I had to grow a nice set of balls to post this, because every Rusher on here is fabulous. It's a little rough around the edges. It was inspired by the song Better Luck Next Time by We Are The In Crowd.

BTR| BTR| BTR

Kendall couldn't falter the mask for a minute. He was talking about those girls with his over-sized heart stitched on his sleeve. Over-sized. Whatever. Kendall had enough room for everyone in it but him.

Watching him talk animatedly about them was making James sick. He stood up and went to the bathroom, not caring if he was being rude.

God, he was so past caring!

He quietly shut the door behind him, wondering if Kendall watched him go. It wouldn't make a difference. It couldn't erase the last 6 months. James gulped down the lump in his throat and faced the mirror.

His flushed face was begging to give him away. His hazel eyes showed how he was really feeling. Pathetic. He was feeling pathetic.

James knew better. He shouldn't let Kendall get to him. He was a coward anyway. He didn't own up to crap.

James glared at his reflection like it was the person crossing his mind. "Arrogant prick."

Yeah, James used the word arrogant to describe someone else. People think he's the arrogant one. He takes care of his good looks for a reason. If the people who were quick to judge him actually got to know him, then they'd know he was different.

"Get it together, James Diamond. You're better than this."

He walked back out. Green eyes boring into him. Carlos and Logan followed his gaze. The attention was solely on him. For the first time in a long while it made him uncomfortable. He shuffled the feet he was suddenly fond of.

"James?"

He fought the glaring, though the desperation was there. He glanced up at Kendall and quickly to the other guys. His sneakers held his attention once more.

"I, uh, needed to use the bathroom. I, uh..." He looked for a safety zone that lacked their gawking. He eyed the front door. "I need to go see Camille."

"Camille has an audition today," Logan stated.

"Right! She needed help with her lines. Bye." He wiggled his fingers and scurried off. His exit out of the crib was a success.

Kendall didn't know why James was being weird. Of course he knew. It was that it actually mattered that really perturbed him. There was a sensation pulling him towards James that begged him to follow. He stayed standing in front of the orange couch, looking more lost than Logan was.

"Camille left for her audition ten minutes ago. I said goodbye to her in the lobby. You don't think..." Logan paused, wrinkling his forehead. "Him and Camille?"

"James wouldn't do that."

"You sound sure."

"I am! It's James."

"He kissed her when she and I were dating." They buried the hatchet, but Logan didn't forget.

"That was different. He learned a lesson." Kendall was aware he was being theatrical. He could feel his eyes practically popping out of his skull. He had to straighten out his form. Dignify himself. "Besides, she has been spending time with Jett. I think she'll go for him him before she goes for James."

Logan wasn't happy.

That's when it clicked.

He was alienating James. He was talking about Jo and Lucy fighting over him. He didn't even realize what he was doing. It was word vomit. He wanted to get it out and the guys were his go-to. It must have seemed like he was proud that girls wanted to date him. Okay, he was a little proud. Carlos went out with all of the Jennifers. Carlos!

He was with Jo. He thought he was anyway. Jo and him were sketchy on defining their relationship. As far as he was concerned they were only going on dates here and there. They hung out as a group more than one on one. So, maybe not so much with her as he was occasionally dating her.

Lucy. She wanted Kendall back. She was out to prove something. The girl was crazy. He kind of liked that; in a weird way. It was more her determination he admired. She was a psycho, and she scared him. James did his best to get her away from him.

James had a way about him. He could sway people. He tricked Lucy into spending her time doing something productive. His swaying skills were worse with him. James can get him to break dates with Jo.

"Hey man, let's go to the arcade."

"The new action film is in theaters."

"Don't you want bro time instead?"

The swaying was weak, but he cancelled on Jo. Every time.

His face was drained of all color as he stared at the door. His eyes were wide open in shock. His mouth agape and his shoulders slumped. His heart was rattling inside his chest. His breathing picked up tempo.

"Kendall?" Carlos' voice was faint. "Dude?"

"Kendall? Zap out of it!"

Logan was standing in front of him, clapping his hands an inch away from his face. He didn't see it. He hardly flinched. All he could see was the door. All he could see was James leaving. That magnet aiming for him to follow the pretty boy.

Carlos threw his sippy cup at Kendall's face. Not the contents inside of it, but the cup itself. That got his attention alright.

Logan hit Carlos' stomach with the back of his hand. "Kendall. Hey! You're responding now. Are you okay?"

"I-I think so." He looked around the room, to the door, and to his bedroom. "I'm going to lie down."

Kendall started towards his bedroom. Logan clothes-lined him enough to stop him. He took a step back, giving the genius a sideways glance.

"Lay on the couch. I want to keep an eye on you. I promise not to let Carlos throw things at you while you're sleeping." Logan gave Carlos a warning stare.

"I just checked out, Loganator. I'll be fine."

He didn't know if that was the truth. His heart was racing. His stomach was flipping. He might have been shaking a little. It was too much!

He sighed, obliging Logan by lying on the far section of the couch. It wasn't too long before he fell asleep.

