all your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arrive.

::

Cat Valentine decides she wants to be a ballerina when she's six. Her mommy brings her to New York, and she sits by the window (palm trees and backyard pools whir into skyscraper buildings). She wears a pink dress, white stockings and black Mary-Janes. There's a lovely velvet bow in her hair, and everything is absolutely perfect.

The dancers are beautiful and skinny. Every move is graceful, and the thunderous applause makes Cat want to cover her ears. But she doesn't, instead, she hits her own hands against each other as hard as she can.

Bouquets of flowers fall against the stage, and the lead -a prima ballerina, what a pretty word- picks them up, smiling and blowing kisses to the audience.

Cat wishes she could pick up flowers and bow to a crowd.

On the plane ride back, she doodles dancing stick figures all across the seat tray with sharpie. Her mom yells and yells until her face goes red, but it's worth it.

::

When she's eight, her baby brother is diagnosed with autism. She can't quite comprehend the word yet, but she knows it's badbadbad because her mommy sobs for two hours, and her father drowns another cup of that amber colored liquid.

Joey sits in his crib with that faraway look in his eyes, fingers curled around air and tiny feet kicked up.

He looks perfectly normal to Cat. She coos words to him, tickling his tummy with one nail.

Her mom grabs her shoulders and throws her to the ground and "Don't you DARE touch him!"

Cat doesn't understand. Why's mommy all upset? She was just playing with him.

Her father licks his lips and looks at Cat with tired eyes. She goes to her room without being told to.

::

Cat decides she wants to be a singer, instead of a ballerina when she buys her first CD. She's ten, and it's the Beatles. She hums along, at first, then builds up the courage to belt the words.

The lyrics make her forget about her daddy screaming and screaming, and her mom crying and crying. Joey still sits in his high chair, his shrill pleas going unnoticed. He's hungry, he needs his diaper changed, he's thirsty.

He still hasn't learned to talk. Cat spoon feeds him, giggling when he opens his mouth for the airplane.

Cat sings "Blackbird" to him and rocks him gently to sleep.

(Two weeks later, his first word is Cat, and her mom breaks down again)

::

In middle school, she meets Jade. Jade reminds her of those ballerinas, with composed faces and no emotions.

[Except, Jade does have an emotion- anger]

Two weeks in, some kid calls her a retard and Jade beats them up. He shows up the next day, face decorated with angry red cuts and blossoming black&blue bruises.

Jade gets sent to the principal's, but doesn't tell him she did it for Cat. Doesn't tell him about "retard" and all the other insults thrown at her.

Cat tries to thank her, but Jade just turns to glare and doesn't respond.

::

A new boy arrives in the eighth grade. His hair is long and shaggy, his eyes are honest and pure and his skin is tanner than tan.

Cat would be lying if she said she didn't kind of maybe sorta love him at first sight.

(But of course, he aims higher. Aims for the ever impossible Jadelyn West. Cat is second choice, second best yet again)

::

She never tells Jade that she likes Beck. Instead, she watches them kiss and hug. Watches her scowl, and watches him grin brighter than the sun.

::

Cat sings Blackbird to herself when she's lonely.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these sunken eyes and learn to see-

::

She&Jade&Beck get accepted to HOLLYWOOD ARTS and it's the first time she sees Jade smile.

Cat will never be as talented as Jade, but she tries and she tries.

(Looks like it paid off).

They all get together at Beck's house. Jade brings beer (naughtynaughtynaughty) and Beck lights something that looks like a cigarette, passes it to Jade. She brings it up to her mouth and takes a long drag, smoke curling out of her mouth. She passes it back to Beck with a satisfied grin on her lips.

"What's that? Can I try?" Jade snickers, but holds out the rolled up paper to Cat, sharp blue eyes locked with doe brown ones.

Everything is twisted, distorted.

Cat loves it.

Jade gets a text, and leaves, kissing Beck hard on the lips before slamming the door shut.

It's the two of them now. She's high, and he's a little bit drunk. They're close now (too close- back up back up back up), and then his lips are on hers. He's rough, and he tastes like peppermint and coffee [Jadejadejade] & Cat decides that she never wants to kiss Beck Oliver again.

::

He sends her a text the next day.

Sorry. Forget that ever happened.

She doesn't respond, but locks the message in her inbox.

::

Everything goes back to normal. Beck's forgotten, surely.

Cat dyes her hair a shocking magenta.

Jade tells her she looks stupid.

Beck grins, ruffles her newly colored locks and winks.

::

She comes home from school at her first day of Hollywood Arts, a smile lighting up her face. She wants to tell Joey all about the dancing in the hallways and the Ashphalt Cafe and how one day, maybe he'll go there too.

The door is unlocked. The minivan is gone from the driveway.

Probably went to get groceries.

Cat's greeted by, instead of a happy brother, a mangled bloody mess on the floor.

This can't be happening. A dream.

She reaches out to pinch herself, ouch.

Cat runs her fingers through it's (not her brother- can't be her brother) blood matted hair. When she draws away, blinks hard, that awful scattered birds nest of brains and flesh is still in front of her.

It all clicks into place.

(no. no. no.)

There's a gun lying under the couch, and a little note with a flourished signature.

Cat,

We were the perfect family. You were the perfect daughter- so sweet and innocent. We wanted a little baby boy, we wanted a fairytale. But then, he ruined it. Your idiot brother with his disgusting condition ruined it. We weren't the perfect family anymore. But we could be. I had to, I'm sorry doll. I love you.

Mother.

She tears the note until it's confetti at her feet.

Somehow, she wants to believe it's fake, (Is she being Prank'd? Is she going to meet Ashton?) but she can't. It seems like something her mother would do exactly.

Cherry and blue lights bounce off the white walls as a police car pulls up, followed by a towering ambulance.

This is perfection?

::

Cat tells stories of her brother to Andre, Robbie, Tori, Jade and Beck.

[I like Japan. My brother was stabbed there once. He's all better now.

I get scared when my brother eats things that aren't food. Seriously, I think he ate my charm bracelet]

Nobody catches on. She introduces her adoptive parents as her mom and dad.

("My brother's on a school trip")

She still sings Blackbird at night.

::

a/n: I'M SO SORRY, THIS IS AWFUL.

I don't even know. I started this, with the attempt of a nice angst-less story.

Yeah. didn't really work. I'm sick, home alone, with no internet (as of right now. obviously i'll have internet when i upload this) so i just... i don't know, okay? And I've been singing Blackbird all day thankyouverymuch.

If you haven't heard that song -which, btw is like illegal because it's beautiful- then go look up Blackbird by the Beatles.

Oh, and I couldn't resist the High School Musical reference, sorry XD