The Kissing Game
Logan hadn't even gotten the chance to sort out why he stared at James the way he did or wanted to wrestle with James on a regular basis or why he had felt such a leap in his stomach when Carlos had said the words 'kiss James.' Jagan.
a/n: Inspired by a meme prompt, of all things, that talked about different kinds of kissing games and this was one of them. I really really really needed to write something fluffy and happy rather than what's been the usual with me lately, so this came out, and I have two fluffy, happy Christmas fics in the works that I think will be fun. Lots of thanks to Kre (who really should probably be thanked in every one of my fics, to be honest) for being supportive and especially on this fic for helping me think up an ending! Also a lot of thanks to everyone who reviews my fics, those always mean a lot to me and are the biggest inspiration to keep writing! Please keep them up, they're always really nice! And enjoy!
There were a few choice questions that filled Logan with dread every time he heard them.
"Do you want to dance with me?"
"Does this taste funny to you?"
"What happens if I push this button?"
"You didn't need that book, did you?"
"Have you seen a chinchilla around here?"
Unfortunately, Logan heard at least one of those questions (if not one worse) every single day from one or two or all three of his best friends. That was just what it meant to be Logan Mitchell. That he would be subjected to terrifying questions until the day he died. Probably as a result of one of those scary questions.
However bad each of those questions were, though, there was one question he absolutely, positively, completely and totally hated more than any other.
"Logan! Truth or dare?"
Logan huffed and rolled his eyes. "I'm not playing truth or dare, Carlos. I'm busy."
"No, you aren't," Carlos argued. "You're watching TV."
"No, I'm watching the Discovery Channel. There's a difference." Logan's eyes stayed locked on the screen, not caring to pay his friend one bit of attention.
"What's the difference?"
"The Discovery Channel is educational." Logan said it like it was entirely obvious.
"Whatever." Carlos waved the explanation away. "Truth or dare?"
"I told you I'm not playing. Truth or dare is for kids anyway."
"Is not!" Carlos protested hotly, sitting up on his knees on the couch, facing Logan adamantly with his fists on his hips. "Kendall and I play all the time!"
"Well, you and Kendall are kids, then. And dumb."
"Hey! We aren't kids!" Carlos bit back, and Logan couldn't help but notice the way Carlos didn't argue to being called dumb right to his face. He was just about to continue antagonizing his friend when he was tackled right off the couch to the floor, Carlos on top of him and jabbing him in the ribs repeatedly.
"Ow! Geez, Carlos, get off!" he shouted, his hands going immediately to Carlos' sides, the spot where everyone knew he was ticklish. Carlos squealed and tried grabbing Logan's wrists, but soon Logan had flipped their positions, straddling Carlos and tickling him until he could easily pin Carlos' elbows to his sides with his knees. Once Carlos was trapped underneath him and his screeching laughter had died into whiny struggling grunts and growls, Logan crossed his arms contentedly and refocused on the television.
"Dang it… Logan, let me go!" Carlos whined, wiggling under Logan's hold, but Logan allowed his weight to do the work for him, sitting comfortably on Carlos' stomach as he watched his show. He noticed Carlos start to get his arms free, though, and planted his hands down on his upper arms to keep him pinned.
A whistling reached Logan's ears and he looked up to see James making his way to the kitchen, a little joyful bounce in his step, and he tossed Logan a grin, seemingly unfazed by the scene in the living room. Not like it was that odd to see any combination of them on the floor wrestling. James himself had been in that position with Logan plenty of times. However, when it was James and Logan, it was usually Logan who was pinned under James' much heavier and more muscular body. Logan always found himself more evenly matched with Carlos. Not that that meant he preferred wrestling with Carlos. In fact, if Logan were to be perfectly honest, he would have rather had James under him on the floor at that moment. And he would have rather been pinning him for a completely different reason…
Carlos was suddenly throwing Logan off of him as he got his arms free in Logan's moment of distraction, and flipping Logan onto his chest so Carlos could sit on his back, twisting Logan's arm behind him. Logan shouted a protest, but it didn't make a difference. Carlos didn't move. Logan could see James leaning on the counter sipping from a glass of soda and watching the match coolly.
"Truth or dare, Logan?" Carlos was demanding, giving Logan's arm a slight pull.
"I'm not—ow!—playing, Carlos!" Logan growled back, trying to buck Carlos off of him and not having much success.
Carlos' voice brightened as he addressed James. "Hey, James, wanna play truth or dare with me and Logan?" he asked, his tone like night and day as compared to the way he grilled Logan like the Spanish Inquisition.
"Hm, let me think," James said mockingly, tapping his chin. "Nope! Bye!" and he strode back towards the bedrooms.
The last time James had played truth or dare, at a sleepover, Logan remembered, he'd had to dye the tips of his hair pink with Kool-Aid. At first, he'd refused, but after an hour of being called a chicken and coward and other unflattering insults by Kendall, James had relented in an outburst of "Fine! Someone get the Blastin' Berry Cherry!" Not only had his mother thrown a fit, but James had had to cut his hair short to get rid of the color. He'd been angry at Kendall for a month until his hair was back to a normal length for him. The sticky-sweet smell of Kool-Aid still made him cringe a little.
