Beck shoved the wire for his black and white, Fender electric guitar into the amp that stood against the cluttered wall of junk his friend, Ray's, family kept in their garage. The drums stood directly next to the piece of shit truck that was still being unloaded in the, thankfully, two car garage. It was big enough to fit the practice space, and left a space for his mother's decked out Charger, but when she wasn't home, it could house the truck that held their band equipment when Ray's mother was home, which meant less work for the current trio at moving the instruments. They were constantly moving their stuff from one space to the other, so it put a lot of extra work for these lazy teenagers.
"Don't let it bang against the truck, dumb ass," Craig spoke, reaching up and protecting the back of his bass from the metal side of the vehicle's bed. Ray rolled his eyes as he held the delicate instrument by the neck. His original intention was to just place it on the ground, lean it against the truck, and jump off the side to bring it to Craig, but no. As soon as the boy touched Craig's "baby" the man's senses went haywire.
"Just take the fucking thing," Ray said as he let go without a care.
"Watch it!" Craig's reflexes were fast enough, thankfully. He flicked off his friend quickly before turning to Beck, who was really the only one getting ready. Craig walked over there, setting the strap over his shoulders before kneeling next to the amp to look for his wires. He looked out the open garage door for a moment and saw a car pull up. He stood up and smiled as a boy hopped out of the passanger's seat. "Hey, Andre!"
"What's up, Craig?" The boy said with a smile as he walked up the driveway, his hands half way in the front pockets of his baggy jeans.
Craig walked to meet him at the door of the garage. They did a quick hand shake with a hug while Beck surveyed the boy from a distance. Ray jumped out of the pick-up's bed before taking his place next to him. "Is that the music guy?"
"That's specific," Beck mumbled as his friend finished speaking to Andre. He sported a thick Afro, adding a funny shape to the boy's head. He was wearing a vintage shirt, with a pair of black, baggy Dickies that were holding onto his lower hips by the white belt that was tightened nicely.
"Beck, Ray, this is Andre," Craig said, motioning towards his friend. "Andre, this is Beck and Ray, my bandmates."
"What's up?" Beck said, and Ray just nodded with his hand saying the words for him.
"Nothin' much, nothin' much," Andre said. He twisted the backpack that was over his shoulder into the front of his body. He opened the biggest pocket, reaching in and grabbing his video camera, along with his laptop, and a few extra wires. "I'll just be a minute to set up."
"No problem," Craig said. He walked towards his friend Ray, grabbing him by the shoulders to turn him around before pushing him towards the disassembled heap of drums that laid in the middle of the practice space. Ray began walking with a huff as Craig followed him.
"So," Andre said with an awkward tone. He began to set up in front of the main microphone, grabbing a chair from the side and started to use it as a chair for his laptop. He knelt down in front of the keyboard, and plugged a few wires in. "You're the one who needs to get his feelings out?"
"Yeah," he said with a scrunched face. "He told you?"
"Yeah. This was kind of last notice, I had other things, but I'm a sucker for a love story." Andre touched his hand to his heart with a laugh. He plugged one wire into his camera and into his computer before rising. He grabbed another cable and stuck that one into the amp's sound system that held the guitar and bass cords, along with the microphone. Andre walked back to the laptop to open his web cam. It held the frame of the two mic stands, with the drums in the background. The digital camera in Andre's hand was going to provide other angles, but mostly it was going to be a wide angle shot. "Are we ready?"
Beck turned around to look at his band mates. They fell into position before giving him the appropriate head nod. He took a steady breath before turning back to Andre. "Let's do this."
"Wooh!" Ray said, hitting his drumsticks together above his head. Craig took a quick strum through his strings before smirking at the lead singer. "Ready when you are, boss." He sent his friend a salute before placing his fingers on the correct notes.
"Thanks, guys," Beck said before turning to Andre. He nodded and the dread head touched the space bar on his keypad as the red light began to blink. He stared at the camera that was focused in on him as he spoke, pretending it was the girl who he was singing to. "I don't know what happened, or why you left. But I planned to sing you a song to show you how I felt eventually, but right now you're gone and I have no other option. If you were here, I'd show you all of this... so if one day, I happen to stumble into the same coffee shop as you, or if I end up near a pool and a party for scissors, I can get this chance again... and not screw it up for us again."
He gave a nod to the other friends as he began to strum and sing: "I'm sorry but I'm just thinking of the right words to say, I know they don't sound the way I planned them to be, but if you wait around a while I'll make you fall for me. I promise, I promise you I will."
