A/N: I know this pairing is a bit…odd, to say the least. But there never is a student-teacher romantic relationship, because I don't condone that in the slightest. I've really liked this pairing for a long time, though, and I really think that if this show were broadcasted on a different channel, there'd be a different dynamic between them. So give it a chance, and maybe you'll love Jade/Sikowitz as much as I do. Or not. It's your choice.
Title is taken from the Parachute song of the same name.
Her first day at Hollywood Arts, she meets this man called Sikowitz. The first thing she notices about him is that he wears no shoes and doesn't give a fuck about how he looks.
The second thing she notices is that he walks up to the seniors with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths and plucks them out. Then, he tosses them out onto the ground, and goes to stub them out.
He realizes he can't, though, because he doesn't have any shoes on.
Later that day, when she's leaving school, Jade lights up and blows a ring of smoke in his face as she walks by him.
Sikowitz's jaw just hangs open by the audacity of this girl, his student, which he's only just met in his introduction to acting class.
Jade was the last person he dropped off after dinner at Maestro's.
He was surprised when she didn't go home with Beck, but he didn't press for information. After all, it was her relationship, and he was her teacher.
She was quiet the whole way there, and didn't even breathe a "thank you" or "goodbye" when they got to her house.
When she got out of his van and shut the door, he rolled down the window on the passenger side of the car.
"Jade," he called, leaning over toward the window.
She turned around and the expression in her eyes asked the question for her.
"You look better in that dress than Tori did. And goodnight".
Her face softened. "Goodnight, Sikowitz".
He watched her go up the pathway and in the door, and then drove off.
"Jade, why were you so interested in seeing my home?" he posits to her one day after class.
She sits back down and gestures for Beck to leave. He obeys her, and then she looks at Sikowitz.
"You're interesting. There's something about you that I need to figure out…"
"Ah. I remember once when I met someone who posed a mystery to me. But it turned out he just didn't like cheese, and that's why he didn't want a slice of my cheesecake."
"So you're saying you just don't want a slice of my cheesecake?"
"Who said anything about cheesecake?"
"You just…never mind".
Cat appeared in the doorway just then.
"Jade, let's go! Festus has vegetarian burgers today!"
"See you, Sikowitz".
He looks up.
"Oh, goodbye Jade!"
Jade was smoking outside of school one day.
Sikowitz came up to her and plucked it out of her mouth and touched her forehead with his finger.
His look said it all.
You are so much better than this.
When Jade asked Sikowitz for a letter of recommendation for college in the spring of her junior year, he was pleasantly surprised.
He asked her to write up a list of all her accomplishments over the past four years so he would have something to reference when he went to sing her praises.
Her face screwed up for a second before she nodded yes.
Later that day, she dropped off a crumpled piece of paper with just a few words on it:
"I can't think of any".
He ran his hands through what was left of his hair, and thought about what to do.
The next day, he asked her to stay after class.
Once everyone left, he asked:
"Why on earth would you write what you gave me yesterday? I can think of so many things you may or may not have done!"
Jade just looks tired and sad when she responds:
"I can't remember the last time I wasn't overshadowed by Tori or only accomplished something because of her. Do you know how much that sucks?"
"Actually, I do. There was this girl in my high school class who wanted to be in all the plays I wrote. Said something about needing an extracurricular. Anyway, this whole time, I thought people were going to see my plays because they were good and interesting, and because I did an excellent job of directing and acting. Turns out, it was only because she was the most popular girl in school and threatened to ruin everyone socially if they didn't go see them".
"She sounds like Trina and Tori combined. Uch".
"Look, the point is, Jade, just because someone else is the reason for your success doesn't mean you can't piggyback on it. I myself got into a great arts school thanks to all my hard work and that girl's threats".
"And now you're teaching high school students, who are, in your opinion 'amateurs'".
"Those are minor details I'm willing to overlook".
As she turned to leave, she looked over her shoulder.
"Were they any good, your plays?"
