Because I'm a college student and I STILL struggle with this shit.

This starts out kind of slow, bear with me. Also, I hate angst, but oh my god, this couple is like begging for it recently.

God, I don't even like it. I was just trying to avoid my derivative calculus homework.

And sorry in advance for Jade's potty mouth. She's hurting, guys, give her a break.

Jade should have been in her music appreciation class that morning, ignoring her teacher, mocking her classmates and enjoying her second cup of coffee. But instead she's sitting in Lane's office, being offered some of his new cocoa-butter lotion—guaranteed to deliver age defying moisture.

"I don't want any!" Jade snaps, because really, after a certain point you've gotta wonder what a guy like Lane needs all that lotion for. "Just tell me why I'm here so I can leave."

"Look," Lane says in his serious, I'm-a-guidance-counselor-hear-me-roar voice. He sets the bottle of lotion aside, stares at it for a second and then shrugs, pumps a bit into his hands and rubs them together. "Your math scores have been dropping exponentially." He chuckles at his own joke, "Get it? Heh, exponentially, and we're talking about math."

Jade remains stony faced and he clears his throat loudly and moves on.

"You know that you can't progress to the next grade unless you get these up, right Jade?"

"What?" she asks, outraged, "What do you mean?"

"Well," he says calmly, sitting back in his seat and folding his fingers together in front of him, "I know that we focus a lot on the arts here, but like every other school, you need a certain amount of credits in general areas of study such as sciences and math and English. If you don't get at least a "D" in this calculus class, you won't be able to move up."

"This is bullshit," Jade snarls, "What does an actress need math for?"

"Look," he says, tiredly running a hand over his face, "I don't make the rules, I'm just telling you that if you want to move on to be a senior like the rest of your friends, you're going to have a improve and quickly. The semester is almost over."

"It's those stupid negative numbers," Jade scowls, "How is a person supposed to keep up with that? Who actually remembers that a positive times a negative equals a positive? God!"

Lane clears his throat pointedly. "Actually," he says, "A positive multiplied by negative is a negative, and a negative multiplied by—"

"Shut up." Jade advises with a dangerous glare.

"Alright," he holds his hands up in surrender, "Why don't you just get a tutor?"

"I don't need a tutor," Jade growls, "I need a time machine and a shotgun so I can go back in time and find the genius who decided negative numbers were just such a necessity in life and shoot him in the head."

"Now Jade," Lane says, stern "I've told you this before, we do not shoot people in the head. That is just not the way we solve our problems. I can suggest a tutor for you, someone who excels at your weak points?"

"Whatever," Jade grumbles, picking at a thread on her sweater. "It had better not be some moron, though."

"I'm here." Jade announces after violently kicking open the Vega's front door. They all jump, startled. And by all, she means Tori and the rest of their very odd circle of friends, minus Beck. Tori and Andre are sitting on opposite ends of the couch and Robbie is settled on the floor with the puppet in his lap and Cat is standing near the kitchen, excited.

Jade figures they're hanging out and decided not to invite her, not that she cares.

"Um," Tori says, looking uncomfortable. She glances at Andre who raises his eyebrows, and looks back at Jade, "What are you here for?"

Jade rolls her eyes and strolls in, dumps her bag on the coffee table and flops onto the sofa. "Math, duh. I told you that this morning."

"Uhm, no." Tori's eyebrows draw together and she gesticulates wildly. "This morning you stomped by my locker, told me I was your bitch for the next couple of days and then stormed off without a proper explanation!"

Well, yes. But that was because Beck was hanging around Tori's locker too, and he kept trying to make eye contact and saying hi to her, and excuse her, but she just wasn't going to stick around for that.

Jade rolls her eyes. "Well this is what I meant. Look, you obviously don't want me here, so how about you just really quickly teach me how to deal with positives and negatives and I'll be out of here in no time."

Tori opens her mouth, ready to argue, but Andre beats her to it.

"It'll just take a second," he tells Tori, "Positives and negatives are easy." Then he turns to Jade. "We were actually working on that project for Anthony's music class. Cat's here because she had nothing else to do."

"Hi!" Cat peeps.

"I care." Jade deadpans, "Tell me more." She unzips her bag and draws out a couple of sheets of paper, a few pencils. "Let's hurry this along," she drawls to Tori, settling her boots on the coffee table.

"Okay," Tori says, still looking unsure. She glances at the door and then at the paper in front of her, then at Jade. She licks her lips and starts talking a mile a minute.

