A Sanitaria Springs Story
Logan's kissing had progressed to an even higher level than Seth would have thought possible. There wasn't anything like it in the whole world. Even coffee on a Saturday morning with no school for two days was not nearly as good as the feeling of Logan's lips on his, and he lost himself in the feeling, letting Logan push him up against the wall and express himself with all the passion that he somehow contained within his gorgeous body.
They were sitting on Logan's bed, which had become their favorite spot for expressing their feelings, and Logan was laying sideways over Seth's lap. Seth pulled Logan closer, running his left hand through Logan's chestnut brown hair, letting his fingers play as they wanted to. They twirled the hair around them, as they simultaneously pressed gently but firmly against the back of his head, keeping the boys' mouths locked together in their dance. Seth's right hand rested against the back of Logan's neck, lightly caressing his smooth skin, the texture alone being enough to send shivers of pleasure down Seth's spine.
And then Seth's right hand began to wander as Logan gripped Seth's shoulders, continuing to press Seth's back up against the wall. Seth's hand moved down from Logan's neck and onto his shoulder, feeling Logan's taut muscles through his tee-shirt. It rested there for a moment as Seth pressed back into the dance of tongues and lips, renewing his focus on Logan's favorite means of expressing of his feelings. The pause was only temporary, however, and soon Seth's hand began to travel further, down onto Logan's chest, where Seth could feel Logan's heart pounding.
He basked in the rhythm for a moment, leaning his head back as Logan moved down and began kissing his neck. Kissing had come so naturally to Logan, and Seth would never complain about that. The boy knew how to work his lips and tongue, and for a moment Seth lost all sense of what was going on around him as Logan used those weapons against his neck and collarbone. But then the hand began to wander lower, gliding across Logan's stomach until it reached the waistband of Logan's jeans. Seth's hand teetered for a moment on the buckle of Logan's belt, and then moved his hand down to rest against Logan's crotch, feeling Logan's growing reaction underneath.
Logan's kissing began to slow, and Seth realized he had made a mistake. Although he pulled his hand away quickly the damage had already been done, and Logan pulled away, looking away with color in his cheeks. He coughed and turned back to Seth, an apology in his eyes as he said with a half-smile, "I'm sorry, Seth. I'm just not ready."
Seth sighed and pulled Logan into him, hugging him tight before letting Logan settle down into his lap. "I know. I didn't mean to pressure you. I'm sorry."
"I know you didn't…" Logan began, and Seth began to brace himself for the words that he knew Logan was about to say. Seth's legs tensed up, and his breath caught in his throat, and he threw another wall up around his heart. Seth knew that Logan sensed the tension when he stopped short and sighed, "I'm hurting you, aren't I?"
"Logan. You're the best thing that ever happened to me," Seth said honestly, but then he didn't know where to go from there and he sighed in frustration and hit the wall next to him with his fist. He hadn't intended to hit it very hard, but the resulting vibration knocked over the picture frames on Logan's dresser. "Sometimes I just don't know if you feel the same way about me that I do about you," Seth admitted as he closed his eyes to focus on fighting back the tears that wanted desperately to come to him.
"Seth!" Logan sat up straight, looking Seth in the eye, but Seth refused to meet his gaze, and so Logan did the next best thing and kissed him. Like their earlier kisses, this one was an expression of Logan's passion, but that was where the comparison ended. It was firm and long, and carried with it every ounce of feeling that Logan had for Seth, leaving Seth with no doubt of how Logan felt about him.
But it also released the tears that Seth had been holding, and even as Seth pulled Logan into him again and returned the kiss, his cheeks were soaked. By the time they pulled apart again, Seth's cheeks were flushed with embarrassment. Logan's eyes were willed with nothing but love and compassion, and he kissed Seth one more time, a gentle peck on the lips before he swung up and out of Seth's lap to slide into place beside him. Once there, he put his arm around Seth and pulled him close, letting Seth rest his head on his shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Seth," Logan whispered. "I don't know what stops me from taking that step, but I guarantee you it has nothing to do with how I feel about you. I know you think it's because of the fact that you're a guy, and I'm new to that feeling, but I think I'd be this way with a girl, too."
"It doesn't matter. I'll wait until you are. No matter what, I'm going to be here," Seth said with conviction as he snuggled close to Logan's neck. Emotionally spent, he felt himself growing tired, and new that if he remained on Logan's shoulder he would fall asleep there, and he couldn't think of anything else he'd rather do. But before he drifted off he felt Logan pull him even tighter before leaning down to kiss his forehead, and all was suddenly right with the world.
Seth was just coming back from the bathroom to retake his seat on the bleachers. The game was about to begin, and he never missed the beginning, no matter what. The cheerleaders were almost done, and it was about time too. He had never been fond of cheerleaders, despite the fact that he could appreciate that a lot of the girls were pretty. Cheerleaders tended to be full of themselves and use their position and pretty looks to manipulate people into giving them what they wanted. No matter how hard he tried, he would never understand what made guys want to get so crazy about a girl.
The smell of chilidogs assaulted him as he climbed to his usual seat, and although he normally minded his own business, the smell brought his attention to the attractive boy with crutches who was sitting next to a girl who was very animated in expressing her opinion to him. He had seen both of them before, though he didn't know either of their names.
"Well, all you need is one thing in common to start a friendship," the girl said with a wistful smile, "You never know where that will end up."
"No kidding?" the boy said sarcastically. "Gee, now I guess you understand why I've been trying so hard to make friends with Logan for years."
Seth had been just about to put the couple out of his mind when his ears perked up at the mention of Logan's name. Although there were other boys named Logan in the school, it couldn't be a coincidence that they were at the basketball game where Logan Whitmore was one of the best players. Despite his better judgment that he should leave well enough alone, he decided to listen in some more.
"Grayson..." The girl said, "He's dating a girl."
"I know, Amanda," the boy, Grayson, sighed. "It's not a switch I can just shut off."
"Yeah, but you said he's never noticed you in all this time. Even if you make friends, what then?" Amanda put her hand on Grayson's and said, "Look, I'm sure you're somebody's reason to masturbate, just not his."
Seth winced at the comment, and the anger he saw in Grayson's eyes. He knew that look, and understood the emotions behind it. Those emotions had frequented in his internal monologues over the past few weeks, what with Logan being unwilling to move their relationship beyond the making out stage. Although Seth had come to accept that and would be there as long as it took for Logan to be ready, those emotions were still raw, and he could feel the same sort of feelings coming off of Grayson.
"Oh, come on, Amanda!" Grayson hissed. "I just want to know him!" Seth smiled slightly at that, seeing the conviction in Grayson. At least it was clear that Grayson knew what he wanted, and even if what he wanted was a painfully unavailable Logan, there was definitely strength in that.
"Yeah, and then what?" Amanda replied. "In your mind he's going to like you so much, see that your love is so much purer than anyone else's? Come on!" For the second time, Amanda's words made Seth wince. She was heartless, although she probably thought that she was meaning well. While it was probably true that Logan wouldn't return Grayson's feelings, Seth knew without a doubt that Logan would welcome another friend into his life, and this bitch seemed to be thinking differently.
"No," Grayson said. "Do I wish that I had a shot with him? Yes. It seems pretty damn unfair that I can't even...it doesn't matter, anyway. I figured out why he won't talk to me."
"Oh? Why?" Amanda asked. Seth leaned forward a bit, equally curious about this new piece of information.
"He..." Grayson leaned in a bit, clearly trying to avoid being heard, but Seth couldn't help himself and made sure he could hear Grayson as he continued, "He figured out I'm gay and he's not cool with that."
Seth covered his mouth in shock and to suppress the surprised laughter that threatened to break free from him at the absurd comment. Logan not being cool with gay people? If only Grayson knew the truth.
"How would he know that?" Amanda asked. "It's not like you have a rainbow UPC code or something."
"It makes sense!" Grayson insisted. "I've literally tried for years, he must have picked up on it!"
"Straight boys don't have gaydar," Amanda laughed. This time Seth was nodding sagely, although for a mostly straight boy Logan actually did pretty well. He had known Seth swung both ways long before Seth had come to accept that part of himself.
"Well, he figured me out, I guess," Grayson said. "I just never figured him for...a bigot."
Seth swallowed his tongue immediately to prevent himself from snorting at the remark. As much as Grayson had been watching Logan, it seemed as if he hadn't paid as close attention as he thought. He was going to have to set the record straight as soon as he figured out a way that wouldn't ruin everything for those involved.
"Well, kind of a big leap for that label, don't you think?" Amanda asked, and Seth found himself nodding along.
"What would you call it?" Grayson asked.
