Haven

Yes I know, I suck for taking so long with this. I'm a hopeless case! But I hope you guys forgive me. I've just been a writer's slump. I'll try to do better… Hahaha. Plus, I can't believe Nickelodeon, Will miss victorious when it's over. The most ultimate show ever!

Disclaimer: I don't own it. But I hate the guys who do for cancelling it.


Chapter 14

The yellowish-orange glow slowly spread its subdued heat across the vast sky. The break of morning still proving to have a distinct chill hovering in the air. However, the hint of early spring making itself subtly known by the numbers of buds and colors that increased each day. The raven haired woman watched all this from her rooftop, her chin resting on her knees that were drawn to her chest, her arms wrapped around her legs and the smallest of serene smiles playing on her lips.

Her breathing was light and even as she observed the morning spread its light into every darkened crevice of the neighborhood. Feeling its warm aura spread in through the air –spread through her. It was a peculiar sensation that left her feeling slightly at ease. Pulling her hood off, she tilted her head to the rays of the sun. Letting it soak in, her eyes fell close, her wary thoughts dissolving…

Tiny, bare feet quietly padded against the wooden floorboards, knowingly avoiding the creaking ones. Step by step, the eight year old stealthily made her way down the stairs ducking behind the large pot plant in the corner. The only sound in that part of the morning seemed to be her breathing as she assumed most of her family was asleep. When the coast was clear, she flopped onto her belly, crawling her way behind the large three-seater couch. Then to the two-seater and finally to the single seater near the glass sliding doors. Popping her head over the top and glancing out into the back yard, she caught a glimpse of raven hair draped on the back of a pool chair.

A devilish smirk formed on the little girl's lips as she soundlessly slid the door open. On her barest of tippy toes, she snuck through the small distance reaching the back of the chair. Taking in a huge breath, she set herself up to pounce.

"Don't even think about it, Jade."

Jade startled at the voice, deflating her breath in a sigh. "Aww, mom, how do you always know?" She rounded the chair with slumped shoulders. "I was really quiet this time." She frowned at her mother who was wearing her fluffy blue robe bathed in early sunlight and had her eyes closed.

"I just always know…" Ella's smile grew as she patted the space next to her on the large pool chair.

The raven haired girl resigned herself to that spot. "That makes no sense." She mumbled with a pout.

Ella chuckled softly. "It will, when you're a mother." She planted a sloppy kiss on her daughter's forehead.

Jade groaned, wiping her forehead with her long flannel sleeve. "That's what you always say…" Her mother just smiled, slinging an arm over her shoulder, pulling her in to cuddle closer. Jade couldn't help but smile back as she settled against her mother, running her small fingers along the soft fabric of her mother's robe, absorbing her comforting scent. She peered up at her mother with light blue eyes, who stared out at the horizon. Most mornings for as long as Jade could remember, her mother would watch the sunrise if she could help it. "Mom?"

"Mmm?"

"Why do you always watch the sunrise?" Jade wondered. Yes, it looked pretty in its golden glory but if you watched it every day, surely you would get bored of it.

Ella smiled softly, tilting her green eyes upon her young one. "Because my mama used to…"

"Why?" Jade asked, using a hand to shade out the brightness of the rays from her eyes.

The most peaceful smile graced her mother's pink lips as she shifted her gaze back to the horizon, staring aimlessly. "Well, my mother liked to think that every dark night is followed by a sunrise."

"Oh…" The little raven haired girl wrinkled her nose, slightly confused because she was pretty sure everyone knew that. It didn't explain why one would want to watch it all the time.

Ella chuckled lightly at the confounded look on her daughter's face. "Well, you see Jade, what that means is that times of darkness and trouble is always followed by a sunrise. By hope and good times…"

"Oh…" Jade drawled as she grasped on. "Like the night is the trouble and darkness. And the sunrise is the hope and good times?"

"That's my smart girl…" Ella beamed at her running a hand through Jade's thick, wild hair. "You see when I was eighteen, my daddy died, my mama was very sad. Every day she used to sit on her porch swing, watching the sunrise and wait…"

"Wait for what, mom?"

"Something… Anything I suppose… I didn't understand it either until we found out she was pregnant with Cat."

Jade gasped in wonder. "The sunrise did that?"

Ella chuckled and placed a kiss on her young daughter's forehead. "No silly, my daddy got my mama pregnant before he died."

