The Prince & His Royal Guard

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Chapter 5

5

Logan fell in love with Leon on their whirlwind road trip in Norway through to Sweden. After their hiking trip to Trolltunga, they rented two motorhomes and decided to explore the country on a road trip, getting supplies in every town they ran across. They started in Odda heading to Tromso, driving across the luscious natural beauty that was Norway, and camping out nights.

Logan spent hours with Leon. Without choice, really, there was no distance when they lived in a motorhome for weeks.

They were lucky they had two motorhomes, dividing their party evenly. When they stopped to camp, their group attracted enough attention from other campers. They turned into a base for evening activities, from barbecues to parties planned by Anselm or Paul. On the road, Leon took enough pictures to publish a photo journal.

Logan saw passion in Leon’s photography, yet another part of Leon that he found beautiful.

“You could start a photography career,” Logan suggested, the evening before they crossed into Sweden.

He watched Leon set up a tripod for the evening, the camera overlooking a lake at their camp.

“Would it be something you wanted?” Logan asked, curious.

Leon finished setting his camera before he spoke.

“I would love a photography career,” Leon said, with a sure nod. “But then, I doubt anyone would be comfortable hiring me to do their photoshoots.”

“You’d be surprised at what you can manage with a front man,” Logan said.

Leon walked up to him and wrapped his arms around Logan’s waist, pressing close. It took Logan’s breath away each time Leon leaned close to him this way. Bringing his arms around Leon, Logan held him after adjusting the hat on Leon’s head.

Leon buried his face into Logan’s shoulder and took in a deep breath.

“If it were up to me, I’d live this wild life forever taking photographs for a living,” Leon said. “Would you stay with me if I asked you to, Logan?”

Logan held Leon tighter.

“I would stay with you.”

“Yet, you’re only saying that because you know it’s a wish. We don’t really have that choice, do we?”

Logan closed his eyes resting his cheek on Leon’s head. He tried not to think of the future. He was already breaking so many personal rules by getting this close to Leon.

“I really would stay with you, Leon.”

Leon nodded and held on for the next few minutes until the door on their motorhome opened behind them. Riku and David came running out each holding burning sparklers. The sun was fading in the horizon, leaving only the lights they had set up for their camp. They were alone this time, no one joining them at this camping location.

Leon moved out of Logan’s arms and took three sparklers from Riku.

Logan would ask where Riku had unearthed a whole box of the sparklers but it was useless. Riku was an endless list of surprises. Logan shook his head as they started lighting the sparklers and running along the lake like crazy men, laughing loud as they made shapes with the lights.

“They are still kids,” Petr said, coming to stand next to Logan.

“And you’re not?” Logan asked, amused.

“Certainly not, why would you wonder about this?” Petr asked, sitting down on one of the camping chairs near them.

Petr bent over the gas heater they had sitting in the middle of the rough circle they had made with camping chairs.

“Leon worries about you and Riku,” Logan said, folding his arms against his chest. He looked up to make sure that Leon and Riku were far enough. “You and Genevieve—”

“This matter is not easy to solve,” Petr said, his accent growing thick. “I’ve spent the better part of this month trying to find a solution. I can’t find one.”

“What kind of hold does she have on you?” Logan asked, curious. “If you need money, are you sure you can’t get help from everyone here?”

Petr chuckled and waved for Logan to sit down next to him when he finished lighting the heater. Logan obliged him, happy to watch Leon, Riku and David run around by the lake.

“It’s not that easy,” Petr said, taking a sparkler stick from the table where Riku had left the packet. “My family needs an alliance with Genevieve’s Dad. They own patent rights we need for a project. Genevieve’s Dad thinks I make a great boyfriend for his daughter, so I need to find a way to change his thinking.”

“That’s so old fashioned,” Logan mused.

“You would say that,” Petr said, his tone wistful. “It’s because you’re free to make your choices. Our families bred the six of us to think about family prosperity first. We can’t escape it. We can’t stop ourselves. Riku knows the stakes in our relationship.”

“I’m sure you can stop these old-fashioned ideas,” Logan said, with a short grin.

“We can try but most times it fails, Logan. Don’t lie to yourself,” Petr said, looking at Logan with a steady gaze, the weight in his words enough to stop Logan’s grin. “Don’t forget this one fact for a second. We’re all committed to our families in some way.”

Petr nodded to where Leon stood with David lighting another sparkle. Anselm and Paul came out of their motorhome to join in the fun. They were teasing each other and laughing when the sparklers would not light.

“It’s no secret that Leon’s got it the worst of all us. He likes to play and act like his responsibilities don’t exist, but he never forgets. This trip…this is a temporary escape,” Petr said.

“Petr, I have to tell you, you make it hard to hang out with you.”

Petr chuckled and poked Logan’s left arm with the unlighted sparkler he held.

“Don’t you know it’s good to have your feet on the ground at all times?” Petr asked, his tone teasing, but he meant every word. His gaze found Riku like a magnet finds it’s opposite. “This way you’ll know exactly where you’re headed.”

“And where is that?” Logan asked, remembering Leon’s reaction to Petr treating Riku so badly.

“We’ll have to see,” Petr said. “I’m not ever giving Riku up.”

Logan nodded, and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees.

