Disclaimer: Still not my boys, although I kind of love them like they were.
Word Count: ~9000 for this part
Summary: Kendall & Carlos have a plan, and Logan should really know better than to tell Kendall he can't do something.
Previous chapters: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Author's Notes: This is the longest chapter yet. You people who are still reading this are seriously amazing. ♥ And another big thanks to shisou_eimin for indulging my request for her opinion before I posted this ♥
ETA: ALSO. I can't believe I forgot to include this to begin with (I've never had something like this to include before!) BUT. shisou_eimin made me an AMAAAAAZING banner for this fic that I want to share with everyone so. Here it is!!!
ISN'T IT AMAZING?! I love it so much ♥♥♥
Part 8: The Plan
"You'd better not be asleep."
Logan didn't answer, hoping for one brief second that silence would actually convince Kendall he was asleep.
"Look, I know you're not asleep. Come on, you need to tell me what's going on. And also why there's a Hawaiian shirt on my bed."
It was Saturday night, after an incredibly awkward recording session at the studio where Logan and James had stayed about as far away from each other as physically possible. Logan had shut himself in his room almost as soon as they walked in the door, claiming he was hurting again and wanted to go to bed early. James hadn't even made it all the way up the apartment, choosing to stay by the pool instead.
Honestly Logan was surprised Kendall had waited this long to barge in and demand answers. Maybe he'd been trying to get them out of James so far?
Logan took a deep breath and let it out quickly, reminding himself Kendall was only being insanely irritating because he cared. "I don't know what you're talking about, Kendall. And the shirt's there because it's yours."
"You know I actually believe you don't know, because there's just so very much I could be talking about. Let's start with the whole making-out-with-James-in-the-middle-of-t
"I already told you that. We were rehearsing a scene." Logan turned his head to look at Kendall but he didn't bother sitting up.
The room was dark except for the desk lamp Kendall had turned on but Logan could see Kendall sitting on his own bed, and he clearly wasn't buying that excuse.
"Carlos showed me the script. We read the whole scene, and I believe the exact wording was 'Felix kisses Oliver. Briefly but with feeling.' That's it. Nowhere did it mention anything about anyone climbing on anyone's lap."
Logan's face was burning. "…Okay, maybe we got a little carried away."
"You got carried away, Logan. You did. James is always away to begin with."
Not responding was essentially the same as agreeing, but Logan couldn't think of anything to say to that. It was true. And kind of funny, but he refused to laugh. A full minute passed in silence, Logan knowing Kendall wasn't done yet.
"So," Kendall eventually said, "what happened after I left here? Carlos said you two seemed fine but then after you went to bed James said he thought you were mad at him. And next thing we know it's like you two are afraid of each other, so…explain that. Just a delayed reaction to the couch-groping, or something else?"
"If you say the word 'groping' again I am going to walk over there, punch you, and then tell your mother you made my shoulder hurt worse."
"Fine. Just answer the question."
"No." It was the truth. Logan had no idea what had happened; he'd spent the time before they left for the studio trying to figure it out. He and James had touched accidentally and it had sent weird tingles all through Logan's body and made his chest tight and it made James look scared, which didn't make sense but at the same time Logan was scared too. He didn't know why. It wasn't like he and James had never touched before. It wasn't like James hadn't been kissing Logan's bare shoulders not 10 minutes before that. But something about it had just been different.
In the studio he could feel panic lurking in his chest every time he looked at James or realized they were standing too close. And not the flustered sort of panic that came with James's recent flirting, either; this was something…bigger. And way scarier.
Things kept changing between the two of them, and maybe that was it. It was just too much change for one day, and their bodies had overloaded. Hopefully it was just a phase?
"…Are you mad at James?"
Logan shook his head against the pillow. It would probably be easier if he were. "No, I'm not."
"Is he mad at you?"
"You'd have to ask him, but I don't think so."
"I'd love to, except no one can find him."
"What?" Logan sat up a little, ignoring the complaint from his shoulder. "What is that supposed to mean?"
"It means he's not in the apartment, he's not at the pool or the park. He won't answer his phone, but he did text me back when I threatened to tell you and Carlos something terrible had happened to him. So I figure he's fine, just off moping somewhere. Does he think you're mad at him?"
Logan blinked at Kendall for a moment, taking all that in. "I don't know why he would."
"Okay, so. You're not mad at each other. Did you have some sort of weird talk about your feelings or something? Are you both just embarrassed?" There was a pause. "You didn't have sex, did you?"
"What? No!" Logan's face was hot again, but he couldn't just let such a stupid question go. "When exactly could that have even happened in the time since you left for the studio?"
"I don't know, I just thought I should ask. You're not offering much information so I'm just trying to rule out possibilities here. So was it the feelings talk, then?"
"Okay, so was it because there needs to be a feelings talk?"
Logan groaned in frustration. He really didn't need this—or any—sort of pseudo-relationship counseling from Kendall Knight. Or anyone. "There are no feelings to talk about, so no."
That was the short version. The actual, correct wording of that statement was more like 'There are no confirmed or even remotely understood feelings that I am willing to talk about with you or James or anyone else so please leave me the fuck alone so I can sleep, thank you and goodnight Kendall.'
There was another pause. "…You sure about that?"
Logan didn't know why he bothered sometimes. He might as well give Kendall a direct link to his brain and be done with it. At least then he wouldn't have to say things out loud.
