"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.