“Petr, if that’s how you feel then stop hurting him. Nothing excuses you treating him like that,” Logan said. “Pain is a hard pill to take. Stop force-feeding it to him. He takes it because he loves you but if you do it enough times, you’ll break him.”

Petr played with the sparkler for a minute, then two.

“You and Leon are the same.”

Logan smiled, his gaze seeking Leon by the beach. It was getting darker. Leon pulled the scarf around his neck higher to cover his chin, and zipped up his jacket. Leon hated the cold; still he endured in the name of finding the aurora borealis. Logan’s smile widened when Leon pulled the hood of his jacket over his head. His handsome face now framed by white faux fur.

“Oh, Logan, even as you worry about me, I think you’re the one walking a rougher road. You might need to join the club.”

Logan stood up, aware that his feelings for Leon left him vulnerable. They had not done much more than spend time together, but he wanted more. He could feel it in Leon too, that need for a deeper connection. They were coasting on the edge and he felt eager to jump into the depths of full on commitment. It scared him.

Logan checked the heater too, making sure it was working. He needed to get Leon back here to get warm.

“What club?” Logan asked, hoping to distract Petr from his line of questioning.

“This one,” Petr said. “Otherwise, how will you manage to stay close to him?”

Logan frowned, confused.

Petr gave him a small mysterious smile.

“We’ll wait until Seville. If you two are…more,” Petr shrugged. “We can talk then.”

“You’re full of mysteries, Petr.”

“The very best kind,” Petr answered.

Logan left Petr brooding by the heater.

When he reached Leon, Logan took Leon’s cold hands and slipped them into his own coat pockets. Leon chuckled and pressed closer.

“Should we make hot chocolate?” Leon asked. “It’s going to be a cold one tonight. I’m determined to stay here until I get epic shots of the Northern Lights.”

“I figured as much,” Logan murmured into Leon’s ear. “I’ll make the hot chocolate, if you promise to stay by the heater for a while, as you wait.”

“Let’s get the hot chocolate together.”

Leon pulled his hands out of Logan’s pockets and turned to his friends.

“Guys, we’re going to get hot chocolate,” Leon said in general. “Will you get the second heater, Riku?”

“Sure,” Riku hurried off to the second motorhome and Leon followed Logan.

Inside their motorhome, Logan worked on the hot chocolate as Leon collected clothes hanging on chairs and the couch.

“We need to do laundry before we leave tomorrow. I don’t know how we get through clean clothes so quickly.”

“Some of those look clean.”

The motorhome filled with the sound of Logan whisking cocoa powder into hot water.

Leon worked on placing most of the clothes on the couch and chairs, clean or not, into a laundry basket. He moved to the sink and cleaned out the dishes from lunch.

“Almost done, will you pass me the flasks?” Logan asked.

Leon got two flasks from the cupboard above the sink and handed them to Logan. He wiped the sink down and threw the wet dishcloth in the laundry basket. He turned to find Logan holding out a cup of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream for him.

Leon smiled and held Logan’s wrist steady, leaning down to sip the hot liquid. The creamy, smooth taste of hot chocolate filled his mouth, delicious, spreading warmth through him.

“You make the best hot chocolate,” Leon said, taking the cup from Logan on the second sip. “I’ll get addicted at this rate.”

Logan chuckled and swiped his thumb over Leon’s upper lip, to remove the moustache of whipped cream. Leon watched Logan lick the whipped cream off his thumb. Logan smiled at the flash of desire in gray eyes, before he moved around Leon to get cups for the gang outside.

Leon cleared his throat and moved to lean on the wall by the sink as Logan got seven biodegradable ripple cups from the cupboard above the sink. The cups were Anselm’s initiative since none of them liked washing dishes too much.

“You carry the cups, I’ll take the flasks,” Logan said, coming to stand before Leon.

“Have some,” Leon held out his cup to Logan.

Logan copied him, holding Leon’s wrist as he sipped from the cup.

“It’s good,” Logan said, nodding, urging the cup to Leon. “Not as good as my mom’s but it will do.”

“If she makes it better than this, she’s a magician. I’d love to meet your mom,” Leon said, surprising Logan.

Leon looked up from the hot chocolate they were now sharing.

“She sounds interesting,” Leon said, when he noticed Logan’s raised brow.

Logan smiled.

“I’m sure she’d love to meet you too.”

Leon stared at him.

“Really?”

Logan drank the last of the hot chocolate and took the cup from Leon.

“Really,” Logan said, rinsing out the cup and placing it on the dry rack.

Gabriella would be beside herself with delight if she were to meet Leon.

Logan did not miss the pleased smile on Leon’s lips as he took the ripple cups and headed outside.

The northern lights did not disappoint Leon that night. One moment, it was dark skies, and the next, as though a light switch came on, the spark of green appeared in the night. The lights were so strong: shining, glowing, and dancing in the skies. Leon’s camera worked without stop, set in a timer to capture the lights in the sky.

Logan stood beside Leon staring up at the spectacular display. He doubted he would have ever seen such a magnificent sight if it weren’t for Leon. Turning to his right, he found Leon watching him.

Leon took a step toward him and then stopped doubt in his gaze. Logan made the choice. Reaching for Leon’s jacket lapels, he pulled him closer and pressed his lips to surprised soft ones. They kissed under the splashing green colors dancing in the sky. Their sweet, maddening kiss tangled them in an irrevocable web.

***

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