The episode opens with the familiar scene of Gustavo sitting behind his slick desk in his modern gray office. The soundtrack, a boy-band pop song doesn't match the setting. Gustavo doesn't match the setting either. He stands out from the decor, a large man in loud red hoodie with blue diamonds and garish gold dollar signs all over that match his dollar sign bling. He also stands literally, jumping out of his chair to shout for his, "DOGS!"
Four boys run through the open door, crashing into one another, arms flailing as they stop -- not like the dogs Gustavo's called them, but more like puppies who haven't learned to account for the momentum of a hardwood floor so that they go slip-sliding into walls when they try to stop.
Puppies is an apt metaphor for the four of them. They're all cute, verging on adorable, with long, gangly arms, and skinny bodies that haven't yet grown into the men they're going to be.
Kendall, at the front of the pack, is particularly lanky, in a striped sweater that's just a tad too short, barely meeting his jeans at his skinny hips. He has swoopy light brown hair and warm brown eyes that have tween girls everywhere squealing.
Next to him is Logan, in a casual blue button down, rolled up at the sleeves. He has a gravity-defying poof of dark hair on his head and his pale skin is sprinkled with freckles. He has the smirk of the all-knowing teenager on his face.
Beside Logan is James. You might be tempted to think he's the bad-boy of the group from his leather jacket, that is, until you notice he has a t-shirt with his own face on underneath it, and realize the jacket is all vanity and posturing.
The last of the four is Carlos. He's wearing a light purple hoodie and, for some inexplicable reason, a helmet. Unless he slip-slide crashes into things for real.
But that's enough rumination for a split second of television.
Behind them walks in the first real adult on screen, a black woman, Kelly, who you know is an adult despite her youthful appearance by the click-clack of her heels, the professional pencil skirt and turquoise blouse she's wearing, and the clipboard she wields as she walks around the desk to stand next to Gustavo as he collapses back into his chair.
"You called?" Kendall says.
"Good news, Dogs," Gustavo tells them. "Big Time Rush going to be featured in Pop Tiger's Fifteen Questions feature!"
"Awesome," the guys chorus. It is awesome. This is a big opportunity for their boy band, Big Time Rush. Pop Tiger is the teen magazine for fashion, dating, celebrities, and prom.
"We need you to fill out the questionnaire," Kelly says, taking four comically large packets of paper from her trusty clipboard and handing one to each of the boys. We cannot overstate how scarily thick these packets are for what is supposedly fifteen questions.
Kendall looks at his packet, idly reading out the first question. "'Describe your ideal girl?'" and, flipping the pages, "'If you could share a root beer float with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?' Is this a joke?"
"By Monday," Kelly finishes, giving Carlos the last packet.
"Monday?" Kendall asks. "I have plans with Jo this weekend." Jo is Kendall's girlfriend. If you're a CW fan, you might recognizer her as Rachael from New Town High, the girl who's stealing Drake away from his ghost of a girlfriend. Since Jo's career has taken off, she's so busy that they don't get to spend as much time together. And Kendall would never admit it, but he's a little worried about how aggressively her co-star, Jett, has pursued her. It feels like on every date, Kendall needs to be awesome enough to re-convince her that she made the right choice.
"And I just got the new Phoebe Nachee book, Math is Awesomesauce," Logan says.
"I thought she was awful to you," Kelly says, confused.
"She was," Logan says. "But I've decided to hate the player, not the game."
"That doesn't even make sense," Kelly says.
In truth, Logan is excited about the book, but that's not his real plan for the weekend. Logan wants to hang around the Palm Woods in the hope that Camille is there. Things have been weird since she and James kissed and they broke up. He misses being her boyfriend.
"Yeah," James says, not letting Logan out-do him. "I'm going to be busy working on my tan." This isn't completely accurate. Yes, James is the self-centered one of the bunch, the pretty boy who combs his hair the requisite 200 passes a day to make sure it shines with the light of a California sunset. And he can never get tan enough. But this weekend, he wants to hang around the Palm Woods in the hopes that Camille is there. Things have been weird since they kissed and she and Logan broke up. He misses hanging out with her and running lines. It was great training for when he outgrows the boy band and spins off to start his career as an Oscar-winning actor. Because Mark Wahlberg has nothing on James Diamond.
"The hockey season's started. I have games to watch on TV. It's Vancouver vs. Chicago tomorrow," Carlos says. He doesn't have any ulterior motive. He just really likes hockey. Sometimes it seems like the rest of them have forgotten all about their hockey player past. But he doesn't mind reminding them. Also, he just really hates homework. And essay writing is the worst kind.
"And on Saturday we're--" That's Kendall. And then James with, "My tan is--" Until it's just a cacophony of them explaining why they can't possibly get the work done this weekend. Because even awesome things are less awesome when they feel like homework.
"DOGS!" Gustavo shouts again, promptly shutting them up.
"These need to be filled out by Monday," Kelly says. "You were a last minute addition to the magazine. There was supposed to be a Dak Zevon feature." You might recognize Dak Zevon from such movies as Varsity Vampires and Varsity Vampires 2: Game On.
"But last weekend he was caught texting pictures of himself while driving under the influence," Gustavo says.
"He was drunk?" Kendall asks.
"He was sending naked pictures?" James says.
"He was driving?" Carlos says.
"NO," Gustavo says, then to Kendall, "He had too much RedBull," to James, "he was just saying 'hello'," and to Carlos, "he was in a golf-cart." He's shrugging a what-can-you-do-shrug, but smiling a his-misfortune-is-our-gain smile. He's also shooting the boys a you-better-not-screw-this-up look. Gustavo can say a lot with his body language.
"Which is why Pop Tiger is replacing him with you last minute when we return all those complete surveys on Monday." The punctuation in Kelly's voice is firm and just this side of threatening. "So, I suggest you get started."
Kelly's had a lot of practice cajoling teenage boys and middle-aged record producers. So it's no surprise to her that the boys do exactly what she says, and scramble out of the office in a comical reversal of their earlier entry to get started on the questions.
We could spend some more time following the boys on their trip from the record producer's office back to their Palm Woods home, or deconstructing Kelly's prowess at herding guys, or even philosophizing about why this event in these boys' lives is important enough for the story to focus in on, how it contributes to their journey into manhood or their growth as pop-stars. But this scene has already been more serious than warranted for a show that has so much physical comedy it's practically a live-action cartoon. If this scene does indeed lead to personal or professional growth for those involved, it will become clear as we continue. Now, it is time for the opening credits.
[Animated gifs of the opening credits of the show.
Credits and commercial break over, we return to the four boys sitting at a table in the lobby of the Palm Woods, heads buried in the inconceivably thick questionnaire packets. Carlos can't believe he's stuck spending his Friday doing work. He should be cannon-balling into the pool or seeing how many times down the swirly slide it takes until he's so dizzy he can't stand up or organizing shopping cart bumper cars in the parking lot. So far, he's got:
[Image which reads:
1. Describe your ideal girl?
Likes hockey, cheese doodles, and corn dogs.]
Carlos is looking down when a squeaky little girl voice pops up over his shoulder, asking, "What are you doing?"
Carlos looks up, thrilled for the distraction, to find Katie. She's a tiny slip of a girl, wearing jeans and a blue, hooded tie-dye t-shirt, the kind of thing that they only make for small girls even though it's not girly at all. Her stick straight brown hair and serious bangs make it clear that she's not the type of girl who would wear girly things anyway, even though she's the perfect size for it.
"We have to fill these things out for Pop Tiger," Carlos answers, groaning.
Katie yanks James's packet out from under his pen and flips through the pages. "This is for Pop Tiger?" she asks incredulously. "Are you famous enough for this garbage to sell yet?" She's the type of tiny girl to think teen magazines are trash (except when they have Dak Zevon in them. Then they're okay). And to know what the word 'incredulous' means. "I could write your answers better than that," and she yanks James's pen out of his hands.