"Hmm? Oh yes, I suppose so".
She smiled. "I think I want to read one. Bring me one".
Jade West was the only student who could ever tell Sikowitz what to do.
The next day he handed her a battered script and winked at her.
When Beck broke up with Jade senior year because he said they both needed time to focus on their future, she absolutely fell apart.
The worst part of it wasn't that there was no chance of Beck taking her back; it was that Beck didn't date anyone else. The lack of closure, of seeing him treat someone else with the same affection and tenderness he once treated her with, drove her crazy.
Sikowitz went looking for her one day when she didn't come to his class (again).
He found her lying asleep in the janitor's closet, and his heart cracked at the sight of her.
She just looked so tired, like the spark of life had gone out of her.
He gently shook her awake and said:
"Jade. You need to go home."
She started to panic and cry as she responded:
"I can't go there, because going there reminds me that I still need to give Beck back his things and that I need to get my things and I need to take down the photographs of us and I…"
"Jade, breathe!" he interrupted her.
She gasped for air as if it were going out of existence and stumbled.
Sikowitz caught her just as anyone standing near a falling person would.
Awkwardly, he hugged her and then held her by the shoulders and looked her in the eyes.
"Jade…there is no easy way to say this. You're a mess. You need to go somewhere, anywhere that's not here. Give yourself a few days to cry, and then come back better and stronger than ever".
"Ahem. Jade. When I said somewhere, I didn't exactly mean my home…"
She shot him an evil stare and that ended that conversation.
She fell back asleep on his couch and was gone in the morning.
Sikowitz hugged Jade when she came in to his class one day with the acceptance letter from his old alma mater.
"You're going to go there, right? It's too good of an opportunity to pass up".
"Of course I am. Why wouldn't I?"
The first time Jade and Sikowitz ever hang out after she graduates is when he meets her for coffee. She's home on her winter break, and he was on her list of people she absolutely had to visit.
She was shocked when he looked completely presentable. His hair wasn't flying out everywhere, and he was wearing real, tie up shoes.
The first thing she said to him was not hello. It was, rather:
"Since when did this" she said, circling him with her finger, "happen?"
He looked confused for a second, and then realized what she was talking about.
"Oh, this? I always look like this when I'm not teaching. I like to make myself look like a hobo when I'm teaching or around high school students. It makes you all more eager to learn for some reason. That, or it just alarms you all. Either way you're paying attention to me in class".
"I would have never guessed that you were that deep, Sikowitz. I do like this look better, though. You should do it more often".
He smiled. "I will. Now, tell me about college".
Any emotion she had on her face quickly disappeared.
"It's horrible, Sikowitz. Everyone there thinks they can be the head bitch, and I'm not used to not being the only bitch in the room".
"Now Jade, be reasonable. You're a gank, not a bitch". He started laughing, and she smacked him on the arm.
"I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself. But," and here he sobered up, "in all seriousness, Jade, you can't let them get to you. People will try to tell you you're untalented and the fact is that there are people who are better than you. But never, ever sell yourself short. You don't only have talent, Jade. You have a work ethic that most people don't have, and that dedication to your craft is what will bring you to higher levels. You're going to be great".
"How do you know?" she challenges him.
"I do, Jade, and that's all that really matters".
There was one time where he had to pick her up when she was extremely drunk after partying with the old gang from high school.
She was celebrating her graduation and didn't know who else to call since nobody else was in any state to drive except André, and his car was full already. Robbie was out of town still, and there was no way she would call anyone in her family when she was in that state. Maybe if she felt like being murdered, which occurred less often lately.
So Sikowitz is was.
He graciously picked her up and brought her to his house while she sobered up.
In the morning she was gone when he woke up, and she left a note that said 'Thanks' on his table with a ten dollar bill for breakfast.
When Jade graduates from college, Sikowitz is so proud of her for sticking through it despite all her struggles.
More than once she had called him late at night on the verge of a breakdown or tears, and he had talked her through it all.
