Julian realizes he loves a certain Stuart Prefect : Worst. Epiphany. Ever.
(or as I’d like to call it, the official beginning to Julian’s long, self-inflicted, unrequited hell.)
Derek and Logan looked up in surprise as Julian came flying through the coffee area—his blazer open again and flying behind him. For the first time in a long while, they saw the actor wildly elated, and also free of his sunglasses. As the students in the area stared, Julian leapt right over the table, sliding right across it before landing into an empty seat.
Derek gaped at him. “How did you—”
"I hang out with stuntmen sometimes. Anyway—" Julian looked so smug that it was almost obscene as he held out his phone. Logan rolled his eyes and grabbed the hand that held it to make it keep still as he and Derek read it.
After they did, Logan raised his green eyes back to Julian. “…they want you for a movie.”
"Yes, they do!" Julian trilled, clearly deeply delighted, flushed and wildly alive. He looked better than he had in days. He forced all his reactions to this expression and tried to pretend that his heart wasn’t jumping for some terribly absurd reason at the fact that the blond boy was clasping his hand. What the hell, hormones—don’t do this to him now. "Do you know what this means?"
"I assume you’ll tell us," Derek raised an eyebrow.
"My awkward stage is over!" Julian threw up his hands happily. He looked like the young boy that he used to be, and not the Hollywood teen that other people saw him as. His friends found it rather attractive on him. "I can start working again! I’m being casted again! I mean look at this thing, they requested specifically for me! They’re offering me the part! This is awesome!”
Derek laughed at the excitement from his fellow freshman. “Well congrats. You’ve been whining about being overlooked for red carpets. You going to be away soon?”
"After I say yes, I can practically fly out at once," Julian said proudly.
Derek only shook his head with a laugh at his friend’s overexcitement. He glanced at Logan and found that he was still holding the phone and looking intently at it.
Then, carefully, without expression, Logan lowered the phone onto the table and said, “Well. Congratulations.”
"Don’t throw me a party or anything," Julian said sarcastically.
"No, really." He simply turned back to his book placidly and kept reading. "Congratulations. It’s certainly something you’ve wanted for a while."
"What’s your deal?" Julian frowned. "Why are you being such a mood damper?"
"I’m not. I just don’t see it as that big a deal. It’s a movie. You were bound to get one sooner or later. It’s good that it’s now, at least, so we don’t have to hear you whine anymore."
Julian snatched up his phone and wordlessly stormed off. Damn if Logan wasn’t going to rain all over his parade just because he wasn’t the center of attention anymore.
Derek stared and looked at Logan. “Dude. What’s wrong with you? You’re not happy for him?”
Logan looked deep in thought as he watched Julian go. “I’m happy for him. I’m just not sure it’s good for him.”
Julian got the text that afternoon as he was walking down the hall. Can I talk to you for a minute? Courtyard. By the arches. Now.
He looked around in surprise and spotted Logan at the end of the hall. The blond boy only nodded and vanished to the adjoining hallway leading to the archways. Julian frowned, annoyed. But he sent a text, and made it discreet, meaning Derek wasn’t going to be involved.
So Julian strode down the halls after him, determined to give his so-called friend a piece of his mind. Why can’t he let someone else be a star for a change? So what if he was a Warbler now and everybody on campus thought he was the hottest thing since that time those crazy twins from Windsor set a maple tree on fire? Big whoop, Julian was going on a movie, he was the star here again.
…if he wasn’t his friend…if he didn’t…like him—as a friend, as a friend!—so much, he’d hate him. Really really loathe him.
"I hate you. I really really loathe you," Julian shot the moment he and Logan arrived at the courtyard.
"That’s all right," Logan replied with a smirk. "I can’t stand you either. But since were also friends, I thought I should talk to you. About that movie."
"By all means, grace me with your golden words of Wisdom,” Julian said sarcastically, leaning on one of the pillars. “And what does my career have anything to do with you?”
Logan seemed to look directly at Julian now, those green eyes piercingly unsettling, as Julian found them to do so often, especially when aimed at him. Julian glanced away from them. “What?”
"Do you really want to do that movie?" Logan asked finally.
"Of course I do. Are you insane? It’s a Tim Burton for heavenssakes. I’m already betting Johnny freaking Depp is in it like he usually is. Who wouldn’t want to do that movie?"
"It’s not the movie per se…" Logan said in an even tone that made Julian wonder why he was so serious. "I was talking about you…getting back to that kind of life."
The actor frowned. “What do you mean?”
"You seem…happy here." Logan shrugged lightly. "At school, I mean. Even when the homework levels took on critical mass, you looked pretty happy doing it along with us. I was under the impression that you liked being here in school and being normal."
"This is not an after-school special and this is not Hannah Montana," Julian snapped. "I do like school…and you and Derek and everyone else. But I like being a movie star. I’m not repressed or looking for a normal life or anything like that. I know I’ll never be normal. Ever. I’m too far gone for that.”
"So you’re saying there was a point when you considered turning away."
Julian fell silent. He stared, a little openmouthed, at Logan, who continued, “I don’t really blame you. It sucks having eyes on you all the time. Why do you think my father shipped me here aside from the fact that having a homosexual son might do damage to the polls? Being under so much attention really blows, and never being able to do anything worth doing for yourself.”
Logan crossed his arms. “I’m just saying. You looked happy here. Where you are. Or were you just pretending to be that too, messing around with us?”
Julian shook a little. He glared, crossed his arms and lowered his eyes. The words hit home a little. But it’s not true, he told himself. That’s not true. I like being a star. It’s who I am. It’s who I’ll ever be. I never had a choice.
"School is fine. But…I’ve been waiting for this. This is what’s important to me," Julian finally said. This is what’s important. My career is important. That’s what matters.
There was a long awkward pause that followed. Julian raised his eyes and saw Logan contemplating him. Then the taller boy just shrugged. “Fine. If that’s what you want. Like hell I’m going to stop you anyway—you’re not someone I plan on taking care of. Too much of a brat and a pain.”
Julian snorted. “Takes one to know one.”
Logan then walked up to him, and Julian looked up, surprised. The taller boy leaned a little close, but just outside of personal boundaries. “I’m just saying. …you can always come back. We’re kind of not going anywhere.”
"In this dump?" Julian scoffed, trying to be offhand but his heart was hammering in his chest. Too close, too close—stop looking with those eyes— "You sure aren’t."
Logan just smirked. “Right. We’ll be eagerly awaiting your huge flop of a movie, loser. Call us when it tanks at the box office so we can laugh at your face.” And he stalked off calmly, as though he forgot Julian was even there.
Julian watched him go, staring. His heart hadn’t settled. It was a terrible sensation of being completely unable to control one’s own body to move. He watched the blond boy go, wondering why they were friends.
Or why he cared about him.
Or why he felt like not leaving.
Or why Logan knew him so well.
…he wasn’t even supposed to care, that selfish bastard.
Epiphanies were loathsome things and for the past few months, Julian had been battling with his emotions towards his friend. He was thoroughly convinced that it was a phase of temporary insanity brought on by Logan’s good looks at first.
But when it persisted even after they were jerks to each other, Julian knew he might have a problem.
And now he was sure he did. Just because that blond jerk had to be so damn considerate when he was supposed to play his part by being so damned cruel with those eyes of his.
And, in the worst moment of his life to date, Julian realized that he really did like him. The angriest, most selfish, most unbalanced boy in Dalton.
And the only one in the world who would never, ever look at him in the same way.