"Well, maybe he's just practical and afraid you'll fall on him next and his season will be over!" Amanda giggled. Grayson mumbled something that Seth couldn't hear, but he had a pretty good idea of what it was. Despite the fact that he had come to watch the game, Seth found himself lost in thought for the entire first quarter as his mind dwelled on the boy in front of him and on Logan. He needed more information if he was going to be able to make heads or tails of anything, but that meant he'd have to put himself out there.
It wasn't something he was comfortable with anymore, not since one misplaced wise crack had placed in the hospital two years ago. But then he remembered the look in Grayson's eyes; the hopelessness. Grayson was on the verge of giving up, and Seth didn't want that to happen. There was only one answer to the question, and it meant that Seth would have to put himself out there, and vicariously do the same thing to Logan. If anyone knew how to settle an aching boy's doubts and fears and bring him out of hopelessness, it was Logan.
Before he knew it, the buzzer sounded, indicating the end of the first half, and Amanda got up and left, leaving Grayson alone. Seth hadn't been watching the game at all, and he realized that it gave him the perfect excuse to start a conversation with Grayson. He looked at the score and saw that Columbia was winning, and then took a deep breath before directing his voice at Grayson.
"Great game, huh?"
"Yeah, tight," Grayson said as he started turning around to face Seth. As soon as their eyes met there was instant recognition in Grayson's facial expression, a bit of surprise, and most surprising of all to Seth was a touch of bitterness.
"Hi, I'm Seth," Seth said as he extended his hand. Grayson took it and shook, his eyes never leaving Seth's face.
"I know," Grayson replied, and all of the emotions seemed to trigger again, but especially the bitterness.
What did that mean? Seth wondered as he let the handshake go, but then he caught the briefest glint of something new in Grayson's eyes as the surprise wore off. Curiosity. Seth grinned, latching onto that curiosity and letting it fuel him. For the first time in two years, someone other than Logan managed to bring out some of his inner smart ass, and with his eyes twinkling with amusement he laughed and remarked, "That's a weird name. Do your parents hate you?"
The smile on Grayson's face was all Seth needed to know that he was heading in the right direction, but only time would tell if he'd be able to give Grayson what he needed. And that depended largely on the boy Seth loved whom he could tell none of what he was planning. But as the conversation continued, so did Seth's determination to make it work.
"You and Seth have been acting strange lately. Is everything all right between the two of you?" Maggie asked Logan while they walked out of their last period to their lockers. Maggie had transferred into Logan's English class at the beginning of the term, and they had made a habit of walking together on the days that they had class. Not only did it help solidify the image of them being a couple, but they were quickly discovering that they had a lot in common.
One of the things that Logan had initially been wary of was the way that Maggie seemed to already know about Logan and Seth being a couple, despite the fact that they had continued to deny it. Although Logan was certain of how he felt about Seth, they hadn't yet decided that they were officially boyfriends, and until that happened Logan didn't feel it was right to tell Maggie and Kristin anything.
It was a difficult call to make, considering that Maggie and Kristin were supposed to be their fake girlfriends, but they were convinced that it was the right thing to do. If only Maggie saw it that way it would be much simpler. "I don't know what you mean. We're fine," Logan said with a bewildered grin. "Hey, are you guys planning on going to the Valentine's Day dance? It would be our first dance as a couple."
"Oh, that's a good point," Maggie said, and Logan sighed in relief as her eyes lit up at the thought, but then his hopes were dashed as Maggie continued, "But don't think I've forgotten about whatever is bugging you and Seth. We do have to figure out what we're doing for the dance though. We need to plan on renting tuxes for you and Seth, and getting dresses that match. I'm sure my dad will want to be the one that drives us to the dance and back, unless either of your parents want to take on that role…?"
"Nah, my Dad will be in the middle of his shift that night," Logan replied, happy that Maggie was willing to drop the subject for the moment. "Every season is a busy season for an EMT, and my mom probably will be happy to not have to do it. The kids at the preschool always make her tired."
"What about Seth's parents?"
Logan chuckled at the thought of the McAllisters. He hadn't spent as much time at Seth's house as Seth had at his, but the times Logan had spent with Seth's parents were always interesting. "As you know, Seth is adopted, and his relationship with his parents is kind of weird," Logan explained when Maggie gave him a strange look. "They don't do things the same way as other people do, and they'd probably tell him that he should walk to the dance. Knowing Seth, he'd probably prefer it that way."
"Why would they make him walk to the dance? That's kind of mean. Those dress shoes look like they hurt," Maggie replied, scandalized at the thought.
"Oh, I'm sure they'd say something like, 'Walking is good exercise. It'll keep you fit and healthy and your girlfriend will like you even more'," Logan said with a grin. "The funny thing is that Seth actually believes that sort of thing. I swear he drinks coffee just because his mom told him it's the best way to have a conversation."
"Wow, I had no idea. What do they think of your relationship with him?" Maggie asked innocently.
"Maggie…" Logan growled, and she began laughing hysterically. Logan shook his head and sighed, and then tried to get the conversation back onto the topic he wanted to discuss. "Do you want to know the best part? After Seth left to walk to the dance, his dad would probably make some excuse about needing to run to the store for something and pick Seth up along the way to give him a ride the rest of the way. They love him and his sister to death, but they're really quirky."
"Sounds like it. No wonder you like him so much," Maggie said with a sly smile.
Logan's cheeks colored as he protested, "Maggie, I don't… I mean…"
"Relax, Logan, I was just referring to how good of friends you are," Maggie said innocently, laying a hand on his shoulder to calm him down. "But now I know for sure that something else is going on. Are you sure that you don't want to talk about it?"
"I'm sure. There's nothing going on between us that you currently need to know about," Logan said with a tone of finality. "As soon as there is, we'll tell you both, okay?"
"All right," Maggie said with a nod and a quirky grin, "But like you pointed out at the beginning of this discussion, Valentine's Day is coming up." They reached Logan's locker and he stepped toward it, expecting her to continue on, but instead she stepped up behind him and grasped his arm, squeezing it gently. "It's the perfect day to tell the people in your life exactly how you feel about them."
Maggie did step away then, and Logan was left with her final words ringing in his ears.
"Hey, Seth!" Seth looked over his shoulder to see Tyler rushing toward him from the science hall, and as Tyler drew near, Seth raised his hand to bump fists with his energetic friend. He knew that Jordan wouldn't be far behind, and sure enough, albeit at a slower pace as he casually moved through the crowds of students, Jordan approached and wrapped Seth in a vicious bear hug.
"Hey now! Put me down!" Seth said, giggling as Jordan lifted him into the air. At first Seth had been skeptical about Jordan and Tyler's motives in becoming friends with him, but they had proven to be sincere in everything that they did. Although Seth had not completely warmed up to Jace or Drew, he knew now that even those two were sincere about including Seth and Logan in their group. They were more reserved than the "twins", but Seth liked all four of the guys.
"Jordan, relax dude," Tyler said as Jordan continued to hold a struggling Seth suspended in the air. "You saw him at lunch today. Do you really need to treat him like you haven't seen him in months?"
With a scowl at Tyler, Jordan put Seth down and then said seriously to Seth, "Are you okay?" When Seth nodded and grinned, Jordan immediately grappled Tyler and lifted him off the ground instead while Seth roared with laughter. Tyler's protests earned the trio a lot of looks from their fellow students, but Jordan continued unashamed by the attention they were drawing.
"Jordan! We have important business to discuss!" Tyler protested at last, trying to squirm his way out of Jordan's grasp. "We can't keep Seth waiting!" Jordan dropped him immediately. Tyler straightened out his shirt and then looked at Seth and winked conspiringly, "Well, at least something got him to drop me."
Seth laughed as Jordan rolled his eyes, and then with a voice dripping with amusement Seth asked, "So, what brought you guys my way?"
"Well, Jace and Drew already said no, and Tyler and I have a prior engagement," Jordan began, with Tyler rolling his eyes at Jordan's use of the words 'prior engagement'.
Even though he wasn't looking at Tyler's face, Jordan somehow knew what Tyler was doing and slugged him in the shoulder, hard enough that he felt it, but light enough that the pain would only last for a few minutes. "I was saying," Jordan continued, "That since none of the four of us can do it, and Tyler and I were given the assignment to find someone…"
"Would you just get to the point?" Tyler asked, glaring at Jordan as he stepped up to Seth and wrapped his arm around Seth's shoulder. His voice and expression matched those of a used car salesman as he asked, "Seth, do you like girls?"
"Uh, you do realize…" Seth started but was cut off as Jordan pulled Tyler away and shoved him down the hallway.
"Sorry," Jordan said with a grin, "What Tyler means is, do you like kissing girls?"
"Um, you both know very well that I have a girlfriend," Seth replied, looking between the two like they had lost their minds. "She sits with us at lunch. Her name's Kristin? She's blonde?"
