Title: The Sun's In My Heart
Length: 8, 500
Spoilers: Tori & Jade's Play Date
Summary: Desperate to get out of the house, Tori spends part of her spring break with Jade.
Warning: Underage drinking, drug use, swearing.
The coarseness of the tone shouldn't have surprised Tori, but it took her a moment of floundering before she could formulate a reply. After having half a week off from Jade, the longest stretch she had gone without seeing her classmate since she switched schools, Tori was used to people being a tad more civilized.
"Okay, I'm hanging up in three, two-"
"Are you doing anything tonight?" A long stretch of time left the Latina chewing her lip as she waited for the inevitable rejection. "Jade?"
"Why?" There was an apprehension behind the repeated question that surprised Tori, but she supposed the request was just as strange for Jade to hear as it was for her to say. "Don't you have friends who are actually, I don't know, your friend?"
Tori huffed. "Everyone's away for the holiday." She didn't mention that she had tried Beck before resorting to Jade, only to find out he had a date with a girl he had met on the beach earlier that afternoon.
"Are you really so uncreative that you can't handle a week off by yourself?"
"I really need to get out of the house."
"Why so desperate?"
"Because," Tori was again left trying to verbalize just why she needed to hang out with someone, even if it was someone who could barely stand her presence. "Trina."
It was a full minute before Jade finally sighed. "I'll pick you up in twenty minutes."
Tori was waiting on the curb when Jade pulled up in a car that Tori didn't recognize, her eyes heavy with make up and her expression bored. "You better have money," she called out through the rolled down passenger window.
"I've got, like, fifteen bucks." Tori slid into her seat and reached back for her seatbelt as Jade shifted into drive. "Where are we going?"
"To a small get together. If you don't like it, I'm sure you can call your parents for a ride home." The dark haired girl reached forward to turn on the CD player and a singer Tori didn't recognize came through the speakers.
"Where's the party?"
"At a house."
She rolled her eyes and sat back as Jade drove them towards a neighborhood she didn't recognize, the houses small but colorful. Jade was quiet as she drove, her face displaying a look that made Tori rethink just how desperate she was for a night away from her sister. She was about to voice said thought when they pulled into a strip mall that was on one of the busier intersecting roads, and Jade ignored all the empty spaces to pull up to a small orange Datsun. Blue eyes slid over to Tori and a palm was held out. "Money."
"For what?" Tori asked, though her hand was already reaching into the back pocket of her jeans. She didn't notice the door on the car next to her open until a guy she vaguely recognized stuck his head through the open window and made her jump by snatching the money out of her hand. She almost raised her voice in protest, but she was cut off.
"Hey, West. Who's your friend?" The sandy-haired boy smelled too much of cheap body spray, but his smile was slow and easygoing and his hat was something Tori would have bought herself. "She's cute."
"Vodka," was the sharp response he received along with another bill. "Enough for the two of us."
The boy's sky blue eyes drifted back to Tori as he took the money and pushed off from the car without question. The fact that he didn't even blink at Jade's brusqueness left Tori with the impression that he had dealt with her before, and Tori found her gaze following him as he walked into the liquor store a few shops down from the one they were parked in front of. She then glanced over to the car he had emerged from where another boy sat in the passenger seat, his hair a darker brown than her own locks, with eyes to match. He lifted his hand to give a small wave, which she returned bemusedly.
"Okay, where are these from?" she asked, turning to Jade.
"Gotta get in the art classes, Vega," Jade replied airily as she checked her hair in the rearview mirror. "There are some hot, soon-to-be tattoo artists who spend all of their free time making bongs out of clay and looking for something fun to do."
Tori laughed and relaxed in her seat a little. "I screw up stick figures, but it does sound tempting."
The lilac streaks in Jade's hair were a new addition to her color scheme, but they matched the v-neck she had on perfectly, and, in turn, brought out the grey hues in her eyes as they rolled in their sockets. "Something the great Tori Vega isn't a natural at? My stars."
"I don't talk-"
"Smirnoff for the ladies." Tori jumped as the blonde boy returned, a slim paper bag in his hand. "How do you get to Lia's from here?"
"Follow us," Jade's voice had returned to a normal neutral as she spoke to whoever the boy was, a quirk in her lips as she reached across to grab the bottle and hide it in the backseat.
"Lia?" Tori asked when they were back on the road. "Lia Petrosini?"
"The popular, gorgeous, somehow blonde-hair-blue-eyed, British-Italian girl?"
"That's the one," the reply came out snipped with impatience.
"I just can't imagine you two hanging out," Tori said honestly, rolling her head over to look at the other girl.
"You are aware that as someone who's high up on the social hierarchy has to keep company with the same kind of people, aren't you? Besides, she tells the dirtiest jokes ever when she's drunk."
