AN: I most certainly don't own the genius that was True Jackson, VP. Check out the bottom of my profile, I love it so much.
Longtime reader of TJVP fics, first time writer. I'm in the process of writing another one, a longer one giving my take on how I would have liked Mystery In Peru to end. As for the ages of the characters, well, in Flirting With Fame it was stated that Amanda is 28, and since it was a year after the show began we can assume True is now 16. So in this fic, True is 17 almost 18 and Amanda is 29 almost 30.
This is just a little snippet of that: If you guys like it, and if all the plot bunnies work out (Amanda's storyline is ready to go, not sure about True's) I'll put it in the actual story. I feel it works much better as a one-shot. So think of it as a "deleted scene" of sorts for now. :)
Rated T for adult themes.
Oh yeah, REVIEW!
She must have looked like an idiot.
After all, it's not every day that you see a girl in cotton pajamas and Converse sneakers running through the damp streets of New York City at 11:30 at night with tears streaming down her face.
But that was the situation True Jackson was currently in.
It was funny, ever since she was little she could remember her parents screaming at each other. Her whole family was crazy and they always did little things like that, things that could make you laugh or set you off in a heartbeat. Her parents' constant bickering was how True could figure out that everything was going well between them.
So when she heard no silly quips from either of them for three weeks, she sensed something was wrong.
She got home at around 6 that evening after a busy day at Mad Style. Not only was she attempting to get a design finished before the weekly deadline, she had to keep Amanda—who was more on edge than usual this particular Friday—out of her hair. Plus, Ryan had filled the air vent with some kind of icky green goo which totally stunk up the whole office. To say True had a headache would be the understatement of the year.
The first thing she did once arriving home was hop in the shower. Then she made herself some pizza since her mom was out shopping, and did her homework. Trigonometry certainly wasn't helping her headache, so as soon as she was done, she collapsed onto her hand-stitched pillow and slept for what felt like ten minutes. She jumped up when she heard shouting coming from downstairs. Her room was far darker than she remembered and as True glanced at her alarm clock, she saw that the time was 11:15. Her mother must have tucked her in.
True tried to listen to what her parents were staying by quietly tip-toeing out of bed and opening her bedroom door with a creak. She wasn't able to make out any words, but she heard crying and could swear that something hit a wall, possibly a vase.
It was when the eerie silence hit her that she rushed down the stairs, only to find her parents sitting on the couch arms folded across their chests.
"True, your mother and I are getting a divorce. We've been thinking about it for months now and we're finally going to do it."
"Now Larry, why'd you tell her like that? She's 17, you couldn't have put it a little, I don't know, lighter?"
"Virginia, she's the president of New York's biggest fashion company, I think she can deal with anything at this point in her life. It's like when Uncle Troy came to visit and he brought in that rabid cat from the street? We were all RABIES and she was like AWW HE CUTE STAY IN MY ROOM!"
"Well she's still our baby, and…where'd she go?"
True slowed her pace to a walk as she found the house she was looking for. The tears had stopped flowing and now she stood there stupidly in the middle of the sidewalk. Why did she come here in the first place? She realized that her legs hurt from how fast she ran, and going back the way she came didn't seem to be the best option at the moment. Gathering her courage, True walked up the three steps leading into the apartment and knocked on the door.
A good 15 seconds passed before the door opened and True was staring into the face of a rather shocked Amanda Cantwell.
"True? What are you doing here, it's past midnight!" Amanda exclaimed, her brow furrowing. "An even more important question, how do you know where I live?" she snapped.
"Can I come in?"
Amanda was taken aback by the young girl's question. "Um…o-of course…" she said. True entered the apartment wringing her hands as Amanda shut the door behind her. True looked around at the fancy décor.
"Thank you." They stood in silence until Amanda gestured to the couch. "Well…would you like some tea?"
"Sure," True sighed. "I didn't know if you'd be here. You always say that you have to be at a party seven nights a week. Where'd you go tonight?"
"Nowhere. I had to stay at the office to finish up a design." True nodded her head. True stayed two hours later than she usually did, so if Amanda was there longer, her day must have been even worse. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. Amanda flipped her chocolate-brown hair behind her shoulder as she headed into her kitchen. "So moppet, what brings you to my neck of the woods at this hour, hmm?"
"I just need someone to talk to. Lulu went with Mikey J and his family on that camping trip and Ryan…well, actually I have no idea where Ryan is," True said. "I haven't seen him since this morning."
"Ah." Amanda sauntered over to the couch and sat down next to the young African-American girl. "And…I'm surprised, you chose me over Max or Oscar? Jimmy? Your parents?"
"Well, yeah…you've always given me pretty good advice, Amanda. And I know you hate me, but I don't hate you. None of us do." Amanda turned away as True spoke, staring at nothing in particular. She chose her next words carefully.
