Everything was literally set.
5:00 PM: Corey would swing by to pick me up.
5:15 PM: We would be on the road towards the Jonas residence.
6:00 PM: We’d be at the door, holding my favorite brand of ice cream for the chocolate brownie.
6:01 PM: We’d head straight into all the awkward greetings and reunions. Nick would more likely try to ignore and avoid Corey at all costs. I would roll my eyes and pretend like everything’s okay.
7:00 PM: Dinner will begin and we’d talk about old New Jersey memories.
8:00 PM: Nick and Corey would have gotten so wrapped up in their old memories, they’d practically become best friends again.
9:45 PM: End of the night and the dinner, we’d go home.
10:30 PM: I’d sleep like a baby knowing that everything will finally be okay.
It’s a plan.
“Are you sure this is going to work?” Demi asked, slightly panicky, leaning up against the side of my closet. She looked across towards Carly and Selena who shrugged, unsure themselves. So yes, after some constructive conversations, Selena and Demi have become my best friends again. It took a few million ‘IAMSOSORRY’-ies to them but they forgave me in the end.
Now everyone showed up at my apartment after lunch for a pre-dinner-pow wow to boost my self esteem and confidence. Only my friends would do such a thing.
“This is so going to work, guys. I don’t know why you doubt this.” I yelled from my closet while trying on several different types of jeans. “When I went with Corey to meet his family, I felt happier than I’ve felt in years. That’s what I want Corey to feel. I want Nick to get over this fetish over holding a grudge against Corey. I want to be able to get over Nick.”
I stood out from my closet, wearing orange skinny jeans with a bright orange flowery top.
“I want everything to be okay.” I whispered as if my wish would come true.
Selena dangled her skinny toned legs off my bed and nodded compassionately. “I want that for you too.” A small smiled appeared from under my lips. “I also want you to take off that horrid outfit. For Christ’s sakes, Maya, are you trying to resemble a fucking caution sign?” We all began to giggle while I ran back into my closet.
“So what are you going to do if you don’t get what you want in the end? What if Nick still hates Corey?” Carly asked, seriously.
“I don’t know.” I shrugged to myself, completely unaware of the answer to her question. I looked up, down, then all around me, hoping for a sign to pop up to me as the answer. Nothing, absolutely nothing showed up. I was all alone if everything in the end did crumble. No one could possibly help me because I caused it to happen.
But that was just a risk I was willing to take.
I pulled out my red flannel shirt with my black skinny jeans and black pumps. I brushed off the pieces of lint that hung on my jeans before making my debut. “I’m speaking for myself by saying I think we have a winner.” Demi said while eyeing my outfit. I nodded actually agreeing while I stared at myself long enough in the mirror. “You better hurry, it’s about 4:45 and I’m sure you haven’t started your makeup.”
I rushed over to my bathroom as I let Demi do my makeup the way she always does her own. By an amount of seconds, I was ready to leave. I took my black Chanel clutch into my palm and turned back to my friends who gave a convincing yet almost encouraging looks. I shrugged my shoulders with an innocent smirk. I could already see Corey’s big red truck parked out in the front. Everyone began to give me one big heartening hug. I let go before turning my back towards my only sense of comfort. I was walking into a complete world wind of possibilities in a night.
Maya was growing further and further away, to the point where you had to squint your pupils enough to see her almost clearly. Demi, Selena, and Carly stood behind watching practically their child walking forward and never looking back. Selena leaned back and crossed her arms against her chest. “Well I’m coming back with a box of tissues tonight.”
Demi nodded agreeing. “I’m picking up the ice cream after this.”
“I think John Tucker Must Die will be a good pick during all of that.” Carly mumbled.
The car ride was silent just out of being a nervous wreck. I sat straight up in the laid back car seat while tapping my finger tips against the windowsill tensely. I was scared of being closer and closer towards their house. I almost asked Corey to turn back and go some other day (well really never). The palm trees on either side of the interstate passed us quickly. I sighed slowly letting all the anxieties slowly decrease.
“Maya, you look like you’re going to pass out. What on God’s green Earth is your problem? Do you want me to roll down your window? You seem a little pale.” Corey asked me with a strictly concerned expression. I shook my head and gradually leaned back into the chair, needing to relax.
We’re hardly close. I’ll just take this time to take a breather.
