I have no idea why I am starting a new story when I have four tests next week.
That being said, this one's different from anything I've ever done, and I kinda like it. If other people do, too, then I guess my grades will have to suffer ;)
"Finn, buddy, will you bring your plate to the sink please?"
"I'm not done with my pizza yet!"
"Oh. Okay, well hurry and finish so that you can play with Uncle Andre and Aunt Tori when they get here!"
"Dad, where are you going tonight?" Finn asks him from where he sits at the table.
"I'm going to dinner with a friend," Beck answers, not wanting to disclose the full details to his impressionable son. This will be the first date he's gone on since ending things with the boys' mother, and he's not ready to introduce even the idea of any other woman to them yet. Just as he's finishing putting the leftover pizza away, the doorbell rings and Finn hops up to answer it.
"Uncle Andre!" He shouts, jumping into the man's arms.
"Hey, bud!" Beck's longtime best friend catches the five-year-old with ease.
"What am I, chopped liver?" Tori feigns offense as she closes the door behind her.
"Hi, Aunt Tori," Finn replies playfully. The three move into the kitchen, where Beck meets them.
"Hey, guys. Thanks again for coming over."
"No problem, man. We love hanging with the boys." As Andre talks, his fiancé makes her way to where Beck's younger son is sitting in his high chair. She lifts Ezra out of his seat and wipes the food off of his mouth before tickling the baby.
While Andre and Tori get settled in with the kids, Beck heads into his room to finish getting ready. He had only gotten a shower in earlier, but after a quick change of clothes and some lax cologne he's good to go.
"Alright," he says upon re-entering the kitchen. "How's this?"
"You look awesome!" Tori answers with a smile. "You got the address I texted to you, right?"
"Yep, saved it earlier. As for the boys—they're fed and bathed. Bedtime for Finn is around 8:30, and Ezra can go down as soon as possible. Thanks again for doing this, guys."
"No worries!" Tori assures him. "Go, and have fun! We've got everything under control here."
"Okay. Okay, boys, be good for Aunt Tori and Uncle Andre." Beck kisses both of his sons' heads and gets a hug from Finn. "I love you. I'll see you guys in the morning."
When he finally gets out the door, Beck takes his truck to pick up his date. He's nervous—that, he can't lie about—but with good reason. As he walks up to the front door of the small home, he reminds himself that Tori has good taste in friends and that surely this girl will be (at the very least) better than his ex-wife.
He rings the bell and she opens the door just a minute later. "You must be Beck," she says with a smile.
"That would be me," he answers kindly, and sticks his hand out for her to shake.
"It's great to meet you. I'm Veronica. Let me grab my purse and I'll be ready to go."
"No problem," he says easily, and then waits for his blind date to shut her door behind her.
The conversation on the drive to the restaurant is a little forced and a little stiff, but Beck excuses it. This is, after all, only their first time to meet. The dinner conversation isn't a huge improvement; Veronica, to him, seems very normal. A plain Jane.
Nice, but not enough to hold his interest.
He doesn't get uncomfortable until Veronica orders her third vodka tonic—and they're only halfway through the main course. While he is not a man easily irritated, he finds himself completely turned off by how casual this girl is about getting drunk in front of him on their first date. It's not as if she knows his story—or rather, his ex-wife's story—but he still can't help but deem Veronica's behavior inappropriate.
By the time he's paid the check, his date is drunk. He drives her home and she uses him as support while he walks her to the door. "Do you have a key?" Beck asks, but receives no real response other than a very slurred,
"My sister's here."
He rings the doorbell, but he isn't quite prepared for what happens next.
"Oh, Von," the girl who opens the door says, in a tone thick with disappointment and annoyance. "Why do you do this?" She looks up at Beck, who almost doesn't hear what she says because he's so focused on the crystal blue color of her eyes. "I'm sorry. Thanks for bringing her home."
Beck snaps back into the moment and hands Veronica over to the girl inside the house. "It's no problem," he tells her. "I'm Beck." He figures he might as well introduce himself, especially if it means he'll get to hear this pretty girl say anything else.
"Jade," she replies, allowing Veronica to walk past her through the doorway. "I'm Veronica's sister."
"Thanks again. And, sorry."
"No worries." Beck finds himself staring at her again, and she's staring back at him—until they have a simultaneous realization that their current interaction is anything but normal. "Well, I'll see ya around," he says, and stuffs his hands back into his jacket pocket. He gives her one last smile before turning around and walking back to his truck.
Beck hears the door shut behind him, and he can't help but wonder if that was his last chance at talking to the blue-eyed girl inside that house.
It's two days later when Beck finally gets the chance to talk to Tori about Jade. Tori had spent the better part of the last 48 hours since the first-date-gone-wrong apologizing profusely to Beck about Veronica. On Monday morning, as soon as Beck has dropped Finn off at school, he decides to give his friend a call.
"Beck, hey," she says into the phone. "What's up?"
"Just headed to work. How was the show this morning?"
"It was great. Lots of fun stories to report on, especially with the festival coming up."
"Good, glad to hear it," Beck replies. "Anyways, I wanted to ask you about something from Friday night. It's not about Veronica," he says before she can start apologizing again. "It's about her sister. Do you know her?"
"Yes, exactly. She was at the house when I dropped Veronica off. I didn't talk to her for long, but she seems...different than her sister."
"That's because she is," Tori tells him. "They're almost polar opposites. Why do you ask?"