"A positive plus a positive equals a positive, a negative plus a negative equals a negative, that's obvious. For the sum of a positive and negative number, use the sign of the larger number and subtract. Okay?"

Jade is quiet for a second. Then,

"What the actual fuck—"

"Okay," Tori tries again, talking quickly and glancing at the door so often she appeared to have a twitch, "We'll try this a different way. Let's say Cat is positive four—"

"Yay!" Cat squeals, standing up and rushing over so that she's standing in front of Jade and Tori.

"—and Andre is negative seven."

Andre shrugs, gets up and stands in front of them too, but several feet to the left of Cat.

"And let's say that Cat is a girl Andre is trying to ask out. They want to get together, so we add them."

On the paper she writes (-7) + 4 = in clean handwriting.

And then looks up at Jade with a patient smile. "Which direction would Andre go to get closer to asking Cat out?"

"I don't know," Jade grumbles, although she is just giving Tori a hard time. She could already see where Tori was going with this, "Towards Cat, I guess."

"Exactly!" She grins her hundred watt grin, "Now let's say Andre, or negative seven, says four really, nice positive things about Cat, so he gets four steps closer to asking her out. What number would he be now?"

"Shut up," Jade tells her, but she gets it. She pushes Tori's hand away and on the paper in front of them she writes (-7) + 4 = -3

"Good, Jade!" Tori compliments excitedly. She looks for a second like she wants to hug her, but Jade fixes her with her best glare and Tori falters halfway through. "Well you've got adding them now, let's try subtracting."

Jade groans loudly and tips her head back until it plunks hard against the back of Tori's sofa. She so doesn't want to spend another minute here, doing this.

"Let's say that Andre and Cat have been dating for a while now, and want to break up."

"Heh," chuckles Rex who is really Robbie, "Bet it won't be as messy as Beck and Jade's."

"Rex!" Robbie shouts outraged, as if he wasn't the one to actually say it, and clamps his hand down on the stupid puppet's mouth. Cat looks alarmed, she claps her hands to her mouth, eyes wide, staring at Jade, and Andre looks down at the carpet, mutters something that sounds suspiciously like "It is way too early in the week for bloodshed." Jade can't see Tori, but she would bet every pair of scissors she owns that the girl had various degrees of outrage on her face, that her mind was already racing through scenario after scenario on how to fix this.

Jade feels like her entire body has been submerged in icy water. For second she truly doesn't know why to do, and she just kind of sits there with her mouth slightly open. It's not like she hasn't thought about the break up, it's not like she doesn't know that they have broken up, but this is the first time it's ever been mocked in front of her, by a puppet, no less, and it makes her want to legitimately kill someone. Maybe herself, because dear lord, he's right.

She takes a sharp breath and stands up, and Robbie actually spazzes out and flinches backwards, which would be a lot funnier is she wasn't so pissed.

"Whatever," she sneers, shoving her things into her bag and flipping her hair over her shoulder, trying to act like she doesn't care. "This is such a waste of time. You're a shit teacher, Vega. I'm going home."

"Jade, wait," Tori says, standing up as well, but Jade just walks around the coffee table, avoiding eye contact with everyone and heading straight towards the door.

"Hold on, Jade," Tori pleads, following after her and Jade doesn't know if it's because she's going soft or actually considers Tori a friend now or what, but she swivels around to face her.


"It's okay, Jade," Tori trills in her signature whiny-shiny voice. Her eyes are pleading and her hands are clasped together to her chest, as if in prayer. Jade doesn't even know why the hell she puts up with this girl. "Your heart's been broken and you need time to heal. Really, that's okay."

Jade glares, narrows her eyes, draws her eyebrows in together until she's sure there's enough hate radiating through her corneas so that maybe Tori will get the message.

"A heart is an organ," she spits out, "It doesn't have the capacity to break. God."

She folds her arms across her chest and spins on her heel and gets ready to make the dramatic exit girls like her always, always make, when Tori grips her just above the elbow, stopping her.

"But hearts do have the capacity to break, Jade," she says in a whisper from behind her, sounds like somehow she really does understand. "They do. And yours did."

Jade closes her eyes, grateful for the fact that she is turned away from the rest of the room so that no one can see the expression on her face. There are a million things she could say then, thousands of thoughts and views and feelings about Jade and Beck, and why shit like this always seems to happen to her, and how much it sucks, but she's Jade West, and she doesn't wallow, especially not in front of a room full of almost-sort-of-friends. She tears her arm out of Tori's hand.