"Oh…" Jade smiled sheepishly, her cheeks burning. She wasn't really sure how that happened. All she knew is that you needed a daddy and a mommy to have a baby. Beck, her best friend had said something about them being naked but she ruled that out. It sounded gross. "That makes more sense, I think."

"Point is, if you ever feel lost, search for the simple beauty in life, doesn't matter what it is. You be grateful for what you have. And always look for the hope that will make things better." She cupped her daughter's cheek. "If you believe in that Jade, you will always find your way."

"Always?"

"As long as you believe…"

"Oh…" Her blue eyes wandered towards the sunlight. Hypnotized by the sight in front of her she didn't hear the creeping footsteps behind her until it was too late. She screamed and jumped as fingers dug into her ribs and a deafening boo was shouted into her ear. She fell off the side and onto her butt, a roaring laughter echoing in her head. She scowled up at the chuckling teenage redhead.

"You suck, Cat!" She said, rubbing her sore butt.

Cat's brown eyes twinkled and she smirked as the eight year old picked herself off the floor. She was only slightly taller than Jade, who was tall for her age. "What's the matter shrimp? Beaten at your own game?"

"Nooo…" She grunted, spying her mother muffle her own laughter against the sleeve of her robe.

"Were you telling her the sunrise story mama used to tell us?" Cat asked Ella.

"Yes…"

"I believe." The redhead shrugged.

"Well, I believe more." Jade challenged in a growl.

"I believe the most." Cat teased back.

"Nah-uh! You only believe in making kissy faces at Jake Howard." Jade retorted, sticking out her tongue.

Cat's eyes widened as she blushed. "You were eavesdropping on my phone call with Hannah!" She turned outraged eyes at her sister. "Ella!"

"Jade…" Ella raised a reprimanding brow, her voice stern.

Briskly, the eight year old shook her head. "No, I wasn't, mom. It's not eavesdropping if you scream and shout Jake has the dreamiest blue eyes in the world!"

"I did not!" The teenager denied in a squeak.

"Yes, you did!" Jade chuckled and changed her voice into a mocking tone. "Oooh, I like Jake Howard and I want to kiss him like a gazillion times a day!"

Cat's cheeks blazed red as her eyes narrowed at a retreating Jade. "You're making that up, Jade!"

Jade chuckled evilly, knowing any moment she was supposed to run. "Nah-uh!"

"Ah-huh!" Cat shouted back. And that moment was now as the young teenager sprang towards her.

Ella smiled, watching the girls squeal and run around the yard, throwing petty insults at each other. As any wise parent, she knew it was best to be a spectator in situations like these until it got out of hand.

Suddenly, her senses were crowded by the sweet aroma of her morning tea. Raising her head slightly, she glanced at the cup hovering above her. She grinned, taking it from her husband. "Thanks, baby."

Wally smiled back, setting his own coffee on the garden table next to the pool chair. Ella shifted up slightly and he joined her, nuzzling into her neck. He missed her this morning. "Hmmm… So is there any particular reason as to why we are watching world war 4 so early in the morning?" He placed a kiss against her chin and pointed to the girls. Cat was giggling triumphantly as she straddled a wriggling Jade trying to get out from under her.

"Jake Howard…"

"Jake Howard?" He frowned, bringing his mug to his lips.

"Hmmm…" Ella took a sip of her fragrant tea. "I think he's some boy Cat likes from school."

Wally straightened abruptly. "What? Who is this boy? What is his social security number? Does he have a job?"

"Wally, he is probably only fourteen…" Ella giggled, swatting him on the arm.

"So? If he is going to have anything to do with my little Cat, he needs to be a decent fourteen year old that's all I'm saying." The blonde man sulked, not liking the idea of this boy.

"You and your little girls." Ella rolled her eyes, but smiled. She was really lucky that Wally was the kind, generous man he was. He didn't even blink an eye when her mother had gotten very ill and was incapable of taking care of her younger sister. They had just taken Cat in and she became one of his girls. "Cat isn't so little anymore, you know. And soon, Jade will be following in her footsteps. Liking someone, going on dates… falling in love." She teased watching his eyes sharpen in horror.

"What are you talking about? Jade promised me she would be eight forever." He set his coffee down and crossed his arms over his chest, adamantly.

"I think she just loves her daddy." Grinning, she leaned over and kissed his cheek, affectionately. "They won't be little forever, Wally."

"You can't make me believe that… they will always be my little girls." He tilted his head, watching said girls roll on the grass for dominance. "Well, maybe my little terrorists at this moment."

Ella turned her head towards them. "Yep… We did good, didn't we?"

