Title: And So It Goes
Pairings: Logan/Camille and Kendall/Jo
Disclaimer: Does anyone actually read this? If so, these characters and settings are not mine. I'm only borrowing.
Summary: Katie has a plan, but it's Kelly that ends up needing one.
Notes: This is it! Thanks again for everyone reading, reviewing, ranting, raving... whatever! Thank you, Tripp3235! You do awesome work! I'm six chapters into the follow-up story, 'With A Little Help', which will hopefully start going up sometime next week, so look for that soon. Thanks again and enjoy!
Carlos was on his second walk through the park when he spotted Kendall, Logan, Camille and Jo walking up the street. He ran over to them immediately, looking frantic enough for Kendall and Logan to stop mid-argument and turn to him in surprise. They'd been fighting since they'd left the restaurant. Kendall was irate that Logan hadn't told him the truth, but Logan was insistent that, as it hadn't involved Kendall in the slightest, he didn't need to tell him.
"Have you seen Katie?" Carlos asked, half out of breath.
"No," Logan answered.
"Why? What's going on?" Kendall asked, already worried by the look on Carlos's face.
"We can't find her," Carlos gasped. "James and I were talking and she kind of overheard us and... I don't know, she flipped out and took off. We've been looking everywhere and..."
"Does my mom know?" Kendall interrupted.
"Yeah," Carlos answered with a quick nod. "Bitters is keeping an eye out for her in the lobby and your mom is driving around the neighborhood. I've been all over this place without any luck and James is checking inside the building."
"Why didn't anyone call me?" Kendall asked, his anger at Logan shifting to Carlos in the blink of an eye.
"What can we do?" Logan asked at the same time.
"Your mom didn't want you freaked out," Carlos answered. "And, she still thinks she's around her somewhere, so we should just keep looking. She said Katie wouldn't go far..."
"We'll go check the ladies rooms and anywhere else you guys can't get in," Jo offered, taking Camille by the hand as the two of them ran off towards the Palms.
"Did she call the police?" Logan asked as he and Kendall began walking around the part of the park Carlos hadn't rechecked.
"No," Carlos answered. "It hasn't been that long but..."
"I'm going back to the Palms," Kendall said, shaking his head and looking paler than usual. "I'll help James... or something."
Carlos and Logan let him go, knowing there was nothing they could say that would either make him feel any better or stop him at this point.
While Kendall was racing back, James was steadily making his way from floor to floor with very little luck. It wasn't until he'd reached the top floor that he began to grow desperate. He almost turned back without looking, seeing as the entire floor was being remodeled, but then realized that if Katie was just hiding out somewhere, this would be the ideal spot.
It wasn't until he tried the door on the sixth apartment that his luck finally changed, and it pushed easily open.
"Katie?" he called out.
When there was no reply, he stood very still, and waited just in case, and then he heard it. A sniff, just audible, coming from what would be the master bedroom of an apartment very similar in layout to their own.
"Katie," he tried again after sending Carlos a quick text to let him know he'd found her and to pass the message on.
"Why won't anyone just leave me alone?" she asked, and he couldn't stop himself from smiling in relief.
"Do you know that like half the building is looking for you?" James asked as he stepped into the room and looked down at where she sat.
"Why?" she said, shocked and annoyed.
"We were worried," James said defensively. He was now realizing that perhaps they'd overreacted.
"What? Did you think I was such a baby that I can't even be alone for an hour?" she asked, getting to her feet and rubbing her eyes roughly.
James was starting to feel ashamed of his reaction, and even of his own initial panic, and could not reply to her accusation.
"Let's just go then," Katie said, shaking her head in an effort to stop her tears from falling. "I've got nothing else to lose."
"We were worried," James repeated feebly.
"Would you be this worried if I was Kendall?"
"That's not fair," James fired back at her, his anger beginning to match her own. "You're not Kendall. You're not as old as he is. You're still just a little girl."