Craig was in view of Andre's camera as he jumped up and slammed down onto the strings of his bass as the tempo picked up and Beck's words became more than lyrics. They became memories in motion for him. Every line spoke a different story he could think about with Jade. He played his heart out to Andre like the boy was actually her. "If you need a friend, don't look to a stranger. You know in the end. I'm gonna always be there. And when you're in doubt, and when you're in danger, take a look all around, and I'll be there."
As he went into the chorus again, his mind was more on a flashback than on the lyrics that were pouring out of his mouth. His thoughts wandered back to the first week they were dating. He was picturing the look on her face the first time he stood up for her...
When one of the most annoying boys in their grade wouldn't stop talking to Jade. Every day, Beck would see the guy waiting by her locker with a note in his hand. He would follow her to every class, try to sit with them at lunch, and get too close for Beck's comfort. Especially when Jade wasn't on the market.
It wasn't the talking that bothered the boyfriend the most. It was the day Beck arrived late to Jade's locker, so he didn't have time to walk her off to gym, but when he caught a glimpse of her walking away, the awkward boy following close behind.
Out of sheer suspicion, he followed, even when Johnny almost blew his cover by calling out to him from across the courtyard, but he quickly gave the boy the finger, before placing it on his lips, shushing the boy. His attention turned back to the pair as they turned the final corner as the bell rang, and he lost them in his vision.
When the boy turned the corner, he witnessed the awkward teenager grabbing onto his girlfriend's wrist roughly, tossing her against the wall before using his strength to overpower her. His hands held her shoulders against the lockers that lined the hallway, pushing her with a greater force than before.
"Get the hell off of me," Jade ordered. The expression on her face held mostly confusion, but it also held some fear, and some panic.
"C'mon, baby, you know you want this," the kid said with a smirk, moving his face closer to Jade's as she struggled with the pressure.
That's when his masculine instinct kicked in. Before he could even understand the rage that was building in his chest, he was pushing the boy away from his girlfriend, and shoving him into another set of lockers. His fists tangled into the collard shirt that was on the child's body. Beck's eyes bore into his as Jade watched from next to him, "if you come anywhere near my girlfriend again, I will kill you. I know that she's perfectly capable of taking care of herself, but if I see it, she won't have the chance to."
Without another word, Beck pushed the kid away from the couple, watching as he struggled to get his footing well enough to run away. He rounded the corner without looking back at all. As her boyfriend glared at the last spot he saw the boy, Jade walked over to him and slipped her soft hand within his grasp. He turned to look at her, placing a kiss against her forehead. "Sorry I was late."
"It's okay," Jade said in a low voice. "Don't make it a habit."
"I won't. I promise," Beck said with a smile, attempting to forget what just happened to him. He began to walk while Jade pulled his hand towards the Auditorium, which was currently their favorite place to skip. He couldn't help but stumble along behind the demanding girl with a smile.
Andre pressed a button on his camera to angle the video another way, changing the feed to show on the web cam, what they saw from his point of view. Beck was in view now. He made a few weird faces as his new friend panned by, getting a shot of the entire band before the new verse started. He focused on Beck for a moment as he kept singing strongly, "when your day is through, and so is your temper, you know what to do, I'm gonna always be there. Sometimes if I shout, it's not what's intended. These words just come out, with no gripe to bare..."
Jade's feet stomped up the driveway that lead to her boyfriend's house, not even bothering to knock on the door before letting herself into the house. Beck's sister, Effy was on top of some boy on the couch, probably the new love of her week. Her lips broke away from the disappointed man as his hands fell onto her hips. She snapped her head in Jade's direction with a glare as she spoke with venom, "do you mind?"
"Not when I walk in on it every week," Jade said with pure annoyance, "has she called you the wrong name yet? That happened to the last one I saw under her. Have fun."
With that, Jade continued her trek up the stairs, not caring that Effy was speaking some ridiculous form of Italian, cursing every step the young girl took towards the upper level. She hit the top when she heard the front door slam shut. A devious smirk was forming on her lips as she turned along the railing to go to her favorite room in the house.
The door clad with many different posters, drawings, and labels instead of a coat of paint stood in front of her. She had to take a deep breath before she could fully form some of the nerve she thought she had on the way over here. She gripped the bronze knob tightly before twisting it and opening the door without a knock.
Jade felt surprised, even though she knew exactly what was going on. Lindsey Rice was perched on top of Beck's bed, sitting too close to Jade's property. Even though there was a text book between them, it still drove Jade's chest through a wall. "Hello."
"Jade," Beck said with nervous eyes. Oh yes. He knew exactly what was about to happen. His vision shifted back and forth between the two, dominating, girls. "Um... what's up, babe?"
"I just came by to see how my boyfriend, who won't return my calls, was doing," Jade said with a faked happy before turning to the blonde girl with almost no chest. "Now, I want to know how Lindsey's doing today."
