Ambiance

AU

Chapter One

Jade West is a superstar.

That much is obvious – she sweeps over the crowds like a supernova, burning anyone who dares to come near her. Ironically enough, she has eyes that look like they are made of jade and a piercing gaze that makes her look as if she can see into people's souls. Basically, she's a top-notch actress, and everyone knows it. That's why they put up with her antics.

"Van Cleef, get me a soda," she commands, perched on a couch. Her feet are crossed at the ankles; the toes of her boots dangle off the edge. When he doesn't respond immediately, she swoops her gaze around to land on him. "Van Cleef, I thought I asked you to get me a soda."

The young, terrified boy stands up, his eyes wide. "Yes 'm," he says at once, dashing off to the kitchen. She smiles softly to herself. It is kind of funny how these people have to bend to her every whim, fetching her everything she could ever want. And what she wants right now is a soda.

Some people might call her a Hollywood diva, but she prefers high-maintenance. As long as you go along with everything that she says, she's highly agreeable.

Van Cleef returns with her soda at last, which means that she has to sit up to drink it. She does so, patting out her long, silky black dress. One of the disadvantages of being inherently famous is that she has to look good all of the time, even when she's not really doing anything.

She takes a sip of her soda, eyes scanning the room. Her two personal assistants, Sinjin Van Cleef and Brady Johnson, are scattering about, trying to keep things up to her high standards. This makes her smile. Everyone is always trying to live up to her standards. Hardly anyone ever does.

Her eyes fall upon a third, all too familiar figure, and she jumps up at once, feeling fairly guilty for just lying around like he's always telling her not to do. "Danny! I thought we agreed you weren't coming in today." She flashes her agent a small, heartfelt-looking smile, hoping that he will sense her uneasiness and leave.

"Yeah, well, something changed," Danny replies sharply. Sitting down, he pats the chair on the other side of the table. "I suggest you sit down, Jade."

She does feel, feeling suddenly sick to her stomach. "Did someone die or something?" Internally, she hopes that it's Tori Vega, though she doesn't say that.

"No." Danny begins to laugh, so Jade laughs awkwardly along with him. She doesn't like being left out of things, let alone things that involve her, so she wishes that he would stop beating around the bush and get to the point. Fortunately for him, he pulls out a stack of papers at last and grins. "You've just been offered the top part in an A-list movie."

"So?" She has been offered a bunch of A-list parts over the past few weeks; most of them, though, she has declined. They all sounded too boring, too mundane for her eccentric taste.

"This one's different, Jade." His tone, for once, is excited, perhaps more excited than she has ever seen him. Raising an eyebrow, Jade leans up a little bit more. If this movie is half as good as Danny seems to think it is, well, she could definitely get on board with it. Grinning, Danny continues. "It's a romance, yes, but most movies seem to be today. This movie addresses many of the problems with society in a roundabout way that makes you consider the issues in your own life."

"Give me the script," she demands, holding out a long, skinny hand. It does sound interesting, Jade has to admit, but she's a strong, independent girl and she'll decide that for herself, thank you very much.

Reluctantly, Danny hands it over to her. "Be careful with it, and get back to me later today, all right? We can't keep them waiting too much longer or they'll offer the part to someone else."

Three hours later, Jade West storms back into Danny's office, a tumultuous look in her eyes. "I'll do it," she says in a determined tone. "Call them up right now and tell them that I'll do it."

Danny dials.

In another part of Hollywood, Beck Oliver is having the time of his life. When they said that he was being signed up for a trip to the spa, he had pictured all kinds of girly stuff – cucumbers on eyes, mud baths, pink nail polish on his toes. He had not, however, imagined that he would be served drinks by hot girls at the poolside while someone massaged his back, and yet that is what he's doing right now. Ah, Beck thinks as the person rubs his back and he winks at an adorable brunette. This is the life.

Of course, his phone picks that exact moment to ring. He groans, turning over so that he can reach it. It's a large annoyance, he decides, and he absently wonders why he brought it in the first place.