"Hey, give that back," he says, grabbing at it, as she starts scribbling on the page. "Those are supposed to be my answers." The rest of the guys have stopped writing and are watching the proceedings now.
"Fine, here," she says shoving both of them back at him. "I'll just write my own book about you. Unauthorized biographies make 47% more money than authorized ones anyway. I'll be rolling in dough once the world gets wind of the bubble gum incident of 2004."
"Katie," Kendall says, "You promised that you wouldn't tell anyone about that."
"Sorry, brother dearest, 9% profit margins trump pinky swears any day."
Carlos looks back at his page, wondering what else he can say. He sneaks a look at Logan's but that just makes his look even more incomplete and empty. Logan is furiously filling his packet up with his cramped, spiky handwriting. Carlos flips the page. Maybe he'll have more luck with another question.
For what feels like the millionth time since they've started, Carlos looks up to glance longingly at the pool. And turns around just in time to see the Palm Woods front doors swing open in slow motion. Two people walk through, a girl and a guy, about their age. The girl's long blond hair floats like a shampoo commercial behind her. The guy's close-cropped hair doesn't have the same dramatic flair, but his slow-mo gives Carlos plenty of time to notice the guy's broad smile and "More Cowbell" t-shirt. He has a duffle bag slung across his body, luggage the sure sign of new residents, and over his shoulder, a pair of hockey skates tied together at the laces.
Finally, a cool new person.
The girl walks right past them, and Carlos doesn't spare her the time it would take to watch her wheel her suitcase onto the elevator. He has more important things to worry about.
"Hey, man," he calls out. The new guy stops on his path to the elevator and looks around, questioningly. His eyes stop on Carlos, and Carlos adds, "Yeah, you."
The guy walks over to where Carlos is sitting. "Hi," he says.
"You play hockey?" Carlos asks, nodding towards the skates.
"Yeah," he says. "Or, well, I did, back in Vancouver. I don't think anyone plays hockey in LA. Everyone's all about showbiz here."
"We played hockey back in Minnesota," Carlos says, jumping up excitedly. "Guys," he says to his band-mates, pulling them away from their questions. "There's a new hockey player at the Palm Woods." Gesturing to each of them in turn, he introduces them to the new guy, "This is Kendall."
"Hi," Kendall says, glancing up.
"I'm Jordan," the new guy says, leaning over, offering his hand for a handshake.
"James," Carlos introduces.
"Hey," James says.
"Jordan," Jordan says, and there's another handshake.
"Hi, I'm Logan," Logan says, waving briefly.
"Hello," Jordan barely gets out before Logan is nose deep in his packet again. Jordan, completing the circle, looks at Carlos again, expectantly. Carlos looks back. "And you are?"
"Oh, sorry," Carlos says, offering his hand. "I'm Carlos."
"Hi, Carlos," Jordan says, taking his hand.
If this were hockey, Carlos wouldn't like his odds against Jordan. Jordan is taller than Carlos, taller than Kendall even, and bigger than him. And he has a strong handshake. Luckily it sounds like Jordan is looking for some people to be on his team, and not an opposing team.
"I promise we are all totally awesome," Carlos says, glancing back at his bandmates. "We just have to get these stupid interview things done for Pop Tiger," Carlos says, waving his around dangerously.
"I'm guessing they're not interviewing you about hockey," Jordan says, with a half-smile.
"No, we're in a band. Big Time Rush," he says.
"Cool," Jordan says. "We should hang out and play hockey some time. When you're famous I'll be able to say I kicked your butt when." His half-smile grows to a full smile, taking over his face.
"Oh, no, you didn't," Carlos says, grinning back at the challenge. It's going to be great to have Jordan here. He hasn't scrimmaged with anyone new since they got there. "Any time, it's on."
"Awesome," Jordan says, pulling his hand back. It's only then that Carlos notices that they were still holding on. "I've got to go unpack my stuff," and he grips the strap of his duffle bag in explanation, "but maybe I'll see you later."
"I'll be here," Carlos says, lifting his packet in turn. There's a moment where they both just stand there. If Carlos were more self aware, it might be awkward, but luckily, he's not. It's just a moment, though. Then, Jordan turns away, walking, this time at regular speed, to the elevators. Carlos stays standing, watching until he's gone.
Outside, there's another conversation of interest going on at the Palm Woods. Normally, you wouldn't be privy to it, because none of Big Time Rush is participating in it. They're still inside filling out their surveys. But I'll take you to where Jo and Camille are laying out by the pool. The average teenage girl, lying by the pool in SoCal would be wearing a bikini and working on her tan, but Jo and Camille are no average girls. Camille is wearing a floral umpire-waist blouse and denim shorts. Jo is wearing a red madras button-down shirt and navy walking shorts. Both girls have flip flops on their feet and gossip on their minds.
"So," Camille says, not at all getting to the heart of the matter. "How's New Town High?" New Town High is the haunted high school mystery drama in which Jo plays Rachael. Normally, Camille wouldn't want to know how her friend's jobs are going. It's not that she's a jealous person per se. It's just that she's been in this town for much longer than Jo and really puts her heart and soul into her craft. She once took a one-day workshop with Sam Schmidt and his words about method acting changed her life. Jo just waltzed into the Palm Woods and before they were even introduced, Logan, James, Kendall, and Carlos were tripping over each other to get to her. Jo just waltzed into her auditions and now the buzz is saying she'll be in the upcoming Person magazine's list of young, hot Hollywood, while Camille herself is still only getting callbacks on the occasional department store back-to-school sale commercial. If Jo weren't so damn selfless, Camille would hate her for it.
But as it stands, Jo just says, "Oh, you know, it's work. How are your auditions going?" And it's not a meaningless, polite question. Jo really wants to know. Work is equal parts exhausting and exhilarating. Being a rising star is just exhausting. It's pulling her in a million directions and putting her life under a microscope. She feels like she spends more time talking to people about her life than she spends living it. "Yes, it's wonderful how much the show has taken off," "No, she isn't dating Dak Zevon, in fact, she's never met him," "She can't tell you what's coming up next for Rachael." It feels like a million years since she and Camille last got a chance to sit down by the pool and just chill. And the last thing she wants to be thinking about is work.
"Eh, the same," Camille says. She wishes she had something more to tell Jo. "I got a call back for the sister in a space drama. Only about a million more rounds to go."
"Let me know if you want to run lines or something," Jo says.
"I'm taking the day off from being someone else," Camille says. "It's exhausting."
"Life is exhausting," Jo says.
Camille's about to agree, when she gets distracted. She can't help it. There's a guy walking through the Palm Woods lobby in slow motion. Jo notices Camille's distraction and turns to see what she's looking at. The guy's tall and hot and his arms flex as he shifts the duffle bag he's holding and. . . turns to go talk to Carlos and the guys. She sighs. "Guys are exhausting."
"You can say that again," Jo says, turning back to Camille. "What's happening with Logan?" she asks. But before Camille can answer, Jo gets a wicked smile on her face and continues, "Or should I be asking what's happening with James?"
"Ugh," Camille groans. "I don't know. Things are weird with both of them."
"Well, which one do you want them to not be weird with?"
"Both of them. I don't know. That's the problem," Camille says in staccato bursts of confusion, shaking her head to punctuate the point. "I think I should want things to work out with Logan. I wanted him for such a long time. And he was my boyfriend. And obviously he's great. . ." Camille trails off.
"But," Jo prompts. There is so obviously a 'but.'
"But there's something about James. He's just-" Camille doesn't finish the sentence, burying her face in her hands because Camille is fully aware of her overdramatic tendencies but that doesn't stop her from needing to express how it's just too much sometimes.
"You like him," Jo says point-blank.
