Los Angeles – November 20th, 2012
Joe sat on his couch, Audrey’s words looping through his mind.
How’s it going to work, Joe? I need some time.
Joe never ever in a million years would have thought he’d hear those words fall from her lips. Not Audrey. Not his Audrey. He couldn’t lose her. And god, he knew what it looked like. He knew exactly what it looked like. But he would never cheat on Audrey. Ever. The girl he was dancing with at the club… she meant nothing. He just danced with her and they went to another club to meet up with Wilmer. Plain and simple. And to be perfectly honest, Joe was pretty sure Wil was the one to hook-up with her that night.
Joe tried calling Audrey back, but she turned off her phone. There was nothing he could do, short of buying a plane ticket to New York right that second and showing up on her doorstep. But that would go against her wishes of ‘needing time’. He was so conflicted. And he felt so raw and dismembered. As it beat heavily in his chest, he felt like someone took a cheese grater to his heart. It was a pain that wouldn’t go away until the problem was fixed. But he didn’t have those kind of options working for him.
Joe’s phone rang as he squeezed it tightly in his hand. He jumped from the invasion of noise and almost had a coronary thinking it could be Audrey wanting to work things out. But it wasn’t. It was only Wilmer.
“Joe-Joe, what’s up brother?” He heard his friend’s Venezuelan accent.
“Not— nothing, man,” Joe sighed.
“Come and party,” Wil told him.
“I don’t know. I’m not feeling it tonight,” Joe told him.
“What!? Jonas, get off your ass and get the fuck to my place, pronto,” Wil yelled at him.
“Dude, seriously though,” Joe sighed.
“What’s going on, brother? Girl problems?” Wil asked, noticing his shitty mood.
“Aud flipped out about that Gabriella chick we were with the other night,” Joe told him truthfully.
“What the hell did she flip out about? What was there to flip out about?” Wilmer asked.
“I don’t know. I was dancing with her and we left the club together,” Joe said, shrugging his shoulders.
“You didn’t fuck her. I did,” Wilmer laughed menacingly.
“She doesn’t like—” Joe said, getting cut off by Wil.
“Give me her number. I’ll set her straight. I’ll let her know that it was me who took her home,” Wil said.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Joe told him. Audrey pretty much loathed Wilmer.
“Come on,” he said.
“No, dude,” Joe told him.
“Well, come over. The least I can do is get you fucked up,” he laughed.
“I just… I don’t know,” Joe said.
“JOSEPH!” He yelled over the phone.
“God damn it. Fine,” Joe said, finally caving in.
“Right fucking on,” Wilmer cheered.
“Yeah, yeah,” Joe grumbled.
“Get your ass up, shower, and do all that shit that’ll make you into the man I know, and then get over here, brother,” Wilmer said.
“Yeah,” Joe sighed.
“I’ll see you, man,” Wil said.
“Yep,” Joe said before pulling the phone away from his ear, ending the call.
It didn’t take long to pull his ass off the couch and make his way to Wilmer’s. He knew if he didn’t go, Wilmer wasn’t going to leave it alone, so he caved. He wanted to get his mind off of Audrey anyway. He already tried to call her multiple times since she hung up on him, but she wasn’t picking up the phone when he called, which tore at him. All he wanted was to make her see he wasn’t messing around on her, that he never would. But she wasn’t giving him the opportunity.
“Joe-Joe!” Wilmer shouted as Joe walked into his living room where more than a few people were gathered.
Joe hadn’t realized it was going to be a full-fledged party, but he guessed the more the merrier.
“Can I get you a drink? What do you want? Tequila? A little rum and coke? Vodka tonic?” Wil asked, throwing his arm around Joe as he guided him toward his kitchen.
“I guess a vodka tonic,” Joe shrugged.
“Good choice, my man,” Wilmer smiled at him as he went to prepare the drink.
Joe pulled his phone out of his pocket, checking to see if Audrey returned his calls, but it was all wishful thinking.
“Is she still mad at you, brother?” Wilmer asked.
“Uh, yeah,” Joe nodded somberly.
“I’m telling you, you should let me call her – clear the air, you know,” he said.
“She won’t take my phone calls, she sure as hell isn’t going to take yours,” Joe told him.
“I’m still not quite sure why that girl hates me so bad,” he said, smirking mischievously.
“You can’t win them all,” Joe smirked back at him.
“You’re right,” he chuckled, handing Joe the drink.
As Joe mingled through the gathering of people, he couldn’t help but notice that everyone was having a much better time than he was. Normally, he would throw himself into the party, but Audrey had him so messed up, so on edge. He just wanted the ache to go away. He just wanted to make things right.
“Yo, Jonas. Come here,” Wilmer said, pulling him into one the back rooms of the house where a few of Wil’s friends sat around a small coffee table.
They all looked up at Joe like he was some sort of threat and he wondered why until he registered what exactly was sprawled out across the table.
“He’s cool,” Wil told them as they made their way toward the couch.
As Joe sat down, he snuck another look at his phone – just in case.
“Seriously man, you need to forget about your worries,” Wil told him.
“I can’t exactly do that when the girl is my whole life,” Joe said, feeling a little bit of annoyance bubbling up.
“See, that’s your problem, man. I understand you love her, but she shouldn’t be the reason you’re breathing, brother,” Wil said, smirking at Joe with that sly smile he knew Audrey hated. And in that moment, Joe could actually see what she despised in him.