Logan was brought back by another tug to his arm. "Ow! Carlos, knock it off! Get off me!"
"Say you'll play truth or dare," Carlos insisted, showing no signs of giving up.
"Why me?" Logan grunted, still struggling. "Why not bother Kendall? You just said you and he play all the time…"
"Yeah, that's the problem, though…" Carlos said, sounding a little sad. "Now I know everything about him and I've dared him to do everything fun. There isn't anything good left."
Logan groaned. He wasn't going to win this and he was smart enough to give up before his arm was pulled out of socket. And Carlos was really starting to make his shoulder sore. "Fine," he groaned. "I'll play. Now get off me!"
Carlos gave a triumphant laugh as he dismounted Logan's back, letting go of his aching arm. Logan sat up rubbing his shoulder, scrambling onto the couch and planting himself away from Carlos with something of a glare that didn't stick once he saw Carlos' overjoyed expression. No one was good at glaring at Carlos for long, not even Logan.
"So?" Carlos pressed from his spot where he sat cross-legged on the floor. "Truth or dare?" He rocked excitedly, waiting for Logan's response.
Logan wasn't sure he wanted to do any of the things Carlos was prone to daring, so he immediately knew to say, "Truth."
Carlos rolled his eyes, however, fixing Logan with an admonishing look. "That isn't any fun, Logan, come on! I know everything about you!"
"What!" Logan scoffed, looking offended. "You do not." Carlos raised his eyebrows. "…okay, fine, so you know everything about me. Then what's the point of this game?"
"Well, if you can't say truth, you have to say dare. Say dare!" Carlos commanded, resuming his excited rocking.
"But I don't want to say dare."
Carlos rose on his knees, hands going suddenly into fists at his sides and eyes going hard at Logan again, ready to pounce. "Say dare, Logan!"
Logan's arms and legs all went up to stop Carlos, should he choose to tackle him again, but hoped he wouldn't since he was saying, "Fine, fine! Whatever! Dare! Geez…" Carlos took this game so seriously…
"Okay, uhm…" Carlos relaxed again as if he hadn't just had a random moment of scariness and settled back down on his haunches, tapping his chin thoughtfully. Logan raised his eyebrows expectantly. Seriously? Carlos had had this much time to consider what he would dare Logan to do and hadn't thought of anything yet? Typical Carlos, waiting til the last minute to plan something… Logan rolled his eyes and crossed his arms, leaning back against the couch again to focus on the television. He suspected it might take awhile for—
"I dare you to kiss James."
"Wh—what?" Logan shouted, his voice jumping up in pitch as he sat forward on the couch, hands going to the cushions and staring at Carlos with an appalled expression. "Carlos, I am not—"
"I'm not finished!" Carlos cut him off, waving his hands frantically before him. Logan hoped that whatever Carlos added would change the dare into something that meant Logan wouldn't be kissing James at all. "I dare you to kiss James every time he says the word… 'me.' Between… now and midnight." Logan gaped,then scrambled for his cell phone to check the time. It was barely noon… He couldn't kiss James for twelve hours! Every time he said 'me?' James always said 'me!' 'Me' was all James talked about! James loved 'me!' In fact, he would much rather be kissed by 'me' for twelve hours than by Logan!
"No way, Carlos, I'm not doing that," Logan said seriously, his voice hard as he cut his hand through the air in a finalizing motion.
"You have to!" Carlos argued. "It's the rules!"
"So what! I'm not doing it! Screw the rules!" Logan fought, crossing his arms and throwing himself back against the couch again.
"No way, dude…" Carlos' voice got low, warning. "You know if you don't follow the rules you have to pay." He climbed onto the couch next to Logan, leaning close to him. "If you don't do it, I'm totally telling James about the way you were staring at him earlier."
Logan made an affronted noise. Carlos was playing dirty. Carlos was being a jerk. And it shocked Logan. Offended him a little, even. Logan was the jerk, not Carlos. "I—I wasn't staring!"
"You so were, dude! You always do and always have… And you get this cute dreamy look in your eyes and this little smile and I'm just trying to help you get a move on, okay? Either follow the dare or pay for breaking the rules."
Logan's eyes narrowed at Carlos. "You sneaky jerk…"
Carlos' expression softened to a smile, though, and again, Logan felt disgust at himself and at the way he couldn't stay angry with Carlos. "So that means you're going to do it, right?" Carlos asked, bouncing again a little.
Logan struggled with himself for a few seconds before standing angrily, kicking at the ground. "Fine! Whatever. I'll do the stupid dare… But it's over at midnight!" He pushed off the couch, sacrificing his TV time, and started toward his room, hoping that maybe he could hide out there and not even see James for the rest of the evening. That wouldn't be cheating… it would just so happen that he couldn't do anything about the dare for not seeing James and being able to complete it. The time would run out and Logan would be home free.
"Sweet!" Carlos exclaimed, punching a fist into the air triumphantly. "James! Hey, James, come here!" he started shouting, and Logan should have just bolted for his room right then. Instead, he turned, looked horrified at Carlos, who continued yelling James' name, and ran back to the couch, clamping a hand over Carlos' mouth to suffocate growing laughter and pushing him back down on the couch hissing "Shut up, shut up, shut up!"