Camille extracts herself from her hands. "I-" she pauses. "I mean, I guess I like him. It's different, though. With Logan, I look at him and bam. James is different. He's just so nice, and funny, and like, I can't stop laughing when I'm with him, and he gets the acting thing, and I just wish everything weren't so weird because I want to hang out with him pretty much all the time," Camille finishes in an embarrassed rush.
"You do like him," Jo says excitedly. Being incredibly nice doesn't preclude her from loving gossip. Plus, it's way more exciting than the holding pattern that she and Kendall have become.
"What do I do?" Camille says. "Tell me, oh one who happily has a boyfriend."
"Hah, like that tells me anything about guys," Jo says.
That snaps Camille out of her own problems. And she does a mental double-take. "Wait, what? Did something happen with Kendall?" Jo has never seemed anything but ridiculously happy with Kendall. If something happened with them, the perfect couple, maybe she can stop feeling like the worst person in the world about the whole mess with James and Logan.
"No, nothing happened." Jo bites her lip, a sure sign that's she has more to say and she's holding back.
Camille's interest is piqued. She looks expectedly at Jo. Her gaze has broken harder people than Jo.
And exactly as anticipated, Jo breaks. "That's the problem," she says. "Whenever we're hooking up he backs off before it goes anywhere."
"That just means he's a gentleman," Camille says.
"Well, I wish he'd stop being such a gentleman," Jo says. "I go to industry parties, and Jett always makes it perfectly clear that he wouldn't be a gentleman."
"Wait, do you like Jett?" Camille asks, shocked.
"No, he's a disgusting sleezeball."
"Okay, good," Camille says, letting out a breath of relief. She was worried for a second.
"But what if Kendall doesn't actually want me? What if my options are disgusting sleezeballs or this weird nothing?"
"Just go for it," Camille suggests. "It's how I got Logan."
If Camille were given that type of opening, she wouldn't have been able to resist the logical barb at how well that ended. But Jo just tilts her head and considers the advice. "Maybe," she says noncommittally.
Back inside, the four guys are still slaving over the comically large packets of questions when Jordan comes back from unpacking, or, judging by the speed at which he's returned, just dumping his bag in his apartment.
He walks right up to where the guys are sitting, right up to Carlos. "Hey!" he says.
"Hey, you're back," Carlos says.
"Yeah. So, about that hockey you mentioned," he says and Carlos realizes that Jordan has his skates and stick with him.
"Yes, lets play, that's awesome. Come on, guys," he says to the rest of them.
"I can't," Kendall says. "I have plans with Jo."
"Boo," Carlos says. "That is not an excuse."
"And I have to work on my tan," James says.
"And I wanted to get started on Math is Awesomesause," Logan says, backing out with the rest of them.
"Guys," Carlos says. "Hockey. You can do everything else later."
"Hi," Katie says, popping up from seemingly nowhere.
"Hey, Katie," Carlos says.
"Who's this?" Katie asks, jerking a thumb at the Jordan.
"This is Jordan, a new guy at the Palm Woods," Carlos introduces. "We're going to play hockey with him."
"No, I have a date with Jo," Kendall says.
"And I have Math is Awesomesauce to read," Logan says.
"And I have to work on my tan," James says.
"I don't care what you do, as long as you do it quietly. I'm trying to write a book here," Katie says.
"Shut up," Katie says. In contrast to the rest of them, she doesn't shout. But when Katie speaks, people listen. She is going to own this town when she's old enough to legally sign contracts. Until then, she bides her time and hones her powers. Big Time Rush is barely a challenge anymore. "Kendall, you can go on your date."
"Yes!" he says, fist punching the air in excitement, before darting off.
"James and Logan, you're playing hockey. You can read a book or tan any time. Who turns down hanging out with friends for lame solitary activities?"
"But-" James starts.
"No buts," Katie cuts him off.
"Okay." James hangs his head in resignation.
"Great, now go play hockey and stop bothering people in the lobby."
"But what are we going to do with these questionnaires?" Logan asks.
"If I go put them up in the apartment will you finally leave?" Katie asks, rolling her eyes in annoyance.
"Really?" Carlos says. "You'd do that?"
"Yes, now go. Get out of here."
"Thanks, Katie," Carlos says, huge smile on his face. She's always been his favorite little sister. Not that he has any of his own, or even knows any others to compare her to. But she's so awesome that even if he did she's still be his favorite.
"Wow, you're scary," Jordan says, having been terrified into silence for the whole ordeal.
"Thanks," she says, grinning back at him.
A happy Carlos and Jordan lead a dejected James and Logan out of the Palm Woods for a game of hockey. But we don't follow them. Rest assured, James and Logan get out of their funk once they're on the ice, and they all have a great time zooming around the ice, taking on Carlos and Jordan, luxuriating in the one place in LA that really feels like home in the coldest possible way. Carlos and Jordan have a great time, and Carlos is shocked after such a long time playing with no one but Logan, James, and Kendall at how much fun it is to be surprised by a teammate, by his quick thinking and fancy footwork and puck handling. All and all, they have a great time.
But the scene stays with Katie, who picks up the packets scattered around the tables. Carlos's, Kendall's, Logan's, and James's. They're a massive, unwieldy stack of paper in her arms. She's so busy maneuvering them that she doesn't even realize she's gotten on the elevator with Camille, who was abandoned by Jo for Jo's date with Kendall, until the doors close on them.
"Oh, hey, Camille," she says, when she notices her.
"Katie, whoa, what do you have there?"
"The guys are going to be in Pop Tiger's Fifteen Questions feature. These are their questions and answers."
"Do you want some help with that?" Camille asks, worried that such a little girl, no matter how scary she is, is carrying such a huge stack of papers.
"Sure," Katie says, breathing a sigh of relief when Camille takes the top two packets off the top of her stack.
Camille doesn't mean to snoop. She just looks down, and Logan's first answer is there. She idly reads them out loud, because this is television, and it would be pretty boring for all you viewers at home if she was just quietly reading to herself.
[Image which reads:
1. Describe your ideal girl?
My ideal girl is 5'3" tall, has dark brown hair that is often curled is loose ringlets around her face. She clips the front pieces back from her face. She is decisively indecisive and although I wish she would slap me less, I like when she likes me. Her overdramatic tendencies would balance out my more serious nature and she could introduce me to the world of teen comedies while I in turn bring her to science lectures about the expanding nature of space and quantum mathematics, which if you didn't know is a particular hobby of mine.
2. What's your favorite color? Please elaborate.
My favorite color is red because it is the color that is visible to the human eye with the longest frequency in the electromagnetic spectrum. It's just a short trip from red to inferred which lets spies see in the dark and from there a short trip to the microwave which lets us cook food in a fraction of the time.]
Camille nods along as she reads. That sounds like the Logan she knows. And maybe it should be, but it's not surprising that he's describing her.
She flips the page:
[Image which reads:
3. What's the best date you've ever been on?
The best date I've ever been on was this one time when I took my girlfriend to a lecture by noted physicist Leon Quark at the California Science Center. He was giving a talk on his work on the Large Hadron Colider and the potential for discovering the Higgs Particle. I had read the books "Can You Higg It?", "The Large Hardon Collider: Turning On Science", and "It's Not Magic!" before hand. But my girlfriend hadn't. The lecture was so great that when it was over we were able to have an intellectual debate about how our universe is held together and I've never felt closer to her.]
Or actually, maybe Logan's answers aren't about her. The girl he's talking about is shaped like Camille, the same hair and eyes and body, but she's not Camille inside. She knows Logan thinks she is, because Logan took her to that lecture. When it was over, she smiled and told Logan it was awesome and let him talk about it the whole way home. But the only awesome part of it was being there with him. She still has no idea what a Higgs particle is. What she remembers about the date is how the shirt Logan was wearing brought out the blue in his eyes.
"Wow, that sounds boring," Katie says, rolling her eyes.
"It was," Camille says.
"Wait," Katie says, "you actually went to a Leon Quark lecture with Logan? You're Logan's dream girl."