He was there for her and held her hand from afar when she almost failed her drama class.
And at least once a month, she would pull out the old faded script she brought with her and she would sit down and read it.
Every single time, without fail, she thought to herself at the end of it:
This is why it is all worth it. So I can become the best me I can be.
They're sitting on his patio furniture, drinking some beers to celebrate her graduation from college, when she finally asks him why he pulls cigarettes right out of people's mouths.
He tips his bottle back, and then looks at her.
Jade notices how sad and enthralled he looked at that moment before he answered
"Well, Jade, my father died from lung cancer when I was no older than fourteen".
"But even if those students weren't legal, wasn't it still their choice to kill themselves slowly?" she posits to him.
He shakes his head. "You see, I was their teacher, Jade. It would have been extremely irresponsible of me to let them make the wrong decision as I just stood by and watched. I think you, of all people, know that firsthand".
She's silent for a few minutes.
"Besides, didn't you once make that choice?"
Jade chokes on her beer:
"You remember that?"
"Of course I do. No other student had dared be so brazen with me after seeing what I did to other students".
Jade unlocked her cell phone and called Tori one day.
"Jade…what do you want?"
"Look, Vega, there's this guy I like and I don't know how to tell him".
"Why are you asking me? Didn't you do this with Beck and any other guy you might have dated?"
"No, because all the boys I've ever dated asked me out, but I know there's no way he'll approach me!"
"Ok, Jade, relax! I don't know, I guess kiss him and see how he reacts!"
Jade hung up and tossed her phone on the bed.
She kissed him one day out of the blue when she was over his house after work.
He responded for a minute, and it just felt right in some weird, odd way, but he knew better than to let it continue for right now.
He pulled her back, and just like those years ago, held her by the shoulders.
"Jade West. Beautiful, ganky, Jade West". Here he paused, and sighed.
"I am forty-two years old and you are twenty-four. You deserve far better than me". He turned to walk away
"And what if I don't want any better? What if I want you?" she shouted after him, lifting her arms and slamming them back down in exasperation.
He turned around and said:
"And what if I want you too? That doesn't make this right! Do you know what people will say?"
"I don't care! I've never cared about what people think of me and I'm not going to start now!"
He walked up to her, waving a finger in her face.
"You are so infuriating!" And, as if by mutual, unspoken agreement, they brought their faces together and kissed passionately.
He lifted her up and brought her inside.
Later, Jade pondered on the whole situation.
It's funny, she thought. I never imagined that it'd be Sikowitz of all people. I dreamt of being married to Beck by now. But life has a funny way of guiding us in odd directions sometimes, I guess.
When she woke up in the morning, he left a note for her on the bed and breakfast in the kitchen.
What happened between us last night…it shouldn't have happened. I could lose my job because of who you used to be…
Enjoy breakfast, and please go home after work today.
It was just like Erwin Sikowitz to run away from the thing he wanted most, and Jade was not about to let him flee the scene.
The argument is not pretty.
"Sikowitz, open the door! Now!"
She continues banging on his front door. All he does from inside is clog up his ears and sing quietly to himself because she is his biggest fear. And Erwin Sikowitz doesn't do fear. Not at all.
The banging stops.
He cautiously unplugs his ears, when:
"If you won't open the door, then I will!"
And her foot acts like a key and the door is open and he can't run this time.
She stands there and looks him straight in the eye.
"Why the fuck do you think you could keep me shut out? I'm not just talking about outside of the house, and you know that!"
"Well, how do you think I feel? I'm no good at this whole emotions thing! I just didn't know how to react!"
"Then learn how to! You can't just sleep with someone and then turn around and act like you're not interested when that person knows you are!"
"Maybe I wasn't interested!"
"That's bullshit, Sikowitz. And if you're no good at emotions, then you need some practice."
She sits down against the wall of his living room in resignation.
He swallows everything he feels at that moment and asks her:
"Do you want some coffee, Jade?"
