In Fire and Ice
This is how we end - in fire and ice.
When Jade is three and a half years old, she decides to 'run away'. Her mom is talking to her friend and cooing over Jade's new little brother, Jeremiah, and no one is paying attention to Jade. So she walks out the door and makes her way down the road.
Of course, being a small, insolent child, she ends up trying to cross the road. What she doesn't see is the car flying right toward her.
She screams. Someone hits her hard, and then they're both on the ground. The car passes right over the two small bodies.
Once her vision returns, she realizes that it's a boy about her age, a boy with pretty brown eyes and nice hair. He smiles at her, slips the necklace that was around his neck around her neck, and tells her quickly, "You're too pwetty to die."
Someone calls for him, obviously, because he shoots straight up and tells her 'I'll see you later' in an undertone before dashing off. She watches him with wide eyes as he runs, wondering who he is.
She never really takes the necklace off after that. It's a cheap one, one that a mother would buy for her child, a gold necklace with a 'B' charm on it, but she loves it anyway. When people ask, she simply calls it her 'good-luck charm', but usually she just wears it under her shirt so that no one asks.
It all starts with Jade's brother being an idiot, which, then again, is not exactly out of the ordinary for him. He's two years old and pitching a fit about something, because Jeremiah West is nothing if not stubborn. Crossing his arms, he toddles out into the road and right into the path of a car.
Jade squeezes her eyes shut, hoping that when she opens them it'll all have been just a nightmare. It's exactly the same thing that happened to her all those years ago, yet there is no one there to save Jeremiah. Time seems to slow down. Then there's a scream, the screech of brakes and... no thud.
Her eyes open slowly, and she sees that someone has pushed Jeremiah out of the way. A woman, an older woman, obviously, probably a mother. Blinking, she rushes toward Jeremiah, though Jade's mom gets there first. She fusses over him, saying how stupid he had been and that he must never do that again, but that she's very glad he's all right. Then she turns to the woman. "I cannot thank you enough. I'm so sorry; he's two and he gets a bit rebellious, and..." She smiles apologetically. "Well, just thank you for saving my baby boy."
"I completely understand," the woman replies with a smile. "I've got one like that; he's just over here. Beck!"
And that is the first time Jade West meets Beck Oliver.
Beck is six, barely a year older than her, but he is still adorable in his innocence. He grins at all of them. "Mommy, don't talk about me when I'm not even here!"
"I was just saying that you're rebellious like this little one here," his mom explains, motioning to Jeremiah. "Why, just last week you drew all over the walls with your crayons and explained that you were trying to be 'creative' like they taught you in school!"
"Jeremiah has done that as well!" Jade's mom laughs.
And then the two moms begin talking, chattering away at the speed of light, leaving Jeremiah, Beck, and Jade to their own devices. Jeremiah seems more interested in seeing how far he can kick pebbles, so Beck turns to Jade.
"I'm Beck," he says with a smile.
"Jade." She crosses her arms across her chest. "I'm five."
"Well, I'm six." Beck grins at her. "I really like your shirt."
"So?" Jade glances down at her shirt, a black shirt with a puppy on it. Crossing her arms in front of her chest, she says sharply, "I hate it. I'm not a dog person, but mom made me wear it."
"I like dogs," Beck replies softly. "I've always wanted a dog."
"That's stupid." She rolls her eyes.
"Maybe you're stupid!" Beck exclaims, looking insulted.
"Maybe I don't like you, anyway," Jade declares impetuously, glaring at him.
Of course, it only escalates from there, but unfortunately for the two quarreling children, their mothers get on like peanut butter and jelly so they're going to be forced to spend quite a bit of time together.
"I've arranged to meet up with Mrs. Oliver for lunch tomorrow," Jade's mom says brightly. "You two will be left alone with a babysitter, so you're going to have to be very good, okay?"
Jade just sits sullenly with her arms crossed, hoping that she won't have to spend too much time with this Beck Oliver kid. He infuriates her already.
She plays with the 'B' charm on her necklace and doesn't even consider the possibility that B could be Beck because she's five and she thinks that she hates him.
Of course, Jade always ends up getting the exact opposite of what she wants, and so when her mom announces that they're to spend the summer with the Olivers, Jade's not entirely surprised. Angry, yes, but not really surprised.
"It'll be fun," her mother coos, which makes Jade even more infuriated. "Beck will be there. He's nearly your age."
"I hate Beck Oliver," Jade complains, stomping her foot.
"It's not nice to hate people, Jadelyn," her mom reprimands her.
Jade raises an eyebrow. "Sometimes you say that you hate Daddy."
"That's different." Her mother looks edgy now, worried, so Jade decides to just drop it.
"I just really don't want to go, Mommy," Jade tells her quietly.
"Well, sometimes you've got to do things you don't want to." Her mom's face is stubborn, unmovable. "You're coming, Jade, and that's that. No amount of complaining will change it."