James thought about how it used to be. Everything used to work out. Even when things changed it was fine. A little alarming, but fine. Once into the swing of things it was natural. Comfortable.

James shared a room with Carlos, who slept like a log. Kendall roomed with Logan and he couldn't sleep without ear plugs. Those two might have slept dead to the world, but it was still risky. Yet night after night, Kendall used to come into James' room. Always in the middle of the night. Silently slipping into bed with him.

No words were spoken. They only looked at each other. They barely touched. The only closeness happened when they were sleeping and clinging to each other - with the occasion of shoving the other out of the way. By association.

It wasn't romantic. It wasn't sexual. But, it was intimate. It meant something to James. To him, it was something real. It was a secret, and it scared the hell out of him.

Kendall could be scared, James reasoned. The whole ordeal had an intensifying rush about it that James felt. Kendall could feel it. He had to. It wasn't exactly normal behavior among two friends.

Kendall was always gone before Logan's early rising. He'd sneak back in his room and go back to sleep. When they were face to face, awake and alert during the day, they didn't talk about it. They didn't speak of it ever.

At least not at first.

It was a cold winter night that changed their routine. The apartment was beyond chilly about the time the blonde would slip into bed with him. They didn't have a set time, but Carlos fell asleep as soon as his head touched the pillow. James had that on his side. Logan had a sleeping schedule down to the exact second. So, Kendall usually came into James' room around midnight. Not that he watched the clock and waited or anything... The night of change, it was 11:46 when the door creaked open.

James watched him peek over at Carlos. The dude still had his helmet on. His mouth was open. Undoubtedly drooling. He sounded like a muffled chainsaw. When the coast was clear, he proceeded further into the room and slid under James' duvet.

Kendall exhaled a shaky breath, his body shuddering. He looked at him straight in the eye and whispered "you're so warm."

James was frozen. He could feel his own heartbeat pounding against his chest and hear it in his ears. He was frightened. Give the guy some credit. Him and Kendall never exchanged a word throughout their clandestine contact.

Kendall moved closer. James could feel his tee shirt and warmth against his revealing torso. He felt under dressed. Then a small, frightening thought popped into his head. Kendall was overdressed.

Kendall's cold hand rested on his cheek that night. It stayed there, lulling both of them to sleep.

James hung out with Guitar Dude at the park for the rest of the day. Guitar Dude played a lot of songs James enjoyed growing up. His dad was a rocker who liked old rock to the 90s grunge movement. They sat there and sang songs without much of a conversation in between them. It was nice. He thanked Guitar Dude before leaving late in the evening.

"No problem, man. I needed the practice."

James nodded awkwardly and left just the same.

Entering the Palm Woods lobby, he ran into Camille. She was flitting around the room. A bright smile had graced her lips. He didn't know what to think. He walked up to her and she squeezed him. A little too tight and without warning.

"I take it your audition went well," he gasped out.

"Even better! My dad was seriously going to make me go home. I played the almost-being-an-adult card, but that was a no go. My audition was my last chance to stay in the Palm Woods."

"And?"

"I nailed it! They hired me on the spot. They said everyone else was terrible. They liked my 'spirit'."

"What's it for?"

"A new, untitled show following New Town High this spring. I'm a main character!"

"That's great, Camille! I'm happy for you!" He pulled her into a hug, gently squeezing her frame. "Did you tell Logan?"

"Not yet. He went to bed already."

James thought briefly of Kendall. It was the thought of how Kendall looked last night when he stepped foot in his room. The pool light's glow was filtered through the curtains, giving a glow to his face. He sat up in his bed, eyes locked to Kendall's. He swallowed his bundle of nerves as he neared closer. He licked his lips imagining something that wouldn't happen. A kiss. Maybe that's why he felt ignored today. He wanted so badly to press his lips to that perfect mouth.

"James? Are you alright?"

"I'm fine. I should be heading up. I've been gone all day."

She nodded. "Okay. I'll see you tomorrow."

He hugged her again. "Congratulations, Camille. You deserve it."

The elevator ride couldn't have taken longer if he dragged his feet up the stairs. He wanted to see Kendall. He hoped he was waiting up for him. He wanted him to apologize for being an insensitive jackass. If he had a clue.

He opened the door, startling Mama Knight. She was glad he was home seeing as how she was just about to call him.

"I was getting worried! You guys are hardly ever out without one another."

"I was at the park. Sorry. I should have checked in."

"You should have. I have half the nerve to call your mother," she warned. Her eyes narrowed playfully. He loved this woman.

He grinned at her - a quiet way to call her bluff. "Are the guys asleep?"

"Yes. Which is what you should be doing. You guys have an early day tomorrow. Kendall beat everyone to it. Can you believe it? He's been asleep on the couch for hours."

"Really?" He poked his head around his makeshift mother. Yep. There he lied all curled up in plaid. The corners of his lips tugged upward.

"Can you make sure he gets to bed?"

James breathed out a sound of amusement that went over her head. "Sure thing."

"Goodnight sweetie."

