twentys never been so far from sixteen
summary: She has a knack for being right.
The point is-It all started with a text message.
It's been two years since they all graduated Hollywood Arts and while their contact with each other had decreased with time- there was still some contact between some of them. Andre sat at the piano when his phone vibrated against the smooth wooden surface.
It's not really a surprise really, the piano would always be a passion of his- even if his job was far from what he wanted it to be. That's how the world was, didn't matter how talented you were…there was always someone better. But that's not the point.
Andre flips up his phone as the little envelope stares against him- read now, read later. If he had known what its contents was- he would have selected the third option "read never." But since it was from Robbie, and it had been a while since he had talked to anyone from high school, he flipped open the phone and thought nothing other.
"Andre! Get this- Tori Vega's a porn star! I didn't believe it myself until I was…well…uhm. The point is, who would of thought!'
Andre for whatever reason feels his throat constrict.
He texts back fingers slamming against the keypad of his phone (why are you so angry, your not still crushing on her are you?)
The first thing Andre does when he lands in Hollywood, CA is buy a hotdog. He always loved their hot dogs with Ketchup, of course.
The second thing he does is go to Hollywood Arts, because he thinks that may have been the highlight of his 20yr old life. He goes into the building and speaks with Lane only to find out Sikowitz committed suicide shortly after they graduated, some vision he received from his coconut juice.
He almost considers hopping on a flight back to New York right than and there, and skipping the whole reason he flew out here in the first place, to see Beck. He wonders briefly if seeing him without Jade will be another tragedy, because he seriously doesn't expect them to be together, what are the chances?
"Hey dude, what's up?" Beck still smiles the same smile, but his tan skin looks paler than it used to- his hand intertwined with Jade's.
"Dude." Andre says, his voice gets caught in his throat. "H-how long?"
"How long what?" Jade snaps obviously coming to Beck's aid, always quick on her words- her tongue sharp. He watches her blue livid eyes stare him down, and he thinks for a moment he can see tears burning in the corners of her retinas.
"Jade." Beck says softly, placing his other hand over their intertwined fingers. "The doctors say only a few months. But, you never know right? I think I could have a year or so left in me."
Andre puts his hand over his eyes to hide the tears.
Beck Oliver wasn't suppose to get cancer.
"So, why'd you come out here man?" Beck questions after Jade's left to go get herself (and possibly Andre) some coffee. "I doubt by your reaction you knew what was up with me."
Andre shakes his head tight braids flying from left to right "Beck I…I didn't know man…I'm…I'm so sorry."
"Dude, relax." Beck says running his fingers against his scalp. "Though…it is kinda strange not having hair now." he lets off a chuckle, before continuing "Seriously though, what's up Andre?"
"It-it seems so stupid." He stares out the window to where the sunlight is pouring in through the window. How can the day look so good when it feels so awful? "Robbie text me about a week ago…he said…Tori's a uhm. She's a porn star now. Apparently."
Beck sighs and sits up some more in the animatronic bed.
"Jade tried to talk her out of it last month, they were oddly close since Cats accident- well- close in a distant way." Beck says rubbing the back of his neck. "But of course, in the state Tori's been in lately, its really not a surprise Jade had no affect on her."
"Cat had an accident?" Andre says quietly. (How much can change in two years?) "Is she…" the words get caught in his throat and that one word just wont come out.
"She's not dead." Beck says just as quietly his voice transforming into a whisper.
Before Beck has the chance to continue, Jade walks in , thrusts a cup of coffee towards Andre and resumes her position next to her (was he her boyfriend, were they engaged? Married? Andre didn't know) .
"So, what we're you two talking about?" Jade asks glaring holes into Andre's head (he really wish she'd stop doing that)
"Nothing babe." And Beck presses his lips against hers.
Andre's sitting on his cheap ass motel bed, inwardly cringing on the deeds that were probably done on this very mattress, when Robbie texts him.
It has no words, and it doesn't need any.
It's a picture of Tori Vega, eyes closed, shirt off, mouth open.
Andre turns his phone off.
He goes out for coffee the next day with Jade, and he's really surprised that she willingly left Beck sides- if only for twenty minutes.
