Disclaimer: I don't own JONAS.
A/N: This is an incredibly short Joe/Stella based on "Band's Best Friend". I should be packing or responding to my reviews from the other two chapters I posted today (sorry, I promise I'll get to that). But I wanted to get this down before leaving.
Dedication: Happy Birthday Pyro!
Joe seriously wished he had just let Stella dump the pudding in Carl's hat; it would have been so much simpler. As long as he kept his friend from putting the damn thing on his head, no real harm would have been done. Honestly, how hard would it have been to just buy the guy another hat. Or ten hats – hell he was a rock star after all. He should have gone with simple.
But no – he had to the honorable thing (admittedly several years too late) and fess up. And now Stella was giving him that cocky, smug, self-satisfied look. And if he wasn't careful she might realize that the crush in elementary school never went away, which would be disastrous. He hadn't been hiding the thing for this long only to have her stupid plastic purse give him away.
"Why is Stella looking at you like that?" Nick asked.
"Like what?" Joe hoped that maybe playing dumb would get him off the hook.
"Like she knows some juicy secret that she is going to hold over you for weeks."
Joe sighed. "It's no big deal. I just told her that it wasn't Carl who put the pudding in her purse."
"Who'd you shift the blame to this time? Kevin?"
"No!" Joe said indignantly, as if he hadn't let his friend go unjustly accused for years. "I told her it was me. But then she decided that it meant I had a crush on her in elementary school."
"But you did. You still do."
"What? No I don't." Joe sputtered ineffectually.
"You don't what?" Kevin asked, arriving in the middle of the conversation.
"Have a crush on Stella," Nick replied.
"Yes he does."
"I know. Everybody knows but Stella."
"Seriously?" Joe asked morosely.
"Yup," Kevin replied cheerfully. "Mom, Dad, Frankie, Macy, your gym teacher, our manager, the guy down the street that makes the smoothies, the band…"
"Okay, you can stop now. I get the idea!" Joe snapped.
"Why don't you just ask her out?" Nick asked.
"Because she's my best friend. What if she doesn't like me? Or worse, what if she does but it goes horribly wrong?"
"Or what if someone else asks her out first, and you have to stand by and watch?" Nick replied.
When his brother didn't reply, Nick patted him on the shoulder and added. "Just think about it."
"Yeah," Kevin added. "Don't let her get away because you're chicken." The oldest Lucas got a dreamy look on his face. "Yum, chicken. Do you know if there are any chicken wings left?"
"I don't know, Kev. Let's leave Romeo here and go look."
Joe stared glumly at the ground, once again wishing he had taken the simple way out. He didn't need things with Stella to get any more complicated than they already were. He wanted to be able to just pretend he thought of her as a friend while sabotaging any potential relationships she might think about starting – at least until he was a little more mature. Cause he was smart enough to know that right now, even if he was lucky enough to date her, he'd just mess it up somehow. He just needed a little more time.
Looking across the room at the bubbly blonde, he hoped she'd wait for him.