It's his agent calling again, he realizes after a second, and therefore he's legally obligated to answer, even though he was at perfect peace before she called. Sighing, he snaps open his phone. "What?"

"Beckett, I know you're on vacation, but..." Jamie giggles. "I just got the call. You're being offered a part in Hillside Productions' new movie. Shattering Reflections, I believe it's called?"

"Really?" Beck suddenly becomes more animated. "That's amazing!" He'd given the script a read a few days before his spa trip, and it was definitely one of the best scripts he'd ever read. "Do you know who my co-star is yet?"

"Yeah," Jamie replies, her tone apologetic. "Just... Beck, I don't think you're going to like this too much, okay?"

"Why not?" Beck questions, confused. "Who is it? It can't be anyone that bad."

"Well, okay, if you're sure," Jamie responds, still sounding fairly unsure. "It's Jade West."

"I was wrong." Beck nearly drops the phone. Of all actors and actresses in the world, Beck thinks that the dramatic diva Jade West is the one he'd like to work with the least. She's a brat, an annoyance, a diva, and despite that she's admittedly fairly hot, he doesn't want to work with her at all. Besides, when they put his ego with her ego, the set will most likely explode. "Can't you get anyone else? Anyone but her?"

Beck can nearly see Jamie shaking her head as she speaks. "No, Beck. The movie company wants a real A-lister, and despite the fact that Jadelyn is fairly hard to work with, she's an amazing, renowned actress and the studio will not settle for anyone but her. Basically, you agree to tolerate Jade for a while and do this romance with her, or you lose the movie all together."

It's a tough choice, actually, Beck realizes as he thinks about it. He really doesn't want to do a romance with a girl that he despises, much less an epic romance. But then again, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and he really doesn't want to pass it up.

Taking a deep breath, he nods. "I'll do it."

He has a feeling that he's going to regret this.

Days pass. Jade spends a lot of her time reading and re-reading the script, going over Kyra Spencer's lines until they sink into her mind, transfuse into her brain cells.

"It is better," she repeats in her perfected shaky tone, "to be loved when broken than to be broken because of love." Of course, it is fairly difficult to rehearse, since she hasn't got a boy across from her to recite Kyra's normally scathing (of course, the girl has her soft spots, unlike Jade) lines to. Soon enough, reading the script all by her lonesome self starts to bore her and she goes up to Danny.

"Who is playing the role of Zander?" she demands, putting her hands on her hips to look more threatening. This is important, very much so, and she's not much in the mood to wait around for a few days before finding out.

"Um, Jade..." Danny looks sort of sheepish, which is never a good sign.

"Who is it?" she demands again, her eyes darkening. Can't he just tell her and get it over with? If it's someone unworthy of sharing the screen with her, he'll never hear the end of it either way, so from her point of view it is better for him to tell her straight out.

Sighing, Danny gives her a weary stare, which makes her all the more worried. Have they chosen some Disney star? Even though she and Cat Valentine are good friends, she will die if she has to share a screen with bubblegum-pop star Frankie Valentine. At last, Danny speaks. "Beck Oliver."

Heck no. This is much worse than Frankie Valentine. In fact, this is a crisis situation. Here she is, having a part in one of the best movies she's ever known, and of course stupid Beck Oliver has to come along and ruin it.

She hates him with all of her being. In fact, every time they see each other, they end up in fighting over something. He says that she's a spoiled brat and she thinks that he's a cocky, disrespectful womanizer. And casting the two of them in a romance movie together has to be one of the worst decisions that the studio has ever made.

"You can't be serious," she says at last, her voice deadpan. "Please, Danny, tell me you're kidding."

"I'm not." Danny gives her a small half-smile. "You can pitch a fit if you want, but the studio is deadset on having the two of you in the lead roles, as is the author of this fabulous script – Trina Vega, I do believe her name is?"

"Vega?" One of Jade's eyebrows shoots up immediately. "As in Tori Vega's older sister?"

