Kendall remembers what broken ribs feel like. He remembered being slammed into the wall of the ice rink during a hockey game in his freshman year of high school. He remembered being violently jabbed in the rib cage by an opposing team member's elbow and then forcefully slammed against the ice, gasping for air. He could still hear the sickening crack echoing his ears and it still made his stomach churn.
Kendall remembered laying on the ice as his chest seized with insufferable pain. No matter how small of a breath he took, it burned his chest and the pain spread to his arms. He could hear Carlos and James yelling for a timeout or even a forfeit as their helmets clattered on the ice along with their hockey sticks. Logan slid down onto his knees and hovered his head over Kendall’s vision with concern.
“Kendall? Can you hear me?” Logan’s voice had sounded muffled in his ears and his eyes slowly closed as he groaned in pain. He opened his eyes again when he felt Logan take his helmet off and hold his head. “Kendall!”
“I.. can hear you. Fuck, my chest hurts so bad.. Logan, I-I can’t breathe-” He remembered the panic that ran through his veins when he realized he could barely breathe, it had made the searing pain in his chest worse.
“We need a medic!” Logan had lifted his head and frantically screamed. He guessed Logan looked at James and Carlos. “Something’s wrong!”
James and Carlos were the next to crash down to their knees next to him, worryingly looking over his body as if that would help them find out what was wrong with him.
“It was fucking Clark, I saw him slam Kendall against the boards and shove him down.” James growled and had quickly swerved his head to the side to glare at Christopher Clark. “He’s gonna regret that-” James went to push himself up but Carlos stopped him by grabbing his shoulder.
“James, don’t. He’s not worth it right now.” James huffed because Carlos was always morally right.
“I think Clark broke Kendall’s ribs..” Logan worried his lip between his teeth, cradling Kendall’s head in his lap. He was afraid to touch Kendall anywhere else.
Kendall had blacked out after that. The pain of his broken ribs had become too much for Kendall’s nerves. He remembered waking up in a white hospital room, his three best friends asleep in chairs across the room in a corner near the window.
Jennifer, his mom, opened the door and stepped in with Katie in tow. She smiled at him and set a cup of water on the bed tray. Jennifer had wasted no time in soothingly threading her fingers through Kendall’s hair. Thinking of it now makes him miss when his mom would baby him.
“Hey, sweetie. How are you feeling?” She glanced back at her other boys before quietly grabbing another chair and sitting next to the bed, Katie sitting at the end of the hospital bed.
“Like a building fell on my chest.”
His chest had ached with pain but it hurt way less than it had earlier. He didn’t wanna risk moving so he stayed completely still as his mom babied him.
“The boys said Christopher Clark did this to you during the hockey game.”
“He did. He rammed me against the boards and slammed his elbow into my ribs.” Kendall winced just thinking back on the memory. “How long have I been here?”
“Just a couple hours. James, Carlos, and Logan haven’t left once, I just took Katie to get some lunch.” Kendall felt Katie rub his knee with her tiny hand and he smiled to himself, appreciating the comfort she tried to give him.
“I’m gonna beat this Clark kid up, no one hurts my big brother. No one except for me anyways.” Katie shrugged lightly, as if her being four foot three wouldn’t stop her from finding a way to hurt a six foot dude. Kendall had laughed at her determination but winced and held his rib cage, groaning when the pressure made it throb painfully.
“Kendall!” He heard Logan gasp quietly and his quick footsteps rush to the other side of his bed, “You’re okay.” Logan held a gaze that made Kendall frown. It was almost as if Logan didn’t think he’d live through a dirty hockey match.
“Of course I am. Nothing’s gonna get rid of me.” Kendall smiled at him reassuringly and Logan gently grasped onto his hand.
Suddenly James and Carlos were in his field of vision and he could feel the anger radiating off of James. Carlos stood a little too close to him, most likely in hopes of calming James down.
“Clark is so gonna get it. I swear if it’s the last thing I do..” James balled his hand into a fist and Kendall eased his gaze. If Clark ended up in the hospital with a broken leg the next week, Kendall didn’t know why but by the smug looks his little sister and James held, he knew they had something to do with it.
