- Text Size +
"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.
Chapter 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?
You must login (register) to review.