Disclaimer: if you recognize it, it ain't mine.
Dis fo Amy coz she wanted it. And Mad who joined the Ryder Revolution. Sort of. And also, Catorade friendship for Emily.
Kiss With a Fist
The thing was, Jade didn't plan for this to happen.
Okay, maybe she did plan this but she didn't plan this, which by the way, was something completely different.
The plan was: fake date Ryder Daniels and a) make Beck Oliver aka her stupid can't-keep-his-damn-soft-lips-to-himself jealous or b) get over said annoyingly good looking ex-boyfriend if he never did get jealous and guess, what, options c) annoy Tori Vega and d) always be unpredictable, somehow ended up as additional pluses to her plan. It was simple really, she would "go out" with Ryder Daniels, he would ask her to be his girlfriend, Jade would nod and hold his hand and never let go. She would smile softly and he would brush the hair from her eyes. Everyone in the hallway would stare and arch an eyebrow. Beck would calmly take a sip of his coffee and Tori would splutter angrily next to him. Then, the whispers would start, and while Jade usually hated whispers, she would enjoy these.
Eventually, they would drive Beck Oliver to do something, and it certainly wouldn't be to try to kiss Tori again, because he had already tried and been rejected (twice). That fact brought Jade some satisfaction, because while she was often the one placing him upon that pedestal, someone had finally knocked him off if it (even if it had been Tori).
It was simple, easy and effective. If it failed and Beck never got jealous (because sometimes he just waited for Jade to do stupid things, to embarrass herself before he took her back), then at least it would get people talking. For that short period of time, Jade would get a rebound, someone to expel her sexual frustration with, and also, someone to raise her social status (though it seemed impossible to raise any higher).
This plan, in simple terms, was perfect.
This, however, was not. This most certainly was not planned. It was messy, passionate and it ignited a fire she had thought Beck Oliver had managed to put out with his cold words and equally cold heart.
And you know what?
She hated this.
[But only a little.]
She hated to admit it, but she was the one who approached him. Ryder should have no problem using girls; he used Tori Vega without a second thought. He wasn't all hung up on the California beauty with sweet pea cheek bones like every other male (including said jerk faced ex-boyfriend who had denied said accusations on multiple occasions, but she was over it; kind of). That fact made him stand out.
The other fact she took into consideration was his face. Ryder was hot, and he was a junior- a year ahead of her. That was a different level of cool that Beck Oliver had never acquired. In fact, the only reason Beck was even popular was because he was her boyfriend. He fed off her popularity like a fucking parasite and well, she should have known he was only in it for the popularity. He was an actor, wasn't he?
Still, it did nothing to protect her heart. He stole it, he poached it, he sliced it to pieces with her favourite pair of scissors Cat got her from the movie The Scissoring and then, as if that wasn't enough, he had frozen her. He froze her heart.
So now, she barely felt anything at all. Any emotion now bounced off of the thick, icy sheets covering her heart. She thought this was a good thing, because it meant that not even Beck could hurt her anymore. She had passed being hurt, being second best and being someone's backup plan. Fuck that and fuck Beck Oliver (well, she actually did on multiple occasions but that was beside the point).
It was upsetting because while she no longer felt pain (and not the good kind), she no longer felt happiness, or hope. The very things she cherished as a child. She never smiled anymore, she smirked and she hated that. She was paranoid and often worried too much, because he being Beck often didn't worry at all. Not when random girls showed up at his RV asking for a ride to school and not when foreign women ran their hands through his hair.
Beck was immune to these things, and he was also immune to Jade, whose fiery tempers tended to flare and keep people at bay. But Beck was the King of Ice(d Hearts) and he knew how to calm her down. Nobody was able to do that before and she thought he was the only one that ever would.
But now, she needed revenge more than anything else (and maybe him to come crawling back on his knees).
Because her heart was frozen, it was damaged and bruised and Jade knew that while she was in love with Beck Oliver, her heart deserved much more than he ever offered it.
"You want me to what?" Ryder arched an eyebrow as he leaned against his junior locker.
"Did I stutter?" Jade asked irritably, arms crossed over her chest. She saw the way his eyes glanced down at her chest briefly and she figured she might as well use these boobs to her advantage if she was already going out of her way to make Beck come crawling back to her.
"Because I want him back."
"Are you sure that's a good thing?" His smug expression was gone and he looked around the hallway hurriedly before speaking again, "maybe you're better off without him."
"I want him to beg." She paused, "to know what I felt like every time he would flirt with those other girls."
Her blue eyes met Ryder's dark ones. His eyes searched her and after apparently finding the answer he needed to make his decision he said, "okay, I'll help you, Jade."
"Goo-" Jade had started to say, but Ryder had cut her off with a chaste kiss. "What the fuck was that?" She hissed softly when she pulled away.
