This Thing Right Here
What most people didn't understand about Logan was that he wasn't just smart, he was brilliant, probably more suited to graduate-level studies than high school. He was the classic booksmart math-and-science boy, acing his classes with terrifying ease and using big words in his sentences that James and Kendall didn't understand at all and that Carlos had gotten into the habit of following up with a mocking gesundheit. He hadn't studied for a test since second grade (state capitals had been tricky), and when he said he needed time alone to "study," he meant that he was poring over the graduate-level physics textbooks he had borrowed from a local college.
Sometimes the others asked him what it was he found so fascinating about science. Well, sometimes Kendall asked him. James' eyes had glazed over two minutes into his excited dissertation and Carlos had actually fallen asleep, that one time they had worked up the nerve to inquire. No, Kendall was the only one who remained fully conscious during Logan's animated ramblings, which suited Logan just fine. Having Kendall's attention all to himself without fear the others would jump in was more exciting than the astrophysics he'd been immersed in for the past three weeks as he worked to wrap his head around the up-and-coming theories in the science world. Kendall sat with him for nearly half an hour as he chattered on about the extent to which relativity could be taken in potentiality; it was practically intoxicating, and if Kendall noticed him shifting closer and closer on the couch, he didn't say anything.
Logan's most recent fascination, however, had been with computer science. After watching Gustavo's techies' careful fingers on the sound boards of the studio for months, Logan had finally caved and begged one to explain to him. Martin had been immensely patient and helpful, never begrudging the overtime he put in to teach Logan the basics of the boards and the trickier, more finicky tech of the mixing software. Soon Logan was moving around the four different screens that comprised the main editing station with ease, comfortable enough to work on sound bytes on his own.
And that's where the trouble started.
The band was in the studio today, recording for their new album. The song was yet another love ballad, the fourth on the album so far, and they had all been ribbing Gustavo about it. "You can't rush the genius of a rock song! Do not question the master," he had shouted at them, and Logan for one was secretly hoping that Gustavo would never again be struck with a more upbeat inspiration and would be forced to fill the whole album with love songs.
He sang next to Kendall, as usual, and closed his eyes to listen to his best friend's voice swell the sweet solos Gustavo always gave him. Objectively, Carlos' or Logan's own voice was better, with a stronger range and a fuller quality, but Logan loved Kendall's voice. The way it pulled through the high notes with his Midwestern accent made him smile, and the way Kendall nearly rested his lips on the microphone as he sang was hot. It was sappy and gross and it made him feel like a girl, but Logan loved to hear Kendall sing, would listen to Kendall sing all the time if he could.
But dammit if they weren't practically members of a barbershop quartet. To listen to Kendall sing, Kendall and Kendall alone, Logan would have to hold out for the solos or do something drastic.
And the Big Time Rush boys were nothing if not ones for drastic measures.
No one worked at the studio on Sunday, so it was a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon when Logan announced he had left a vitally important book in the performance room, a book he just had to have by Monday morning, and so no one looked at him askance as he slunk out of the apartment and over to Roque Records. He let himself into the studio and carefully locked the door behind him before plopping into a swivel chair in front of the editing station and pulling copies of all their songs off a flash drive.
It was but a few moments' work to feed the first song into the software and isolate the different sound sources, and after a couple of careful deletions and some rearranging, he played the song back.
And only Kendall's voice crooned out of the speakers.
He listened, rapt and open-mouthed, as his friend sang through the whole song.
He played it twice through, then, practically feverish in his need for more, he worked quickly through the rest of their first album, then started on their second before moving on to the completed songs off their third. Nearly two hours later the last had completed its rendering and, finished, he sat back in the cushy seat, closed his eyes, and played through his work.
It was like magic. It was everything he'd hoped it would be, and he shivered to think what it would be like coming through his ipod earbuds at night, like it was meant only for him. Like Kendall was whispering in his ear. Oh, God, it was weird and screwed up and totally, totally gay, but that was what Logan was, right? Weird, screwed up, and gay. And smart, he added as a bit of a smug afterthought.
Smart enough to cut the feed for the security camera to the studio, anyway, a trick he appreciated with deep gratitude as he realized that even in the studio with the music coming out of the computer's speakers, he was already hard halfway through the eighth song. It wasn't even a love song, nothing intimate about it, but Logan still pushed his head against the back of his chair and quietly grunted as he rubbed himself off, coming hard and fast as Kendall sang about parties and summer fun.
