A/N: (Reuploaded to fix some mistakes, although I've probably missed a lot more)
Future fic based on the song No Trivia by From Autumn to Ashes. Jori, some Bade and lots of Tandre friendship.
Disclaimer: I own neither Victorious or the song. If I did, I'd be happily touring the world while writing Jori storylines for each episode ;)
Song lyrics are in bold italics, flashbacks in italics
Would you be depressed?
If I attend that wedding
But only as a guest.
I sat on the edge of my couch with my fingers laced together on top of my knees to keep them from anxiously fiddling with one another, my eyes fixed on the coffee table, on the small, white envelope that lay in front of me, torn along the edge with just a few tiny little nicks here and there where the glue had caught and ripped the paper.
The envelope had only been touched three times, once when I first got it, once when I finally worked up the courage to open it, then again, just a few minutes ago, when I took it from where it had been stuck to the refrigerator door for the past few months and placed it on the table.
I felt sick just looking at it, knowing the meaning behind it, something that should be such a happy time only serving to make my already aching heart splitter and crack. For inside lay a wedding invitation, on ivory parchment, every letter of every word skilfully written in calligraphy, so beautiful, yet so tauntingly painful to see.
The names of the bride and groom, which were inked onto the invitation in dark silver, were now slightly blotted and stained with a few small tears drops. The just legible names of Beckett James Oliver and Jadelyn West- soon to be Mr and Mrs Oliver, in a day's time- mocked me as soon as I'd opened that envelope and caught a glimpse of what I had been dreading for too long now…
I was brought out of my transfixed gaze by loud taps at my apartment door, the instantly recognisable five beat rhythm of my best friend's usual knock not even enough to bring a smile to my face. I got up from the position I had slumped myself into and crossed the small distance to the door, opening it to reveal the beaming face of Andre Harris, who stood in the hallway in a bulky leather jacket that zipped all the way up to just under his chin, shielding him from the October chill that had settled itself in LA over the last week.
"Why, if it isn't my best bud, Tori Vega!" He greeted enthusiastically, gathering me up into a crushing hug that I didn't really want, but still let the man hold me tight for a moment before releasing me, allowing me to breathe again.
"Who else did you expect?" I said, trying to make my tone joking, but only succeeded in bitter, maybe broken.
"Hey, don't be like that!" Andre's voice softened when he caught my tone. He chucked me lightly on the chin with his knuckles before stepping into the apartment, removing his jacket and hanging it on one for the coat hooks to the right of the door way, stuffing his hands into the front pockets of the dark jeans he was wearing afterwards.
"Sorry." I muttered, automatically leading him over to the kitchen to make coffee, a habit I had gotten into whenever he, or a certain other person, turned up on my doorstep. "I'm just in a bad mood."
"Let me take a wild guess why." Andre sighed. He had walked away from me as the kettle began to boil, over to the couch I had previously occupied. He picked up the little white envelope and waved it in my direction.
I nodded, unable to lie to the guy. He was the only person who knew why such a thing would make me feel so hurt, save for one other, who just happened to be the cause of every horrible feeling I felt right now. He was the first person I had confided my feelings to once I had managed to figure out their true meaning, all those years ago when we were still in high school, and remained the only one I could talk to about them, whenever I needed to. Not that ever I wanted to, especially not recently. I'd much rather forget.
"Tor." Andre was by my side again, taking the kettle from my slightly shaking hand to pour the water into our mugs. "I thought you said you were over this."
"That's what I said, Andre." I snapped, unable to help myself. "But do you really think I meant it?"
"I didn't believe a word." He smiled half heartedly; handing me my coffee- black, two sugars, an addicting taste- and tugging me back to the couch where we sat in silence for a while, each sipping at our respective drinks.
"Are you going?" My friend asked after a short time, placing his mug on the table, beside the envelope.
I shrugged. "It's tomorrow."
"That doesn't answer the question."
I huffed, placing my own mug down before falling back against the sofa. "I don't know if I can. It's bad enough just thinking about it, let alone actually seeing it."
Andre placed his large, warm hand on my knee as I ran my fingers through my already messy hair. I hadn't bothered with tidying myself up this morning, as I knew I'd be spending the day slumped around the house, in no mood to leave, so I now sat beside my casually dressed best friend in the scruffiest, yet most comfortable clothes that I had thrown on once I dragged myself out of bed.
"This is really eatin' at ya, isn't it?"
"No shit." I replied moodily.
"I think you should go." Andre continued, as if he hadn't heard me.
"Brilliant idea!" I snorted sarcastically, throwing my arms in the air with a scowl. "Let me add that to the list of things I never want to do!"
Andre failed to suppress a snigger as he nudged me with his elbow. "She's really rubbing off on you." He commented.
I dropped my head into my hands in despair. "Don't say that!" I whined. That was the last thing I wanted, to be reminded of her by all the bad habits I'd picked up from over the years.
Andre slung an arm over my shoulders, pulling me into his body so my head rested against his chest, the sound of his heart beating in a soothing rhythm filling my ears.
"I'm serious." He spoke quietly, fingers threading through my tangled hair in an effort to comfort me. "You should go. For some closure on this whole mess of a relationship you guys built up. It'll hurt, I know, but it might help you get over it."
I couldn't help the small sniffle that escaped me as I moved away from him, eyebrows creased in sudden anger. "So, you're taking Beck's side now?"
"I'm on no one's side!" Andre said quickly, raising his hands in defence. "I just want you all to be happy, and if Jade marrying Beck makes them happy, then I've got to find a way to keep you smiling too!"
I cringed at his words, 'Jade marrying Beck', it made me feel sick again.
"But, how do you know she's truly happy with Beck? If she was, she wouldn't have been cheating on him with me for so long! If she was, then why does she come running to me whenever they had an argument or a break up or something stupid!" I retorted, fist thumping into the soft cushions either side of me in annoyance.
"There's only one way to find out." Andre lent over the table and snatched up the invite, handing it to me. "Go. Find out how she truly feels, or you're going to regret just sitting here doing nothing about it for the rest of your life."
M 4 V T C and H
Might need to provide this number at the gate
Steady pilot 'cause I'm half afraid.
Can't believe you'd ask me that, of course I don't believe in fate.
Hours later, I found myself showered, dressed smartly and in an airport, being shunted along by the mass crowds who never seemed to be on time for their plane but were always in a hurry to get where they needed to be. Andre had pinned himself to my side so I had no chance of changing my mind and escaping, which I had tried the whole trip up here, and now shoved me through security as my feet didn't seem to want to move on their own.
I glanced over as I went through, at the stereotypically overweight security guard who sat on the sidelines 'observing' the comings and goings of all passengers. He was actually sat with his feet up on a stool, a donut in one hand, a magazine in the other the front page of which was smeared with the latest celebrity gossip, including, I could just make out from here, the news of an upcoming Broadway playwrite and a young Hollywood movie star who were to be wed the very next day.
I tried to turn and run again, but Andre put his hand out to stop me, shaking his head firmly. "You've got to do this, Tori. For both of your sake."
I felt powerless as he turned me back around and gave me a soft shove to continue moving.
Beck had asked Andre to be the best man at his wedding, as the two of them had been the closest of friends since high school, even sharing an apartment together after graduation. Maybe they weren't as close as Andre and I, but there was still no denying their friendship, and that made Beck think he was the perfect choice.
If only he knew the secret his best friend was keeping from him, about the two girls he'd caught in a compromising position in the janitor's closet one day during school-
It had been a whole year since an argument had gotten a little out of hand, turning into the very unexpected- a spur of the moment decision, a shove against a wall, an assault on the lips- and, for some reason, Jade felt the need to 'celebrate' this.