"I figured we might as well give them a show," Ryder smirked wickedly and Jade openly glared at the taller boy, "Careful sweet heart, don't want people getting the wrong idea, do we?"
"Of course not, honey."
"Come on, give me a hug," Ryder spoke in a playful tone, because he was obviously enjoying this too much for Jade's liking.
"No. I don't like hugs."
"Come on," he opened his arms, "Just a little hug for your boyfriend."
"Come on," he pulled her gently and slowly by her shirt until she found her cheek pressed up against his leather jacket and his arms encircled her in a tight hug. "Smile, Jade, we've got eyes everywhere." He whispered, his breath tickling her ear.
"If you pull another stunt like this, I will cut your balls off." Jade spoke through gritted teeth, leaving her hands by her sides. The fact that Ryder had not only kissed her in the middle of the sophomore hallway, but was also rubbing circles into her back, was too much to process. Or maybe, it was because of the whole frozen heart thing, but Jade found that she didn't mind it so much.
"Are you implying that you'll be seeing me with my clothes off in the near future?" He asked suggestively, as Jade managed to escape his entrapment, wiggling his eyebrows in a way that Beck always used to do- something she hated. Something that she found herself thinking seemed a bit cute on Ryder Daniels' face. Then she snorted at her own thoughts.
"Please, in your dreams." She said as Ryder took the opportunity to put a hand around her shoulder and turned them around so they were heading towards Jade's own locker near the school's entrance. She resisted it at first, but she ended up nestling into Ryder's side and lacing his hands with hers. She was the one who asked him to do this after all, she had to play the part.
Plus, Ryder had whispered, "If this is how you act, no wonder Tori Vega is always stealing your lead roles," which made her put on a soft smile while she dug her nails into Ryder's hand. To his credit, he never flinched but just smiled wider instead.
"So Jade…" Andre's voice trailed off and Jade arched a pierced eyebrow, "I've been, uh, hearing some interesting things today during our study period."
"Oh really?" She responded monotonously. She was secretly relishing the way Beck was examining her facial expressions. The fact that Tori seemed upset was a bonus too. "And I should care because…?"
"Well you're my friend and-"
"Jade's dating Ryder!" Cat burst out giddily. She had even bounced in her seat and everything. In her excitement she had sent a piece of lettuce shooting into the air which eventually collided with Robbie's face.
"Cat, we said we'd let Andre speak!" Tori said angrily.
"I know, I'm sorry but I'm just so excited." Cat whimpered and Robbie patted her on the back awkwardly, after peeling the lettuce off his face and wiping away the dressing on his temple. Nobody had the heart to tell him he had lettuce in his hair too. Jade just simply didn't care to tell him.
"Jade," Tori took a deep breath, "We're just worried. You know how Ryder is- what he does to girls. He uses them and you're my friend, so I don't want you getting hurt. I know we don't act like close friends, but I consider you one of my best friends-"
"What about me?" Cat voiced.
"You too, Cat." Tori glanced at Cat before reaching over the table and grabbing Jade's hand in hers. Jade immediately recoiled and pulled her hand out of Tori's grasp. "But Jade, please don't get hurt. I know you're strong but, but someday you're going to crumble and I don't want you to crumble anytime soon."
"Man, does this chick ever stop talking?" Came Rex's voice and Robbie sheepishly covered the puppet's mouth and shrugged apologetically.
"But even if you do crumble, you know I'll always be here for you- we'll always be there for you. But please tell us these Ryder rumors aren't tru-"
"Hey, babe," Ryder's gruff voice interrupted Tori's speech and it made her knit her eyebrows together with worry and stiffen her spine.
Jade, who had been both listening to Tori's moving (yet prolonged) speech and studying Beck's blank expression from the corner of her eye, didn't register that Ryder was talking to her until she felt everyone's eyes on her (including Beck's).
"Come have lunch with us?"
It was much unlike the way Beck used to go, "Come have lunch with us." Beck's was a statement. Ryder's was a question, like she actually had an option, like her decision mattered to him.
"Sure," Jade gathered her things and stood up.
"Jade, please." Tori begged, her chocolate eyes wide with worry and most of all- fear.
It managed to defrost her heart, only just a bit. Then when she glanced around the table and took note of Beck's indifferent expression, her heart froze over once more and she felt nothing.
"Sorry, Tori." It was the first time Jade had apologized to Tori and meant it.
She didn't know why she was apologizing, or maybe she did. Ryder had taken advantage of her, he had embarrassed her. Tori placed all of her trust in him (because she was Tori Vega and always so gullible) and Ryder completely disregarded that fact and hurt her in the place that would take the longest to heal and probably leave a horrid scar- her heart.
