Songs I Used to Know
Beck Oliver is on her TV.
Of course, this is unavoidable – the kid's practically an overnight sensation. One day he's posting videos on Splashface, begging for people to comment, and the next he's doing concerts all over America, having little girls beg him for autograph and stare at him with starry eyes. Sadly enough, it's people like Beck Oliver, the self-entitled little pretty boy, that leave no room for independent artists like Jade West.
Rolling her eyes, she switches off the TV. She grumbles to herself about how mainstream that stupid Beck Oliver he is and wonders what girls see in him. Honestly, he's a fairly decent singer, but she doesn't want to allow herself to dwell on that. After all, Beck Oliver is one of her least favorite artists in the world, probably second only to Tori Vega.
(What she won't admit to anyone, not even to herself, is that she sort admires him in a weird way. She admires his nerve and even the way he sings; unlike most pop singers, his words seem to legitimately be coming from his heart. Of course, she'll never say that out loud.)
Her phone buzzes then, most likely with a message from her agent telling her to do something or another. "Jade, you're going to need to get your hair dyed to get those awful blue streaks out of your hair!" "Jade, you need to get to learning this new song!" "Jade, write some more song lyrics! (despite the fact that he writes most of her lyrics.)" She bites back a groan and reads the text.
Jade, trn on you're TV right now. Chanel 7. Vry important!
Jade sighs at the horrific grammar, but she flips her TV back on anyway. It's not as though she can do anything but comply. As soon as the TV screen flickers to life, she blinks. She's already on Channel 7. Channel 7 is the channel with the interview with Beck Oliver on it.
"Jade West," Beck says with a smile, and the audience applauds. She drops the remote in shock. First of all, she didn't even know that Beck Oliver knew who she was, much less wanted to mention her on an interview on international TV. Eyes wide, she sends a text in reply to her agent.
What is he saying about me?
"Her voice has a very natural tone to it," Beck continues, and Jade wonders if he's talking about her now. Of course her voice is natural – she refuses to use autotune or any of the other voice manipulation techniques available to artists. She'd rather people hate her natural voice than fall in love with one that was invented by a computer. Obviously oblivious to her thoughts, Beck finishes, "Maybe you think it should be the other way around, but I'm in love with her voice and I admire her immensely, so I hope she'll at least consider this offer."
What offer? Jade thinks angrily, impatiently. She bites down on her lip and checks her phone impatiently for the fiftieth time in the last five minutes, screaming internally when she realizes that there are no new texts on her phone. At last, her phone buzzes.
Beck oliver asked u to prform a duet w/him. U need 2 take it. Gud opportunty.
Beck Oliver wants to perform a duet with her? This is completely unwarranted. Since when had famous pop stars taken an interest in Indie 'star' Jade West? Sure, she has a nice voice; that much is a given. But she and Beck Oliver are completely different people in terms of genre (and most likely personality as well), so she doesn't imagine that it will turn out well.
Her phone buzzes again.
Ill b there in 5 min & we cn discuss this. Leave ur TV on. He mite say more.
With a scowl, Jade sets down her phone and turns her attention back to the handsome pop star, who starts off on another tangent about tacos or something that she honestly doesn't care about. Leaning back, she begins to sing softly under her breath, a song she didn't even know that she really knew, a song by the one boy she's trying to get out of her mind.
Crap. She doesn't even want to think about how she knows Beck Oliver's song, much less why she's singing it. Biting her lip, she turns her attention back to the TV.
"I hope you're watching this, Jade West," Beck Oliver tells her with a winning smile. "This is just for you."
Sighing, she snuggles deeper into the pillows on her bed and desperately wishes to be rescued from this nightmare. Of course, her ever lovely agent, Andre Harris, comes bursting in then, terrifying her but relieving her at the same time. Surely once she explains it, sensible Andre will see that a duet between Beck Oliver and Jade West is not a good thing in the least.