Another shove against the wall, the wall of the infamous janitor's closet- thankfully janitor free- and I grunted a little in pain when my back connected with the hard brick. Things were hardly ever soft and slow and easy, but some sick part of me enjoyed that, so when Jade's mouth was forcefully pressed to mine, a mumble of "This has to be quick" muffled between our lips, I couldn't refuse.
Clothes weren't even fully taken off, just pushed roughly out of the way of wherever the hand wished to explore. Kisses were hurried, clumsy, but still oh so intoxicating and the fact we were at school, sneaking around just after the start of fourth period, only heightened the thrill.
Moans were silenced by lips that never left my body, be it my mouth, throat, collarbone, wherever they could reach. Tongues duelled in a quest for dominance that I always lost in the end, but also served to stifle any scream of pleasure that escaped me as the goth girls fingers set to work.
But apparently it wasn't enough to block out every sound, as the little noises that leaked though would echo into the empty corridor, causing curious passers by to wonder what on earth could be going on and come to investigate.
The door I was facing, usually locked but that had been forgotten in haste, cracked. My eyes flickered open at the slight creak, that Jade didn't notice, and I watched, as if in slow motion, as a face peered around the gap they had made, then a gasp escaped both his and my lips, both of shock, but one mixed with pleasure.
Jade still hadn't noticed, as her mouth as back on mine, and the hum I made to get her attention was muffled between hungry kisses. She pulled back in concern when she didn't get the response she desired and saw my wide eyes staring over her shoulder in shock, fear, humiliation, I couldn't decide.
She turned and, although I felt her tense, her composure managed to remain cool. She looked Andre up and down as he stood frozen on the spot, his head sticking slightly through the doorway as he didn't seem to be able to move from shock.
"Whatever you think you see, Harris, you don't." Jade's low, menacing tone cut through the stunned silence.
The boy gulped and nodded before making a hasty retreat.
I snapped out of my daze at the sound of my name. Somehow, we'd made it to the airplane and were now seated side by side, me at the window, Andre in the middle, an empty seat to his left; apparently window seats made the darker boy nauseous. I had no idea how or when we got here, having been too lost in old memories, but I knew there was no turning back now. I was stuck on a long flight to New York, unprepared to face whatever was waiting for me at the other end.
"Tori?" Andre repeated, this time accompanied by his hand clasping mine. "Come on, chick. You look like you're about to throw up."
"I can't do this, Andre." I muttered, my head falling forward in despair, my hair shielding my face as tears threatened to spill. "I can't see her. It's been months! Months without a single word and now I'm expected to turn up at her wedding!"
I was getting angry now, but I wasn't sure who at. Andre for dragging me here? Jade for putting me in this mess? Beck for taking her away? Or… myself? I took a deep breath to steady myself, fighting back against the sting in my eyes. I couldn't cry again, I'd shed enough tears for her. I hadn't cried since I forced myself to open that damn invitation and I wasn't going to do it now.
I heard Andre sigh beside me, and then felt him reach over to buckle my seatbelt in place as the pilots' voice filling the cabin, drowning out the dull chatter from the other passengers. I wasn't listening. I'd been on airplanes often enough to know the safety speeches by heart, but most of me didn't care in the first place. A morbid thought crossed my mind, that maybe the plane would come down and I wouldn't have to deal with this mess, but I quickly shook myself out of that way of thinking, I couldn't take out so many innocent people just because I couldn't handle a wedding.
Not a word was spoken between Andre and I. He fell back against the seat, his PearPod on and earphones stuffed firmly in place so he could listen to the latest demos he was working on, while I stared off into space, not wanting to think, but unable to stop myself. Memories I'd tried so hard to forget kept unlocking and unravelling themselves in my mind, fighting for the attention that I didn't want to give them. Over these past few months since that invite, every time I closed my eyes, or there was a moment's silence, they'd be there, haunting me, taunting me, laughing at the pathetic girl who couldn't get what she wanted.
An air stewardess passed by with one of those huge trolleys laden with all sorts of overpriced airline food. With Andre now taking a nap, and before I could stop myself, I asked for the biggest, most expensive bottle of wine they had, saying it was in celebration for a wedding, when she raised an eyebrow at me, when really, it was to drown my sorrows over one.
"Yours?" She questioned when handing me the bottle and two glasses, one for me, one for Andre.
"I wish." I muttered bitterly.
Another eyebrow raise, but the stewardess kept up her good nature despite it. "A beautiful girl like you? I'm sure he'll be down on one knee soon." She nodded in the direction of Andre's sleeping form and winked.
"Oh." My eyes widened in realisation and I forced a smile. "Oh, no, no. Not him. We're just friends."
"Ah." She nodded. "But, still, who ever they are would be a fool if they don't snatch you up soon."
She winked again and continued on her way down the aisle as I opened up the wine, pouring myself a large glass. I shouldn't be drinking this, not so early in the day at least, but I needed the nerve to get though, so if that meant getting tipsy at the least, then I'd take all the liquid confidence I could get my hands on. Andre would kill me for it when he wakes up, but he's too busy snoring right now to stop me.
I took a moment to swirl the wine around the glass, watching the deep red colour spin. I hadn't exactly become an alcoholic, but I'd certainly been drinking a lot more over these passed few months. It's numbing. It blocks out all the bad thoughts that create storm clouds in my brain and helps me forget, forget about her, about this mess and about this stupid wedding. But just as I'm about to take a sip, a hand grabbed my glass, pulling it away from my lips.
"Woah, what are you doing, girl?" Andre asked in a hushed tone, as if wine drinking is suddenly illegal or something. He was a much lighter sleeper than I thought.
"Toasting the happy couple." I muttered darkly, tugging the glass from his grip, taking a gulp before he could stop me.
"Tori." His voice switched to concerned. "What have I told you about slippery slopes?"
"Be sure there's enough grip on your tires in winter in case there's ice?"
Andre glared at my sarcasm. "You know what I mean. I saw that empty wine bottle in your trash. I'm not letting you destroy yourself with alcohol just because of J-"
"Don't say her name!" I shush him rather loudly, flapping a hand in front of his face to quiet him down. I couldn't hear her name right now, I couldn't even think it without feeling a prang of hurt in my heart.
"Alright, alright, calm down!" Andre said quietly, snatching my wrist to stop my waving arm. "But no drink for you. I'm not letting you go into this drunk as a skunk, okay? You'll end up doing something stupid."
"Like this isn't stupid enough." I countered.
"We'll see." The dark boy sighed, taking my wine bottle and shoving it into his bag so I could no longer get it. Then he took my glass again and downed the rest of the liquid with a smile, quirking his eyebrow at me when I scowled his way and pouted. "Not gunna work." He added, waggling a finger at me.
I childishly sulked for the rest of the flight, but Andre ignored my behaviour, in fact, he seemed to find it amusing. I shook my head and turned away from him, opting to watch the clouds surrounding us float by as we zoomed though the air.
Would you be depressed,
If I attend that wedding,
But only as a guest?
Such an unfaithful bride
Draped in a dress
Threads of my-
I'd managed to slip away from my minder. Andre had been called by Beck the second we landed in New York, the groom begging him to get to the hotel fast to help out with some last minute details for the wedding. Just over hearing the conversation made me sick.
We managed to get to where we were staying in record time, Andre collected our key, as he made sure we were staying in the same room- with separate beds of course- then dumped me and his stuff inside before rushing off again to catch a cab and meet up with Beck, warning me that I 'better still be here when he gets back or else.'
I had half a mind to ignore him and run for it, but something was keeping me in place. Some stupid, buried deep hope that told me I'd made it this far, I might as well see where it goes from here. So I dropped myself onto the end of my bed, wondering what to do… then I spotted it. Andre may have been able to take my wine away on the plane, but he couldn't keep me from the mini bar. Or room service.