But it was too late. Logan heard James behind him, could hear his confusion before he turned and saw it. "You wanted me…?" He stared over the back of the couch at Logan holding Carlos down, trying to smother him. Carlos grinned into Logan's palm and Logan swallowed. James had said the word and both of them knew it.
"Uh… Carlos needed you. I was… just leaving," Logan said, giving Carlos a hate-filled look before letting off of him. He straightened his shirt and took a deep breath, looking James up and down briefly. James raised a slow eyebrow at Logan.
Carlos had never said "on the lips." Logan cleared his throat, feeling awkward and uncomfortable as all three of them stood there in silence and Logan considered where would be the least strange place to kiss James.
Finally, he stepped up and kissed James' cheek before dashing away in long, fast, brisk strides towards the bedrooms, his arms swinging stiffly at his sides. He could hear Carlos' giddy guffaws as he threw himself back on the couch, but refused to turn and see James' reaction. It took a whole three seconds for Logan to run-walk to his room and to slam the door behind him, feeling his face, neck, and chest going hot from the confrontation.
This was going to be a long twelve hours.
The seconds ticked slower than usual. More than once, Logan got up and hit his hand against the wall clock in his bedroom to make sure the batteries weren't dead and slowing it down. When his cell phone confirmed the correctness of the time, though, he just trudged back to his desk and sat back down to tap his pen nervously against the surface and stare at a homework assignment that was uncharacteristically covered in doodles. Logan didn't know what was happening to him. Studying was supposed to ease his nerves, not heighten them.
The thought Logan kept coming back to was 'This isn't fair.' That was the excuse he'd used all through childhood whenever any of the other guys bent or took advantage of the rules in a game. Kendall would say something like, "This is my house, so I make the rules!" Or James would insist when he was found in hide-and-seek, "You have to go count to a hundred again! I wasn't ready!" Or Carlos would whine in his driveway next to the basketball hoop his dad had installed, "You guys have to stand further back to throw the ball because you're taller!" Logan would always be the one to stomp his foot and snap, "This isn't fair."
He'd always been a fan of fairness. And right now? Carlos wasn't being fair.
He knew. He knew how Logan felt and he was playing games with that. Logan, of course, didn't know how Carlos knew, but he clearly did. Apparently Logan had a staring problem or something… He'd have to work on that. The last thing he needed was Kendall noticing, too. Or worse, Katie… If she were to choose to blackmail him, she'd be worse than Carlos. Who was surprisingly vicious, Logan considered with a shiver.
And what was scarier was that Carlos thought he was actually being helpful. Logan hadn't even gotten the chance to sort out why he stared at James the way he did or wanted to wrestle with James on a regular basis or why he had felt such a leap in his stomach when Carlos had said the words 'kiss James.' As was the way with Logan, when he couldn't answer a question, he just didn't. He just pretended the question didn't exist. And thus, it was difficult to be excited about Carlos' dare and the way he thought he was being of assistance.
Besides, Logan didn't even know if James liked being kissed by boys at all…
It was still two hours to dinnertime when Logan's stomach growled ferociously. He groaned and let his forehead fall to his desk, hands going around his stomach. Maybe he could stick it out until dinner… maybe… He glanced up at the clock and groaned again, because, no, he was going to have to go out to the kitchen and have a pudding or a PB&J or something, because this was the kind of pain they called "exquisite" in that it was awful and probably came at least partially from nervousness at the possibility of seeing James.
After a couple more minutes of wallowing in self-pity, Logan finally pushed out of his desk chair and made for the kitchen.
Logan felt like a spy, inching along the hallway, carefully placing each foot in spots he had learned in the last two years were squeak-free, unsure whether James was still in the living room or not. His plan didn't extend far past the hallway, of course, because as soon as he got to that point, it didn't matter how quiet he was, he would be in the open, plain sight.
He could see the back of James' head and shoulders, arms stretched across the back of the couch, and Carlos hunched comfortably in the bend of the cushions. Stupid Carlos was being stupid and sneaky, probably making sure James stayed out for if and when Logan needed to leave his room.
Carlos was too smart and observant for his own good, and Logan knew he hid it most of the time to keep that innocent little demeanor that would lead mothers love him and fathers to trust him with their daughters if he could ever manage to snag a date. Logan could see it, the day Carlos acquired a real, steady girlfriend, being brought home to meet parents and charming them with his precious smile and sweet words. Parents would love Carlos, they would swoon over him, feed him all the food he wanted, and then hand him the keys to their Mercedes on the same keyring as the one that unlocked their daughter's chastity belt.
Logan could smile to himself in the reassurance that his friend never could get that prerequisite of a girl actually saying "yes" to him.
But then, of course, he felt guilty and his smile faded knowing how lucky any girl would be to get Carlos, because, really, he was a great catch and, above that, a good friend. He thought he was helping Logan out here. Of course, the binding of the dare was really hindering Logan's ability to move smoothly through life, but Carlos didn't know any better.
Any girl would be lucky to get Carlos… but Logan thought he would be a hundred times luckier to get James.
