Stand Up

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or plot from Jersey Boys – only one.

Author's Note: Hello my lovely readers! I'm back to writing oneshots for now. School takes up a lot of my time and writing a chapter fic is kind of distracting; so I'll be focusing on the huge list of oneshots I've planned to write.

Also, for this particular fanfic, when writing this, I had Jeremy Kushnier in mind as Tommy DeVito and Bryan Hindle as Joey – in case you wanted to look up pictures.

"Hey Joey!" The voice that called out his name made his heart stop cold. "What, all these bowling balls makin' you deaf, kid? I called you!"

Joey turned on the heels of his deteriorating Converse sneakers only to come face to face with the man whose very sneer sent shivers up his spine. The man, barely older than Joey, kept his wavy golden hair was oiled back and he fingered the purple tie that matched his shirt. "H-hey Tommy... W-what are you d-doing here?" He stuttered and clumsily tripped over his own tongue.

Tommy flashed his handsome yet intimidating smile and furrowed his brow confidently. "I said I'd be here this week –"

"You said you'd be here Saturday," Joey corrected Tommy, instantly wishing he hadn't.

"So I'm here a few days early, big deal. I'm still here." Cackling, Tommy rubbed his hands together and grabbed Joey roughly by the collar, bringing him directly to his side. Joey's heavy, dark blue jacket was able to provide him protection – but not much. "Alright, here's what we're going to do. The fifth frame and not before, you start spotting the pins like I said..."

"I know, I know, a little off..."

Tommy bent him forward into a headlock. Joey didn't know what stung more – the spot in his back that didn't quite bend that way, or the fact that everyone in the bowling alley was staring and chuckling at him, and Tommy was soaking it up. "Don't screw this up, kid." Tommy let go of him and pushed him away, giving Joey a chance to run. "Now get lost!"

The lounge was about to close and Joey was cleaning up the joint. He ran one shaky hand through his dark brown hair and picked up someone's half-empty beer bottle with the other. Every night he wished Tommy wouldn't come in the next day, but he could never be sure. Joey was obligated to be Tommy's little doll forever; he had to do it – Tommy was a lot bigger than him and easily pushed his scrawny figure around whenever he got the chance, plus the money he offered was all too tempting.

Even though Joey could have sworn he was alone, he was still on edge. He always was – just in case Tommy decided to give him a visit; that's why he jumped about a foot in the air when a soft, feminine voice from behind him cooed, "Um, excuse me?" Joey rounded on the girl and felt his eyes widen in shock. She was fairly bony and short – maybe an inch shorter than him, and he was already quite tiny. Her bright lipstick brought out her strawberry blonde hair and she wore a pale purple dress. "I'm sorry; did I scare you?"

"N-no," he stammered, hoping to regain some sort of confidence before he screwed up this chance. "I just wasn't expecting to see you."

"Oh," she giggled. "Well, I just wanted to ask if you were okay."


"I saw you with that boy earlier, I..."

Joey felt his cheeks flush, so he hastily went back to cleaning up the bar. "Yeah, yeah, everyone saw that."

"Why do you let him push you around like that?"

He couldn't exactly tell her he was helping Tommy cheat on gambling, so he skirted the issue. "He's bigger than me. What am I supposed to say? I mean, he's my friend. Whatever."

The girl laughed sarcastically. "He's your friend? He doesn't look like a very good friend to me."

"That's just Tommy, okay? Sheesh!" Feeling nervous, Joey hoped on the defensive. "And who do you think you are, telling me who my friends should be? I oughta..."

Joey started to walk away again, but the girl followed. "Joey, can you wait a minute?"

He was about to ask how she knew his name, but he remembered that the jacket he wore had his named embroidered in gold on his breast. "What is it?" He didn't stop, but she was skipping after him quickly.

"It's okay, you know – to be scared."

"I'm not...!"

The girl shook her red-blonde bob and batted her eyelashes at him. "Stand up to him, okay? Don't let him push you around. You're gonna end up working for him your whole life if you don't do it now." With those last words of advice, the nameless girl left Joey alone with not even a hint of a backward glance.

It didn't take long before Tommy was in the Four Seasons lounge, back to barter with Joey. "Joey!" he shouted, grabbing attention not only from the small, nervous boy in front of him, but almost everyone else in the bowling alley.

Joey jumped a little and walked toward the door where Tommy had just entered and sat down at the nearest table. "What can I do for you today?"

"I'm gonna need you to spot those pins again, alright? Lane four."

While trying to avoid eye contact with his bully, Joey caught sight of the girl from the other day; she and a few friends had just come into the lounge. As soon as she noticed what was going on, she raised her eyebrows at Joey and gave him a reassuring nod. He gulped and squeezed his eyes shut. She was right. It was now or never. "Not today, Tommy."

Obviously shocked by his attitude adjustment, Tommy recoiled. "What did you just say?"

Joey had no idea what had happened to him – it was as though he'd gained a level of confidence he'd never thought possible. His chest swelled. "I said no," he repeated firmly, sticking his nose up to Tommy's height.

"No?" Tommy shoved Joey by the shoulder which earned him a moan from their audience, which he took as approval. "I'll do you a favour; I'll give you another chance. You're spotting pins today – lane four."

Suddenly, something came over Joey that he had never felt before. Joey formed a fist with his right hand and as hard as he could, punched Tommy in the face. "I'm not going to do this anymore, Tommy!"

"You fucking punk! Who do you think you are?" For some reason, Joey expected it to end there, like in the movies. He didn't predict Tommy would hit him back, sending him to the floor. "See this?" He held up a crisp hundred dollar bill and tucked it back in the breast pocket of his suit jacket. "It could have been yours." With that, Tommy DeVito turned around and walked out of the lounge.

Joey was on the floor. He felt his lip bleeding and his nose felt like it was bent out of shape. None of that seemed to matter as much as the girl, still sitting with her friends and watching the fight from afar, and the little wink she gave to him as soon as he'd lifted his head.