So that's why I found myself, who knows how long later, laying face down on my bed with an empty bottle clutched in one hand and my nose buried deep into the thin pillow they had provided. It doesn't take much to get me drunk, something I'm actually pretty glad about on a night out because it costs me less than it would for most of my friends, but there were still half drunk bottles littered around me where I'd decided to taste test everything the place had to offer, which was quite a lot.
I was slipping in and out of consciousness and I'd have been quite happy to just pass out, but the faded memories were once again slipping through the cracks, laughing at me, feeding on my hopeless heart. They brought me back to when this all began, a drunken party so long ago.
I walked around the big, unfamiliar house in a daze, a red cup full of some obviously spiked punch held tightly in one hand, but I wasn't complaining. We were at the house party of some Hollywood Arts student I hardly knew, but Andre said he did and had insisted that I come along to have some fun and at least keep him company; he was the designated driver, meaning he had to remain stone cold sober all night.
Somewhere along the line, however, Andre and I had managed to lose each other when I went off to fill my cup up for the fourth (maybe fifth?) time, despite him telling me to take it easy- it was a party, why couldn't I have a little fun?. That's why I stumbled around the place, pushing past hoards of drunken dancing people on the look out for my friend.
I made it to a corridor, deserted save for the couple that were vigorously making out against a wall, but I ignored them and they ignored me as I passed by. I pressed my ear to every door I came across, searching for a familiar voice, hoping Andre had sneaked off to some place quiet instead of staying with the loud, obnoxious party goers all insisting he joined in their drinking games.
At the final door I heard a noise. I heard someone speak and in the back of my mind I knew I recognised that voice, but couldn't put a finger on it. Whoever it was, my drunken thoughts told me they may be able to help me out, so I pushed the door open.
It took my eyes a moment to adjust to the lack of light, but when they did, I froze. I'd walked in on Beck and Jade, lying on a half made bed in what seemed to be the middle of a heated make out session. My heart leapt and jammed in my throat, my alcohol fuzzed mind couldn't think of what to do and I just stood there, gawping at them in stunned silence. It took them a few moments to realise I had walked in and when they did, they jumped apart, neither looking too pleased at my arrival.
"Vega!" Jade spat as she adjusted her shirt that Beck's hand had been under just seconds ago. "What the fuck are you doing here! Get OUT!"
I nodded dumbly, but couldn't move. My feet felt like they were stuck to the floor with super glue and my limps felt frozen solid. It's not like I hadn't seen the couple kissing before, in the corridors at school, in the parking lot, anywhere I turned… but this was different. This wasn't one of those public displays of affection, it was a private moment I'd just stupidly stumbled in on and it made my stomach twist into a hard knot, bile burn at the back of my throat and a wave of pure jealously made my eyes sting with tears.
And in that moment, it hit me. An undeniable realisation reared its ugly head and I saw it. I saw every time the couple had kissed in front of me and I had to turn away with some unexplainable feeling in the pit of my stomach, prodding at my heart. I saw every time Beck slung his arm around Jade's shoulder and all I wanted to do was push it away and I didn't know why. I saw- to my horror- that the friendship I so desperately craved from Jade was not that, but more.
An inescapable need for her.
And I didn't even noticed she'd gotten up off the bed until her palms pressed to my shoulders, goosebumps erupting where they lay, then shoved me roughly backwards, out of the room as she muttered something about being more of an idiot drunk than I was sober.
I just caught Beck's worried and confused look over Jade's shoulder- the latter still glaring daggers at me- before the door was slammed in my face. I stumbled, my back hitting the wall behind me with more force than I expected and I slid down it, sinking to the floor until my legs were curled up, my arms wrapped around them and my forehead pressed to my knees.
"It's the alcohol." I tried to reassure myself out loud. "Nothing but the alcohol. You're drunk, Tori, you have to go home."
After several seconds, or minutes, days- I have no idea how long I was curled up on the floor for- I got up, using the wall as a guide, I staggered to my feet, even more determined to find Andre than I was before.
The next thing I knew, Andre was helping me through the front door of my house, making soft comforting sounds in an attempt to calm me down. I was sobbing, tears streaming down my face and I didn't know why. I was babbling too, only the odd word making sense like, "accident" "sorry" "don't know" "help."
He helped me sit on the couch; my parents and Trina were sound asleep upstairs but I still tried to quieten myself down so not to wake them. My best friend jogged over to the kitchen to grab me a glass of water before sitting beside me, slinging an arm over my shoulder which I almost shrugged off, but didn't have the strength to.
"What happened?" He asked quietly. "Was it that Jason prick who'd been eyeing you all night? 'Cause I swear, if he's done anything to you-"
Andre's threat made me smile a little, but I cut him off with a shake of my head. I gulped the water down quickly then set the empty glass on the table before turning to look at the boy, staring directly into his eyes. Maybe it was the alcohol talking, because I didn't mean to say the next thing I blurted out.
"I love her, Andre."
To my surprise, I watched the worry and concern in his eyes turn to what looked like relief and realisation. He patted my knee and his lips formed a small smile. "I forgot Beck and Jade said they'd be there."
I stared at him, my mouth falling open and popping closed as I tried to form words. What did he mean? How did he know? "W-what!" I eventually managed to splutter out.
His smile just got bigger. "Come on, Tor." He shook his head, now smirking. "I think you were the only one who didn't see this coming." I went to speak again, but he held a hand up, stopping me. "Nuh uh. You've got to go to sleep now. I'll help you up to your room and we'll talk about this tomorrow when you've sobered up."
Still confused, I reluctantly agreed, letting him lead me upstairs and tuck me up into bed once I'd changed out of my smoke and alcohol scented party clothes (Andre had waited outside to let me undress). I clambered into bed and he wandered back inside, tucking me in and kissing me lightly on the forehead, stroking my hair. "Don't think, just sleep." He instructed, then left without another word.
I didn't realise I was crying until a sob ripped from my lungs, shaking my whole body as tears spilled endlessly from my eyes. It hurt. It hurt like hell. Every day from then on, just seeing Beck with Jade made my heart crack that little bit more, like it was being slowly chiselled away, not leaving a beautiful sculpture in its wake, but destroying an old one that had steadily become weaker and weaker over time.
My grip tightened on my bottle and if I had the strength, I'd have thrown it across the room, watched it smash against the wall with some sick satisfaction that it may represent how I felt at this very moment.
Very artistic. Very poetic… Very Jade.
Maybe Andre was right, she really was rubbing off on me.
Who'd have thought that 'happy-go-lucky' Tori Vega would be reduced to a shuddering, sobbing mess because of the girl she was supposed to hate? The girl who bullied her most of her school life, or so everyone saw. A watery chuckle escaped me; they always say there's a fine line between love and hate. Sometimes that line blurs, it could blur so much that it ceased to exist. I wish I could bring that line back and this time maybe I could stay on the right side, instead of toeing it with an attempt at friendship until I slipped and fell into the dark, unknown territory that lay ahead.
I think I fell asleep because the next thing I knew there was the sound of bottles clinking together and the one I still held firmly was wiggled free from my grasp. I turned my head and cracked an eye open to see, through bleary vision, Andre's shadow hovering over me, collecting up the mess I'd created. He noticed me shift and caught my gaze, smiling a sympathetic smile down at me.
"I knew I should've emptied the mini bar before I left." The boy said with a laugh, shaking his head. I felt the bed sink as he sat down beside me and soon a hand was running through my hair. "Oh, Tori, what am I going to do with you?"
"Call cupid and tell him to shoot me with a different arrow this time." I slurred, my now empty hand rising then crashing back on the mattress. "One that's not going to get married to one of my friends."
Andre laughed again. "I'll have a word with him for ya."