Well so much for that. I groaned while picking up my ice cream in the process. My door clicked open, ready for me to pass through. Corey held out his hand, helping me out. I smiled as we walked together towards the house. I can do this. I can do this. I repeated these words in my head while pacing through the long drive way. But then once closer, I felt myself yelling in my head. I can’t do this. I can’t do this.
Get a hold of yourself, woman.
I mentally slapped myself before allowing Corey go ahead and ring the door bell. Suddenly shouts of “I’ll get it,” and “No I’ll get it. I’m the best looking brother,” became audible through the door. I sighed loudly, knowing this was already in a wreck. The door opened to Frankie and Joe smiling, well only at me.
I pointed over at Corey. “You guys remember Corey, right?”
Frankie, not knowing him well since he wasn’t born yet, extended his hand out to greet him. Corey was near to except but Joe pulled Frankie back and shook his head. “Hey Maya.” Joe said happily as if Corey had not stood beside me. Please let Joe be the only jerk tonight.
After epic fail number one, we walked into the spaghetti sauce aroma filled house. I practically attacked my mother when in sight. She smiled and appropriately greeted Corey like she used to. Kevin was next to greet me and being the gentleman I knew him for, he greeted Corey just like an old friend would and introduced him to Ellie and Kimmy. Corey smiled and met the entire family. Then Denise and Paul said their respective hello’s towards us like they normally would.
All who was left was Nicholas.
Nick and Miley were in the living room, feeding milk to Kevin the third while cradling him in Nick’s arms. I smiled as I walked towards them. “Hey there,” I said smoothly while their heads shot up. His grin grew widely as he kissed my on the cheek as his greeting. Miley gave me a tight hug. Then he stopped in his tracks, realizing Corey was right behind me. I gulped and faced Corey. “Corey, you remember Nick? Nick, you remember Corey, right?”
They both nodded, emotionless. Nick took the initiative to hold out his hand first. A small smile appeared on Corey’s face as he shook Nick’s hand in his. Miley did the same as Nick after.
I turned around and wiped off the sweat trickling down my face. This was just too intense already but it seemed to be going at least somewhere. I’m not sure where but definitely not at the starting point. I small grin played across my lips as I nodded. This should be okay.
Just at that same second, Denise poked her head into the living room. “You kids ready for dinner?”
Nick nodded and turned back to Corey and me. “Let’s go?” We nodded in agreement as the four of us began to walk towards the exit but Nick held me back. Miley turned back, alarmed. “Why don’t you save me a seat, Miles? I won’t be too long. I just have to talk to Maya about something real quick.” She nodded as she bestowed a quick peck on the lips.
Gag me with a spoon, why don’t you? Do you really need to kiss before you leave a room?
He turned back to me with serious gaze plastered on his smooth face. “Look, I wanted to talk about your birthday party. We need to talk about when the two of us were on the Ferris wheel together.” I furrowed my eye brows at his severity. “Maya, I a33;“ “
I knew that he clearly over thought this. I shook my head and placed my hands over his palms with a reassuring squeeze. “Nick, if you regretted almost kissing me then that’s fine. We can just act like it never happened, okay?” I smiled innocently before letting go slowly of his hands. I turned back on my heel, leaving for the dining room.
After Maya’s sudden departure from the room, Nick had looked down at his empty hands. He shook his head with an amused grin. “Thanks for letting me finish, Maya.” He said disappointingly. He was planning to tell her something different than she assumed, actually the opposite. His eyes traveled towards her. She was the only person in the entire room who actually stood out.
Pursing his lips, he slowly paced back to the dining room where everyone was beginning to take their seats. The aroma of fresh spaghetti and baking brownies left in the oven had traveled around the entire house. Hungry faces had stared back at the dinner, ready to eat.
In the Jonas household, you were not allowed to touch a piece of food without a blessing first. After Paul had finished the blessing, everyone began to dig in.
At the beginning of the dinner, silence overruled the crowded room. It was so silent; the sound of chewing and crunching became audible. Maya looked around, hoping someone would take a shot at a conversation. The tension was just too thick to slice through. Her eyes traveled from each of her sides. On her right was Corey as tense as ever. His fingers shook nervously as he twirled his fork around the noodle.
