Jade wanted to slap Andre and Tori. She had literally just told Tori that the man she loved felt the same way about her. Still, Tori had spent the entirety of Sikowitz's class sitting next to Andre, and nothing happened. The body language and minimal communication between Andre and Tori seemed pleasant, but fireworks never went off. They were almost as bad as Beck and her sitting right next to each other. Regardless of how much she could change, she would ALWAYS hate assigned seats. The only thing that made it worse was sitting next to the person you loved while they did everything to ignore your existence.
It made sense. Jade could understand. Tori had no reason to trust her. The initial shock was probably replaced by doubt and disbelief. Tori probably thought she was mocking her, or setting her up for the most embarrassing moment of her life when she admitted her unrequited love for Andre directly to his face.
Jade was ready to scream. Seriously, how hard was it to tell someone you loved them? How hard was it to tell someone you were in love with them, when you know they felt the same?
Realization hit Jade like a ton of bricks. Beck looked directly at Jade when he heard her mutter, "Oh…my…god!" Concern crept up in Beck when he saw the look of horror on Jade's face.
"Are you alright?" Beck questioned in a soft voice. He lost his breathe when Jade looked into his eyes. She looked like she was about to cry. Just as quickly, Jade turned her attention towards the front of the room. Her eyes didn't move, and they didn't follow Sikowitz as he paced back and forth on the stage. When the bell finally rang a few minutes later, Jade was out of the classroom before anyone else had even gathered their belongings.
Tori tried to act normal around Andre, but hadn't said much during class. She hoped Andre attributed it to the hour of the day and lack of caffeine. More importantly, she hoped that Andre hadn't picked up on her uneasiness around him. Honestly, she had no reason to be uneasy around Andre. Jade was lying. It was a trap and Jade was setting her up for failure and humiliation. Jade also knew that it would eat her up inside, and that even though it was a lie, her heart would hope and wish it was true. Jade West was evil AND a liar. It wasn't true, but apparently she was an idiot. She was falling into Jade's trap, walking a few paces behind Andre. When he stopped at his locker, she was going to bring it up. She was going to confront him. She was going to say things, honest things, and how she felt. It was going to be embarrassing, and Jade was going to win.
Tori remembered how happy she was at first with her locker assignment. It was so close to all of her "friends". Jade's locker was about 10 feet to the left and Andre's was about 20 feet to the right. Beck's was right across the hallway. The furthest away was Cat, and her locker was only about halfway down the hallway on the same side as her own. It was so convenient. If she timed it right all of her friends, and the evil monster that was Jade, could see the most embarrassing moment of her life unfold from front row seats. Beck was already at his locker, and Cat was near her own. This was going to be fantastic.
Tori came to a complete stop when she saw one of the rarest things in the entire world. This was the second time she had seen it. Tori couldn't believe how amazing her day was quickly becoming, and she sure as hell couldn't believe an evil mastermind with a plot didn't reside directly behind those mascara stained cheeks.
Andre overanalyzed things at times, and he knew that. Regardless, something was up with Tori. He needed to find out what it was. He was lost in thought, all of which pertained to Tori, as he made his way from Sikowitz's class to his locker. Andre hoped that maybe Tori had just forgot to have caffeine or didn't get enough sleep.
Andre jumped half a foot when he felt someone clutch onto his arm. "Andre," Jade squeaked, "We need to talk, now."
Andre's eyes grew as he looked at Jade. "Are you okay?" He questioned, "What's wrong?" Andre swallowed back hard. It wasn't often that he saw Jade cry, in fact it was never. Even if Andre didn't believe it, the makeup that was already staining her face in long streaks was more than enough proof.
"I need to talk," Jade managed to reply, her voice shaking. "Privately."
Andre immediately replied, "Of course."
Only days before, Jade had drug Andre halfway up the staircase leading to the second floor by his wrist. This time she let go before walking and Andre followed closely behind. Still, they both knew they were heading towards the library. Ironically enough, that part of the school always seemed to be the most desolate.
Robbie threw away Rex. Rex was dead. He didn't have Rex all day, and NO ONE noticed. Not even his friends noticed, although they were preoccupied with more drama than an episode of Dawson's Creek at the present moment. He was a nobody to some people, to a lot of people, but Robby Shapiro realized something. He was somebody. Furthermore, he didn't care how many people thought he was as nobody. He just wanted people who were important in his life to recognize he was somebody. Apparently, verbally bitch slapping the fiercest teenage girl in California instilled a degree of confidence.