So that's how Jade ends up at the beach house that their families are sharing, lugging her suitcase behind her and frowning slightly. She doesn't bother greeting any of the Olivers; instead, she just marches into the house. "Where am I staying?"
"You and Jeremiah are sharing the room next to Beck," her mom replies, using that tone that implies don't complain or you'll be in big trouble.
Jade opens her mouth to make a scathing remark, but then closes it, deciding it best to keep her mouth shut. "Fine." She stomps up the stairs, being sure to bang around her suitcase as much as possible, and then throws her suitcase on her bed.
Beck enters the room a couple of minutes after. "This is a nice room," he says in a warm tone, obviously trying to keep the peace because he's seven now and obviously so mature. Walking over to the window, he pulls back the curtains. "It has a pretty view. Look, you can see the ocean!"
"I'd like to see you falling out that window," Jade hisses back. Even though she's six, she thinks that her insults are very high quality.
"Jade," he says in a resigned tone, obviously thinking that since he's a year older than her, he can boss her around like he's her mom.
"Beck," she retorts, mimicking his tone.
He sighs. "Mommy and I are going down to the ocean. Your mommy too. And Jeremiah. Are you coming?"
"Guess so," Jade mumbles. "Staying inside alone would be boring."
Once she gets down to the seashore, she spots Beck playing in the water by himself while the moms watch him. Grinning slyly, she walks down and sits beside him. "What are you doing?"
He frowns up at her. "If you're just here to make me really mad, go away."
"Would I do that?" she asks innocently. "I just wanted to make your hair look better." Then, with no other warning, she dumps a handful of wet sand on his head.
He sits there for a moment in shock, then he sputters and shakes his head. Sand goes flying everywhere. "You're a meanie, Jade!"
"Not really," Jade amends, but she has to duck because Beck throws a handful of sand at her. From there, it escalates into a full-blown sand fight, and Jade is determined that she's going to be the victor this time.
When she casts a glance over at the moms, though, she swears she sees them smiling and whispering, but she doesn't quite know why.
It becomes even stranger when they all go out to a restaurant and her mother makes her sit down beside Beck. Normally, they try to keep the two apart, because seating Beck and Jade together usually leads to a fight of some sort, but something seems to have changed. Jade can't put her finger on what.
"You know, I've got a girlfriend now," Beck says casually as he thumbs through his kids' menu.
"Who?" Jade inquires, wondering why she suddenly feels a wave of completely irrational anger.
"Her name is Ashley," Beck tells her shyly. "She has nice blonde hair and pretty blue eyes. I met her on the beach today. I like her lots. We built a sandcastle."
"You're never gonna see her again," Jade informs him, slamming her menu shut so that she can glare up at him. "She's gonna go home and so are you, so you might as well stop now."
Beck looks near the point of tears. Jade just sighs and turns back to her menu, wondering why the prospect of Beck having a girlfriend makes her so upset.
The last day of their vacation, Beck quietly enters Jade's room. Jade is hanging upside down from her bed, her nose stuck in a book. Beck laughs. "What are you doing?"
"Reading, obviously," Jade says, lowering her book to the ground. "What are you doing?"
"We're leaving now," Beck informs her. "Mommy says I should tell you goodbye before we go."
Slowly, she gets to her feet. Staring at him, she says simply, "Well, goodbye."
"Bye, Jade," Beck says, and then he's walking out the door, leaving her behind.
The next summer is not so great. Jade finds out that her parents are getting a 'divorce', whatever that means, but she knows it can't be a good thing. Her mom cries a lot that summer, and then one day she announces that they're going down to the beach house again to stay with the Olivers. It is not a happy affair once they get there. Jade's mom cries into Beck's mom's shoulder.
"Why's Mommy crying?" four-year-old Jeremiah inquires. Jade doesn't have an answer for him.
She asks Beck later that afternoon. They both go out on the deck to watch the sun set, and since they are alone, Jade figures it can't do any harm. "What does 'divorce' mean?"
"I dunno," Beck answers honestly after a moment. "My friend Stevie says his parents are divorced, so they don't live together anymore."
"My mommy and daddy aren't gonna live together anymore?" Jade wonders, kicking her feet back and forth.
Beck doesn't answer for a moment. He just leans back, placing his hands behind his head. "Maybe," he says at last, glancing over at her.
"No." Jade jumps to her feet. "No, I don't believe her. You're a liar. I hate you. I hate you!"
Then with that, she runs off, back into the house. She burrows under the covers on her bed, and only then does she allow herself to cry.
Five months later, her mother takes Jade and Jeremiah and moves out. All Jade can think is that Beck was right. She cries even more.
They spend the next three summers at the beach house with the Olivers. Jade and Beck maintain their careful relationship – a careful balance between friendship and hatred. Jade dumps water on his head, Beck collects sand dollars, and they help a couple of baby turtles along to the water.