The house was bigger than most of the ones surrounding it, but just as bohemian with it's red walls and dark roof. There were multiple cars in front of it and across the street, though Tori heard nothing from inside as they approached the house and waited for the boys to catch up.
"I don't really drink," Tori admitted, hand pushing her hair back behind her ear nervously.
A suspicion that she would be rolling her eyes a lot that evening dawned on Tori as she fixed the other girl with a semi-exasperated look. "So I probably won't be drinking much tonight."
A slow smile spread across Jade's lips and her studded eyebrow twitched. "We'll see," the words left the other girl's mouth as a raspy promise, and though she barely had an inch on Tori, she seemed to tower over her at that moment.
"Uh-oh." Tori jumped as the boys from the store approached them, each clutching their own bag. "That look means trouble," the blonde boy winked at Tori before continuing, "better watch out."
"I can handle Jade," Tori recovered, "I've had practice."
"Tori, Noah. Noah, Tori." Jade breathed the words out as if speaking to them was barely worth her time. She pointed at the dark haired boy with a black polished fingernail. "Tori, Mike. Mike, Tori."
Noah adjusted the slouching beanie that was resting on his blonde hair. "Nice to officially meet you, Tori." He stepped around the two girls and pushed open the front door of the house. "Shall we?"
They were lead through the house as Noah followed the sound of the music that got louder and louder the further they walked, until they were pushing a door open to reveal a set of steep stairs and an old rock song that Tori vaguely recognized as something by The Doors. The basement was unfinished, but large and open and filled with people Tori didn't recognize. Most were converging by the pool table to the right, but at a solitary blonde sat at a dining table across the room, the phone in her hands plugged into the wall behind her.
The volume of the music dipped upon their entrance when the blonde's electric blue eyes looked up from whatever message she was sending and spotted them. "About time. You know I can't play anything without a drink."
Noah took a seat next to the girl, kissing her cheek as he pulled out a bottle of rum. "Pour vous. Jade brought a friend."
Lia smiled up at Tori, her teeth disturbingly white. "Tori Vega."
"I didn't know you knew each other," Jade commented, her voice dripping with disdain at the fake formality she gave. She took a seat opposite of Lia, and Tori followed Jade.
"We're in the same Physics class," Tori clarified, giving Lia a smile so she could avoid looking at the dark haired Mike who had taken a seat across from her. Something about his silence had been off-putting, and his gaze rarely left Jade, who in turn was acting as if he wasn't there, something Tori knew first hand that Jade had practice with.
"Okay, enough chit chat." Jade's voice was like a whip and her eyes dared anyone to defy her. She twisted the cap off the bottle she held and poured the clear liquid into a shot glass. "Speed quarters. Now. Vega and Noah can start."
The first thing Tori recognized wasn't that she was in an unfamiliar bed, nor that she wasn't wearing the same clothes she had left her house in the previous night, but the fact that she felt like shit. Her stomach turned as her eyes opened, even though she could tell that it was empty. She quickly clamped her hand over her eyes in a vain attempt to stop the room from spinning around her.
"Oh, good," a droll voice caused the fingers in front of her eyes to part. Jade looked pale as she stepped into the room and sat down on the edge of the bed, but she was definitely faring better than Tori herself. She smirked at the Latina and ran the towel she was holding through her dampened hair. "You're up."
"Where are we?" Tori asked when her eyes took in the stark room behind Jade's body, her tongue thick with sleep. "There's no way your room is this white."
Jade eased herself back down to the bed, her towel turning into a pillow. "We're at my dad's. I don't actually have a room here."
Something clicked with Tori at the mention of their location. "I threw up in the kitchen sink."
Tori didn't have to look to see; she could hear the smile in Jade's voice when the other girl responded. "You sure did." Tori groaned and Jade continued, "Don't worry, he wasn't here. He and his wife are in Hawaii for the week." She sat up suddenly, jarring the bed and Tori dared to remove the hand covering her eyes as other girl patted her shin. "Now get out of my house."
The thought of facing Trina made Tori wince until another thought hit her. "I can't go home like this, my parents will kill me."
Jade let out sigh and she looked at her nails. "Fine, you can stay. But you're gonna have to be less useless and make me breakfast."
Tori sat up slowly. "Can I shower first?"
"Does this feeling ever go away?"
"In my experience, yes, but you're pretty much stuck with it for at least the day."
"It's weird that you're a happy drunk. Like, very weird. Like, I thought for sure you would be a somehow more mean person while drunk."
"People annoy me less when I'm not sober."
"Your cheeks were all red, it was kind of adorable."
"And here I thought I was always precious."
"What am I like when I'm drunk?"
