of bright stars and shimmering skies


Two years.

When she says it aloud, it seems like a long time. She has been gone two years. But then she thinks about the past two years in comparison to the twenty years before, and she realises that it hasn't been as long as she'd hoped.

Her eyes trace the ground, finding the flaws and imperfections just as she finds flaws in everything else. She'd found flaws in Beck as well, and that had led to her downfall. It scares her sometimes how fast she'd screwed up her life.

She takes in the noise of the sirens, of people moving past her, of the busy streets, and she wonders when (or if) she'll ever go back. It feels as if it's been a while now. She can't remember anything about her friends, about the people that she once claimed to be her best friends. She can't remember the rough tone of Beck's voice or Andre's smile as he sang.

Sighing, she takes a seat on a bench and watches the people go by. It's all she can do not to think about the people that she has left behind.

Of course, it's not normally this bad. Normally, she can distract herself by kissing yet another boy, the stereotypical New York type of boy, or walking through the mall and simply observing people. However, today is a special day. Today is the anniversary of her leaving. Two years ago, exactly two years ago, she had left behind everything she held dear after deciding that what she had wasn't good enough anymore.

Two months previous to her leaving, she had broken up with Beck. It was a simple breakup, contrary to what everyone else had suspected; Beck had simply looked her in the eyes and asked the question that had been plaguing her mind- 'Why?'

Rolling her eyes, Jade had said, "If I knew, I would tell you."

Life had changed since then. She's become an entirely different person, an actress, a model, someone who is completely separate from Beck and Andre and the life that she used to lead. But the thing is that she still thinks about them a lot, and she wonders.

Is Beck married to Tori now? she questions, her feet scuffing along the dark sidewalk. No, maybe Andre and Tori are married. What about Cat? Her teeth sink into her lip.

She sits on her bench, observing person after person, and she wonders if any one of them knows her missing friends.

As always, on Tuesday afternoon she goes to the coffee shop down the street. It has become her solace in hard times, and she is friends with the owner and the majority of the waitresses in the shop (though of course, friend is a loose term for her). Though they're assuredly not her friends from Hollywood Arts, they are close enough.

"Jade!" one of the waitresses, a perky blonde named Lia, skips up to the table. "Jade, I knew you'd come in today!"

Thinking of Cat, Jade bites her lip, but she nods anyway. "I come here every Tuesday, Lia. It's not exactly abnormal."

"I just felt smart, though," Lia mutters, casting her eyes downward, and Jade feels bad for a moment. Then Lia seems to regain her happiness and she says brightly, "What would you like?"

"I order the same thing every time," Jade remarks, rolling her eyes. "I think you can figure it out for yourself."

Lia flips through the menu, eyes bright. "Well, it's definitely not the hot cocoa, and you're not a big fan of black coffee... isn't it the usual, the regular coffee with two sugars?"

Smirking, Jade nods her head. "You got it."

"Okay, Ms. West!" Lia yelps, skipping back into the kitchen. Sighing, Jade watches her and slumps down further into her seat.

The owner walks out slowly, her eyes upon Jade's downcast expression. She sits down in the seat across from Jade and crosses her arms. "Well, well, looks like someone isn't in the best of moods today."

"Whatever," Jade mumbles under her breath, ripping her napkin in half. "It was my fault. I left."

"They might've attempted to find you," Mrs. Wilson reminds her with her typical kindly smile. "It wasn't all your fault."

Her head spins. No, she wants to say, the only person to blame for all of this is her. Frowning, she just shakes her head. "Mostly my fault."

"I understand," Mrs. Wilson smiles. "If you need to talk about it, Jade, you know where to find me."

Plastering a fake smile onto her pale face, Jade shakes her head. "Thanks, but no thanks."

It's then that she notices a small movement in the corner of the shop. Jade knows the vast majority of the regulars in the coffee shop, so she peers into the dark corner curiously. This person doesn't look like the too-pale Francesca or the dark-haired Robert, no, this person is not one of the regulars, but he is far too similar to someone that she knew before.

