title: our rings are made of smoke
summary: but I was never yours, was I?
pairings: beck&cat, beck&tori, beck&jade, jade&cat, cat&robbie – you know, the usual ridiculous plot twists i add when i'm tired.
author's note: the lyrics in the first line belong to bright eyes from the song "take it easy (love nothing)". nothing happened with the guy i liked this summer. school is back – i'm the new girl. awesome. welcome to my world.
lol i really think i'm on crack sometimes. the sad part is i don't even know what's real and what's not in this story. you guys don't even know how much effort this took me. YOU BETTER REVIEW. hsuisdhaid. this is the longest story i've ever written. this is crazy. i have no life omg. twenty-two pages and over five thousand words omg.
first with your hands, then with your mouth. downpour of sweat, damp cotton clouds. i was a fool, you were my friend.
caterina likes the way smoke drifts.
cat wants smoke to stay put, tell her a story, kiss her cheek.
there is a difference between the two girls, even though they may be together. or something fucked up like that.
you screwed me over, but i always stayed.
like i stand a chance, you kiss me.
was it cat or was it caterina or was it tori or was it jade?
"did i mean anything to you?"
her voice is too many pitches, too many different things. she is crying. she is desperate. she is mad. she is insane. she is livid. she is jealous. she is broken.
he looks at her - could there be love on that handsome face or is it just the cold playing tricks?
"i don't know what love is. i don't know who you are. i don't know what i am."
he doesn't answer the question. but was it really a question or was it lost to the air when it first hit? it seems to stay on an invisible string.
his fingers are sooty.
if cat had to place it, it would've all started with that cigarette.
she's staring at the moon - her fingers twitching and her eyes aching. her heart is aching. her body aches.
she doesn't look up.
he hands her a lit cigarette. she hates smoke. she hates the way it sticks on her tongue.
she smokes it, and they sit together, the car lights on the highway streaking light on her face.
"punch buggy red," he says. he lightly punches her shoulder.
she kisses him, because he's near and he tastes like... smoke.
(and her head is on fire (hair like fire and cupcakes but it's blood too) and she can feel that endless churn in her stomach. she feels her insides breaking down. she feels dead and alive and she wants to die.)
cat valentine steps into the road after that, trying to die, because she wants to, but the cars turn away from her.
he doesn't really ever stop her, mind you.
"you hurt me more than you can believe," jade whispers.
"i know," cat says.
jade leans in close – so close that their noses brush.
her hand is raised in the air, as if it will suddenly crash on cat's (pure innocent sacred) skin.
cat blinks, her eyelashes brushing the tips of jade's and she whispers, "i love him. i - i can't do this."
jade's smile is almost touching cat's lips, her eyes freezing cat's heart.
"we were before beck. we are forever."
"forever doesn't last, i guess."
jade likes the echoing footsteps. the hollow, sinking feeling in the bottom of her stomach. jade likes heartbreak.
you are bright against my fingertips, but you are me and i am you. light as a feather, warm as the fireplace. you match me because you are me, you right my wrongs because they are our wrongs.
I love you more than me because you are me and we are together.
"ready or not! here i come!" robbie laughs.
cat comes out of her hiding spot, tears coursing down her cheeks.
"you found me. i wasn't ready."
tori vega was after jade west.
sometimes, the sight of them kissing is behind cat's eyelids, burning like a fire, dark and warm and broken.
"i love you, smile, stay a while," tori sung.
it was for him – for every boy and girl in the crowd. cat remembers how shiny and pretty tori was up on the stage, bright and luminescent in the sky.
beck kisses tori on the stage. cat could almost imagine the light bouncing feeling as beck's lips grazed hers.
she wants it so badly, her fingers shake. her date asks her what's wrong, and she kisses him, biting and nipping – leaving her mark with bright pink lips. he brings her away from the loud crowd, away from tori and beck, and he brings her home to his bed.
when he pushes in, she thanks him for the distraction. it hurts so badly and her knees are aching and she's squirming but her eyes are bright and feverish as she kisses the boy above her.
"where did you go off to during the dance?" tori asks with a wink.
it's monday morning and the day is deathly hot, cat's hair is a bit damp but she can't help but shiver. she never calls her date back, and he leaves four voicemails, two text messages, and a post to her slap page.
"nothing much. my date fucked me. the usual."
cat smiles, but it's too fake and tori winces a little bit.
beck's gaze stays on cat as she walks away. maybe that was the intention.
jade smirks at her, her eyes twinkling, "so cat, do you have any valentines today?"