He took a deep breath. "The truth, Kendall? The truth behind all of this, the one single truth I can tell you is that I'm not sure about a damn thing anymore, and I would guess that neither is James. Can we just leave it at that, please?"
He didn't even bother getting his hopes up for that one, though, and a few seconds later Kendall was opening his big mouth again. "You two should talk."
"I already told you there's nothing to talk about."
"Yeah, okay, that's a big fat lie, but whatever. Don't talk, then. Sit and stare at each other until you have some sort of epiphany. Avoidance isn't going to help this, and what are you afraid of, anyway? Of getting hurt?"
Logan didn't know which part of that statement to focus on, so he chose to simply answer the last question. The other question he couldn't possibly begin to answer.
"No. Okay, we'll pretend I believe that. Are you afraid he's going to say he's in love with you?"
At that Logan snorted a laugh. "Um, no. James takes about 10 seconds to decide he's fallen in love, and since I've known him for over 10 years I think I'm perfectly safe on that front."
There was silence, and in the dim light Logan could feel Kendall's eyes on him more than he could see that they were. He waited, but he was starting to feel a little nervous.
"I had a conversation with James this morning," Kendall finally said. "About you."
Logan wasn't surprised. He wasn't even angry, really. Mostly just curious, but that didn't stop him from being sarcastic. "And what, he told you he's in love with me?"
"No, I did most of the talking. Basically tried to make him really think about how he was treating you, how it might affect you. Told him not to hurt you."
"Told him, or threatened him?"
"Eh, maybe a little of both. But after watching him today I don't think I was really being fair."
Logan's heart jumped. "…What are you talking about?"
"He was a mess when you fell, Logan. Like, really seriously worried."
"You all were. And besides, I was wearing one of his nicest shirts, he was worried about it too."
Logan could see the movement as Kendall shook his head. "It wasn't just the worry, it…I don't know how to explain it. But you can ask Carlos, he noticed it too. He just looked…I don't know, like he was holding himself back?"
"You expect me to know that how? But it was constant, from the time he set you on the couch up until I left, and Carlos said even after that."
"I don't understand what this is supposed to be telling me, Kendall."
"I'm just trying to explain myself, I'm not asking you to interpret. Anyway, it was different at the studio, when you were treating each other like radioactive material. Whenever he looked at you there, he…well, first off it always seemed to be an accident, like he'd forgotten he wasn't supposed to be looking at you, and then there was this weird sort of fear, I guess?"
Logan's heart was beating loud and fast because this time he knew exactly what Kendall meant.
"But it wasn't like he was afraid of you," Kendall went on, and Logan couldn't help wondering if his own expression had been so revealing. "It was like…whatever, I don't know, I didn't catch it enough times to really tell you. But anyway, the points of all this are—"
"Points? As in, more than one?"
"As in three. One, something happened to make you guys afraid to be in the same room together. Two, Carlos is pretty much convinced James has actual, real relationship-type feelings for you and I don't think I'd bet against him. And three, I'm going to tell you the same thing I told James this morning: If you hurt him, Carlos and I are going to be really fucking pissed at you."
Logan's mouth fell open, and after a second he actually had to struggle to sit up so he could gape at Kendall properly.
"You've lost your mind, Kendall."
"No, that would be you and James for going down this road in the first place. I'm just trying to make sure you don't end up in a ditch somewhere along the way."
"We're not on any road! We kissed—"
"Made out. Twice. That we know of, anyway."
"Twice," Logan gritted out between clenched teeth. "But that doesn't—there's no way—I don't even…"
The fight was draining out of Logan fast. His head was spinning, throbbing a little again, missing his pillow so he reunited them.
"You okay?" Kendall asked, concern in his voice.
"Not really. Look, Kendall, I appreciate what you're trying to do, but James and I are just fine."
"You weren't fine at the studio today."
"Okay, so right now maybe we're afraid to even look at each other, but we'll get over it."
"What are you afraid of, Logan?" Kendall asked, gentle and stern at the same time.
Logan sighed, and when he answered his voice sounded small. "Pretty much everything, Kendall."
"Yeah, that's about what I figured," Kendall said with a chuckle. "Okay then, so here's the plan."
"What?" Logan said, panic rising in him immediately. "What plan? No plan. We don't need a plan. Nothing needs to be planned, Kendall!"
"So tomorrow," Kendall went on, clearly ignoring him, "we have the day off. Carlos and I are getting the hell out of here, because you and James are going to work all this crap out, whatever it takes, and we don't want to be anywhere near you while any of that's going on."
Before Logan could even start to protest Kendall was talking again. "These are the options we've decided on. They each have some stipulations, but we can get into all that once you've picked one. Option one, you can drop all of the kissing and flirting and…whatever else has been going on that we don't know about, and go back to just being regular best friends. Option two, you can start dating, and if you want to keep that a secret from the public we'll figure it out. Under no circumstances, however, are you allowed to keep things secret from us. That uh, doesn't mean we want details," he added. "Of any kind. But we do want a clearly defined relationship, because we can't handle all this back-and-forth."
More gaping, but Logan wasn't going to try sitting up again. "I don't even know what to say to any of that. You can't handle it? You and Carlos can't stand not knowing what James and I are to each other? How the hell do you think we feel about it? And why the hell are there only two options?"
"Because if we give you any more you're just going to confuse yourselves again."
Logan really, really wanted to argue about that, but unfortunately Kendall had a valid point. "You can't force us to talk to each other," he said instead. Even as the words were coming out of his mouth he knew how stupid it was to say them.