Logan sighed and steeled himself to start towards the kitchen. He tried to look casual, tried to roll the tension out of his shoulders as he walked, but he could tell his arms were still oddly stiff at his sides.
Carlos and James were laughing at something on the television, the channel long changed from The Discovery Channel. At first, they didn't notice him, and Logan made it all the way to the refrigerator before he could think better of opening it. Even the short, quiet sound of the door opening caught Carlos' attention and he hopped up, running to join Logan at the fridge door. "Hey, Logan, what are you up to? Are you getting something to eat? Where have you been?" Carlos berated him with questions, wiggling around Logan to block his view of the inside of the refrigerator and Logan scowled.
"Too many questions, Carlos," Logan scolded, shouldering him out of the way maybe little more forcefully than he needed to. His voice got a little tight as he avoided Carlos' excited gaze and bent down to get a yogurt from the bottom shelf. "I'm getting a snack, and I've been studying."
"Ew, studying. Why?" James' voice came from closer than the couch and Logan stood up fast to see James seated at the counter, spinning in his chair idly and watching the floor as he did so, probably making himself dizzy on purpose. Logan tried not to smile. It was cute… but, no, he needed to be nervous and on guard. One word from James and Logan would have to kiss him again… and as much as it made Logan's heart do a silly little somersault, it made his stomach lurch. He couldn't handle the risks he was being forced to take with James regarding this.
"Because," he responded pointedly, skillfully masking his voice with annoyance and pretention to hide the butterflies in it. "I actually care about my grades." James snorted at that, then experimentally grabbed the counter to stop spinning abruptly, tumbling out of his seat. Logan tilted his head with a raised eyebrow, finding James' ironic display of Newton's first law of motion after just scoffing at the idea of studying quite interesting. Why did Logan like this big dork again?
Carlos groaned as Logan pulled the top off his yogurt, going for a spoon, and flung his arm around Logan's shoulders. "Ugh, Logan… studying is boring… don't you want to come watch TV with me and James?" Logan's head snapped at Carlos, who wiggled his eyebrows at him mischievously. It was clear what Carlos was trying to do, get Logan stuck in the living room with James, who would undoubtedly have something to say about himself.
"Hey, yeah!" James exclaimed, bouncing up from where he'd toppled to on the floor. Logan stared wide-eyed at him and swallowed. This was a perfect opportunity for James to use the M-word, and Logan immediately lost his appetite as James opened his mouth to add, "Watch TV with us! We are way more fun than stupid homework or whatever." The argument was punctuated by a perfect smile and hopeful eyes.
Logan took a breath and averted his gaze downward at his yogurt, shoveling a spoonful into his mouth so he wouldn't have to respond right away. Unfortunately, yogurt didn't take much time in the chewing department—or any at all, and Logan found himself with two hopeful gazes stuck on him and no reason not to be responding.
"…I can't. Studying…" Logan finally answered vaguely, and made a move for the hallway. He didn't even make it a few steps before Carlos and James started groaning and whining behind him.
"But Logan—" James started.
Logan spun around and held up his spoon warningly. "Don't even start." He was beginning to get very paranoid about this whole kissing game. With James, any next word out of his mouth could be the magic one and Logan was getting antsy. He'd already been out of his bedroom longer than he'd planned and even gotten to the point of conversing with James. He was pushing it.
James quirked an eyebrow and looked at Carlos worriedly. Logan couldn't exactly blame him; it wasn't like James knew what was going on. He had plenty right to be confused. James' befuddled gaze went from Logan back to Carlos like he wasn't sure who he should be confused at. He finally landed on Logan, asking, "What did I do?"
Before Logan could say anything, Carlos leapt at the counter James sat at, grabbing onto it excitedly. "What did who do?"
Logan's brain could barely comprehend the question before James was frowning at Carlos like he was dumb and pointing at himself. "Me. What did I do?" He looked back at Logan expectantly, but he was definitely expecting something different than Logan was going to give him, Logan knew that much.
He managed to give a pointed glare at Carlos as he stalked towards James slowly. Logan was going to have to rethink how nice he was to Carlos. Surely he didn't deserve this much of Logan's kindness and leniency when he was this malicious in return. He also took a mental note to teach Carlos the definition of "blackmail."
"Nothing. You didn't do anything, James…" Logan muttered. His squinted, annoyed eyes were locked on Carlos, who was now leaning on his elbows over the sink, watching Logan with intense interest. Logan finally looked at James, and his expression softened somewhat with a sigh as he searched for somewhere appropriate… Not the lips, never the lips. He'd kissed his cheek earlier, and while it wasn't part of the dare or anything, Logan felt like repeating the gesture might make something strange between him and James. The neck was heads and shoulders above the line of intimacy… Which lead Logan to his next option.
He quickly dipped forward, kissing James' shoulder before giving him an affectionate pat in the same spot, trying to make the gesture seem like one of reassurance or… well, let's face it, it looked awkward no matter what, and that was what prompted Logan to rotate immediately on his heel and actually bolt for his bedroom.
Right before he shut his door loudly, he could hear James say something along the lines of, "Okay, what?"
