I read this article that we as individual characters are made up of all the little comments that others make when we're young. Now matter how small they might be, they apparently have some astronomically large effect on who we are today.
I've also read quite a few fics where Jade's mother is the abusive drunk type, which I'm not criticizing, but I just don't agree with that. Mainly due to the fact that I know quite well that some people can actually be a lot lovelier when they're drunk. Just saying.
I don't own any of the characters either. I'd like too, but life's crap like that.
It started with a butterfly.
Small insignificant doubt rumbled in her stomach, but she just passed that off as hunger. She felt doubt and so she felt insignificant.
Jade West never felt nervous. It was just a facet of her being to push it away, to push that worry to the back of her mind and press on. So she sat there, curled up in a chair in the corner of the makeshift dressing room, picking at her fingers, watching the bustling stream of silence. She watched students mouth half remembered lines, hunched shoulders hiding secret swigs of liquor and could almost hear the silent hum of tension and muffled breakdowns.
She turned to stare at her self in the mirror, trying to avoid the banging elbows from the pushing and shoving, as the other students vied for a glimmer of their own reflection. Tori had stolen the main role again (always did, and always would.) Jade had been swept off into a minor part like a speck of dust. Unwanted, insignificant, doubtful dust.
She didn't care really, though she pretended she did (ironic really). She could only describe the stage's effect on her as some kind of addictive drug. The euphoria kicking up inside her as she would squint her eyes against the gleam of the stage lighting, how her heart would become a deafening drumbeat as she would take her place on stage, and would transform into anything, everything.
But she didn't care that her name wasn't top on the program, or that she didn't get a private dressing room. She just wanted a few seconds in the spotlight, a few seconds of attention, adoration even. Beck would still whisper to her later 'you did it babe' and other hushed words of flattery, but he was just being her gallant knight in shining armour (though all he could really afford was tinfoil.)
But still there was something wrong. Her stomach was alight with a thousand tiny wing beats, and her heart was racing, audible only to her own ears. She still remembered her two pitiful pages of lines and she already had her makeup on (she thought Cat's work looked a little more like a caked smear of foundation and rouge, and yes she had voiced those thoughts.) But something was missing. She'd lost something.
The thought floated to the forefront of her mind. 'Shit', came next (and yes she voiced that too.)
It started with a butterfly.
Countless butterflies. Glued onto fifty cent slides clipped into her hair, a multitude of colour; shimmering. Her hair had been a lot blonder then, time would stain it dark, but at four years old, her waist length locks were the colour of corn.
She liked being alone, it wasn't to do with wanting distance, but she'd learnt to entertain her self. (Mommy worked a lot, but she didn't mind. A couple of hours over time just meant a new stuffed animal to join her growing collection) She sat on her a little pink stool with her little pink table, humming to her self in dulcet tones, some half made up tune which was repeating over and over in her mind.
Her mother was a vivacious woman. The southern drawl that Jade would never pick up, only served to lengthened Marie West's words. The woman loved to make an entrance, all banging doors and 'Baby doll I'd home.' The crack as the handle made contact with the wall would scare most children, at least make them jump, but to Jade it just meant a rush of warmth, a crushing hug infused with the smell of jasmine and something sickly sweet that she'd come to know as gin (she'd try it at eight, vow to never again, only to forget at sixteen.)
Marie's embrace pulled Jade to the floor in a flurry of giggles and forehead kisses. Mother and daughter lay there, one set of eyes counting freckles, the other counting lashes.
'Oh what are we going to do, baby doll?' cooed her mother. Jade would remember this line, as it would make a repeat appearance throughout her life.
'We could play make believe'
'Okay, how'd you do that? I haven't played it in a long, long time babe. Tell it to me again'
Jade untangled her arms, lightly elbowing Marie. Her fingers stretched out, like a starfish, reaching up towards her ceilings stick-on glow stars.
'You just pretend to be anything. You could be like a fairy, or like a unicorn!'
A peel of laughter escaped Marie's' lips.
