Too Far Gone by its danielle by The archive
Summary:
Marley's been there for Joe through everything, she was there before the fame, before the fortune, before the fans, but as time passes and Joe is away from her more and more, will it prove to be too much for her to handle?

Categories: Jonas Brothers Characters: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 24 Completed: No Word count: 50796 Read: 42956 Published: 05/14/2020 Updated: 05/14/2020

1. Chapter 1 by The archive

2. Chapter 2 by The archive

3. Chapter 3 by The archive

4. Chapter 4 by The archive

5. Chapter 5 by The archive

6. Chapter 6 by The archive

7. Chapter 7 by The archive

8. Chapter 8 by The archive

9. Chapter 9 by The archive

10. Chapter 10 by The archive

11. Chapter 11 by The archive

12. Chapter 12 by The archive

13. Chapter 13 by The archive

14. Chapter 14 by The archive

15. Chapter 15 by The archive

16. Chapter 16 by The archive

17. Chapter 17 by The archive

18. Chapter 18 by The archive

19. Chapter 19 by The archive

20. Chapter 20 by The archive

21. Chapter 21 by The archive

22. Chapter 22 by The archive

23. Chapter 23 by The archive

24. Chapter 24 by The archive

Chapter 1 by The archive
"Wishful thinking, patience shrinking, bliss is far away."
Marley was tired of waiting. She’d been waiting for him for so long. It felt like all she did was wait for him anymore. She was breaking down inside, she could feel it, every day that she wasn’t with him, it felt like another little piece of her heart was thrown away.

Another infomercial started on the TV and she sighed, reaching over to rub the ears of the Great Dane whose bucket head was resting on her thigh, his chest rising and falling heavily with his sleepy breathing. He whined softly and nuzzled his head against her leg.

“Do you miss him too, Cody?” She cooed to the animal in her lap.

He groaned and stretched out his legs, offering her no help or reassurance.

She checked her phone once more, seeing the same disappointing empty screen, no calls, no texts. She pulled herself off the cushions and folded the old comforter she was using for warmth, throwing it over the back of the couch and switching off the mindless show she was watching on TV before beckoning for the huge dog to follow her as she trudged up the stairs.

With her phone at it’s rightful place on the charger on the nightstand and Cody already sleeping on the large, flat couch they had bought for him and placed in the corner so he couldn’t take up their bed space because he refused to sleep on the floor. It wasn’t like it mattered…he was never home anyway.

She sighed, flicking on the bedside lamp and turning off all the other lights before slipping into the cold sheets of their bed. She missed the warmth of him next to her and wanted more than anything for him to be there to hold her.

Her mind wondered to when everything was easier, when they could walk around downtown, hand in hand and no one knew who he was. She was there before the fame and the fortune and definitely before the fans. Their older brothers were best friends and when they hung out and their moms suggested the younger siblings tag along, Joe and Marley were forced to be friends.

Although forced wasn’t the word. Ever since their freshman year of high school, they had been best of friends. Over the years that evolved and somewhere along the line, though neither of them were sure where, their hearts found each other. The first time he kissed her, when they were both seventeen, and new to the you’re-my-one-and-only-relationship scene, the feelings that surged through her made her swear that she’d never kiss another boy’s lips again.

When he and his brothers got discovered she went to every show and stared up at him like he was the only guy she could see, and to her…he was. She supported him and his brothers when no one else did and rode in the smelly van back and forth to New York City to play small gigs and open for a few local bands. She was there when Columbia Records took interest, she was there when they dropped them, and there when Hollywood picked them up. That’s where it really started.

The touring increased as well as the time he’d spent away from her. Their new publicist saw it fit not to let the fans know that any of the boys were tied down because they saw it as if they had girlfriends, the teens wouldn’t be interested, so their relationship was forced into hiding. She didn’t mind because she knew he loved her and she knew she loved him. She was proud of him for living his dream, everything he’d ever wanted was coming true, and she got to witness it.

But, it was hard.

The New York City loft apartment was a surprise gift to her last Christmas. They had gotten pretty serious over the past two years and now with her approaching her twenty-first birthday, and his just passing, moving in with each other just seemed like the next step. Joe had told her that if he could stand living with anyone, that it was her and when he actually was home, he wanted to spend every possible moment with her. She enjoyed the gesture and it was the happiest place to be when he was here, humming in the kitchen, laughing at the TV. When he was here, it felt warm and alive.

When he wasn’t…it was too quiet and it always felt cold and empty. And now with Christmas coming up again, Marley felt lonely as ever. It was overbearing being alone all the time, all of her family was well over an hour away and getting ready for their Christmas in Europe that Marley politely declined, opting to spend her time with Joe while she had the chance. His family that she was so close to accompanied him on tour, so they were out of the picture too. She needed him and he was busier than ever.

Sure, there was Cassie, Kevin’s girlfriend that he’d met while they were on a photo shoot at Cosmogirl. She was interning there, hoping to get a good word in and be bumped up to a position at her ultimate goal, Cosmopolitan. But, Joe, Nick, and Kevin came in, she was the busy intern bringing them their Starbucks, Kevin was lost in his phone, not paying attention where he was going, and BAM! Coffee meet Cassie’s shirt, and Kevin meet Cassie.

Cassie lived a few blocks away and when she wasn’t slaving away at the office or visiting Kevin, there was time for hang out with Marley. They could relate to each other and thankfully, for the brother’s sake, got along great.

The demand for the Jonas Brothers was high. Joe and his brothers were scheduled for every talk show, and major radio show, and all the holiday concerts…Marley had been at the meeting just a few months ago where the managers had explained to the Jonas family that the boys popularity was sky rocketing, and that they had to do all they could while they were still at the top of everyone’s list.

In a nut shell, they were pimping them out. Milking them for all they were worth, earning them as much money as possible, and most importantly, keeping him away from her longer and longer.

She would never even think about expressing her loneliness to him…he was too happy where he was in his life and under stress with all the press and the interviews and appearances…she refused to be another burden. But all the times he’d told her how big of a role she played in his life, she couldn’t help but wonder if her role was so big, how was it she barely saw him a month out of an entire year?

The times she got to fly out and be with him, she was confined to the bus, or a hotel room. Everyone, meaning the publicist, thought it would be better if Marley wasn’t seen with them…any of them…so she had to hide because they didn’t want rumors to break out. Her being there didn’t make Joe any less busy so, just like it was when she was at home, she was lonely.

Marley’s buzzing phone broke her thoughts and she reached over to the nightstand, picking up the blinking phone and accepting his call, seeing it was well past 3AM.

“Hi honey.” She spoke softly.

Joe couldn’t hide the shock in his voice, “Marley baby, I didn’t expect you to be up…it’s what? Three there?”

She adjusted herself so she could look out the window at the cold winter sky, “Yeah.” She sighed, “I can’t sleep.” She spoke half heartedly.

“Hmm.” He hummed, feeling a pang in his chest at the blunt sadness in her voice. “We’re on the way to a hotel.”

She smiled a sad smile, letting her hand roam over the cold sheets where his body should be. “I’ve got an opening here.”

Joe closed his eyes, not being able to miss the longing in her voice, he knew this was taking a huge toll on her, but he didn’t know how to fix it, he couldn’t be there…as much as he wanted to be…it wasn’t possible…they were just so busy.

“I wish I was there.” He sighed, running a hand through his hair.

“Me too.” She breathed in the phone. “At least you’ll be home soon.” She sounded so hopeful and a hint of true happiness laced her words.

“Yeah.” His voice cracked and he squeezed his eyes shut, not being able to find it in his heart to tell her.

He listened to her steady breaths for a few silent moments before her tired voice reached his ears, “Joe?”

“Yes, love?” He countered back.

“Will you sing to me?” Her pleading voice seared in his mind, knowing that she only needed him to sing her asleep when she was upset. So, despite his tiredness at the late hour, her obvious need for him over-passed his exhaustion.

“Of course.” He cleared his throat and hummed to her through the receiver.

They come and go but they don't know
That you are my beautiful

I try to come closer with you
But they all say we won't make it through

But I'll be there forever
You will see that it's better
All our hopes and our dreams will come true

Joe was for sure she was asleep as her deep, slow breaths echoed across the line, but he continued singing anyway.

I will not disappoint you
I'll be right there for you 'til the end
The end of timea33;”

Joe cut the chorus short, realizing that he was singing empty promises. He wasn’t there. How were they supposed to grow in their relationship when he wasn’t there? Guilt and the ache for her ripped through his chest, she needed him. He could hear it in her voice and he knew it was tearing her apart.

“I love you Marley.” His voice reminded her softly once more before he ended the call.

He couldn’t stop it. He was helplessly watching her slip through his fingers and he didn’t know if he could prevent it, or if it was already too late.
End Notes:
Song: Too Far Gone - All American Rejects
So, that's that. I have a few chapters already written, so let me know what you tink and I'll post more. :)

Thanks for reading.
Chapter 2 by The archive
Marley pushed her face farther into her pillow, groaning because she knew it was way to early for anyone in their right mind to be calling her. The obnoxious buzzing stopped, only to start up again seconds later.

Reaching her hand under her pillow she found her ringing phone and accepted the call without looking, pressing it to her ear, glancing at her alarm clock, confirming her suspensions of it being to early, seeing she had only slept a mere 4 hours.

"Hello?" She croaked out.

"Hi baby. I'm sorry. I knew I'd wake you..." Joe's voice confessed.

"Then why'd you call?" She was always the grumpy one in the mornings.

"Because..." He drawled out, "We're going to a movie premier tomorrow night in LA, and I want you to fly out."

With her lip bitten, Marley toyed with the fringe on their comforter. "I don't know Joe, I have nothing to wear."

He chuckled. "Michelle's waiting for the go ahead from you before she tries to find you something."

He heard her sigh and he silently crossed his fingers, anticipating her answer.

"I guess I could see if Mr. Baker will watch Cody."

"Really?" His voice rose in excitement and she smiled.

"Yeah, really." She confirmed.

"Alright sweet-good-uh I'll get someone to get your flight straight and have someone pick you up at the airport and stuff."

"Mmhmm." She hummed, on the verge of falling asleep again, "When am I leaving?"

"This afternoon too soon?" He asked hopefully.

She ran the day through her head at the million and one things she had to do before then but couldn't deny the pleading tone in his voice for her to get to him as soon as possible.

"That's perfect." She smiled.

He heaved a sigh of relief and she heard him talking to someone in the background for a few seconds.

"Alright babe, it's getting taken care of...go back to sleep for a while."

"M'kay...I love you."

"Love you too, Marley...Call me when you wake up later and I'll tell you your flight details."

"Mmhmm." She hummed. "Bye Joe."

"Bye." His chuckling was the last thing she heard before she was asleep again.

--

Once again, Marley's phone buzzed across the mattress, pulling her from her deep slumber. She rifled through the sheets and held it in front or her face and saw Joe's face staring up at her.

"Yes honey?" She put on her chipper voice not wanting him to know she just got up.

"I hope you're up." He said skeptically.

"I am...I just got out the shower." She glanced at the clock, jumping out the bed, "Fuck!" She hissed, but not loud enough for him to hear.

"Liar." He chuckled, "You just got up, huh?"

She heaved her large suitcase on the bed, "Guilty."

His laugh was more prominent now and she couldn't help but smile. "Well hurry up and pack and get ready...you need to be at the airport for 2...flight leaves at 3:10."

She checked the clock once again, seeing it was just past 12. "Okay and my ticket?"

"Oh my bad. Um..." She heard shuffling on the other end and him yelling, "Fe! Which airline?" She rolled her eyes and laughed at his inability to remember anything while she folded 2 pairs of skinny jeans, stacking them into the suitcase.

"Marley?"

"Hmm?"

"It's at the Delta desk. And Rob's sending a car for you that'll bring you to me."

She smiled at the excitement in his voice and felt the butterflies rushing in her stomach at the realization she was finally going to see him again. "I'm excited." She breathed, shoving random t-shirts and cardigans and vests into her bag.

"Me too...I miss you." He said softly.

"I miss you more." She spoke honestly and he didn't question it...He knew she did. She worked her way into the bathroom, starting to throw her makeup into a bag, and packing up all her hair products, leaving them on the counter so she could use them after her shower while he explained to her the aspects of tonight's Jonas Brothers and Friends show that she's be showing up just in time for.

"Alright baby, that sounds like a blast, but I have to take a shower so I don't miss my plane."

"Right; good idea. I'll see you in a little while, love you, bye." He jumbled into the phone.

She laughed, turning on the hot water, "Love you too."

After a quick call to Mr. Baker, the older man in the loft next door who Cody had taken an extreme liking too and offered to watch him anytime we needed knowing we were busy and he stayed home all day every day, he said he liked the company, confirming that he could watch the large dog for a couple days, Marley jumped in the shower, prepared to rush through her usual routine to make it to the airport on time.

--

At 2:37, Marley rushed from the Delta desk at the JFK airport to the security line, clad in a pair of dark wash skinny jeans tucked into dark gray Ugg boots, a black tank top layered under a white long sleeve thermal t-shirt and an electric blue scarf tied around her neck. It definitely wasn't enough clothing for the 12 degree New York weather, but absolutely perfect for the 67 degree Los Angeles weather.

She shamelessly flirted with a security guard and provoked him to pause in the middle of his lunch and hurry her belongings through the checkpoint. Once she got the clear, she slipped her boots back on, repeatedly thanking him and grabbing her ticket and license in her hand, running to her gate.

Smiling when she heard the stewardess on the intercom announce last call for her flight, she handed over her ticket and scurried into the plane, promising herself, she'd never be late again.

Six hours and three time zones later, Marley was pulling her luggage off the conveyor belt, heading towards the exit and taking in a deep breath when she walked out into the California sun.

"Marley!" A voice boomed at her.

She grinned and whipped her head to her right where Big Rob was making a bee line for her.

"Rob!" She squealed, throwing her arms around him when he reached her.

She heard a loud laugh grumble in his chest and he pulled back to look at her, taking her suitcase and leading her towards the car, all in one swift movement.

"How've you been?" She asked, finding herself practically running next to his large steps.

"Good. Things have been crazy you know? Everyone wants a piece of those boys." He laughed a little, shutting her suitcase in the back of the blacked out SUV.

"Your tellin' me." She grumbled.

"What's that?" He asked, slamming the door to the trunk area.

"Said sounds like a tough job." She smiled up at him, refusing as he opened the back door. "You don't have to chauffeur me...I'm more of a shotgun kinda gal."

The two fell into a comfortable silence and Rob nodded to the beat on the radio, allowing Marley to reacquaint herself with the city.

She half expected Joe to be at the airport waiting for her. Or at least in the car. He'd always done that before and she wondered why this time it was different.

"They're sound checking right now." Rob's voice broke her trance and she wondered if she'd accidently said something out loud.

"What?" Her question was answered when she saw they'd pulled up to a venue while she was so deep in thought and he was stepping out of the car.

"Right." She sighed, jumping out and throwing her oversized purse over her shoulder. "Lead the way."

Marley followed behind his tall frame into the back door of the venue and accepted the All Access badge he gave her, clipping it onto the bottom of her shirt.

"I don't hear them." She noted as they walked the back halls.

"Yeah." Rob agreed. "Must've finished up, I'll take you to the green room."

She nodded quietly, and with every step she took she felt her smile grow and the butterflies swarming in her stomach. It'd been well over three weeks since she'd seen him Thanksgiving Day while they were in NYC for the Macy's Parade.

Rob stopped at a door and slung it open. The two were immediately met with the constant buzzing chatter of the people around them. He led her into the room and she scanned the busy area until she spotted Joe, talking animatedly with Garbo and Jack near the window, not noticing much of anything else.

Her cheeks hurt from her smile being so big and her heart fluttered at the sight of him. She took off, practically running towards him and his eyes finally met hers. She watched his smile grow but couldn't watch for long because she collided with a hard body.

"Oomph." She slouched into the person whose arms had wrapped around her waist. She pulled back, looking up into Nick's face, feeling an aggravated scowl pull on her face and setting her hands on his shoulders. "Nick, what the-"

He quickly pulled her body against his in a hug. "MTV." He whispered into her hair and she looked around finally noticing the camera men set up in two of the corners, recording the events of the room. A weak smile fell onto her lips and she glanced back up to Joe who was trying to inconspicuously look over at her.

She felt her high spirits sinking...she'd almost forgotten that she couldn't show affection to her boyfriend...even if it had been three weeks.

Nick backed away from her, not wanting to be caught by the cameras or one of the MTV interviewers locked in a hug with a girl too long. Even though she was Joe's girl...no one knew that.

John Taylor passed them, glancing at her and then backed up once recognition of who she was registered to him and he smiled at her.

"Marley!" He bellowed, grabbing one of her hands and twirling her around. "You're looking gorgeous as ever." He complimented before wrapping her in a hug. She laughed at the gesture, and her eyes caught Joe's over JT's shoulder. He was fidgeting and his eyes were darting around the room, feigning interest in what was going on, but mainly wanting just to look at her. She knew that look. He wanted her. He wanted to hold her and kiss her and play with her hair...but he couldn't. Not here. Not with ‘prying eyes.'

Just the sight of her made his heart beat faster. He wanted to walk up to her and kiss her like there was no tomorrow. His eyes landed on his publicist Martin who narrowed his eyes at Joe before motioning to Marley, silently warning him not to do anything stupid. Joe rolled his eyes and set his eyes on her once again, watching her greet his parents and Frankie.

His ache for her only grew as she continued her trek around the room, letting Kevin confirm that she was a family friend from New Jersey to the cameras after she's hugged him and she continued making her rounds, passing hello's and hugs to Garbo and Jack before stopping in front of Joe.

He furrowed his eyebrows at the sadness in her eyes that spoke her every emotion to him so clearly. He wanted to do everything in his power to pull the sadness out and replace it with happiness.

"Hey Joe." She said softly, not meaning for her voice to sound that weak.

"Hey Marley." He spoke back equally as soft, pulling her into a hug, whispering a quiet "I love you" into her hair and feeling horrible about not meeting her at the airport or the car, or at least the hall so they could actually be together for a few minutes without worrying about who was around them and watching.

He hated that the sparkle that was present in her eyes when she laid eyes on him only minutes before had considerably faded as she made her way around the room and finally to his arms. He hated that he had to let her go. He hated that she walked quietly to the couch and pretended to be interested in Frankie's game. He hated the looks Martin, was giving him, warning that their hug was too affectionate.

Most of all he hated how he'd brought her out here so she wouldn't be lonely, so they could be together. And now she was finally here and he couldn't enjoy, she couldn't enjoy it, and one look at her face told him that even in the crowded room, she was lonely as ever.
End Notes:
Song: Spinning - Jack's Mannequin.
Thanks for reviewing :)
I really appreciate it!
Chapter 3 by The archive
"Believe me and don't think twice."
Joe sped from the large room as soon as the last fan left, ignoring Martin calling him back, blabbering about something Joe had no concern about. He had just talked to his mom and she'd told him that Marley went to their hotel after she was told she couldn't see him after the show because of the meet and greet.

He found Big Rob, hanging by the back doors, ensuring that no one who wasn't supposed to be there got in and sighed in relief.

"Hey, Rob. I need you to take me to Marley."

He clapped a large hand on his shoulder, "I've got strict orders from the boss man to make sure you're here...and stay here."

Joe was fuming at this point. He'd always thought Rob understood more than anyone. If anyone stayed grounded around here and kept a good head on his shoulders, it was the burley security guard.

Rob watched the defeat wash onto Joe's face and checked to make sure they were the only ones around before heading to the vending machine around the corner.

"I'm thirsty Joe." He stated turning around. "And the band is loading up into the van right outside that door to go to the hotel...so don't do anything stupid while I'm over here." He winked and watched the huge grin pull on Joe's face and before he was all the way turned around, the door was slamming shut.

--

Joe hopped out the van before it made a complete stop at the front of the hotel and ran to the reception desk.

"Last name?" The bored concierge asked, pushing the bangs from her forehead.

"Jonas." He spoke hurriedly.

"Ah, the ones who took over the entire floor. Want to be more specific?"

He scowled at her attitude but pushed it aside, more worried about seeing Marley than anything else at that point. "Joe. Joseph. One of those."

"Got it. Miss Braxton has already picked up her key for that suite."

"Thank you." He pulled the key from her hand and headed for the elevators, stepping in and repeatedly pressing the number 12.

"That doesn't make it go any faster." A voice from behind startled him.

He looked over his shoulder at the petite blonde he was sharing the elevator with. "Ugh, yeah I'm just in a hurry."

The elevator started its trek upward and he noticed she hadn't selected a floor. "Um-are you going to 12 too?" He asked knowing it wasn't possible since the entire floor was rented out for the family and band and crew.

"I'm going wherever you're going." She spoke seductively and stepped towards him, running a finger down his chest.

He was taken aback by her bluntness and gently grabbed her shoulders, pushing her away from him, "I don't think so." He shook his head and wanted to celebrate when the elevator dinged, announcing his arrival.

"Your lose." She shrugged before the door shut, "I would've put out." She spoke before the doors shut, leaving him bewildered.

What the hell? The bitch at the front desk and the vixen in the elevator. He hoped that wasn't foreshadowing of what he was going to get from Marley. Although, the whole vixen thing might work out.

He smiled at the thought and quickly found their room, sliding the key in the slot and waiting for the green light. He quietly opened the door and stepped in, hearing the TV blaring from the bedroom.

Smiling, he pulled his jacket off and threw it on the couch, entering the bedroom and holding back laughter when he saw her in the bathroom, toothbrush in her mouth, iPod blocking her hearing, and dancing to the beat in the mirror. She hadn't seen him yet and he saw she'd already gotten ready for bed, wearing an oversized t-shirt that most probably belonged to him and thick, wool knee socks that she had pushed down so they were bunched around her ankles showing more of her tan legs.

HE silently crossed the room and stepped into the bathroom, slipping his arms around her, while she was bent over the sink washing her mouth out. She screamed in surprise and jumped upright, clutching her chest.

"Jesus Joe!" She took a deep breath. "You scared the shit out of me."

He smiled, letting his eyes lock on hers, already forgetting what he was going to say. He was lost in the blue of her eyes and he involuntarily shivered when her arms slipped around his neck and she pulled herself closer to him.

Marley pushed her fingers into his hair, she finally had him and they were all alone, so they could be exactly what they wanted to be, Joe and Marley, madly in love with each other, complete with long hugs, too long stares, kisses and ‘over-friendly' touches.

He pressed his forehead against hers, the tips of their noses touching.

"I've missed you." He spoke lightly, his breath fanning across her lips.

She closed her eyes, relishing in the feeling of having him so close to her. An unwanted tear rolled down her cheek. She sniffled, not wanting a repeat of earlier when she'd come back from the venue and had a breakdown the second she stepped into the hotel room.

Being told you couldn't be seen with your boyfriend was one thing, but pulling out all the stops to make sure you had no contact while you were around each other was another thing. And Martin had made it his new goal to keep the two apart, setting up pointless interviews and personal meetings and then bluntly telling her that she needed to go before the fans started arriving for the meet and greet and questioning her prolonged appearance backstage.

He leaned forward, softly placing his lips on her cheek, kissing the single tear away, leaving his lips where they rested.

"Baby." She whimpered against his jaw.

He held her tighter, littering kisses over her cheeks. "I know." He barely whispered into her ear, his fingers reaching up to stroke the sides of her neck. The meekness in her voice burned his ears and the strongest feeling of protection washed over him. He needed to make sure she was okay.

He pulled back so his eyes could meet her moistened ones.

"Marley, sweetie. You know I love you, right?" He asked, his voice cracking like he had some doubt that she'd say no.

"Of course." She nodded, placing her hands on top of his that laid on her neck. "And I love you."

He watched something flash in her eyes as she pressed her forehead against his chin and narrowed his eye in thought.

"It's just hard." She barely spoke.

"Hmm?" He hummed, not being able to hear her over the loudness of the TV.

She shrugged, stepping away from him, realizing what she said. "Nothing, I'm just cold." She shivered lightly, swiveling around him and heading for the bed.

He sighed and pushed a hand through his hair, forcing the second thoughts from his head and slipping into the bathroom to brush his teeth.

--

She watched from her spot under the covers as he flipped the lights off in the bathroom and made his way to her, scooting into the spot she'd created by her side and pulling the blankets, as well as her, closer to him.

He sighed, burying his face in her hair, not being able to wrap his mind around being this close to her again. He wanted to hold her and never let go. This was the happiest he'd felt in weeks, laying here with her in his arms, nothing could bring him down.

"Your hair smells so good." He murmured, taking in the scent he missed having next to him while he slept and running his fingers through it. "I miss it."

"What?" She smiled into his neck. "The way my hair smells?" She chuckled a little.

"Yeah." He whispered when his lips found her ear.

"That's all you missed?" She pulled back to look at him, faking a pout and poking her lip out.

He took a mental picture of the look on her face, documenting it in his mind as the most adorable thing he'd ever seen her do, right next to, pushing her glasses higher up on her nose when she opted for the frames over her contacts.

He smiled up at her shaking his head a little. "Definitely not."

She set her chin on his chest, leaving her eyes on his, "Tell me?" She asked softly.

He brushed the bangs from her forehead and let his fingers trickle down her face. "I miss your eyes, that I could look at forever and never get tired of it. I miss holding your hand. I miss eating cereal with you on the couch in the morning, I miss watching you think about stuff, I miss seeing you wear my clothes...should I continue?"

She silently shook her head and pushed her self up so her hands were braced next to his head and her knees were planted on either side of his waist, she bent down, kissing his cheek, making a small trail to his ear. "I never got a kiss from you today, Mr. Jonas."

He pulled back from her advancing lips, "I totally just got a visual of you kissing my dad." His face distorted. "I don't like it." He cringed and shook his head.

She scoffed, and hit his chest. "I never got a kiss from you today, Mr. Joseph Jonas." She emphasized.

With no more persuasion, he flipped them over so they were side by side and facing each other, her leg thrown over his waist to keep him close and his arms wrapped tightly around her.

"Well then let's fix that." He whispered, getting closer to her with every word and finally pressing his lips to hers.

--

"Reddish-orange or blueish-purple, Marley?"

"Hmm." She hummed I thought. "What color are the boys wearing?"

"Blacks, grays, silvers, whites. You won't clash with either color, no worries." Michelle assured her.

"What do you think?" Marley asked, still not sure.

"Well," Michelle sighed, "They both have their pluses." She grabbed the blueish-purple colored dress. "This one makes your eyes pop." She switched the blue for the reddish orange dress. "And this one makes your skin look tan and amazing."

Marley silently debated in her head, looking back and forth between the two dresses.

"Let's go for the reddish one." She concluded, "We're in California and I'm from New York. Let's work the tan."

Michelle nodded and handed her the dress, "Put it on, and come back, CJ will be here to do your hair and make up."

The dress made her feel gorgeous. The way it slipped effortlessly over her smooth skin almost pushed her to the point of goosebumps and it accentuated the deep tan of her Italian skin perfectly.

She slid into the makeup chair, happily accepting the compliments from the flamboyant make-up artist as he fluffed her hair, combing it every which way before announcing to her he'd touch it up with a curling iron, keeping it simple.

He went to work on her makeup, using more products on her face than she'd ever dream of using and like every other time she got dolled up to be seen somewhere with Joe, she feared the outcome. Worried it would come out to dark or clown-like, but as CJ turned the chair towards the mirror she held back a gasp, he'd keep her skin looking perfectly natural and flawless, and wen dark around her eyes, winging her eyelashes out and the black of the liner made her blue eyes gleam. She giggled at her reflection, throwing her arms around CJ's neck and thanking him numerous times.

He waved her off, swearing it was absolutely no problem and assuring her Joe would drop dead at the sight of her.

Although, when she stepped out into the lobby of their floor, she wished she was the one dropping dead.
End Notes:
Song: I'll Run - The Cab.
ok, so I've been out of town and super busy and emotionally drained, I guess the word is, but I plan on replying to all of your reviews at some point.
I seriously appreciate everyone who's read/commented :)
Chapter 4 by The archive
"And every time you look around, well, it all just seems to change ."
Joe straightened his black tie out, loosening it a little around his neck and winking at himself in the mirror. Nothing could bring him down today. He'd been extra chipper and lively in interviews today and it was all thanks to the beautiful woman he'd woken up next to this morning.

He'd awoken much earlier than usual and also without the help of his alarm. She was nestled so close to his body, he had to pull back to get a good look at her. He had watched her until she started to stir in his arms.

Waking up with her was even better than he'd remembered. She had immediately blushed, realizing he had been watching her and let out a sleepy groan, accompanied with a lazy smile before pushing her face into his neck.

"Joe!" The recent memory faded from his mind and Kevin's voice snapped him back to reality. "Come on man, everyone's waiting."

Joe checked his hair once more before exiting the suite, and following his brothers down the hall to the lobby in front of the elevators, where everyone was supposed to meet up.

A door opened as they were on their way and Martin stepped out. Joe didn't mind so much, nothing, not even Martin could push his good mood away.

"Boys." He nodded at them.

"Hello Martin." Joe smiled earning an amused stare from the publicist.

"Hello Joe. No attitude? Hm, looking pretty elated. I'm guessing Marley gave it up last night, huh?" He laughed at his own version of a joke no one else thought was funny.

Joe stopped in his tracks, and let his mind process how furious he was, number one, at the insult thrown at his girlfriend and number two, Martin had done it, he had managed to squash Joe's mood.

