Evie's got a secret. Pete's got one too. Things turn out more awkward than anything as the two are forced to see each other by friends that miss the better and happier sides of them. Caught up in ...
I twisted my mouth to one side of my face as I flipped through the mail. Something caught my eye and I placed all the bills down on the kitchen island.
"You are invited," I read, raising an eyebrow as I opened it up. Something flew out and I watched it go. Bending down to pick it up, I felt my breath itch.
I knitted my eyebrows together and crumbled it up, ripping it and throwing it down on the counter.
"Almost two fucking years and all of a sudden I get,"
The doorbell cut me off and I sighed, shaking my head as I passed through the living room. My paranoid mind told me to look through the peep-hole, only to find it being covered. I rolled my eyes and opened the door with the chain still there.
"Can't you read the fricking sign?" I asked. "No solicitors,"
"Wow, two years and somebody has an attitude," I blinked and closed the door, taking a deep breath before undoing the chain and whipping it open. I stared at him from behind the screen and chewed on my bottom lip.
"What are you doing here?" I whispered. Joe pushed his sunglasses back.
"I'm here on my own time, Ev," he paused and eyed the barrier between us. "And I have a very good explanation for not talking to you in a long time," I looked away, feeling all my problems returning.
"I took the years to rebuild myself, and I did," Joe shook his head.
"Yeah, well so did we," he cleared his throat. "So did Pete," I winced.
"If I was concerned about Pete's being I wouldn't be talking to you," I joked, forcing a smile as I opened the door. Joe let himself in and stood in the entrance way, taking a good look around as I closed the door.
"What's this?" he asked from the living room. I felt my eyes widen as I walked in after him.
"Oh," I took a breath. "I'm baby sitting," I mumbled, taking the baby monitor from him and placing it down on the couch.
Joe raised an eyebrow.
"Ok then," he sat down next to me. "Maybe I should start the story, uhh?" I nodded and he took a deep breath. "When we returned home, we didn't have any time t relax, and apparently even you and the girls lost contact," I cut him off.
"How are Ashley, Izzy and Jenn?" I asked. Joe's eyes lowered.
"Well, Izzy and Patrick are fine, and Izzy named her baby David," I felt a small smile come to my expression.
"That's pretty special," Joe nodded and cleared his throat.
"Jenn and Ryan are engaged, and they are getting married in a couple of months," I bit my lip and nodded for him to go on. Joe sighed. "Ashley and me worked out for about a month, but you know how touring is," I frowned.
"Are you guys still friends?" I asked. He nodded. "She's scored with Travi; they make such a cute couple," I nudged him.
"Are you sure about that?" I asked. Joe nodded, showing no sadness. "I'm happy with what I've got right now," I smiled.
"How is everybody else?" the dreaded question. Joe took a breath.
"Amazingly, we are fine," he bit his lip. "You'll never believe it, but Pete..." We both paused as a coo emitted from the monitor. Joe moved to pick it up and I stole it from him and stood up.
"I'll be right back," I walked towards the stairs and paused to turn around. "You stay here," Joe raised his eyebrows and I took a deep breath as I climbed the stairs and pushed back to door.
I was the biggest liar in the history of liars.
"Evie," I closed my eyes and rested my hands on the crib's edge, holding my breath until Joe wrapped an arm around my waist and extended an arm to push some hair out of my face.
"I'm not going to lie to you Joe," I whispered and leaned forward to pick the little bundle of joy out. She cooed and immediately reached for the necklace around my neck.
Joe looked utterly heart broken.
"If he knew, Ev," I raised an eyebrow.
"What?" I asked. He bit his lip and shook his head.
"His girlfriend is pregnant, Ev...with his baby," I slowly nodded and looked back down at my baby.
"I've taken care of her for the last five months, and balanced two jobs, while taking care of myself," I paused and caught his eyes. "I can keep doing it," Joe sat me down in the rocking chair and kneeled down in front of me to examine the baby.
"What's her name?" he asked. I smiled, only slightly feeling the tears poking at the corners of my eyes.
"Serafina," I whispered. Joe pushed her natural dark brown hair out of her deep brown eyes.
"Devotion," he paused. "I wouldn't think you'd be one to give her a Hebrew name," I laughed and adjusted her up.
"I'm devoted to making sure she grows up well," Joe frowned.
"She needs a father," I closed my eyes softly.
"Well so does Pete's current love," I paused. "How long have they been together?" I asked. Joe sighed.
"A year now, I think," I nodded and looked down at Serafina. She smiled up at me with wide eyes and it clicked at how much she looked like her father, Peter.
"Joe," I felt my chest well up with tears. His hand met my cheek and he wiped some tears away.
"Listen," he whispered. I looked up.
"What?" I hiccupped. He gave me a reassuring smile. "Can you call a baby sitter?" I nodded and took a breath. "I'm gonna take you out or..." I bit my lip.
"I don't think I can see him, Joe," he shook his head.
"Of course not," he mumbled before taking Serafina from me and gently placing her in her crib. Her eyes grew heavy again as we exited. I took a shaky breath as I sat down on the landing of the stair case.
