Manhattan – August 1st, 2013
“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.
She immediately knew exactly what time he was referring to and it tore at her heart strings as the memories and feelings she felt during that time got dredged up once again.
“When that happened, Audrey – I swear… I swear on my life that nothing happened,” he told her, looking distressed.
“What instance are we referring to? Just so we’re all on board,” Joe’s therapist cut in.
Joe turned to her, looking almost horrified that he would have to say it aloud. Audrey felt the stinging pain in her heart all over again, even though they had long since worked through the issue.
“I’m not able to help if I don’t know what it is we’re talking about,” she coaxed Joe.
He nodded, before his vision dropped down to his hands and he took a deep breath, releasing it raggedly.
“I uh, I… Audrey and I had been living apart – I mean, we always lived separately, but we were… we were literally across the country from each other,” Joe said, looking over at Audrey momentarily, as if he were looking for a revival from her to help in the telling of their bottled up and buried history. But she sat there almost paralyzed as he began to clue the doctor in on the very first crack in their relationship – the first breach of trust.
“Uh, we just… the uh, the communication was lacking back then between us and uh, with… with the paparazzi following me at every turn, it was like a recipe for disaster, I guess,” Joe said as he rubbed at the back of his neck, avoiding eye contact from both Audrey and the therapist.
“What happened next?” The doctor asked.
“I uh, was spotted out at a club with some girls. Well, one girl in particular. And it ended up on the internet. And… and Audrey… she thought I… that we… that I was going behind her back—” Joe continued.
“Were you?” The doctor asked.
“NO. Never. Not in a million years,” Joe said, shaking his head furiously, still avoiding all eye contact. The doctor nodded her head and waited for Joe to continue.
“It was just… it was a big issue. And it led to us being apart for a little while,” Joe continued.
“Like a break-up?” The doctor asked for clarification.
“No, not a break-up. We were just apart for longer than usual. We needed time apart. She needed time from me,” Joe said, sounding heartbroken, which pulled at Audrey’s very core, causing her throat to tighten as she silently choke up.
“It was… it was just really stupid. It was stupid. That whole time in my life was stupid and I regret every second of it,” Joe finished as he subtly clenched and unclenched his hands together in front of him.
From where Audrey sat, she could feel his discomfort – his frayed nerves, because it was exactly how she felt. She’d just been blown out of the water by the bombshell of finding out that Joe had been using for almost a year of their relationship – almost a year of her not knowing who he really was. He fooled her. He fooled his family. He fooled the world. And it seemed like the only person that truly knew all sides of him was Wilmer. And the thought of that made Audrey sick to her stomach.
“Joe—” Audrey choked out, having to clear her throat in order to find her voice again.
Joe’s sad eyes looked over at her, waiting for her to speak.
“There’s something I need to tell you,” she told him, tears welling in her eyes as she thought of the secret she needed to finally share. She held it in for so long. It was eating away at her.
She watched as Joe’s face fell into a look of horror – or the closest thing to it. Audrey’s eyes dropped down to her hands, feeling the weight of how hard it was to face his big brown wondering eyes.
She could have prevented this all. She could have been his savior long before all of this happened.
“Audrey—” She heard Joe’s shaky voice.
“I’m sorry,” she said as her tears began to slide down her cheeks, her emotions hitting her fast.
“Audrey, god. What—what is it?” Joe choked out.
If it hadn’t been for her shifting slightly in her seat, she’d have almost forgotten that the therapist was still in the room. Audrey’s eyes caught her concerned ones moments before she looked back into Joe’s.
“A year ago… when I… when I met Wilmer. Do you remember that night?” She asked him.
Joe’s brows furrowed in confusion and Audrey was sure he hadn’t been expecting her to bring up his friend.
“Yeah. What about it?” He asked carefully.
“Wilmer—he… he came onto me that night, Joe,” Audrey told him, wiping at her tear-stained eyes.
“What?” Joe asked, looking at her even more confused than before.
“He… when you were in the bathroom… he came onto me,” Audrey repeated.
“What do you mean?” He questioned.
“He… he told me I was beautiful and that you were lucky to have me. And that I looked like a good girl with a naughty streak,” she told him.