"You're not half bad," Beck remarks one day, as they sit on the swing on the porch.
"Oh, don't start that crap with me now," Jade hisses. "You're going to go off to middle school and think you're the coolest boy in school and get a group of friends that shun girls like me."
"Girls like you?" Beck raises an eyebrow.
"Course," Jade says gruffly. "I'm not exactly the popular sort of girl."
"And what will you be doing?" he prompts, genuinely curious.
"I'll get hair streaks and maybe even dye my hair. I'll be the lead in all the plays too, but generally I'll just end up being my normal ugly self." She shrugs, pretending to be indifferent.
"I think you're pretty." Beck grins over at her.
"Keep that up and you'll certainly get a girlfriend in middle school, no sweat." She laughs, giving him a disapproving glance. "Honestly, you can't mean that."
"I do," he says. "I think you're really pretty, actually. You'll end up with a boyfriend, you watch."
She walks away. (She always does.)
The last summer, when Beck is eleven and Jade is ten, they meet up in the kitchen to say goodbye. Despite their previous issues and their half-hate relationship, he envelopes her in a traditional Beck hug.
"Sappy," she claims, tugging away from his strong hold. "Besides, you'll see me again, so don't get your hopes up or anything like that."
"Wasn't planning on it." He laughs, planting a wet kiss on one of her cheeks. She blushes a little bit, much to her chagrin, and then she watches him with wide, serious eyes as he walks away.
He doesn't look back.
Six years later, Jade West is not entirely amused when her mother tells her that they're going down to the beach house again for the summer.
"I don't want to, Mom." Jade groans, running a hand through her hair. "I've got Matt and Andre to hang out with, and all of my new friends at Hollywood Arts. I don't want to give that up to go hang out with stupid Canadian Beck Oliver."
"He only moved to Canada last year, Jade," her mom explains patiently. "You guys have been really good friends since you were little."
"We hated each other half the time, actually," Jade informs her mother. "Anyway, he probably doesn't want to see me, either."
"Mrs. Oliver and I have been planning this summer for ages, and you're not going to ruin it. Neither is Beck. Now get over it, because like it or not, you're going."
"That's stupid," Jade moans. "This whole thing is stupid. I had a few parties planned, and..." Her phone rings. "Hang on, Mom; I've got to get this."
She presses the answer button on her PearPhone and raises an eyebrow. "Matt. What do you want?" After hearing his response, she freezes. "You can't be serious. Well, you know what? See if I care! Go date Alyssa Vaughn or whoever the heck you want. I don't need you, you know!"
Angrily, she presses the end button and then glares at her mom, as if she's daring her to say something. Her mom doesn't seem to take her hint. "Did Matt just break up with you?" she questions.
"Yes," Jade hisses through her teeth. "And no, I don't want to talk about it. I just want to..." Her voice starts to get choked up, so she storms up the stairs, slamming the door loudly behind her. Her mom just watches with a small, sympathetic smile.
Five minutes later (more or less, Jade doesn't know exactly), when she's calmed down a bit, Jade comes back down the stairs. "When are we leaving?" she asks innocently.
Jade's mom smiles at her.
Jade isn't sure what exactly to expect once she gets to the beach house, but aside from the addition of a new room on the side, it looks exactly the same as it did when she was little. The new room proves to be a good thing as well, because it means this time she gets her own room. Jeremiah is moved to the new room, which is also a bit awkward because that means that she has to stay beside Beck. But she doesn't really complain about it.
Ten minutes after the three Wests get there, the two Olivers arrive. Mrs. Oliver rushes forward to embrace Ms. West, and Beck hangs around awkwardly behind his mom.
Once he sees Jade, he grins. "Jade. You've changed."
"You haven't," she lies. He has; he really has - his hair is long, nearly falling in his dark, puppy-dog eyes, and he's definitely a lot more developed than he was when he was eleven. Plus, he's tall, a couple of feet taller than her at least.
"Well, your personality sure hasn't," he remarks darkly. "Nice to see you too, Jadelyn."
"Shut up, Beckett." He likes to hold her full name against her, she remembers, so she does the same.
Jeremiah comes rushing out. Grinning widely, he runs at Beck. "Beck!" he cries, wrapping the bigger guy in a hug.
"Hey, Jem," Beck says, ruffling the younger guy's hair. "You've grown up."
"Well, yeah." Jeremiah crosses his arms. "I am in eighth grade now, so that's normal. I've got a girlfriend, too. Her name's Suzy."
"That's a nice name," Beck remarks, raising an eyebrow.
"Suzy's a brat." Jade rolls her eyes. "Come inside."
The thing is that their relationship hasn't really changed a bit since they were ten and eleven, sitting on that swing. Both of them are still stubborn, still lonely but both unwilling to admit it.
One day, Jade hears their mothers talking in the kitchen.