I smiled and twisted myself around until my head was lying in Andre's lap and I was looking up at him, his hand still threading through my tousled curls. The tears I'd shed were gone, but left their dried tracks down my cheeks which Andre gently wiped away with his thumb and I nuzzled into his palm as he did so, sighing.
"I love her, Andre." I said softly, squeezing my eyes shut and revelling in the warmth of his hand.
"I know, Tor. I know."
"Can you make it stop?" I asked childishly in a small voice.
"Make what stop?" I opened my eyes again to find the deep brown ones staring down at me, a spark of sadness hidden behind them.
"The hurt." I said quietly. "The love." I sighed again. "Or, maybe the wedding."
He shook his head once more. "Go to sleep, Tori."
I nodded, swallowing back another threat of tears then moved back to the pillow as Andre got up to finished the rest of the cleaning. I'd have to apologise to him for the mess once I wake up, but for now my eye lids felt far too heavy to stay open much longer and with one last, deep breath, I drifted off.
Sing it loud to drown out the feeling
When you're feeling much more odd than (even)
And half as true as dishonoured seamen
We'll breathe Pacific and fight our demons.
My head was pounding, but, as my best friend kept reminding me, it was my "own stupid fault." I groaned and adjusted my sunglasses, sliding them back up my nose, the surprisingly bright sunshine almost blinding me as we walked out of the hotel and headed towards the coffee shop we'd seen yesterday, deciding to have breakfast there instead of with the hustle and bustle in the usually crowded hotel dining area.
We walked the little way to the shop in silence and I tried to keep my buzzing mind from thinking about the event that would take place early this evening. Andre was still dragging me along to this wedding, probably as a punishment for what I did last night and making him clean up, but he insisted, again, that it would do me good. I told him I didn't see how it could do me any good to watch my heart get stomped on by Jade's big, crushing boots, to which he just rolled his eyes and dragged me out of the bed I was trying to bury myself in, hoping to get tangled and lost in the sheets, never to see the light of day again.
I couldn't help the small smile that appeared on my face as we got closer to the coffee shop. The large windows on either side of the door, which looked out onto the little patio area, were decorated with cobwebs and spiders with a little pumpkin sat in the middle of each in celebration of today- Halloween. Quite fitting, really, that Jade West had her wedding at such a time of year. No matter how much she said she despised the holidays, I knew the girl had a soft spot for this one in particular and couldn't resist doing something to mark the occasion. I still remember the time she managed to break into my locker and fill it with plastic spiders, scaring me half to death when I opened it before lunch. Her only complaint was that she couldn't get her hands on real spiders.
I was brought out of yet another Jade related memory by the tinkling of a bell. We had reached the door and Andre had pushed it open, holding it so I could go though first.
"Thank you, kind sir." I giggled at him, going to step inside only to have him whip his hand away, causing the door to come swinging back, almost hitting me in the face, if he hadn't been quick enough to block it with his arm. I gasped and jumped back, turning to glare at his smirk.
"Never do that again!" I scolded, swatting him playfully on the arm before letting myself in.
"What, you really think I'd let the door hit that pretty little face of yours?" Andre teased.
"I would, it might make some improvement."
A cold shiver ran down my spine and I couldn't decide if my heart had sped up to an incredible speed or just stopped altogether at the familiar, snarky voice that reached my ears. I know it had lodged itself in my throat again, making it extremely difficult to swallow the gulp I took as I turned on my heel to face the two people who sat in one of the window seats, the only reason I hadn't seen them there before being the many decorations blocking them from the view from outside. If I had seen them, I would never have stepped foot in the coffee shop.
Neither had changed much since high school. Jade still wore all black as often as she could but her hair was cut slightly shorter and was now a dark shade of brown as opposed to the pure black from before, the highlights also taken out. She still had the eyebrow ring and nose stud, both glinting at me in the bright sun shining in on us and her eyes were, of course, still the same glorious mix between blue, grey and green that had always captivated me since I first met her. Today they appeared just that little greener, making them seem softer, even under the scowl she now wore.
Across from her, still with that vibrant shock of red hair that was tied back in a ponytail today, sat Cat, the maid of honour, who beamed at us as she clutched her coffee mug. Tight white tank top, tiny jean shorts, bright red heals, Cat would never completely change from the bubbly, child like girl we knew and loved. How she wore that outfit today and not feel any cold, I'll never know. She motioned us over and, before I could refuse or protest, I felt Andre shove me squarely between my shoulder blades to get me moving, until I bumped into a chair and tripped over my own feet, my palms slapping against Cat and Jade's table as I managed to stop myself from falling flat on my face, but had my glasses slide from my nose.
"Smooth as ever." Jade commented, taking a sip from her coffee: black, two sugars, as always.
I scowled and took the seat beside Cat, Andre muttering something about going to get drinks, but the sound of my heart frantically pounding in my ears made it difficult to hear him. I wished to be anywhere else but here. I couldn't face Jade without doing something I regretted, and pretty much any move I made right now would be stupid and/or dangerous.
My mind was screaming at me, telling me to make her stop this pointless wedding, that I loved her and we should be together in the foolish fantasy I'd built up in my head.
On the other hand, I could sit here in silence, let her go ahead and get married to Beck and live with the 'what if's' forever, the choice I liked the least of all.
Jade cocked her head to one side and managed to catch my eye, flashing me that signature smirk that, even though I knew its cruel intentions, still made my knees turn to jelly.
"What's the matter, Vega?" She asked, feigning concern. "Cat got your tongue?"
"I do not!" Cat defended immediately.
Jade turned to shake her head at the shorter girl before switching her attention back to me, slurping at her coffee because she knew the noise got under my skin. I glared at a spot over her shoulder, unable to look directly at her as I knew I'd melt under the intense look, my anger turning to longing instead. It was so pathetic, but I was still cursed by whatever spell she put on me all those years ago and I couldn't shake it off.
Andre returned with the beverages, setting my mug down in front of me, being careful not to spill the contents. I saw Jade try to give a sneaky glance at my drink, hiding a smile behind her own mug when she caught it. We ordered the same now. I had ever since that first kiss, one that immediately hooked me in and didn't let me go, and I had been addicted to the taste ever since.
It had been weeks after that fateful party and I'd been trying to avoid Beck and Jade as best as I could, without it looking suspicious. Every time I saw either of them, the scene would replay in my mind, over and over, torturing me, my imagination even going far enough to create its own images of what could've happened once that door had been slammed in my face. I couldn't shake it, so I turned and ran in the opposite direction.
As much as I'd tried to convince myself that it was the alcohol controlling my feelings that night, I knew it wasn't. I'd much prefer it if it were the alcohol, but it was, in fact, that stupid, constantly beating organ that lay behind the supposedly protective barrier of my ribs. They didn't help much when it came to the emotional abuse so often thrust upon the heart, and as those weeks went by, I discovered more and more that it was indeed a crush I was harbouring for the West girl, one that tore me every time I saw her.
We made our way out of Sikowitz's class, heading to lunch via my locker, as usual. I had to get some books out ready for next period, so told the guys I catch them up and waved as they walked away. All but one- Jade.
She strolled past me to the Wahoo Punch machine across the corridor and, out of the corner of my eye I watched her press the little button for her soda, then wait impatiently for the can to drop into the hatch for collection. I looked away as she turned back around, pulling my science book from my locker to shove in my bag only to jump in shock as I heard the clink and hiss of a soda can being opened right next to my ear.
"Don't wet yourself, Vega." Jade said before slurping noisily at her drink.
"Don't do that!" I cringed, gritting my teeth. "And I haven't wet myself, you surprised me!"
Jade slurped the punch again, louder and longer this time, pulling the can away from her lips with a satisfied "Aaaah." I rolled my eyes and shut my locker, ready to walk away when she said "Hold out your wrist."