"Andre?" she questions, but there is no response. Standing up, she crosses the shop, deciding that if she is wrong (which she highly doubts), she could just pass it off as romantic interest.

But once her eyes fall upon him, there is no more doubt.

"Andre," she repeats again, not knowing what else to say. Everything that is running through her mind seems inappropriate to say after two years, two years, and what is he DOING here-

Andre laughs, as if there is something amusing about this situation, and stands up to hug her. "Well, I wasn't expecting to see you here!"

Liar, she thinks, because it is clear by his face that he had hoped that she would be here. Frowning, she manages to ask, "What are you doing here, Andre?"

"I miss you," he replies, and she realizes that it only takes three words to send her walls crashing to the ground.

They sit at a booth near the window, both of them watching the people go by. It is silent for a moment, a comfortable silence that Jade is not entirely used to. She clears her throat. "What have you been up to?"

His eyes flick back to her, amused. "Do you really care?"

"No," she states bluntly.

"Then why ask?" he wonders, a grin lighting up his face for once. She decides absently that she likes his smile; it makes him look warm and friendly, two qualities that she admires in him.

"Because it gives me something to listen to," she responds after a moment. "Tell me. Now."

No one usually dares to question her, and it becomes obvious after a moment that he isn't going to either. With a shrug, he simply continues, "I write songs, I sing them, and I work a side job as a music producer. They've sent me here to look at some of the big names, and I figured I might as well see you while I was here, so I did some asking around."

"Hang on," Jade's eyes narrow a little bit. "Hang on, who did you ask?"

"Well," Andre looks uncomfortable. "I asked that dude that you're friends with. It's all over the tabloids."

"That dude- you mean Cameron?" she questions, cocking an eyebrow at him. To be honest, she had dated Cameron for a while, but they'd broken up a while ago, and anyway, she'd made him promise to never give any information about her to her friends from California. Well, she supposes that that contract might've broken when she dumped hot chocolate on his head from two stories up, but whatever. It was still wrong of him. Balling up her fists, she hisses, "I'm going to murder that boy."

"Jade." Suddenly, his warm hand is on hers and she relaxes at once. Perhaps it is something about the feel of his skin on hers, but she can't stay mad when all she can think about is him and how he's suddenly close to her, so close. "Jade, don't hate him. In fact, if you're going to hate anyone, hate me. I coerced it out of him. It's my fault."

She glares up at him, trying to stop herself from feeling anything, but somehow despite his shortcomings she finds herself wanting him to stay there with her.

"I can't hate you," she says simply, and that is that.

"Who was that boy you were with at the coffee shop yesterday?"

"A friend," Jade replies ominously, striking a pose as the camera flashes. Flipping her hair over her shoulders, she asks crossly, "Why do you want to know? You cut yourself out of my life a while ago, and anyway, were you stalking me?"

"You broke up with me," Cameron points out. "And no, I wasn't. I just happened to pass by."

"Why are you so obsessed with me?" she hisses, rolling her eyes. "I want nothing to do with you."

"For your information, I have a girlfriend, and she's fairly famous," Cameron grins, the corners of his mouth crinkling up into an unfairly cute smile. "She claims to know you, actually. Have you ever met someone named Tori Vega?"

Her breath catches in her throat, and her head spins. "Higgins. Higgins, please tell me that you're kidding and you're not actually dating Vega. Is she living here?"

"I'm not kidding, and yes, she is," Cameron grins at Jade obliviously. "I'm sure she'd love to see you."

"I'm sure she'd love my foot in her face," Jade grumbles, stalking off and striking a pose as she goes for the flashing cameras. As she walks, she shoots Cameron one last glare. "Don't expect to be on my good side any more, Higgins."

Cameron just smiles sheepishly.