"Jade's boyfriend broke up with her recently," Ms. West informs Mrs. Oliver. "Good thing, too; he was a bad influence on her. It still hurt her a lot, though."
"Beck hasn't had a girlfriend in a while," Mrs. Oliver confesses. "A girl a while back hurt him rather badly, so he's shying away from love."
"I get you." Ms. West nods. "I wonder how long it'll take them..."
"A while, at the rate they're going." Mrs. Oliver shakes her head, looking slightly annoyed. "You see, I don't think there's anything we could do to speed things along..."
"Hm, maybe if you told Beck about Jade's breakup..." Ms. West trails off.
"He does have a bit of a hero complex," Mrs. Oliver agrees with a half-smile. "You don't really think that'll push them to get together, do you?"
"It could help." Ms. West shrugs. "It's worth a try."
"Yeah, I suppose so." Then there is quiet. Jade leans back against the wall, her breath coming slightly faster than before. Would they really tell Beck about her breakup? She's slightly unsure if she wants Mrs. Oliver to, because she does want Beck to know, for some odd reason, yet she doesn't want to be the one to tell him. And, despite the fact that they don't get on all that well, he is not bad looking; in fact, he's fairly cute in his own sort of way. She supposes that other girls might even think him to be sexy.
So she doesn't try and stop them, nor does she let on that she has been listening. Instead, she dashes up to her room and buries her face in her pillow, letting out a frustrated groan. She doesn't really know how she feels about it all, because now it's obvious that her mother and Beck's mother are trying to set the two of them up. Yet, at the same time, she's sort of curious to see how it will all pan out. After all, like they had said, it is worth a try.
Besides, Beck's not all that bad. Sort of annoying, but definitely not her worst option. In fact, sometimes she thinks that she sort of enjoys his company.
Which, coming from her, is a huge admission.
The next day, she wakes up early, changes into a bikini top and a pair of beach shorts, and heads out to the beach. Her favorite part about coming down to the beach house is, obviously, the beach. It's especially nice in the morning, when the morning breeze ensures that she doesn't get too hot and the sun rises just above the water, casting a warm glow on everything in sight.
She realizes that someone is trailing her after a second. Biting her lip, she turns around. "Hey, Beck."
"You didn't tell me that you'd just broken up with your boyfriend," Beck says, not bothering with any sort of formalities.
"Yeah, that's not exactly the type of thing I go around announcing. But if you'd like, I could go stand on top of that rock over there and announce it to the world. 'Hey everyone, Matt and I broke up!'" She rolls her eyes. "It wasn't a bad breakup, anyway. He decided that he preferred Alyssa Vaughn to me, so I decided he was an idiot."
"That sounds like a bad breakup to me," Beck tells her, honest as always.
"Hey, you got one of my secrets; let's hear one of yours. Fess up." She raises an eyebrow at him, challenging him to protest.
"Fine." Beck smiles slightly, then whips off his shirt, which admittedly makes Jade slightly uncomfortable, though she doesn't show it. Turning around, he shows her his back.
"You got a tattoo," she observes, lacing her fingers together as if to show her approval. "Impressive, Oliver; I wouldn't have pegged you for the type."
"The type being?" He stares at her, obviously confused.
"Stupid." She laughs. "My dad says that the only people who get tattoos are idiots and sailors. And, well, you're not a sailor..."
"I very well could be!" he protests, but he laughs anyway. "That's a pretty good joke, anyway."
"Not a joke, but don't take offense. My dad's an idiot as well." Her voice seems a million miles away as she speaks, like she's traveling back to her father's house, all old and stuffy and uncomfortable...
"You stay with your dad on weekends, right?" Beck inquires.
"Yeah. But not this summer, thankfully." She rolls her eyes.
"You don't like staying with him?" Beck's starting to seem less like a high school guy and more like a reporter, which admittedly is very strange.
Jade shrugs. "Well, he doesn't really approve of my 'life choices', which currently consist of being an actress and going to an arts school. Oh yeah, and writing plays about clowns that don't bounce."
"You go to an arts school?" Beck looks all the more interested now.
"Yeah, I do. What about it?" She stares at him, hoping he will catch on to her confusion and explain.
"I'm a bit of an actor," he confesses. "I've been trying to find a good arts school for ages, but there aren't really any where I live up in Canada. Well, none that don't cost a billion dollars."
"Well, my mom knows the owner, so I go for a fair rate," she responds absently. "The school's not horrid. I have some friends, most of which my mom insists are 'bad influences'."
"Are they?" he wonders.
She realizes then that he hasn't bothered to put his shirt back on, and considering she's standing there in just a bikini top with a pair of shorts, it probably looks kind of strange. Awkwardly, she begins walking toward the water as she speaks. "Not from my point of view. Honestly, I'd say the only people my mom would approve of me hanging out with are people like the annoyingly sugar sweet Tori Vega and you."
