Hello everyone! I'm actually writing this one shot by speaking. I'm using speech recognition on a computer. So I'm expecting that it will take a really long time to write. Technology is wonderful, but not quite perfect yet.
It's actually going pretty well. :)
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
I'd like to give thanks to my emergency beta, Oo lovetoday oO, who kindly pointed out when I went off topic. (I happen to do that a lot). I rewrote the Tess/TJ scene, but I think I might have made it worse if that was possible, so reviews are appreciated, and especially yours.
And Kate? I kept the nickname. *Evil Grin*
This is dedicated to the amazing Kanakins, as an early Christmas present. My dear, this one's for you. :)
"A kiss can be a comma, a question mark, or an exclamation point. That's a basic spelling that every woman should know."
Her mother rocks her to sleep in her early years, her thick, honeyed voice telling Tess of the magic of love, the thrill of romance, and the complicated language that helped to shape the two.
Princes dressed in gold rested on proud stallions, rescuing the damsel in white from the witch shrouded in shadows. The dance of courtship, and the many trials that knights went to go prove their love, all the old, ancient rituals that paid homage to the ultimate gift of life, they all enchanted her.
And the consummating kiss, the vow of fidelity and happiness; it was everything a girl could want. She learned that kissing is grammar of love, the foundation of the language, turning empty, meaningless sounds into promises that could never be broken.
Tess used to believe in those kisses and their meanings.
Until she saw her mother sharing them with every frog who came along.
Then she realized that although kissing still provided structure, that didn't mean what it supported was always worth it.
When Tess finally arrives to Camp Rock, she finds it almost too easy to take control. The girls ask for advice, and the boys ask for her number.
Even after she graduates many years later, rumors of the 'nasty' stuff she got up to with boys (Or down, according to some) circulates through the underground gossip channel.
Actually, she can count all the boys she's been with, and the things she's done with them on one hand. (But don't tell anyone that. Her agent says it's good to have a little mystery).
It's a little after midnight, and the entire gang is only thirteen. They've sung all the songs on the karaoke machine (more than twice), grown bored of Guess that Song, and charades, and everything else that usually kept them occupied.
Then Spin the Bottle is suggested, and after all the girls convince Ella that boys did not, in fact, have cooties, they sit down to play.
The small circle, made up of Jason, Shane, Nate, Caitlyn, Ella, Peggy, Sander, Barron, and Lola (alright, it wasn't that small) huddle together, the anxiousness and nervousness pervading the air.
It's a couple of spins before the bottle lands on Tess, but when it does, she grabs Sander by the belt loop of his jeans, and heads over to the game closet where everyone else has been. Caitlyn shuts them in, and informs them through giggles that they have a minute.
They both fidget and blush, wasting thirty seconds, before Tess sighs and frames his face with her palms.
Sander's kiss is a question mark, his hesitancy making the kiss slow, his under-confidence making it extremely chaste. It's clearly his first kiss, and he's afraid to screw it up. Of course, the fact that he's too worried to enjoy it is making it less enjoyable for Tess, but she takes pity on him and breaks it off when Caitlyn announces that they have ten more seconds.
"I liked that Sander." she told him with a small smile, pecking him on the cheek, a punctuation mark, indicating that their time together was up. "Thanks for letting me be the first to kiss you."
He blushes profusely and scratches the back of his head, but he gives her a full smile. They are yanked out of the closet by Nate and Ella, who are up next.
And thanks for being my first kiss, and making it so sweetly awkward, like any other teenage girl's. She mentally added as she sat back down on the seat.
Never let it be said again that Tess was by no means nice to anyone, ever.
When the summer ends, she goes back home to an empty mansion, that's even more boring and quiet than the late nights at camp during the day.
Unfortunately, here the nights are more interesting than the days. At night, her mother is no longer TJ Tyler, carefree woman who owned Hollywood, but Terry Jane, the woman who didn't have a clue on how to keep living after being divorced so her husband could go on sleeping with Tess's ex-cook.
Tess spends her nights reading her favorite fairytale, Sleeping Beauty, as she perches on the rim of the bathtub, holding back her mother's hair. It's nasty and gross to watch her mother throw up all the time, but she refuses to go to the doctor, despite Tess's insistence that she must be sick.
One night, TJ comes home stumbling around and looking a bit greener than usual, with her dress oddly torn at her chest and hips. Tess just hops out of bed and grabs her book, dutifully making her way to the bathroom, to find her mother collapsed on the ground.
"Mom," Tess shakes her shoulder, drawing back when she sees the bruise around her cheek, "Mom, are you okay?"
But TJ just stares hypnotically at the book, before grabbing it out from Tess's hand, and begins to rip out the pages.
"Mom!" TJ doesn't listen, "Mom, please stop!"
When the pages are confetti on the floor, TJ slumps down, panting against the wall. "Tess, there's no such thing as Prince Charming. There's no fucking white horse and there's no happy endings. There's only bastards who want your money, bastards who pretend to love you because they love your fame, and fuckers who just like to screw with your head. Never let yourself think for a minute, Tess" TJ grabs Tess's arm, her grip surprisingly strong, "never think for a minute that just because some boy says some pretty words to you and kisses you like he means it, that he means it. He doesn't Tess. He's just trying to trick you. They're always trying to trick you."