He cleaned himself off and tucked the tissue into his pocket to dispose of somewhere less incriminating. Smiling to himself, he dragged the edited songs back onto the flash drive and purged the system of his work. He shut down the equipment and headed out of the studio, pausing only to snag a slim book on molecular geometry he had planted in the rec room on Friday and to flush his tissue down the toilet of the bathroom.
Back at the apartment, Kendall was working hard on the math homework Logan had finished in fifteen minutes in class on Friday. He looked up as Logan came in. "Find it? You were gone for a long time."
"Yeah. It took me awhile." Logan waved the book as proof and went to look over Kendall's shoulder. "Number four is wrong. And number five. And six."
"Shit," said Kendall, dropping his head onto the table. Logan draped himself teasingly over his back, internally gleeful at the contact.
"It's not that hard," he said with a smirk.
"Not all of us do complex trig for fun, Logan," Kendall said, voice muffled in his arms.
"Want me to give you the answers?"
"Ugh. Yes. I'll learn it later," Kendall said, which they both knew meant never. Logan was really the only reason any of the other three were passing math this year. Kendall was really more of an English sort of guy, Carlos had more interesting things to do than study, and James…James wasn't exactly an A student on his best day. Rockstar fashion designers didn't need to be smart, he always told them.
Logan brought back his homework for Kendall to copy and surreptitiously watched him do it, pretending to read his book but actually focused on the way Kendall caught his tongue between his teeth when he was concentrating.
"Are you okay?" Kendall asked. "You're looking kind of flushed."
Logan tore his thoughts away from tongue running up his chest suck lick bite and hastily replied, "Yeah, sure, fine," wincing at the way his voice cracked slightly in the middle. "I'm just gonna…go. Homework." He fled to his room. James was out, possibly a hair appointment—God knew he had those often enough—and he pulled his laptop onto his knees and transferred the contents of the flash drive to his music library, then synched his ipod. He had made sure to label the songs with names like "Chemistry Lecture 3" and "Professor Blake on Biophysics" to prevent discovery by a curious bandmate, but he still tucked the laptop back behind his biology library, where he had kept it hidden when not in use ever since he downloaded his first gay porn vid. His ipod he tucked into his back pocket and vowed never to let it leave his sight.
Logan was the last to turn in that night, hoping to let James fall into his characteristic deep beauty sleep before getting into bed himself. He counted himself extremely lucky that his roommate was James and not Kendall. He didn't think the prospect of lying down next to the object of his desires would be worth the hundreds of sleepless nights he was sure would follow. Plus, it would probably be too creepy to jerk off with the person you were fantasizing about sleeping not three feet away.
In any case, Logan climbed into bed that night nearly shaking with excitement. He watched James for a moment until he was sure there was no chance of his waking up, then lay flat on his back and pushed in his earbuds. Stomach fluttering, he navigated to the "Science Notes" playlist and hit play.
It was ten times better than in the studio. Logan had been right: hearing Kendall out of his ipod earbuds felt like he was singing right in Logan's ear. If Logan closed his eyes and let his imagination work, he could almost feel Kendall's lips on the shell of his ear. It was sexy. It was intimate. Logan felt plastered to the bed, knocked flat and motionless. Kendall's clear, rounded tones were wrapping him in a cocoon of noise and it was all he could do to breathe.
The song changed to one of the slow, smooth love songs they'd been recording over the past weeks and Logan finally licked a palm and shoved his hand down his sleep pants to glide around his dick, not bothering with finesse. He bit his lip and pulled an arm around his face to smother the noises he made. He thought of Kendall, naked, sweating, singing for him, the words meant just for him. He sped up his strokes and hoped James wouldn't wake up. Kendall's voice rasped on a note and Logan remembered that this was a song they hadn't recorded perfectly yet—there were still flaws. Kendall did it again, that same growling catch at the back of his throat, and Logan moaned. A few strokes more and he was coming.
He wiped his hand on a tissue and tossed it in the wastebasket, then turned on his side to face the wall. The music was still playing, but—tension relieved—it was more achingly sweet than anything else. He didn't know when he finally fell asleep, but in the morning he awoke with one earbud still in his ear, playlist long since ended.
