Logan gets his first kiss in ninth grade from Paul Whittaker, and it changes everything.
Jasmine, Lindy, and Delia are doing homework in the Watson’s basement when Logan walks in, his cheeks flushed and his pupils wide, and all thoughts of homework leave Jasmine’s head. Lindy snaps her binder shut. “What’s up with you?”
He doesn’t answer her right away, instead going over to a free chair and throwing himself down, sighing happily. “I just got my first kiss.”
Lindy gasps, and Jasmine probably makes a ridiculous face, and Delia doesn’t do anything. “What?” Lindy screeches. “From who?”
“You know Paul?”
Logan nods, and Lindy frowns. “What, so, like, his sister?”
Logan furrows his eyebrows. “No, Linz. I kissed Paul.”
Now he has Delia’s attention. Jasmine grips her pen so tight she thinks it might break. Please don’t let Lindy hate him, she thinks. Don’t let him get hurt.
Lindy processes, and her face is almost comical-- wide eyes, lips shaped around a silent “oh”. Jasmine looks at Logan. His face is blank, his chin lifted in a sign of defiance, but she knows him well enough to know he’s a little bit terrified of his sister’s reaction.
“Oh,” Lindy says finally, a little awkwardly. “Well, Paul’s cool. I didn’t know you liked him.”
Jasmine smiles down at her history textbook, and in the corner of her eye she can see Logan’s shoulders drop with relief. They talk about Paul for a bit, because he’s cool-- he’s really good at soccer, and he’s double-jointed. Jasmine is glad that the conversation feels nice and normal, like they always talk about boys Logan likes, so she’s thrown off when the attention is suddenly put on her.
“I’m glad I finally joined the club,” he says, looking at Delia and Lindy.
Jasmine frowns. “What club?”
“The I’ve-Been-Kissed club,” Logan all but sneers, and Jasmine’s face grows hot. She’d never felt bad about having never been kissed-- after all, she had that in common with Garrett and Logan-- but now Logan is here, newly-kissed, and throwing it in her face.
So Jasmine tosses her hair over her shoulder, leveling him with a glare. “Well, don’t worry. I can easily fix that.”
Logan rolls his eyes and grins like she’s being funny, kicking his feet up on to the table. “Okay, Jaz. Whatever you say.”
Five days later she, too, kisses Paul Whittaker.
She tells Delia about it first, because she feels horrible as soon as it’s over, like she betrayed not only Logan and Paul, but also herself. And Delia is honest and has done much worse, probably, so the judgement might be kept to a minimum.
“You know it’s not a competition, right?” Delia asks her.
“It totally is a competition,” Jasmine insists, because it is, it has to be, what with the way Logan basically challenged her to even out the odds. “He was being so rude. This is payback.”
“Yeah, he was a dick,” Delia says with a shrug, “but don’t you think there were other ways to get even than to go around kissing the guy he likes?”
“They’re not dating,” Jasmine exclaims. “And it was only one kiss.”
“You can do what you want, Jaz. I’m just saying-- don’t be surprised if Logan is upset by this.”
It turns out Logan is upset.
He doesn’t talk to her for a week, and it’s the longest they’ve ever gone without talking to each other, and Jasmine feels like a piece of her heart is breaking.
“I don’t want to go in,” she whines from the front yard of Hannah Spinnerman’s house, clutching her coat around her in the cold air. “Logan will be in there.”
“Good,” Garrett says, clearly losing patience. “Then maybe you two will make up.”
“Or maybe things will just get worse,” she snaps, and then immediately feels bad, because Garrett’s done nothing wrong.
Garrett just rolls his eyes and starts walking towards the front door without her, an she squawks in indignation and chases after him, not willing to be left alone at the same party as Logan. Hannah Spinnerman’s house is huge, but she’s still paranoid she’ll bump into Logan somehow. She clings to Garrett’s arm as they walk in, as if he of all people will be able to shield her from whatever horrors they may see, but the party is... normal. Hannah says her parents are upstairs, and there’s no drugs or alcohol, and the snacks are good. There are a lot of people, though, and Garrett doesn’t do well with people, so she reluctantly lets him go slink out into the backyard or hide in the bathroom or do whatever the hell he does to get out of socializing.