"Why'd you decide to come with me?" He says handing her, her coffee before taking his own.
Jade rolls her eyes taking a sip of her coffee as they walk, step by step, together in sync.
"He gets worried." Jade says uncharacteristically quiet, but- maybe that's who she is now, Andre doesn't really know. "when I don't leave the hospital. He thinks its depressing for me to be in there all the time while they…do chemo, and radiation and….whatever else they think he needs more of."
"Of course it is you idiot" Jade snaps eyes furious (now that's more like it) "…what am I gonna do without him Andre?"
"I don't know."
He has three missed calls from Robbie.
and one text message from Victoria Vega.
"I never wanted you to find out."
"What's up man?" Andre says setting the magazine down, skimming the room briefly- (when did Jade leave?)
"Jades kind of." Beck hand reaches up to touch his hair- that isn't there and hasn't been for Andre doesn't know how long- before placing it back down awkwardly in his lap. "Jade kind of- doesn't have anybody else so."
"No, Beck no- " Andre says rising to a stand, the magazine falling forgotten to the floor. "Don't you dare…"
"Andre." his eyes hold a pleading look and Andre unwillingly takes a seat. "look after her when…when I go okay? It's important."
Before Andre has the chance to agree, Jade comes in plants a kiss on Becks forehead and smiles.
"One more night and we're home bound babe."
Beck smiles, but it looks half hearted.
Beck asks to take a nap once they get home, he tells Jade to go on out with Andre, that there is something she can help him with. She doesn't put up much of a fight, she just shrugs, kisses him full on the mouth and tells him she defiantly wont be long.
"So where are we going?" Jade asks locking the door behind her to Beck and Jades small little house.
"…I wanted to go see Tori."
"Damnit Beck." Jade curses under her breath. "You know…sometimes he uses being sick against me. I told him I never wanted to see that…ah fuck." Jade says running a finger through her long brown hair. "Fine whatever, lets go."
Andre doesn't mean to, but he chuckles.
"What is it Robbie?"
"I just wanted to let you know if there's anything I can…"
"Don't you think you've done enough?"
"Well. Its just. I'm good at finding out information."
"Alright, think you can find out where Cat is for me?"
"I think I can do that."
Phone call to Robbie Shapiro ended.
"So here's the place!" Jade says holding her arms in an angry type of emphasis.
"This is where she…?" Andre stares at the (what is this place?) abandoned warehouse from the outside. The sounds coming inside the place sound more like moans of tortured prisoners than those of pleasure.
"Sure is." Jade says her mouth tight, eyes piercing the building.
Andre watches her for a minute, the way her brown hair drapes over her pale shoulders, the way she purses her mouth and glares at the building. It's the first time in his life he's ever though Jade West's ferocity was kind of beautiful.
He thinks back to the way her lips crushed against Beck's in high school, and how tender she was with him at the hospital when their lips met. She was hostile towards him when he questioned Beck about how much longer he was going to be around, but she was very careful with how she touched him.
He thinks that she touches him now is the way she's always felt- as if he's the most important person in the entire world. He thinks now maybe she has no reason to fear showing it. That's what love must be like.
He thinks it's a misconception that Jade West breaks things.
After all, he's never met anyone stronger and more in love than Beck Oliver and Jade West.
"Alright so, here you go!" She says familiar black combat boots scuffing the pavement as she turns on her heel and heads back the way she came. She gives him one last courtesy glance over her shoulder- her eyes say it all don't get your hopes up, Andre.
He doesn't even mind. Beck's waiting for her after all.
Tori Vega comes out of the building a few minutes after Jades left, 15 actually, though its not like Andre's counting, and the minute she sees him her mouth drops open and a cigarette falls from her lips.
He thinks in a different life she would have ran up and hugged him.
She's thinner now, not scarily so, but a little on the unhealthy side. She has a couple small hole like scars against her thin arms and she's wearing close to nothing -red lingerie and tall heels, that even he thinks are to painful to do anything in.
"Andre.' she says quietly, her voice stuttering just a tad. "What are you doing here?"
