Manhattan – June 21st, 2014
“My mom just caught Frankie and your cousin Grace kissing in the back room of the church,” Nick said as he invited himself into Audrey’s dressing room.
“What?” She asked, looking at him wide-eyed.
“I’m not lying,” Nick chuckled.
“No way. They’re only thirteen,” Audrey said, shaking her head.
“Aud, I’m not even kidding, okay,” Nick laughed.
“Oh my god. What is going on?” Audrey laughed with him.
“I don’t know. They’ve been getting along pretty well over the last week with all of this wedding garbage going on,” Nick said with a shrug of his shoulders as he slouched down onto the adjacent couch.
“Excuse me. Wedding garbage?” Audrey said, turning from the vanity to give him an evil glare.
“Excuse me. Wedding non-sense,” he jokes and rolled his eyes dramatically.
“Oh, shut up. I know you’re a hopeless romantic at heart, Nicholas,” Audrey countered, throwing her hair brush at him. He easily caught it as he laughed and threw it back immediately.
There was a moment or two of silence between them as Audrey applied bronzer onto her already fully done-up face. Her mother was out dealing with the flowers and her sister ran out to get the bridal veil moments before Nick slipped in.
“Are you nervous, Audrey?” She heard Nick’s soft voice. Her eyes found his through the mirror.
“To marry your brother? Or to be connected to you for the rest of my life?” She joked, smirking at him.
“Ha. Ha,” he said, rolling his eyes again.
“A little,” Audrey admitted, shrugging her shoulders. She watched through the mirror as he nodded his head and she quickly turned to face him.
“How is Joe doing?” She asked him seriously, immediately wondering about her husband-to-be’s nerves.
“He’s Joe,” Nick said with a shrug.
“Yeah, but how is he doing? Am I going to be walking down the aisle to an empty alter?” Audrey asked him with a hint of a smirk ghosting her lips. She knew he would never leave her at the alter, but in the back of her mind she had that little voice telling her he might.
“Joe would never do that. Sometimes I think you underestimate just how much he loves you,” Nick told her, his eyes narrowing slightly.
“I know he loves me,” she said quietly, looking down at her perfectly manicured fingernails.
“It doesn’t matter how it all started, Aud. All that matters is you’re here now. That Joe asked you to marry him and you’re getting everything you ever dreamed about,” Nick reassured her. Audrey smirked at the last part, because it was so entirely true.
“All that really matters is that I am the one who hooked you two up, so in return I expect your first born to be named after me,” Nick said, giving her a superior look.
“OH! Wait a minute. If I knew the price, I probably would have run for the hills,” Audrey laughed in response.
“I’ll go tell Joe the wedding’s off,” Nick said with a mischievous smirk as he started to get up from the couch.
“Sit your ass back down,” Audrey laughed.
“Nicholas Jerry Jonas. I’ll spell it for you. N-I-C—” He started.
“Shut up,” Audrey laughed and Nick laughed with her.
“No, but seriously, Audrey. You couldn’t be more perfect for Joe. Please believe that,” Nick said, letting the humor drain out of his voice, causing tears pricked at the back of her eyes from the sincerity in his words.
“You’re not supposed to make the bride cry, Nicky,” Audrey said, dabbing at the corner of her eyes.
“I’m sorry. But you’re my sister and I love you,” he told her as he stood up, pulling her from her stool to give her a hug.
“I love you too, brother,” she breathed as she buried her face in the crook of his neck.
New York City – February 18th, 2012
The 38th Street Diner was Audrey’s spot. Her own little slice of Heaven. She spent a lot of time in there working on homework, reading or just people watching out the large windows in front. New York City was a big illustrious place, but she always kept pretty local. She grew up there – for the most part, she’d seen it all.
As she sat at the corner table by the window with her tattered copy of Pride and Prejudice perched between her fingers, her eyes trailed up over the book as the bell on the door jingled when a new patron walked in. She thought her eyes were deceiving her. She thought she was losing her mind. Her heart immediately sped up and all the blood rushed to her face as she watched the guy walk toward the counter and sit down.
