New York City – May 4th, 2012
“I’m glad we’re hanging out again,” Nick said, smiling at Audrey.
After he showed up at the diner to make sure things weren’t weird between the two of them, they sat and talked for a while at their usual table. It felt good to not have any weirdness between them. It felt like they were back to normal.
“So, since you’re like… a fan…” Nick said, looking up at her through his long eyelashes.
Audrey’s cheeks immediately burned with blush from his words. She hoped he wasn’t all of a sudden going to get skeptical about her intentions. Because honestly, she had no intentions. Her intentions in the beginning were to befriend these boys and she already successfully did that. So she suppose, her intentions were to be a friend to them as well.
“I was wondering if maybe… I don’t know… you could come over and listen to some of the stuff we’ve been working on for the new album,” Nick said with a shrug.
Audrey’s heart immediately began beating rapidly in her chest as her cheeks burned so hot, she thought they might spontaneously combust. Listen to new Jonas music? Dear god. The fangirl inside of her erupted into a fit of “asdfghjkl”, as the calm, cool and collected Audrey on the outside nodded her head casually, taking Nick up on his proposition.
“Cool,” Nick said, smirking at her.
“Cool,” she breathed out casually.
“Do you want to go now?” He asked.
“Sure. Yeah,” Audrey said, watching him get up from the table.
Audrey pulled herself out of the chair as Nick walked up to the front counter and started talking with George. As soon as she picked up her bag off the ground and moved toward Nick, he was already headed back toward her to go out the door.
“I need to pay my bill,” she told Nick as he put his hand on the small of her back to lead her out.
“It’s already taken care of,” Nick said.
“But, Nick…” Audrey said, turning back to see George give her a wink.
“It’s no big deal, Aud,” Nick said as they made their way out the door.
“You don’t always have to pay,” she told him.
“I want to,” he said.
“I have money, you know,” she told him.
“I never said you didn’t,” he chuckled as they walked down the sidewalk in the direction of his apartment.
When we got back to his place, Elvis greeted them at the door.
“Hi, baby. Hi, baby. I missed you,” Audrey said to the dog, petting his head.
“He missed you too,” Nick chuckled as he moved deeper into the apartment.
“Do you want anything to drink? I have… water,” Nick said, opening his refrigerator.
“I’m good,” Audrey laughed as she walked toward him, leaning against his kitchen countertop.
“So… want to listen… to the music?” Nick asked. Audrey laughed out loud at his awkwardness.
“Yes, Nick. I would love to listen to the music,” she told him.
Her stomach was knotted up and she wasn’t entirely sure what her emotions might do once she actually heard the music, but she was pumped.
“So… I mean, it’s just rough right now, but… I don’t know,” he said, sitting down in his chair as he logged onto his computer.
“I am sure it’s perfectly fine, Nick,” Audrey told him as she sat down on the couch just waiting, waiting.
“Okay, here’s a rough cut,” Nick said, looking back at her before he pushed play.
What she heard, was like perfection in musical form. But, she might have been a little biased. She really hadn’t expected anything less from them. And when she felt the overwhelming feelings of pride start to choke her up, she pulled her hands up to her face to hide her emotions.
“What did you think?” Nick asked after the song stopped.
Audrey shook her head with her hands still over her face. Their voices and their ability to create such amazing music was so overwhelming.
“Audrey?” Nick chuckled nervously.
“I can’t…” She said through her hands.
“You can’t, what?” He asked.
“God, Nick,” she exclaimed as she pulled her hands away from her face, looking over at him.
He gave her an awkward smile, looking confused.
“You have literally exceeded my expectations,” she told him. He immediately chuckled at her enthusiasm.
“I just… I cannot deal with you and your flawlessness,” she told him. He chuckled even more, shaking his head at her.
“If the rest of the record is anything like that, you’re golden,” she told him.
“Thanks,” he said as she saw a hint of a blush creep up his cheeks.
Audrey’s vision cut to the doorway, watching as Joe casually walked in texting on his phone.
“Hey,” he said.
“Hey,” Nick said, turning back toward the computer.
“Hi,” Audrey said quietly, feeling the ache for him in the pit of her stomach.
Joe looked up quickly, startled to see her sitting on the couch, like he hadn’t noticed her in the first place.
“Audrey, hey,” he said, smiling wide.