"Andre, thank goodness you're here," she bursts, not being able to hold it in any longer. "Did you hear him? That kid is such an idiot, assuming that I'll do a duet with him just like that... right?"
"I think you should take it," Andre says honestly, placing a hand on her knee as if to soothe her, but she jerks away at once. "Jade, Beck Oliver is famous, and that is a fact, a fact that I'm sure that someone as resourceful hasn't forgotten. Sure, you're working your way up the ladder of fame, but this could give you that major boost that you so desperately need."
"How come you can use big words when you're talking, but not when you're texting?" Jade complains, ignoring his touching, inspiring speech. (Yeah, right.)
"Lazy." Andre shrugs. "Stop changing the subject. You're going to do this duet with Beck Oliver, and you are going to be frigging happy about it."
"How do you know this is going to work?" Jade inquires, raising an eyebrow. "Beck can't possibly be that famous."
"Oh, he's most definitely that famous, girl," Andre reassures her, walking over to Jade's computer and pulling up a new window. He searches Jade's most popular single, 'Sleepwalking', and shows her that the view count has gone up by nearly a million overnight.
"Please," Jade scoffs. "That doesn't mean anything."
Andre just rolls his eyes and scrolls down, pointing down that the majority of the comments say something along the lines of 'Beck Oliver sent me here!' or 'wow, beck was right! Ur rly good xox'.
Jade just scowls.
Beck Oliver is annoying; this much she knows. So it doesn't surprise her when she walks into the meeting room and Beck gives her one of those patronizing smiles. "Jade! So good to see you," he says, obviously acting (and she thinks he's a rather good actor, honestly).
"Yeah, well, I'm not thrilled to be here." Rolling her eyes, she flashes him a smirk and collapses on his huge, rather plush couch. "Do you do that to every girl who's a decent singer? Talk about her on national TV and think she'll fall for you just like that? Flash her a winning smile and think she'll just fall at your feet and accept your proposal for a duet?"
"You accepted," he points out, his eyes sparkling.
"My agent did," she retorts venomously. "That's beside the point. Are you really that arrogant, Beck Oliver?"
He stares at the ground, not meeting her eyes, which only makes her angrier. That is, until he glances back up again and tells her in a voice that is far too quiet for the cocky, outspoken superstar, "Actually, you're the first person that I've actually wanted to duet with."
For once, Jade West is shocked into silence. Is it – could it be possible that this pop star actually wants to do a duet with her, Indie star Jade West? Does he actually like her voice? Is it possible that this is just a delusion, that he's just using her for fame? For once, her emotions overrule her suspicions, and she turns to him with a small half-smile. "All right, since you're so incredibly eager for our duet, we should probably get to work. I warn you, though, I'm not the best with song lyrics."
"That's all right." Beck grins at her. "I'm sure we'll figure something out."
She resists the urge to throw a pillow at his head. Instead, she just bites her lip and picks up a pen.
"What happened to the whole 'I Hate Beck Oliver' campaign you had going?" Andre Harris asks after the second day of work on their duet.
Jade raises an eyebrow. Out of all the questions buzzing around in her mind, this question is by far the most important, yet somehow she hasn't got an answer for it. After a moment, she simply shrugs. "I don't know."
"Wow, Jade West doesn't know something!" Andre crows. "I should call the press!"
"Shut up," Jade murmurs. She stretches out, yawns, and then turns back to Andre. "They always portray the pop singers so inaccurately, though. Honestly, Beck Oliver's not nearly as cocky as they make him out to be. He really is just as annoying, though; unfortunately enough. I don't think that sort of annoying personality is something that could be faked, exaggerated, or covered up."
"Thankfully, the press always seems to be able to cover up your morbid personality," Andre retorts, and that sort of remark is enough to shut her up, if just for a second.
After a moment, though, she finds herself asking one of the stupidest, most vulnerable questions ever. "Do you think my voice is as good as Beck Oliver says it is?"