"Yes, yes, I know…" Jordan said impatiently as Tyler regained his bearings and started back toward them. "Okay, how about this…" Jordan began again, "Do you like homeless kids?"
Seth raised an eyebrow and stammered a hesitant, "… yes?" He then paused and shook his head and asked, "Wait, do you mean the fact that they're kids or the fact that they're homeless?"
"What?" Jordan asked, startled. He shook his head and muttered, "God dammit…" Seth was about to press for clarification again when Jordan added, "Do you enjoy helping homeless kids?"
"Uh yeah, sure, if I can…" Seth said with a shrug. It was then that Tyler returned to Seth's side, and after shooting another glare at Jordan he once again wrapped his arm around Seth's shoulders and took up where Jordan had left off.
"Does Kristin like helping homeless kids?" Tyler asked.
"I think so." Seth shrugged again. "She's Christian. They're supposed to like helping people, right?"
"Yes," Tyler mumbled, patting Seth's shoulder. "That's good." He pulled his arm away and stepped in front of Seth, laying his hand on Seth's shoulder as he looked Seth in the eye. "Do you think she'd let you kiss for homeless kids?"
"Why do you need me to kiss four homeless kids?" Seth asked, scratching his head as his eyes filled with confusion.
"You have something against kissing for homeless kids?" Tyler scoffed. "What, is that beneath you?"
"Dude, what the hell?" Seth replied, pushing Tyler away from him and laughing. "Why can't you guys do the kissing?"
"Jordan told you; we have a 'thing'," Tyler said, rolling his eyes. "Come on, We're running out of people who can do this…"
"Um, when does this kissing need to be done?" Seth asked as he started backing away. "Seriously, isn't kissing homeless kids something you can do anytime?"
"At the Valentine's Day dance," Tyler answered without skipping a beat, and then he gave Seth a hard look and continued, "And you won't be kissing homeless kids…" He shook his head, giving Seth an exasperated look. "What…? Never mind, so does that mean you'll do it?"
"What? I'm not kissing any homeless kids." Seth raised his hands and stepped away. "Not four or any amount of them, and not without good reason." In his distraction at what he considered the most insane request he had ever heard, Seth asked, "Why don't you ask Logan? He's a good kisser."
"What?" Tyler and Jordan said in unison, sharing a look of surprise before turning back to Seth.
"I mean…" Seth stammered before taking a deep breath and speaking rapidly, "Maggie sure seems to think so. Kristin says that Maggie's always talking about what a good kisser Logan is…"
"Hey guys!" Logan shouted his greeting as he came up on the trio. Tyler immediately abandoned his position near Seth and started toward Logan, bouncing with excitement.
"Logan!" Tyler said as he wrapped his arm around Logan's shoulder. "Seth was just telling us how good a kisser you are!"
"He was..." Logan said, initially confused, and then his eyes widened in alarm as he looked to Seth for an explanation. "W-what!?"
Seth shook his head helplessly, but Jordan approached and took over the conversation, once again pulling Tyler away from his interrogation. "Yeah, Logan. We could really use you," Jordan said with a hopeful grin. "Ms. Simon's gave us a project to set up a kissing booth at the Valentine's Day dance, and we need to staff it. Problem is, we can't do it ourselves because of a prior engagement, and Jace and Drew are likewise unavailable. It's to raise money for homeless kids."
"Seth said that Maggie is always raving about how you're the 'Supreme Master of All Things Lips', and that you were the perfect man for the job," Tyler said with an innocent grin. "We already cleared it with her, and she said you could do it."
"I'm sure you didn't, since you would have only found out about it last period in Ms. Simon's class, and Maggie and I were just talking," Logan said without emotion, watching as Tyler's smile fell. As soon as Tyler opened his mouth to retract his statement Logan grinned and continued, "Though I'm sure she wouldn't mind me participating. Since you're asking me, I'm assuming that Seth has already abdicated his position?" He glanced at Seth so that his best friend could see the relief in his eyes.
"Yeah, he says that helping homeless kids is beneath him…" Tyler said immediately, glaring back at Seth.
"I never said that!" Seth protested, but Tyler scoffed and looked back to Logan.
"Well, at least he didn't seem as excited to be kissing girls as you are," Tyler said with a grin. He then turned back to Seth and made sure that his grin was noticed. "Don't worry, Seth, I really won't hold it against you. I know that you're just concerned they'll be dirty… Makes sense, really. Does Kristin know how hygienic you are?"
"Tyler, don't be an ass," Jordan said as he grabbed Tyler around the neck and pulled him away. "The only reason Seth didn't answer you favorably is because you didn't phrase it properly." He threw Tyler down the hallway again and then turned a soft smile on Seth. 'Seth, I'm sorry Tyler treated you that way. Though at least his vocabulary is improving. He just used the word hygienic. I'm such a proud older brother right now."
Tyler yelled at the comment and charged Jordan, howling with mock rage. As he collided with Jordan and attempted to wrestle the large boy to the ground, Logan spoke, knowing that they'd somehow hear him through their scuffle. "Well guys, I suppose it falls on me to help redeem Seth's honor. I'll do it."
Logan began to lose himself in basketball season, and with it Seth couldn't help but think that he was losing Logan as well. They still spent time together when he didn't have a practice or games, but more often than not Seth had more than enough homework to keep himself occupied on those nights as well. Of course, coupled with the issues that weighed heavily on his mind concerning his relationship with Logan was the newfound friendship he had made with Grayson.
At first Seth had only planned on skipping one practice to walk home with Grayson, but after their shared experience over coffee, Seth had found that he enjoyed the conversations more than he enjoyed watching basketball practice. He didn't care for the game, but he did care for a warm beverage on a cold winter's day, and he was beginning to love the way that Grayson made him feel comfortable in ways he hadn't in almost two years.
Of course, a lot of that was Logan's doing as well, but Logan wasn't available during his practice, and Grayson was proving to be a more than suitable substitute. Seth found that he didn't need to hold back on his wisecracks around Grayson, and was starting to slip into who he was naturally before Billy Carlisle had beaten him up two years earlier. Logan had been the first to break down that wall, but now Grayson was… what was Grayson?
He was a friend, albeit a friend that Seth had made under pretenses that Seth was no longer sure of. Grayson had been sure that Logan was a bigot, and that was something that Seth hadn't been able to allow. Logan's reputation was incredibly important to Seth, and Seth had always worried about pulling Logan down and ruining things for him. Seth had found the opposite to be true, and instead of pulling Logan down, Logan had lifted Seth up, making him realize that making friends wasn't all that difficult. Grayson was one of several good examples, which also included the whole basketball team to some extent. Despite the fact that Grayson was definitely a friend, Seth was beginning to feel guilty about why he had approached him, but he still hadn't found the opportunity to tell Grayson the truth.
It didn't help matters that Seth was starting to think that Grayson might have some actual logic behind his belief. While it was certainly true that Logan wasn't a bigot, and far from it, Logan did have some discomfort in regards to his own sexuality. If Logan did know about Grayson somehow, then he might have avoided Grayson early on, before his opinions had evolved to where they stood now. Where they stood now was still a question as well, if Logan's actions in the bedroom were any indication.
Seth cursed under his breath as he pulled his coat tighter and trudged down the sidewalk. He didn't know what to make of Logan's recent actions, but he did know that having some time away from Logan was doing him some good. He needed to figure things out; needed to decide if there was anything that he could do to make Logan see how he felt about…
Seth muttered a curse as he heard Logan's voice calling out to him, interrupting his thoughts. He hadn't realized that Logan didn't have practice that day, and he had been getting used to the thought that he wouldn't be walking home with Logan after school. Especially considering that it was Friday, Seth was somewhat surprised to see that Logan had gotten out early. Friday was a usual practice day. "Been missing you at practice…" Logan said as he caught his breath, his eyes filled with excitement. "I looked everywhere for you when coach canceled today because he had a doctor's appointment. Where have you been sneaking off to?"
"I've been getting coffee after school," Seth replied sullenly as he started walking forward again.
"Why not wait for me?" Logan asked, laying his arm across Seth's shoulders. "You know that I'd be happy to get coffee with you."
"Logan…" Seth grumbled as he shook Logan's arm off. "We both know that you don't like coffee…" he added with a pointed stare. "You don't have to go there for me."
"Seth, I like spending time with you." Logan flashed Seth an exasperated grin, though his eyes were beginning to show signs of concern. "Why wouldn't I want to go?"
Seth stopped and stared hard at Logan, and then started walking into the street to cross when he suddenly couldn't take it anymore and spun around, glaring at Logan. "You know what? I'm having a hard time putting everything together." He was shouting by the time he asked, "Where are we, Logan?"