"Well, yes." Danny knows about Jade's hatred for the other irritating actress. Practically everyone does. Jade makes no secret of it. "But – "

"That's what's going on here, then. Tori asked her lovely sister to demand Beck and I because she knows that we're both fabulous actors – yes, I just admitted that Beck is a fairly decent actor but under no circumstances are you to tell him that – and that we hate each other. So she suggested us, because she's evil," Jade declares triumphantly, an expression of distaste coloring her face. "You see, Danny, it all makes sense if you think about it.

"Or Trina admires your work and Beck's as well, and thought that you'd have nice chemistry," Danny suggests, raising an eyebrow at her, which makes her feel like a little child again. Honestly, she thinks angrily, that is not how the entertainment business works.

"She probably thinks Oliver is hot," Jade mumbles under her breath, rolling her eyes. "Which is stupid, because he holds all the allure of a little lost puppy."

"If you're going to work with him on this movie, you're going to have to be a bit more polite to him, Jadelyn," Danny reprimands her, using her full name like he always does when he wants her to shape up. "He's really a nice boy."

"He flirts with anything with boobs," Jade grumbles. "He has an ego the size of the Golden Gate Bridge."

"So do you," Danny points out.

"And that is why we won't work together." Jade crosses her arms across her chest. "I'm probably going to end up getting thrown off of this movie. They're most likely looking for 'believable chemistry' and the only chemistry Beck and I make is explosions, chemical reactions. Unfortunate, isn't it?"

"Not really." Danny chuckles. "It's a fortunate thing, isn't it, that Kyra and Zander start off hating each other and end up falling in love."

She startles, staring up at him with wide eyes. "You're not implying..."

"No, settle down." Danny laughs. "I'm just saying that the scenes they're choosing to start off with are ones where Kyra and Zander hate each other anyway. You and Mr. Oliver will have plenty of time to get your act together."

She stares at him for a minute, completely nonplussed. It's sort of a coincidence, isn't it, that they start off hating each other and end up in –

No. She won't think about it. It's merely a good choice in casting, anyway, and she hates him so the possibility of her falling in love with him is zero. Nothing. Jade doesn't plan on falling in love, anyway. She's much better off on her own.

"Whatever." She yawns, stretching out a bit. "I'm going to bed. If Beck Oliver tries to call for me or something so we can 'get to know each other' because you know he's just the type to do that, tell him to fall into a pit of acid."

"That's not very nice," Danny reprimands her.

"I'm not very nice."

This is the truth.

He decides that since Jade West, being the brat she is, is obviously not going to show up at the first rehearsal clutching a bouquet of flowers for him, he has to be the mature, nice one. So he calls her.

Her agent answers the phone. "Beck Oliver. Jade figured you would call."

"She knows me so well." Beck finds himself rolling his eyes, even though her agent can't see. "Does she, I don't know, want to talk or something?"

"She has just gone up to bed, actually. Left her phone with me. Something tells me that she's trying to avoid you." He laughs again, but it sounds strained. "Look, I know she might murder me in cold blood for saying this, but call her back later, okay? I think it'd be best if you two got along, so."

Then he hears footsteps coming down the stairs and the sound of a screechy yell – "I told you not to answer my phone! ...yes, of course I knew he'd call." After a moment or two of this, Jade West's voice comes over the line. "Die in a hole, Beck Oliver," she hisses into the phone, and then hangs up.

He sits there for a moment in stunned silence, then holds the phone an inch or two away from his face. "Well," he mutters, a look of shock on his face, "that was rude." Then he turns his phone off and stows it away in his pocket for safe-keeping.

This movie is going to be interesting, to say the least, and the one who's going to make it hard is obviously going to be Jade West, otherwise known as the bane of his existence.

Jade West needs to get a clue, he decides, because this movie could either make them or break them.

And he's determined that it's going to be the first.

"You know, you could stand to be nicer – a lot nicer, actually. Beck was trying to call so that you guys could be friendly. He's really a nice guy. A bit flirty sometimes, yes, but nice nonetheless." Danny raises an eyebrow at her.

"I'm really in no mood to think about Beck Oliver," she hisses. "Are we leaving tomorrow, then?"

