funny enough for it. But I would seriously love to read such a scene, so uh, if anyone wants to take that and run with it that would be completely awesome.