a;n: This took me all day to write. It's Beck/Tori, because I haven't written about them in forever. They're adorable, and deserve more love. So I wrote this as my contribution to the Bori fandom on Fanfiction. I hope you enjoy. P.S.: Some of the lyrics here are from Fly Me To The Moon by Frank Sinatra, also mentioned in my other story, constellations, which is also a Beck/Tori fanfic. The summary comes from We Are Young by Fun, which is an excellent song.
cityscapes and bright lights
There's something different about them, the way they work and progress, the way he kisses her and holds her and whispers in her ear.
It's summer, humid and hot, but the moments when he brushes his lips against hers and holds her in his arms, she feels alive. Her heart thumps and beats excessively and little fireworks go off in her head and her vision begins to blur.
He's over in her bedroom, strumming his guitar for her, and when he's not there, she's scribbling letters in her loose-leaf papers, writing to him, missing him when he's not there. When he finds her letters, he doesn't say anything, just kisses her harder and whispers something incomprehensible as he holds her in his arms.
He holds her as she lays on his chest, listening to the sound of his heartbeat in the still of the dark night.
Beck brings her to an ice-skating rink, where hundreds of people are twirling around the surface of the ice to the tune of Christina Perri.
He holds out his hand, as she ties her shoelaces and belts on her cap and mittens, and she takes it as she gets up and roams throughout the ice with him by her side. He laughs when she almost trips and she sticks her pink tongue out childishly. It feels almost like old times, except he kisses her when she pouts, and she wraps her arms around his neck when he successfully swirls through the ice.
"Hey, beautiful," he teases, holding on to her covered hand. Little drips of ice is on his long hair, and she can't help but giggle at his appearance.
"Dude, you look like you've just aged fifty years," she states, unable to conceal her laughter
He smiles, placing his hand on his chest in mock anger, swirling her around the rink as little splashes of water sprays from the water gun beside the panels, wetting her hair, but as he leans in to kiss her, she forgets to care.
Night comes, and he brings her to a lakeside a few miles outside town. She smiles when she descends, and he tells her a story about how he used to sneak out here all the time when he was younger. Tori hears the sound of the waves splashing against the rocks on the seashore, and grabs his hand. She leans in forward and intertwines their fingers, rests her head on his chest, and listens to his heartbeat.
"Fly me to the moon," she says, grinningly, gazing up into his bright eyes. "Let me play among the stars." She turns to the left and shakes her hips gently. "Let me see what life is like on Jupiter and Mars. In other words, please be true."
He smiles amusedly, but his eyebrow is raised in confusion. "Frank Sinatra?" he questions. She merely smiles, and wraps her arms tighter around him, standing on her tiptoes and placing a slow kiss on his mouth fondly.
"In other words, I love you."
"Do you really like him?" asks André, snatching the seat next to Tori when school reopens and Autumn sets in. She blinks uncomprehendingly.
"Huh?" she responds, juggling her books and a cup of Starbucks coffee in her right hand. She blows out a breath when she finally succeeds and fixates her brown eyes on the whiteboard.
"Beck," he whispers surreptitiously, eyebrows furrowed intensively. "Are you serious about Beck? Because, I don't think he's over Jade yet, and she's clearly not over him, and I don't—"
"I appreciate the concern, Harris, but I don't need you to babysit me," says Tori, clucking her tongue as she crosses legs. A silence occurs, and Mr. Zimmer begins rambling the central conflicts of Hamlet and questioning the sanity of Claudius.
"What about you?" she murmurs, tugging on her blouse. His eyes widen a little as he turns to face her.
"Your feelings about Jade," she elaborates, resting her head on her chin. "I know you still like her. Aren't you going to say anything?" She raises an eyebrow, he sighs heavily, and shrugs, a little helplessly.
"She's still in love with Beck," responds André dejectedly. Tori clucks her tongue as she raises her eyebrows disbelievingly.
"She won't be forever," she answers optimistically. She places her hand on his. "You have a shot."
André opens his mouth to reply, but Mr. Zimmer calls out, "Mr. Harris and Ms. Vega, pay attention," before turning back to the whiteboard. He shrugs and continues taking notes, before whispering, "I hope you and Beck work out."
In return, she smiles.
Seasons go by quickly, alarmingly, without any notice.
Spring turns into summer, which turns into autumn, and then spirals into winter, and then it begins all over again. In the spring, they plant, in summer, they eat Popsicles and lick lollipops and dive into swimming pools and wash their sticky cars simultaneously, in the autumn, they dive into the pile of fallen leaves, and in winter, they skate on the ice and make hot chocolate together.
Days turn into weeks, which blur into months, and transform into years. Suddenly, graduation is around the corner, and she receives her acceptance to the NYU, and Beck gets accepted into UCLA, with Trina (who is surprisingly skilled at playing the piano) while André and Jade get accepted to Art Institute of Chicago, and Robbie and Cat go to Yale Art School.
As seasons roll out and finish up, Tori is voted valedictorian, and her speech springs tears out of all of her schoolmates. And when the lights go out and the music plays, she gives Beck a watery smile as she dons her graduation hat and throws it into the warm air.
