Tentative Acceptance

Disclaimer: I don't own Instant Star.

Synopsis: One disastrous party leads to one life altering mistake for Jude. When she finds herself pregnant at seventeen and completely alone, she finds help from the most unexpected source.

Setting: Jude is seventeen and Tommy is twenty-one. Jude one the Instant Star competition just like she did in Instant Star, however there are some variations. Her relationship with Tommy never entered the romantic realm as it did on her sixteenth birthday; in fact, it barely entered the friendship realm. They continued on much as they were at the beginning of the pilot episode. Tommy was professional, polite and cool. When they made music together the two would bond and laugh occasionally but outside of work Tommy was the very picture of professionalism.

As he said to Kwest in 'Unsweet Sixteen', 'I'm not that guy', only here he really was.

Shay never happened, or Jamie, or Spiederman. Tommy didn't date Sadie but has seen various woman over the last two years.

Jude's father never had the affair and her parents never got divorced. The world this story exists in is not identical to ours today. I did consider setting it in the fifties to further explain Jude's parents' actions but decided that would complicate things. My stories world is simply one where teenagers aren't as promiscuous as they are today and teen pregnancies are a shameful thing.

Chapter 1: Extremes

Jude sat on the cold floor of the G-Major bathroom, hugging her knees to her chest. Silent tears ran down her face as she clutched the pregnancy test in one shaking hand.

It was the third one she'd taken and it was positive.

She'd been living with the possibility for a few weeks now before finally taking the plunge and taking the test. She tried to tell herself she should go see a Doctor before freaking out, maybe the tests where wrong but she knew they weren't.

This couldn't be happening. She was seventeen. She lived with her parents. She was living every girl's dream - she was a rock star for goodness sake!

She closed her eyes tightly and thought back over that fateful night little more then a month ago. She'd attended a party thrown by a classmate at her high school. She'd gone alone, her friends having deserted her as fame took hold of her life. For one night she'd wanted to be a normal teenage girl, she'd wanted to leave the stress of work and mounting pressure behind her.

Jude gulped and stifled a sob.

She couldn't remember anything past arriving and drinking a number of cans of beer. She didn't remember having sex.

Oh God. She didn't even know who the father was.

---

Tommy impatiently drummed his fingers against the soundboard as he stared into the empty recording booth. He glanced over at Kwest who shrugged in response.

He kicked against the wall, causing his chair to slide back, "Where is she?" He demanded angrily as he stood and began to pace around the room.

"Cut her some slack, Tom. She seemed really upset this morning."

Tommy ran a hand through his short dark hair, "I don't have time for teenage dramas. This is a job and if she can't handle that-"

"This is Jude we're talking about. She's always professional. You can't fault her on that" He eyed his friend, "I think you find it hard to fault her on anything."

Tommy glared at him, "What's that supposed to mean?"

Kwest met his eyes and didn't break the stare, "You tell me."

Tommy kicked at his chair, "I'm going to go find her," He declared before opening the studio door and storming out.

He spoke to the doorman who reported Jude had arrived back at G-Major after her lunchtime break about a half an hour before. Tommy began checking each room in the building and asking if anyone had seen her. Eventually an intern mentioned she'd seen her go into one of the bathrooms.

"Jude?" He tapped lightly on the bathroom door, "You in there?" He leaned his ear against the door and heard muffled sobs. "Jude?" He called again.

"Go away" Came the soft reply.

"Come on Jude," He said firmly, "We don't have time for this."

There was a clicking sound as she unlocked the door, a moment later it swung open and she stood before him, her scarlet hair seemed a shade duller and her eyes were rimmed with red from crying, "What?" She demanded.

He glanced over his shoulder to make sure no one was looking then motioning for her to step back he stepped into the bathroom and closed the door behind him.

"What's wrong?" He asked. He wanted to put a hand on her shoulder, to offer some sort of comfort but propriety held him back.

She shook her head and turned away, "Nothing."

"Right," He nodded sarcastically, 'Obviously."

She glanced over her shoulder at him, an indignant glimmer in her eyes.

He held his hands up in a surrendering motion, "Sorry. Look, just tell me. Maybe I can help?"

She shook her head and laughed, not a joyful and musical laugh like her usual but a sad and bitter sound, "Trust me. You can't."

"Try me." His voice was plaintive and pleading; begging her to trust him, to let him in.

She turned to face him, lifting her eyes to meet his.

Who was this man? She wondered, as she had many times before. She knew the facts; teen boybander, womanizer, successful producer but she didn't know him. He took great pains to make sure she never did – always keeping a wall between the two of them, always pushing her away.