"Oh yeah, beware world…" He grinned, adjusting her chin in his direction with two fingers. Their kiss was slow and filled with love.

"Gross!" Jade and Cat shouted in unison, making gagging faces.

Elle and Wally broke the kiss with a little chuckle. "Do you think it's too late to send them to boarding school?"He murmured against her lips.

She ran a hand through his short blonde hair, amused. "Should I pack your clothes with theirs?"

"Probably…" He gave her one last smacking kiss on her lips before pushing himself off of the chair. Beaming, he shot his attention to the girls. "Gross, huh? I'll show you guys gross…" Before they could sprawl away from each other, they were caught by two large arms, screaming and giggling as they were both peppered with smooches.

Suddenly, kisses turned into tickling and then the roles were reversed. Wally found himself on the ground with his little girls straddling his stomach and dozens of fingers digging into his sides. "Uncle, uncle, granny, dog… Whatever the mercy word is, I give! I give!" Wally yelped.

The girls collapsed on either side of him, all three of them lost in bouts of cheery laughter. Ella also couldn't help but chuckle at her three goofs.

Jade held her stomach, letting her chuckles die down into a wide grin. She shot up and made a dash for her mother's pool chair, in case her father had decided on round two. Which she wasn't sure she could take without wetting in her pants. Her mother grinned at her, opening an arm for her to slip into and she went happily.

After a moment of comfortable silence, Jade looked up at her mother. "Did you find your hope, mom?"

Ella just smiled. "Always, baby girl…" She pecked Jade's small nose. "Always…"

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

As Jade's eyes blinked open, a lone tear slid down the curve of her cheek. She used the sleeve of her jacket to wipe up its moist trail. Her lips edged on a detached smile. Her heart caught in a wave of contradictions. It felt good to remember but at the same time her chest was burning with what she could not have again.

Time... Time was what was said would ease the waning ache. Time and hope, she thought to herself. And maybe if she resigned herself into being a sappy teenager, she would also add love into the equation. Immediately, her mind zeroed in on Tori and a warm glow coursed through her body. Impassively, her ocean eyes aimed at the horizon, the slight breeze flicking stray locks of raven hair onto her pale face.

Absently, she dug into her jacket pocket when she felt the slight vibration against her side. Pulling out her cellphone, the sides of her lips curled upwards when she saw the message alert from Tori.

6.55 am, Vega: Dog for sale. Demanding, rude, prudish and won't let you sleep in. Any takers?

Smirking, she shook her head. She crawled back through her window and sprawled on her untidy bed, texting back.

6.56 am, Jade: Guessing Smurf's the reason u r up so early.

6.57 am, Vega: Yep, wat's ur excuse?

Sticking a tongue in her cheek, Jade typed out a retort.

6.57 am, Jade: U messaging me.

6.58 am, Vega: God. So sorry, didn't mean 2 wake u. Wasn't thinking. Dumb!

The Goth chuckled softly, imagining the brunette comical lament expression.

6.58 am, Jade: U didn't, was already awake.

6.58 am, Vega: What? Then y make me feel bad?

6.59 am, Jade: Coz I can :p

6.59 am, Vega: U r pure Evil…

7.00 am, Jade: Love it when u try 2 sweet talk me ;)

7.00 am, Vega: Lol. Evil and insane!

7.01 am, Jade: Just figuring these things out now, Vega?

7.02 am, Vega: Unfortunately... My parents never warn me against cult members.

Jade couldn't help but let out a full laugh at that.

7.03 am, Jade: haha… What did they warn u against?

7.04 am, Vega: Nothing, just not 2 bug them if I needed anything.

The Goth frowned, finding out she didn't like Tori's parents much. If she wasn't supposed to bug them if she needed something, then who was she supposed to bug? She noticed the subtle changes in the brunette whenever they came up. She usually wasn't a prier, but she felt that Tori's parents had so much to do with why the brunette ended up in Rosewood. She wanted to know why such a talented woman ended up in a small off the grid type of town. And she resigned herself to let Tori tell her on her own terms if she wanted to.

7.04 am, Jade: Too bad for them. I'd love it if you'd bug me more often…

7.05 am, Vega: Now who's the sweet talker? ;)

7.05 am, Jade: Who?

7.06 am, Vega: Haha, nut.

7.06 am, Jade: I would only b sweet talker if I said I mis u.

7.07 am, Vega: Are u saying it?

7.07 am, Jade: No… but I'd b lying if I said I didn't ;)

7.08 am, Vega: hahaha… Is that the best I'm going to get?

