A/N: Sorry I didn't post this last night, my friend showed up with 17 Again and we watched that. This took me a couple weeks to actually finish – so I hope somebody likes it. It was crazy to write and I'm sorry it's so long! It's just over 8,000 words! My longest one-shot ever.
Dedication: faerietaleredux. I probably wouldn't have started a JONAS fic for a very long time if it weren't for her. And her asking about it regularly was mega motivation to get it done. I just hadn't planned on it being so big and taking so long. So this is for her. I hope you like it Jenn!
Disclaimer: I don't own JONAS.
Joe sighed as he threw the blankets off himself and sat up in bed. It was the start of another routine day. Get up. Eat. Go to school. Come home. Do homework. Eat. Practice. Sleep. Repeat. Sometimes they got to toss extras in, but that was rare. There were only so many awards, premieres and concerts they could attend on school nights. At least on the weekends he got to live his fame up – flying off to various cities for appearances, interviews and parties. He just wanted to do something different. He couldn't remember the last time he'd done something spontaneous – just for the hell of it. He wanted to do something new. He was tired of not having any fun. He didn't want to just sit here watching time pass him by. Every day – every minute – he got older and missed another opportunity.
By the time he made his way to school he'd toned his annoyance down to a dull whisper in the back of his mind – another part of the routine. He greeted Stella with his usual grin and teased his brothers half-heartedly. When Macy came around he greeted her before he made his excuses and headed in the opposite direction – only Kevin lacked enough self-preservation to be in her presence for more than a few minutes. Not that he blamed his brother or anything - Joe saw the way Kevin's stare lingered on the excitable girl too long to be merely platonic – he just personally didn't want to bother with the risk of it.
He was up the stairs and down the hall before a thought occurred to him. With a smirk on his face he spun on a dime and marched straight back to where he'd left everyone. It was a minor start, but the break from the routine was just what he needed to liven up his day. When he reached them he noticed Nick and Stella had disappeared as well and it was now only Kevin and Macy – the latter being the first to spot him.
"Hi Joe!" she greeted excitedly, turning to be able to face both Kevin and him at once. Her softball bat only missed Kevin's arm by an inch. "Did you forget something?"
"Nah," he shook his head. "Just realized I didn't have anywhere else to be."
Kevin smiled as if he found some secret meaning in these words. "If you're looking for Stella I think she said something about the library."
"No," Joe shook his head again. "I'll see her later. We have second period together today."
"Oh," Kevin blinked.
"So what'd I miss? What're we talking about?"
"Kevin was just telling me about JONAS' plans this weekend," Macy gushed. "It sounds so exciting!"
Joe held back the comment on the tip of his tongue – 'All we're doing is going to play another concert in New York City. Nothing overly exciting about that.' He assumed that if you didn't fly off regularly for things like that it would be a big deal to someone. He remembered when the band first got started in the business and he lived for the seemingly random trips. Now, like everything else, they seemed routine. He truly loved playing his concerts and doing fan events (especially the fan events), but he wanted something new. The idea planted itself slowly in his head and he knew he couldn't pass it up. "Why don't you tag-a-long with us this weekend?"
"Really?" she squeaked, her breath turning into gasps. "Me? Go to a JONAS concert and actually be there with JONAS? Spend my weekend in NYC with JONAS? Oh my gosh!"
"Breathe right Macy," Kevin said automatically, already too used to her freak-outs. "Deep breath in, deep breath out. In, out. In, out," he coached her till she was calm enough again. "There you go, you got it."
When Joe felt she was back under control he finally answered her questions. "Yes, really. Why not come along? You'd have a great time and get to see everything back stage. And you could get some good stuff for your fan-site. Besides, Stella's going too."
"You don't have to convince me!" she said, her voice somewhere between a squeal and a giggle. "Joe of JONAS wants me to go to NYC with his band! I'm so in! Oh! I have so much to do! I have to pack a bag, tell Stella, call my mom. This is so awesome. My friends on my site are not going to believe this!"
Joe watched in amusement as she went on gushing. Kevin and him couldn't even get more than two words in. She only stopped when the bell rang and he had a sneaking suspicion that this wasn't the last anyone heard about her excitement – it was only Wednesday after all and they wouldn't leave until after school Friday. He looked over to Kevin to see a slight frown on his face. Huh, he thought his brother would be happy to have her along for the weekend. It would give him more time to hang out with her. Then again, it increased the amount of injuries Kevin was at risk of as well. Oops.
"We have to get to class," Macy interrupted his thoughts. "Oh Joe thank you so much!" Before he knew it she was flinging herself at him with wide arms. Again he fought his initial reaction to weasel out of the hug and, after bracing himself against the impact, accepted it with a shrug and a smile. At least she was happy. Maybe they'd both get something out of this. She stepped back a second later and looked to Kevin. "Oh! I'm so sorry!" she gushed. He looked to Kevin who was groaning and rubbing his back. The bat, Joe realized with a wince, Kevin must have been hit.