"Oh, that burns." Beck puts his hand over his heart in mock pain. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Don't say that; you sound like Cat." Jade shudders. "Anyway, I just meant that despite your tendency to rebel, I'm sure you're a perfectly nice guy in your own special way. Not that I like nice guys or anything."
"I'll take that as a compliment." Beck laughs, running a hand through his hair. "So, since we're here... wanna go swimming?"
"Don't I ever." Smirking, Jade jumps in, grinning at the chill the water sends through her body. "Come on in, Beckett, the water's fine!"
Of course, Beck, being the coward he is, walks slowly towards the water, so Jade takes the liberty of relieving his pain by splashing him with as much water as she can manage, dousing him nearly from head to toe.
"I hate you," he mutters as he follows her into the water, a frown upon his face.
Of course, he forgets about that when he steps on a crab and ends up with a pinched toe. Jade helps him limp back up to the house, and the smiles that light up their moms' faces make it all worth it.
Two days after the whole swimming escapade, the moms announce that they're going to the fair for the day, which Beck, of course, thinks is the best thing ever. Jade's not quite so amused.
"Hopefully they'll have one of those dunking tanks," Jade says under her breath. "I enjoy dunking fat men into old water."
"Jade!" Beck reprimands, but he laughs anyway.
Jeremiah grins at his sister. "I like those games where you get candy."
"You don't need any candy, kid." Jade sighs. "You go all hyper and crazy and annoy anyone within a fifty-foot radius of you."
"Not true." Jeremiah scowls.
Once they get there, though, Jade's words prove to be one hundred percent true. Jeremiah wins cotton candy and starts going insane, dashing about every which way.
"You guys can't be enjoying this," Ms. West says apologetically. "Why don't you two take off for the roller coaster? I mean, it could be fun... just the two of you..."
Jade raises an eyebrow, but shrugs anyway. "Want to?"
"Sure," Beck agrees easily, and the two of them set off. As soon as they are out of eavesdropping distance, Beck mutters, "Well, they could at least be subtle about it."
"You know?" Jade doesn't know why this surprises her, but it does.
"Contrary to popular belief, I'm not actually a total idiot." He gives her one of those grins that probably makes most normal girls' knees weak. "Anyway, roller coaster time."
"I say we ride the biggest one - the Monster or whatever it's called," Jade challenges him, a smirk tugging at her lips.
"Um..." Beck trails off, his eyes searching the huge roller coaster. "Why?"
"Because it's fun." Jade shrugs casually. "You gonna chicken out?"
"No, I never said that!" Beck replies defensively, but his eyes never stray from the roller coaster.
Jade rolls her eyes and grabs his hand - not romantically, of course, but just so she can tug him along to the line for the roller coaster. "You're going on the roller coaster, Beckett, because I am not going alone."
"Fine." Beck gives in, punctuating his statement with a roll of his eyes.
So the two of them, still holding hands, make their way over to the roller coaster. Jade swears she hears him gulp as they get near to it, but for once she decides to be nice and not call him out on it.
It seems to take ages, but at last they get to the front of the line. Thankfully, they're the first ones let in the gate, so they get to claim the seats at the front. Jade grins broadly. "Ready for this?"
"No," Beck confesses, but the ride starts anyway.
"Relax, kid," Jade tells him in a condescending tone as they start to ascend the hill. "It won't be that bad, promise. It's only a hundred feet... maybe two hundred, I'm not sure."
"Two hundred?" Beck looks as though he's going to have a heart attack. "Jade, you never said..."
"Don't worry; I'll hold your hand." She smiles impishly, but she takes his hand and gives it a squeeze. "Really, Beck, you're supposed to be the chill one."
They're nearing the top of the hill, so Beck grits his teeth as he says, "I am chill. I'm as chill as ice."
He doesn't seem very chill as the coaster starts to speed down the hill, though. His grip on her hand tightens and she swears that she hears him scream like a little girl, which is kind of cute in a strange sort of way. Instead of screaming like most of the normal people, she just tilts her head back and laughs maniacally, because this has to be the best, most daring thing she has done in a while.
Once the roller coaster stops at last, Beck's normally tan face is as white as chalk. "That was crazy," he pants out as they step out of the cart.
"So, did you enjoy it?" she questions, taking her hand out of his slowly, because it feels a bit awkward for them to walk like that.
"Um, well, it was all right," he says hesitantly. "Don't tell anyone that I freaked out or anything, though."
"Nah, I'll just show them that picture." Jade laughs again as she points at the photo up on the screen. Beck is leaning close to Jade, his face white as a sheet, his mouth open in a scream.
Beck scowls at her. "Show anyone that and you die."
She finishes snapping a picture of it with her phone and grins over at him. "I think I'll take that risk."
The next day, Beck takes her out to walk on the beach. The two of them walk close together, almost as if they are a couple, oddly enough. She has a feeling that the moms are probably watching them through the window in the kitchen; either that, or they have secret video cameras planted on the teens' clothing.
