Dinner with the Jonas family was great. When we had all piled into the cars to head to the restaurant earlier, I had felt a little nervous.
I didn’t really know what to expect after everything that happened between Joe and me. And sure, when I walked into the house, they had mostly been thrilled to see I was back, but still I couldn’t help but feel that they would think less of me. I had hurt their son a lot, I was aware of that, so I guess a part of me was still expecting them to grill me about that.
But it never happened.
It was as if I had never left, as if nothing bad ever went down between Joe and I.
“Hey Nick,” I said as we all started to get ready to leave.
Nick had been sitting on the other side of me and hadn’t really said a lot to me all night. I wanted to know why. I wanted to know if he was okay with me being here again.
Nick turned around and stared at me as he paused his steps. Joe, who was standing behind me and apparently not paying attention bumped right into me when we stopped walking.
“Nick I just… are we okay?” I asked carefully, looking up at him.
I felt Joe’s hand squeeze my own and I looked at him over my shoulder, watching a small smile spread across his face. I smiled back at him before bringing my attention back to his younger brother in front of me.
“You’re a good girl, Amber,” he said after letting a heavy sigh fall from his lips. “You really hurt Joe but it’s so obvious that you guys can’t live without each other.”
I smiled a little wider after that, feeling Joe squeeze my hand again. He then let go of it and said that he’d already be going outside. After a quick kiss on the side of my head, he walked right by Nick and I, making his way over to the exit.
“We were all afraid that after you left, things would be bad again,” Nick continued as we started to slowly make our way outside as well. “But he didn’t because a part of him knew that you two would be okay. When he found out that you had left, he went crazy though. He was always calling people to try and figure out your address. Luckily there weren’t that many people with your last name in Chicago so he found you pretty quickly. When you first left though, I couldn’t help but tell Joe ‘I told you so’. It wasn’t a nice move on my part, but I had the feeling that you would just end up hurting each other at one point.”
“I know I hurt him a lot,” I said softly, hanging my head as I walked beside him. “But I will never do that again. I made a terrible mistake.”
“I hope you won’t. Because I don’t think he’ll ever be able to get over it if you do.” He briefly glanced at me before pushing the door open and heading outside.
Joe was leaning against the wall, waiting for me to come outside.
“Hey,” he breathed when he wrapped his arms around me, pulling me against his chest. “Please don’t freak out but there’s paparazzi out there,” he whispered before pulling back a little. “Someone must have tipped them off.”
“It’s alright,” I replied with a smile.
“So what did he say?” Joe asked as we started to make our way over to his car where Frankie and Nick were already waiting for us.
“I think we’re cool.” I wrapped my arm around Joe’s waist and looked up at him.
He let out a small sigh of relief and kissed the side of my head while his arm snaked around my shoulders, pulling me closer to his body. I brought my free hand up to grab his hanging over my shoulder and gave it a little squeeze as we continued to make our way over to the car.
Thankfully, the paparazzi kept their distance rather than shoving their cameras up our faces. It made me wonder if maybe Joe had already talked to them, asking them to not overwhelm us.
As soon as we had reached the car, Joe opened the door to the passenger seat for me. The paparazzi wished us a good night and then took off. Joe smiled at them, wishing them a good night as well before he closed the door and walked around the car to get in on the driver’s side.
The ride back home was silent and when I glanced into the backseat, I noticed that Frankie had fallen asleep against the window. I chuckled at the sight, turning back around in my seat to stare at the road in front of me.
At the most random moment, Joe grabbed my hand again.
I hadn’t kept count of how many times he had held my hand tonight, but I knew it was a lot. He had always taken me by surprise. It almost made me feel like he was afraid I would slip right through his fingers if he couldn’t squeeze my hand.
And honestly, it made me love him even more.
It was simple things like these that meant the most to me.
He was really scared of losing me again and quite honestly, so was I.
We were still broken, putting back together all the pieces. But it was always going to be a part of us.
When we arrived back at the house, Joe stopped me as I wanted to get out of the car. “We’re not getting out,” he said with a shake of his head, a tiny smirk dancing on his lips as he looked into my eyes.
“Why not?” I asked curiously.
“Because we’re going somewhere. There’s something I want to show you.”
“Joe, it’s almost midnight,” I chuckled as he took off again. “Where are you taking me?”
“You’ll see,” he said. He turned to look at me and winked right before he brought his attention back to the road.
I just sat there next to him, staring at him in confusion as he drove to wherever he wanted to take me.
While Joe drove us over there, I looked out the window to try and figure out exactly where we were going, but I didn’t recognize any of my surroundings, plus, it was almost midnight so I couldn’t exactly do a lot of observing.
When Joe parked the car in front of a house I didn't recognize, I got skeptical. I had no idea what we were doing here - why he had parked the car on the driveway of a completely dark house.
Were we going to become criminals and do some breaking and entering?
"Joe?" I asked as I slammed the car door shut and met up with him on the other side. "What are we doing here?"
"Well, these past few days I've been doing some thinking," he started as he wrapped his arm around my shoulders, bringing me over to the front door. "And especially after everything that happened at home, I needed to escape a little... So, I decided that maybe instead of hiding at your apartment, it was time I got my own place." My eyes widened as he pulled a set of keys out of the pocket of his pants. "So I bought this house."
"Joe," I gasped as I stared at the big white walls in front of me.