"Why?" I asked suspiciously, yet still doing as told. Jade didn't answer; she just wrapped her fingers around my arm and yanked me towards the janitor's closet through the now empty corridors. I immediately felt thousands of butterflies storm my stomach at her touch, rendering my useless and limp as I was thrown through the door which was then closed and locked behind us.
Then she just stood there, leaning back against the wooden frame and watching me as she drank her Wahoo Punch, poker face in place, her icy blue eyes staring intently. I shifted my weight nervously from foot to foot trying to figure out a way out of here past the raven haired girl blocking the only exit; I couldn't be locked in here alone with her, my heart couldn't take it.
Jade downed the remaining dregs of her drink and tossed the empty container into the nearest trash can, one still being held together with copious amounts of glue, before she finally spoke. Her gaze never faltered from me once and not even the hint of a smirk at my obvious discomfort broke her straight face, making me feel more uneasy than ever.
"What's your problem, Vega?" She asked in what I'm sure was meant to be a biting tone, but something lay beneath. Concern? Hurt?- "You've been avoiding Beck and I since that party, not that I mind, it's been nice not having you around as often, but Beck seems to think there's a problem." -Or maybe I was imagining things.
"I'm fine!" I squeaked, doing nothing to convince the girl in front of me, who took a step forward.
"Obviously, you're not." Her voice was low as she took another step, looking frighteningly like a predator that was ready to pounce on her cornered prey. "Didn't you like seeing Beck getting intimate-" she drew out the word, making me cringe again. "-with his girlfriend? Did you wish it was you in her place?"
"N-no!" I stuttered. Much the opposite, actually, I'd rather be in his place… shut up, brain! "I've told you a million times, Jade. I'm not after Beck!"
"If you're sure." Another step. "But, then, what is the problem, Vega? Was it far too baaaad for your innocent little mind to take?" She was right in front of me now, poking a finger to my forehead as she spoke.
"Stop it, Jade." I protested meekly, my heart doubling it's tempo at the proximity.
"Stop what?" She asked in the voice reserved to mock me, but my retort stuck in my throat. This was by far the closest we'd been since my discovery and, I was right, I couldn't handle it. I took a step back hitting the wall behind me.
"Out with it, Vega!" She suddenly shouted, making me jump. I really had turned into a mess around her.
"Back off, West!" I yelled back, the little confidence I had left breaking through.
"Or what?" She hissed.
"O-or-" My brain had stopped functioning, I couldn't think of any comeback. All I could focus on were her soft, plump lips that were so close now that just the tiniest step forward and I could claim them as my own. I swallowed hard, flicking my eyes back up to Jade's, who must've noticed my staring as I caught a smirk lift the corners of her mouth.
"Or what?" She repeated softly, inching closer still, if it were possible, causing me to strain against the wall to keep away.
But my body acted of its own accord. Before I could even think of what I was doing, I'd pressed my lips to Jade's, my hands finding her cheeks and my eyes squeezing shut. She didn't respond, just simply stood, stunned, until I pulled back, breathing hard… what the hell had I just done?
I couldn't find my voice to apologise, my mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water, I could only watch as Jade swallowed and sucked in a deep breathe before pinning me to the wall in a flash, pressing her lips to mine in a bruising kiss, hard, desperate and full of the longing I knew I reciprocated.
I stiffened in shock this time. My breath caught and held in my throat, but it wasn't long before I melted into it, kissing her back with just as much passion. Her tongue traced slowly across my bottom lip and I couldn't help but moan softly as my mouth parted allowing her in, our tongues meeting in a furious dance. She tasted bittersweet, the lingering aftertaste of the coffee she drank every single day still strong enough to overwhelm the sweet Wahoo Punch she'd just had. In an instant I knew I was addicted, I wanted more, I needed more.
We parted, breathing heavy once again, my heart pounding wildly against my chest and with our bodies so close I swear Jade could feel it.
She stepped away and swallowed again, looking directly into my eyes, making me feel uncomfortable. "No one must know about this." She hissed through gritted teeth.
I nodded, my own teeth held tightly together and I was sure I was going to burst, with joy or fear, I wasn't sure.
Jade backed towards the door, still watching me intently the whole time. She lifted her hand to the door handle before speaking again. "Count to fifty after I leave, then follow." I nodded, still stunned. She pushed the handle down. "And meet me here, same time tomorrow."
Before I could even process what she'd said, she'd gone.
"So aren't you supposed to be preparing for your big day today?"
Andre's cheery voice brought reality crashing back down on top of me, breaking through the past and everything that had happened. His eyes shifted between Jade and I continuously as if he were afraid one of us would disappear if he looked away for too long.
"I'm enjoying my last coffee as a free woman." The paler girl replied, lifting her almost empty mug.
"And you had to get away from Beck for a bit!" Cat chimed in. "They had an argument this morning!"
"CAT!" Jade shrieked, making the red head go wide-eyed and clasp a hand to her mouth, while my heart leapt. What was that? Beck and Jade had been arguing?
"Trouble in paradise?" I said bitterly before I could stop myself.
"It's none of your business, Vega!" Jade spat quickly, throwing an accusing glare my way that sent shivers down my spine. She looked at me as if it was entirely my fault, or maybe I was just imagining that she was.
"What were you arguing about?" Andre butted in before I could retaliate, his eyebrows creased in concern. He knew as well as I did that a couple fighting on their wedding day could not be a good sign.
"Just last minute wedding crap." The pale girl replied, waving a hand dismissively. "He's all for tradition and not seeing each other before hand. I think it's a load of bullshit and when I tried to tell him that, he actually hid behind the damn door so I wouldn't see him. It got a bit out of hand from there."
I sniggered despite myself, the image of Beck forcing the door to remain closed while Jade yelled at him being funnier than it should be.
Jade caught this. She glared at me for a long moment before downing the rest of her coffee in one swallow, slamming her mug back on the table with more force than was ever necessary as she got to her feet. "Come on, Cat. Let's go get ready for my big day."
She grabbed Cats hand, who squeaked in protest, glancing down at her half finished hot chocolate, then barged her way past Andre, almost throwing the poor guy out of his seat in her haste. I shifted to let a pouting Cat go by and watched as the two women left the coffee shop, out into the warm sunshine. I turned back to Andre, who raised his eyebrows at me, shrugged and went back to sipping his coffee.
"Their arguing can't be good-"
"Tori." He interrupted quickly. "Don't."
I sighed, slumping back in my seat. Of course he'd want me to leave it alone, my 'meddling'- as it has been called- has caused more problems than solutions in the past, but it's just not in my nature to leave these things to lie. "But, Andre-"
Would you be depressed,
If I attend that wedding,
But only as a guest?
Such an unfaithful bride
Draped in a dress
Threads of my-
"Are you gunna get out of this damn bathroom yet!"
It wasn't long before the wedding and Andre and I were in our room, getting changed into more suitable clothes for such an occasion. As much as I trusted Andre, it was better for us to get ready in separate rooms and as soon as I suggested this, he stuffed me into the bathroom saying he would not leave me alone with an easy escape route and that he couldn't afford to waste time chasing after a heart broken lunatic if I did manage to get away.
We had argued on the way back from the coffee shop. Cat's words were whirling around my head and the glare Jade gave me was burned into my memory. The supposedly happy couple had argued this morning? It's not uncommon for Beck and Jade to break into arguments at any given moment, but on the day of their wedding?
Andre had told me to drop it, that they have little spats all the time and it'll be patched up before Jade has even walked up the aisle. Maybe I shouldn't have slapped him on the arm quite so hard after that comment, after all he was probably right, but it still made my stomach lurch painfully at the thought. However, I was still determined to know what more had happened between the two of them, to turn something as little as a tradition into an argument Jade wanted to escape from. It was the only reason I still agreed to go to the ceremony.