Kevin and Nick both tensed beside him in anger towards Martin for disrespecting not only their brother, but his girlfriend also, someone they considered a sister.

In one quick movement, Joe had Martin pinned to the wall, his eyes wild and his body heavy with adrenaline.

His brothers appeared at his side to make sure it didn't get out of hand, but also to be able to witness this and put in their own two cents of anger.

"How dare you." Joe spat. "I don't want one thought of her to pass your mind, or one word about her to come from your mouth ever again."

"Joe-calm down-" Martin gasped, his eyes showing his fear.

"Calm down?" Joe pushed him harder against the wall, "One fucking word about her, Martin and I swear to God you'll never work for anyone ever again. Do you hear me?"

Martin nodded, fearing the rage in his client's eyes.

Joe backed off, brushing off his suit jacket while Martin tried to catch his breath. "Joe-I-"

Joe threateningly stepped towards him again, "And don't fucking speak to me either." He snarled before turning on his heel and heading towards the double doors at the end of the hall to meet the rest of the group.

Nick and Kevin gave Martin a look of disgust, shaking their heads and following after their brother.

Joe was seething. He retired to a corner armchair in the lobby as a small group lingered around, waiting for instruction on when they could head downstairs to the awaiting cars.

He watched carefully as Martin appeared from the hall and went directly to his assistant, Daphne and began speedily whispering in her ear. Her hand went to work, ferociously writing on the yellow pad she had resting in the crook of her arm before he watched Martin point and Daphne disappear.

Joe didn't take his eyes off Martin, knowing Marley would be walking through that door in a matter of minutes and if Martin so much as looked her direction, he had full intentions of going through with his threat.

Two bodies blocked his view and he recognized one as Daphne with her all black ‘assistant attire' and another he wasn't too concerned about.

One of them cleared their throat and he glanced up at them, sucking in a breath when he recognized the petite blonde as the girl he'd shared the elevator with the night before. A smirk lifted on her face and he scooted from his chair, backing away from the two.

"Joe, this is Krysten." Daphne's soft voice informed him. "Um-she-uh-is walking the carpet with you..."

The sultry blonde who's dress was entirely too short and entirely too low cut attached herself to his arm, smiling up at him.

"Krysten just got a record deal, signed last week actually, so this is kind of her hello to the celebrity world." Daphne laughed meekly, feeling the awkwardness spilling off the pair in front of her.

"What about Marley?"

Daphne bit her lip, "Um-she'll go in the back...Kevin and Nick have publicity dates, too."

"Fuck." Joe sighed under his breath, knowing this wouldn't go over well. "She's sitting at our table inside though, right?"

"Um-well." Daphne looked scared and he made a mental note to calm down. "There will be photographers inside too and the publicity-um." She gulped.

Joe held up his hand. "Daphne, I don't care what anyone tells you to do...I didn't invite her here to walk through the back door and sit by herself away from me all night long. Fix it." His words turned hostile and she flinched.

"Oh-okay. I'll um see what I can do."

"Sorry Daph. This whole thing is just-"

"I know." She nodded, trying to assure the flustered boy in front of her that this would work out.

After Daphne left, Joe remembered the girl still attached to his arm. "Could you-I don't know, take a couple steps away? There are no cameras up here...no publicity...no public."

She shrugged, turning so her body was pressed against his, leaning in to whisper in his ear. "Who cares?"

Over her shoulder he finally saw her. She'd just walked through the doors and her eyes were already on him. He smiled, taking in her beautiful stature and felt it fading when she didn't return it.

Her stomach twisted at the sight in front of her and she wanted to sink through the floor. He definitely drank in her appearance but she wasn't so worried about it anymore.

He watched her eyes dart from him to the body pressed against him and reality hit. He pushed Krysten back, creating a god two feet in between the two and didn't take a second glance back at her pouting face as he rushed to Marley's side.

His hands slid to her hips and he leaned in to kiss her cheek, knowing that messing up her perfected lip gloss would get him a slap on the wrist from CJ.

"You look-gah-heaven sent." He smiled, when his eyes met hers again.

A small smile pulled on her lips, but her face was still apprehensive as she stole glances at the blonde over his shoulder.

"Who's she?" Marley asked softly.

He carefully watched the unknown in her eyes and sighed, "I have to walk the carpet with her."

"Oh-um." She looked down, swallowing back the sudden lump in her throat. "Do I have to go in with Nick or Kevin, or-?"

He reached back to scratch the back of his neck and she read his body language clearly, letting her hands slip from his free one to rest in front of her.

He sighed, "You're walking through the back."

She hung her head and laughed humorlessly, stepping back away from him. He immediately reached for her hands, wanting to bring her closer to him, but she snatched them away, shaking her head a little and scanning the room for the one she was looking for.

Spotting him next to the elevators, she looked at Joe once more, "Have a good night, Joe." She tried to disguise the sadness in her voice with anger as she pushed past him and straight for Big Rob.

"Hey Rob." She sighed, meekness saturating her words...she didn't need to be strong in front of him.

"Hey Marley." He smiled a knowing smile down at her. "You look gorgeous." He complimented, hoping to lift her spirits.

She smiled, opening her mouth to say something but a loud clapping got her attention. "Ok! Pair off. Press is outside...put on your prettiest smiles." Martin announced to the group that had thinned out considering the stylist, hair, makeup, crew, security, and drivers had already headed their separate ways.

Rob pressed the down button to the elevator and Marley watched his every move, not wanting to meet Joe's eyes that she could feel boring into the side of her head.

He turned and announced to Martin and the boy's parents that he was going to meet the limo driver in the parking garage and he'd meet them at the entrance so he could clear them a path to the car.

The elevator dinged and he turned to board it when a soft hand laid on his arm. He looked down into Marley's pleading blue eyes.

"Can I come with you?" She asked softly, taking an anxious side glance at the paired off couples next to her, who were all waiting for the go ahead to go downstairs.

He nodded, silently telling her it was okay without looking at anyone for reassurance that that would be okay. He didn't need it, he would have let her come with him if they would've said no. She was hurt, he could see it in her eyes and he hated it. Hated that he had to watch someone who'd been so close to the family he protected be put through things like this. It wasn't fair.

Marley let out a sigh of relief, not wanting to go through the embarrassment of walking out the hotel and getting her picture taken alone while everyone else had a date. This way she'd already be in the car when in pulled up to the entrance.

Stepping onto the elevator, she kept her eyes down on her toes that were barely peeking out from the bottom of her dress because at the moment, looking into the face that'd unintentionally hurt her as many times as he'd told her he loved her wasn't possible for her at the moment without bursting into tears.

--

The limo was filled with chatter as they made their way to the theater downtown. Marley kept her eyes locked on the window next to her, watching the scenes of downtown Los Angeles flash by her.

She shut off her mind, oblivious to the car around her, but all to aware of Joe's arm that laid on the seat behind her, his fingers casually stroking her bare shoulder, sending a thrall of goosebumps down her arms with every pass.

His soft whispers in her ear didn't go unnoticed either, not by her, and not by Martin who was glaring at Joe for neglecting his date. Or "date." Would be the right term.

Marley toyed with the ends of her loosely waved hair and she felt her eyebrows draw together in thought. She understood this was his job, but it didn't make it hurt any less. She made a special trip out here to spend time with him and the event she came her for, she has to sneak in to.

She was on the verge of another breakdown, and this night would just go over smoother for the both of them if he would stop trying to resolve their problems here and now and waited until they could be alone.

The car pulled up beside a tall partition that separated the ones getting out of the car from the fans in the stands and the press lined along the carpet. Denise and Paul were closest to the doors and slipped out, heading for the back entrance while Marley watched from the scene unfold from her peripheral vision, as Kevin and Nick helping their ‘dates' out.

Joe politely asked Krysten to head out, assuring her he'd be there in a few seconds and a sigh escaped Marley's lips, knowing he would want to confront this right now.

"Marley, baby." He scooted closer to her, so his chest was firm against her back, his lips lightly skating over the skin under her ear.

She shrugged from his arms, and scooted down the seat a little, continuing to stare out the window.

"Damnit, Marley!" His fist collided with the lush leather of the seat. "What do you want? This is my god damn job!" He yelled, his anger getting the best of him. This was the most distant he'd ever felt from her and she was sitting right next to him and it scared him.

A loud knock, reminded him of his obligations and also snapped the anger out of him once he realized it wasn't going to solve anything, it'd only upset her...which it did. Her eyes were squeezed shut, trying to hold back her tears with no avail as one slipped from the corner of her eye.

"Marley," He almost whispered. "I-" Another knock on the window cut him off and she turned to him, not wiping the tear away in fear of smearing her make up.

"S'okay, Joe. I know." She said sadly, hanging her head. "They're waiting. Go do what you have to do."

"But Marley I-"

"Joseph! Just go!" She yelled, more tears falling. "You're not making this any easier!"

His eyes softened and he wanted to sit in that car with her until he could make her laugh again. He reached forward, wanting to hold her, but she scooted back, shaking her head, "N-no." She stammered. "Just go ahead, Joe. Go do your job."

He clenched his jaw several times, trying to release the tensions from his body as he sat there, watching her look out the window, tears streaking her cheeks. It was the most heartbreaking yet frustrating things he'd ever seen.

He heaved out a sigh and brushed his fingertips from her elbow, down and across her fingers as he exited the car, taking one last glance at her before shutting the door and letting Krysten attach herself to his arm once again.

Marley took a deep breath, trying to keep herself composed for another few seconds before pressing the button to roll down the barrier between the back of the limo and the driver.

"Ready to go to the back entrance, miss?" He asked politely.

Marley silently shook her head, "Um-no-can you bring me back to the Wilshire Grand please?"

He looked confused for a second before regaining his composure and nodding. "Most certainly, miss."

She merely nodded as a thank you and mashed her finger on the button, forcing the barrier up again before letting out a loud sob.

She'd had enough for tonight.
End Notes:
Song: Losing Hope - Jack Johnson.
i'm in a hurry on the way to work, but i wanted to post this really quick. thanks to everyone reading/reviewing i hope you all are liking it as much as i like to write it :)
Chapter 5 by The archive
"Just take my hand and well, never let go because if we're together now, we'll be together then."
Mad.

Mad didn't even cover it.

Angry, furious, fuming, enraged, seething, pissed, and add on a little annoyed aggravation in the form of a eighteen year old wannabe pop star and you had Joe Jonas.

After being seated at their table for the dinner before the show, Joe instantly noticed Marley's absence. He'd searched the room for her, making sure Daphne didn't go against his wishes by keeping her away from him.

No such luck. Time passed, dinner came, and she still wasn't there. He discretely slipped his phone from his pocket, typing her a quick message.

Marley pushed her face into the plush towel, wiping off the remnants of her face wash and all the makeup that's taken hours of work, sighing deeply when her phone buzzed across the counter.

"Bout time you realized I was gone." She mumbled to herself, taking in the sight of her red puffy eyes in the mirror, making the decision she didn't like this look on herself.

She picked up her phone, sliding her thumb across the screen and opening the message.

"Where r u?"

Her fingers clicked across the screen and she flicked off the lights in the bathroom before going and slipping into the bed.

Joe's phone buzzed in his pocket and he slipped it out.

"Hotel"

Joe's eyebrows furrowed and he clenched his jaw.

He couldn't understand why she would do that. She was upset, he knew that. But she couldn't come sit next to him for a few hours while he had to sit through something he didn't even want to be at in the first place.

"Whatever, Marley."

The simple words stung her and she scowled at how he was just brushing her off. As much as she wanted to be with him, sitting around and watching some wannabe drool all over him while she sat simply forgotten and ignored off to the side wasn't exactly her idea of fun evening.

She curled up in the bed and stared at the gorgeous dress she'd pulled off her body when she walked in the door that now hung on a coat hanger on the top of the bedroom door. The tears came faster than she expected, the stress of everything finally getting to her.

Her body ached for comfort of any kind and she couldn't grasp it...her hands wrapped around her stomach and she coughed out sobs, slowly but surely exhausting herself.

Joe let his anger boil throughout the entire night. There was no stopping it, or holding it back. His jaw was clenched to the point where his teeth were starting to hurt and a massive headache was forming in his temples.

He didn't speak a word through dinner, but smiled when he had to when the cameras came around. The movie made no sense to him because he only saw bits and pieces. His thoughts were consumed by anything and everything that had to do with her. His mind mulled over the options that would have made this night better, but the only option he saw that as was letting Marley attach herself to his side and kiss her in front of everyone watching.

He frowned, knowing that wasn't possible and thinking about the things the press would put them through, the things they'd put her through.

--

He let the heavy door of the suite slam behind him as he walked into the room, seeing her shoes carelessly forgotten on the floor along with her small gold clutch and finally her dress hanging on the door.

He sighed, loosening his tie and slipping it from his neck as he walked into the bedroom. Her tired, moist eyes met his from her spot on his bed and his heart instantly dropped to his stomach, she looked so vulnerable and weak, and dejected. He thought about his loud entrance to their room, knowing him must have woken her up due to the sleepiness pulling at her features.

He averted his eyes from her and shrugged off his suit jacket, hanging it on the back of the arm chair in the corner.

"Why'd you leave?" He asked, as he busied himself with his belt buckle, finding it much easier to question her when he didn't have to look at her.

"It's pretty obvious I didn't belong, Joe." Her raspy voice confirmed his suspensions of waking her up and also that she had been crying, which sent a sharp pang through his heart as he pushed his pants down his legs.

"You belong with me." He said softly, beginning to unbutton his shirt and trying to make her understand that he wanted her wherever he was.

"Because we would have been so together if I would've stayed there." The sudden bitterness in her voice caught him off guard and he turned around as he slipped the shirt from his shoulders.

"And what do you want me to do about that, Marley?" He asked, his anger seeping into his words.

He took in the sight of her and lost all his breath, while she was previously covered up, the new anger that rose in her, provoked her to sit up and she held her hand to her chest that held the edge of the thick comforter, keeping her covered but still exposing her bare back. He figured she didn't get dressed again after taking her dress off and his focus was gone. But, one look at her furrowed, unhappy face and he was snapped back.

"You're a big boy, Joe...Don't you think it's time to make your own decisions?"

He let out a harsh, humorless laugh, "Yeah, but I have to make sure I make the right ones to keep the band afloat."

She felt like she'd been slapped. Was that a stab at her? Was he calling her a mistake, or a weapon in the process of ripping the band apart...because she was his girlfriend?

Her lip trembled and she let out a breathy sob of unbelief before slowly sinking back into the pillows, turning her back to him and curling into herself, letting the tears come again.

Joe wanted to smack the mouth off of his face. Why would he say that to her? It was an obvious stab to make her angry, so he'd have the upper hand in the argument but now it was said, he wanted to take it back, it wasn't worth it. Her crying at his doing was never worth it and the guilt and hurt for her burned in his chest.

Her body shook under the plush comforter every time a sob escaped her and he silently watched her for a few moments, sorting out his options.

He wasted no time in making his way to the bed, now clad in only his boxer briefs, and he lifted the covers, slipping in next to her, his hand carefully tracing down her side to settle on her boy short covered hip while he scooted closer behind her.

"Baby." He whispered once his lips were at her ear. "I didn't mean it. I'm stupid. I'm so stupid, and I'm sorry. I just-I've been so-" He groaned in frustration, not being able to find the correct words and resorted to just holding her while she cried, whispering soft apologies to her.

It felt so good to be close to him again, even if she was mad, even if he'd hurt her, she needed him, and she loved him, and that wouldn't change.

Turning over, she pressed her bare chest into his and watched his eyes slip closed at the feeling. The tears refused to stop as she stared up at the face that never failed to give her the love she needed and when his eyes opened again her heart sped up at the emotions they carried.

"I-I don't wanna fight anymore." She choked out.

He pressed his forehead against hers, keeping their eyes focused on eachother. "I'm only here for a few more hours and I don't want to waste them being angry with you." She whispered.

"Me either." He spoke against her lips, grateful that one of them could push their anger aside and calm the both of them down, talking sense into each of their minds.

"I love you." She pecked his lips, sliding her arms around him and feeling the goosebumps rise on his smooth skin.

His lips couldn't wait and he leaned forward slightly, blanketing his lips over hers, sliding his hands around her back and softly assuring his love for her in her ear as she broke from the kiss to find the sweet spot on his neck.

And once again, their problems were merely buried under apologies and kisses, and no where near being solved.
End Notes:
Song: Not a Second To Waste - A Rocket To The Moon.
thanks for all the reviews you guys have sent my way :)
I REALLY appreciate it...I'm working on a paper thats due tomorrow, but i wanted to post this, so I hope you all enjoy it.
Chapter 6 by The archive
"When the only voice she hears is telling her she can't."
Marley pulled her phone off the charger, and the charger out the wall, wrapping the cord around itself and shoving it in the top of her bag, turning in circles and checking the floor for anything she might have missed.

Glancing at her phone again, she noticed the date and smiled.

"Hey Joe?" She called, while she shoved her feet into her boots.

"Hmm?" She heard him hum from the bathroom, and let her eyes scan his body as he emerged from the bathroom, a white towel riding low on his hips.

She shrugged, "In five days we'll have been together for four years." She laughed slightly, not being able to believe it's been that long.

"I know." He smiled, "December 14." A thoughtful look crossed his face, "Which reminds me..." He mumbled and he held up a finger, shuffling back into the bathroom, returning seconds later wearing only a pair of navy sweatpants and hurrying to his bag.

"Since we're not going to be together for it, I got you your present." He turned back around, a teal blue Tiffany & Co. box sitting in his palm as he beamed at her.

"Joe." She sighed, "I though we discussed that I don't like when you buy me things like that." She hated that just because he had money now he wanted to blow it all on senseless things like too-big jewelry and watched, she just found it unnecessary.

"But this is special." He pouted, and she gave in, returning his smile and sauntering up to him, until their chests were pressed together.

"I haven't gotten you anything." She whispered.

He shrugged holding out his hand, "S'okay, I didn't want to wait."

She locked her eyes on his and reached up, planting her lips on his quickly before he nodded towards the box in his hand, "Open it."

She pulled the white bow, letting it fall over his outstretched fingers and carefully slipped the white ring box from it's teal holder. She glanced up at his anxious eyes and he nodded again, signaling her to continue. She popped open the lid and let out a silent gasp, covering her hand over her mouth.

"Joseph?" He eyes furrowed as she questioned him.

He smiled, plucking the simple platinum band from the box and slipping it on her left ring finger and pressing his mouth to hers.

"Relax." He referred to her tensed body as his hands started a comforting pattern down her sides. "It's a promise ring...I guess."

"You guess?" She smiled up at him, comforted by the reassurance they weren't taking the leap yet...an engagement isn't something she was prepared for at the moment.

"Yeah." He chuckled. "I mean, four years. I just want you to know that you've made me so happy and that I love you, and I just don't want you to forget that, because I know I'm not around and stuff and you still put up with me and you're just so amazing and gorgeous and I just love you..." He scratched the back of his neck, his cheeks tingeing pink with a blush.

She smiled as tears pooled in her eyes, this wasn't famous Joe, or Joe with a million fans, or rich, snobby, cocky Joe that everyone thought he was, this was her Joe. The Joe she fell in love with well over five years ago. This was the Joe that held her heart.

She reached up and held his face between her hands and he nestled the side of his face into the new coldness that surrounded her finger. "Do I deserve you?" She asked softly, a soft laugh pushing through her lips, trying to pull herself out of sappy-mode.

He pulled her closer, placing his lips on her forehead, "I ask myself the same thing everyday."

She placed her hands on his chest, pushing away from him to admire the new addition to her finger. "So I'm-a-taken now?"

He grinned, "Yup, you're taken. Now everyone that tries to hit on you can see this and know that your pretty face loves someone else's pretty face." He batted his eyelashes, a smug smile pulling on his lips.

"You're somethin' else, Joe." She laughed bouncing onto her tip toes and sliding her arms around his neck, blanketing his lips with her own. She pulled back slightly, their lips still brushing, "And I love you." She whispered.

--

After telling everyone goodbye, with promises to see them soon, Joe and Marley slipped into the back of the black Escalade being driven by Big Rob that would bring her to the airport.

Her hand rested on his thigh as she answered his simple questions about their loft, and Cody, and the neighbors, things that they hadn't had a chance to talk about.

"Oh!" She smiled, "You know how Mr. Baker's daughter owns that art gallery down the street?" She asked.

Joe was lost in thought for a few minutes, trying to remember, his face lighting up when it finally clicked, "Yeah, yeah." He reassured her, "I remember."

"Ok, well he said she was pregnant and she's looking for someone to help her out, you know, so she doesn't have to work all the time-"

"When'd he ask you?" He wondered, reaching for her hand and absentmindedly playing with her fingers.

"Couple weeks ago, I told him I'd think about it but I think I'm gunna do it, you know, since I don't really do a lot anyway...Mr. Baker said he'd keep Cody while I was gone, and it just seems like a better way to occupy my time than just sitting around." She shrugged.

"Well babe, it's not like we need the money."

She felt her face furrow, "I didn't say anything about needing the money. I said it was a way to occupy my time."

"So you want to work?" He looked down at her, confusion pulling at his features.

"I want to do something other than waste my time away sitting in the apartment." She felt like he was getting mad and it was making her mad, what was she supposed to do? Sit around and be cooped up while he toured the country practically doing what he pleased.

"Well, I just don't see the point." What was there to get?

"Joe." She sighed, "I don't want to argue."

"I'm not arguing." He held his hands up, "I just don't understand why you want to do this." His voice rose and she felt him tense up in defense.

"Joe-"

"Will you work there when I'm home?" Joe asked, raising his eyebrows in question.

"I don't know, maybe Joe."

"Oh, okay. Whatever." He turned to the window, but this wasn't going to work for her.

"No. No. Do not whatever me." Her anger was rising by the second, "Why are you mad?"

"You just said you were going to be working while I was home, what the point of going home if you won't be there?"

"You're blowing this out of proportion." Marley's arms crossed over her chest.

"Me? Forgive me for wanting to spend time with you."

"Are you serious?" She almost shrieked. She took a few deep breaths, to calm herself down and the whole conversation crumbled around her.

"Don't you dare." Her voice wasn't strong anymore, "Do you know how many nights I can't sleep because all I can do is think about you? Or how many days I cry because I just miss you and want you to hold me, but all I get is a five minute phone call. Or all the times I've needed you when I was sick or hurting or just having a shitty day and you don't have time for me...so don't talk to me about wanting to spend time with someone because I damn well know what it feels like...so forgive me for wanting to take an opportunity to occupy my time away from those longing feelings that are slowly breaking my heart." She was in full fledged crying mode now, sobs forcing themselves out from deep within her chest and tears flowing down her cheeks.

Big Rob's concerned eyes switched between their surroundings and the couple in the rear view mirror, not wanting to speak up in fear he'd get yelled at or something thrown at him.

Joe shook his head, running a hand through his hair and trying to scoot towards here, his arms outstretched.

"No. No. No!" She said loudly, scooting away from him, and huddling against the opposite window of the back seat. "Don't." She sobbed, attempting to wipe her face.

"Baby, I freaked out for a second, I'm sorry...I just want to-"

"No," She swallowed hard trying to compose herself. "You've done enough."

She finally looked around, noticing they were at the airport and wondered how long they'd been there.

"Rob." She hiccupped and waited for him to acknowledge her. "Will you help me get my bags?" She asked weakly.

He nodded and opened his door, shuffling out and started moving towards the trunk. When Marley attempted to open her door to follow him and get her bags when Joe's fingers clasped around her wrist.

"Marley, you are not leaving here like this."

"Like what, Joe?" She was tired of fighting and she just wanted to go home, this was draining her...he was draining her.

"All angry." He almost yelled.

She shook her head softly and the tears came more rapidly, "Maybe you're angry, but I'm just a girl who realized her boyfriend is an egotistical, selfish asshole that I can't help but be irrevocably in love with no matter how much he hurts me."

And with that off her chest, she slammed the door, going around to the back, cursing herself when she realized the open trunk was right behind the back seat.

She observed his solemn face, half shocked, half pained as he still stared at the door she slammed. He instantly turned around once he snapped out of it, realizing where she was. Her bags were out and Rob was in the process of closing the doors when his voice blurted out.

"Marley! I meant everything I said this morning."

She knew that. She knew he meant it, but what she didn't know is if he could prove that to her. Rob paused, with the back hatch almost half closed, unsure of what to do. Marley's eyes locked onto Joe's and she swiped at the trail of never ending tears.

"See you at Christmas, Joe." She placed her hand next to Rob's and finished shutting the trunk herself.

Rob carefully watched the huddle of paparazzi surrounding the entrance to LAX, not wanting them to catch sight of him and start harassing Marley because she was with the Jonas' bodyguard.

He smiled sadly down at her, "I can't defend him this time."

"I know." She nodded, "I can't figure out what's gotten into him."

He shrugged, "Take it easy, kid."

She nodded, making sure she had everything before wrapping her fingers around the handle of her suitcase and starting for the doors.

She settled herself on a bench, right before the "You Must Have A Ticket To Pass This Point" sign and waited, watching the large SUV out the far right window of the busy airport.

There was no way he'd let Rob drive away with them fighting like this. There was no way he'd let her go home after they'd just spoke that way to each other. There was no way after what she'd said, that he wouldn't rush after her and kiss her until he could make it right. But, as the minutes passed by and the announcements for her flight came more frequent she was forced to go through security. She took once last glance back, hoping to see him rushing towards her, but in the crowd she saw not one familiar face.

And when she looked back out the far right window, the SUV was gone.
End Notes:
alright, it's getting pretty tense...
what are we thinking about this?
leave me love, and thanks to everyone who's reviewed :)
Chapter 7 by The archive
"Maybe I'm to blame, or maybe we're the same, but either way I can't breathe."
Marley knocked on the door, patiently waiting for an answer. She heard a loud bark and Cody's huge paws thumping across the wooden floors. A true smile graced her lips when Mr. Baker opened the door and the eager dog rushed her, jumping up to rest his paws on her shoulders, causing her to stumble as he stood face to face with her, fighting to lick her face.

"Hey Marley." Mr. Baker beamed at her, appearing behind her massive dog. "How was your trip?"

She felt her face sag as she forced Cody off of her, "Uhm. It was-different?" She sighed, scratching the large dog behind his ears.

"Hmm." His eyebrows drew together in thought, "That bad, huh?"

She tucked her hair behind her ear, "Yeah. It just-didn't go as planned, I guess."

"You know, Marley. I'm not tryin' to pry, but you know that boy needs to be here for you more. I know he's some rockin' star, but it's no excuse to leave the woman you love at home alone as much as he does 'specially by herself, you know."

She hung her head, not wanting him to see the tears forming in her eyes. Joe was all she thought about the entire way home. Shit, he was all she could think about; period.

"Yeah." She breathed, trying to brush it off. "I'm going to go unpack though, so thanks so much for watching Cody."

"No problem." He smiled a sad, knowing smile at her and handed over the leash and container of dog food. In the process of getting her things together, she checked her phone only to see Joe hadn't returned her call and voicemail saying she'd gotten in all right. She grit her teeth and paused at the door, "Oh Mr. Baker, I meant to ask, is Lindsey still looking for someone at the gallery?"

His eyes lit up and he nodded, "Yes ma'am, she is. Was 'bout to call an agency to get someone in there, you interested?"

Marley smiled, nodding her head, "Yeah, I think I am. Give her my number and tell her to get in touch, will ya?"

He smiled, "Yeah, Marley. I'll do that."

--

Walking into their apartment, Marley dropped her luggage to the floor and slumped onto the couch, pulling the large blanket on top of her, and cuddling into the corner, she let go. She didn't even have time to think about the tears before they were rushing down her face. Cody climbed on the couch next to her, whimpering softly at her sudden breakdown and attempting to lick the tears from her face. She hugged the dog, burying her face in his fur trying to muffle her sobs.

"Why does he do this to me?" She sobbed, gasping for air and trying to take control of her body and the lack of air from her intense cries.

What Marley could only guess as hours later, her phone startled her back to reality. It buzzed violently across the coffee table and she forced her aching body to sit up, wiping the remaining tears from her face adn reaching for the phone, a new wave of sadness washing over her when she saw Nick's name flashing on the screen. The wrong brother.

"Hello?" Her voice was harsh and raspy, sadness oozing from the short greeting. She didn't bother disguising her voice as happier than she felt, not for Nick.

Her ears were met with a sharp intake of breath and her eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

"Nick?" Her voice became alert, "Is something wrong?"

"Marley." A pang hit her heart. The pain in his voice was almost too much to bear.

"Joe?" She asked softly, wondering if her mind was playing tricks on her.

"Yeah, it's me." She knew it had to be, she'd know that voice anywhere.

"Where's your phone?"

"I didn't think youd answer if I called."

"Don't be stupid Joe." Something new rushed throughout her and she clanched her jaw, "I've been a mess all day because you don't have the decency to call and see if I made it home okay."

"Marley, I--"

"Not to mention;" She cut him off, "Letting me walk away after what happened in the car..." Her eyes watered at the thought and she sniffled, wanting to stay strong. "You've never let me walk away." Her voice cracked, unmansking her strong facade and the tears returned.

Joe was quiet on the other line, trying to compose himself while listening to her break down, her I-can-handle anything act was up and she was hurting and it was his fault. He imagined her curled up on the couch, wrapped in their old comforter she refused to give up with Cody laying halfway in her lap...

He wanted to smile but the sound of her trying to muffle back sobs burned his ears. Marley became angry with his lack of words and grit her teeth.