He turned his head to smirk at Maya. She smiled back before looking at her food again. Nick, who was sitting on her left, hadn’t even touched his food. He played with his noodles with the fork, gazing at absolutely nothing in particular. Maya turned to him and tapped him lightly at the shoulder. He jumped spontaneously before whipping his eyes her direction. “Are you okay?” She said in almost a whisper on instinct due to the silence.
He nodded and threw an unsure thumbs up back at her. She raised her eye brow but looked back anyway. The quiet resumed to take the table. A clamor of forks and spoons against the glass plate soon became the melody of the dinner. Uneasy looks were passed from either side of the wooden table, pleading one another to stop the stillness.
“So,” The single consonant word had startled everyone. It came from Kevin. “How have you been, Corey? What are you doing now?” A sigh of relief exhaled from Maya’s body as she could finally relax. The same came from everyone else.
God bless Kevin Jonas.
The tensing of Corey was visibly decreasing as he flashed a smile. “I’ve been good. I’m going to college, taking music history classes, while playing some night gigs with my band.”
Kevin nodded, seemingly impressed, while Joe and Nick scoffed seemingly not impressed. Maya ignored their discourteous responses and kept my attention on the calming conversation. “You’re in a band?” Kevin asked.
Corey nodded. “Yeah, it’s definitely not as big as the Jonas Brothers but we’re pretty known in the area.” In the corner of my eye, she could see Joe and Nick exchanging mocking faces to each other behind Corey’s back. Maya lifted my left foot and struck her heel in Nick’s shoe.
“OW!” Nick screeched while holding on to his stubbed foot. She pursed my lips as she slid her heel over to her other foot, avoiding the attention. Eyes were darted on Nick, astonished by his response. He laughed nervously and shook his head. “I was just saying, ‘OWW OWW’ because of Corey’s band. Good job, man.” Joseph was basically about to split a gut from laughter. Maya glared at him with a treacherous glower that silenced him swiftly.
Miley poked her head, beaming over to Corey and me. “So how did you and Maya meet?”
The question caused deathly stares daggered towards her. She didn’t see them though; she was caught up to hearing an answer. Maya cleared her throat before answering on behalf of both of them. “Well, I was on my way to class, late as always, I suppose it didn’t help that my teacher changed the classroom. I was searching around then all of a sudden I hear my name being called. I turn around and see Corey hitting head first into an open door.” A few chuckled alongside Corey and Maya.
Corey began to chip in, more comfortable than he was before. “Yeah, and when I was conscious again, I saw Maya and a bunch of other people waiting for me to wake up. It was definitely an embarrassing moment for me. I had to remind her who I was, telling her about how Nick, her, and I were best friends…” He continued to explain how they met but looking down, she could see under the table, Nick’s palm form a fist, veins popping through his wrist.
She let her hand fall over his fist, settling him down. Gradually, the fist unfolded resting against his lap settled. Maya sighed; realizing calming down Nick was really all he needed to resist the urge.
“So you and Maya knew each other before?” Miley’s constant questions were making Nick impossibly uncomfortable. He wanted to stop her to a hush but he couldn’t do that in front of Maya and especially Corey. He took another swig of his white wine, letting the alcohol soothe down his throat.
Maya grew quiet, letting Corey take the lead for speaking. “Well I lived down the street from Nick and Maya; we practically lived with each other. We played soccer in our neighborhood playground together, we went to school together, and we performed in plays together. We were best friends and practically inseparable.” The word struck through Maya’s heart and Nick’s alike. It was certainly unexpected.
“Really, Corey?” Nick’s voice had sprung heads. The tone starched in his voice was hard and rigid. He wasn’t nearly as happy-go-lucky as Corey. “It may have been awhile ago but I know for a fact that we were inseparable, as you say. In fact, there were points of time where Maya and I wondered what happened to you.”
Maya’s eyes widened, realizing where Nick was heading himself into. She tried to hold him back but he was far too ahead of himself already.
Corey’s eyes were burning with fear and shock mixed together. He shrugged nervously, raising his hands attempting to defend himself. “Well, I mean I did make some mistakes that I’ve regretted in my past.”
“Is that so?” Nick spat back.
“Well of course, if I’d taken back any moment in my life it would have been specific times back in Wyckoff.”
Nick scoffed, shaking his head in disbelief.
Corey, who was beginning to get ticked at Nick’s casualty to ignore his honesty, turned in his seat to face Nick. “What are you shaking your head for?”