Joe looked at her carefully, taking in all the words, before she watched his face fall as a disbelieving scoff came out of his mouth.
“That’s just how he is, Audrey,” Joe said, ready to shrug it off.
“You didn’t see the look in his eyes, Joe. You didn’t see the way he was looking at me, okay. Like… like I was a piece of meat. His hand was on my bare thigh, for Christ’s sake,” she said, getting agitated.
Audrey watched what the words did to him. She watched as he looked away from her, staring at the wall, his jaw clenching and unclenching, his breathing getting slightly heavier. His reaction was exactly how she knew he’d react – it would have damaged his friendship with Wilmer and at the time, she didn’t want that. At the time, she was clueless of the future – of what would happen to Joe with Wilmer by his side.
Audrey let out a quiet cry as her emotions bombarded her. She held so much guilt. She could have prevented so much.
“Audrey…” She heard Joe’s softened voice.
She looked up into his concerned eyes and felt broken.
“I’m so sorry, Joe,” she cried.
“Why are you apologizing, Aud?” He asked, his brow furrowing.
“I-I could have stopped you. You… you wouldn’t have… you wouldn’t have gotten back on the drugs,” she cried.
“Don’t do that, Audrey. Don’t put this on yourself. This was me, okay. This was me. I did this to myself,” he told her.
“But, I could have—” She stammered.
“No. Just, no. Don’t do that,” he said, shaking his head.
“I’m sorry,” she said quietly.
“Audrey, you saved me, okay. I don’t want you to shoulder this. You saved me and I am so grateful for you. You mean everything to me, okay. Just please… don’t do that,” he said, grabbing the sides of her face so their eyes were forced to connect. Audrey nodded her head lightly.
“Thank you,” he said quietly, before he pressed his lips quickly to hers.
Audrey squeezed her eyes shut, trying to remember back to when her heart didn’t feel this kind of burden – when the rush of love got her heart pumping instead of the feeling of pain pulling her down.
New York City – July 6th, 2012
Audrey could feel his stare on her. Nick’s head was turned in her direction and she felt his eyes prying into her.
“What?” She asked, cautiously turning her head toward him. He chuckled, giving her one of his shy smiles to go along with it.
“What?” She asked again, more impatiently as a smile crept up her lips.
“It’s just funny,” he said, shaking his head.
“What is?” Audrey asked, keeping the smile on her face.
“Look at us. Who sits home on a Friday night watching Presidential documentaries?” He chuckled.
Audrey surveyed the scene – the two of them with their feet propped up on the coffee table, both of them in sweats, snacks sprawled out across the table from their latest pig-out. It was definitely her kind of Friday night.
“We do,” she giggled lightly.
“We do,” he nodded, looking back at the TV screen.
“It so weird that we have so much in common,” he continued, looking back over at her again.
“What? That we’re nerdy?” She giggled.
“Sure. I mean, I’ve always wanted to be president,” Nick chuckled, nodding toward the TV.
“I know,” Audrey nodded her head lightly with a smirk on her face. She knew this long before she knew him. With a nickname like Mr. President, it wasn’t hard to guess.
“I’ve never known a girl who’ll just waste her night watching the History Channel with me,” he said.
“I like the History Channel,” Audrey stated matter-of-factly.
“I know. That’s what I’m saying. We’re a good match,” he said with a smile.
“We are,” she said, nodding in agreement.
“I’m glad we met. My life would be so boring here in New York without you,” he told her.
“And it’s such a party now?” She giggled.
“This is exactly what I want to be doing right now,” he told her.
“Me too,” she agreed.
Content with their decision about staying in that night, the two of them continued their two-hour Presidential documentary.
“Wow,” they heard Joe’s sarcastic voice and looked up to see him stopping in his tracks to look at the two of them.
Audrey snickered to herself because they were definitely a sight.
“You guys are… wow,” Joe laughed, walking toward the couch.
“We’re comfortable,” Audrey smiled at her judgmental boyfriend.
“Looks like it,” he chuckled, plopping down next to her on Nick’s long L-shaped couch, giving her a quick kiss.
“Nerd alert,” Joe chuckled, getting a glimpse of what they were watching.
“Don’t be hating,” Nick told him.