Andre glances over at her, then raises an eyebrow. "Of course I do, girl. If it wasn't, I wouldn't be your agent."
The next day, during yet another of their writing sessions, Beck throws a magazine at her. She takes one glance at it, then raises an eyebrow at him. "You're on the cover. Big whoop."
Beck rolls his eyes. "Would you stop it? Just read what it says."
Giving him a scowl, she glances down and scans what it says below the picture of the pop star. "Jade West gains popularity because of major pop star Beck Oliver!" she reads aloud. "Sources say that West's agent bribed Oliver's agent to make him offer a duet to the indie singer." She sets down the magazine and raises an eyebrow. "So?"
"I just wanted you to know it's not true," Beck says with a small smile, looking nervous, though she hasn't got a clue why. It's not as if she's going to rip his head off for something some stupid magazine said. After all, the magazines also say that he's been secretly in love with her for ages, and they both know that's not true.
"I know," Jade replies with a frown. "I mean, if Andre was going to bribe someone into doing a duet with me, I can assure you that he'd choose someone better than you. No offense or anything."
She glances down at the ground awkwardly, knowing she is supposed to be 'trying to get along with Beck' and insulting him isn't really helping things, but when she looks back up, Beck is laughing.
"You see, this is why I like you... you know, as a friend," he adds quickly. "You're not one of those fangirls that constantly compliments me in an attempt to get me to fall in love with you. You're blunt and honest and... different, and I mean that in the best way possible."
Her cheeks turn red despite herself. Flaming, she throws the lyrics sheet at him and says, "We need to get to work on this song if we're ever going to finish. Look, Andre even wrote the first few lines for us."
"I'm bad at writing song lyrics," Beck confesses, looking like a little kid who has just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
"Really? I had no clue," she retorts in a clipped tone. "Honestly, I could care less. We still have to get this song written. Apparently, it's a love song," she wrinkles up her nose in disgust, "but we have to make it seem like it's coming from our hearts. His first few lines are 'It's like he doesn't hear a word I say/his mind is somewhere far away/and I don't know how to get there'.. And then 'It's like all he wants is to chill out/He makes me want to pull all my hair out/like he doesn't even care."
"Hey, the guys aren't the only ones with their heads in the clouds!" Beck says, mock-offended. "What about the girls? I say the next part should be my part, and I should say..." He taps his chin in thought, which she thinks secretly is kind of cute in a weird way. "How about 'she's always serious'?"
"That's it?" she asks with a harsh laugh. "That's your whole part of the song?"
"No, just one line for the first verse," he retorts crossly. "How about 'she's always serious/she's always in a rush/and interrupted'?"
"'Like she doesn't even care'," Jade finishes. "Not too shabby, Oliver."
He grins at her.
During their next session, Beck decides that it's a good idea to take her out for lemonade. She thinks that it's probably a bad idea, but she agrees anyway and takes his arm when he offers it. It's slightly awkward, since she doesn't really like him that way, but she kind of likes the warmth in the cold winter air.
Of course, as soon as they step out of the studio, they are bombarded with fans. "Are you dating?" they ask. "You guys are so cute together!"
"No, we're not dating," Jade replies, plastering on a fake smile. "And no, I don't like him that way. We're just friends, if that."
"Please," Beck snorts, moving his arm up to rest around her shoulders. "We're, like, totes bffs now!"
The lady stares at them in shock, and despite herself, Jade bursts out laughing. She doesn't even move his arm off of her shoulders until they get to the lemonade shop. As she pushes it off at last, she gives a small smile. "Next thing you know, we'll be on the front cover. Beck Oliver and Jade West are totes bffs now!"
"Bffs forevers," Beck says in response, grinning madly at her.
"Yeah, no," she retorts, strutting up to the counter and ordering a lemonade. Beck follows behind her and orders one too, standing close behind her like the stalker that he is. Then, when she attempts to pay for her lemonade, he steps forward and pays for it himself. She glares at him and stomps off to find a table, lemonade in hand.