Audrey was literally losing it. It couldn’t be. It just couldn’t be.
She stared at the back of his head – his curly brown mop-top hair, praying she would get another glimpse. She had to know if it was him. When he covertly turned his head to survey the people in the restaurant, she got a good look at him. Their eyes even met for a split second and her breathing caught in her throat. She could have choked on air had she been breathing.
It was Nick Jonas – widely known as the younger brother from the band the Jonas Brothers – a band Audrey followed since 2008. She was twenty-one years old and still caught a lot of flak for supporting their band. But she would back them forever. They hadn’t released an album in over two years, but she was still loyal. And in that moment, there was nothing in the world she wanted to do more than meet the one and only Nick Jonas.
She had a take a few deep breaths to relax herself enough to build up the courage to actually approach him. She didn’t want to be one of those rabid fans that ran up to them, gnawing at their legs. She wanted to be casual. She wanted to actually make an impression. Stuff like this doesn’t happen every day.
Audrey quickly packed her book into her purse and threw it over her shoulder as she stood up. She took another deep breath and moved toward the counter.
“You looking for your check, Audrey?” George, the diner’s owner, asked her as she approached.
Her focus was solely on Nick and she was totally thrown off by George. Her eyes shot up to the loveable plump man she’d gotten to know over the years. Out of her peripherals, she saw Nick look over in her direction and she immediately felt her cheeks blush.
“Uh… not quite yet,” Audrey said, smiling pleasantly at George.
“Oh. Well, can I get you anything else?” He asked her.
“Uh…” She stammered, quickly looking over at Nick whose vision moved back to the menu in front of him.
“Water. I’ll take a glass of water,” she choked out, feeling the dryness of her mouth.
“Coming right up,” George said happily.
Audrey hesitated slightly, not knowing what to do next. Should she run back to her table and wait for the water? She saw Nick peek over his shoulder at her once again and decided to just plop herself down in the seat she was standing in front of, which just so happened to separate her from Nick Jonas by one empty stool between them.
“Here you go, doll face,” George smiled at her, setting the glass of water in front of her.
“Thanks, Georgie,” she said, smiling politely at him.
“Anytime,” he said and walked back toward the kitchen.
“Looks like you’ve got some pull with the staff,” Audrey heard. It took her a second to process that it was him talking to her. Nick Jonas was talking to her.
“Uh… what?” Audrey choked out, looking over at him.
“You must come here a lot,” he rephrased as their eyes met.
Audrey was staring into his deep brown eyes and he was staring right back into hers. It wasn’t Nick who she adored all throughout her adolescence, but looking into his eyes now sent a satisfying shiver up her spine.
“I-I do,” she nodded.
“Any suggestions on what to eat?” He asked, sending her a sideways smirk.
“Try our Reuben. You will not be sorry,” they heard George’s thick New York accent as he came out of the back. Both of their eyes met back up with the big Italian man.
“The Reuben, huh?” Nick smirked at him.
“Audrey hates it, but you look like a guy wit’ some taste,” George told him.
“Audrey? You’re Audrey?” Nick asked, looking over at her.
“I’m Audrey,” she nodded.
“Nick. Nice to meet you,” he said, holding out his hand to shake hers. She couldn’t believe this was happening. It was absolutely crazy.
“Nice to meet you,” she said quietly as she shook his hand.
“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 said, turning his attention back to George.
“Coming up,” George told him.
Audrey smirked to herself, biting her lip as she looked at George as he gave her a wink and a suggestive head nod toward Nick.
“Anything for you, my dear?” George asked again.
“No, no. Georgie. Water’s good,” she said, smiling widely at him.
“I’ll get you a piece of chocolate cake – on the house,” he said, smiling at her.
“No, George—” She started to protest.
“Uh-uh-uh. No arguing, Audrey,” he said, holding his hand up.
