Categories > Celebrities > Fall Out Boy > Canine Cupid

When you bark up the wrong tree...

by FrostedGlass 9 reviews

Joe sees Brenda in a whole new light and Brenda sees herself in a new way, too. Carl finally sees clearly.

Category: Fall Out Boy - Rating: G - Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2007-02-09 - Updated: 2007-02-09 - 2491 words

W h e n y o u b a r k u p t h e w r o n g t r e e . . .

Even though the weeks before the tour were filled with various appearances on TV shows and on the radio as well as interviews for this magazine and that website, Joe tried his best to see Brenda as often as possible. Unfortunately, her own schedule didn't always permit hanging out when the guitarist finally did have time.

Joe eventually suggested he just take part in one of the classes she held at the gym. That way he could be with her, even if she had to work. Brenda raised an eyebrow and laughed lightly over the phone.

"All I have today is aerobic classes, Joe. That's usually considered a girly thing," she pointed out.

But he didn't mind. A bunch of half-naked girls bouncing up and down with him - what could be so bad about that?

Later that day he found out.

"Are you alright?" Brenda watched him as he walked out onto the street next to her, moving as if his extremeties were leaden. Dead lead.

"Sure, never felt better," he replied and tried to pull himself together.

His girlfriend smirked at him and his desire to impress her. She placed her hand softly on his shoulder, "Say we go to my place now? You need to relax a bit after the workout."

Joe liked the sound of that, even though he had doubts if he would able to control his body as usual.

Wesley greeted them at the door of Brenda's apartment. He sniffed Joe's hands for a moment but then walked away disinterested.

"Your dog hates me," Joe said chuckling.

"He's a bit aloof... but check this out: Wesley! Milkshake."

At her command the lab crouched down and shook his behind. Joe laughed. He still liked the trick; hadn't expected to see it here though. But he knew Carl trained a lot of dogs, why not Wesley?

"I'd like to see you do that," the guy told Brenda.

"Anything for you, Joe," she replied giggling. "But first let me fix dinner."

While the woman disappeared into the kitchen he started to explore her place. She didn't have much furniture but there were tons of photos plastered to the walls. Most of them showed Brenda with other people, probably her age and older. She surely had a lot of friends, Joe decided.

A few minutes later she joined him on the couch.

"Spaghetti ok with you?" she asked him who was still looking around the room to take in the various pieces of what made up her life. He nodded.

"I know this isn't much," Brenda let her eyes travel across her belongings, "but it's home. And I'm planning to record this fitness video/ DVD thing. It's not gonna make a star or anything but it should bring in more money."

Joe felt instantly bad. He didn't mean to belittle her apartment by surveying it like that. He just wanted to find out more about her, and if this was what she was, that was fine by him.

"Don't be silly. I love this place!" he exclaimed. "It's cozy."

"You haven't even seen all of it yet."

"Then show me."

The tour was short but he didn't mind the humbleness of the place. He hadn't been born affluent either.

For Brenda this was a first, to take home a guy with her. Joe was the first man she felt truly comfortable with. Even though it was hard to lay off a habit like that, she tried to stop stressing the outside Brenda and let him see the inner Brenda. But she had bought this light blue lingerie ensemble already and it would be a shame not to see the look on his face when he saw it on her.

Later they lay in her bed. (The light blue hadn't stayed on for long.)

She knew that the time had come to come clean with Joe. Joe who was too good to be true, Joe who had this dorky hotness to him and who obviously wanted to be with her for real. All of a sudden she felt dumb for having kept it from him. Maybe she should have told him right away. She had told most of her other acquaintances. But he was more than that, she wanted him to be more than that from day one. Let down your guard, Brenda.

"Oh, by the way, just so you know, I'm seeing other people," the woman mentioned casually and kissed him on the cheek.

"Excuse me?" Joe frowned and pulled away, looking shocked.

