Disclaimer: I do not own, nor am I in any way associated with, JONAS. I make no profit from this work.
Spoilers: Exam Jam
AN: So many people asked for a Kacy tag/companion/something for Three Things that I really wanted to do that, but then I saw "Exam Jam" and had to write this. Thanks to angellwings for helping with the little details of the show that I so often forget.
Stella took one last look in the mirror. Over the last few hours she'd gotten more used to seeing long black hair where her natural blonde tresses usually hung, but she'd still be glad to get the wig off at the end of the night. Stylish boots were mostly hidden by her faded jeans and beneath a robin's egg blue jacket she wore one of Frankie's "team JONAS" shirts.
"You look great," Samantha said, appearing in the mirror behind her. "And," she added, "I demand you send me one of those shirts once you get back to America."
Stella giggled as she turned. "No problem. You look great too."
The two had spent the past week working on both their outfits. As the president of France's JONAS fan club Samantha was insisting on wearing as much JONAS paraphernalia as possible and had asked for Stella's help to keep herself looking fashionable. Likewise, Stella had asked for Samantha's help to make sure her disguise was complete.
The two had been e-mail pen pals ever since Samantha had tracked her down on the internet to ask questions for an article about the guys' outfits in their first music video. When Samantha came to America for her Mime Festival it had been only natural that she come stay with Stella. And when Stella had come to France for her internship with Jacque Le Fajette she'd immediately paid Samantha a visit. Stella gave Samantha behind-the-scenes details on the tour to keep her fellow fans excited and Samantha told Stella what the dirty French words the other interns used meant. It was a nice, give-and-take relationship.
"Ready?" Stella asked.
"Almost," Samantha said and grabbed a blue beret from her dresser and plopped it on Stella's head. "You said you wanted to look like an average French girl," she said at Stella's frown. Stella only rolled her eyes, adjusted the beret, and followed Samantha, grabbing her purse right before heading out the door.
One cab ride later they were at the stadium. JONAS fans were everywhere and Stella was alternately horrified and gladdened by them. She'd always seen the best and worst of JONAS fandom but something about being in the midst of it -- without the ever-trusty Big Man between her and the throng -- was especially exciting.
"This is it," Samantha said as they neared the lines to enter.
"Yep," Stella said, not sure why she felt so breathless.
"Are you sure you want to do this? I mean, you can still come with me. Once I get back there I can --"
"Don't you dare tell anyone I'm here. I mean it. Tonight Stella Malone does not exist. I'm just an average, everyday JONAS fan."
"Are you sure you can handle that? You see the guys every day and tonight you're going to be in the front row, close enough to touch them on occasion. If you want to blend in --"
"Oh my God!" Stella shrieked in French. "I can't believe we get to see JONAAAAAS!" That cry set off a series of shrill echoes from fans around her.
"Wow," Samantha marveled. "You're good."
"I know. Now go enjoy being backstage. Remember to thank Kevin for sending you the pass and have fun."
The two hugged before separating and Stella slipped into one of the lines, listening with amusement to the fans around her. One girl was wondering if Nick might have a hidden sense of humor, that maybe he only acted like the most sober of the brothers so that each of them could be easily identified by some attribute. Stella bit her lip to keep from laughing at the idea. Nick definitely had a hidden sense of humor -- and most of the time it was hidden from him. Someone mentioned Joe's dreamy eyes and Stella immediately blocked out the surrounding voices. She really didn't want to listen to some girl wax poetic about her guy.
She made it into the stadium and to her front row seat soon enough. She was seated in the midst of girls who were literally shaking with excitement. Her French, though good, wasn't good enough to keep up with the frantic speech around her and she decided to settle back and wait for the concert to begin.
She hadn't planned on coming to the guys' Paris concert, mostly because Jacque had originally planned on being a in Marseilles this week, but his schedule had changed at the last minute. Her ticket had come from Samantha, who'd gotten it through her contacts as president of the fan club, but once Kevin's gift came she no longer needed it. Samantha had joked that since everyone in the club already had tickets, she should just let Stella use it and from there the plan had formed.
She'd never seen one of the guys' shows from the other side before and she figured it would be an interesting way to spend the night. She'd considered trading the front row ticket for one further back, where she was less likely to be seen by one of her friends, but Samantha had nixed that plan, saying front row was the only place to be. That meant she needed a disguise. She didn't want to imagine what the guys would say if they knew she was in the crowd and she certainly didn't want to throw any of them off their game. She only hoped she was unrecognizable beneath her wig.
When the opening band played Stella felt sorry for them, those around her were too excited about the prospect of seeing JONAS in a few short minutes to actually listen to what was being played now. She made a mental note to ask Nick for a copy of this band's CD. If they were good enough to open for her guys they were good enough to at least get a chance.
And then the Lucas brothers appeared on stage.
Stella nearly fell over in shock at the sudden explosion of sound. At first she thought an amp had blown but then she realized that was the sound of thousands of teen girls screaming in unison.
