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12

Vivian came over that evening to help Cali get ready for her date. She picked out a form fitting black mini dress for her to wear with a pair of six inch Jimmy Choo’s. Okay, yeah… she was a model and everything, but she was never that good at walking around in heels. She was literally going to break her neck wearing those things – especially when she got some alcohol in her. She just knew it. But Vivian convinced her she’d be fine.

Rhys showed up at Cali’s house first to pick up Viv. Will was next to get her and the four of them took an Uber into the heart of the city. Because they were models, all four of them got VIP access to the club. It was absolutely packed due to it being New Year’s, but they still managed to have fun. Cali got some drinks in her and she and Viv went out on the dance floor to tear it up. Rhys and Will joined them not long after.

At about eleven Joe, Nick and Jack showed up at the club – all dateless. And Cali wondered what the hell three sexy men like them were doing without dates. It didn’t make sense to her. They were all sitting in the VIP lounge talking and overall having a good time with each other. Cali couldn’t believe how good Will was getting along with Rhys, Joe and his friends. It felt odd to her, to see her former lover conversing with the man she was on a date with. It felt wrong somehow. And leave it to Joe to make everything more awkward for her, by not-so subtly keeping his eye on her all evening.

“Joe won’t stop staring at me,” Cali whispered to Vivian, just loud enough for her to hear.

“What?” She asked, looking over in his direction.

“Well, don’t look,” Cali hissed, hitting her on the arm.

Jesus,” Vivian yelped, grabbing the spot on her arm where Cali hit her.

“Sorry! Sorry, I didn’t mean to hit you that hard,” Cali apologized, unable to hold back her laughter. She definitely felt drunk and when she was drunk, she giggled a lot.

“Why is he looking at you?” Vivian asked her, trying to casually look in Joe’s direction.

“I don’t know. I don’t think he likes that I’m here with Will,” Cali said, shrugging her shoulders.

“Well, fuck him. Will is so hot, it’s ridiculous,” Vivian said, looking over at Will as he talked with Rhys and Nick just a little ways away from them. Cali sent her an odd look.

“What?” Vivian laughed.

“Keep your eyes on your own date,” Cali laughed. She didn’t need another situation like the time Vivian slept with Joe. Not that it was the same situation, but damn.

“Oh, shut the fuck up,” Vivian laughed, taking a big sip of her drink.

When Cali looked back up at Will, he gave her a smile and Cali couldn’t help but smile back. He was ridiculously hot. She had to agree with Vivian on that one.

A moment later, she felt Joe’s eyes on her again and she made eye contact with him. He bounced his eyebrows suggestively at her and she couldn’t stop herself from smiling. She giggled and shook her head at him, causing him to laugh a little too. Oh, God. What the hell was happening? She almost felt guilty being there with another man when she’d been spending all this time sleeping with Joe. But she wasn’t sure how she felt about him and she didn’t know if she wanted to go down that slippery slope with him.

“It’s almost midnight! We have to go out into the crowd!” Vivian told everyone, shaking Cali out of her head.

They all grabbed a glass of champagne from a nearby waitress and went to join in on the festivities with the other club-goers. Once they maneuvered their way into the crowd, they all stood in a group in the middle of the crowded dance floor, waiting for midnight. All the lads were in deep conversation with each other. Will was getting along with all of them and it kind of made Cali feel happy and uneasy at the same time. Joe was standing next to her – unusually close, while Will was on her other side, still talking to Nick. She felt Joe’s hand caress her bum and she gave him a look, in which he just smirked back at her.

Then a voice came over the loudspeaker of the club letting them all know they were just about to ring in the New Year. Joe eyed her and she eyed him back. She saw him look over at Will and their group of friends, then back at her.

“What?” She asked, but wasn’t sure if it was said loud enough for him to hear.

Before she knew it, she felt his hand grab hers and he began to pull her through the crowd.

