Yes, I abandoned you. I left you all alone like a pack of baby wolves to fend for yourselves and your feelings. I apologize. Deeply. I fell in love. And it got sabotaged by circumstance. In that process, I lost my love for writing. I'm trying to get it back, so please bear with me while I try to get back into the groove. Also, if this is less fluffy and more angst-y, blame my bruised little heart.

"Beck, I'm stuck." Jade's voice is loud, cutting through the quiet I was surrounded in just seconds ago.

I sit up in bed, barely awake. "What?" It's still dark outside, and my eyes are clouded with sleep.

"I'm stuck." She repeats. "The stupid car ran out of gas and I'm stuck on the side of the road."

She doesn't sound scared, just annoyed. Oh God, I think, she will definitely find a way to make this my fault. "Okay," I twist out of the blankets and sit on the edge of my bed, feeling around blindly for my boots. "Where are you?"


My entire body stiffens. "Northridge?! Jade! What the hell are you doing in Northridge at two in the morning?"

She sighs, as if I am a stupid creature she's forced to deal with. "I'm looking for Cat's brother. She called and said he was missing."

I groan, pulling on a shirt and finding my keys. "And you didn't call me because?"

Jade has never been a particularly reasonable person, but still, being alone in Northridge at night is an absolutely horrible idea. I head out the door, starting up my truck and turning on some heat. It's getting colder every day now.

"I didn't think about it." Jade says.

I shake my head. "Bullshit." I don't know why she's lying to me, but at this point, I don't care. "Give me a street name or a landmark you see."

"Lombardo. I'm across the street from an abandoned drug store."

"Got it."

Despite knowing I should probably keep her on the line, I hang up. Things have been strained lately, to say the least. I let Jade get away with a lot of shit, but sometimes it just gets to be too much. School is stressful, and family is stressful, and sometimes our relationship isn't as strong as we want it to be.

My mind drifts as I drive down the semi-deserted streets. There's something poetic about driving at night. About the lights and the darkness they penetrate, and the stillness when you get onto backroads where hardly anyone is driving alongside you. You feel small and alone and whole and at peace all at the same time.

I want to fix what has broken me and Jade. I want to wake up with her beside me and listen to her sing in the shower. I just have to find out how to do that.

When I finally pull onto Lombardo Road, I see Jade right off the bat, sitting on the hood of her car, her legs hanging over. She doesn't look worried in the least, but I can see the faintest traces of anxiety in the swinging of her feet. I shut off the engine and climb out of the truck, but she doesn't look up.

I settle myself on the hood beside her and sigh. "Hey."

"I called Cat." She tells me, still not meeting my eyes. "She found him right after I ran out of gas."

"Good." I'm not going to give her an easy way out of this. She's going to have to figure out how to tell me the truth.

"I'm sorry, Beck."

I pull my feet up and rest my heels on the bumper. "Yeah? Why's that?"

Jade scowls. "I shouldn't have gone out alone this late. I should've paid more attention. I should've stopped fighting with you over stupid things a long time ago."

The last apology comes out of her mouth around a lump in her throat. "Are you," She stops, breathes deeply, and finally looks at me. "Are you mad?"

I rub my eyes, feeling the late hour catch up with me. "Yes."


She lowers her face again, but I reach out and grab her chin, gently lifting her face. "But I'll get over it." I promise.

Jade's body relaxes, and I lean in to kiss her lips. "Now, let's get you home."

By the time we get gas in her car and drive back to the RV, it's after three, and I'm just about ready to drop. But Jade looks more awake than she does most of the time. "Pancakes?" She asks, something I've come to recognize as her polite way of saying "Make me some pancakes, Beck."

If I didn't love her with every fiber of my being, I would say no. But alas, I do love her, more than anything. So I get the pancake mix out of the cabinet. "Banana?" I ask.

She gives me a look that would lead anyone to believe that I just asked the most ignorant question possible. "Chocolate chip, obviously."


"I'm going to take a shower, okay?" She doesn't wait for me to answer.

After I finish the pancakes, Jade's still in the shower, singing a song I don't recognize in a low, melodious tone. I sit with my back against the bathroom door, listening. I've missed this.

I close my eyes and lean my head back against the door. The smell of pancakes permeates the room, and the sound of Jade's beautiful voice fills my ears. "I've been beaten down, I've been kicked around, but she takes it all for me. And I've lost my faith in my darkest days, but she makes me want to believe. They call her love, love, love, love, love. They call her love, love, love, love, love. She is love, and she is all I need."

Yes, she is love. And she is all I need.