"I guess so," Camille says, shrugging and hesitant. She should be excited about this. She wanted him for such a long time. But that was one of their worst dates. She was so bored by the lecture. It's not that she couldn't understand science if she tried, it's just that she doesn't care to try. It's not interesting, especially not compared to getting inside the head of a teen zombie scientist for an audition she has that week. She can't believe Logan thinks that's a highlight of their relationship. Maybe he doesn't know her as well as she thought he did.
Katie is excited enough for both of them, though for a different reason. "This is great! We hold all of Big Time Rush's romantic hopes and dreams in our hands. Want to read through them all so we can use it against them later?"
"Uhh," Camille starts. That seems overly scheming. Then she remembers who else's packet she's holding. Camille bites her lip, knowing she should say no. "Sure," she finishes.
"Great!" Katie says, opening the door to 2J. Katie walks into the living room letting her stack of questionnaires thump down on the coffee table before she plops down on the orange couch. Camille follows, sitting down next to her. Katie leans forward to skim the top sheet of Carlos's survey. "Carlos's ideal girl loves cheetos, corndogs, and hockey fights," Katie reads out incredulously. "Wow, he's never going to get a girl," she says.
"Seriously," Camille agrees.
"Your turn," Katie says.
"What?" Camille asks.
"What does James's say?"
Camille swallows and moves Logan's off the top of her pile so she can read James's. 'Describe Your Ideal Girl.' A stupid one-page, getting-to-know-a-famous-guy survey has never seemed more serious. Her hands are knotted together in her lap, and she starts reading.
[Image which reads:
1. Describe your ideal girl?
First things first, she can't be prettier than me. But she has to be pretty, I mean, she'll be on my arm a lot. And I want her to be in the business. I'm 100% in it and it would be great if we could do that together. I'd help her get ready for auditions and she can help me on mine and be in our videos and stuff. Together we should be a six-time threat.
2. What's your favorite color? Please elaborate.
"Wow, you're James's dream girl, too?" Katie says. So apparently James isn't subtle. How did she not know this.
Camille turns the page. It's the dream date question. And she keeps reading.
[Image which reads:
3. What's the best date you've ever been on?
No lucky girl's been lucky enough to accompany James Diamond to Arclight's Making Movies Series yet, but I've been by myself, and that would be my dream date. It's a series of up and coming film-makers talking about the process of making movies. If me and my plus one are going to knock Brad and Angelina out of the top spot of Hollywood Power Couples, this is the perfect place to get started.]
Wow, that's pretty amazing.
What is she supposed to do now? That's actually a good question. So she asks it. "What am I supposed to do now?"
Katie tilts her head and thinks. "I can't believe I'm saying this, but you should choose James," she says.
"I-" Camille chokes out.
"Logan took you to a lecture at the Science Center, game over. And, I mean, you like James better anyway," Katie says.
"Am I that bad of an actress that it's so obvious?" Camille asks. She wasn't even sure she liked him, but now both Katie and Jo have pinned her with it.
"No," Katie says, "I just overheard you tell Jo that earlier. You really shouldn't be talking about things you want to be secret at the pool. Anyone can overhear you there."
"Thanks, I'll keep that in mind," Camille says, and then, "I think I've got to go."
And, our scene fades to black.
After several commercials, we return to find Jo and Kendall lounging on a picnic blanket in Palm Woods Park. From far away our scene looks idyllic. Kendall is lying on his back, arms behind his back in perfect repose. Jo is lying perpendicular to him, so that her head can rest on his stomach. Jo has her head angled towards Kendall, gazing at him while they speak lovingly to each other. And this is where you'll have to stretch your imagination, because this is way more physical contact than two dating characters would ever be allowed to have on the show.
In fact, their whole storyline is implausible. Not only does it deal with sex, but it deals with a girl who wants to take that next step. But Jo knows what she wants and she goes for it. And, she wants her boyfriend to stop being weird and weirdly nervous about being somewhere alone instead of going out to the movies or dinner or zoo or carnival or anywhere else.
When we zoom in on them, it's a slightly less sickeningly sweet story. The gaze is more of a glare. And while they're not fighting, Kendall and Jo have made an art out of lovingly bickering at each other. Today's topic of bickering is the plans for their Saturday night date.
"I'm tired, I don't want to go out," Jo whines.
"But they're showing a John Hughes retrospective at the drive-in movie theater tomorrow night. Now that I have my permit, we should make use of it. We can lock Bitters in the trunk and go. Think of it, we can throw popcorn at the screen. It will be amazing, old fashioned romance."
"I've been filming all week, I'm exhausted, why can't we just hang out?"
"We're hanging out now," Kendall points out.
Jo snorts. "No, we're not 'just' hanging out now," the air-quotes audible in her voice, "we're on a romantic picnic. You brought a basket, with flowers and those fancy plastic forks that look like real metal." Jo actually liked the forks. But that doesn't help her point.
"What's wrong with a picnic?" Kendall asks. "You have to eat sometime."
"It's like you never just want to spend time with me. If the movie is so important, you could have made plans with the guys to go."
"It's not the movie, I want to spend time with you, I just-"
"You really want to stay in?" Kendall asks, ignoring Jo's question. How pathetic would he be if he admitted to being afraid of losing her? Every other time he's shown jealousy, she's flipped out on him. And seriously, how lame would it be to say 'I'm trying to impress you?' Seriously lame, that's how lame. Or at least, that's what Kendall thinks. Every girl in the world who has grown up on ridiculous unrealistic romantic comedies and charming Disney shows like you or I would swoon at that. But Jo is cooler than all of us.
Back to Jo, she answers Kendall with a resounding sigh. "Yes, I just want to stay in."
"Okay, if that's what you want, then we'll stay in."
"Great," Jo says.
"Do you want to go now?" Kendall says, picking his head up to look down at Jo.
"Mmm," she makes a mumbling noise as she releases the tension of their fight from her shoulders. She takes his hand and links her fingers with his, curling his arm over her stomach. "No, I'm good where I am. Lets wait until it gets dark."
"Sounds good," Kendall says, dropping his head back to the picnic blanket to just enjoy being with his girlfriend, while the audio for "Girlfriend" plays faintly in the background.
Saturday passes in a montage of dance rehearsal and studio time, interspersed with the guys sitting around various tables, scribbling in their packets, before we settle on a scene of them walking through the Palm Woods lobby and scattering. James and Logan turn right, going through the double doors to the pool. Kendall goes off to the left, to who knows where because he's not important to this scene, and Carlos is intercepted by Jordan, who jumps up excitedly from the couch when he sees Carlos coming.
"Hey," Jordan says, bounding over, stopping so that he's standing just a little too close.
"Hey man, what's up?" Carlos asks.
"There's a game on tonight, Canucks vs. Blackhawks. I thought you might want to watch."
"Oh man, definitely."
"Do you want to come to my apartment or. . ." Jordan trails off.
"No, you should definitely come to ours. We have a swirly side," Carlos says.
Jordan's eyes light up at this. "Awesome."
And they head up on the elevators. There's another montage now. I know, there's been a lot in this episode, but no one besides Carlos and Jordan really wants to watch a full hockey game in the middle of a Big Time Rush episode. So instead, we get Carlos and Jordan sitting practically on top of each other on the big orange couch.
Cut to Jordan fake-swooning into Carlos's lap at Sharp's goal in the second period. "Vancouver, I hardly knew you," he bemoans, throwing his arm over his face. "Four down."
"That's what you get for liking an inferior team," Carlos says, good naturedly shoving Jordan off his lap.
Cut to Carlos popping out of the bottom of the swirly side during a break between periods, and Jordan following too closely behind so that they're a boy pile on the mat.