"Yes. You need to get in a mood to think about him, though, because even though we're not shooting tomorrow, Beck will still be arriving tomorrow, and the movie producers have instructed me to ensure that you two get some time to talk beforehand," Danny informs her, a small smile decorating the edges of his lips.

"I don't want to talk to him. Any talking we do will turn into an intense argument." She shakes her head in disapproval. "And then I'll end up telling him to man up and he'll tell me to grow a heart."

"Arguments of passion?" Danny teases, which, of course, makes her glare at him in a way that clearly implies that she'd much rather be thrown into a vat of snakes than ever have feelings for Beck Oliver. "Sorry. But really, Jade, you have to put in some effort."

"I'll try," she grumbles, leaning further back in her chair.

"Your entire career could depend on this, Jade. I suggest that you do a whole lot more than simply try. By the way, Cat Valentine called you; you might want to call her back." He tosses her cellphone to her, and she takes it with a sigh.

Punching the callback button, she waits. Cat answers on the second ring. "Jadey! You got a role! And you're starring with Beck Oliver!"

"Yeah. Unfortunately." Jade sighs.

"Unfortunately! Beck Oliver is gorgeous. I mean, he's not – I don't like him like that, but it's impossible to deny that he really is a pretty boy." Cat giggles. "Sort of like a pony, don't you think?"

"I hate ponies," Jade responds in a deadpan tone.

"No, you don't!" Cat protests. "Remember a while back, when you and I went riding at that stable and then..." Cat trails off, obviously remembering. Nervously, she giggles again. "Okay, never mind! Just... don't be so negative, okay, Jade? It'll be fun!"

"I highly doubt that," Jade scoffs, her face twisted into a frown. "It'll be more like torture."

"Okay then." Cat sounds really scared now. "I just wanted to say congratulations..."

"Thanks," Jade spits out. Congratulations on what? Congratulations on your death sentence? "I'll... I'll try my best to have fun."

"Yay!" Cat is enthusiastic again. Typical Cat, Jade thinks with an eye roll. "Well, I've got to go. Director's calling me. I'll see you later, Jadey!"

Sure you will, Jade thinks as she hangs up the phone.

One of the few good things about being in the movie, Beck thinks, is that his best friend has been cast in a role as well and therefore gets to come with him. Well, one of his best friends, at least. Andre Harris is a fun, charismatic guy, and he makes the plane ride a lot more bearable, since Jamie isn't allowed to ride up in first class with him.

Except when he's talking about Jade West, that is.

"Hey, I don't know what you're complaining about," Andre says with a grin. "I mean, that's a pretty hot girl that you're in this movie with. Jade West, right? That girl is on fire."

"Yeah, but she's a brat," Beck complains. "I called her just to be nice and she stole the phone from her agent, told me to die in a hole, and hung up."

"Aha, sassy," Andre chuckles. Seeing the look on Beck's face, he stops laughing at once. "Seriously, dude, you're not exactly the most 'easy to handle' person either, so maybe you've got something in common. You just have to keep trying."

"I am trying," Beck moans, letting his head fall into his hands and winding his fingers through his hair in that way he always does when he's nervous. "She doesn't... she doesn't like people."

"You're obviously not trying hard enough, then." Andre grins at him easily. "Just keep trying, okay? I'm fairly sure that even Jade West has a soft side under all that mean."

"Just like a wicked witch has a soft side?" Beck groans under his breath.

"Hey, it fits!" Andre exclaims. "The Wicked Witch of the West. Aren't I clever? We could write a song with that!" He picks up his small guitar from under the seat in front of him and begins to strum. "There once was a Witch of the West, her nameee was (what?) Jade Westtt..."

"Oh my..." Beck mutters under his breath, embarrassed. He covers up his head with his arms so that no one will see his flaming face.

One of the flight attendants comes skittering down the aisle. "Sir," she says imperatively, "I'm going to have to ask you to keep it down. We've had many a complaint coming from this area of the plane."

"Yes, ma'am," Andre replies cheerfully, setting down his guitar. Grinning, he pats Beck on the back. "Just chillax, Beck. It's all gonna be chill."

"Yeah, I'm sure you'll all be chillaxing at my funeral." Beck lets out a low groan.