"Cat," Robbie said in a serious tone. Immediately after speaking, Robbie took a few shallow breaths as he waited for Cat to turn around.
"Hey Robbie," Cat said with a smile and a short giggle afterwards, "What's up?"
A small part of Robbie wanted to smile when his brain registered Cat's warm greeting. Regardless, he wouldn't allow distraction. In the same serious tone, Robbie continued, "You can't date Beck."
The smile fell off of Cat's face. "I'm not Robbie," Cat said in the most sincerest voice possible, hoping Robbie believed her. "We agreed that we are better off as-"
"You can't date him, Cat." Robbie repeated, cutting Cat off before her words sunk it. "It's wrong. Jade and Beck are…" Robbie threw his hands out to his sides and let out a frustrated grunt as he tried to find the right words. "Horrible for each other, honestly! But somehow…perfect for each other. You can't mess with love."
"I'm not dating him Robbie!" Cat exclaimed, begging Robbie to believe her with the look in her eyes.
Robbie stared at Cat for a few seconds. He wanted to smile and do a couple cartwheels, but he wasn't done yet. "Good," Robbie said in a low voice. Again, Cat gave Robbie a warm smile. Robbie allowed his exterior to crack momentarily, and quickly returned the smile before continuing his tangent. "Because you shouldn't mess with love…and can I tell you a secret?"
Cat's only response was a warm smile and a head nod. Slowly, Robbie took a step forward and leaned down towards Cat ear. Before Robbie told his secret, he placed his right hand along Cat's neckline.
"What do you mean you never said it? You dated for like two years." Andre questioned as he paced back and forth and looked at Jade, who had her back against a locker. His voice was louder than necessary, mainly due to shock.
"I just…" Jade started, stopping momentarily to clear her throat. Her emotions were coming under her control again, but a rogue sob still snuck out from time to time. "I never did."
"Like," Andre started, rubbing one hand through his hair. "I saw you put that on The Slap one day…and Tori said you said it to Beck…" Jade stared at Andre with a slightly curious look. Realizing Jade wanted clarity, Andre continued, "The last time you got back together. You know with the dog incident and everything?"
"I never did," Jade said in a sad tone as she dropped her head to the ground. "I said nice things…the nicest things I ever said really. I was trying to get him back…but I never…" Jade immediately got hit with another pang of guilt, realizing she hadn't yet told Andre she had sold him out to Tori. Her mind was overflowing with thoughts and sporadic. Somehow, Andre's lessons on acting nice were having multiple side effects. Then again, if she immediately told Andre that the person that wrote the letter was Tori the problem would be solved. Still, guilt was what she felt and it amplified the sadness and anger inside her almost simultaneously. "God, you're such an asshole!" Jade continued in a shaky voice.
"What?" Andre asked as he moved his head back on his shoulders.
"Your help," Jade made sure to make air quotations around the work "help" as she stared fiercely at Andre. "Hasn't changed a thing. Besides give me the mindset of someone like Tori…to a point where I cry in public!"
After a second of silence, Andre broke off into laughter as he doubled over.
Jade's brow scrunched as her jaw dropped. To make matters worse, the mixture of emotions she was feeling resulted in her words coming out as a high pitched squeak. "It's not funny!"
"It is!" Andre retorted in between laughs. "And you sound like you're ten years old!"
"Shut-" Jade immediately stopped speaking when she heard her voice squeak again. Once she had cleared her throat, she made sure to speak in a lower tone than usual. "Shut. Up."
"Tori, let go!" The disapproval was apparent in Beck's voice. Regardless, Tori didn't listen to his request. Instead, she looked back momentarily to shoot him a stare. Tori's hand maintained a death grip on Beck's forearm when she turned her attention back towards the direction she was walking. Forgetting she had Beck in tow, Tori went back to scanning the hallways for signs of Andre and Jade. "Tori," Beck repeated, "For real…let me go."
Tori stopped dead in her tracks and turned to face Beck. "Are you going to come with me?"
Beck let out a sign as he rubbed his free hand over his face. "I don't care. I don't care what she's doing. I don't care who's she's with Tori. I don't care if it's Robbie, Andre, or some college kid. I really don't."
With a grunt, Tori let go off Beck's arm. Crossing her arms over her chest, Tori waited for Beck to meet eyes with her. Once he did Tori said, "You want to tell me that again…and look me in the eyes?"
Beck rolled his eyes as he placed one hand on his hip. It didn't take long for him to regain eye contact with Tori. It didn't take long for awkward silence to fall between them either. Beck let out another sigh as he dropped his head to the ground.