He didn't need light to know Kendall was smirking. He could practically hear it. "If you say so, Logan."
"I'm going to sleep now," Logan said, trying to keep his voice even. "I'm going to sleep, and I'm going to pretend this was all some sort of crazy dream, and tomorrow I'm going to spend a pleasant day vegging out in front of the TV, wearing my pajamas and eating unhealthy snacks because I'm injured and so it's allowed. Okay? Okay. Goodnight, Kendall."
"Yeah, sure. One more thing, Logan."
"If James ever does tell you he's in love with you, you better trust that he means it. No matter how scary it is, trust that he would never say that to you unless he meant it with everything he has. Because if I ever find out he did try to tell you and you laughed at him, I might have to kick your ass."
Logan's hand had a death-grip on his pillow, and his throat had gone completely dry. His voice was strained when he finally spoke.
"Goodnight, Logan," Kendall replied. He stood up and turned off the desk lamp, then walked out of the room, leaving Logan to try and fend off his thoughts on his own.
The next morning Logan was in the middle of enacting his plan for that day when there was a knock at the apartment door. He looked around helplessly for a second, like someone might magically appear and answer the door for him.
But no one else was there. James had disappeared before anyone even saw him; they only knew he came back at all the night before because Carlos told them. Carlos and Kendall had left right after breakfast, with Carlos giving Logan an encouraging smile before they headed out the door. And Mrs. Knight and Katie were off shopping or having a girls' day or…something.
So Logan was all alone, enjoying having the TV to himself and especially enjoying not having to think about the James issue. Except now he had to hobble up off the couch and over to the door to see who wanted to disturb his lazy Sunday morning.
At this point Logan was sort of playing his injury up a bit. His shoulder still hurt, he had a knot on the back of his head and his ass was bruised but it wasn't anything he couldn't handle. He'd been hurt worse before. Luckily the other muscle soreness had basically disappeared, although if he twisted the wrong way his back would hurt and he would have flashbacks of leaning over James on the couch.
When he opened the door he stood for a second, eyebrows raised in surprise. "Hi, Camille," he said, smiling a little hesitantly, because with Camille you just never knew what to expect.
"Hi Logan!" she replied brightly. "So I have the day off, and I heard you guys did too, so I was wondering if you wanted to hang? I know we haven't seen much of each other lately, and I kinda miss you."
Logan felt his smile relax. "Well, I sort of got hurt yesterday so I was just planning on chilling here. So I'm not sure how much fun I'll be, but you're welcome to stay and be lazy with me if you want."
"Awesome, thanks!" She smiled, but something in it made warning bells go off in Logan's head. Then he noticed that Camille wasn't exactly standing in the middle of the doorway, and her left arm was stretched out to the side.
"And oh hey, look who I found earlier!" she said, dragging an obviously unwilling but oddly silent boy over next to her. Maybe he was just too afraid to protest. "So, Logan, I hear you've been helping James here practice for his audition? I'd love to see him run through the scene, maybe I can offer some advice. You'd be willing to do that, right?"
As Logan looked up at James, meeting his eyes briefly and noting the look of helplessness and apology in them before turning back to stare at Camille's grin, Logan realized what was going on here.
Kendall had brought in reinforcements.
* * * * * *
"I don't think Logan wants to do the scene today Camille, I really think he's in too much pain and all and we should really just leave him alone—"
"Don't be silly James," Camille said. She had pulled James into the apartment and Logan had closed the door after them, but James was keeping an eye on it so he could run as soon as he got the chance. "He doesn't even have to do much work, you're the one who needs to be serious about it. Logan can just sit there and read lines."
"Wouldn't it make more sense for you to do it?" Logan asked, and James nodded fervently.
"Yeah Camille, that's a better idea, Logan's not an ac—"
"Nope, won't work," Camille interrupted, waving the hand that wasn't clamped on James's wrist. "I can't be in character during the scene and give a fair assessment of your performance, James. I need to be an outside observer."
Well he couldn't really argue with that. He hung his head in defeat. "…I'll do it if Logan wants to."
"Of course he wants to, this is for your career, James! Now go get the script and get into costume."
"Costume?" Logan and James asked at the same time.
"Well you can't do the scene with one of you dressed for the pool and the other dressed for bed! Well, if James was dressed for bed that might actually be okay, but either way both of you need to change. Do you have something better to wear? Do we need to go find costumes for you?"
Logan sighed and James could tell he'd given in as well, which surprised James. Maybe Logan was already over whatever had happened the day before?
Well, if Logan was over it James could be, too. "We have clothes," James said before Logan got the chance to. "I picked out outfits when we did the scene before, we'll just wear those again."
"So the shirt was okay?" Logan asked. James looked over at him, surprised again.
"Yeah, it—yeah," he answered, with a tentative smile. "Not a scratch on it. Um…how are you, though? Feeling any better today?"
Logan nodded, giving James a small smile in return. "Yeah. Still glad we're not having any dance practice today, but I'm mostly alright. I was taken pretty good care of yesterday, I guess."
James felt his face heat up, and he kind of wanted to run and hide. But he was caught by Logan's expression, hesitant and with a bit of that fear from before but now with curiosity also mixed in. It was the curiosity that made James stay, staring until Camille clapped her hands.
"Costumes, boys!" she said, all business now. "We don't have all day!"