“Joe, what are you doing?” She yelled at him. He didn’t answer, he just maneuvered her through the crowd until they were in the hallway by the bathrooms of the club – hidden away from their group of friends.

“You’re crazy. What are you doing?” She told him as he pushed her up against the wall.

“It’s almost midnight,” he breathed against her lips.

“It’s almost midnight!” They heard over the loudspeaker.

“See,” Joe said with a smirk.

“Guys grab your lady’s for that special midnight kiss!” The emcee said.

“So? What are you doing? I’m on a date, Joe,” Cali protested.

“Like I’m going to let you kiss him at midnight,” Joe scoffed.

“Joe!” She yelped, pushing against him.

“10, 9, 8, 7, 6…” The countdown started.

“Joe, seriously!” She said as he pressed his body tighter against hers, closing in on her.

“5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – Happy New Year!” Everyone screamed.

Joe’s lips crashed against Cali’s in a hungered fashion. She kissed back, and she couldn’t help but feel like the kiss meant so much more than every other kiss they shared over the past two months. His hands wandered up her body as his tongue slipped into her mouth.

“Joe… Joe… Jesus, Joe!” Cali said, pushing him away from her.

“What?” He asked, looking into her eyes.

“I am on a date!” She yelled at him and he stared at her blankly.

“You can’t just… you can’t just do that!” She yelled.

She was angry because Joe just loved pushing boundaries. But she figured she was more-so angry at herself because she liked the kiss a little too much. Joe certainly had a way of turning her on. And being pushed up against a wall and kissed like that was definitely a fantasy she always had.

“S-sorry,” he said, looking down at the floor.

“Yeah,” she scoffed.

She hesitated for a few moments before she walked away from him, going back through the crowd. When she got back, Will was still talking to the guys. He didn’t even seem to notice that she was gone. Really? Really, dude? What the hell did he do during the countdown? It annoyed her. He seemed to like Joe’s friend’s company more than hers.

Cali saw Joe come back to the group too, looking sheepish – like he just did something wrong – which he did. The only people to notice either of their presences was Jack who just gave Joe a quick glance when he walked back up, and Vivian who asked Cali where the hell she was, in which she told her she was in the bathroom.

A few minutes later, Will was at the bar with the guys getting another round when Cali decided to-hell-with-it. If Will didn’t care to keep her company, she knew someone who would. Swiftly, she walked over to Joe, who was standing off to the side, and grabbed his hand. This time she led him through the crowd, but not to the bathroom. She led him out the doors of the club.

“Where are we going?” He asked as Cali hailed down a cab.

“Home,” she said matter-of-factly.

As they got into the car, Cali gave the driver their address. Before another word was spoken, her lips met Joe’s in a mix of want and need. The ride wasn’t long and soon enough they were stumbling out of the car and up the stairs to their apartments. Before she could even get her keys out, Joe had his out, unlocking his door. Cali literally pushed him into his apartment as she kissed him and he pulled her swiftly to his room once he kicked the door shut, unzipping the back of her dress during the process. He gently slipped the straps of her dress off her shoulders and it fell down her body effortlessly, pooling at her ankles. Joe quickly went to unbuttoning his white shirt and she helped undress him by unbuckling his belt, and then unbuttoning and unzipping his slacks. She took off her bra in one swift motion, tossing it aside. He urged her to lie back on the bed and then he pulled off her panties before crawling up her body to tower over her.

“So glad it’s you here with me,” she told him. Seconds later, she felt the weight of those words crash over her. Did she really just admit that out loud?

Oh, god. Me too,” he moaned, before capturing her lips with his own. With his confession, she didn’t feel so embarrassed.

As they kissed, his hips began to rock against her in a mind-numbing, hypnotizing fashion.

“Oh, please,” she moaned as his teasing was getting the best of her.

He smirked as he leaned over to get a condom out of his nightstand and put it on himself. It didn’t take him long for him to push inside of her and she let out a low, satisfied moan. Yes, this was what she wanted.