The bedroom door opened and shut quietly. "Well. I heard you're being weird," Kendall observed, causing Logan to glare at him from his spot on his bed, earbuds stuffed in his ears in what he'd hoped was a precaution against interruption. Apparently that didn't apply to Kendall Knight, who could clearly say whatever he wanted to whoever he wanted.
Logan pulled the earbuds out—they weren't even playing music and he suspected Kendall knew that—and flung them across his bed, closing the book in his lap. He hadn't turned a page since returning to his room after his encounter in the kitchen. The yogurt cup was on his nightstand and untouched since that one bite he'd taken earlier.
"Who told you that?" he asked, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed.
"James," Kendall said almost as a sing-song as he toed off his shoes and kicked them to the wall. Kendall's side of the room was impressively messier than Logan's, which was meticulously organized to a point one might call obsessive. "And then Carlos just started laughing and couldn't stop," Kendall added with a shrug.
Logan sighed. Kendall had always been someone he trusted, and before anyone else, he was always the person Logan could tell secrets to. He had never judged Logan or made fun of him, nor ever betrayed his trust. He told Kendall the things he was afraid would mean too much sharing with James or would be too heavy to put on Carlos.
Kendall sat on his bed, staring with raised eyebrows at Logan, waiting for some kind of explanation. Logan took a breath, confident that Kendall could help him.
"Carlos dared me to kiss James every time he uses the word 'me.'" He said, running a hand through his hair and slouching forward embarrassedly.
Kendall stared at Logan with his mouth open in something Logan wasn't sure was wonder, surprise, or what. "So… wait, when did this happen?" Kendall sat up straight and gestured with his hands vaguely in something that referred to time, apparently.
Logan shrugged. "About noon-ish. And I have to do it til midnight."
Kendall immediately scrambled for his phone to check the time and raised his eyebrows when he saw, clearly doing the math in his head. "Dude, you still have, like… eight and a half hours." His expression was still unreadable as Logan nodded. There were a few moments filled with Kendall staring, wide-eyed and gaping, and Logan squirmed a little, wishing he knew what was going through his head.
After a moment, he got his answer as Kendall threw himself back on his bed, laughing so hard he was gasping for air. Logan glared, tightening his jaw. He really thought the way Kendall was holding his ribs and kicking his legs was really being overdramatic. When Kendall literally fell off his bed onto the floor, laughing so hard he was wiping at his eyes, Logan snapped, "Okay! It isn't that funny!"
Kendall struggled to catch his breath, calming down slowly. "Oh, my god… No wonder Carlos started laughing like that… Oh, man…"
"Kendall, come on!" Logan whined. Actually whined. Logan whined. He was getting desperate as he got to his feet, taking the couple steps to stand with his hands on his hips over Kendall, who was still on the floor leaning against his bed in a laugh-ridden exhaustion. "You're supposed to be helping me figure out how to get out of this."
Kendall snorted, finally pulling himself up between chuckles. "Why? It's funny… Besides, it isn't like you plan on making a move on James yourself. It's a good thing Carlos forced you to."
Logan gaped, stepping quickly away. "Wh—what? Kendall! You aren't serious right now!"
Kendall rolled his eyes and started digging in his night stand for his iPod, his laughter having subsided. "Dude, you stare at James, like, all the time. With this goofy little smile and everything, it's sickening, it's so cute…"
Logan threw his hands up hopelessly and fell back onto his bed. If he had such a staring problem, someone really should have told him about it. This was not the way to find out. At least it was nice to learn that his friends thought his pain was so ridiculously funny. Though it was too bad Logan was being so sore about this, because somewhere deep down, he knew perfectly well that he would find it funny to see Carlos or Kendall in the exact same situation. Maybe not to the point of reacting as Kendall had, but he would definitely never make an attempt to stifle any laughter and he knew it.
"Geez, remind me to never tell you anything ever again…" Logan complained, curling back into the corner of his bed with his book again.
Kendall rolled his eyes as he sat back on his own bed with his iPod and laptop. "Whatever, dude. Why don't you just try enjoying the fact that you have an excuse to kiss James over and over?" He punctuated the teasing with a couple kissy faces at Logan.
Logan met Kendall's taunt by throwing his pillow at his stupid face, but immediately regretted it when Kendall decided to keep it, shoving it behind his back for cushioning. Logan groaned as he buried his nose in his book once more.
How could Kendall expect him to enjoy making a fool of himself with James every other time the conceited boy opened his mouth? Logan really wished someone had told him about his problem sooner…
Dinner was painful. Nearly physically so as Logan came close to choking on more than one occasion.
Kendall and Carlos were purposefully trying to goad James into talking about himself through the entire meal. Luckily for Logan, a more popular pronoun in James' vocabulary than 'me' was 'I,' and that wasn't part of the deal.
"Did you go to the pool today, James?" Kendall asked, sounding overly curious as he bit into a fishstick. Logan kicked Kendall under the table, because he was getting seriously sick of these stupid questions. It had been bad enough that Carlos was trying to make Logan crazy; it only got worse when Logan inadvertently added Kendall to the mix. If he'd known Kendall would find the situation so hilarious, he would have never opened his mouth.
