He found her on the front steps of the school, looking disheveled. Her long dark hair hung in messy wisps down her shoulders and her mascara streaked down her face. Her eyes were red, and he realized with a sharp pain that she had been crying.

When he came closer, he noticed the unlit cigarette dangling in her trembling hands.

"I thought you quit that." he whispered, sitting next to her. When he had first met Jade in ninth grade, she had a habit of smoking to cope with difficult things, but in the years they had been dating, Beck had gotten her to stop.

Jade shrugged and dropped the cigarette, watching it with distant eyes as it fell down the long staircase. "I didn't want it." Her voice was small and defeated. Normally, she'd never have let Beck see her in such a state, but she didn't have the energy to tell him to go away. She was tired of pushing, tired of fighting, tired of…trying. Why did everything come so hard for her, while it came so easy for people like Tori Vega? It wasn't fair.

Tears began to fall down her make up stained face again.

Beck had seen her upset before; he had seen her lash out and scream and even hit people. He'd never seen her look so empty, though. He grabbed her hand and covered it with his own. "You know I love you, right?"

She didn't answer. She couldn't because she didn't know anything anymore.

When she didn't reply, Beck crashed his lips to hers, kissing her with more passion and urgency than he ever kissed anyone. He tangled his hands in her and deepened the kiss, as if he was trying to draw up everything that was hurting, trying to convince her everything would be ok. He could have kissed her until her lips were bruised and battered, but he pulled away after a few moments.

"I do." He breathed. "I love you, and I know you're scared." He grasped her hand tighter, willing her to look at him. " I know you're scared, but I'm here. I'm not going anywhere."

Jade looked down at their hands. She could barely see her own frail hand under his large, strong hand. She nodded slowly and gave his hand a light squeeze. So light, he thought he imagined it.

"I know."