"When in Rome," she muttered as "Work It Out" began, "or Paris, as the case may be." She let out a scream of her own and set to work getting into the spirit of the concert.
Once, Kevin's eyes lit up when they settled on her section and she thought she'd been found out but then she realized he was looking at something behind her. When she turned she saw a pair of girls holding a sign saying "We [heart] Ducks!" Stella laughed and by the time she looked back Kevin had turned to the other side of the stage.
They played "Love Sick" near the end of the show and Stella couldn't help but smile. Ever since that morning Joe had sung it while actually sick she'd secretly thought of it as their song. She was glad to see that Joe kept away from the edge of the stage during it, keeping his focus on the more distant fans. The idea of him looking into another girl's eyes while he sang that song made her stomach clench uncomfortably.
"All right," Joe said when "Love Sick" ended, "we'd like to finish things out with a brand new song. We hope you like it." He nodded to Nick, who started things off on the drums. Kevin joined in on guitar and Stella realized this was the song she'd heard Nick working on in the week before they left. Joe raised his arms over his head, inviting the audience to clap along with him, and Stella joined in.
After the second chorus he began running across the stage and she had the horrible thought that he might actually try that jump-split thing he'd nearly killed Macy with, but instead he merely slid past the amp, coming to a stop at the very end of the stage. He pulled off his scarf and leaned past the security guards.
"Nice shirt," he said with a charming smile and tossed the scarf into her arms.
The girls around her touched the scarf reverently and when one tried to pull it away one of the others pushed her back, for which Stella was thankful, she was too torn to move. Did Joe know it was her? Had he seen her and immediately known?
He better have!
She rubbed the thin scarf between her fingers. She'd crocheted it herself during classes when she finished her finals before the bell rang.
If Joe had given it to a random fan because he thought her "team JONAS" shirt was cool, he was in for a world of hurt.
"I really don't know," Samantha said. "We met outside after the concert and all she said was that we had to go home right away."
Macy hummed thoughtfully on the computer screen. She and Samantha already had plans to video chat about the concert afterward but with Stella in such a state the joy of the night had quickly faded.
"What happened during the show?" Macy asked. "Did Joe eye-flirt with any fans during 'Love Sick'?"
"No, though I did lose sight of him during the last song. Someone outside said he threw his scarf to a --"
"What? What is it?" Macy demanded.
Samantha gulped, her eyes on the scarf laid out before Stella on the bed. "Did Joe throw you his scarf?" she asked tentatively.
Stella nodded once, never looking up from the strip of navy blue.
"Joe gave Stella his scarf?" Macy cried. "Did he recognize her?"
"I don't know," Stella said, narrowing her eyes, "but I'm gonna find out." She looked up at the screen so swiftly she saw Macy jump. "You've got the guys' itinerary memorized. How long are they in Paris?"
Macy gasped. "I resent that! I am not some crazed stalker fan anymore! I know my limits!"
"Mace. How long are they in Paris?"
"They have one more concert tomorrow night, then they leave for Spain."
"Oh no," Macy said.
"What? What is it?" Samantha asked.
"She has that look. The one that says someone is in deep, deep trouble."
"Good luck with that," Macy said sincerely. "Try not to let her break any laws and everything should be fine."
Samantha winced but decided there was nothing she could do about it.
"I'm so glad you're here!" Tom said, ushering Stella down the hallway. "And I know the guys will be happy to see you," he added, winking at her.
"Their outfits getting a bit worn?" Stella asked, returning Big Man's smile when they reached the guys' suite.
"Kevin and his power slides," Tom said, shaking his head. "Here, let me go in first. I wanna see the looks on their faces when they see you."
"No problem," Stella said.
Tom slipped inside and Big Man waited all of ten seconds before saying, "You're here to kill Joe, aren't you?"
"How much he knows."
Big Man sighed. "Well, just promise me he'll be in singing condition tonight, that's all I ask."
"Done," Stella said, offering Big Man her hand to shake.
"--I found something I thought you guys might enjoy down in the lobby!" Tom said a bit too loudly.
"Is it a bunny?"
"Is it a moped?"
"Is it noise-cancelling headphones?"
Stella bit back a giggle and stepped through the door.
"Stella!" Kevin cried. He leapt over the couch to lift her around in a bear hug. "We've missed you soooo much! I got this stain on my jeans in London and no one was there to get it out! It was horrible!"
"I've missed you too, Kevin," Stella said, pushing away. Over his shoulder she could see Joe waiting not-so-patiently for his own hug.
"Hey," Joe said.
"Hey," Stella returned.
"Awwwww!" Kevin cooed. "They're so adorable!"
"Don't ruin it, Kevin," Nick said, coming over for his own hug. "If you do, Joe'll be miserable until we get to China."
Stella chuckled while he hugged her then turned back to Joe. All of a sudden he rushed forward and she was being crushed in his arms. The pressure disappeared again so quickly that she almost lost her balance and blinked at Joe standing before her.