The house looked huge – bigger than what he and Penny needed for sure. I felt a shot of pain through my heart when I realized this.
He wanted a big family.
He had grown up in a family of four kids and I was positive he wanted at least that himself. To be honest, I wanted a big family as well, but it was entirely too early to be thinking about starting a family with Joe, especially after what I had done.
"I know it's big," he continued, unlocking the door and letting me go in first, "but I was hoping that we could sell the apartment and you could stay here... With Penny and me."
I nearly choked on my saliva right then and there.
He wanted us to live together?
"Are you- are you serious? Joe that's, that's a really big step, you know," I said while I gave myself the opportunity to stare around the grand foyer I was standing in.
When it came to houses and apartments, Joe really knew exactly what to pick. The apartment was beautiful, but this house was even more beautiful.
"I know." He closed the door behind him and took a step towards me, rubbing his hand up and down my arm.
"We've just made up, Joe. I- don't you think we should take things slow this time?"
"I can't." He softly shook his head. "When it comes to you I just... I want everything, Amber. We move fast that's who we are. Yeah maybe this is crazy and stupid but it's what I want. I can't help it."
Smiling, I took a step towards him, closing the distance between us. I grabbed his free hand and gave it a little squeeze while I looked down at it. "I want it, too, Joe," I said lifting my hand to look at him again.
He smiled at me, his fingers combing through the lose strands of hair which Will had curled earlier this evening.
"But maybe we should wait a little." I was trying to be careful with my words – I didn't want to hurt him any more than I already had.
Joe sighed, but still nodded his head in agreement.
"Will you stay here with me tonight though?" He looked at me, hope twinkling in his eyes.
"Yeah I will," I answered with a wide smile. "I want the grand tour."
"Well then, this way milady," he said in a poor English accent as he bowed, stretching his arm out into the direction of a door on our left.
"Why thank you," I replied with a small chuckle and a bow of my own before I headed into the next room.
When he flicked on the light, I noticed we were standing in the living room. Hardwood floors, cream-colored walls and larges floor-to-ceiling windows.
He hadn’t brought a lot of furniture in yet, but there was a large white leather couch in front of the fireplace and another one in front of a flat screen TV on the wall.
But what struck me the most was the baby grand in front of the big window.
Right next to it were three guitars – two acoustic ones and an electric one. Almost immediately, I ran over to the piano and ran my fingers over the keys.
Joe made his way over to me, chuckling as he looked at me playing a random melody. The notes didn’t go together, but I loved the fact he had musical instruments in his house.
“Joe,” I gasped, noticing the sheet music on top of the baby grand. “Are you- are you writing again?” I turned around to stare at him and noticed how his cheeks had started to turn a light red.
“Yeah. I felt inspired.”
“Play something for me?” I grabbed some of the sheet music and glanced over it quickly, trying to figure out what the songs could be about.
But before I had a chance to actually read some of the words, Joe snatched them out of my hand.
“Joe!” I whined, trying to grab them from him again.
“Amber, I don’t know,” he sighed, looking down at the music he had written.
“How are you gonna be able to play them in front of a crowd if you won’t even play them for your girlfriend?”
“Who says I’m gonna play them in front of a crowd?” He looked up at me, his eyebrows knit together in confusion.
“Joe, you’re writing again. This obviously means something. You’ve always played music… it’s in your blood.”
Sighing, Joe shook his head and put the music back down.
“I don’t know, Amber I- I haven’t performed music in over a year.”
“Then please, practice and play a song for me.” I grabbed the first page of music again and held it out for him.
Joe looked at it and seemed hesitant at first, but eventually he took it from me. After reading over his words and notes, he grabbed an acoustic guitar and sat down on the cushioned bench in front of the piano.
I squealed as I sat down next to him, looking at him with big eyes as he started to strum his guitar.
Even though he hadn’t sang in a long time, he still sounded amazing.
I heard a couple of his songs from when he played with his brothers and he still had the voice of an angel.
“Pull me close and I'll hold you tight. Don't be scared 'cause I'm on your side. Know there's nothing I wouldn't do for you. I will take your pain and put it on my heart. I won't hesitate just tell me where to start. I thank the oceans for giving me you. You saved me once and I'll save you too. I won't hesitate for you,” he sang as I listened in awe. I let every word nestle into my brain as he finished the song.
When he played the last chord, he looked down at his guitar, all the emotions he had let out in his song floating around us.
He had written a love song.
A love song.
“That was beautiful, Joe,” I whispered when his eyes met mine again.
“I wrote it for you, you know,” he admitted when he put the guitar back down where he had gotten it. When he sat back down next to me, the tears were already stinging in my eyes.
He had written a love song for me.
“It came to me before we broke up but I never really felt like it was good enough. After you left, I finalized the song. I wrote some more stuff while you were gone just to help me cope.”
I didn’t know what to say to him. I didn’t know how to react to this information. Never had anyone written a song for me, so I was overwhelmed with emotions.
“I really mean it when I say I want everything with you, Amber. And I think the fact that we’re here again after what happened is a sign that… that maybe you’re it for me.”
I stared into his eyes for a few seconds before I let my lips touch his in a gentle kiss. My hands held on to his face as our lips moved together.
“I think you’re it for me too, Joe,” I whispered against his lips before looking back up into his eyes.
Joe’s smile stretched across his entire face before he brought my mouth back down to his.