"Not a problem," Kevin groaned out. "Just a little sore."
"I didn't mean to," Macy said, visibly upset.
"Of course you didn't," Kevin said, forcing his tone to sound more normal. "Really Mace, it's fine."
"Oh, okay," she brightened up. "See you later Joe!" she waved. "Bye Kevin!"
Once she was gone Kevin turned to Joe. "What was that about?"
"It wasn't about anything. Just thought she'd like to go," he shrugged. He clapped a hand on his brother's shoulder before walking away, looking back to explain. "Can't be late for class!"
The grin hadn't really left his face all morning. He'd called his parents just before lunch and told them he'd invited Macy along for the weekend. His dad wasn't too happy about the situation, but Joe quickly explained that she was so excited and he thought she'd really enjoy. He'd spewed out some excuses about her being a huge fan, a good friend and how she deserved an exciting weekend away. His dad took it all hook, line and sinker. He hadn't really lied even. Macy was a good friend – to Stella and Kevin – and she was definitely excited and would enjoy herself. It looked like his weekend just got a bit more interesting.
"You did what?" Nick rounded on Joe at lunch.
Joe swallowed his food and repeated himself. "Invited Macy along this weekend."
"What were you thinking? Did you want to make it home alive afterwards?"
"I think you're being a little unfair," Joe raised an eyebrow. "We see her everyday here and she doesn't cause much harm."
"Speak for yourself," Kevin muttered, rubbing his back again.
"Look," Joe sighed. "She's coming with us. I've already invited her and called dad about it to get the okay. So there's no point arguing about it."
Nick thought about it a minute before reluctantly agreeing with him. "You're right. We can't uninvite her; she'd be too upset. What if she were to cry again?" Nick shuddered. "That was terrible enough to see the first time."
Joe smirked, realizing he won the conversation. "Stella'll be there anyway. She'll help with keeping Macy in check."
"I hope you're right," Nick sighed warily. "I'm still not happy about this though."
A new feeling seeped into him as he continued eating his lunch. He'd never really gone against what his brothers wanted before. They stuck together always and compromised on everything. This time there was no compromise. Joe got what he wanted whether his brothers liked it or not.
"What do you think Kev?" he asked. "It'll be fun having her along right?"
"I guess," he shrugged. "I like Macy. I could just do without the injuries." He paused while he thought that over before panicky continuing. "What if something happens to one of us and we can't go on? She shut my hand in her locker and I couldn't play right for a week! What if she makes one of us pass out? Oh my goodness what if she sings and we all faint!"
"Kevin," Joe laughed, shaking his head. "We'll be fine. There won't be any lockers and she's better about singing around people now. Don't worry so much."
"Maybe you want to live recklessly," Nick scolded, pushing his chair away from the table and grabbing his tray. "But I would like to make it through this weekend unscathed."
Reckless. Nick thought he was living recklessly. He liked the sound of that.
The soft thud of Joe bouncing his head off the wall was the only sound in the Lucas household as they sat around waiting – Macy was late. Nick was rotating between glaring at him for his actions and glaring at him for her tardiness as if he'd purposely told her not to show up when she was supposed to. Stella was furiously sketching away before she lost "the most fabulous idea" she had gotten on her way over. Kevin and Frankie were eating anything they could last minute - never ones to be fond of eating thousands of miles high. And his parents were pacing back and forth in front of the door, hoping that'd make Macy appear on the other side sooner.
Joe was bored out of his mind as he waited. He just wanted to get this trip up and running. Other than his offer to Macy he hadn't found anything in the past couple days to really make him feel more alive. He wasn't even so sure why inviting her along had been so thrilling – maybe it was the risk that was always present with her or the way her eyes lit up and his brothers' dimmed.
Kevin and Nick weren't happy Macy would be coming along with them and Joe knew they had been praying her mom wouldn't allow it. She was able to of course - as long as Stella was going her mom trusted her to join. He didn't know why his brothers were so against her coming. He had honestly thought Kevin would be happy – ecstatic even – and Nick would just go along with it. Isn't that what he loved though? The thrill of going against what everyone else wanted? Maybe he was going crazy, but he loved it.
"Stella, dear," Mrs. Lucas sighed, "could you give Macy a call? Make sure she didn't forget?"
"Like she'd forget," Nick muttered grumpily, rolling his eyes.
"Nicholas!" his mother scolded. "That's no attitude to have in regards to your friend.
Joe laughed to himself, knowing Nick was the last in this room to consider Macy his friend. Then again, just days ago Joe was next in line. Somehow over the short time that had passed he'd come to think of her as a friend.
"Stella?" Mrs. Lucas repeated, having not gotten a response.
"Hmm?" she answered distractedly.
"Forget it," Joe said standing up straight from the wall he'd been leaning on. "I'll call her."
"You have her number?" Kevin frowned.