Andre's loud laugh attracts the attention of the flight attendant once again.

Jade clambers out of the taxi, carrying one suitcase behind her. There are four bags on her arms, weighing her down. She stumbles around like a maniac until she regains her footing. Embarrassed, she hisses "You could've helped me," to Danny.

"Sorry, no can do," Danny says brightly, motioning to his collection of her bags that he's carrying. "It's hardly my fault that you insisted on bringing your entire wardrobe down here."

"I have to look good," Jade moans dramatically, leading the way into the hotel.

It's a fairly nice hotel, she supposes, big and glorious with a large, gorgeous chandelier. She can see herself staying there for the months that they're filming. With a grin, she marches up to the counter and taps a guy on the shoulder. "I need to check in. Now."

"Dude, I don't work here." The guy laughs. "Jade West, I'm assuming? Name's Andre Harris. I'll be in your movie too."

"Whatever." Jade rolls her eyes. "But yeah, I'm Jade West."

"That's a nice name," Andre compliments her.

"Uh, thanks." She forces a smile, not really in the mood for small talk, though Andre does seem fairly decent. It will be nice, having a decent person on the set to balance out Beck's irritating nature. "Can you tell me where I'm checking in, then?"

"The desk on the other side of the room." Andre points across to a wide, luxurious-looking desk. "Apparently you've got the room next to Beck. I'm sure he'll be thrilled about that."

Under her breath, Jade mutters something she's sure that Danny wouldn't be proud of. "You're kidding me," she hisses angrily.

"Hey, at least you aren't in the same room!" Andre grins at her. "Chill, girl, it'll all be fine."

"Yeah, whatever." Angrily, Jade storms over to the desk. "I'm Jade West, and I'd like to check in. Though I have a request. Can you please move my room so that it's far away from wherever Beck Oliver is staying? That is, if you'd like to prevent a murder, because with the insurance and investigation charges I'm sure it'd be fairly expensive, or at the least, fairly inconvenient for your hotel. Unless, of course, you'd like the publicity."

The desk clerks just stare at her. At last, one of them clears her throat. "Sorry, no can do. The producers specifically requested that you two be put next to each other, and not moved under any circumstances."

She sighs angrily. Grabbing her key, she scowls. "Thanks." With that, she marches off, motioning for Danny to follow.

This is going to be a long two months.

Someone shakes Beck's shoulder. Turning over, he mutters "mmph", which just makes them shake him more urgently. What could be so important? At last, he peels open his eyes to see Andre standing over him, looking angry. "Dude," he hisses. "The producers want you downstairs in ten minutes. They want you and Jade to have... well, a meeting of sorts."

"What?" Beck exclaims. He leaps out of bed, pulls on some clothes, combs down his bedhead, and runs down the stairs, hoping that he looks okay as not to embarrass himself on his first day.

Once he gets down, he hears someone snort "finally", and of course he figures out who that is within two seconds. It's the same rude voice he'd heard on the phone. Sitting down, he hastily apologizes. "I'm sorry; I took a quick nap and it turned out to be... well, not all that quick."

"I see," one of the men says crisply. "You've still got a bit of toothpaste on your face."

Blushing, Beck wipes it off, and the man continues. "We've called both of you down here so that you can chat for a bit and get to know each other before shooting tomorrow. We expect that you'll stay here and talk for at least an hour or two. After all, that's what you're here for, right?"

He is most certainly not here for Jade West, he thinks, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. Scowling, he turns to the girl in front of him and takes a moment to take her in. She is fairly good-looking – nice eyes, dark hair, fair, perfect skin, and she would probably have a nice smile. However, that still doesn't help the issue that he hates her. "Jade," he says, his voice tight.

She frowns. "Beck."

A/N: OKAY I KNOW THIS ISN'T WINNING THE POLL but I couldn't resist anyway (I'm going to write the winner as well so don't worry). This is going to be the first chapter of many (and wow I'm writing it fast like what). It's eventually going to have Beck/Jade but yeah. It's AU, obviously, and Beck and Jade are both superstars so.

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