Los Angeles – February 10th, 2013
Nick flew Audrey out to California for a visit – to see him and to see her boyfriend, who she hadn’t seen in over a month. She hadn’t seen Nick for even longer. Joe flew to New York to be with Audrey for the 2013 New Year’s Eve. He was her kiss at midnight and she felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
As Audrey flew across the country in her first class seat, courtesy of Nick Jonas, she felt a sense of excitement to be back on the west coast again. The only other time she ever flew first class was when she traveled to Dallas and then to Los Angeles last summer with Joe. Although, this time felt different. For one, Audrey was flying alone. And two, things with her and Joe just didn’t feel the same. And really, it seemed Joe changed and she couldn’t pin point the date and time, but it started sometime last fall.
Joe was different and Audrey had to adapt to that in order to keep some order in their relationship.
As she walked through the terminal at LAX, she saw a group of camera men up ahead and she was certain Nick was in the midst of it, trying to find her through the excessive flashing of camera bulbs and incessant questions about what he was doing at LAX in the first place. When Audrey saw his curly hair and big brown eyes focused on her, she couldn’t help but run to him, grasping him in her arms for a hug. She didn’t care about the paparazzi. Nick was one of her closest friends, and his brother was her boyfriend. They could make up all the stories they wanted to about hers and Nick’s intentions with each other, but it never really mattered to them because they always knew where they stood with one another.
“Aud, I missed you,” Nick breathed in her ear as he hugged her tightly.
“I missed you too, Nick,” she said, pulling away to look in his eyes.
“How’ve you been?” He asked inquisitively.
“I thought you were Joe’s girlfriend?” A paparazzi asked.
“I’m doing good. How are you?” She asked Nick, ignoring the rude man.
“You’re Joe’s girlfriend, aren’t you?” The guy asked again.
“I’m good,” Nick said, dropping his smile as he looked up at the guy.
“You’re with the wrong brother, you know,” the guy chuckled, thinking he was pretty funny as he snapped away with his camera.
“That’s enough,” Nick said to him. Audrey could see his jaw set and she knew he was annoyed.
“It’s okay, Nick,” Audrey whispered to him as she grasped his forearm in her hand.
“But then again, Joe’s probably off sleeping away his hangover. I mean, that’s all he does these days is party, right?” The guy continued.
Audrey’s head snapped to look at the man, her eyes as narrow as they could go. Fuck this guy. So what if Joe liked to go out with friends every once in a while. That didn’t make him a bad person.
“But then again, you live on the other side of the country. I’m sure you have no idea what’s going on when you’re not around,” the man sneered at her, insinuating that Joe was doing things she wouldn’t approve of, which was completely ridiculous.
“You don’t know anything about me or Joe, so why don’t you keep your mouth shut?” Audrey snapped at him. The guy laughed as he took more pictures.
“Come on, Audrey. Let’s go,” Nick said, grabbing her arm, pulling her around the mess of photographers.
“We’ve got to go get my luggage, Nick,” she told him right before he pulled her out the doors of the airport.
“Well, come on,” he said, switching his direction quickly as the photographers trailed behind them.
Nick dropped his hand from Audrey’s arm when the presence of the paparazzi didn’t feel so confining. Airport security came over and pushed them back some so that they could wait at the bag carousel for her suitcase. Luckily it was one of the first down. Nick grabbed it and they headed for the door.
“I’m sorry,” Nick said once they got into his mustang.
“For what?” Audrey asked.
“I grabbed you. I just got… I got so mad,” he said, looking over at her.
“Nick, it’s okay. We needed to get out of there,” she told him.
“I just… I hate them sometimes. And there’s nothing that I can do about it,” he said, shaking his head as he started up the car.
“I’m sorry,” Audrey breathed.
He didn’t say anything else as he pulled out of the lot. The mood was tense for a little bit in the car, so Audrey just watched out the window at the beauty that was California.
“Do you think Joe will be surprised?” Audrey asked quietly.
“That you’re here?” Nick asked, turning his head toward her.
“Yeah,” she nodded.
“I know he will be,” he said, smiling at her, making all the tension disappear with that one gesture.
“Good,” Audrey breathed with a smile on her face as she turned back to look out the window.
“Are you sure you want me driving your precious mustang, Nick?” Audrey asked as he handed her the keys.