It was almost identical to her Beck Oliver Douchebag of the Century, problem.
Tori had gotten her revenge upon Ryder (even if it was by singing that annoyingly catchy song) whereas Jade had never mustered enough strength or courage to take Beck Oliver down. Not until now. Because as of now, she was, in fact, cold-hearted and she often felt nothing more than anger and bitterness.
"She's going to sit at her old table," Robbie mumbled and everyone shot him pointed looks, because he was right. She was.
"I'll miss you, Jade." Cat pouted and twirled a piece of her red hair, avoiding Jade's gaze.
Because she so badly wanted to prove a point, because she so badly wanted to show them (Beck shitfaced Oliver) how much she had changed in the (more or less two hours) time that she had been with Ryder, she leaned over the table and gave Cat's head a single pat, "I'll miss you too, Cat." She said softly and well, she wasn't really acting that much anyway, so it wasn't that hard for her to smile down briefly at her smaller friend whose eyes shone in response.
Cat giggled and her sadness had already been replaced with a jovial smile. It made Jade sad in a way, because she was easy to get over, wasn't she? And then again, it didn't.
"Come on, babe. Your old friends are waiting." Ryder nodded her head over to the popular table that was in the small patch of garden that Hollywood Arts had. He took her tray and mock saluted the rest of the gang at the table, smirking as Beck pursed his lips petulantly.
"Old friends?" Tori asked when Jade and her new beau left. "What friends?"
Cat frowned, "Jade did have friends you know, Tori. She's part of the Popular Table."
"I know, I didn't mean it like that." Tori turned around to glance back at Jade's retreating figure, "but what happened?"
"Beck happened," Rex exclaimed.
Andre nodded slowly, "Yeah, that's right. Jade only stopped hanging out with them when she started dating Beck."
"She left them for Beck?" Tori asked, eyes wide in wonder. Of course Jade West would be the one to leave the coolest table of people for Beck- she did love him after all. "That's so romantic."
"Well, they hated him, especially Jennifer." Cat replied, in what she assumed to be in her serious voice.
"Okay, I think that's enough storytelling for one day." Beck spoke up, clearing his throat before he ran a hand through his hair.
If Tori didn't know any better, she would think Beck was acting strangely jittery and impatient.
But she didn't.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't Jade West. Come crawling back to us after Oliver broke your heart?" One of the girls sneered, her shiny blonde curls gleaming brightly under the sun's rays.
"Jennifer, be nice." Ryder ordered and the girl rolled her eyes before biting into her fry bitterly.
All activity seized at the table as everyone turned to watch Jade wearily. Tension was thick in the air and the only sound that could be heard was the birds chirping in the garden around them, as if this was supposed to be some merry sort of moment.
Boy, were they wrong.
Jade had never included this in her big takedown; this was most certainly not a part of her plan. She made it known to Ryder who shrugged his shoulders in a boyish sort of way and moved his bag so she could fall into the spot next to him. She blinked rapidly before finally taking a seat- her seat.
Because in her absence, they had never replaced her.
Not like her other group of "friends" did the second Tori Vega came prancing on the stage, singing about making it shine.
She supposed it was all the pollen in the area that made her sniffle- there was no other explanation other than allergies.
"You okay?" Ryder nudged her shoulders gently and Jade, obviously startled, jumped at his touch.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm fine."
And, well, that part wasn't really acting because she kind of was, okay that is.
"I should start bringing you to school." Ryder stated nonchalantly and took a drag of his cigarette. They were outside of school because there was a no smoking on school grounds policy, so Ryder often went out front to light up instead. This was usually where they met up to discuss their plan of action, of course.
It had been a week and damn, were they making a lot of progress.
Jade didn't have any classes with Ryder, but whenever they had a study period or met up in the hallway, it was almost a custom for him to put his arm around her shoulder, you know, the way Beck stupid stiff-haired Oliver used to. She would intertwine their fingers and he would hold her books. They would stop at his locker first and then hers.
"I don't think so," Jade snorted.
"If you want to make this believable then we have to act like we actually like each other." Ryder rolled his dark eyes and Jade scowled at him.
She opened her mouth to reply but was cut off by someone calling her name. "Hi, Jade." Cat waved her hand wildly a few feet away from them, on the school steps. She looked over her shoulder before making her way over to them.
"Cat," Jade arched her eyebrow and shrugged when Ryder shot her a pointed look. "Is there something you need?" She asked when Cat remained silent.
"Well," Cat fidgeted, "yes."
"Well if you need help, go ask Tori or something." Jade waved her hand dismissively. She expected Cat to go scurrying away like she usually did whenever she realized Jade wasn't particularly interested in hearing about her brothers stupid adventures. Instead, Cat didn't move. She remained rooted in place.