"Do you know what that feels like?" The loudness of her voice startled hm and he snapped back to the conversation. "Do you know what it feels like to have the only person in the world that you truly trust let you walk away like you mean nothing to them--"

"Stop it!" He roared into the phone. "Don't say that." He stood from his spot, slumped in the armchair in his hotel room, "Don't you fucking dare, Marley." He seethed, "You know good and goddamn well that you mean everything to me."

She was taken aback, he'd never yelled at her. She heard his labored breathing and decided to give him a few minutes to calm down.

"I'm sorry." She whispered a few quiet moments later, feeling bad for accusing him of something she knew wasn't true.

"Don't do that." He shot back, without hesitation.

"Do what?" She wondered, genuinely confused at his statement.

"Apologize." He groaned. "I'm the asshole here. Not you." He confessed quietly. "And I don't want you to back down, fight back, apologizing and saying I love you isn't going to fix this." His voice was hard and she flinched, resting the phone between the side of her face and her shoulder so she could rub her temples, she didn't want to fight, she was emotionally drained and physically exhausted, this wasn't the time.

"I don't want to fight back." She admitted quietly, "I'm not strong enough to fight back. I'm tired, Joe. And I'm sad. And I just can't do it."

He sighed into the phone. "I know, and I'm sorry about the airport. I wanted to come after you, but the photographers and the press. I just couldn't."

"Yeah." She frowned.

"They're just always around." Joe sighed, "Always."

Marley's eyebrows furrowed and a sickening feeling squeezed against her stomach. "Joe, I have to go." She said quickly.

"Wha-? Um, okay." He stuttered, confused by her sudden need to go, "Um, I love you."

"Love you too." She said quickly before ending the call and rushing to the bathroom, Cody hot on her heels. She skidded to a stop in front of the toilet and leaned over, emptying the contents of her stomach.

Flushing the toilet, she let out a violent sob, as tears flooded down her cheeks, this was too much. Joe had just confirmed her worst fears. The press would always be around. Photographers would always be around. The boys weren't leaving the spotlight anytime in the near future and she'd reamin the secret.

A secret. That's what she was and that's what she'd remain. The only part of her life that made her insecure. The only part of her life that made her unhappy. The only part of her life that broke her heart over and over again. And, the only part of her life she was fighting with herself on whether or not to give up.
End Notes:
Song: Goodbye - Secondhand Serenade.
Wow. I mean. Wow. I never expected to get this much feedback. I'm glad all of you are loving it. And I'm headed out of town so I probably won't be able to post until Sunday-ish. But thank all of you who are reading...you all are amazing. and you got me featured :) you're all amazing.
Chapter 8 by The archive
"Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, Now it looks as through they're here to stay."
“Dude, roughin’ it today or what?.” Kevin observed, trying to hand Joe a steaming cup of coffee as he stepped off the elevator.

“I don’t drink that shit, man.” Joe reminded his brother, pulling his beanie further down over his head.

Kevin shrugged, taking a swig of the coffee, claiming it as his own as they walked through the lobby of the Denver hotel.

“Do you know the schedule for today?” Kevin asked, trying to get any clues he could from his brother’s change in attitude.

“Does it matter?” Joe asked, raising an eyebrow at his brother.

“Guess not.” Kevin shrugged, catching Joe’s arm, and pulling him to the side before they walked outside to face the crowd of fans and local newspapers and reporters trying to get a good shot of the boys.

“What the fuck, Kevin?” Joe scowled at his brother, “They just said we have to be somewhere in thirty minutes.”

“What’s up with you?” Kevin asked, feeling the concern wash over his face.

Joe didn’t answer, much less look at his brother.

“Ever since you woke up, you’ve been walking around, pissed at the world.” Kevin tried again, “I know you’re stressed, but seriously…what’s up, man?”

“Number one, I didn’t wake up this morning…I never went to sleep last night.” Joe explained.

“And why’s that?” Kevin asked.

“I was thinking.” Joe said, trying to avoid the subject for as long as possible.

“About…?” Kevin persisted, dodging all the conversation stoppers Joe was throwing his way.

Joe sighed, tearing his eyes away from the large window, looking out at the snow covered mountains and turned his focus to Kevin.

“It’s Marley…” He confessed.

“Whaa33;”well is she okay?” Kevin asked, worry dropping onto his face.

“Noa33;”yeah. She’s okay, she’s just not doing so good. She’s so sad…I can hear it in her voice…and I want to be with her…I NEED to be with her…and I can’t be and it’s just frustrating.”

“I know what you mean, Joe.” He clapped a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “She just misses you. Cassie does the same thing.”

“It’s not the same, bro. Cassie still comes to see you and she’s busy with work and school to distract her. Marley can’t even handle coming to see me anymore…we can’t even be together when we’re in the same room. She’s lonely even when she’s where I am…because of this.” He gestured to the crowd outside waiting.

Kevin sucked a breath through his teeth. “She told you that?”

“She doesn’t have to…I just know…I know her and I can just tell…it’s coming down hard on her, you know?”

Kevin simply nodded, knowing his brother had more to say.

Joe sighed and readjusted the hat on his head. “And I haven’t told her.”

Kevin eyes bugged from his head. “Joe.” His voice was low and warning. “You can’t do that to her…not now. You have to tell her.”

“I know!” Joe’s voice rose and he took out his aggression, punching the wall next to him. “I don’t want to hurt her!”

“The longer you wait. The more you’re hurting her.” Kevin explained to him softly as possible, not wanting to upset his already on edge brother, giving him one encouraging pat on the back and walking away leaving him alone with his thoughts for a few moments.

--

Marley slipped back through the front door, glancing around the loft, knowing that she’d never get back to sleep after the morning she’d had. Bringing her entire family to the airport for their six-in-the-morning flight and helping lug all their luggage inside so they could go on their dream vacation to Europe while she was left waiting the arrival of the only person she’d wanted to spend the holidays with.

She knew they needed time together more than ever right now. Things had been rocky lately, to say the least and she was feeling herself shut down more and more every day. With every conversation he cut short, and every awkward silence, and every excuse he had for not being able to talk to her…it was becoming to much to bear.



“Hi buddy.” She cooed and smiled when she walked into the bedroom and Cody jumped off his bed, his tail swishing back and forth at ninety to nothing in excitement to see her.

“How about we go for a run this morning?”

As if the huge dog understood her, his ears perked up and he started barking, heading for the stairs. “Damn, at least give me ten minutes,” She groaned, stripping her pea coat and scarf off, she stumbled into the bathroom, pulling her long hair into a low ponytail and quickly brushing her teeth before stepping into her closet, pulling on a pair of his sweatpants and a hoodie, grabbing her iPod and key from the computer desk in the bedroom and making her way downstairs.

Once outside, she bundled into her hood, hissing at the freezing weather and let Cody lead her down the stairs and out the back entrance, to the small park behind their building.

She plugged her ears with the iPod buds selecting shuffle and instantly blocking out the noises of the city. She sighed in relief, taking the eager dog of the leash, knowing that he wouldn’t go anywhere, he may be big and tough, but he was a softy at heart and had a bad case of separation anxiety so she knew he’d stay close.

She began at a steady pace, Cody trotting happily next to her, his tongue hanging out of his mouth and both of their breaths coming out in puffs of fog. The music pumping through her head easily let her forget her problems and before she knew it she was out of breath and on her sixth lap around the semi-large park with a not-so-eager Cody lagging behind her.

“Come on, boy.” She patted her leg, beckoning beckoning the tired dog and slowed to a walk, trying to regain her breath on their leisurely walk back to the loft.

Unlocking the door, she let Cody in, immediately going to the kitchen and giving him two large scoops of dog food before trotting up the stairs and pulling her clothes off on the way to the bathroom to take a much needed shower.

--

Stepping out of the steam filled bathroom, clad in a fresh pair of sweats and a t-shirt, running a towel through her hair, Marley remembered her phone still on the night stand and sat on the edge of the bed, picking up the sleek phone and seeing 2 missed calls and a voicemail.

Lying back on the bed, she held down the number 1, waiting for the message to start.

“Hey baby. I was just calling to tell you good morning.”

Marley felt herself frown, hearing that something was wrong in his voice.

“I bet you’re out with Cody, buta33;”uha33;”just call me when you get a chaa33;”Joe come on!a33;”” She heard Nick’s impatient voice in the background and smiled.

Jesus Nick! 5 seconds, man! Well yeah, just call me when you get a chance later, I love you.”

She sighed and punched in the familiar number, hearing the long rings echo in her ear. She was just about to give up and end the call before his voice sounded.

“Hello? Marley?”

“Hey.” She spoke quietly.

“Hey.” He breathed. “What’re you doing?”

She laid back on the pillows and picked at the comforter, “Nothing really, just got out the shower.”

“Hmm.” She heard the interest peak in his reply, “If only I could be there for that.” He laughed and she couldn’t help but return it…his laughter was contagious and her own giggles rose in her throat.

“I wish.” She added wistfully, her mood always picking up considerably when she could simply here his voice.

His laughter stopped and he heaved out a sigh. “Baby…can I talk to you a minute?”

Here it was…whatever was bothering him. “We are talking.” She whispered meekly, honestly not wanting to hear what he was about to say.

“Marley.” His voice plead with her not to be difficult.

“Just say it, Joseph.” She almost snarled, knowing this was going to crush her.

“I don’t know if we’ll make it back for Christmas.” He blurted.

Her breath caught. “What? You don’t know if? Or you do know for sure? Don’t give me false hope.”

“We’re not.” He whispered. “We’ll be in LA.”

“This is great news…3 days before Christmas and NOW you tell me.” Unwanted tears were streaking down her face.

“Marley, I’m sora33;””

“How long have you known?” She cut him off, not wanting to hear the empty apologies.

“Is that relevant?”

“I think it is Joe considering my entire fucking family is in Europe for Christmas vacation and I stayed back to be with you.” Her voice cracked as a sob pushed from her throat.

“Baby, don’t cry.” He plead with her.

“No. Don’t call me that. How long?” She persisted.

“A couple weeks.” He sighed.

“So I had the opportunity to leave with my family…but I opted to sit around and wait for you and you won’t even be here?” She asked weakly. “And you couldn’t even tell me…even when I was there…and at the airport…and the whole see you soon thing…you knew….you knew it wouldn’t be soon!!”

“I didn’t want to hurt you.” His voice grew softer.

She wouldn’t give in, not this time, she was hurting and he needed to know. “So you waited and waited and now I’ll be alone on Christmas?” Her hand went to her mouth to muffle a sob.

“Baba33;”Marleya33;”I can’t help it! Why don’t you fly out here?”

“So it’s convenient for you?! You always want it to be convenient to you, Joe, Marley, come see ME! Marley fly out to ME! Marley I need you to come to MEa33;” What about me, Joe? I want to be at home for Christmas...our home...a real home…not in a hotel.”

“I can’t just drop everything for you, Marley!” She let out a loud cry that all but pierced his heart and he knew she’d reached the brink, she was cracking.

“a33;”damn it!a33;”I justa33;”I need to goa33;”I can’t talk to you right now.” She breathed once she composed her breathing enough to actually talk.

“Marley, please don’t hang up mad at me.” He plead, his hands digging through his hair, trying to get his frustration at himself out.

“I’m not mad at you, I’m mad at myself for trusting you to come back to me the one time of the year we’re supposed to be together.”

“Marley; don’ta33;””

“Goodbye, Joseph.”

She ended the call, finally letting it all go and releasing a sob that ripped through her chest. Her phone immediately started ringing again and she looked down to see his name flashing on the screen. She ignored the call and switched the phone off, curling up on her bed.

Within seconds, Cody was next to her whimpering and curling up next to her, licking her face to rid her tears. She hugged the giant dog, burying her face in his grey coat and sobbing her sorrows away.

Her heart ached and she knew the only thing she wanted was the only thing she wasn’t able to have and all of it finally came crashing down on her…worse than it’s ever been.
End Notes:
ok, i don't have much to say because I JUST walked in from a 5-hour drive and this chapter was the hardest one for me to write and I practically bawled my eyes out while writing it, but I promised I'd get this up today and once again thanks to everyone reading and reviewing, you're all amazing for it.
:)
Chapter 9 by The archive
"Show that you're scared like me."
Marley sat on the couch, bundled in her thick pajamas and blankets with Cody draped across her lap and a mug of hot chocolate in her hands watching the lights on the Christmas tree flicker against the round ornaments. Tears were softly streaming down her cheeks, the heartbreak had settled in from the day before when she got off the phone with Joe, and the tears hadn't stopped since then. Her phone sounded from the coffee table and she picked it up, fully prepared to ignore Joe's call again, but when she glanced at the screen and the unknown number she felt her forehead crinkle in confusion before she slid her thumb across the screen, accepting the call.

"Hello?" She tried to mask the shakiness of her voice as she wiped the tears from her face.

"Marley...It's Lindsey...at the gallery." Marley perked up at the unknown voice, giving the phone call her full attention.

"Right. Hi. How are you?" Marley asked, relieved she was finally getting this call.

"I'm really good. My dad says you're interested in helping me out." Lindsey's voice was hopeful and Marley found herself instantly giving in.

"I am...I need the distraction." She chuckled so she wouldn't start crying again.

"Well, I need the help, so looks like we're meant to be." Marley laughed, already have taken a liking to Lindsey and thanking all things holy that she wasn't the on-a-rampage pregnant woman.

"So, I know Christmas is right here around the corner, but I have to go in tomorrow and tie up some loose ends before no one will be there for the next few days. You can tag along if you want to but if you have other plans I completely--"

"No--no." Marley cut her off. "I have absolutely nothing to do...I'd love to come check it out."

"Great! Well, I only live a couple blocks from your building, and I usually walk so if you just want to meet me outside around 9." Lindsey offered, her question lingering in the air.

"Oh, yeah. That's perfect." Marley smiled, "And I should dress..."

"Very casual. It's a comfortable place, really bohemian and laid back." She assured her.

"Ok good. Well I guess I'll see you in the morning then."

"Sure thing. Thanks for doing this Marley."

"No problem. Bye Lindsey."

--

Marley stared at the ceiling, blinking slowly and listening to the deep breaths of Cody from his bed across the room. She glanced at the clock and saw she was going on hour four of no sleep. Groaning she flipped over onto her back, hoping to find the comfortable spot that would magically lull her to sleep.

Another hour slid by and she finally gave in, grabbing Joe's pillow and pushing her face into it. Taking a deep breath, the relief never came. Her deep breath collided with a sob that had suddenly pushed from her chest at the revelation. His pillow no longer smelled like him. Had it been that long since he'd been home?

Images played through her head like a movie of them at Thanksgiving when he was able to spend two nights with her while they were back and forth going to their family's houses. Two nights where sleeping wasn't their number one priority. She smiled through her tears at the memories, but hugged his pillow tighter only wanting that one piece of him to comfort her.

Comfort never came and as the clock ticked past 3:30 she picked up her phone from the nightstand and clicked the familiar numbers that seemed to be second nature to dial them.

Joe was jolted from a restless sleep, not being able to stay out more than thirty minutes at a time. His chest was tight and hurt burned through him. She was so upset and so broken and it was all his fault.

"Yeah?" He grumbled in the phone, taking it for Nick or Kevin telling him he had to be up earlier than expected.

"Joe?" Her voice was so soft that he barely heard her...but it was her. He'd know that voice anywhere.

Relief surged through him and he felt a little more comfortable. in the unfamiliar bed, "Yeah, sweetheart, it's me."

He cringed at the endearing pet name that slipped through is lips, knowing he was walking a thin line with her and squeezed his eyes shut not wanting to be chastised by her for trying to act like their conversation yesterday didn't happen.

When she didn't say anything he slowly let his eyes open and listened carefully. He could hear her lack of breathing and the soft whimpers she was holding back.

She was crying.

"Marley, what's the matter, baby?" He sat up in bed trying his best to soothe her from thousands of miles away.

"Your pillow." She mumbled. His face furrowed and he wanted to laugh at her words, not exactly understanding what she was trying to say, but she was so upset all he could think about was making her content.

"What's wrong with it?" He asked softly.

She sniffled on the other end of the phone and rubbed her fist over her eyes she didn't want to give in and be this civil with him, she didn't want to cry again...she felt pathetic, but the pain from their fight yesterday still fresh in her heart stung and she knew the he knew exactly how to calm her down and she needed that, she needed him.

A string of hiccupped attempts to start her explanation fell from her mouth before she sucked in a breath, "It-it doesn't sm-smell like y-you anymore and I ca-can't sleep." She coughed more soft sobs breaking out of the barriers she was trying to keep up.

He closed his eyes letting all the breath leave his body as he listened to her crying for him on the phone. His heart was breaking for her and the ache in his chest returned, his heart thudding against his rib cage. He was driving himself insane. He needed her so bad. He needed to know she was okay.

"Marley, baby. Please don't cry." He sighed. "Not because of me. Please." He begged his heart wrenching at the knowledge that she was hurting like this because of him. He knew it wasn't about the pillow. She needed him. It was obvious...and there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it.

"I cry for you every night." She whispered, admitting the secret to him that she would have never dreamed of doing before. She didn't want to upset him, but now seemed as good a time as any to let him know.

He sighed trying to dull the overbearing hurt ripping through his heart. He wanted to be there and hold her and reassure he that she was his entire world but the cold, unsatisfying phone call was proving not to be enough for either of them.

"Why?" Was the only thing he could force out. The searing in his body stumping all his functions.

"Because..." She paused wondering if she should continue or not. The line was quiet, her soft breaths meeting his in the airwaves. "Because I want you to come home...I can't do this anymore."

She broke, crying harder than she ever thought possible. It was all coming down to this. Her finally reaching the edge and him listening helplessly from across the country.

"Marley..." His voice betrayed him, cracking and showing weakness. He swiped at the tears sliding down his cheeks, and found himself at a loss for words. He didn't know what to say. There was no way any words that came from his mouth could comfort her now.

"Marley-I-I..." His lip trembled and he surprised himself as he let out an unwanted sob. It was quiet and barely there...but it happened. He crossed his arms over his chest, hoping that he could prevent his heart from shattering.

The sound of him crying burned Marley's ears and she instantly tried to shut herself down. "I-I'm sorry." She mumbled, "I shouldn't have-"

"No." He shot back simply. "Don't apologize." He begged. "Please don't."

They were quiet for several minutes, both of them taking the silence to pull themselves together and just breathe. Marley laid back onto the pillows and snuggled in the comforter while Joe moved to the arm chair across the room looking out over the city.

The throbbing soreness that was Marley's heart continued to thud in her chest, reminding her with each beat of the decision that had to be made...Ignoring it to deal with another time Marley heaved a sigh, resituating the phone resting on her cheek.

"Joe?" Her now hoarse voice called his attention.

"Yeah?" He asked softly, watching the blinking lights of the city from his window.

"Will you sing to me?" She whispered and he didn't miss how shy she sounded, like he would ever deny her.

He closed his eyes at her request knowing nothing could soothe her soul like a song could and nodded, even though she couldn't see him, the words slipping effortlessly from his mouth.

Tell me, tell me
What makes you think that you are invincible
I can see it in your eyes that you're so sure
Please don't tell me that I am the only one that's vulnerable
Impossible

I was born to tell you I love you
Isn't that a song already
I get a B in originality
And it's true I can't go on without you
Your smile makes me see clear
If you could only see in the mirror what I see

And your slowly shaking finger tips
Show that you're scared like me,
Let's pretend were alone
And I know you may be scared
And I know we're unprepared
But I don't care

Slow down girl you're not going anywhere
Just wait around and see
Maybe I am much more, you never know what lies ahead
I promise I can be anyone, I can be anything
Just because you were hurt doesn't mean you shouldn't bleed
I can be anyone, anything I promise I can be what you need.

Joe looked down at his phone, unable to hang up. He knew she was asleep, all things were quiet on her end and instead of ending the call, he retreated to the large hotel bed, snuggling back into the sheets, placing the phone that was still connected to her miles and miles away on the pillow next to him and prayed for sleep to come, the reality of the past thirty minutes hanging heavy on his heart.
End Notes:
Song - Vulnerable - Secondhand Serenade.
Ok, can I say again how amazing all of you are?! All of you are AMAZING. seriously. I love all of your comments they're super encouraging. Well, we're about to get to the point where I don't have the chapter already typed out...I had 1-10 already done and I'm working on 11 & 12 right now, so after 10 there will be a couple more days inbetween updates, but hopefully I won't dissapoint.
PS, the song is probably the most important part of the chapter, so if you didn't read it, you should...just sayin'
:)
Chapter 10 by The archive
"Repeating history and you're getting sick of it."
Marley?" A deep voice sounded in her ear. She brushed it off as a dream and snuggled farther into her pillow, knowing she still had hours until her alarm went off.

"Marley?" Again, and this time more prominent. Her heart thudded in her chest and she felt her breathing quicken. "Marley?" Again. She peeled her eyes open, propping herself up on her elbows and glancing around the room. Where was he?

"Joe?" Her voice came out more hoarse than she expected and her forehead furrowed in confusion. Was she going crazy?

"Marley." He tried again, hoping to catch her attention.

Her gaze fell to the cell phone lying on her pillow. Her spirits fell when she realized the source of his voice, feeling foolish for thinking he'd actually be there.

"Joe?" She asked into the phone.

"Hey." He breathed, his morning voice awakening the butterflies in her stomach. "Sorry I woke you up." He apologized quickly.

"No...um...it's okay...I just...I thought you were here." She whispered.

His eyes slid shut at her wishful thinking and he sighed, "I'm sorry-I just woke up, and I never hung up last night, and I could hear you breathing, and I just wanted to wake up with you." He admitted quietly.

Once her thoughts were together and the quiet moments passed, she remembered her breakdown last night and how upset she was and how he had managed to calm her down so quickly and how within the first verse of the song he was able to put her to sleep.

"I love you, Joe." She finally broke the silence, letting him hear exactly what he needed.

His ears perked up and a small smile graced his lips while he pictured her face so vividly in his mind, trying to remember the feeling of her body curled next to his while he watched her sleep...

"I love you, Marley." He reminded her, knowing she could never hear it enough. Reassuring her of his feelings were all too important these days when it was getting harder and harder to maintain their relationship.

--

After a quick shower and changing into a simple pair pf skinny jeans and a long sleeved thermal, topping it off with her peacoat and scarf, Marley was bouncing down the steps of the apartment bulding at 9:00 on the dot. Glancing down the street, she saw a young blonde, no more than 3 years older than her, pregnant belly showing through her grey coat. A smile graced her lips as she watched her prance down the street without a care in the world.

Once Lindsey spotted Marley a grin lifted onto her face. "Marley?" She asked once she was close enough, just to make sure she had the right girl.

"That's me." Marley smiled.

"Great!" Lindsey pulled her into a hug before looping her arm through Marley's, "Let's go, I'm freezing."

They made small talk on the way down the block, commenting on the restaraunts and cafe's and apartment buildings. Marley let her thoughts slip away and laughed with Lindsey at hot dog vendor attempting to chase a dollar bill that had flew from his hand in the harsh wind. She relished in the way her laugh warmed her soul and made her feel so much better.

Her phone buzzed in her pocket and she pulled it out to see Joe calling. Her heart dropped and she thought seriously about ignoring the call before she slid her finger across the screen.

"Hello?"

"Hey babe, what're you doing?"

Marley took a nervous glance at Lindsey before letting out a nervous chuckle, "Oh just running a few errands."

Lindsey narrowed her eyes in curiousity at Marley's clear avoidance of where they were headed but Marley widened her eyes, shaking her head from side to side, silently telling her not to say anything.

"Oh, um--what's our address, again?"

She laughed at his forgetfulness and shoved her free hand back in her pocket at the bitter cold. "I'll text it to you in a second...you'll never remember it."

"I could!" She remained silent on the line, waiting for him to give in, "Okay--okay probably not...you're right." She closed her eyes for a second, picturing his goofy frin in her mind.

"Well, why do you need it?" She asked.

"To send your Christmas presents." His voice was softer now in an effort not to upset her, and all playfulness was gone from their conversation. Her smile faded and her heart squeezed a little too much for her to remain comfortable.

"Oh." She breathed out, the painful memories from her breakdown two days before plagued her mind.

"What is it?" He asked quietly.

"I don't want to open presents without you." She almost whispered.

"Marley, stop this." His voice turned hard and she flinched.

"I wasn't trying to make you feel bad." She fought back, "I was just going to say let's wait until you get back to exchange presents, but never mind...I have to go, talk to you later."

She hung up the phone, not giving him a chance to say something back to her and upset her...she switched her phone off, not having the strength to deal with their problems right now, after she felt like they were making progress one simple request set them off again.

"You okay?" Marley jumped at the sound of Lindsey's voice, her conversation with Joe making her loose her train of thought.

"Yeah--yeah. I'm good." Marley forced a smile.

Lindsey nodded, and turned a corner, quickly pulling Marley through two glass doors. "Good, because we're here!"

Marley took in the large, open space and smiled at the home-y feel and the quiet and calmness of it all.

"So basically, you'll just sit here." Lindsey gestured to a large desk. "And, when people come in, show them around, if they're interested in buying, make a sale..." Marley's forehead crinkled, worried about her lack of experience. "It's okay." Lindsey assured her. "I'll teach you everything. I'm just giving you the rundown."

Sitting behind the desk, Marley listened intently to the instructions Lindsey gave her over the next couple of hours, where to find things, where certain paintings and sculptures were located. She was excited about this. Something she was interested in, an opportunity that fell in her lap so easily.

This was all too exciting for her and Lindsey was just as excited as she was, insisting that they head to lunch after Marley's tutorial session on how to run the gallery was over.
Her mind wondered to Joe and how he would take the news. He'd always said he wanted to see her happy and this made her happy. She found herself wanting to tell him all about it. How warm she felt here and how she couldn't wait for her first customer.

A bell tinkled and Lindsey and Marley both cut their conversation short, turning to look at the door, both preparing to tell the intruder that they were closed when Lindsey smiled and waved him over.

As he got closer, Marley observed his tall frame and hair that was shaggy and slightly wavy hanging around his face, his light eyes looking over her in a curious way. Thinking he was a friend or possibly Lindsey's all-to-gorgeous husband, Marley smiled and stood to introduce herself.

Lindsey spoke before she could, "This is Marley, she'll be helping out a lot while I'm with the baby."

He smiled, taking Marley's hand and giving it a shake, showing her his perfect smile, "Hey I'm Kyler, I work in the back."

She smiled back and was glad when Lindsey began blabbing to him about a new shipment that was supposed to come in so she could pull herself together. This was nothing, he was just someone she works with now. Even if he's gorgeous, he's trouble, she had Joe. Joe. Joe. Joe.

Marley's eyes scanned the open space. This was relaxing. This was comforting. There was nothing wrong with her being there. She had nothing to worry about. Joe would get over it and she would work here.

She'd tell Joe everything about this place.

Her eyes locked with Kyler's across the room and she blushed when she realized he was staring at her, he smiled, the action lighting up his whole face. She quickly looked away and busied herself with the stack of paper on the desk.

Everything except that.
End Notes:
Ooh, new character. What are we thinking about him? How's Joe going to react when he finds out she took the job and didn't talk to him about it?
Okay, so this is the last chapter I had typed up, I'm about halfway done with 11, so it should be up in the next couple of days.
And you're all AMAZING :)
Chapter 11 by The archive
"I've found you find strength, in your moments of weakness."
Marley awoke Christmas morning way earlier than she was supposed to. Remembering what day it was, she smiled and pulled herself out of bed, promising herself she'd have a good day and push all her problems aside. Making her way downstairs, with Cody following along, she dumped more food than usual in his bowl.

"Merry Christmas!" She beamed at the dog, as she turned on the radio in the kitchen to the Christmas station, singing along while she made her traditional Christmas breakfast of pancakes and sausage.

Picking up her cell phone, she dialed Joe's number while she ate.

"Merry Christmas." He smiled into the phone.

"Merry Christmas to you." She countered back.

She heard voices in the background and couldn't hold back her grin. "Alright, alright." He mumbled. "Everyone says hello, and Merry Christmas."

"Send them my love." She asked, taking a bite of her stack of pancakes.

“You know I’ll take the biggest piece.” She heard his smile and shook her head.

“You’re too much.” Marley laughed at his antics, hearing a deeper voice and the phone rustling around.

"Ugh, I have to go...dad's glaring...this is family time." He mocked, his monotone voice making her laugh.

"Well, go have family time, call me later."

"I will." He promised. "Love you."

"I love you." She reminded him, before hanging up.

--

After getting ready and giving Cody his much awaited Christmas present of a huge bone she'd purchased from Petco that could easily give her arm a run for it's money, she slipped out the door, heading to the art gallery. Lindsey had given her the key and told her she could go in any time this week and familiarize herself with the photographs and paintings and sculptures.

She practically skipped down the street, plugging her iPod in her ears and bobbing her head to the Christmas carols filling her mind. Making it to the gallery, she slipped her key into the lock, easily unlocking the door and shuffling inside, out of the cold.

Locking the door back behind her, she let her voice carry through the empty space, finally alone so she could sing as loud as her heart desired, halfway through the third chorus of Jingle Bell Rock and in the midst of an impromptu dance move, she saw him leaned against the door way to the back room.

Instantly straightening up from her previous actions, Marley felt a deep blush creeping onto her cheeks as he still watched her, an amused smile gracing his lips. She pulled the ear buds from her ears and laughed in embarrassment.