"We thought you were in Marseilles," he said.
"Yeah," Stella said slowly, her heart sinking, "there was a change in the schedule so I thought I'd come visit my guys."
"And we're so glad you did," Tom said. "You have no idea how many wardrobe problems we have when you're not around. One of Nick's shoes broke -- I didn't even know shoes could break! -- and Kevin's knees keep getting holes in them, and Joe lost his scarf, and my ties won't tie right! It's chaos!"
"And!" Kevin cried before racing into one of the bedrooms and back again. "Mr. Bumble ripped a seam." He held the bear out and Stella took him with a smile.
"Well, he's definitely the most important," she said, examining the tear under the bear's left arm.
She moved over to the couch, pulling her emergency sewing kit from the pocket of her purse and searching for a thread that matched Mr. Bumble. The guys followed her: Nick resuming his work on a new song, Kevin watching the operation with wide eyes, and Joe sitting close by her side.
"Mr. Lucas," she said while she thread the needle. "There's a diagram to help with your ties at the back of that binder of instructions I gave you. And if that doesn't work, I have a step-by-step video up on my YouTube page that should do the trick."
"Okay," Tom said and went in search of the binder.
"And Kevin," Stella said, never taking her eyes off Mr. Bumble, "I packed you some extra pants. There's a false bottom in the box your shoes are in. Leave the ruined ones with me and I'll repair them and ship them to you when I'm done. Nick. Bring me the shoes. If the one isn't repairable I'll go out and buy you some new ones before tonight's concert."
"Cool," Nick said, setting aside his notebook and getting up to find the broken shoe.
Stella avoided looking at Joe, instead taking her time working on repairing Mr. Bumble. When she could no longer fuss over him she handed him back to Kevin, who hugged him tight (but not too tight, he had just gotten out of surgery after all) and went to put him in his room.
"So," Stella said, putting her sewing kit away with far more care than was necessary. "You lost a scarf? Which one was it? Maybe I can find a replacement when I go to get Nick's --"
"Oh? You mean this scarf?" Joe pulled it out of her bag with a flourish.
Stella's eyes widened. "You knew?" she asked, unable to hold back her smile.
"Of course I knew!" Joe said, wrapping the scarf around her neck. "You may have had the others fooled but I'd know you anywhere, Stella Malone." He leaned in for a quick kiss and pulled away just as Nick returned with the shoes.
Stella shook off her euphoria and examined the damage. There was no way she could repair them, at least not with the tools she had on hand.
"I'll have to get you new ones," she sighed. "Have your dad ship those back to the firehouse. I can fix them when I get home."
"Hey," Joe said a bit too eagerly. "Let me come with you. A young lady shouldn't be walking the streets of Paris unescorted."
"Yeah," Nick said, "because an international rock star who can barely bench press his own body weight is gonna be a lot of help. Plus, you'll just be hounded by fans the whole time."
"I'm not so sure. Stella's got some experience with disguises."
Nick rolled his eyes. "Because the doctor costumes worked so well."
"Hey!" Stella snapped. "Those would have worked fine if you hadn't answered your phone!"
"Guys," Joe said, "chill. Your disguises are always amazing, Stella. And I think Nick is about to prove that." Stella frowned but Joe quickly turned to his brother. "Stella found my scarf. Isn't that awesome?"
Now it was Nick's turn to frown. "Stella found your -- but I thought you gave that to …" He trailed off, looking dumbly from the scarf around Stella's neck to Joe and back to Stella.
Joe smirked at Stella.
"Go ask your dad," she said, shaking her head and pushing him on his way, "while I try to find a disguise for you."
Joe ran off while Stella began searching the messy hotel room for supplies.
"How did you get the scarf?" Nick asked.
"What are you talking about?" Stella asked. "Joe just told you --"
"I know what Joe told me. And I also know that Joe gave that scarf to a fan at last night's concert--"
Stella whirled, putting on her best angry face. "You saw Joe give some girl his scarf and you didn't tell me?" she demanded.
"How could you let him do that? He's your brother! You're supposed to make sure he doesn't do things that could get him killed!"
Tom's voice echoing from the next room saved Nick. "Just don't get exposed and don't kiss her while you're out there! The last thing we need is for the tabloids to start running stories about you hooking up with your 'fake blonde' ex in France! Now leave me alone! I'm trying to listen to this video!"
"We're good," Joe said, rushing towards them. Stella tossed him a hoodie and the scarf. He pulled the hoodie on and wrapped the scarf around his head to cover the lower half of his face before putting the hood up. A pair of sunglasses ensured he wouldn't be recognized.
"See?" Stella asked. "I told you this was a good look."
Joe rolled his eyes dramatically so she could get the full effect despite the glasses.
"Shouldn't you be mad?" Nick asked as they headed into the hall.
This time Stella rolled her eyes dramatically.
"He gets to live?" Big Man asked mildly.
"This time," Stella said with a bright smile. She linked her arm with Joe's and the two headed towards the elevator.
reviews = love