Kendall gave a shout at the sharp pain of a foot to his shin and glared at Logan, who was already frowning disapprovingly back. Beside Logan, James didn't seem to notice, nor did he really notice the unusual amount of attention towards him this evening. In fact, he seemed to be reveling in the questions, answering each one with vigor and excitement. It seemed that James felt everyone should always ask questions about him and the universe was just righting itself. "Yeah! I haven't been out to tan for the last couple days, so I spent an extra hour by the pool today to even out my color. You know, gotta look good for that interview next week. I don't wanna look… pale." He pointedly looked over Kendall with a raised eyebrow. If he hadn't been so focused on pushing Logan into another kiss, Logan was pretty sure Kendall would have picked a fight with James just then. In fact, he quite irresponsibly hoped for it.
Kendall didn't attack James, though. Instead, he eyed Logan, clearly trying to decide what question to ask to get back at Logan for kicking him.
Carlos got to it first, though, and slammed his hands on the table in his excitement, causing everyone to jump. "Hey! Who finished off the chocolate syrup and stuck the bottle back in the fridge?" He asked the question like a game show host, like there would be a thousand-dollar grand prize for whoever answered correctly. Logan groaned, because they all knew who it was: the one person who always finished things off and put the empty bottle back in the fridge. Kendall ducked his head to hide a grin.
James answered unabashedly and Logan's stomach sank as he braced himself for the word. "Oh. I did."
Logan let his breath go in a motion that required his entire body, but James hardly batted a lash at him. Not that Logan should ever have been surprised. The whole purpose of Carlos choosing the word 'me' was that James was so focused on himself and now was no exception.
Carlos sunk a little in disappointment and dug back into his fishsticks, but Kendall smirked knowingly. He lifted that smug little smile to Logan, his chin up, and Logan only had a moment to squint suspiciously back at him before Kendall turned the look on James.
"James," Kendall says sweetly. Logan recognized the ruse as the one often used on Gustavo and Mrs. Knight, the latter of whom had been watching the boys' dinner conversations curiously for many minutes now, clearly lost in terms of their strange behavior. The aforementioned James perked up, smiling brightly at his friends paying him so much attention. It was really very obvious how much of an ego stroke they were giving him by the way his eyes just sparkled—actually sparkled, it was really actually very interesting, and Logan shook himself, realizing he was staring again—but James didn't seem to care that anything was out of the ordinary. He was having a good time being the center of attention. "Camille said she was looking for you today. Did she find you?"
Logan's eyes narrowed at Kendall across the table as he hashed out the question in his head, quickly considering the most obvious way of answering it. Kendall was a sneaky bastard. He'd clearly very carefully constructed a question, whether it was relevant or not, to coax James into the word 'me.' And stupid Kendall was just smart enough to pull it off, too. Logan silently berated himself for having told Kendall anything in the first place. He should have realized that there would be no middle ground; either Kendall was going to help Logan out of the dare or he was going to use his skills for planning and sneakiness to help Carlos thoroughly embarrass Logan.
Apparently, the fearless leader was an ass who wanted to see Logan driven to madness just as much as Carlos did.
"What? Really? I mean, I saw her, but she didn't say anything to me. Did she say why she was looking for me? Was it important? Like, she didn't have a movie audition thing for me or anything, did she?" James actually seemed somewhere between excited and concerned as he leaned towards Kendall with a serious look. Kendall, however, just shrugged with a cocky grin and went back to his meal, pointedly not looking at Logan.
Not only had Kendall gotten James to say the word, he'd gotten him to say it three times. And if Logan hadn't been counting himself, it was evidenced when he looked with fear in his eyes at Carlos to see his friend practically bouncing in his seat and holding up three fingers, mouthing "Three!" excitedly. As for Kendall, he was clearly having trouble keeping himself from laughing.
James noticed this time. He frowned, speaking unflatteringly through a mouthful of overprocessed fish that may not have been fish at all, if you asked Logan. "What are you guys freaking out about?"
Logan glanced along the table. He couldn't believe Kendall and Carlos were doing this to him, here in front of Mrs. Knight and Katie. In front of Katie! There was no way Katie would ever let him live this down. He couldn't kiss James here, not with Katie and Mrs. Knight at either end of the table, squinting suspiciously at them all, the one confused boy, one flushed, and two giggling.
"Okay, what is going on?" Mrs. Knight finally asked, setting down her silverware and raising her eyebrows expectantly at her son. Kendall's only response was to let his snickers turn to laughter, having to lean on the table on his elbows. Carlos was no help, either, as he watched Logan with expectant excitement.
"Nothing," Logan muttered, accentuating his response with a violent bite at one fishstick. Mrs. Knight tossed her hands up hopelessly, knowing as an experienced parent the way that teenagers liked to keep their private jokes and games away from their parents.
Katie, however, never as complacent as her mother, rolled her eyes and looked pointedly at Kendall. "They're messing with Logan. I don't know how… but they are." Her squinted, suspicious gaze drifted across the table to Logan as she attempted to suss out the secret she was unhappily left out of.
"Leave it alone, Katie," Logan warned in a low voice. The last thing he wanted or needed was for Katie to be in on the harassment, too. Katie responded by rolling her eyes, which he knew to mean she would just bully it out of her brother later and that gave Logan a horrible, sinking feeling. What was left of his dignity was far from safe.