“I trust you,” he told her.
“Really?” She asked, looking at him skeptically.
“Should I not trust you?” He asked.
“I mean, I guess,” she chuckled awkwardly.
“You guess? Is that supposed to make me feel better about you driving my car?” He laughed.
“I’m sorry. I just… I have my license, but I’m a New Yorker. I rarely drive,” she said, making a face at him.
“When did you get your license?” He asked.
“When I was sixteen,” she told him.
“Well, six years of driving experience is good enough for me,” he said with a shrug.
“Alright,” she smirked.
“Joe’s key is the big silver one,” Nick said, pointing it out on the key chain.
“I swear to god if I walk into his apartment and he’s got some girl over… oooh,” she said, shaking her fist in a joking manner.
“He would never do that, Audrey,” Nick said, not seeing the humor in it.
“I know. It was a joke,” she said with a smile, pushing his shoulder lightly.
“Ha,” Nick laughed out monotone.
“I’ll be back in a little while, with the mustang in pristine condition,” she told him.
“You know how to work the GPS?” He asked her.
“I’m not an idiot,” she scoffed as she walked to the door to his apartment.
“Says who?” He laughed.
“Shut it, Jonas!” She said, pointing her finger back at him. He chuckled as she bent down to pet Nick’s dog, Elvis.
“I’ll see you in a little bit, boy,” she said, scratching behind his ears.
“Bye!” She yelled back at Nick.
“Get outta here!” Nick said playfully.
“I’m out!” She laughed, opening and shutting the door again quickly after she stepped out.
Nick and Joe didn’t live far from one another. As Audrey drove, the streets looked familiar, but she would have never gotten there without Nick’s GPS. She just wasn’t familiar with the streets of LA, having only been there with Joe once.
Audrey pulled into the lot of the familiar building and felt an array of butterflies flapping around in her stomach. She missed Joe so much, whether or not there was a bit of tension in their relationship. She was ready to get back to the way it was in the beginning.
It was just past noon and the sun was high in the sky, pouring its California sunrays down on her. She felt good. She felt excited. And once she was inside the building, standing in front of Joe’s door, the butterflies were eating her alive. As she stood there fumbling for the apartment key, she played a mini movie in her head of hers and Joe’s reunion. She would run straight into his arms and never leave them. And they would, of course, need to surgically remove their lips and hips from one another.
After unlocking the door to his studio apartment, she slowly pushed it open, finding an almost dark apartment. Joe had floor to ceiling windows in his living room, but all the shades were drawn shut. As Audrey moved deeper into his apartment, she was thinking the shades were shut to cover up the mess and disarray that Joe’s apartment had fallen into. There were dishes piled high in the sink, pizza boxes and other food wrappers littering the countertops, dirty clothes thrown about all over the floor.
“Jesus, Joe,” Audrey breathed to myself, wondering what in the hell he did with his time and what the hell happened to his cleaning lady.
Audrey heard Winston shuffle in his kennel and immediately went to let the dog out.
“Hi, boy. Hi. Did you miss me?” Audrey asked the hyper shrink-a-bull.
As she pet his hyper, shaking little body, she thought of how surreal it still was to her that she was there. She rarely got a glimpse into Joe’s real world. Most of the time she still couldn’t believe she was Joe’s girlfriend. She would never stop being appreciative to that fact.
Audrey pulled herself back to standing and walked into Joe’s kitchen flipping on the light. What kind of girlfriend would she be if she didn’t help him out? She started gathering garbage off of the countertops, throwing it away to free up the space so she could do some of the dishes – or at least load them in his dishwasher.
“Audrey?” She heard, startling her completely.
She was so sure that Joe wasn’t even home, but when she looked over at his bedroom area, she saw him sitting up in his bed looking at her.
“Joe!” She yelped, dropping the empty pizza box that was in her hand back onto the countertop.
“What are you doing here? Am I hallucinating?” He asked, rubbing his eyes.
“No. I’m here, baby,” she said, moving quickly to his bed.
“Hi,” he said, cracking a tired smile as she sat down on the bed with him.
“Hi,” she smiled, kissing his lips quickly before she wrapped her arms around him.
“What are you doing here?” He asked again.
“I came to visit,” she told him as she pulled back to look at him.
“How… how did you get in?” His voice croaked.