"Fine. You were… I don't know, quiet? You usually never shut up, so it's weird."
"And I'm a lightweight."
"Yeah, you should probably stick to nursing some coolers or something more befitting your sensitive stomach."
"I don't think there's gonna be a next time. Don't think I'm suited to it."
"That's too bad."
"It is, huh? Because you liked hanging out with me? Are you finally admitting that we're obviously friends? Yeah, you are. Don't even say another word, I have my answer."
"…I just mean… you're a lot easier to not hate when you stop rubbing your personality in someone's face."
"Well… thank you?"
"Don't mention it. Seriously. Vega. We're not BFFs, you're just slightly less annoying."
"I'll take it."
When Tori woke up the next day, her hangover had thankfully almost completely left her. Jade was already awake next to her and staring at the roof, like she wasn't moving so she wouldn't wake the girl next to her up, and Tori was granted a few brief moments of getting to see Jade without being noticed. Her eyes were very much blue that day, the sun-brightened white walls reflecting in them. They closed as a yawn overtook the pale girl, and when they opened again they caught sight of Tori.
"And she just looked so… so pretty and sweet," André's voice echoed in her head and she knew then what he had meant, how nice it was to catch Jade unaware, barriers down.
A weird quiet filled the room as Jade's head rolled to the side to look at Tori, their equally curious eyes locked as they took each other in. Tori couldn't help the small smile that formed on her lips as she spoke, breaking the silence.
"Can you believe we haven't killed each other yet?"
Jade gave a small laugh and turned back to look at the ceiling. "We've done the impossible."
When Tori finally did return to her house, it was two days after she left it and she was in desperate need of a change of clothes and her toothbrush. But it was still a short-lived visit to say the least. It only took an hour and a half of Trina trying to hit the high notes in "My Heart Will Go On" before she cracked and picked up her phone, ignoring the messages undoubtedly left by André to text the last number she called.
"Hey, what's up?"
It turned out that she wasn't the only one who was worse for wear after the other night. When they got to Mike's they were greeted by Lia, who was being dropped off by her older sister and whose hangover was clearly still eating away at her.
"I was smashed. I couldn't make it upstairs until the sun went down today. Too bright." Tori decided, with a clear head, that she liked Lia and loved her accent. And she was thoroughly confused as to why Lia would like Jade. They mostly just exchanged snarky remarks that were directed at other people.
The smell hit her when the front door was opened, a heavy sweetness that any Californian teenager recognized no matter how naïve. Mike hovered over the bong as Noah held the lighter over the bowl; the latter's eyes seem even brighter with red peaks in the corners of them.
"Hola, chicas," he greeted casually while Mike remained as quiet as ever; blowing out the smoke he was holding in behind his shoulder. "I'm glad your brought Tori again, West. Though, why she hangs out with you is beyond me."
Tori smiled and took a seat next to the blonde boy after Jade had slid in next to Mike. She decided she liked Noah, too. "I'm surprised she's letting me, to be honest."
"Am I not known for my generous soul and winning personality?" Jade asked as she snatched the lighter away from Noah. "I thought gay guys loved bitchy girls."
"Only if they have the wardrobe to match."
It was weird watching Jade interact with people outside of the regular group, to think that she had a social life away from them despite being, well, Jade. But she was at ease with the people around her and with the illicitness of doing something illegal, all while allowing Tori to see. She wondered if she should feel special, getting to see another side of Jade.
She was caught staring and in return received an arched eyebrow and a mischievous smile. "Vega," Jade's voice rasped after she breathed out the smoke.
"West." It was an immediate reply; one that Tori didn't have to think about while Jade held her eyeline at her across the coffee table.
"Stop eye-fucking me."
She scoffed but couldn't think of a reply before Noah's arms slid around her waist and pulled her close. "Oh, Jade," he laughed, "I'm glad to see you're as charming with your other friends as you are with us."
Tori realized then that Noah had only mirrored the image of the couple across from them, Mike's arms fitting weirdly around Jade's form when he so clearly wasn't Beck. The Latina had almost wished that Noah was straight so she could make out with him; to do anything to shock Jade, to remind her of her presence and of the friends she didn't seem to miss.
"It is kind of a relief. Here I thought you were just awful around us," Lia said, having returned from the bathroom to sit next to Tori, her hand snatching the glass sculpture away from Jade as she did. "Don't feel like you have to, Tori. Do whatever."
Jade's eyes seemed steely through the hazy smoke that was blown between her and Tori, and Tori felt nervous for a long minute that her semi-friendship with Jade was about to crash down around her. But Jade held her tongue if she had anything to say, and sank back further into Mike's arms.