"So." Jade pauses, staring at the boy across from her. "Beck and Tori aren't married yet?"

"No!" Andre exclaims, seeming surprised that she would even think that. "No, of course not."

She pauses for a second, raising an eyebrow. When she had left, she had assumed that Beck would run to Tori and that they would eventually get married. She had prepared herself for that, but this she wasn't exactly prepared for. She isn't prepared for the looks that Andre is sending her way, either. They send chills down her spine and make her bite her lip, questioning what her feelings are doing.

"Well then," Jade leans back in her chair, hoping not to seem like she's interested in Beck. She is, of course; it is impossible to date someone for three years and be entirely unconcerned about their well-being, but she is not romantically interested in him any more. At least, she doesn't think so. "Is he dating anyone, then?"

"Nah, Wicked Witch of the West," Andre teases, laughing easily. "I think he might be a bit interested in Cat, but he hasn't acted on it at all." He pauses for a moment, obviously gauging her expression before he asks carefully, "Are you interested in him still, then?"

"No," she tells him quickly. "Well, I guess a little bit, actually, but the thing is that..." She bites her lip. "I loved him. I love him. But I'm not sure if it's the same sort of love anymore. I'd also like to throw a fork at his face, because he is an idiot if he is not over me yet."

"I don't know if he is," Andre shrugs, as if it's not a big deal, and perhaps to him, it's not. "I doubt it somehow."

Angrily, she stabs at her plate of oddly shaped pasta. "He needs to man up."

Andre rolls his eyes, laughing nonetheless. "Tell him that."

"He's not... he's not coming here?" Jade's eyes widen. "He wouldn't dare!"

The door opens, and Jade knows who it is even before the guy steps in. With a small smirk, he tells her, "Actually, I would dare."

At once, she jumps up, picking up her jacket off her her chair. Narrowing her eyes, she stares at Beck Oliver before cutting her eyes back to Andre. Darkly, she mutters, "Andre, come on now. I'm not staying here any longer."

"You hurt me, you know," Beck calls after her. "You have no right to act all scorned."

Sighing, she turns and stares at Beck for a moment. "The thing is that you came here because you want me back, right? But I don't want you back. I was right when I said I wanted to be my own person."

The hurt fills her chest until she thinks that she might explode, and she can't handle it, because looking at him hurts so much and she has missed him, she really has, but it's just too much. Everything is too much.

"Oh," Beck stares at her for a moment. "Can we just be friends, then?"

Taking a deep breath, she decides that it is best to tell him the truth. "No," she says, being totally sincere for once. "No, we can't. I don't think I can handle it right now. I would say I'm sorry," she pauses, taking in his hurt expression, "but I'm really not."

She feels his eyes burning into her back as she leaves, yet she feels more free than ever before.

"Ms. West," Lia grins as she walks up to their table, setting down a tray with two coffees. "Who is this? Your boyfriend?"

"He wishes," Jade remarks coolly, causing Andre to choke on his coffee. "But no, not exactly."

"Oh," Lia blushes. After making sure they don't need anything else, she skitters off, causing Jade to frown slightly. Is she really that scary? She turns back to her cup of coffee, frowning again as she empties the sugar packets into her coffee.

"Something wrong, Jade?" Andre questions, sipping at his coffee. The distorted faces that he's making as he sips cause her to burst out laughing.

Once she calms down enough to speak, she tells him, "No, not really. Just thinking about... things."

"Things?" he questions, but he doesn't press any further. He just sits in silence, staring at his coffee, until Jade decides to speak again. She doesn't like the silence now that there is so much hanging in the air between them.

"I want to go back," she says after a moment. "Back to Hollywood, back to where all of you are. I think I'm done with this lifestyle for now."

"That's great," Andre says, and his face lights up. She wonders if he's thinking the same thing she is. Over the past few days, she has become quite attached to Andre, and she hopes that their new found friendship will not disintegrate as soon as they touch down in California.