"Nope, Stella does though." Joe grinned as he moved towards his best friend. "Hey Stells? I'm just going to call Macy quick on your phone okay?"
"Yeah, sure, whatever," she waved dismissively.
He plucked her phone off the table next to her and found Macy's number before hitting send. It only rang twice before she picked up.
"I'm so sorry Stella!" she gushed right away. "I know I'm twenty minutes late, but I missed the bus and had to run home! Mom and me are just getting in the car now! I can't believe this! I get this awesome chance and-"
"Macy!" Joe cut her off, afraid she'd never stop for air.
She stopped right away. "Who is this?"
Joe chuckled at her confusion. "It's Joe. Stella's too wrapped up in her latest idea."
There was a beat of silence before he heard her take a deep breath. "Joe of JONAS called me," she giggled. "I'm on the phone with Joe of JONAS."
Joe laughed - typical Macy. He'd definitely enjoy this weekend. He laughed even harder as he heard her mom in the background telling her to calm down or she'd turn that car right around. Macy fell dead silent. He's not sure why he didn't hang up the phone, instead listening to her breathing as she concentrated on doing as her mom told.
"Macy?" he asked eventually. "I'll see you when you get here okay?"
She hummed a little in response and the line went dead. He smiled to himself as he looked up in to the curious faces around him. Even Stella had pulled herself away from her work at his laughter.
"So?" Nick finally asked.
"Missed the bus," he shrugged. "She just left her house."
"Good, she lives near by," Stella smiled, tucking her pages away and standing up. "She'll be here any minute." She picked up her folder, grabbed her purse and looked around before narrowing her eyes at the object in Joe's hand. "Is that my cell phone?"
Joe and Macy seemed to be the only ones not effected by the tense atmosphere around them on their way to the hotel. Stella, Macy and the three Lucas boys were in one car while Frankie and their parents were in the car in front of them. Joe was getting that familiar thrill settling over him that he'd become accustomed to in Macy's presence and he couldn't be happier. Inviting her along was the best decision he'd made in a long time. Unfortunately, everyone else felt other wise.
"Alright," Nick sighed. "I'll just say what we're all thinking."
"You know what I'm thinking?" Kevin asked wide-eyed, looking slightly embarrassed and avoiding looking in Macy's direction. Joe wondered what exactly was going on in his older brother's head but decided he didn't want to know.
Nick ignored him and went on. "We have some rules that need to be discussed Macy."
"Rules?" Joe scoffed, not liking the sound of this. "I can handle that. Don't talk to strangers. Stick to the buddy system. Look both ways before crossing the street. Treat others the way you want to be treated." He checked each rule off on his fingers as he said them, his smirk growing with each one. "I think that about covers it."
Macy giggled while Nick glared at him. "All important, but not the rules I was talking about."
"Oh, sorry," Joe said happily, not sorry at all. It was fun getting under his brother's skin today. Nick ignored him and turned back to Macy.
"If you're going to be with us the whole weekend you need to follow these rules." Macy sobered up immediately at his tone and nodded, ready to do what she needed to. "First off, no heavy or sharp objects should really be held longer than necessary."
"It's nothing personal Macy," Stella spoke up quickly. "Just a precaution. They really can't handle being injured when they have to be on stage tomorrow night."
"Okay," Macy said readily, much to Joe's shock. "I can do that."
"Second," Nick went on, "There are certain things you can't put on your fan-site. I think one of us should be able to approve everything you want to post."
"There's just some things they don't want fans to know," Stella spoke up again. "Some things they like to keep private."
Macy looked a little putout as she nodded her consent. Joe didn't think she'd really put anything too private on the site and he didn't approve of the restrictions. Nick kept going and with every new rule he dished out Joe's blood started to boil. As his anger increased his thrill of having Macy here rapidly decreased. He couldn't stand it. Every word out of his brother's mouth shoved him farther and farther back into that stupid rut he'd just freed himself from. And, if all that weren't bad enough, they were ruining all of her excitement with all the things she couldn't do. At this rate Joe wasn't even sure what she was allowed to do. He couldn't have that.
"Enough!" he interrupted angrily. Four surprised sets of eyes turned to him. "Knock it off."
"These are important things," Nick frowned. "She needs to know them."
"I don't remember you ever lecturing Stella about these rules. Or anyone else for that matter."
"That's because Stella knows what is and isn't allowed," Kevin told him obviously.
"Macy isn't an idiot," he said through gritted teeth. "She knows."
"We have to make sure," Stella said softly. Joe couldn't stand her in that moment. Didn't she have any faith in her best friend? "For your guys' sake."
"I'm sure," he rolled his eyes, not caring about the hurt look that crossed her face. "Now thank you for ruining my guest's enjoyment of this trip before it even really started."