A half hour later left Tori feeling lightheaded from the smoke that filled the room. She had been entranced at the mixture of lights that were strung across the far wall. Red chili peppers, the pretty white Christmas ones that were supposed to resemble icicles, little yellow happy face lights. She enjoyed the light wall. So much so that she hadn't noticed Jade and Mike getting up until she was watching Jade's grey shirt disappear down the hallway.
A weird sense of betrayal overcame Tori as she watched Jade walk away. She liked Lia and Noah, but the fun of their last few nights had been seeing a different side of the girl who had been so polarizing to her throughout the year, which was something she definitely could not do when Jade was not in the room. She wanted to rebel again, even if Jade wasn't there to see it. "Okay, give me that thing. You guys have to do the… lighting and stuff because I don't know how it works."
They kept telling her to breathe and she held it down best she could until Lia pulled the bowl out and all the smoke shot into her at once. It affected Tori immediately, making her world pulsate, making her cough at the same time she felt like she was gaping for breath. There were laughs around her, congratulations from Noah for doing so well, and then Lia's arm slipped around her back. It registered that they were asking about her well-being and she found herself trying to pull it together to nod seriously and ask where the bathroom was. The information registering with some part of her, she hoisted herself from the couch and headed in what she hoped was the right direction. To Tori it seemed like her movements were jerky, as if she were a marionette being controlled from above.
She smacked her hand over all the light switches she saw on her way into the bathroom, to the point where she left a literal trail behind her. The sound of a bathroom fan whirring sent her plowing through the door until she saw her reflection in the mirror as she leaned over the sink. Tori literally looked like a gaping fish as she breathed, and it felt to her as if the air was refusing go down into her lungs. The Latina clumsily fumbled with the taps until she got the cold water running across her fingertips, which she promptly brought up to her flushed neck in an attempt to cool herself down. She shivered as the beads of water slipped down her tan skin and collected at the collar of her shirt but pressed her cool hands to her flushed cheeks. Tori had always been the kind of person who seemed ten degrees hotter than everyone else. "Warm hands, cold heart," she remembered Jade sneering once.
The whirring of the fan stopped and the door closed behind Tori. She looked up in the mirror to see Jade, with her smokey eyes and lilac streaks and turned immediately, reaching out for the other girl and the only familiarity she had at the moment.
"Well, hey there," came the too-sultry voice as Tori's warm forehead pressed against Jade's cool one. "You went rogue, I see."
"It's fun but I feel like… there's no air." Tori's eyes opened and she reached up to press her thumb to the small pink smudge coming off Jade's full bottom lip. "Sorry."
"You're so stoned," Jade chuckled, the words ghosting over Tori's cheek as the Latina leaned in to hug the other girl. "Come on, let's go sit down."
Every other moment seemed to catch her attention, leaving her feeling like she was missing something with the small gaps in between. It became clear to her, when they walked back into the den amidst a chorus of laughter, that Jade must have been feeling as spaced out as her if she willingly had her arms around Tori. She had to remember that the people that surrounded them weren't their usual friends; they got to see Jade like this all the time when she hung out with them. Maybe they received hugs freely from the other girl all the time.
They ended up collapsing into a beanbag chair underneath the light wall; Jade doing her best to sit up while her arm was trapped underneath the Latina, and Tori trying to answer the questions thrown at her with a dry mouth. She caught sight of Mike in the corner, his gaze envious and already on her. He didn't look away, so she did. And after she did, she tugged a squirming Jade to rest until the raven-haired girl sighed and allowed Tori to place her head on her shoulder.
Tori didn't remember falling asleep, but apparently she and everyone else had. The sky was barely pink outside when she was shaken awake, Jade's sleep-rasped voice whispering her last name while a solitary finger pressed into her side, causing her to jerk. They were still in the same position as when they fell onto the soft chair hours before, and Tori wondered if Jade's arm felt as numb as her foot did.
"S'matter?" Tori asked as she wiped her eyes.
"I wanna see if we can get McDonald's to serve us breakfast."
"But they start serving that at like five-thirty... what time is it?"
"Just get up."
It took some wriggling to sit up from the chair and Tori's shin banged into the coffee table more than once as she readjusted to the world. It wasn't bright when Tori stepped outside but it was cold, the air moist with a light morning fog. She couldn't remember the last time she'd been up at this time, but she enjoyed the calm feeling of the world before it woke up. They sat in the car for a minute with heat cranked up and defrost on, neither speaking, not even while they drove.
Jade ended up bullying the workers at the McDonalds into serving them breakfast an hour early and the two of them ate their spoils in the parking lot, heat now leveled out and music on low.
"I don't get why they don't just serve breakfast all day," Tori stated, only half her Bacon and Egg McMuffin left in her hand.
Jade shook her head and took a sip of her orange juice before responding, "People are dumb."