7.08 am, Jade: yep, pretty much.

7.09 am, Vega: Well, guess, I'll bare the status and say, mis u 2.

The warmth that enveloped her heart just by the few texted words had her shaking her head. It was official she just joined the ranks of the sappy people she swore she would never be. She smiled wishing she was with Tori right now.

7.11 am, Jade: Wat r u doin?

7.12 am, Vega: Just had my coffee so all's right in the world. Smurf bout 2 take me 4 a walk :c

7.12 am, Jade: Wer 2?

7.14 am, Vega: Any wer I can keep up. No more snow, so probably the park.

7.15 am, Jade: Want company?

7.17 am, Vega: Would love some, but we probably shouldn't.

7.17 am, Jade: Yeah, you probably right. I guess I have to wait until tomorrow to see you.

7.18 am, Vega: Sucks. But I should probably head out before Smurf breaks down the door. Talk later…

7.19 am, Jade: Kay…

Jade hated this. She appreciated that they no longer restrained their feelings from each other. She was usually a private person anyway. But that didn't make it any less hard. It was getting to her that they couldn't be with each other without an excuse. What she would give for the day they get rid of the pretenses. Just be lucky for what they had, which was a hell of a lot better than before…

7.20 am, Jade: Vega?

7.20 am, Vega: mmm?

Jade typed out her response and stared at it for a long moment. With a wistful sigh, she hit the delete button, retyped another and clicked send. Throwing her phone on her dresser, she stepped into the bathroom.

… … … … … … … … … … … … …

Leashing Smurf had always proved to be a mission with his excited wriggling ways. Tori blew out a strained breath when she finally accomplished the task and stood up. Opening the door, she felt a slight vibration in the worn out jeans that she had slipped on. The smile she wore turned into a scowl as she was yanked through the doorway. Struggling with the lead, she just barely managed to lock the door.

Thankfully, their strides slowed once they reached the end of the street. She reached into her pocket remembering her earlier text. Wrapping the leash securely across her wrist, she scrolled through her phone.

7.22 am, Jade: Miss you…

Tori smiled widely shaking her head. Only Jade West had the ability to make two simple words reverse their roles. She felt like the mushy high schooler and she swore she would only go through that once. High school was hard enough.

But Jade. She just seemed to take everything in her stride. If people messed with her, she didn't pay them much attention. She was never afraid to be who she was and if she was she never showed it. She was such a strong character, independent, intelligent. And not to mention an exceptionally talented woman. Could she really help how she felt? She doubted it.

With her mind far away, the brunette wasn't watching where she was going letting Smurf lead her pointlessly. She gasped, as her entire shoe drowned in a large puddle. She looked down at her drenched foot and narrowed a glare at her companion.

"You did that on purpose!" If a dog could smirk evilly, she imagined that's what Smurf was doing right now. He let out a bark. "Yes, you! I don't see any other dog dragging me around." His only response was to tug on the lead pulling her towards one of the trees. Tori rolled her eyes as she stumbled along. "You were put on this earth to torment me, weren't you?"

… … … … … … … … … … … … …

A quiet Wednesday afternoon found Jade jogging up the few steps of Tori's porch. She knew she was early but she wanted a few minutes with brunette before their music classes started for the day. Knowing the door would be unlocked for her, she opened it and dropped her knapsack and guitar slowly near the small table. She flicked the door lock and padded through the passage. The stereo music coming from the kitchen had her perking an eyebrow as she quietly moved towards it. As soon as she reached the doorway a charmed smile worked its way onto her face.

There was Tori gracefully moving across her kitchen, her hips moving with fluidity to the Ne-Yo song that belted from her tiny radio on top of the fridge. Jade leaned against the doorframe arms crossed, simply watching her sweep across the floor, from cupboard in search of something, her rhythm never faltering.

The brunette halted for a minute in the middle of her kitchen, her foot still tapping to the soft beat. "Now where did I put that thing?" She said out loud, her brows drawn into a thoughtful frown, her eyes scanning the rows of opened cupboards. "Aha!" She squealed in delight as she caught sight of the bag of coffee beans on the very top shelf.

The Goth had to shake her head at that, knowing the brunette was really as thrilled as she looked for a simple bag of coffee beans. That would make birthdays a whole lot easier she snickered to herself. Tori bit her lip and reached up on her tippy toes, trying to make a grab for the still unreachable bag. The cotton shirt she wore rid up somewhat revealing that little bit of skin in the small of her back.