He notices she has "Make it shine" tattooed across her chest, and he cant but think how fucked up this whole situation is.
"I'm here to take you home." Andre says extending a hand and hoping she doesn't notice that it's shaking. "You weren't meant for this Tori- your so much better than all this."
"Ha." Tori says taking a step back, and shaking her head vigorously (nonono) "You know, singers have the perfect screaming voice." she says as if trying to justify her being here- as if it made all the sense in the world.
"Tori." he takes a step towards her, he thought he'd be angrier- but he's just upset, and a tad disgusted.
"No." she says firmly. "This is the life I have chosen. I have millions of people who watch me EVERY SINGLE DAY- I have a man every single night. This latina has it all." her brown eyes are no longer ashamed, there defensive. "I don't care if you don't approve. I'm going to be remembered Andre! What else matters?"
He watches her scratch at her arms, he watches as some random as guy comes out wraps an arm around her waist and leads her inside. He watches as someone hands her a bag of white powder.
He's gone before he can watch her start moaning.
"Cats in some special hospital in Chicago, apparently." Robbie says through the telephone line.
Andre doesn't ask what happened- Cat's always been a little special compared to the rest of them.
"How about we meet for lunch sometime?"
It's 3:00am when Andre hears a knock on his hotel door, it takes him a minute to process he's still in Hollywood and not at home in his one bedroom apartment before he stumbles out of bed- in nothing but a pair of boxers.
He yawns as he opens the door to discover none other than Jade West. She doesn't say a word as she walks past him into the apartment or as he closes the door. He turns around to face her and before he gets the chance to say anything- she crumples to the floor in a fit of tears.
He collects her into his arms and lets the toughest girl he knows cry it out. He doesn't have to ask, he already knows.
There's no Beck&Jade anymore.
(See ya later man)
"Let's go see Cat." Jade says 2:00pm the next day, staring towards the blank tv screen. It's the first thing she's said to Andre since he last saw her with Beck. Andre turns his attention to her than back to the sink in the bathroom, setting his toothbrush down and turning on the water.
Robbie schedules all three of them plane tickets for Chicago approximately three hours after Beck's funeral should be over.
Andre kind of wonders if he did that on purpose.
If he did, he'll have to thank him.
Andre's not surprised at the vast amount of people who come to Beck's funeral. He's not surprised at all the people who go up and talk about how wonderful and how awesome a guy he was.
He nudges Jade with his elbow, "You should say something."
Jade looks down at her fingers intertwined in her lap. "No."
He's not surprised- but he questions anyway. "Why not?"
"He knows everything already." Jade says quietly the wind gently blowing her hair. "There's nothing I haven't told him."
Andre doesn't exactly get it- but he smiles and pats her shoulder anyway. "I know that, but, I think everybody else should know too."
She smiles surprisingly- even if its small and kind of heartbreaking- and nods before rising to a stand. "Yeah…he was always fond of me being mushy."
He feels a warmth into the seat next to him, for a moment, an arm against an arm.
"Don't worry Beck." he says quietly "I'll look out for her."
The warmth fades away slowly as Robbie takes a seat on the other side of him, and he swears he see's a girl that looks exactly like Tori take a seat in the back.
Oh the things that bring us together.
He'd be lying if he said he wasn't shocked.
Why is it that everyone neglects to mention anything of importance to him? Andre's not sure if he wants to cuss or burst into tears.
Cat stares at him, head cocked to the side, the same crooked smile on her face.
"What's wrong Andre? Aren't you glad to see me?"
Nobody told him that Cat was in the "burned unit" of the special hospital.
"You should have fucking told me Jade!"
"Told you what Andre? Oh by the way, half of my best friends face was fried in a fire and that nobody has the balls to look her in the eye! Yeah, I'm sure THAT would have gone over great!"
"It's not just Cat, are you fucking dense! For god sakes Jade! You didn't even tell me about Beck."
She slaps him hard across the face.
"And what does Beck have to do with you?" he's pretty sure she wants his blood.
"He was my friend!"
"He was my fiancée you fuck! Do you honestly think I give a damn about tracking down his 'friend' who never bothered to call him once in the last two fucking years! NO!"