"My life is over" She shrugged, "And with it my career so you won't be wanting to have anything to do with me after today."

He shook his head, "That's not possible."

Ignoring the overtones of his remark she blurted out quickly, as if the words were poison she could suddenly no longer keep in her system, "I'm pregnant."

His eyes widened.

She continued, "And I'm the world's biggest idiot. I don't remember anything. My parents will disown me, I'm sure and I highly doubt Darius will want a pregnant, teenage Instant Star. "

Tommy was speechless as his eyes surveyed the girl he no longer understood. She'd always been so innocent, so young. It was the very reason he'd behaved so indifferently toward her since the day they met, never allowing himself what he wanted to feel.

"Are you keeping it?" He asked.

Her head shot up, "Of course I'm keeping it! I can't kill my child!"

He raised his hands in a surrendering motion, "Right. Sorry…"

He tried to come up with reassuring words to take away her pain, to offer her hope but he didn't know what to do or say. He knew her parents and how they would react to such news. The media would rip her to shreds and not having a relationship with, or even knowing the name of the father would only make matters worse.

An idea flittered into his mind. One so crazy and unlike him he questioned his sanity and yet he found himself uttering the words.

"I'll say it's mine."

She gaped at him, "What?"

"I will," He nodded, "It's the best way to deal with this situation. You can't do this alone, Jude. I want to help."

"That's a pretty extreme way to help," She mumbled.

He shrugged and tried to smile, "I'm an extreme guy."

She shook her head, "I can't ask you to do something like that."

He tentatively put a hand on her shoulder, "You're not asking, I'm offering. I want to do this Jude. I want to help you. I'll be here for you; I'll claim and treat the baby as my own. We can get through this… together."

She shook her head again; "No one would even believe it. You're with a different woman each night and the press love the fact that I've never even had a boyfriend," She looked down at her shoes.

"We can make them believe it." He placed a finger under her chin and tilted her head back so she was looking into his eyes, "Maybe it's crazy but I want to do this."

"I need to think about this," She finally managed to say.

He nodded, "Call me on my cell."

She nodded in response then slung her bag over her shoulder and left the room. He didn't need to say she could have the day off. It was an unspoken offer.

---

When Jude arrived back at her parents house Sadie was storming out the front door, yelling something over her shoulder before stalking across the front lawn.

"Don't bother going in there," She muttered to Jude as she passed her, "They're psychotic control freaks!" She yelled the last two words loud enough for her parents to hear then got in her car and drove off.

Jude gulped then walked into the house. Her parents were discussing her sister in the kitchen, remarking over her recent behavior with her boyfriend. They glanced up at Jude disapprovingly.

She smiled nervously in greeting then quickly hurried up the stairs.

When she reached her room she threw herself down on the bed as random scary thoughts ran through her mind.

She imagined her stomach growing and the thought filled her with terror. She imagined the scornful expressions on her classmate's faces as she walked down the halls of her high school. She imagined the disapproval on her parents face. She imagined the dissolving of her contract with G-Major, the headlines that would accompany the entire debacle.

She imagined herself alone and pregnant and later alone with a newborn baby; without family, without friends, doing it all on her own.

Silently she rifled through her purse for her cell phone then dialed Tommy's number. He answered on the first ring.

"Have you changed your mind yet?" She asked.

"No," Was his simple response.

"Look, I'm giving you an out," She tried to sound confident and upbeat, "This isn't your problem or your responsibility. You don't have to do this out of pity for me. I'm tough. I'll survive on my own."

"I'm not doing this out of pity, Jude. Please believe me," He repeated what he'd said to her earlier that day, "I want to do this."

She nodded, despite the fact that he couldn't see her. Ignoring the nagging voice in the back of her mind that screamed the entire situation was crazy. That there had to be some sort of catch, that Tom Quincy didn't give a damn about her problems. Why would he?

"Ok then. I accept your offer but how do we make them believe it?"

He detailed the time and place and ran her through his plan. She agreed.

When she hung up the phone she glanced around at the room she'd spent her childhood in, littered with soft toys and the color purple. In a day her future had changed completely. She was terrified but somewhere inside her, next to the nausea and beneath the mistrust in Tommy and herself, deep down inside was the slightest glimmer of hope.

Teasers for Chapter 2: Confrontations

"So far so good. What's next?"

He smiled, despite himself. "This" He murmured as he slowly brought his lips to hers.

He placed one hand on the tree, bracing himself in place as his other hand moved from the zipper of her jacket to the hem of shirt. Slowly his fingers slipped under the fabric, and ran across the smooth surface of her stomach before reached her side then tracing the same line across her back.