All eyes turned to Macy, who'd been silent since her agreement to the first rule. She avoided eye contact with each of them, but no one needed to see her eyes to know Joe was right – her shoulders were slumped and her usual excited smile when in the company of the Lucas brothers was barely existent. They quickly looked away and guiltily stared out the windows, leaving Joe feeling satisfied. Shortly after Macy looked up and locked eyes with Joe. She didn't say anything and he was glad. The look in her eyes was enough; she appreciated him putting an end to it.
Macy had never eaten dinner with the Lucas family before and Joe could tell she was nervous. Maybe it'd been the doubt her friends had shown so early on, but she was being very careful not to do anything to upset them. It was like she was in a daze while everyone else talked, laughed and ate. She used her knife to cut anything she would need cut right away and pushed the utensil away from her. She set her fork back down after every bite she put in her mouth and left her hands safely folded in her lap while she chewed. She was seated between himself and Frankie - his youngest brother having sensed the tension and befriended their guest. When dessert rolled around he'd pretty much had it with all of her precautions. They'd ordered a whole blueberry pie and it needed to be sliced - he knew just who'd be perfect for the job.
"Macy why don't you do the honors," he suggested while Kevin and Nick argued over who would do it. "They can't cut evenly."
"Oh," she said startled, casting a look at the knife then Nick before quickly looking down. "I don't think that's such a good idea. Maybe your mom should."
"Nonsense," Mrs Lucas smiled. She leaned over Frankie slightly and lowered her voice like she was sharing a secret. "I'm most likely to cut myself the biggest slice. I'm a sucker for a good pie."
Joe beamed at his mother as Macy gave a small smile and accepted the large slicing knife. She was careful to cut the pie in exact pieces, not wanting to favor any one person. When there were only three pieces left - Macy, Joe and his mom the only ones who hadn't yet received a piece - Macy cut one in half. Joe watched in confusion as she put one and a half pieces on two of the plates and gave one to his mom and the other to him, leaving none for her.
"Don't you want any?" he frowned.
"No thank you," she shook her head. "I'm not really a fan of fruit pies."
"Why didn't you say so honey?" Mrs. Lucas asked. "We could have ordered you something separate."
"Oh, I didn't want to be a bother," she said, her eyes darting around the table and hesitating on Nick. "I'm pretty full anyway. Thank you though."
Joe narrowed his eyes at her. He refused to accept that answer. "Macy order another dessert. Would you like some ice cream? Maybe some chocolate sort of thing?" She declined but he wasn't having any of that. "What's she like Stella?"
He wasn't satisfied until she ate every last bite of the sundae he'd ordered her. As the family was leaving the restaurant, his parents in the lead, Joe couldn't resist commenting. "Gee Nick, she cut up a whole pie and the only thing harmed was the pie itself. Imagine that."
Sound check was quick and nearly effortless - Macy had been snapping away on her camera through the whole thing. He loved days when they had early sound checks and problems were nonexistent. That meant he had hours to pass before the concert doing whatever he wanted. And he knew just what he wanted.
"I propose we play some indoor baseball."
"I'm in," Kevin grinned while various others echoed his words. Nick was immediately off in search of their equipment. "Macy? Stella?"
"No thanks," Stella shook her head. "Mace and I are going to make sure everything's okay with the outfits for tonight."
Macy frowned at Stella and Joe knew she wanted to play. "You can do that yourself can't you Stell? Let Macy play a game?"
"Oh fine," Stella sighed at the hopeful look on both of her best friends' faces. "I'll do it alone like always."
Nick had just returned then and looked very startled. "She can't play," he spoke up quickly. "It'll make the teams uneven."
Joe narrowed his eyes. "If Macy wants to play. She can play."
"It's okay Joe," Macy said sadly. "I didn't really want to play anyway."
When Stella spoke up he was happy to see she was on his side finally. "You're playing Macy. If it's a matter of needing another body to allow you to then I'm in."
'Oh was this going to be fun,' was the only thought going through Joe's head as Nick frowned, cornered into allowing her to play. And it was. Half way through the game Nick took a ball to the chest and looked up to Macy angrily. Joe laughed as he jumped to Macy's defense. "It's not even close to her fault that you can't catch a ball Nick."
Nick grumbled angrily and Joe was oddly delighted. He knew he was getting too much joy out of his brother's misery, but Stella and Macy were both happy with him. And, to everyone's amusement, Kevin had practically taken up the job of being Macy's one-man cheer squad. He was yelling constant encouragements and congratulations. Even all of the stage crew and stadium employees that joined were happy she was playing, as she was quick to put her team in the lead. It was just Nick who couldn't jump on board with the rest of them. He was being stubborn.
When the game was over Joe promised his team a celebratory post concert party - which really translated into a pizza and wings pigout fest - to which they all cheered.
"Great job Macy!" Kevin came running up to her, enveloping her in a tight hug. "You did great!"
From his spot beside her Joe could tell Macy was having a hard time breathing and he knew it wasn't from the strength behind Kevin's hug. "You might want to let her go Kev," he warned.