"What do you mean, Seth?" Logan asked, all traces of his smile gone as he approached and attempted to put a hand on Seth's shoulder, which Seth quickly shook off. "What's wrong?"
"Us. We're what's wrong," Seth growled. "I don't know what we're doing, Logan. Every time I try to show you how I feel, you throw a wall up between us, and I can't fucking express it! I can't touch you without knowing that I'm going to run headfirst into that wall and knock myself senseless trying to break through…" By the time his voice became too choked up to continue, tears of frustration were streaming down his cheeks, and his hands were clenched in fists.
"Seth, calm down…" Logan said, reaching a tentative hand out toward him. This time Seth let the hand come to rest on his shoulder, though he glanced down at it like it were some alien appendage, a look which only grew more serious as Logan continued, "We're out in the middle of the street…"
"What? And you're worried about getting outed now?" Seth muttered bitterly. He took a step backward and let Logan's hand fall. "Jesus, Logan! What next? Are you going to stop letting yourself be seen in public with me?"
"Seth, no I won't," Logan replied instantly, shaking his head firmly. "What has gotten into you!? And no, I'm not worried about being outed," He insisted. "I'm worried about what us being outed will do to Maggie and Kristin."
"Fuck them…" Seth replied, turning around so that he didn't have to look at Logan anymore. "Fuck all of this."
"Seth…" Logan whispered, "Please…"
The emotion in Logan's voice gave Seth pause, and it was enough for him to choke out, "What?"
"Can't we talk about this?" Logan begged. "Come on, stay over tonight and we'll talk."
As much as he wanted to placate the desperation in Logan's voice, Seth couldn't do it. He didn't trust himself to handle the situation appropriately, and so he began listing off excuses. "I have a lot of homework to get done, and Dad has been riding my ass about my room." The more he said the guiltier he felt, and he had to offer a compromise. "I can come over tomorrow…"
"I have an away game tomorrow," Logan replied, a faint trace of hope in his quivering voice, "Can you come over in the evening?"
"Fine," Seth said as he started walking away again, pulling out his phone as he started to send a quick text to Grayson. "See you then…"
"Bye…" Logan called, but then Seth was moving quickly, and Logan didn't call out anything further. Seth spared one glance back to see that Logan was still standing by the curb, watching him. Seth almost walked back when he saw the look in Logan's eyes, but he couldn't. They would talk later, and hopefully it would all be okay.
But for now, there was only one thing to do, and that was to keep walking away.
"Hey, I missed you today," Logan's voice was trembling on the other end of the line. Seth was almost surprised that Logan had called at all, but he was glad he had. Seth was feeling guiltier than he ever had in his life. The time he had spent with Grayson had been, interesting… He could still feel the warmth of Grayson's hand if he thought hard enough.
"Yeah, sorry about that," Seth said as he looked at that same hand. He glanced at the clock and saw that it was after eleven, and he was emotionally exhausted. Although he knew that he needed to talk to Logan about why he hadn't gone over after Logan got home from his game, he wasn't prepared to deal with it. "We'll talk later okay?"
"Yeah, sure…" Logan replied, sounding disappointed. Seth heard him take a deep breath and then say, "Um, I'm sorry, all right?"
"Yeah, me too," Seth sighed. The words hung in the air for a moment as they listened to each other breathing. Seth was content to leave it there and was about to say so when Logan spoke up again, his words ringing with hope.
"Hey, can you come over tomorrow?"
Seth smiled despite how he had been feeling, almost as if his wounds were starting to close. "I'd love to."
"Hey, you actually sound excited," Logan replied, sounding surprised.
"I need some time with my best friend, I think that's normal," Seth said, his smile broadening. "Haven't been getting as much of it in as I should have."
"Hey, don't sweat it," Logan said with a chuckle, and then his tone became serious again as he said, "Sleep well… I…" He stuttered and stopped, not finding the words he was looking for.
"Yes?" Seth asked, trying to lead the words out of him.
"I really miss you, Seth," Logan said in a rush, sounding slightly embarrassed.
"I know," Seth replied with a chuckle. "I missed you too. But right now I need sleep."
At hearing Seth's laugh, the tension was completely gone in Logan's voice as he replied, "Good night." Logan hung up and Seth was once again left in the silent dark of his room. As soon as Seth turned his phone off and set it aside, the worries started to assault him again.
And so did the guilt.
Why had he held Grayson's hand? Why had any of that happened between them? Was he falling in love with Grayson? He didn't think so, if he was completely honest, but then what would Grayson think? He couldn't get the questions out of his mind. There were too many things to consider. Too many people involved who could end up getting hurt, and it would all be Seth's fault when it happened.
He had to tell Grayson, but he knew that Grayson wouldn't understand. Seth did have feelings for his new friend, and they were genuine feelings of affection, but it wasn't like how he felt about Logan. But then, why did Grayson have an easier time of being physical with Seth than Logan did? Didn't Logan, as being the only boy that Seth had ever kissed, no, made out with, have a higher claim on Seth physically?
But then again, maybe I just don't understand where Logan is coming from, Seth thought as he rolled over to stare at his ceiling, watching the light from the streetlamp outside play with the shadows in the popcorn ceiling. He let his mind wander as he got lost in the shapes of the shadows, wondering about Logan. There was no question in his mind that he was in love with Logan. No question at all, and yet Seth had allowed himself to explore, albeit lightly, what it meant to be with another boy. To touch another boy's hand… To feel the warmth of his palms as they sat side by side…
"What the hell is wrong with me?" Seth whispered into the dark. There was no reply, except the sound of a car driving down the icy road outside his window. Seth turned on his side and faced the wall, hiding away from the sound and the light as he tried to hide away from his thoughts. Just as he could still see the light in his peripheral vision, the thoughts and guilt still plagued him.
He tossed and turned for hours, continually checking the clock to see how much sleep he was missing in his turmoil over Logan and Grayson. He didn't know what time he actually fell asleep, but knew that it was at least after three in the morning. When he awoke to the sound of a knock on his door, he squinted into the light pouring through his window and then at the clock and found that it was only eight in the morning.
Before he could answer the door, it opened and an excited Logan came through, grinning down at a sleepy Seth as he said, "Hey there!"
"My parents let you in?" Seth said groggily as he put his hand over his eyes and groaned, trying to force the tiredness away. It had no effect.
"Nope," Logan replied with a chuckle. "Sora did."
"She would…" Seth said with another groan as he rubbed his eyes. He lifted the covers and looked down and realized that he had lain down in just his briefs after his shower the night before, instead of slipping on the pajama bottoms he normally wore. Of course it wasn't like Logan hadn't seen him in less before, so there was no reason for him to feel vulnerable, and so he started peeling the covers away so that he could get up.
The cold of the morning struck him, and Seth instantly started regretting trying to get up. He groaned and slid the covers back over his body, unwilling to fight both the chill and the tiredness at the same time.
"What," Logan asked, suddenly cautious. "You don't want to see me?"
"No, that's not it," Seth replied immediately, patting the bed next to him. "I needed to see you. Come here." Logan smiled and did as he was told, coming over to sit on the bed next to Seth. Before Logan could take his seat, Seth opened the covers and indicated that Logan should join him, and Logan quickly kicked off his shoes and removed his coat, dropping it to the floor at the base of Seth's bed. He then climbed in next to Seth and moved to kiss him on the lips as Seth slid the covers over both of them.
"No. No kisses today…" Seth said as he slid his hand up between Logan's lips and gave him a serious and tired look. "I just want you next to me."
"Okay," Logan said cautiously and cuddled into Seth's bare shoulder.
"Logan…" Seth began as he closed his eyes, remembering the guilt he had felt from the night before. "How come we never hold hands?"
"What?" Logan asked, lifting his head to look Seth in the eyes. Seth felt his stare and opened his to meet green to blue, losing track of his thought for a moment.
Logan waited patiently for Seth to explain, and after a moment Seth said, "I mean, we do when we're making out, or whatever… but…" And then Seth trailed off, unable to articulate his thoughts.
"I don't know," Logan said, settling back down on Seth's shoulder.
"Hold my hand." Seth begged, "Please?"
Instantly Seth felt Logan's hand against the bare skin of his forearm, sliding down to lock his fingers with Seth's. Seth sighed contentedly as Logan's palm settled against his own. "This feels nice… Thank you."
"Seth…" Logan said carefully, "I'm sorry."
"No," Seth said quickly. "Don't apologize. Just be here."
"Okay." Logan agreed, and left it at that as the two lay together for several minutes. Seth listened to Logan's breathing, and basked in the warmth of Logan up against his skin. There was no better feeling in the world, and it was indescribable. Logan was perfect, in every way, and Seth was quickly coming to realize that between him and Grayson, he knew where his heart lay.