“I hope you know how stupid you look right now.” Everyone furrowed their eye brows, in shock or confusion. Maya leaned back, sipping her champagne hoping to get herself away from the conversation. “You act like this poor little sick puppy, asking for charity from people you left years ago.”
Maya whipped her head towards him, astounded. She held her hand on his forearm, hoping to calm him down. “Please Nick, don’t do this.” She begged in almost a whisper.
He shook his head before letting go of my touch and standing up from his chair. Corey had done the same. Maya could feel her heart drop, wishing and praying this would just end. “How dare you come into my house and act like everything is okay when sure as hell is not okay?” Veins were beginning to pop from the temples of his forehead.
“Because I want everything to be okay, Nick!” He yelled back.
He scoffed while walking closer towards Corey. “How could you want something that doesn’t exist anymore, Goldman? Twelve years ago, you had everything but you threw it away for popularity and looks. How could you? No, how dare you?” His voice was growing louder and angrier.
Everyone sat in their seats, motionless and scared of Nick’s sudden fury.
Corey sighed out, irritated while looking away from Nick’s burning eyes. His voice began to soften. “I already told you, Nick. I’ve made some mistakes in my life. I regret them completely and entirely. Please don’t put something against me that’s caused me so much pain.” He pleaded Nick.
Nick laughed, seemingly amused. “It caused you pain? It caused you pain? It caused everyone pain, you idiotic good-for-nothing waste of a human being! You honestly think that you’ve suffered more than all of us? You take away everything!”
Maya got up from her chair, refusing to take any of this. She stood between the two people who were the most important but now I didn’t know where they stood. Fume had risen from both of their eyes. She raised her hands, separating the two of them. “This is enough. Nick, you have got to lay down on him. This is ridiculous. You promised me this wouldn’t happen.”
He shook his head, no longer taking that promise. “I can’t promise not to cause an altercation with a killer.”
Her mouth hung wide while shaking her head in complete disbelief. “Why are you calling him that?”
He aimed an accusing finger against Corey’s chest. “He killed your dad.”
Wait, what did he just say?
She whipped her head over to Corey, who was growing paler by the second. Maya’s hands dropped between the two of them. She felt the room spin, leaving her light headed. She stuck her feet planted in the ground, not backing out now. Her breathing grew heavier and her mouth hung wider. She didn’t have any type of feeling in her fingers. “Excuse me?”
“I can explain.” He said, guiltily.
He could explain? Why isn’t he claiming it all to be a lie?
“You can explain?” She spat out with disgust.
He held on to her arm, hoping she wouldn’t leave him. She threw off his hold but allowed him to speak although she didn’t want to hear about her father. It would reduce her to tears. She felt Nick lay his hand on the small of her back but Maya flinched away from his hold as well. She didn’t want to be holding on to anything or anyone.
“Well you see, like I said I had made some poor mistakes, but one night after practice Bobby Howard and his friends invited me to ride in their car with him. So I didn’t really know what to say, they were big, cool, and kind of manipulative. I felt no other choice but to go with them.” Resentment flashed in his eyes, wondering whether or not to go ahead. Nobody was ready to leave just yet, they had only begun.
“I didn’t know where we were going but it seemed like we were heading for New York. One of the guys had brought alcohol in Bobby’s car. The rest of them began to grow rowdy, practically inhaling the liquor down their sorry throats. Bobby hardly cared about how he was driving too, nobody was on the streets at that point so he drank carelessly.” Maya felt the goose bumps slither against her skin, waiting for the entire story to falter.
“Well they were near to handing me the alcohol just before we began to see this bright light heading straight for us. I guess Bobby must have swiveled into the wrong lane, leaving us to hit direct compact with the other car.” He swallowed hard against his throat, almost trying to hold back tears. “The driver of the other car was Maya’s dad.”
In that very moment, the world had stopped directly on its axis. Time did not move and neither did people. Water no longer streamed down into an ocean and the moon stopped revolving around the earth. Life was still and motionless, almost without life.
A raging fire illuminated within Maya, igniting her. She pressed her finger against Corey, slightly pushing him back. “You lied to me. You lied to me, Corey. How could you?” Her voice so close to yelling had frightened the entire room. Nobody ever heard her like this before.
He shook his head, desperately asking for forgiveness. “Maya, I’m trying to tell you that it was all a mistake and being in the wrong place at the wrong time!”
