Dallas – November 24th, 2014
“Hey, Nick,” Audrey said as she walked into the den at their parent’s house.
“Hey, Aud,” he said, giving her a small smile as she sat down next to him on the couch.
They sat in complete silence for a few moments, and she could feel the sadness radiating off of him. Something was up and she knew it. They’d been in Dallas for a few days for the Thanksgiving holiday and Nick wasn’t himself at all.
“Do you want to talk about it?” She asked him.
“Talk about what?” He asked.
“Whatever it is that’s making you so sad,” she said, looking over at him.
He let out a large sigh as his shoulders fell slightly.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you like this, Nicky,” she said honestly.
“Kate ended things,” Nick said sadly talking about his girlfriend of six months.
“Oh,” Audrey said sympathetically.
She liked Nick’s girlfriend Kate. She was a great girl and perfect for Nick in every way. It was upsetting to hear that things weren’t working anymore.
“Did she say why?” She asked cautiously.
“I don’t know… just that she’d been feeling distant lately and that we weren’t connecting like we used to,” he shrugged sadly.
“I’m sorry, Nick,” she said, placing her hand on his shoulder.
“I’ll be fine,” he said with unwavering sadness in his tone that made Audrey think that he wasn’t going to be fine.
“You know, you don’t have to put up a front for me, Nick. I am your best friend. You don’t have to always shrug things off. If it hurts, let it hurt. If you want to cry, then cry. If you want to scream, then scream,” she told him, wanting more than anything to be an outlet for him. She wanted to always be there for him for whatever he needed.
He looked up into her eyes with so much admiration and love, it was almost too much – but she couldn’t look away, not when he was so vulnerable. It didn’t take long before Nick broke the look, like he looked too long. Audrey watched his eye drop back down and his shoulders slump once again.
“Nick,” she said, grabbing his face in her hands so he’d look into her eyes again, concern in her voice.
“Tell me what’s really wrong,” she urged him, feeling the pain in her heart over whatever he was carrying on his shoulders that was weighing him down.
His eyebrows furrowed slightly before he evened them back out and Audrey knew he was holding something back.
“Tell me,” she pressed.
His face hardened as his eyes flit back and forth between her own. There was a split second of questioning in his eyes right before he leaned in, crashing his lips into hers. Confusion and sheer shock paralyzed her in place, letting the kiss go on longer than she should have before she pushed back, away from him.
“Nick,” she gasped, looking at him incredulously.
“God, I’m sorry!” Nick said, jumping to his feet from the couch.
“What… what was that?” Audrey breathed, bringing her fingers up to her lips.
“Oh my god, Audrey. I’m sorry,” he said, pacing the floor back and forth quickly, his fingers gripping into what was left of his curls.
“What is going on with you?” She asked confused, her eyes wide with question.
He stopped in his tracks, looking down at her. He looked like he was having an inner struggle, his eyes darkened and confused.
“Nick…” Audrey breathed.
“I’ve just… I’m sorry, Audrey. I’ve… god,” he stammered.
“Please,” she whispered.
“If I don’t say it now, I probably never will,” he sighed out.
“Say what?” Audrey asked, hoping that whatever it was could shed some light on what just happened.
“I love you, Audrey,” he said quickly.
“What!?” She gasped out, sitting up a little straighter.
“I’m sorry. I know this is so shitty of me. You’re married… to my brother. God, I’m an idiot. But to be honest, I kind of always loved you. I just never really knew it,” he confessed, looking plagued and anxious.
“Nick,” she choked out, staring at him wide-eyed.
“And I don’t want to like, come between you and Joe. I don’t. You two… I know that… that I could never compare… I just… I guess I just wanted you to know. It’s hard bottling everything up,” he said, looking away from her.
“You just got out of a relationship… I understand—” She started, almost feeling robotic when she said it. She was still in so much shock.
“No, but it’s more than just that, Audrey. This was before Kate. This was before—just… never mind. I shouldn’t have… I’m an idiot. Just forget it. I’m sorry,” he said, waving his hand through the air.
“I’m pregnant,” Audrey blurted out.
Nick stopped all movement and stared straight into her eyes.
“You’re…” He started, his mouth dropping open slightly.
“We just found out,” she told him.
“Audrey… God, Audrey. Congratulations,” he said, letting a genuine smile break out on his face.
She quickly stood up from the couch and moved toward him.
“Audrey,” he said, watching her cautiously.
