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"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.
Chapter 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.
:)
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