A/N. This story is a late Christmas present to WyszLo. She's an incredible friend and writer and I'm so thankful to know her. She always cheers me up and listens to my rants and she's one of my most faithful reviewers and she always leaves some of the best reviews. I love her. I hope you like this! I don't own anything. Anybody want to help me take over Big Time Rush?
"Report card day!"
Kendall Knight groaned at his little sister's announcement and glared at the ten-year-old waving a handful of envelopes in one hand. "Katie, do you need to let everyone know right now?"
"Of course she does." Lacey Knight, the mother of Kendall and Katie walked into the room with a smile on her face. "I asked her to let me know right away when they came in the mail." She took the envelopes from her daughter and called down the hall. "James, Carlos and Logan! Please come out here!"
Three more sixteen-year-old boys walked from their bedrooms out into the kitchen, each wearing different facial expressions. James, the tallest of the group, chewed on his bottom lip nervously. He sat down on the nearest stool and waited. Carlos bounced cheerily over to where James was sitting and sat down next to him. Logan smiled and shook his head and his friends' different actions. He walked over to where Kendall sat on the big orange couch and joined him. His posture was relaxed and his face was calm as he waited patiently.
"Katie," Mrs. Knight turned to the young girl as she carefully opened the first envelope. "We'll look at your grades first. Remember, you all have to have a C+ average if you're going to keep everything else going. That means your acting Katie, and boys, well, Big Time Rush." She watched as they all nodded to show that they understood and then she ran her eyes over the sheet of paper she held in her hands. A proud smile came over her face. "A in English, B in math and science, A in history, and another B in geography."
A wide smile lit up Katie's face and she flushed over her mother's and the boys' praises. But before she replied, she walked over to where Logan sat with Kendall and gave him a quick hug. "I couldn't have done so well without you, Logan. So thanks."
"Hey,a tutor can only do so much." Logan blushed even more and tried to shrug off her thanks. "You were a great student." Then, to lighten the situation even more, he elbowed Kendall sharply. "A lot better of a student then a few certain someones."
"I protest!" Kendall exclaimed, trying to dodge Logan. "I was a better student than both of them combined."
Before the argument could go any further, Mrs. Knight shook her head and handed Kendall his own report card. "Why don't you prove who the better student was by reading your grades?" She asked him.
Kendall ignored the teasing looks he got from James and Carlos and Katie and the look of curiosity and hope from Logan and his mother. He unfolded the paper and studied it carefully. "I got A's in English, math and history. I got a B in geography and a C in science."
"Ha!" Katie stuck her tongue out. "You got a C."
"Yeah, but I got more A's than you did." Kendall retorted childishly.
"You both have the same GPA's." Logan pointed out, rolling his eyes. "3.4"
Carlos laughed. "You would know, Logan." Then he looked over at Mrs. Knight expectantly. "Well?" He demanded. "Can I be next?"
"Yes." James pleaded. "Can he be next and I can never be?"
"James," Logan said with a sigh. "You need to have more confidence in your school work."
"I'm worried about history." James confessed. "You know how I can never keep all of those names and dates straight."
Logan opened his mouth to say something but he was interrupted by a loud exclamation from Carlos. "What now?" He asked somewhat nervously.
Instead of answering him, Carlos jumped down from his stool and launched himself at Logan. "Look!" He yelled, waving his paper two inches from Logan's face. "See?"
Logan pulled away and took the paper from Carlos. "Carlos, this is terrific!" He said, grinning. "You got A's in every subject except for one C and that was in math."
"Math is my worst subject too." Carlos told everyone what they knew already. "I passed it!" He ceased his celebration to yank Logan roughly to his feet and flung his arms around his friend in a tight hug. "Thanks, Logie! You're the best tutor I've ever had!"
"Okay," Logan tried to no success to pry himself loose. "Don't mention it, Carlos. What are friends for?" He sighed when Carlos only continued to squeeze the air out of him. "You know how you can pay me back?" He began hopefully.
"How?" Carlos asked, genuinely wanting to pay Logan back for his help.
Logan managed to pull away just slightly. "You can stop hugging me to death." He begged. "I'm having trouble breathing."
Instantly, Carlos' hold dropped and he backed away. "Oops. Sorry, Logan."
