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Day Two Hundred and Seventy-Three.

F my L.

Déjà vu hit me hard enough to make my head spin at the award show from hell. I could have sworn that it was two hundred and seventy-three days prior, and Rainie and I were back to square one. Square one, dammit! Didn't anyone appreciate how far we'd come since then? Square one was like the sting of fingers on my cheek after getting personally bitch-slapped in the face by God.

("Ha! Not only will I give him diabetes and curly hair, but I'll make sure he never gets the girl, either, while constantly dangling her in front of his face like some sort of untouchable yet delicious candy!" - God).

This time around, she was sitting beside me. Well, not directly beside me. Two seats over, but it was still closer than last time, and it was ten times more painful not to look at her. Rainie had two dates to this event (which wasn't fair, because I had no dates - share the wealth, Mystery Girl), and for this reason, she sat herself in between in order to give both dates equal attention.

One date, of course, was Jesse. He was on Rainie's right side, and Rainie was on my right side, so I didn't see much of him. This was perfectly fine with me because my mission was to scout for hot girls comparable to Rainie in appearance, and only after I'd found one would I need Jesse.

The other date, who just so happened to situate herself next to me, was Lesbian Friend, whose name I had forgotten despite the number of times Rainie had mentioned her over the phone. She was still alive and kickin', and while I appreciated that she wasn't bothering me with petty, mindless questions like any other star-struck girl would be, I wouldn't mind a little attention. For fuck's sake, I'm Nick Jonas. So your secret lesbian lover dates Jesse McCartney - who cares? You're not cool; that guy's a schmuck. He sang a song about jizzing his pants when he was eleven years old. (Side-note: I know that's the hidden meaning behind ‘It Happens Every Time'. No one will ever convince me otherwise).

I spent many minutes drumming my fingers on the armrests of my seat until I gave into despair and propped my elbow on the armrest, supporting my head with my hand and pouting. You know when you can't get a song out of your head no matter how hard you try? 'Banana Phone' was on repeat, and it was making me want to die. From my left side, Joe nudged my elbow off the armrest and told me to look professional. For once, I obeyed. Because I was frustrated, I decided to take my mind off of my complicated and brutish life by paying attention to what was going on onstage.

"Thank you... wow! Thank you."

It was funny that I chose to pay attention at this exact point in time, because a certain Miley Cyrus was accepting an award for Hottest Psycho or Most Bitter Song or something along those lines.

"This award means so much to me because it's from you guys. You guys voted for my song, and I can't tell you how grateful I am for each and every one of you."

Lame.

"I want to thank my parents for always steering me in the right direction... my siblings and my band-mates..."

Here we go. This is specifically why I don't pay attention at these functions. If Kevin didn't devour our award speeches like a starved lion and a fresh zebra carcass, here's what I'd say: "This is great. Thanks." Then I'd walk away with my award, and I'd get a standing ovation for being clear, concise, and to-the-point.

"And I want to thank boys for being such inconsiderate jerks sometimes and making it so easy for me to write songs about them."

Then she held her mini trophy in the air, presented the crowd with a sparkling smile, and left. That was seriously how she ended it.

What was funny about this was that everyone in the crowd began to look around as casually as possible, and I knew they were all looking for me. Miley had made it pretty obvious that before Justy Wusty came along, I was her one and only. Interviews, songs, leaked pictures and a chapter out of her effing autobiography just about solidified it. Everyone wanted to witness my reaction to this moment. Even Joe and Kevin were blatantly staring at my expression, or lack thereof.

The great thing about me is that I don't cave under pressure. I knew people expected me to smile sheepishly, but am I a sheepish guy? Fuck that. I put my elbow back on the armrest and leaned my head against my fist, purposely looking bored in case one of the many cameras zooming in on my face was broadcasting live across the continent.

Miley's a bitch.

We'd gotten along great all summer long, we'd seen each other a few times since then, and here she was, drawing negative attention to me after I'd been nothing but pleasant to her. I answered her phone calls on occasion, I agreed to attend awkward lunches with her and other ex-girlfriends on occasion, and I - oh. The Avery thing. She was probably pissed off about the Avery thing.

To be fair, I followed Pep's instructions and called her. She didn't pick up. I didn't want to be impersonal, so I didn't leave a message. I called her several times over the next six hours, and she never answered her phone. Finally, I resorted to leaving a voicemail. I wouldn't call myself a gentleman, but even I have standards when it comes to communication and treating girls right, and voicemails aren't the way to go. They're not even considered satisfactory. They're disgustingly below par, especially for a Jonas. Better than an email or an IM, but just barely.

However, there was no choice. The voicemail, if I recall correctly, went as follows: "Hey Avery, it's Nick. I want to apologize for leaving you at the Halloween party a few weeks ago. Something came up and I had to leave right away, but there's no excuse for forgetting about you. I also forgot about my phone, if it makes you feel better, which is why I didn't call you right away. I hope things are good with you, and maybe I'll text you in a few days to see what's up. Bye."

