The whole day goes by unbearably slowly. In the past, I would be glad when Logan wasn't in school. But now I constantly throw glances at his empty desk. I can't even understand what I'm thinking. I just feel sad. Did he get sick or what?

After school, instead of going home, my feet carry me to Logan's house. I stand in front of it, as if hoping for something. And this longing... it's like missing someone. But I've never missed anyone. I look at the windows of the house, I remember where Logan's room is, but the windows are dark.

I can come up with a simple excuse, like "I brought your homework", for example, and see him. But I restrain myself. I have to keep these feelings under control, because otherwise... Hell, I have no idea what will happen then! An ordinary teenage unrequited love? Or will I climb the walls from longing? Or will the shining burn me to ashes?

Be careful what you wish for...

I force myself to turn around and walk away without looking back. But at home, things doesn't get any easier for me. I barely eat at dinner. I can't concentrate on tasks. I can't distract myself with a video game. And in the end, I go to bed to lie awake for hours.

Exhausted from the day before, I trudge to school with one hope... And when I enter the classroom, my eyes first dart to Logan's desk.

The relief and joy I feel when I see him sitting surrounded by his friends is hard to describe. But the corners of my mouth involuntarily tugged upward as Logan looked at me. I quickly lower my head and sit down in my seat, I'd swear Logan's lips twitched for a second. But I don't turn around. One illusion more, one illusion less. What's the difference?

The only significant difference is how I feel today compared to yesterday. Several times I purposely walk past Logan close enough to feel warm waves all over my body. These waves take away the fatigue of a sleepless night, and I sit through the classes easily. No... not like that. I don't want the classes to end.

The next day, the first class is PE. We are divided into teams, Logan and I end up in different teams. And I realize how we stand out from the rest. He and I are wearing tight T-shirts with a high neck. Yeah, it doesn't look at all like we're trying to hide something...

Among my classmates there are few shining ones. Obviously I can't speak to them about my state. They don't hide their shining. But their shining is not very bright, just like mine when Logan isn't around. They have nothing to worry about. Therefore, they go to the locker room with everyone without any problems, and now they are wearing regular T-shirts, through which the shining can be seen if you look closely.

While I was thinking about all this, a player from Logan's team took me down. I fall to the floor, hitting my hip and shoulder hard. Grunting, I sit up and see an outstretched hand in front of me... It's Logan's hand... I imagine this picture from the side. Two guys, clad in dark T-shirts, in the middle of the game, stretch out their hands to each other. Everything is clear here! Does he even realize what he's doing?

I defiantly push his hand away and get up, running away from Logan.

And now I feel like I did something wrong...

Also I missed the opportunity to touch him.

No, stop! I shouldn't think like that. Remember how he treated you. How many times he hit you with this same hand! Nothing has changed! He stopped doing it just because of the shining! It's all fake.

I take a deep breath and exhale. And finally the bell rings. I run into the locker room first, let Logan come up with an excuse to be outside. When I take off my T-shirt, I see that the shining on my chest has become brighter. I quickly put my T-shirt back on and rush out into the hallway, nearly knocking Logan off his feet. Having run to the second floor, I get into the bathroom, into the stall and close the door.

Finally, I can exhale, but I am far from calm. I take off my T-shirt again. The distance between me and Logan is greater now. But... the shining is brighter than usual.

Shit!

I put my T-shirt back on and start thinking frantically. Can I transfer to another school? Home school? Or maybe I need to get that pills I heard of, the ones that suppress shining... I'm not sure they will work, but it's worth a shot.

I take out my phone and start looking for information again.

I do not notice how time flies, and only the bell makes me put my phone away and go to class. I take my seat without looking at Logan. Anxiety and a strange lightness of shining fight in me, creating a wild mixture of sensations. I don't listen to the teacher. I think about fragments of what I managed to read at the recess. There were several references to the fact that if two shining ones separate, refuse to be together, they can die. And several people wrote that the shining went away after they... slept with their "shining" partner...

Sleep with Logan or die?..

Great choice!

Why am I doing this alone?

This is what I thought on my way home. Shining is our problem. And again, it's Logan's reputation is at stake not mine. Why am I the only one worried sick? What would Logan's friends say if they knew about us? Doesn't Logan care?

I turn around and head to the Logan's house. Without a second thought I knock on the door. I don't know if Logan's at home. A man of about fifty, with bald patches and red eyes, opens the door. He reeks of alcohol.

"Hello, mister.. um.. Douglas. I'm Logan's classmate."

Mr. Douglas sizes me up with a displeased look, then waves back, inviting me in apparently. I go to Logan's room and knock. He does not respond. I stand confused. And then I feel my heart start to shine brighter and stronger. Logan is very close. Right behind the door.

"It's me," I say, although it's not necessary. He knows it. The door opens and I walk in, closing the door behind me. Logan lies down on the bed, headphones next to him.

"What do you want?" He asks.

"We need to talk." I say firmly, but my confidence, if I had it at all, is fading by the minute.