"I thought we did have all day, though?" Logan asked, fixing her with a teasing smirk.
"Okay, maybe we do, but that doesn't mean I want to stand around all morning while you two make schmoopy faces at each other."
"'Schmoopy faces'?" they asked, again simultaneously.
"At least not until after the scene. Now go!"
James and Logan shared a confused glance, then let themselves be shooed away. In the hallway James paused before going up the stairs. "I'm sorry about this, she sort of ambushed me and…I can stall her if you want to make a run for it."
Logan laughed softly and James felt his heart jump a little at the sound. "It's not your fault. It's not even Camille's fault. This is all Kendall."
"…Huh?" James turned fully to look at Logan, confused.
"Kendall," Logan said with a sigh. "He…gave me this big lecture last night, and he wants the two of us to talk, and he knew we would just keep avoiding each other so I guess this was his answer. I wonder what he told her…"
"Oh! Right, Carlos said a bunch of weird stuff to me too."
Logan raised an eyebrow. "Really? Well, they apparently had a big discussion about us yesterday, so I guess that makes sense. But um…" He looked away, blushing a little. "Maybe we can just pretend nothing happened?"
James was struck by an urge to tilt Logan's face back towards him. His hand was halfway raised when he felt that tingle of fear again and he let it drop. "How can I pretend nothing happened when I don't even know what happened? …What happened, Logan?"
Logan shrugged, and had opened his mouth to say something when they heard Camille shout.
"You guys better not be locking yourselves in your rooms! I can pick locks you know!"
James's eyes widened. "She can?" he whispered to Logan.
"No idea, but Milla can," Logan whispered back. He got this far-away look in his eyes when he said it.
"Dude, you totally have a thing for spies," James said, grinning and shoving Logan's left shoulder lightly.
"I have no idea what you're talking about!" Logan whispered, but he was turning red again. James giggled, and Logan glared at him.
It felt like things were back to normal; James could only hope it would last.
"Hey, I'll bring you those shirts, okay?"
"Okay," Logan nodded. "And the tie?"
"Right," James answered, happy that Logan had remembered. "Oh, and you should show Camille your shoulder, might win you some sympathy points."
"What do I need sympathy points for?" Logan asked, an eyebrow raised.
"When do you ever not need them?"
Logan gaped at him for a second. "Go put your clothes on, Oliver," he said, nodding at the stairs.
"You're so bossy sometimes, Felix," James answered before bounding up to his room.
"It's for your own protection!" Logan called after him, and James laughed.
James returned to the living room to find Camille sitting next to a shirtless Logan, staring at his bruised shoulder with a mixture of awe and sympathy.
"I don't know if I'd call it that, exactly," Logan was saying.
"No, it's totally a badge of honor," Camille told him. "You've suffered for your craft, Logan!"
He laughed. "No, I've suffered for James's craft. I'm no actor."
"You could be," James said as he walked towards the couch. It had been his idea, but seeing them together like that he wasn't sure how he felt about Camille looking at Logan's bruise.
Especially since the sight of it was making James feel guilty again, but more than that it made him remember the feel of Logan's shoulder against his lips. And they were supposed to be pretending nothing happened, right?
Except…what exactly was it that hadn't happened? James was a little confused by all of that, because a lot had happened yesterday.
"Really?" Camille asked, looking up at James in surprise. "Was he good? Oh, great job on your costume, James!"
"Thanks. And Logan was hot," James answered with a grin.
"James," Logan said, and he was using that warning tone again. It sent a little thrill through James.
"Here, put your hot spy clothes on and Camille will agree with me." He handed Logan the shirts and tie.
"Did you bring the little magnetic clasp thing?"
James nodded. "Yeah, but I have no idea how to work it. Maybe Camille will."
"What are you talking about?" she asked.
He handed it over to her while Logan put the shirts on. It took Logan and Camille both to figure the thing out, but soon Logan was looking just as good as he had the day before. The dress shirt was a little wrinkled this time, but that just added to the effect.
"Wow, you weren't kidding, James," Camille said, looking Logan up and down appreciatively while he blushed. "Did you rip that shirt yourself? That's perfect!"
"Yes, thank you, I know," James said, proud of himself. And of Logan. "And wait till you see him in character. Logan should totally play a spy in something."
Logan scoffed, and Camille clapped her hands. "Okay, places boys! Show me whatcha got."
"I thought I just had to sit there and read lines?" Logan asked, looking a little nervous now.
"Aww, come on Logan, you're already all dressed for the part and everything," Camille said encouragingly. "And I can offer better advice if I see James run through the scene seriously. It's not like I'm making you do the kiss."
Logan stared at Camille, who stared back at him. James was wondering whether he needed to try to use his powers of Logan-persuasion or his powers of Camille-persuasion (which, admittedly, were not as fine-tuned) when he could see Logan break.
"You're not allowed to laugh at me," he said with a frown.
"Of course," she answered with a warm smile. "Now, where should I sit?"
They told her to take a seat on the side of the couch along the wall, and then James gave Logan a final look to make sure he was really okay with this. Logan smiled and gave a half-shrug as if to say 'What choice is there?' and then he walked to the doorway that led to the bedrooms.
James wasn't really buying it, but he also wasn't sure what he was allowed to say about it since he was supposed to be pretending something hadn't happened.
He didn't know how they managed to get through the scene. It was different from the day before; Logan was still super-hot and he still made James's heart race when he seemed to have trouble saying some of the more emotional lines. But there was a little less intensity this time. And less touching; just a brief stroke of James's cheek before Logan pulled his hand away like he had done something wrong.
