Los Angeles – May 4th, 2015
When Joe and Audrey found out they were pregnant with Caleb, he was a little freaked out. It wasn’t like he didn’t want to have kids. He always did and of course, that was the plan with Audrey all along. But, they weren’t married for very long and well, he wasn’t quite sure if he was finished growing up himself. But Aud – she was so excited. Her blue eyes and wide smile beamed the second the pink little plus sign appeared on the pregnancy test. They were having a baby and he knew he needed to get his shit together once and for all.
When Audrey went into labor six weeks prematurely, Joe was so scared going into the whole thing. He was scared for his wife and he was scared for their baby. And when Audrey’s blood pressure spiked during the birth, commonly known as hypertension, he was beyond scared. The doctor’s kept saying how they needed to get her blood pressure down before she started seizing. Joe held his wife’s hand as tight as he could, breathing comforting words in her ear as the doctors and nurses all worked around them. The thought of losing Audrey or their unborn child was too much to handle. But eventually they got her blood pressure under-control and they were able to get down to the operating room to have a c-section.
Audrey did so amazing. Joe would have never been able to go through that much and still be sitting here talking about it.
“Hey there, buddy,” Joe cooed, smiling at his newborn son who sat cradled in his arms in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, also known as the NICU.
Joe and Audrey both came down there hours ago to be with our 5 lb 4 oz bundle of joy. She fought with her doctors for the opportunity to spend some time with their baby. So they attached a portable IV to her and Joe wheeled his stubborn wife down to the NICU in a wheelchair. She spent a while holding and talking and cuddling their son before her eyes grew heavy and sleep took her sitting right in the rocking chair with Caleb in her arms. Joe watched the two of them sleeping for a while, enjoying just being in their presence. His little family. He had so many blessings in life and this was just another one of them.
“It’s time for a feeding,” Joe heard Caleb’s nurse say from behind him.
“Oh. Would you like me to wake her?” He asked, looking up at the lady wearing a pair of Mickey Mouse scrubs.
“No, no. I have some of her breast milk in the fridge. Would you like to feed him?” She asked him.
“I would love to,” Joe said, smiling widely at her.
“I’ll get it ready,” she said, exiting the room.
Joe stood up, looking down at both his son and his wife before he gently pulled him out of Audrey’s arms, careful not to wake her.
“Hey there, big boy,” he smiled at the baby as he opened his eyes, looking up at his daddy. Caleb’s little voice squeaked out as she stretched and squirmed in Joe’s arms.
“I know, I know. But it’s time to eat,” Joe told him as he began to fuss a little more.
“Oh, buddy. You’re gonna be okay, I promise,” Joe cooed at his newborn.
“Here you go,” the nurse came in with a small bottle in her hand.
“Thank you,” Joe smiled at her as he grabbed the bottle.
“Here it is, buddy. Here it is, just like I said,” Joe reassured the baby, bring the nipple to his mouth just as he began wailing for it.
He immediately began suckling, but seemed to be having a tough time latching on to it.
“He’s… he doesn’t want it,” Joe said, looking up at the nurse.
“He’ll get the hang of it,” she said, placing a burp cloth over Caleb’s tiny body. He kept suckling, but fumbling at it.
“Maybe we should wake up, Audrey,” Joe said, getting slightly nervous that he wasn’t going to get the hang of this bottle business.
“He’s doing just fine, I promise. Sometimes it’s a little harder for a premature baby, but he’ll get the hang of it,” she said with a reassuring smile.
“Alright,” Joe said, looking down at Caleb again.
To be perfectly honest, caring for such a tiny little human being scared the shit out of him. Caleb was so tiny, so fragile. What if he were to make a mistake somehow? What if he didn’t do something right? Joe would never forgive himself if he unintentionally harmed him in some way.
“You’re doing great, Mr. Jonas,” the nurse told him, probably seeing the distressing face he was making.
“Uh, thanks,” Joe said, giving her an uneasy smile.
“I can stay in here if you want me to,” she told him.
“Uh… no. I think… I think I’ve got it,” Joe told her hesitantly.
“Alright. Just press the button if you need me for anything,” she said, smiling at him.
“Don’t be surprised if I do,” he countered, smirking at her.
“That’s what it’s there for,” she reassured him before she quietly slipped out of the room.
Caleb finally got the hang of the large nipple and started emptying the bottle slowly but surely.
“Good job, buddy. It’s going to help you grow big and strong so mommy and daddy can take you home with us,” Joe told him.
When the bottle was emptied, Joe pulled it gently from Caleb’s mouth and set it aside. Now, this was the scary part – burping his tiny little body. Joe wasn’t quite sure what he was doing, but memories of the short birthing class he and Audrey took came flooding into his mind. He pulled Caleb’s frail little body up against his chest and shoulder and began lightly patting his back.
“Come on, buddy. You’re going to get a tummy ache if you don’t get the bubbles out,” Joe softly cooed to him.