“Hi, Joe,” she said, smiling bashfully.
“What’s going on?” He asked, looking between the two of them.
“I just had Audrey listen to the song we’ve been working on,” Nick told Joe.
“Oh. Did you like it?” Joe asked her.
“Of course I liked it,” she told him honestly.
“She cried,” Nick told him.
“NICK!” Audrey laughed.
“What? You cried. I saw you,” he laughed.
“I thought we were friends, dude. Why would just put my business out there like that?” Audrey joked.
“My bad,” he shrugged, looking at her over his shoulder.
Joe chuckled, looking between the two of them. When Nick went back to messing around on the computer, Joe tucked his phone in his pocket and sat down next to Audrey on the couch.
“How’ve you been?” He asked in a hushed voice.
“Good. How are you?” Audrey asked, feeling the butterflies flapping around in her stomach for this boy.
“Good. I uh… I tried to call you,” he told her.
“Yeah. I know. I’m sorry,” she said, feeling bad that she ignored his calls.
“Can we uh… you want to go somewhere so we can talk?” Joe asked her.
Audrey nervously looked over at Nick, who was already busy with mixing some music on the computer. She felt bad, because she came there with Nick. But on the other hand, she really wanted to go talk to Joe.
“Uh, sure,” she told him.
“Come on,” he said, quickly getting up off the couch, grabbing her hand to help her up.
“We’ll be right back,” Joe told Nick as they moved toward the doorway of the room.
“Sure,” Nick said, not even bothering with looking in their direction.
Audrey followed Joe to the room he occupied when staying with Nick and watched as he closed the door behind them. As soon as her eyes focused on the bed, visions of the two of them getting it on in it came floating back to her brain. Oh, good lord.
“Come here,” he said, grabbing her hand as he led her to the bed. The two of them sat down on the edge of it and Audrey felt awkward and extremely turned on all at the same time.
Almost as soon as they sat down, Joe’s lips were pressed against hers and everything inside of her was screaming for him. Her hand came up to touch his face as his fingers weaved into her hair. She didn’t think he knew what kind of effect he had on her, because if he did he’d know that blindsiding her like that could very well kill her. But in the same instance, his kisses are what revived her.
After a few moments, Joe slowed down the kiss, leaving a few perfect pecks on her lips before he pulled back.
“Sorry… I just… I’ve been wanting to do that for a while. I couldn’t resist,” he said, smirking bashfully at her.
“It’s okay,” she said, smiling back at him, feeling the sweet burning on her lips from his stubble.
“Can I be perfectly honest with you?” He asked.
“Please,” she nodded, feeling something close to elation to be the one girl in the world that Joe’s eyes were fixated on.
“The first time I saw you…” He said, looking deeply into her eyes. An intense stare that could tear her apart.
“…I just knew I had to have you,” he told her.
Oh, god. He was determined to kill her. Audrey swallowed hard, trying to process his words, trying hard not to throw up from them.
“You are so beautiful, Audrey. And you’re so smart and you’re so funny. I just… it was instant for me. And I…” He trailed off, letting out a laugh, dropping his vision down to his hands as she stayed silent, slowly dying inside.
“I just remember thinking how I hoped Nick didn’t have claim on you,” he said, looking back up into her eyes with a sideways grin on his face.
“We’re just friends,” Audrey choked out, feeling like she needed to clarify it again for some reason.
“I know,” he said, letting out a little chuckle.
She didn’t know what to do or what to say. There was so much that could have been said on her part, but she couldn’t find the words. Her mind was mush.
“I guess what I am really just trying to say is…” Joe said, licking his lips as she focused on his mouth.
“I’m kind of wondering if maybe you’d want to, I don’t know… go out with me,” he said with a shrug, trying to act casual, but she could see his bashfulness shining through.
Audrey’s eyebrows heightened with his words. Did he just… did he… he just…
“Like… on a date?” She choked out.
“Well, yeah… and you know… to be… you know… exclusive with each other,” he said with a shrug.
Holy fucking hell. Joe Jonas was asking her to be his girlfriend.
“You want to be exclusive?” Audrey asked.
“Yeah. I mean, I like you and you like me. I mean… you know. It makes sense,” he said. Audrey took a shaky breath in, trying to feed her brain oxygen, before letting it out smoothly.
“Well, with logic like that…” She said, smirking at him and he smiled back.