And there was no kiss. James had known better than to hope for that with Camille in the room, but he wasn't sure where Logan stood on the whole kissing issue right now anyway. Maybe Carlos had been right about them needing to talk, although he also wasn't sure what that whole 'two options' thing he was going on about was. Carlos had been pretty tired when he tried explaining it.
"What, no kiss?" Camille said when the scene ended, sounding cheated.
"You said we didn't have to!" Logan shot back.
"That doesn't mean you shouldn't," she replied. "It's important to the scene! And James needs to practice it."
"Yeah well, he can practice it with someone else," Logan said, distantly.
That hurt a little.
"You big sissy," Camille said teasingly, before hopping off the couch and running over to give James a hug where he was still sitting. "You were great, James!"
"Really?" he asked, the hurt forgotten with the praise.
"Yeah. You should run through it a few more times to make sure you're completely comfortable, but if you do that well at the audition they'd be crazy not to give you the part!"
He grinned at her, then Logan was speaking again. "When is the audition, anyway?"
James looked up to see him leaning against the counter. He looked kind of embarrassed, but James didn't know why. "Wednesday."
"Wow, that soon?"
"Yeah," Camille answered. "They're trying to get the last few parts cast quickly. I still don't know what they're going to do about Felix, though."
"They should totally just hire Logan," James said. "I mean, look at him."
"Stop that, James," Logan said, but he couldn't hide a slight smile.
"You were surprisingly good," Camille agreed with a nod. "Think you can do that in front of a casting director?"
He laughed. "Um, no. And James would be better at it anyway."
"That is true," James said, grinning when Logan glared at him.
"If you want to try for it, James, I might be able to get you an audition," Camille said.
James turned to look at her, wide-eyed. "Really?"
She nodded. "Yeah. When I first told you about the Oliver role they had narrowed down the choices for Felix already, but no one can make up their minds. They might be open to new suggestions."
"You should go for it," Logan said.
James thought for a moment, but shook his head. "No. That would be totally awesome, and I'd make a kick-ass spy and all, but you guys would want to kill me for bailing all the time to work on the movie."
Plus James knew he really wasn't good enough for a role like that. Not yet, anyway. Better to try for one he actually had a chance at.
Logan chuckled. "Yeah, that's probably true. And you'll make a kick-ass boyfriend-of-a-spy-who-might-secretly-be-a-s
Now Camille laughed. "What are you talking about?"
"Oh, yeah, Oliver's totally a spy too, we decided this," James explained, face serious. "He just doesn't say anything because he knows it would put Felix in even more danger."
"No, he doesn't say anything because he cares more about his job than his boyfriend," Logan argued.
James scoffed. "Did you see how heartbroken he was when Felix said he had to leave? Felix is the one choosing his career over love."
"It's not just a career! He has the safety of the whole country on his shoulders! Or…something!"
Camille giggled. "You two are adorable."
"Oh, we know," James replied immediately.
"I don't," Logan said, eyebrows scrunched.
"Well you should," James told him. "Because we are."
Logan rolled his eyes. "Are we done here? Can I go back to lounging on the couch in my pajamas now?"
"Nope," Camille said, hopping up from the couch. "We're going out."
"…We are?" Logan looked…apprehensive? James thought that was the right word.
James frowned at Camille. "Where are you going?"
"No, where are we going," she corrected. "I'm taking you guys to brunch."
"Kendall put you up to this, didn't he?" Logan asked her.
Her eyes went wide. "I have no idea what you're talking about, Logan. Are you trying to tell me you think I have to have an ulterior motive to want to spend some time with my two favorite guys? I thought we were all friends, Logan. I've missed you lately, you haven't missed me at all?" Her lip was quivering a little.
"No, I'm sorry, that's not what I meant at all!" Logan said hurriedly. "I've missed hanging out with you, too."
"Good," she said, smile breaking through. "Now go get ready."
"Okay, I'll have to take a shower first, though."
"Well chop chop, then!" She clapped again, and he scurried off to his room.
"Wear something nice!" James called to Logan as he left. Unfortunately James hadn't thought to say it quick enough, so he didn't get to see his expression.
Then he looked up at Camille, in awe of her Logan-handling abilities. "Man, you're impressive."
"Oh, I know," she said, smiling down at him. "Now," she continued as she flopped back on the couch, "you really do need to practice the kiss in that scene. If Logan's too chicken to help you I can try to find someone else. Or I guess I could do it, although I don't know how Logan would feel about that, and you should probably practice with a guy anyway. "
James shook his head. "Thanks for the offer, but I think I should probably hold off on kissing any more friends for a while."
He didn't think about the words as he was saying them, but he noticed Camille looking at him strangely. Then her eyes went wide. "You two totally kissed when you rehearsed that scene before!"
"What?" James said, eyebrows about as high as they could go. "No we didn't. Who told you that?"
"Oh my God, you totally did! You and Logan kissed!"
James was starting to panic now. He looked around, then grabbed Camille's hand and pulled her off the couch. He hurried them into the bathroom, then turned to shut and lock the door.
"…Why are we in the bathroom?" Camille asked, sounding amused.
"Because I don't want Logan to hear us!" he whispered. "Look, if he knows that you know he's going to kill me, so you can't say anything, okay?"