"Don't worry about it." Logan shook his head and then held up his hand for Carlos. "High-five, man. That's a great report card."
"I'm smarter than both of you!" Carlos told Kendall and Katie triumphantly.
"Anyway," Logan cut in quickly. "James?" He crossed the room to where James was now sitting by himself. "Did you look at your card yet?"
James cringed and nodded. He handed the paper to Logan mutely and waited for his response.
Concerned, Logan took the paper and scanned over it, a small frown forming on his face. "I don't get it, James." He said slowly. "Why are you so upset?"
"Why?" James snorted. "Compared to their grades-"
"Hey," Logan interrupted gently, putting a hand on James' shoulder to calm him down. "You got one C, James and the rest are B's and you got an A in English. There's nothing to be ashamed about. The C you got was in history. You passed everything."
"I know." James noticed that the teasing had come to a halt and his face reddened with humiliation. "I just feel stupid sometimes."
"Well, you're not stupid." Logan insisted firmly. "If it makes you feel better then we'll work even harder this quarter. Okay?" When James didn't answer him right away, Logan sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Look," His tone brightened from James' benefit. "You were only three points away from a B in history. That's closer than Kendall and Carlos were for math and science."
James studied the card and then Logan skeptically. "Yeah, I guess."
Logan frowned and then when James wasn't looking, he smirked slightly. Just as James looked back at him, he carefully exchanged the satisfied smile for a worried frown. "Well," He began, ready to guilt James into feeling better about his grades. "Now I feel like a terrible tutor."
At his words, James' eyes widened slightly. "Logan, no-"
"I mean," Logan lowered his gaze to stare at his hands folded in his lap. "If you feel stupid and I've been tutoring you all year long then that must mean something." He turned to Kendall and Carlos. "What do you guys think?"
Everyone had caught onto Logan's act right away except for James who was, as Katie said, "too trusting". Logan called him gullible. "Probably." Kendall agreed solemnly, ignoring his mother's eye roll. "And James, I may have gotten better grades than you but I still got a C in science. That's the subject I'm having the most trouble in. Logan probably should have focused more on teaching me that. Same with Carlos and math."
"Yeah." Carlos said, working hard to maintain a straight face. He didn't say anything else though for fear of giving himself and the others away. Carlos had never been a very good liar.
"Guys, stop it." James demanded, forgetting all about his own insecurities when he saw the hurt in Logan's eyes at Kendall's less than kind words. "Logan's a great tutor. We've all had better grades whenever he teaches us"
"Exactly." Logan said, nodding. "Sure, I guess I help you guys. But that's because you listen to me. Some kids don't listen at all and that's why they fail. Those kids are stupid. James, you're doing fine. Your test and quiz scores have gone way up from last year and you're in tougher classes this time around. And you want to improve yourself even now. That's really great."
"Oh." Understanding finally dawned on James. "So that bit about you feeling like a bad tutor and Kendall and Carlos agreeing with you was all an act?"
A small smile tugged at the corners of Logan's mouth but his eyes still looked at James in concern. "Yeah." He laughed lightly at the surprised expression that crossed James' face. "How do you feel now?"
James considered Logan's question carefully. "Better. . . and worse."
"Worse?" Kendall looked concerned now and Carlos looked confused. "Why is that?"
"Well, I feel bad that I didn't believe you." James said sheepishly. "Thanks, guys."
Logan's shoulders slumped in relief. "What are friends for?" He asked, stuffing his unopened envelope in his pocket. "Let's go study for a little while, okay?"
James was about to go willingly when a though struck him. "What about your report card, Logan?" He asked. He saw the hesitation and knew where it came from. "Logan, don't feel like you have to keep your straight A's a secret to make me feel better." He protested.
"What makes you think I got straight A's?" Logan asked, stalling for time.
"Oh, he doesn't think." Carlos corrected him. "He knows. We all do."
The undisguised pride in his younger friend's voice made Logan turn bright red and he fumbled with the paper, finally freeing it from the envelope. "Yup." He said, trying to keep the excitement out of his own voice. "Straight A's."
"A pluses." Katie said from over his shoulder. "Don't sell yourself short, Logan."