“Nick’s keys,” she smirked at him.
“Oh,” Joe said, nodding his head.
Audrey pulled back even more to study his face. He didn’t seem very welcoming, which really stung.
“Is it… are you okay with me being here?” She questioned.
“Yeah. Of course I am. Of course,” he said, rubbing her arm lightly with his hand.
“Okay. Because for a second there I was a little bit worried,” she chuckled uncomfortably.
“No, no. I love that you’re here. I’m just… I’m just tired,” he said, leaning over to kiss her again.
“Well, I’ll let you wake up. I was just cleaning up for you a little bit,” she said, pulling herself up off the bed, heading for the kitchen again.
“Aud, no. I don’t want you to clean up after me,” Joe said, waving his hand through the air as he got up out of bed, letting the blankets drop away from his body.
“I can’t say I haven’t missed that view,” she smirked at him, admiring his naked body.
He smirked at her, shaking his head as he moved toward the back hallway where his bathroom was.
“Don’t clean anything! I’ll be right out,” he called to her.
“Alright,” she called back to him.
Audrey moved toward his living room, pulling open the dark shades, letting the sun shine in. When she turned toward the couch, she stopped dead in her tracks as her vision met with what was sprawled across his coffee table.
She didn’t even know what to think as she stared at it. She felt sick to her stomach, wondering where the hell he even got it and why on earth he would ever do something like that. In hindsight, it explained a lot. All of his erratic behavior. How long had it been going on? How long had he been using?
“Hey. What are you doing?” Joe asked as he turned the corner into the kitchen.
Audrey looked up at him, her face still displaying her shocked expression.
“Aud, what?” He chuckled as he pulled open the fridge.
She bent down grabbing up the small baggy with the thin white substance in it.
“This,” she said, holding it out in her hand as he turned around, drinking out of a water bottle.
His eyes went wide as he pulled the bottle away from his lips.
“Joe, what is this?” Audrey choked out. He sighed, hanging his head.
“You weren’t supposed to see that,” he stated simply.
New York City – May 1st, 2012
“Nick!” Joe called out, once he got back to his apartment.
“In here!” He heard him call from the make shift recording studio he put together.
He stomped toward the room, feeling the ball of anxiety building in his chest.
“Did you know?” Joe asked him as soon as he turned the corner into the room.
“Did I know what?” He asked, pulling the headphones off of his ear, letting them rest on his neck.
“About Audrey,” Joe scoffed.
“What about her?” Nick asked, looking baffled.
“That she’s a fan,” Joe scoffed even louder.
“What?” Nick asked, making a confused face.
“Yeah. She’s a fan… of us,” Joe told him.
“Nah-uh,” Nick smiled, shaking his head as he turned back toward his keyboard.
“I’m not kidding, Nick. She’s been a fan all this time. She was always a fan. When you met her, she knew who you were, dude,” Joe said, moving toward the couch and plopping himself down onto it.
“No,” Nick said, turning his chair toward his brother, looking at him in disbelief.
“I swear to god, dude. She just told me. She’s been lying to us all along,” Joe said, throwing his feet up onto the coffee table and crossing his arms tightly over her chest.
“You just talked to her?” Nick asked, quirking an eyebrow.
“Yeah, dude. I just fucking talked to her,” Joe said impatiently.
“Why… I mean, what… what were you talking about?” He asked.
“I told her I liked her,” Joe said, shaking his head.
“And she told you she was a fan?” Nick asked, looking at him confused.
“She told me she has liked me for a long time. And then that’s when I put two and two together,” Joe explained.
“You put two and two together? Did she actually say she was a fan?” Nick asked skeptically.
“Nick, she is a fucking fan!” Joe yelled at him, letting his annoyance come out with his words.
“Ohh-kay,” Nick said quietly, backing off slightly.
“I can’t believe she lied to us,” Joe scoffed.
Nick sat there silently, contemplating for a little while, just staring at the floor. Joe was waiting for him to get as annoyed as he was and show some sort of emotion over the betrayal they both were subjected to.
“You don’t have anything to say?” Joe asked after a few minutes of his silence.
“I just… I don’t know. She’s still Audrey,” Nick shrugged lightly.
Joe’s eyebrows knit together as he looked at him in disbelief.
“She’s still Audrey?” Joe scoffed.