"yeah! i have twenty!"
beck practically spits out his drink and cat smiles.
"do you like anyone in particular?" beck says, composing himself.
cat looks at him for a while, until she whispers, "robbie's nice."
jade laughs and cat sighs.
beck looks so lost, and cat tries not to enjoy it so much.
he gives her a ride home, one day. her parents are away and he's just so close and there and she can't help but reach over when he's in her driveway.
"what are you playing at, cat?"
her hands graze his crotch, her pink nail polish against the denim of his jeans.
her eyes are dull, lifeless.
she leans in close to his ear, so close he thinks he can hear her thoughts, "i want you."
he sighs, "i'm in love with tori. we're not doing this."
she digs her nails into his thigh, and he cries out, lust evading his thoughts, his eardrums thumping.
"no," he commands.
she closes the car door.
"sometimes," the voice says in the dark, "i really think he doesn't love me. he's always looking, never staying still."
the giggle escapes from the other girl, her fingers roaming under the covers, trailing up and then down down down.
"oh my god," comes the harsh cry, "don't stop. don't – don't stop."
a tiny whisper, so quiet that it might have not even existed, "not until i get what i want."
her fingers ache when the deed is done. she wants a cigarette so badly that she opens the window and smokes on the windowsill.
"come back to bed," the voice says, "it's your turn."
"no," the girl whispers, "i don't feel like being touched right now."
robbie falls in love with her by mistake.
it's not like it's very useful, but cat likes to flirt with him a little bit more around beck.
(it's just a little fun and games. it's not like cat can ever really be in love with anyone else.)
"i hate you so goddamn much. why can't you do anything fucking right?"
her reflection looks back. it matches her. they are the same, but they are different.
her eyes tear up, and the mirror shows the same emotion.
"i just want him to love me, but he doesn't love me, he doesn't love you. he loves no one, i think."
the reflection changes, smiles wickedly.
"liar. he just will never love you. he loves me and jade and tori and he doesn't ever love you."
cat would fight back, but the mirror has a point and seven years of bad luck is just more badness in her life that she doesn't need.
"i need hair dye," she says to the clerk.
"aisle ten," he says.
he opens his mouth, probably to flirt with her, but he's too simple – acne on his chin and brown hair that looks greasy in fluorescent lights. he'll never compare to beck's pretty hair and pretty eyes, the way he says good morning. this boy will never compare to the soft skin and the blue eyes of jade.
she buys ash grey dye and bleach.
she cries when she looks in the mirror later that night, her happy hair gone and replaced with a broken, dreamless grey.
she's smoking outside the edges of the asphalt cafe, her grey hair blowing. people look at her with worry, wondering where the bright girl went.
beck takes her hand and drags her away from the crowd. he brings her to a corner and he takes out a cigarette himself.
"this is where you go to smoke. not out there."
he fumbles with the lighter, and cat remembers how much tori hates smoke, how she pretends to be allergic or some shit like that. tori once told cat that beck tastes like smoke though, how she liked the taste even though the smell scared her a bit.
but cat knew that beck tasted like smoke, before tori vega was even at hollywood arts.
cat takes the lighter from his clumsy fingers; she tries not to think of how good his fingers might be for other uses, lights the cigarette.
he frowns suddenly, his eyes tired and his mouth loose. "tori asked for a break."
and before she realizes what she's doing, cat's kissing his neck, her hair tangled by his fingers.
"i want you," she mumbles. her lips meet his, his tongue invading her mouth, her stomach is flip flopping, butterflies escaping through her fingertips.
"fuck," beck says. he pulls away and takes a drag of his still lit cigarette before throwing it to the ground and walking away.
her mouth tastes bitter, and it's not from the smoke.
"so cat, jade really likes you," beck says, his fingers grazing the back of his neck as he smiles at her.
"yeah," cat smiles dreamily, "she's really nice, actually."
beck was never really observant.
(reason two hundred and sixty four she loved him. really.)
cat meets jade in seventh grade when jade moves to a sunny neighborhood with nice people who live in it. jade's not so nice at first, but then she's really nice!
jade is the person who shows cat what good really feels like. their first sleepover leads to a tangle of sheets and tongues and cat growls against jade's mouth.
"i'm not a lesbian, you know," jade says.
well, she could have fooled cat, but cat's not into any other girl besides jade and her multicolored hair and the faint line of eyeliner that she wears, so maybe that's enough.
when cat makes jade moan, she feels oh so good herself. she thinks maybe this neighborhood is full of new excitement and adventure.