Jade sucked in her lip at the wave of heat that passed through her body the small revelation caused. It was as if like everything about this woman had her wired and ready to explode. But to her dismay the dancing had stopped as Tori struggled to get ahold of that bag. Thinking she could change that, she quietly stepped up behind the brunette.

Tori groaned and cursed at her futile attempts to retrieve the coffee beans. Abruptly, her body tensed when she felt the hovering presence behind her. A warm hand was placed on her hip and she let out a biting scream that was mostly muffled into the palm of another hand wrapped across her mouth.

"Shshsh… I love this song." Was whispered into Tori's ear followed by the softest of kisses on the tip that sent involuntary shivers down to her toes.

Instantly, Tori's senses began to clog with the familiarity of the body pressed into hers, her eyes falling closed. The hand on her hip forcing her body to sway with the music. When Jade felt Tori's body relax into hers, she slowly lowered her hand that covered the brunette's mouth bringing it down to her hip. Jade buried her face into brunette hair, her own eyes sealed as their bodies melded together in a comfortable rhythm. Neither of them said another word, both lost in the feel of each other…

Eventually, the music died down and together they slowed until they moved no more. The only sound left in the room was their ragged breathing that had nothing to do with the slow activity and everything to do with the emotions that burned through their bodies.

"I like dancing with you…" Jade murmured into the nape of Tori's neck, breaking the silence. One hand blindly reaching up to grab the bag of coffee beans and setting on the counter, much to the brunette's delight.

"I'm glad… But you scared me." Tori breathed, smiling. She could feel soft lips curl against her moist skin.

"I'm sorry…"

Tori turned in Jade's arms, not leaving the close embrace, her own hands running up the Goth's back. She looked up into glassy blue eyes, searching. "No, you're not…"

Jade's smile turned sheepish. "Probably not."

Tori just laughed, her brown eyes twinkling as her arms encircled the Goth's neck. "I've said this before and I'll say it again. You are evil…"

Jade smirked, lowering her head so that their faces were inches apart. "You say that like it's a bad thing."

"It's not?" Tori mused.

"Not for me…"

"And for me?" The brunette slid one hand back to caress Jade's cheek.

Jade's eyes slid shut at the sensations spiking through her. Her fingers twisting into the material of Tori's shirt. "I'll let you decide." She husked out.

The space between them melted as their lips joined together. Tori sighed into the kiss. "Not bad…" She moaned and tugged Jade closer when she felt the first tentative touch of the Goth's tongue on hers. "Definitely, not bad..."

They finally broke apart, when the doorbell chimed through the house. Each taking rapid breaths as reality came crashing back. Tori leaned forward to rest her forehead against Jade's shoulder.

"I know life is nowhere near fair. But now, it's just rubbing it in." Jade muttered, reluctantly loosening their embrace.

"I agree." Tori sighed. "Sometimes, I just wish…" She trailed off, knowing it wouldn't be fair to voice her helpless wishes. What she would give for the day, where she could just be Tori and Jade could just be Jade and they could let the rest of the world rot. That would be a great day. She went to go open the door for their kids.

Jade gently grabbed her arm, stopping her. "What do you wish?"

Tori shook her head, a small smile playing on her lips. "Nothing important…" She shifted back meeting blue eyes. "Everything important is right here." Her smile grew at the Goth's wordless expression. She reached up and placed a small chaste kiss on the taller woman's lips. "C'mon, let's go teach our lovable midgets some music."

Jade watched her go in awe, a thoughtful look on her face.

… … … … … … … … … … … … …

"Cat, it's only a week! I'm pretty sure I won't starve!" Jade complained in annoyance as her aunt pulled two boxes of her favorite pop tarts off the shelf. But Cat just ignored her protests throwing them into the cart Robbie was pushing. The town supermarket was littered with only a few citizens during Sundays. Which was the only thing that wasn't getting on the Goth's nerves considering her aunt was pretending she was shopping for the entire town.

"A week seems a bit long." Cat bit her bottom lip worriedly. "I can ask my boss to cut the trip short. Maybe, three, four days max." She wondered, not really wanting to leave Jade alone for more than that. She had to get up to New York for one of their writer conventions. Plus, Robbie would be going with her since his own work required him to meet a few clients. And he scheduled it so that they could travel and get away together for a while. But now, she was regretting it.