"I was just--" She called out across the space.

"Rocking out to Jingle Bell Rock?" He asked, finishing with a laugh as he pushed himself off the wall and made his way towards her.

"Yeah." She said sheepishly, taking new interest in her shoes.

"It's okay." He reassured her when he got closer, "It's my favorite, too."

She shook her head as she worked on taking off her coat and finally looked at him again when she had successfully hung it on the coat rack near the door.

"So, what are you doing here?" She asked when she remembered what day it was.

He shrugged, "Just going through the new shipment."

"On Christmas?" She asked, a curiosity filling her eyes.

He nodded, "What're you doing here, Diana Ross?"

She let out a chuckle before pouting up at him, "You're never gunna let me live that down, huh?"

"Nope." He grinned at her and she had to look away so she wouldn't blush again. "Still didn't answer my question, though."

"Oh." She fiddled with the wire of her headphones. "Familiarizing myself with the merchandise." She gestured to the room around her.

"On Christmas?" A teasing glint filled his words and she playfully narrowed her eyes.

"Yes, on Christmas." She countered back, mentally noting how easy it was to flirt with him and how she should probably stop it immediately.

He sent her that perfect smile again and started walking towards the desk, "My parents live in Boston. My dad's an engineer, and mom owns half the company...they wanted me to take over the business to keep it in the family, but I refused...so I moved up here, I'm at NYU for Art...and they don't speak to me anymore so I'm a Christmas loner." Marley's eyes turned sad and when he turned to face her, realization of what he said clicked. "And I have no idea why I told you that." He laughed, running a hand through his hair. "I didn't mean to dump that--"

"My parents live in Jersey." She cut him off, smiling at him in reassurance that it was okay he'd told her that. "They're in Europe for family vacation...I could've gone, but stayed back because my boyfriend told me he’d be home for the holidays." She watched his face fall at the mention of Joe, but he covered it up quickly, plastering a smile back on. "He told me three days before he couldn’t make it...so he's in LA with his band...and I'm a Christmas loner....so it looks like we're one in the same."

He nodded, taking in her story, and only a few awkward seconds passed before he smiled, "Is it weird that that just sounded like our introductions at an Emotional Abuse meeting?"

Marley laughed and Kyler joined in seconds later, as the tension easily broke around them.

--

Joe went through the motions of Christmas more robot-like than he ever thought he could be on Christmas Day. Usually his favorite time of the year, he couldn't even force himself to be happy, not with thoughts of Marley alone in their loft, watching Christmas Story on TBS, mouthing along the words because she'd seen it so many times.

He threw himself on the couch of the bus while his family ate in the diner in whatever town they were in. They were no more than a couple of hours outside of LA and Frankie had been claiming starvation all day so they were on a pit stop. He pulled the newest edition BlackBerry from his pocket, courtesy his parents from Santa gifts earlier in the hotel where they spent Christmas morning.

Dialing her number, he pressed the phone to his ear he waited for her voice to interrupt the long rings.

"Um, hello?" Joe's eyes snapped open at the unfamiliar voice, pulling his phone back to check that he had indeed called the right number; he felt his heartbeat quickening as he pushed the phone to his ear again. "Who the hell is this?"

"Uha33;”uma33;”let me get Marley." He stumbled over his words before Joe heard his now distant voice calling for Marley.

Joe's anger was boiling over, "No, I think I asked you a question. Who are you?" He asked loudly into the phone.

"Kyler." The now identified male answered, "I work with Marley."

"Work? What the fua33;”"

"Joe?" Marley cut him off. "Hey." She breathed and he guessed she'd run to the phone.

"Who the fuck was that?" His voice was louder than he'd intended and he wanted to apologize but his anger was blocking all his senses.

"Joe...stop it." She spoke softly and he knew she was trying to calm him down.

"No, I will not stop it, Marley. Who was that and what is he talking about that he works with you?" He snapped back at her.

She sighed heavily in the phone and he heard a door close and her end of the conversation get quieter. "I took the job at the gallery, Joe. This isn't how I wanted to tell you about it."

His laugh was fake and harsh, "Because now you work with some guy and you knew I'd be pissed? Do you like him?"

"What? Joe, are you serious?" Her voice rose in disbelief at the questions he was throwing at her.

"Who else is there?" Her protest didn't stop him; he was full of questions and out to get his answers.

"No one." She mumbled.

"So you're with him alone! Oh this is just peachy...How's that going for you Marley?"

"What are you trying to accuse me of? Seriously?" Her fist came down hard on the desk and it echoed in the small office, as her frustration with him rose and unwillingly, tears pooled in her eyes because of the faults he was throwing at her.

"I mean I'm just stating the obvious...are you trying to get back at me for not being there?" He closed his eyes at the bitter words leaving his mouth. He wanted to stop it, but he'd let himself get too angry.

Marley bit back her tears, letting her own temper take over, "You know what? No. Not today, Joe. I've let you ruin too many of my days,” Her voice cracked and she took a deep breath so she could continue, “This is it. You will not ruin my Christmas." And with that, she hung up.

Joe cursed to himself as the silence on the other line ensued and tried her number again, only to be met directly to her voicemail. After furiously dialing her number over and over, only to be met with her voicemail each time, he grit his teeth together, throwing his phone onto the counter and yelling out a string of curse words into the empty bus. Slumping back onto the couch, he watched the cars whiz past the window of the large tour bus from the restaurant’s parking lot, taking deep breaths, in attempt to hold in his anger. His efforts to keep himself calm failed when a frustrated groan ripped from the back of his throat and he threw himself off the couch, letting his fist collide with the flimsy wall, easily punching his way through.

"Joseph!" His attention quickly turned to his mother standing in the doorway. "What has gotten into you?" She scolded his actions, looking with wide eyes between the new hole in the wall and his distraught face.

He began pacing the small space, running a hand through his hair. "I don't knowa33;”I don't know what's gotten into mea33;”Marleya33;”she's so upseta33;”I justa33;”I don't know what to do but be defensivea33;”I deserve for her to be mad at mea33;”" He fell onto the couch again, trying to rub away the headache in his temples.

Sensing his antsyness, Denise quietly settled onto the couch next to him and began timidly rubbing what she hoped were comforting circles on his back.. "Tell me what happened." She asked softly, only wanting to ease the tormented look in his eyes.

Joe let out a long breath, kicking his legs onto the couch and laying his head in her lap. "Promise you won't judge me?" He asked, his puppy dog eyes that had gotten her since he was a toddler glistening up at her.

"I would never." She assured him, letting her fingers play with the ends of his long hair.

He sighed, letting his eyes focus on the sky out of the window, "She's alone on Christmas." He whispered, "Her family is gone to Europe for vacation and she stayed home for me, but I didn’t tell her I couldn’t be there until after her parents left…so she’s all by herself." He glanced at his mother's face to see the sadness pulling at her features. Marley, who might as well be her own daughter, was hurting and she could take one look at his eyes to see he was hurting just as bad.

He let his eyes slide shut, feeling more relaxed than he had in the past week, "And we keep getting in fights, and she's so upset, but I feel like I deserve her being mad at me...I mean I've been with her for four years, no one knows about her, I can't be seen with her, I'm never around, but she's still stuck with me...and now, I just have the worst feeling that she's slipping away from me...and I can't..." He sucked in another deep breath. "I can't lose her mom."

She sighed as she watched his pained eyes begging her for help...for comfort of some kind..."Then don't." She said softly.

"Don't what?" His forehead crinkled in his confusion.

"Don't let her go.” She said simply.
End Notes:
ok, so I have NO time to be posting this, but I am, so just remember that this is the call before the storm...and you're all amazing, of course :)
Chapter 12 by The archive
"These things that you are telling me can't really show me how you feel, I'm breaking down."
Marley dropped the last suitcase near the front door, letting out a shaky sigh and attempting to keep her tears at bay as she turned on her heel, shuffling back up the stairs to grab her purse. Fiddling with the buttons of her coat on the way back down the stairs, she didn't notice the figure standing at the front door, surrounded by his own bags.

When her eyes met his, she sucked in a breath and stopped dead in her tracks, feeling her heart start to beat irregularly. He looked around at her bags before his eyes landed on hers again.

"Wh-what are you doing here?" She stammered, tripping over her words.

He shrugged, "Mom talked to everyone and let me come out a couple days before they did." He noticed her bags on the floor and the missing presence of their dog, putting the pieces together in his head. "I thought you weren't going to come see me?" He asked, his curious eyes looking over her.

"I-I wasn't." She stuttered out.

His eyebrows furrowed and he studied her for a few seconds, "So you're going to Europe?"

"Europe?" She echoed, her mind unable to process what he was asking due to the pure shock of him actually being there.

"Yeah." He chuckled, "You know, to be with your family."

"Oh." she shook her head, feeling stupid for not being able to follow the conversation. Her head was swimming and she wasn't sure she could go through with this now that he was here, standing in front of her. "Um--no, I'm not going to Europe."

He took a few steps towards her and she stumbled up a couple of the stairs. His face contorted in thought and he glanced around the apartment, getting a sense that something was the matter.

He gulped, before rubbing the back of his neck, "Thena33;”uha33;”where are you going?"

The question she dreaded. The question she didn't want to answer because even she didn't want to hear it. She looked away from him in order to hide the new tears streaking down her face. His chest tightened at the sight and he became increasingly worried.

"Marley...What's going on?" His breathing was getting shallow at the new fear settling in his stomach, "Where are you going?" He questioned her again.

She composed herself the best she could and closed her eyes. "I can’t do this anymore." She coughed on a dry sob and watched his face drop.

She'd made the decision yesterday after Joe pulled that stunt while she was at the gallery. After crying all the way home, she started packing her things, putting all of her stuff into boxes to get later when she found a more permanent spot other than Cassie's apartment. She'd called Mr. Baker and brought Cody over this morning until she had a more stable place for him to stay with her.

"What?" He breathed out in disbelief.

"I’m leaving, Joe." She whispered and he barely heard her across the space between them. She ripped her eyes away from the view of his whole body slumping and winced when he choked out a cry of protest.

With a faked confidence, Marley stepped down the remaining stairs and towards her bags. Joe stayed frozen in his spot, trying to calm the burning in his chest at the new pressure that had just been laid on him. His eyes were strained, trying to keep back tears. She began gathering her bags and he shook his head, he wouldn't let her go this easily. Not without a fight.

"No!" He yelled from his spot, still at the front door, finally taking a deep breath. His unwanted tears fell from his eyes and he angrily swiped them away.

"Joe..." She spoke softly, begging him not to make this hard on her. Their eyes met for a brief moment but she looked away, not being able to bear the sadness that his carried.

All was quiet for a few moments while she got her things together and Joe tried to process the entirety of the situation in his mind and figure out what he could do. Marley sniffled back tears as she pulled out the handle of her rolling suitcase as slow as possible, not ready to be parted from his presence yet.

"You can't do this Marley, you can't go!" His voice startled her as he stormed to where she was, pressing his forehead against hers. All the breath left her lungs at the closeness of their bodies. This is what she needed. She needed him close to her.

"You promised you'd never leave me." He spoke so softly now, moving his hands up to cup her neck, softly stroking his fingers across the surface. Vulnerability filled his voice and she felt her heart faltering at the sound.

She stepped back, her heart aching more and more, with each inch that separated them. She watched his eyes stay the same, heartbroken and glossed over, but his face changed to anger when he realized he couldn't talk her out of this.

"You can't!" His voice rose. "You promised me forever!" He grabbed her hands.

"And you promised you'd always be here." Her voice rose in anger at his stubbornness, and she snatched her hands away. "I can'ta33;”" Her voice broke as a breathy sob pushed from her throat, cascading tears down her cheeks, "I can't sit here and wait for you anymore." She cried. "It hurts every second I'm not with you and waiting for you to come back to me. I'm dying inside and I have to get out before I have nothing left."

His head dropped and he stopped making advances towards her. "You're giving up on us?" He asked, his eyes focused on his shoes. "After everything?"

"That's why it's so hard." She whispered. "This will never go away. I need to do this for myself. I feel like I'm putting my life on hold, waiting for you...waiting until you get done living your dream and actually have time for me. Waiting until they don't want you and your brothers anymore and you can finally settle down. Then what? I wait 'til then, when you can finally admit we're together, and we get married, have a few kids and live happily ever after?"

"Is that so bad?" He looked up at her, his brown eyes begging her to give in.

"Listen to yourself!" She threw her hands up in frustration. "What about me, Joe?" She cried out, "What about what I want? My dreams. Huh?"

"What about you? You're all I think about! Every single second I'm not with you, you're on my mind!"

"It's not enough!" She yelled. "I can't even be with you." Her voice cracked. "Damnit!" She clenched her fist, hating that she was breaking down like this.

"You can't blame that on me--"

"I'm not blaming anyone Joe. It's just how it is. The only time we can be together is cooped up in this apartment." She gestured to the walls around her.

"I like it here."

"You like that you can't hold my hand when we're walking our dog? You like that we can't leave here at the same time because God forbid someone takes a picture of us together?" She heaved out a sigh, already exhausted from fighting with him, "We can't be together, Joe. Not while you're under Hollywood's thumb." She spoke sadly.

He cringed at the sound of her voice that dripped with sadness. It was all coming down on her. It'd finally hit her and she couldn't take it anymore.

"I'll quit." he stepped towards her. "I'll quit everything and we can be together."

"Joe." She shook her head and allowed his advances as he stepped cautiously towards her, finally taking her tiny hands in his. The tears still poured from her eyes and he brushed his thumbs across her cheeks, trying to stop them.

"I'll do it, Marley." He said softly.

"I know you would, but I can't let you do that." She whispered. "I won't be responsible for cutting your dream short or ruining it for your brothers."

She flinched back when he let out a roar of frustration and jumped away from her, pushing his hands into his hair. "What the fuck do you want, Marley?!"

A loud sob escaped her lips as she watched him break down and she covered her hands over her face in a lame attempt to muffle her sobs.

"Don't you get it?" His voice was louder now, "I'd do anything for you!"

She let her hands drop from her face to hang limply by her sides. "I know." She choked when her eyes met his again. And that's what scared her most. She knew if she asked, it'd all be over with. He'd quit the band and they'd shack up together like they've always wanted. But what about Nick? What about Kevin? What about Joe? If Joe was done, they were all done. This was the peak of their career and she refused to be the one to bring them down.

A silence fell over them and everything was still, just his brown eyes locked onto her blue ones, tears flowing from both.

She finally blinked when she saw him move. He marched up to her and in his last ditch effort, pressed his lips against hers. She whimpered and didn't respond for a few seconds, trying to fight him off, knowing this would only make it harder.

When he didn't give up, she gave in, pressing her body closer to his and returning his hungry kisses. Her arms twined around him as she pulled herself closer to him. When she couldn't breathe anymore, she broke the kiss and he wasted no time, moving to her neck and up to her ear.

"Tell me you don't love me." He whispered.

She hugged him tighter, pushing her face into his neck to muffle the sob that escaped, worsening the tears that had never stopped. She couldn’t admit to falling out of love with him… She loved him more than anything, and he knew that just as well as she did. The quiet moments passed of him holding her as tight as he could in the middle of the living room, both of their suitcases littering the floor, he was silently hoping and planning, thinking of ways to make her stay.

More than anything he wanted to show her how much he loved her, how much he needed her. In one swift movement, she was lifted in his arms, she didn't resist, just leaned into him and threw all her inhibitions aside, after imagining having him here for the past couple of weeks, he was actually here, within her reach, and she couldn't let go...not yet.

Carefully, he climbed the staircase leading to their bedroom. Once there, he laid her down on the plush comforter, loosing contact with her for mere seconds, before he was laying his body over hers, holding back a sigh of relief when she willingly let her knees fall apart and arms open for him to be closer to her.

Nothing was said, all the communication they needed was passed through their eyes. He leaned down, softly brushing his lips against hers, and going in again when she didn't object, pressing his lips fully against hers.

She sighed into his mouth, moving her hand to the back of his neck and parting her lips, asking him to deepen the kiss. His tongue found hers without a second thought and he pushed all his feelings into making her see, and more importantly making her feel how much he loved her.

Her hands fell to the hem of his shirt and she let her fingers toy with the fabric before sliding her hands underneath and gliding up his back, feeling his muscles tense and relax under her fingers, breaking the kiss to pull it over his head. She didn't get to enjoy the view, as his lips descended back onto hers before she could even think of taking a peek at him.

She let her fingers wander, lightly scratching his chest ever so slowly, all the way down to the too-low waistband of his jeans and back up to his shoulders. He pulled back and sucked a breath in through his teeth, watching a teasing glint sparkle in her still teary eyes.

Heartbreak was still written all over her face and across her eyes but he didn't stop. He wanted to make this better. Her eyes were bluer than he's ever seen them and he hated they were that way because of her tears, her hair was untamed and halfway curly, spread around her flushed face. He'd never seen her look so gorgeous to him as she did at that moment.

As her fingers continued their pattern she felt him hardening in between her legs and in one quick movement, she lifted her hips from the bed, rocking them against his before she plopped the short distance back on the bed.

He groaned in her neck, reconnecting their lips and blindly reaching for the bottom of her shirt, pulling it over her head and reaching for the clasp of her bra.

"Don't leave me." He whispered in her ear, kissing a trail down her neck.

She squeezed her eyes shut at his words, focusing instead on the way his lips were moving across her chest, making her head fog over with lust as she moaned softly at the feeling.

He slid down, unsnapping the button of her jeans, reaching back and pulling off her boots before shimmying the tight fabric down her thighs. He stood from his place on the bed, pulling her jeans the rest of the way off her legs and unbuckling his thin belt, letting his own jeans pool around his ankles on the floor.

In seconds, he was pressed against her again, only 2 layers of their thin underwear separating them from the deepest expression of love that they'd only shared with each other. When she gave herself to him for the first time, the night of her 19th birthday, she never had plans to make love to another man ever again and he’d made it special for her each time since then.

His lips pressed softly against hers and she worked her small hands down his chest, reaching his boxer briefs, and watching his eyes as she planted a kiss on his chin, delving further and slipping her hand past the waistband. When she could no longer take the waiting, she slipped them down his legs, letting him kick them off.

He slid her small underwear off and she watched him gulp as he took in the sight of her bare body. She couldn't miss the love or adoration shining in his eyes or the passion of the moment she knew burned deep within him. Tears returned to her eyes and there was no stopping them.

Ever so slowly, with his eyes locked on hers, he made them one, his lips brushed over her face, in a feeble attempt to kiss away her tears that proved to be useless at the rate they were falling. She pulled him closer to her, slipping her hands across his shoulders to rest on his back, feeling his muscles tense as he braced his arms on either side of her.

"Make love to me Joseph." The words escaped her lips before she could stop them and she found herself not regretting them one bit.

He did just that. And he didn't stop until they saw the day had turned to night, and the stars had started to twinkle in the dark sky. As he pushed her over the edge one last time that night, she shamelessly declared her love for him while her body basked in the waves of pleasure taking over her before they were both wiped out from pure exhaustion, falling into a deep slumber, their bodies and hearts still intertwined.
And now we're too far gone
Hope is such a waste
Every breath you take
You give me the burden's bitter taste
You promised that you'd stay
You say you want to go
Your lips provide a shelter to the
Things that I don't know

Please speak slowly
My heart is learning
Teach me heartache
Stop this burning now

Wishful thinking
Patience shrinking
Bliss is far away
North is callin'
Now I'm fallin'
At your feet
Please stay
End Notes:
Song: I Think About You Everyday - A Rocket To The Moon.
Weren't expecting that?
I was...it's been planned from the beginning...this chapter was written before Chapter 1 was.

Now the question is, were Joe's efforts enough? Will she stay or will she go?
Stay tuned...
Chapter 13 by The archive
"You know I love you, I really do, but I can't fight anymore for you."
Watching the cabby load her things into the trunk of the car, Marley stood, her arms crossed over her chest and her eyes sad. Joe was upstairs, still in bed oblivious to the fact that she wasn't cuddled up next to him.

Nodding at the older cab driver who was holding the door open for her, she slid in, immediately sliding to the window and looking up at the only home she'd known for so long, that was no longer hers. Her eyes landed on the dark window that hid the bedroom and she felt a tear slip down her cheek.

Leaving was harder than she'd ever thought. She'd woken up in his arms and was met with his worried face. Even while he was asleep she could see the distress on his features. When she'd finally managed to slip off the bed without waking him, she'd froze when he started mumbling in his sleep.

"Marley, no...I'msocold."

She'd bit her lip to hold back the sobs wrenching her stomach and pulled the blankets tighter around him, brushing the hair from his forehead and leaning down to place a small kiss there.

While she was redressing, she tried to think of anything else to distract her from the weight of the situation she was in. The reality of what she was actually doing hadn't hit her yet. She was leaving him. The man she was for sure was the love of her life and she was walking out on him.

Only a series of flashbacks that played through her mind of the nights and nights she'd laid in bed alone, crying, and the days when he actually was home and they had to shop separately at the grocery store, and walk nonchalantly down the street like they didn't know each other motivated her to walk down the stairs, call a cab and gather her bags.

Sitting on the front steps of their apartment building, her mind had wondered to the hours they'd spent together this afternoon. She'd never forget the look in his eyes as he made love to her, begging her to stay with him but if anything, it served as the perfect goodbye.

Her surroundings rushed back to her when the cab driver's voice got louder.

"Ma'am! We are here."

She jumped to her senses, opening the door and following the man to the back of her car, pulling her suitcase onto the curb.

"Thanks." She tried to smile at him, paying him for the ride and giving him a generous tip.

Looking up at the building in front or her, she sighed and trudged to the door, once she got to the elevator the tightening in her chest was overbearing, this is not where she wanted to be. This isn't what she wanted. But, for her own happiness, it's what she had to do.

Standing outside apartment 8C, Marley dropped her bags and knocked on the door to where she'd be staying until she could pull herself together. She needed Cassie to tell her it was okay. She needed her to tell her she'd made the right decision.

But Cassie didn't open the door. Kevin did.

"Kevin?" She choked out.

"Marley." his smile faded. "What's wrong? Where's Joe?"

That's all it took. She broke. The sound of his name hit her hard and she felt her knees give out. Kevin held his arms out, grabbing her around the waist and pulling her to his chest.

"Shh." He whispered, rubbing her back and turning to shoot a worried glance at Cassie who had tears collecting in her own eyes.

"I left him." She sobbed. "I left."

His eyes went wide. "Oh my God." He mumbled.

Cassie rushed forward and pulled her from Kevin's arms, wrapping her own around Marley while Kevin brought her bags inside.

"Come on." Cassie prompted, all but dragging Marley across the living room and into the spare bedroom, leading her to the bed. Marley was gasping for breath, trying to relieve the pain in her chest. Her heart felt like it was ripping in two and she couldn't make it stop.

"Marley." Cassie spoke sternly to get her attention. "You have to breathe." She said softer.

Marley shook her head, "I can't...I can't breathe." She choked.

--

After an hour of gut wrenching cries, Marley had finally calmed down. Laying back on the stack of pillows after she'd asked Cassie to leave her alone, she stared aimlessly out of the window, feeling the time pass.

She wondered if Joe had woken up yet. Was he angry? Was he crying? Was he looking for her? Did his heart feel like it'd been ripped out his chest, too?

The door creaked open and she didn't turn to see who it was. She didn't care. The bed dipped next to her and a hand landed on her shoulder, flipping her to her back, so she was staring up at Kevin. He looked at her for a few minutes, letting her get used to his presence and sighed.

"What happened, Marley?"

She forced her eyes closed, tears sliding out of the corners before she looked up at him again.

"I had to leave him." She whispered. "I thought it was right. My...I just...I couldn't go on living like that. As much as I want to be with him, I can't wait for him anymore...it was tearing me apart, Kevin."

He nodded, a thoughtful look passing across his face.

"Did I do the right thing?" She whispered after a few quiet moments.

He merely stared down at her and it was silent to the point where she thought he wasn't going to answer her...but he did.

"As his brother, I should say no because I know for a fact you're breaking his heart. But." He sighed. "Because I've known you your whole life and I can see how much us becoming who we are in the business, that it's changed you...So, as your friend I'd say absolutely...for the sake of you being happy...you did the right thing."

She nodded, taking in what he said. "So who are you? His brother, or my friend?"

A humorless laugh from him echoed around them. "I haven't figured it out, yet." He shook his head.

--

Joe awoke from his deep sleep, stretching out his limbs and glancing at the clock to see it was the middle of the night. He smiled at the nights earlier events and reached over to pull her body closer.

When his hand only met cold sheets, he snapped to attention and instantly sat up.

"Marley?!" He called.

He cringed when his voice echoed around him in the empty apartment. Hopping out of bed, he pulled on a pair of sweatpants from the floor and ran out the door, heading for the stairs.

"No. No. No." He mumbled, running down the stairs and taking in the sight of the living room floor that now only his bags were scattered on.

"No!" He roared, pounding back up the stairs and into their room.

Grabbing his phone from the night stand, he froze at the sight of something shining in the moonlight from the window.

The tears came when he picked up the small ring he'd given her barely two weeks ago. He sat on the edge of the bed and slipped the small ring onto his ring finger. It didn't even fit halfway, stopping just before his knuckle.

Leaning forward he picked up the small scrap of paper that the ring had been resting on and mumbled the message to himself.

Joe...I have to do this for myself.
I hope you can understand.
And please know that I'll never stop loving you.
With everything I have, Marley.

Realizing that he'd lost her he grit his teeth and let an angry yell push from his throat. Not knowing how else to express his anger, he swiped the lamp off the nightstand, relishing in the way it sounded when it hit the wall. Finding relief in destroying the lamp, he stood from the bed and made a trek around the room, smashing everything he could.

Standing in the middle of the room admist the mess he made, his chest heaving with his heavy breathing he let out one more scream of frustration before crumbling into a mess of sobs and tears across the bed.
End Notes:
ugh. This chapter and I didn't get along at all and I'm not happy with it...resulting in it's shortness and how crappy it is. But, I'm sick of looking at it...so I'm posting instead.

So, she left...how are we feeling about that?
Chapter 14 by The archive
"But when I need you, you're almost here, and I know that's not enough."
“Marley?” The door creaked open and Kevin stuck his head in. A glance over her shoulder was the only acknowledgment he got before she was turned away from him again.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, Kevin placed a hand on her back, lightly rubbing her tensed muscles. “I brought you a sandwich.” He set the plate on the nightstand. Marley gave him no answers, it was as if she didn’t hear a word he was saying.

She propped herself on her elbow and groaned, reaching over to the nightstand on her side of the bed and sliding something into her hand. Flipping onto her back and looking up to Kevin with tears streaming down her face, she grabbed his hand, pressing a key into his palm.

“Go check on him.” Her hoarse voice choked out.

He closed his eyes for a second and wrapped his fingers around the key, solemnly nodding his head. Her fingers closed around his wrist and his eyes snapped open.

“Make sure he’s okay.” She ordered. Her gut was turning. Joe wasn’t good under pressure. He didn’t know how to react to things that were out of his control and she was worried. No one had heard from him since she left a few hours ago and the sickening feeling wouldn’t go away until she knew.

Thinking about it, she was crying again. Kevin swept the bangs from her forehead and leaned forward, placing a small kiss there, “You’re going to be alright, Marley.” He nodded his head, “I know it.”

--

Marley laid wide awake in the bed, staring aimlessly out the window. The tears had never really stopped and she was so tired, her entire body exhausted from the weight of the day’s events. Kevin had been gone for at least a half an hour and knowing that Joe was with someone eased her mind but didn’t change the fact that she couldn’t rest.

After another thirty minutes passed, she pulled herself out of bed, stripping down to just her underwear and rifling through her bag, pulling out the only item of Joe’s she took with her, the white button up she’d taken from the floor of their bedroom where it had been discarded after she slipped it off his head. All of the buttons were still fastened due to her impatience and she pushed it to her face, the smell of him surrounding her and easing the dull ache in her stomach.

Pulling the shirt over her head, she pushed her nose into the collar and climbed back into the bed, slipping the long sleeves over her hands and pulling them closer to her face, shutting her eyes and hoping she could make herself believe he was there.

--

Kevin opened the door and let his eyes adjust to the darkness of the apartment.

“Joe?” He called out.

Nothing. His voice echoed around him.

Taking a quick look around downstairs he decided that it was clear and his brother must be upstairs.

Trudging up the stairs he tried again, “Joe? Are you here?”

Silence.

Making it to the top and walking down the short hall to the bedroom, he could see the darkness of the room. Stepping cautiously towards the door, he pushed it open and squinted his eyes in the darkness, “Joe?”

Flipping the light switch, he gasped at the clutter around him, looking frantically around the room until he finally saw his brother sitting cross legged on the floor, staring out the large sliding doors with a broken frame holding a picture of himself and Marley grasped in his hands that were streaked with blood from the jagged pieces of glass he’d broken earlier.

“Joe!” Kevin kneeled in front of him and forcefully shoved Joe’s chin so their eyes could lock. “What happened?”

Joe took a quick glance around the room before shaking his head and clutching the broken picture tighter, making new cuts in his palms.

“She left.” He whispered, tears pushing down his face as he looked around the room again. “And I got mad.” His jaw clenched and Kevin’s stomach turned when he heard the broken glass in the frame crunching under the pressure of his brother’s hands.

“Alright.” Kevin sighed, reaching for his hands so he could attempt to clean him up.

“No!” Joe jerked away and scooted back out of Kevin’s reach. “Don’t.” He said softer when he saw the bewildered look on his older brother’s face.