As always, his sex was exactly what she needed to quench her sexual appetite. And once they were done, Joe got up and left the room. She laid there for a few moments, expecting him to come back in, but the seconds and minutes seemed to tick by and she was left questioning whether or not he was going to come back.

“Joe? Where are you?” Cali asked, but got no answer. Hmph.

Cali crawled out of the bed, wrapping his blanket around her body and walked out of the room to find him. He was sitting on the couch wearing a pair of boxers, the only light was a dimly lit lamp on the table next to the couch.

“Joe, what are you doing?” She asked as she sat next to him on the couch and he shrugged his shoulders.

“You’re… you’re acting weird,” she said, nudging him in the shoulder with her shoulder.

“I-I… Cali…” He began, the words falling short on his tongue.

“Yeah, Joe?” She asked, watching him, waiting for him to speak again.

“I-I… uh…” He stammered.

“What is it Joe?” Cali giggled a little at his inability for words in the moment.

“I like you, Cali,” he blurted out.

Cali froze – all the blood flowing to her cheeks, causing her face to burn red. Her stomach immediately tied in knots and she felt like she just might throw up. What did he just say?

“Uh…” She couldn’t find the words – any words.

“I just… seeing you on your date – even hearing about your date screwed with my head,” Joe said, running his fingers through his hair.

“Joe…” Cali breathed. She really didn’t know what to say.

“Cali… I don’t like seeing you with other guys,” he said, finally looking at her. What?

“I want us to be… I don’t know. I want us to start… seeing each other… exclusively,” he told her, looking at her with such vulnerability that it made her anxiety skyrocket.

She was silent – silently about to throw up from her nerves. When the hell did he start feeling like that? Yeah, okay… she started feeling differently toward him since they started their friends-with-benefits sexcapades, but not in a million years did she expect those words to ever come out of his mouth.

“Cali?” He questioned, looking at her hopefully.

Hmm?” She answered, looking down at her hands.

“Are you going to say something? Do you… what do you think?” He asked, his voice shaking slightly.

“Uh…” She stuttered.

“How do you feel about me?” He rephrased.

“I-I like you, Joe,” she admitted, tentatively looking up into his eyes.

“You do?” He asked as a smile grew about a mile wide on his face.

“Yeah… I mean, we’ve gotten pretty close in the past couple of months,” she said and she could feel her body lightly shaking – partly because she was a bit cold, but mostly because of her nerves.

“So, what do you think of us starting to… date?” He asked, looking at her hopefully.

“I mean, we could try it. See where it leads us,” she said, biting her bottom lip.

“You think so?” He asked, sounding relieved. Cali nodded her head as her eyes met his again. He leaned over and kissed her softly.

“You want to go to bed?” He asked when he pulled back.

“Yeah,” she said, pulling the blankets a little tighter around her body.

Joe stood up and grabbed her hand, helping her up from the couch. They two of them walked to his bedroom hand-in-hand and got into bed. Cali fell asleep in Joe’s warm arms – which surprised her, since she figured her mind would forbid her to sleep after the bomb Joe dropped. She was now dating Joe Jonas. Did that like, make her his… his girlfriend? Never in a million years did she see it playing out like this.

Joe and Cali were woken up in the morning with a start.

“Yo! Joe! Get out of bed!” They heard Nick call through Joe’s apartment.

Shit,” Joe gasped and jumped out of bed. He quickly slipped on a pair of pajama bottoms before heading out of his room, leaving the door open only a crack.

“Get up. Come on, dude,” Nick told his brother.

“I’ll meet you there, man,” Joe told him, sounding a bit taken aback.

“You got a girl here or something?” Nick asked, chuckling playfully.

“Just get out of here,” Cali heard Joe mumble.

“Who you got in there?” Nick asked him.

“No one,” Joe retorted and it made Cali’s heart drop. Nice. It was like they were back in high school – not like Joe would have ever slept with her in high school, but Jesus Christ – the way he sounded embarrassed that she was even in his bed. For fuck’s sake.

