Worry Rock

(Don't) Leave Me Alone

---Joey's POV---

Okay, so generally, if I'm on a date with my girlfriend, having a decent time, finally able to get away from the shit that always seems to happen in my normal life, I won't even want to answer the damn phone. But somehow, this rule doesn't count when my ex is thrown in the mix. Which is really fucked up when ya think about it.

Your baby loves you more than you know
Raised on rivalry and rock and roll

"Hello?" I answer, as if I don't know who's calling. Charlie's the only one with Broken Radio as her ring tone. Well, I thought it fit. Thank god Brittney hasn't asked about it.
"Hey, Joe... how are you?"
She sounds weird... nervous... and that really worries me. Well, she's been fucked up ever since Warren died, but I mean, she usually doesn't try so much to hide it... when she's trying to sound okay, something's wrong.
"Oh, I'm fine... just hanging out with Brit. How about you?" Well, I guess I don't exactly encourage the whole 'be honest with me' thing...
"I'm okay." That liar. "Just, um... thought I'd call. I... haven't really talked to you in a little while. So, I kinda missed you... but I'm sorry. You should go be with your girlfriend. I'll call you later."
And she hangs up... damn... she sounded really nervous... I wonder if I should call her back...
"Joey?" I look up at Brittney, my eyes meeting with hers. "Come on... we'll be late for the movie."
I nod, reluctantly turning off my phone and following her into the theater. I feel her clasp my hand softly as we get to the ticket booth and can't help but smile, even if I feel like fucking shit. This girl doesn't deserve me... not when I'm still fucking hung up on my ex... not when my life's in turmoil... she shouldn't have to endure it. I don't know why she does.

---Charlie's POV---

Ugh... booze... I hate booze...
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my exact thoughts as a take another swig from the bottle.
I've been sitting here for a few hours now... drinking... shit, I miss Joey...
I stare at the little bottle of pills on my nightstand. Fucking little death machines... come in and just tear you up and kill you, clean and all, from the inside out... perfect assassins... I wonder if I could take it though. I mean, I'm not that drunk, right? Just to see... can I take it?
I look up drowsily, my vision blurry. "Mmmhm?" I'm able to make out the figure of my best friend in the doorway of my room. "Oh, hey, Jakey..."
"Carlie, those pills..."
"I didn't take any."
“I said I didn’t fucking take them, Jakob!”
I see him freeze near the doorway a moment. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t yell, but I’m tired of people thinking I’m going to kill myself. I’m not… Shit, what do they expect? I just get over it?
He comes over and grabs the bottle from the nightstand, stuffing it in his pocket and then holding his hand out to me. “Give me the bottle.”
“This is an intervention, Carlie. You’re going to stop this now.”
“Who the fuck are you to tell me what I can and can’t do?” I pull myself up off the bed and manage to push past him. I almost fall, but he grabs my arm. Thanks.
“Your best friend, that’s who. Now, give me the damn bottle.”
“Fuck you,” I spit at him, glaring. He can’t tell me what to do. I try to get away, but his grip is too tight, and I think the booze slowed me down. “Let me go.”
“No! Give it to me.” He reaches for the bottle in my hand, and I just struggle harder. There are tears coming to my eyes now.
“Leave me alone, Jakob. I’ll deal with this, okay. Go a-fucking-way. Leave me alone!”
He manages to grab the half empty liquor bottle from my hand, pushing me down as I start hitting his chest weakly. “Leave me alone, Jakey, I can do this…” The tears fall freely down my cheeks now, making my breaths more shallow. God, I even smell the booze on me.
“No, you can’t, Char! You can’t do it alone, and I’m not going to let you fucking drink yourself to death like Warren did!”
I freeze. Warren… He was one of my best friends. And he… oh, God.
The bottle smashes against the wood dresser, breaking into thousand of tiny shards and making the liquid come down on me like acid rain. Oh shit, this is killing me. I jump at the sound and curl against the side of my bed. Fuck, somebody please just kill me now. I can’t take this anymore. Please, it’s what I want. Don’t make me live.
I’m sobbing now, hugging myself and leaning against the bed. I feel Jakob’s footsteps over the floor as he kneels next to me.
“I’m sorry,” I choke out. “Don’t hate me, Jakob. I can’t have you mad at me. Please…”
His arms wrap around me, and I curl into him and hug him tightly, letting my tears pour into his dark shirt as he cradles me in his arms. “I’m not mad at you, Carlie. I want to help you.”
“I want to die,” I sob. “Let me die.”
“Never. I love you. I won’t let you die.”
I cling ever tighter to him. My Jakey. My best friend.
“Don’t leave me alone…”


I open my eyes drowsily, staring at the inside of my dark blankets. Ah, my bed. When has my bed ever felt so good? But my head, shit. I really do hate booze…
Oh, fuck.
I remember yesterday now. Fighting with Jakob… calling Joey… shit, why did I call Joey? He has a girlfriend, and I…
I love him.
I try to think through the pounding in my head. Ow, it hurts. But Joey! My sweet ex-boyfriend, the one who’d make Jakob my brother-in-law, the one who’d make me have a real family for the first time ever, who would never hurt me… but he’s moved on, hasn’t he?
I shift slightly under the covers to gaze at the scars on my wrists. Not recent, no… but there. They’ll never go away, will they? But they can be hidden. Yes, forgotten. They were never here.
Slowly, I pull the sheets back. I feel a gust of cold air come over my face and look around. It’s early, but I decide to get up anyway. I need a shower. Yes, that’s good. A shower and a toothbrush and a change of clothes, and I’ll feel better. I won’t smell like liquor anymore.
The bottle. I look over to the dresser. It’s been cleaned up. Good old Jakob. You can always trust Jakob to help you when you need it. I would probably be dead without him, to tell the truth.
I get up, walking to the bathroom. Time to get clean.