But then she’s on her own-- Delia and her dads are doing family night, and Lindy had cancelled because of a particularly needy foster dog she had, so it’s just Jasmine.
And Logan. Somewhere. (Her Logan senses are tingling.)
She spins in a circle, searching the throng of people for someone she knows well enough to cling to, and her eyes snag on Max. Sans tuxedo, but still Max.
Her face lights up when she sees him, and she tries to catch his gaze, waving. He notices her and smiles back, albeit a less brightly than her, but whatever, she’ll take what she can get. She starts heading down the stairs to him, but when she looks up at him next, a hand is on his neck and his lips are being pressed to someone else’s.
Someone tall. And blonde. And boy.
“Logan,” she seethes, pushing through the crowd with far more determination now, her elbows digging into guts.
“Hi, Max,” she says, her voice falsely bright and sugary-sweet, and Logan lets him up for air enough for him to dazedly meet her gaze. “I see you’re having fun.”
“Yeah, um--” Max is red, but Jasmine is pretty sure it’s from excitement over kissing Logan Watson than embarrassment, and she crosses her arms. “Logan and I were just talking.”
Jasmine raises an eyebrow. “I saw.”
“Right.” Max is even redder now, if possible. He glances nervously between her and Logan, rubbing his hand against the back of his neck. “Well, um, I should probably go say hi to Hannah.” He claps Logan on the back somewhat awkwardly. “Good talk, man.”
“Yeah, any time,” Logan replies, winking, and Max chokes on nothing.
Jasmine waits until Max has disappeared to get up in Logan’s face. “What the hell?” she growls. “Max? Really?”
Logan shrugs and grins, clearly pleased with how this is playing out. “What? He’s cute. And he’s totally been hitting on me for a while.”
“Oh, no,” Jasmine snaps, pointing a finger at him. “Don’t act like this is anything other than you trying to mess with me.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Logan says, but his grin is huge, and in this moment she hates him.
Jasmine makes a frustrated sound, barely resisting the urge to stomp her foot. “You just kissed him to get back at me!”
“So what if I did?” Logan challenges, his voice hard. “That’s what you did with Paul, isn’t it?”
“That’s not--” She starts to say it’s not the same, but it totally is, and she hates him for being right about this. She scowls at him. “Fine. I demand a truce.”
Logan raises an eyebrow. “I didn’t realize we were at war.”
She shoots him a look, and he holds up his hands in defense. “Fine, fine. A truce it is.” He holds out his hand to her. “Shake on it.”
She does, and wrinkles her nose. “Ugh, your hand is moist.”
He pulls the same face, mimicking her tone. “Ugh, you said ‘moist’.”
She just rolls her eyes and makes a point of wiping her hand on her skirt. She knows they’ve agreed on a truce, but it still feels like she’s won something.
The truce sets their relationship back to the way it had been before either of them had been kissed, and it’s a nice thing to go back to. Jasmine goes over to the Watsons’ house for drum lessons from Logan and to watch old movies with Logan and to really just hang around Logan, and Lindy starts joking about how he’s stealing her best friend.
She’s lying on his bed one day, making a bed-sheet-angel, when he walks in his room. He startles when he sees her, and she sits up to explain, “Your mom said I could wait in here until you got back.”
“Oh.” He gives her a jerky nod, shrugging off his jacket and laying it over the back of his chair. His movements are stiff and awkward, and she frowns.
“So where were you?”
His back is to her, and he shrugs. “Just getting some stuff done before coming home.”
She narrows her eyes at him. “Logan Watson, I have known you nearly all my life and I know when you’re lying.”
“I’m not lying,” he mumbles, but the back of his neck is red and she marches over to him, spinning him around.
“Did you break the truce?” She asks, and her stomach plummets when he averts his gaze, answering her suspicions. “You did, didn’t you?” She exclaims, shoving his shoulders. He stumbles back. “Unbelievable, Logan! We had an agreement and things were good and I can’t believe you ruined this for some stupid petty revenge plot--”
“It was Garrett,” Logan breaks in quietly, and Jasmine’s breath catches in her throat.
