Disclaimer: I own nothing but the dragon with ruby lips.
When she woke up inside his RV, she found him staring pensively. He had been watching her sleep. Usually she would smile briefly before calling him out on his stalker tendencies but this morning was different. The annoying birds that often chirped outside the RV were unusually silent. The wind was howling, fleeting whispers echoing in her mind, wake up Jadelyn, why won't you wake up? She licked her lips under his gaze and threw the covers off of her body with a grace she thought she had outgrown when she quit ballet at 10. A grace that she had done her best to get rid of for the last few years of her teenaged life. A grace that belonged to Jadelyn. Beck's stare never wavered and Jade froze. He was avoiding eye-contact but he was still studying her. The way her hair curled in the morning, the crinkle in her eye and the way she fisted her hands. They sat there, him studying her and her fiddling with the bed sheets.
"You're up early." She made it to seem sarcastic; like things hadn't changed but her voice was tinted with sadness that made her cringe.
Alien. Everything was alien to her. For the first time, Jade didn't know what to do.
Beck wasn't smiling. The stupid birds weren't chirping and her mind was willing her back to sleep, and to top it all off, she felt a pang in her chest. Or maybe it was something different? A flower; the fruit of Beck&Jade being uprooted. The tree they had taken years to curb, to water, to weed; it was detaching itself from her chest. Someone was ripping the roots from her heart. Her throat tightened and her eyes burned. Jade had no idea what the hell was happening to her and if Beck noticed he did nothing to help her.
He was sitting, his back against the RV wall. His emotions censored from her; from his girlfriend.
Damn, he was a good actor.
She forced a crooked smile at the thought.
When Beck had turned down his first job offer, he didn't know what he was expecting. It was something; he was eighteen. Just graduated. They were babes in the world of Hollywood. It was by chance that someone dug up the play he wrote and acted in. The one Dale Squires had exposed to the world. However it wasn't chance that made him bump into the woman with the white clipboard. She had ruby red lips and sharp, white teeth. Her glasses were perched on her narrow nose and she eyed him distastefully.
"Your enthusiasm sickens me," She told him after their brief conversation. His smile shrunk and he glanced at her wearily. Her comment reminded him of Jade. His girlfriend. His soon to be fiancée, once he managed to save up more money to buy her a decent ring. JadeJadeJade. What about his Jade?
The woman tsk-ed when he turned her down and slapped her card into his open palm, then left without another word. When he returned to their RV (because she might as well just move in with him) she noticed his distant eyes and tried to comfort him the Jade Way; by making fun of Tori's Slap Page. But when it didn't work, he held her close on the sofa and grabbed her hands in his.
"What's wrong?" She finally asked and he couldn't say he was surprised it took her so long to ask; this was Jade West.
"I got an acting job today."
"Really?" She leapt out of his arms and demanded an explanation. He took in her features; her shy smile and the way her eyes shone proudly.
"I turned it down."
"What?" She stomped her foot and shot him an incredulous look.
"Before you say anymore, you should know that it was in New York."
"So what? You should've gone! When next are you going to get another opportunity like this?"
"I can't just leave you here! What about us."
"I can handle myself, Beck. I'm a big girl."
"But what about us, Jade?"
"You can find another girl."
"I don't want to."
No one was willing to speak. Beck wouldn't stop staring, his cell phone went off a few times but by the third ring he had shut it off. It was usually around this time that Jade would make some bitter comment about all his "female friends" but in reality, she barely heard the phone ring at all. Silence. That was it. That was all. And the wind was still whispering into her ear, go back to sleep Jade, why don't you go back to sleep? She wanted to; she desperately wanted to fall back asleep with Beck's arms around her but something wasn't letting her. Maybe it was the sharp pains in her chest, or maybe it was the silence. Silencesilencesilence.
They were never silent.
But the silence defined their most important moments.
She wanted to speak up, she really did but she didn't feel like Jade West. She was Jadelyn. She was nervous, constantly picking at her fingers. She was self-conscious and she was trying to straighten her clothes and fix her bed-head. She wasn't angry or bitter. No, that was Jade. Jadelyn was afraid of this silence. But she was also too afraid to speak up. The most she dared to do was clear her throat. As her figure slumped, she wondered why Jade would desert her when she needed her most.
Jadelyn had done her best to construct Jade from whatever strength she had left. No-one else protected her like Jade did. Jade sheltered her, nurtured her. Jade pointed out the flaws in her performances (a bit too harshly) and it was from that Jadelyn used the pieces to try and re-construct herself. She wasn't broken or anything, she just depended on Jade a lot more than she should. Was that a bad thing?