"They really are."
It dawned on Tori that she had never been to Jade's before; they never really hung out, and when they did, Jade or Beck had always been the driver and would drop one another off last. The house was huge, big enough to make Tori wonder whether or not Jade's mother was vicious like her daughter, and took her ex-husband for all he had (the condo they had stayed at the night before was nowhere near as extravagant), or if Jade's mother was strong like her daughter, and was the moneymaker of the family.
"God, why do we never hang out here?" Tori asked, low voice booming in the quiet hallways. Even in the dim light she could tell that the house was tastefully decorated with room to spare.
"I don't like people in my house," came Jade's snipped reply before stopping abruptly in the middle of the hall, causing Tori to crash into her. The dark haired girl smiled as Tori grimaced at the impact, and then reached out to push open the door that was to her right, revealing a dark room with a comfortable bed.
When Tori woke up a second time, she could fully appreciate how Jade-esque the room truly was. From the disturbing jars on shelves above the bed, to the framed programs of the shows she had put on or starred in. But more than just the superficial details were there, and Tori wondered if Jade noticed it herself. The room was large, but felt cozy, the floor to ceiling windows, although draped with thick curtains, let in a lot of sunshine. And the room was meticulously, yet casually organized. It appeared to be divided up in stations: bed, closet, vanity, keyboard, desk, easel, bookshelves, the entrance, and then a corner with a chair that Tori recognized from her Slap page videos with a tripod set in front of it. But each station seemed to bleed into the next as if these areas became about naturally. Or maybe Tori had been overanalyzing things because she still felt high.
"I didn't know you painted," she managed through a yawn as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes.
"Hot boys in art, remember?"
Tori had almost responded but she stopped for a moment to take in Jade. The easel's back was to the middle of the room (and therefore, to Tori as well), in what Tori could assume was an attempt to utilize the light from the windows that met in the corner of the room where Jade was. She couldn't see what Jade was painting, but she could see Jade, whose face was oddly blank as her hand made precise strokes with the brush across the canvas. Blank and make-up free, dark hair pulled back from her face. Her shirt was a paint splattered white cotton v-neck and she wore black cotton shorts to match.
She looked so… weird. Normal was probably the word Tori had been searching for, but her view on normal and Jade seemed so distorted from one another. Her hair was still streaked with purple, her eyebrow studded, gaze tense in concentration despite her calm demeanor. She was still Jade, Tori knew that, but she was as stripped down as Tori had ever seen her as she moved to the desk to mix some colors. The red tones in the wallpaper and the mahogany wall-paneling and furniture brought out the green in her eyes as she looked Tori over.
"So you had fun last night?" Jade's smile seemed genuine, even with the teasing undertone she had in her voice.
Tori laughed and removed her canvas half-jacket and brought it to her face, the smell of marijuana still heavy on it. "Yeah, it was… might have overdone it for my first time."
"I think that's a fair assessment," Jade agreed distractedly as she squeezed out a small amount of white to add to the palette she was holding with her left hand.
"Sorry if I… if you had to take care of me… again. If I ruined your night."
"It was worth it to learn that you're a big fan of classic showtunes while high." She had returned to the canvas, leaving Tori with the urge to see what she was so desperate paint.
Tori stood from the bed on surprisingly steady legs. "'I am sixteen, going on seventeen, innocent as a rose,'" she sang sweetly as she stepped across the plush carpet until she reached the tarp laid down on the floor. "God, we listened to that soundtrack, like, four times. Why?"
"I honestly have no idea," the taller girl shook her head and stepped back from the easel as Tori came around to look at the painting. "Like it?"
The thing about abstract art was that Tori didn't get it. And she wouldn't have been able to understand Jade's picture unless she had been there herself, looking up at the same thing where the inspiration was taken from. "The light wall," Tori mused, seeing the swirls of color in between the gray take shape to fit her memory.
"Yep," it was a murmured rasp that made Tori smile as she looked over at Jade, who in turn stared at the colors on her palette. Tori tried to think of something to say, about their sudden friendship, at Jade's whole other group of acquaintances, of the boy Jade walked away from to rescue her in the bathroom, and the apparent occasional drug use, but she had come up blank. And Jade… was as hard to read as ever.
The door opened suddenly and caused both girls to start as a blonde woman with Jade's kaleidoscope eyes walked in, staring at her phone. "Jade, is your brother in Santa Barbara until today or tomorrow?"
"We have explicit rules about knocking." Jade's voice rose until the last word was yelled and her mother sighed in return, looking up for the first time and blinking in surprise at the sight of Tori.
