Living In The Sky With Diamonds
By: Jondy Macmillan
A/N: I can't find Jude/Speed fiction anywhere! I might just not be looking in the right places, but hell, I feel like I searched everywhere. So, yeah, if anyone knows a great fic, let me know. Pretty please?
Disclaimer: I don't own Instant Star, because there would SO be a fifth season (c'mon, CTV. Undo that whole cancellation thing! No? –sad face-). I also don't own the title, which is from the Cobra Starship song of the same name.
She's on the same street she's walked every day for the past year. The path to her studio isn't foreign and exciting anymore.
There's nothing she hates more than that, when she can close her eyes and trace the footsteps of every day that came before. The cravings start, the wishing for something more than this, but she keeps them down.
She fantasizes about what life would be like with Tommy; living in a house on a cliff overlooking the sea, two rockstars sequestered away in lives from a dream. Sometimes she thinks about Jamie too, with his Bambi eyes and his lust for all things musical. They could be groupies together, she thinks, following some hair metal revival group around the world, going to exotic locales like Chile and Bali.
Jude has a rich, vivid imagination.
There's no way her daydreams will come true, of course. She's not building castles in the sky; she knows Tommy's going out with that model, the one known for diva-tantrums and kicking helpless assistants. She knows Jamie's still back home, finding his niche in the industry with Zeppelin at his side. She has to know; she talks to Jamie once a week, and Tommy's face is printed across every tabloid. Lips and smirks and eyes and winks that used to all belong to her.
Jude only regrets it on days that end in 'y'.
Her new album's fantastic. The few critics that have gotten previews are already raving about it. Her first single hits the radio stations in two weeks. When people ask her if she's happy, she grits her teeth and says she's ecstatic. The pictures of her in the tabloids all seem forced, miserable to her discerning eye. There are purple bruises like thumbprints under her eyes and her skin's gotten two shades paler in the English sun.
No one else seems to notice.
Her dad calls to check in; lonely without his daughters. His voice is tin and helpless over the phone lines. Sadie's making it big back home, riding the G Major elevator right up to the top.
Jude hasn't heard from her mom in ages. There are postcards, sometimes, dog-eared and faded from the sun, promising beaches and golden sand and fairytales.
At least her mother's happy.
There's something about London that will never be home, something about tourists and phone booths and history every which way. It's like walking through a text book, through crinkled yellowed pages with neat black block print. The past and the present clashing like one massive explosion of color, of voices, of system overload.
She likes to walk along the Thames where the water grows murky and there are sometimes used book sales and jewelry that sings of places she's never been. She likes watching teenagers mill around, their voices lilting like some kind of song lyrics, their sentences running together. When they say the names of places they sound nothing like the letters on the signs; Southall becomes sow'tal, and they say her accent is strange.
God-she's still one of them, isn't she? Not even twenty, and jaded beyond her years.
Jude shakes the thought from her head, forcing herself to get her head in the game. Today she's got studio time. She's got one last bonus song to sing, a gift from her to all her devoted fans. Because this; this is big time. She's not just going for the Canadian market. The whole world's at stake.
That's why she's not sure why she decides to stop when she hears music. There's an alcove down that back alley, a place with tiny cafes that serve tea and scones, and a pub where the working class go for beer too early in the day for her tastes. Sometimes there're street musicians, but she's never heard one who plays guitar like this, like the chords are vibrating through her soul.
Against her will her feet carry her down past pale concrete blocks and slightly damp asphalt, towards white patio chairs and there at the end, a boy. He's a figure on a makeshift stage barely large enough to stand on, a spotlight following his every minimalist move. His voice is raw, unpackaged, and just the way Jude likes it.
It's a shock seeing Spiederman in the middle of London.
He's strumming an acoustic guitar and singing and looking better than tiramisu. His hair is mussed and unwashed, and his eyes are bright in the soul-sucking, unforgiving stage light, which is actually a flashlight (dare she say torch?) strapped to the base of the microphone.
Yeah. She's pretty sure that nothing's ever looked so perfect in her life.
He sees her two seconds in because the audience consists of the crowd milling outside the pub with cigarettes between their lips and beers cradled in their hand and a smattering of tourists drinking tea at the cafés; barely twenty five people if that. He gives her this wry grin of recognition and keeps singing, the consummate professional.
The old Spiederman would have jumped off the stage and given her a hug, crowing to the world that Jude Harrison was in the hizzy. Jude thought maybe he was jaded now, just like her.
Afterwards, he leaped from the stage with all the grace of a big mountain cat and stalked over. She let him engulf her in a massive bear hug, the likes of which she hadn't seen since she left for the airport almost a year ago.
"What's poppin' Harrison?" he asks with a giant smirk, like running into each other is an everyday occurrence. He smells like sweat and cologne, and something innately Speed.
"I'm on my way to the studio," she says by way of explanation, "What are you doing here?"