"Yeah." Kendall agreed with his younger sister. "You're brilliant, Logan and you're also humble which is great. But you're too humble. You've managed to help us all improve our grades and you're still at the top of the class. That's pretty awesome."
"You're awesome." James added. "You're a great student and an even better friend."
"And you're all my best friends. I hate it when you think less of yourselves. I'm just glad I can help."
"What's gonna happen when we go to college?" Carlos asked suddenly, only half-joking. "Will you still help us?"
At that, Katie snorted. "Oh please. Logan's going to an Ivy League school to be a doctor. How will you help you then?"
Carlos thought about the future predicament and then answered with a wide grin. "We can call him. We'll still be friends then right, Logie?"
"Of course." Kendall assured him quickly before Logan could reply. "We'll always be there for each other. We promised that when we were really little. None of us are going to go back on that promise. We'll support each others' dreams just like best friends always do."
"Right." Logan said, turning to Carlos. "You guys have always supported my dream of being a doctor."
"And we always will, Logan." Kendall said solemnly. "We promise."
Logan smiled when Carlos and James nodded while Mrs. Knight watched with pride and Katie rolled her eyes at their collective sappiness. He didn't care if they were sappy though. His mother had died when he was just six years old and left him with a grief-stricken father who didn't provide him with the support and encouragement that he needed. But he had his best friends and their families to be there for him every step of the way.
"Hey, Logie! Watcha doin'?" Carlos bounced over to his friend and looked curiously over his shoulder. His eyes widened slightly when he saw official looking papers all over Logan's desk.
"I'm filling out applications for prep schools." Logan stopped chewing on his pencil to look at Carlos. "Can I ask why you just hopped into my room?"
Carlos fell roughly into Logan's lap and propped his feet on his desk. "See, I-" His explanation was cut off when he was unceremoniously shoved to the floor. "Hey, what was that?"
"Sorry," Logan apologized quickly. "I can't get those papers dirty." He joined Carlos on the floor and set to work undoing the knotted rope around both of Carlos' ankles. "So I guess this is why you were hopping. Who did it?"
"I bet you couldn't guess." Carlos answered evasively.
But Logan grinned. "You?"
"How did you know?" Carlos asked in disbelief.
"Because I know you." Logan replied. He finished untying the rope and instead of giving it back to Carlos, he set it on top of his desk and rose to his feet, pulling Carlos up as well. "I bet you were practicing on yourself to do it to someone else, right?"
Carlos grinned. "You know me so well, Logan." The smile faded and he returned his gaze to Logan's desk. "So why are you filling out applications for prep schools?"
"Well, it'll help me into a good college." Logan explained. "If I get accepted then it'll look good on my application for collages."
"Oh, so you don't have to go, you just have to get accepted?" Carlos guessed.
Logan frowned. "No, of course I have to go." He caught the look of hurt in Carlos' eyes and rushed to make it go away. "It won't be until next year, Carlos." He said gently.
"But. . ." Carlos trailed off. "What about us?"
"It depends on what kind of school I actually get into." Logan said carefully. He shoved a few of the papers closer to Carlos so he could see them better. "I'm applying to schools all over the place. There's even one back in Minnesota. I really want to get into this one though."
Carlos looked at the address warily and gasped. "Logan, this school is in New York City!"
"I know." Logan's eyes lit up in excitement. "That would be the greatest."
"But that's all the way across the country!" Carlos pointed out, tears suddenly filling his dark eyes. "You're going to leave us for somewhere that far away? For how long?"
The excitement died in Logan's eyes when he saw how upset Carlos was. "As long as a regular school year I guess." He said quietly. "I'd go there for my junior year. Carlos, buddy, you knew that we were going to go to different schools eventually."
"Yeah but not so soon and not so far away." Carlos said weakly. "We'll miss you, Logan."
"I'll miss you guys too." Logan's voice was soft and gentle as he spoke. "But we'll still be friends. This is my dream, Carlos You know that."
For Logan's sake, Carlos forced a smile. "I know. I guess I didn't realize it was going to be so soon." He cleared his throat and changed subjects abruptly. "Kendall and James are down by the pool. Wanna come?"
"I'd like to but I really want to send these in the mail tomorrow." Logan said apologetically. "I will come then though okay? Tomorrow?"
