After they'd arrived in Chicago, a van waited for Logan's experiment crate and displays. Freight Train took care of the loading process and sent the boys inside the van to wait.
Once inside, Logan turned to Kendall, uncontrolled giddiness in his voice. "Can you believe we're here?" His smile shined like the sun.
Kendall chuckled at his boyfriend's enthusiasm. "I know. It's a trip, huh?" He took Logan's hand and kissed it.
The loud thud of the van's rear door indicated that they were ready to go to the competition site. Freight Train got in the front seat next to the driver and told the man to go. Soon they were pulling out of O'Hare Airport's traffic. They only had a few hours before the main event was to commence.
The ride into the city was visually eye opening. They were used to the slow traffic of Los Angeles and were impressed with the fast flow of cars that moved effortlessly around them. The van took an exit that led it further into the city. As they were heading up one of the taller off-ramps, Logan excitedly nudged Kendall and pointed to the skyline. Even from this distance, he could see the black behemoth that dominated the cityscape.
"Look, Bro!" he exclaimed to the blonde. "It's the Sears Tower!"
Kendall leaned over Logan and looked out of his brunette's window using the opportunity to move closer to him. He glanced out the window and was impressed with the architectural marvel. However, he was more impressed with the marvel that he held close to him. He looked down at his love and smiled at him, realizing that Logan had been looking at him as he'd gazed at the city. A knowing chuckled escaped him.
"What's so funny?" Logan asked with a smile. He knew he'd been busted. He couldn't help it. The sight of Kendall's jaw line so close to him made him want to reach out and kiss it. He held back only because Freight Train and the driver were in the van.
"You are, my brilliant Baby." He knew that Logan was more self-conscious than him so he wouldn't dare show Kendall what he wanted to do. Kendall, however, was not as shy. He gathered a still smiling Logan into his arms and kissed his boyfriend's waiting mouth. The taste of the brunette made him want more. An uncomfortable stirring in his pants made him aware that he wanted more – a lot more.
"Ahem!" Freight Train cleared his throat. The van's windows weren't tinted so he was concerned that fans or paparazzi could snap a compromising picture of the boys. The guys were told that he'd been assigned to them for their security. That was only a half-truth. Gustavo wanted him to keep an eye out for excessive PDA's and to intervene in case they became too obvious in public. He hated that part of his ongoing assignment. He felt that the boys should be who they are and not hide it from the world. But, he wasn't in charge so all he could do was follow his standing orders.
Both boys sheepishly pulled back from each other but they continued to hold hands. No one was going to pry them apart completely. The fact that Kendall was in Chicago was testament to that.
They left the highway and rode into the streets of the city. The traffic was slow moving on the surface streets, cars bumper to bumper as far as the eye could see. But the pavement also bustled with life. There was a ton of people just walking up and down the wide sidewalks on either side of their slow moving van. People passed by dilapidated houses, many with postage stamp sized yards. There were many tiny, narrow alleys that punctuated the street's layout, seemingly capable of transporting any pedestrian to any point in the city. The iron bars on the windows of the neighborhood stores along with the multi-colored graffiti on all the walls that dared face the streets heightened the feeling of "big city urban".
The van carrying the boys turned left. Kendall nudged Logan when he saw a big white house with electric pink trim sitting in the midst of other unkempt dwellings, looking out of place. "That's gonna be our house's color scheme one day!" he teased.
A giggle escaped Logan at the thought. And he always felt wonderful inside whenever Kendall mentioned their future together. If Kendall wanted a white house with pink trim, then that's what they would have. He didn't care where they lived as long as they were together. Though they would have to have a color scheme discussion at some point.
After the walking thick crowds of mostly minority faces seemed to thin out, the boys noticed that the road was getting smaller. They passed a large gate and found themselves on the manicured grounds of the Prosser Academy, the site of the upcoming Rube competition. The school grounds contrasted with its surroundings. The pristine look of the school showed that the community was proud of the fact that there was a nationally recognized Academy in the midst of the economically challenged part of the city.
Pulling up to the main auditorium, Freight Train and the boys quickly unloaded their items and walked inside. They were quickly met with one of the competition's organizers and told where to set up their displays.
The next couple of hours were a nightmare for the young celebrity. He was nervous enough waiting his turn with the judges. But, in addition, he was interrupted a few times when some of the students recognized who he was and asked for his autograph. Kendall snickered at his boyfriend until one of the fans noticed Kendall's presence, too. The excited teens started to crowd around him as well.
Turning to Logan with a half grin, he told him, "I'm endangering the mission. Maybe I shouldn't have come!" Logan immediately recognized the Star Wars reference and giggled at him, grateful that he could break the tension for him.
"I have a bad feeling about this!" he answered, laughing out loud as he threw out some movie dialogue of his own.