Now, before opinions are formed, let me just reaffirm that I know I'm an asshole. I never cared about Avery, and when my plan involving her proved to be futile, I ditched her like a dirty sock. Then it took me approximately three weeks to apologize. Again, I know I'm an asshole. The thing is, the fact that I admit that I'm an asshole makes me less of an asshole. I can't explain it; it just does. It's like when alcoholics admit they have a drinking problem, and they become less of an alcoholic simply for saying it out loud. It's part of the twelve-step program.

Sure, I could have offered her a more heartfelt apology. But that would be extremely uncharacteristic of me, and it would involve saying things I wasn't entirely comfortable saying. All of my sentences are meticulously planned. Words are important, and I only say what's necessary.

(Side-note: When I said ‘maybe I'll text you in a few days', I was lying).

(Side-note #2: Pep was upset that I hadn't ‘tried harder', but you know what? That little proton could blow me if she wanted to. I was sick of her instructing me on how to deal with girls, and I decided that I definitely did not care how she thought I performed in bed. After meeting Lance, it was evident that Pep's mind was warped - either that or she didn't expect much from a man).

What it all boils down to is that I took care of Avery, and it was none of Miley's business. Still, she made sure everyone in the venue was aware of how much she still resented me almost two years after the break-up. And that's just not classy, especially with Rainie only two seats away from me.

Couldn't one of Jesse's ex-girlfriends accept an award and find some way to bash him?

Speaking of ex-girlfriends, Taylor Swift was taking the stage to perform. I glanced at Joe; he appeared to be largely unaffected. Without even trying. Piece of crap.

If only to be a bastard, I mumbled in his ear, "She looks good."

Joe growled at me, and I was satisfied with his reaction. Nonetheless, what I'd said was true - Taylor did look good. I'd always thought she had a mystic mermaid-quality to her. Her eyes were really cool, and her hair was long and always looked so soft. That was attractive, right? I was attracted to her. Was Jesse attracted to her...?

Slowly, I leaned forward in my seat in order to take a peek at Jesse three seats over. Fucking Lesbian Friend was leaning forward as well to whisper something in Rainie's ear, and then they both started giggling quietly. It bothered me that it was turning me on.

Unless I literally lifted my ass from the seat, I wasn't going to be able to see Jesse. I would simply have to assume that Taylor Swift was hot enough for him. The problem was match-making. Joe would be furious if I talked to her, and Taylor wasn't really a flirty sort of girl, anyway. There was no assurance that she would be able to capture Jesse's attention and make him fall in love within five minutes.

I needed the kind of girl who could bat her eyelashes, causing guys to fall at her feet to kiss the ground she walked on. The kind of girl who could give Jesse the attention he so selfishly desired in bed, but then give him enough space to frolic with his friends when he wanted to. An A-list celebrity was too risky and it was probable that their schedules would conflict. I needed a girl just like Rainie, whose schedule was flexible and who was always going to be available for him.

If I wasn't sitting in the third row, scouting for less-popular but amazingly hot girls would have been so much easier.

Needless to say, I was thrilled when the show ended. Thrilled. I think one of the greatest times of my life is when one award show ends, because it means I have the maximum amount of time possible before I have to attend the next one.

Then again, there's all the after-show mingling and schmoozing that I can't say I'm particularly fond of. Mingling and schmoozing isn't my scene, especially when I don't have a date to mingle and schmooze with. A date at an event such as this would hold me down. What I needed to do was to search for a date for Jesse. The large crowd that was filtering out of the venue and back onto the red carpet was overwhelming.

Rainie was ignoring me, and to be honest, I felt good about it. It meant she was still interested in me (obviously), but the best part was that I had no interest in her that night. For once, she wasn't the ultimate goal, because I had other plans in mind. She was doing me a favour by ignoring me, and Lesbian Friend was doing me an even bigger favour by holding her hand and captivating about ninety-five percent of her attention. Speaking of third wheels, Jesse had his hands in his pockets next to Rainie, greeting people as they passed and looking ultimately excluded from the love-fest that was Mystery Girl and Lesbian Friend.

Sucker.

I nudged Kevin, who was in the midst of talking to Ashley Tisdale about her latest projects, and said, "Hey. I overheard Rainie saying she wanted to talk to you about what happened between you and Danielle."

I doubted that Rainie gave a flying fuck what had transpired between Kevin and Danielle, but that was perfect. He'd prattle on long enough for me to exorcise my matchmaking abilities on Jesse and Mystery Girl #2.

Speaking of Mystery Girl #2... I found her. It was strange that she presented herself to me just as I was starting to worry I wouldn't find her. It was as if God was saying, "Alright, alright, I've teased him enough for tonight. Here you go, Nick Jonas. Use her wisely."

I wasn't about to let the Big Man down.