"I don't…hate you, True. Frankly, I'm jealous. You seem to have this perfect life while nothing's gone right for me in the longest time…" she trailed off. She seemed to have softened at True's kind words.
"My life is NOT perfect. That's actually why I'm here." True's eyes filled with tears just thinking about it. "My parents are splitting up. They're getting a divorce," she sniffled.
"Oh. I'm sorry," offered Amanda, and she truly meant it. "Do you…well, I…do you need a tissue?"
"Yes," answered True. Amanda threw her the box and jumped at the sound of True's nose being blown loudly. "They said that they'd been considering it for months, yet they never said anything to me about it. Nothing! It's like they didn't care about how I felt at all."
"True, I'm not sure if it's my place to say, but if there's one thing I'm sure of it's that you did nothing wrong. Even though your parents won't be together anymore, that doesn't mean they just stop loving you. They probably thought it was for your own good. They didn't need you worrying. You're the president of the company; you don't need another thing on your plate." Amanda got up as she heard the water boil.
True was surprised at just heartfelt the older woman's words were. "But we've always been so close. I could tell my parents anything. Why couldn't they warn me about this? It just doesn't make any sense to me."
Amanda handed True a mug as she resumed her place on the couch. "Honey, there's a lot of things that don't make sense in this world, get used to it. You've just got to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep moving on. I've been doing that since I was five and just look at where it's gotten me," she said with pride.
True blinked. "You're a cranky old lady who spends her nights watching soap operas with no one to love her."
"NO! I'm a charming, beautiful YOUNG woman with a high-paying job she's always dreamed of having! And just how old do you children think I am?"
"I dunno, like 50?" At this, Amanda almost choked on her tea.
"I am 29 years old!"
"Okay, Amanda," True said with a smirk as Amanda rolled her eyes in disgust. "What is this, chamomile?"
"Yes. Quite soothing, is it not?"
"I guess so. If you're an old person," True giggled.
"Very cute," Amanda snarled.
"Okay I'm done," smiled True. "Thanks Amanda. For everything. I really needed that." Before Amanda knew what was happening, the smaller girl had enveloped her in a gigantic hug. Tentatively, she put her arms around her and returned it.
"Anytime. You'll get through this, True. Believe me, you're not the only one with family issues," Amanda muttered to herself.
"Why, what's wrong with you?"
"Who said anything was wrong with me? I believe I phrased that as a hypothetical statement. You're jumping to crazy conclusions!"
"Just tell me, Amanda. Maybe I can help."
Pursing her red lips (True didn't understand why she had lipstick on at midnight), Amanda responded, "It's complicated grown-up stuff."
"Try me." True stared a challenge. She gasped, "YOU HAVE A THING FOR KOPELMAN DON'T YOU?"
Amanda closed her eyes in exasperation. "NO!"
"Then explain that time when you were all 'Aw he looks like an angel!' And how did you know his phone number when we prank-called him at my pajama party?"
Amanda snickered. "Actually, I think he has a thing for me. It's fun to mess with him."
True laughed. "That sounds like you. Okay I give up. Tell me what's wrong," she whined.
"Well…ah, my twin sister just happens to be having a child with my high-school sweetheart."
"Whoa. That kinda sucks."
"I know. And for once I thought that I would be the first one and she wouldn't be able to be better than me. It looked like I would come out on top for once. But now my sister's the one who's giving our mother the first grandchild, yet another reason for her to love Lisa Marie more than me. It's sickening."
"Hold up, what do you mean you thought you would come out on top this time?"
Amanda slid her robe off her shoulders and sat up straighter. "She's always beating me in everything. Everything I accomplish, she does me one better."
"So, basically you're upset because your sister is the first one to get…um," she lowered her voice and widened her eyes as she said, "pregnant?"
"It's not a swear word, True."
"But am I right? I thought you hated kids. I mean, you hate Ryan and Lulu and I, so…"
"For the last time, True, I do not hate you! Do I find some of the things you children do hard to tolerate? Yes. But I'm far from hating you. Those days are long over."
"You still haven't answered my question, Amanda. Are you jealous because she was the first one?"
Amanda suddenly became fascinated with her nails. "That's the thing…she wasn't the first one. I was."
True cocked her head to the side in confusion. "But I thought…oh my gosh Amanda, are you…you're PREGNANT! Ohmygosh ohmygosh I'm so HAPPY for you! Who's the father? Do you know what the baby is? What are you gonna name it? OHMYGOSH we can design for it! This is seriously so COOL! I still can't believe that…"
"True, I'm not pregnant."
"What? Then why did you drop all these hints that you're pregnant? Hmm? Answer that." True pointed a finger in her face and Amanda flicked it away.