He's still smirking when he sits down across from her. "Have you got an issue?"
"Yes, I do actually," Jade hisses. "Why'd you buy my lemonade? I'm perfectly capable of fending for myself."
Beck throws up his hands. "Oh, I'm aware of that, Miss Jade West. I just thought it'd be a nice thing to do for your forever bff."
She just glares at him, which obviously makes him uncomfortable. After a minute of this, he clears his throat and then says, "So, tell me about yourself."
"What?" she says, as if she is hard of hearing. Honestly, the only time she has heard people saying cheesy stuff like 'tell me about yourself' is in corny movies where people get set up on dates, and they are most assuredly not on a –
"Well, we're on a date, aren't we?" Beck has one of those looks on his face, one of those mischievous smiles that says he knows exactly what he's getting himself into and he, in fact, finds it amusing.
"Not even," she retorts, scowling back at him. When he just continues to smile relentlessly at her, she groans. "Fine. By definition, I don't like people like you. You know, people that go around thinking that they're better than everyone else, or worse, pop singers who sing mindless, boring lyrics."
"My lyrics aren't boring!" he protests, looking like a hurt little child.
"I didn't say you." She sighs. "I meant people like you, people in your genre. Some of the stuff you see out there today – I mean, honestly. 'Yesterday was Thursday; today it is Friday!'"
"So you like my lyrics?" he prods, obviously searching for compliments.
"If I didn't, would I let you write half of our song?" she retorts. There is silence for a moment, and then his hand is on hers, encasing it. It's only then that she realizes how big and strong his hands are, at least in comparison to hers. She doesn't really like it much.
Frowning, she pushes his hand off of hers. "Whoa there, cowboy. Just because I complimented your song lyrics doesn't mean I'm suddenly in love with you or whatever."
"Why don't you like pop singers?" he asks suddenly. "I mean, other than the fact that most of them have those bubblegum lyrics." He looks purely curious, so she hesitates before responding.
"It's just that they take so much money away from the indie market," she explains with a slight frown. "Most of them aren't even that good – I mean, some of us, not necessarily me, are so much better – and yet the people that are as shallow as a puddle swallow up all of the money that they deserve."
"And that makes you angry?" he questions.
"Well, yeah," she says, wondering if he thinks her shallow or something as equally demeaning. "Why shouldn't it?"
"I didn't say you shouldn't be angry," he says, placing his chin on his palm and staring at her. "I just... I don't know. Did you like me? I mean, not in a romantic sense, but..."
She pauses, sighs, and then shakes her head. "No. Not really. I mean, I like you more now... in a friendly sense, of course, but you're still annoying. Really annoying."
"I figured as much," he says, and then he smiles that stupidly annoying but still cute smile.
She barely resists the urge to punch him in the face.
Everyone is still staring at them, she realizes with a frown. Probably most of the people think that they're on a date. As if. Beck leans forward then, his breath nearly brushing her face, and whispers, "We should sing."
"You're insane," she whispers back, purposely blowing her breath back in his face.
"The crowd will eat it up." Beck grins sardonically. "Have you ever heard the song 'Make It Shine' by Tori Vega?"
"No way I'm singing a Tori Vega song in a public place," she retorts, revolted.
"Think of the publicity, Jade," Beck reminds her, and then he starts, just like he does in everything else. "Here I am, once again. Feeling lost but now and then..."
She joins in after a minute, deciding that maybe it's time she loosens up a bit, and she decides as they sing that maybe it's not so bad singing with Beck Oliver. Their voices blend together harmoniously, and his smile when he looks at her is sort of breathtaking. Only then does she start to wonder about the truth behind the rumors. Is Beck Oliver really in love with her? They've only really known each other for a few days, but he might've watched her videos and –
No. She cuts herself off. The very idea is ludicrous.
Beck grins at her and extends a hand for her to take. She takes it, even though she's not quite sure why.