"Don't you dare!" The Goth grounded out, whirling the redhead to face her. She hated that Cat felt obligated to take care of her. She was also young and just started out her life. She didn't need a pesky teenager to hold her back from living it how she wanted to. "I will be okay. More than okay, actually. I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself…"

"I know that but –"

"No buts." The Goth interrupted forcefully, Cat giving her a muddled look. She sighed pressing the bridge of her nose with her forefingers. "You've put your lives on hold for long enough. I won't have it anymore, Cat."

"I never put our lives on hold…" The redhead's eyes brimmed sincerely.

"No?" Jade arched a disputing brow. "You cancelled your last three trips and you would have cancelled this one if you could."

Cat's eyes widened slowly. She didn't know that her niece had known about those. Sensing his wife's distress, Robbie stepped in. "Jade…" He held her arm.

But the raven haired shook her head. "No Robbie, you guys can't keep making me your main priority."

"You're not a burden on us, Jade." Robbie said seriously.

"Maybe not." The Goth let out a rueful smile. "But you guys need this. She needs to go to that convention. You and Cat need to get away. You need a break. It's just a week. I'll be at school and home a lot. So please don't cut your trip short because of me…" She said and faced her aunt, her voice tight. "Please don't do that…"

"Okay…" Cat closed her eyes and nodded. "Okay fine…" She blew out a resigning breath. "You're right… I just hate the thought of leaving you alone."

Jade smiled thankfully, pulling her sulking aunt in for a hug. "I know… But I'm old enough and I promise not to throw wild parties or invite boys over."

Cat muffled a chuckle into her chest. "Change that to girls and we have a deal."

Jade pretended to pout. "I don't know how Robbie puts up with you. You are no fun."

Robbie sighed playfully too. "I know! I hate the no women over rule. I'm always forced to cough up extra for a motel, every time I want to have an affair." Cat laughed and slapped him on the arm. "Ow!"

Jade rolled her eyes as the redhead resumed her shopping, dumping things in by the boxes. "Cat, I can't eat all of that in a month, let alone in a week." The Goth let out exasperated, shooting Robbie a pleading look.

Robbie grimaced at their cart that was quickly filling up to the brim. "Honey, I honestly think –" His jaw snapped shut at the dark glare he got from his wife. "Er… That the frozen pizzas are on special?" He quickly backpedalled.

"Oh, I saw that in the paper too!" Cat's eyes brightened as she hurriedly turned the corner for the refrigeration section.

"Coward…" Jade grumbled, jamming her hands in her pocket as they obediently followed.

"I'm sorry, but she's a force that can't be stopped right now." He admonished gravely. Then his lips up took in a grin as he spotted a few familiar faces. "And there's another one."

The Goth followed his gaze, a gradual smirk of her own making its way onto her face. On the end of the aisle, a brunette stood inspecting one of the shelves, running a casual hand through her open hair. A darker man stepped up to her.

"Can we get this?" Andre held out a three box of chocolate chip cookies for Tori's inspection.

Tori sighed, her patience running thin. "Why do I need three boxes?"

"Er… Because…" Her best friend shot her an incredulous glare throwing them in the cart she was pushing.

"Your reasoning is always so impeccable." She muttered wryly, digging two boxes out of the cart and stuffing them back on the shelf. "And I am only getting one."

"Three…" He tossed all of them back in.

"One!" She rumbled through gritted teeth, seriously considering pulling out her hair. She shoved them back onto the shelf.

"Okay, jeez!" He held out his hands in defense of her wrath. "Let's compromise… two?"

"Andre!" She was seriously considering bloody murder. The only part that sucked was that she was in a public area. She took a deep breath and let it out, in attempts to calm down. "Andre…" She said placidly. Too placidly for his liking, in fact. He could handle it when she was visibly angry. But when she was calm, he knew it was actually her quietly seething, which made him more nervous.

"Um, yes?" He shifted uneasily.

"Whose groceries are we getting?" She slowly arched a brow, telling him he better answer correctly or die.

"Um, yours?" He answered obediently.

"And who is paying for it?"

"You are?" He nervously watched her cross her arms.

"So how many boxes am I getting?"

"Er… um, one?"

Satisfied, she patted his arm. "Good boy."

"Oh wow, Tori. You really need to teach me that trick."

Tori whirled around, all her annoyance washing away the second she caught Robbie and Jade stroll in their direction. She laughed when Andre sourly stuck his tongue out his business partner and friend. "Hey Robbie…" She took him a heartfelt hug as he stopped in front of her. "I'm afraid that takes years to master…" She smiled at her best friend affectionately. "He's not like all the other little boys."

"Bummer… I could really use it around the office." Robbie teased his friend, who simply rolled his eyes.

