In the next chapters we’ll find out a little bit more about the pasts of some people, and we’ll find out more about the story behind Julian and Adam. Of course, the present will bring chaos and situations too.
Logan was standing in the bathroom, forehead resting against the cold tiles in a vain attempt to cool down the current fire smoldering deep inside him. One hand was curled into a tight fist, planted firmly against the wall right next to his head—the other was clutching his phone, fingers nearly crushing the fragile technology as he listened with a livid expression to the menacing voice that was wailing in his ear.
“If you would just listen, Clavell—” he tried, again trying to explain things, but the man on the other line wouldn’t have any of it and yelled right through his sentence—his words crackling with a scorching-hot fury.
“No, Wright! You listen! People talked about you, you know? They recommended you for fuck’s sake, told me you are good at what you do, that you always finish the fucking job! And now you didn’t! What the fuck is wrong with you?”
“If you’re going to fucking tell me you missed the shot because it rained—I’m going to rip you to pieces so very slowly, you’re going to scream your fucking lungs out before you die of blood loss and a pain so fucking excruciating you wish you were never born—I swear to fucking god!” Clavell had used all of his breath on that raging threat and Logan immediately took the opportunity to speak his own mind.
“Look—I’m going to kill him even if it’s the last thing I’ll do—”
“—you can fucking bet on that—”
“—but you have to give me some time, damn it. He trusts me now—I’m in his house, he’s in the room right next to me—” and then Logan cursed and closed his eyes briefly, lowering the volume of his voice when he realized Julian was in the room right next to him.
For a long moment, only the heavy breathing of a still utterly furious Clavell was heard through the phone and Logan had to control himself not to hold it away from his head, feeling like Clavell’s filthy breath blew right into his ear.
“Fine,” Clavell whispered sharply—and for some reason, the calm whispering sounded way more menacing and way more terrifying than the loud racket of just moments ago, sending icy shivers all over Logan’s body.
“Fine,” Clavell repeated and the young sniper could imagine how the man closed his eyes in aggravation, the fingers of his free hand pressed against his temple, while the fingers of his other hand clenched and unclenched around the phone. “I’ll give you some time, goddamn it. But if it’s not finished by then, if Larson is not dead by then, I’m going to come over and kill him myself. You’d better watch your fucking ass if that happens, Wright, because I’ll kill you too,” he added, almost in an afterthought.
And Logan wanted to make a scathing retort, mocking him, challenging him—because who the hell was going to shoot him? Who the hell would shoot Logan Wright? Certainly not Clavell. But something about the man’s voice sounded so deep and so obsessively intense and so terrifying, that Logan refrained from mocking him, keeping his mouth shut for just this once.
“You’d better kill him.”
And with that, the line disconnected and Logan was left with a growing feeling of unease and all kinds of thoughts whirling and running around in his head in chaos.
He would have to kill the actor soon. But instead of the usual adrenaline that accompanied those kind of thoughts… he noticed with surprise that he felt unsure of what to do now. Muttering a stream of profanities, he raked a hand through his hair and glanced in the mirror just briefly—noticing his eyes were bright and angry—before he left the bathroom.
When he walked back into the living room, Julian looked up at him from the couch where he sat on—brown eyes huge and warm, his pink lips pulling up into a relieved smile.
“Oh good, I thought you were gone,” he sighed, and for a moment Logan could see the fear—the fear he‘d caused—brimming behind his casual exterior. He was still afraid since the shooting—theattempt at shooting—and even though the actor tried to mask it carefully, the sniper could see right through the act.
The blond muttered a greeting as he plopped on a chair, feeling tired and angry and frustrated. He looked at the actor, mildly curious. “Would it be that bad if I were gone?”
Julian rolled his eyes. “Well, you’re the only one with a gun here, and since someone clearly wants me dead…” his usual sarcasm seemed to be gone, having drowned in the shock of almost being killed, “…you’re kind of the only option at safety I have now.”
Logan stared at him disbelievingly and he had to do his very best not to snort at that statement. Well, that kind of sucks for you then, Larson.
“You have other bodyguards, you know,” the blond muttered and despite his efforts to push it away, he remembered the conversation he just had with Clavell—the angry words, the threats… the commands.
Julian huffed and crossed his arms, looking at the blond sternly. “They suck.”
Logan snorted derisively. “And I don’t?”
“You suck less,” Julian noted with a smirk, cocking an eyebrow challengingly. “And what’s the matter with you anyway? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
My own if I don’t fucking watch out. “Don’t worry your pretty, little head over it, diva.”
“Stop what, diva?”
Julian narrowed his eyes, but pressed his lips in a thin line as he looked away.
“What? No witty comeback? Now, that is new,” Logan grinned, but his heart dropped when he received a vicious glare, razor-sharp with hatred. He sighed, gazing around the room for a second. “Where’s Derek anyway?”