“No. This is normal for you. But I didn’t know I was dating someone so…” Joe trailed off, sending Audrey an apprehensive smile.
“So, what?” She said, heightening her eyebrows and pursing her lips together.
“Nerdy,” he smirked.
“I resent that,” she huffed playfully at him.
“At least you’re a sexy nerd,” he smiled, moving in to kiss her.
“Seriously. I’m trying to watch TV here,” Nick scoffed at them.
“Jealous,” Joe mumbled to his little brother.
“Of what?” Nick asked.
“Hey!” Audrey said, smacking Nick in the chest lightly.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” Nick chuckled.
“Mm-hmm,” she said, shaking her head at him.
“Ooh, the Bush administration,” Nick said sarcastically as he focused back on the TV.
“Best time in American history,” Audrey said just as sarcastically.
“Nerds,” Joe said under his breath as he sat back on the couch.
“Shut up,” Audrey said, smacking him lightly too.
Joe sat with them for a little bit, probably just to be with Audrey or to appease her or whatever. But his boredom got the better of him.
“Seriously, I can’t take any more,” he said, sitting up.
“Alright,” Audrey giggled.
“I’ll be in my room,” he told her.
“Uh, okay,” she smiled and shrugged at him.
She knew he was hinting that he wanted her to go with him, but she and Nick were on the tail-end of this documentary and she wasn’t giving up now.
“Okay,” he said, getting up from the couch.
He disappeared out of the room, leaving Audrey and Nick their nerdom. When it was over, Audrey made her way down to Joe’s room, knocking lightly.
“Come in,” she heard him bellow just loud enough for her to hear.
He was lying across his well-made bed, his arms extended in the air with his phone between his fingers.
“What are you doing?” She giggled at him.
“Texting Mikey,” he said, sending her a smile.
“How’s Mikey doing?” Audrey asked, letting a wide smile spread across her face.
Mikey Deleasa was Kevin’s wife Danielle’s younger brother and Audrey seriously loved the kid. He was one of the biggest sweethearts on the planet.
“He’s good. Girl trouble. But he’s good,” Joe said, setting the phone down next to him on the bed as he sat up.
“Oh, bummer. What kind of girl trouble?” Audrey asked concerned.
“Nothing he can’t handle. Come here,” Joe said, shrugging it off as he held out his arms for her.
Audrey pushed herself forward, straight into his welcoming arms, giving him a big kiss.
“Mmm,” she hummed into the kiss.
“Mm-hmm,” he hummed back against her lips.
Joe’s text tone startled her, breaking the kiss as she looked down at his phone.
“I’ll get it later,” Joe said, trying to pull her back into the moment.
“You can get it,” she said, pulling out of his arms, plopping down next to him on the bed.
Joe groaned inwardly as he scooped up the phone and looked at the screen for a split second before looking back at Audrey.
“It’s all good,” he said, smirking at her.
“If he needs a friend, Joe…” Audrey started to say.
“Mm,” Joe grumbled as he gave his phone a longer look as Audrey pulled her own out.
He quickly text Mikey back and threw his phone onto the bed again, looking over at Audrey.
“This technology is such a cock block,” Joe smirked at her.
“Oh,” Audrey giggled. Joe poked at her side to get her attention.
“Hold on one sec,” Audrey squirmed away from him.
Joe waited contently, even though she could feel his eyes on her, much like Nick’s had been on her earlier. She didn’t know what was up with these Jonas boys and staring, but it was becoming an issue.
“Are you in love with Nick?” Joe asked bluntly, completely throwing her off guard.
“WHAT!?” Audrey choked out as her eyes shot up to his.
“I mean, it just seems like you two have so much more in common with each other—” Joe started to explain.
“Joe…” Audrey breathed, trying to find the words to diffuse his thoughts as best and as carefully as she could.
“I just walked into this all-out nerd fest. The two of you totally vegged out on the couch, practically cuddled up together watching U.S. presidents. We don’t do stuff like that,” Joe argued.
“We do other stuff,” she managed to get in through her complete and utter shock.
“Yeah. We sleep together. We make-out. We’re physical. And don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love that aspect, okay. But—” He continued, before Audrey cut him off.