Seth felt himself beginning to doze off when Logan asked a question that brought him fully back to his senses. "So who have you been getting coffee with? I know you don't like to get it alone. You view it as a social experience."
"Grayson Anderson," Seth answered quickly but carefully, knowing that if he didn't answer immediately Logan would know there was more to the story.
"Grayson?" Logan echoed, surprised. "I know him. He was on the basketball team with me at the start of the season."
"Yeah," Seth replied. "We've become friends."
"I ran into him when he was walking home with his crutches," Seth explained. "I helped him carry his backpack. He stopped at Roxanne's and we went from there."
"Yeah. I've been trying to get him to come hang out with us, but he's a little shy," Seth said, hoping that the partial truth would be good enough for now. Logan's breathing was starting to become heavier, and Seth could feel Logan's heartbeat racing through their locked wrists.
"Seth?" Logan asked, and Seth acknowledged him with a soft grunt. "Are we okay?"
"I don't know," Seth said with a sigh. "Let me sleep on it for a little while longer."
"Okay…" Logan said as he started to shift his weight, acting like he was about to get up. He started releasing Seth's hand when Seth held him fast and pulled him back down.
"Who said you were going anywhere?" Seth asked with a grin. "Get back down here."
Logan grinned back, and settled back in against Seth's shoulder. His thoughts no longer running wild, Seth found sleep easily, his hand remaining locked with Logan's the whole time.
He couldn't really taste his lunch. Not that it mattered that much; he wasn't really that hungry. Although he was fairly certain that he had resolved things with Logan, there was still the problem of telling Grayson the truth, there was still the problem of… "Seth, something is definitely on your mind. What is it?"
"What?" Seth looked up and blinked several times. Kristin was staring at him with a quirky smile over her sandwich. Maggie was throwing away her trash, and the nearest trash can that wasn't overflowing was on the other side of the cafeteria. The basketball team had already left for a quick meeting with their coach, and Seth and Kristin were alone. "Oh, I'm sorry, Kristin," Seth said, his cheeks coloring. "I wasn't paying attention."
"Yeah, I noticed," Kristin replied. "Something bothering you with Logan?"
"Huh? No, not really," Seth said, shaking his head. "What made you think it was Logan?"
"I can't think of much else that you'd really be worried about," Kristin replied with a knowing grin.
"Logan told me that the two of you think that something is going on between us," Seth replied with a grin. "You know, for fake girlfriends you sure live up to the title well from all the stories I've heard. Always nagging."
"Jeesh, I was just trying to help…" Kristin said, looking a little hurt.
"Sorry. I didn't mean anything by that," Seth said with a softer smile. "It was just supposed to be funny. I've been less careful about what I say recently."
"It's okay," Kristin replied, the hurt fading from her expression. "I guess I'm just not used to your sarcasm yet."
Seth laughed at the thought and observed, "We kind of suck at being in a relationship, you know?"
"I don't know," Kristin said with a grin, "I think Maggie and I are pretty good at it."
"Oh, so you get to be sarcastic but I don't?" Seth scoffed, but then smiled to take the edge off.
"Who said that was sarcasm…?" Kristin asked, and then laughed along with Seth.
"Girls!" Seth said with exaggerated exasperation. "Man, I'll never understand you."
"Stop trying," Kristin said with a snort. "It'll make it easier on you." They laughed together again and then their eyes met and Seth looked away, blushing.
"Can I ask you a question about your relationship?" Seth asked carefully.
"Well, at the moment it's sort of your relationship too so, why not?" Kristin replied with a grin.
"How long was it before the two of you became, you know…" Seth struggled to get the word out, and took a deep breath and asked, "Physical?"
"That's a very strange question to ask for a boy who has nothing going on…" Kristin remarked with a wink. "But for your sake, I'll answer it and not press the matter. It's a good thing Maggie's not here or she'd corner you until you told her exactly what was going on."
Kristin laughed as Seth's cheeks colored, and then answered his question. "Maggie and I still aren't very far along. We talked and we both agreed that we'd wait until we were sure we were ready. Different relationships move at different speeds."
"So you're saying it's normal for one relationship to not move to third base even after several months while it's also normal for another to progress to handholding when you haven't known each other long at all?" Seth asked.
"What is this about, Seth?" Kristin said suspiciously.
"I don't know, Kristin. I honestly don't know…" Seth muttered looking back at his food and swirling it around on his tray. "Sometimes I'm not even sure what thoughts are going through my head."
"Are you and Logan okay?" Kristin asked again, though this time there was no amusement, just concern.
"I believe so," Seth said, looking up and flashing Kristin with a half-smile. "I think it's only a matter of time before I find out for sure."
After his conversation with Kristin about his relationships with Logan and Gray, Seth had been trying to figure out his feelings, but he was still wrestling with his confusion. He had been spending more and more time with Grayson it seemed, though that only seemed to deepen his turmoil. At the same time that he was meeting Grayson for coffee, he was longing to be watching Logan at his practices. Whenever he was hanging out with Logan, he was thinking about how much fun it would be if Grayson could be with them too.
But no matter how many times he tried to get Grayson to come and hang out with them, or ask him if he'd be willing to stay after school to watch the practice, Grayson had always declined. Seth couldn't completely figure out why, because although he knew Grayson believed Logan might have a problem with gay people, he had thought that with Grayson having come out to Seth that he would have started to think differently. After all, why would Seth be inviting Grayson if he knew his best friend would have a problem with it?
They were meeting at Roxanne's again when he finally began to hatch a plan. If he couldn't get Grayson to hang out with them in private, perhaps he could get them to meet in a public setting, and he had just the right setting in mind, provided he could convince Grayson.
"Are you going to the Valentine's Day dance, Gray?" Seth asked when there was an appropriate lull in the conversation to switch to a new topic.
Grayson was clearly surprised by the question, but then he smirked and nodded at his crutches. "Yes, I have the perfect dance partner. Me and the boys over here are going to tear up the dance floor." He rolled his eyes and met Seth with a level look, "No, I have no reason to go. I can't dance in my current condition and have no one to go with."
Seth shrugged and took a sip of his cup, using the temporary delay to give himself a chance to think. When he set the cup back down he said neutrally, "Well, I could always use another friend there. Logan and I are doubling with Kristin and Maggie."
"Is that awkward for you to take her to the dance, considering how you're kind of...not sure what to do?" Grayson asked. He was squirming uncomfortably, and Seth assumed it was because of the topic of the dance.
Seth decided to let that angle drop for the moment; he would have to think of some other way to get Grayson and Logan together. He pursed his lips in thought for a moment as he instead considered the question that Grayson had asked, and then shook his head. "It's hard to say for sure. Yes, there is a little awkwardness for the reason you mentioned, but we still get along as people so that makes things work, for now."
"Oh. I guess that makes sense." Grayson seemed to be lost in thought for a moment, and Seth took another sip of his coffee as he waited for Grayson to continue. "So," he began again, a bit uncertainly, "Since you talked to me about your relationship, I'm guessing you talked to Logan as well?"
"Yeah, of course," Seth replied, curious about this new line of questioning as he sipped his coffee again.
"What did he think? I mean, if you don't mind me asking," Grayson hastened to add and then masked his discomfort with a sip of his own coffee. Upon noticing the action, Seth was tempted to raise an eyebrow but he did the best he could at keeping his features under control.
"Logan doesn't want anyone to get hurt," Seth replied, turning his cup in his hands and looking down at the table as he tried to avoid giving away his curiosity with his eyes. "He has good instincts about people so...he's advising a 'wait and see' policy."
"Oh," Grayson replied, and then took a moment to digest the information. "So, he doesn't think your sexuality puts a wrinkle into any of that?"
"Not really," Seth said with a shrug. "If I were completely straight then it would just be that I was looking at a girl instead of a boy; the problem is still the same."
"I see," Grayson replied, nodding.
"What?" Seth asked, looking up and seeing that Grayson had his focus on the coffee cup in front of him. He was twitching and fidgeting, and Seth couldn't help but be concerned for his friend.
Grayson glanced up to meet Seth's inquisitive frown. "Uh," He glanced back down and drummed his fingers on the table. "Sometimes unpleasant truths pop you right in the face. That's all."
"Like what?" Seth said, genuinely confused. Grayson fidgeted some more and took another sip from his cup.
"I, uh...I've had a...Oh, jeez," Grayson leaned his face in his hands, avoiding Seth's eyes. He blushed, and sweat began to break out on his forehead. Seth twitched as he thought about reaching out to grab Grayson's hand to comfort his friend, but he repressed the urge.
"Seth I have a little...well, not confession but something I haven't really told you," Grayson said slowly.
