A/N: Yet another prompt for LaPaige's challenge. This one is #55: Jewelry. I decided to use Jason and Tess in this one. And I'm actually very happy with it. Enjoy!
Tess liked jewelry. Jewelry added a certain something to an outfit that you couldn't get form a scarf or a purse or a pair of sunglasses. Jewelry could also be expensive and a sign of status, and Tess certainly had no shame flaunting her status. She was rich and famous (by default) and she had no problems rubbing that in anyone's face. Plus jewelry usually sparkled and glittered. It earned attention (yet another thing that Tess didn't mind having.)
Her mother had sent her lots of presents from Tiffany's, and Tess loved all of them. Unlike other girls her age Tess already had a pair of diamond earrings. They were very large diamond studs. People would always tell her how beautiful those earrings were, and Tess would quickly agree before stating her mother bought them for her after being honored with a lifetime achievement award from MTV.
Every piece of jewelry Tess owned had a story similar to that one. In her family jewelry was purchased to commemorate big accomplishments. There was, though, one piece of jewelry that Tess never wore. She didn't like to remember why her mother gave it to her. It was a necklace with a large diamond pendant on it. After last summer ended her mother surprised her with it.
"That's for showing the world just how talented you are."
Tess had given her mother a questioning look, and asked for clarification.
"Camp Wars, sweetie. You performed without the people you usually perform with and you shined. You won."
Except Tess regretted winning Camp Wars. She regretted transferring to Camp Star. She regretted missing a whole summer with people who actually cared about her and not her talent.
When she'd packed up for another summer at Camp Rock Tess had left the necklace behind. She wanted to start over, and forget about Camp Wars.
And she did. She was still herself. She couldn't deny that she was still very self absorbed. It was more for show than anything else really. It was her role in the group. She had to throw out a comment about her own talents every now and then. People expected it. But she was nicer to everyone, and she did involve herself in activities and performances with them. She'd discovered it was more fun to work with her fellow Camp Rockers than to work against them.
Her eyes landed on a Junior Rocker that Jason was chatting with. He was giving her a look that greatly resembled one Brown had directed at her many times. Then she noticed the girl's clothes and the haughty way she glared at Jason.
Oh look, it's a mini-me, Tess thought as she made her way over. She cleared her throat and the two of them looked at her.
"Hey, Jase, what's up?"
His brow furrowed but he obliged. "Tabitha, here, thinks it cool to humiliate her fellow campers."
Tess raised a brow at the girl. "I see. Let me guess, your parents are famous?"
Tabitha gave Tess a quick once over before answering. "My dad is Gray Murphy."
Tess smirked at the girl. "Ah, yes, the record producer. So, of course, you think you're more important than everyone else. Why wouldn't you with a dad like that?"
Jason gave Tess a confused glance. He didn't see how this was helping.
"Well, I hate to tell you this, but the rest of the world doesn't care. And if you keep going the way you are no one ever will. See, I know how it is. Your parent is never home and you don't feel important so you have to make yourself important, right?" Tess asked the little girl in a harsh tone. "Wrong. No one will ever want to make you important if you don't get over yourself. You'll have to work for every friendship you'll ever have if you let yourself get too carried away. So, be a smart little girl and play nice. You'll regret it if you don't."
Tabitha gulped and the hard glare she'd focused on Tess softened. "Whatever, you don't know anything about me."
Tess let out a rather dark chuckle. "Sweetie, I am you. Give or take a few years."
"Can I go now, Jason?" Tabitha asked with a scoff.
Jason nodded and glanced at Tess out of the corner of his eye. "Sure. Apologize to Maggie, though. If you don't I'll hear about it."
"Whatevs," Tabitha said as she briskly walked away.
Jason waited until Tabitha was inside the dining hall before turning to Tess. "That was a little harsh, don't you think?"
"Believe me, Jason, it wasn't. I wish someone had talked to me like that when I was her age. I might have been a little easier to get along with," Tess admitted honestly.
"She's a kid, Tess—"
"And so was I, but I was still mean and ruthless. Camp was the only place I got attention. I had to rule it," Tess told him with a shrug. "Tabitha's the same way. Her dad's probably away a lot, and when he's not away he's probably still working quite a bit. Just because she's a kid doesn't mean she doesn't feel more mature emotions. She does, and she can't see past them to see how her actions are affecting others. Someone needed to give her a reality check."
Jason nodded. He understood, and he could see how Tess was right. But her words from earlier still bothered him. Maybe the fact that she'd said them to Tabitha wasn't what bothered him. Maybe it was the fact that she'd said them out of experience that bothered him. He wondered if Tess thought no one wanted to "make her important" or if she thought she really had to work that hard for their friendship.
Questions like that made his chest hurt. Tess already was important. At least he thought so, and he considered her a friend. She actually hadn't had to work too hard for that to happen. He'd pretty much considered her a friend since she came back after Camp Wars last summer. Of course, Jason knew he forgave others quicker than most, but he'd thought she'd fallen back in with all of them quite easily.
"Tess?" He asked thoughtfully.
"You're important. I just…wanted you to know that."
She smiled brightly at him. "Thank you, Jason. I appreciate that."
Jason glanced down at the colorful braided twine on his wrist. The kids had made them their first week here and Trevor had made one for him. He suddenly had an idea. He unknotted it and held it out to Tess. "Here."
Her eyebrows rose questioningly but she didn't move. Jason lifted her hand from her side and placed the bracelet in her palm. She stared down at it before turning her confused stare on him. "What is it?"
He smiled and spoke easily. "It's a friendship bracelet. I know it's just basically braided string, but I thought—"
"No," She said happily. "No, I love it. Thank you. Caitlyn used to make these all the time in our Junior Rocker days, but I didn't really know what they were. No one's ever given me one."
"Well, you have one now," He said as he took the bracelet out of her palm and tied it around her slender wrist. "Maybe it will remind you that you're important and you have friends. I hope."
Tess smiled and bit her bottom lip as she watched Jason tie a knot. She never thought she'd love something so cheap as much as she did. It cost nothing to make, and wouldn't really seem impressive to anyone else, but to her…it was the most meaningful piece of jewelry she owned.
"Thank you, Jason. Really."
He shrugged and smiled up at her. "You're a good friend, Tess. You deserve it."