“Our Garrett?” She asks.
Logan nods. “Yeah. He asked me to give him his first kiss.”
“I thought he asked Delia.”
“He did, but she couldn’t go through with it, and Garrett-- Garrett’s gay, Jasmine, and he realized he didn’t want his first kiss to be with a girl.” Logan shrugs. “I was a guy and I was there.”
Jasmine’s rooted to the spot. “Oh.”
“Yeah.” He shifts his weight. “Not everything is about you, Jasmine.”
Just like that, she’s a live wire again, surging up into his face. “I wasn’t--”
“I didn’t kiss Garrett because of you,” Logan says, his eyes startlingly blue and clear. “I kissed Garrett because of Garrett.”
She blinks. “I know that. You’re a good friend.” They’re quiet for a moment, just looking at each other, and Jasmine pretends she doesn’t notice the way her heartbeat picks up and her cheeks flush. She doesn’t need this right now. “So... does he know? About you?”
That you’re gay? her mind supplies, but she can’t get the words to come out of her mouth.
“I mean, yeah, I guess now he does.” A corner of Logan’s mouth lifts. “I’m pretty sure the whole school knows by now.”
She smiles back. “Do you like him?”
He’s quiet for a moment, considering, and Jasmine feels a rush of sadness that he has to think about it at all. Finally, he shrugs again. “I don’t think so, no. I mean-- he’s Garrett, and I love him, but--” he pauses, his cheeks burning faintly pink. “There’s someone else, you know?”
She smiles at him coyly. “You know I’m going to press you for information later, right?”
He heaves a sigh, but she can see the small smile on his face. He takes a pillow from his bed and chucks it at her. “Yeah, I know. That’s what friends do.”
Nothing between them changes again, but Jasmine feels different, in a way she’s never felt before. She wants desperately to see Logan when he’s not around, but then as soon as he arrives, she starts feeling like she’s going to throw up. She feels feverish and lightheaded and suddenly giggly, even though she’s never been giggly around Logan before, because he’s not funny, and she doesn’t know what the hell is going on.
She’s been holding onto a story all morning that she’s been dying to tell Logan, and as soon as he sits down beside her at their lunch table, she’s gripping his arm-- but there’s someone hanging off his other arm, a girl, and she feels her hand go slack.
“Erin?” She asks, surprised. “What’re you doing here?”
It takes her a minute to process that it’s probably not the nicest thing to say, but she doesn’t care. She likes Erin well enough, but if she’s intruding on Logan And Jasmine time, that might have to change.
Erin looks at Logan and smiles. “Logan invited me to sit with you guys. Is that okay?”
“Oh, yeah, it’s great!” Jasmine replies, too loudly and too cheerily, and she sees Erin lean back slightly in fear. Jasmine turns her attention to Delia on her other side, determined to not be weird about this. (Even thought it’s already too late.)
“So,” Delia says, matching her pose-- elbow on the table, chin propped in hand. “What’s going on with you two?”
“Me and Logan?” Jasmine frowns. “Nothing. Why?”
Delia gives her a dry look. “Because I don’t buy it.”
Jasmine just shrugs, her heart pounding, and steals one of Delia’s fries in a way she hopes is completely nonchalant. “Well, that’s your problem. He’s my friend.”
“Mhm,” Delia replies in a tone that makes it clear she’s thinking more than just mhm. “You don’t look at me like that.”
Jasmine splutters. “Look at you like what?”
“Like you want to kiss me,” Delia replies matter-of-factly, though she doesn’t sound all that torn up about it.
“I do not look at Logan like I want to kiss him,” Jasmine says in a hushed tone, her cheeks flaming red. “Besides, he’s gay.” She turns to nudge Logan and get affirmation. “Right, Lo--?”
The words die in her throat and the world goes still around her and everything drops away but her and the sight of Logan kissing Erin on the mouth.
Erin. Female Erin.
Jasmine’s brain short-circuits. HE’S NOT GAY???