“Come on, Joe. Who is it?” Nick asked, his voice getting closer to the bedroom doorway. There was a brief few seconds where Cali was sure Nick peeked in the bedroom at her and she felt absolutely humiliated.

“Oh my god! You slept with Brace Face?” Nick freaked out, his voice low, but still loud enough to hear. Nope, now she felt absolutely humiliated.

“Shut up. You’re going to wake her up,” Joe told his brother. Wow. Too late.

“I can’t believe you’re sleeping with Brace Face,” Nick said in amusement, laughing to himself.

“Nick, shut the fuck up. It’s nothing. I mean, she’s fucking hot now. Why not?” Joe said, his words making her feel absolutely used and degraded.

“Right on,” Nick laughed.

“So, get the fuck out of here,” Joe said, trying to shoo him out.

“Can’t I be here when she makes her walk of shame?” Nick laughed. Asshole.

“Get the fuck out,” Joe told him sternly.

“Fine. But you’re going to tell me everything when you come to the jam space later,” Nick told him.

“Yeah, whatever,” Joe told him finally. Cali heard the door close and held her breath, knowing Joe would be back any second.

Cali was sitting up in bed when he came back in.

“Cali. You’re awake,” Joe said, sounding surprised. Yeah, she was awake and she heard everything. She heard how embarrassed he was that his brother caught her in his bed. She was angry, absolutely livid. Apparently, she was nothing to him.

Without a word she got out of bed and began clothing herself.

“Cali, what are you doing?” Joe asked, his voice full of protest.

Fuck you, Joe,” she shot at him.

“Cali! I’m sorry, he just showed up,” Joe panicked.

“Way to fucking stand up for me,” she yelled at him as she slipped back into her dress.

“I’m sorry,” he said again, hanging his head.

“Fuck off,” she said and left his bedroom without another word.

She didn’t give a shit that her dress was half hanging off her, or that she left her Jimmy Choo’s behind. She just needed to get the fuck out of there.

“Cali, please wait!” Joe yelled, coming after her. She ignored him as she threw open his apartment door and slammed it behind her.

“Cali!” Joe yelled as he opened his door to follow her out.

She grabbed for her hidden key resting on her door frame – she always put it there when she didn’t want to carry a purse with her. She unlocked her door as Joe stood next to her begging for her forgiveness.

Fuck you, Joe,” she said and went inside, slamming her door in his face.

Joe stood outside her door for a while, pounding and begging her to forgive him. She ignored him – she was incredibly hurt. He convinced her he changed, but in reality, he was still the same dick he always was. She was never good enough for him – she still wasn’t, apparently.

Cali took a shower, wanting to rid herself of any trace of Joe Jonas. But every time in her life that she wanted to cleanse herself of him, she never could get him out of her mind. He was always there – and she was afraid he was always going to be there.

She really thought they were going to be able to start something real with one another. As soon as he mentioned it the previous night, she realized it was something she unconsciously wanted for a while – to be with Joe… exclusively. But she didn’t know anymore. Not after he showed her who he really was – the same asshole he always had been.

When Cali came out of the shower, she no longer heard Joe’s pounding and pleas through the door. On one hand, she was relieved because she was so angry with him and he needed to leave her the fuck alone. But on the other, she was saddened that he gave up already because it meant that he really didn’t care that much. Ugh. She hated being so wishy-washy. She wanted him to be miserable, but she also wanted nothing more than to just go over there and make him happy – no matter the pain he caused her. She was an empath by nature and she hated it.

Cali spent quite a while that morning just lying in bed in a daze. After her shower, she didn’t even bother getting dressed, she just curled up on her bed instead. She didn’t even realize she was crying until her vision began to blur and by then her pillow was already stained with tears. After a little while, she heard knocking on her door again – he was back. She groaned to herself, throwing her pillow over her head to drown out the sound. Fuck him. He could pound and grovel all he wanted – it wasn’t going to make a difference to her.