'A unicorn? How'd you be a unicorn?' Her free arm, the other still trapped under Jade's frame, motioned a horn to her forehead, and giggles from Jade joined her mother's amusement.
'Or maybe a princess. A pink princess, with a castle, oh and lots of friends. Lots and lots of friends. And a knight! A knight in shining armour' Jade's eyes are alight now, tiny glimmers of light dancing across her irises, like tiny glittery stars.
'Shining armour huh? Oh baby doll all I can get you is tin foil, is that okay for now? Oh it don't matter. One day, one day, honey you'll get your knight with real armour and you'll be a princess.'
'A pink princess?'
'The pinkest princess there ever was.'
Marie's laugher boomed out, breaking away from their hushed tones, almost, just almost hiding her doubt.
It started with a butterfly.
This time it was on a leaflet, detailing the 'Little Angles Beauty Pageant.' Jade's now six-year-old mind didn't know what to find more exciting, the part about angels, or the part about beauty. She decided both, and the butterflies' dance picked up in her stomach.
It was her mother's idea to wear navy ('Baby doll, you wear way too much pink.') Apparently it made her face slimmer. This inconsiderate remark had come from the judging panel at pageant number four (third place is never a bad place, and at least she still got a trophy.) Jade had now replaced her mother as the breadwinner, but Marie never hesitated to claim that she was the one with the initial idea.
'Mommy, I don't feel so good.' Jade whined. She didn't usually whine but she'd already said this five times. Her mother's eyes were vacant, lightly tapping at her hip in an inaudible beat, her grip on Jade's tiny hand was nearing crushing.
'Mommy, I think I might be sick.'
'Mommy please' Jade tugged at her sleeve and when this didn't work, she elbowed Marie in the stomach.
Marie's muffled scream attracted little attention, brushed off by the roving parents and their glammed up daughters. Still rubbing her stomach, Marie lowered her self onto her hunches, meeting eye level with Jade.
'Now Jade Claire West' (Breakfast Club was her favourite) 'You do not, Jade look at me, elbow anyone. Anyone.'
'But what if they're mean? And what if they don't listen to me?' Jade was pouting now, her lip gloss had already been smudged from Marie's shaky application.
'Everybody's mean, baby doll.'
'So I can elbow everyone?'
Marie sighed; this was a repeat conversation, though last time it had been punching (That poor Remy kid, or was it Robbie?)
Some high pitched, sugar sweet voice could be heard, calling from the stage, beckoning Jade's name.
'Here we go baby girl,' Her vice like grip on Jade's hand tightened, and Marie began to force her way through the crowd, towards that irksome voice.
Marie had to shout almost to heard by Jade over the crowd. 'You look beautiful babe, you're perfect, and you're my baby doll too.' She turned to look Jade in the eye. 'I have no doubt you'll win this one.'
Some scream from an overly orange child cut out Marie last words, and all Jade could hear was 'I doubt you'll win this one' before she was pushed out on to the stage.
It started with a butterfly.
She found it lying on the ground, one of its dusty blue wings slightly crumpled from some unknown force. Its antenna was going crazy, roving around, gesticulating its inner madness.
Jade had found the injured creature on her prowl of the playground. All the other kids were busy stuffing their faces, but yet again her mother had forgotten to make Jade's lunch.
It didn't matter she reasoned, she liked it when her stomach growled. It was like it was talking to her, so together with the incapacitated insect and her rumbling stomach she wasn't really without company.
'Why are you alone?' a voice came from over her hunched shoulder, but when Jade turned to look, she was blinded by the glare of the sun.
'Go away' she squinted her eyes and a boys face came into view.
'I'd rather stay.' Jade didn't know how long he'd been standing there, silently observing, hands stuffed in his jean pockets.
She just dismissed it with a 'Like I care. Idiot.' In the five years since her last pageant, the ability to form harsh remarks had become a second nature. The words now slipped from her mouth with ease. The invisible front that now surrounded her after that short-lived era of glitter and lip-gloss was ever present. Marie wasn't too happy after the incident Jade had pulled on stage in pageant number twelve, and had crawled back to her job. It took some time for Jade to realise that she now smelt more of that sickly stench than jasmine.