Cut to the game is over and Carlos and Jordan watching the number one morning show anchor, Miles Bainbridge, play double duty as the number one late night hockey commentator because in the weird TV land they live there are a limited number of bit players. Miles makes a joke and cuts to a clip of the last goal of the game, Vancouver's only goal, and Carlos and Jordan jump up in excitement cheering, goals just as exciting in post-game replay as it was in the game. When they sink back into the cushions, the couch tips them into one another and their helmet-clad heads crash together with a plastic thunk.
Carlos looks at Jordan, and he's looking back from two helmets' widths away, grinning. Carlos laughs, not because anything is funny, but because everything is so awesome he's giddy.
Their helmets clunk again and between laughing he chokes out, "Sorry, sorry," pushing down on the couch cushions trying to sit up straighter.
"Hey, it's okay," Jordan says, putting his hand on Carlos's knee, keeping him there. "You know, this has been pretty awesome."
"Yeah, totally," Carlos agrees.
"To think, I didn't even want to move to Hollywood. I didn't expect to meet anyone as awesome as you here."
"You're pretty awesome, too."
Jordan smiles even wider at that. And before Carlos realizes what's happening, which too be fair is not even all that fast, Jordan tilts his head down, helmet rolling against helmet until he can duck in and kiss Carlos, lips touching in slow motion TV magic.
Carlos freezes when they touch. Jordan is kissing him. His lips are warm and chapped, no gloss or gunk like the one time he kissed Sasha, they're just right and he doesn't think, just leans in for more.
It's a silent, dramatic moment, punctuated by the gasp of the laugh track breaking the spell. Carlos jumps up, hands flailing at his sides as he turns away quickly, then spins back with nervous energy to look at Jordan, still slumped on the couch. "I have to," Carlos says in a rush, gesturing at the door, turning to look at it, glancing at Jordan one last time before rushing out the door without finishing his sentence.
The scene cuts here to the hallway, where Kendall has returned from wherever he wandered off to. He and Jo step out of the elevator. Carlos rushes past them and Kendall's head swings around to ask where he's going, but Carlos is gone before Kendall can get the question out. Shrugging, he and Jo continue down the hall, entering 2J.
From Kendall's view near the doorway we see that Jordan is still sprawled out on the couch.
"Um, what happened with Carlos?" Kendall says, doing one of those back and forth head-turns that makes this show practically a live action cartoon.
"Oh- uh- nothing," Jordan says, jumping to his feet suspiciously. "I'll just- I'm gonna go-" Jordan says.
"Okay," Kendall says, confused, as Jordan rushes past them and out of 4J. "Well, that was strange," Kendall says, once the door has slammed shut behind Jordan.
"Yeah," Jo says, agreeing, looking around the apartment, as though maybe it holds all the answers. It doesn't. It also doesn't hold any of the other members of Big Time Rush, which is almost unheard of. There's always someone here. But with Jordan's departure, it's completely empty. It's almost like a sign that Jo should take Camille's advice and make a move.
Jo's not supposed to be in the guys' room, but they have a long history of spending dates doing exactly what they're not supposed to, starting from that very first time that they led Bitters on a wild goose chase to hide the fact that the guys were having a party to ditching the media to sneak off for a day at the planetarium to dousing Jett with peanut butter and hooking him up with a llama. So it's not super weird that she goes, "Hey," in a conspiratorial tone of voice partnered with a sly grin, and adds, "let's go hang out in your room."
"Okay," Kendall says, thinking fast about the state they left it in that morning. Considering that they're a group of four guys sharing a space, it's usually not terrible. James is as meticulous about his clothes and his space as he is about his appearance. Logan is surprisingly neat as well. Carlos is a slob, but his stuff lives teetering in the hall closet, threatening to explode out at any minute. That just leaves Kendall, who is almost shockingly average in his guy clutter and clothes on the floor ways, but this is a TV show, so it's perfectly pure coincidence that he cleaned up that morning, and his stuff is totally neat for Jo's plan.
Even if it were a mess, he'd have to say yes to her anyway, because of their earlier fight. Plus, as viewers of the fictional episodes that live in my head, you totally remember the episode where Jo and Camille sneak into the guys' room to leave them presents of random pornographic candy that they couldn't stop laughing at when they went shopping at the boardwalk because penis- and boob-shaped gummies are exactly the kind of shit teenagers find hilarious. So even if they've never been in there together, it's not Jo's first time in there and Kendall is vaguely aware of that.
Jo leads the way, overacting tiptoeing in all Mission Impossible-spy-like. Kendall follows her, laughing. Jo is so hilarious and awesome.
"You're this one, right?" Jo says, pointing to the bottom bunk on the right side of the room with the rumpled plaid comforter.
"Yeah," Kendall confirms.
Jo jumps down on it backwards, bouncing a few times with her momentum until she's just lying there on her back, head on his pillow, looking up at him.
"Um," he says.
"Come on, get it," she says.
"Okay," he says, lying down next to her.
There's a moment when Jo's not sure what comes next. Does she just lean over and kiss Kendall? That's what she wants.
Jo takes a deep breath and Camille's advice and goes for it. She leans over and kisses Kendall. She can feel him startle, but doesn't give him time for confusion, just keeps kissing until he kisses back, opening his mouth to let her in. It's what she wanted, wants, and they settle into making out. Kendall rests his hands safely on her waist, always the gentleman. Jo's okay with that and would be okay with so much more. And she's going to take the lead to get them there. Her skin is tingling with it, wanting more, but it's different than usual because this time she knows she's going to get it and there's excitement and nervousness and butterflies because she is making this happen.
Jo slides closer, not even minding the way they're all tangled up at the head of the bed, half sitting half lying down, neck at a weird angle, because she's finally getting what she wants. They're already so close it's easy for her to bring her right leg up and over Kendall's thigh so with the next roll of her hips she can get pressure and friction and goddamn finally.
Kendall's hands tighten, fingers flexing at her waist and yes, except no, he's moving his hands to hold her off of him, breaking the kiss. "Wait, wait, hold on," he gets out between shuddering breaths. When Jo pulls back, Kendall lets go of her, pushing himself back so that he's sitting against the headboard, head tilted back, eyes squeezed closed.
Jo pushes herself up, but not completely off, kneeling over Kendall's thighs, only touching him from her knees down where her calves are pressed against the outside of his legs.
His hands, as if by magnetic force, settle on her knees, thumbs moving in frustratingly tantalizing circles of nervous energy. "You have no idea-" he breaks off, and his voice is wrecked. Jo loves it.
"Kendall," she says, pausing until Kendall opens his eyes and looks at her. Jo puts her hands on top of his, stilling them. Then, slowly, she slides their joint hands up her legs, only leaving Kendall's hands to themselves once they're completed their journey under the skirt of her sundress. "Yes, I do."
"Oh." The nervous motion of his thumbs is even more electrifying on her inner thighs, so close to what she wants. "Okay."
Viewers get just a flash of Jo's perfect white smile before she leans back in to kiss Kendall again, hiding both of them behind the veil of her blonde hair, and the scene fades to black. Because even fictional episodes of Big Time Rush fade to black when shit starts getting real.
And then we have to go back to Carlos freaking the fuck out. Because there are only five regular sets on this show (Palm Woods Pool, Palm Woods Lobby, Palm Woods Park, Apartment 2J, and Rocque Records), Carlos has only run away as far as the park, where he's pacing back and forth in the tiny stretch of grass of the park. This is a short scene, more of a montage really, because there's no great way to show progression of thoughts visually. Instead, time passes in his change of expression, in the cuts of the camera, and the way the sliver of daylight dims in jumps, the park going populated with people to deserted in fits and starts as all good Palm Woods kids are home in the beds. But since you are reading about the episode, and words are much better suited for opening the window into other people's thoughts , you can get much more than Carlos's confusion out of this scene.