And maybe it's a softer part of her, but her face calms down and she agrees.
Sikowitz was banging about in the kitchen, trying to make coffee, while Jade made her way to the dining room.
"So, how do you like it? Strong, regular, decaf?"
"Strong. Two spoonfuls of sugar".
"How do you ask?"
She rolled her eyes. After all this time, he still tried to make her better. "Please?"
Sikowitz's dining room was really poorly lit, Jade realized as she sat down.
Five minutes later, he came bustling in with a mug of coffee for Jade, then returned to the kitchen. The banging continued as he searched for God knows what.
"So, what does this mean for us?" she asked, sipping her fresh coffee.
The banging stopped, and Sikowitz immediately appeared in the dining room.
"What do you mean?" he asked, sitting down.
Impatient, she replied: "I mean, what are we going to do now? We can't just pretend none of this ever happened".
"Why can't we?" He moved toward her and cut her off before she could respond.
"Look, Jade, you and I have been friends for a very long time and I don't want to anybody getting the wrong ideas about anything".
"People would think what they want anyway! I don't think it's escaped anyone's notice that I've been spending lots of time with you!"
"I'm too old for you! I can't possibly give you want you want in life".
"You are what I want". She kissed him abruptly, as if to confirm that this was the truth.
"Look, I know it's weird and that it shouldn't make any sense. But you were always there for me in high school- even more than Beck was most of the time. And when things were going so wrong for me in college, you managed to make them seem right! It shouldn't have happened, but it did. I don't regret one second of it."
Both remained silent, and then Sikowitz broke the tension in the air.
"That doesn't change the fact that I was your teacher. I had to look out for you- it was my responsibility".
"Do teachers tell girls they look good often then? Or bring them an original copy of the play they wrote about a relationship that could have been? Does all of that fall under 'responsibility'? Face it, Sikowitz: our relationship has never been normal!"
"You remember my play?"
"Of course I do. It was one of the most brilliant things I ever read".
He looked at her- and he just looked happy and in love, not just with her, but with the idea that someone could love anything about him.
"You really believe that?"
"That's one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me".
Jade reached across the table and turned over his hand, taking it in hers. Then, in all seriousness, she said:
"Don't get used to it".
"So, does this mean you're willing to try it out?" she asked.
He thought, and without regret, answered:
"I suppose so. It's a little bit unconventional, but since when has anything I do ever had the ring of convention to it?"
"It never has". Then she kissed him again, and this time he did not hesitate.
Eight months after they start dating, the storm breaks.
It had been a really lovely eight months, and Sikowitz didn't regret any second of it. It had been a long time since he had last had a companion, and he showered Jade with every sort of affection he had. Which meant they were both very happy, because sex was something they both enjoyed. Very much so.
However, sometimes a bad thing ruins the good.
He walked into the home they now shared part-time (she kept most of her things at her apartment still; she couldn't get out of her lease and sometimes they needed time away from each other) after work one day. He set down his bag and headed into the kitchen, and sat down quietly against the stove.
When she strutted into the house in her power suit and work heels, she knew something was up.
"What's wrong?" she asked, kneeling down beside him.
He looked up at her, and in a monotone voice.
"I lost my job".
Her eyes shifted and he could sense the panic rising up in her.
She backed away from him, saying "No…no, this is all my fault. I shouldn't have…I'm sorry…"
She turned around and left the house before he could get up to stop her.
"Jade, I see your phone is off but let me tell you something. It is in no way your fault that I lost my job. I messed up big time and the principal let me go. I…I tried to tell the students last week that there is no such thing as conventional love, that absolutely every relationship is beautiful in its own way. We had a whole discussion on it, and I got a little carried away in telling them just how amazing life can be to someone. I guess some parents weren't happy about it, and so they called the school board, who decided to let me go. I knew it was coming at some point, I just didn't expect so soon. Call me when you get this. I love you".