"i like you a lot," cat whispers to jade when they're under the covers and jade's parents are still out to dinner.
jade smiles – the first smile that cat has seen on jade's face, one of the very few she would end up seeing in their friendship. and then cat's moaning again, tell tale sweat dripping down her forehead.
she's never been good at swallowing pills. she always sputters and drops the pill at least once. she always needs two glasses of water to drown just one measly pill down her throat.
tonight, she takes a sleeping pill and then tomorrow she will take another, but they never kick in.
she never really lets them, though.
tori is smiling so vividly that cat aches to wear sunglasses. her head is hurting from the beauty of tori – look at what you'll never be. cat just really wants to be pretty. wanted.
her hair doesn't attract many boys, anymore. grey is boring, but it matches her the most, lately.
tori squeezes beck's hand, cat can see each of tori's knuckles tightening and then loosening. cat's tongue feels caked with ash and tobacco, even though three measly seconds shouldn't be making her lose her head more than usual. she just wants beck, more than anything she wants, she wants beck to be there in the morning, kissing her body.
tori vega sometimes woke up in the morning, the faint trace of the sun drifting through the blackened windows, and beck's face was right there. tori told cat those days were her favorite, those minutes of just blinking, her head putting itself back together and then suddenly realizing how lucky she was. cat just wanted it for herself.
"i love you, beck," tori whispers, her voice bright and happy.
cat takes the sunglasses out of her bag and puts them on; closes her eyes and wishes.
cat feels really bad about being with jade when she's in love with beck and all. it's just that cat can't stop. she doesn't know why.
jade smiles, all dark makeup and coy eyes.
"cat," she calls out from across the hallway. jade's hand is in the back pocket of beck's jeans, her grin devilish and suggestive. "are you still on for our sleepover tonight?"
cat can't help but grin too, her thoughts clouded with the temptation of it all, "of course, jade. i'm always ready for you."
beck doesn't even wince, doesn't even suggest one sign that he thought his girlfriend was cheating on him with one of his (and his girlfriend's) best friends.
and cat is oh so glad, because even though jade made her happy and smiley – made her feel good in that way that only jade had exhibited, cat's heart belonged to beck.
beck was the one cat thought of every day, her eyes drooping before she fell asleep.
beck was who cat wanted more than the moon.
it's a monday night when beck oliver dies.
she lights up at a party, her eyes lighting up with the flame, her cold tongue warming up with the thick drag. she sees him, his hair messy and tousled. she smirks, her cigarette dancing at the corner of her mouth.
"caterina," he slurs.
her eyes burn, her smirk disappears. she's only a kid with a sick sense of self preservation.
"beckett," she drawls, "are you drunk?"
he shakes his head, his hair even messier than before. his eyes are wide and worried, as if he has seen a ghost. he points at her, his eyes widening even more, "you are crazy, caterina."
she blinks, her head spinning, "don't call me that."
"what?" he grins goofily, "caterina or cr-crazy?"
"both," she whispers.
she flicks the burned cigarette to the ground and lights up another.
beck's voice comes out quietly and garbled, as if he's figured out some secret that no one is supposed to know. "you love me. why?"
she closes her eyes and breathes in the smoke, her head twirling. the world is her stage, she thinks.
"i don't know why," she replies, "but i hate you for it. for being good enough for me to love."
and then after another drag, she whispers softly, "but i was never yours, was i?"
"no," he shakes his head, "you never were good enough for me to love."
she flicks her cigarette at his sandals and walks back into the party – promptly getting so smashed that she forgets her name.
"cat," beck whispers.
she could replay his voice saying her name over and over and she doesn't think she will ever tire of it.
jade whispers quietly, "he's dating tori now."
cat frowns, her fingers are shaking. she wants a cigarette so badly but jade doesn't like when cat smokes in her car. she just wants to smoke so badly, feel the same boring rush that she would give her life for.
"i know," she says.
jade pulls over on the freeway, in one of those sidelanes that cat's pretty sure you can't park on, and kisses cat so hard that cat thinks she can taste smoke. cat's arms wrap around jade's neck, pulling her in closer and closer.
when they finally make it to jade's house and fall into bed, cat can almost blur the lines between heartbreak and lust.
"i don't mind that he's with her," jade says, "not when i have you instead."
"i don't think you really have me," cat responds.
jade's skin is so soft and warm and cat kisses it, just to remember the feel. in case it ends tonight.
"cat, you're crazy."
cat's eyes are wide – wider than the moon.
"i'm not," cat whimpers, "i'm perfectly sane. i'm in love. it's all love, i promise."