It almost goes without saying that he's confused. He liked Jordan, likes him. He had fun playing hockey with him. It's been forever since there was someone new in his life who liked what he likes. People in LA are just different. Carlos doesn't blame them; if it was warm enough to spend every day swimming in his own backyard swimming pool in Minnesota, he probably wouldn't have spent every day at the rink. But the matter of it is that spending time literally on ice was warmer than being outside and so he's been skating since before he can remember. It's as natural as walking. And, well, since he was always at the rink he was always hanging out with guys. Of course there were girls there, but the twirling figure skaters were never more than the background to his memories, no more real than the ballerinas in music boxes. Instead the things that feel right, like home in his bones, are the hit of the boards, fighting at the boards, the press of an opponent through layers of pads and the stench of a locker room after the game.
It never seemed different or weird before.
He likes girls. Doesn't he?
He goes back through his memories like flipping through a book, looking for that one part that he remembers the gist of, but whose language escapes him. Or it would be like that if he read, but Carlos is more of a TV guy, so maybe it's more like fast forwarding to when Larionov scored the game winning goal 14:47 into triple overtime on the VHS tape of the 2002 Stanley Cup. His dad taped the end of the game for him because he wasn't allowed to stay up late enough to watch. He wore the tape out re-watching the play in the following weeks. The details have become ingrained in his memory, taking on an epic quality, a truth that is too good to be true. He found the tape when he was packing for LA. It was underwhelming, a regular and ordinary goal made remarkable only for taking six periods to happen.
And his crushes are like that as well. There was Faith back home in middle school. She came back from summer vacation with boobs like whoa, and it was a pretty well established fact amongst every guy in the eighth grade that she was the hottest girl in the school.
On the other side, there was Molly freshman year, who he met with every Monday in the library to tutor him in math when his parents threatened to make him quit the hockey team. No one knew about her, because that would involve admitting that he needed tutoring, and while Logan is the only really smart one of the group, Carlos knows he's the only really dumb one. Kendall works for his solid Bs, and James is happy when doing the bare minimum gets him Cs. But Carlos can work hard and passing still eludes him. So, Molly. But it turns out that the girl that no one even knows about is just as safe of a crush as the girl that everyone wants. Molly was busy with her friends in Honor Society and Class Council and Debate Club. She and Carlos never hung out together outside of tutoring. One day while he was standing in line for lunch with the guys, he said 'hi' to her as they walked by, and James nearly died doing a double take because apparently he'd never seen Carlos talk to someone he didn't know before. He's sure he would have been interrogated about it if James had a chance, but while they weren't paying attention, the people in front of them cleared out and the lunch lady had to yell at them to come get their pizza and fries and quit holding up the line and the subject was dropped.
In Hollywood there are the Jennifers, obviously. But they're nicer to look at then they are to talk to. They never give him the time of day, unless, of course, they need something from him. At this point, Carlos isn't sure he would date one of them even if pigs flew and it was a cold day in hell and one of them wanted to date him.
Then there's Sasha. The one girl he can say he really, almost, sort of dated. Carlos thought she was awesome because she loved hockey and pranks and corndogs. He knew how rare that was, so he was willing to put up with the crying and the crazy. And then it turned out it was all a lie anyway. She didn't even like corndogs! Gustavo was paying her to like the things Carlos liked. Who doesn't like corndogs?
So, when Carlos re-examines him memories maybe it's just like that tape, a mythic, mostly fabricated history of girls he's liked who don't like him back.
But that doesn't mean he likes guys. Except for how he already likes Jordan more than any of those girls. They had fun, and Jordan is awesome, and the twist in his stomach when he thinks about potentially kissing him again is more excitement than anything else.
It's later that evening, once Jo's gone and all the residents of 2J have returned. It's been a strange day for the guys, and it's obvious as they try to work on their surveys under the watchful eye of Mama Knight.
Kendall keeps catching himself smiling uncontrollably. But no matter how many times he schools his face into a neutral expression, the corners of his mouth keep rising into a smile like they're tied to balloons like the house in Up. Carlos is the opposite. For someone who's apparently never had a serious thought in his life, he's carrying more weighty thoughts than Atlas has with the world on his back.
In the middle of Kendall's and Carlos's uncharacteristic silences, James and Logan fill the space with their complaining about ending a Saturday night answering questions for a moronic magazine feature.
"Dude, why does our favorite color even matter? This is stupid," Logan complains.
"Don't you go calling Mangerine stupid," James says.
"That cannot possibly be your favorite color," Logan says.
"Why not?" James asks. "What's your favorite?" James pulls Logan's packet out of this hands, pen dragging a line across the page. James flips it closed to start at the beginning, squinting to make out Logan's squished, spiky handwriting.
Devoid of his questionnaire, Logan slides James's over to him. "Hey," Logan says as he skims through the first page, "are you talking about Ca-"
"Umm," James stalls, which is as good as answering with an immediate 'yes.'
"But she's my-"
"Not anymore," James jumps up, defensive of his answers. "I wouldn't do anything if you were still dating." He likes Camille and it's not fair that someone so perfect for him would choose Logan instead. Not that Logan's a bad guy; Logan's one of his best friends. It's just that Logan doesn't care about Hollywood or showbiz, or any of the things that he knows are important to Camille.
"She will be again, if I have anything to do with it," Logan says defensively.
"Why, what did you write?" and James grabs Logan's survey and James flips through his packet.He snorts. "Good luck, I don't think you're going to do as well as you think you will."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Your answers don't sound like Camille at all. Science lectures? Serious academic discussion? Particle thingamagigs?" James tics off. "Those sound a lot more like you than they do Camille.
"Well duh, those are my answers," Logan says. "But I won Camille once with those interests."
"You didn't 'win' Camille last time. Camille's the one that pursued you. And this time, you'll be going up against The Face."
"Why don't you swirly-slide it out?" Kendall interrupts, disturbed from his euphoric reverie by their argument.
"Seriously, I'm trying to write a book here," Katie says.
"What?" Mama Knight asks Katie.
"Don't worry about it," Katie tells her mom.
"Okay," Mama Knight says, shrugging.
"Okay," Logan says, agreeing to Kendall's suggestion with a glare and an emphatic arm-crossing.
"Fine," James agrees, grudgingly. And, they bound up the ladder and hurl themselves down the bright yellow plastic.
Kendall presides over the actions. Carlos is so caught up in his own head that he doesn't even get up to watch. He just stays seated on the orange couch, the scene of the earlier kiss, staring unseeingly at the papers in front of him lost in what happened. It happened right here. And now the guys are goofing off as usual, as if nothing happened, as if nothing's changed, but everything has.
"Carlos. Earth to Carlos," and Carlos snaps his head up, turning to find Kendall, and when did he get over there?
"Did something happen, man?" Kendall asks.
"No, why?" Carlos says, way too fast. Is it obvious? Kendall can't know, can he? Of course he can't.
"James and Logan just swirly-slided it out and you didn't even come watch." Swirly-sliding it out didn't seem to work, and now that Kendall has his back turned on them to talk to Carlos, they've gone back to viciously glaring at one another.
"Sorry," Carlos says shrugging, a poor facsimile of his usual smile forced on his face. "Just want to get this stupid thing done with."
"For real," Logan says, breaking his glare-fight to join the conversation. "These questions are giving people ideas."
Logan returns to not at all subtly glaring at James, letting everyone in question, and tweens at home across the country, know exactly who's getting ideas he doesn't approve of.
Maybe Camille doesn't have all the same interests that Logan has. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be together. Sure, it would be nice to date someone who can engage in a science discussion. But Logan doesn't know anyone who can do that. If Logan's angry with James it's easier to pretend James doesn't have a point.
"Boys," Mama Knight breaks in, "I think it's time for bed for everyone."
"Yes, Ms. Knight," the boys chorus, before dropping their heads and clomping into their room.
And back from commercial break it's Sunday. This time, we lead with Camille, James and Logan again. Their story hasn't had it's fair share of air time yet, but that's about to change. It's a new day and James and Logan are finally getting to spend the prime tanning hours of the day relaxing by the pool.