“Joe.” Kevin stated cautiously, “We have to clean your hands. You probably need stitches.”

Joe’s eyes darted from Kevin to the picture frame to his hands and back to Kevin. The old blood was drying and the new blood was making small dots on his sweatpants. Slowly, he released his hold on the frame, hissing in pain when the glass shifted in his hand. He groaned when he observed his palms to see a series of small cuts, glass lodged in at least four them.

“Come on.” Kevin pulled himself to his feet and grabbed Joe’s elbow, pulling him up and leading him into the bathroom.

After finding the first aid kit and pulling five pieces of glass from his brother’s hand, Kevin decided there was no need for stitches and cleaned them up, wrapping gauze around each of his hands.

“Thanks.” Joe mumbled softly.

Kevin nodded and backed against the opposite wall. “How’re you doing Joe?”

Joe’s eyes cut up at his brother. “My girlfriend of four fucking years just walked out on me, how do you think I’m doing?” He spat, his whole body tensing once more.

Kevin’s face fell and he shook his head, “I was just asking man. You can’t bottle this shit inside…If you do you’re going to fuck yourself up. So stop it.” He said sternly.

Joe stood, his mouth gaping open at his brother’s stern tone. “Sorry.” Joe whispered. “I don’t want to be alone. And I don’t want to stay here…Can I come back with you?” Kevin’s heart turned at the desperation in his brother’s voice and he looked up into his sad eyes.

“You can’t.” He watched Joe’s face fall confused, then into anger, then thought, then realization.

“She’s there.” He concluded. “She’s at Cassie’s…You’ve seen her?”

Kevin merely nodded, the concern weighing down Joe’s voice was making his chest ache.

“Is she okay?” Joe’s eyes furrowed and he bit his lip.

Kevin shook his head, “She’s a mess.”

And just like that, he was angry again. “Why’d she do this?!” Joe’s hands flung in the air, “If she’s hurting because she’s not with me, then why’d she leave?” He yelled, his voice echoing through the bathroom.

“It’s complicated, Joe.”

“Oh don’t pull that ‘it’s complicated’ shit on me Kevin.”

“Joe.” Kevin warned, taking a step towards him, it IS complicated, and right now is not the time to have this conversation. Not when your emotions are out of whack.”
“They’re not out ofa33;”” Joe started angrily but Kevin took a purposeful step towards him, clenching his jaw..

“Go pack a bag Joe.” He sighed running a hand through his hair, “I’m bringing you to Nick’s place.”

--

“How is he?” Marley asked when Kevin sat on the side of the bed next to her and Cassie while they watched a rerun of Extreme Home Makeover.

“He’sa33;”” Kevin’s eyes flashed away from hers to out the window. “Okay.” He finished.

She let out a shaky sigh. “Liar.”

He shrugged. “I tried.”

“So really…” She trailed off, begging him for an answer.

“He’s a wreck.” He admitted softly. “I’ve never seen him like this.”

Marley’s eyes glossed over with tears and she frowned, “Is hea33;””

“He’s with Nick.” Kevin answered her unasked question. “He’ll be fine for the night.” He assured her. “Just get some rest.” He shot a look at Cassie who flipped off the TV, giving Marley a quick hug and bidding her goodnight before taking Kevin’s hand and leaving Marley alone, where she cried herself to sleep.

--

Groaning into her pillow and reaching for the buzzing phone, Marley let her eyes adjust to the unfamiliar room around her. Her head was throbbing and she felt as if her eyes were barely open they were so puffy and blurry from crying.

"Hm, 'ello?" She mumbled into the phone.

"Marley, oh no. Did I wake you?" Lindsey's voice was apologetic. "I'm sorry, I'll call back--"

"No, No." Marley sat up, her head pounding, making her wince. "It's fine. I'm up."

"Oh, okay. Well I was wondering if you could go to the gallery today...I'm not really feeling up to it and I know I told you you didn't have to so I can go in if you really don't want to because--"

"Lindsey." Marley cut her off with a small chuckle. "It's fine. What time?"

"Oh, just before 10 is fine, Kyler's there so it's open already." Marley felt her cheeks heat up just thinking about her coworker. An image of Joe flashed in her mind and she sighed, a frown pulling at her lips and the urge to cry pushing on her chest. "Thanks so much, Marley, you'll never know how much you're helping me out."

"No problem." She assured Lindsey in the most confident voice she could muster. "I definitely need the distraction."

--

Walking through the glass doors in her simple sweatshirt and jeans, Marley pulled the coat from her shoulders, hanging it on the coat rack and slipping behind the desk ready for her first full day.

She picked up the phone and dialed the extension for the back. "Kyler?"

"Yeah?" his muffled voice echoed into the phone.

"Um, I just wanted to tell you I was here." She spoke quietly, twisting the cord of the phone around her fingers.

"Okay, I'm putting this photograph display together, I'll come tell you hi in a bit." She blushed, hearing the grin in his voice and found butterflies tickling her insides at his promise to come see her later.

Later came and later went. Not one person stepped foot into the gallery. Kyler finally made his appearance up front, silently walking up to the desk, setting his elbows on the counter and resting his chin in his hands.

Marley simply observed him, waiting for him to say something. She wasn't in the mood for conversation today. Not when it felt like her entire world was falling away around her.

"Whatcha' doin'?" He drawled out, smiling down at her.

She attempted to smile and averted her eyes from him to look around the gallery. "How come no one has come in? I want to make a sale." Marley informed him, refusing to meet his eyes, instead focusing on the many pieces of art around her.

"It's Christmas." She saw him shrug from the corner of her eye.

"No." She glanced at him, "It was Christmas, which means people got money, which means they should be here, buying things for their house." She concluded.

He chuckled and she huffed, crossing her arms over her chest. "I just want to sell something."

"Well." He sighed pushing away from the counter and walking to a picture hanging behind the desk, straightening it on the wall. "Why don't you get your boyfriend in here, I'm sure you could talk him into it." He laughed lightly, still engrossed in fixing the crooked picture.

Marley froze. Her eyes downcast to the pen on her desk and she felt her face furrowing. It was silent until Kyler caught onto the too quiet to be okay atmosphere.

"Marley?" He questioned softly.

She felt his presence behind her and flinched when his palm landed on her back, "Are you okay?" He asked.

She jumped from the chair, wiping at her once again tearing eyes. "Yeah--I'm fine. I just--we're not together anymore." She choked out. Admitting the words were harder than she ever thought possible.

"Oh God." He breathed pushing a hand into his hair, "Marley I'm sorry...I didn't mean to--"

"No." She cut him off. "It's fine. You didn't know. I'm fine."

His face was sorrowful and he stepped towards her again. The same look of comfort she'd seen in Joe's eyes so many times were clearly shining through in Kyler's and she couldn't bear to look at him. Quickly backing away from his advances, she shook her head, more tears falling, "Just don't."

The back of her thighs hit the edge of the desk and she scooted onto the surface, burying her face in her hands, there was no stopping the tears now. Ever so slowly Kyler stepped forward until he was in front of her. When she noticed his presence, she looked up into his gaze that was staring intently down at her asking what he could do. She let out a sob and fell onto his chest, his arms instantly wrapping around her shoulders, pulling her closer.

"It hurts....so bad." She whimpered, pressing her damp face into the softness of his t-shirt.

"It's going to be okay, Marley." His soft voice assured her.

And she kind of believed him.
End Notes:
Song: Almost Here - Brian McFadden & Delta Goodrem.
duckduckgoose09 - thanks my dear for the song suggestion, I love it. Hints the song lyric for this chapter :) And once again this is just little snippets of how they're handling this whole thing. Seems Kevin's in the middle of it and Kyler's playing comforter. Hmm, good or bad? Joe's handling it not so well, and neither is Marley, even though it was her decision. Oh, where will we go from here? Next chapter is close to halfway done...so it should be up soon-ish. Thanks for reading and reviewing...you're all beyond amazing.
Chapter 15 by The archive
“I can't find the place your heart is hidin', I’m no quitter but I’m tired of fightin'”
When Marley’s mother called on New Year’s Eve to tell her they were back in town and she wanted her to come over for lunch, she left out one VERY important, VERY vital piece of information.

The Jonas’ were invited also.

Pulling into the driveway of her parent’s house, she felt a surge of panic wash through her when she spotted the maroon Suburban she knew belonged to the Jonas family. Her first instinct was to rush inside and scream at her entire family for inviting them after she’d cried on the phone to each of them when they’d called to check on her two days before.

Stomping up the driveway, she was running through reasons in her mind as to why they would invite them over when they knew about her and Joe. Didn’t they know how awkward this was going to be? As she got closer, the urge to cry pushed harder against her. The feeling of betrayal took over all of her intentions and she mentally made plans to ignore every single one of her family members.

Slinging open the front door, Marley felt the scowl pulling at her face. She was late and she could hear everyone in the dining room, probably already at the table. Before she could get fully in the door someone was pushing her out again.

“Little sisterrrr!” Two arms wrapped around her and squeezed her tight. “I’ve missed you.”

Anger flashed through her mind and she braced her hands on Connor’s chest, giving him a hard push, if she could trust anyone, it should have been him. He was the first person she called to tell about her and Joe and he was the most sympathetic, he was her big brother and had come to be her best friend and she felt betrayed.

“Why are they here?” Tears pooled in her eyes as she looked up at him.

His face full of shock stared down at her and his face fell. “Mom saw Denise at the grocery store and invited her without thinking.”

“And you couldn’t give me a little warning, Connor?” She spat.

He pushed a hand into his hair, getting fed up with her anger, “Like you would of come, Marley.”

“Maybe not.” She shrugged, tears streaking down her face now. It was silent for a few seconds before she looked back up at him, her lip trembling. “I can’t see him, Connor.” She whispered. “I can’t handle it.”

“Marley.” He said softly, engulfing her in another hug, rubbing her back. “You’ll be fine. Nothing is going to happen between you two while you’re here…Someone will always be around.”

After ten minutes of convincing and the run down of what’s been going on, Marley was in the foyer with Connor, letting him pull her coat off her shoulders. With one last reassuring look from her big brother, Marley slapped a smile on her face and turned the corner into the dining room.

The smile instantly dropped when she saw Joe sitting at the table, pushing the rice and vegetables around his plate. Her stomach wrenched and her chest tightened. He looked miserable. There were large bags under his eyes, she could tell he hadn’t shaved in days and his hair was a mess. She bit her lip to hold back a sob that wanted to break through. Even though he looked horrible, she still though he was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen.

“Look who finally showed up!” Connor clapped his hands together. All eyes turned to Marley and she distinctly looked away from the ones that she could feel following her every move. She forced out a general greeting and sat in the only seat available next to Nick who was sitting across from Joe. Kevin sat across from her and he nodded when her eyes met his, giving her a supporting smile.

Silently fixing her plate, she glared at her mother who was giving her apologetic glances. “So Marley.” Her mother started, when any communication with her daughter was unsuccessful. “How’s that new job?” Her mother knew she raised her daughter better than to be impolite at the dinner table.

Marley clenched her jaw at her mother’s antics and set her fork down. “It’s good.” She said softly, not having the fight in her to be angry. “It’s keeping me busy.” She concluded her answer, taking a sip of her water.”

The rest of the dinner, Marley felt like she was in slow motion and the table around her was moving in fast forward. Every time she glanced around the table, Joe was staring at her. The longing in his eyes pierced her heart and she found herself short of breath each time she caught a glimpse of him.

Joe didn’t know what to do. He could only stare at her. Being in her presence again was overbearing and all he wanted to do was reach out and touch her. It killed him that he couldn’t sit next to her, he couldn’t hold her hand, or steal bites of her mashed potatoes, or lean over and kiss her cheek when no one was looking. No, not anymore. Now he had to watch her from across the table. Watch her squirm in her chair, uncomfortable in her own house because he was there.

His heart still beat wildly at the sight of her. He could tell she’d been crying and his fingers itched to touch her again. Here she was, near him again, so close, but so far away. Each time her eyes met his, she seemed to panic and quickly looked away, but it never lasted long, her eyes always seemed to travel back to his, and he always noticed because he never looked away from her.

After dinner, Marley stayed silent as she helped her mother, Denise and Cassie wash dishes. She found Denise sending curious glances at her. Marley knew she wanted to know what happened. It was obvious she knew what had happened, but Marley was for sure she didn’t know how it happened.

Avoiding all conversation, Marley slipped from the kitchen and into the living room where all the men were scattered around. Her eyes subconsciously scanned the room for Joe like they had so many times before, but he wasn’t in the loveseat like he always had been, he was in a wicker chair next to the window, watching the snow fall.

She ached to saunter up to him and sit in his lap, and push the hair away from his face and let him whisper inappropriate things in her ear that made her blush with all of their family around. Instead, she plopped down onto the loveseat, alone, resting her back against the arm so she could watch Joe out of the corner of her eye as Cassie came in, settling into Kevin’s embrace and her mother and Denise settle in next to their husbands.

--

Sighing, Marley walked into the foyer, taking a deep breath while she rifled through the pockets of her coat that hung on the hooks near the front door, hoping to find something she could use as an excuse as to why she left the company of their chattering families other than the fact that Joe was staring a hole into her face and just knowing they were in the same room made her want to bust into tears.

“Joe, hurry! You have to tell them about what happened when I let you drive yesterday!” Marley furrowed her face, silently wondering why Joe wasn’t still in the living room.

“Just a minute, Nick.” She froze on the spot, her heart faltering at the sound of his voice so close. Slowly turning around, she immediately noticed the closeness of their bodies and took a quick step back, out of his intoxicating presence, sucking in her bottom lip.

It was quiet for a few moments and she glanced up, seeing his intense gazed locked onto her small frame. He took a step towards her and she took one more away from him, her back hitting the front door. With one more step, his chest was almost touching hers and his comforting presence surrounded her.

He noted that her breathing was deep and he could tell she was fighting not to look at him. Being this close to her was driving him crazy and he didn’t intend to hold his feelings back.

“Look at me Baby Bear.” He spoke softly.

Her eyes immediately filled with tears at the nickname she’d only heard fall from his lips a few times since she’s gained the nickname in 3rd grade when she played Baby Bear in the Goldilocks play their class put on, he’d used it so little, she could distinctly remember each time because the simple gesture made her heart flutter. Each instance played like a movie in her mind…she could remember all of it perfectly.

9 years old...Crying because she’d had to wear a full bear costume instead of just the bear ears in the Goldilocks play and he’d sat with her on the side of the stage assuring her she’d be perfectly fine.

“It’s okay Baby Bear. You’ll be the best one out there.”

11 years old...When she’d got picked for Pocahontas in the Thanksgiving skit, Joe had laughed when she told him and he threw an arm around her shoulder.

“You’ll always be Baby Bear to me.” He smirked over at her.

13 years old...When Kevin and Connor accused her of liking Joe. He’d found her on the verge of tears in the corner of the laundry room and sat with her, lacing his fingers with hers and picking her chin up to look at him.

“It’s alright Baby Bear.” He grinned. “They’re jealous because they only have each other.”

15 years old...When her grandpa died, he’d shown up at her house in the pouring rain and climbed into bed with her, holding her trembling body close. She’d clung to him, sobbing in his chest and making him swear he’d always be there for her.

“I promise, Baby Bear. Always.”

16 years old...When she got mono and was for sure that she was on the verge of death. He’d come see her every day, bringing a different flower to add to the vase next to her bed and placing a simple kiss on her forehead, whispering “Get well soon, Baby Bear.” into her ear.

18 years old...When she finished her senior year of high school and graduated without him because he was pursuing the band with his brothers; he was the first one onto the football field, rushing to find her in the sea of graduation gowns. Once their eyes locked, her grin widened and she set to a full off sprint, jumping into his waiting arms and blanketing her lips over his.

He’d pulled back and hugged her close. “I’m proud of you Baby Bear.”

20 years old...Last summer when he’d convinced her to ride her bike down the giant hill in the park…she made it down, but swerved at the bottom to miss a squirrel and fell, skinning the palms of her hands and one of her knees. He’d raced to the bottom and pulled her into his lap, picking up her scraped palm and planting a soft kiss on it.

“I’ll take care of you, Baby Bear.” He promised, bringing a smile to her trembling lips.

Her tears betrayed her, sliding slowly down her cheeks as she moved her eyes from his shoes, up his body, to his eyes that were soft and inviting and perfect.

Her teeth dug into their hold on her bottom lip when she saw his eyes glistening over with tears. He didn’t say anything, just ever so slowly reached up, cupping his hand over her cheek and gently wiping the trails of tears before letting his thumb skate over her soft, pink lips, gently tugging her bottom lip from the confines of her teeth.

Her lips puckered against his thumb, softly kissing it as her eyes slid shut at the feeling. She only allowed them to stay shut for a brief moment when she realized she was missing the view and she reopened them in time to see his face furrow and a tear streak down his cheek.

“Joe.” She whimpered. As his name fell from her lips she couldn’t decide the meaning behind it. Was she begging him to leave her alone and to stop making this hard for her, or asking him to try and make it better? It was no use, she couldn’t think straight with him this close.

“Marley.” His voice cracked and she didn’t miss the pleading tone laced with her name. A soft sob pushed through her lips at the desperation and obvious need for her in his voice, as her breath fanned across his thumb that still rested just under her bottom lip.

“Marley! Your phone! It’sa33;”” Kevin rounded the corner as the two jumped apart trying to wipe at their tearstained faces. “a33;”Lindsey.” He finished, cursing himself, knowing he’d just walked in on something too intimate to be interrupted.

Marley sniffled, reaching for the phone as Joe hung his head, shooting a glare at Kevin.

“Lindsey?”

“Hey Marley. I have to go meet my mother-in-law downtown, she’s trying to pick out furniture for the baby’s room and has no idea what she’s doing and I really just need to go and see if I could help her out and I know I told you I didn’t need you today but I really need you to come I’m sorry and I feela33;””

“Lindsey…Lindsey!” Marley cut her off, chuckling at her rant and she heard how fake it sounded coming from her mouth. She was still flustered from her encounter with Joe and was glad for the distraction. She couldn’t give into him like that.

“I’ll be there as fast as I can.”

“No-no…you don’t have to rush…Kyler’s there and he can handle the front for a little while…I just need you there before 2…a big buyer’s supposed to be coming by.”

“Okay, I can do that…no problem.” Marley glanced at her watch seeing it was almost 1. She needed to leave if she was going to make it on time.

“Thank you so much Marley.” Lindsey gushed, as Marley grabbed her coat, slipping her arms through and hoisting her bag over her arm.

“It’s seriously no big deal, Linds.” She sighed, “I’ll be there soon.”

Marley quickly returned Lindsey’s goodbye before shoving her phone in her large bag and glancing at Kevin, not having the guts to look at Joe. “Um I have to go to work…a big buyer’s coming in…tell everyone for me? I have to jet or I’ll never make it.”

He nodded, and she grabbed the door knob, “Thanks, Kev. Talk to you soon.” He smiled and her eyes trailed the small distance, locking onto Joe’s sad ones. She nodded her head briefly at him, not being able to do more than that for fear she’d burst into tears.

He bit his lip, in an effort to hold back the tears that were dying to be freed due to the surging emotions pulsing through his body. He watched her bottom lip tremble as she disappeared behind the large oak door.

Maybe all hope wasn’t lost.
End Notes:
alriiight, I was super fast this time :)

I gave all of you a teeny break from Kyler, but prewarning: he'll be back and better than ever in the next. Do I smell trouble?

Anyway, the next chapter isn't even started yet, so it'll be a few days on an update, but i figured since this was already done I'd put it up.

Hope you all enjoyed :)

PS; Did you all see the tour dates?! Anyone going? I get to go to 2 and I'm STOKED!

Thanks to amapan for the song suggestion.
Chapter 16 by The archive
"There’s no excuse, no explanation, believe me if I could undo what I did wrong ."
Walking into the gallery, Marley dropped her purse on the desk and slumped into the chair, letting her head fall into her hands. She was still trying to catch her breath from her encounter with Joe.

“Hey Marley!” She jumped when Kyler’s booming voice echoed in the space around her. She looked up, clutching a hand to her chest and trying to regulate her breathing.

“Jesus, Kyler.” She huffed, looking up into his guilty face. “You scared me.”

“Sorry.” He murmured sheepishly, running a hand through his hair, an action she found all too attractive.

She smiled up at him and reached for the moleskin notepad he had in his hand. “What do we have here?”

He snatched it back and shook his head, “Oh, no no.” He laughed. “This is mine.”

Her eyebrows furrowed, and she stood from the chair, her interest was piqued. She reached for it again and he took a step back, letting out another laugh.

“It’s mine Marley.” He watched her closely as she scooted from behind the desk.

“I just want to see it for five seconds.” She smiled, waiting for him to give in.

He nodded and held it out in front of him, still stepping away from her, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5.” He smirked, “There you saw it for five seconds.”

She scoffed and feigned interest in the painting on the nearest wall before she lunged forward. Kyler let out a surprised laugh and jumped back, beginning to run away. Marley was hot on his tail and when she was close enough, threw herself on his back, reaching for his hands.

Kyler’s laughter filtered through the empty space and Marley heard her own mixing with it. “Just let me see it Kyler!” She laughed, hooking her leg around his thigh, trying to bring him down.

“You’re so nosy, woman!” He grabbed hold of her foot to steady himself, while she dissolved into laughter, tightening her grip around his neck. Wrapping both of her ankles behind his knees, Marley pushed forward, managing to knock him over. They both tumbled to the ground, him landing half on top of her and knocking the breath from her body.

“Umph.” She groaned when her head hit the hardwood floor, “Ow.” She gasped, reaching for the back of her head while simultaneously trying to suck in a deep breath.

Kyler was laughing, but quickly stopped when he saw Marley with her hand pressed to her chest and one rubbing the back of her head.

“Whoa, are you okay?” He asked, his voice going concerned and lifting her head to set on his leg.

She quickly blinked her eyes and finally caught her breath, nodding and glancing around. “Yeah I think so.” She murmured. Her eyes caught sight of his tattered notebook next to her and she looked up at him. All of his attention was on her, his forehead slightly furrowed as he watched her blink away the pain.

In one swift movement, Marley had rolled over, grabbed his notebook and was on her feet again. “Nah, nah, nah.” She stuck her tongue out, increasing the distance between them.

He laughed at the childish gesture before leaping to his feet and darting after her. She shrieked and scurried away from him, laughing all the while. He was right behind her and she cut the corner skidding to a halt in front of her desk and leaning against it, opening the notebook to a random page while Kyler caught up. She smiled thinking of how all thoughts she had before she walked through the door were gone now, she felt at ease and just…happy to be in the presence of someone so laid back and carefree.

She stared at the small pages and saw a series of detailed sketches. And they were really good. Kyler moved to in front of her and watched the drawings and her facial expressions carefully as she flipped through the pages.

She looked up, not expecting his face to be mere inches from hers but didn’t back down, “These are really good.” She said softly.

His mouth opened to say something when a throat cleared near the front door. Marley froze. The client. She’d forgotten.

Her head whipped to the right and she braced her hand on the counter of the desk so her knees wouldn’t buckle.

“Wh-what are you doing here?” She breathed out.

She watched his mouth unhinge and his eyes dart helplessly from hers to Kyler whose presence was now suffocating.

She looked back to Kyler and laid her hands on the outsides of his arms, gently pushing him back and sidestepping him to make the short walk to Joe.

“Joe.” Her voice warned. She was getting angry, why did he feel the need to come and check up on her? This was none of his business anymore.

His eyes dropped to his sneaker clad feet. “I didn’t know this is where you worked.” He mumbled.

“Then what are you doing here?” Her hands moved to rest on her hips and in her peripheral vision she saw Kyler leaning against the front desk, watching their confrontation closely.

Joe’s hand outstretched a card to her. She slipped it from his fingers and saw it was a business card for the gallery. She looked back up at him, waiting for an explanation and he shrugged.

“I told Daphne I needed a new paintings for the bedroom, she gave me this and I’m here--I didn't realize when you left your house we were going to the same place--I just--I don't consider myself a big buyer--I don't--I don't know...” His eyes looked everywhere but hers and it was making her anxious. She could read him like a book and not being able to glance at his eyes to get some kind of idea made her nervous, but he was rambling and it was sign number one he was extremely uncomfortable. He wasn't lying.

“What happened to the paintings already in there?” She wondered aloud, her face furrowing in confusion.

She watched his cheeks tinge red and he rubbed a spot on the floor with the toe of his shoe. “I justa33;”I uma33;”when you left…Ia33;”uha33;”” He gulped and let out a deep breath, “They’re broken.” He finally said, his voice barely audible.

“Oh.” She countered, equally as soft. “Well, do you still want my help, ora33;””

He nodded, silently answered her question and scratched the back of his neck, “I have no idea what I’m looking for.”

She squinted in thought, mentally going over the gallery’s inventory in her head when she paused and looked towards the stairs. “Follow me.”

He didn’t object, just trailed behind her, when the two passed Kyler, he sent her a questioning glance and she smiled softly, assuring him she was fine. Ascending the stairs, her heart began thumping and her palms got sweaty. Why was fate such an asshole? Why did fate put everyone in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nothing was going on with her and Kyler but she was for sure it sure as hell looked like it.

Once at the top of the stairs, she led him to the contemporary section of enlarged photographs. She gave him a few minutes to look over the large paintings before stepping in front of him.

“I adore these.” Her hand ghosted over 2 paintings, each different but correlating with the others, full of corals and yellows and oranges. “They’d go good with the brown in tha33;””

His hand brushed across her shoulder, ceasing her sentence. She shifted he footwork until she was facing him and finally got the guts to look into his eyes. Emotion was pouring from them, screaming at her. Questions filled his face and she quickly looked away.

“Is he why you left me?” His voice was small and a pang hit through her chest.

“No.” She shook her head. “He has nothing to do with anything.”

He made an advance towards her and she heard the low growl in his throat. “It sure didn’t look like nothing.”

She sighed loudly, narrowing her eyes at him. Her actions spoke volumes and he knew she was asking him to stop. But he didn’t.

He took two more steps forward until his face was inches from hers, just how Kyler’s had been not long before.

“Is this comfortable?” He asked, and she sucked in a deep breath. His closeness was overbearing. She still felt too strongly for him to be this close.

She shook her head, “What does he have that I don’t?” He whispered.

She heard the jealousy in his words and pushed it aside. “He is none of your concern.” Her voice was hard and she watched his jaw clench.

“I knew it.” He drew back and shook his head.

A jolt of anger shot through her and she stepped forward. “No, you know nothing!” She pointed a finger at him, “Don’t throw the blame at someone else, if you want to point fingers, point them at yourself!” Her voice got louder, “You’re the one who wouldn’t stand up for yourself, you wouldn’t stand up for me, you wouldn’t stand up for US!” She took a deep breath, “And THAT is why we’re here now like we are, because of YOU, no because of him.”

He stood in front of her, completely broken now. The person who’d broken his heart had just picked up the pieces and shattered them into nothing. He blinked, his vision of her blurring in front of him with the unwanted tears. He managed to hold them all back, but it didn’t stop the burning in his chest.

Marley instantly saw the change in his demeanor and the pain she’d inflicted.

“Joe…” She whispered, taking a step forward, reaching for his hand.

“No!” He almost shouted. The loudness of his voice startled her and it was all it took for tears to fall from her own eyes. “I’m sorry.” She whispered.

He stepped further away from her shaking his head, “No, you’re right.” His eyes locked to the floor, “It’s my fault…I’m sorry I let you down…I never meant to hurt you.” He was shaking his head and she was becoming more frantic, this was sounding scarily like a revelation on his part. A revelation she wasn’t ready for him to have. She didn’t want him to quit fighting.

His eyes finally locked with hers and her tears came harder. They were empty, void of any feelings. His face showed his pain though and his brow furrowed as a single tear fled down his cheek. “I’m sorry.” He whispered again before wiping his face with one of his hands and turning to walk down the stairs.

Only when the bell above the door tingled, signaling his exit that she broke down, sinking to the floor and pulling her knees to her chest and gasping for breath. Kyler rushed up the steps and sat next to her, pulling her trembling body into his side and stroking her back in attempt to calm her down.

It was no use. This time the stinging in her heart didn’t go away, it got worse with each passing second because Joe’s words weren’t an empty promise. They were his goodbye.
End Notes:
whew, it's been a long, long, long week.
what are we thinking now about this whole thing Kyler/Joe/Marley...hmm.

and I just posted a new story...well it's new to the site...i've had it posted on mibba since october...but check it out? I'll be updating quickly because it's already written :)
Chapter 17 by The archive
"When I'm losing my control, the city spins around, You're the only one who knows, you slow it down."
It seems that the middle Jonas lives up to his admitted interest in blondes.
Joe was seen out with not one, but TWO blondes this week, and on different nights!
Ooh, it gets juicier…
An onlooker on Tuesday night said the pair were very flirty and looked to be getting very close as the night progressed.
Thursday, at a completely different restaurant, with completely different girl, and undoubtedly a completely different attitude, a patron at the table next to the two, reveals that they held an intense conversation, keeping their voices low, but remaining close to one another, smiling, and touching, and too close to be platonic.

So which will it be Joe? Blonde # 1 or Blonde # 2?
Let us know when you decide!
Take her out…show her off…we love fresh meat!



‘I hate gossip sites. I Hate Gossip Sites. I HATE GOSSIP SITES!’ The words played over in Marley’s head until she was ready to scream them. She’d heard about the new blog on the 102.6FM celebrity news round up and immediately driven like a maniac back to Cassie’s apartment and charged for her laptop, immediately pulling up the article.