"Oh, and I know it," Katie said viciously, as James had seemingly hit again on the exact wrong thing to say. "You and Carlos were having a good laugh about how I'm just a stupid little girl. I know he told you and I hate him. I hate him for letting you laugh at me and... and..."
Katie had dissolved into tears again as James stood by dumbstruck.
"Katie, we weren't talking about you. I don't... I don't have any idea what..."
"Don't lie for him," she interrupted harshly. "You all stick up for each other and he probably told you the minute he went back to your room."
James looked around hopelessly for some kind of help. He had little experience in this kind of situation, Camille had been the first girl he'd ever seen crying for real. He doubted if anyone could know exactly the right thing to do, but soon realized he couldn't let not knowing stop him. So, taking the few remaining steps between himself and her, James drew her into an awkward hug and was surprised when she didn't pull away; she only continued to cry harder for the next several minutes.
"Why are boys so awful?" she asked, after her sobs had petered out and she'd taken a few shaky breaths.
"Because we can't help it," he answered uncertainly, but at least she'd laughed.
Katie sniffed again and dried her eyes on the hem of James shirt, which he tried to ignore since it was one of his favorites.
"Want to talk about it?"
"No," she said quickly.
"Should I just guess at the problem and..."
"You really don't know?" she asked, looking up at him quizzically.
"I don't," he said, but he thought that he had a very good idea. He wasn't stupid.
"So, what were you talking about if..."
"Between you and me?" James asked, waiting for Katie to nod before he continued. "We were talking about Carlos and Kelly."
"Why was he laughing then?" Katie asked, still hesitant to believe what James was saying and having a hard time picturing herself laughing in Carlos's position.
"Because that's what he does," James answered easily. "Sometimes it's all you can do, right?"
"I guess," Katie said softly, lowering her head as if she was thinking things over.
"He's a lot better at then I am," James admitted. "When I'm embarrassed or hurt, I just get mad. Or mean. Sometimes both."
"Talking can help," James suggested, but the look Katie threw at him made him quickly change tunes. "Or not. That's cool, too. I'm just saying that if you wanted to talk to me, you could."
"We should probably get home before my mom calls the National Guard," Katie said, her eyes still red, but there were no more tears in her eyes.
"Too late," James said with a laugh, happy to hear her return it.
On their way down, James checked his phone again and let Katie know that everyone was on their way back to the apartment now, so that she'd at least be a little prepared for the onslaught of questions.
But when they arrived it was only her mom and Kendall, both of them looking identical in their anger and relief. James slid off to stand beside the couches, and occupied himself by looking out the window, waiting for Carlos and Logan who would hopefully arrive soon.
Mrs. Knight was angry, but not unreasonably so. She gave Katie a brief lecture on running off without telling anyone where she was going and grounded her for a week. Katie didn't fight with her, knowing she'd earned her punishment for having caused her mom so much undue stress. Kendall didn't say anything, but when his mom had finished, he hugged his sister and whispered something in her ear that James didn't even try to overhear.
James was starting to feel like he was intruding on a family matter when Mrs. Knight came over and kissed the top of his head, thanking him for his help.
Kendall came over next and took a seat, looking relieved and tried to talk about something normal.
Katie slumped in just beside Kendall and joined James in staring out the window and out at the patio.
Kendall soon turned and looked and spotted what they both were watching fairly quickly. Carlos, Jo, Logan and Camille were all huddled at a table near the pool, each looking pensive and obviously having an intense discussion. Kendall caught sight of Logan and Camille's interlocked hands underneath the table just as James did.
"So they're back together again, I see," James said.
"Yeah," Kendall said, with a quick look at Katie before he could stop himself. "Turns out it was all some kind of misunderstanding. No harm done."
"Kind of figured," James said, looking down at his own hands and then feeling someone watching him, looked up again quickly with a smile. "I mean, he'd be stupid not to beg her to come back. She's the only girl in L.A. that wants him."
"Harsh," Kendall said with a chuckle as he got to his feet.