"Like this weekend?" Jade questioned as she stood up from against the locker. "Like drive-by acting?" Jade continued, to which Andre nodded his head.
"Unless you don't want the help," Andre replied, even though she had once again asked for it.
After rolling her eyes, Jade said, "I want it."
Andre nodded his head. A few seconds paused and Andre cleared his throat. "I love you Jade."
An uncomfortable look shot on Jade's face. The only thing she was able to do was let her eyes dance around her environment, and she wasn't able to make eye contact with Andre for me than a brief second. Finally, Jade replied. "Thanks…"
Andre rolled his head back on his shoulders and stared at the ceiling as he let out a chuckle. Within a second, Andre could feel Jade staring daggers through him.
"It's weird, okay?" Jade said in a voice that held much more force than necessary.
"Okay, okay," Andre said as he held out his right hand in front of him. Still, he wanted to make his point clear. "But for real…you go to Hollywood Arts…and you're a good actor. Don't take it so seriously. I'm not actually Beck…" Andre swallowed back hard as the death stare on Jade's face only intensified from his sarcasm. "Just," Andre started, pausing briefly to let out a flustered sigh. "Pretend it's a skit in class…or just a scene in a production."
A thousand rude replies crossed through Jade's mind. Regardless, none of her comebacks were uttered. She was beginning to understand herself better, thanks in part to her brief lessons from Andre. She knew why she was fuming with anger and one-liners. She was nervous and uncomfortable. Andre was only trying to help. There was no reason to be rude to Andre, he didn't deserve it.
Jade took in a deep breath before nodding her head. "Okay…I'll try." Andre returned the nod as a smile crossed his face. "Well, come here…" Jade continued.
"What?" Andre questioned.
"Come here." Jade repeated in a short tone as she motioned for Andre with her hand. "I'm not going to be saying this to Beck with…" Jade quickly scanned the distance between Andre and herself. "Five feet between us."
"Yeah," Andre agreed, but his voice was hesitant.
"Yeah?" Jade questioned, knowing Andre had more to say.
Taking the cue, Andre replied, "Yeah, but it's not easy for you…when I'm five feet away…is standing directly in front of you really going-"
"Look," Jade retorted, knowing exactly what Andre was getting at. "I've kissed on stage before. You, invading my personal space, is not nearly as big of a deal."
Andre nodded his head. "Okay…"
Both teenagers took a deep breath as Andre cut the distance between them to about a foot.
"I love you."
Gently, Robbie used his hand to turn Cat's face towards him. Even with his eyes closed, Robbie could feel Cat's body tense up as soon as their lips met. Just as quickly, Cat loosened up. Robbie's heart beat quickened as he felt her return the kiss. Everything slowed down. Time stood still. For one brief instant in time, everything was perfect. Robbie slowly slid his to a better position on Cat's neck as he deepened the kiss.
After what seemed like the tenth failed attempt in a row by Jade, Andre took a few steps away and began pacing.
"What are you doing?" Jade snapped in a frustrated voice, aided by the fact she was failing miserably at her newest lesson.
Andre rubbed his hand over his brow before turning back to Jade. "Do it now…" Andre stated, clearly meaning without him being in her personal space.
"Like I said, Beck is not-" Jade didn't get a chance.
"Yeah I know," Andre interrupted, as he took a few steps towards her. "Beck's not going to be five feet away…and you've kissed people on stage before."
Jade rolled her eyes and let out a frustrated sigh.
"I understand that," Andre continued in a supportive voice. "This is…just a little more difficult for you…it's different."
Again, Jade bit her tongue as she nodded her head and stared off into the distance. "You're right." Jade replied as she looked at Andre. The slightly skeptical look on Andre's face irritating her further. "Okay, you're right…but you over there…staring at me is even worse."
"Will you just try it once?" Andre asked.
Not budging, Jade replied, "Just come here."
Andre let out his own sigh. "Just try it-"
"Just come here," Jade repeated, doing her best to keep her voice from coming out in a yell.
"Jade, just try it once like t-" Once again, Andre didn't finish his statement.
"Please!" Jade screamed, not intending her voice to come out so loud as her patience finally snapped. Quickly, she regained composure and lowered her voice. "Please Andre, just come here."
Beck and Tori's head both snapped at the loud sound. They couldn't make out what it said. Still, they both recognized it as Jade's voice. Making brief eye contact, they both began walking in the direction of the Jade's echo. Their pace quickened. Before long, Tori and Beck were both power walking down the hallway.