"Why?" he frowned. Joe motioned for him to look at Macy - who was on the verge of fainting and he was quick to unwrap his arms from around her, grabbing her shoulders to hold her steady. "Breathe Macy. It's alright. Breathe." She calmed down quickly and Kevin chuckled. "There's my girl."
From the broad smile on Macy's face Joe was sure those words would echo in her mind forever.
Taking Macy along for their interview before the concert might not have been Joe's brightest idea. In theory it was excellent. Bring her along, let her bug Nick and then have her sit in on the interview just for the experience. She would have a blast and he would have fun watching her. Unfortunately it didn't quite work out the way he wanted it to.
"And who's this you've got with you today? I wasn't expecting a fourth person." The interviewer, Lance Matterson, asked.
"She's both a friend from school and a fan," Kevin explained, shooting a smile to Macy. "Our biggest fan in school."
"Is she more friend than fan then?" Lance asked with a laugh. "Or did I miss the announcement about there being some contest to hang out with you guys?"
Nick smiled and decided to tell the guy, "No, no contest. She is our friend, but since she's such a big fan as well Joe just decided to invite her along. And now here she is."
"Oh really?" Lance asked with - what Joe thought - was an obnoxious grin. "And why'd you decide that Joe? Are there maybe more than friendly feelings there?"
Macy gasped and Joe answered quickly and firmly. "No. Just friends. Nothing more."
Lance clearly didn't believe him, but thankfully dropped the subject and started with the real interview. When it was over Joe noticed that Kevin stuck close to Macy's side and kept her far from him. He was frustrated - did everyone really think he liked Macy? Was that why they thought he invited her? That wasn't fair; he was just trying to liven up his life and hers too. Annoyed, he went searching for Stella.
"Stella?" he asked as he found her talking with his mom.
"What's up Joe?" she turned to him smiling. "How'd the interview go?"
"Good. Hey, if I ask you something would you answer me honestly?"
Stella shared a look with Mrs. Lucas before she nodded. "Of course. What are best friends for?"
"I think I'll just be going now." Mrs. Lucas said, standing from the couch, obviously feeling this was her cue to leave.
"No mom," he said quickly. "I think I'd like your opinion too." She sat back down with a smile and he took a deep breath. "Do you guys think I like Macy? Is that why everybody thinks I invited her?"
"Macy?" Stella repeated. "Do I think you like Macy?"
"Yes," he answered.
"Why do you ask?"
"Just answer first please. I'll explain myself after."
"I don't think you do honey," his mom spoke up after a long pause, much to his relief. "And a mother knows these things."
"I don't think you do," Stella answered slowly. "I thought you might have at first, but after several observations and a careful evaluation I decided you didn't."
Joe blinked and looked to his mom, who was holding back a laugh as she looked between Stella and him. "What am I?" Joe asked. "You're science project?"
"You're my project alright," Stella smirked. Joe felt his cheeks heat up and a satisfied feeling wash over him. "Now why'd you ask?"
He sighed heavily, moving to sit between both women before he answered. "The interviewer insinuated I liked her and that was why I'd invited her along. Now Kevin's nearly attached to Macy's hip and making sure they don't come anywhere near me." He frowned. "I didn't invite her because I had a crush on her."
"So, why'd you invite her then?" Stella asked.
"I don't know," he sighed, not really wanting to admit what his intentions had been. "It's complicated."
"You must have had a reason," Mrs. Lucas put in.
"I guess it's just... when I'm around Macy I feel sort of... reckless."
"Reckless?" Stella said slowly. "Reckless how?"
"Oh come on Stella," he rolled his eyes. "She's totally a safety hazard. It's-it's thrilling to never know what's going to happen. Anything's possible when she gets excited."
"Joe!" Stella snapped. "I can't believe you'd say that about Macy!"
"You know how it is with her!"
"Joseph," his mother said sternly. "Are you telling me you only invited that sweet girl along because she might hurt you or one of your brothers?"
"No! Yes. I don't know," he settled on, frustrated. He couldn't figure out how to explain to them what he'd been feeling lately. "It's not that I wanted anyone to get hurt mom. It's just… everything is so boring these days. We do the same stuff over and over. When Macy's around it's just different. I don't know. I can't explain it."
"You know," Mrs. Lucas said slowly. "I understand. You boys don't have much free time to do new things in your schedules. That doesn't excuse you just using Macy for your thrill though son."
"I'm not mom! Honest!" he protested right away. "At first maybe, but Macy was really excited about this trip and I ended up just wanting to make it fun for her." Both women smiled at his admission and he felt proud. "Macy's my friend. I want her to have a good time – despite Nick's sour mood."
"What sour mood sweetie?"
"You haven't noticed," Joe asked his mom disbelievingly. "Nick doesn't want her here. He's afraid something's going to happen and won't let her do anything fun that could be potentially dangerous at all. Which in his mind is pretty much everything."