Jade said Jadelyn should be a secret. Beck would never love Jadelyn like how he loved Jade. Jadelyn would never be as talented as Jade. Without Jade, Jadelyn was nothing. She was nobody special. She was invisible. Beck only ever noticed her when Jade had snapped at him to get out of her way. Jade had proven herself to be correct in so many different situations. Like when she said Tori was nothing but a backstabbing, goody two-shoes. Jadelyn didn't believe Jade. When Jadelyn was at her worse, so weak and fragile that even Jade scowled and hung back into the dark shadows of her mind, Tori had been the one to gently lead her back to Beck. If it wasn't for Tori, they would never have Beck. After that day, Jade had held her tongue until Tori's Prome.
It was only when Jade had kicked Diaper Doug, leaving a boot print on his roll of fat, did Jadelyn learn to never doubt Jade again.
The second time he rejected the lady with the blood-red lips, Jade was with him and had punched him stiffly in the shoulder. So hard that he spun around and took a step back before his fight-or-flight instincts could come into play and accidentally hit Jade. His Jade. He figured Jade would be proud, she would run into his arms and whisper those eight words.
"What the hell, Beck? Why would you turn her down?"
"I did it for you; for us."
"You're stupid. You really are."
"For being in love?"
"For staying behind for me. Most high school romances don't last. Don't you know that?"
"So you think we won't last?"
"I'm sorry you think that way, Jade." And he never pulled the velvet box out of his pocket. It was only a few hours old but Beck already had the urge to fall unto one knee and profess his love. He was ready for this; for them. But sometimes he wondered if Jade was.
Sometimes he couldn't pinpoint the emotion flickering through her eyes and he would step back, unsure. In those moments, she would bite her lower lip and fidget with things around her. When he caught her eyes, they would be a shade lighter but as he would reach out to her, she'd turn around. When she finally faced him, he would recognize her frown lines, the way she was glowering and he would hold her close, afraid to lose her. To what, he never knew exactly. But sometimes she was here and other times, she was gone.
The box was red. Red velvet. Cat begged the cashier for the red box and he obliged. Red was for anger. Jade was angry. Red was for love. Love for Jade. Jade who seemed so conflicted that it made him want to return the ring altogether. Not because he wouldn't want to marry her, but because he was afraid she would say no. What if this wasn't what she wanted? What if he wasn't who she wanted? He tried so hard for her sometimes. He'd wake up early and get her coffee, he'd wait for her after school, he'd proof-read her plays and critic her singing. He had gotten a week's suspension in high school for pouncing on another wise-assed senior who had cracked a crude joke about her. He had no problem doing these things for her, actions spoke louder than words. Louder than the abrasive comments she'd make. Louder than the pitying look he'd receive from his dear friend, Tori. But Jade never seemed to notice.
He gave her numerous opportunities to prove herself; her love. Because while actions spoke louder than words, there was nothing he wanted to hear more than those 3 words, themselves.
So he waited.
Jadelyn felt like she was walking on her mother's glass table. She knew it wouldn't hold her weight, any second she would go crashing through. The thought of glass breaking was what scared her the most; the thought of being suspended for moments of her life; not knowing what would happen to her. The second where she felt nothing, but could envision the pain that would be inflicted in future moments. It frightened her, it made her wish she could sprout wings and leave. Just fly away to a safer place. Jadelyn wasn't a very brave person and Jade made sure to point it out every opportunity she could. When Jade got butterflies before a performance, Jade had plucked them out one by one, and framed them in their bedroom. When Jadelyn winced at the thought of needles, Jade made sure to carry a pair of industrial sized scissors around with them. Jade would wave them around, not only to threaten those who questioned her authority, but also to make Jadelyn squirm. To break the fear out of her. To make Jadelyn stronger- strong like her. Like Jade.
Jadelyn liked to picture the most painful things; she liked to maximize the pain so that when her cuts and bruises actually came to be, they wouldn't be able to par up with the kind of hurt she had imagined. She was good at imagining pain. Sure, she wasn't good with real pain; she had Jade for that, but she liked to pretend she could handle it, and that should count for something.
Jadelyn would make herself hurt, so nobody would be able to hurt her more than she could, herself. No, they weren't allowed to do that to her.
So when Beck opened his mouth, she had braced herself for the worst. "I got Tori knocked up" or maybe "I had sex with your best friend, Cat" and the worst, "I don't love you anymore."
But he said nothing.
And then there was silence.