"Finding myself," he replies, still grinning so hard his teeth looked like they might shatter, "Or maybe my inner James Bond. Do you think MI6 would take me?"
"I'm not sure," Jude laughs, and now that, that feels foreign to her. How long has it been since that sound came from her throat? She used to be so damn happy, so down to earth and not a despondent diva.
"I've been waiting for your new album. That one label guy said it's epic. That true?"
"I hope so," she ducks her head modestly and hopes he doesn't notice her blush. Of course he does anyway.
"Dude, you're totally turning red. What's up with that, Harrison?"
She shoves his shoulder, hard angles, "Shut up!"
"You know you love me," he's so cheeky. She missed him.
Jude calls her label and lets them know she'll be in later than expected. The head's way chiller than Darius, and he likes her. It's an easy out.
They go to a pub and Speed prattles on about how calling fish and fries fish and chips is possibly the most confusing thing ever, and did she know they called cookies biscuits? What was up with that?
She interrupts with a 'sorry', causing him to glance up sharply mid-babble and ask what for.
"I read you and Karma broke up," Jude explains, arching an eyebrow, "Tabloids. Thought it might be a rumor. I guess it's not."
"You didn't call to check. You never call," he accuses.
"I wasn't really sure you'd pick up," she tilts her head and can't help the sadness in her voice, "People rarely do these days."
"Tommy and Sadie still not talking to you?"
"Pretty much. And Jamie's so wrapped up in his new life…I don't know, Speed. Maybe rockstars aren't supposed to have social lives."
"Sometimes I wonder if Kyle and Wally are having more fun outside this world," he makes a gesture with his hands, like the world is too big to explain only in words. Jude thinks maybe he's right.
"But this is the dream, right?"
"Maybe not my life," Speed chuckles, "But yours, Jude, man, yours must be nice. I saw on E! that you were at that one movie premiere. And then that movie star's birthday party."
He'd seen it alright. He'd seen her dolled up in heels and satin with ringlets and champagne, like a picture from a glossy magazine and not a real girl. He'd wondered if that person was really Jude, or if it was some robot they'd sent to take her place, like some kind of celebrity terminator. Because yeah, that smile of her certainly looked like plastic, like metal sculpted into place.
"Oh, right, I'm glamour girl," Jude says, and it sound more like a question than a sarcastic statement. She gestures to her inconspicuous ensemble, jeans and a t-shirt and a tight fitting vest, but she's not talking about clothes and they both know it well.
"Don't be hard on yourself. You're beautiful," Spiederman runs a hand over her arm, making the hair at the back of her neck stand at attention, "You look like you could use some sleep though."
"What is that? Some kind of proposition?"
He cracks up, beer practically streaming from his nose as he fights to swallow the sip of lager he'd just taken.
"You? Dude, if I was going to hit someone up for sex it wouldn't be you."
"If you want though, you can come back to my hotel. We could watch a movie," his eyes get a mischievous gleam, worrying her more than anything, "You know."
"That's not going to help with the sleep thing."
"It might. Maybe you just have to try it in a different place. I've got a sweet suite."
"I've got a suite flat," Jude points out.
"I bet it doesn't have a Jacuzzi."
"You'd be betting right," she thinks about it, god help her.
"It would be like a sleepover," Speed encourages, "C'mon, Harrison. Stop pussyfooting around it."
She's weak. She caves, "Okay."
Spiederman's hotel is a lavish affair in Kensington. It's only a block from the gardens, from landscapes of grass green as shamrocks and buildings that look like they sprang to life from a Victorian Era popup book. It's lovely, and well outside of Speed's price range. Jude's sure of it.
Then again, that reality show he did with Karma must have raked in a lot of cash.
"How is Karma?" she asks as they clamber into the elevator. Fifth floor, going up.
"Gorgeous. Poison," Spiederman pauses, tasting the word, "I thought we could make it work, I guess. Things fell apart, and we glued them back together. That was how we rolled. Then…eh, it's hard to glue things back together when your wife hooks up with a bassist on tour and can't come back for a few months, even after you find out."
"Speed, I'm sorry."
"Nah, don't be. I flew out to talk to her. We realized we were ripping apart at the seams; hey, that's good," he dug a notepad and miniature golf pencil out of his jeans, scratching it down, immortalizing. Jude didn't have the heart to tell him that lyric was so overused.
"Do you still talk?"
"Sometimes," he shrugs his shoulders, indicating sometimes is more than enough, thanks. Jude gets it. Karma's a diva, and no matter how much love Spiederman has for her, it's got to be exhausting putting up with all that me, me, me.
That's not even an insult. Jude herself has been accused of the same thing.
The room is standard; big bed, lamp, art deco hanging on the walls. There's a mini bar, at least. Oh, and he totally lied. The bathtub has jets, but in no way is it a Jacuzzi. When she scolds him, he just gives her the same look a floppy eared puppy might and says, all soulful brown eyes and shiny white teeth, "Had to get you up here somehow."