After a moment of comfortable silence, Andre speaks again. "Jade, have you ever thought..."

"Have I ever thought what?" Jade remarks, raising an eyebrow.

He doesn't finish his sentence. Instead, he kisses her and lets his lips do the talking. She doesn't exactly have the willpower to pull away.

Tori shows up at her apartment the next day, and Jade slams the door in her face.

"Jade," Tori whines from outside the door. "I just want to talk to you."

"I just want to talk to you," Jade mimics. "If it's about Andre, I don't want to hear it."

"It's not, I swear," Tori replies, and Jade debates for a moment. She has a sinking feeling that the annoying girl will not go away. So, with a frown, Jade pulls open the door.

Crossing her arms, Jade spits, "What do you want? Come to talk to me about my wonderful ex-boyfriend, who, coincidentally, is now your boyfriend. Isn't that a surprise? Just can't keep your hands off my leftovers, can you?"

Tori glances down at the floor, her face flaming. "No. I just... it's been two years, Jade. I've matured, and I hoped that you had done the same. Guess not."

That sends a tremor of rage down Jade's spine. "No, Vega, don't pretend that you know anything about me or how freaking mature I am. Besides, dating a 'friend's' ex is really mature, anyway."

"I thought we weren't friends," Tori replies, still looking nervous. "But no, this isn't about you or me, this is about Andre, actually. I know I said that it wasn't but Jade, I'm worried about him, because he's a good friend of mine and..." She trails off, crossing her arms tightly across her chest. "He really likes you, you know, and I hate to see him hurt."

"I'd love to see you hurt," Jade retorts.

"Jade," Tori sighs, sounding exasperated, and Jade realizes with a start that maybe Tori cares more about Andre than Jade had originally thought. Scowling, the angry girl just rolls her eyes.

"You see, Vega," she stares at her, "I care for Andre too, but the thing is that it's hard."

"What's hard?" Tori demands.

"Everything," Jade replies, feeling exhausted already. "I mean, I care about him, but-"

"Man up and deal with it!" Tori demands, finally looking angry for once in her miserable life. "Everyone has to feel sometime. You can't live your life hiding from feelings!"

Jade's eyes flash, and anger sears through her veins. Her hands clamp around the scissors she has attached to her belt, and she steps forward. Pulling the scissors out, she takes another step towards Tori. "You cannot steal my catch phrase."

"I just did," Tori replies smugly, sounding more irritating than Jade remembers.

Jade pulls out her scissors, poking Tori firmly with them. "You do not understand, Vega, so you should stop judging me before I cut off all of your pretty little hair and poke a hole right through your stomach."

As if in disbelief, Tori rolls her eyes. Thankfully, before Jade can rip Tori to shreds, Andre bursts through the door, looking more worried than ever. "What is going on here?" Andre questions, looking from the raging Jade to the slightly terrified Tori.

Withdrawing her scissors, Jade cleans them on her shirt and then slowly raises her eyebrows. "Tell your friend to stay away from me if she's going to be like this."

"I did nothing to you!" Tori protests, frowning and glaring at the ground. "You overreact about everything!" Tossing her bag over her shoulder, Tori storms out the door, leaving Andre and Jade there alone, once again.

"Aren't you going to say anything?" Jade asks scornfully. "I mean, hello! You have me alone. Isn't that what you want?"

"Jade, I..." he begins, trailing off. His brow creases in thought. "Jade, I care about you a lot."

"If this is going to turn into some sort of feelings talk, I'm leaving," Jade tells him, shooting a dark glare as she collects her things.

"You're leaving your own house?" Andre questions, looking amused.

She feels her face heat up, a combination of the embarrassment and anger that is currently searing through her veins. Scowling, she points toward the door. "You're leaving, then. See you later."

The look on her face implies that he shouldn't question her or backtalk her. He doesn't. Instead, he just walks out the door, head hung low in defeat.