“Exclusive sounds… I don’t know… perfect,” Audrey said, smiling widely at him.
Joe’s smile was bigger than she’d ever seen it in her life and her whole entire being thrived on it. If she could eat, breathe, and sleep this boy, she would.
“God, Audrey,” he sighed, leaning in to connect their lips again.
In an instant, Joe was able to make her whole world explode.
Manhattan – August 1st, 2013
“Hi, Audrey. It’s so nice to meet you,” she was greeted with a smiling face by Joe’s drug therapist, Dr. Woulfe.
“It’s nice to finally meet you too,” she smiled back at her.
“Please, have a seat,” she offered, and Audrey felt Joe’s hand on the small of her back, guiding her toward the sofa.
It had been nearly three weeks since Joe started his drug therapy and he seemed to be doing really well. He and his family opted to have him do that rather than straight-up rehab to be able to try and save face with the media. Rehab had become so taboo these days, it was almost immediately thought of in the worst contexts. So to keep away the media shit-storm, Joe saw his therapist three times a week. Therapy was as natural as breathing in the celebrity bubble. No one would think anything of it.
This was the first time Audrey was invited to a session and Joe warned her that there was a lot they needed to talk about. She wasn’t exactly scared, but a part of her was fearful of what exactly Joe might reveal to her during the session.
“Joe has asked you here because he wants to be open and honest with you about not only his struggles, but about his recovery as well,” Dr. Woulfe began.
“Okay,” Audrey nodded her head, looking over at Joe, who was biting his lip, staring down at the carpet.
She placed her hand on his knee and he looked up into her eyes, giving her a small smile.
“Would you like to begin, Joe?” The doctor asked him. Audrey watched as Joe’s eyes met the Doctor’s and he nodded his head.
“Just be open and honest,” Dr. Woulfe told him.
Joe’s head turned toward Audrey’s as their eyes met. She could see his inner struggle just by looking at him.
“It’s okay,” Audrey breathed reassuringly.
“I uh… I-I don’t even know where to begin,” Joe said, running his hand through his hair.
“Start at the beginning, Joe,” the doctor urged.
He took a deep breath in and let it out forcefully, before he ran his fingers through his hair again.
“Audrey… I-I… I hadn’t even met you yet. I was already messed up,” he started. Her eyebrows furrowed slightly in confusion.
“What do you mean?” She asked.
“I mean, I was high the first night we met,” he confessed.
Audrey’s eyebrows heightened as her jaw dropped open. She could hear the pounding of her heart through everything, even the jumbled mess her thoughts had become. He was high when they first met?
“Oh my god, Joe,” she breathed.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” he said, dropping his head, shaking it lightly.
“I-I had no idea… I had no idea it was… that it was going on that long,” Audrey stammered, feeling blindsided by his words.
How the hell didn’t she see the signs for a whole year? How did he hide it so well?
“I uh… I only tried it a couple of times before. Once when I was pretty young and… and then Wilmer… he… he had some and I… I just remember how good I felt when I did it the first time. So I did it a couple of times with him. And… and right before I did that DJ gig… the night I met you… I was feeling pretty nervous and Wil gave me a tiny bag of the stuff, so I-I did some before the gig to just… I don’t know… liven things up, I guess. And then I met you and I… I swear, my world felt brighter and it wasn’t the drugs. It was you. So… so for a long time I didn’t do it. For like, six months, I swear…” He began explaining as Audrey sat there silently, taking all his words in.
He shook his head a little before he looked back up at her.
“And then… then I was with Wil again and he had some and I figured, why the hell not? I never got addicted to it before. I could handle it. But that time was different. I don’t know. My body, my blood itched for it and I wanted it again and again and again. And I couldn’t stop myself. And for almost a year…” Joe choked out as his emotions started getting the better of him.
“…almost a year I was on it until you found it in my apartment, Audrey,” Joe confessed.
“Oh my god,” she breathed.
“I promised myself it wouldn’t get out of hand though. And it really didn’t until just before you found it. I was spiraling… and… and then you… you started confronting me about it and I couldn’t… I just couldn’t… god… I swear, Audrey. I never meant to hurt you. I said so many things I wish I could take back,” he told her as she watched the look on his face turn to anguish.
Audrey had a lump in her throat that was nearly choking her, nearly cutting off her airway as his words brought her to an emotional brink.