"It wasn't just Nick," Stella said guiltily. "Kevin and me were worried too. It's all of our faults."
"No," Joe shook his head right away, wanting to comfort Stella. "You're a good friend to her. I mean, you played baseball today Stella. You passed on doing your usual outfit checks so she could do something she wanted to. Don't you feel guilty at all. I mean," he laughed, "baseball. You never even consider playing when any of us guys ask. For her you did though."
Stella smiled gratefully over at Joe and when he smiled back Mrs. Lucas took that as her cue to leave. "Well I think I'm going to go have a little talk with Nicholas."
"So," Joe said slowly, a smirk growing on his face. "I'm your project huh?"
She grinned playfully back at him. "I never said that was a good thing Joe."
After he'd had a long, admittedly flirty chat with Stella he set out to find Macy. Not surprisingly, he found her sitting with Kevin while he started getting ready. He took a deep breath and approached them, hating the way his brother's eyes showed just a hint of suspicion when he spoke.
"Macy?" he asked tentatively. "Can I talk to you for a second? Alone?"
"Sure," she squeaked nervously, getting up from her seat.
"You coming back Macy?" Kevin asked as they left the room.
"Yes," she smiled wide at him. "I'll be right back."
Joe didn't talk until they reached the end of the hallway and were seated on a pair of chairs.
"Listen Macy. We need to clear some things up." She nodded and he continued. "What the interviewer said… what everyone seems to think… I don't want there to be any confusion about it."
"Any confusion?" she repeated slowly.
"About you-you liking me?"
"Right," he nodded. "I don't."
"Not in any way more than friends."
"Friends?" She looked confused and Joe was shocked.
"We are friends Macy," he said looking her straight in the eye. "You know that right?"
"I guess," she shrugged, letting out a short nervous giggle.
"We are." He paused, thinking his words over. "At least I consider you my friend."
"Oh," she said slowly. "Oh! Joe! You're my friend too." And then she laughed and it was like the nerves were gone and the old Macy was back. "Joe of JONAS is my friend!"
He laughed with her; happy she was back to her perky self. "Joe Lucas is your friend too you know."
"Oh I know," she said quickly. "The Joe who stood up for me this weekend is my friend. It's just, well, so is the one who's going to be on stage tonight singing my favorite songs, with my favorite band."
She stopped talking with a sigh and her eyes became unfocused as a dreamy smile took over her face. Joe wasn't really sure what she was thinking about, but he figured it had something to do with her fan side and smiled. He was sure somethings about Macy would never change. And he didn't want them to.
Macy came back from her dream world a few minutes later and smiled sheepishly. "Sorry," she blushed, "once a fan always a fan."
"It's okay," he smiled back. "Can I tell you something though?"
"Sure," she chirped, sitting forward.
"I'm not sure if it'll make you mad or not, but I think I should tell you. I'd hate for you to find out later and think I was a liar or a jerk or something."
"I could never get mad at a JONAS." She laughed and Joe was relieved to realize she was just trying to lighten the mood. He wouldn't like it if what she'd said was true. He smiled at her.
"You know how I used to leave when you'd come around in the halls?" She nodded in confusion. "I never really had to be anywhere. I just didn't want to be around you. I was afraid I'd get hurt somehow."
"Oh," she frowned. "So what you're saying is you don't want me to think you're a liar, but you lied everyday about having to go other places?"
He winced. "Well when you put it that way it sounds terrible."
"How is it supposed to sound?"
"Charming?" he smiled hopefully. When she didn't smile back he sighed. "Look, I know it makes me seem like a jerk-"
"No," she cut him off.
"What?" he blinked.
"I do hurt you guys sometimes. You're not a jerk for not wanting to be around someone who hurts you." She paused and wrinkled her nose. "It's pretty smart really. Maybe you should talk Kevin into that way of thinking. He gets it pretty bad sometimes and I feel just awful."
"Kevin's perfectly happy sacrificing his safety to be around you."
Macy blushed and they fell silent. He hoped his brother wouldn't mind him saying that. He knew Kevin was always hesitant about his feelings for Macy - he never even actually admitted them out loud. He really wasn't sure why. It was so obvious they both liked each other. How could they not just admit it and get together?
"Joe?" she asked breaking his thoughts. "Why'd you invite me if you don't even like to be around me?"
"This is where I really think you're going to get mad at me," he muttered. She simply raised an eyebrow. "Sometimes I feel so... trapped. I do the same things over and over. I wanted to do something different. Take a chance you know?"
"So you invited the dangerous girl along?" she guessed. He nodded slowly, scratching the back of his neck uncomfortably.
"I understand if you get mad about it," he said quickly.
"I thought we were friends though?" she questioned. "Isn't that what we just went over?"
"We are," he nodded once. "We weren't really before. Or at least I didn't consider us friends. There was something in the way you got so excited though I just wanted to show you a good time. I wanted to be your friend and for you to have fun." He wrinkled his nose. "And I definitely didn't want everyone else ruining that."