"I'm going to miss you so much," exclaims Cat, her eyes damp and sparkling under the light. Tori laughs, hesitantly, as she hugs her friend one more time. André comes over and gives her a bracelet, with the word dream dangling from the knots, and Jade stares at her blankly, while Cat and Robbie attack her with sad, longing hugs.
Beck kisses her, slowly and longingly, before Jade loudly clears her throat and he smilingly pulls away. "I'll miss you, Vega," he says, running his hands through her hair. "Don't forget me."
"I love you all so much," she remarks, wiping her watery eyes. She meets Jade's estranged gaze, and allows herself to smile. "Jade, you're going to miss me too, right?" Her question shocks Jade, Tori can tell, but she just laughs it off and shakes her head.
"I'm going to miss having someone to berate and belittle, I can tell you that much," she responds, and Cat just shakes her head fondly. Tori squeezes Jade's hand, and sighs deeply, turning around and listening to the loudspeaker calling her flight's name.
"This is it," she states, wiping her watery eyes. She grabs her luggage and walks straight ahead, and she doesn't look back.
Tori doesn't really like New York, she figures.
The place is beautiful, of course, and the college is absolutely fascinating and the cityscape takes her breath away, but she wishes she has someone to share it with. She glances at her ring, illuminating under the sunbeams, and breathes in the morning air tiredly.
Her roommate, Emma, is distant and far-off. Tori doesn't really know how to describe her; she's like a picture you'll see in the magazines; all smiles and innocence, but truly mysterious. But when Emma sings, the whole room lights up with awe and admiration, and Tori can't help but feel sick with jealousy.
Her phone is always flooded with messages, all from Beck, some short, sketchy messages about life at UCLA, and how Trina makes sure every girl in the class knows that she is somehow interconnected with him, but sometimes they are long, detailed messages about how much he misses her and all the fun they had together and how much he has been thinking about her and waiting for her.
But Tori begins to feel scared. Her mind is fogged because she doesn't really know what to do; opportunities are being thrown at her and are landing in her hands, she's opening for semi-well known artistes and music producers and just finding out about her. Contracts are being offered, record deals are being sealed, talent scouts are being founded, and she is in the process of becoming a star.
"Tori Vega," inquires a journalist, with quintessential red glasses and a shiny high ponytail, as Tori descends on the red carpet. "Is it true that you have been dating singer-songwriter Penn McGuire ever since you featured on his music video, Signal?"
"No," she responds, her eyes sparkling with mirth. "We're friends and nothing more. Our relationship is merely platonic."
The journalist opens her mouth to ask another question, but Tori artfully spots the nearest celebrity on the carpet and hurries to greet them before she got the chance to. She turns around, her hair sparkling under the light, her skin looking fresh from the recent vacation she had with her mother, her bright blue dress extravagantly twirling as she sways gracefully to the front of the gates, her eyes covered with high-ranked makeup.
Tori Vega becomes a household name, she is admired, she is loved, she is adored, as she smiles for the camera, kisses her co-star on the lips and pretends it was an accident, slips on designer dresses and walks delicately on glass slippers and dances the night away, having drank one drink too many. She's high, too high to feel, too high to remember abandoned feelings and broken promises, but on when she remembers Beck, she wonders if he's proud of her.
"My little sister's a big shot now," teases Trina, sighing contentedly as she pours another round of champagne into Tori's flute. Their mother is in the living room, talking sternly on the phone with their father, and they're both sitting in the middle of the exclusive bedroom Tori has gotten used to. "How'd it happen?"
"Accidentally," she responds, half-jokingly, half-seriously. "Unintentionally."
She blows out a breath, and takes a good look at her sister. Tori hasn't seen her in a while, and she looks different—Trina's hair is longer now, up to her elbows, and it's much curlier than before. Her eyes are brighter, too, and filled with mirth, and her mouth is curved into a smile of genuine happiness, not of desperation and nervousness.
"Nothing happens accidentally," responds Trina, firmly grasping her champagne flute and taking a long sip. "Everything's predestined. You're supposed to do this. You belong onstage. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."
Tori sighs deeply. "I miss it," she confesses. "I miss being me. I like the glitz and glamour and all, but I miss the simplicity of being a regular girl."
"You asked for this, Vega," remarks Trina. "Fame—it's a blessing and a curse. Don't worry, you'll get used to it."
Suddenly, she says, "Beck wanted me to tell you he misses you. A lot. I think you should go and see him. You two have a lot of issues to work out." Before Tori can respond, Trina gets up and goes downstairs to help their mother with dinner.
She goes to see Beck.
Her first three attempts were unsuccessful, as paparazzi follow her wherever she goes, but when she slips on a wig, an oversized hoodie, and dark Dior sunglasses, she manages to sneak out without any followers.
As she drives, rain begins to fall, landing on her window and falling heavily, the downpour souring her journey. When Tori reaches Beck's place, she leaves the car and runs across the damp road, nearly falling onto the ground and scraping her knee. She removes the hoodie and throws the wig on the floor, leaving her hair wet in the long run and her makeup slicks down her brushed face, but when she knocks on his door, once, twice, three times until he opens, the unwelcoming gaze that she feels in Beck's eyes hurts more than anything.