"Sure," Carlos said, keeping the smile on his face. "Tomorrow." He nodded to the rope by Logan. "Thanks for your help by the way."
"Anytime, Carlitos." Logan smiled at him one more time and then best his head to hiss work.
Carlos watched him for a few seconds and then turned, stumbling out of the room. His feet led him out of Apartment 2J and down the hallways to the elevator. As he waited to go down to the first floor he tried to pull himself together. They all knew that this day had been coming. And it hadn't even come. Not really. Next year.
He tried to keep on a brave face for James and Kendall because there really was no point in them getting upset over something that was so far away. But as soon as they saw him it was obvious that he had failed.
"What's wrong?" Kendall asked right away. "Are you okay? Is Logan okay?"
Carlos nodded but tears filled his eyes again. "Logan's filling out applications to prep school for next year. He wants to send them tomorrow."
"Oh." Kendall took it well despite the fact that he was clearly shocked. "Wow."
"But," James was less prepared. "What about us? What about school? What about Big Time Rush?"
Carlos could only shrug. "I don't know." He said helplessly.
"Well, why can't it wait until next year?" Kendall asked. "I mean, the year after next year when we're seniors. This just seems kind of sudden. I didn't even know he was thinking about prep school. What's wrong with college?"
"He said that prep school will help him get into a good college." Carlos said glumly. "It makes sense I guess."
But Kendall shook his head. "Logan doesn't need extra help. He's smart enough. He doesn't need prep school."
"He was applying to a lot." Carlos added. "They were all over. He said he really wanted to go to this one in New York."
"How can he be thinking about leaving us?" Kendall questioned. He ran a hand through his hair and sighed in frustration. "We have to stop him. At least put it off. We can't lose him next year."
"But how?" Deep down, James knew, they all knew, that what they were beginning to plan was not in Logan's best interest. But they couldn't convince themselves to let it go.
"Come on." Kendall wore a determined look on his face. "Let's head up to 2J and talk to Logan."
They took the stairs, too keyed up to wait for the elevator and marched right into Logan's room. "Can we talk to you?" James asked right off the bat.
"Um, I guess." Logan said uncertainty. "I'm a little busy but from the looks on your faces, I'd guess this is pretty important."
"You can't go to prep school." Kendall cut to the chase. "You don't need to go to prep school, Logan."
"What?" Logan was too confused to be hurt right away. "Why would you say that, Kendall? Of course it would help if I went-"
"You can't leave us that soon." Kendall broke in before Logan could finish. "What about school and Big Time Rush?"
The mixed emotions on Logan's face settled into a quiet anger. "First of all, Big Time Rush might now be in existence by this time next year. We're not exactly huge right now and the music industry is changing every day. I can't put my life on hold forever. As for school," His expression softened slightly. "I'm sure you'll be fine."
"You don't know any of that though, Logie." James disagreed. "Big Time Rush might be huge by this time next year. What would we do without you?"
"I talked to Gustavo yesterday after rehearsal." Logan told them. "I should know by the end of the month if I get into any of the schools. Then I'll tell Gustavo and he'll tell Griffin and they'll look for someone to take my place. They have plenty of time to find someone."
"Just like that?" James asked in disbelief. "You'd leave us?"
Logan bit his lip. "James, it's been my dream to be a doctor since we were seven. You know that. We're living your dream right now. I have to go after mine sooner or later and the sooner the better with something like this. Being a doctor is serious."
"I know that." James said in frustration. "Logie, we're all really proud of you and everything. We just didn't know it would happen so soon. We're still kids."
"We have to grow up one day." Logan reminded them. "Guys, don't look so down. Let's just take one day at a time for now. Maybe you're all worrying for nothing. I might not get in anywhere."
But they all knew that Logan was just trying to make them feel better. They all knew that he would get accepted into any prep school he applied to. He was brilliant and for the first time in their lives, that was a problem.
"Are you sure this is going to work?" Carlos asked doubtfully. He stood in Logan's room watching Kendall and James nervously.
James didn't answer but looked at Kendall who frowned. "Do you have a better idea?" He shook his head when both of his friends were silent. "Look, we don't want Logan to go away. So we'll keep him here. For now. He can go senior year if he still wants to. But maybe he'll come to his senses by then." He withdrew a pile of envelopes from underneath his jacket and switched it for the one on Logan's desk. "Let's go before he gets back." He muttered, looking guilty.