"Mom, let's get you to the bathroom and clean you up, "Tess says numbly, trying to ignore the shredded pages on the floor and grab her mother's arm. "Mom, come on."
TJ just swats the hand away, revealing a large tear in the side of her dress, and mumbles, "There's no such thing as a happy ending. Better learn that now."
It's her mantra that she mutters to Tess all night, in between heavings and sobbings. Tess doesn't remember much that of that night, other than her staring out into the hallway of the bathroom, at the shreds of Sleeping Beauty on the rug outside.
Fairytales were Tess's way of figuring out the world, but if they mean nothing, if the language of love was built on a lie, if there is no happy ending guaranteed for her, then what the hell does that leave her?
Before she goes off to Camp Rock that summer, Tess spring cleans her room and packs away in a blue box all of her remaining fairytales and childrens books.
They were just taking up space anyway.
When she kisses Nate behind the cabin on one summer's eve, right after dinner, she knows it is a mistake.
Nate's kiss is a semi-colon; it indicated that there was something more, some independent clause that he wants to attach to him and his lips.
"Tess," he sighs, before nuzzling her neck, "Oh, god Tess, you don't know how long I-"
She picks up his chin and shuts him up again, unwilling to hear the words love, want, or need come pouring out of those lips. Why give this kiss a meaning other than the pleasure it provides?
They stumble into a bush as they start to wriggle around. He tries again, "Tess, I need to ask-"
"No, you don't. Shh, just kiss me."
She sees what it costs him to not talk about his feelings, but they collapse onto the dirt, continuing their search for pleasure.
When he finds her in the mess hall the next day, his soulful stare conveys that the sentence was left unfinished; the second half of the semi colon must be addressed.
She excuses herself from her friends before he can ask, following him out the door, and ignores the gleeful, "OMG, I think he's going to ask her out!"
He takes her towards a relatively secluded group of trees, maybe five minutes' walk from the mess hall.
"Tess." He starts off, "I need you to know that I'm not that type of guy. I don't just kiss and run. Forgive me?" he puts his arm up above her head, leaning over her as her back is pressed to the tree.
"Well, Nate, I'm that type of girl. So, no harm, no foul." She grins cheekily, trying to get out of this awkward situation.
A flicker of doubt crosses his eyes before he can control himself, "I don't believe that Tess. Not for a minute."
"You should," is all she can think of at the moment. Of course, the one time she tells the truth, no one believes her.
"You see," he traces her jaw as he thinks aloud, "you seem more like the girl who believes in fairytales, and everlasting, defy-the-odds love."
She lets out a bark of laughter as his words cause an odd pang in her heart. "I stopped believing in fairytales a long time ago, Nate. And since when did we get on the subject of love?"
He stiffens, and then blushes. She can see that he didn't mean to reveal that much of himself just yet. "We're fourteen, not eighteen. And we're still too young to love and forget about the consequences," she adds as an afterthought.
"Last time I checked, love didn't have consequences," he argues with her, his thumb brushing her cheek.
"Natie, let's try heartbreak and anger and jealousy and depression for starters," she states calmly. He opens his mouth for rebuttal, but she brushes off his hand and squeezes her eyes tight. "Look, I didn't want to tell you, but I did it on a dare, alright? It was a stupid fucking dare that Ella put me up to. So don't think that you need to attach yourself to me to prevent me from getting my feelings hurt."
She lets go of his hand and keeps her eyes downcast as she trudges back up to the mess hall. At least she managed to work something of the truth into that atrocious lie. Even she can't imagine someone actually kissing someone on a dare. It's horrifying to mangle grammar of love in such a way. To change the grammar is to change the meaning, either distorting it or destroying it. It's unthinkable. Unforgivable, even.
It means that Nate will probably leave her alone then.
Later that summer, everyone gathers up again at one of the cabins. It is two weeks until Final Jam, but everyone's exhausted from rehearsing so hard. Once again, because teens are so darn predictable, the bottle comes out, ready to make some more matches.
But the boys say it's too boring to wait, so the girls agree to amend the game to Kiss or Dare, allowing everyone to pick their own poison. Since there's no games closet this time, so matches have to kiss in front of everyone. There's no time limit now, but after Jason and Peggy wussed out by kissing each other on the cheek, an odd mishmash of rules on what counts for a kiss was created.
The night wears on, and they all get a little more reckless the closer to dawn it gets.
Then it finally happens. The bottle matches her up with the one and only Shane Gray.
He's not the famous teenheartthrobShaneohmylord Shane Gray yet, and he's only fairly well liked among the camp. He's actually a bit of a hermit, playing all day in his cabin. Many kids congregate there, enjoying the free concert, until he'd notice them and yell about his lost concentration.
He also shares the cabin with his cousin Nate.
