Family Portrait

A loud knock was heard in the West residence. Jade made her way downstairs to see who it was. She was alone at home again. Her father was away on a business trip. Her stepmother followed him like a dog. She wondered who it was at 10 pm. When she opened the door, the annoyance was instantly swapped with sadness. Cat Valentine was standing in front of the door. Her make up was a mess. She was crying.

"Were they arguing again?" Jade asked softly. Cat just nodded her head. Silence was not something you would expect from her, but Jade knew better. Whenever the Valentines were arguing, Cat would run away. She hated arguments. That was probably the only thing she hated. But unfortunately, it became something regular in her life.

"It's okay. Come in." Jade told her and took her hand. She led Cat to the bathroom. Cat sat down on the bathtub while Jade slowly and gently removed the make up off Cat's face. After a few minutes, she was done.

"There. Now you don't look like a panda anymore." She said sympathetically.

"I love pandas!" Cat answered trough a sniff, a small smile forming on her lips.

"I know you do. So, do you want to watch a movie?"

"Can we watch the Lion King?" Cat asked. She finally had stopped crying.

"Of course we can. Come." Jade helped Cat get up. "You go down and find the movie. I'll make the popcorn. Ok?" Cat nodded and they went down.

When Jade came into the kitchen, she placed the popcorn in the microwave. She took her phone and sent a text to Tori: "Cat is my place. If her parents call, cover up for her pls." Not even a minute later, she got an answer: "Her parents again? Oh… Will do. Cya tomorrow?" Jade simply answered with a "Cya tomorrow" and put her phone away. She remembered when she and Tori finally became friends, or to be more accurate, Jade finally accepted Tori as the friend she always was:

Tori was walking down the hallway. It was late. She stayed at school to finish a project in the school theater. She was tired and simply wanted to go home. While she was placing some things in her locker, she heard something. Someone was crying. It sounded familiar. She went to the janitor's closet and opened the door. Inside she saw Jade, who was sitting on the floor, hugging her knees to her chest. Tori simply walked in and sat down next to Jade, facing the Goth.

"What do you want?" Jade spat, but her voice was weak. She didn't want anyone to see her like this. Tori simply took her hand and squeezed it a bit.

"You are not alone." Tori simply said. It was then when she saw the cuts on Jade's wrists. Jade didn't even try to pull away. She was too weak, too tired.

"Why do you care?"

Tori did something she knew could backfire. But she didn't care. She wrapped her arms around Jade and kissed her on the head.

"You are my friend Jade. You are my friend and you mean so much to me, to all of us. Why can't you just accept that?" Tori asked softly. Jade heard sincerity in Tori's voice.

Jade finally opened up to her that night. She and Tori went over to the Vega residence and Jade told her everything. She told her about her insecurities. How her parents divorced. How her father hates her. How her stepmother tries everything to get Jade away from her father. How the breakup with Beck was the straw that broke the camels back. Tori listened the whole time. When Jade was done, Tori placed her hands on Jade's cheeks and lifted her head so the Goth was looking her in the eyes.

"Next time you feel like crying, call me. No matter when, no matter why. I'm one ring away. Okay?" Jade answered with a nod and a smile. It was a genuine smile. She hugged Tori, something that was not Jade-like.

"Thank you Tori. I'm sorry for…"

"Don't mention it. I forgot about it anyway." Tori interrupted her. From that day on, Tori and Jade were close friends. It took the others a while to understand what was going on, but they were happy themselves.

Jades flashback was interrupted by the microwave. She took the popcorn and went over to the couch Cat was already sitting on. She sat down next to Cat and put the popcorn on the table. Cat started the movie and leaned on to Jade. Jade placed her arms around the small redhead. They would always cuddle like this when Cat was sad. Jade knew Cat liked it, and Jade liked it herself. Cat was like a sister to her after all. Halfway trough the movie, Cat fell asleep. Jade turned of the tv and woke her up.

"Hey, you fell asleep. Come on, let's go to bed. You must be tired."

Cat simply nodded and slowly got up. Jade gave her one of her pajamas. They laid down in Jade's bed. Cat snuggled to Jade, who put a hand over her friend.

"Good night. Don't worry, you are safe here." Jade told her.

"Good night, and thank you." Cat answered and immediately fell asleep.