"Your record sales are off the charts!" Andre praises her via cellphone once she gets home that night. "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it."
"You mean keep acting like I'm dating Beck Oliver?" she questions in response, not really sure how to handle this. After all, it's not often that she's told to act like she's dating someone that she doesn't even remotely like in that way.
"Anything that helps, girl." She can almost see Andre's grin through the phone.
"Ugh," she groans, then feels her phone vibrate against her ear. "Hang on," she tells him, "I've just gotten another text." Quickly, she switches to the messages app and reads her new message.
Hey Jade West, it's Beck. Andre gave me your number. Thought I'd text and say hi. Ive had a lot of fun the past few days, and well yeah. Idk. Txt me back or something. :)
"From Beck?" Andre asks, and she nearly drops her phone.
Getting herself together quickly, she responds, "I don't know what you're talking about."
"I can see right through you, Jade," is his simple, chilling response.
Five days later, they are recording the song. Beck keeps staring at her as she sings, his piercing gaze not leaving her face, and eventually it becomes sort of unnerving. Signaling for the producers to stop recording, she takes off her headphones and asks him, "Why do you keep staring at me?"
"You're gorgeous when you sing," he responds after a moment, giving her a small, nervous smile. "And your voice is even more gorgeous. Without autotune, I am nothing, but even without autotune, your voice is everything."
"Thanks," she says cautiously and puts her headphones back on. It is quite obvious that he is flirting with her, but that's a possibility she doesn't even want to consider. It's not that Beck is unattractive or anything of the sort; it's just that she has always been predisposed to hate him and well, he's Beck. Besides, if they start dating now, everyone will think it's some sort of publicity stunt to promote their album, and Jade doesn't really want anyone thinking she'd stoop that low. She doesn't really need the publicity, anyway, not with all the publicity she's getting from Beck already.
Blinking, she draws herself out of her trance and turns to see the recording man signaling her. Nodding, she begins to sing. "Why does he try to read my mind/It's not good to psychoanalyze/That's what all of my friends say..."
He doesn't stop staring at her when she sings, not even when he joins in.
He texts her after only a day, and she tries to reassure herself that it's purely platonic. I wouldn't change a thing, his text says. Except maybe one. Meet me 2morrow?
Spell tomorrow correctly and I'll consider it, she replies. Also, haha, very funny.
I'm hilarious, is his next text. Meet me tomorrow?
Fine. Where?, she answers at last, but she's already regretting it.
Photographers start to hound her before she even gets to the door. She sighs, giving them her best Jade West-smile and then pulls open the door, throwing her hood over her head as if it'll somehow make her invisible. Her eyes fall upon Beck Oliver at once. He's sitting at a table by himself, looking nervous and tapping his feet awkwardly. As soon as he looks at her, his entire face lights up, and she starts to think that maybe this definitely isn't a good idea.
"Jade!" he hollers happily, which means it's too late for her to quietly sneak out the door. Half of the restaurant turns to stare at her, and she would rather like to crawl into a hole and die.
"Look, Beck," she says apologetically, "you've been acting sort of weird lately, almost like you have feelings for me, and we both know that's not true so if you could just set us straight right now that'd be great. Just confirm that you haven't got any feelings for me."
His eyes are more wounded than ever before when she looks into them. Quietly, he says, "I can't do that."
"Beck," she says in surprise. "You've got to be kidding me."
"I really like you," he tells her, taking her hand quietly. "I understand if you don't feel the same, but... I guess you should know, right?" He laughs humorlessly.
"It's not that I don't like you," she replies hesitantly, giving his hand a squeeze. "It's just that we can't, you idiot. If we start dating now, everyone will think that it's for publicity, for our new duet or whatever, and I just can't afford to have people think like that."
"Since when did you start caring what people think about you?" he mutters darkly.
"Maybe you don't care what people think about you, Mr. Famous, but I still have to watch myself," she retorts, glaring at him. "I mean, I don't have thousands of fangirls no matter how badly I mess up. And besides, if we started dating, I'd probably start getting thousands of death threats a day, and I don't really want to die."