Letting out a shaky breath, Marley felt her whole face falling. He really was done. He really was going to stop trying. This was it...and now he was also bringing dates into public.

The weight of it all crashed down on her and she slammed the screen shut, and stomped to the small closet where she was keeping her things and ripped open the door, pulling her phone from her pocket and punching the familiar numbers in, listening to the long rings as she searched for the perfect outfit.

"Hello?" the rings were cut off by a voice.

"Cassie! It's Marley...I know you wanted to work since Kevin's in the studio with his brothers, but I need to go out. I need to go out badly. Very badly."

--

Walking into the crowded bar, the music thumping and people covering every inch of space, their bodies pressed together and swaying to the music, Marley thought about how this wasn't her scene, but she didn't care. She needed a drink. Pulling out the Germ-X from her clutch, she poured the gel onto her hand and rubbed off the giant black X indicating she was under 21, she smiled at her work, and headed for the bar.

She watched the heads turn as she pulled Cassie along behind her to the bar. She knew she looked good. She had taken the extra two hours to make sure she did. Tonight, she needed an ego boost, and she planned on getting it. If she wasn't good enough for Joe to fight for her, she'd be good enough for someone else.

Finally making it to the bar, she ordered a slew of shots, watching with sparkling eyes as they were all set out in front of her. Shooting back three in a row and then motioning to the bartender for more, Cassie watched helplessly, with worried eyes as her friend handled her problems in all the wrong ways.

--

"Cassie!! I wantyou to comeanddance wif me!" Marley slurred out, giggling when she tripped over her feet.

Cassie pulled the drink from Marley's hand, setting it on a table behind her. "I think we're done Marley. It's late."

"No!" Marley whined, picking up her drink again and winking at the frat boy at the table. Cassie pulled her away from the table when she saw Mr. Popped Collar eying Marley.

"Seriously Marley." Cassie warned. "You sit here." she forced her into a chair at an abandoned table, "Take this." She handed her drunken friend her phone. "Call Kevin, and I'm going to get you a bottle of water." Marley nodded and squinted at the keypad, holding the phone back out to Cassie.

"I dunno." She mumbled.

Sighing, Cassie punched in Kevin's number and handed the phone back, "Tell him where we are and that we need a ride home." Marley nodded and pressed the phone to her ear.

"Can you do that Marley?" Cassie asked, feeling as if she was talking to a first grader.

Her eyes narrowed at her sober friend and she waved her away, swiveling in the chair, turning away from her nagging requests.

Humming to herself while the rings echoed in her ear, Marley was about to hang up when a voice broke through.

"Hey, Kevin's in..."

Marley didn't take note in the different voice, or what it was saying, she knew she was calling Kevin's phone and in her state, that's who she was talking to.

"Heyyy!" She sung, a goofy grin spreading onto her face.

"Cassie?" He asked.

"Nooo! It's Marley, Kevinnn. Marley. Not Cassie. Cassie's here!" She rambled.

"It's not Kevin..."

"Kevin! We needa ride."

"Marley." He sighed, "Are you drunk?"

She giggled when she saw the frat boy from earlier approaching her. "Mmhmm, I am."

"Where are you?" His voice turned stern and she frowned.

"Um, Seven...or somfing." Her slur had bacome heavier and she grinned up at the boy who was now in front of her. "Dance with me?" He asked. She nodded, grabbing his forearm to pull herself off the stool.

"Who is that, Marley? Say no!" His voice didn't faze her as he pulled her onto the dance floor. "Marley!" He tried again.

"Oh Kevin! I forgot...I'm goingtodance. Bye-byeee."

"Damnit." he breathed out when the line went dead. He huffed, throwing the phone on the counter and waving at his brothers who were in the recording booth laying down guitar for a new track, before he shot out the door and towards the elevators.

--

Hopping out the cab no more than ten minutes later, Joe ran into the crowded, dark bar and instantly started searching. His eyes scanned the hazy room and he cursed to himself when he realized he couldn't see more than a few feet in front of him.

Looking to the right, he saw Cassie, propped on her tip toes, a frantic look on her face, wringing her hands around a water bottle. Feeling a jolt of luck, he strode forward, pushing past the people now surrounding him, until he was next to her.

"Cassie!" He tugged on her arm and a look of relief washed on her face that was quickly replace by confusion. "What're you doing here?" She asked.

"I answered Kevin's phone." His eyes turned back towards the crowd, watching Cassie nod in his peripheral vision, eyes turning away from him to scan the crowd as well.

“Have you seen her?” He asked squinting in the darkness, trying to make out who was who.

“Not since I gave her my phone.” Cassie countered back distractedly as she shielded her eyes from the strobe lights.

“Someone’s with her.” He suddenly remembered the other voice he’d heard. “She’s somewhere dancing.” He stepped forward. “I’m going to find her.”

Determination set in and he waited for Cassie to nod before he emerged himself in the tight knit crowd, keeping his eyes wide and alert, looking for the familiar face. He was about to resort to calling her name from the DJ booth when he saw her. Her long arms wrapped around another guy, swaying their hips together and his hand slowly trekking up her thigh.

He clenched his jaw and smiled slightly when she reached down to slap his hand away. Joe’s eyes caught a look at the guy’s face and didn’t like what he saw one bit. He was eying Marley like she was a piece of meat, dragging his eyes over her body, letting his eyes linger in all the wrong spots.

When his hand went for the hem of her dress again, something within him snapped and he stomped forward, grabbing the guy’s hand before Marley could reach it and pulled him away from her, backing him into a column.

“If you touch her again…” He paused and pushed the panic-striken college kid harder into the stone support, “Or even think about touching her…I will break every single one of your precious fucking fingers.”

“Joe! Whatthe…whyareyou fucking here?!” Marley’s loud question grabbed his attention and his grip loosened on his victim and he squirmed away. All of his attention turned to the inebriated girl in front of him.

“I wasdancing!” She slurred, hitting his shoulder with her clutch.

“Come on.” He sighed, grabbing her hand and heading to find Cassie and the exit.

“I don’t want you!” She screamed, trying to tug her hand away from him.

He cursed under his breath and turned, lifting her and throwing her body over his shoulder before she had a spare second to think about what was happening.

“Put me down!” She struggled against him as Cassie appeared next to him and led the small group to the exit.

--

Pushing her into the backseat of the cab, Joe slid in and looked over at Marley who was pouting. “We just need to get you home.” He sighed, not daring to look over at her. His heart was breaking that she’d resorted to this. Had she done his because of him? Because of his dates earlier this week? He’d just wanted to show her how easy it was for him to get back out there…Was it wrong?

“I don’thave a home.” She hiccupped. “Ifyou weren’t suchanasshole.” She mumbled, leaning her head against the window and sucking in a deep breath.

The rest of the ten minutes drive stayed quiet, and once in front of Cassie’s apartment building, Marley was passed out and slumped against the door. Joe carefully pulled her out and picked her up again, following Cassie on her way to the elevator and into her apartment.

“There.” Cassie pointed to the guest bedroom. “I’m going to see if Kevin’s here.”

And just like that, they were alone. Bringing her into her room for now, he sighed, supporting her with one hand and pulling her dress off with the other, constantly reminding himself that they weren’t together and he couldn’t touch her like he wanted to anymore.

Once he’d managed to change her into a pair of pajama shorts and a long sleeved t-shirt, He picked her up, bridal style and settled her into the confines of the bed.

“Joe.” She mumbled and he froze. Her arms connected around his neck and she pushed her face into his neck, stroking her fingers into his hair. “Iwishyou…” She paused and groaned, fidgeting in her delirious state. “I wishyoudidn’t make me love you…so much.” She finally mumbled out, pulling him closer and nuzzling her cheek against his.

Pulling back, he forced the burning in his eyes to stop and brushed the long strands of hair away from her face.

“I wish the same thing.” He whispered and bit his lip at the sight of her so vulnerable and so emotionally exposed, rattling off things he knew she’d never dream of telling him in a sober state. “And that’s why I can’t let you go.” He muttered, leaning down and pressing a kiss to her forehead before sliding off the bed and forcing himself to make his feet carry him out of the room.
End Notes:
ok, thanks for hanging in there all of you, this week/weekend has been nothing short of crazy...but once again, thanks to everyone reading and reviewing...I'm rarely ever on the actual computer, I get all my emails and read all your comments from my phone and they seriously make my day...so THANK YOU!
Chapter 18 by The archive
"I need to find my way back to the start, when we were in love, oh things were better than they are."
Rubbing her eyes, Marley rolled over and winced at the foul taste in her mouth. Once her eyes were peeled open, she groaned and immediately closed them again when the light sent a sharp pain through her already aching head.

She pushed her palms over her eyes, racking her brain, trying to remember anything about the night before. Flashes of memories streamed through her mind from drinking to dancing to drinking and more drinking, pieces of her phone conversation, more dancing, and Joe.

“Joe.” She groaned.

“He was here.” A voice she wasn’t expecting rung out through the room.

Squinting an eye open she glanced up at Kevin. “Hi.” She croaked.

“Good afternoon.” He mused not glancing away from the rerun of Boy Meets World on the TV.

“What happened?” She asked, sinking back into the pillows and shutting her eyes again.

“What didn’t happen, Marley?” She heard the hard edge in his voice and forced herself to sit up and lean against the headboard next to him, preparing herself for the talk he wanted to give her. She sighed in relief, spotting the Advil and glass of water on the nightstand, quickly downing it and getting comfortable.

The room remained quiet for several minutes and she waited patiently until he got his thoughts together. She winced when the TV shut off and the nervous knot began to bundle in her stomach.

“What’s going on Marley?” He asked, still not looking at her.

She bit her lip, and chose the answer that’d buy her more time to figure out what answers he wanted from this conversation. “I-I’m not sure what you’rea33;””

“Don’t.” His voice rose and he finally looked at her. She shrunk away from the angry look in his eyes and felt tears prickling in the back of her own. He noticed the panic stricken look on her face and sighed, “You know I love you and I’d bend over backwards to make sure you were okay, but last night after watching Joe run out of a recording session, to getting a frantic call from Cassie freaking out because you’re piss drunk at a bar and missing, to having a talk with him right outside that door about how he wasn’t going to give up on you two because you’d just told him you’d never stop loving him.” He finished his rant breathing heavily and staring Marley down who was blinking back the tears pooling in her eyes.

“I won’t ever stop loving him.” She mumbled.

He let out another sigh, “But are you going to break his heart?”

“I-I don’t know.” She breathed, her head was still pounding, and the new information she was being forced to take in was putting her hangover into overdrive.

“Marley.” He shook his head, “I know you love him but I won’t let you hurt my brother.” Her stomach twisted at his words and she suddenly felt the urge to expel the contents of her stomach. “I won’t let you hurt yourself…” He took a shaky breath and pushed a hand through his hair. “If you have no intentions of getting back with him, don’t lead him on…don’t say things that give him hope…he’s broken and he can’t fix himself if you don’t let him let go.”

Kevin’s words sunk in and hit her deep. She was quiet. Speechless. She kept her mouth clamped shut so her sobs couldn’t escape.

“I know this isn’t what you want to hear…and you can hate me and bad mouth me and be angry but I don’t care. I won’t sit around and watch you two breaking down right in front of me. I had this same discussion with Joe last night…” His attention turned to look out the window, unable to take witness to the pain he saw he was inflicting on his friend. “Someone has to be realistic in this situation Marley…you both need to stop this going back and forth…you, with this guy at your worka33;””

Anger snapped Marley out of her efforts to hold back her emotions, “There is nothing going on with Kyler!” She almost yelled. “He is just someonea33;””

Kevin held up his hand, ceasing her words, “I don’t want to hear it.” He shook his head, “Joe thinks there’s something going on and that’s enough.”

Her spirits sunk lower and she crossed her arms over her chest, hoping to relieve the dull ache her heart was beating against her ribs. “What about the girls he’s been out with?” She mumbled, the pictures she’d seen on the gossip sites burning in her mind.

Kevin’s face fell at the deliberate sadness in her voice. “I won’t be the middle man. If you want to know…ask him.”

A silence fell over the two and minutes later when their eyes met, Kevin’s tough-guy front fell away when he watched her lip pucker out and begin trembling uncontrollably. She was trying to stay strong and he couldn’t watch her cry anymore.

When his arm landed around her shoulder, pulling her into his side, she felt her barriers crack and the tears finally came.

He rubbed her back, quietly shushing her while she cried onto his shoulder, clutching his T-shirt in her hands, trying to relieve the new pressure that had just been added to her already heavy heart.

When her tears had run dry and hiccupped sobs and puffy eyes were the only indication she’d been crying, Kevin still stayed with her, listening to her mumbled sentences he couldn’t even begin to understand, knowing when she got herself together she’d tell him what was on her mind.

“Kevin?” She whispered once she was confident enough to speak without cracking again.

“Hmm?” He hummed, trying to keep the conversation light.

“I don’t want to let him go.” She confessed quietly, “But I don’t want him to keep hurting me…I can’t live like I did before.”

“Well look at yourself. Look at yourself without him.”

“I’m a mess.” She let out a humorless laugh. “I feel like the one person that I could rely on for everything pulled the rug out from underneath me, now I’m sitting on my ass in the dirt and I can’t get up.”

“You have to try, Marley.”

“I have.” Her voice broke and her eyes tickled with the urge to cry, but she had no tears left to shed. “I’m not strong enough to stand on my own, Kevin.” She broke their gaze and picked at the comforter, trying to distract herself from just admitting her insecurities.

His arm fell around her shoulders again and he laughed softly, ruffling her hair, “What the hell are friends for?”

--

Joe leaned back as far as he could in the rolling chair situated around the conference room table, testing the limits of how far back it could actually go while Nick and Kevin rambled to Martin about new things he didn’t care about.

“Alright. Rumor control.” Martin switched topics, turning his attention to Joe, “Listen up, Joseph. You’re hitting the gossip sites pretty hard lately.”

“Lay off, Martin.” Kevin broke in, not wanting Joe to get any more frustrated than he already was.

Joe shot a glare at his older brother, letting him know he was still angry for the conversation he’d forced him to have after he’d put Marley to bed the night before where he’d told him to give her space and let her figure out what she wanted.

Like he could sit back and watch her slip farther away.

“Alright Joe.” Martin’s tone of voice showed he’d chosen to ignore Kevin’s words. “What’d I tell you about Marley?”

Joe picked his feet up from the floor and let the chair sling him upright, slapping his hands onto the table.

“Don’t you dare talk about her like you know what the fuck’s going on, you piece of shit.” He snarled.

“Easy Tiger.” Martin smirked and pulled a folder from his briefcase littering an array of 8x10 pictures across the table. Joe glared at him once more before turning his attention to the photos, seeing ones of him walking into the bar alone and then him coming out with Marley thrown over his shoulder and Cassie following close behind.

His stomach clenched at the sight and he could only imagine what the gossip sites would turn this into.

“It’s the brunettes turn this week! The middle Jonas picks up two girls in a bar, carrying one out over his shoulder. They all pile into a cab where they head to one of their uptown apartments to have a raging hot threesome.”

“Fuck.” He sighed, knowing this pictures would cause major trouble.

“She’s causing problems.” Martin crossed his arms over his chest. “I thought your whole break up would fix that. Yet…still…” He trailed off gesturing to the pictures. “Thank God you can’t see either of their faces enough to be able to tell who they are.” He scoffed.

“She needed help.” Joe gripped the edge of the table in hopes of keeping his anger under control.

“I don’t care what she needed! She can call someone else. You don’t need to be the person who helps her anymore…It’s over. Move on. Date someone younger and more gorgeous. You’ll bounce back in no time.” Martin waved his hand nonchalantly.

“If our parents were here…” Joe began but Martin was quick to cut him off.

“Oh, don’t start, Joe. They’re not here. They finally concluded you three were big boys who don’t need mommy and daddy to hold their hands during a meeting.”

Joe grit his teeth and turned to his right, seeing his brothers in similar conditions.

“Why don’t you take it easy, man…Joe’s not the only ona33;””

“Oh don’t get me started on you Kevin. There’s now a whole slew of pictures of you and Catherine getting ice cream in Central Park.”

“Her name is Cassie.” Kevin stood. “And I don’t care what people say.” He shook his head and stood, backing away from the table and switching his gaze from Martin to Joe. “I love her and I won’t hide her away.” He shoved his hands in his pocket and left the room, feeling accomplished in getting his message across.

--

Marley made up her mind and ran over the questions she wanted answers to over and over in her head. She’d stayed up a practically all night thinking and she’d shown up on impulse, still running off of adrenaline that was blocking her brains frantic messages telling her to leave while she still had the chance.

Slipping the key into the knob, it easily turned and she stepped into the apartment taking a glance around, noting how clean everything was. Her eyes scanned the expanse of the downstairs and she saw the abandoned tennis ball of Cody’s and made a mental note to call her mom and check on her dog at her parent’s house where she’d brought him the week before to give Mr. Baker a break.

When her eyes continued their sweep of the downstairs, they caught sight of him standing at the kitchen counter, his lips parted in shock and his eyes wide.

She gulped back her nervousness and tucked her hair behind her ear, gently clearing her throat. “Ia33;”ugha33;”just wanted to c-come by anda33;”” She was cut off by an unfamiliar voice coming from the side hall off the kitchen where the guest bedroom was.

“Joe, where’d you get the paintings in the hall?” A woman’s voice filled the space and Marley felt her stomach getting heavy as she watched Joe’s face paling. “They’re phenomenal. I haven’t seen anything like that sincea33;””

A tall, picture-perfect brunette walked gracefully into the kitchen, stopping her sentence short when she saw Marley frozen in the middle of the living room.

“Oh, hi…I’m Miranda.” She walked towards her, holding her hand out confused smile gracing her face.

Marley felt her face furrow and shook her head, taking large steps backwards, her bewildered eyes flashing back and forth between Joe and ‘Miranda’, her heart beating wildly in her chest as situations of what could possibly be going on forced their way into her head.

Realization quickly dawned on Joe and his feet were set into motion, moving him from around the counter. “Marley.” He said softly, trying to make his way to her.

“No.” She mumbled, holding back tears, walking backwards until she was in the foyer. “It’s nothing.” She tried to smile. “I’ll justa33;”uma33;”talk to you later.” She sniffled, taking one last look at the confused woman standing in her living room of her house with Joe and hurried out the door cursing herself for being stupid enough to go there in the first place.
End Notes:
okay, i am NOMINATED!
are you serious?! You guys, I seriously want to cry!
I'm so happy all of you are enjoying this enough to nominate it. I definitely didn't expect that at all so thank you, thank you THANK YOU :)
and this chapter...hmm, not very eventful...
but a lot happened...if that makes any sense...
Martin makes an appearance...who's this Miranda?...and why does everything happen wrong place/wrong time?
Chapter 19 by The archive
So why does your pride make you run and hide, are you that afraid of me, but I know it's a lie what you keep inside, this is not how you wanted to be."
“Marley! You have to go!” Her mom called from the kitchen.

Marley rolled her eyes and continued scratching Cody’s ears from her place on the couch in the living room. “I don’t have to do anything, mother.”

Her mother appeared in the doorway. “Marley Braxton.” She shook her head, glaring at her daughter. “You’ve been to this ball every year since you were fourteen….You’re going.”

Marley sighed when she heard the finality in her mother’s voice, knowing there was mo way she was going to get out of skipping out on the Winchester Winter Ball that her mother and Denise had got an invitation to because they joined the same book club as Mrs. Winchester.

“Mom.” She pouted, poking her lip out, hoping to play the sympathy card. “Please.” She begged.

A solemn look of sadness washed over her mother’s face and she went to settle next to her daughter on the couch. “Marley, honey, I know you miss him.”

“I don’t.” She whispered. “He doesn’t want me anymore.” The tears came out of nowhere and she whimpered, leaning over to lay her head on her shoulder. “I went to try and talk and someone else was there and she was perfect, and I feel so stupid.” She ended, sucking in a deep breath and letting it out followed by string of sobs.

“Sweetheart.” She breathed, reaching over to brush the hair from her face. “You know he loves you. I know you know that. You left him, baby.” She reminded her softly.

“I know.” She choked out. “But, I was so unhappy, mom…a-and ever since then, it’s gotten so much worse. I feel like I can’t find happiness anymore.”

“Well, do you love him?” She asked.

“Yes.” Marley shot back without hesitation.

“Well, what’s the problem?”

Rolling her eyes again, Marley shook her head, “It’s not that easy.” She mumbled.

“Marley.” Her mom shook her head, her voice rising, to let her daughter know she was serious. “I’ve been married for twenty-seven years and let me tell you one thing. Loving someone is all that matters. If you have love, everything else works out. Granted, you and Joe are different…but give him some time to figure all this being in the public eye stuff out. I know it’s not any easier on him.”

Nodding, Marley let the words sink in, shutting her eyes and letting her mind mull over how a second chance would work out.

--

Walking into the sparkling ballroom, smoothing down the front of her dress and trying to push the nerves out of her system, she let her eyes rake across the room, finally spotting her brother, and making a beeline for him.

“Connor.” She forced a weak smile, wrapping her hand around his forearm. “Hey.” She breathed.

He smiled down at her, throwing an arm over her shoulder, “I’m glad you came.” He rubbed her shoulder.

“Yeah, me too.” She mumbled, grabbing a glass of champagne off the tray of the waiter passing her and freezing when her eyes landed on the backs of three very familiar boys. Before she could comprehend what was happening, all three were headed her way. Her breath went short at the sight of Joe. Seeing him in a tux had always made her knees go weak.

Fully prepared to act like an adult, Marley smiled as they approached and held her head high while inside, the butterflies in her stomach were dying to be set free. The conversation that had started between her brother and the three Jonas boys went unnoticed to her. Joe’s brief side glances held all of her attention and when she finally got the guts to reach out and place her hand on his forearm, his head snapped up to look at her as if she’d burned him.

“Can I talk to youa33;”” She whispered, cutting her sentence short when a body appeared next to him, a hand brushing hers away and wrapping around his arm. A confused look passed over her face and she looked up, into the eyes of a scowling blonde she recognized from the gossip sites two weeks before.

Marley’s hand slid away and the anger boiled within her. Every time she’d tried to talk with him, there was always interference. She built her confidence up only to have it smashed into the ground like a tin can. The feeling of wanting to be anywhere but there consumed her and she glared at Joe, downed the contents of her champagne glass and slammed it onto the table next to the small group, catching everyone’s attention.

“Have a fucking grand night, everyone.” She threw in a fake smile for good measure and whipped around, heading for the side hall.

Groaning when she saw a small group of women head into the bathroom, she continued on, slipping into an abandoned banquet room. Shutting the door and crossing the room, leaning against the wall, Marley let out a frustrated cry, balling her fist into balls and gritting her teeth.

This isn’t how she wanted this to go.

Moments later, the door swung open, and an out of breath Joe appeared before her.

Her breath caught in her throat and a sob forced it back out, the tears making their first appearance. “Please. Joe.” She choked. “I can’t do this with you right now.”

“No.” He refused, shutting the door behind him. “I didn’t bring her here to make you jealous.” He blurted out.

“That’s not whata33;”I’m nota33;”” She stuttered, not being able to find her words.

The tears rushed down her cheeks. She made no attempt to wipe them away, knowing they would never stop…not now, she could hardly bear the feeling in her chest, the anger, the sadness, the heartbreak. Her limbs felt heavy and her head was spinning.

“You ended this Marley. You ended us! What do you expect?” He yelled, watching the line of freckles on her neck so he wouldn’t have to see the pain etched on her face.

“I-I c-can handle that.” She choked out, “But she’s out with you. You brought her out. In public with the cameras and the press around.” She choked on a sob. “A-and you never did that with me.” Her voice got softer, “Why did you hide me away?” She ducked down and forced his eyes to lock with hers, she wanted his real answer.

He turned his head to the side once their eyes met, squeezing his eyes closed. He couldn’t handle seeing her so broken in front of him. Trying to force back the instincts he had that still burned so strongly within him to reach out and stroke her hair and pull her close to him and whisper sweet nothings in her ear until she smiled again delayed his answer and she grew frustrated.

“Why, Joe?” She stamped her foot to get his attention, “Why didn’t you claim me?” She shoved his chest when he didn’t look at her.

His jaw clenched and he forced back the burning in his eyes of the tears trying to escape. “Martin said, that maybe if she and Ia33;””

“Oh, Martin made you.” She scoffed. “I forgot you let him drag you around like his little fucking puppet.” She glared at the side of his head, frustrated that he wouldn’t look at her. “If you would’ve stood up for me, we wouldn’t be here right now.” Her voice dropped to almost a whisper. “I know it’s not true but I felt like you didn’t want mea33;”like you weren’t proud of me…and it hurt…and I hurt…and I had to get away…”

He dropped his head and let out the breath he was holding. He forced his eyes to stay down. The words she’d just let pour from her heart sunk deep within him, churning in his stomach and making him feel sick.

“Look at me!” Her voice became frantic and she felt herself breaking down. His head stayed turned away from her and she backed against the wall attempting to catch her breath in between sobs. The room was eerily quiet, just the sounds of her sobs ripping from her throat, sucking in gulps of air to try and catch her breath.

Minutes later, when the room had finally fallen silent from the echoes of her breakdown, he heard her voice in a low growl. “I hate you.”

His head snapped to attention, his eyes finally turning to face her. “You don’t mean that.” He said softly.

He watched her eyes flare with her anger, her whole face hard. The couple of feet that separated them suddenly felt like miles and he choked out a sound of disbelief. Her face didn’t falter and he took a step closer, his own anger seeping through.

“You don’t mean that!” He yelled, reaching up and letting his palms rest against the wall next to her head, trapping her in between his arms.

The now closeness and the loudness of his voice caused her to flinch, but she stood her ground. “How could I love someone who treats me the way you do?” Her glare told him she was serious and his heart thudded irregularly in his chest knowing that she felt that way.

“I never wanted you to feel that way.” He whispered, his barriers finally breaking and tears slipping down his cheeks. Her face softened and against her better judgment, she let her instincts take over and reached out to run her fingers over his cheek.

“I kept you away because I didn’t want them to rip us apart. I wanted you to myself. I didn’t want our life exposed. I wanted our relationship to be about us, me and you, that’s it, not for the whole world to see.” His eyes darted up to look into hers. “But, still, you still left, and I couldn’t stop you…” A soft breathy sob pushed from his lips, “Nothing’s felt the same since you’ve been gone…that girl out there. She means nothing. She is no one. The girl in the apartment…nothing! Maybe to someone else…but to me…they’re nothing! They’re an attempt to fill a void that’s unfillable…without you, I’m just…empty.”

Tears rushed down her face again, she knew exactly how he felt, it felt like everything she looked at was gray, everything that used to make her smile didn’t anymore, sleeping in a bed that wasn’t theirs felt wrong…it all felt wrong…everything without him felt terribly, horribly wrong.

“Joe…” His name never sounded better.

In one swift movement, his hands were off the wall and around her waist, pulling her against him. She gasped and didn’t have time to think before his lips were moving hungrily against hers. Throwing her inhibitions aside, she wrapped her arms around his neck, sliding her fingers into his hair and returning the desperate kisses.

She sighed into his mouth when he pushed her against the wall and she felt all of him pressed against her. This was better than she remembered. He broke the kiss to allow them to catch their breath and moved to her neck, she fought to fill her lungs with air and felt goosebumps arise on her skin following the trail of kisses from her neck to her ear.

“Marley.” Her name sounded so sensual and intimate coming from his lips and reality hit her quickly. Her mind cleared and her eyes opened. It couldn’t be this easy. They couldn’t fall back into each other this easily.

Bracing her hands on his shoulders, she pushed him back, shaking her head. He pulled back, confused and opened his mouth to speak but she laid her fingers over his lips.

“Don’t.” She whispered. “I can’t…” She shook her head. “I can’t Joe.”

She looked down, straightening her dress quickly before fleeing from the room, heading straight to the bathroom to clean up her tearstained face. Joe stood staring at the empty space she just occupied, wondering if that was real. If it really just happened or if he imagined it all in his head. He reached up and touched his lips, feeling them swollen and still tingling. A small smile reached his lips and he wiped his face and hurried from the room to find his brothers.

--

Marley emerged from the bathroom, fresh faced and still feeling like she was floating on a cloud, and more confused than ever. She had decided while washing her face that she was ready to leave. She couldn’t bear to watch him mere feet away from her knowing what had just happened. Walking to her table, she saw no sign of the Jonas family and sighed in relief while she grabbed her small clutch, making sure all of her belongings were in it before zig-zagging in between chairs to get to the exit.

“Baby Bear.” Her nick name echoed around her over the loud speaker, keeping her anonymous. She noticed how quiet the bustling room had gotten. She froze on the spot and her eyes drifted to the stage where the jazz band was set up. Except they were gone and Joe replaced them, sitting on a stool with an acoustic in his lap. “Don’t leave.” He spoke again.

What was he doing? Her strong will to get out of there as quickly as possible faded as it felt like her feet were now cemented to the floor, her curiosity building too much to let her leave.

The soft tune of the guitar filled the ballroom and she watched people around her whispering to each other, “Who is he talking about?” Their eyes darted around the room, “Where is she?”