"You know what I think we can use in the office." Andre uttered with a shrug.

"Stripper poles are nowhere near professional." Robbie shot back. "Unless, well, um that's your field of interest." He could feel a little color rush into his cheeks.

"Of course it's a field that interests me. Very much. But you know that's your problem…" Andre tsk'd and slung an arm around his partner's shoulder.

"What?" Robbie gave a bemused frown and slumped his shoulders.

"You heard the story about Jack being a dull boy." Andre patted his cheek good-naturedly.

"Jack is also a married boy." Robbie rolled his eyes. "And I'm pretty sure he'd like to keep it that way."

Tori grinned at the antics of the two business partners that were having a serious discussion about stripper poles. Only Andre, she shook her head. She nudged the shoulder of the strong presence beside her, who was wearing an amused smirk of her own. "Hey there…"

Jade had to suppress her smirk from raging into a full-blown grin at the slight prod, feigning a detached expression. "Oh, hey… Sorry, didn't see you there."

The brunette's eyes narrowed as she considered the taller woman. She expelled a defeated breath turning her attention back to the men. "I'm too late. Smurf's drafted you into his rebellion, hasn't he?"

Jade chuckled lightly. "Well, he did offer me good perks." She shrugged.

Tori tilted her head and arched a brow. "Better than mine?" She whispered only loud enough for the beautiful raven haired to hear, not that the other two would notice so consumed in their own debate.

Jade flicked her gaze down at the brunette. "Oh, I don't know… What exactly are you offering?" She retorted, her voice equally low. Those blue eyes wicked, almost daring the brunette to retaliate the suggestive question.

Tori's lips adopted a sexy undercurrent that almost had Jade's knee's buckling. She had only seen that smile a few times, each time resulting in her demise. Sticking her tongue in her cheek, Tori leaned up whispering in her ear, oblivious to their surroundings. "Wouldn't you like to know?"

Jade's eyes fell closed and her breathing hitched as the warm breath tickled her ear. When her eyelids drifted opened again, she eyed the brunette's smug smile. "You don't play fair…" She mumbled.

The brunette let out a low evil half laugh. "I've told you a long time ago, I play to win."

"Well, you've won…"

Tori's warm chocolate eyes skimmed up to Jade's, her smile coy. Those ocean eyes slicing through every barrier she had managed to create over the past few years. Caught up in their magnificence, she only managed a weak, "I know."

"Tori! Andre! What a wonderful surprise." Tori and Jade jerked apart at Cat's boisterous greeting from behind half a dozen boxes of frozen pizzas. She heaved the boxes and dumped them into their cart, dusting the frost off her hands.

"Hey Red." Andre leaned over and kissed her cheek. He furrowed his brows at their over flowing cart. "Did we miss the memo for the ice age?" He snickered under his breath at Tori.

"Hey, I don't know…" Tori shrugged her shoulders, also a bit disconcerted. "Hi Cat." She smiled at the beaming redhead.

Cat pulled her into an embrace and gave her a good squeeze. "Hi Tori, why is it we're always meet up shopping for something?"

"Maybe, because we're always shopping." The brunette countered, both of them chuckling into the hug.

"Could be…" Cat winked as she leaned back.

"So what's with the provisions?" Andre asked nodding at their cart, curiosity overshadowing him.

"Oh, it's for next week." The redhead responded, waving her hand matter-of-factly.

"B… But I thought you guys are heading up to New York…" Andre sputtered, his brows sharpened as glared at his business partner. "You lied to me."

Robbie sighed heavily. "No, I didn't."

"Like I'd believe anything a lawyer tells me."

"You're a lawyer too!"

"My point exactly." Andre scoffed, arms crossed over his chest, Robbie scowling at him.

"Children please!" The redhead held up a forestalling hand. "Robbie didn't lie, we are. This is for Jade."

Jade simply thumped her forehead with her hand, an embarrassed blush creeping onto her face.

"All of it?" Andre's dark eyes grew, his disbelieving gaze aimed at the slender figured Goth, back to the cart and back again. "And you wouldn't let me have three measly boxes." He sniggered only to have an authoritative finger obstruct his vision.

"Shut it, before I send you to the car." Tori reprimanded, his jaw clicking shut.

Cat snapped her fingers. "That reminds me! We need three boxes of those crackers you like, Jade." The Goth simply groaned whereas Robbie looked dejectedly at the floor.

"Oh, we won't keep you then, enjoy your shopping." Tori smiled and hugged Cat again.