"I'd make sure they never get to you," he vows.
"No one can be sure of anything, Beck," she says with a small sigh. Running her hand through her hair, she shakes her head and says "I'm sorry, I guess."
"Me too," he replies.
She walks away anyway.
The next day, she tries to watch her TV, but he's there too, doing an interview about their new duet. "It's a really good song," he says brightly. "I think that you all will like it."
"What do you think of your duet partner?" the interviewer says in a conspiratorial tone. "A lot of rumors have been flying about the two of you, especially since you once said you were 'in love with her voice' and people saw the two of you on a 'date'."
He winces. It's such a small wince, just a twinge, and Jade has a feeling that most people wouldn't have caught it, but then again, she's not really 'most people'. Then he shakes his head and smiles. "She's a brilliant singer and a wonderful girl, despite her bad reputation. But we're... it's not like that. We're not dating or anything like that."
"Would you like to be dating her?" the interviewer asks with a small frown, as if somehow Beck is the victim in all of this when really she's just doing the right thing.
She can't bear to hear his response, so she switches off the TV.
"Jade." Andre's voice. Speaking of people she doesn't want to talk to...
"Jade, seriously. You need to get out of here. You've been sitting here in like, mourning or something for days now. The two of you weren't even going out and you have a release party for the release of your new duet with him today, or did you forget about that? Get up and get dressed. Now."
"Fine," she relents at last, pushing herself up off of the couch and sending him a glare. "I'm getting up and putting on clothes. Are you happy now?"
"Yes," Andre says with a smile as she walks off.
Unfortunately enough, Beck is already there once she gets there. She sighs and goes to sit down beside him, trying to avoid his intense gaze. Her heart is pounding inside of her chest and she tries to breathe normally, but she fails. She sort of hates this in a weird sort of way. Beck just smiles at her, as if this is the most normal thing in the world, and sometimes she really hates him.
"Hey," he says, his eyes twinkling.
She wants to tell him to go away and leave her alone, but the words get caught in her throat and they start the 'interview' then. "Jade West," one of the reporters asks, "What is unique about this duet? Why should kids download it?"
"Well, it's erm, appropriate," she responds with a shrug. "And it's pretty good. I mean, I know I'm pretty good, but Beck's not as horrible as you may think."
"Hey!" Beck replies, sounding mock-offended. "I happen to agree, though. Jade was pretty fantastic."
She grits her teeth because this is torture and how much longer can she survive like this. Instead of punching him in the face, like she sort of wants to, she fakes a smile and nods. "Beck was too. It really was a fun song to record, even though we kind of suck at lyrics."
"Really fun," Beck repeats in a low, smooth voice, and Jade lets out a low hissing sound. This boy is really going to be the death of her.
He then starts into some speech about the values of love and friendship and how celebrities are really just people too, or at least that's what she thinks it's about. She's not really paying attention, simply because his hair keeps falling into his eyes and maybe she's just done resisting –
She leans forward, across the table, and presses her lips to his hungrily. He responds at once, his hands tangling in her hair, and she feels herself smiling despite it all. Then, after just a moment of that, she jerks away, her cheeks flaming.
There is a moment of silence, and then everyone bursts into applause.
Embarrassed for once in her life, Jade sinks down in her chair. Beck turns to grin at her, one of those cocky grins that she absolutely despises, and then he grabs her hand quickly, threading his fingers through hers. "So good to see you, Jade," he whispers, a repeat of the first time they'd met.
"So does this mean you're dating?" some reporter calls.
A/N: ONLY A FEW DAYS LATE OKAY. This is for the Bade Prompts challenge, and for Jessica, who gave me the prompt 'MAKE UP WORDS TO SONGS I USED TO KNOW'. Thanks, you're all fabulous so ;)
Please review, and don't favorite without reviewing! (Yes I know this is bad but.)