Kendall thinks that broken ribs hurt less than the feeling of his heart breaking in two. He knows he’d prefer the painful breaths and the shock than the feeling of his heart dropping down into his stomach, only to feel it churn and hollow out as if to make room for his broken heart.
He swallows harshly as he watches Camille kiss Logan for the fourth time today. He watches her hold his hand tightly while she uses the other hand to rub her thumb over his cheek. He longs for that to be him. He wants to know the feeling of his fingers clasping around Logan's, he wants to feel the soft skin under his hand as he cups Logans cheek. He wants to feel Logan's love.
Kendall remembers coming out of the closet as bisexual. He remembered gathering his three best friends, his mother, and his sister on the couch as he stood in front of the tv. He remembered the anxiety that coursed through his veins and almost made him coward away from the situation. His lips were numb as he explained he had something important.
“I have something to tell you guys.” His hands were sweaty and he furrowed his eyebrows as he felt the room grow hotter with his family's intense gazes on him. “I’m… bisexual.”
Jennifer stood up first, carefully taking his face in her hands and coercing his head to fall slightly so she could kiss his forehead. “And that’s okay. I love you, sweetheart. No matter who you love.” Kendall felt his eyes burn with salty tears that he forced himself to hold back.
Katie quickly hugged him and smiled. “I kinda already knew. You wear way too much plaid and no one wears beanies as much as you do.” He had laughed at her way of making him feel better.
James and Carlos beamed at him, hugging him tightly and Carlos announced that his coming out meant they needed to do something special for dinner. He had quickly run off to discuss dinner plans further with Miss Knight, James in tow to make sure it was actually some place decent instead of a burger joint.
Logan took a deep breath before tightly wrapping his arms around Kendall’s middle, smothering his cheek into Kendall’s chest. “You’re brave, but you’re dumb if you think that who you love would make us think differently of you.” He had slowly wrapped his arms around Logan’s shoulders, grateful that his best friend supported him most of all.
He had considered himself lucky that he had a family who loved him that much. But it turns out he wasn’t lucky enough to get the guy he wanted.
Kendall would rather re-live the anxiety he felt that day than experience this.
Logan lifts his gaze as Camille hugs him tightly and he makes eye contact with Kendall. Kendall stands in the lobby, close to running for the elevator. He feels like dying.
He furrows his eyebrows when Logan frowns and Kendall's knows that look. Logan is looking at him longingly. Guiltily. A look that says he wishes he was with someone else. Kendall has to look at the ground, anywhere but Logan's brown eyes full of regret. He doesn't want Logan to regret anything.
Kendall wants Logan to be happy even as his heart screams at him to tell Logan how he feels, even as it screams ‘choose me!’ like Logan will hear it.
‘Don’t you get it? I love you! I always have! So please, just this once, choose me!’ his heart screams. But he doesn’t scream. Because Kendall Knight helps others, he doesn’t help himself. He doesn’t think about making himself happy first. He painfully tugs his lips into a smile as Logan stares him down.
Before he knows it, Logan is chasing him down into the elevator and quickly hitting the close button so they’re alone. Kendall watches as the doors close and Logan slams the emergency button to pause the elevator's movement.
Oh, how Kendall wishes he was back in a hospital bed with two broken ribs and a bruised lung right about now.
He’s quiet. He doesn’t ask why Logan stops the elevator, he doesn’t ask why Logan clasps his hand and tugs him, forcing him to lock eyes with Logan. His lips part because he’s utterly baffled.
He wishes he was standing in his living room coming out to them again.
Kendall freezes when he notices Logan putting all his weight on his toes and pushing himself upward to reach his lips. Logan was always short, not that it bothered him. He closes his eyes, afraid that maybe he’s making this scenario up in his head like he’s done millions of times before. It’s messy and one hundred percent a horrible kiss but Kendall wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world because there’s so much love pouring out of every crack and groove in Logan’s lips that it fills that void his heart lays in.
When Logan pulls away he can’t stop himself from saying, “One more, please.”
Logan laughs and Kendall blushes, but he loves Logan's laugh so he wouldn’t trade it for another kiss.
“Don’t you get it? I love you too.”