Joe continued lightly patting his back, thinking he was getting absolutely nowhere, until he heard the faintest of burps come from Caleb’s tiny body.
“Something’s better than nothing,” Joe said, ready to pulling him back down in his arms.
But seconds later, a second burp erupted from his mouth, along with a puddle of spit up that landed all over Joe’s shoulder.
“Crap,” Joe scoffed to himself as he set Caleb carefully down on his lap as he surveyed the damage.
He had a large white spit-up spot on the shoulder of his over-priced black Armani V-neck. Had he remembered to put the burp rag over his shoulder, he wouldn’t be in this mess.
“Damn it,” Joe grumbled, wiping at the spot with the burp rag.
“Cursing in front of the baby already?” Joe heard Audrey’s drowsy voice. His eyes found hers immediately as he paused his clean-up.
“Sorry,” he said blushing.
“It’s okay. He won’t remember it,” she smiled at him.
“I uh… I just fed him a bottle,” Joe told her.
“I see that,” she smiled.
“And then he puked on me,” Joe smirked at her as he continued cleaning himself up.
“You’re a good daddy, Joe,” Audrey breathed.
His heart immediately filled with love for both Audrey and Caleb as he looked up at her.
“Thank you. Somehow I just needed to hear that,” he told her.
“You should already know that,” she smiled contently at him.
“Sometimes it’s nice to hear too,” he said, staring at his beautiful wife.
She just gave birth less than twelve hours before and she still looked absolutely stunning. She was just as beautiful as the day he met her.
New York City – March 24th, 2012
Joe loved everything about music – everything. He loved the sounds, the feelings, the memories that can be conjured up by listening to it. He loved writing it, singing it, composing it. Music was everything to him. So when he got a gig to DJ at a club with a friend of his who was also in the music business, he took it. He was in New York with his brothers, in the midst of writing and recording another album for their band the Jonas Brothers. Their fans were dying for it. It had been over two years since they released anything together. His brother Nick had a solo projected called Nick Jonas and the Administration, while Joe embarked on his own solo career the previous summer. Sure he wanted to be able to ride it out, but he knew what the fans really wanted – the brothers.
Joe wasn’t going to lie and say it didn’t sting just a little bit that he wasn’t able to have the extended time to pursue his solo music like Nick was able to, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew their star was starting to dim with all these other bands out there taking the spotlight. They needed to get back out there as a group – and fast.
It was nights like these that Joe was able to have his time in the spotlight. And he was feeling good. The alcohol flowing through his veins also made him feel good.
When the next DJ came on after him, Joe walked to the bar where he knew his brothers would be. As he walked toward them, Joe saw Nick talking to a very attractive blonde girl. He was confused at first because Nick was not the type to just initiate a conversation with a woman. Especially now, right after he and Delta just called it quits not even a month before. But then he remember how Nick mentioned he was going to bring his new friend Audrey to the club with him.
As they all turned to look at Joe as he walked toward them, his eyes immediately connected with the beautiful blonde pixie, who must have been Audrey. What exactly was the policy on immediately getting the hots for his little brother’s only friend in New York? Was it acceptable to act upon it? Or did he need to tread lightly?
“Hey, you were awesome up there!” His older brother Kevin said as he stood up from his stool.
“Thanks, man. It was a blast,” Joe said as he hugged him.
“It really was a great,” Kevin’s wife Danielle said.
“Thanks, Dani,” Joe said as he hugged her.
“Congrats, man,” Nick said, hugging him.
“Yeah, thanks,” Joe smiled at him.
“Joe, this is my friend Audrey,” Nick said, finally introducing Joe to the girl.
Joe had heard him talk about her all week. Yet, he never talked about her like he like liked her. He only talked about her in the friend sense. And he never told Joe just exactly how beautiful she was.
“Audrey,” Joe breathed, shaking her hand, staring straight into her eyes.
“Audrey, this is my brother Joe,” Nick introduced them, but neither of them gave him any attention. They were too busy falling in love with each other.
“Nice to meet you, Joe,” she breathed.
Joe could see the blush creep up her cheeks even through the dim lighting of the club.
“Likewise,” Joe said, still shaking her hand lightly.
“Ohh-kay,” Nick said, eyeing the two of them.
Joe heard Kevin and Dani snicker lightly, snapping him out of his daze. He dropped Audrey’s hand and looked around at his brother’s.
“So uh, do you want to get out of here? Get something to eat?” Joe asked them, trying to recover from whatever it was that just happened.
“Yeah, sounds good,” Kevin said, looking at his wife as she shook her head.
“Audrey, are you in?” Joe asked her. Her eyes looked to Nick and then back to Joe.
“I’m in,” she nodded.
“Awesome. Let’s go,” Joe smiled at her.
With Audrey it was instantaneous. There was no other way to explain it. Sure he’d fallen fast for other girls in the past. But this was different. It felt different. It felt real.
Now all he needed to do was make sure he wasn’t encroaching on Nick’s territory.