“Yeah. I mean, she might have been a fan, but over the last couple of months she’s really been a friend to me, Joe. I just… how can I be mad at her when I probably wouldn’t have thought twice of ever going back to the diner if I knew she was a fan?” Nick explained.
“It doesn’t bother you at all?” Joe asked, wanting to know Nick was on his side just a little bit.
Ever since they were little, privacy was a big issue for them because of their fame. And to know someone just weaseled their way into their private lives didn’t exactly sit right with Joe.
“She’s still Audrey,” Nick said again.
“Well, it bothers me,” Joe said, pulling his feet off of the coffee table as he sat forward.
“You’re just mad because you slept with her,” Nick said with a mischievous smirk at Joe.
“This isn’t funny,” Joe glared at him.
Nick’s doorbell rang seconds later, causing both of their heads to snap toward the doorway of the room.
“I’ll get it,” Nick said, pulling himself off of the chair.
He disappeared out of the room and Joe pulled himself up off of the couch, walking out of the room, toward the stairway. He could hear Audrey talking to Nick from the foyer.
“Nick, I’m sorry. I just… I just didn’t… I didn’t know how to—” Audrey stammered.
“It’s okay, Audrey,” he heard Nick say, forgiving her instantly.
“I just saw you that day… I saw you and I was so… I was happy. And… and I… I wanted to talk to you, introduce myself and it just… we started talking and… and I’m sorry. I should have told you. I’m sorry,” she said, sounding incredibly distressed.
Joe’s heart softened in almost an instant after hearing her honest, heartfelt apology to his brother.
“It’s okay, Audrey. Really. I was just talking to Joe—” Nick started.
“Joe’s here?” She asked quickly, sounding almost scared.
“He is,” Nick said.
“I’m sorry,” she breathed.
“When he told me, I realized you’re still the same person I met in that diner,” he told her.
“I am,” she said.
“And nothing’s going to change, is it?” He asked.
“Nothing’s going to change,” she assured him.
“Well, alright then,” Nick chuckled.
“I never… I was always me, Nick. I never pretend to be someone I wasn’t,” Audrey told him.
“I believe you,” he said.
Joe quietly took the stairs down and stepped into view of the two of them. Audrey’s eyes met his immediately, looking slightly panicked. Nick turned to see him too.
“I think you two need to talk,” Nick told them.
“Yeah,” Joe breathed, moving toward them.
Nick backed away from Audrey and went back up the stairs, leaving them alone.
“Joe, I’m sorry. I really am,” Audrey said as soon as Nick disappeared.
“It’s just really hard for me to trust people, Audrey. I don’t take it lightly when people lie to me,” Joe told her.
“I didn’t mean to. I didn’t want to. I just… I didn’t know how to… to say it,” she said, scrunching her face up, looking pained.
“So, why did you run away?” Joe asked her.
“I-I didn’t. You did,” she said, looking at him confused.
“Not today. I meant the last time I was here,” Joe told her.
“Oh,” she said, looking down at the floor.
“If you liked me so much, then why did you run?” He questioned.
“Because I liked you so much. I just… I… I couldn’t face you. I didn’t… I didn’t want to see the regret in your eyes. I didn’t want you to give me some stupid excuse to let me down easily. I ran because I couldn’t face you in the morning,” she said, unable to pry her eyes away from the floor.
Joe took a step toward her, watching as her eyes darted up toward his again.
“I wish you hadn’t,” he said, taking another step toward her.
He was close enough to hear her sudden intake of breath as a result to her words and her closeness.
“Because you wouldn’t have seen regret in my eyes,” he told her sincerely.
“Joe…” She breathed, looking uncomfortable.
“I like you, Audrey,” he told her again.
“But…” She started.
“No, buts,” he said, shaking his head lightly as his hands found her waist, pulling her slowly toward him.
Her eyes stared into his the whole time and he was sure if he was looking hard enough, he probably could have seen her heartbeat jumping against her chest.
“I like you, Audrey,” he breathed against her lips.
“I like you, Joe,” she whispered back.
“So, as long as you continue to be you—” He started to say.
“This is me, Joe,” Audrey assured him.
“Good. So, stay you and we shouldn’t have a problem,” he said, smiling as he looked down to see her lips pull up into a smile too.
Joe pushed forward, kissing her lips, sealing their feelings for one another.