"About what?" Logan glances at me.

I unzip my jacket and point to my glowing chest. He smirks and shrugs as if it doesn't concern him, but I can see his shining has intensified too.

"So it's not a problem for you?" I try to clarify. "You do see it's getting stronger and more visible by the day, right? And... and soon no jacket can hide it. Because your neck is red. It's like you've swallowed a fucking lantern!"

Logan grins, and I feel even more irritated.

"What do you want?" He asks with a shadow of a smile on his lips.

Without an invitation I sit on the bed beside Logan and take my phone out.

I show him the screen with an article about the pills.

"They say the pills can make shining disappear."

"Can or will?"

"What?"

"For this price, they better be good." Logan sits up. His closeness hits me with a strong warm wave, I almost fall down. I say to myself: "Get up! Get away!" But my legs are so relaxed, I can't move.

Panic trickles down my spine but it's muffled almost completely by shining. Logan is still too. He breathes deep and calm.

My tongue is heavy but my thoughts are light. They are so light Logan's breath blows them away. And we are sitting in silence, breathing each other's presence. On the edge of my mind I still try to fight it, to resist it. But all I want is to lie down right next to Logan. And as if hearing my thoughts, Logan puts the headphones away from the pillow, as if he gives a place for my head.

I have no strength to resist it. But I have one thing.

I try to focus and remember our last fight. The one before the shining. I try to remember Logan's face, his vicious smile, the way he enjoyed hurting me over and over again.

These thoughts are distant, but shining can't make them disappear. I try to make myself angry but instead of that I feel sad. Near to tears sad. The shining becomes heavy in my chest.

"What the hell are you doing?" asks Logan behind my back. I feel I can control my body again. So I get up quickly and take two steps away from Logan's bed. His face is gloomy.

"We... I need to get rid of it. I don't want in any way be connected to you." I say. Words come out difficult.

"Pfft... like I care." Says Logan and turns his face away, looking at the ceiling. Without saying goodbye I leave Logan's room and head to the exit.

What was I hoping for?

I thought we were in the same boat. Yeah, Logan is a very unlikely part of "we" in my case, but still I can't choose my fellow sufferer.

When I come home, I take off my clothes and stand before the mirror in the bathroom. Warm light pours out of my chest. I think it spreads, no? I look at my neck and shoulders. They seem a bit glow-ish to me or maybe it's only a reflection.

Shit, I don't know.

A lot of people say that pills against shining is a scam. I don't have money, I can't ask my parents for help and Logan... is being himself. Nothing's new. I need to manage on my own.

Well, at least Logan can't hurt me. It doesn't cheer me up much. I toss and turn all night. And in the morning I trudge to school. I avoid to look at Logan and pray for time to go faster.

"Douglas! Stop talking!" Mrs. Kerry snaps and I even flinch fighting the urge to turn and look at Logan. "Get up."

I still don't look back. But by the clatter I understand that Logan stood up.

"Change places with Mike." Mrs. Kerry continues.

Mike... Mike is sitting behind me... oh...damn...

And there it comes again - like a sweet whisper. Warm light and happiness. I indulge myself in a moment of pleasure.

Mrs. Kerry gives Logan a stern look and continues the lecture. I just feel all my troubles melt. Why do I even resist it? Maybe this is how world works now and it's easier for everyone?

At the recess I go to my usual place behind bleachers to have my lunch and read about shining again. But when I get there I decide that I need a distraction. All I've been thinking lately is shining only. So I open an unfinished book and try to dive into the story.

I've only read two pages when I felt the warmth in my chest grew. I look around. Logan must be near. Our shining is great for hide-and-seek game...
Did he decide to risk kissing someone again?

But when I spot him, I see that he is alone. Logan looks around, goes by his senses and finds me easily. At first he looks down and says nothing, then sits next to me. He doesn't start a conversation and neither do I. I think he just came to feel the shining... The feeling is pretty addictive if you come to think of it.

"Do you like... sports?" Logan asks suddenly.

"What?"

"Sports." He repeats and looks at me. I can't find words to answer so just look at him incredulously.

"I... what?!"

"You know... basketball, baseball..." Logan starts to list.

"I know what "sports" means! I cut him off. "Why the hell do you wanna know?"

Logan shrugs.

"I just thought I should know..."

"No, you shouldn't. You really shouldn't."

We lapse into silence for a long moment.

"Do you still want to try that pills?" Logan asks.

This time I shrug.

"I don't have any other ideas." I say and in the next second a memory pops up in my mind - I've read that some people lost their shining after having sex with their partner. But I don't say it of course!

Logan purses his lips as if he thinks it through. His phone's buzzing, he looks at it and gets up reluctantly.

"Okay. Then... later." Logan says and leaves.

I look as he walks away. Part of me is sad. As I said the feeling is addictive. But part of me is utterly surprised that we actually could have a conversation. That Logan is a... he is a person. Like kinda normal person. I mean, I would never have thought that he could do to me what he did. And now I understand even less what did I do to deserve such cruelty?