Her eyes scanned the room and she noticed most of the tables doing the same thing. No one knew what was going on. All of them faded away when his lips got closer to the microphone and his voice filled every space around her, she saw nothing but him, heard nothing but his voice, felt nothing but the words that were leaving his mouth.
If I ever write the story of my life
Don’t be surprised if you’re where it begins
Girl, Id have to dedicate every line on every page
To the memories we made, while you loved me

I was born the day you kissed me
And I died inside the night you left me
But I lived, oh how I lived
(I lived) while you loved me

I’d start with chapter one, love innocent and young
As the morning sun on a new day
Even though I know the end, well I’d do it all again
cause I got a lifetime in, while you loved me

I was born the day you kissed me
And I died inside the night you left me
But I lived, oh how I lived
While you loved me.



As he finished, his eyes stayed locked on hers, the same way they’d been the entire song. The room came back to her in bits and pieces and she finally broke the eye contact, realizing for the first time that tears were streaking down her cheeks, also noticing everyone looking back and forth between Joe on the stage and herself in her spot amongst the tables.

Panic washed through her when they started whispering again and the cameras came out. Her eyes darted from Joe to the exit, her heart thudded wildly in her chest trying to comprehend everything that had happened in the past thirty minutes, what did it mean?

Someone at the table next to her, tugged her hand, “Are you her?” She asked, “Did he sing that for you?” Marley’s teary eyes shot back to Joe who was pulling the guitar from around his neck, no doubt on his way to find her.

Another tug on her hand brought her back and she pulled out of the woman’s grasp, turning toward the door and hurrying out. She heard the bustle come alive behind her and walked straight to the cabs already lined up, prepared to take people home. Opening the door to the closest one, she heard the metal doors of the building slam open behind her.

“Marley!” She turned on her heel at the sound of Joe’s voice. Their eyes locked for a few seconds before she climbed in the car and shut the door, pressing down the lock.

Joe reacted quickly, lunging in a sprint towards the car and grabbing the handle, tugging on it to no avail.

“Drive.” She choked out, the tightening in her chest making it hard to breathe.

“No, Marley!” His hand slapped against the window, “No, no, no.” He muttered.

“Don’t let him in, please.” She said softly, watching the cab driver’s nervous glances from Joe to Marley to the bumper to bumper traffic in the next lane.

Marley saw Martin’s tall, slender form exit through the doors while the cab waited to pull into traffic. Within seconds he was in front of Joe, grabbing a hold of his arm, a scowl pulled on his face.

She turned her eyes forward, away from the man who’d hated her from day one and watched the line of traffic next to the cab, hoping a spot would open up so she could get away.

“Let her go, Joe.” She heard Martin’s muffled voice through the window and the sounds of both of them struggling.

After a string of curse words were exchanged between the two men, the argument stopped and she slightly turned her head to the side seeing Joe dejectedly walking back to the entrance. With a glance over his shoulder, their eyes met and stayed that way for minutes until it was forced to be broken when the cab finally pulled into traffic.
End Notes:
Song: Wait For You - Elliot Yamin.
Song in chapter: While You Loved Me - Rascal Flatts.
Okay, NOW what are we thinking?!
Chapter 20 by The archive
"I could be an accident, but I'm still trying, that's more than I can say for him."
You ran away?!” Cassie’s shrill voice rang through the small apartment. “Marley!!”

“I know!” Marley shot back. “Fucking sue me, okay?” She threw her hands into the air in a helpless gesture.

“I thought that’s what you wanted?” Cassie’s face showed her confusion of her friend’s actions. “I thought you wanted it to be out, so you didn’t have to hide.”

“It’s so much more than that, Cass.” She mumbled, not feeling like having this conversation, not here, not now when everything was still so vivid in her mind.

A disgusted scoff left Cassie’s lips and Marley stiffened, sensing the change in attitude. “He’s trying!” Cassie stood, beginning to pace the room, “You hold your relationship in front of his face like you’re ready to try again and then yank it away when it gets close!” The anger in her voice was apparent now and Marley felt her cheeks growing hot as anger from the accusations Cassie was shooting at her sunk in.

“What would you know, Cassie?” Marley spat, “I’m glad your relationship with Kevin is SO fucking perfect and mine has gone to shit! Is that what you want to hear?” She asked, stepping closer to Cassie’s angry stance in the middle of the floor.

“Kevin and I have nothing to do with this.” Her voice was lower, calmer and Marley took a deep breath trying to calm her self down. “This is about you and Joe and you doing stupid, stupid things that are only making it worse for the both of you.”

“Stop it!” Marley yelled tugging at her hair, not wanting to face the facts. “Stop! Stop! Stop!” She pulled out her phone in the silence and dialed a familiar number, holding the cell phone to her ear with a shaky hand. She needed an escape, anything to get her mind off of Joe and Cassie and the words running over and over again in her head.

“Marley? Hey.”

“Hey Kyler.” She breathed, ignoring the incredulous glances from Cassie. “Uma33;”could youa33;”do you want to go take a walk and grab some coffee or something?”

The line stayed silent for a second and she sensed his hesitation. “I mean...you don’t have to, I was just asking, because...”

“No, no.” He cut her off, “I want to!" His voice was a little to eager and she smiled, "a33;”I mean, yeah, yeah that sounds cool.” He tried correcting himself only making her smile more.

“Okay, meet me at the south entrance of Central Park in twenty?” She asked, still smiling into the phone.

“Yeah, yeah. Sounds great.”

Marley hung up the phone after her brief goodbye with Kyler and took a deep breath, turning to face Cassie.

“What are you trying to prove, Marley?” Her voice was sadder, softer, full of disbelief at the attention grabbing actions of her friend.

Marley shrugged, her attitude still boiling. “I’m going for a walk, Cassie. I don’t need to prove anything. I’m just doing what I want, I don't want to hear it anymore.”

“No!” Cassie’s voice was prominent. Marley had never heard her yell, she was always so soft spoken and polite, this was all new and she didn’t know how to handle it. “You caused it, you’re going to hear what the effects are…” Cassie narrowed her eyes and continued, “Put yourself in Joe’s shoes, you left him, you lead him on, you go out with this guy, for what? To make him see you don’t need him? Cute, Marley." She spat. "Then you continue to make him think there’s still a part of you that wants him.”

“I do want him!” She cried out, silencing Cassie’s mutters and finally breaking her barrier of tears. “I want him so bad it hurts! So bad it’s practically killing me to stay away. All this time I’ve been trying to protect myself but all I’m doing is tearing myself up on the inside!" She finished her rant, breathing deeply and letting the tears roll. " Is it so wrong to try and distract myself from that?" She asked softly.

Cassie's features fell and she stepped forward, holding her hand out, "Marley, all I'm saying is--"

Marley shook her head, wiping her face and heading to the bathroom, turning and facing Cassie before shutting the door, "I've got somewhere to be." She shrugged lightly before shutting the door and ending the conversation.

--

“Joe! What were you thinking?” Martin’s wild hand movements would usually make Joe laugh, but today they were adding to the stress of the situation.

"I was thinking..." Joe spat, "That you handle the public aspect of my life. Not the personal part, and you need to but out."

Martin's palms landed flat on the table and his eyes bore into Joe's. "When you bring your personal life into the public, it turns into my business."

Kevin and Nick sat quietly at the end of the table, watching the argument take place their eyes darting back and forth between the two men.

"It's never your business!" Joe yelled. "All the shit you've forced on me ripped her away from me!" Joe yelled, standing to match Martin's position. "You made me push her away!"

"When are you going to learn, Joe?" He shook his head, laughing bitterly. "I didn't make you do a damn thing. You listened. You chose to do it, not me."'

Joe narrowed his eyes, the anger that had been boiling inside of him since the first day Martin mouthed off to him.

"You know what Martin?" He laughed humorlessly. "You're right." He nodded, watching a smug look cross over Martin's face. "I chose it and I have to face the consequences."

Martin smiled then, but not backing away from his stance leaned across the table. "I knew you'd come around Joe." He held out a hand for Joe to shake.

Looking at the outstretched hand, Joe let his left hand clasp with Martin's, holding a firm grip on it. Martin's eyes went wide at the realization that Joe's hold was to strong to be the agreeing gesture he thought it was and his now nervous eyes settled on Joe.

"But, Martin, you messed with my life and now it's your turn for consequences." He spoke through clenched teeth, his right hand balling into a fist at his side.

"Joe!" Kevin leapt from his chair, finally breaking his frozen state at the realization of what his brother was going to do, leaving Nick with his eyes wide and his mouth hanging open in shock. Before he could reach the two, the loud thud of Joe's fist colliding with Martin's jaw echoed in the room, leaving the older man sprawled out on the table, sputtering out sounds of disbelief.

Kevin's arms encircled his brother, pulling him away from Martin before he could cause any more damage while Martin composed himself and stood, rubbing the sore spot on his jaw.

"I'm done taking your shit, you no-good bastard." Joe growled, shaking himself out of Kevin's grasp and heading for the door without glancing back.

--

Waking out of the small cafe', Marley hooked her arm through Kyler's as they headed back towards Cassie's apartment building, smiling to herself when she saw the grin stretched across his lips.

She'd let herself get lost with him, walking around the park and just talking about whatever came up. There was no pressure to impress him, he'd seen her at her worst and he was still okay with hanging out with her when she needed someone to lean on. He'd made the conversation easy and almost instantly cleared her mind of the thoughts weighing her down.

"So what's your plan after the gallery?" She asked, tossing her empty cup into the trashcan they were walking past.

"Hm." He hummed in thought, shrugging slightly. "The plan is to save up enough money and go to Europe and learn about all the paintings I've been taught about my entire life and only seen copies of or pictures of, but realistically? I'll probably stay here and see if I can get a job at a museum restoring paintings or cleaning them or something."

Her brow furrowed, "Why is that realistic? What about Europe? What's so unrealistic about that?"

He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, "I don't know. Everything I've ever wanted has always been pulled away. I just feel like if I make it anything more than a dream, it'll be taken away."

Feeling the sudden awkwardness that had suddenly appeared for the first time that night, Marley smiled when she thought of a way to break it.

"Hey Kyler." She grinned when he looked down at her and glanced at the people walking the sidewalks she was about to embarrass herself in front of and pulled away from him, stepping in his line of vision.

The confusion pulled at all of his features, "Marley, what are you..."

"If you can dream iiiit." She cut him off, trying not to laugh, "Then you can do iiit." She sang entirely to loud and off-key. Kyler's smile became worth the embarrassment to the people who were looking at her incredulously trying to figure out what was going on. "I believe you can flyyy, I believe you can fly, to-Europe and be that guy, that you've dreamed of all your liiiife, um something else I don't know the rest of the songgg." She sang, biting her lip and feeling her cheeks tingeing pink as the adrenaline wore off. Kyle was now laughing, throwing an arm around her shoulder and pulling her to start walking again.

"That was the greatest thing anyone has ever done for me." He laughed and his smile was enough of a thank you for her.

"So, Europe." She said after a few quiet minutes, "You should go. It'd be a good thing, I think."

He nodded, "I know. I think your serenade convinced me." He chuckled.

"Hey." She held up her hands in mock defense. "At least it wasn't wasted."

The buzzing in her pocket distracted her and she pulled out her phone, opening the message from Cassie.

'Joe's here.

Her throat constricted and her heart began thundering in her chest. He came after her.

'I thought you were mad at me?' She quickly responded, not knowing what to say about Joe.

"What's going on?" Kyler asked, noticing the sudden nervousness washing over her face.

"Oh." She gulped, "Nothing...just Cassie...her and Kevin...uh...yeah." She finished, leaving him confused.

I didn't want him to ambush you and you run again.'

Marley sighed, knowing that most probably would've happened. Seeing him and running because she didn't know what to say made more sense to her than sticking around for a conversation that would make them more angry at each other and solve absolutely nothing.

'Tell him I need time to think?' She responded back quickly.

'Marley...'

'I won't be long Cass.'

Looking up at Kyler she sent him an apologetic smile. "I think I have to go." She whispered.

"Okay." He said unsurely. "Should I um--bring you somewhere, or..."

"No, no." She shook her head, "It's fine. I just have to take care of some things."

He nodded, still looking confused and pulled her into a hug, "Alright." He breathed into her hair.

Pulling back, her heart skipped a beat at the closeness of their faces. His eyes stayed locked on hers and she tried to gulp down the nervousness growing in her stomach. His face inched closer to hers and flashes of Joe flashed through her mind overpowering all of her senses and the urging sense to laugh and cry at the same time filled her up.

Quickly bringing her hand up just as Kyler's eyes shut and pressing a single finger over his lips, she sucked in a deep breath when his eyes snapped open.

"I can't do this." She whispered.

His brow furrowed and he backed away from her, nervously wiping his palms on his jeans. "I'm sorry--I ugh--I shouldn't have--"

"No." she shook her head, "I shouldn't have. I don't want to sound cliché but it's definitely not you, it's me, I'm not ready for this--and Joe--he--I just can't." She shook her head again, trying to clear the thoughts swimming in her head scrambling her words.

His hands landed on her shoulders and he smiled. Relief washed through her and she looked up at him sheepishly. "It's okay, Marley, I get it...I've got a little bruise to my ego but I'll be fine."

She finally smiled, realizing that she wouldn’t lose her friend from the awkwardness they’d just encountered and he pulled her into another hug.

“Go figure out what’s going on in that head of yours.” He grinned, ruffling her hair.

She made sure to smile back at him, shoving her hands in her pockets and turning on her heel, heading off to do just that.
End Notes:
Song: Where is Your Boy Tonight? - Fall Out Boy."
Okay, it's been a long time, I know, but I had a grand total of 5 tests last week and other stuff just got in the way...sorry and I promise you won't have to wait that long again. So...Kyler, got the rejection card...Cassie's had enough of Marley, Joe's DEFINITELY had enough of Martin, and now he wants to chat...oooh :)
Chapter 21 by The archive
"Close your mind and waste some time if you have to, I'm calling it love soon, it's not about you now, it's what we are."
Rubbing her arms, trying to warm her arms through her jacket, Marley watched her breath fanning out around her in a puff of fog, not taking her eyes off the figures skating below her. This was her favorite spot in the park, far enough away from the crowded ice skating rink for it to be peaceful, but still close enough to feel the uplifting atmosphere.

This is where she'd always come to think. She'd neglected the bench for a while, but being back in the spot where she'd always felt content and easy-minded, it felt like she could finally breathe again. Her mind was scrambled and the back-and-forth thoughts were starting to give her a headache.

She missed Joe. She couldn't deny it anymore. The weeks they'd been apart had worn harder on her than the weeks she was with him and he was gone. Him being so close, but still so far away was overbearing. Seeing him and not being able to know that even if they were forced apart in the public eye, she still couldn’t go home and be with him all she wanted. But she'd chosen this, and it was all her fault. He'd tried to fix it and she ran away.

A warm body settled next to her and she didn't have to look up to know who it was. Her message to Cassie telling her to tell Joe she needed to think wasn't a statement. It was an invitation. Joe had accompanied her here many times when she had something on her mind and as soon as Cassie relayed the message, he was on his way.

"You remembered." She whispered into the night air, keeping her eyes on the activities down the hill.

"Of course I did." His husky voice assured her, "This bench may as well have your name on it."

She smiled softly, still not looking away from where her eyes were transfixed on the crowd, not knowing if she could handle looking at him right now. A silence settled over them as the sea of people began to clear out, the echoes around them that were so vivid before were fading and the temperature was noticeably dropping.

A shiver racked through her body and she felt the goosebumps prickling on her skin under her coat and she wrapped her arms tighter around her arms.

"You must be freezing." He mumbled shrugging off his coat and leaning forward, wrapping it around her shoulders.

"No...You'll get cold, I'm..." She finally turned to look at him and her breath fell short, her mind filling with anything and everything that was him. The curly state of his hair, the glasses perched on his nose the layers of the red and gray hoodies he had on, the jeans hugging his legs in all the right places, the tattered shoes he insisted on wearing, and finally to his eyes, looking through his glasses to the soft pools of brown that had managed to be inviting and smoldering at the same time. She wanted to rip her eyes away so she could think, but she couldn't, seeing him like this was what she'd been thirsting for. Him. Joe. Her Joe. Not Joe Jonas with straightened hair and a tux, with a fake smile and a forced sense of humor. Her Joe who could make her laugh like no one else could and could read her like a book.

"Tell me." He said softly, keeping distance from her. He knew he couldn't jump in too quickly or she'd run again.

"Wh-what?" She stuttered, her eyes going wide, realizing he'd been able to see her drinking in his appearance.

His eyes narrowed slightly, trying to figure out what was on her mind, the corners of his lips turning up at the blush on her cheeks. "What're you thinking?" His head tilted to the side in curiosity.

A shiver rippled through her again as the wind picked up, and she readjusted herself on the bench, trying to inconspicuously move closer to him.

He noticed.

A smile fought to break out over his teeth and he swallowed back a happy sigh at having her close again. Here it was easy. They could be Marley and Joe with no interruptions. She was taking it slow, trying to reacquaint herself with his presence, and get comfortable with him before she broke into the talk they both knew needed to happen.

A silence washed over the two as the night got later. Both were waiting for the other to make the first move, to break the barriers of the restraints that were holding back both of their thoughts and feelings. Marley snuggled deeper into his coat, as the cold got the best of her. Joe sat still, his brow furrowed running over and over in his mind what he wanted to say, what he needed to say.

"Marley." Her name was barely a whisper, but she jumped as if a gun shot blasted through the space around them. Her eyes immediately caught his, giving him the attention he asked for.

Her nerves tingled at the vulnerability in his eyes. He'd always been the one to make it known what was on his mind. He was always so confident in everything he was going to say. He gulped back the nervous lump in his throat and smiled weakly at her.

"I…um...I guess I'm just going to put everything out there, okay?" He spoke quietly, fidgeting with the zipper of his hoodie.

Marley merely nodded, her throat closing up, making it impossible for her to speak. All of her questions that had swarmed her mind for the past couple of weeks were about to be answered.

"Alright." He sighed, leaning his back against the bench and looking back towards the now empty ice skating rink. "Well, when you left...I was a wreck...I'm not going to lie...you hurt me so bad, I didn't think it was possible to ever feel like I did. And when that raw pain turned into anger, I destroyed everything...I got an attitude, I was a dick to everyone, I stopped caring...then I got sad." His chest tightened at the memories of the tears and the emptiness that followed Marley's absence.

Wiping his hands over his face, he sighed deeply and continued. "You know, I just felt like everything was off balance. Nothing was ever complete just knowing that I couldn't go home to you or call you and tell you funny things that happened or just to see how your day was. There was just an empty space there. And I tried to fill it...so I went out."

Marley tucked her knees under her chin and twined her hands together, squeezing her eyes shut hoping to hold back the emotions that were fighting to be let out. Knowing that he was in so much pain, but went through his daily life putting on a front and acting out trying to think of anything but her sawed at her heart, hurting her more than she expected it would.

The air stood still around them while Joe got his thoughts together. He could hear Marley's breath getting shorter at the new information she was taking in and didn't dare chancing taking a peek at her with fear that he wouldn't be able to finish.

"There were three of them. I went out with Amber for lunch and she came with me to the Winter Ball, Courtney I just went to dinner with, and Miranda worked at an art gallery I went to after that day from where you worked." He paused, clearing his throat. "There was no way I was going back there with you after what happened."

"And you brought her back to our house." Marley spoke quietly. Joe's attention quickly turned to her and was surprised to see her eyes lock onto his. She wanted the truth.

"Yeah." He whispered. "I invited her back."

"Did you sleep with her...or any of them for that matter?" Her eyebrow arched and the words came out more acidic than she intended. She was scared of his answer.

His eyes narrowed and he stood, releasing his pent up frustrations by pacing the small patch of sidewalk in front of her. The nervous ball building in her stomach only grew as the seconds between her question and his answer grew longer and longer. Joe pushed a hand through his hair and let out a low growl. "Jesus Christ, Marley!" He lost his composure, stopping in front of her and letting his eyes bore in to hers. "Of course I didn't sleep with them, are you serious? I can't get you out of my head long enough to even think about being with someone else."

Relief surged through her veins at his answer. Realizing she had no business in his activities for the past month they'd been separated she rethought her question, deciding it was inappropriate for her to ask.

"I'm sorry." She looked away from him, biting her lip.

"I hate when you do that." He groaned, referring to her apology for something she said. He'd always told her if it came out of her mouth, somewhere inside of her was thinking it and getting it out was better than letting it grow.

"I know." She mumbled, feeling the awkwardness fall around them again. Her eyes traveled to his shoes where he was scuffing the snow into a small pile between his feet. For now, it served as a good distraction from his inquisitive eyes.

"What about this Kyle guy?" The jolt of nerves from the sound of his name, forced her eyes back to his to see him studying her face carefully.

"Kyler?" She asked, hoping to buy herself sometime. What about Kyler?

"Whatever." He shrugged.

Dead end.

Marley let out a sigh. "Nothing...there's nothing about Kyler."

Joe raised a skeptical eyebrow, "Nothing?"

Shaking her head, she slumped back on the bench. "I mean, don't get me wrong, there was chemistry, we got along, he was sweet and said all the right things..." She saw Joe's form tense in front of her and looked up to see his jaw clenched and his fist in balls at his sides. "But, I just couldn't...everything I did with him was just a reminder of how much better it was with you."

Joe visibly relaxed, his face softening and his shoulders dropping back to their natural position. "He tried to kiss me you know?" She tested the waters, wanting to let out a laugh when his face went hard again. "I said no." She clarified, rolling her eyes, letting her attitude shine through, she only had one date, compared to his three.

"Good." Joe settled on the bench next to her.

"Would it have mattered?" She crossed her arms.

He scoffed and shook his head, standing right back up and shoving his hands into his pockets. "Let me know when you figure out what you want, Marley."

She sat frozen on the bench, her jaw hanging open and her brow furrowed. What just happened?

When her mind finally caught up with her body, she was off the bench and running down the frozen path, his large coat hanging loosely around her smaller frame and flapping in the frigid wind. She could see his dark retreating figure in front of her and she picked up her pace, making it to him and grabbing his arm, spinning him around to face her.

"Don't walk away from me." She begged, quietly. His eyes looked over her head and she felt her lip trembling at his passive attitude. Her hands settled on the sides of his face and she forced his eyes to meet hers. "Don't." She whispered.

"You're one to talk Marley, you're the one who ran from me in the first place, I don't know what you want from me anymore! You say one thing and do another…I just don’t know what you want." She watched his expressions, so vivid on his face, he was at his wit's end. What was there to do anymore?

"I want you to get mad because you don't want anyone else to touch me or even look at me because I'm yours. I want you to see that knowing you went out with other girls kills me. I want you to need me as much as I need you!" The desperate tears finally streamed down her face. "Because I don't even care anymore, I tried to make myself happy again by pushing you out of my life, but I can't be happy unless I know you're mine!"

Within seconds his arms were around her, his face buried into her neck. Her arms encircled him, gripping onto his back. "I'll fight for you. I will, Joe. I swear." She coughed out. "I'll do anything for you...please." She plead, waiting for him to give in. Her last hope teetered on the edge of him accepting her.

He pulled back and pushed away the strands of her that stuck to her wet cheeks, leaving his hands there, his fingers gently stroking away the remnants of her crying. His eyes pierced through hers, shining and silently saying everything she needed to hear.

"I love you." He whispered. "My God, I love you." He assured her before his lips were on hers. Warmth flooded through her body and her grip on him tightened.

Pulling him closer and relishing in the closeness she'd been pining for she gently pulled her face back, only leaving enough room for her to speak, "I love you." She spoke louder than intended, laughing softly as her lips brushed against his.

A laugh pushed from his chest and he leaned back, pulling her feet off the ground, hugging her tighter, still not believing that she was back in his arms.

Smiling bigger than she thought possible, Marley nuzzled her face into his neck, placing a kiss under his ear. "Finally." She whispered.
End Notes:
Song: Love Soon - John Mayer

Oh, sweet reunions.
What you've been waiting for? What's going on in those pretty little heads of yours? :)
Chapter 22 by The archive
"Or is happiness a little more like knocking on your door, and you just let it in."
Stretching his legs out and arching his back, his foot skimmed against a smooth leg and his eyes went wide, turning and rubbing his eyes, instantly gathering the still sleeping Marley into his arms again.

It wasn’t a dream. She was here, in their bed, with him again.

He felt her shiver in the coldness of the room and pulled the blankets higher around their bare forms, snuggling closer to her, but situating himself so he could watch her sleep. She looked so serene and peaceful and completely perfect in his eyes with her head resting against his chest and her arm slung across his waist, stating her claim on him. He’d never been happier than he was the night before. Words couldn’t express the things his heart was feeling. Knowing he had her back was like putting a band-aid over all his problems and he’d never felt better.

The loud echo of the front door slamming shut downstairs tore his train of thought off track.

“Joe?”

Kevin.

“Joe!”

He was angry.

Feeling Marley stirring in his arms, Joe stayed completely still, not wanting to startle her awake by yelling back to his brother and he most definitely was not about to leave the confines of the bed…it wasn’t even an option.

The bedroom door had remained open, when the couple had returned the night before, too preoccupied with each other to even care about their surroundings.

The loud thumps of footsteps on the stairs traveled down the short hall way and Joe sighed, not knowing how this was going to blow over.

“Joe, what the hell? We’ve been calling you all morning anda33;”Is that Marley?” He finished in a whisper, not wanting to wake his still sleeping friend.

Joe’s eyes traveled to her again, “Yeah.” He smiled softly, “It is.”

Kevin’s arms crossed over his chest and a smile broke onto his face. “What the hell happened?”

“Long story.” Joe shrugged, not looking away from her.

Kevin’s mouth opened to talk again, “No, man. I won’t tell it to you.” Joe shook his head, reaching down to twirl a piece of Marley’s hair around his finger.

“What?” Kevin’s voice rose and Marley groaned, wiggling in his arms. Joe ripped his eyes from her, and narrowed them at Kevin.

“Give it a rest, Kev.” He swished his hand at his brother, “Get outta here and goa33;”” His sentence was cut short when soft, light kisses littered his chest. His attention was instantly diverted to Marley who was nuzzling her body closer to his, kissing her way towards his neck, and stroking her fingers over his chest.

“Morning.” He mumbled, smiling when one of her brilliant blue eyes peeked up at him. A grin passed over her lips and she rolled over, half on top of him, leaning down and pressing her lips against his. Joe’s mind went blank, forgetting everything around him that wasn't her, including the fact that his brother was in the room, and he slid his hands around her waist, clasping his fingers together against the small of her back pulling her closer and moaning softly into the kiss.

“Uh-okay, still here.” Kevin cleared his throat, clearly embarrassed and Marley let out a squeak of surprise, pulling the blanket tighter around her and sinking back in next to Joe.

“Hey Kevin.” She mumbled, refusing to make the awkward eye contact with him, feeling her cheeks growing hot with embarrassment.

“Hey Marley.” He laughed, not believing he was seeing them together again after their bitter exchange of feelings he’d gotten from both of them. Not that he ever doubted their relationship…the two had only been in denial and just needed a push in the right direction, but seeing them together without knowing what had happened.

An awkward silence fell over the three of them and Kevin scratched at the back of his neck, “So--uh, should I tell management you’re not coming to the meeting you inspired, Joe?” Kevin rose an eyebrow in question and Joe’s hands pressed over his face, clearly having forgot about the meeting.

“I don’t wanna.” He mumbled, looking at the clock and mentally noting the meeting was scheduled for just under two hours away. He groaned again, not feeling like getting his good mood crushed by a bunch of old men and his parents telling him he was out of control and needed to get his act together.

“Well you should have thought about that before you nearly broke our publicist’s jaw.” Kevin snapped back and Joe groaned from his place still hidden by his hands.

“What?” Marley questioned, jumping to attention, her eyes darting up to meet his, panic written all over her face. “Joe, you didn’t!”

“You didn’t tell her?!” Kevin threw his arms in the air in a helpless gesture.

A growl left Joe’s throat as the morning he planned on doing absolutely nothing and just relaxing for the first time in weeks crumbled around him in a mess of questions.

His attention turned to Marley, “You be quiet for two minutes until he leaves and I’ll explain everything.” He pressed a kiss to her forehead, hoping he hadn’t offended or angered her. “And you.” He pointed a finger at Kevin, “You get out.” Kevin scoffed and opened his mouth to protest but Joe held up his hand to silence him, “And I’m going to sit back and pretend you never came here.” He finished, leaning closer to Marley as her fingers lightly stroked the back of his hand.

"Fine." Kevin held his hands up in surrender, "Fine." He backed into the door way shaking his head. "Seriously, try to make it if you can, Joe, because--"

"I got it Kev!" Joe yelled over his brother, drowning out his voice.

Chuckling to himself, Kevin backed out of the door and started down the hall. He paused at the top of the staircase and jogged back to their bedroom, sticking his head around the corner.

"Hey guys?" He blushed when he realized he'd interrupted a ferverish kiss. Marley pulled away and settled back next to Joe, her lips set in a thin line at her frustration. Whereas Joe was more vocal, "Jesus Christ, Kevin! What?!"

He ignored their attitudes and plastered on a cheeky grin. "I just wanted to say I'm glad you two figured it out."

The disgruntled couple let smiles slip onto their scowling faces and exchanged an endearing look before Joe faced his brother again.

"Thanks man." His voice was sincere and soft and it wasn't until Marley's hand slipped up his thigh under the comforter did his face darken again. "Now out."