Turning to look at her companion, Jade smirks. "Remember when we used to hate each other?"
"Too well." Beck chuckles. "I thought you were rude and selfish. Still think that now, actually."
"Shut up," Jade retorts, laughing. "I thought you were annoying, which is actually very true."
"Whatever." He grins over at her, another of those heart-melting grins that, for whatever reason, gives her butterflies. No, Jade West doesn't get butterflies, so probably more like bats. Either way, they're annoying and completely uncalled for, because Jade West does not have a crush on Beck Oliver -
Then suddenly his arm is around her back, rubbing soothing circles into her shoulder, and she's done denying it to herself. Whatever. Jade West has a crush on Beck Oliver. Everyone had seen it coming; she has no idea why it's so much of a surprise to her.
Some girls come up to them then, and for whatever reason, Beck drops his arm from her shoulder, which she doesn't really appreciate. She gives the girls a completely fake half-smile.
"I like your hair," one of the girls says with a huge smile. "It's so... fluffy."
"Yeah, I use conditioner..." Beck smiles awkwardly. "Maybe that's why?"
"I'd like to run my hands through it," another girl purrs.
"Cool." Beck doesn't seem all that fazed, but Jade feels her blood boiling. Jealousy, she thinks. It leaves a bitter taste in her mouth.
"Look, I know that you two might be a couple or whatever," one of the girls, a blonde, says with distaste, "but don't you think you'd be better with one of us? I mean, seriously. Just look at me! I'm gorgeous."
"Same." The second girl strikes a pose.
"Go away," Jade hisses through her teeth.
The blonde curls up her lip and shakes her head. "It's up to your little boyfriend, darling."
Beck's face, usually the epitome of calmness, is twisted into an ugly scowl. He shakes his head. "I don't need you, actually, so I'd a;so prefer it if you'd go away. I'm pretty sure I've got everything I need right here."
Then he leans over and kisses Jade on her lips, pulling her close and wrapping his arms around her back. Quickly, she responds, grinning against his lips. She hears the sound of feet shuffling through the sand, so she pulls away to grin victoriously at the girls.
"Yeah, go die in a hole," Jade tells them viciously, twining her fingers with Beck's and pulling him away from the girls. As they walk away, she tells him with a rare grin lighting her face, "Please tell me you were serious."
"A million percent," he retorts with a smirk.
"There is no such thing as a million percent." Jade rolls her eyes. "So you're saying that what you said wasn't true!"
"It was very true." Beck sighs, staring up at her. "The worst part about it is that our parents were right all along."
"They always say that mother knows best." Jade grins. "Maybe they're right."
"Who's 'they'?" Beck questions.
"Who knows?" Jade retorts, giving his hand a squeeze. "Who cares?"
He leans in to kiss her again.
The moms are ecstatic, just as they knew they would be. Both of them grin as soon as they see the linked hands and the kiss that Beck presses to Jade's forehead.
The two parents fawn over them, but Jeremiah just wrinkles up his nose. "I thought you hated Beck, Jade!"
"Well," Jade says eloquently, "I did... but then... stuff happened..."
Jeremiah rolls his eyes. "I don't understand you."
"Basically she thinks I'm the best thing since scissors now." Beck laughs, ruffling Jeremiah's hair, much to Jeremiah's dismay. The thirteen-year-old messes his hair back into place, muttering something about how 'hair this good takes work'.
"I can't believe it," Ms. West says with a laugh. "An Oliver and a West together. Hello, new power couple."
"Mom," Jade protests, but she laughs anyway and so does Beck.
In the end, they all decide to watch a movie together, and Beck sits on the couch, Jade in his lap, his hands stroking her hair absently.
(She falls asleep. The moms grin over at them like they're the cutest thing they've ever seen. It's sort of nice to have someone's approval.)
It's on the last day of the summer that they find out. In an attempt to get away from their fawning mothers, Jade and Beck decide to take a walk down the beach, just to talk and well, kiss a bit as well. Their hands hang between them, loosely intertwined. His thumb runs across the back of her hand.
Then, when his hand moves up to brush her hair off of her neck, his finger runs across the cold metal of her necklace. She bites her lip as he pulls the chain out, asking "What's this?" curiously as he does so.
"It's, well... it's a long story." She finds herself blushing, despite her attempts not to. "I mean, I know it's childish, but..."
As he pulls out the B charm, his jaw drops. He glances up at her, his eyes wide. "Jade. Oh my... Jade, it's you."
"Yes, obviously it's me," Jade says, obviously not understanding what he means.
"No, I mean..." He shakes his head, as if to signify that he's stunned. "Jade, it was me that day. I pushed you out of the way. I gave you this necklace. I..."
It all hits her then in perfect clarity. The brown eyes that had haunted her since she was a child, the sweet, harmonic voice that resounded in her mind - how had she never made the connection before now? Maybe for some reason, she hadn't wanted to. But now - she stares at Beck, eyes wide, and all that comes out is, "You saved my life."