The hate and anger disappeared like snow in the sun—for a second Logan wondered if Julian didn’t have the same thing he had, with all these mood-swings of his—and Julian gave him a blank look. “Probably having sex somewhere. He just sent me a text.”
Logan snickered. “Yeah… I remember that.”
Suddenly, the actor perked up, his eyes widening as he leaned forward on the couch. “Are you starting to remember things?”
“What? No—I just remember Derek, I told you that.”
Logan studied Julian’s crestfallen expression for a while before he sighed and closed his eyes in aggravation. “Okay, you know what? I can’t believe I’m saying this—but talk to me, I need a distraction.”
“How much I’d like to be your source of entertainment—why would I do that?”
Because you don’t want to be killed now. “Because I need the distraction.”
Julian considered him for a moment, wondering what was going on in Logan’s head, wondering what made him look this unusually drained. The actor sighed, leaned back and—completely uncharacteristically—gave in without any fighting. “What do you want me to talk about, Your Majesty?”
Green eyes snapped open in irritation. “Obviously, you should tell me about our time as ‘friends’.”
Julian’s eyes widened and his lips parted in surprise. “Do you—do you think that might help? With your memory, I mean?”
Logan shook his head and leaned back in his seat. “No, not really. But I know you want to talk about it, so just talk, okay?” And—if he was being completely honest with himself—he was slightly curious to hear all the memories he’d so obviously forgotten about. Memories that weren’t his anymore.
Julian stared at him for a moment and Logan stared back, noticing how the actor’s eyes were like deer’s with that expression, the sun from outside reflected in them and making them deep and mysterious. A dark strand of hair had fallen over Julian’s forehead and with every breath, it swayed softly, looking as smooth as velvet and clouds.
But why was he thinking this? He shouldn’t be thinking this. He remembered that he had conveniently forgotten to take his medication this morning and proceeded to blame all these thoughts and this whole freaking mess on that.
“But if it’s not finished by then, if Larson is not dead by then, I’m going to come over and kill him myself. You’d better watch your fucking ass if that happens, Wright, because I’ll kill you too.”
“Just fucking talk to me, Larson.”
“…okay. You remember that movie—”
“I don’t fucking remember anything—how many times do I have to make myself clear?”
“I didn’t mean it like that! I just wondered if you remembered that movie from years ago, it was called “Broken” and I starred in it as this character who was destroying himself—”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Oh. Well, anyway, that was where it all started, I guess.”
He was exhausted. Beyond exhausted.
Every movement pained him, tearing on his muscles and tendons with the weight of elephants and the strength of tigers. Every time he blinked, it cost him more effort to open his eyes again. He didn’t walk, he merely dragged himself forward, feet never losing contact with the floor as he couldn’t even lift them up properly. Every breath was agony—the feeling of razors rasping through his throat every time again, producing an excruciating pain he couldn’t escape from… the smell of cigarettes hung around him, making him crave… making him almost cave again…
The broken actor managed to slid through the doors of the common room and after that, he didn’t really care what happened to him. He remembered practically falling into Derek and Logan’s arms, he remembered them chastening him, worrying deeply about him, dragging him forcefully yet tenderly up the stairs.
Logan and Derek both gasped in stunned horror when they helped Julian change, their hearts dropping and their stomachs clenching in shared pain when they saw how unbelievably thin and skeletal Julian had gotten—his ribs and hipbones sticking out like sharp mountains above a deep, dead valley.
He looked like a dead man walking.
The two friends shared a frightened and terrorized look—both of their expressions drenched in horror and incredibility and absolute, utter fear for their best friend.
Because how much as an insufferable diva and primadonna Julian could be—he was still Jules. He was still their Jules. And, like a group of fierce and highly protective lions, both the athlete and the singer weren’t going to let Julian slip through their fingers—ready to extend their vicious claws if someone or something would threaten him.
The trio had an unspoken agreement; whenever one of them slipped, whenever one of them fell off the road; the other two would always—always—be right there to catch him and push him back on. Whatever he might have done, whatever might have happened—they would always be there for each other.
They gently laid the drained actor in his bed, draping the sheets over him, careful not to jostle him. Julian shifted and frowned, mumbling something unintelligible, but before either Logan or Derek could ask, he’d passed out—breaths raspy and irregular as he finally slept.
“Damn it,” Derek hissed, kicking the carpet in frustration.
“You smelled smoke too, right? I wasn’t imagining it?” Logan asked, wide eyes never leaving the sleeping actor—posture way too vague and thin in the dimmed lights.
Derek rubbed his face, tangling his fingers in his hair. “Man, this is so messed up—he is so messed up. Who does that to his own body? Who the hell does that?” but looking at the brunet and back at the tall blond, he had a vague feeling that he did know what it was about.