Seth began nodding even though Grayson wasn't watching his face. There were several possibilities, and any of the ones that he knew might come up were ones he could deal with. "Well, we all have things we don't talk about. We're allowed some mystery, right?" he said with an understanding smile.
"Yes," Grayson agreed. "But...you've been asking me to hang out with you and Logan and I've declined every time. I feel a little dishonest because I like hanging out with you and I do want to see you outside of these visits we make for coffee. My problem is...Logan."
"Okay," Seth replied, his tone neutral. Had Gray read my mind? Seth wondered as he let the words settle in his thoughts. Why else would Gray be bringing it up if he didn't know what Seth had been thinking?
"Look, I know he's your best friend and that's part of the reason I didn't want to say anything," Grayson glanced up and looked into Seth's green eyes and said, "I've had a crush on him since about fourth grade."
Seth stopped for a moment, stunned by the sudden revelation, even though he already knew that fact. In truth, he had become so used to the thought of already having the knowledge of Grayson's interest in Logan that it hadn't crossed his mind as a potential confession. He realized in his shock that he had stopped breathing, and he took several quick breaths before giving the slightest nod that Grayson should continue.
"I've been trying to get to know him, to befriend him since then," Grayson admitted. "He's always nice, he talks to me as if we're old buddies, even. But we never...I could never figure out what I was missing, why he'd never invite me to birthday's or why I could never get closer to him. For a little while now I've been...well, I thought maybe he figured me out and wasn't cool with that."
"He's not a bigot, Gray," Seth said quietly, meeting Grayson's eyes, but he pursed his lips and looked away.
"No. Not unless he doesn't like that I'm...attracted to him," Grayson sighed. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to put you in an awkward position and I'm not asking for you to...I don't know. I just...I wanted to explain that it was a problem with me and not you...that's why I've declined your invites."
"Grayson," Seth said softly. "Logan is my best friend. He's not without his faults, no matter how perfect he can be." Grayson's eyes widened at that, and Seth knew he was treading on delicate ground.
He smiled crookedly and sipped his coffee before speaking carefully. "Logan doesn't always see what's right in front of him – like you, trying so hard. I think, had he felt you needed someone, he'd have been right there for you. As it is or was, you seem like a pretty confident guy and I think his thought was...you didn't need him."
"You make him sound like a super hero," Grayson chuckled. "Do I need to use the 'Bat Signal' to get his attention? Some big light in the sky that says 'Logan Whitmore'?"
"Well, you have to admit, that would be harder to miss than, say, someone who joins sports teams to get you to notice them," Seth teased. As Grayson's eyes narrowed in suspicion Seth realized he had just tipped his hand.
"Hey," Grayson said. "I never told you I joined those teams just for him."
Seth's mouth scrunched to one side and he nodded. "Yeah. I admit, I already knew you had a thing for Logan."
"You did?" Grayson said. He was more than startled by the revelation, and Seth started to cringe inwardly as he realized the precarious position he was now in.
"Yeah. I overheard you talking to Amanda," Seth said apologetically. "I wasn't trying to but you were talking about my best friend, so..."
Grayson put his forehead on the table and let out a nervous giggle. "I am so embarrassed."
"Don't be," Seth said with relief that Grayson didn't appear to be angry about him eavesdropping. "I didn't want you to think Logan would reject you. All I wanted to do was find a way to get that idea to you and then this weird thing happened."
"What," Grayson asked, lifting his head and showing his cheeks that were still flushed with embarrassment.
"I discovered this great guy, made a new friend..." Seth said disarmingly, again resisting the urge to reach out and grasp Grayson's hand. "If Logan knew what he was missing out on, friend wise, he'd kick himself."
Grayson looked down at his cup and spun it in small circles. "So, were you ever going to tell me you knew?"
Seth winced at the question while Grayson wasn't looking. It appeared he wasn't out of the woods yet. "If I could find a way without hurting your feelings," he replied. "Think about it from my point of view - I don't want to do something hurtful, something to damage a new friendship. I promise, I don't just blurt my personal business to anyone so my affection for you is real."
"I...jeez, McAllister," Grayson shook his head. "You're turning me into a puddle, here."
"Sorry," Seth smiled. "I admit, at first, I just wanted to defend my friend. But, now, I don't want one friend to dislike another – especially under false pretenses."
Grayson sighed. And looked up to meet Seth's eyes with a bit of trepidation. "Have you...told him any of this?"
"No. I promise, I didn't say anything. It wasn't my secret to tell. All I did was fish around a little, try to see why you guys hadn't become friends. He honestly didn't know why, he even said you made him a better player in scrimmage games – helped improve his game. He was sorry you got hurt and quit." Seth hesitated, wondering about the mixed feelings that had suddenly come to him. Thinking about how Logan had expressed his thoughts on Grayson put him in an interesting place emotionally; his love for the person Logan was, the person who always cared about the people in his life, was warring with his own need to comfort Grayson, and the depth of feeling he had for his new friend. His hand twitched forward, wanting desperately to hold onto Grayson's, but instead he merely brushed Grayson's fingers and left it there as he whispered, "he doesn't know what he's missing."
"Stop it," Grayson said, pulling his hand away to cover his mouth as he giggled.
"What?" Seth asked innocently, leaving his hand where it had been. "It's true, you're pretty cool."
"You're pretty awesome yourself," Grayson replied. "But you must know that. Not everyone is confident enough to go holding hands with just any guy."
"Well, I'd..." Seth's cheeks colored as he bit his tongue. As much as he wanted to tell Grayson how he felt about him, he wasn't sure that would be fair to either him or Logan. Grayson looked like he was about to press him to finish what he had been going to say, but before Grayson got a word out, Seth was struck with an idea. "Hey! You know what? You don't have to take my word for it."
"Take your word for what?" Grayson asked. His eyes narrowed suspiciously as he added, "And what were you about to say?"
Seth waved his hand and said, "You don't have to take my word about Logan. I just remembered he's working a kissing booth at the Valentines dance. So everything I said about him not being a bigot, missing out on you, all of it – I can prove it. All you have to do is make a donation and Logan will give you a kiss."
"Logan? Kiss me? Get out!" Grayson said. "Are you trying to embarrass me again, McAllister?"
"No, not at all...if I wanted to embarrass you I'd just kiss you myself," Seth said giving Grayson an exaggerated leer. He started to blush as he realized what he had just said, but thankfully Grayson countered quickly and gave him an even better reason to blush.
"Yeah, well, you'd be more embarrassed when my tongue ended up in your mouth," Grayson countered.
"Oh yeah? Well, what I if grabbed your ass while kissing you?" Seth replied, his blushing bringing on a rush of giggles.
"Well, how about if I was...grinding onto you while kissing?" Grayson shot back, laughing.
"Well, what if I challenged you to go to the dance and kiss Logan?" Seth replied, a sparkle in his eye.
"Sure!" Grayson said, "Why not? He doesn't know I exist anyway. Hell, maybe I'll grab his ass and grind him against the wall while I do it! No problem!"
"Gray," Seth said through his giggles. "I'm serious. I challenge you to kiss Logan. Then you'll know everything I said was true."
Grayson stopped laughing and met Seth's eyes. "You're serious."
"I am," Seth replied with a nod. "Trust me."
"I don't know, Seth," Grayson said, as he rubbed the back of his neck. "As long as I've dreamed about kissing Logan...dancing with him..."
"Don't you think it's time to stop dreaming?" Seth asked, his eyes full of a mixture of compassion and challenge.
"Seth," Grayson sighed. "Right now Logan just doesn't know I exist. Isn't that better than him hating me for...crushing on him? Maybe even...loving him?"
"Logan will not hate you, I promise," Seth replied. He hesitated, letting the words sink in before he continued, "Just...come to the dance. You'll see."
The Valentine's Dance was different than Seth had expected. It was a surreal experience, walking in through those doors with Logan at his side again. Ever since the Sunday morning they had spent together, they had been able to begin to patch things up, but they had let certain things remain unspoken. When they kissed it was short and sweet, and they didn't make out very often anymore. Seth had thought he would miss it more than he did, but he realized that the change in action wasn't because of a difference in anything that Logan felt for him.
After all, Logan now held his hand whenever they were alone, without even having to be asked, and that meant more to Seth than a thousand kisses ever could. It was the best feeling in the world. He knew that it was supposed to be the other way around, and that most people thought of kisses as more intimate, but there was something different about holding Logan's hand. Logan's skin against his, the warmth of his palm and the way he could feel Logan gripping into him, holding on to Seth as if he were afraid of Seth slipping away from him. It was security; the knowledge that Logan wasn't going anywhere.
