Disclaimer: I own nothing. Everything up to Jews and Chinese Food is fair game. Past that, it's just where my mind takes over.
Teaser: When Rory and Logan's arrangement goes prematurely sour, his friends take it upon themselves to intervene. Sequel to Keeping it Casual
Story Title: Nothing A Good Friend Wouldn't Do
Chapter Title: Calling It Off
She didn't call first this time. Hearing his voice might make her think twice about what she was going to say, and she'd thought about it enough the first time.
He couldn't handle this.
Ironic, as it was him that worried about her ability to handle a no-strings attached relationship. She had meant what she said. She'd had enough of relationships in her day, for once she wanted to focus on herself and have some fun. It wasn't that she didn't like Logan, but this was for both of their own good. She hadn't signed up for this.
She knocked, hearing the loud boom of a television turned up too loud. The only light in the room seemed to be from the glow of the set, casting its eerie light onto the others in his room as he opened the door.
"Hey, I didn't expect you. Or did I?" he asked.
"No, you didn't. I just wanted to tell you something. Is now an okay time? I can come back later," she lied, not wanting to have to get up the nerve twice in one day. His stalling with conversation now was bad enough.
"I think I can live if I miss some Stooges," he smiled. "We can go in my room," he offered.
It was appropriate; Logan, Colin, and Finn holed up watching the Three Stooges. A boys' night, probably needed after a weekend of boozing and skirt-chasing. Or so Finn had described their usual activities at last night's party.
He closed his bedroom door, though the muted sound of the blaring television was still more than audible. He moved closer to her, a pleased smile on his face. He was always glad to see her.
That was the problem. She had to do this now.
"Logan, hold on," she said, backing away for a moment.
"I don't think we should keep doing this."
He moved closer to her again, putting his hands on her arms. He rubbed them, running his hands lightly, but firmly up and down over the fabric of her knit sweater.
She looked up at him, as if he were crazy. "You were at the same party I was at last night, were you not?"
"Yeah, so, our paths cross a lot."
"Exactly. They do. And often when we're out on dates. With other people."
"We've talked about that. I thought we had cleared that up."
She sighed, and moved to sit on his bed. "We did. I just don't think you mean what you said."
"Rory, listen," he said softly, not wanting this to spiral out of his control.
"No, Logan, look at the facts. You didn't want strings, you said you weren't good at relationships. I respected that, and I think I've been following our guidelines to a tee. I've brought other dates to parties, been cordial to your other women, I don't interfere with your life. I don't make demands on your time. Would you say that is a fair assessment?"
He nodded, hesitant of where her rambling was going next.
"Now you, on the other hand. You show up at my door unannounced, interrupting my plans at a moment's notice, you harass my dates, you're critical of them—you expect me to cater to your every whim. When we hang out with other people, you do those territorial things, warding off any prospective, interested guys."
"Playing with my hair at the China Palace? Cutting in on my date last night, in the middle of a song? Putting your arm around me last week when we all went to the movies?"
He set his jaw, hating having his own actions thrown in his face. He couldn't deny this, but accepting it was hard to do as well.
"Look, when this started, I thought we both wanted the same things. I do like being around you, but it's become more than clear to me that you can't handle the casual set-up. Unless you've changed your mind, and you want to be in a serious 'something.'"
"I haven't changed my mind, I can't do that."
"Well, that's fine. I'm still not looking for that, either. But I can't do this, not with you."
He furrowed his brow, taken aback by her assertiveness. He didn't want to lose what they had—he liked her company. He missed her when she wasn't around. Something he best not mention now, or else prove her point, moreover.
"If that's how you really feel," he shrugged, trying to seem unaffected by her decision.
"It is. I'm … I'm sorry."
He nodded. "I'll see you around?"
She nodded in return. It was inevitable now. Their circle of friends had become one and the same over the few weeks they'd been scratching each other's itches. "Sure. I'll let you get back to your boys' night."
With that, she looked at him once more before opening his bedroom door and exiting out the main door without a word to Colin and Finn. What she didn't see was their turning the DVD player off and looking at each other, not having expected anyone to emerge from that room for hours.
"Think he's going after her?"
"Doubtful. You know his pride."
"True. Though he's an idiot if he doesn't."
"What makes you say that?"
"Colin, he likes the girl."
"He likes a lot of girls," he paused, trying to defend his friend. "But you're right. I think this one's gotten to him."
They both looked at Logan's door, but neither moved from their places on the sofa. To put on a game face, he'd have to emerge within the next few minutes, and they all knew it. They had little time to formulate their plan.
"So, who's it going to be?" Colin asked.
"I think it should be me," Finn replied.
"Because I am the more natural ladies' man. She'll fall for my charms in a much more believable fashion."
"She's connected to reality, Finn, try again."
"It has to be one of us—she's been out with all his other friends. We're the best friends, this a job that only one of us can do."
"By us, you mean you," Finn said, his tone hurt. He loved pretty girls, and he liked to meddle. This would have been double his pleasure.
"I think it's for the best."
"Fine. But I swoop in the moment she rejects your affections," Finn informed him, saving face.
They turned the DVD player back on as they heard the door handle turn. He came out with a deck of cards, as if he'd spent the time on a specific search for them. He tossed them onto the table, and Colin turned the volume down all the way.
"Sure, why not?" Colin asked, acting as if they'd not just witnessed her leaving.
"So, uh, Logan, you in for the evening?"
"Yeah, why wouldn't I be?"
"Oh, just wondered. I sometimes crash in your room when you vacate," Finn shrugged. "More comfortable than the couch and all that, you know."
Logan nodded, unsure if he liked that idea. He'd never adopted the attitude of not sharing all his worldly possessions, especially with his best friends, but he cringed at the thought of Finn bringing women into his room. He hoped that wasn't the case. He'd need to burn his sheets.
"Well, I'm in for the night."
Colin cleared his throat. They may as well try to do this the easy way.
"So, what did Rory want?"
"Nothing. Who's dealing?"
Colin took the cards, shuffling them expertly. "She looked kind of upset when she left," he continued.
"Drop it, Colin."
"Fine, it's dropped. I just thought maybe you'd like to talk about it."
Logan looked up at his friend. "There's nothing to talk about."
Colin and Finn exchanged a look, clearly not believing him. Logan took notice, and cocked his head.
"Stop, now. She came, she left, it's over."
"So, you're saying your little arrangement, that's off?"
"So, she's available?" Finn jumped in.
"She's always been available."
They exchanged another look.
"Logan, seriously. It's us," Colin said, putting the cards down.
"Seriously, Colin. We don't talk about this crap. We joke around about girls, we don't sit around and cry into our beer when the fling of the week moves on."
He nodded, picking up the cards and dealing them out quickly. They were obviously going to have to do this the hard way.