So they left.
"Mail!" Katie tossed a large pile on the counter. "There's a lot for you, Logan."
Logan's face brightened and then he looked nervous. "Thanks." He accepted the pile that Katie slid over to him and without even bothering to wait until he was alone, he opened the letter on the top of the pile.
James watched Logan's face carefully. Instantly, he regretted everything they had done a month ago. He watched the light in Logan's eyes die as a mask of crushing disappointment fell over his face. He didn't even try to hide it. "Everything okay, Logie?"
"I didn't get in." Logan whispered in disbelief. "They don't want me. I don't. . . I don't understand. This wasn't even a big school that I applied to."
"Did they say why?" Carlos asked nervously.
Logan missed the tone of his friend's voice and answered him like he was in a trance. "No. They don't need to give explanations really. They get too many application to have time to even bother to do that."
Kendall nodded and then hesitantly handed Logan another letter. "Well," He said with false cheerfulness. "Try another one."
Logan frowned. "This is the school in New York City. I doubt they'd want me if the other school didn't." But as he spoke, he slid a finger under the seal and tore it open. It didn't take too long before he had his answer. "Wow." Logan sighed and dropped yet another rejection letter to the counter. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised though."
"I'm sorry, Logan." Carlos said sincerely.
Logan forced a smile. "Carlos, it's not your fault." If he had been looking at any of his friends he would have seen the unmistakeable guilt in their eyes. But he was too busy opening the remaining four letters, each holding the same rejection. "I guess I'm just not good enough."
"That's not true." Kendall shook his head. "They're just stupid, Logie. Maybe if you try again next year. Maybe they want to see another year of high school under your belt."
Logan tipped his head and considered Kendall's statement. "Maybe. I guess I should have waited until next year then."
"Well, you know what they say." Kendall had to talk around the guilt that was choking him. "Try, try again."
Logan smiled sadly. "I can't. Prep schools aren't like any schools. I told you already that they take in a bunch of applications every year. If you're not good enough for them the first time then they aren't going to bother looking at a second application."
"What?" James' throat dried and his moth dropped open. A sick feeling came over him and all he could do was stare at Logan, feeling like he would explode if he looked at Kendall or Carlos. "What did you say, Logan?"
"If you're not good enough for them the first time, then they won't bother with you a second time." Logan repeated. He sighed and swept the remains of his rejection letters into the trash, blinking back tears. "I'm sorry." He whispered, laying his head down on the counter. "I don't want to be a baby. It's just that. . . I really thought I would get in somewhere."
Carlos stepped forward and laid his hand on Logan's shoulder. "Don't cry, Logan." He whispered, crying himself.
But Logan's shoulders had already started to shake with quiet sobs. "I can't believe it." He gasped out. "I thought I was smart and that I could be a doctor. All my life. . .it's all I've ever wanted. I thought I could do it. But I can't even get into prep school. I'm nothing but a failure though."
"No!" Kendall said fiercely. He shook his head. "Logan, you are not a failure. You should have been accepted by all of them."
Logan lifted his head and used his sleeve to dry his face. His eyes were red and swollen but the pain in them was the worst part. "Then why wasn't I? I'm not good enough, Kendall. I know it."
"No." Kendall said again, his voice cracking. "Logan, that's not true."
Logan glared at him. "Prove it."
Kendall gulped and looked at Carlos and James who gave him tiny nods. "Logan, we have something to tell you."
His friends suddenly looked so upset that Logan temporarily forgot his own hurt. "What's wrong?" He asked, his voice still shaking. "Are you guys okay?"
Carlos began to cry then. "No. No we're not okay. We're not okay, Logan. We're horrible friends."
"Hey," Logan drew his smaller friend into a hug. "Don't cry, Carlos. I'll be okay." He patted Carlos' back, looking confused and worried when Carlos only cried harder. "Look at me." He said, gently forcing Carlos' head up. "What's wrong?"
Carlos' bottom lip trembled like he was a little kid and he bit down on it hard. "We did something really bad, Logie." He whispered before burying his head back into Logan's shoulder.