She can’t decide if the universe just gave her a big slap in the face or a big thumbs-up. Delia says something to her, but her hearing’s gone all muddled and fuzzy, and she feels herself standing up suddenly.
Logan’s resurfaced. “Jaz?” He asks, his face creased with worry. “Are you okay?”
Jasmine doesn’t think she says anything back. She refocuses as she’s hurrying out into the empty hallway, her heart pounding so hard in her chest she’s afraid her ribs might break.
“Stop,” she mutters, pressing her hands over her chest. “Cut it out--”
She whirls around and smacks her forehead into Logan’s chin, sending her reeling back. Stars burst in her vision and she winces, pressing her hand to her forehead. “Ow, Logan.”
“Sorry,” he says, holding his own hand to his chin. He drops it when he approaches her. “What’s going on?”
“You and Erin,” she blurts. The filter between her brain and her mouth seems to have dissipated. “You’re dating Erin?”
“Sort of,” Logan says. “We’re kind of just hanging out.”
Jasmine blanches. She knows what hanging out means-- hands under shirts and lips on necks and sheets on floors. An ugly emotion simmers in her chest and she feels like she’s going to pass out.
“But I don’t understand,” Jasmine says finally. “I thought you were gay.”
Logan’s eyebrows shoot up his forehead, and he shakes his head. “No,” he says slowly. “Jaz, I’m bi. Please tell me you know I’m bi.”
“Well, I do now!” Jasmine says. She feels oddly defensive, like he thinks she’s stupid for making such a big mistake.
“Okay,” he says. He reaches out a hand, like he’s going to touch her, but then seems to think better of it and lets it fall back to his side. “It’s just-- it’s very important to me that you know I’m bi.”
She just stares incredulously at him. Nothing he’s saying is making much sense. “Okay,” she says anyway. “I know.”
“Okay,” he says again. “Well. Good.”
Jasmine just shakes her head once, trying to get out of whatever stupor she’s in. This conversation isn’t making sense anymore, and she’s still super dizzy, and Logan’s biting his lip in a way that is not helping her focus. She swallows hard. “Well, you should get back to Erin.”
“Jaz--” he starts, and this time he actually does reach for her, but she steps back, out of range.
“No, it’s okay,” she says, forcing a smile. “I have some studying I have to do before fifth period anyway.” She’s backing away from him now and probably looks like a crazy person, but she needs to get a good distance away from him so she can breath normally again. “I’ll see you after school, okay?”
She spins on her heel and all but runs away.
Jasmine and Logan drift apart in that way friends do when they’re at an emotional roadblock and don’t know how to get over it. Everything she’d thought she knew about Logan has to reconfigure itself in her head. Not that Logan being bi changes the way she thinks about him-- it doesn’t, he’s Logan and he’s her friend-- but it changes the way she thinks about Jasmine And Logan.
It changes the way she interprets the rapid beating of her heart when he’s around.
And so she makes it so that he’s not around: she and Lindy start hanging out at her house, or at Java Juice, but never the Watsons’ house. When there are group hangouts, Jasmine comes up with an excuse vague enough to be believable. She misses her friends-- she misses Logan-- but this is the only thing she knows to do.
Lindy calls her one day while she’s studying at home, and she braces herself before she answers. “Hi, Linz.”
“Hi,” Lindy says, before jumping right in: “Are you avoiding my brother?”
Jasmine flops back onto her bed, heaving a sigh she hopes Lindy can’t hear. “No, Lindy.”
“You are. I know you are. Logan knows you are.”
Jasmine sits up at that. “He knows?”
“He’s not an idiot, Jasmine,” Lindy says, and her tone makes Jasmine wince.
“I know he’s not,” she says. “I’d just hoped he wouldn’t notice.”
“Well, he has. So now that you’ve admitted it, will you please tell me what the hell is going on?”
“What’s going on is I’m the idiot,” Jasmine says, “and I’m a coward, and I have no idea what I’m doing.”
“Is this about that stupid kissing competition you two had going on?” Lindy asks, and there’s a rustling sound in the background, like she’s eating a bag of chips. “Because that was really stupid and immature.”