"Hey," she smiled (of course, it was forced). "You can't expect me to restrict myself to monogamy when I'm only 19 years old."

It's one thing to decide to be open and honest but it's a whole different thing to do it in a way that lets the other person assume you're vulnerable. Pretend it's not a big thing, say it's only natural.

The man shot up in the bed, staring at her as if he had just said that she was a minor and what they had been doing five minutes earlier could have been regarded illegal. The fact that this was off by two years didn't mean much too him. He was a man of moral standards. And a man with a couple of female teenage cousins, which automatically evoked some kind of moral standards in him, if only hypocritically sexist ones.

"I... didn't know you were that young," he stammered.

"How old did you think I was?"

"Well... I thought you were at least 21. I mean, you got into the bar and all."

She smirked, "Aren't you just the innocent one? Fake ID, sweetie."

Joe crossed his arms before his chest, "I wish you would have told me..."

The woman rolled her eyes. This wasn't working out how it was supposed to be. "You never asked. And it doesn't really make a hell of a difference, Joe. It's just numbers. We get along fine, so don't ruin it."

Fear. Maybe she shouldn't have told him. She should have just called it quits with the others and things would have been fine.

"I wish I would have also known that you were seeing other guys," he added meekly.

"And girls," she added. It was supposed to come out self-confidently but she wasn't so sure.

What Pete would have called 'jackpot, baby' Joe could only refer to as 'bummer'. Brenda interpreted his look correctly and ventured to explain it to him, "Come on, you can't expect me to-"

"Restrict yourself to only one gender when you're only 19. Yes, I get it," Joe finished for her. "I think it's better if I leave now."

"Suit yourself, Joe," Brenda got out of bed and started putting on her clothes. "I have a spinning class to hold in half an hour anyway."

He wanted to mention that she had told him she had only aerobics today and that the last class had been the one with him. But he didn't.


"What's up with you, Trohdude?" Pete nodded at his friend as they went backstage. It was three days before their real tour started. This was just a small club show that hadn't been really made public. Still the place had been packed full.

The bassist hadn't failed to notice that Joe hadn't moved a lot on stage. Usually he spun around as if stung by a bee that was high itself. It wasn't only his body language, his expression was troubled, too. Pete had seen his bandmate drown completely in their songs when he played. Tonight had been different.

"I got sore muscles, that's all," was the quick reply. "I went to Brenda's gym yesterday."

"So things are really getting serious between the two of you. That's cool, man," He paused and then added, "I mean, as long as you don't blurt it out at every interview, ya know?"

Joe slumped down on a bean bag, "Don't worry, Pete. Things've been put to a halt."

The other man frowned in confusion and asked what he meant by that. The guitarist sighed, grabbed one of the towels that had been placed there for them and rubbed his hair with it. He was surprised to find it wasn't all that wet from sweat. He really must have cut back on his usual performance work-out that night.

Then he told Pete what had happened the day before.

"Jackpot, baby!" his friend couldn't help but yell.

Joe's face clearly expressed that he didn't agree with that so the bassist rambled on, "I mean... I guess... you really like her, huh? And want her to yourself?"

When the addressed was about to nod the door opened and Andy and Patrick spilled into the room.

"Dude, what's the matter with you?" Andy looked at Joe. "You hardly headbanged today."

The man rolled his eyes and felt reluctant to answer.

Pete pointed out that he should really talk to people about this. Maybe they could show him a different perspective on the situation. Then he pushed Andy out the door and followed him, to chat up fans, leaving Joe with Patrick. Patrick who was far better at thinking first and then talking.

"Well," the Thinker in the hat said after his pal had explained his current dilemma to him. "It was brave of her to tell you about her other... the others, you know? She could have just kept it a secret. Obviously she didn't want to lie to you, Joe. You need to acknowledge that."

"You mean didn't want to lie to me any longer..."