"Yeah, I did," he whispers, brushing her hair out of her face. "And I've never been so grateful for one of my childhood decisions before. Honestly. I don't know what life would be like if I hadn't saved you."
"Sap," she whispers, but her voice is hoarse, like all the air has been knocked out of her. "I can't believe it. It's you. You're B." Her eyes widen, and she takes a step back. "It's you, Beck. It's always been you."
He kisses her this time, and it's packed with so much emotion that it almost knocks the breath out of her. "I love you," he whispers once he pulls away, and nothing he's said has ever been so true.
"I love you too," she replies after a moment, getting herself back together. "Ugh, I feel so sappy, but... this. I can't believe it."
"Yeah, me neither." Beck laughs. "I've always wondered what happened to that little girl I saved all those years ago."
"Well, to be honest, I'd say she turned out pretty well, don't you think?" Jade asks with a laugh.
"I'd have to agree with that one." Beck grins at her and then leans down to kiss her again.
She doesn't resist at all.
Later that day, Jade says goodbye to him for another whole year, at the least. Perhaps less, if they can arrange a date to meet. She pretends like it's not heartbreaking and gives him a prolonged kiss on the lips. He whispers 'I love you' in her ear. She smiles.
Once she gets home, Matt calls her. "Jade!" he says brightly.
"Go away," she replies, gritting her teeth.
"I'm really sorry about before," Matt blubbers. "I mean, it was really stupid of me to break up with you. Especially for Alyssa Vaughn. She - we had a fight, and now... I don't even know. I guess I shouldn't have broken up with you."
"You got one thing right," Jade says bitterly. "You shouldn't have broken up with me. But it was actually a good thing that you did, because I have a new boyfriend now. Beck Oliver. He's an amazing guy, better than you ever were. I don't miss you at all."
"Don't you?" Matt responds wickedly. "Somehow I don't believe you."
"I'll prove it," she informs, but her statement has no real vigor behind it because she doesn't quite know how.
She just knows that somehow, she will.
On her first day back to school, she's not really all that enthusiastic. She greets Andre with a half-smile, gives Tori Vega her best scathing glare, and waves at the creepy art people she'd befriended last year. Then Matt comes up to her, all muscle and arrogance and everything she has come to despise.
"Where's this boyfriend of yours?" he asks, raising an eyebrow at her.
"He lives in Canada." Jade scowls and slams her locker. "He can't very well just turn up here or Apparate or something. This isn't Harry Potter."
Then Matt's face goes white. At first, Jade's confused, but then strong, warm arms encircle her waist. Someone whispers "surprise" into her ear and she unconsciously gasps.
"Beck Oliver!" she hisses, spinning on her heel to come face-to-face with her impossible boyfriend. "How the heck are you here?"
"I transferred," he says with a shrug. "Mom got tired of life in Canada, so Dad finally gave in and we moved back here. I auditioned for the school and got in. Simple."
"They typically don't let new students in so quickly," Jade tells him, still astounded.
"I'm hardly typical," he reminds her with a small shrug.
It's only then that she remembers Matt's still standing there. Plastering on a huge smile, she says, "Matt, this is my boyfriend, Beck Oliver. Beck, this is my ex-boyfriend Matt."
Beck glares at Matt for a second, then kisses Jade on top of the head. "I'm going to get my schedule. See you later, babe."
"Believe me now?" Jade's grin broadens.
Matt just stutters something incoherently.
Life from then on is surprisingly easy. Other than Jade yelling at Beck because he sleeps in an RV when his parents are perfectly wonderful, they don't fight much, and Beck blends in perfectly at the eccentric Hollywood Arts. He and Andre become good friends; heck, Beck gets along with pretty much everyone, including (much to Jade's dismay), the insufferable Tori Vega. But, like the moms had predicted, Beck and Jade are pretty much a power couple. No one dares to mess with them.
One day after school, Beck and Jade go shopping at the dollar store. Jade lets out a laugh when she comes across an interesting aisle. "Beck, come here."
He does so immediately, and as soon as he sees what she's staring at, he laughs as well. "Well, that's definitely interesting."
"It's exactly the same as.. the one you gave me." Jade smiles, removing her chain out from under her shirt.
"I think I'll get one as well." Beck chuckles, pulling off a J chain and staring at it for a moment. "That is, if you don't think it's too sappy."
"Well, it is sappy, honestly, but I'm not objecting," Jade replies, picking up the necklace and handing it to him. She smiles as he pays for it, and then she insists on putting it on him afterwards, which makes him declare "Who's the sap now?" (and that warrants a slap on the shoulder).
"Property of J," he muses as they walk out of the store, hand-in-hand. "You know, I think I could get used to that."
"I don't think you have a choice," she retorts, but her mouth curves up into a smile. He leans over and kisses her on the cheek.