"Night."

He didn't want to move right away. He stood where he was and watched Kendall. He shifted in his sleep, drawing closer to himself. James wondered if it was from Mama Knight leaving the room, and maybe on some level Kendall was aware she was gone. That, or he needs to stop listening to Logan's science blabber.

He was going to wake Kendall up and do as Mrs. Knight said, but when he went to shake his friend awake, he stopped. His hand was suspended over his shoulder. A brighter idea popped into his head.

He retrieved a blanket from the closet. It was a wide afghan big enough for two. He walked back over to the couch, kicking his shoes off along the way.

Kendall looked like crap. His mom said he had been sleeping for awhile, but you couldn't tell. He seemed out of it. Sick or something. Cold most definitely. James tried to lightly cover him up. The blanket was ridiculously heavy. There was a lot yarn to that sucker. He ended up dropping it on him. It unraveled out of his arms and fell onto the lean body before him.

James winced as he felt movement.

"Thank you, Mommy."

"I-It's me. James."

"James?" Kendall shoved the blanket out the way, inadvertently pulling it out of James' grasp. He was sitting upright staring at him utterly bewildered.

James grinned sheepishly. "Uh. Hi?"

"Hi," Kendall croaked. His vocal chords were tired.

"Do you have room for one more?"

He nodded, adjusting the blanket and pulling it back for his friend. He made room for him. His backside was flat against the lumbar support of the couch.

James crawled in next to him. The act was almost foreign. He arranged himself to be facing Kendall. It was awkward and calculated, even worse when he saw his face. He squeezed his eyes shut.

Kendall ran his fingers through James' soft locks. It was something he picked up recently. It relaxed James. "It's okay, you know. I was nervous coming to you too."

It was quiet for a moment. Kendall was about to shut his eyes when James' landed on his.

"I don't get why you did it."

"What? Snuggle you." He pinched James' ribs. James squirmed, but nodded. "I had this dream. And, I'm curious by nature."

"The dream was about me? About this?"

"We were lying in my bed back home. Having you there was warm. I wanted to feel it for real."

"You kept coming back," James pointed out.

"I like sleeping next to you."

"I like sleeping next to you too." James was embarrassed. He didn't know why. It was only Kendall. Admittance of the truth?

Kendall's green eyes turned sad. "I'm sorry. I didn't know."

He wanted the apology, but it doesn't matter now. Like when they first shared his bed, the world as they knew it had shifted.

James brushed hair off Kendall's forehead. It looked nice pushed back. "It's okay."

"So, you do feel differently towards me. Than just friends?"

He was drowning in awkward. "I don't know how or why. I'm not the brightest pop star in the boyband."

Kendall frowned. "Do you know when?"

"For certain? I knew last night. You came in there. I didn't even have to hear the door or look up to see you. I could feel you. When you kneeled on my bed - you were hovering a little bit over me - I wanted to physically feel you. God, Kendall! I wanted to kiss you!"

James didn't have time to react.

Kendall had pressed their mouths together with such urgency. He kissed James like his life depended on it. It was warm, albeit a bit rough. It was everything it really should have been. As Kendall had wound up in his bed the random night, the kiss was there. It just... existed.

Kendall's hot breath fanned out across his face. "So kiss me, James."

Damn it if his hand wasn't pressed to his cheek. His eyes locked on his. His face an inch away. Since when was James flat on his back? He could feel one of Kendall's legs between his, the weight of his body half on him.

James dragged his hands up between them, sliding them up Kendall's chest. He watched the hand he had rested above Kendall's heart. The heartbeat beneath was a nervous one, just as excited as his. James flashed his hazel eyes to Kendall's. He grabbed hold of his neck and leaned up, sealing the distance between them.

The kiss was soft. He moved his lips gently against Kendall's, begging him to follow. His hands creeping into blonde hair as he teased him with tip of his tongue. Kendall opened his mouth, granting permission for James to taste him. So they could taste each other. James tentative caressed his tongue against his.

James felt like they were paint swirling together. Their surroundings didn't exist. It was only them melding beautiful colors. He didn't want to detach from the boy. He wanted to stay attached to fill in the blank canvas. Because what was this? What did it mean?

"James," Kendall breathed.

He didn't open his eyes to see his reaction. He was holding on to that kiss. That moment of perfection. He hummed his response.

"I don't want to sleep next to anyone."

James' eyes opened slowly. Did he hear that right? "Not even... Not even me?"

Kendall shook his head.

James wanted to sit up and wallow in rejection. He couldn't. Kendall was still hovering above him. His narrow arms propping him up. James shut his eyes and forgot about painting. They were shut so tight they were starting to pool at at the corner. He wasn't crying. He wouldn't cry. He's James Diamond. He was better than this!

You knew this would happen. You were preparing for this.

He whimpered. A tear escaped it's imprisonment, but was captured by a pair of lips.

"Only you."

BTR| BTR| BTR

It took me forever to end this. I'm glad it's over, but I'm not wholly satisfied. Please don't virtually throw shit at me.