"I am having a good time," she assured him. "Nick's making it a little tricky, but Stella and Kevin have been great since you told them off in the car yesterday." She grinned. "Thanks for that by the way."
"You're welcome," he said simply.
"So did it work?" she asked.
"What?" he asked, caught off guard by her question.
"Inviting me along? Do you still feel trapped?"
It sort of broke his heart that she wasn't mad at him. She just wanted to know if it worked that was all. He wanted her to be mad. He wanted her to yell at him or something. He realized that he really never gave Macy much credit – she was so much more than he knew.
"It sort of worked," he shrugged. "It's not even about that anymore though."
"Then what's it about?"
"It's about me being your friend. And showing Nick he's wrong."
"Nick really doesn't like me, does he?" she frowned.
"It's not you he doesn't like," he shook his head. "I actually think you guys would get on real well. It's the risk he has a problem with."
"So if I want to be Nick's friend I have to lose the risk," she pouted. "But you like the risk. So if I lose the risk I lose you."
"No," he said right away. "We're friends Macy. Risk or no risk."
She smiled up at him and he thought that maybe this weekend really was just what he needed after all.
Joe extended the invitation to his celebratory party to anyone who was around after the concert. He was certain he'd never seen so much pizza and wings in one place at one time – not even during his Maria phase. He was sitting with Kevin and Macy listening to her gush about how awesome the concert was and how thrilled she was with the dedication Kevin and him had decided to give her. She pouted when Stella called her away but promised she'd be back as soon as she could. Once she bounced away Kevin turned to him with a smile.
"She's really something huh?"
"She sure is," he chuckled. "She likes you too you know."
"What?" Kevin squeaked. "I don't like Macy." Joe raised an eyebrow at the pitch change in his brother's voice, revealing his lie instantly. He cleared his throat and tried again. "I don't like her."
"It's so obvious you do Kevin. If you want to deny it though then go ahead, I'll just be waiting in the wings to say I told you so when you finally admit it."
He got up and walked away before he had a chance to respond. He found Nick in the corner laughing with a small group of people and frowned. He really wished Nick had accepted Macy by now. He was the first off the stage and, as a result, the first Macy approached to compliment and, though he accepted the compliments, as soon as Kevin reached them Nick excused himself. It was quick, but he'd seen Macy's face flash with hurt before she covered it back up with her excited smile.
"Nick?" he asked walking up to the group. "Take a little walk with me?" Nick nodded and, looking a little annoyed, followed him to an empty area of the room. "I get that you don't like Macy, but could you just try to be nice to her?"
"Why? You going to tell mom again?" he rolled his eyes. "Besides, I am nice to her."
"Oh yeah," Joe scoffed. "Because not wanting her to do anything fun and ignoring her every chance you get is real nice."
"What's it matter? Kevin and you are plenty nice to her."
"It does matter," Joe insisted. "She's one of our biggest fans Nick and you keep brushing her off. She won't say anything, but it upsets her. Now I'm not saying you need to be best friends with her, but just be nice. If you just give it a try you'll see she's not bad at all."
Nick was quiet for a long moment before muttering an, "I'll think about it."
Joe watched him walk away sadly, wishing he could just make his brother understand. He was going to head back over to where Macy had now joined Kevin again, but they were looking far more cozy than normal and he didn't want to ruin that for them so he went looking for Stella instead.
"Hi Joe," she smiled. "Another excellent concert tonight."
"Thanks Stell," he smiled back. "And our outfits were awesome as usual."
"That's why I'm the stylist," she beamed. "So I was just talking to Macy."
"She's really happy."
"She said something about you and her being friends now?"
"Don't play stupid Stella," he shook his head, amused. "I'm sure she told you all about it."
"Did not," she pouted. "All she'd say is that you and her talked a few things out and were friends now."
"She really didn't say anything else?" Stella shook her head and he smirked. "So you're out of the loop for once?"
"Unfortunately," she muttered.
He leaned in toward her, his smirk growing like he was going to tell her some big secret. "How bad do you want to know?" She glared at him. "What'll I get in return if I tell you?"
"You know Joe," she said in a forced off handed tone. "One would think you would learn not to mess with me."
"And one would think you learned that's never going to happen." She pouted and he let out a low chuckle. "If I couldn't mess with you what would I do for fun these days?"
"Abuse Macy's presence," she mumbled just loud enough for him to hear.
He felt like he'd been slapped in the face. Twice. He instantly took a step away from her, his jaw slightly slack. Here he thought they were being flirty and teasing and she goes and throws that out there. The words sat in the air between them as an awkward silence took over. A minute later she sighed.
"I'm sorry Joe. That was uncalled for."
He nodded stiffly. "I'm going to go grab a soda."