"Hey," he says blankly. She gulps.
"Hey yourself," she says, clasping her hands together. "Trina told me to come." Her words come out uneven, as the sound of rain increases, but the rush of seeing him again brings back wounds and sadness that she never even knew existed.
Wordlessly, he steps aside and lets her in.
The first thing he does is give her hot chocolate. The second thing he does is congratulate her on her success. The third thing he does is kiss her.
She's shocked, at first, because she expected him to yell and scream and demand an explanation, but when he kisses her, she's not exactly sure what to do. So she kisses him back, and it feels like coming home, so she wraps her arms around his neck and kisses him so hard she knows she's going to bruise the next morning. But she doesn't care.
Eventually, he breaks the kiss, and stares at her. Her mascara is ruined and dried darkly on her cheeks and around her eyes and her voice is caught up in her throat and she feels vulnerable and exposed and scared, because his gaze bores into her and it feels like he's watching and examining her very soul.
"Why didn't you call me back?" he asks, tersely, and she looks into his eyes.
"I guess I was scared," she admits, "but I'm here now. And I'm not scared anymore." He kisses her again, and this time, she feels a promise of forever being indulged on her skin.
They try to work things out.
Thousands of possibilities fall into their minds and they hold promises and vows and make a thousand wishes, a thousand times, and she holds onto their future. But it's too hard, she has to work early mornings and finish late nights. She has to shoot music videos and direct shows. He has to sign contracts and film early hours. Their schedules clash and their timelines are different.
One day, she's in New York. The next, she's in London. The following, she's in Rome. And then she's in Paris and then back in New York again. It's completely unstable and uncertain, but that's how she likes it. She likes defying expectations and living on threads. She likes exhilaration and vivacious moments. She not knowing what to expect. It fills her with excitement and happiness.
But he's not there. He's out, he's in, he's here, he's there, and she feels him slipping from her fingertips like running water.
"I love you," she tells him. Her hair is brushed and all done up and she's about to leave for a concert.
He smiles, charmingly, but she can see the tiredness in his eyes. "I love you, too, Vega." And he kisses her forehead for good luck. But that's not it. She takes a deep breath and tells him. Tells him about the tour her agent set up. Tells him about the trips around the world. Tells him about the movie she's scheduled to film and direct after she gets back. Tells him about the event she's supposed to be hosting. And throughout most of it, he just stares.
"We can't do this anymore," she says, feeling tears well up in her eyes. "We can't try and make things work. We're too busy, Beck. We have no balance. This is barely a relationship."
"Then we'll make it work," he responds, eagerly, but she shakes her head, tears spilling down her cheeks.
"No," she says. "No. We can't, Beck, we can't. How many times have we tried and failed?"
"So you're just giving up?" he responds with a ferocity that astounds her. "What the hell, Tori? Huh? You're just leaving us in the ashes. Don't you care about us at all? As soon as one obstacle comes our way, you run in the other direction."
"It wouldn't work even if we tried," she elaborates, and she's crying now. "How many times have we pretended like there is no distance between us? We're not seventeen anymore, Beck. We're adults. We've changed. We've outgrown each other."
"No," he insists. "No. You've outgrown me. I still love you, Tori. I love you. I'm in love with you." He inches closer, grabbing her arms gently, and she can see the glassiness in his bright eyes. Tears slip down his cheeks and she cries harder, feeling something aching in her chest. "I adore you. I let you live your life. I let you ignore me. I was your biggest supporter, when you shined onstage, or when you broke down off-stage. Tori, I love everything about you. You've been in my life for so long and I loved you for it. I still do. I'm not over you. I will never be over you."
"I'm sorry," she sobs, her words coming out muffled through her tears. "I'm really sorry, Beck."
"You know," he says, tears swelling up in his eyes and slipping down his cheeks. "I don't think you are." And then that's it—he walks away and leaves her devastated and heartbroken.
She steps into the roadside, her vision blurred by tears, and she feels the world spinning in her fingertips.
"Here we go," she mutters, watching the cars swerve through the road. She walked forward, standing in the middle, and feeling the feel of one crashing against her. The car is hard, sharp, and it hits her quickly, without slowing down. She flies in the air, feeling blood, so much blood, escaping her. She breathes, tries to breathe for air, but can't find any.
Tori Vega is dead, is written on the newspaper headlines the day after.
Her funeral is in the middle of her favourite park.
There, Cat cries and cries on Jade's shoulder. Tears stream down André's face as he holds the dream bracelet the policemen recovered from the accident scene. Jade wipes the tears that stream down her face and hugs André during the reception. Trina is in hysterics, and her parents tearfully attempt to calm her down. Beck doesn't come at all.
Instead, he spends the day at home, achingly grabbing Tori's things; her clothes, her makeup, her magazines, her books, her microphone, her song sheets, and her perfumes. He stops halfway, dropping on the bedspread and gazing out to look at the sun, which shines brightly, but he can see little drops of rain falling from the clouds above.
He finds her letter, the one she wrote to him ages ago, and opens it up to read before burning it:
the sun sets,
the moon comes out,
take away all of my doubt.