This story was intended to be a one-shot, containing only this chapter. My vanity has since taken over and I am thus continuing (a total of 3 chapters is currently planned). I hope you enjoy it, happy reading!
Disclaimer: I regard the mentions of Blaine, Kurt, and Dalton academy, who belong to whoever owns Glee, as Fair Use. Any other characters used have been developed and are owned by CP Coulter (FF id 2621766). She has, if not explicitly to me, graciously given permission for her characters to be used in fanfiction.
Julian threw the magazine to the wall with all the power he could gather. But magazines are notoriously hard to throw at walls - air caught up between the pages, effectively ruining the momentum of the throw, and the glossy fluttered to the ground like a wounded butterfly, never even touching the wall. It only added to Julian's frustration.
"Shit! Shitshitshit fucking shit!"
This was not good. This was not good at all.
He turned around, eyes darting around the room, looking for something else to throw with, something he could break, preferably, only to find Derek standing in the doorway. He was looking at Julian with a mixture of concern and annoyance.
"Could you be bothered to keep it down? You may feel the world ends when you miss out on a movie deal, but I'm pretty sure that math test will still happen for the rest of us and some people would like to study for it!"
Julian snorted. As if he would get thát worked up about missing out on a role. Ignoring the little voice in his head that told him that, actually, yes, he had and he would, he picked up the magazine from where it had landed and shoved it into Derek's chest.
"There. Page 5. Or if that's too much trouble to find, the cover will do just fine."
Slowly, Derek took the crumbled magazine and flattened out the front page. His eyes grew wider as he saw the inset picture and the accompanying headline, and he immediately understood why Julian was freaking out. He looked up at his best friend, who was now sitting on the edge of his bed, head in his hands, cursing in silence. He carefully closed the door behind him and stepped closer to Julian.
"Jules... this... this doesn't have to mean anything. These pictures are so blurry, it could be anyone. You can just deny it is you, tell them they got you confused with someone else. Bring some pretty girl with you on the red carpet next time, and next week when some celebrity does something stupid everyone will forget about this. It's no big deal."
Julian's head jerked up, his eyes shooting fire.
"No big deal? NO. BIG. DEAL? They have pictures of me leaving a gay nightclub ... "
" Yes, but ... "
"... my arm around another guy ... "
"... but that's ..."
"... kissing him ..."
"... well, that ..."
"... and they have a fucking interview with him!"
Derek quickly flicked through the magazine. Page 5.
"Oh. Yes. Indeed. Oh.", sneered Julian. "Now, do you have some more of that infinite wisdom you'd like to share with me? Because God knows I'm not gonna be able to brush this off lightly."
He groaned. His manager was gonna kill him. And then kill him again.
"Jules, you gotta calm- "
But the actor didn't even let him finish his sentence and rose up.
"Calm? CALM? My whole career just went down the drain and you want me to KEEP CALM!"
Julian collapsed back on his bed. Lying on his back, hands covering his face, his mind wandered back to that night. He had been slightly drunk after the party for the wrap-up of the current Something Damaged season, and dreading having to go back to Dalton full-time with no immediate possible escape -with finals coming up his manager had 'considerately' postponed some of the planned photo-shoots and interviews- it had seemed like a brilliant idea to take full advantage of his last night of freedom to take his mind off things. He had been in Carré before: if not fantastic the music was good, but -more importantly- the boys were good-looking and always looking to score. In addition the club had the advantage of being located somewhat out of the city, and was thus less likely to be watched by paparazzi. Unfortunately, as it turned out, "less" didn't equal "not at all".
"Look, Julian," Derek begun, before he was interrupted by the door bursting open.
"Julian, you self-centered primadonna, there's no nee-"
The Stuart prefect was stopped in his tracks by the sight of Derek standing in the middle or the room.
Upon hearing Logan's voice Julian jerked up, and he cursed under his breath as he saw the blonde standing in the doorway, doorknob still in his hand. If there was anyone he wanted, no, needed to keep this from... he exchanged a quick, meaningful glance with Derek, who immediately understood.
But as quick as the glance had been, it had not gone unnoticed by Logan, and he was not gonna let these two keep any secrets from him.
"What is going on here?"
Neither Julian nor Derek made any attempt to answer the question, and Logan felt the anger boiling up in him. His eyes went back and forth between the two boys when he noticed it: a frumpy glossy Derek was holding half behind his back, as if wanting to hide it. A mischievous grin appeared on Logan's face. Gossip.
"Whoo, paparazzi onto you again, Jules? What is it this time? You got someone pregnant? You had plastic surgery? Or no, no, wait, I know!" Logan almost bend double as he spit it out: "You're scheduled for a sex change operation!"