Another five sharp taps on the bathroom door. "TORI! Open up, girl! We need to get there A.S.A.P and I am not leaving you to mope around in a bathroom all day instead!"
I sighed and got up from the edge of the bathtub I'd been sitting on for the past few minutes. I was wearing a short, black dress with silver and grey stripes running across it in a weave type pattern, dark tights, a simple pair of black heels and a silver clutch bag tucked under one arm. I'd bought the outfit some time ago, a month or so after opening the invitation, when I was angry and hell bent on putting a stop it all. The heels weren't too high, just enough to dash down the aisle after the "Speak now, or forever hold their peace," the dress fitted perfectly, showing off my body and, most importantly, my legs, because I had selfishly wanted Jade to notice, to realise what she was missing out on, to come running to me instead.
I scrapped the idea by the end of the day. It was just a bout of childish jealousy burning inside of me. Jealousy and anger and selfish want, all because Jade had decided to turn up on my doorstep to give me the invitation herself.
10pm. I was sat on the couch in front of the tv, about to start watching a movie, when the doorbell rang, echoing through my apartment. I half sighed, half growled, having just settled myself into a comfortable position, all ready to relax and wind down after a long day in the recording studio, but still put down my glass of lemonade and pushed myself out of the seat, making my way over to the door.
I wasn't expecting any visitors, although I rarely did, my friends still hadn't broken out of the habit of randomly appearing at my house without prior warning or invitation. It was still like school, but less frequent, and it was usually only one of two people who'd be there. It was probably one of the neighbour kids messing around again, they just loved to ring everyone's door bells then run off down the corridor, hiding behind the large plant pot at the end to watch the occupants of the apartments glance around, annoyed, then storm back into their flats. I never understood the thrill anyone could get out of that.
I'd left my keys in the door when I came in, so just gave them a quick, sharp twist. Aggravated by the thought that it could be one of the boys from number 57 again, I wrenched the door open, all ready to yell out to leave me in peace just this once, when I was stopped in my tracks, my mouth hanging open and admitting a squeak like sound.
"J-Jade?" I stuttered, gawping at the paler woman who stood before me, a blank expression on her face. "W-what are you doing here? I thought you were busy in New York."
"I was." Jade stated, pushing past me into the flat. "But this is more important."
I span on my heel, following her to the kitchen area. She'd already switched the kettle on and was getting mugs by the time I got there. "More important than the play you've been working on for so long?"
Instead of answering, Jade busied herself by preparing the drinks, heaping more than generous amounts of coffee granules into each mug along with heavy spoonfuls of sugar. Her face remained emotionless, a mask, something I had worked so hard and desperately to remove. Something I hadn't seen in years.
Something must be wrong. Over the past few years that Jade and I had secretly been seeing each other, on and off, whenever we could- when she and Beck had argued, when she needed comfort or just some place to get away for a while with the excuse she was going to visit family- she had shown me every emotion in the spectrum. From anger and denial, sadness and loathing, happiness and hunger, lust and love, everything. For her to build her walls back up so suddenly, not even a visible flicker in the mask, I knew it must be bad.
Jade handed me the mug, accidently spilling some of the boiling liquid over my finger in her haste, but I ignored the scolding splash and the red blotch that soon appeared; when it comes to Jade, you learn to ignore pain. I followed her to the couch where she'd huddled into the corner, kicking her boots off in order to rest her feet up, curling her legs so she could rest her chin on her knees. I sat at the other end, unable to suppress the shudder as her intense gaze fixed itself upon me and I tried to brush it off by nonchalantly sipping my drink.
"Beck asked me to marry him." Jade announced unexpectedly, causing me to choke on the dark liquid, doubling over in a coughing fit.
"What!" I managed to splutter after a moment, trying to recover and regain my breathing pattern.
"Beck asked me to marry him." She repeated slowly, as if talking to a child. "He got down on one knee and proposed."
I gawked at her, my eyes flicking down, now noticing the shiny silver ring embedded with emeralds that sat upon her finger, one I'd never seen before. But I frowned, as if that wasn't confirmation enough.
"You said yes?" I whispered, unable to take my eyes off the ring which still stood out so strikingly against her pale skin.
"Well, what else was I supposed to say!" She snapped, throwing her legs away from her body so her feet hit the laminate floor with a slap.
"Oh, I don't know." I replied sarcastically "How about 'No, Beck, this isn't the right time'?"
"And what if I didn't want to say no!" She hollered, now on her feet, bearing over me with a wild anger in her eyes.
I followed suit, standing just inches away from her, my head raised in defiance. "Then why ask? I was giving you an option as to what you could say."
She huffed, calming down just a little. "You think you're so funny and clever now, don't you, Vega?" She shifted closer.
"I've learnt from the best."
A smirk now lined her lips, but I only saw it for a second before they met mine, soft, smooth and furious. I immediately kissed her back, meeting her tongue half way, tasting that bittersweet taste I was still so addicted to. It was only when her fingers hooked into my hair and I felt the cold, hard metal of the new ring on the back of my skull, did I pull back from her, my own hands raising to her chest to push her away.
"We… we can't…" I gasped.
"Can't what?" Jade hissed, something akin to hurt seeping its way into the anger.
"This." I gestured between the two of us. "We can't. You're engaged now, Jade. It's… it's-"
"Wrong?" She shouted over me, her eyes ablaze. "Is it wrong, Vega! Is it! That's never stopped you before! How many years have we had this thing going on between us while Beck was my boyfriend and never once did you say it was wrong! What difference should some stupid ring make!"
She was right. For five years we've had this thing between us. Something that started out as 'just sex when I'm bored and Beck's not around'- as Jade had put it- had slowly twisted, moulded and shaped into something neither of us could let go of. The odd few meetings once in a while in the janitor's closet or at my house, things I only agree to so I could be closer to Jade, had escalated into almost every day meetings while we were still at school. Then it wasn't just sex. It was a movie while snuggled up on my bed, it was helping each other with homework, it was a quick kiss on the lips that went no further and it became something neither of us realised at the time.
Then school was over. Jade had always wanted to go off to New York while I wanted to hang around LA at least a little longer. Even with a promising career in Hollywood movies, Beck went off to be with her while I remained behind, watching them go. It was undeniable how I felt for Jade, I'd known from the moment she slammed the door in my face, and a part, hell, all of me thought she felt the same way, what with her risking so much just to sneak through my bedroom window every other night. So the first few months without her were heartbreaking, until she turned up on my doorstep one evening after she and Beck had a huge fight.
She'd driven all the way across the country to throw me against the wall and continue where we left off only for me to wake up the next day to an empty bed and her gone. At first I thought I'd dreamt it, some bizarre twisted nightmare, and I'd pushed it to the back of my mind until she turned up yet again, just a month later.
At first her visits consisted of very little words, but after a few months of her turning up whenever she damn well felt like it, things became more serious. We talked, really talked, about what was going on in our lives, what our families were doing, what she and Beck had fought about this time. Her visits became less frequent, but lasted more than just a night and when I asked her why she would travel so far just to see me, she responded with "I like to drive, it calms me down." But I could help wishing it was more than that.
And never once, in all that time, did I ever feel guilty. Jealously, that Beck got to see her much more than I, that he got to kiss her and hold her in public while I had to wait until there was absolutely no one around, I sure felt that one. But never guilt. Never did I feel anything bad for betraying Beck and sleeping with the girl he loved behind his back. Because I loved her too.
"I… I… I…" I stuttered, unable to come up with anything to say to her. But Jade shook her head, reaching into her pocket to retrieve something small and white which she hurled at my chest.