"Thanks, you too. We should get together for coffee when we get back from New York." The redhead suggested to the brunette who nodded in agreement.

"That would be nice."

They all said their brief goodbyes and went their separate ways. Jade and Tori stealing coy glances at each other every time they crossed paths in the supermarket, unseen to everyone except Andre. Which of whom teased the brunette and was threatened to be sent to the car at least ten times.

Finally, Tori and Andre found themselves at the checkout counter. Robbie and Cat walked into her line of vision as she was offloading the cart. She afforded them a small wave and smiled. They waved back turning into the next aisle.

Jade was lagging behind them, practically dragging her feet, her head upturned towards the ceiling, mumbling curses. As she was about to follow into the adjacent aisle, a feeling surged through her. She stopped, tilting her head until she caught sight of Tori. Her heart jumped in her chest, like it did every time the brunette gave her that soft look. The small smile that escaped those indulgent lips had Jade smiling back. Tori raised a shy hand. Jade replicating her actions in a wave of her own. Their eyes held briefly before Jade trailed into the next section.

Cat and Robbie were halfway through the next aisle when the raven haired woman caught up to them. She dug into her back pocket feeling the small envelope, she had asked Beck to organize for her yesterday. She was still contemplating if she was going to use it or not. Feeling the smooth texture between her forefingers, her head averted towards the entrance straight down the line. She could see Andre pushing their cart through the parking lot, Tori gently punching him on the arm and both of them giggling. Feeling her heart constrict at the simple, free, beautiful woman's smile, her mind was made up in an instant.

"Hey, I forgot to ask Tori something. Be right back." Jade said, Cat absently waving her off with a mumble that resembled an okay. She made a dash through the store, slipping through a small gap in the sliding doors.

"Vega…"

Tori had slammed the trunk of her car closed, hearing her name whisper in the breeze. She lifted her head, staring at Andre who opened the shotgun door. He had a silly grin on face as he nodded behind her and then hopped into the car. Glowering, she spun back to see the Goth's run die down into a few heavy steps. Her hard expression immediately dissolved as Jade stepped closer out of breath.

"Vega…" Jade panted, taking rapid breaths.

"Jade?"

"Yeah… I forgot to give you something." The Goth declared in between breaths. She managed to get it together burrowing into her back pocket and pulled out the prize. Now, standing straight a few inches away, she handed it to the brunette.

Tori studied the light object placed in her hand, bemused. She then looked up into brilliant blue eyes, her own slightly guarded. "It's an envelope."

"Looks like it." Jade shrugged, quite amused. "But it's usually what's inside that counts."

"Oh right…" Tori opened the flap, slipping out what resembled a small rectangle piece of paper. Fairville Festival: admit one, she read. "It's a ticket." She stated, just as baffled.

"Yeah, there are two of them." The Goth nodded, gesturing at the envelope. Tori picked the other one out, studying both of them. "It's out of town."

Tori's head picked up, abruptly. "What?"

"The festival, it's out of town, just outside of Fairville which is three hours from here." Jade explained. When the brunette simply stared at her, she continued. "Since it is out of town and no one would recognize us… I guess, I kind of hoped…" She swallowed the sudden thickness in her throat. "That maybe, perhaps we could go…" Jade watched as Tori's eyes grew thoughtful and soft, drifting between the tickets and herself. "I mean, if you want." The Goth stuffed her hands in her pocket. "But if you think it's a bad idea, it's okay. You can keep the tickets and maybe take Andre or someone –"

"I love to." Tori interrupted Jade's ramblings.

"What?"

The brunette smiled gently. "I said I'd love to go with you."

"Really?"

"Yes." Tori peered at the tickets one more time. "So it's Saturday?"

"Yeah, this coming Saturday." The Goth nodded dumbly, not sure how she managed to get the brunette to agree. She thought it would take more effort.

"Okay, then it's a date." Tori grinned sticking the envelope in her own pocket.

"Um, yeah…" Jade scratched the back of her neck, nervously, a blush tainting her cheeks.

Tori was utterly charmed by the red color that graced the Goth's face. Taking pitying on her, she said her goodbye, and joined Andre in the Car. She was silent to Andre's pestering her on what that was about, annoying him greatly. Yet, the smile on her face never waver a bit as she started the car.

"A date…" Jade murmured to herself, watching the brunette drive off.


Just a warning for you guys: The next chapter's rating is bumped up to M!

So you know what that means!

Um, that you have to search for it under M… What else ;)

So c'mon guys be a good sport and review…