She shut my lips, knowing she would get absolutely nowhere arguing with him anyway. When George bustled off, Audrey looked over at Nick who was snickering lightly to himself.
“Shut up,” she said with a smirk.
“I didn’t say anything,” he chuckled.
Audrey and Nick sat there for a few moments in silence – it being a completely awkward silence for her, since she knew who he was.
“So, do you live here? I mean, you must if you’re like a local celebrity in here with George,” Nick asked, smirking at her.
Celebrity? Her? Ha. She was plain-Jane little Audrey who grew up in New York City – a little fish in a big pond. She was practically the farthest thing from a celebrity.
“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 said as she smiled lightly at him.
“Ah,” he said, nodding his head.
“What about you? What are you up to in New York?” She asked, feeling herself blush immediately.
Broadway – he was on Broadway. She knew this already.
“I’m here for work. I always like coming back. I grew up pretty close – in New Jersey,” he said with a fond smile.
“Aw, that’s nice,” she nodded.
She knew that already too. She knew everything. And she felt like a creeper, stalker girl knowing all of this about him. But she couldn’t bring herself to mention that she was a fan. It was too perfect, too peaceful. She thought it might be weird. So she didn’t bring it up.
George brought Audrey a ridiculously huge piece of chocolate cake when he brought out Nick’s Reuben sandwich.
“George, I can’t—” Audrey started to protest.
“Uh-uh-uh,” he tutted, wagging his finger at her as he walked away.
“Oh my god,” she said, looking at the massive slice of cake.
“He’s testing you,” Nick snickered.
“Or he’s trying to fatten me up,” Audrey chuckled.
“You might as well eat it. I think you might offend him if you don’t,” Nick said, smirking at her.
“Maybe a few bites,” Audrey smiled mischievously at him.
“’Atta girl,” Nick said as he took his first bite of the sandwich.
“So, just how many times in all of the years you’ve been coming here have you actually eaten the Reuben sandwich?” Nick asked her once he chewed his bite.
“I’m not sauerkraut’s biggest fan,” she said with a passive shrug of her shoulders.
“This sandwich is amazing, George,” Nick told him matter-of-factly.
“I’m glad you like it,” George beamed at him.
“I do. I do,” Nick chuckled, taking another bite.
“To each his own,” Audrey said, taking a bite of her chocolate cake.
Audrey and Nick talked all the while as they ate, finding it pretty easy to carry on a conversation with one another. She really enjoyed herself with him and almost forgot who he was. Almost.
“It was nice talking to you, Audrey. I’ll have to stop in again. If the Reuben is that good, I can’t wait to check out the rest of the menu,” Nick said with a smile as he stood from his stool.
“Yeah, definitely,” Audrey said, feeling her cheeks blush for about the hundredth time with him.
“George, thank you so much,” Nick said, throwing down some money onto the counter from his wallet.
“You’re very welcome,” George smiled at him.
“I’ll see you around, Audrey,” Nick said, smiling at her.
“Yeah, you too,” she said with a nod.
She didn’t want him to go. She really didn’t. But she didn’t know what to say to make him stay. She watched him walk out the door and down the sidewalk until he was out of sight.
“And you didn’t even get his phone number,” George said, clicking his tongue at Audrey.
She shook her head, feeling a little dazed. He was a Jonas Brother. How in the hell would she ever ask for a Jonas Brothers phone number?
“That was a meet-cute if I ever saw one. He was into you,” George pressed.
“Was not,” Audrey said, shaking her head again.
“You’re a beautiful young lady, Audrey. Why wouldn’t he have an eye on you?” George asked.
Because he was Nick Jonas. Because he had a twenty-seven year old beautiful, famous, Australian girlfriend. Because she was just plain-Jane Audrey.
All she had going for her was the promise that Nick made to come back to the diner and try his luck out on the rest of the cuisine. Maybe she would be lucky enough to meet up with him again. After all, he’d be in New York – for work – until July.