Excitement grew in Tori. It was a long hallway, but she knew they were near the library. All she had to do was get to the end of the hallway, turn the corner, and pounce. She had a strong feeling that Andre and Jade would be right around the corner.
"Okay," Andre said, more to himself, once he was back in front of Jade. A look of confusion came over his face as Jade grabbed his left hand and placed it on her hip. Without a word, Jade grabbed his right hand and moved it until it was wrapped around her torso and rested on the middle of her back. Andre's eyes grew slightly as he let out a deep breath. "Okay," Andre repeated, this time as a nervous twitch.
Andre's tone didn't go unnoticed by Jade as she shot him a serious look. "This," Jade said in a stern tone. "Is how I imagine it happening."
Andre nodded his head as he understood.
"We're acting right?" Jade questioned in a slightly annoyed tone. The question was rhetorical.
"Uhhh, yeah…" Andre replied and nodded his head again.
"Okay, then act…" Jade retorted.
Understanding what Jade meant, Andre nodded his head for a third time. Jade felt less awkward as soon as Andre loosened up and his hands became less rigid. For a brief second, Jade imagined it was actually Beck that was holding her. This made it much easier and less awkward. Closing her eyes, Jade did her best to stay focused. Not wanting Andre to stare at her, she requested the same from him. "Close your eyes, please…it'll help."
"Sure," Andre replied, actually happy that Jade was trying so hard. For a brief second, Andre imagined it was Tori that he was holding. This made it much less awkward.
"I know I've treated you like shit." Jade said, pausing slightly as she swallowed back hard. Even with his eyes closed, the amount of raw emotion in Jade's voice struck Andre to his core. "But I…I… love you." Jade had to pause again, only briefly, to regain control over her trembling voice. Finally, she finished her statement. "I'm in love with you."
"I love you too." Andre replied in a proud voice, which could easily have been mistaken for exuberance or elation.
Andre and Jade's eyes snapped open. It took half a second to register the sound as a scoff. Next, their heads snapped towards the location of the sound.
Immediately breaking the embrace between Andre and herself, Jade's eyes widened as she stared at Beck and Tori.
"You know," Beck said in a raspy voice as he stared off into the distance. Finally, he shifted his glossy eyes back towards Jade and made eye contact. "I was just starting think you were incapable of saying that."
Everything happened too quickly. A million things happened at once. Andre turned his body towards Tori and Beck as he shot both hands up to his head. Andre's breathing immediately became uneven as he stared at Tori and the look on her face. Jade's breathing became uneven as well as her eyes darted between Beck and Tori. Tori's urge to attack Jade quickly escaped her. Tori stood there fighting the stinging at the corner of her eyes as she felt like her body weighed a ton. Beck's urge to yell, punch Andre, or cry were overpowered by the pain in his chest.
"It's," Jade started, her voice coming out desperate. "It's not what it looks like."
Tori replied before Beck could, and the pain in her voice rivaled Jade's. "You win."
Immediately, the meaning of Tori's words sunk in and Jade felt horrible. Andre spoke before anyone else could next, and the pain was just as apparent in his voice. "Tori, listen-"
"We don't want to listen." Beck snapped, cutting off Andre's words.
About five seconds passed, then the starter horn went off. Everyone immediately split. Beck headed for the nearest staircase, which was only about 30 feet away. Jade followed behind and she begged him to stop and let her explain. Tori immediately turned around, and began running back down the hallway she came from. Andre pursued, as he begged Tori to stop and let him explain.
Once Robbie had returned to standing completely upright, he took a few deep breaths. Cat's expression was unreadable. After a few seconds of silence, Robbie decided to break the awkwardness. "Ummm, this is probably where you run away screaming…"
Cat's eyes grew wide and for a second Robbie thought she would take his advice. Cat's mouth fell open as her eyes darted between Robbie and her general surroundings. She had a thousand replies, but none of them were coherent and they jumbled together. She felt a dozen different emotions, and while they were all positive she wasn't able to voice them. Luckily, she didn't have as many actions and one was perfectly clear.
Taking a quick step forward, Cat shot both hands up to Robbie's neck. Standing on her tip toes, Cat crashed her lips onto Robbie's with more force than he had. For a brief second, Robbie began to back out of the embrace solely from shock. Still, he quickly regained his bearings. Robbie deepened the kiss even more as his hands found themselves on Cat's hips. Robbie gave Cat permission, but he was ecstatic she hadn't ran away screaming. For a second time, everything was perfect.