She ignored his plead before turning her heel against her own mother. “And you! You told me that he had a deathly heart attack and never let me see him in the hospital! You lied to me too! You all lied to me! How can I trust any of you?” Her voice at the top of her lungs and her heart at the top of its rate were in no comparison to the heavy weight holding her against the ground.
She wanted to die. She wanted to whist away. She was right to let go. At this point she could no longer hold on to anything or anyone.
Maya’s mother, fright holding on to her, shook her head. “Sweetie, I couldn’t take your pain if I told you exactly what happened. You were so young and I didn’t want you to know that someone close to you was in to the whole scam! I didn’t want to disrupt you so the only way I could help was to have you bare it.”
The tears that she tried her hardest to hold back were soon creating rivulets against her cheeks. They burned in the corner of her eyes until they fell. She couldn’t bare to be in this room. She couldn’t bare to be by people she no longer trusted. Maya ran out of the dining room and towards the guest room where she hid herself away.
Corey’s whose eyes were filled with the salty tears shook his head. “I never meant for this to happen.” He said in almost a whisper. “I am so sorry.” Nick shook his head too but no in this same way. He knew that this all happened on the account of Corey.
“Well I’m not sorry, you son of a a33;“ “ But before he could finish, Nick threw a punch straight across Corey’s crying face. Corey shrieked to the ground, while finding his nose dripping with blood. “Don’t you ever think about seeing Maya again!” He yelled down at Corey as if he was completely inferior. Kevin had jumped up from his seat and restricted Nick away from Corey.
Kevin looked down at Corey, feeling regretful of not stopping anything earlier. “Get up Corey, I’ll get you home.” He turned to Nick, furious with his actions. “And you, check up on Maya. We’re going to have a long talk with you.”
I fell to the ground almost immediately as I walked in the guest room. Heavy and unbearable tears restricted me from being able to move. The world kept on moving while I wanted everything to be at a standstill. I couldn’t keep anymore. I could have so possibly lost everything in its path. I felt naked in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard.
Everyone I could have so possibly trusted with my life just threw everything I thought I knew off a cliff.
My mother, my own blood, had lied to me for eleven years. No one could have so possibly held a longer lie than her. When everything went wrong, I went to her. When people changed, I went to her. Now, I felt like both problems have occurred and now I don’t know who to go to.
Corey, who I thought was my only salvation, had taken away the person I knew the least. My father had so much left to teach me about the world and yet Corey took it away by childish mistakes. No, a child wouldn’t be an accomplice to taking a life. Someone completely stupid would.
Then Nick, who was trying to protect me the entire time, had lost his complete control. But he did it for me and yet somehow I didn’t know what his intentions were. I couldn’t differentiate whether or not he screeched for my true and complete feelings or to vent himself from the idea of losing a best friend.
Everything wasn’t the same. The way I saw a person was completely introverted from what I used to think of them. Nothing felt right. Nothing felt safe.
Tears shed quickly like rain down my face. I brought my knees up to my chin, lying against protected barriers. Pain grew from forehead all the way down to my toes. I felt absolutely nothing else but the suffering taking my heart away.
A bang vibrated from the door of the room. “Maya?” Nick’s worried voice filled my ear with sorrow. “Maya, please open the door. I can’t stand you being like this.” He said while banging against the wooden frame. I sat silently not letting any movement through my body. The tears quietly flowed down, now running down my knees.
I could hear a muffling from downstairs. “Thanks a lot for ruining our family. I hope you go to he- “
“Nicholas,” Paul said sternly. “We’ve heard enough from you tonight. Kevin bringing him home and when he gets back, we will have a long discussion about your behavior but for the time being wait for Maya. She’s gone through too much tonight.” After his scolding against Nick, the front door slammed to a close.
“Maya, please, open the door. Corey has left and everything is okay now. Please, just open it for me.” He begged once more. I felt my head shake to itself despite he couldn’t see me. My bare arms shivered and my teeth clattered. “Can I just warm you up a bit? You sound like you’re freezing to death. I won’t do anything but keep you warmer.”
I sighed before turning around to unlock the door. Nick stood silently, looking down at my balled up position. He sighed slowly and cautiously before pulling me into his arms. This was when I cried my hardest. His protective and strong arms were wrapped against my fragile waist. “Please don’t let go.” I whispered through the tears.
I felt his head shake, agreeing to my request.