“You deserved so much better than what I gave you,” he said sadly.
“What—” She choked out, her voice cracking, causing her to clear it before she spoke again.
“What made you go back to it? After six months without it… what made you go back?” Audrey asked, almost afraid to know the truth.
“It was after… uh, it was when you and I were fighting… because of…” He trailed off.
Audrey immediately knew exactly what time he was referring to and it tore at her heart strings as the memories and feeling she felt during that time got dredged up once again.
New York City – November 20th, 2012
“Audrey, hey,” Joe said cheerfully as he answered her phone call on the second ring.
“Hi,” she said quietly as the sick feeling in her stomach festered inside of her.
“How are you? I miss you,” he told her.
“I uh…” Audrey said, unable to find the words she needed to say.
“You didn’t call last night. I was getting kind of worried,” he told her.
It was true. She didn’t call, but it was because she fell asleep early. That was before she saw what she saw, causing the sickness in her stomach.
“Joe…” Audrey breathed out uneasily.
“What is it, babe?” He asked.
“Are you… are you cheating on me?” She blurted out, figuring it would be best to be upfront.
“What?” He choked out.
“Are you seeing other girls, Joe?” Audrey asked more demanding.
“Audrey, no. No way,” he said defensively.
“Okay, then please tell me who this brunette is that you were spotted with two nights ago,” she choked out.
“Audrey…” Joe sighed.
“I never put much faith into what the paparazzi printed about you because it was always so ridiculous, Joe. But I can’t help but draw conclusions after seeing you with this girl,” she said, feeling like she might breakdown at any moment, entirely fearful of what he was about to say or admit to.
Imagine her surprise when she opened her email to find pictures of her boyfriend dancing all too closely with another woman at a club. It wasn’t until she saw the picture of the two of them leaving together that she began to really worry. She didn’t want to believe it, but the proof was staring her right in the face.
“Audrey, we’re just friends,” he sighed.
“So, you leaving the club with her… what? Concluded in you going back to your place to play a heated game of scrabble? Or what Joe?” Audrey asked sarcastically, feeling the anger boiling up in her body.
“We didn’t even go back to my place, Audrey,” he said, raising his voice on the other end of the line.
“What the hell did you do?” She asked.
“We met up with Wilmer and some of the guys at another club. That’s it,” Joe said.
“So you and this girl… you just… you went to some other club?” Audrey asked.
“Yes! I swear,” Joe told her.
“God damn it, Joe,” Audrey growled out lightly.
“Audrey, I swear!” Joe pressed.
“You… you do this and… and you make me look like a fool, Joe. You make me look like a fucking idiot,” Audrey said as her tears began to fall.
“Audrey…” He sighed.
“I’m sitting here on the other side of the country looking like an idiot while you’re out drinking and dancing with other women at clubs. I’m your girlfriend, Joe. YOU HAVE A GIRLFRIEND,” Audrey said, getting angry with him.
“Audrey, I’m sorry,” he breathed.
“Did you ever stop to think how I’d feel when the paparazzi print pictures of random girls hanging all over you? How would you feel?” She asked as the tears slid helplessly down her cheeks.
“Aud, I’m sorry,” he said again.
“I just… I don’t… God, Joe. I just… this distance… it’s too hard,” she cried.
“Audrey, please. I’m so sorry. Just, please. It’s not going to happen again. I promise,” Joe begged.
“We’ve barely seen each other in the past two months, Joe. How is this going to work?” She asked, feeling the emotions breaking her down.
“Audrey, please. I’ll make it up to you. I’ll fly out for Thanksgiving. I’ll stay for a month if I have to. As long as it takes,” he told her.
“And what about after that? How’s it going to work, Joe?” She asked.
“Please don’t give up on us, Aud. Please. We’ve made it this far. I promise I’ll be better,” he pleaded.
“I just… I need some time to think, Joe,” she told him.
“Gahh, Audrey,” he breathed.
“Just… I need some time,” she told him. His end of the line was silent and Audrey realized if she was going to make a clean break, right then was the time.
“I’ve got to go, Joe,” she told him.
“Audrey…” He breathed.
Audrey ended the phone call before he had a chance to talk her out of it. They spent Thanksgiving apart that year, on separate sides of the country. It was the first real crack in their relationship. Just enough to let the pain settle in and begin building walls between them.