He pulled his coat tight around him and looked up at the stars, thinking about the lights that had been set up in the gymnasium, and all the dancers that had been milling around. He and Logan had both agreed to dance with Kristin and Maggie, but in the end the girls had said that they didn't have to. They were there more for the company of their fellow students than they were for dancing. After what had happened, Seth was glad of the reprieve from having to act like he was Kristin's boyfriend. He needed to be alone, which was what had eventually led him outside despite the cold.
Grayson had come to the dance. Seth had almost believed that he wouldn't come after everything they had been through, but he had, and Seth had been elated to see his new friend willing to take the chance Seth had presented to him. There was uncertainty in Grayson's eyes when he had arrived, but there had also been a faint glimmer of hope that things would work out. And then those hopes had come crashing down a moment later when Grayson had approached Logan and asked him for a kiss. Oh what a disaster that had been, and Seth had been ready to follow Grayson out and apologize when he saw that Logan was already doing so. Seth had followed after Logan then, knowing that Logan would catch up to Grayson and wanting to see the result. He knew that Grayson would be upset, and he wanted to be there if Logan couldn't console him.
He should have never been worried. Logan had caught up to Grayson while Seth watched from a distance, staying out of sight. Logan had comforted Grayson after Grayson had come out and told Logan everything that was in his heart. And then they had danced, danced like there was no one else in the world but the two of them. And then Logan kissed Grayson, and Seth watched Grayson melt under that perfect kiss.
He watched long enough to hear Grayson thank Logan for the gesture and then explain that he was emotionally spent for the evening and would leave, despite the fact that Logan urged him to stay and not let the students inside ruin his night. Grayson left anyway, and as Logan helped him to the door, they said one final goodbye for the evening, a short embrace that left Seth wiping his eyes.
Seth had never understood Logan until that moment, and now that he did, he was ashamed that he had ever doubted where Logan's feelings truly lay. He went back inside the gym and grabbed his coat, telling Kristin and Maggie that he needed to get some air. The girls had said nothing except to wish him well, though the look in their eyes told him that they somehow knew what was going through his mind. He left the gym before Logan had come back, and was already beginning to feel better as the cool night air settled against his skin.
Seth heard the door to the school open and he knew without looking exactly who had come to greet him. "Seth, where have you been!?" Logan said with concern as he came up to stand beside Seth, who never took his eyes off of the stars.
"Hey… Logan…" Seth said, wiping his eyes again.
"Seth… are you, crying?" Logan asked, laying a concerned hand on Seth's shoulder. "What… you saw what just happened didn't you?" Logan whispered, his eyes wide as he stared at Seth's face. Seth looked down and met his eyes, smiling sadly. "You're the one who told Grayson that I was working the kissing booth…" Logan realized, shocked by the sudden insight. "What…?"
"Logan, it's okay." Seth interrupted, and placed his hand on Logan's arm, sliding it softly down and pushing gently, causing Logan to release his grip on Seth's shoulder. Seth kept his hand on Logan's arm and slid it down to meet Logan's hand, gripping it firmly with his own.
"Seth, the kiss…" Logan said quickly, "It was for him. I needed to do it. I couldn't watch him suffer like that. Please forgive me."
"I was never worried about that, Logan," Seth replied with a light laugh.
"Why am I crying?" Seth asked with another quick laugh. "God, sometimes I think you miss everything that's right in front of you." As the last word left his mouth he leaned forward and kissed Logan on the mouth, pressing in until Logan responded and kissed him back, and then extending it long enough that they both came away panting.
"Seth!" Logan said when they pulled away, a bewildered grin on his face. "Aren't you worried someone will see us?"
"I had to give you one, and no, not for my sake anyway," Seth replied with a giggle as he wiped his eyes again. "I love you so much right now."
"You love me…" Logan echoed, startled as he squeezed Seth's hand and stared into his best friend's eyes. "Seth, I just danced with and kissed another guy. You're going to have to make this a whole lot clearer to me. I feel like I just cheated on you, and you're acting like you wanted it to happen."
Seth smiled and kissed Logan's cheek, leaving Logan even more bewildered when Seth pulled away. "That boy, Grayson, just had his dream come true. He was the scared gay boy who didn't have any friends. He was who you thought I was when you made friends with me, Logan." Seth giggled again and then patted Logan's cheek. "Without a second thought you helped Grayson have the night of his life, sacrificing yourself to do it… Some days I'm amazed at how perfect you actually are."
"Seth?" Logan asked, his confusion still evident in his eyes.
"It's strange but, no matter how many times you've kissed me," Seth said with a chuckle, glancing back at the door to the school, "I think the most important kiss in our relationship is the one that you just gave to Grayson."
"What?" Logan asked, blinking several times. "How…?"
Seth put his hand on Logan's mouth and smiled at him in adoration. "It proved once and for all that you'll never change. You'll always fight for the underdog." Grinning from ear to ear he reached down and interlocked his fingers with Logan's other hand. "You're the best person I know, Logan Whitmore, and I don't intend to ever let you forget it."
"Seth, I'm not good at these sorts of things, but I do know one thing…" Logan replied, smiling back but there was still sadness in his eye. "I'm terrified of losing you."
"What!?" Seth asked, "Did you not hear a single word I jus…"
"Hear me out, please?" Logan interjected, and Seth nodded, allowing Logan to take a deep breath and continue, "I know why I hold back, and why I'm afraid to move forward. It comes back to when I lost my friends for a while." He sighed, locking eyes with Seth as they began to moisten. "We were so close, all of us, and then suddenly it was gone. I can't stand the thought of that happening to us."
"It won't," Seth insisted. "Logan, why do you want to be with me?"
Logan took a deep breath, meeting Seth's eyes and speaking hesitantly, blushing. "The short answer… is… because… I love you." Seth blushed at the admission but didn't say anything. He needed Logan to express himself, and he was beginning to learn that that required patience. "But I can see that you need more of an explanation than that," Logan continued with a bashful smile. "The real reason is because when I look in your eyes I see something I need, something deep inside of you that fills a hole in me that I didn't know was there. When I'm with you I feel complete, and when I'm not with you, I don't."
"And why do you not want to take things to the next level?" Seth asked, and though the question had plagued him for weeks, he was smiling as he asked it. He was certain that he already knew the answer, and admitting it to himself had been the hardest part.
"Because I…" Logan sighed and shook his head, "I don't know…"
"It's okay, because I think I figured it out, and I can't believe I couldn't see it before," Seth said with a short chuckle. "Logan, you don't want to take things to the next level because for you we've already arrived at where we need to be. I already complete you, just being there, just being in your life. I get that now, and I'm okay with it. If we were to move forward, it would be entirely for me, because you already have what you need from me, and that's my presence; my love. Logan, you don't need me in that way, but we need this…" Seth held up their interlocked hands and smiled sadly. "We have this, and it's never going to go away as far as I see things. We are the closest friends in the world, and I can't imagine anything will ever truly come between us, and I don't want it to."
"I know that… consciously at least," Logan laughed, giving Seth's hand a squeeze. "Over the past few weeks while you've been hanging out with Grayson, I thought you were moving on because I couldn't move forward with you. I thought I was losing you. And then…" He shook his head and laughed heartily, and though Seth didn't know why Logan was laughing he found it was contagious and joined in. When the laughter finally subsided, Logan nodded firmly and said, "Suddenly it all makes sense. I may fight for the underdog, but you're the one that's always there, making sure I can. You're looking out for them every bit as much as I do…" He shook his head in wonder, looking down for a moment in embarrassment.
"Remember back when I said I was your wingman?" Seth asked when Logan looked up again.
"I'll always be your wingman," Seth said with conviction. "I'll always be backing you up, and the truth of it is, you're a superhero Logan, and I'm your sidekick. We're the best of friends, but we just aren't meant to be boyfriends."
Logan was startled by the admission, though Seth saw that there was something deeper in his eyes. Logan seemed to understand what Seth was getting at, but being Logan he still needed to clarify. He had to be sure it was what Seth really wanted. "So what then? What are you saying, Seth?""
"You need to keep fighting for the underdogs, and I need to fight by your side, but we can't do that if we're distracted by all this drama," Seth clarified. His eyes were watering again, and he didn't know why. He had never been happier. "We need to be friends first, above everything."
"Are we breaking up?" Logan asked.
"Were we ever together?" Seth replied with a raised eyebrow.
"No, I suppose not," Logan replied with a sad smile. "The question is, what are we?"
Seth's answer was to release Logan's hands and wrap his arms around Logan, pulling him into him as he pushed his lips to Logan's, he kissed him deeply, sliding his hands up to grip his neck and entwine his fingers in his hair. The door to the school opened and closed again, and Logan started to pull away but Seth held him fast and Logan melted in his arms, extending this kiss himself and responding with equal passion to Seth's own.