She looked round to see that the boy had taken a seat next to her, a little too close, cocky git.
Eyes still lingering on him, Jade noticed that the boy had a smudge of dirt under his right eye. Unintentionally she reached out and brushed it away. She quickly removed the hand, leaving it hanging in the small space between them. She replaced the hand on the hot tarmac, internally fuming that this boy, this silly, nosy boy had evoked something, god forbid emotional, within her.
'Dirt' was all her brain could get out, a whisper rather than the witty put down she would have preferred. Silence soon followed. Feigning care, she dispassionately turned back to butterfly, though she could feel the boys gaze on the side of her head.
'Do you want my sandwich? It's tuna.' The remark filled the hot midday air, as she watched the feeble flutter of wings and he still watched the side of her head. The boy held out a triangle of silver towards her.
Tinfoil. Something surfaced in Jade's mind, something about princes and freckles and glow stars. She brushed it off with a shake of the head. She doubted that this boy could ever, or would ever be a prince. His hair was too damn floppy.
It ended with a butterfly.
Said butterfly had found a lady friend and had decided to multiple rapidly within her stomach. She felt sick. She needed a sleeve to tug on in the mad crowd, in this sudden onset of panic, all she wanted was just someone. She just wanted the attention now, some kind of comfort.
She curled up further into a ball, her arms wrapping around her knees, precariously balancing on the chair.
"Be calm' she internally chanted 'you can do this, you can. You can dammit.'
She felt a light pressure on her forehead and on opening her eyes she met the brown-eyed gaze of her boyfriend. A hushed 'Hey babe' only added to her already fluttering heart rate, damn you Beckley Oliver, damn you.
'I hate butterflies, I hate them so, so much, I want them to go die in some damn hole, the hell away from my stomach.' From behind her now scrunched up eyes, she could hear a light laughter; feel it too from their pressed foreheads. She really wanted to cry, or just fold in on her self.
'What do you want to do about these butterflies then?' She now felt his arms wrap around her. 'I could whisk you away bridal side, or maybe create some kind of butterfly fair ground attraction and lure them away.'
That made her giggle, a small, secret Jade giggle. ' 'I'd like that. So much.'
A sudden shift in height made her snap her eyes open, to find herself, in aerial suspension, held up only by Beck's embrace.
'Idiot, put me down. Now, you git.' Jade demanded firmly, a light whack to his shoulder, followed by another, firmer one. She was well aware that people might be, no would be, staring.
'Only if you promise me, that one, you'll man up, two, realise you're all kinds of amazing.'
'Man up? Really? Is that meant to comfort me? And I already know that, so there.'
'Oh of course my fair lady, manning up has been proven to banish all kinds of tummy butterflies.' His comment made Jade snort only to have a disapproving glace from him as he continued.
'But do you really? Do you really, really know how amazing you are?'
She kissed his cheek in reply, only to add 'Really. Now put me down'
'What's to magic word?'
After a whispered 'Please', Beck gently released her, still keeping his arms wrapped around her waist. They stood there in their silent embrace, just standing, each the others antidote, two halves of a whole for a small slip of time.
Jade was the one to break away with a 'I have to go, manning up to do; butterflies to kill.' She finished with a sweet kiss.
'You'll be great, don't doubt it' Beck whispered back, followed by another, longer kiss.
'Did I ever?'
I love the word babe. Babe. Hehe
Strange really, the theme started off as doubt, then butterflies, which then transformed into floppy haired princes, and then somehow ended up at tinfoil. Yes the essence of Jade and Beck's relationship for me is tinfoil.
I think my favourite was the second bit, I used to do that with my mum, lie on our backs and reach upwards with our hands. I always like to think of hands as starfish, abet starfish with nail polish.
Liked it? Hated it? Now have a hate of butterflies due to it? Do review, it would be so many shades of lovely.