"I wasn't aware that you had a friend over. Or that you had friends." Jade's mom stepped towards them, the way she spoke so similar to her daughter that Tori was taken back for a moment. The key difference was the warm smile that remained on the older woman's lips. "It's nice to meet you…"
"Tori. Vega. Tori Vega," she fumbled when it appeared that Jade didn't seem to care if her mother received an answer at all. "I go to school with Jade."
"Ah, well, it's so nice to meet you, surprisingly-normal Tori. I always figured that if I met one of Jade's friends, I would be terrified of them. But, I guess Beck was pretty normal too, she was lucky-"
"Stop." Just as if she had been talking to Cat. Her mother stopped, though instead of looking chastised, she laughed quietly. "He comes home tomorrow."
"Thank you. Have you seen my phone charger?"
"Thank you, dear. Tori, honey, it was nice to meet you." The blonde woman and her familiar eyes leaned in close to her so her whisper could be heard. "You might want to wash your clothes before you head home."
Jade waited until her mother left the room before snorting quietly to herself, but Tori smacked her arm anyway. "Oh my god, your mom probably hates me."
"Please, she's thrilled you're not being held against your will."
"She'll think I'm a stoner." Tori pouted and leaned back against the L-shaped desk behind her.
"My mom's kind of… just there. She just gives me the 'just don't end up on 16 and Pregnant' look." Jade shrugged and filled in more of the canvas with the hazy purple-y gray she had on her brush. "She's an idiot."
"She seems nice," Tori retorted, almost defensively. "Like you this week."
"Must be a leap year," Jade muttered, eyes fixed in front of her.
"Seriously, what's with you being Jade Light with them? It's so-"
"Maybe I just like them more," Jade hissed abruptly, turning to Tori like she was about to attack. "If you're gonna stay, you can't talk while I'm working. Go bathe or something."
"Girl, I have been getting your voicemail all week."
"Sorry, I've just been busy." Jade had permitted Tori to speak while she worked on a video for her production class, editing the sound with her headphones on. Still, Tori whispered.
"You called me every hour for, like, four days, and then ignored me for three. What happened? Did you put Trina in the hospital? Are you calling me from jail right now? I can't believe your parents won't put up your bail, you'd think out of everyone, they'd understand why-"
"André!" Tori clapped her hand over her mouth when Jade sent her a withering look from across the room. She mouthed a quick, 'I'm sorry,' to the other girl, even though her gaze had already returned back to her laptop screen. "I've been hanging out with Jade. It would have been rude to pick up when you called."
"Do you mean you're literally hanging out with Jade? Like, trapped in a serial killer's basement on a meat hook with no other choice, because if not you must be cr-"
André laughed warmly. "I'm sorry, it's just a little hard to believe."
"I know, I just… Trina."
"And she's been surprisingly… not-evil. It's… you know what it's like to see what Beck obviously got to see. The good parts of Jade." Tori's voice was low as she pressed herself back against Jade's headboard, as if putting a quarter inch less space between them would make it harder for the other girl to hear her. "I guess I get it now. I mean, she's pretty, but the fact that he was so nice was weird."
"Let me give you some advice, get yourself a new girl crush."
"It is not a girl crush."
"Then experiment with someone who's less likely to use that information against you."
"You're disgusting. I'm not looking to experiment. It's just… nice to get to know her after all this time."
"Yeah, yeah. Pics or it didn't happen, kid."
Jade glanced over when she noticed Tori had hung up and removed her headphones. "How's Mr. Harris? Does he have a spring break beau yet?"
Tori laughed and crossed her leg on the bed, feeling out of place in a pair of sweatpants and a shirt borrowed from Jade, both of which probably looked better on her more filled out form. "He did not say, so I'm gonna assume-"
"No," they both finished.
"So, what are we doing tonight?" Tori asked as she stretched her feet out in front of her and reached for her toes.
"I didn't realize we planned our nights together now," Jade drawled and she leaned her chair back, resting her feet on her desk.
"Well, I just mean since, you know, it's Friday and I'm here and you-"
"They're calling for rain tonight," the blue-eyed girl interjected, standing suddenly to walk over to her closet and dig around for jeans and her Converses. "So hopefully that weed smell comes out of your jacket before we leave."
It turned out that they were all fans of driving around in the rain and listening to depressing music, though Tori would have been willing to bet that Jade was the only one who actually did it on a regular basis. Still, her suggestion of Lana Del Rey fit their needs but the rain had refused to fall, which left them circling around familiar neighborhoods and waiting for the first drop. Even though there were enough seats for them, the small two-door car had the girls in the back crammed together and Tori was glad that it wasn't the Jade she was used to who she was squished against.
