So this came about after Monday's episode. I just couldn't work out why Joey would kiss Lucy seconds after realising he still loved Lauren (and I still can't!). Anyway, this is a Joey monologue... he's writing to Lauren, kind of like a diary I guess - telling her about his own kind of therapy and trying to explain himself to her.

Nothing Compares To You.

JOEY POV.

Dear Lauren, today is the day I found out you've gone. Part of me is glad you're getting the help you need. I know you need it and it sounds like you've realised that too which is a good thing. I wish I had been able to help you and that you would've let me do so but I know this is something you have to do on your own, however much it kills me to say that. I fucking miss you though, babe. Have done ever since I ended it really. You have to know by now that I still love you. Please tell me you do...?

The other part of me wishes you'd stayed with me. Does that sound selfish? Don't answer that... I know it does. I don't know how to function without you in my life. It was bad enough the last few weeks... at least I could still see you. You even let me be close to you a couple of times. Holding you in my arms will never get old, Lauren.

I have a confession to make, babe. I did something pretty stupid today and I'm not sure if you'll be furious with me... or you'll think it's hilarious and what I deserve. I would kill to hear you laugh right about now. It's been a long time since either of us have had anything to smile about, let alone laugh, ain't it, babe? Oh, yeah, back to my stupidity... I slept with Lucy. I don't even know why I did it. It was only a minute or so after it'd sunk in that you'd left and I finally admitted to myself I was still in love with you. Next thing I knew she was kissing me and while I pushed her away initially, when she did it again, I just couldn't. I was trying to mask the pain you leaving gave me. I just wanted to forget you were gone. It felt all wrong though... I didn't enjoy a single minute of it. If I wanted to forget, it was about the worst thing I could do because everything just reminded me of how she wasn't you...

*JL*JL*

Day 2. Dear Lauren... I knew it was a mistake but I didn't think it would be this bad. She won't leave me alone and, call me a glutton for punishment but being with her is better than being alone. I'm not sure I know how to handle that at the moment. I never told you yesterday, did I? I know the truth. I know what Lucy did to you and it just confirms to me that I can never love her the way I love you. And yet, I can't stop sleeping with her either. I'm not sure I understand it myself, but in a small way it makes me feel a little closer to you. That doesn't make sense really, does it? I miss you, babe. There's this great big hole in my heart and I don't know how to fill it. I still don't know if you're even coming back. I hope you do, I hope you think our love for each other is strong enough to get past what we've gone through but I know I've hurt you really badly. I guess sleeping with your ex-best friend probably isn't helping the situation. Have I said how unhappy I am, without you here?

*JL*JL*

Day 4. Dear Lauren... I was hungover yesterday so I didn't write to you. Fuck, I don't even know if you're going to read this anyway. I'd like you to read it, I think. I want you to understand me a little better, but like I said the other day I don't even know if I'm going to see you again.

*JL*JL*

Day 5. Sorry babe, once I wrote that paragraph yesterday, I couldn't write anymore. The pain of you not being here is getting to me, I think. I barely recognise myself in the mirror these days. Stop laughing about me looking at myself in the mirror! You know what I mean. Yes, so I was hungover... I went to the pub with everyone and Lucy was being clingy... worse than usual. I drank too much – it seems kind of ironic to write that to you in here but I wanted to try and forget who wasn't here... the person who was missing... the person I want to see. If you haven't worked that out already, I mean you.

Last night wasn't much better, really. I had to work at R&R's. I'm realising how my whole life seems to circle around alcohol and I'm wondering again if you're going to want to come back here... I'm scared that maybe you'll think Walford isn't the best place for you to be. FUCK!

*JL*JL*

Day 9. Babe, it's been a tough few days. Every day seems to just roll into the next and I'm losing track of where I am. Each day I read through what I've written in here already and I plan to write some more that day but... well, the last few days I haven't been able to. Not till today. I've made a decision. A bit slow to do this, I know but I realise that being with Lucy is a mistake and I need to end it. I can't promise I'm going to do it today but I'm going to. I need to... because the truth of the matter is, she ain't you, babe. Not even close to being you. It's you I want and I'm going to do everything in my power to prove that to you once you're back. I'm going to be the one do the chasing for a change and knowing you, you're going to make it hard work for me. I love you, Lauren Branning. So make it difficult... I wouldn't have it any other way, babe.

*JL*JL*

Day 10. Well I wish I could say I've done it... but I haven't. Lucy's going through some things with her dad and... well, she's still a friend – to me at least. I'm going to do it though, babe. I promise you. I still love you. Never forget that, babe.

*JL*JL*

Day 15. Dear Lauren, I intended to write in this every day but it's so difficult. I sit in my room, clutching this book. The pen is in my hand and I just don't know what to say. I've no idea how to tell you what I'm feeling because I just feel numb. I'm missing you so much. I think Alice has given up on me. I don't blame her really... I'm out all the time, either working or partying. By the time you come back it might be me who has the alcohol problem. Please come home soon. Come back to me, babe.