"he's gone, cat," caterina sighs, "what's your excuse now?"
beck and cat become best friends on march twenty-second.
beck is twelve years old as of four days ago and cat has to wait four more days. this is the neutral day, beck proclaims. he won't gloat about being twelve as long as she doesn't complain. or mention unicorns for that matter because he haaaates unicorns.
"fine," cat agrees with a pout. "as long as we get to go to the swings."
they spend their monday afternoon pumping their tiny legs as they reach higher and higher.
at the top, beck asks cat if she wants to be his best friend.
she grins so brightly that he has to cover his eyes a little.
"i need to sleep," tori grumbles.
her eyes have bags under them, her shoulders slumped. she looks like hell, cat notices. it could almost bring a smile to cat's face, if that was possible anymore.
"here's a secret," cat whispers. "i haven't slept in three months."
she giggles as tori cries.
caterina loves the highway because it makes her feel tiny and lost. the white, the red, the blue lights splayed out for her – as if it was just for her. caterina likes to pretend life is handed to her in bright silver paper.
"a prius," cat mumbles weakly, poking caterina.
"i know," caterina says tightly.
maybe it's because there are a thousand and two words in her throat and she doesn't know how to say them – or maybe it's because she's been so mean to poor old cat. but she wraps her arm around cat's waist and pulls her in close.
"i miss him," caterina says.
those three words are the only words that come out of a thousand and two.
he kisses her in the summer before ninth grade. she remember it clearly.
they had just been hanging out with jade and andre, when he stayed afterwards to help clean up. in the middle of her kitchen, his eyes sparkling with mischief and his hands clad in her mother's yellow gloves, he leaned down and kissed her lips.
they awkwardly roamed around her kitchen, still in each others embrace, kissing and laughing, swinging their bodies around. his fingers danced around her skin, her stomach, her ears, her shoulders, the dip in her back. he stayed until cat's parents pulled into the driveway, and he kissed her a quick goodbye before heading out the back door.
her biggest secret of all: beck oliver was her first kiss.
"i know you love me."
you breathe in sharply.
"who are you trying to kid?"
jade makes cat cry the first time she meets her.
they're thirteen and jade tells cat she's ugly.
"fuck you," beck hisses.
jade looks at him and her eyes cloud over.
jade's a whoooooole lot nicer to cat after that.
tori looks at the cement, her pretty eyes without their usual spark.
"i love him, cat. i know he loves jade, but i - i love him."
cat giggles – caterina giggles - i giggle – you do too.
"watch out," cat says, her laughs causing her to grip her side, "jade loves to hurt people – people who interfere."
"cat," tori whispers quietly, her eyes filled with worry, "jade can't tell you what to do. you know that right?"
cat smiles, shaking her head as she lets giggles erupt from her mouth.
"don't you get it, tori? i'm jade's slave."
tori doesn't get it. she grabs her bag, leaving cat to laugh by herself.
"i want to save the world," beck says to her the first day they meet.
they are eleven years old and he is cute and nice, with his floppy hair and his bright eyes. she can see the girls staring at him.
"i want to help people," he declares, "so i'll need your help.
"i'll help you, if you want," she grins.
he takes her hand and blushes as he drags her to ask the teacher what they can do to help out.
(i want you to help me, she doesn't say.)
beck oliver dies on a monday, and cat and caterina and jade and tori and you and i – well.
we all lose the man we loved the most.
cat blows a cigarette ring, her giggles strained against the silence.
"oh beck," she says, "our rings are made of smoke."
beck looks at her strangely, as if her cigarette's tobacco was replaced with pot.
"uh, i guess so," he mumbles.
she takes his hand, and he doesn't say anything else.
(beck oliver might be a little scared – of cat and her strange quality to see right through him. but he's never sure. he can never be too sure of anything until bright lights come at him – their brilliance blinding him until he can't breathe by the beauty of it all.)
they're on the swings, like they always can be found on monday afternoons. they're fifteen and rebellious. the best of friends, beck says whenever someone asks if they're dating.
she wishes he nodded and grinned.
beck smiles, "wanna hear a secret, cat?" at her nod, beck pumps his legs, getting higher and higher. he throws his head back at the top, "i love jade west!"
cat feels like she's going to puke.
"oh my gosh!" she says instead, "have you told her?"
he nods, and she sees the love in his eyes – oh god. oh god. did he completely forget the kiss that he gave her, bright and right and perfect?
"she loves me too," beck says.
"oh," cat mumbles, dragging her feet on the dirt.