Mondays brought school in the morning and rehearsal in the afternoon, and Logan was inordinately pleased with the new song Gustavo had for them to work on. He scanned the lyrics eagerly as they were handed to him, eyes widening as he read.
"Uh, Gustavo…" Kendall began, "It's a little racy, isn't it?"
"Racy? Racy? Racy is what the public wants, dogs! A little bit of sexy is the difference between the top of the charts and the bottom of the heap," the manager said, waggling his eyebrows and, as usual, steamrolling their qualms with threats and appeals to Kelly.
They soon found themselves packed off into the rehearsal room to iron out the lyrics and melody. They sprawled on couches in the corner and, to their credit, at least made an effort to try out some of the harmonies before they fell to joking about the lyrics.
"'When we touch in the back of your car'? Is Gustavo serious?" Carlos said, laughing with his helmet askew.
"It's probably the sexiest thing a totally awesome band with our, er, particular fan demographic can get away with," returned Logan, ever the realist, but secretly he felt as if a spring were winding within his stomach as he anticipated Kendall singing the words, low and rough, through his headphones.
"Particular fan demographic?" Carlos asked, confused.
"He means our fans are preteen girls," Kendall explained, with barely a lip twitch.
"It's all in how you sell it," said James over Carlos' groan. "For example," he got up and cocked a hip out, hooded his eyes, curled his lips, and sang, "God, when I look at you, the way you move, I want you, I want you so bad." His voice was heated and heavy, and he finished by smoothing a hand down his chest to dip a couple fingers into the waistband of his jeans. He glanced at Logan and pushed his tongue out to wet his lips.
Logan was sold, and while he would probably have come right there had Kendall been the one to give that little performance, he wasn't so stuck on the boy that he couldn't appreciate James' sex appeal for what it was. In any case, he definitely wouldn't be averse to seeing James do that again, preferably naked. "Bravo," he said, clapping and finding himself wishing he had a few dollar bills to shove into James' jeans. James winked at him, all charm.
"Well," said Carlos, clearly at a loss for words.
"I don't think we'll be allowed to do that in concert," Kendall said.
"Push boundaries. Be artists," James said, breathy and seductive, rolling his body in a slow undulation.
"Okay, that's quite enough out of you," Kendall said quickly, looking flustered.
"No, I think James should teach us how to have. Um. Sex appeal," Logan said, hardly believing the words coming out of his mouth. He swallowed and continued boldly. "Starting with our frontman."
James gave him an odd look, but luckily he was saved by Carlos. "You do kind of look like the baby giraffe at the zoo, Kendall," he said, grinning without malice. "Do it! Do it! Do it!"
Kendall looked at Logan, and Logan raised his eyebrows in challenge. "Fine," Kendall said, coloring only faintly. He stood up and moved awkwardly to stand next to James. "Teach me, sensei."
It was an uncomfortable twenty minutes, to say the least. Logan was half-hard and glad of his loose cargo pants five minutes in, and was sure he was a telling shade of red. Kendall wasn't a bad dancer, as much as he pretended otherwise. He seemed for the most part comfortable with his body, and moved easily through the motions James set for him. They danced in all of their concerts, of course, and all of their music videos, but they didn't dance like this, all crotch-grabbing and hip thrusts and alternating between powerful jerking movements and slow, rolling bends. Kendall wasn't as natural at it as James, and often Logan found his attention straying back to James' mouth-drying performance, but for the most part he soaked up every minute of Kendall attempting to "own his sexuality," as James kept instructing.
He wished desperately for a video camera. He cursed the fact that the security cams didn't monitor this room.
There was a heart-stopping moment when James finally released Kendall to flop himself back onto the couch and asked, "Next?," looking at Logan expectantly. Luckily, Carlos emphatically refused to participate, so Logan could turn James down as well. He shifted in his seat, trying to cover as much of his crotch as he could with the ends of his shirt.
Kendall slumped next to him, panting and sweaty. "How did I do? Sexy enough for you?"
Logan flushed and composed his face as Kendall rolled his head on the seat back to look at him from under sweat-damp bangs. "Uh, yeah. Definitely." He was proud that his voice didn't squeak.