There's a seat between them and they do a lot of that overacted, macho posturing that gives the show it's live action cartoon feel.
"Don't sit next to me." James is wearing board shorts and a white wife-beater and he flips his sunglass on from their perch on his head with dramatic flair. He shifts around on his lounge chair, settling in. Logan's in a v-neck blue t-shirt and shorts, and does his lounge chair settling before picking up his big, impressive looking but boring sounding hardcover book. He snaps it open with panache and begins reading it.
James glares at Logan. Logan doesn't notice, fake caught up in his book. Then Logan glares at James. But James is dramatically folding his arms behind his head, flexing his sexy, sexy muscles. The next glare, they catch each other and quickly look away.
It's still early in the day, but Camille's not a wait and see kinda girl -- not about acting roles, and certainly not about relationships. It kills her the way that Jo, who's the most on top of shit person when it comes to her career, can't just tell Kendall what she wants. And while the idea of James and Logan fighting over her does have some romantic, dramatic, cinematic overtones in her fantasies, in real life, it just means that she can see the two of them are being morons out by the pool from the lobby. And she just can't stand for that.
Camille marches out, and takes a stand at the foot of the chair between them, putting her hands on her hips. "Stop it," Camille says.
Both guys scramble to sit up from where they're lounging, turning so their feet are planted firmly on the ground, spines straight at attention.
When she doesn't immediately continue. Logan says, "Stop what?" For such a smart guy, he sure can be dumb.
Instead of answering him, she says, "Logan, I hated the particle lecture."
"What?" he says, face a picture of shocked confusion. "You told me you loved it, that it was great."
"I liked you. I liked it because you took me," she explains.
"Um," he says at a loss. "Why are you telling me this?"
"Because we have nothing in common, and no matter how hot you are, I think breaking up was the right decision."
"What?" Logan asks at the same time James indignantly says, "You think he's hot?" and the pre-recorded laugh track plays because it's hilarious.
"Um, duh," Camille says to James, quirking her shoulders and tilting her head in the universal isn't it obvious sign.
The laugh track dies down as Camille turns back to Logan. "I don't get it," Logan says. "You're breaking up with me because of one bad date?"
"It's not just one bad date. It's that we have different interests and like different things. Plus, we already broke up. This is just us not getting back together. Wouldn't you rather a have a girlfriend who knows what the Hag thing is?"
"You mean Higgs particle," Logan corrects automatically.
"Well, this sucks," Logan says, standing up slowly, as if weighted down by his resignation.
"I'm sorry," Camille says. "I hope we can be friends."
"Friends," he echoes, as though the word is strange and foreign on his tongue, like he's wrapping his mind around an untested foreign concept. Camille leans forward, wrapping her arms around him, and Logan responds automatically to return her hug. "Friends," he says again when she pulls away, a little more certain this time.
"Yea," she says, giving a little wave as Logan turns to walk away. "See you later."
Camille turns to James now. "And you," she starts, jabbing a finger at him, "you really want to take me to Arclight?"
"Of course," James says so quickly his statement is tripping over the end of Camille's question. There's a pause, and then he seems to realize what he's said. "I mean, I, I would take someone there, not necessarily you." He doesn't know how she got to read their answers or how she knows that his are about her. Even though he's normally absolutely shameless, he's terrified that she's here to let him down too.
"Oh, James," Camille says dramatically. "Yes," and she throws herself at him, pushing him back on the lounge chair to kiss him again like she's wanted to for days now. And it's just as wonderful as she remembers.
"Umm," James says when Camille finally releases his mouth, settling against him on the lounge chair. "Yes, what?"
"Yes, I want us to be a Hollywood Power Couple. Let's go learn how to make movies."
"Oh, cool," James says, grinning. His smile is displaying his perfect white teeth, but it's not the smile he gives specifically to display his perfect white teeth.
It's his real, true, happy smile. The one that he smiled when they first came to Hollywood, when he met Nicole Scherzinger, when he was voted most likely to be a star in their elementary school yearbook.
Camille has a matching smile looking at James, then her face falls. "Logan will be okay with this, right?"
"He knew I liked you," James says, thinking about it. "I'll talk to him later."
"You can bring him ice cream," Camille adds.
"It's what you bring your friends to cheer them up after a breakup. Don't even pretend you haven't seen a chick flick," Camille says, kicking James' shin for emphasis.
"As a future leading man, of course. But Logan's a dude, and as every raunchy comedy shows, you get your bros drunk post-breakup," James says tickling Camille in retaliation.
"I think Logan would prefer the ice cream," Camille says, laughing and batting at James hands until he stops.
"You're probably right," James says smiling again. Camille can't resist his ridiculous so she leans in to kiss him again.
Thoughts no more settled than last night, Carlos has returned to Palm Woods Park to continue wallowing. He's not used to this much thinking, and he doesn't like it. But if he goes back to the actual Palm Woods, he's likely to run into Jordan, and he doesn't want that to happen. He has no idea what to say to him.
But Carlos isn't nearly as stealthy as he thinks he is. And the next time he looks up from his pacing, Jordan is there, at the park, approaching him. Carlos spins his head side to side, looking for a place to hide. There are shrubs at the far end of the park and if he puts his shrub-hat on and dives for it, maybe Jordan won't notice him.
"Hey," Jordan calls out. Maybe he's talking to someone else. And then Jordan says, "Carlos," ending that thought.
Carlos starts moving towards the bushes anyway. Maybe, maybe Jordan will just forget that he saw him.
But Jordan's jogging now, to catch up to Carlos, and stops him with a hand on his shoulder. "Carlos," he repeats, and Carlos lets himself be turned around to face Jordan.
"I'm sorry," Jordan says, guiding Carlos to sit down next to him at a conveniently placed bench right off the path next to them. "I shouldn't have kissed you."
Jordan stops, and Carlos knows he's supposed to say something. But he's not sure what. That Jordan's right, that he shouldn't have kissed him? He shouldn't have. But it was a good kiss. That it's alright? It's not that either. Carlos has spend two days lost in thought. That's more thought than he can ever remember happening. He's not a fan of thought. He's a fan of doing. Which leads to doing a lot of dumb things. But he doesn't have regrets so that's okay. If he didn't have to think about it, he'd with they would kiss again. The problems only started when they stopped.
Carlos is silent long enough that Jordan feels compelled to fill the awkward quiet. "I mean," he babbles, "I don't even know if you're gay. I mean, I thought you were into me, the way you laughed at my jokes, kept bumping into me on the couch, and hockey has never felt that much like flirting before, but I maybe it was just in my head. I could be wrong and I'm really, really sorry."
"Stop," Carlos says. As much as Carlos hates the quiet and thinking, he can't take all of Jordan's babbling and apologizing when he was right. Carlos does like him, did like all of those things. He didn't quite realize the how of his like, but he liked nonetheless. "I think maybe I do like you. I just didn't realize it."
"Think maybe," Jordan parrots back.
"I do," Carlos says, shushing him. "Just listen, we have to fill out this dumb survey thing for some magazine for the band about our ideal date, and I put 'must like corndogs, and hockey, and pranks.' You are my ideal date. I just didn't realize my ideal date would be a guy."
"A magazine article about your band wants to know about your ideal date?" Jordan says, wrinkling his nose in confused disbelief.
"It's one of those teen girl magazines," Carlos says shrugging. "Hell if I know."
"Man, girls are so weird," Jordan says.
"Tell me about it," Carlos agrees and they both crack up laughing.
When their laughter peters off, Jordan says, "So, I can kiss you again?"
"I-" Carlos starts, about to say know, thinking of all the reasons why this is a terrible idea. But people routinely tell him his decisions are terrible. So he stops. There's no need to start thinking about what he does now. So he finishes with, "Okay," instead.
And as Jordan leans in to kiss Carlos the camera pulls away, so that they're just two guys, sitting on a bench, surrounded by an empty park of greenery as the scene fades to black.