Katie looked at him knowingly, and he laughed, because sometimes it's all you can do.
In a few days time, things were almost back to normal. Katie couldn't hide forever, and as the guys had all seemed to ease quietly back into their normal routines, she hadn't needed to. She was relieved that no one brought up or teased her about what had happened, although she realized that if they had she'd of brought it upon herself, which somehow made it different and more bearable.
Katie was also happy with the thought that Logan hadn't betrayed his promise not to tell the others, but it wasn't the sort of happiness she was used to feeling. If anything it made her feel a kind of loneliness she couldn't put her finger on exactly. Katie realized she'd set Logan up in her mind as some kind of perfect and he was unfortunately doing nothing to change her mind. She couldn't squash the feelings she still felt deep down inside of her, but Katie was learning to regulate them. There was nothing else to do.
The best thing to come of it all was also the most surprising. Jo had starting coming over, not to hang out with Kendall so much, but to do things with Katie. It was almost like having a sister. And, if on occasion, Camille came along, Katie was okay with that, but only on occasion. She couldn't like Camille, no matter how hard she tried, but Katie had decided not to actively hate her as she'd begun to do before.
The fact that Logan and Camille were officially back together took some getting used to for Katie, and she imagined she wasn't alone in that. Katie still found the idea of 'them' revolting, but at least they were discrete. Logan had apparently gone and talked to Camille's parents and explained or apologized for everything well enough that they'd once more given him permission to date their daughter. But, what Katie was giving them credit for, as far as being discrete went, was actually Logan's attempt at taking a measured step back.
After several days of real serious thought on the matter, Logan had realized that he couldn't keep doing everything he was doing, at the same pace, without cracking under the pressure. He'd never complained about it, because he did have real aspirations about becoming a doctor, but his school work was easily twice as much as everyone else's because of the classes he took. And nothing about singing or dancing, and especially singing and dancing at the same time, came naturally to him, so another huge portion of his time went into that.
The time left, Logan found, could not be easily split between having a serious girlfriend and everything else that went into having a life. It wasn't that he didn't want to be her boyfriend, he just couldn't afford the next misunderstanding they were certain to have, so completely wreck him like this past one did. Logan still wanted to see Camille, very much so, but heartache had made him cautious. And Logan saw, that was also part of his problem. He was afraid of being hurt again and he needed to talk about it to someone.
After a week of debating who was the best person to approach and discuss any of this with, Logan finally just went with his instinct. He needed reassurance and he needed advice. Normally, that sort of thing would fall to Mrs. Knight, the idea of approaching his own mother was laughable, but Logan felt strange at the thought of discussing this with her given everything that had happened with Katie. So, naturally, there was only one other woman he could talk to.
"Got a minute?" he asked, peeking into Kelly's office not ten minutes after they'd all supposedly left for the day.
Kelly, on the phone, motioned for him to take a seat across from her desk, and as she finished her call, Logan had time to rethink this rather rash plan. But, before he could back out, she was off the phone and looking at him expectantly.
"What's going on?"
"Okay, well," Logan stammered, stopping short and getting up to pull the door nearly closed before continuing on. "I need to talk to you. It's, um... it's about a girl."
"Logan," Kelly said, her voice icy and her gaze hard, "this isn't funny."
"No," he said quickly, realizing she thought he was joking with her about Carlos. Carlos had done everything he could to not make his feelings obvious to anyone, but seeing as all of them knew, it wasn't much good. "No, this is about Camille. I swear. I wouldn't... I'd never laugh or..."
"Of course," Kelly said, visibly relaxing. As hard as Carlos was trying to make things appear normal between them, Kelly was trying four times as hard. She really wanted them to all be okay again. "What's wrong?"
"I'm not sure anything is really wrong," he admitted. "I'm just... okay, Camille and I had this fight and it was stupid, but it's over. And, before it happened I knew I'd liked her. Then, when we broke up, it was like..."