"I dunno," Beck answers honestly. "I guess I was just wondering if you know anything about her."
"I do; I'm sort of surprised that you've never met her before Friday, but I guess she's not really the type of girl you normally go for."
"What do you mean?"
"Blonde, bubbly...likes alcohol."
Beck rolls his eyes. "Thanks for the love."
"You know I'm teasing you," Tori chides. "But yeah, Jade is nothing like that."
"Well maybe it's time for a change in the type of woman I need, huh?" Beck pulls into his spot in his work's parking lot.
"I think you may be right," Tori agrees. "Jade is cool. She's very artsy—you know, likes photography, drawing, music...stuff like that."
"I like that. So you think I should ask her out?" He barely finishes his word before he hears Tori laughing. "What, what's so funny?"
"No, nothing, it's just...good luck. She tends to, uh, scare the guys off. She doesn't take any bullshit, and I guess that intimidates a lot of her potential boyfriends."
"You sound determined."
Beck laughs and pulls his son out of the car seat in the back row of his truck. "I'll let you know how things go. Thanks for the advice."
"Anytime. Talk to you soon."
"Later." As soon as he's clicked to end the call, he devotes his full attention to the one-year-old sitting in his arms. "Hey, bud. You ready for another day of work with Dad?"
Ezra giggles and Beck kisses his head before lowering his sunglasses onto his eyes and walking towards the building. Despite his unique line of projects for the day (it's not every day that he gets to design the floor plans for a basketball stadium), he can't help but think about what Tori had told him about Jade. In general, he can't stop thinking about Jade at all.
Tori, on the other hand, doesn't pay much attention to the situation until her mid-day break. She's filling her plate in the lunch room when she notices the girl walk by. "Jade!"
"Oh," the brunette turns to see Tori. "Hey, I didn't know you were still working today. Don't you usually leave after the morning show on Monday?"
"Yeah, but I decided to stick around for a few more hours to do research. Andre and I are saving up for the honeymoon."
"Ah, of course," Jade says with a sly smile.
"What are you doing here?"
"I've got a meeting with your boss, actually. He wants to hire me to do some photography at the festival next weekend."
"That's awesome!" Tori almost doesn't mention anything from her phone call earlier, but she's never really been able to help herself from meddling just a little. "So...Beck asked about you."
The skinny girl doesn't miss how Jade's expression changes-if even for a millisecond. "Who?" She asks, as if she hasn't been thinking about him for the past two days.
"You know, Beck. The one who took Von out on Friday."
"Oh, right." Jade tosses a handful of almonds into her mouth. "Him."
"Uh-huh. Him." Tori raises her eyebrows teasingly. "He mentioned you."
"Me? Von's the one he went out with."
"Yeah, and we all know how well that went. Remind me to kill her next chance I get," Tori says.
"She does love her liquor."
"Clearly. Anyways...any interest in Beck?"
"Oh, I don't know, Tor."
"Just think about it. And let me know, because you guys would be totally cute together."
"Mhmm." Jade playfully rolls her eyes and heads off to her interview, leaving Tori to her lunch break.
By Thursday morning, Beck still hasn't been able to concentrate on anything other than the girl he'd met almost a week ago. His memory of their brief interaction is fading away, and he's thinking that it may be time to try to forget about it.
He's just ordered his coffee at Jet Brew when he thinks his mind is playing tricks on him. There, at the end of the bar, waiting for her drink, is Jade. He's immediately grateful that his mom keeps Ezra on Tuesdays and Thursdays while he works, because he's pretty sure that Jade would have no way of knowing that he has two sons and he doesn't want to freak her out.
"Jade?" She looks up at him and, yes, those eyes are definitely as blue as he'd remembered. "Beck," he says to remind her, and damn, he doesn't remember the last time he was actually nervous around a girl.
"Yeah. Nice to see you." The ghost of a smile dances across her lips and he forces himself to come up with something to say to her to continue the conversation.
"How've you been?"
(Lame, but it'll do.)
"Eh," she shrugs her shoulder. "Just working. The usual." Jade can see that he's waiting for her to say something else, and she really likes his hair, so she figures why not keep talking to him? "What about you?"
"I've been great," he answers, deciding not to add on that he's also been thinking about her constantly. "Just grabbing a coffee before work. Do you come here often?"
"Jet Brew's my favorite," she admits just as the barista calls her name. She grabs the large cup off of the counter and tells Beck that it was good to see him, but he's quick to stop her.
"Jade," he says, and she turns around from where she stands a few feet away from him. "Would you...maybe, like to get coffee? Sometime? ...With me?" Well, he thinks, that could have come out smoother.
It takes her a few seconds, and Beck really thinks she might say no before she nods her head. She doesn't know why she does it, but it feels good to do it anyways. "Sure."
He smiles at her. "Saturday morning? 10:00?" Immediately after he says it, he realizes that most normal twenty-three-year-olds—ones that aren't parents, at least—probably wouldn't be up at that time on the weekend. But his fear diminishes quickly when she tells him she'll be here.
She turns around to leave, and they call his name at the bar. He almost doesn't hear it because he really only has one thing on his mind.
He just scored a date with Jade... Jade... Well, he'll ask Tori for her last name.
Title is a song by Frank Sinatra.
Unlike when I've done other multi-chaps in the past, I have not written anything past that last sentence. But I might...maybe?