"There's going to be a movie, at least, right?"
"I brought my collection," he gestures to a black carrying case full of DVDs, their backs shiny with electric rainbow colors.
They pick something stupid, a comedy, a drama. By the time its halfway done Speed's pulled the curtains against the sun and they've ordered room service. Bowls full of strawberries, red and succulent, and bottles of champagne like liquid gold. Courtesy of Jude, of course.
Spiederman talks over the movie, the whiny girl voice and the deep husk of her masculine wooer, "So dude, like, does London bite that hard?"
"What?" she throws a strawberry at him, "No! I love it here."
"Really? Then why do you look like a reject from Night of the Living Dead."
"Ooh, that's a good movie. We should have watched that."
"It's in the case," he gestures towards the table, "But seriously."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
He runs a thumb over her cheek, the touch dry and gentle. Jude feels like maybe she hasn't been touched in a lifetime. She's forgotten human contact.
"You're a crappy liar, Harrison."
She huffs, because she knows she's lost, "Fine. The truth is, I'm sick of being alone. Sometimes I feel like leaving was the worst thing I've ever done, even though I know it was the best move for my career."
"You just didn't realize that the best move for your career meant social suicide," he nods, like he understands completely, "Why does growing up suck so much ass, Jude?"
"I have no idea," she sighs, flopping back against the filthy hotel comforter. Vaguely she remembers being a kid, her mom telling her that they never wash these things.
She wishes her mom would tell her more things now, other than France is beautiful, or Mahalo Hawaii!; words in bubble script on impersonal, kitschy postcards.
"I think it's mandatory," she adds, turning to face him as he sprawls out beside her. This is different from sitting cross legged, side by side. Now they're stretched thin, close to breaking, their faces so close that his breath beats like moth's wings over the tip of her nose.
"Life sucking?" he gives her that half-smirk, something remembered from days traveling on a bus as big as a port-a-potty, of laughing and late night poker and a sole DVD. Sharpie written across her jeans and the smell of too many unwashed bodies, buzzing with energy, frenetic.
"Maybe," she gives him a tentative smile in return, because hey, she hadn't realized how dark it was. And strawberries and champagne might imply more than she'd thought; his lips are stained red and tiny bubbles feel like shooting stars in her veins.
"You're totally freaking out right now," he breathes, and she really wishes he wouldn't do it so damn much. It tickles her cheeks, her eyelashes, her mouth.
Jude insists, "I'm not."
"You are!" he crows, but he doesn't move an inch.
"About what? There's nothing to freak out about…is there?" she hates how her voice sounds like a little girl, like Barbies and ponies and butterfly kisses.
"You think I'm going to kiss you."
Dear old Spiederman. Always blunt. Always cutting straight to the point. Yeah, that she hadn't missed.
"I don't. I mean- are you?"
He blinks, "No. Maybe."
They're staring straight at each other, familiar and unfamiliar, past and present all wrapped up, all chaos. All the reasons why this is a Bad Idea drift away, autumn clouds against the splash of October blue skies, and all the reasons why they worked together once come to mind. Passion and affection and something like-but not-love.
"Yes," Spiederman decides.
He surges forward, his lips strong and demanding on hers. They're spark plugs, bringing her back to life, making her a real girl again.
There's no more Tommy with his mannequin model girlfriend and her inverted proportions, and there's no Jamie with his comfortable normalcy, or Sadie with her dreams of musical conglomeration. There's no empty flat near Covington Gardens, and no studio full of faceless people whose names she's scared to remember for fear they'll disappear from her life too.
There're tongues and teeth and something raw, like music without the lyrics, just a voice screaming itself ragged.
Spiederman pulls away and asks, "Was that bad?"
She has to think for a second, or maybe more, before she can manage, "No."
Their bodies crash together like waves, foam and sea salt. They cling to each other, scared to let go, scared to stop kissing like the world might end if they do. Like they might realize the truth; they're ex-lovers on a hotel bed in a city where no one knows their eyes from any other on the crowd. The people they loved, the relationships they had in the past stretch out behind them, bloody corpses on a battlefield.
They cling to each other because for the moment, wrapped in their own passion, there's music and lyrics and all the things that made them great.
Spiederman hums 'Anyone But You' against her lips and she rocks against his hips and for the first time in ages, Jude thinks that maybe the future is worth looking forward to. On the TV screen the DVD's credits roll, and a song unfolds around them, but it doesn't matter.
They're making their own music as they go along.
A/N: Umm…yeah. This didn't turn out like I expected it to. Like…angst, man. So…please review, 'cause that'd be awesome. It's been a long time since I wrote het fanfiction, and I'd appreciate the feedback. Plus I'll love you forever and give you chocolate chip pancakes. With whip cream! With my magic powers?