“Joe, we do a lot more than just have sex, okay. There’s romance and playfulness and goofiness and all those perfect little details that I love about relationships. But you and I also have our serious times too. We talk and we help each other through things and we’re… we’re best friends, Joe,” she told him.
“But Nick’s your best friend too,” he added.
“Nick is also my best friend. But in a completely different way. In a completely platonic way. Do I love him? Sure. Am I in love with him? No,” she assured him.
Joe’s worried face evened out before a smirk pulled up his lips again.
“Do you love me?” He asked with a devious tone in his voice.
They had yet to have a serious conversation on the subject and the fact that he was fishing for her to say it aloud was utterly priceless.
Audrey smirked at him as she felt her cheeks heat up, before she embarrassedly pulled her hands up to her face and dropped down onto her back on his bed, letting out a whimper.
“What?” He chuckled, looking down at her.
“Gahhh,” she sighed, looking back up at him.
“You’re so adorable,” he smiled, leaning down to kiss her.
His kisses extinguished the flustered feelings inside of her. They’d only been dating for two months and Audrey wasn’t quite ready to blurt out all her hidden feelings for him – not yet. Not until she was sure this wasn’t just a fling. Sure, Joe Jonas was a catch – he was a perfect catch in her eyes. But even so, she knew not to throw herself in head first – not with his history in relationships. She knew it wasn’t fair of her to use that against him, but in the end, her heart built up walls that would be her salvation if she ended up like one of his many beautiful conquests before her.
“We should have a movie night soon,” he said, pulling up to look her in the eye, abandoning his previous question altogether.
“Alright,” she agreed.
“Alright,” he smiled, leaning in to kiss her again.
Manhattan – June 21st, 2014
The second the wedding march began to play Joe’s stomach tied in knots. He was nervous all day, but this was a different kind of nervous altogether. This was a nervous he wasn’t afraid of. This was more of a happy nervous – an I-can’t-wait-to-spend-the-rest-of-my-life-with-this-woman kind of nervous. The second he caught a glimpse of her as he stood at the alter watching as her father walked her down the aisle, he knew this was the best decision he ever made. Nothing felt so right in his whole entire life. She was the best thing that ever happened to him. And he still looked back on the night he met her with overwhelmingly fond memories.
The moment their eyes met, Audrey’s face scrunched up with emotion. She was so beautiful, even when she was crying. She was like an Angel floating toward him and he wanted nothing more than to be welcomed by her.
Once they reached the alter, her father lifted her veil, leaving a kiss on her cheek before he handed her off, once and for all, to Joe. He chuckled as they met face to face for the first time that whole day.
“You’re makeup’s gonna run,” Joe chuckled lightly.
“That’s why I’m wearing waterproof mascara,” she smirked at him as she dab at her eyes with a small white hanker-chief her grandmother lent her, which fit perfectly in her palm.
“Are you ready for this?” Joe asked her excitedly.
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” she said, smiling at him as his dad caught their attention to begin the ceremony.
Joe could only focus on Audrey as his father read from the bible and as he said a prayer in their honor, even as he explained the sanctity of marriage. Joe could only think of her, because this was exactly where he wanted to be with her. They were so close to everything and he couldn’t wait until she was finally his forever.
“Joseph, have you prepared your vows?” He heard his father ask.
“Huh? Oh, yeah,” Joe smiled at him, looking over at Audrey, sending her a wide smirk.
“Take her hands and face one another,” his father instructed.
“Joseph, you may begin,” Kevin Sr. nodded, once they were linked up with one another.
Audrey’s beaming smile gave Joe all the strength he needed to say his vows aloud.
“Audrey, I just want to say how much of a blessing it has been to share my life with you these past two years. Looking back, I couldn’t even imagine you not being by my side. There is so much I have to be thankful for – your love and devotion and your strength. I may not have gotten through this past year without your guidance. You are my rock. Without you, I would crumble. And I just want you to know how dear I hold you in my heart. How strong your love has made me. I am the man standing before each and every person here because of you. And I will do everything in my power to return the favor. Whatever you need, I am there. I will be your rock, your guidance. I love you, Audrey,” Joe concluded.
He promised her before their family and friends, before God. He promised her his life.