Just then, Freight Train and a couple of the security guards on hand came up behind the boys and made a space between them and the growing crowd. "Okay people! Step back, please!" Freight Train yelled. "We are here as competitors so please give Logan room to work. You can see him and Kendall after the competition. Thank you for your cooperation!"
The crowd started to break up, though their eyes were still on the boys, capturing their every move. The boys could see several cameras and cell phones pointed at them as Logan continued to tinker with his machine, ensuring the contraption's workability.
After what seemed to be an eternity, the judges were finally in front of him and his machine. Logan noticed that the people crowding around to watch had grown in front of his display as they all eagerly waited for him to start his brief oral presentation explaining how the machine would work and what the final outcome would be. He smiled sweetly at the judges as he finished speaking. Clipboards in hand, the serious looking panel walked around his contraption, leaning in to look at certain parts, and jotting down notes.
"You may begin, young man," the man who looked like the head judge, said.
Logan nodded his head at him and turned the key until he heard a quiet "click". His mechanical amalgam started to come to life as more "clicks" and "whirrs" could be heard emanating from his box. The sides of the box slowly fell away to reveal the inner mechanics. Inside, the crowd could see the inner workings as a metal ball rolled around and around a track, triggering little actions along the way: a top was spinning, a bell rang, a mini-flag was raised, a Nerf missile was launched, and on and on until, at the end of the run, water was released from a built-in container that let a trickle fall into a potted plant.
The people present clapped as Logan's creation fell silent, its mission accomplished. A beaming Logan waved at the crowd, a little embarrassed at the attention. He breathed a quiet sigh of relief as he felt a familiar arm drape itself possessively around his shoulders.
"Good job!" Kendall told him excitedly. "I am so proud of you." His arm tightened slightly around his brunette brainiac. He was a little disappointed that a few people still lingered around them since all he wanted to do was take his boyfriend in his arms and kiss him repeatedly and passionately.
"I'm thirsty," Logan told his beaming blonde god. Why do I get so weak when he smiles at me with those dimples? Even in competition, thoughts of Kendall filled his mind. He laughed at the ridiculousness of it.
"Let's go find a sody or something." Kendall turned to face their bodyguard. "Hey, Freight Train? We're going on a Coke run. Want one?"
Logan saw that the big man was going to protest but he stopped him. "Nothing will happen, Big Man! I saw a soda machine as we entered the building. We'll go there and come straight back, I promise." He crossed his heart for emphasis. "Could you watch my stuff while we're gone?"
Reluctantly, Freight Train agreed. He knew that he should've been the one to go grab sodas, but he wanted the boys to experience high school life as normal teens, even if it was just for a few moments.
After a while, the boys came back, sodas in hand, while the panel of judges convened on the stage to get ready to announce the results of the competition. For a few moments, the people in the auditorium forgot about the celebrity contestant as they waited for the announcement of the winning entry. To an outsider, the boys were just two faces in the crowd, waiting for news like everyone else.
Logan's pulse picked up as he waited for the final announcement. He felt Kendall's hand slide into his, gripping it gently. The nervous boy looked up at the face of his knight who shared his butterflies. The nerves showed on the fair-haired boy's face since what was important to Logan, was also important to him.
"Ladies and Gentlemen!" All eyes went to the stage, except for Logan's. "The winner of the 2011 Rube Goldberg Competition is…"
Suddenly, with Kendall's hand in his, Logan didn't need the prize. He had his own prize standing next to him. He was already a winner in all that mattered. He felt like a winner. Kendall's love and support was a daily affirmation of that.
"This is exciting!" Kendall whispered to him, not taking his eyes off the judges, squeezing his hand once.
"Yes," Logan whispered back, not taking his eyes from Kendall's perfect profile. "It certainly is, Baby. It certainly is!"
Author's Note: First, let me apologize for the lateness of the final part of this story. I have no excuse other than the Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day celebrations and parties that I had the privilege to attend this year. They took a toll! But I wouldn't leave anyone hanging. Of this, I promise!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who followed the narrative and added me to their Alerts and Faves. Thank you, also, for those who posted reviews and sent PM's directly to me. All the love is very much appreciated! (Yes, that means you, gleechild!)
I would like to give a special thanks to the person who actually traveled to the real Prosser Academy for the actual 2011 Rube Goldberg Machine Competition in Chicago this year. After he told me what he was doing, I immediately thought of what Logan would've done if he'd had the privilege of attending a competition of this sort. My deepest gratitude goes out to my Lil Bro, The Doctor Is Out. Not only is he a great friend and an inspiration but, he helped me with some of the descriptive passages and imagery found in the text. I'd also like to recommend his Kogan offerings on this site. Everyone should check those out if they haven't already!
Thanks again and I'll see everyone soon!
Disclaimer: I do not own Big Time Rush or any of its members. Darn it! All copyrights and trademarks of Rube Goldberg, Inc. and the Prosser Career Academy are exclusively theirs.