Time never stood still and, like a spider weaving her web, everything got more complicated and vulnerable as the days crawled by.
Julian didn’t get better.
In fact, he just got sicker and sicker. And when his fever had risen to precarious temperatures and he was shivering and hallucinating in his bed, Logan and Derek finally decided to bring him to a hospital.
He was so sick, they didn’t even have to wait by the ER. The nurses urged the actor to lay on a bed and rolled him immediately to a ward. He got hooked on an IV and the nurses carefully inserted a feeding tube so they could make him gain some desperately needed weight.
The days blurred into one, forming some sort of time-line that stretched on for weeks. Paparazzi came, got sent away, came again—more persistent and with even more questions—but were sent away again under the severe glares of the nurses. Derek and Logan were the only ones allowed to visit—the only exception being Julian’s parents, who both had so little time to spare, it seemed like they were never here anyway.
The two friends watched as the actor gained weight, got some color on his cheeks, struggled with and finally conquered his addiction to cigarettes… and eventually they witnessed his first sarcastic remark in weeks—“I’m dying and you’re chasing after guys, I feel so fucking honored” when Logan came into the room one day, carrying a love-sick expression—and when the first sparkle appeared in his bright brown eyes and his lips quirked up in that Cheshire smile of his… Derek and Logan could finally breathe again.
He was going to be okay.
At least physically.
“I just told you, idiot.”
“I meant, why did you leave, you moron,” Logan sneered, hand involuntarily moving towards the ever-present gun on his belt.
Julian glared at him—brown eyes slowly softening in resignation when he realized Logan still didn’t remember anything—and he smiled sadly.
“I went back to school. But… things had changed, I guess, and I was just done with it, so done…” done with schoolwork, done with all the gossip, done with you pining over stupid guys that weren’t me, done with looking at you and only feeling hurt and, and… ”I left.”
“That’s it? You just left?”
“I left. But you don’t remember, do you?” Or care. You don’t care either.
Logan sighed in annoyance. “No, I don’t. But…” Logan’s eyes narrowed in thought and his fingers stroked over the smooth leather of the chair he sat in. “I don’t understand. You went back to filming? While you got so sick of it?”
“At the time, everything seemed better than school,” Julian mumbled, words dripping from emotions that went years and years back. “But… you really don’t remember it?”
Memories, memories, memories—all this fucking chatter about those stupid memories I won’t ever have again.
And this time around, Logan finally had enough.
Anger boiling up dangerously, he clenched his jaw. “Why does everything has to go about my memory? I don’t remember you, okay? Now—stop bugging me about it!”
Julian huffed, glaring at him vehemently. “It’s just—”
“No, Larson, no. It’s not just. It’s you. It’s all about you. You may be a famous celebrity, and you may have fans all over the world—but that doesn’t mean everyone should know you, that doesn’t mean everyone who’s ever had contact with you should remember you. Because I don’t and I’m starting to think I know why I don’t.”
The actor raised his chin defiantly, cocking one eyebrow as he asked, “Why not?”
“Because you’re just not worth remembering,” Logan stormed, eyes a raging green fire, hands curled into tight fists.
Julian pressed his lips together and nodded stiffly.
“I’m so glad I left all those years ago,” he hissed, trying to hold his voice steady and his eyes dry. “I am so glad you weren’t in my life for all those years, so glad that I’m not friends with you anymore. All you ever did was destroy, Logan—do you remember that? All the pretty things you destroyed and hurt?” He stood up from the couch in one, fluid movement. “Because I do.”
He tore his eyes from Logan’s and stalked out of the room, slamming the door shut with a deafening smash.
It wasn’t until he was in the kitchen, alone and safe, that Julian—Julian Larson, Hollywood star, unbreakable, untouchable, unmovable Julian Larson—let the first tears fall, staring absentmindedly out of the window.
It was all coming back. Everything he ran for in the first place—it was all coming back.
And he hated it.
Hated it, hated it, hated it, hated it.
The hospital discharged him and he went back to school immediately—only to find out that nothing had changed at all. Logan had found a new guy to drool over and Julian saw how his eyes widened and sparkled and went all gorgeous and starry whenever they were together. Julian noticed how much happier the blond got, how his entire demeanor changed—the way he got more talkative, the way his gestures spoke of excitement and enthusiasm… something he barely showed to Julian, or even to Derek.
The actor saw everything, yet he wasn’t seen.
Maybe that was why he wanted to go back to filming—it was the completely opposite on there, at least he was seen on there… even if it wasn’t by the person he wanted to be seen.
It took him exactly a month—only weeks before the school year ended—when he finally had enough. His heart had collected cracks again—cracks that had just healed, goddamn it—and he was scared that if he’d stay here, they might break all the way through one day. So he decided to leave.