The third time he turned down the lady with ruby lips, he didn't tell her. She pretended to bat a lazy eyelash and wave her hand nonchalantly; her air uncaring but he knew better. However, he wanted to hear her say it. That was all he wanted. He just wanted to hear those eight letters. He said them all the time when she asked, didn't he? He would smile patiently but an identical response never came. It was always "good". Sometimes with a satisfied smirk and other times with a shy smile.
"Beck you need to come with us."
"Why do you need my boyfriend to accompany us to the mall, Vega?"
"When Beck's around, you're a nicer person."
His head snapped up and his eyes were immediately drawn to her. She was rolling her blue emeralds and scoffing; brushing aside the comment. He waited for her to speak up. But all she did was reach over and knotted their hands together. Maybe if she had said "Well, that's because I love him" he could have pulled out the ring and got down on one knee then and there. As a sort of confirmation that he wasn't just some lost puppy in love. This wasn't a one-sided relationship and she did see all the effort he put into making her happy. Tori would ruin the moment and Cat would giggle deliriously. Andre would pat him on the back and Robbie would choke on his words, stuttering out a congratulations. But she said nothing.
The fourth time, they were in his RV. She was shuffling through his DVDs. She had just turned nineteen and he smiled. He had already turned twenty earlier that year. Tonight was the night. It had to be. He could feel it. Something was going to happen tonight. Cat had given Jade a large bottle of vodka for her birthday; no-one really knew why, except for the birthday girl herself. She had gone so much as to thank Cat and give her a hug.
"I can't believe you remembered." She had said. "That…that means a lot, Cat." She spoke incoherently and mumbled but it was still heard. Cat squealed and enveloped her friend into another hug. A wide smile broke out unto the pale girl's face as she clung to the smaller redhead. It wasn't the first time he was seeing her smile but it was the first time he was seeing her smile like that. Her arms clasped tightly around Cat's middle, eyes crinkling with laughter. Her head was even tilted back and Beck couldn't help but frown.
"Last time you laughed like that, I used to call you Jadelyn," Cat giggled and Jade froze. She had ripped herself away from Cat and stomped inside the RV.
"What happened?" Tori asked, genuinely concerned and he could do nothing but shrug his shoulders.
"I miss Jadelyn…." The wind seemed to take Cat's words and send them flying into the cold night. He watched them twirl until they disappeared from his sight. The gang was long gone when he still heard the smaller girls' voice. I miss JadelynJadelynJadelyn and the wind said, I miss Jadelyn too.
That was the last anyone had ever spoken of this Jadelyn.
The bottle was next to him now, unopened on the sofa. He got them two glasses and re-positioned himself. So he didn't know Jadelyn but he sure as hell, knew Jade. He knew he loved her with his very being; she was the disease his blood cells were trying to combat, but Jade was like cancer. He could never get rid of her. What a lovely disease she was, when she wasn't killing him. What a lovely smile she had, when she wasn't snatching her coffee from his outstretched hands. What a lovely voice she had, when she wasn't accusing him of something he didn't do. What a pretty face she had. What pretty eyes. What a pretty Jade.
This was it. His heart went thumpthumpthump again. It always did when he planned to propose. Thumpthumpthump, and then silence.
"You have nothing worth watching."
"I mean, it's my birthday and I wanted to watch a good movie. But you just have shit."
"I love you and- okay, you need to turn around."
"Just a sec."
"Okay, it's been a second."
"Beck, just give me a second okay? I'm trying to find a movie we can both enjoy other than the sappy shit you have here. Couldn't have at least bought something decent for me to watch? Does my birthday mean anything to you? Do I mean anything to you?"
He slipped the red velvet box back into his pocket and crawled over behind her. "Babe, what's really on your mind?" He whispered into her ear.
"You're always disappearing for these long periods and…I mean, if you want to break up Beck, just say so. Don't go behind my back an-"
"I'd never break up with you and I'd sure as hell never cheat on you. Ever. I love you. Jade West, I love you."
She turned to look at him, blue eyes as watery as the oceans themselves. He wanted to dive into them; to dig up her real thoughts, her insecurities, because she wouldn't say so otherwise.
"Yes. I've just been going to auditions. That's all."
He kissed her temple and she relaxed into him.
"Jade, I love you."
When she continued rummaging through his stack of DVDs, he trudged back to the sofa, cracked open the bottle of vodka and took a swing.
He liked the way it burned in his chest.
He liked the way his head started to spin.
He liked the way it distracted him from the silence.
It was the fifth time he met up with the red dragon. Jade wouldn't stop smiling the night before and he thought "this is it" for the umpteenth time but she fell asleep before he could find that little red velvet box. When her breath evened, he sank down into the spot where he was now; against the RV wall, drinking her in.
