Summary: Mary was his and he was hers. Now all he had to do was convince her of that. Seven years later, Joey fixes something he should've fixed long ago. JoeyxMary.
AN: Wrote this in about an hour after seeing the movie tonight. Sort of silly and melodramatic, but essentially pretty cute. Enjoy! :D
They'd been so young. Hopeful dreamers, reaching for something they could barely comprehend. How could they have expected it all to last? Between his tour schedules and her classes, they barely managed a few hours together every month and the sound of her voice only made being apart worse. Joey knew all of this. He knew it all like the back of his own hand, or how to do a back handspring, or how one corner of Mary's mouth lifted a split second before the other when she smiled.
That didn't make it any easier to swallow, or to think about, even years later.
They'd stayed in touch, stayed friends, chatted occasionally when the notion struck. But something deeper underlined every conversation they had. He hadn't kissed her for years, hadn't held her body to his for what seemed like an eternity. But every single time he saw her, the urge was the same.
Something in him said that she was his, and that would never change. No matter how many miles separated them, or how much time stood between them - Mary was his and he was hers.
Now all he had to do was convince her of that.
It'd been nearly seven years. God, that seemed like forever.
But looking at her now, having her only just out of reach, it felt like seven minutes. She was as beautiful as ever; slim and lithe, moving with an innate grace many envied but few could emulate. It was as if at any moment she might break into dance. Her hair was a bit shorter and pulled back from her neck, piled messily atop her head, but her smile was the same and her eyes still that warm brown. She'd gained quite a reputation as a dancer, almost made herself a household name, and it'd seemed only right that he feature her in his newest music video.
And of course, the fact that he'd been planning to somehow make her a permanent fixture in his life again meant nothing.
"Hey Santiago," he said, forcing his lips into a playful smirk rather than the dumb, toothy, gleeful grin they wanted to make. "Looking good."
"Not too shabby yourself Parker," she said, her eyes sparkling. She gave him a long once-over and inwardly he preened. "Not too bad for an old man like yourself," she finished, biting her lip to hide a grin.
"Oh Santiago, you wound me!" He clutched his chest dramatically, staggering over to the baggage claim turnstile. Her laughter followed him and he didn't bother to hide the smile that resulted because of it. "How's the family? The job? The life?" he asked as he plucked familiar luggage from the circling trays. Mary raised an eyebrow at that, as if surprised he remembered, but didn't comment.
Shouldering her messenger bag a little higher, she answered. "The family is still crazy, the job is still hectic and wonderful and the life," she paused and shrugged, "Well, it'll do."
It was his turn to raise an eyebrow. "Just do? What's up?" He frowned - yeah, he wanted her back and yeah, that would mean she would have to want him back - but he didn't want her miserable just so he could get what he wanted.
"The boyfriend," she replied shortly, and his stomach dropped down to his toes. He hadn't - he didn't know - had she really? - a boyfriend wasn't - he really had not…fuck.
"Oh," he managed, his hands curling more tightly around her luggage. "Serious then?"
Mary frowned, her eyes downcast. She shrugged one shoulder too carelessly and that was his only answer.
Fuck his life.
"Peter Carter, nice to meet you," the man before him said and Joey had never so irrationally hated a name before in his life.
"Joey Parker, likewise," he murmured politely, pasting on his press smile. "I didn't realize Mary was expecting any guests." He eyed the man as surreptitiously as possible. Good looking, if you liked that sort of thing. But skinnier than him. He hid a smile, before it faded. Carter was taller than him. What a prick.
"Oh, it's actually a surprise, I hope I'm not interrupting anything important." Joey half wished he had, so he'd have a reason to be openly pissed, but rehearsal had ended almost half an hour ago and they'd just been fooling around since them.
And not that kind of fooling around. Unfortunately.
"No, no you're not. C'mon in man." Joey led him further into the studio where Mary was still dancing. They watched her in silence for a moment. She moved like liquid, or silk. Every movement was fluid and natural. Dancing with her had felt like home again and even now he itched to hold her in his arms.
Without his permission, his eyes traveled back to Peter Carter. Probably the perfect boyfriend. Probably everything Mary had ever wanted. He probably held her close and kissed her sweetly. He probably bought her perfect gifts and said the right thing all the time. He was probably everything Joey never was and because of that, Joey couldn't even hate him like he wanted to. If he made her happy, then Joey couldn't even begrudge him that.