"I came to give you this and to tell you fairly what is happening." She said in a steady tone, much unlike the anger just seconds before. I picked up the envelope, turning it over to find 'Miss Tori Vega' written in fancy lettering across the front. "Maybe I'll see you there."
Without another word, she turned on her heel and left me standing there, gawping between the envelope and the doorway.
"Finally!" Andre sighed when I stepped out of the bathroom. He let out a long whistle as his eyes roamed my body from toes to my eyes, pausing for a short moment along the way. "Damn, girl, you lookin' good!"
"Yeah, yeah, you pervert." I rolled my eyes and hooked my arm though his to drag his attention away from my chest. He's my best friend, but he's still a straight male who hasn't had a girlfriend in a while, not for lack of trying. "Are you forcing me to this thing, or not?"
He raised his eyebrows at my playful attitude, a contrast to the sulky demeanour I'd entered the bathroom with, then turned to open the door. "Right this way, my lady."
I was stuck inside a huge manor house surrounded by so many people I hardily knew or just about recognised from school and other such places. This was where the wedding was taking place as Jade had absolutely refused to be married in a church and the place was starting to fill with guests even with a couple of hours left 'til the wedding. Andre had gone upstairs to the second floor the minute we arrived; Beck was up there getting ready and he needed his best man by his side. Of course, Andre couldn't leave me alone in case I 'do something stupid' so I was now sat beside Robbie Shapiro, a boy I hadn't seen in years and yet nothing about him had changed besides one major thing- he was Rex free.
"Jade said I was invited if I didn't bring him along." The curly haired boy said when I asked him what had happened to the ill mannered puppet. "She promised to put the both of us through an industrial shredder if I even thought of letting him come to her wedding and I didn't want to risk it."
I rolled my eyes and nodded, knowing that is exactly what Jade would say. With nothing else to do but wait, Robbie and I took the time to catch up on each others lives since we'd last seen each other, only a year after school finished; it had been a while. I learnt that after school he'd gotten a job at a comic book store to help pay the rent at his new apartment while he looked for something else. One day he'd bought Rex along with him too, claiming the puppet had been bored stuck in the flat and he needed a bit of company as Thursdays were usually a slow day. Rex had been his usual self, belittling everything Robbie did, making stupid jokes, but unable to talk to any woman as Robbie told me hardly any ever came into the store. A couple of guys had over heard the pair arguing and thought it was so funny they invited Robbie and Rex along with them on a comedy tour across the country, and he'd been working with them ever since.
"That's excellent news, Robbie! I'm so happy for you!" I grinned once he'd finished his enthusiastic account, obvious proud of what he'd achieved. He also mentioned he hadn't had much luck with the ladies then added- waggling his eyebrows- that he hoped to get lucky with one of the bridesmaids this evening. I had a feeling I knew exactly which one he had his eye on.
And at that moment, said bridesmaid appeared, her emerald green and white dress askew and her still shockingly red hair a half finished mess as she barged her way through the crowd, making a beeline for me and Robbie. The bespectacled boy stood up, straightening his tie, but Cat barely spared him a glance as she grabbed my hand and pulled me to my feet, all the while gasping for breath.
"Tori! I need your help!" She pleaded, squeezing my fingers. "Please?"
"What with?" I asked in surprise, watching Robbie slump down in his seat again out of the corner of my eye.
"It's Jade. She's no where near ready and neither am I and I can't find anyone else to help her out so I thought maybe you could because you helped her with the hamburger but this time she can't get her boobs in the dress and she keeps yelling at everyone who tries to help-"
"CAT!" I shouted over her. The girl hadn't taken a breath since she started talking and I feared she may pass out. "I don't think it's such a good idea that I help her out-"
"Please, Tori!" Cat begged. "Jade's mad and she's already yelled at me four times! Please, I just need your help!"
I sighed. There was no chance anyone could say no to those big brown eyes, especially when they're staring up at you like you're the only chance to save their life. Reluctantly, I nodded my head. "Lead the way."
"Yay!" The shorter girl squealed before dragging me off through the crowd. I waved over my shoulder to Robbie who was still slouched dejectedly in his seat, just catching his tiny wave back before he disappeared from view.
Cat pulled me through the huge house as fast as she could; I barely had a chance to marvel at the many paintings, tall vases and other expensively looking furniture before it flashed past my vision. We climbed up the first set of stairs to the floor Beck and Andre were on, then up a second flight to the top floor and I could already hear Jades furious shouts at one of her bridesmaids. We were almost at the end of the corridor when a girl wearing a dress that matched Cats, came bursting out looking as if she was fighting off tears. She brushed past us without a word and wrenched open another door which lead to a bathroom, then slammed it too.
"One of Beck's cousins." Cat whispered, now edging us slowly to the door the girl had just come out of. "Jade doesn't really know her, but she desperately wanted to be a bridesmaid and Beck wouldn't take Jade's no for an answer on it."
I nodded, gulping back a bubble of fear as Cat pushed open the door we now stood in front of and the first thing I saw inside was Jade. She was perched on the edge a large, four poster bed, half dressed in her underclothes and tights, her unfinished hair falling in a dishevelled mess over her shoulders. Her head snapped up when the door creaked open and at first she looked shocked, terrified, but it barely lasted a second before it was replaced with pure fury.
"What is she doing here!" The pale girl spat at Cat, who instantly hid behind me for protection. "I told you I didn't want anyone, Cat! Especially not her!"
I can't pretend her words didn't cut me, but I wouldn't let it show. Instead, I moved slightly to shelter the little red head even more so as Jade got up and stormed over to where we stood, her teeth gritted and her breathing coming out in heavy, angry pants.
"I- I thought she could help!" Cat squeaked timidly, and I knew tears were set to come. Jade obviously sensed this too, as she took in a deep breath, her next words coming out a bit softer.
"Alright! Alright, whatever. Let's just get this over with, okay?" Jade pinched the bridge of her nose. "And Cat, don't cry, you'll ruin your make up and we don't have any time to do it again."
The short girl instantly perked up. "Kay kay!" She grinned before scampering off toward the bathroom. "Good luck, you two!"
I watched the girl disappear before stepping into the room, closing the door behind me. The place was beautiful, much like the rest of the house, with a king sized four poster bed in the middle, fine wooden furniture all around and a large window that looked out over the magnificent garden below. But my eyes were trained on Jade as she stepped over to where her wedding dress was draped on the edge of the bed and straightened it out to put back on. My stomach lunched at the sight, at the meaning behind the piece of clothing and I felt like I was going to be the one in tears soon.
"You're not much help if you just stand there like an moron, Vega." Jade said, raising an eyebrow but not bothering to look my way.
"I- uh…" I stuttered, trying to regain some composure. "I was just thinking. White, it's not really your colour."
Jade shot me a glare, but it was half hearted and I didn't miss the twitch of a smile pass her lips. "You're still not funny."
I shrugged. "Being funny is Robbie's job. Not mine."
"Oh yeah, he's here." Jade mused. "He hasn't got that damn puppet with him, has he?"
"Nope." I stepped forward, resting my hands on both of Jade's shoulders and began to rub small circles with my thumbs. She was stressed, that was easy to tell, and I'd learnt over the years that this was the best way to calm her down. "He mentioned something about you and an industrial shredder. It's lucky Robbie still believes your threats."
Jade just nodded. Her eyes were closed and her lips were curved into a small smile as my thumbs worked their magic, relieving some of the tension that had built up. I smiled too; even in her stressed out state, even in the clothes she was wearing to a wedding to someone who wasn't me, even as she stood in the middle of all this grand décor, she was still the most beautiful thing in the room, the most beautiful thing on the planet in my eyes, but she was never truly mine.