"Is this why you two are being weird with each other? Well, Kendall said you were anyway, you guys don't seem any weirder than usual to me. Mostly just cute. Oh my God do you like him?!"
"Wait," James said, trying very hard to focus on one thing at a time. "Kendall did say something to you?"
"Of course he did, why do you think I hunted you down this morning? I knew something was up when we were hanging out last night, but you wouldn't give me any details. And all Kendall would say is that you and Logan were being weird, and you needed to talk it out but you wouldn't listen to him or Carlos. So he asked for my help, but I would have tried talking to you again anyway. So you kissed! I figured it might have something to do with that scene, I thought if I made you guys do it again I'd find out what went wrong. But you kissed! No wonder things got weird, does Kendall know? Wait a—oh oh was Logan the guy you kissed first, the one you wouldn't tell me about?!"
James was looking down at her, not sure where to start because he had to be very careful with what he said. This would be so much easier if he could just tell Camille everything, like he'd wanted to the night before. He had just told her Logan was helping him rehearse and about him falling and getting hurt, but that was about it. The rest of the evening they'd talked about James's date, and strategies for finding future dates. It had been a nice distraction from worrying about everything with Logan.
There was a knock on the door before James could decide what to say. "Um, is someone in there?" Logan asked. James fiddled with the lock and opened the door, then looked down at a wide-eyed Logan. "Oh, wow, um. Both of you are in here. O…okay…."
"Nothing happened!" James said quickly, racking his brain for some excuse.
"We were talking about boys," Camille said.
"…In the bathroom?" Logan looked skeptical.
"I needed to fix my hair!" James blurted out.
"…Your hair looks exactly the same."
"Well that's because you interrupted me!"
"…Whatever, can I have the bathroom now?" Logan asked, and James didn't know what that new expression was.
"Oh, sure," James said. He and Camille walked out of the bathroom. "Hey, where's my shirt?" James asked, turning back to look at Logan.
"On my bed," he answered. "Go get it if you want it." Then he closed the door.
"So," Camille said once they were out of the kitchen, "do you like him or not?"
The question made James nervous, although it never had when he was asked before. "He's my friend."
"That's not an answer."
"I have to go get ready!" James said, scurrying away to the hall. He'd already taken a shower before he snuck out of the apartment that morning.
"I'll be here when you get back!" Camille called after him.
James made sure to take a really long time getting ready.
* * * * * *
Brunch was a blast. Having Camille with them dissipated any sort of weird tension between James and Logan, because whenever they started looking awkwardly at each other she would either change the subject or just try to embarrass them into getting irritated.
Well, embarrass Logan into getting irritated, anyway. And then she would laugh, or James would say something ridiculous, and everything would be okay again.
He could have done without the constant pointing out of hot guys, though. Especially since the first time James commented on a guy and Camille agreed, James followed it up with "…But Logan's hotter." And then, of course, it became a thing.
So now it was 'Oh that guy's hot!', pause, '…But Logan's hotter.' Like every five minutes. And they were both doing it. And giggling about it.
It was slowly driving Logan over the edge, and so no one could have blamed him for putting a stop to the game in probably the stupidest way possible.
"Oh, look at him," Camille said, nodding out the window they were seated next to.
"Who?" James asked, all attentive focus as he tried to spot whomever Camille had seen.
"Him, right there. The suit, with that bright green tie."
"Hmm…oh!" James said, apparently finding the guy. "Yep, he's pretty hot."
Logan made a cursory glance at the window, without even really seeing anything. And then he said, "But James is hotter."
And then he realized what he'd said.
And then he thought he might die.
James started coughing; apparently he'd been eating or drinking something and was choking a little on it. That distracted them all for a second, as they waited to make sure James was okay. Then he was staring at Logan, wide-eyed, and Logan could see the grin forming just beneath the surface.
"Shut up," Logan said, face burning.
"Oh I didn't say anything," James replied, shaking his head slightly.
"But I'm going to!" Camille said, surprise and excitement in her voice. Logan didn't even dare to look at her, he just pushed his plate away and buried his face in his arms on the table. Then he felt someone poking him. "Aww, don't hide from your feelings, Logan," Camille teased. "James totally likes you anyway."
"I never said that!" James said, a little too loudly, and Logan lifted his head to shush him.
"We're in a restaurant, keep it down."
"I never said that!" he repeated to Logan, voice quieter this time.
"Can we just drop this entire conversation and go back to talking about Camille's job or, you know, just eat our food?"
"Nope," Camille said. "Something is up with you two, and I want to know what it is. Or I'm going to start bugging people at other tables and asking them which one of you is hotter. You know, for science. You like science, Logan."
"Kendall totally put you up to this," Logan accused with a glare.
She grinned. "Tell me what's going on, and I'll tell you if he did."
Logan sighed, and thought about it. Camille was their friend. He could trust her with this, he knew. And he had a feeling not trusting her would result in regret, misery, and possibly pain, though who exactly would be in pain was not easy to determine.
"You won't tell anyone, right?" he asked, looking her straight in her pretty brown eyes.
She gave him a sincere smile. "Of course not, Logan. Not even Kendall."
"Kendall already knows everything anyway," James muttered. "Well…almost everything."
"He does? So he knows about—" She stopped in mid-sentence, eyes going wide.
"…Knows about what?" Logan asked, suspicious.
"Um, she uh, knows we kissed," James said, voice full of guilt. "For the scene," he added hurriedly, and Logan at least appreciated the clarification.