And now, they're here in his and Nate's cabin (the twelve other people here aren't important), and he has to kiss her.
He slinks on all fours like a cat across the circle to her, before brushing her jaw and closing his eyes shut.
"I can't believe I'm kissing this little kid," he murmurs, exasperated.
Back up a minute. Did he just call Tess Tyler little?
She doesn't wait for him to finish lowering his face. She rises to meet him (and to blow his pathetic expectations out of the water).
Her tongue pushes past his unyielding lips, and assaults him relentlessly. He nearly pulls away in shock, but then she remembers that Nate loved when she swirled her tongue around, just…like…that. He lets out a whimper, before taking one hand off the floor and cupping the back of her head and tilting her face up so he can swallow her whole.
His tongue just reaches past her teeth when Lola clears her throat. "Dudes, we don't want to watch you having sex. Break it up."
Tess either ignores or doesn't hear Lola, because she grabs Shane's shirt and pulls him closer. He chuckles through the kissing (although, both would describe it more as 'mouth sex') sending electrical tingles down her throat.
He closes his lips, ending the make out session, and presses one (almost) chaste kiss on her lips before pulling away and winking at her.
Tess is too floaty right then to regain her cool, or to be her usual collected self. The atmosphere is now awkward, to everyone but them, but the game perseveres for another hour, until everyone disbands to go back to their own cabin.
Tess is still floating, and she can barely feel Caitlyn's arm linked in hers. She's replaying that kiss, again and again.
Shane's kiss was a comma. A brief pause for both of them, indicating a resting period before the continuation of the sentence.
She knows that the sentence will finish off even better than it started.
They spend the second to last week before Final Jam, continuing the sentence. Games closet, mess hall storage, under the lake dock, the woods, his cabin, hers, all of those places were an acceptable place to hold a conversation. Sometimes she wonders if they've turned into a run on sentence, because he always leaves her wanting more.
He always kisses her like he's gearing himself up for an even more explosive experience, a new height they might reach this time. She loves the feeling of something always being more, always having more, because getting endless amounts of Shane Gray is an okay thing in her book.
The week preceding Final Jam, they agree to work on their acts, and to focus on their music.
"Fine by me," she giggles as they walk hand in hand to the mess hall, "We have all of next summer anyway to pick up where we left off."
He looks cagey for a moment, before asking, "And where is that?"
Unsure what response he's looking for, she offer's cheekily, "I don't know about you, but I'd say where your lips were last afternoon would be a good place to start."
And he flashes her that dazzling Shane Gray smile, and she thinks she chose the right answer.
But Shane wins Final Jam that year (and she's not upset, she's really not. Well, she's not that upset.) and the unexpected occurs.
His act gets signed. Him, his cousin Nate, and his friend Jason are all off to bigger and better things.
And she's not mad. He'll be here in the summer, right?
She spends the next summer alone.
(She takes it back. She's that upset.)
And the next.
(And she's over it. She really is. It's just hard on the lonely nights.)
And the next one, she hears from her mother that he's coming back.
(Not that it matters. But maybe she'll finally feel a bit less lonely.)
It went all wrong.
His gaze slides right past her at Pajama Jam, despite the fact that she was wearing his favorite color (which she learned from a magazine), and his favorite cut, a vee neck (which she knows from experience).
He brushes her off like her touch didn't electrify him anymore (but that can't be, because her body's being overloaded just standing near him.)
And now, he's staring at her impassively as she runs off the stage, crying her eyes out because her mommy's on the phone with Skip again (she decided that Kate from John Tucker Must Die was right), and he doesn't even move to come after her.
She spends the night sobbing in her cabin, and feeling so damn lonely, because she knows that if she stays for the after-Jam party, watching the newly dubbed 'Smitchie', she'll vomit all over her mother's expensive shoes.
She gets out of her bunk early, and decides to go watch the sunrise on the lake. No one is ever up early, especially after the Final Jam revels, so it's the perfect time to go.
But of course the happy couple's there.
Mitchie's lying down on the dock, and Shane's covering her body fully, and Mitchie's crying out while Shane murmurs sweet nothings into her neck.
And it hits Tess like a speeding bullet.
When Shane kisses Mitchie, it's an exclamation mark, the ultimate sign of joy and pleasure and love. It's all the emotions, taking to the extreme, and the more violent the emotion, the more emphasis on the emotion, and the more amazing it feels.
"God, I love you Mitchie!" Shane shouts theatrically, the mountains causing the faintest of echoes while Mitchie giggles, before pulling him back down to kiss her again.
Tess turns away and pads back to her bunk. She finally understands why Shane never called, never looked at her once he saw Mitchie.
She gave him pleasure, but pleasure's a sensation, not an emotion.
And Tess sealed up her emotions in a blue box along with her childhood, a long time ago.
So, Kana, I know the Tess/TJ scene was horrible, but did the Shess live up to your expectations? *Crosses fingers hopefully*.
Reviews do make my day, everyone. And since tomorrow is Monday, I'd really like to be cheered up when I get home. :) Serendipity545.