I let out a long breath, my heart feeling heavy as the realisation of everything that was about to happen weighed down on me. Maybe I hadn't thought much about it when Beck and Jade were just boyfriend and girlfriend, but now they were getting married, could I really keep up this affair? No. No, I couldn't. Because in the times before, I could pretend it was just the two of us, that there was no boyfriend on her side and there never was anyone on mine, I kept pushing them away. I could pretend we were actually together, a couple, not some secret Jade had whenever she felt like it. But, now with this and the shiny wedding band that would soon rest upon her finger, I could no longer pretend, because all I saw was Beck holding her, Beck kissing her, Beck being hers forever.
"What happened this morning?" I breathed, almost afraid to ask.
Jade tensed for a moment before she let her shoulders relax again. "We argued. It was over something completely stupid, but it went further until he ended up asking if I even wanted to go through with this. I kicked the door, told him he was an idiot and walked away."
Her voice wavered as she spoke and I turned Jade to face me, seeing her eyes shine with a coat of tears. "And do you?" I whispered, looking straight into her eyes. "Do you want to go through with it?"
She couldn't answer. A strangled noise ripped from her throat, caused by a sob she forced to stay down. And that was all I needed.
I crashed my lips to Jades, mustering up all of my feeling and so much passion, trying to convey my message without the words- Please, Jade, don't do it. I love you too much to lose you.
She didn't pull back. At first, she was frozen, shocked and it felt like our first kiss in the janitor's closet all over again, me pouring out my heart, Jade stood unmoving. But this time, gradually, she kissed me back without either of us moving apart. So many unspoken words flooded between us, so many things we just couldn't voice, and I wasn't sure whose tears started first, whether they were from hurt, anger, sadness or all three, but I knew I didn't want to let this go.
Jade's hands floundered around until she managed to get a grip on the front of my dress, her fingers wrapping around the thin straps as she tugged me to move with her. She fell backward onto the soft bed, her wedding dress discarded, abandoned on the floor, and she pulled me on top of her. Everything was forgotten, the crowds of people downstairs, the bridesmaids in the bathroom, the ceremony that was soon to happen and the groom who was still getting ready on the floor below. Right now, with the soft skin and the tears and the kisses that said more than words ever could, it was just the two of us.
So arch your back,
and flip your hair,
make eye contact,
so you know I care.
Five rows back. I couldn't decide if this is much too close to the front or not as close as I wish to be. I was surrounded by unfamiliar faces, besides Robbie, who has taken the seat next to me, but I can tell who most of the people are here for. At the very front of my aisle I could see Jade's mother, someone who I met just once a long time ago and I know still hates my guts for accidentally spilling Wahoo Punch all over her white rug one day when Jade and I were studying… or meant to be studying. The row behind her contained Jades step mother, only here for Jade's father who would soon he walking down the aisle, and her son who was now in his teens. On the other side at the front were Becks family. His own mother, who I had seen a handful of times whenever we went around to Beck's RV, was quietly sobbing into her husbands shoulder as he wrapped his arms around her and smiled proudly up at the stage, at his son.
And there he was, in front of everyone, Beck. Black suit, crisp, ivory shirt, black bow tie, pants and shoes. His hair had gotten a lot longer since I last saw him, but the soft brown curls had been tamed and perfected, not a hair out of place. On his lapel sat a single white rose with green tips and as he stood, seemingly calm, his fingers kept running over and over the soft fabric that made up the fake flower. Beside him stood Andre, almost matching his outfit save for a deep green bowtie and no flower. His eyes skimmed through the crowd then rested on me, giving me a small smile.
I tried to smile back, but my heart wouldn't let it happen. I should be happy for them, proud to see Beck up there looking as handsome as ever, but instead I felt sick to my stomach.
Hardly half an hour ago, upstairs, I lay next to his wife to be, naked, sweaty, out of breath and desperately clinging onto some shred of hope. I should've begged her not to do this, I should've asked her to run away with me, but I didn't. I just got up, pulled my dress back on, straightened out my knotted hair and looked back over at her.
"It's your choice now, Jade." I said in a voice barely above a whisper. "You can get married, live with Beck forever and never have this happen again, or you can put a stop to this and be with me."
I didn't give her chance to reply then, I didn't want to hear it, I just opened the door and walked away, only just managing to avoid walking straight into Cat who was about to go and check on us. I told the girl to give Jade a minute, she'd be ready soon.
Suddenly, there was music, snapping me out of my thoughts and bringing my attention back to the present. In the corner at the front stood a small, yet wonderful organ which the organist in his deep blue suit now hunched over, playing the traditional bridal entrance song. Everyone else stood, I wobbled to my feet, and turned expectantly towards the arched doorway with its doors flung wide open into the hall behind.
Time seemed to slow as Jade approached. She looked stunning in a flowing, silky, ivory dress, the very one that had been crumpled on her floor not so long ago. Her hair fell in ringlets that bounced and brushed her shoulders as she took each careful step, her soft, elegant make up- done by Cat at the last minute so it was just perfect- brought out every striking feature, and most of all her eyes, which shone emerald green. She took my breath away.
Beside her, with their arms linked, was her father, a man I've only met once after I help Jade put on her play. Their relationship had been rocky, but Jade had told me that from that moment, when he admitted he liked what she had done, they were both making an effort to rebuild what they once had. While it still wasn't quite to that level- he still disapproved of many things Jade had done and she still hated his new wife- things were definitely a lot better and there was no mistaking the proud look he now wore as he walked her down the aisle. It made me feel even worse.
Behind them came the bridesmaids: Cat, looking as cute and pretty as ever, Beck's cousin who had recovered well from Jade shouting in her ear, and Jade's younger sister from her fathers' side, who, with her long blonde hair and hazel eyes, looked nothing like her older half sibling.
As they went past, Jade turned her head a fraction to her left, to me and in the brief look all I could read was I'm sorry. I stared after her, not even noticing Cat's beaming grin in my direction and her mouth a thank you for my help, which really wasn't any help at all, but she didn't know. All I could register was the hard knot that had twisted itself painfully in my stomach and the fresh sting of tears that were threatening to escape once again. This is it. This is it.
"Tori, are you okay?" I almost jumped out of my skin when Robbie whispered into my ear and placed his hand on my shoulder, guiding me back into my seat. All I could do was gulp and nod.
"She looks fantastic, doesn't she?" He continued in a hushed tone as the officiant began "Still scary, but fantastic."
I tuned him out along with everything else in the room. It was taking all my strength not to run, either away from this wedding, this place, and never look back, or up to the altar to tear Jade's hands out of Becks, to scream at him that she's mine and I love her then get on my knees and beg her to choose me instead.
Beck's mouth was moving. I couldn't listen to his words, his own vows dedicated to the woman he had loved for years. Things jumped out 'though thick and thin', 'despite every fight and break up' and I wanted to shout at him exactly where Jade had come running to with every one of their arguments, but I didn't. I couldn't even bring myself to stand up, so I remained like a statue in my seat, staring blankly ahead.
It was painful to hear the words "I do" fall from Becks mouth with such certainty and such love. It hurt to see him smile as the man in the black suit, white shirt and long black tie then turned to Jade repeating his question.
But she hesitated. Her eyes were not fixed upon the man professing his love to her, the boy saying he wished nothing more than to spend the rest of his life with her, but instead they roamed the crowd of anxiously awaiting people. It didn't take long until those shining emeralds met my own eyes, the fear and uncertainty clear behind them. I stared right back, my bottom lip caught between my teeth, willing her to say no, pleading with her one final time, as selfish and petty as it may be, before the eye contact broke and she turned back to Beck. She gulped.
Would you be depressed,
If I attend that wedding,
But only as a guest?
Such an unfaithful bride
Draped in a dress
Threads of my-
A/N: Don't hate me for the cliff hanger! You'll see why soon enough. Besides, it fits well with the flow of the song.
Review if you please, but don't be too harsh on me!