Her phone buzzed suddenly on her nightstand causing a terrible noise as it rattled against the wood. Cali grabbed for it, expecting it to be Joe – who already called upwards of twenty times that morning. But, she was surprised when it read Vivian instead.

“Hey,” Cali answered quietly, wiping at her eyes.

“Are you home? Because I’ve been knocking on your door for like, five minutes. Joe says you’re here, but I mean…” Viv said, cutting herself off.

“Joe’s out there?” Cali asked sharply.

“Nah, he went back into his apartment,” Vivian told her.

“You’re not lying for him, are you?” Cali asked accusatorily.

“Cali, what the fuck is going on between you two? Joe was just out here trying to get me to get you to talk to him,” Viv told her.

“Hold on. Let me get dressed and I’ll let you in,” Cali said, crawling out of bed as her towel fell from her naked body.

“So, you are home?” Vivian asked.

“Yes, I am home,” Cali told her.

Cali hung up the phone and threw on some sweats and a t-shirt before heading to the door to let her best friend in. She did a quick sweep of the hallway and didn’t see Joe, feeling relieved that she didn’t have to deal with him. Once Vivian was in the apartment, Cali shut and locked the door to keep Joe out.

“What the fuck is going on?” Vivian asked again and Cali rolled her eyes.

“Okay, let’s start with last night. Where the hell did you go? You just dipped out on your date with Will. He’s a great guy, Cal. What the hell?” She asked with her hands on her hips.

Oh, God. I know and I feel bad now,” Cali said, plopping down on the couch and Vivian sat down with her.

Now? What? You didn’t feel bad before?” She asked and Cali hesitated.

“What is going on?” She asked again, her voice more strained.

“Joe and I…” Cali started, but she wasn’t sure how to explain it.

“So, he is the one you left with?” Vivian asked, sounding bored with the whole situation. Cali hooking up with Joe was old news to her and she was bored with it.

“Well yeah, but…” Cali said before Vivian cut her off.

“Cali, I cannot believe you. You could have had a real boyfriend instead of some prick you sleep with on occasion. Don’t you remember how he used to make you feel?” She asked, looking at her with absolute disappointment.

“Oh, I remember,” Cali snapped as a twinge of pain shot through her heart remembering his ignorance from that morning.

“Then, what the fuck? Will is so fucking hot, he’s rich, he likes you…” She explained, pretty much unknowingly summing up Joe as well.

“I don’t know. There was something with Joe,” Cali said quietly.

“Something, like what? He makes your panties wet? You can find that with a lot of guys,” Vivian said, rolling her eyes.

“I liked him,” Cali admitted.

“You liked him?” Vivian asked, sounding displeased.

“Yeah…” Cali said, quietly looking down at her hands, really trying not to cry.

“Wait, what do you mean ‘liked’?” She asked and Cali hesitated again.

Calista…” She warned.

“Last night he told me he had feelings for me…” Cali said quietly. Vivian laughed out loud, but stopped when she noticed Cali wasn’t laughing.

“Oh, you’re being serious,” she said, letting the smile drop off her face.

Yeah,” Cali said, getting annoyed with her best friend.

“Okay, so what happened?” Vivian asked impatiently.

“He told me he didn’t want me to date anyone else, that he wanted us to be exclusive,” Cali explained.

“He told you?” She asked, implying that Joe demanded she stop seeing other people.

“Will you please just shut the fuck up right now?” Cali asked with attitude. Vivian was annoying the shit out of her.

“Sorry,” Viv said with a smirk.

“So, he asked me if I wanted to be exclusive and I told him I did. But then this morning his brother – you know, Nick – showed up at his place. Joe went to go head him off or whatever – like, embarrassed for his brother to see I was in his bed. I could hear their entire conversation and Nick was just talking all kinds of shit about me, and Joe – he wasn’t like saying anything bad, but he wasn’t defending me to Nick. And then he pretty much told Nick I was nothing to him and that he was hooking up with me because I was hot,” Cali explained to her.