"Go screw yourself," she mutters, and stomps out the door, slamming it so hard the windows rattle. God, what is it with this house and her relationship issues?

She shakes it off; still so pissed she can barely see straight and runs right into a wall.


"Jade? Are you okay?"

God, it's not a wall, it's Beck, which is only about five billion times worse. She stumbles away from him and stands back, settling her hands on her hips and trying to look intimidating.

"What are you doing here?" she asks, looking him over.

It hurts to look at him—dark, doleful eyes and mussed hair and heavy eyebrows and pink lips pulled downwards now—it's almost a physical ache; it thrums and twitters like a heartbeat deep within her ribcage.

"Project," he says, eyes scanning over her face, and she has to fight the blush that threatens to rush to her cheeks. God, no wonder Tori was about to have an aneurism back there.

"How, um, how are you?"

Really? She thinks, this is the first time they've been alone together since the breakup and this is what he wants to discuss? Pleasantries? God if he asks her what she's been up to she might just have to kill herself. And him. And burn down Vega's house. Just to, you know, get the point across properly.

She almost wants to ask him how he expects her to be, two months into suffering a major abandonment from the one guy she has ever truly opened herself up to.

"Just peachy," she spits, hoping the amount of venom she wishes to convey comes off perfectly in that statement. She likes the word "peachy", likes it because she thinks no one has ever not used that word to be sarcastic or biting, and she likes words like that. Words that were made to be bad and that make people feel bad. Like dumb bitch or ugly fuck. Yes. She likes those. She thinks maybe she should call him those as well, even if they'd be patently untrue.

Beck sighs tiredly, as if he knows exactly what she's thinking and runs his hands through his hair in his signature "Gosh, I'm frustrated, feel bad for Me" gesture and Jade rolls her eyes at that, even if it makes her heart melt a little.

In response she folds her arms across her chest because it makes her look tough. Also, it has the added bonus of pushing her boobs upwards and close together, and that's never a bad thing. She has a penchant for wearing low-cut tops and Beck has the penchant for liking them.

Had. Whatever.

His eyes skim over her chest now, hot and hasty, before he drops them to the floor a second later, guilty.

Jade's eyes soften at that.

Once he had compared her body to hills and mountains.

He had spread himself across her and worshiped the arch of her spine, the curve of her calves, the slope of her shoulders, the valley between her breasts leading down to the deep dips on each side of her waist, lower-lower-lower. He had pressed kisses everywhere, just short, suctioned kisses dotted against the length of her body that had driven her crazy and made her arch her back in frustration. He'd looked up at her then, eyes so dark and so serious from his spot near her belly button, voice low and alluring as he whispered your body is like hills, Jade, in the sexiest rasp she's ever heard, like mountains and valleys and plains. He grazed his teeth over the top of her knee and she jerked upwards, groaning helplessly. Like a country, he'd whispered, finally moving back up so he could hover over her properly. He kissed the tip of her nose. Like a continentan entire world of Jade West.

She felt his lips blazing against her like physical pain, felt like she was drowning, like she was dying, but she'd lived enough years by then to know that it was neither—it was love—suffocating and frightening and soul-shattering, and it was love.

Jade blinks the memory away glares at him instead.

"Well, see you around." She mutters, because if she doesn't leave now she might just start crying, and she absolutely refuses to do anything of the sort around him anymore. She turns on her heel and gets ready to flounce off when his voice stops her.

"We can talk, you know. We did agree to be friends."

She lets out a ragged breath and turns to face him again. She wants to remind him that he was actually the one who had ambled over to her locker a week after the breakup and demanded they act like grownups. He was, apparently, sort of tired of the way she'd been treating him (which incidentally is the way she treats everyone else, and he had made his own way into that category, so why was he complaining?) and wanted to be friends.

Cat was standing right beside her, Jade had promised her a ride home and she was making little humming sounds, pretending she wasn't there.

"Friends?" she'd asked, quirking an eyebrow, even has her heart said but howhowhowhow—and she'd crossed her arms across her chest.

"Yeah," he said quietly. He glanced towards Cat. It was obvious he'd rather have this conversation without an audience, but there was no way Jade was letting herself be alone with him. She took a step closer to her. "I mean, we use to be friends." He pointed out.

For two weeks, she wanted to remind him, and even then there was so much flirting and sexual tension in between, they were constantly being asked if they were dating.