"Sorry Logan, he didn't really tell me, I just sort of figured it out," Camille explained.
Another sigh. "Whatever, it's fine, we would have gotten to that anyway. And yeah, Kendall knows. But uh, if we're gonna do this maybe we should start at the beginning."
"You mean…?" James asked, and Logan looked over to see him blinking in surprise.
Logan nodded. "If that's okay with you?" James shrugged, so Logan continued. "The beginning. So, freshman year…James and I made a pact."
"You got caught again?" Camille asked, eyes wide. She was doing a good job of not giggling about everything. Not a perfect job, but a respectable one.
"And that's why Logan fell," James said, looking guilty once more. "Kendall yelled and it startled us, and when Logan tried to get away from me he fell."
"Oh, wow! So uh, that bruise is a badge of a different sort of honor, huh?"
Logan had no idea what that was supposed to mean but he was pretty sure Camille was trying to be dirty, so he just rolled his eyes.
"Anyway, now you're pretty much caught up, except for…" Logan went quiet, and glanced up at James. There would be no talking about the shoulder-kissing, and Logan wanted to convey that fact silently if he could.
But the other thing, the weird touch that had caused all the awkwardness…maybe they should tell her about that?
"Except what?" Camille prodded. "Come on, you two can't hold out on me now!"
"I don't know how to say it, um…James came to check on me before we went to the studio, and we were just sitting there talking, and our hands kind of brushed together?"
"Yeah, like this," James said, apparently with the program. He reached his hand out across the table and waited for Camille to do the same, then ran his palm lightly against hers. "Like that."
She looked at them with an eyebrow raised. "And…?"
"I don't know!" Logan said. "It wasn't like a normal touch."
"It was weird," James said. "It was…scary."
Now she was looking at them like they were crazy. "Scary? Logan?"
Logan shrugged. "I don't understand it either. But it was."
"Like…" James said, his voice soft. Logan could tell even without looking—because he totally wasn't going to look at James while they were talking about this—that he was thinking hard. "Like it was just too much. Too much…feeling. Like there was too much possible. Or…something."
Logan nodded, impressed that James had been able to put that into words. Logan had been trying to since it happened. "What he said."
The look on Camille's face was getting stranger and stranger. "…What?" they finally both said.
"I don't know, I kind of…am starting to think neither one of you has actually ever had a crush on someone before. Which is upsetting to me," she added, with a pointed, hurt look at Logan.
"What?!" Logan said immediately. "No, I totally did like you, Camille, you know that!"
"Did," she repeated dryly. "Because now you just have a crush on super-spy Milla. And James."
James giggled, and Logan shot him a hard glare. "Shut up, James. And what does having a crush have to do with anything anyway?"
Camille shrugged. "That's just what it sounds like to me, like you two totally have a thing for each other and it just caught you off-guard. I don't know why that would be scary, but you are teenage boys, so. Maybe that's explanation enough."
Logan thought about this. That answer seemed way too simple, but it was currently the only one they had.
"Have you guys touched since then?"
"Not really," James answered. "Just that little bit when we were doing the scene."
"And you shoved me in the hallway," Logan reminded him.
"That doesn't really count though, I touched your shirt."
"Whatever," Logan said. "What's your point, Camille?"
"You should touch now. See what happens."
"What?" Logan asked, immediately embarrassed. "No."
But he'd made the mistake of leaving his hands on the table, and suddenly there were fingers touching the back of one, tentatively. A tingle like a spark of electricity shot through Logan's body at the contact and he watched, mesmerized, as James ran fingers across his knuckles. Logan's breath caught in his throat as they moved to his palm, sliding in slowly until James was holding his hand, their fingers interlaced.
Logan stared at their hands, then looked up at James to see him staring down at their hands. "Weird," James breathed, unmoving.
Camille giggled and they both turned to look at her, startled, but neither one said anything.
"You two are ridiculous," she said, raising an eyebrow. "Cute, but so silly. I've never seen anyone look so spacey over holding hands before, and I work in film and television!"
Logan scowled and tried to pull his hand away but James tightened his grip. Logan looked up at him, questioning.
"I like it," James said, voice at a normal volume but with a whisper-like quality to it. "You don't like it?"
And that just sent more heat all through Logan. He might have shuddered a little, too. "We're in public, James." Hey, his voice also had that weird quality.
"Right," James said, but he was looking back at their hands again. Two seconds later and he was blinking like he'd just come out of a trance. "Oh, right!" He let go of Logan's hand, and blushed.
If nothing else, Logan sure did like to see James blush.
"Oh God, you two," Camille said, and Logan caught her smiling while she rolled her eyes. "Just ask him out already."
"What? No!" Logan said, aghast.
"Wait, who are you talking to?" James asked.
"Both of you. One of you just do it."
"He'll say no," James said, and then he was turned in his seat to look Logan straight in the eyes. Logan steeled himself to not look away, but damn James was pretty. And looking way too earnest right now. "Logan, will you go out on a date with me?"
"No," Logan said. It only took him a few seconds to work up to it.
James's face only fell a little, and Logan wondered what that meant. "See?" James asked, glancing back at Camille. "He said no."
"Ask him again. Logan, you should say yes this time."
Logan turned to her in a huff. "Camille, I don't care what sort of responsibility Kendall handed off to you, you don't get to decide this for us! And Kendall doesn't either, with his 'These are your two options' crap."
"What are you talking about?" she asked him, bemusement in her tone.