"I'm doing okay... I guess."
"Well, I'm glad you guessed because it looks like that answer is going to change if you're not down those stairs in a matter of three point five seconds," Jade threatened, showing her clenched fists as she tried to contain herself to at least give the girl a chance.
"That's giving my fist time to connect with your pretty little face," Jade said, giving her a look that could scare death himself. As she began to count down, the girl quickly gathered her things and was out the door by the time she hit two. Jade's attention twisted from the fleeing girl to the fearing boy. Her arms crossed on top of her chest, "explanation time. Go."
"I wasn't doing anything, we were just studying-"
"Studying!" Jade exclaimed as she cut him off, "is that what they're calling it these days? You didn't even tell me! Why're you keeping things from me? I had to find out from Craig about this. You should have been the one to tell me. Especially when it's got to do with a girl like her."
"A girl like her?" Beck asked, his eyes growing in size. "Are you kidding me! She's nothing I look for in a girl." He grabbed her by the wrist as he got off his bed before pulling her towards the elongated mirror that stood on his closet door. He positioned her in front of the reflection as he stood behind her, putting his chin on her shoulder, and his hands on her waist. "This is everything I look for in a girl."
"That's not what Craig said..." Jade mumbled, looking at her reflection like it was disgusting. "He said you liked blonde, and skinny and perfect-"
"Jade, stop being stupid," Beck yelled, taking his hands off the girl's waist before turning away from her in frustration. This was something he was starting to get annoyed with. Not only did she have the shortest temper in the world, but she was also jealous. About every little aspect of him. But once he noticed the look on her face, he regretted yelling instantly. He walked over and tried to engulf her with his embrace, but she took a step away.
Jade looked at him with an expression full of hurt and looks of sadness he couldn't bare to see across her perfect face. He saw the She spoke with quivering words, "don't yell at me. I can't stand it when people yell at me, and especially when you yell at me. I don't like it."
"I'm sorry, babe," Beck said offering her his hand, trying to look as sincere as possible. When she finally took it, he pulled her close instantly. She buried her face into the crook of his neck. She placed her arms around his waist, as he wrapped his arms around her neck, kissing the side of her head. "I won't do it again."
"Promise?" she asked without moving. He felt her lips move against his neck gently as she spoke.
"I promise," Beck said, rubbing her back gently...
"I've gotta tell ya... I gotta tell ya... I need to tell ya..." Beck sang as his heart beat sped up. "I'm sorry but I'm just thinking of the right words to say, I know they don't sound the way I planned them to be, but if you stay around a while, I'll make you fall for me. I promise you, I promise you, I will... I will... I will..."
The instruments ceased motion, letting the final sounds trail off. Andre clapped for them as the blinking red light held a steady glow. Beck was breathing heavily as he came back to reality. Craig and Ray rushed over to the camera for a playback, while it took their lead singer a minute to shake off the daze of emotion, but he joined none the less.
By the time Andre had put the video up on The Slap, it already had a comment. Beck's chest was pulling towards the screen as the mouse ran over the words. He thought it was going to be her. He knew it was going to be her... but then it wasn't.
Ironically, Lindsey was the first to comment: She's a lucky girl.
Beck took a deep sigh before walking out of the garage to take a walk, to level his thoughts. It wasn't here. If she no longer had a profile on the website, she probably didn't even know the video was up. She won't ever see it, and he won't ever see her.
"Well, obviously you did," Tori stated with a roll of her eyes. Andre hit her kneecap gently with a laugh.
"Yeah, and we met again, here at Hollywood Arts," Beck said. "Andre submitted my video to the principle when he took a tour for early acceptance. The big guy was impressed, so he said I was in, but Craig and Ray weren't on board. I ended up here by myself, but over the summer... I met someone new."
"Oh God," Tori said, knowing what this was going to end up being.
"I got a girlfriend over the summer, so when I saw Jade on my first day of school, you could imagine what the thoughts going through my head would be." Beck said with a noticeable shutter. "Not only was I going to hurt Jade, she was going to hurt Molly, my girlfriend at the time, but I was going to lose every chance I could have had with her. Then I was in the audience when she tried out."
His fingers ran across the screen, making sure that it played because this song tended to be faulty, because it's a dicey, but good enough, recording. As the music started, Jade's voice accompanied it. Tori's eyes squinted, "is that Jade?"
"That's the song she wrote me after she saw me play The Promise," Beck explained before he shushed her and told her to listen.
"I tried to tell you, I've got to get away. I've tried to say, I need my space. I've got to get some distance in between my heart and my head, I'm on the razor's edge. I've been here before. I know the way..." Jade's tender voice sang.