Twenty-three missed calls on my phone. Everybody’s been trying to find me. But maybe there’s a reason I didn’t want to be found. They’ll see soon. I just have to fix things now, and for once, I don’t care how it turns out.
Because now I know my friends love me.
I know I can last.
I won’t let myself die like Warren did.
I knocked on the door to Joey’s new home, the one he moved in so damn recently. It’s a really nice house, too. Clean, perfect paint jobs and a garden in the front yard. It broke my heart when he moved here. Away from me. I thought he didn’t want to be near me anymore, but I understand that now too. I’m okay with it. I just have to fix things now.
It’s hardly a few seconds’ time when the door flies open to show my ex, my friend, standing there staring at my. Emotions run through his expression as he looks at me, changing from shock to a strange hurt to simple relief as he pulls me into his arms in a hug.
Oh, I love when he calls me that. Only Joey can. My real name, and it’s just for him. I bury my face in his neck, returning the embrace. I missed this. I hope I can do this more often.
“Hey, Joe.”
He pulls away enough to look my in the face. “Where have you been? Everyone’s been looking for you! We didn’t know if you’d gone for a walk or left or what… You shouldn’t run away like that. Come on, I have to call Jakob. I think he’s going to have a fucking panic attack or something.”
He pulls me in, and I smile at him. My first real smile in a while now. Probably since Warren died. He looks tired too, like someone called him at 6 in the morning and made him wake up to worry about me. They probably did. But I won’t disappear anymore now. I’m growing up…
“I had some things to take care of,” I tell him as he grabs the phone. “I’m okay though.”
He stops in the middle of dialing, looking down at my hands. “Carlie… what happened to your wrists?”
I glance down to the bandages wrapped around my wrists. “Oh yeah. That’s what I had to take care of.”
He puts the receiver down and takes my hand, pulling it up to look at my wrist as if he doesn’t believe it. “But you didn’t…”
“No.” He looks at me in confusion, and I reach up to peel the bandage back to reveal a brand new, brightly colored tattoo. My first ever. “I’m done with that, Joseph. I’m moving on. You understand, right? I got them on my wrists to cover the scars. I’m not going to hurt myself anymore.”
He just stares at me in shock. Yes, it is shocking, huh? The queen of self-pity and worry. I’m putting it behind and locking myself to the promise with these two reminders, the cuffs around my wrists filled with encouraging song lyrics and images. They’re the best tattoos I’ve ever seen. Maybe because they’re mine, or because I know they’re reminding me to live, or some reason I haven’t even thought of. I don’t care. I just know I’m glad I got them. In memory of Warren. In memory of Mom and Dad and Harvey and every other fucking thing I’ve ever had to go through. I’m done crying now. I can just… remember.
He pulls me close in a hug again, inducing another smile from me. “Do you like them?”
“Yes,” he grins. “I love them.”
“Good, because they’re permanent.”
He laughs. He’s happy that I’m okay. Better than okay, I’m great! I’m actually happy now. Truly, truly happy.
“But Joey, this isn’t why I came here. I wanted to talk to you.”
“What about?”
“Come on.” I take him over to the sofa and sit down. He follows me, looking at me in concern. “Oh, it’s nothing bad, I promise.”
“What is it?” I smile. It’s fun to keep him in the dark sometimes.
“I owe you an apology. No, don’t say anything. Let me talk. I’ve been a bitch to you, I know I have. You said you loved me, and I freaked out on you. I’ve ignored you and led you on, but I really never wanted to hurt you. I’m sorry.”
A sad little smile creeps onto his lips. “Don’t be. I understand.”
“I should’ve just told you.”
He nodded. “It’s okay though…”
“Are you happy now?”
He looks surprised. “What?”
“Are you happy? With Brittney. Please tell me.”
“I guess I am…” He seems uncertain though. “I miss you sometimes though.” I smile softly and reach up to touch his face. He closes his sweet brown eyes softly, and I lean closer. “No, Charlie, don’t.”
“Why not?”
He looks at me. “If you don’t love me, if you’re not absolutely sure… then please, don’t touch me like this. If you don’t love me, stop stringing me along. Don’t apologize and then just do it all over again. I can’t take it.”
I smile. Moment of truth. “I’m not stringing you along anymore, Joey. I promise.”
“What?” Again, the eloquent question…
“Joe. I love you. I’m sorry I haven’t told you before now, but I do love you.” Silence. “I’m telling the truth.”
And suddenly, the gap is closed, and our lips touch in the most blissful kiss I’ve ever felt. Everything is contained in this moment. Everything we’ve both been through and felt and seen and oh, god, it’s perfect.

I love you, Joseph Marciano Armstrong. I love you so much.

Don’t leave me alone.