"i hope you don't mind, cat," he says, rubbing his neck as he slowed his swinging.
she pointed to his swing, which was in sync with hers, "look beck!" she giggled, "we're married!"
he smiled weakly before hopping off the swing, "you don't mind if i skip out a little early, do you? i told jade i'd meet her at the coffee shop."
he doesn't wait for an answer, and she watches his combat boots clomp away.
"oh, dear god," jade groans.
cat is breathing heavily and her eyes are sky bound, as if the stars could take away the badness of what she's doing.
"harder!" cat screams.
(harder, she thinks, harder until you knock me out, harder until i'm up their with the stars and the moon and – and – and –)
she never gets it hard enough though.
I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT YOU.
"look," cat screams, "i can't live without you!"
her words echo in the street.
all but her voice is quiet until the terse sound of swerving comes.
sometimes, cat looks at the ceiling at night, tries not to breathe as the dark looms over her.
"i love you so much," she mumbles as she releases her breath.
caterina breathes in, her eyes slowly blinking.
"i - i –"
"i know," jade mumbles, "you've changed."
"no," caterina says, licking her lips, "i haven't changed. i'm not cat, you see."
jade presses her lips together. caterina takes this as an invitation.
"you look like an angel."
robbie presses his fingers to her palm.
she looks at him, her lips in a pout and her voice babyish, "i don't wanna anymore."
he places his lips on her forehead, pulling her close.
she breathes in – she didn't want to though.
beck smiles at her across the lunch table. his fingers are laced with jade's but then cat can't even breathe.
"hey cat," beck whispers, "you've got glitter on your nose."
cat smiles and breathes in.
lady gaga is playing on the radio. she doesn't really remember why that was important, but it was.
what she would've given for a cigarette in her hand – to match the same smoke overflowing from the car.
well. she would've given her life to have one.
"in a motor vehicle accident – commonly called a car accident, many organs, bones, limbs can be easily damaged. it depends on how hard the car is traveling, the model, and the state of the driver. let's say a car is going ninety-two miles per hour in a thirty-five mile zone... the victim would most... damage to the liver... heart... spinal cord... in this case, the driver and the victim would most likely die..."
she remembers the way he touched the corner of her lips with her mother's gloves. his eyes looked like they could be placed on a christmas tree – the bright and beautiful way they shined. they held every piece of warmth around them. she thought he loved her, because she thought that god wouldn't be so cruel to make her fall that hard without a return.
she prayed that night for the first time in three years, her hair piled on top of her head and her face free of makeup. "please, god. let me have this."
you know the rest of the story.
she pulls out the pretty black dress from the back of her closet and puts it on.
she gets ready happily, tucking her hair behind her ear as she lightly applied makeup.
"i hope he thinks i look pretty," she smiles to the mirror. "i just want this to be right."
she giggles and walks down the stairs, cries out a goodbye to her parents, and hops in the car.
"are you ready?" beck smiles as she closes the door.
"ready as i'll ever be," she grins.
she pulls out the pretty black dress from the back of her closet and puts it on.
she gets ready solemnly, tucking her hair behind her ear as she lightly applied makeup.
"i hope he thinks i look pretty," she says to the mirror. "i just want this to be right."
she frowns and walks down the stairs, breathes out a goodbye to her brother, and gets in the car.
"are you ready?" her parents whisper as she closes the door.
"ready as i'll ever be," she whispers.
robbie tries to kiss cat on a monday.
she starts to cry. she wishes that she could kiss him back, but she'll never really be his. never really.
a grey prius hits beck oliver on a monday.
"i can't do this," cat sobs, "i can't see his coff – coffi-"
her mother reaches back and touches her daughter's cheek, right on the corner of her mouth.
cat breathes in.
she gets onto the podium.
"beck wanted to save the world, when we were younger. he still does, i think. what i wanted when i met him, however, was for him to help me. beck oliver was hit with an ash grey prius on a monday, saving me. if it weren't for him, maybe i'd be gone too. the part is, though, i loved beck. i loved him with almost of my heart. we were best friends since we were twelve, and i - i love him still."
no one claps. she throws up in the bushes.
beck oliver dies on a monday when he was it with an ash grey prius.
but cat valentine was never his. her turn wasn't at that point. maybe it never really was ever going to be her turn.
a voice comes from behind her bent form.
"did i mean anything to you?"
the voice is too many pitches, too many different things. they are crying. she is desperate. she is mad. she is insane. she is livid. she is jealous. she is broken.
she breathes in smoke.
her fingers are sooty.