"I love you," he tells her quietly.
"I know," she replies.
Their first 'fight' comes not long after, and for once, it's about something that actually matters.
"I can't believe you didn't tell me," Jade rages. "You got a part in a major movie and you didn't think to mention it to your 'girlfriend'?"
"I did think to; I just knew you'd freak out like this," Beck replies, sounding rather terrified. "Look, Jade, I know that it seems like a lot to handle, but really it's only for a year..."
"A year I'll have to live without you," she says, her voice wavering. She stares up at him, tumult probably clear in her eyes. "Who knows, maybe in that year you'll get a super hot movie star girlfriend and forget all about me. After all, that's what Matt did."
He makes a sound that's like he's being strangled, then he crosses the room toward her in two fluid steps - one, two, she counts in her head, anything to distract her. Then he holds her wrists in his strong hands and gives her that heart-breaking stare. "Jade, no matter what happens, I want you to know three things. One, I am not Matt, nor will I ever be like him. Two, I will never, ever forget about you. Three, I love you."
All she can do is nod and give him a small, meek kiss on the lips. "I'm going to miss you, you know. I really... I don't know; I don't usually miss people, because it's stupid and sappy and it wastes time, but you're different."
"I'm going to miss you, too," he says casually, bending down to kiss her again. His fingers trace the B that rests on her collarbone. "You'll still have me, Jade. No matter what."
"No matter what," she echoes, falling into his arms.
A few days later, she rides with his mom and dad to take him to the airport. His mom is babbling on about something of no consequence, and she takes a break every few seconds to glance at Jade and Beck and smile. Jade's head is on Beck's chest; his fingers stroke her hair softly as she smiles.
"It's going to be odd, having you two apart," Mrs. West says softly.
"Tell me about it." Jade groans.
"I'll still call and all of that." Beck laughs. "It's not like I'm going to die."
"Yeah, but it won't be the same," Jade complains. "I can't do this any time I want to, can I?" Then she punctuates her statement by pressing her lips to Beck's.
"No," he says once she pulls away from him, "I suppose you can't."
She watches his plane fly away with a heavy heart. It's only temporary, she reminds herself, and she bites down so hard on her lip that she can taste blood. An ominous feeling settles over her for some reason. It's not that she fears he'll leave her - no, she trusts him much more than all that. No, it's something else entirely, though she can't quite put her finger on what.
The possibility of them crashing is very unlikely, she reminds herself. It's even less than a car crash. Yet, she thinks, car crashes occur daily, hourly even. There is still a slight chance, and besides, Beck is nothing if not impossible.
Frowning, she walks away from the gate and sits down on a bench, thinking it best to compose herself before she tries to go home. Somehow, she ends up falling asleep, because she is quickly shaken awake by the sound of screaming.
"Flight 39 is crashing," someone yells. "Flight 39 is down."
That's Beck's flight. Beck, Jade thinks, suddenly awakening with a start. Beck, no, no, NO, that's impossible -
From then on, it's all a blur.
It hurts. Everything literally hurts, like a blade cutting her apart from the inside. It slices when they announce that they've discovered Beck's body amongst the rubble. It cuts deeply when they all have to parade past his dead body, just further proof that she will never see him again, not ever, the guy she loves is dead, lifeless, cold.
It slices through her entire body when they announce that they'd found a ring case in his pocket. On the inside of the ring, someone had engraved, "It's always been you, Jade" in tiny letters.
And yeah, maybe she wouldn't have agreed immediately to something sappy like marriage, but she cries anyway.
In the middle of the night, she sneaks over to his RV and snuggles up in his bed, engulfing herself in covers and the scent of him. Through her tears, she manages to get out, "It's you, Beck, you know. It's always been you."
She falls asleep that night with her arms wrapped around his pillow, as if her subconscious is somehow fooling her into thinking that the pillow is him.
She wears the B charm every day. The ring stays in a box by her bedside table. No one ever asks about either, so she never explains.
One weekend, she disappears. Jeremiah, of course, figures out just where she is. He climbs up the stairs to the beach house and puts a hand on her shoulder. She tears her gaze away from the window for just a second to tell him, "This room has a pretty view. You can see the ocean."
"I know, Jade," Jeremiah says quietly. "I know."
Then Jade cries again, and Jeremiah opens his arms for her to fall into. They fall asleep in that room, and it's just like old times.
Except when she walks into the room next to hers, Beck Oliver isn't there to give her that heart-breaking grin.
A/N: WHAT IS THIS.
Yes this was angsty I am aware and I'm sorry creys but there's some fluff so?
Thanks to Bluey for help with the title :)
I write a lot of Bade my creys.
This is AU. Not crazy AU, but still AU. I'm aware that Beck was at HA before Tori. XD
I hope you liked it! I'm up till 2 AM now finishing this (it took ages omg), so please read and review and don't favorite without reviewing.