She wrapped her arms around him, pulling him into a tight hug. She felt his arms wrap around her as he hugged her back.
“You’re my best friend, Nick,” she said quietly and she felt his head nod slightly.
“You can’t do that again, okay,” she told him and she felt him nod again.
“I love you so much. You’re my best friend. But that can’t ever happen again, okay,” she said calmly, trying her best to make them both feel okay about the situation.
“I promise, Audrey,” he said quietly and she pulled back to look into his eyes.
“Can we please just stay Nick and Audrey?” She asked quietly.
“Yeah,” he nodded.
“No weirdness. Can I still have my best friend after this?” She asked, giving him a small smile.
“Yeah,” he said again.
She wrapped her arms around him again tightly, hoping like hell he meant it.
New York City – February 18th, 2012
Living in New York as an adult was definitely a lot different than when he was a kid. As an adult he could explore and appreciate aspects of the city he never could under his parent’s supervision. He could find his own favorite spots, he could wander the streets, and admire the bustling city life all around him. And he planned to – ever chance he got.
It was a good day. Nick managed to walk the streets like a ghost, not getting recognized every ten minutes, having to stop and take pictures with strangers. He was never much of a people person. He knew he chose the wrong profession in regards to that. But there would never be a day he regretted it. He was used to sharing his life with millions. It was a sacrifice that was made a long time ago. But today—today was a good day.
He quietly slipped inside a nearby diner hoping to get his hands on some real local cuisine. He didn’t get out enough and he wanted to experience something new. The diner was small – just a quaint little place in the heart of Manhattan. He could feel the homey east coast atmosphere the second he stepped foot inside, especially after seeing the plump Italian man waiting on customers behind the diner counter.
Nick walked straight up and took a seat in front of him, giving him a small smile and nod as he sat down.
“How ya doin’ today?” The man asked him in his strong New York accent as he slid a menu in front of him.
“Fine. Thank you. And yourself?” Nick nodded at him as he immediately opened the menu.
“Fantastic. Just let me know when you’re ready to order,” he told him.
“Alright, thanks,” Nick told him as the man turned to help another customer who was paying their tab.
Nick’s eyes scanned quickly over the menu before having a strong urge to look around the dinner. He turned his head slowly, scanning the scantly filled space. When his eyes connected with a blonde girl who sat in the back corner by the window, it almost startled him. He shamelessly let himself give her a longer look than he would have anyone else, before he looked away. She was quite attractive. But he wasn’t there for a girl. He was trying to get over one and he didn’t need another blurring the lines. He sighed as his eyes met back up with the menu, scanning each page with quiet deliberation.
“You looking for your check, Audrey?” Nick heard the big Italian man ask the person who just walked up next to him.
Nick slowly turned his head to see the blonde girl standing off to the side. He could feel his cheeks heat up immediately. She was gorgeous. She really was.
“Uh… not quite yet,” she said, smiling fondly at the waiter.
“Oh. Well, can I get you anything else?” He asked her.
Nick’s eyes looked back down to the menu, hating that he was eavesdropping on their conversation.
“Uh…Water. I’ll take a glass of water,” she said in quiet contemplation.
“Comin’ right up,” the man smiled at her and set out on his task of completing her order as she slowly slid onto a stool that was just one away from Nick.
“Here you go, doll face,” the man smiled affectionately at her.
“Thanks, Georgie,” the beautiful girl smiled back at him and somehow Nick sat there feeling jealous of a robust diner owner.
“Anytime,” he said just before he headed back toward the kitchen.
“Looks like you’ve got some pull around here,” Nick found himself saying, breaking the silence between the two of them.
“Uh… what?” She asked, turning to look over at him, surprised that he was talking to her.
For a second Nick could have sworn she was about to break out into a whole spiel that ended in ohmygod-Nick-Jonas-I-love-you-so-much-ohmygod. But he was pleasantly surprised when that didn’t happen.
“You must come here a lot,” he elaborated.
“I-I do,” she stammered, letting a small smile graze her lips.
“Any suggestions on what to eat?” Nick asked, the side of his lips tugged up into a smile as he looked at her.
She was incredible. Her flowing blonde hair pooled at her shoulders, her long bangs softly sweeping across the side of her face. Her blue eyes were so bright and inviting, Nick could have easily been pulled in by them alone. But she was the full package. Every inch of her that his eyes explored was just another thing to admire.