He roared with laughter but stopped dead as soon as he saw his two friends staring back at him, faces blank, and obviously not in the mood for silly jokes. For some reason, it got Logan even angrier.
"Oh come on, guys, you have to admit, that was funny. Jeesh. Lighten up already. So what is it then? Give me that."
He took a step in the direction of Derek, but before Logan could even reach out for the magazine, Julian had already snatched it from Derek's hand.
"It's none of your business,", he hissed, "now get out, I don't need you here."
Logan opened his mouth to put the diva back in his place, when the Pussycat Dolls filled the room.
Dontcha wish your girlfriend was hot like me
Dontcha wish your girlfriend was a fre...
Derek fumbled to get his mobile phone out of his pocket. Emily. He cursed inwardly. Great timing, girl. He looked at his two best friends, trying to decide what to do. He didn't want to leave them alone, but ...
"Guys, I really need to take this call. Lo, get out. Jules, I'll be back in a minute."
He took the call and started to apologize extensively, while shooting Logan a look. Get out, I got this, I'll tell you later. Logan nodded, and followed Derek as he left the room, only to close the door behind him and turn back to Julian.
"Jules, don't be ridiculous and give me that magazine. How bad can it be?"
"Don't you speak English?", Julian spat out, "I said it's none of your business. Now get out and go woo some pretty Warbler boy or something."
If anything, the last remark fueled the anger inside Logan further. He probably could've gotten his own copy of the magazine from the newsagent downtown to find out what the fuss was about, but this was a matter of principle.
In two steps, he was next to Julian and shoved him to the side, grabbing the glossy while turning his back on his friend, effectively blocking Julian's arm between his own arm and his chest. Surprised as he was, Julian refused to let go, and as they struggled both boys fell on the bed together. With a loud bang, Julian's head slammed against the head board, and Logan took the opportunity to quickly snatch the magazine out of his hands. Before the other boy could stop him, he rose up and crossed the room to the window, well out of Julian's reach.
"You fucking bastard!" Julian shouted, rubbing the back of his head with all the drama he had in him. "You little shithead, that fucking HURT!"
"Yeah well, you wouldn't hurt if you would've just given me the damn thing voluntarily, now, would you?", retorted Logan without any hint of remorse or concern. He was quickly browsing through the magazine, trying to find whatever it was that Julian apparently didn't want him to see.
"So what's the big deal here? I can't find... oooh... hmmm... "
Julian's stomach turned around as sparkles appeared in Logan's eyes.
"... those are some tight abs... dámn! Jules, I swear, one of these days you have to introduce me to that Cameron guy. He's fucking HOT. You sure he's not gay? Because... DAMN." Logan continued to stare at the picture until he remembered what it was he was actually looking for. "Now, where are you?"
The irony of Logan commenting on Cameron -of all people- wasn't lost on Julian. But he simply smiled a crooked smile and his gut joined in in the knot already formed by his stomach as the moment he had feared for so long inevitably drew closer.
"Page 5," he whispered, almost inaudible.
"Page 5," Julian repeated. "Through 11."
"... through whát? SIX pages?"
Surprised, Logan looked up at the brunette. Julian was sitting on his bed, elbows on his knees, still clutching the back of his head in both hands. It was hard to tell what was going on in his mind, but whatever it was, even Logan could see that the young actor was terrified. For a moment, he felt for his friend - Julian díd have a lot on his plate, with both school and his acting career demanding full attention, the occasional modeling and singing, and the public eye requiring nothing but impeccable behavior from any actor in a series that was so popular among teenagers. But then again, he largely did it to himself - his overcrowded schedule was nobody's responsibility but Julian's.
Logan flicked back in the magazine until he found the dreaded spread. He stared at it for a few seconds before he started laughing uncontrollably.
"Jules... this? This is what you're so worked up about? Come on! They were bound to find out some time!"
Whatever reaction Julian had expected, he couldn't really tell, but this was most definitely not it. The knot in his belly seemed to loosen and tighten all at the same time and his mind was working overtime as he tried to process the implications of what Logan had just said.
He struggled to convert the whirlwind of thoughts to coherent sentences.
Logan looked up from the magazine and cocked his head ever so slightly as he caught Julian's eye. It was Julian who broke the gaze first. Logan rolled his eyes and sighed at the sight of the drama queen in front of him.
"You I whát, Jules? You honestly thought you could keep out of the press that you're gay? Especially when you're apparently careless enough to go to gay nightclubs without even bothering to at least put on some shades?"
Julian decided to ignore the last comment and said haughtily, "I'm not gay."
Logan squinted at the brunette on the bed. He shrugged.
"Whatever you say, Jules. My gaydar tells me differently. And so does this... ." He held up the magazine.
"Whatever, beauty queen. They're on to you now."