“So he like, regressed or whatever to a fucking high schooler?” She asked, sounding utterly annoyed.

“Pretty much,” Cali told her.

“Well, you can probably give Will a call and tell him you got sick and had to leave or something. I’m sure it’s not too late to get him to forgive you,” Vivian suggested, completely shrugging off Cali’s whole situation with Joe.

“You’re really fucking making me angry right now!” Cali growled as she got up from the couch and started pacing.

“Why? Fuck Joe Jonas,” she scoffed with a laugh.

“You already did!” Cali threw at her bitterly.

“I thought we weren’t going to talk about that ever again,” Vivian said, standing up from the couch – the couch she fucked Joe on.

“Well frankly, it’s kind of fucked up, Vivian!” Cali told her finally.

“Whoa! What?” Vivian said, dropping her mouth open, looking offended.

“I mean, what the fuck were you thinking? I am your best friend, Viv. Joe Jonas was my enemy – someone who took pleasure in making me feel like shit and you decided you were going to fuck him – in my apartment, no less!” Cali yelled at her, finally getting her anger over the situation off her chest.

“I’m sorry, Cal,” Vivian said, looking away from her.

“It just – it just made me feel like shit,” Cali told her, her voice calmer than it was seconds before.

“Really, Cal. I’m sorry. I regret it. If I had it to do over again, I would have never let it happen,” Vivian admitted.

“Thank you,” Cali said quietly, crossing her arms over her chest.

“So, okay – you and Joe have feelings for each other?” She asked, trying to be more sensitive to the situation.

“I did – but… I don’t know anymore. He’s not the person I thought he was,” Cali said quietly.

“He’s not good enough for you, Cali. And I mean that,” Vivian told her.

“But what if he is?” Cali asked, looking up into her best friends eyes.

“He’s not! If he can’t defend you to his brother, then who the fuck is he to you? Just the same old jerk he’s always been,” Vivian exploded, but all Cali could do was shrug.

“You’re going to forgive him, aren’t you? Cal, come on. Where is the strong girl I’ve always known? Joe Jonas has turned you into a marshmallow,” Vivian snapped.

“I-I think I love him,” Cali admitted for the first time out loud.

What!?” Vivian screamed. Cali looked at her with wide eyes. She felt absolutely terrified.

Honestly, she hadn’t even thought about it until it fell from her lips. Oh, god. She was in love with him. Oh, dear god. She suddenly wanted to puke – her nerves began working overtime.

“Cali, have you lost your damn mind?” Vivian asked sternly.

“I’ve never even thought about it… God, do I love him?” Cali asked rhetorically.

“You’re crazy if you do,” she scoffed.

“You don’t know him like I do, Viv. He’s sweet and funny – God, he can make me laugh. And he’s amazing in bed – so amazing,” Cali said with a smile on her face.

“You’re grossing me out,” Vivian laughed.

Oh, God. Why did he have to ruin it? Why couldn’t he just stay the way he has been? He just had to ruin it. God damn it,” Cali growled, getting extremely emotional as her eyes welled with tears.

“Oh, Cal. Don’t cry,” Viv said, walking toward Cali, wrapping her arms around her.

“Why did he have to do this to me?” Cali whimpered as she cried on Vivian’s shoulder.

“I’m sorry, sweetie,” she cooed in her ear, holding her as she cried.

“Maybe you should talk to him,” Viv offered after Cali began to calm down.

“No. I don’t think things will ever be the same with him again. I can’t trust him,” Cali said, shaking it off like it was the most insane thing she ever heard.

Fuck Joe Jonas. How would she ever be able to trust him again? She couldn’t. She wouldn’t. He left invisible scars within her when they were younger and that morning he gashed them wide open again, leaving her bloody and broken.

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