She was worried. Jittery. Nervous. Scared.
She was so many things that it was almost too much. Jade was usually so well at masking her real feelings that it almost felt like he had unpeeled another layer of Jade; something he should have done a long time ago. He wondered if this was Jadelyn. Jadelyn who pushed Cat on the swings when they were kids. Jadelyn who took piano lessons with Andre. Jadelyn who cried when she got her ears pierced. There were so many emotions flashing through her eyes that he was having trouble keeping up. She was folding his bed sheet now. She looked his way but turned her head before he could get a better glimpse of her. He opened his mouth and closed it.
The red velvet box was in his back pocket again.
He didn't know what to do. If he proposed now, he wouldn't know who he would be proposing to. This wasn't Jade- she wasn't Jade. He didn't know Jadelyn. He knew of her but he didn't know her. What he knew was that Jade never bit her lower lip and Jade hated to clean.
"Jade." He finally said and she jumped at the sound of his voice. "You know that I love you, right?"
"I got another job offer, it's in New York. It's from the same company. They've been trying to get me since we graduated but I always said no."
She looked up at him, oceans empty, and he paused wondering where her depth of emotion disappeared to.
"But I'm taking your advice. I'm taking the job. You always said I should, right? Well I finally am."
"You're leaving today aren't you?" Her voice was cold and she bit her lower lip so hard, he saw a trickle of blood collect at the corner of her mouth. "That's why you're all dressed?"
"Yes, the taxi's been outside for hours now. I didn't want to wake you."
And the wind said, "you should be sleeping Jade, why are you up?"
"So you're just leaving me?"
"You told me I could. You called me an idiot on numerous occasions-"
"Yeah but I didn't actually think you'd do it!"
"Because I don't want you to."
"Then why did you tell me I should take the job?"
"Because I was trying to be nice."
He stood up. His bags were already in the cab.
He dusted himself off, feeling the red velvet box in his pocket. He would give this one more try. He couldn't be the only one trying. Maybe if he stretched his hand out further, she'd find it and grab unto it. She would knot their hands together, like she always did; so well that they would never be separated ever again.
"I love you Jade. I really do. I love you more than I thought I could ever love a person." And I wish you would tell me you love me too.
He didn't want to leave. He didn't like to see her when she cried but she wouldn't let him near her. He hesitated before the RV door and there it was. There was that cancer eating him away. He didn't hate her, he could never hate her but he was upset. Too upset to notice how Jadelyn reacted.
He was empty. Hollow. He was hurting; possibly more than she was but she would never notice.
Jade never seemed to notice.
(But Jadelyn did).
He just wanted to hear her say it. Just once. Just one "I love you too, Beck".
The silence slashed at his heart and he opened the door. Listening to the silence hurt him more than her spiteful words and bitter accusations. She didn't really love him, did she? When he closed the door, he heard her feet patter across the RV floor. He pressed his ear to the metal and he could hear her breathing. Her voice was muffled and he couldn't hear a thing she was saying. She was probably cursing his existence. Still, he didn't want to just leave her there. He couldn't leave her at all, could he?
"Don't leave me, Beck." He made out the words. His heart went thumpthumpthump and he waited. He waited. There wasn't a cure for cancer anyway.
His vision blurred and he laughed a laugh of a lonely, bitter man. He was hopeful, wasn't he? He was always so fucking hopeful. He dug his hands into his back pocket and pulled out the little box. Red for Cat's hair. Red for love. Red for Jade. Red for anger. And he left it there.
She heard the engine splutter to a start and she pounded her fist against the door. Jadelyn wanted to run after him so badly, but Jade wouldn't have any of that.
A door slammed.
"I love you, Beck," a little too late.
And the wind said, "you should have never gone to sleep, Jadelyn."
Okay, I'm fully aware this was confusing AF. Let me break it down for yah, dear. Beck didn't think Jade really loved him. Poor Beck just wanted a confirmation that Jade wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. A confirmation he never got.
Jade was just someone Jadelyn had created to protect herself- to get stronger. Jade was someone she pretended to be, someone she hid behind. Jadelyn is the real gal in this fic. It's kind of like, Jadelyn has a split personality. The wind was her subconscious, urging her (being Jadelyn) to wake up and to put Jade to rest. IE: be yourself and stop trying to be this big, bad, bitch you aren't.
If you were confused AF, that means I certainly failed as a writer in this fic. And it was confusing to me, so I can just imagine...
Poor fic is unbeta'd.
Review and tell meh how this sucked? Yeah, please do dear.