Andre watches Jade's chest rise and fall with her anger, and her eyes glisten with tears that he already knew weren't going to fall. He watches her stomp out of the hotel from their bedroom window, and head across the street towards Cat's hospital (talk about convenient).
He thinks she might have a knack for being right.
Cat smiles towards him as he sits in front of her alone, in an area that looks kind of like a waiting room, but he knows really isn't.
"So where are Robbie and Jade?" she says grinning ear to ear, even if one of those ears crumbled and red raw.
He tries to focus on the question instead of the nasty scars over the left half of her face, and how she cant open her left eye. He tries to focus on the right half- the right half that looks exactly the same as it did two long years ago.
"Robbie's talking to one of the nurses about you." He says voice smooth, he doesn't want to scare her. "He wants to know when you can come home, and Jade's probably just snooping around the building for coffee."
Cat smile slowly disappears, the light leaving her eye for a moment. "I don't have a home to go back to…" her voice is monotone and for a minute he images a scene from some horror movie where Cat bends herself inside out and she tries to kill him. "..silly." she finishes- and she's all smiles again.
"Right." Andre says quietly. "So Little…." he pauses mouth half open. Somehow little red just sounds cruel now.
"Its okay." Cat says a giggle in her voice. "I always loved your nickname for me. Even if I kind of don't like red so much anymore!" She says twirling a finger around a red strand.
Red is the color of fire after all.
"You love her don't you?"
"W-what?" Robbie sputters like it's some bizarre inhumane thought, even though his face is flushed and he cant look her quite in the eye.
"You still love Cat don't you, you didn't look it up- you've known all along."
"I write her." Robbie confesses. "Every day." He pauses as if he's not sure if he wants to say more or not and than continues "I just…I know what its like to be lonely."
Andre nods. "I think we all do."
Robbie stares towards her through the one way glass and watches her sputter on some story to Jade, eyes glowing, body bouncing happily.
"Id kiss her." Robbie says finally, and a tad easier Andre notices- when he's looking at Cat instead of him. "If I wasn't so afraid Id break her."
The concept of Robbie breaking somebody almost makes him laugh.
Than Jade's eyes connect to his through the one-sided glass. He wishes he knew how she did that.
"I'm sorry." Andre says to Jade as she turns around from the vending machine- water bottle in hand.
"Yeah. Me too." Her eyes dart around the lobby as if to see who's watching them before she adds very softly. "I miss him Andre."
He doesn't have the words, because he doesn't know what an I love you, you love me, love feels like. He thinks loosing it after you've had it has to be worse than never having it at all (despite what that stupid author, poet, quote-r person thinks.)
So, he just hugs her.
Andre thinks he falls in love with her sometime between the month their visiting Cat in Chicago and the month they head back (with Cat) to Hollywood. He's not sure how exactly it happened. Slowly, he thinks. Slowly and surely. He wonders if Beck would hate him if he knew he was thinking about asking her out only three months after he's been gone.
He watches her smile, her arm looped together with Cats as she glares at anyone who looks their way just a little to long. Something about her protective nature makes his heart warm, and other parts hard as a rock.
Tori texts him a couple weeks after they're back in Hollywood. It's just a question, and it's not even really about him- but she could have text Robbie so- he feels kind of special. But than again, it could just be the alcohol in his system.
"She's good." which takes several minutes longer than it should have. "Jades takin greattt care of her."
He hopes it stings like it did when he found out she was a porn star. He hopes it doesn't sting enough for her not to text him back. His thoughts trail in a blur of Jade, the faintest lines of a smile, the glare her eyes holds and the passion she puts forth in protecting Cat. He texts Tori again and waits. He doesn't have to wait for long before he hears a knock on the hotel door and their clothes are just a distant memory.
Somewhere in the darkness Tori's phone blinks with his text message:
would you ever work after hours…..?
Robbie sits down with Andre on a park bench, just as the sun is starting to set.
Cat dances in the growing shadows arms out stretched to the sky, toes outstretched giving her extra length. Andre hears her squeal something to Jade about how good it feels to move freely like this. The two of them end up singing something- but Andre's not really paying attention to the words.