Logan tried to stop thinking about that, however, because Carlos was giving him the "Get a move on it!" look, complete with an expectant hand motion.
Three kisses… here. In front of everyone. Logan's appetite was slowly dissipating. He gave Carlos a stern look before lowering his eyes to his plate and eyeing James sideways.
The table was slowly falling silent as Kendall's tickled laughter died and, at the urging of his mother, he started again on his meal with a muttered, "Okay, okay…" but Logan could still see that Kendall's focus was still intently on him, apparently excited at the prospect of watching what would unfold when Logan finally kissed James.
As for the eventual victim of Logan's reluctant affections… James was distracted again by his food. If Logan didn't know better, he would just say James was stupid, but he knew James would really just tune things out if he didn't understand what was happening. Really, it was smart. If Logan just checked out of conversations that were confusing to him instead of prying and demanding details, he would save himself a lot of trouble. In fact, Logan considered that he would save himself a lot of trouble if he just didn't talk to any of these people at all. Except Mrs. Knight. He had a feeling she would be on his side here if she knew what was going on.
Logan had given up on his food, but he picked up his fork anyway with a deep breath. He gave Carlos a sharp look and knocked his fork onto the floor. Logan wasn't a great actor, but he tried to make it seem realistic when he muttered, "Whoops, sorry…" and bent over in James' direction. This warranted a choke from Kendall, to whom the image must have been incredibly amusing, but Logan just rolled his eyes before placing a light kiss on James' knee in a way that he wouldn't even notice the touch. When he came back up to the table, Mrs. Knight was patting Kendall's back and Carlos was frowning confusedly at Logan until he held up one finger. It took Carlos a second, but he soon started grinning, shoveling a bite of corn into his mouth as if it were popcorn at a movie theater.
Logan, however, was less than enthusiastic. He had one down, yes, but two left, and he had no idea how to execute them. In fact, he really just wanted to give up now. He hated this game, and he hated the giddiness it was giving Kendall and Carlos, and he hated the suspicious looks Katie was giving him. If anyone was going to see through that fake fork drop, it was Katie.
This was honestly getting out of hand. Logan slipped his phone out of his pocket to check the time. He still had over four hours. And Logan had already been frustrated almost to the point of tears all day. This wasn't going to work…
A sudden kick to his foot under the table had him shoving his phone back in his pocket and looking up to see Carlos' and Kendall's matching stares at him. He rolled his eyes and tightened his lips, honestly becoming really sick of this whole deal. The way his friends were starting to look at him like this was just their entertainment on the line was truly obnoxious. They knew that this meant more to Logan than it did to them, and they just weren't taking it into consideration.
"I'm… really not feeling well," he said suddenly, pushing back out of his chair and picking up his dishes. It actually wasn't that much of a lie, although Logan's source of discomfort was more psychological than anything. "I think I'm going to have to excuse myself and go lay down." He offered Mrs. Knight an apologetic look before taking his dishes to the sink. He didn't bother looking to see Kendall's and Carlos' looks of disappointment as their personal little dancing monkey got up to leave.
He turned back around to go towards the bedrooms just as Katie slapped Carlos' shoulder with the back of her hand, demanding in a hiss, "What is going on?"
Carlos grabbed his shoulder, making a face, "Ow, Katie, that hurt…"
Katie rolled her eyes, saying, "It did not, tell me what—" She stopped and watched as Logan got closer to the table, and he noticed all but James' eyes were on him as he walked past. It almost made him nervous, the sympathetically worried way Mrs. Knight examined him, the way Kendall and Carlos looked expectant for something to happen, the scrutinizing squint of Katie's weird, overly large child eyes.
He thought he might be home free, when he heard Carlos whisper—and it was honest to god the loudest whisper known to man and Logan didn't know how Carlos thought he was being sneaky about anything—"Logan! Two!"
Logan spun back around with a glare and stalked back to stand behind James, who had apparently seriously tuned out everything besides his own chewing, because he was intently concentrated on his food as though he'd heard absolutely nothing.
He considered having a scene right here, snapping at Carlos and telling him just how not funny this was. But he reminded himself… Carlos didn't realize how much this bothered him. Kendall, on the other hand, was now eyeing Logan warily, seeming to sense his frustration. He put a hand on Carlos' shoulder and opened his mouth to say something, but Logan cut him off with a, "Fine." He figured he might as well. He leaned down to kiss James on the head briefly before immediately stalking towards the safety of his room.
Behind him, he heard a round of "Oh…"s and "What?"s, and he knew one of them was James.
Carlos started to call, "Logan! One mo—" but Logan assumed the muffled cut-off was Kendall's hand over Carlos' mouth.
It was just Logan and the clock again. He figured Kendall had felt too guilty after dinner to come to the room and had thought it best to leave Logan alone for awhile. Probably at least until midnight. Which was exactly what Logan was waiting for, too.
He was laid back on his bed, watching the clock intently. Only 8:30. If Logan wasn't such a big supporter of logic and physics, he would say time moved slower when he was miserable over it.