"I didn't say anything of the sort. I said WAS. Was pregnant. As in, not anymore."
True made her 'thinking' face before exclaiming, "So…YOU ALREADY HAD THE BABY? Whoa, that's crazy. Even crazier than that time when Ryan made a water slide out of some old wood. I was all, SLOW DOWN YOU GONNA GET A SPLINTER IN YOUR BUTT! Where is it? You didn't even gain any weight, how does that work?" True had jumped off the couch at this point and was pacing back and forth.
"True. Please…don't." True stopped when she heard Amanda's voice. It was so different than how it typically sounded; right now, it sounded small and lost. Broken.
"What's wrong? You should be happy!"
"I didn't have the baby, True. I lost it. Okay?" True sat back on the couch and reached for Amanda's hand, but the older woman pulled away. "Don't. I don't want your sympathy."
"But…you didn't even…we never…how…" True tried to say. "What happened?"
"Well, Brock wanted a child. The trouble was, we never got to spend any time together because he was always flying to and from Peru to see me. And when I found out I was expecting, I thought that maybe now he would finally have a reason to stay here in New York, to support me and his…his son. Yes, it was a boy," she said, taking a deep breath. There were tears running down Amanda's cheeks. "And then the day of the wedding came when I was about two months along and I found out that he had been using me. I decided that even though it would be difficult, I would try to raise my son myself."
"What did Brock have to say about that?" True wondered.
Amanda became paler as she cried even harder. "I never even told him I was pregnant."
True's mouth dropped open. Oh my God… she handed the grieving woman a tissue, but Amanda shoved it away. True decided it would be best just to let her cry it out.
"And then a month later, we had the day off and I took a shower at around 11 because I was going to go into work anyway and…and…" she couldn't even finish the sentence. Her shaking hand searched blindly for True's shoulder. When she found it, she clutched it and sniffled. "I was terrified, there was so much blood…Oscar has a spare key, thank God, he came in and found me in the bathroom. If he hadn't been here, I would have died."
True reached up and touched her own face; she felt tears as well. She was crying with the woman who used to be her worst enemy.
Lifting her head, she said, "And now, Max is so happy with Doris about to have a kid and all I want to know is why did it have to happen to me? Am I that bad of a person, True? Do you think my child was ashamed that he had a horrible mother? I wanted this baby! I didn't think I would ever say something like that, but I did. I was looking forward to holding him…I'm sorry, you came here to talk to me and I'm just blabbering on like an idiot."
"No, no, it's okay! It's okay. I don't feel alone anymore, now I'm really glad I came here. Thank you. For telling me."
"You and Oscar are the only people who know. Please don't tell anyone else."
"Okay. And no, you are not a bad person. Bad things happen to good people all the time and this one wasn't your fault." She phrased her next sentence carefully. "And…if I were your child, I would be proud to have you as a mother. When I flipped through the Mad Style magazines, or read an interview with you, you always seemed so calm and relaxed. Then I met you and it was totally different. But I never stopped looking up to you even though we got off on the wrong foot. Now here I am giving advice to you when I thought you would never need it. What's wrong with this situation?"
"Well you are the president of the company. Max probably rubbed off on you a little bit," chuckled Amanda before adding, "You know, True, you're a lot like me."
"We've had this conversation before, Amanda."
"Does that scare you?"
"A little bit."
"It shouldn't." Amanda looked down at True. "You are so gifted for your age, True. It took me years to develop the skills that you have shown since day one. Don't let them tear you down, like I tried to. That is something that I will regret the most. Keep believing in yourself and you will go so far in this industry. There comes a time in everyone's life where they have to reevaluate what they want and where they're going. My advice for you right now is to stay where you are and enjoy it. Okay?"
"Okay…wait, why are you telling me all this now?"
Amanda wore a blank expression on her face as she looked at her hands and said, "Because I'm not sure anymore. I want to stay at Mad Style, but I also want to be a mother, just to experience the little things."
"That's a pretty big commitment."
"I know. But I'm not ready to make up my mind just yet," she said with a smile. "Thank you for coming here tonight."
"Thank you for listening. It's like, 1 AM. Can I crash here? I don't want to face my parents at this hour."
"Sure. The couch," Amanda pointedly replied.
"I wasn't expecting anything more."
"SEE, aren't we so in sync, True?"
Just like that, two people realized their futures might not be so bad.
True pulled the wool blanket around her neck. "Goodnight Amanda," she called.
Amanda flicked out the light and laid her head on the pillow. "Goodnight…moppet."
OH MY GOODNESS this turned out so much longer than I expected. PLEASE leave me a review and tell me it isn't crap.
Please, even if you're anonymous.
So, did you like it? Should I put it in the other story?