"Whatever," she said rolling her eyes. She took a moment to look him over; he didn't look any different than he did a few weeks ago. As if there had been no significant, cataclysmic event that had completely changed his life just seven days before, and who knew, maybe to him it hadn't been that big of a deal.

She started walking away; trying not a feel too bitter and a second later Cat scurried after.

"Are you okay?" Cat asked in a small voice.

"Shut up." She demanded. But the second they were out the school doors and facing the parking lot, she turned to glare down at her. "No." Jade had confessed in a hard voice. "I'm really not."

Cat nodded, like she somehow understood.

"That's okay," she'd said and led the rest of the way to Jade's car.

She doesn't know what his problem is, she really does not. It had seemed, over the course of their breakup that he had started to miss her or some shit like that. If Jade was a less intelligent individual she wouldn't have even noticed, but he'd started going out of his way to pass her in the halls, sat by her in class under the guise that there were no other seats available, and she's caught him, on more than one occasion, outlining the angles of her face with his dark, serious eyes, much like he was doing now.

"What the hell do you want to talk about?" She snaps.

Honestly, she's tired—exhausted is a better word. There had been just a bit too much emotional upheaval in the last twenty minutes and all she wants is to go home and maybe punch a hole in her wall.

Jade takes a quick look around, and realizes properly that they are totally alone. Once that would have meant something. It would have meant a lowering of defenses for Jade, being allowed to be sad or scared or stupid or silly for a little bit.

Vaguely she remembers Robbie's misguided project a few years back—Robarazzi—that they had gotten Jade on tape admitting in a whiny, girly voice that she had not showered that day, had eaten tuna for lunch—private, embarrassing details she would not have admitted to anyone if her life was on the line, yet she said to Beck so easily.

Now things were different. She couldn't let her guard down around anyone anymore, especially not him, and truthfully that's been one of the worst parts of this whole ordeal.

She just has to be bitter, angry, sarcastic, overreacting Jade, with no breaks ever to get to be sad or insecure.

Honestly, it's exhausting.

"I just," he starts, then stops. He takes a deep breath and tries again "Just…what have you been up to?"


Really, he just makes her want to drink herself stupid, but even that she has learned, was less fun without him.

She had tried it with Cat.

It was three days after the very messy breakup and she still hadn't mourned properly yet, she hadn't even cried. Don't ask her why she decided to invite Cat over either, all she knew was that her mother and father wouldn't be home until the next morning, her little brother was passed out in bed, and there is nothing that makes you want to commit suicide more than getting drunk all by yourself in a big, empty house. Company was better for these things. And with a very limited list of people she could put up with for more than twelve minutes, Cat was company.

She was excited over the prospect of hanging out together, and Jade rolled her eyes as she brought a couple of tumblers and her father's very expensive decanter of deeply aged bourbon over to the coffee table. They settled on the floor of the living room as Jade sloshed two ounces into each glass.

"Cheers," she muttered, clinking her glass against Cat's and drowning it in one gulp.

Cat looked confused for a second, but then she shrugged her shoulders and took a very dainty sip.

"Oh!" she coughed several times, made a gagging noise and set the glass on the floor, childishly wiping her tongue on the back of her hand. "Oh I don't like this," she said with a grimace.

"It tastes better with ice," Jade had drawled, wondering why she didn't think if that in the first place. She plunked a few cubes into Cat's glass and set it in front of her again. "Try it now."

Jade herself was on her second glass by that point, but since she was only drinking a very little at a time, she figured it wasn't too bad. Her head was starting to fog up in that nice way and her eye sight was starting to get a little blurry, side effects of drinking hard alcohol very fast. She liked that feeling, the beginning stages of getting tipsy when all you could feel is that soft, pleasant haziness.

She always did think she had the makings of an alcoholic.

"It still tastes bad," Cat had whined, and Jade could feel her buzz just slipping away.

"It's not supposed to taste good, it's supposed to make you feel good. God."

Jade poured herself another quarter of an inch and downed it all at once because she figured she deserved it for not punching Cat in the face yet.

Cat, for her part, traced her index finger around the rim of the glass and did not make an attempt to drink anymore. Jade leaned tiredly against the couch.

She didn't know why she thought this would be a good idea.

"Do you do this a lot?" Cat wondered in an airy voice.

"Sometimes," Jade murmured. "Mostly at parties." Mostly with Beck—her mind whispered, but she willed that thought away quickly.