Oh, I forgot to say, I did it. I ended it with Lucy. She's not pleased... but I know it was the right thing to do. I hope you can forgive me for being such an idiot.

*JL*JL*

Day 18. Babe, I'm unravelling here. I slept with someone else last night. I didn't intend to but she was there and I needed to forget for a few minutes. Her name was Laura... As soon as she told me her name I knew it was going to happen. She was at the club and we did it in the office... I don't think she noticed when I whispered your name as I came. I guess it doesn't matter, I've no plans to see her again. Her only similarity to you was the name... She just wasn't you, babe.

Day 20. Lauren, I need you to forgive. Tonight she had your hair... For a few seconds I thought it was you I was with and then she said my name and it wasn't your voice. It was over almost before it began but for a few seconds I was able to stop thinking about the fact you aren't here. I'm sure, if I ever get you to read this, you'll hate me by now but I hope you don't. I wouldn't blame you if you did though. I can't say I like myself that much anymore. I wish you were here. Oh, and just so you know... I didn't do the hair thing.

*JL*JL*

Day 22. Last night it was like looking into your eyes. Almost. Every other thing about her was completely wrong and there was something about her eyes that wasn't right either but it was close enough. I hated every second. I wanted it to be you I was fucking against a wall. I remember the first time I did that... it was Grandma Dot's house, wasn't it. Just before everyone found out about us and things became more complicated. Sometimes I wish we could go back to that time. I liked it when it was just the two of us... not that I've ever hated what we had, babe. I do wish we were still together though. I wish I never made the decision I did.

*JL*JL*

Day 23. If you don't hate me already... I did something last night that is guaranteed to make you do so. I was completely blasted... not that that is any excuse. Why should I expect you to accept that when I didn't give you the same leniency? You may be wondering what the hell I did that could be so bad. I suppose, given what I've already told you, you'd be within your rights to ask that. The answer to your question... I slept with Whitney. We were both drunk... there's that excuse again. Both of us know it was wrong and it certainly won't be happening again. I hope I haven't spoilt things between her and Tyler. I hate myself. More than I did before you left. I'm not sure I can go on like this.

*JL*JL*

Day 26. Baby, when I first started writing this, I thought it would be a way for you to understand what I think. I thought you might understand how I've been feeling and it might go some way to explain the things I've done since you left. You know me... I'm not good with words... and when I see you again, I don't think I'm going to be able to string a sentence together, not enough to be able to tell you how I feel and how much you mean to me.

Not long after I started writing this, I began to think I might have my own addiction. You have alcohol and, at that time, I thought mine was sex. It's my own method of forgetting all the shitty things in my life. It has been for years. But I was wrong. It's not sex I'm addicted to, babe. It's you. You are what I want and what I need... what I crave. Guess, that makes me sound a bit desperate.

I'm never going to be able to get you to take me back. I realise that now. What I've done since you left is too much for you to forgive me. I hate it but I know it's the truth. Abi spoke to me this morning and she said you were coming home soon. This is the last time I'll be writing in here... I want you to like me still and if there's any chance of that happening, I need to stop now. But you should know... there are going to be no more girls. I'm done. There is only one girl I want... and that's you, Lauren Branning. I love everything about you. Your eyes that can see past my failings and make me feel better. Your smile that can light up any room and I know I'm one of the few people you show it to. I want to tuck your hair behind your ear and know that you know what I'm saying, without me saying the words. Fuck, I would stand on the bar in the Vic and scream it to everyone who'd listen to me if it would make you believe me. I want to go to bed at night and it be you I'm holding in my arms.

I don't want some substitute who doesn't measure up in any way. I know the truth now... nothing compares to you. Not for me. You are everything I desire and it's taken twenty six days of meaningless sex for me to realise that the only girl I want in my bed with me is you.

Fuck, even that is a lie... I knew that from the start. Okay, what I'm trying, and failing, to say is I want you back, babe. I want us to try again. I want us to forget the last couple of months and for us to remember what it was like when we first got together; why we got together in the first place. I knew the moment I first met you that you were special and the last few weeks have proved that to me.

Please forgive me for the mistakes I've made in the last month... and know I was trying to see if there was a way for me to stop loving you. I was scared you wouldn't come back to me and I'd forever be stuck with the pain of losing you. Now I know I would rather live with that pain than be with someone who isn't you.

I will love you forever, Lauren Branning and if I'm lucky enough you still feel the same way about me.

I'm going to leave this with Abi for you to open when you get back... if you want to. I hope you do. I'll be waiting for you, babe.

All my love,

Joseph Branning

THE END?

A/N: So I may do a follow up chapter to this... haven't decided yet. We'll see...