"What's wrong?" Logan looked up in fear at James and Kendall. "Why is Carlos crying and why do you two look so upset."
"Because," James finally said, tears beginning to escape from his eyes. "It's our fault you didn't accepted anywhere."
Logan scoffed. "Don't be ridiculous. I-"
"No, Logan." Kendall stared at Logan with wide eyes. "It is our fault." He swallowed hard. "When you finished the letters, you left them sitting out on your desk. We went to the library and printed out a sheet of James' grades and switched them with your grades."
Logan's hold on Carlos stiffened and then his arms fell to his sides and he stepped away from Carlos. "What?" He asked, choking on the disbelief.
"When you sent in your applications, the prep schools got James' grades, not yours. That's why you didn't get in anywhere. We're so-"
"Sorry?" Logan's voice shook hard. "You're sorry?" He stared at the three people who had up until that day been supportive and encouraging and everything he needed. "You're sorry for what? Ruining any chance I ever had at getting into a good school so I could be a doctor? You're sorry for ruining my whole future?"
"Yes." James' voice was a whisper as he stepped closer to Logan. "Logan, we're sorry. It was wrong."
Logan stepped out of reach and crossed his arms. "I thought you were my friends." He whispered.
"We are your friends." Carlos said in a pathetically small voice. "We didn't want you to leave."
"I know you didn't." Logan snapped. "But if you were really my friends, you would have let me go because it was what I needed to be a doctor. Now, I don't know what I'm going to do. It's going to be harder."
"But you can still do it, Logie." Kendall said, forcing enthusiasm into his voice.
Logan shrugged. "Maybe." He said quietly. Then he turned and fled to his room.
"Logan, wait!" Kendall called after him. He and James and Carlos followed Logan down the hall, surprised when he didn't slam his door shut. "Logan, can we just talk?" Kendall rounded the corner and then stopped short when he saw what Logan was doing.
"I don't want to talk." Logan said through gritted teeth as he pulled a suitcase from his closet and began to haphazardly throw his clothes into it. "I want to get as far away from you as I possibly can as soon as I possibly can."
James' legs gave out from under him and he fell to the floor, watching Logan. "You're leaving." He stated in stunned disbelief. "Where are you going?"
"Home. Back to Minnesota." Logan yanked a handful of shirts viciously off of their hangers.
"But, you're dad-" Kendall began.
"My dad never supported me sure but at least he never tried to take my dream away from me. Maybe I'm safer with someone who doesn't care about anything" Logan paused in his hurried packing to spin around and stare at them.
"I don't get it." Tears flowed freely and his entire body jerked in a sob. "You used to support me. You used to believe in me."
"We still do." Kendall gasped out, unable to think of anything else to say.
"If you really did then you would have let me go. Did you ever stop and think about what I wanted? Ever? I know it would have been hard when I first left. I would have missed you too. But I would have called every day and visited every weekend. I mean, is this about Big Time Rush and school? Is that why you wanted me around in the first place?"
"You know that's not true." Carlos wanted to move closer to his friend but he was frozen to the spot.
"Do I?" Logan shook his head and went on with his packing. "I don't know, Carlos." He pulled the suitcase zipper all the way around and then brushed past Kendall who was still standing in the door way.
"Wait, you don't have a plan ticket." Kendall pried his feet from the carpet and gave chase. He was dimly aware of Carlos and James on his heels. "Where will you stay tonight?"
Logan set his suitcase down and pulled on his sneakers. "I don't know. I'll find another hotel to stay in until I can get a ticket out of here. It shouldn't be too long. I just have to get out of here and away from you."
"Logan, we're sorry." Carlos pleaded, tears spilling down his cheeks. "We didn't want to lose you."
Logan's face was pained as he turned the door knob. "Yeah well look at that. You were trying to keep me and you lost me anyway." Then as Kendall and James and Carlos watched through blurred eyesight, he turned and walked out of the apartment and out of their lives without looking back once.
A/N. I think this is the third thing in a row that I've written that hasn't ended happily. However, this is Lauren's present and if she wants a happier ending then I have one in mind and I'll gladly write it. But only if Lauren wants it okay? Okay. Love you all! I hope you liked this, Lauren! Infinite x's and o's. Love, Laura.