They were on to him. That was indeed the least you could say. However, it was not that what occupied Julian's mind right now.
"Lo? Logan? You... you knew?"
Logan tossed the magazine onto Julian's desk and fell back into a chair. He looked at Julian intently, but this time he was the one to break the gaze. He sighed and rubbed his forehead.
"Of course I knew. God, Jules, you're a good actor but don't give yourself too much credit. You made it pretty obvious."
'Of course I knew'. A vague feeling of disappointment boiled up in Julian's chest. Logan had known. For God knows how long Logan had known that Julian wasn't straight. He had known, and yet he had never said a word. He had known, and yet ... and yet he had never made a move. Julian cringed inside, the implications of Logan's confession gradually sinking in, and it took all of his (hopefully sufficient) acting skills to not show the desperation that was taking over his whole body now. If he had always suspected Logan saw him as nothing more than a friend, this was his proof.
Then, slowly, panic set in.
If Logan knew... if Logan knew of him being... interested... in guys... if he indeed had made it that obvious... then... what else did he know?
Julian looked up to the blonde guy sitting in his chair. He had taken up the magazine again, and was perusing it absentmindedly. To see him sitting there, almost peacefully, his legs curled up underneath him, looking utterly beautiful in the last sunlight of the day, Julian was reminded of what had caught his attention about the Senator's son in the first place. He wanted nothing more than to kick him out of that chair and out of his room, but he needed to know. He needed to know if Logan knew... if he knew... about... him. He fought to keep his voice level as he spoke.
"So. What gave me away? My love for Dolce & Gabbana suits? My extensive collection of Broadway cd's?"
"The Broadway collection didn't help, I must admit. But mainly..." Logan paused for a minute, thinking. "... your jealousy. You ran off when I started dating Blaine. You ran off when I started dating Joshua. You ran off when Blaine and I went after Kurt. It could've been a coincidence the first time, and maybe even the second time, but when you started to hang out with Hummel and get all friendly with him, it was pretty obvious that every time you had just been crushing on those guys yourself. I have to admit, you have excellent taste. You just couldn't stand it that it was me getting in their pants and not you."
The prefect stood up from his chair and walked up to Julian.
"I guess you should have been more upfront about your own sexuality, Jules,", he whispered, "who knows, you might have even stood a chance, you're cute enough. But I guess it's too late now."
Logan's face was uncomfortably close to Julian's, their lips barely centimeters apart. Under other circumstances, Julian might have been tempted to bridge the gap and steal a kiss, if only to piss Logan off, but he was too dumbstruck to even consider it right now. How could Logan make such a perfect analysis of their history... yet draw the wrong conclusion?
Logan stood up and walked to the door, leaving Julian, still speechless, on the bed.
"See you around, movie star, I'm looking forward to see how your PR people are going to handle this."
Logan carefully closed the door behind him and leaned back against it. There was no one to be seen in the hallway - he guessed most Stuarts were either in their room or in the library studying - and he allowed himself a moment to close his eyes and revisit what had just happened back in that room.
So Julian was not straight, as he'd always pretended to be.
The moment Logan saw those pictures the realization had struck him like a bomb. How could he not have noticed? And more intriguingly, why had Julian never told him? But as much as he had wanted to shake Julian unconscious, he wasn't stupid, and he was very well aware of what the "article" could do to Julian's career: he was a Senator's son after all. He'd figured the best way to handle the situation was to pretend it was no big deal, that people knew already anyway. That HE knew already.
But as he made up the whole jealousy-story on the spot (honestly, he'd amazed even himself with his quick thinking), it had started to dawn on him. Julian's eyes had told him more than he thought there even was to know. The fear when he had snatched the magazine from him. The sheer horror when he explained how he "knew". The confusion (or was it relief?) when he concluded Jules must've had the hots for Blaine, Josh, and Kurt. The almost hopeful flicker when he called him cute... .
He cursed himself in silence. His best friend was in love with him and he never even suspected it? Way to go, pretty boy, way to go.
He got up and started back to his room when he almost bumped into Derek.
"God, Logan, would you watch where you're going?"
"Look who's talking", Logan snapped back, but without his usual snarkiness, making Derek stop to look at him for a second.
"You ok, Lo?"
Logan paused a moment before taking a breath and answering.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm ok. Better check up on Jules though. He's still freaking out about them pics."
If Derek was surprised that Logan knew about the pictures but didn't seem to be bothered in the least, he didn't let it show.
"Yeah. Ok. I will."
He looked on as Logan walked to his room, frowning a little. Something was definitely off. But he shrugged as he turned around - he had more urgent matters to take care of. Rebecca had called him during his call with Emily, and he just might have mixed some things up while switching between both conversations... but if he recalled correctly, Jess was in town this week, so maybe she was free later tonight... .