“It’s not about that,” Jasmine says softly. “Not anymore.”
Lindy’s quiet for a moment, thinking, and Jasmine fiddles with a string on the hem of her shirt. “You like him.”
Jasmine thinks she meant it as a question, except for she sounds like she already knows the answer. She swallows. “Yeah.”
“Stupid! Why were you going around kissing other people, then?”
“Because-- I don’t know! It was a game! And I thought he was gay!”
Lindy snorts. “You’ve heard the way he talks about girls.”
“Before he kissed Paul, yeah,” Jasmine says. “I don’t know. I just feel like I’ve missed my chance and messed everything up.”
“I promise you, you haven’t.”
“You’re sweet, Lindz, but how can you be sure?”
“Because I know my brother,” Lindy says primly. “And also he left for your house, like, five minutes ago.”
Jasmine jerks upright, her jaw dropping. “What? Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Because he’s being spontaneous and reckless and romantic!” Lindy pauses. “And also it’s none of my business.”
Jasmine doesn’t bother saying goodbye before hanging up. She throws her phone down on her bed and jumps up, her heart pounding. If Logan had left five minutes, she has about six minutes until he arrives. She throws off her ratty t-shirt and nike shorts and tosses on a dress, running a brush through her hair. Her room is a mess, but she doesn’t have the time, and anyways, Logan’s room always looks much worse.
She starts to feel lightheaded, so she presses her fingers to her burning cheeks, squeezing her eyes shut. This is Logan. This is her best friend. She can do this.
The doorbell rings and she makes a mad dash for the stairs, shouting “I’ll get it!” so her parents don’t beat her there. She slows down just before reaching the foyer, suddenly feeling much more nervous, and wrings her hands.
I can do this.
She takes a deep breath and opens the door. Logan is there, looking just as flushed as her, and his face lights up when he sees her. “Jasmine,” he says, reverently, like she created the ground he stands on. “Hi. I’m glad you’re home.”
“Me too,” she says. She pulls herself to her full height, forcing her hands to still at her sides. “I’m sorry I kissed Paul.”
“It’s okay.” Logan winces. “I’m sorry I kissed Max.”
They study each other for a moment, long enough for Jasmine’s hands to start wringing of their own accord. Logan drops his gaze. “I’m sorry about Erin, too.”
Jasmine’s face screws up in confusion. “Why? I didn’t have feelings for Erin.”
“No, I know.” He still doesn’t look at her, scuffing his shoe against the porch. “We broke up, but I’m still sorry I was with her. I was trying to get over you.”
Jasmine’s mouth opens and closes like a fish, and she notices both their faces are turning red. “Oh. Well.” She swallows. “Did you? Get over me, I mean?”
He looks up at her, his gaze steady and clear. “Not at all.”
Jasmine lets out a breath. “Thank god.”
They move at the same time, meeting in the middle, and suddenly her hands are on his jaw and his hands are tangled in her hair and this is what a first kiss should feel like, she thinks-- free and bright and pure, like a relief. Logan’s a good kisser, too, and she can’t even be bothered by all that that implies, because he’s moving his mouth against hers in a way that makes her knees go weak.
He mumbles something against her mouth and she completely misses it, so she pulls back enough to speak. “What?”
“I said it’s about time.” He tucks her hair behind her ear. “I’ve wanted to do that for a long time.”
She knows she’s grinning like an idiot, but he is too, so she doesn’t cared. “Me too.”
He laughs and she kisses him again because she can, catching him off-guard. His hands settle on her hips and this kiss is less desperate than the first, gentle and sweet, and she didn’t even know that kisses could feel different. She wants to try all types of kisses with him.
She turns her head slightly, her lips sliding against his cheek. “My mom’s going to be wondering where I went,” she says. “You know, since you’re here, you might as well stay for dinner.”
He smiles against her temple, wrapping his arm around her shoulder and pulling her in close. “Inviting me in already? Jas, we’ve only just kissed.”
She bumps her hip into his and he laughs again, his chest rumbling behind her shoulder, and she kisses him against the door when they go inside.