Los Angeles – July 18th, 2015
Audrey’s doctor told them that because of what Audrey went through during labor with the hypertension and all, it could have been the stressor in her post-partum depression. But they were assured it was completely treatable and at the same time, reversible. It was still an odd thing to Joe, since Audrey openly admitted to never having any other signs of depression throughout her life. How does something like that just strike such a happy person? Audrey was always so strong. She was the driving force in Joe’s life through his dark times. She was always a rock and to see her so vulnerable and broken down was hard on him.
The doctor put her on medication to help reverse her feelings long before nature could do it. She was also advised that seeing a therapist might help her, but she declined that route, determined to get through it as a family.
In the weeks after Audrey got on medication, Joe noticed a drastic change in her relationship with their baby. She welcomed him rather than looked at him as a burden. The night Joe found her rocking him to sleep singing him a lullaby, he literally broke down in the doorway of the nursery.
Caleb was almost three months old when the post-partum depression seemed to have dissipated. Audrey was smiling again and Joe could see that genuine light in her eye begin to get brighter and brighter with each day. He felt like he had his wife back and he was relieved greatly that Caleb had his mother – the mother Joe knew Audrey would be from the moment she peed on that little white stick. They were a family. No more doctor’s appointments. No more anti-depressant medication. Joe was confident they had made it through their trying times and that they were headed for the life they always imagined when they said ‘I do’.
Joe stepped into Caleb’s nursery to check on him after he got home from a busy day in the studio with Nick. He was sleeping soundly in his crib, his pacifier squeaking softly as he sucked it in his mouth. Just the sight of his son was enough to pull him out of whatever funk he was in. He and Audrey created a life and he was the most perfect thing in the entire world.
“Sleep well, buddy,” Joe said, caressing the back of his index finger down the side of his face.
Joe hadn’t seen Audrey as he entered the house, so he figured she must be taking the time to get a small nap in while Caleb was napping. When he walked into the bedroom, he was startled to a stop as he found his wife sitting in the chair in the corner, obviously distraught. She had her legs pulled up to her chest, her arms wrapped around her knees with a worried look on her face. The second her eyes looked up to meet his, she burst into tears.
“Audrey, honey. What’s the matter?” He asked, crossing to room as he dropped to his knees in front of her.
She shook her head as she pressed the heels of her palms into her eyes, shielding herself from him.
Fear bubbled up inside of him. It was happening again. They fought so hard as a family to get her through the three most trying months of her entire life and it was happening again right before his very eyes.
“You were doing so well, baby. What’s the matter?” Joe cooed, trying to keep his voice even as to not upset her further.
“Joe,” she cried, dropping her face down to bury it in her knees.
“Audrey, please. Tell me,” he said as he rubbed her hands up and down her arms to calm her down.
She slowly lifted up her head, staring at him with her tear-filled eyes, her lip quivering slightly.
“Audrey, what’s the matter?” He asked her again.
“I’m pregnant,” she choked out before letting another sob out.
“Oh,” Joe said, falling back down on his knees, completely taken aback by her news.
The doctor insisted they dive back into their sex life to help Audrey out of her slump, so they did. And apparently they did it all too well.
“But you’re on birth control,” Joe added in.
“The doctor said it may not have fully worked its way into my system when we… when we conceived,” Audrey told him as she wiped at her eyes.
“You went to the doctor?” He asked and he nodded.
“Today,” she told him. Joe felt completely stunned.
“How… how far along?” She managed.
“Five weeks,” she told him.
“Wow,” he breathed.
Caleb was only three months old, meaning he wasn’t even two months when Audrey conceived again.
“Joe, what am I going to do?” Audrey cried, falling back into her emotions once again.
“Aud, it’s going to be okay,” Joe assured her.
“I can’t go through that again… all the… all the sadness and detachment. I can’t feel like that again,” she cried.
“Remember what the doctor said, Aud? She said just because you went through it before doesn’t necessarily mean you will go through it again. Aud, we worked so hard for this. You’re not going to go back to that. I promise. Baby, I promise you,” Joe told her, grabbing her face gently in his hands.
“I can’t,” she said, squeezing out her lingering tears.
“You won’t,” he told her.
Joe would do everything in his power to live up to the vows he promised her on the day they wed. He would be her rock. He would be her guidance. She wouldn’t be alone because she always had him.