"Oh, Kendall told you about the options thing?" James asked, making Logan glance back at him again.
"Did Carlos tell you?"
He nodded. "Yeah, but it didn't make any sense to me. He was mostly asleep when I got home."
"Oh great, so I get to explain this stupidity to you." Logan sighed. "Okay, apparently Kendall and Carlos have decided they don't like whatever's going on with us right now."
"Well duh, we already knew that, although I think Carlos said something about not caring if we date now?"
"…Really?" Logan asked, taken aback. Although given that one of their options was dating, that shouldn't be surprising.
"Yeah, but I couldn't get an explanation out of him."
"Oh. Well, anyway, Kendall said they came up with two options for us to choose from." He hesitated.
"…And they are?" James finally asked, eyebrows raised.
"Really stupid, is what they are," Logan muttered. Then he took a deep breath. "He says we can either be regular, normal friends again or we can start dating, like officially. But we have to tell them either way."
Camille laughed. "You guys are so stupid." Logan ignored her.
James furrowed his eyebrows. "But…you don't want people to know you like guys."
Logan shrugged. "He said we could keep it a secret from fans and stuff. But I don't think—"
"Oh, awesome!" James interrupted, face lighting up. "Then we'll pick that one. So you will go out with me, right?"
It probably wasn't really nice of Logan to groan in frustration the way he did, but oh well. "No, James!"
And now James's face really fell, and Logan felt sort of horrible. "Look, James, I'm not trying to hurt your feelings—"
"You're not asking him right," Camille interrupted. "You're getting too excited, James. Stop and think."
Logan turned to give her the harshest glare he could muster, and saw her looking back at both of them with a coolly controlling expression. It reminded him a little of Kendall, and a little of Milla, and it was a lot scary.
"I'm not? I am?" James asked, sounding bewildered. "Dammit, why am I so bad at asking out boys?!"
And then Camille broke into a full-out laugh, catching the attention of other diners halfway across the restaurant.
"Camille!" Logan hissed at her. "Stop it, you're being disruptive!"
She covered her mouth until she had calmed down enough to contain the laughter. "I have no idea, James," she finally said, "but I'm not talking about asking out a boy. I'm talking about asking out Logan."
"Why thank you, Camille," Logan said with as much disbelief and sarcasm he could shove into those four words. She was actually acting way too much like Kendall.
"You know what I meant," Camille replied, and scooted her chair away from the table. "Look, I'm going to the restroom. Just think, James. You know him better than anyone, right?"
"Well, I guess, but—"
She stopped him with a pat on the shoulder as she circled the table. "Then you'll be just fine."
As she left, Logan could see James thinking. "James, it doesn't matter how many times—"
"Shh," James said, holding up a finger to Logan. For whatever reason, that actually made him shut up. James sat in silent thought for a moment longer.
"Logan," he finally said, and his tone was different. Serious, with an edge of something that made Logan's heart flutter. Longing? No, that would be silly. Right?
And then James was scooting his chair a little closer, and once again Logan had been stupid in leaving his hands exposed, because James was touching one of them again. He wasn't as hesitant this time, but he still moved his fingers slow and soft against Logan's until they were settled together like before.
The flutter in Logan's heart got stronger, but he felt that now-familiar fear start to creep back in. And then his face was being turned, so gently, until he was looking at James. And, well.
James was really fucking pretty.
"Hey Logan," James said, and he was smiling just a little, just enough to make Logan want to smile back except he was more focused on trying to breathe. James was rubbing his thumb along the back of Logan's hand and it was sending constant tingles up Logan's arm.
He couldn't say anything. He opened his mouth and tried, but nothing came out, so he just sort of left his jaw hanging stupidly open as James just stared at him.
"Let me take you out on a date," James finally said in that same serious tone. "Just once. We'll have fun. Please, Logan."
Logan bit his lip. Stupid Camille, making James remember that oh hey, Logan can't actually say no to him for very long. Not if he really wants something.
And apparently, right now he really wanted Logan.
Logan took in a slow, deep breath, gathering up his ridiculously low amount of willpower so that he could at least say this without his voice cracking.
"I…will think about it. James."
Logan watched the smile widen into a soft grin, and then James's free hand was holding Logan in place while James leaned up to kiss his forehead.
"Was that really necessary?" Logan asked, trying to ignore the burning in his cheeks.
"Totally and completely," James replied, voice back to normal. He released Logan's hand, trailing fingers along his arm as he moved away and making Logan shudder. "Can I text Carlos and tell him?"
The excitement in the request made it hard to deny. "Whatever, go ahead, he's going to find out anyway."
"Awesome," James said, taking out his phone and typing away.
Logan watched him, feeling a smile pulling at his lips. James was a walking Terrible Idea factory, but he was just so damn cute sometimes. And definitely way hotter than that businessman with the green tie, whatever the guy had looked like.
Figuring one more stupid move wouldn't hurt, Logan reached up and poked James in the cheek, smushing his smile a bit before withdrawing the hand. James glanced away from his phone, eyebrows raised, to find Logan looking innocently at him.
And then something passed over James's face, and Logan knew he was trying to decide how much he could get away with while they were in the restaurant like this. Logan was opening his mouth to stop that train of thought in its tracks when Camille returned to the table and Logan was safe. Well. Safer, anyway.
Except that saying 'I'll think about it' was as good as a yes, and now that he'd said yes to a date with James Logan would never really be safe again. Not even a little bit.