“Let me give you a little something to help you loosen up a little,” Wilmer said, motioning for the girl beside him to hand him the small mirror with pre-separated lines of coke on it.
“Nah, man. I can’t,” Joe said, waving his hand through the air.
“Come on. What’s it going to hurt? You just might have a little fun tonight,” he pressured.
“Wil, I don’t think—” Joe started.
“Stop thinking and just do,” Wilmer told him. Joe sighed, realizing that arguing with him was going to get him nowhere.
And what would it hurt? A few lines weren’t going to kill him, right?
New York City – May 11th, 2012
“Is there anything I can get you? We have… uh, water,” Joe asked, smirking over at Audrey from the refrigerator.
“You guys seriously need to do some grocery shopping,” Audrey giggled.
“We do,” Joe laughed, walking over to her by the counter.
“Is Nick home?” She asked.
“Who knows?” Joe shrugged.
“Ah,” she nodded.
“I mean, do you want him to be home?” Joe asked, his eyebrows furrowing.
“No. I was just wondering. We don’t need Nick crashing our first date, now do we?” Audrey said, smiling at him.
“No. No, we don’t,” Joe said as his lips curled up into a smile.
Joe took Audrey out to a nice dinner, which was amazing. She was definitely not used to that kind of luxury – the kind that these boys could afford. But honestly, she didn’t need things like that to impress her. Joe already did that all on his own. What he didn’t know was she was already hooked. He could have brought her to McDonald’s and she would have had the time of her life because she was with him.
“So, what do you want to do now?” Audrey asked him.
“I don’t know. We can talk some more. I like getting to know you better,” he said, smiling as he took her hand in his.
“I like getting to know the real you,” Audrey said, smiling at him as he led her out of the kitchen toward Nick’s formal living room.
They sat down on the long L-shaped blue couch together, Joe’s hand still in hers. Just as naturally as she and Nick were able to become friends, so did she and Joe. And just a short week before, Joe asked her out. And not just on a date. He had asked her for exclusivity – for her to be his girlfriend.
It was still surreal. How could the one boy on the planet she set her sights on so long ago, all of a sudden come crashing into her life wanting to be with her too? All she knew for sure was if this was all a dream, she didn’t want to wake up.
“I really like you, Audrey,” Joe said, his eyes focused on their intertwined fingers.
“You do?” She asked quietly, watching as his eyes finally met with hers.
“I do. I wish there was a way I could make you believe it,” he said sincerely.
“I-I do believe it. I just… it’s just going to take some getting used to,” she told him truthfully.
“I know I haven’t had the time you have to develop those feelings, but I feel them, Audrey. They came fast and they hit me hard. I just want you to know…” He said trailing off.
“My feelings for you didn’t develop,” Audrey said, smirking bashfully at him.
“What do you mean?” He asked, furrowing his brow in question.
“It was like a speeding freight train that smashed into me. The first time we kissed, it was like an addiction that could never be satisfied unless it was you there satisfying it. And whatever, it’s stupid because I admired you from afar for so long and this is probably just ridiculous. I mean, you’re absolutely crazy for falling for someone like me, you know,” she told him.
“I know,” he chuckled, caressing his hand across her cheek.
“But… I mean, we’re here,” she shrugged.
“We’re here,” he said, cupping her cheek with his hand.
There was a brief moment where their eyes did all the talking, just staring into one another’s. And then he leaned in, leaving the perfect kiss on her lips and she wondered what she did right in her life to get someone as wonderful as him. Why did she deserve this man?
When Joe pulled back from the kiss, Audrey wasn’t ready to let him go, so she snaked her hand behind his neck and pulled his lips back to hers. Their lips moved fluidly, adapting to the wonderful changes they were both bringing forth.
Joe’s body moved forward against Audrey’s, dominating her with his entire being. His hand came down on her thigh, pulling it up against his hip. It wasn’t long before she could feel his arousal against her and it made her ache for him.
But within a split second, Joe pulled himself away and Audrey was left looking up at him wondering why.
“This… this isn’t why I asked you back here. I-I wasn’t… I mean, I’m not…” He stammered.
“Joe…” Audrey breathed.
“I want you to know that… that this isn’t just physical, Audrey,” he told her, the look on his face was so serious.
“Joe, I know. I know. Believe me,” she said, sitting up.
“I just don’t want you to think that’s all I am out for,” he told her sincerely.
“I don’t think that, okay. I don’t,” she told him. He nodded his head.
“But, Joe,” she said and waited until he turned his head back toward her.
“I mean, I’m not going to think any less of you for wanting to,” she told him and he nodded again.
“Because I want to too,” she told him. His face lightened almost immediately, letting a smirk form on his lips.
“I mean, we’ve done it before,” she reminded him, smirking bashfully.
“We have,” he nodded.
“And now we’re… I’m your girlfriend, Joe. You’re my boyfriend. We’re together,” she explained.
“Yeah,” he nodded.
“Come on,” she said, grabbing his hand in her as she got up off the couch.
Audrey pulled Joe flush against her body, kissing his lips again.
“There’s no harm in doing things that boyfriends and girlfriends do,” she told him.
“No harm,” he agreed, smiling as he kissed her lips again.
Audrey let Joe lead her to his room with the dark walls and comfortable bed – the bed she spent the night with him in on only one other occasion several weeks before. The bed that brought her to a whole other level with this wonderful man. And she wanted that over and over again. She wanted him – all of him. And she was pretty sure he was willing to give it, as she was ready to give herself right back.