"Hum," Cat hummed. She dipped one finger into her drink, swirled it around and took it out quickly, then put it into her mouth. She made a gagging face and wiped her finger on the carpet. Jade rolled her eyes at that. She was always so grumpy nowadays, meaner than ever, and she had to bite her tongue to keep from making a cruel comment and sending Cat home crying.

"So...why are you doing this now? This isn't a party." she asked in her high voice. It would have been an accusation on anyone else, but on Cat it really was just a question.

"I don't know," Jade grumped; she took a slow sip of her drink, swished it around in her mouth for a second and swallowed. It burned on the way down but settled pleasantly, curled like warm smoke in her stomach. "I just felt like drinking. It makes things…" she sighed loudly, looking for the word, "Numb, I guess."

Cat nodded, and Jade was grateful for that easy acceptance. Anyone else would have—

"Is it because of Beck?" she asked in a whisper. She scooted backwards the second after she asked, as if she was scared Jade would hit her or something.

Jade stared at her for a second through narrowed eyes, wondering if Cat was more perceptive than she really let on. It was a theory she'd been toying with for months now, especially since she had known Cat since their first year at Hollywood Arts and while she had never been the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, Cat had never been as air-headed as she seemed to be recently.

Vaguely Jade wondered about all of them. Maybe they were all hiding behind something, maybe it just came with the fact that they were all so busy trying to be somebody, they couldn't let themselves be just themselves. Cat in stupidity and Tori with her shiny smiles and desire to fix everyone and everything and Andre behind his music and lyrics and Trina behind sordid desperation and Robbie behind that stupid puppet. And Jade, she thought with a fair amount of self-pity, Jade behind Beck and Beck behind Jade.

Well, once, not anymore.

She looked at Cat then, and shook her head to clear it.

"Maybe," Jade said looking away, "A little bit. I don't know. God, shut up."

Cat nodded solemnly, drew her little eyebrows together and then said in a rush,

"It was really bad what Beck did. Really, really bad. And I'm sorry that it happened like that. I'm sorry that it happened at all." She ducked her head and looked so sad, on the verge of tears, and Jade thought that out of all the condolences she had gotten over this whole ordeal, this one was maybe the most genuine.

"I know," she muttered, taking another deep sip, "I know."

Cat sniffled quietly for a few seconds and Jade clinked the ice at the bottom of her glass, wondering if she should go for another round.

"Maybe he just got scared because it got too hard." Cat said very quickly in a whispery voice, she leaned against the coach, right next to Jade so their shoulders were brushing, holding her barely touched glass in her lap. "Like one time me and my brother tried to bake a cake for my mom's birthday, and I had to go to the bathroom so I told him to add the butter to the batter and mix until smooth, but when I came back there was cake batter everywhere and he was yelling at the oven and when I asked him what happened, he said it got too hard, so he got mad and threw it on the floor."

Cat took a gasping breath in, looked at Jade through wide eyes.

"And I know he said he got mad because it got too hard, but I think that maybe he actually got scared, because he hates loud noises like mixers and garbage disposals, and maybe Beck just did that. Maybe Beck just got scared because things got too hard, so he had to break up with you because he didn't know what else to do."

Both of them were quiet for a long moment as they digested this. Then,

"And all we could give to my mom was the pink frosting I made earlier. We spread it on top of waffles. She still liked it, though."

"Cat?" Jade said in a quiet voice, reaching for the decanter and pouring herself a rather large amount. She shifted over and tipped some into Cat's glass as well.

"Yes?" Cat asked, eyeing her now half-full glass as if wondering if she should try another sip.

"Your brother is so fucked up."

Cat was quiet. She took a tiny sip of the bourbon and grimaced.

"I know," she said softly. "Beck is too."

Jade closed her eyes tightly and drew her knees together to her chest, pressed her head against them.

She should have never thought to do this, and even if she had had the strong desire to get really drunk, she should have done so by herself. She really didn't want to talk about Beck; the whole point of this was to forget about him. A few tears leaked out against her will, sliding off her face and sinking into the fabric of her mesh tights. She didn't think Cat saw, and if she did, she didn't comment on it.

Jade appreciated that.

"Thanks," she said quietly, thoroughly hoping she wouldn't remember any of this in the morning. "I kinda needed to hear that, I think."

All Jade knows is that she doesn't believe in much—she doesn't believe in aliens or silver linings or bras that clip in the front. She doesn't believe in happily-ever-after-s or optimism or that whole the night is darkest before the dawn shit. She doesn't believe in fairies or any kind of god or deity—but she believed in him. She believed in them.