Marley waited until she heard the front door slam shut until she kicked a leg over Joe's lap, straddling his waist, but sitting high enough to where there was no friction between them and ignoring his hiss at the closeness of their lower bodies. "Now." She mused, "You're going to that meeting."

His mouth opened to disagree, but her eyebrow arched, silently challenging him to not do as she said. "Fine." His features fell and his bottom lip jutted outwards, pulling his face into an adorable pout.

Marley drank in the sight of him, mentally noting every single thing about him that she had missed. It still felt like a dream being this close to him. After finally admitting to everything in the park he'd whisked her away, back to their home and shown her just how much he'd missed her. She'd rejoiced in the way they fell back into their pattern, neither of them forgetting a single thing about the other. Their thoughts and bodies were so in tune with each other as if they'd never been separated. She smiled at the memories of the previous night as her hands wondered up his chest and her eyes stayed on his, mirroring the fire she saw burning in his own. She leaned forward, brushing her lips against his cheek as her lips made their way to his ear, listening to him groan as her chest pushed further into his.

"We've still got an hour." She breathed, placing a kiss over his ear and immediately squealing in surprise when he flipped her over, settling in between her legs and planting his lips on hers, muffling both of their laughs.

--

Joe practically skipped off the elevator, shoving his hands into his pockets and humming to himself as he made his way to the receptionist’s desk. His mood slightly fell when he saw Amber sitting at the desk, filing her fake nails. He glanced to the hall, wondering if she’d notice if he just quietly slipped down the hall and finding the conference room on his own.

“Joe!” She shrieked and he stopped, plastering on a fake smile before turning to her. He figured she was pissed because he hadn’t called and he’d just left her at the winter ball, not even bothering to get her a ride home. But, as he turned she was smiling and waving exactly like the airhead she was. He wasn’t interested in the first place. They barely even held a conversation…she was merely there to fill the empty space and know he regretted even speaking to her.

“Hey Amber…Uma33;”I need to know which conference room we’re in.” He spoke before she could so she wouldn’t go off on one of her tangents to tell him how gorgeous they looked together.

“Yeah…okay.” She flipped her hair. “When are we going out again?” She flashed her teeth at him and pulled her arms together, increasing the amount of cleavage spilling out of her dress.

Joe’s nose wrinkled at the desperate girl sitting in front of him. “You know Amber, I don’t think that’s going to happen.” Her face fell and he wanted to laugh. “Actually, I know that’s not going to happen…with you, I was trying to forget the greatest thing that ever happened to me but I can’t, I can’t forget her…and now I have her back and I’m not letting go for anything in the world because right now I’m happier than I have ever been and it’s all because of her.”

She scoffed and sat back, crossing her arms over her chest, “Geez Joe, it’s room 7…I’m the receptionist, not a therapist…I don’t think you should call me anymore.” She was eying him like he was crazy and he opened his mouth to speak his case but Kevin’s voice popped into his head “It’s not worth it, Joe.”

“You aren’t worth it.” He mumbled only loud enough for himself to hear before he turned to head down the hall.

Standing outside of room number 7, Joe took a deep breath before pushing it open and pretending not to see everyone at the table glare at him. Taking a seat between his two brothers, he looked back to see both of them smiling at him. They were letting him decide…how this meeting went was up to him and they were behind him 100% he’d been through hell and back and the original plan was to take a break…a real break…so he had time to himself to recover from Marley, but after the events of last night, it was a toss up, but it was still all resting in Joe’s hands. If he wanted a break to be with her, he would get it, if he wanted to keep the appearances up, with or without her, he could.

Finally looking up to glance around the table, he paused once he met Martin’s icy glare and smiled cheekily at him when he saw the purple bruise splayed against the right side of his face.

“So, Joe.” Henry Nacks, the leader of his management team spoke, breaking the tension, “What’s on your mind?”

Joe sat back in the chair, thinking over how he was going to address this question. “Well.” His fingers came to rest under his chin. “I’m sick of the bullshit.” A small hiss came from his mother, but after what he’d been through at the doings of the team around the table, she ignored addressing him in front of everyone.

“Okay, and what do you want to do about that?” Mr. Nacks questioned trying to keep the conversation professional.

A flash of Marley flashed through his head of her in the middle of their living room with only the sheet from their bed draped around her merely an hour ago, practically pushing him out the door so he could make it on time for the meeting. She was laughing and smiling and the sound was something he wanted to here forever. He never wanted to see that smile off of her face.

“I really only have one thing to say.” He shrugged. “I want us to make our own decisions.”

“The entire group of mangers broke into whispers and glanced around like it was the craziest thing they’d ever heard. “Now, Joe.” Mr. Nacks spoke above the small uproar. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Joe let out a bitter laugh and shook his head, “No it’s not a good idea that I can’t do one thing without running it by Martin, I can’t saying anything unless I tell Martin first. Only say the answers Martin tells you to say. Fuck that and fuck Martin!” Joe’s voice rose.

“Joseph!” His mother scolded him, her face turning red.

“Sorry.” He mumbled.

“Joe, we’ve put together a team of people that are only looking out for your best interest, we’re trying to keep you in the good light and in the right place at the right time, saying all the right things, you couldn’t do that on your own.” Mr. Nacks tried to reason with him.

“I don’t care.” Joe said softly. “That doesn’t make me happy. You’re all trying to make us the perfect little robot that’ll promote you and other people you want to be on your good side and I don’t like it. I don’t like being told what to do or what to say. I want to live like me…not what you want me to be.”

“Is this what you really want?” Joe’s head snapped to the side, seeing his father’s curious eyes taking in the scene in front of him.

Joe shook his head and heard the collective sigh of relief. “No…this is what I need…what we need.” He looked around the table at all the shocked faces and felt bad for a second but quickly shook the feeling off.

“Joe, I don’t think you understand what you’re doing…” Mr. Nacks tried again.

“Oh, no.” He laughed. “I know exactly what I’m doing.”

Mr. Nacks growled, loosing his composure for a second, turning to the quiet boys sitting on either side of Joe, “Nick, Kevin? What do you make of all this?”

Kevin smiled, leaning forward and clapping a hand on his brother’s shoulder, “You heard the man…you’re fired.” Kevin grinned.

All eyes turned to Nick, waiting for him to talk some sense into his brothers but he leaned forward, joining the small huddle and smiling, “…All of you.” He clarified, glancing around the table and smacking his hands on the table, pushing himself up, taking the initiative and leading his family out of the conference room, leaving the management team stunned and client-less.
End Notes:
Song: Happiness - The Fray
funny story, this was ready to post at around 6:30 today but I forgot to submit it :) sorryy.
Chapter 23 by The archive
"And I, all I really want is you, you to stick around, I'll see you every day, but you have to follow through."

Buttoning his dress shirt, a smile lifted on Joe’s face when the bathroom door opened, and Marley stepping out, her scent flooding his senses and the way the towel clung to her body making him forget everything he was doing.

“A picture will last longer, baby.” She grinned knowingly, fluffing her perfectly waved hair and looking back and forth between the dresses on the bed, contemplating on which to wear.

Joe’s hand slipped into his pocket, retrieving his iPhone and holding it up, pointing the camera in her direction. “Well, can you at least drop the towel?” He propped his other hand on his hip, raising an eyebrow at her but not being able to hold in his laughter for long.

She diverted her attention to him and smirked, walking towards him, never letting her eyes leave his. She watched him gulp and drop his hands to his sides as she approached and slid her arms around his neck, letting the towel fall. Looking down for a second in mock unknown she let her eyes meet his again. “Oops.”

His hands moved to slide around her waist and pull her closer but she wiggled from his embrace, looking at the clock and snapping her fingers, “Well darn, look at the time…we’ve got to get ready.”

He glared at her as she pranced completely naked back to the bed, slipping on her strapless bra and matching pair of lacy boyshort underwear. Turning around to see him still in the same spot, watching her with lustful eyes she picked up his suit jacket and tossed it to him, “Come on, you gotta get dressed, we’re about to be late.”

He slipped the jacket on and plopped into the armchair near the window and watched her furrowed eyes looking in between the green dress and the gold one laid out in front of her, when she bit her bottom lip and tilted her head he smiled and made his decision. “I don’t want to go anymore.”

Her eyes darted up from making her selection and she shook her head. “We’re going.”

He huffed and crossed his arms, “You’re the one who got naked, it’s not my fault.”

“Okay, what does that have anything to do with the premiere?” She laughed.

“Well, I don’t want to go anymore…I’d much rather stay here and do unmentionables with you.” He smirked, wiggling his eyebrows.

She fought the smirk lifting onto her face and shook her head. “Unmentionables? What are we in Pre-K?” She challenged him and smiled when he squirmed in his seat trying to think of a comeback.

“Oh.” His eyes lit up, and an eyebrow arched in interest, “You want me to go into detail?” He rubbed his hands together like he was getting ready to tell an epic secret. “Well first—”

“Joe.” She deadpanned, glancing at the clock, seeing their argument that was still going on just because neither one of them wanted to give up was making them later and later.

“Marley.” He countered back, just as serious.

“We’re going.”

“But, I wanna—”

“Joe, no.”

“What if I—”

“No!”

“Please.”

“Nuh-uh”

“Marley.”

“Joe.” She mock glared at him, fighting back her laughter at the pout pulled on his face.

“Fine!” He threw his arms into the air and grabbed his wallet, slipping it into his pocket and walking out the bedroom.

When he was almost to the staircase, he smiled, running back to their room and poking his head around the corner. “Marley?”

She looked up from trying to make her choice of dress, “Joe, I said—”

He shook his head, cutting her off, “Green’s my favorite color on you.” He grinned at her before turning back to the hall.

She let her grin break out and picked up the hanger with the green dress. “Love you!” She called out, slipping the dress off the hanger.

“Love you more!” He called back from the bottom of the staircase, smiling to himself and pointing at Cody who was lying on the couch, “And that’s how it’s done, my friend.”

“I heard that!” Marley yelled and he crossed his arms over his chest. He never won.

--

The limo was buzzing with everyone’s conversations mixing together as they sat in downtown Los Angeles traffic, waiting to get into the premiere.

“Joe,” His mother started, “Please don’t tell people you punched out your publicist.” She begged, fidgeting with the small clutch in her hands, trying to fight the nerves building in her stomach…this was the first appearance they were making without management. IT had been all over the tabloids and new sites and the questions were guaranteed to come up.

Joe scoffed and shook his head, “We fired them so no one would tell me what to say, there’s no way I’m going to fake—Ow!” A sharp pain jutted into his side and he turned to Marley to find her eyes wide, slightly looking back and forth between him and Denise.

“Yes ma’am.” He grumbled, turning to look out the window. She was right, he couldn’t let his anger with their former management team take control of his emotions and make him look like a jackass.

Marley’s fingers grazed over his and she scooted closer to him, smiling when his arm lifted so she could cuddle closer into his side. “You know, you don’t have to argue about everything.” She whispered, her lips brushing against his ear. “People will still love you either way.” She assured him.

He looked over at her and she saw the unknown in his eyes, “What if we can’t handle this? What if they don’t like you? What if they ask about management? We don’t have a publicist to give us a bullshit answer.”

She shrugged, reaching up to push the hair off his forehead and gave him a small smile, “Then tell the truth…this is your life and their input doesn’t matter.”

He smiled, leaning over and pressing a kiss to her forehead. “You look pretty.” He whispered.

A grin broke onto her face and she tilted her head up to press her lips to his. “Thanks.” She spoke softly, keeping their faces close, loving the way her entire body felt inside and out by just having him next to her and knowing he loved her.

Kevin and Cassie watched their exchange from opposing seat, sitting close together and quietly whispering to each other.

“I told you they’d be better than they were before.” She smiled as seeing her friends happy again.

“I still don’t know what the hell happened.” Kevin shrugged, “He’s never said anything.”

“Neither has she.” Cassie thought back to the past week, trying to remember if she’d said anything.

They were quiet for a few moments before Kevin spoke again, “Maybe it’s better we don’t know…maybe it’s like they’re thing…maybe stuff was said…maybe it wasn’t, but know we just know that they know that they love each other…does that make since?” He turned to look at her, his face furrowed like he didn’t understand what he’d just said.

“I think.” She smiled, “Like their secret they can look back on and say remember that time…but it’ll only make sense to them?”

“Exactly.” He mumbled, dipping down to press his lips to hers.

--

The limo slowed to a stop and Marley felt her heart jolt. “This is it.” She whispered in Joe’s ear. He turned to give her a reassuring smile, but the worry evident in his eyes and written on everyone else’s faces were enough to keep the feeling of panic alive and kicking inside of her.

“Joe are you sure?” She whispered as Nick exited the car behind his parents.

He turned to her, his face furrowing at her worried question. “Baby,” He reached for her hands, slipping his fingers through hers. “I’ve never been more sure of anything. From now on I’m being who I want to be, Kevin and Nick too, there comes a point when it becomes too much and we reached that…Now it’s our way or it doesn’t happen…and I want everyone to know that I’m taken by the most…” His lips curled into a sly smile, “Beautiful girl in the…room, yeah the whole wide room.” He sang, following it with a bellowing laugh, not being able to hold it in anymore.

Marley’s laughter mixed with his at his reference to Flight of the Conchords and she leaned in to peck his lips. “I love you.”

“Love you more, now come on, I hate being last.” He gently pushed her towards the door and she smiled as she got out, taking Nick’s outstretched hand and thanking him before turning back around to stand at Joe’s side, linking her arm through his.

A makeshift wall was set up to block the arrivals from the string of interviewers, photographers, and fans and Denise used the last seconds of opportunity to address everyone. Looking around the group, they all watched as her eyes glossed over and she smiled at them all standing before her. “I just wanted to let you all know that you’re all so beyond amazing that sometimes I can’t believe it myself. Follow your heart, but guard it. And make me proud.”

She was immediately bombarded with hugs from everyone and she shooed them away, wiping at her eyes before she let her husband direct her to the back entrance. The brothers took a deep breath and straightened their ties before plastering on a smile and emerging from behind the wall.

Immediately the already bustling carpet was kicked into overdrive and the shouts of the paparazzi increased as well as the blinding flashes. Making it to the first interviewer, the boys stopped, pulling their dates closer to their sides and smiled at the petite woman holding the recorder.

Marley let her eyes wonder over the crowd while the boys were asked the generic questions, but forced her eyes away when she was met with glares and raised eyebrows from some of the girls filling the bleachers.

“So, boys…you three are never the ones to bring dates…what’s with tonight?” She asked, holding the recorder back out to them.

Joe stepped closer, “We’re in the process of going in a new direction, the first step has been to not hide BEHIND anything or to hide anything…we figure it’s safe for girlfriends to come out of hiding now.” He laughed, finishing his heavy statement with a comedic one so it wouldn’t make it awkward.

The interviews seemed to be going smoothly and all three of the boys seemed to be taking it head on, answering questions straight from their knowledge…they weren’t fed lines or giving rehearsed answers, they were just talking…the truth.

As the group approached a scowling redhead with too much foundation and too much Botox, a collective groan pushed through all of the boy’s lips and Marley’s nerves sparked to attention.

“Boys!” The redhead shrilled, “So nice to see you three!” She grinned a wicked smile while the boys mumbled through a greeting.

“First of all, Joe, we hear you’ve been channeling Mike Tyson, lately…who else have you punched?” The microphone was shoved into Joe’s face and Marley felt him go rigid next to her.

“That was a misunderstanding.” He faked a laugh, leaning closer into the microphone, “But we are currently working as independents and it’s making it less stressful for us.”

“I see.” She hummed. “Still avoiding questions.” She clucked her tongue.

“Who’s this?” Her eyes landed on Marley, and Joe instinctively brought her closer.

“This is Marley. She’s my girlfriend.” He smiled down at her.

“Right, the one you’re living with.” She wrote something in her notebook. “Now without management how do you expect to get anything done? What about appearances and performances? Are you worried?”

Nick stepped forward and narrowed his eyes at her. “Honestly Patricia. We’re just fine right now. And as an independent artist, I can now tell you to go to hell and no one will yell at me for it.” He turned to his brothers and let a small chuckle push through his lips at their stunned expressions. “So, go to hell Patricia.” He laughed a little. “You can write that down, print it, quote me, it’s fine, I don’t care anymore.” He tapped her notebook and took an advancing step to the next interviewer, his amused brothers following and leaving a stunned reporter behind.

--


Is it Something in the Water?

Last night, the JoBros were in attendance at the Hunted premiere and in tow were dates that were claimed as girlfriends!

YES!! They actually admitted it!!!

We’ve read the interviews and their answers have taken a new approach…it sounds like they’re actually being *gasp* honest!

Along with the girlfriends, they admitted to have dropping all of their management and their publicist, so now they’re 'independent artist'.

According to an interview with Seacrest, Kevin said:
“We’re just rolling with it right now, following our hearts. You know, before we felt like we were being held back and it was making all of this really difficult and stressful, so we’re in the process of weeding it all out and getting back to our roots and just being us.”

Joe added:
“We’re just trying to keep ourselves happy and the people who are important to us happy and is this is what it takes—cleaning everything out and bringing in people who will support us no matter what—then that’s what it takes.”

Get this, the quiet, calm, cool, collected, youngest of the brothers, Nick, reportedly told Patricia Goldberg to “Go to hell.”

Jonai unleashed and out of control!!

We love it!!! We're definitely rooting for those three!

Keep it real, bb’s.

Marley listened to Joe chuckling as she read the article aloud from Perez Hilton. “Nothing about how hot my girlfriend is?” He smirked when she turned to face him.

“Nope.” She grinned shrugging her shoulders and letting out a fake aggravated sigh. “Nothing about your hot girlfriend.”

“Ehh, we’ll just have to get you a shorter dress next time.”

Marley scoffed and picked up the pillow next to her head, whipping it around to hit the side of his head.

“Hey!!” He leapt forward, grabbing a pillow and holding her hips down with his while he repeatedly hit her with it, he uncontrollable giggles echoing throughout the bedroom.

He threw the pillow aside and rested his weight against her and stabilizing himself on his elbow next to her head, leaning his head in his hand and brushing the hair from her face, grinning softly down at her flushed, smiling face.

“I’m so happy.” He whispered, reaching for her hand and intertwining their fingers.

Her heart swelled and she bit her lip so her grin wouldn’t make her cheeks ache, “Me too.” She whispered back just as softly, sighing in contentment when his lips blanketed over hers, reassuring her of everything he was feeling.
End Notes:
Song: Follow Through - Gavin Degraw.

*First of all THANK YOU all so much!! Seriously I know it's been like three weeks, but I'm finally getting over these broken fingers enough to be able to type for long periods of time and so I'm on a roll trying to get updates posted.
**Flight of the Conchords song - (So funny!!) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jgghjx2Ghqk
***This is coming to an end soon, I just want all of you to be prepared.
****THOUGHTS?
Chapter 24 by The archive
Yeah I’m bold, I'm bold as love."
“Marley! Where’s my red shirt?” Joe called from his closet.

Marley rolled her eyes from her spot laid out on the bed reading a Glamour magazine and kicking her bare feet in the air. “Thank you for being specific, honey.” She murmured loud enough for him to hear her.

A loud huff was heard from the closet before he appeared in front of her with only a pair of black basketball shorts riding low on his hips. She stared up at him with a raised eyebrow as he let his hands settle on his hips.

He sighed and threw his hands up, “The red one, with the sleeves!” He almost shouted.

A giggle fell from her lips and she rolled off the bed, patting him on the chest as she sauntered past him and into the closet. “Button up? Long sleeve? Short sleeve? Collared? Graphic? Be specific.”

He appeared beside her and looked up at the long row of shirts lining his closet. “It’s short sleeved, dark red, and it says stuff on it.”

She smiled up at him and her fingers wrapped around his bicep as she led him to the drawers, opening the top one and digging through the folded shirts, pulling out the shirt she was sure he was talking about. Laying it in his hands, he unfolded it and held it in front of him, a grin plastered on his face. “You are SO good.” He nudged into her, leaning over to peck her lips, “And I love you!” He called as he hurried back to their room, refolding the shirt and putting it into his suitcase.

“Are you almost done packing?” She asked softly, fiddling with the zippers of his suitcase.

He smiled up at her and nodded, “Yeah, I just have to find a place to put shoes and my coat.” He glanced at his suitcase judging the amount of space he had and which jacket he should pack. “London’s cold this time of year.”

“Yeah.” She mumbled, “Uhm., well, I’m going to head down to the gallery.”

His eyes met hers, “Everyone’s meeting up to say bye in an hour.” His brow furrowed as he forced the top onto his suitcase.

“I know.” She shrugged, “I was just going to drop by.”

His arms crossed over his chest and he watched her face, waiting for her composure to falter. “Haven’t you already talked to them about…”

“Yes.” She cut him off quickly, averting her eyes to his. “I’m no longer an employee.”

“Okay.” He sighed, attempting to zip the overstuffed suitcase, “Just checking.”

--

Marley walked into the gallery and hung up her coat on the coat rack near the door. She skipped to the desk, expecting to find Lindsey there, but her face furrowed when a petite raven haired girl occupied the chair instead.

“Can I help you?” She asked, smiling up at Marley’s confused face.

“Lindsey?” Her name was the only form of question that she got out.

The unknown girl smiled, “In the office.” She nodded to the door behind her and Marley smiled at her before slipping in and sitting in the chair across from Lindsey.

“So you took absolutely no time at all in replacing me…I feel so hurt.” She placed a hand over her heart and faked a pout as Lindsey turned around in her chair and smiled at her.

“Well, when you decide your boyfriend is more important, that’s what you get.” She scolded playfully.

Marley’s arms crossed over her chest and she huffed, Joe hadn’t asked her to quit. He never even brought up her job, but with everything going on and all of them trying to get back on their feet, she felt like she needed to be with them and helping in the process. There were only so many people they could trust, and her being one of them, she couldn’t let herself be an onlooker in their progress in becoming independent. She huffed and turned her nose up but couldn’t hold the façade for long and chuckled when Lindsey began giggling from across the desk. “Not just that…I’m going back to school, too.” Marley smiled, “I can’t deal with him and classes and a job…even though I’ll probably be here in my spare time anyway.”

“I’m so happy for you. It’s all falling into place, huh?” Lindsey asked, leaning further across the desk with some trouble from her rounded stomach.

Marley felt the grin on her face making her cheeks ache and she sighed, “I’m so happy, Linds. We’re so happy…” She gushed, unable to wipe the goofy grin from her face.

The bell signaling someone’s entrance rung around them, interrupting their conversation and Marley glanced through the window to see Kyler stripping off his coat and shaking his hair out. A smile pulled across her lips and she turned back to Lindsey. “Go see him.” She waved her off, “Some of us have work to do.”

Swiveling out of the chair and quickly running around the desk to hug Lindsey and pat her belly, she rushed out the door and watched Kyler’s face light up when she made her presence known.

“She lives!” He laughed, holding his arms open, smiling as she walked straight into them as his wrapped around her shoulders. “I thought we’d never see you around here again.”

Marley scoffed and looked up at him so he could see her smile, “You could never keep me away…just because it’s not my job anymore doesn’t mean I won’t be here.”

“Yeah.” He ruffled her hair, “You’ve been replaced…how does it feel?”

“It hurts.” Marley mocked, holding a hand to her heart and managed to keep a straight face for a few seconds before she started giggling. “Who is she?” She whispered so the new receptionist couldn’t hear her.

“She was in my Art History class, and I saw her in a coffee shop, asked her if she was interested in working here…she accepted and she totally wants my body.” He whispered back, dodging her hand when she went to punch his shoulder before she let out a loud laugh and patted his toned stomach. “Who doesn’t want your body Kyler?”

He raised an eyebrow at her and leaned further, “You obviously.”

She blushed, remembering their almost encounter and scoffed lightly, keeping the mood light and their playful banter up, “And just because I rejected it, doesn’t mean I didn’t want it.” She gave him an over exaggerated wink and laughed at his stunned expression before skipping to the coat rack, grabbing her jacket and slipping out the door, calling out a goodbye over her shoulder, promising to visit soon.

Waving down a taxi from the curb in front of the gallery, Marley hopped into the one that pulled up, rattling out the name of the studio where everyone was meeting up for last minute details before the boys departed for Europe and she stared aimlessly out of the window, absentmindedly playing with the frayed ends of her scarf as the taxi slowly made it’s way through traffic to her destination.

--

Marley found Joe bouncing on his toes outside of the black SUV, and checking his watch when her taxi pulled up. She threw a twenty over the seat, telling the driver to keep the change as she bounded from the backseat and into his arms.

“I thought you weren’t going to make it.” He chuckled lightly, releasing her from his grasp and reaching down to grab hold of her hand, pulling her into the car behind him.

“Traffic.” She shrugged lightly, quickly saying hello to Nick, Kevin and Cassie as the driver quickly pulled out of the parking lot on the trek to the airport.

Joe pulled Marley closer to him, kissing the side of her head and intertwining his fingers with hers. “I love you.” He whispered against her ear and she felt the smile growing on his lips. Turning her head, she let her nose brush against his.

“I love you.” She tilted her head, brushing their lips together.

The fake gags and eye rolls from his brothers were left unnoticed as the two sat completely still, too wrapped up in each other to even care about their surroundings.

“What time is the flight?” She asked, stroking her fingers along his.

He sighed and shrugged, the flight was the last thing he wanted to talk about while they had their last private moments inside of the car. “I don’t know.” He mumbled, looking over her shoulder as they pulled up at the airport and his grip tightened on her hand when he saw the photographers lined up outside of the entrance.

“Hey.” She softly turned his face so his gaze landed on her and the soft smile on her lips. “It’s going to be fine, alright?”

“I know.” He mumbled, “I just can’t stand them.”

The press had been giving all of us a hard time. Everyone who was seen with them became the next reason for the brother’s new rash behavior. Me. Cassie. Paul and Denise. It was getting old but they were holding their heads high and Marley refused to believe they wouldn’t get through it…they were too strong not to.

--

Standing outside of the departure gate, of the private plane wing, Marley stood huddled into Joe’s side next to the window, both of them strangely silent as they watched the planes take off, while waiting for the okay from the pilot who was checking and rechecking their plane. Kevin and Cassie sat in the chairs facing the outside and he was quietly reassuring her that the time would pass quickly and he’d be back before she knew it.

Marley’s head landed on his shoulder and his fingers reached up to brush through her hair as they watched the pilot step half way out of the plane onto the open steps and gestured to a man on the ground who spoke into his walkie-talkie that sounded to the clerk at the desk, telling her that the plane was ready.

Marley looked on from her spot on Joe’s shoulder, watching Kevin whispering to Cassie who was trying to keep from crying and kiss her goodbye before biting his lip and walking quickly to the terminal entrance. Turning and pressing a kiss to Joe’s lips, she lightly whispered into his ear before going to stand next to her friend, slinging an arm around her shoulder as she watched the three brother’s retreating figures heading to the clerk’s desk.

“It won’t be long.” Marley said aloud.

“Yeah.” Cassie agreed, “It’ll go by really fast.”

“Yeah.” Marley sighed. “And you’ll be working.”

“Yeah…” She sighed, her eyes watching the same thing mine were…the boys walking away.

Marley’s heart leapt and a grin lifted onto her face when Joe turned around and grinned at her, “You coming, baby?” He called, reaching a hand out to her.

Still smiling and looking over to Cassie who had now turned her attention back to Marley. “Have fun.” She stepped forward to wrap her in a hug, “Don’t let them drive you crazy.”

Marley laughed into her friend’s shoulder and hugged her back. “I’ll keep ‘em line.”

Pushing her away and holding her shoulders at arms length, Cassie grinned, “I know you will…Now go before he starts doing the antsy dance.”

A loud laugh barked from Marley’s mouth and she squeezed Cassie in another hug before turning back to Joe and jogging to his side, slipping her hand into his and leaning up to press a kiss to his mouth.

“Ready?” He mumbled, smiling against her lips. With a squeal, she pulled back and tightened her grip on his hand, bouncing on her toes with her excitement.

"Are you sure you got my suitcase?" She raised an eyebrow, tightening her grip on him in anticipation for her answer.

"Uhmm." He narrowed his eyes in thought, "I think I actually--Ow! What was that for?" He grabbed onto the skin of his chest, rubbing the spot where she'd just pinched him and chuckled lightly. "I got it, I got it." He mumbled, laughing when her face lit up again at his reassurance.

Grinning at her enthusiasm, he pulled her towards the terminal where Nick and Kevin had already disappeared into. “To Europe!” He exclaimed, as he passed the clerk, earning a strange glance from her. Marley shrugged and eagerly followed after him and into the plane.

Excitement rushed through her as she settled next to Joe in the plush seats and buckled her seatbelt, watching him plug his ears with his iPod, knowing he got nervous when planes were taking off. He gripped her hand in his and pulled it into his lap, smiling at her once more before leaning back into the head rest and letting his eyes fall shut.

Leaning back and preparing herself for the take off and the long flight, Marley smiled and let her eyes close, deciding that this started the new chapter of her life. She was here, she was with Joe, and she was damn sure going to make the best of what she had and she was going to be happy.

And that went for everybody.
End Notes:
Song: Bold As Love - John Mayer

So this was the last chapter.

I know, I hear all of your cries of protest now, but there comes a point wen you know it's over and that time has come. Joe and Marley are happy and they're going to stay happy...any more drama with those two and it'd be absurdly unbelievable. But I love them and I love all of you who are SO AMAZING to read this and tell me what you think and I never expected it to take off like it did and it only did that because all of you made it happen, so thank you thank you.

It's been fun, but we're moving onto new things.
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