Elsewhere, it's Sunday and Jo has nothing to do. She and Kendall didn't explicitly make plans, because 'Sunday morning date morning' doesn't have the same ring as 'Saturday night date night." But they hang out pretty much whenever they're both free. So it's not weird that she's standing outside 2J, knocking on the door. And the flutter of happiness she feels when Kendall opens the door isn't new, although how excited she is to have seen the rest of Big Time Rush going the other direction on the elevator is.
"Hey," Kendall says, "come on in."
"What's are you up to today?" Jo asks.
"Free day," Kendall says. "I thought we could just hang out here." She smiles at then and is glad to see the same smile reflected back at her. Then his face falls serious. "That's okay, right?" he says in a nervous rush that just makes Jo smile even bigger.
"Yeah, that's great." She moves into his space and Kendall takes her hands. Holding hands has never felt so electrifying.
Kendall's skin tingles where he touches her and she's never felt so sweet. Jo leans in to kiss him, pulling their intertwined hands back depositing his hands on her waist. He curls his fingers around her, settling his hands on the small of her back, opening his mouth to sink further into the kiss. Jo tastes like cherries and the sunshine he hopes they stay in and miss today.
There's no argument on Jo's part for today's plan. She rocks up onto her toes, moving into the kiss and pressing her body into his. She could do this all day.
"What are your plans for today?" Mama Knight says, and they spring apart. Jo looks around the apartment, Mrs. Knight must have come from the other room.
"Oh, you know," Kendall says, vaguely, rubbing the back of his neck with his left hand, his right outstretched to hold Jo's from the safe distance of a couple of steps away, "we were maybe just going to hang out here."
Mama Knight tilts her head, giving them a considering look. "But it's so nice out," she says overly cheerfully. "I'm heading out and you should too. Go to the pool, or the park, or something."
Jo glances at Kendall. He looks indecisive, like maybe he's about to argue with his mom about this. But the look on Mrs. Knight's face is way too much like the one Katie gets when she knows that she knows everything for Jo to let Kendall do that. She already feels her face heating up in embarrassment at the thought of her actually knowing anything. So Jo jumps in before Kendall can say anything. "That sounds like a great idea, Mrs. Knight, we should pick up sandwiches and picnic in the park."
"But I thought-" Kendall starts.
"Come on," Jo says, glad that Kendall hasn't let go of her hand yet, because it makes it all that much easier to drag him out of the apartment behind her.
Katie's in the Palm Woods lobby, shrubbery hat forgotten on her head when Carlos gets back. She has the stack of their surveys sitting in front of her. She's flipping through Carlos's trying to reconcile what she saw with what he's said.
"Hey, Katie, what's with the hat?" Carlos asks obliviously.
"I guess you never specifically said your ideal date was a girl," she says, flipping through them again.
"What?" Carlos asks.
"Are you going to change your answers to specify you like guys?" she asks.
"Umm," Carlos says, sitting down in the chair catty-corner from where Katie is. "Are you okay?" he asks. He doesn't know how she knows, but apparently she does. And she's acting weird about it. Maybe he should have put more thought into this. And, oh god, do the guys know?
"I just didn't see it coming," she groans, upset, but clearly not upset with him.
"It came as kind of a surprise to me, too," Carlos admits.
"Does anyone else know?" Katie asks. None of the guys treat her like a little kid, or at least she thought so. But if they've been keeping this from her, she's going to be pissed.
"Just Jordan," Carlos says. "At least I think so, how did you know?"
"I saw you. Duh," Katie says, pointing at the hat. "I was in the bushes in the park trying to catch Bitters deflating beach balls. I know he's trying to drive up the prices for air." And then mid-stream, she changes direction. "Jordan, huh?" she says smirking at him.
Carlos feels himself turning red. Katie is clearly delighted at this turn of events. "So, tell me all about your boyfriend."
"He's not, I mean, I-" Carlos starts. They didn't really talk about what they are. Talking was too much like thinking, and Carlos saw no reason to waste time with that when they could be making out. Although the word gives him a warm happy feeling. Boyfriend. That's what they, are he decides. He'll let Jordan know next time he sees him. Then there'll be nothing left they have to talk about and they can move on to the making out.
"Wait," he says narrowing his eyes at her, because even though he's the least self-aware person in the world, and he hates thinking, he's not actually dumb, "are you going to tell everyone about this?"
"No," Katie ssays, jumping to her feet. "Of course not. I would never do that." They're family. She would never spill their secrets like that.
"Really? Not even to sell more copies of your unauthorized biography?"
"I'm already half-way to running this town, and if you think I need to out you to get the rest of it, you're way overestimating your importance."
James would take offense at that. But Carlos just says, "Thanks."
"So," Katie drags out. "Are you going to change any of your answers?"
"Just this," Carlos says, pulling his packet away from Katie, and taking the pen that she had lying on top. He spins the papers so that they're facing him, and flips to the last page, question fifteen. The camera zooms up on the packet.
The question is, "Are you single?"
Carlos scribbles out his previous answer and writes, "No," dotting his answer with an enthusiastic period.
Sunday night sees the guys back at 2J, finishing the survey. There's no fighting this time, and it's just a single scene to a soundtrack of 'The City is Ours,' each one of them enthusiastically signing the release on the last page, slamming them closed and done one at a time before it fades into the nest day and Rocque Records.
Gustavo is sitting behind his desk, legs kicked up and crossed. The Dogs are lined up in parallel to the first scene of the episode, with Kelly taking the packets one at a time from the guys.
"Kendall," she says.
"Here you go," he says, handing it over. Kelly flips through, not enough to read it, but enough to see that it's done.
She does the same with James's, and then Logan's.
Carlos is once again at the end of the line, and Kelly's flips through his same as the others, until she gets to the last page. Then she does a double take. "Since when are you dating someone?" she asks incredulously.
All heads in the room turn to stare at him. "That's," Carlos starts, "kind of a long story."
Everyone starts talking at once.
"When did this happen?"
"Why didn't you tell us?"
And as the Big Time Rush theme song starts to play out the show, Kelly's distinctive voice says, "This I gotta hear."
[Two images which read:
This month we've got a band that's rushing up the charts. Big Time Rush took some time out of their busy schedules to answer Fifteen Questions just for Pop Tiger readers. And once you read their answers, we know they'll have a big place in your heart.
Describe your ideal girl?
Kendall: Fun and down to earth, Logan: [She] would balance [me out], James: she can't be prettier than me, Carlos: Likes hockey, cheese doodles, and corn dogs.
What's your favorite color?
Kendall: Green, Logan: Red, James: Mangerine, Carlos: Purple
What's the best date you've ever been on?
Kendall: We went to the aquarium.
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Logan: Using the beaver as a comparison, I think a woodchuck would be able to chuck about two inches of wood per hour.
Who would play you in a movie version of your life?
Kendall: Leonardo DiCaprio, James: Justin Timberlake, because I want his life.
If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be?
Carlos: French fries!, Kendall: Tomato, Logan: Carrot
Who's your celebrity crush?
Kendall: My girlfriend, James: Nicole Scherzinger
I never leave the house without. . .
All: My wallet
If you could share a root beer float with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Carlos: Wayne Gretzky, Kendall: Abe Lincoln
When's the last time you were on an airplane?
All: In August when we came back to LA after our tour.
What's your favorite type of sandwich?
Kendall and Logan: BLT, James: PB & J, Carlos: Are corndogs a sandwich?
Pancakes or waffles?
Logan: Pancakes, Kendall, James and Carlos: Waffles
Do you have any secret talents?
Logan: I can do long division in my head, Carlos: I can fly. Actually, that's a lie, but how cool would that be?
What's the worst injury you ever had?
Kendall: I broke my wrist when I was 12.
Are you single?
Kendall, James, Carlos: No, Logan: Yes.]