"I'm going to leave now, Beck." She says instead of answering him. She turns to go but he grabs her by the arms, pulling her to him.

"What—" she starts, but then stops.

Because he is kissing her, pressing his mouth to her mouth and melding their lips together, gripping her by the back of the skull and getting their bodies as close together as possible. Jade does not think, she does not wonder or worry, she just twines her hands around his neck, fists one hand into the hair on the nape of his neck and curls the other just beneath his strong jaw, atop the quickened thrum of his pulse point, wraps her tongue around his.

She never thought sadness to have a flavor.

Jade is not for waxing poetic, really, she isn't, but the way he kisses her that day, so desperate and so frantic, full of such longing and encumbrance—she comes to a conclusion. All at once, she realizes that it does.

Sadness has a flavor, and its name is Beck Oliver.

She breaks the kiss.

"No," she says backing away, "No, no, no, god no," even as her heart screams yes, please, yes.

"Jade," he pleads, taking a step closer, but she holds her ground.

"No." she says firmly, stomps her foot on the ground, because he doesn't get to do this. Not like this and not here of all places, leaning against this door on this house with those same exact people inside.

"You don't get to do this, okay? This isn't a romantic comedy and you aren't Patrick Dempsey, and one kiss will not make up for all the shit you put me through." She takes another step back and he runs both hands through his hair, disheveling it so that it sticks up at odd angles around his head, he looks more mad scientist and less angsty teenage boy.

"If you want to mean something to me again, you'll have to work for it. And it won't be easy, because nothing about me ever will be. It'll take a long time and a lot of groveling and if you're going to go through all of this just to screw me over again when things get too hard, then you can just go fuck yourself."

She thinks that maybe he will get angry, shout at her and ask her what the hell she wants from him; point out that half of this is her fault too. Or else shrug his shoulders, admit defeat, head on inside and then proceed to bang Vega into her mattress. But he just looks at her, eyes slightly narrowed, mouth set in a frown, thin arms folded across his chest.

"Okay." He accepts in a quiet voice, eyes boring into hers, telling her he's very serious about this. "Okay."

Jade tucks her bottom lip under her teeth and holds her hands behind her back, because they're shaking and she really doesn't want him to know that.

Her head is spinning a little, and there is a very odd rushing sound in her ears, but even as she stands here in front of him, at the same place she had walked away just a few months ago, she feels something click back into place.

"Okay," she whispers back after a moment, and thinks, god, didn't she used to be an articulate person before she met him? And flicks her head towards the door,

"You should get inside, then. Finish the project and all that." Her voice shakes a little, and her knees feel like they may collapse in any moment, but she thinks there is a lot left to forgive still, and falling into his arms like a tragic heroine in a frou-frou romance novel would help very little right now. So she pulls together as much composure as she can manage, and turns away from him.

"Where are you going?"

"Home, obviously," she pulls a hand through her hair, separating the curls there and swallowing hard. "I'll see you at school or something."

She turns to go but he stops her, gripping her just above the wrist with his thin fingers "Wait, I'll drive you." He offers.

She narrows her eyes at him and sneers, although she does not attempt to release her wrist from his grasp and she doesn't even want to think what the psychology books would have to say about that. "I brought my own car, idiot." She says, even though all of a sudden she wishes she hadn't.

"Okay, well I'll just follow your car, to make sure you get home okay."

"And then you'll drive back here." She says raising one eyebrow, and he nods eagerly, like this is the best idea he's ever had.

"Don't be stupid." She tells him, even as her heart flutters traitorously in her chest. "I don't need you to 'make sure I get home okay'. God" She finally releases her wrist from his grasp and stomps towards her car.

She can feel him following her through, all the way to their cars and then all the way to her house. And even though her rational inner voice reasons that this is behavior more suiting of a rapist than a perfect boy, she keeps glancing into her rearview mirror, as if to make sure he's still behind her.

Once she gets to her house, Jade slams her car door and makes a very conscious effort not to look over at him, parked along her driveway. She unlocks the front door and with her back still towards him, gives a wave—a sarcastic jerk of the hand more than anything—and smiles a tiny smile tucked into her cheek as she listens to his truck start up again and lumber down the street.

She thinks, maybe, if forgiveness had a sound, it would be that.

See? I couldn't even bear to let it end with angst, there's hope and shit.

Beck should have to work for her back. Like, seriously.