When Tori began to look at Jade as a friend she just met, New Jade didn't seem so weird. Her easy smiles were just sultry, not a condescending smirk that followed a stinging barb. She could cut someone apart, but didn't direct it at anyone in the car, and when she did, it was clear that it was in jest. Her laughs were easily earned, touches freely given. It made Tori feel jealous of these other people she had just met, these friends of Jade who only knew this side of her just because they had been smart enough to frequently sedate her. This was the Jade they knew, not the vengeful and vicious girl that could only be controlled by Beck, and now, by no one.
"Did Beck ever hang out with you guys?" Tori asked after a lull in conversation.
"We have a strict rule on talking about exes," Lia said seriously from Jade's other side. The blonde turned so her back was to the window, feet stretching out over Jade and Tori's laps. "Which is that we don't talk about them."
"Sorry, I just… figured that's how you guys knew Jade."
"You think any of us would be friends with Beck Oliver? Really?" Noah laughed as he drove.
"Hey!" Jade and Tori protested.
"Oh, right. Sorry. I just wouldn't be caught dead. Had a class with the kid. If you took away that pretty hair, I'm pretty sure he'd be about as interesting as beige paint."
"I did exist before Beck, you know," The raven-haired girl huffed. "And, spoiler alert, when he wasn't around, I didn't just power down and wait for him to return. Do you not think I can make my own friends, Vega?" Jade's tone was harsh and familiar, but the barely-there quirk on the corner of her mouth made Tori feel at ease.
"I…" Tori smiled sweetly and turned to the other faces in the car, only to find their gazes avoiding her own. "I…"
"Miss Tori Vega is speechless? Well, that's a fine 'How do you do!'"
"Okay, I seriously do not ta-"
"Don't care," Jade interrupted, manicured nails tapping against Lia's knees. "Isn't your house around here?"
Tori glanced out the window to try and take note of their surroundings. "I think s-"
"Drop us off up here, Mr. Colburn. Vega and I are retiring for the evening."
"Boring," Lia whined as she slid into the proper position to allow the girls out. "You're both dreadfully boring."
"Hear that, Tori? You're dreadfully boring." Jade's smirk had returned as she pushed past Tori to exit the car when Mike had moved the seat to let them out.
"Your… face," Tori replied as heatedly as she could with such a lame comeback. Noah guffawed rom the driver's seat and Mike even cracked a smile as he held his hand out to help Tori.
"You know, you should really give up this whole singing and acting thing and stick to something better suited to your intellect." Jade's hand had captured Tori's wrist and the Latina found herself being dragged away before she could formulate a reply. "Bonne nuit, people."
Tori turned and offered the car a wave before it sped off. "Why'd you wanna duck out so early?" she asked when Jade had finally slowed down and let go of her wrist.
"Because," Jade started as she tugged on the collar of her shirt to look down and reached into her bra to reveal a joint, "I don't like to share." She placed it in her mouth while her hands worked on digging a lighter out of her skin-tight jeans.
"And here I thought you just planned on killing me close to my place so they wouldn't have to look so hard for the body."
"Please, they'd never find you if it was up to me." Jade took a hit and passed it to Tori. "Give me some credit, Vega."
Tori laughed quietly and the next block they walked was in silence, the joint passed between, their coughs and the sound of distant cars the only thing interrupting the quiet Los Angeles night. It was only when they spotted Tori's house that rain began to fall, thunder booming in the distance.
"Great," Tori mumbled as the soft smattering of raindrops began to leave tiny dots on her jacket.
"I love walking in the rain."
"Of course you do."
"Listen," Jade tossed the small nub that remained of her joint on the street, "if it's good enough for Gene Kelly, it's good enough for me."
"Oh, so you don't just walk, you sing?" Tori asked bemusedly, the high that was coursing through her leaving her with a feeling that she couldn't explain. It wasn't like her first time where she jumped in without looking, it was heavy and warm and the world seemed calmer rather than so enhanced she couldn't focus.
"I'm singin' in the rain, just singin' in the rain," Jade's voice was sweet even as she looked ready to burst into laughter. She grabbed Tori's hand and made her spin around, "What a glorious feelin', I'm happy again."
"I'm laughin at clouds, so dark above," Tori joined after her spin, pulling Jade in close to dance with her. Jade laughed quietly in return, a rare genuine smile on her face.
"The sun's in my heart and I'm ready for love," the dark haired girl murmured, eyes closed and forehead pressed against Tori's. The rain began to pick up, the tiny droplets becoming larger and larger, but they remained swaying softly on the sidewalk.
She didn't remember who closed the gap, but Tori's lips were pressed against Jade's and Jade was pressing back softly. It seemed too cliché, kissing in the rain, but Tori didn't want to stop for fear of what would happen when they split. She didn't want to stop because she liked kissing Jade. It had been Jade who finally broke away, jerking suddenly as a loud clap of thunder echoed across the sky. Tori's mind blanked as she tried to comprehend what had just occurred, her lips tingling and warm despite the cool rain that was soaking through her clothes and making her shiver. She grabbed Jade's hand without a word and jogged towards her house, not stopping until she pushed open the door.