"What was that for?" Logan panted.
"Because you're my best friend, and I think even as best friends, we can still say that we love each other in more ways than one," Seth replied with a nervous giggle. He shrugged and smiled slyly as he continued, "Maybe one day we'll fall in love with other people, and the kisses will stop because our new loves don't understand, but somehow I think we'll always find ways to express how we feel, provided you're open to that."
"Seth, Anything that keeps you in my life is good by me," Logan replied with a wide grin. "I don't know what I want out of life, but I know that I'd have a hard time without you in it."
"I feel the same way, Logan," Seth replied as he let his hand come to rest on Logan's shoulder. "As far as I'm concerned, we don't need to define our relationship, and nothing has to change between us except for one thing. Let's always talk in the future, because that's where we went wrong. We need to communicate, and if we do, nothing will stop us."
"You really think so?" Logan asked.
"I know it," Seth replied with a firm nod. "I love you, Logan."
This time there was no stumbling over his words as Logan replied, "I love you too, Seth."
"Finally!" Kristin shouted in delight, and the boys turned to look at Maggie and Kristin who were watching them with appraising eyes.
"When you guys didn't come back, I assumed this would be where we found you…" Maggie said with a grin. "Took long enough."
"So what does this mean, Maggie?" Kristin asked with a grin. "Do we need to find new boyfriends?"
"Nah, we can share," Seth said with a wide grin, wiggling his eyebrows at Logan. "Been doing it all day!"
"Seth!?" Logan all but shouted, pretending to be scandalized.
"By the way, we need to talk about Grayson…" Seth continued as he slid his hand back into Logan's. "What would you say about inviting him to hang out with us this Sunday…?" He guided Logan, hand in hand, back toward the school while Maggie and Kristin watched them walk past.
"Boys!" Kristin and Maggie said as they shared a look, and then laughing they followed their boyfriends back inside.
As the boys headed inside, Seth checked his phone, remembering that he had felt a text come in a short time before Logan had come out to find him. After reading Grayson's text he was crying again, and he showed the text to Logan who became equally teary.
"We need to talk to him as soon as possible," Seth said, meeting Logan's eyes as his own filled with determination.
"Absolutely. What do you say we surprise him in the morning?" Logan asked, his eyes sparkling in the bright light near the door.
Go downstairs and open your front door.
Grayson read the text and blinked. It wasn't like Seth to drop by unannounced, but then what else could the text mean? He grabbed his crutches and swung off of his bed, noticing that he was in just his boxers. He reached down for the pair of slacks he had worn the night before and quickly slid them on, wondering at the fact that his mother hadn't simply let Seth in.
When he opened the door to his bedroom, he found a grinning Seth waiting for him in the hallway, and he almost jumped out of his skin. "Seth? God, you scared the shit out of me! What are you doing here?"
"Your mom let me in, can we talk?" Seth said, and without another word he stepped into Grayson's room and shut the door behind him. Grayson raised an eyebrow but followed Seth over to his bed, where he leaned the crutches against the wall and then let himself sit down next to Seth.
"Hey, before you say anything, I just want to thank you for what you did for me," Grayson said with a smile. Seth looked like he was about to protest and Grayson seized the opportunity and darted in for a quick kiss on the lips. Seth's shock was so profound that his mouth was still hanging open when Grayson pulled away. He stared at the wall, forgetting to breathe while Grayson giggled.
"That was unexpected," Seth said a second later when he finally found the ability to breathe.
"Was it unwanted?" Grayson asked with a touch of uncertainty.
"I didn't say that," Seth replied, smiling mischievously at Grayson. The smile was all Grayson needed, and his lips were on Seth's a second later, and his hands were pushing Seth backward against the bed. Grayson hadn't planned on going this far, but the moment felt right, but then Seth smiled into the kiss and began pushing back on him.
"What? What's the matter?" Grayson asked, when he pulled back from Seth.
"If you still want to resume that after we talk, I'm totally game, but I need to make a confession first," Seth said, patting Grayson's bare chest as he sat up straight. "But, by the way, you're an amazing kisser for someone who's new to it."
"Um… thanks," Grayson replied, confused at the sudden shift in conversation. He could tell from Seth's eyes that the compliment had been sincere, but he was at a loss as to what Seth could need to confess that would possibly change anything.
"I need to get something that I left downstairs, but it's a surprise, and I need to blindfold you," Seth said with a grin. "Thankfully," he continued as he reached into his pocket, "I planned this in advance so that we'd have something suitable." He pulled out a large black bandana and started rolling it up between his hands.
"Seth, you know I trust you but, what is this about?" Grayson asked in anticipation.
"Let me sweeten the deal," Seth said as he leaned in and kissed Grayson on the mouth. It was short and sweet, and Grayson was left hungry for more when Seth pulled away, and by the time he recovered, Seth was behind him and tying the blindfold.
"If you thought my kisses were amazing…" Grayson breathed as Seth finished tying the knot.
Seth giggled and patted Grayson on the back as he stepped away, saying over his shoulder as he opened the door, "I happened to learn from an expert. I'll be right back."
He heard the sound of feet moving in the doorway and then the door closed, a few more footsteps were heard and then nothing, and Grayson assumed that Seth was taking it slowly down the stairs. And then he felt a hand rest lightly against his neck and he jumped, but then he smiled as he felt another hand on his opposite cheek. And then a pair of lips touched his own and sent jolts down his spine like something he had felt only once before, and he knew without removing the blindfold exactly what had happened.
As the lips pulled away from his he breathed out a name that had played through his fantasies more times than he could count. "Logan…"
Then another hand guided his cheek back the other direction, and he felt another pair of lips touch his own, and these were soft and warm, and though the feeling was not the same, it was no less enticing. The second kiss was a kiss full of stability and trust, and as the kisser slid his hand down his shoulder to entwine his fingers with Grayson's, there was no doubt about who those lips belonged to. "Seth…" he murmured in delight as Seth pulled away.
Grayson was about to remove the blindfold when he felt Logan's hand slide down to take his open hand. "Close your eyes," Seth whispered, and Grayson did as he was told despite the blindfold, trusting the words of his best friend. He felt the blindfold loosen and fall away.
"You can open them now," Logan whispered, and Grayson looked up into Logan and Seth's eyes, his own filled with awe at the faces of the two boys he loved the most looking down at him. He then glanced down to see that just as Logan and Seth were holding his hands, they're hands were similarly clasped together.
"I don't know what is going on here, but whatever it is, I want more of it," Grayson said with a euphoric giggle. "Am I still dreaming?"
"No, you're definitely awake, Grayson," Logan said gently. "And more importantly, you're not alone."
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you this before, Gray," Seth added, still smiling, though his eyes bore a small trace of uncertainty, "but I love Logan as much as you do. Just as important, I love you too."
"Seth and I haven't been best friends for long, but the truth is, I know him well enough to trust his judgment that making friends with you was the right idea. Now I intend to do the same," Logan said with a sly smile at Seth.
"And I know enough to trust his instinct about who to kiss, and more importantly, who to love," Seth added, giving Grayson's hand a squeeze. "And we both agree that we want you to be a part of us. We're both still trying to figure out how we fit into all of this, but we're hoping that you're along for the ride."
Grayson looked between the two of them, blinking back tears of joy, though he was surprised to find them there. He wasn't a crier, and never had been, but he was higher than he had ever been, and he was afraid he would break from sheer happiness. He squeezed both of their hands and with a grin that nearly split his face in two, he said, "Like I could possibly say 'no'!"
A hundred kisses later the boys got up for coffee, and Grayson watched Logan grimace as he drank from his cup, but then he set it down and looked over at Grayson and smiled. "We can give you something else to drink, if you want," Grayson said with a grin.
"No, this is perfect," Logan replied. "Some things in life are worth a little pain." Seth and Grayson shared a knowing look and then laughed while Logan blushed.
"I'll get you some tea," Grayson said as he stood and hopped to the counter. "Do you want sugar?"
The conversation had just begun, and so had a new adventure.
Thank you to my Patreon supporters, Scott, Bill, Paul R, Joe, Jos, and Samuel, for helping keep the dream alive.
Thank you also to Peter, John, and Jesse for their continuous support.
Please let me know what you think of this story by emailing me at Samuel.D.Roe@gmail.com or if you're so inclined feel free to like my page on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/Samuel.D.Roe.Cynus. Or if you really like my work this is the part where I shamefully ask you to visit my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/cynus. I'd love to hear from you wherever and whoever you may be.
I've also started a new tumblr for talking about my stories and writing process at this address: http://cynusstorybook.tumblr.com/.
If you like this story and the other stories hosted at Castle Roland, please donate to keep the site running and to show your appreciation for all the hard work that the team puts into it.