For the second time that night he walked away from a conversation with out letting the other person respond. He wandered away blindly, barely seeing all that was around him. He'd made a mistake taking advantage of Macy's excitability. He knew that – he admitted it. She had no right to throw it back in his face like that. He quietly slipped out the door and down the hall until he was far enough away that the noise of the party was a dull whisper. Leaning against the wall and dropping to the floor he closed his eyes.
Not five minutes later he heard footsteps approaching. They stopped before him and he refused to open his eyes. Whoever it was didn't say anything and neither did he. An arm brushed against his as the person sat next to him and he caught a whiff of scent that he recognized immediately and sighed.
"Stella, I know you're sorry. I just want to be alone for right now."
"I brought a peace offering," she said hopefully. Joe cracked an eye and saw her holding out two pudding cups and a King-sized pack of Reese's. "I know it's not vanilla pudding, but chocolate was all I could get my hands on at such short notice."
"I'm currently not accepting bribes," he said stubbornly. "Even if they are my favorite kind."
"What if I told you I was really sorry and I promised to make it up to you?"
"Stella," he said lifting his head from the wall and turning to face her. "I know you didn't mean it. I just can't believe you said it. If you want to make it up to me though, you could just please leave me alone right now."
"Okay," she nodded sadly. "If that's what you want."
He watched her walk away before resuming his position with his eyes closed. He knew she didn't mean it, but he was still angry with her. A few minutes later when he heard footsteps again he groaned.
"I meant it. I want to be alone."
"That's what Stella said," a new voice answered. "But she forgot to leave the pudding and candy so I offered to bring it back."
"Thanks," he sighed. He didn't open his eyes as he held his hands out and the items were placed in them. He heard the footsteps start to retreat and called after her. "Do you want to sit down?"
"I thought you wanted to be alone?"
"I wanted to be away from Stella," he corrected, lifting his head finally. "You, I think, could be helpful."
"Really?" she said excitedly. "You think I could help you?"
"Just have a seat Macy."
She did as she was told and Joe opened both pudding cups, offering her one along with a Reese's. They ate in silence and Joe thought it was nice to have a girl friend that wasn't Stella for once. Maybe she could help him decipher the crazy things she did sometimes.
"Are we going to talk about what happened with Stella?" she asked after the pudding was gone.
"If you want," he shrugged. "Or we could talk about… anything else."
"Right, so no Stella," she nodded. "Could I ask you some questions for my fan site? It's okay if you say no, but Kevin did and I thought maybe it'd take your mind off whatever happened."
"Go ahead Macy," he smiled, welcoming the distraction with open arms. "Whatever you want to talk about."
By the time Joe and Macy entered the party again he was in a significantly better mood. Macy had effectively taken his mind off his problems and she was so excited to have him answering questions. Eventually he decided to tell her what had happened between Stella and she told him not to sweat it. She said they'd worked it out between themselves and whatever anyone else, Stella included, said didn't matter. He was surprised at her additude in regards to it all, but before he knew it he was ready to go back and talk to Stella. When he walked up to her she perked up right away.
"Hey Joe," she said.
"Hey Stella, thanks for the snack."
"So we're okay?" she asked hopefully.
"We're great," he said pulling her into a hug. "I'm sorry for just taking off. I know you didn't mean it."
"No I'm sorry," she gushed, hugging him back. "I don't even know what made me say it. It's just that you and Macy had this secret conversation you weren't telling me about and I guess I just got kind of jealous. I'm not used to sharing my friendship with you with other girls."
He didn't hear anything after she admitted she was jealous. He just smiled a goofy smile and continued to hug her.
When they were on the plane back home Joe finally felt content. He wasn't worried about routine anymore because he had his new friendship with Macy to look forward to. Not to mention Stella and him seemed to take a huge step in a very pleasant direction. And, it wasn't much, but Nick had seemed to loosen up to Macy finally – at least he wasn't frowning whenever she was around. That's really all they could ask for from him at this point. It wasn't until they were half way home that Nick said anything to Joe again.
"I don't get it."
"Don't get what?" Joe asked confused.
"Well I've been thinking about it. If you don't like her and you aren't just intent on torturing me than why invite Macy along?"
Joe looked away from him and let his gaze fall on Macy. She was sleeping and her head had fallen over onto Kevin's shoulder, much to his brother's delight. He smiled at the sight and, without looking away, answered Nick.
"I do like her though Nick," he explained, knowing that until his brother opened up to her himself he'd never be able to understand how amazing she truly was. "Macy Misa and me are going to be great friends."
A/N: If you made it through this you're pretty amazing. That's a lot to read. And I appreciate it. It didn't turn out at all how I wanted it to, but I hope you still like it. I found it tricky to write all the character and everything so I hope they are okay. Thanks for reading!
Added note: I'll eventually be writing something from Nick's POV to resolve things with him. This was Joe's story and I didn't want to take away from him with Nick's parts. So you may want to look out for that in the future if you're interested.