"What do you mean, she bought a one-way ticket to Philadelphia and that her apartment is empty?" Sikowitz asks Beck at the annual dinner the former high school students of his still held.
He noticed the way Tori and André's hands grasped each other's tightly, while Cat leaned onto Beck's shoulder. Robbie looked on with envy, but Sikowitz was not sure who he was envious of. Perhaps all of them, because they had found something he had not yet.
"I mean, she told me she needed to leave and that she couldn't make dinner tonight when Cat and I went to pick her up".
Sikowitz checked his watch.
"What time does her flight leave?"
"Why do you suddenly care?"
"I always have, Beck. Now please, just tell me."
Beck sighed. "8:30. You'll never make it".
"Watch me". His voice got louder. "It was good seeing you all again, we'll have to chat very soon."
Absentmindedly, they all bade him farewell.
He ran to his car (he had traded in the van years ago), and gunned it to LAX.
He arrives at LAX in less than fifteen minutes. It's 7:45.
By some miracle, he buys a ticket for the plane she must be leaving on, and makes it through security in another twenty minutes.
He hears the boarding call for that flight as he runs up to the terminal.
Jade is entering the plane, and he taps his foot impatiently as he waits for his boarding pass to be scanned.
He gets on the plane and sees where he's seated. In an aisle with an emergency exit. Perfect. Now he had an excuse to switch seats.
He walked down the aisle to near where Jade was sitting with her earphones in and her iPod turned all the way up. He tapped the man sitting next to her on the shoulder and asked:
"Excuse me, good sir, but would you mind exchanging seats with me? I'm in the emergency exit aisle and am extremely uncomfortable with sitting near the door".
The man rolled his eyes but agreed, and picked up his bags and moved up the aisle.
Sikowitz sat down without further hesitation, and then twiddled his thumbs as to what to do.
Jade, however, had other ideas. When she heard the scuffle, she looked over, and nearly choked on air.
"Sikowitz," she hissed. "How did you get on this plane? Did Beck tell you?"
"Ah, Jade, I bought a ticket and boarded just like you. And yes, he did tell me, but only because I asked".
"I'll kill him".
"No you won't. …Why are you running away?"
She turned in anger toward him.
"I'm not running away! I'm trying to fix everything for us! And if that means that I have to leave and forget everything, then I will!"
He wrapped his arm around her and kissed her on the forehead.
"Jade West. Beautiful, ganky, Jade West. Nothing was broken to begin with. Please stay with me. In fact, marry me."
She looked up at him, and it's not like she ever expected any of this to happen. It's not her childhood fairytale, but it's what she wants now and she knows it's what she need.
"Marry you? I'd have to think about it, but I think my answer will be yes. Yes, Erwin Sikowitz, I will marry you."
She fell asleep with her head on his shoulder and nothing had ever felt quite so good for him before.
When they landed in Philadelphia, they essentially turn right around to head home.
However, they bought a ring on Jeweler's Row and it's not the most expensive diamond, but she insisted that she didn't really need one.
Everyone is there waiting for them, and the weak smiles on all their faces reveals to both Jade and Sikowitz that they know, and they were tired of waiting for them to come around.
Jade hugs them all, and whispers something into Cat's ear.
Cat squeals and yells:
"They're getting married! Yay!"
And Sikowitz knows exactly why Jade chose to tell Cat- it's so she wouldn't have to tell the others what should have been glaringly obvious all along.
They get married in a quiet little ceremony, because neither of them ever really liked fuss all that much, and because they only invite a very small group.
The reception is at their house, which they spent a whole week cleaning.
Ironically, they fly back to Philadelphia to honeymoon, and they get the happy ending both of them so much deserved.
So maybe it's not the ideal romance with the roses and the white horse, but Jade's Prince Charming was never really that charming anyway.
Despite everything that was different about them, they worked together in a way that was beautiful and unnerving at the same time.
Neither of them had ever been one's for normalcy, and that was the way they liked it.
Reviews are lovely.