Hi all! So here it is...the official sequel to The Blackout, Partners in Crime (that title still cracks me up...I'm a sucker for my own stupid humor). I delayed the posting of the story for a few reasons: 1. I wanted to map out where this story would go before I started and 2. I had this obsession with making it absolutely perfect, which basically came from my own pressure to follow up The Blackout with something you all would like just as much. I got so many amazing reviews and incredible feedback--I felt like I needed to create a follow up that was worthy of all of you who read and appreciated the last story.

So I successfully covered point #1--I outlined most of the story and also wrote the first few chapters. I should be posting Chapter 2 later today after some final editing (assuming you all like Chapter 1!). And as for point #2, I'm not sure if it's perfect, but I'm happy enough with it to post. I'm crossing my fingers that you all are happy with it too!

So without further ado...here it is. This post starts where The Blackout left off, on their first day back. The first few chapters set the stage for the rest of the story, which will include plenty of T/J cuteness (no beer in her hair tho') and a good dose of drama. Oh, and even though Georgia and EJ are gone from this season, they're still in my story since I like them and thought they still fit. Let me know what you think and as always, ENJOY :-)

Disclaimer: I do not own anything associated with Instant Star, but I do own this story :)

Jude closed the passenger's side door and waved to Jamie through the glass window.

"Thanks for the ride!" she yelled as he smiled and waved back. She turned around, took a deep breath, and walked quickly through the front doors of G-Major. She watched Jamie's beat up Civic round the corner through the snow and disappear into the faint gray sky.

Standing in the lobby, she unwrapped her scarf, took off her hat and adjusted her hair. Feeling a combination of anxiety and eagerness, she slowly started walking down the hallway and into the main room of G-Major.

"Jude!" she heard as soon as she entered the room. She spun around to see Georgia standing there.

"Hi, Georgia. I feel like I haven't seen you in ages."

"I know," Georgia agreed. "School's done for the day?"

"Thankfully, yes. I seriously didn't miss Geometry during the blizzard," Jude replied.

"How was the blizzard for you? I heard that you hosted a whole crew of people," Georgia said.

"I did. It was…interesting. But luckily, we all made it out of there alive," Jude reported.

"That's good," Georgia said with a laugh. "And I heard you even have a new song."

"I do," Jude said skeptically, thinking of how Georgia had heard.

"Tommy told me," Georgia said, as if reading her mind.

"Ohhh," Jude said, nodding. "Yeah, I finished one song but I have some ideas for a couple of others."

"Good," Georgia said. "As long as they're not all about snow, I'm happy to hear them. Well, better get working," she instructed, shuffling off towards the conference room.

Jude smiled and looked around at the hussle of the main room in G-Major. People were hugging each other, happy to be back, and chatting about their past few days. She waved to EJ in the corner and started to head back towards Studio B.

As she approached the studio, she felt her nerves flutter. Were things going to be strange? Was Tommy going to treat her differently? Would he tell her to just forget everything that had happened now that they were back in the real world? She shuddered and quickly abandoned her last thought. Standing a pace in front of the door, she took a deep breath and relaxed, reminding herself that she had to act normal.

She slowly turned the knob and opened the door. She heard one of her songs, "Heard It All Before," coming from the speakers and saw Kwest and Tommy sitting at the soundboard mixing. They both looked up at her entrance, making her even more nervous.

"Hey," she said with a smile.

"Hi, Jude. How's it going?" Kwest responded.

"Good, thanks," she replied hesitantly, throwing her bag in the corner and unbuttoning her jacket.

Removing her jacket, she looked at Tommy and smiled faintly, "Hi."

"Hi," he said quietly, grinning at her, but then turning back to the sound board.

She grabbed her notebook and pulled a chair up in between them. "Well, it's nice to see that you've both showered and changed. The smell in here is much better than it has been the last few days," she said with a smirk.

"Hey, the same goes for you. Your hair doesn't look quite as oily," Kwest remarked, picking up a strand of her hair.

"And it's less painful seeing you with your makeup on," Tommy added.

Jude gasped and punched his arm, trying to hide her grin.

"Excuse me, but weren't you the one who cried because we didn't have any hair gel?" she asked.

"'Cried' is a little dramatic. I was just a little disappointed," Tommy attempted to explain.

"Disappointed? Tommy, you nearly threw the whole house apart looking for a bottle of Rave."

Kwest snorted at this comment.

"I learned to survive without it," he justified. "Unlike you, who ransacked your kitchen looking for Pop Tarts."

"I have an addiction, Tommy, that is to be taken seriously."

"An addiction—to Pop Tarts?"

"Yes, and thankfully, my mom happened to find more. We always keep a stash in the basement for emergencies."

"And when would there be an emergency need for a Pop Tart?"

"Are you kidding? If I don't get my daily Pop Tart, I wouldn't be half as pleasant as the person you see in front of you," she said with a grin.

"This is pleasant?" he asked before Kwest spun around and looked at the two of them.

"Whoa—cool it, both of you. I usually get at least half an hour of politeness before you two start bickering. I'd say I got about 5 seconds today. What's gotten into you two?"

"Nothing," Jude said with a shrug, standing up and reaching for her guitar. She visibly blushed as she entered the recording booth, which Kwest noticed. He eyed Tommy who was looking down at the soundboard expressionless.

"What?" Tommy asked, seeing Kwest's perplexed face.

"Am I missing something here?" Kwest asked as Jude sat on the stool.

"No. What are you talking about?" Tommy asked, feigning ignorance.

Kwest grinned and turned back to the soundboard. "Oh nothing. Just forget I mentioned it," he said knowingly, making Tommy a little nervous.

Jude worked on "Everything" for the remainder of the day. Things were going smoothly for the most part. She found that she was much more self-conscious about every move she made, everything she said to Tommy and to Kwest, making sure they were at the same even tone.

Jude finished laying down the guitar portion and rejoined the other two as it echoed on playback. They were all spinning around in their chairs listening as their Chinese food arrived for dinner. Kwest went outside to pay the delivery guy and get the food, giving Tommy and Jude their first moment alone.

"Maybe that part should be done with the acoustic," Jude suggested, spinning in her chair.

"I think it's good how it is," Tommy replied, turning behind him to make sure Kwest had gone and leaning over to grab the side of her chair, causing her to stop spinning.

She looked at him in surprise as the chair bolted to a stop and he pulled her closer to him.

"I think we're going to have to rewrite part of the second verse," he declared, grinning, and looking into her eyes.

Confused, she looked down at her lyrics and said, "But I thought you said—"

"Jude," he said, more emphatically, "We have to rewrite the second verse. Tonight. And I don't want to leave until it's perfect."

She grinned at him in understanding. "Okay, well, if you think it could use more work…"

"I do. Definitely."

"Okay then. Who am I to argue?" she agreed, grinning.

He smiled at her flirtatiously and pushed her chair back to the far side of the sound board. She smiled and resumed her spinning.

Kwest re-entered with the food. They ate quietly, trying to wrap up the guitar portion of the song. As it grew later, Tommy told Kwest that they had decided to rewrite part of the second verse. Kwest, who had been yawning, didn't bother questioning his need for perfection and instead, told them both that he was taking off. Jude said her goodnight to him and watch him leave, standing by the door and watching him exit through the lobby of G-Major. Tommy stepped outside, made a quick sweep of the studio to make sure it was empty, and then reentered the studio.

"All clear," he announced, approaching her.. "So…about that verse…"