Patrick took off his cap and tossed it aside. His hair stuck to his sweaty forehead and cheeks and he scrunched up his nose, "I really need a shower... but first this: Consider his situation for a second. If you were dating a girl that could have a different guy every night, wouldn't you be careful and put too much hope into a relationship? Did you ever really talk about what you are?"

Joe shook his head. Joe hadn't put too much hope into a relationship with a beautiful and fun girl like Brenda. Who could have a different guy every night. And different girl. And who probably did, by the looks of it.

"You need to find out if this is really such a big deal to you. If it is tell her. Maybe she wants to stop it? She did tell you about it, right?" Patrick got up and surveyed his friend's face, "Shower now. Later, dude."


The next day Joe met Carl for a walk with their dogs. In the meantime Pepper had become friends with Dax, she was even starting to become a bit protective over him whenever Oreo was rough-housing with the puppy.

"I can't believe he's growing so fast," Joe mentioned, watching the dogs running around.

She nodded in reply. "Joe, are you sure you don't want me to keep him while you're gone? It's no big deal."

A couple of days ago he had reclined her offer, still thinking that Brenda would take care of Dax while he was on tour. Now things looked different. She hadn't called and he didn't intend to be the idiot who gave in. He hadn't done anything wrong. She had to contact him.

"Are you sure? Because... I was gonna ask you," the man answered.

"Of course," she smiled at him.

Caroline sense that something must have happened between her new friend and his girlfriend. He seemed down and hadn't he mentioned that she was going to take care of his dog while he was away?

Carl was the kind of person who didn't think much of butting into other people's business. She didn't want other people to interogate her about her private life either, especially since not all of them were receptive to the way she led her life. A modern-day hermit who usually chose the company of dogs over humans. She couldn't remember the last time she had a relaxing conversation with one of her other customers. If it wasn't for her lover who didn't seem to mind about her life style at all, despite the fact that it was pretty much the exact opposite of theirs, Carl would have given up on people long ago.

An hour later Joe agreed to come upstairs with his friend for a cup of coffee. Dax vanished with his canine buddies into the room that had been exclusively furnished for Caroline's dogs. Several blanket spread across the floor, five different baskets, numerous rubber toys and stuffed animals. Surely the beagle would have everything he needed in the next couple of weeks.

On her way in Carl hit the button on her answer phone and pointed Joe the way to her bathroom.

"Hey, Carl... I know I'm horrible for doing this on the phone. Even on your answering machine. I couldn't look you in the eyes though..."

A pause.

"Because without you I don't think I would have had the strength to set foot here. But... The thing is my feelings have changed. And I'm seeing someone else. I don't mean one of those occasional flings, I really like him. I'm sorry, Caroline..."

When Joe's cell on her coffee table rang about one minute after the message had been over, Carl drew her eyes from staring into the void to the phone's flashing display.

"Brenda," she read out loud. "Fat chance." She should have figured it out sooner. The way Joe had described this girl. But wasn't it worth delaying the end?

The ringing stopped just in time when Joe returned.

"You got a call," Carl said flatly and walked into the kitchen.

He didn't know what to make of her sudden coldness but didn't allow himself to take it personally. In the the few weeks he'd known her she had never been quite easy to understand. A bit like Brenda maybe.

He checked his voice mail, the awaited call from her. Telling him she promised to stop seeing other people. Asking him to give her a second chance.

Joe smiled to himself and then shouted in the direction of the kitchen, "Hey... I gotta go. Thanks for the coffee offer anyway. And for letting me pee."

Caroline reappeared instantly, her lips pressed together to a thin line. But Joe had no time to check on her, he was dying to make a call and set things right again. She wanted him, she had made sacrifices.

"Dax! Come on here, buddy!" Joe called for his dog. Seconds later he was at his side. "Bye, Carl." The door closed behind them.

"Bye, Brenda," she muttered under her breath.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

This could have been done more smoothly. This could have been done in so many better ways. Unfortunately, not by me. I hope you're telling me it's ok.
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