The moment I laid eyes on her, I knew she was Jesse's future girlfriend. It was inevitable. She had long, flowy blonde hair just like Rainie. Average height. Killer legs. Shy, flirtatious smile. I'd never seen her before, which meant she wasn't as well known in the industry.

Time to pounce.

I was feeling reasonably confident as I strolled casually towards Mystery Girl #2. I was calm, I was collected, and within minutes, she'd be wrapped around my finger.

"Big crowd, huh?" I asked, offering her a sly smirk while readjusting my tie.

Mystery Girl #2 paused, checked behind her to see if I was talking to someone else, and then raised her eyebrows in surprise. "Oh! Um... yeah. Pretty big."

"Do you come to these shows a lot?"

"Um... I've been to a few," she answered. She was nervous talking to me. She clutched her handbag in front of her with both hands, like a lost little girl.

She had sparkles on her eyelids. "Why?" she inquired.

I shrugged. "I feel like I would have noticed you before."

I probably would have, too. She was hot.

Her jaw dropped ever so slightly, like she was stunned that we were conversing, and then she chuckled softly, looking over her shoulder as if she was waiting for someone. "Yeah," she said brusquely.

Well, what did that mean? She really was Mystery Girl #2 - the Princess to Rainie's Queen Ice Bitch.

"I'm Nick, by the way," I said cheerfully, holding out my hand to shake.

"I know," she replied quietly, taking my hand in hers. "Lea."

"Lea," I repeated. (Side-note: She didn't glow like I expected her to upon my saying her name. No matter. Yahoo!'s tips can't apply to everyone). "I like that name."

"Thanks." She blushed shyly.

"So where are you from, Lea?"

She couldn't have had a more perfect answer: "New York."

Beautiful. "No way!" I exclaimed, as if it was the most unordinary occurrence in all the world. "One of my good friends is from New York. He talks about it all the time; he loves it there. I gotta introduce you. You probably know Jesse. Right? Jesse McCartney?"

Lea looked at me as if I was joking. She was probably too star-struck to function. "Yeah..." she trailed off, and I was pretty sure she was using a shield of cynicism to conceal the nerves in her voice. "I think I've heard of him."

I gestured for her to follow me, muttering to myself, "Lemme find him." And again, God was on my side, handing Jesse to me on a silver platter. This was surprisingly easier than I'd bargained for, and I almost felt bad. After all, Harry had to locate and destroy six horcruxes and then kill a Dark Lord before he could be with his Ginny, and all I had to do was hook Jesse up with another girl, which was proving to be easy as pie.

(Side-note: I never approved of the Harry/Ginny pairing. Harry and Cho were meant to be. It was love at first sight. The only problem was that Cho had a Jesse in the way, too, by the name of Cedric Diggory. Luckily, Voldemort proved to be good for something after all when he murdered Cedric. My fairy tale wouldn't end so fortunately).

"Hey, J-mac," I shouted over the noise, tapping his shoulder to get his attention. He turned and grinned upon seeing me. "I want you to meet someone," I said into his ear. I pointed to Mystery Girl #2. "This is Lea. She's a big fan."

I stood aside to let him get a good look. The smile remained on Jesse's face, though it was apparent that he thought it was odd that I was attempting to hook him up with someone.

I meant to leave the two future lovebirds alone, but I had to interject just one more time, in order to get a conversation going. "Lea's from New York, just like you," I informed him with a nod.

Jesse snorted, making no attempts to talk to Mystery Girl #2. How rude. He was a horrible boyfriend. And a horrible potential boyfriend. "Yeah... yeah I know, Jonas."

I frowned in confusion. "What, you've met before?"

Lea shook her head with a smile, and Jesse guffawed. "Once or twice," he replied, slapping a hand on my shoulder. He leaned towards me to say, "Bro, you know this is my sister, right?"

I froze. My eyes shifted from Jesse to Lea. They had the same eyes. The same coloured hair. The same effing DNA. Oh, fuck it all.

Lea smiled sarcastically at me and held out her hand again. "We met this summer on tour. A few times, actually."

Ha. I knew it was all too easy. It was apparent that I was going to have to start spending less time in my head and more time in reality, making a solid effort to copy, paste and save prototypes of people's faces in my brain.

Great. My brilliant plan was setting Jesse McCartney up with his sister. And so, God swooped in and cackled maniacally, "PONED, Nick Jonas!"

The best (and by best I mean worst) part was that Rainie looked over her shoulder from the small group with which she was conversing and raised her eyebrows up and down, as if to say to me, ‘Eat your heart out, ‘cause you'll never have me.' And then Lesbian Friend grabbed a hold of her hand again. And Jesse didn't make any sort of comment about it at all.

Pft. Mystery Slut.

Chapter End Notes:
Banana Phone -- Sometimes this song gets stuck in my head, too, Nick.
Thank you so much for all your reviews! I hope it's nice today wherever you are, because it's beautiful here and I'm going outside to enjoy :) But let me know what you think of this chapter first. Or after. You guys are the greatest.
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