A light rap on his door caught Logan's attention and he groaned, pulling his pillow up around his ears. "Go away, Kendall! I'm pissed at you!"
But Kendall didn't open the door. Instead, James slipped in uninvited and Logan shot up, his eyes wide as he stared at James. "What are you doing?" he asked with maybe a little bit of unexplainable fear in his voice. It wasn't like there were any witnesses here to force Logan into a kiss, should James say the trigger word.
James raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms over his chest indignantly. "What am I doing? Dude, what are you doing?"
Logan felt his cheeks get hot. He knew this would happen. And it was all stupid Carlos' fault… "I don't know what you're talking about," he muttered, turning to sit back against his headboard with his arms crossed as well.
James huffed and walked closer to the bed, standing over Logan. "Shut up. You've kissed me, like, six-hundred times today—"
"Four! Four." Logan sat up straight again, staring hard up at James. The fact that James had said the word again wasn't lost on him, and Logan actually caught himself looking for another safe spot, then shook it off, reminding himself that he was quitting the dare and no one was there to force him into it anyway.
James raised his eyebrows. "Okay, uh, the fact is that you've kissed me. So, why?" James sounded frustrated and that really didn't make Logan want to tell him about the dare. He shifted on the bed and averted his eyes. "Why are you messing with me, dude?"
That got Logan's attention and he frowned at James, confused. "What are you even talking about, messing with you?" he asked, turning to sit on the edge of his bed.
James huffed and rolled his eyes. "You're teasing me. You're being—you're being a jerk!" He flung his hand out to gesture at Logan, then let his hands fall in fists at his sides.
Logan shot to his feet, standing close to James with an incredulous stare. "What? Are you kidding? Teasing you about what?" He didn't mean to be getting annoyed, but this was what happened between Logan and James. One of them started yelling and accusing and soon they were fighting with each other.
"Liking you!" James suddenly shouted, taking a frustrated step back from Logan and gesturing to him again. "You're messing with me because I have a crush on you and you're so stupid being all smart so you figured it out and now you're screwing with me and it makes you an ass!" James was yelling and his accusations made Logan angry enough to entirely miss the confession in them.
He scoffed, offended, and got back in James' personal space, shouting back, "Do you have a disorder or something? You are such an idiot! Why would I mess with you for something like that, huh?"
James shrugged and made a face, but his anger didn't subside. "I don't know, because you're Logan?"
"Oh, that's real nice, James."
"Hey!" James jumped on Logan's words. "I'm just saying, you're kind of a jerk sometimes, okay?"
Logan threw his arms out in frustration. "Then why do you like me, huh?" Somehow, it didn't even occur to him what he was saying.
"I don't know!" James yelled, his hands going to his head as if the thinking was making it hurt. Or maybe it was all the shouting. Because they were really sort of screaming in each other's faces at this point.
"Well, what if I like you, too, huh? Am I a jerk then? Hm?" Logan raised his eyebrows and tilted his head, ready for James' comeback.
But it didn't come. And for good reason. That was that the reality of the situation hitting them both at the same time. That they'd both just confessed crushes on each other and were suddenly standing awkwardly close to each other and staring intently at one another, each waiting for the other to say something.
Finally, it was James who asked, his voice a fraction of what it had been moments ago, "…why are we fighting?"
"Uhm… I'm not sure…" Logan answered, a little embarrassed.
James swallowed and stared at Logan a little longer, looking like he was trying to cope with his new information, and clearly feeling bad about previously accusing Logan of being a jerk. "Was—was that why you've been kissing me all day?" he asked, though he still seemed confused, though Logan couldn't blame him. Random, weird, awkward kisses weren't usually the ways with which people confessed their liking for another person, especially not their best friend.
So he shrugged and shook his head, finally stepping back from James so he wasn't two inches from him and looking straight up into his face. "No, uh… Carlos sort of dared me to kiss you every time you said the word 'me.' So… I was supposed to do that til midnight…" He stared at the ground, feeling awkward and weird and a little fluttery, because, seriously, James just said he liked him. Maybe it was sort of girlish to feel like this, but Logan couldn't help it… James actually liked him?
…stupid Carlos and stupid Kendall. Being so stupid and right…
James stepped up to Logan again, undoing the distance he'd just put between them. "Seriously? That was why? Dude…" Logan couldn't read James' voice, so he looked back up at him, frowning and scrunching his face a little.
"What?" he asked, and couldn't help the suspicion in his voice. It was a natural reaction for him when it came to situations like these.
"Well… I've said 'me,' like, eighty times since I've come in the room…" James said with a smirk and a shrug.
Logan snorted and smiled. It was actually seven. "Yeah, so?"
"So," James said, drawing the word out like it was actually three syllables instead of one. "You said you have to do it til midnight. And, you know, you've kissed me, like, everywhere except…" Logan's ribcage tightened as James smiled, all bright and hopeful.
Screw the dare. Logan was doing this of his own accord now. He grabbed James' neck and pulled him down to kiss him deep and hard on the mouth, catching James a little off-guard in the process. Logan made sure it lasted, too, hooking his elbow around the back of James' neck; according to James, he had, like, eighty kisses to cram in here, after all.