Only Derek knew—maybe the twins, but if they did, they kept their mouths nicely shut—and he helped the actor pack, throwing all the protests and the reasons he should stay for fuck’s sake at him, the sincere words slicing through Julian’s heart and soul like bullets from a gun.
He had planned his escape carefully, days in advance, and when the day came he would finally leave—he snuck out deep in the night. But before he stepped through the doors of Dalton for the very last time—and that thought hurt more than he’d imagined, making him almost drop his bags and run back with his tail between his legs—he made a tiny detour.
Without hesitating—without allowing himself to have any time to hesitate—he opened the door to Logan’s room and slipped in. But then… he hesitated, and he almost turned around to flee the scene—when Logan made a muffled sound in his sleep, freezing Julian right on his place.
The moon spied on the two boys in the room, her beams sneaking through the gap between the curtains, falling on the blond hair that was splayed out over the pillow and turning it into a shiny, silky silver. Brown eyes followed the beam—the light mirrored in their dark depths, making them liquid and bottomless—and finally rested on that face he could never ever have.
He looked absolutely gorgeous.
Horribly, terribly, awfully… gorgeous.
And Julian just wanted to strangle those fucking feelings that violently ripped and tore at his heart, yanking on those ever-existing cracks, willing them to breach completely.
Without making a sound, Julian tiptoed forward and kneeled next to the bed, soaking in Logan’s face like it was the last time he’d ever see him again. It probably was, though.
Opposed to the devil he was when awake, Logan was more like an angel now he was asleep. His face was completely relaxed, pink lips slightly parted, eyes closed gently—the bright, vivid green hidden from the world. He was curled up under the sheets, only his head and hands popping out, and his hands—hands that had so much strength in them, that could destroy and hurt and break—those same hands looked like they could be tender and friendly and soft…
Brown eyes closed as a warm breath ghosted over pale cheeks—and Julian wished he could stay here forever, he wished he’d never had to leave this place, he wished he’d never had to leave this glorious, peaceful moment.
Happiness never lasts.
Eventually the breath became too hot and the moonbeams too blindingly bright, chasing away the shadows of dreams and beckoning the mean venom of reality—because Julian would never havethis—and he opened his eyes reluctantly, the brown shining angrily with unshed tears. He gazed at Logan for a few seconds more, fully aware of the fact that if he would leave now, he’d always have that voice in the back of his mind chanting and dancing and singing mockingly: But what if you hadn’t left? What if you’d stayed? A few days… maybe that was all he needed to notice you. Just a few more days… But you ruined all your chances.
But those thoughts had been running rampant in his mind long enough and he was just done with them, he was done with the vain hope. Tired, exhausted, drained…just done.
He turned around resolutely, his eyes the last part of him that left the sleeping angel.
He never looked back.
The doors opened with a horrible squeaking sound, but Adam Clavell didn’t twitch a muscle as he stared at his impressive arsenal. The hard metal of the various weapons caught the beaming light of the sun and it reflected back right into his eyes. But Clavell was so occupied with his thoughts and his feelings of utter fury, desperation and hate—he didn’t even squint.
A steady flood of silent curses flowing from his mouth, he yanked a bag from a shelf and proceeded to stuff as many weapons in it as he could possibly carry.
He’d never meant to actually give Wright a second chance—he knew this from the beginning; if Wright somehow messed it up, he would be dead. One way or another. His promises of ‘more time’ had been complete bullshit. He’d known all along that Wright would be dead by the end of the mission. Hell—everyone would be dead by the end of this by god-forsaken mission.
Julian Larson. Logan Wright.
And it was time he took matters into his own hands.
He was going to end this.
He was going to end this today.
And while he packed—the metal guns colliding and creating harsh, rattling, thundering sounds that echoed through the empty room—he had to fight to keep tears from escaping his eyes.
It was just so unfair. Everything was so unfair.
He remembered it all. How he’d lived his hopes and dreams and how stunned and happy he’d been that they had actually come true. How he’d been so happy he hadn’t been able to think straight and how he’d enjoyed it with a passion he hadn’t known he’d possessed—his heart always light and jittery, his stomach filled with fluttering butterflies, giving him a full feeling that was warm and giddy and love.
But dreams were there to be crushed.
And his had been destroyed to the very core.
The first tear splattered onto the floor, but Clavell didn’t care, didn’t even seem to notice. He’d felt empty ever since that dreadful day and there was no change in his emotions now… so why pay attention to that one tear, when there had been so many more…?
He zipped the bag shut, his movements fast and ferocious and desperate. His eyes glinted with an anger that suited hellfire and he turned around swiftly, stalking to the door and forcefully pulling it open.
He was going to end this.
The door slammed shut behind him and his loud, furious footsteps were heard through the entire building as he stomped his way out, eyes and heart fixed on one goal and one goal only.
He was going to end this today.