"Have you told Jade about Tori?" Robbie says softly, eyes drifting down to his feet. Andre feels his jaw clench and he's not sure what the feeling is that's rising in his chest- he's not sure if it's guilt, embarrassment or just shame but it feels fucking awful.
"I'm not with her." he says quietly. "I'm just looking out for her…for Beck of course." his hands grip a little tighter around his cell phone as it vibrates against his palm.
Robbie doesn't say anything, just turns his gaze back towards the dancing girls who are slowly eliminating the distance between them.
"Couldn't tell." Robbie says rising to a stand to meet Cat half way, his arms wrapping awkwardly around her. Cat giggles, and Jade rolls her eyes closing the distance between Andre and herself, a small smirk gracing her features.
"They're disgustingly cute." she says but there's really no malice there. In fact, Andre thinks-it's just a compliment, nothing more or less.
"They aren't the first disgustingly cute couple." He wonders if she'll know she's referring to her and Beck.
He wished he'd stopped being jealous of a dead guy. (When did Beck become the dead guy?). He thinks if he doesn't off himself- the guilt probably will.
"You like Jade." Tori says quietly tracing patterns against his bare copper chest.
"I do not." He insists putting an arm around her slender naked waist "I really don't."
Tori smiles in a broken kind of way, "Liar." She readjusts her position so she can look into his eyes "You only ask me to come over if your buzzed or we've mentioned Jade."
"Even if I do." Andre says clearing his throat "It doesn't matter- her hearts still… itll always be his."
Tori doesn't say anything- because she understands that feeling all to well.
It was always Beck Oliver's face she had cropped and pasted into every man she'd ever been with, it had always been Beck since she spilt coffee on his shirt in Sikowitz's class.
Trina had told her once "the heart wants what the heart wants."
It was probably the only thing Trina's ever been right about.
Andre sends the rest of the money (besides the last bit in his savings for the rest of his month in the hotel he's staying- he's going to have to figure that one out later.) he posses to void his lease in New York.
He's broke, in debt, and a billion other things at the moment.
But, at least now he cant cop out and run away from Jade or any of his friends again.
Jade finds out he's fucking Tori. She storms into his hotel room (because as long as your paying- they don't really fucking care how long he or anybody else stays) and throws a water bottle at him.
"What the fuck do you think your doing fucking her Andre?" Jade says stalking in front of him, like a tiger getting ready to pounce.
He's angry too. The way she can just kick in the fucking hotel door (how's he going to pay for that?) and is going to lecture him about who he can and who he cant have sex with.
"You have no fucking right Jade to tell me who the hell I cant sleep with!" He says literally bolting off the bed, pure adrenaline fueling his movements.
"Don't I?" Jade screams "You obviously cant pick them out if your chasing after somebody else's scraps!"
"I'm not chasing after you am I?" He spits, even if well- he kind of is.
She stares at him for a moment, completely off guard- but only for a second, that's all it takes for her to shove him to the bed and slap him hard across the face.
"Don't you dare ever fucking talk about him again do you hear me?" She spits, her eyes burning with tears- he can feel the anger radiating off of her in such powerful waves it subdues him. "I'm not his scraps. I never would have been his scraps either."
His hand raises and lingers against her cheek as he gently uses his thumb to push a piece of straggly brown hair behind an ear. "Yeah, I know." he says softly.
That's when she crushes her lips to his.
When they part- he whispers finally.
"How did you know?" He asks casually, wrapping an arm around her shoulder.
"How did I know what?" Jade asks raising an eyebrow not the least bit amused as they watch the sun set from the beach, Robbie's kneeling form appearing by the waters edge- shaky hands and a squealing Cat result in a definite "yes"
"How did you know that I was…" he clears his throat embarrassed though he's not sure why- because Jade never is. "that I was seeing Tori."
Jade rolls her eyes at his word choice, a smirk gracing her pale features as she leans down into her beach bag and pulls out her pear phone. She punches in a few buttons and hands the phone to Andre.
You know Im sleeping with Andre right?
It kind of ended with a text message too.