Disclaimer: I do not own, nor am in any way associated with, Jonas (the show or the band). I also do not own any of the quotes at the start of chapters, but highly recommend you go check out whatever they come from.
AN: If, by any chance, you're reading The Great Gatsby or stopped halfway through the movie and don't want to know anything about it, you should probably stop now. As much as I hate that book, the reference worked.
"I am here to tell you we can never meet again
Simple really, isn't it, a word or two and then
A lifetime of not knowing where or how or why or when..."
- Elton John & LeAnn Rimes, "Written in the Stars"
Stella Malone was done. Finished. She was not going to let those Lucas boys run her ragged anymore. Okay, maybe they'd never run her ragged, she'd done it to herself most of the time; but she needed a solid, adult reason for leaving and work seemed suitably mature.
"Are you sure about this, Stella?" Macy asked. She was pacing the sidewalk in front of the Lucas' firehouse, holding her cell phone to her ear and wishing she could have this conversation in person. Since she wasn't a member of JONAS the fangirls were nowhere to be seen, preferring to remain in hiding until the boys showed themselves. The boys in question, along with their father, were all staring at her from the upstairs windows, praying that she would have some luck.
"I'm sure, Mace," Stella said resolutely. "I need to branch out, spread my fashion wings. I can't do that if I keep the same old job I've had since high school."
"But your high school job isn't like other people's. You were the stylist for one of the world's biggest teen sensations. Your creations, your looks have been featured in every fashion magazine on the planet."
"Macy," Stella began in that tone of voice she used when she was trying to get Macy to understand how non-fangirls saw the world.
"Stella," Macy said, cutting her off quickly. "You've told me why you're leaving, Mr. Lucas even let me read your letter of resignation, but you and I both know that all the reasons you've given so far are just a load of hooey. You're scared of jumping, you always have been, but I promise you that if you walk away now you're going to regret it. He won't wait forever."
There was silence for several beats and Macy alternately wondered if she'd lost the connection and hoped that she'd gotten through to her best friend. Then, out of the silence, she got her answer.
"I never expected him to."
Macy was wrong about one thing and as happy as she should have been about that, Joe didn't make it easy. Fan magazines blamed it on college, on the constant spotlight, on drugs, on everything from a religious experience to a sex-change operation. Those close to the Lucas family blamed it on Stella. No one was callous enough to blame the girl directly -- and most blamed both of them equally -- but it was plain to anyone with eyes that Joe's spiral into extreme rock star jerkdom began when Stella left.
He was sad more often and spent whole afternoons planning different outfits with the Stellavator. And at first everyone let it go. Give him time, he'll find his rhythm soon enough. But the rhythm he found was unlike the one he'd had before. His songs were angst-ridden and after a while became angry. His fashion sense was impeccable, as always, but every magazine cover, every best dressed list only seemed to make him mad.
The band stayed together, his brothers weren't about to let him ruin JONAS. With Macy's help and a bit of manipulation from Frankie they got him on stage every night, made it through the show without an incident. They needn't have bothered, he still knew what the fans wanted, wouldn't disappoint them. But after the show ended and he went back to whatever hotel they were staying in, he was back in his funk.
When his brothers finally had enough and dragged him to an after party, they regretted it. He found that parties suited him. He could escape in a sea of people, leave his sadness behind for a few hours.
Eventually he moved out, bought his own house in LA where he threw parties every weekend. When he was arrested the first time Macy was the only one in town. She picked him up, sobered him up, and gave him a lecture, ending the whole thing by asking if he really wanted to be the Great Gatsby. He hadn't had her English teacher in senior year and so hadn't read it. She calmly explained that Gatsby had bought a mansion that could be seen from the house of the woman he'd spent the past few years pining over. He threw parties there every night in hopes that she would notice.
If Joe really wanted her back, Macy said, he should go out in a striped shirt with polka dot pants. She'd come running. Joe ignored the joke, shrugged off the metaphor and Macy stormed out, leaving him with the end of the book: Gatsby dies alone.
Joe threw another party that night. At the stroke of twelve exactly, when the party was just getting started, a little old woman came to the door.
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