"What happened to you?" Trina asked from the kitchen, her face scrunched up as she took in the sight of the two dripping girls. Tori's mom immediately set down the bowl she was holding and rushed off to get towels.
"Rain," Tori mumbled as she accepted the towel from her mom.
"Come on, Jade, we'll throw your clothes in the dryer and get you in something dry," her mother said and Jade remained silent as she followed the older woman through the house and up the stairs.
Tori watched them go, trying to catch Jade's eye, but failing. She sighed and brushed off Trina's questions about why she had been out in the rain with Jade of all people, and headed towards the laundry room to change her clothes. She took her time as she leaned back against the dryer and ran the towel through her hair, trying to make sense of what had happened through her still foggy brain. Had she liked kissing Jade? Considering the fact that it was mutually started, she had to assume that Jade had wanted to kiss her. But Tori had never wanted to kiss Jade, or any other girl for that matter. Jade was always crass and callous in her mind. But only ten minutes had past since she had been singing showtunes and laughing with Tori.
"I think Jade's done in the bathroom if you wanted to hop in the shower." Her mother had nearly given her a heart attack with her arrival, but she didn't seem to have noticed. She was preoccupied with tossing their wet clothes in the dryer and Tori was too afraid she'd say something, so she left quickly and bolted through the living room to avoid her sister.
But when she reached her door, she hesitated. Half of her was hoping that Jade was already asleep and they could forget this happened. But when she pushed the door open and saw Jade still up, a sense of relief flooded over her. She seemed smaller somehow, with one of Tori's yellow shirts on and her make up washed from her face.
Jade didn't respond to Tori's entrance, nor did she respond when Tori moved her way into her room and sat next to her at the top of the bed. Both were quiet; Jade disturbingly still while Tori couldn't stop fidgeting. She dared to glance at the blue-eyed girl, to turn on the bed so she could look at her, clearing her throat in an attempt to break the silence. It only earned her a small reaction – Jade jutting her chin to the side so she could look away more easily – but Tori thought it had still been bold of her to make the first attempt to speak. When she was rebuffed for that, she decided to kamikaze, swooping in to capture Jade's lips with her own.
Tori had definitely been feeling bold that evening.
Jade's response was immediate, like she was grateful for Tori allowing her to not talk about their situation, whatever it was. It was still softer than Tori had expected, even as the kisses got deeper. Jade leaned over her until Tori was flat on her back, her body settling over the brunette's softly. Tori was used to the hard angles of the boys she had made out with, all taut muscles and the too-hard pressure of their mouth trying to suck her bottom lip down their throat in a misguided attempt to be sexy.
But Jade was smarter, her tongue teasing and light, her hand soft as it took care to glance from spot to spot; tangling in Tori's hair one moment then sliding down to her hipbone the next. Goosebumps pebbled across Tori's skin at each touch with Jade's cool hand and Tori's flushed body. She wanted more and of what she couldn't say. Every one of Jade's nuances just felt right; the way she would methodically slide her thumb across Tori's hipbone, the way her chest pressed against Tori's, the flavor of her lips on Tori's searching tongue. She was so, so, so unlike the Jade she knew a week ago. She was gentle and yielding and soft. She didn't take, she asked. But Tori wanted, so she took it.
She felt a certain pride when Jade let her casually flip them over, relinquishing any control she had on the situation. Her hands slid around Tori's back and kept them close, but her head was lifting off the pillow to meet Tori's lips, almost desperately. Tori tilted her forehead, keeping her mouth out of the reach of Jade's. She opened her eyes slowly to see Jade's closed so tightly, she heard the desperate pants of breath against her lips, and felt the clenched hands twisting her shirt. It was like Jade was in pain and it stopped Tori cold.
"Jade… we should-"
"Shut up." Tori jumped slightly as Jade's bright eyes snapped open, interrupting her more than the command. "Just… tomorrow. We'll… talk or whatever. So just… shut up." Her eyes seemed conflicted as they ignored Tori's gaze above them, her words a begrudging whisper.
"Okay," Tori said quietly, leaning down to press her lips to Jade's cheek, then down to her jaw.
"Okay." Her hands loosened their hold Tori's shirt as her body relaxed underneath the Latina, one sliding under to rest on Tori's back and the other sliding through her hair. And when Tori found a spot on her neck that made her shiver, she tugged the other girl's hair softly until she relented and met Jade's lips again after she muttered out another, "Okay."
Author's Note: Part dos will hopefully be up soon.