"God, I never realized how horrible of a secret I was keeping, Joe," he smiled sadly, wrapping me in a hug.
"Ev, its ok," I shook my head.
"No it's not," I cried and felt my body shake with uncontrollable tears. "I don't even remember why I decided to keep it a secret," Joe pulled me away and waited for me to calm down.
"You don't have to tell him so quickly, Ev," he paused. "But when you are ready, I mean, we all miss you, it's just," I nodded.
"Things are rough," he nodded.
"We're getting ready to record and stuff, you know, you can always come out to LA for a visit in pre-production," I gulped.
"I'll have to get Ryan to baby-sit, and he doesn't even know he has a niece," Joe shook his head.
"We'll figure something out," I nodded.
"Just like all those times before," Joe tweaked my nose.
"I'll call Patrick,"
I nodded and watched him descend the stairs before I walked back to my room and glanced at the three pictures I had placed up above my light switch. Little baby Serafina when she was born, the strip of photo booth pictures of the girls and I and another of the guys before the one I never was able to take down.
I let the breath I was holding go and felt my eyes close in tunnel vision.
"Fuck," I hissed and moved my arms from behind my head and back down to my sides before sitting up.
"What's the matter?" I looked over towards the bathroom where Adine stood, holding her eyelash curler in one hand. I shook my head.
"I'm trying to think," I whispered, glancing down at the notebook I had in my lap. "Lyrics just don't come as easy as they used to," Adine laughed and I winced at how I never really liked it.
Sure, I was happy, but most of the time, I had to convince myself that I was. Adine was one of those girl friends that made you feel like every thing was ok. And it was bad enough that I had to convince myself I was in love with her. It wasn't as easy as saying I was in love with Evie.
Though I wasn't any longer.
Most of it was probably because I had not heard or seen from her in the last year and a half. Much longer than last time. But the news of Adine being pregnant made me remember what that little thing called a condom could do and not do. Don't get me wrong, she was going to be having my kid, for god's sake, but...it just didn't sound right, telling people that 'Hey, this is my girlfriend, Adine and she's going to have my first kid!'.
The first time I was ever sarcastic about it, Izzy slapped me across the face and made Alex stare at her with wide eyes.
"Don't you ever fucking refer to that fetus as your first born child, Pete," she had yelled before slapping me again. "Because no matter how much you claim to love that...whore," I had realized what I had said by then. "Evie was the first to bear your child and I know he's not here in this world right now, but for god's sake,"
I don't ever want to see Izzy cry ever again. Now I understand why Evie felt so bad for her during the time her and Patrick were chasing after each other. Explaining things to Alex was hard too. She didn't understand where Evie was, and frankly, neither did I. I really did hope that I would come back and she'd be right there with me, even if we had to resort to being just friends again. It was a shocker to learn from Ryan, her own brother that she had not kept contact with any of them.
And without many of us noticing, life went on.
The rest of 2005 went by with more tours, more shows and eventually my heart finding what I referred to as a 'getaway home' in Adine. But it made me feel so horrible.
"Baby," she cooed as she came over and sat down on the edge of the bed.
She looked too well made-up. Too super model sometimes. Much to what people thought, I really was a simple guy and it didn't take much out of a girl for me to find her attractive.
"Yea?" I asked softly, forcing a smile as her lips met mine. I could already feel the lipstick she left there.
"I'm going out with a few of my girls, so I'll probably be sleeping at my apartment tonight, alright?" I nodded and sighed as she smiled and disappeared.
My eyes widened and I let a breath out before wiping at my mouth. My phone buzzed from the night stand and I observed as JOE flashed across the screen. I held it up to my ear.
"Tell me you have some plans for tonight, I can't stay here any longer," Joe coughed and I heard some rustling in the background.
"How'd you like to get in touch with some things from our past?" My heart raced.
"Joe," I said slowly. "What's going on?" I asked.
"Well, /Patrick/," I gulped.
Something was up.
Another pause before Joe breathed out. "Dude, Pete, I took a huge freaking chance and found Evie," My heart practically flew out of my chest at that point.
"Please tell me she's ok," Joe laughed.
"Dude, she's fine," he gulped and became quiet again. "I told her that I would take her out tonight and..." I closed my eyes.
"She's going to be pissed if I'm there," Joe cleared his throat.
"Not necessarily, more like break down in tears, that or jump you in a hug," I sighed.
"I never realized how much I missed her until now," Joe took a breath.
"Love does that to ya, buddy,"
I was about to say something when I heard the dial tone. I wasn't sure where we were going, but I could probably take a wild guess and end up remotely right. I placed my phone down and got off my bed and took the dusty shoebox from underneath my bed. Taking of the lid, my eyes caught glimpse of the first few pictures. The first, the gang before Patrick and Joe's dance where I remember we almost shared our first kiss. The next was the photo booth pictures I had kept instead of letting Evie have them. And the last one I picked up was one I don't think I could have gotten rid of anyways.