“Try our Reuben. You will not be sorry,” Nick heard that familiar New York accent, breaking him out of his thoughts.
Both his and the girl’s attention met back up with the man, who Nick now knew was named George – or Georgie...
“The Reuben, huh?” Nick asked, smiling at him.
“Audrey hates it, but you look like a guy wit’ some taste,” he smirked, shrugging his shoulders.
“Audrey? You’re Audrey?” Nick asked, turning to the girl.
“I’m Audrey,” she said, nodding as she bashfully smiled at him.
“Nick. Nice to meet you,” he smiled back, holding his hand out in introduction.
“Nice to meet you,” Audrey said softly as her cheeks flushed, which was incredibly intriguing.
“Well, I’ll have to take your word for it. I’ll have the Reuben. And I’ll take a diet coke to go with it,” Nick turned back to George, giving him his order.
“Comin’ up,” George nodded, sending Audrey a wink and a nod of his head toward Nick, obviously telling her without words to pay him some attention, which actually made Nick smile because he agreed with him.
“Anything for you, my dear?” George offered her.
“No, no. Georgie. Water’s good,” she chuckled lightly.
“I’ll get you a piece of chocolate cake – on the house,” he told her, causing Nick to chuckle to himself.
“No, George—” Audrey said immediately, shaking her head.
“Uh-uh-uh. No arguing, Audrey,” he tutted, holding his hand up to cut her off.
Audrey’s mouth closed immediately as she looked on at George, almost like he was a father figure to her. It was quite amusing how the two of them interacted with one another.
George sent Audrey a satisfied smile as he headed back to large hole in the wall that led to the kitchen, sliding the piece of paper that he wrote Nick’s order on to the cook.
Nick snickered lightly to himself over what just happened and caught out of the corner of his eye the snapping of Audrey’s head in his direction.
“Shut up,” she said, smirking at him.
“I didn’t say anything,” Nick chuckled, trying to hold back his smile.
The two of them sat at the counter in silence for a few moments, just a seat away from each other. Nick wanted to keep up the conversation, but he didn’t really know what to say that wouldn’t sound super boring. But he knew he had to come up with something.
“So, do you live here? I mean, you must if you’re like a local celebrity in here with George,” Nick smirked at her.
“I grew up about two blocks from here. I’ve been coming in here since I was old enough to see over the counter,” she smiled back at him and Nick could see the love that she had for the diner in her eyes as she spoke.
“Ah,” he said, nodded his head as he watched her.
“What about you? What are you up to in New York?” She asked, casually turning the question back on him.
He didn’t really want to tell her he was in New York because he was on Broadway, because he didn’t want to break the bubble they were in – he didn’t want to have to admit to an otherwise unsuspecting girl that he was Nick Jonas. If she truly didn’t know who he was, he was going to enjoy it.
“I’m here for work. I always like coming back. I grew up pretty close – in New Jersey,” he said, keeping it plain and simple.
“Aw, that’s nice,” she smiled sweetly at him.
Nick’s eyes caught on George, who was strolling over with his sandwich, along with a massive slice of chocolate cake that Audrey didn’t order.
“George, I can’t—” Audrey started to argue.
“Uh-uh-uh,” George said, swiping his finger through the air in warning before he walked away without another word.
“Ohmygod,” Audrey sighed, looking down at the cake in front of her.
“He’s testing you,” Nick chuckled.
“Or he’s trying to fatten me up,” she laughed, sending Nick a goofy look.
“You might as well eat it. I think you might offend him if you don’t,” Nick said, smiling at her.
“Maybe a few bites,” she said, sending him a mischievous smile.
“’Atta girl,” he laughed blithely, enjoying himself with this beautiful normal girl.
It was the first time they met and Nick was instantly attracted to her. She was smart and funny and beautiful beyond belief – and what kind of guy would he be if he didn’t find all of the beauty inside of her.
He remembered dreaming of her that night and hoping to find her again in that same diner two days later when he made his way back. When his eyes caught hers from the doorway as she sat at the same table where he first caught her eye, Nick’s heart swelled in his chest. And it never stopped swelling over the years, but he learned to bury it down to where he almost couldn’t feel it anymore – especially after Joe got his hands on her, after Nick so stupidly put it into his head that he had no feelings for her. It was the biggest lie Nick ever told and it was a lie that would haunt him for the rest of his life as he watched his brother get the life with the girl that he could have had.