"You didn't realize how happy you'd been?" Kelly offered.
"Yeah," Logan said with a nod. "Exactly. I didn't. So, when we got back together I kind of thought it would be different. That, I don't know, that..."
"You're not happy now?"
"I'm terrified," he admitted with a nervous laugh. "I keep thinking that something is going to happen, either I'll do something and she'll hate me or she'll just decide I'm not what she wants and then it'll be over again and... and... I don't know what I'll do. It hurt so much the first time, I don't think I can do it again. You know, I've never felt this way about anyone and I guess what I wanted to ask you was, is this normal? Is this really what... what..."
"What love is like?" she asked for him.
Logan nodded, looking relieved that she'd managed to get his point without him having to come out and say it.
"Sometimes," Kelly said with half a shrug.
"It's different for everyone. There's no definition," Kelly explained.
"Well," Kelly said, hesitating a bit before continuing on. "Logan, do you trust her? I mean, this isn't about you worried she's going to take off with some other guy while your back is turned, is it?"
"No," he said after thinking it over. "It's not that. I guess it's more that I don't trust circumstance. That a million different things could happen and..."
"Okay," she interrupted, breathing easier. "I get it now."
"Yes," she answered. "And, do you want the truth?"
"Okay, but you're not going to like it."
"I don't care," Logan said. "Just tell me."
"All right," she sighed. "The truth is that you're right."
"You're right. There are a million little things that could happen to end your relationship with Camille."
"Is this some kind of joke or..."
"No, just the truth."
"You know I came here to feel better about this, right? For advice?"
"Do you want me to make you feel better or do you want the truth?"
Logan bit back his reply and sat waiting for Kelly to continue.
"The truth is that sometimes, no matter what you do or how much you love someone, it doesn't work out," Kelly said evenly. "Sometimes you see it coming; sometimes you're blindsided. That's the risk of putting yourself out there. Of trusting and caring for someone else. You can end up disappointed and hurt or you can find someone really special. It's all a gamble."
Kelly smiled at him tightly and Logan was left with the distinct impression that Kelly wasn't the gambling kind.
"You have to ask yourself if it is worth it," she went on. "And, if it is, then you have to stop worrying, because there's nothing worry ever did for anyone. It's like swimming against the current. You either let go and hope for the best and enjoy the ride while it lasts or struggle and fight it until you just run out of energy and drown. That's how it goes."
Logan nodded, taking in her words and feeling, if not better, than at least decided.
"Any time," she said, waving as he picked up his bag to go.
Right outside the door Logan was surprised to find Carlos waiting for him with his face set like stone. For a few minutes they didn't speak to one another. Carlos simply turned with Logan and walked down the hallway, both of them too absorbed in their own thoughts for much conversation.
"I didn't mean to eavesdrop," Carlos said once they'd reached the street, blinking up into the harsh daylight and shading his eyes.
"I know," Logan said.
"So?" Carlos asked as they waited at the bus stop. "You and Camille? Do you know..."
"I'm letting go," Logan answered. "It's time I stopped worrying and just let what's going to happen, happen. I'm just going to go with the flow."
Carlos laughed. It was such an odd thing to hear coming out of Logan's mouth.
"I mean it," Logan said seriously. "I'm not saying I wouldn't fight for her. I would. I just can't keep fighting nothing."
Carlos caught his meaning and nodded solemnly.
"What about you?"
"Me?" Carlos asked, like the question was ridiculous.
Logan stared, not letting it go. Carlos had been listening in on a private conversation, intentional or not, and Logan felt he owed him one.
"Drowning," Carlos said after a lengthy pause. "Hopeless. Helpless. What else can I do? I tried letting go, but somehow I find myself still kicking."
Logan gave his head a shake and with a smile said, "Pathetic."
"More like fools," Carlos said with a laugh.
Logan thought about the last thing Kelly had said, and gave Carlos another quick nod.
"You're probably right," he agreed. "That's just how it goes."