God, he was so far head over heels for that girl, it was pathetic.
"Hey sweetheart," Peter called, taking several steps forward into the center of the studio. Mary flinched, whirling around to stare open-mouthed at her boyfriend.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Joey was bewildered to realize that Mary didn't sound happy and surprised - more like pissed and shocked. Something was wrong here. He tensed and took a step forward, unsure of the situation, but unwilling to let Mary deal with it alone.
"Baby, I'm here to apologize. I just want to tell you how upset I am how everything turned out and-" Peter took several more steps forward; Mary took twice as many back.
"Don't you come near me!" she half-shouted, her eyes bright with anger. Joey couldn't just stand by any longer, even if he had no clue as to what was going on.
"Hey, dude, I think it's time you left," Joey said in a tone that brooked no argument. "She doesn't want to see you and-"
"Why don't you just back off kid?" Peter snarled in his direction before turning back to Mary, his tone suddenly pleading. "Honey, just listen to me, I never meant to hurt you. I just missed you so much-"
"You missed me so much you had to go and fuck all of my back up dancers?" Mary's tone was pure acid, her gaze murderous. It took a moment for her words to sink into Joey's skull, but once they did, he saw red.
"He cheated on you?" Joey hissed, crossing the floor in three quick strides. "Get the hell out Carter, don't you come near her again." Joey made to grab him by his collar, but Peter swung first. Joey caught the punch on his jaw, but came back swinging. One solid left hook and Peter was down on the floor, clutching his nose, which seemed to be bleeding rather profusely.
"Stupid bitch," he swore as he stood unsteadily, lurching towards the door. Joey let him leave, his hands itching to do some more damage - but first, damage control.
"Mary?" he asked hesitantly, turning to gaze at the girl he'd always thought of as his. There were tears in the corners of her eyes threatening to spill over, but every inch of her stance said resolute.
"I'm fine Joey," she said, blinking back the tears in futility. Several still escaped and made quick paths down her cheeks. "Just… just not expecting that." She forced a tiny smile. It was so obviously fake and he was so used to her bright beaming grins that it almost hurt Joey to look at it. She took a deep breath and let her legs fold underneath her, settling herself on the studio floor. Joey mimicked her, one hand going to brush a strand of hair behind her ear.
"What happened?" he asked softly, his eyes only for her.
"Found him with my back up dancers," she replied dully. "All of them," she added, before pausing. "At once. In our bed." Joey froze. That dick.
"That jackass deserves another ass kicking," Joey made to stand, fury coursing through him, but a gentle hand on his arm gave him pause.
"Don't Joe, he's not worth it," Mary said, her cheeks tearstained, but her lips quirked in a smile. "It's so stupid to be upset."
"It's not!" Joey insisted, settling back down to catch Mary's eyes. When she didn't look at him, he brushed tenderly at her tears, drawing her gaze to his.
"It is," she replied with a sigh. "I didn't even love him." It took everything in him not to react by punching the air, shouting, yelling, dancing, singing, or anything else so obvious. Her eyes were downcast, but they slowly lifted to meet his. "He's only ever been a replacement." His breath caught in his throat and his thumb caressed her cheek unconsciously. "Joey, I've thought about you a lot since the old days," she said softly, honestly, and he gaped openly at her.
"Dammit Santiago," he managed, once his brain caught up with the rest of him, "you stole my line." He blinked. "And he was supposed to be my replacement? That scum was the best you could do to replace me?" Mary's tearful smile became a wobbly grin, bright and beautiful.
"Is that really the question you want to ask me right now Parker?" she said teasingly, tilting her head up towards his in an unmistakable invitation. Joey felt that dumb, goofy, gleeful grin appear on his face - but this time he didn't have the heart to stop it.
"No, I suppose not," he murmured, leaning forward, his lips brushing her ear. "I guess the question I want to ask would go something like, be mine?" He didn't wait for an answer. Her lips against his were all he needed. When they pulled away a fraction of an inch to breathe, he felt more than heard her words against his cheek.
"Always have been," she murmured, before capturing his lips again.
AN: Let me know what you think. (Sucky, not sucky, too short, too long, blah blah, yada yada, you get the picture.) Pleases and thank yous.