Beck visits her on set the next day, much to her surprise. She simply cocks an eyebrow at him. "What gave you the impression that I desired you to be here?"

"Nah, actually I thought you might murder me," Beck laughs easily, sitting down beside her. "Listen, Jade, we need to talk."

"Except I don't want to talk to you. And my break's only thirty minutes long, anyway," she adds. "Good luck."

"I know you don't want to have this discussion," Beck says, disregarding her valid points, "but I know that you don't... well, want me that way anymore, and I just wanted to see if-"

"If what?" she questions, crossing her arms across her chest.

His eyes are burning, blazing, glorious, and she tries to pretend that she doesn't know what's coming, but she can predict it anyway. He leans across and presses his lips to hers.

It's her second kiss in three days, and her brain automatically compares it to Andre's sweet, loving kiss. Beck's is hungry, needy, as if he is searching for something that isn't there. She can't pretend that she doesn't feel anything, because she does. She feels sort of satisfied, but not happy, not ecstatic like she was when she was kissing Andre, and it hurts, it does-

Beck pulls away and looks her in the eyes. "You were thinking about Andre, weren't you?"

"Sort of," she answers, sounding about as apologetic as she will ever get. "Look, go home. Go back to Cat; go back to California. Go be happy, Beck. You deserve it. Forget about me."

"That won't happen any time soon," he promises her, but he stands up anyway. "You obviously have feelings for Andre, Jade. Go act on them."

His words echo in her head, pressing against the corner of her mind. You obviously have feelings for Andre. Does she? Does she really? She can't get him out of her head, that much is true, but she...

She doesn't understand this at all.

Two weeks after her first encounter with Andre, she finds herself at the same coffee shop. Andre sits across from her, staring at her in the way that makes her slightly uncomfortable. She just blinks and then sighs. "You came."

"I did," Andre laughs, drumming his fingers on the table. "You asked me to, and I gotta admit I can't turn you down ever."

This makes her even more uncomfortable. Sighing, she finally decides to speak. "The thing is that I might have some feelings for you. Well. I mean. I might feel something for you." She sighs, burying her face in her hands and letting out a small scream. "Why is this so hard?"

Andre smiles at her, his warm hand encasing hers. Finally, she looks up, feeling his warm gaze on her and sighing. He grins now. "Is that as good as I'm going to get?"

"Yes," she hisses, rolling her eyes.

"Well," Andre tells her, "I might feel something for you too, Jade."

He laughs then and passes her a paper that was folded up in his pocket. She scans it over and realizes after a moment that it was a song that he had written for her, something that he'd written while thinking about her, and it makes her heart skip a beat, though she refuses to show it.

"You know," Jade replies casually, "No one's written a song for me before."

"Guess I'm just special," Andre retorts, leaning over to kiss her.

Once again, she lets him.

"I can't believe I'm going back," Jade groans, staring at the airport around her.

Tori rolls her eyes. "I can't believe you're going back, either. I had a nice few years of peace."

"Oh, shut up," Andre retorts good-naturedly, draping an arm around Jade's shoulders. It makes her feel strangely safe and protected, and for whatever weird reason she leans further into his arm.

"Well," Tori says in a clipped tone, "Hollywood will definitely be more interesting now."

Jade decides to take that as a compliment, and Beck seems to agree from the snort he gives. The whole trip, though, Beck has looked far away, as if he's dreaming about someone (Jade can only guess who).

"Going to miss Cameron, Vega?" Jade questions, smirking a little bit.

"He'll come visit," Tori shrugs. "I would ask if you were going to miss Andre, but..."

"I've got him right here," Jade smirks, leaning over to kiss Andre's cheek. Maybe she's finally a winner now.

A/N: Lol here you go, more Jandre yay.

Merry Christmas to the Jade to my Tori (Ella/matt-smiths). I love you Ella bb!