"Jade," she said softly, "are you mad at me?"
"You haven't hung out with us for an entire week. That's seven whole days!" Cat raised up seven fingers as if to prove her point. Ryder snorted next to Jade who elbowed him in his side, smirking as he grunted.
Jade didn't really have the heart to tell Cat that she was never really their friend. They were Beck's friends who simply grew accustomed to her with due time. She had tolerated them, mostly Robbie and his stupid puppet, but she never really thought they would miss her. That was not a part of her plan.
Still, Cat was the only other girl in their 'gang' and so they had a forced friendship. They were polar opposites, but they were both misunderstood and because of that, they tended to stay on good terms. Cat never questioned Jade's motives and she never acted like Jade was different from anyone of her other friends. She accepted her blue eyed friend with her hands wide open, waiting for a hug. Beck had chuckled when Jade roughly pushed Cat off of her and Cat had pouted on the ground of the Asphalt Café before she jumped to her feet and settled next to Jade, talking a mile a minute.
Cat was always forgiving; she always looked past Jade's harsh words and icy glares. She never held Jade's mistakes against her and for that Jade was always grateful. So maybe, in her own sort of way, she had unconsciously referred to Cat has her friend. Probably her best friend. Because while she was popular, Jade had lost those best friends she once had, because Beck Oliver didn't fit in with her group of friends. Because he hated the way they hated him. Because back then, his hair was short and curly and he was just a skinny, lanky boy.
So she held his hand and let him drag her away from everything she knew, because she trusted him. And though he had done such treacherous things to her heart, she had ended up benefiting a bit from it, didn't she? She had a friend like Cat, who said things like, "I miss you, Jade," and went out of her way to buy pink, frilly things she knew Jade would never wear or use. She had a friend like Andre who helped her brush up on her long abandoned piano skills, who made her feel like she was Whitney Huston or Celine Dion when she sang or something.
"I know, I was just busy with Ryder," Jade sighed heavily and ran her long fingers through her head of dark curls. She almost felt kind of guilty.
"We would go for Fro Yo after school each Wednesday, did you forget?" Cat asked her cautiously, still avoiding her gaze.
"No, I didn't forget."
"Because I waited there for you on Wednesday, after school and you never came." Cat sniffled and kicked a small pebble away from her. Then, almost as suddenly as she came, she turned around and took off into a run up the school steps and ran inside.
"You know, Jade," Ryder said after a long pregnant pause, "you shouldn't treat your friends the way Oliver treated you." Then he threw the cigarette butt on the floor, crushed it with his heavy boot and then sauntered away.
Jade wasn't sure why she was feeling this way, but she boiled it down to Cat being Cat. And Cat had always been the one who could bring out her protective side. The one she got whenever her little brother came home sobbing because he got picked on in school by the older kids. The one she got when her parents got into an argument and she would take her brother for Fro Yo, picking up Cat on the way, because Cat was really good with kids (because she was practically one herself).
Whatever it was, Jade felt like her frozen heart was sinking into her stomach. She was ashamed and maybe she felt a tad bit guilty as well. As much as she tried to deny it Jade really did care about Cat. And well, for her to leave Cat waiting around for her in Fro Yo wasn't something she was sure she could forgive herself for doing. She knew Cat would forgive her- Cat always forgave her, but Jade knew what that felt like.
How many times did she sit around waiting for her father to come home for them to go on their annual walks on Sunday afternoon as a kid, until she realized he wasn't going to remember? Until she realized he valued his cell phone and his empire more than his wife and kids?
That feeling of being forgotten...? Jade hated it. And she wondered just how many people felt it because of her.
Ryder had been picking her up from her house and bringing her to school for a week now, and things were finally falling into place. Beck seemed to be more and more irritable with each passing day, lashing out at his friends. Jade knew because Cat told her this on their Wednesday afternoon Fro Yo meetings. She also knew Tori was still particularly worried about Jade, asking Cat so many questions that she even fainted once. Jade just rolled her eyes at this and quickly eradicated the small smile that was making its way across her face before anyone saw.
Things were going according to plan.
Jade would alternate between sitting in the garden, with the 'gang' and then alone with Ryder as they sniggered about the freshmen's choice of clothing. Those days were particularly enjoyable because there was nobody there to reprimand her for saying such things. Soon enough, Ryder and Jade ended up spending three out of the five school days alone at their own lunch table. It was all for show though, Jade had told him and he rolled his eyes then stole one of her fries, ignoring her scowl as he did so.
Today marked their three week scheme-aversary and Ryder took the opportunity to turn around suddenly in the Grub Truck line and look her seriously in the eye.
"Jade West?" He asked earnestly.
"What?" she scoffed, because Ryder was such a drama queen when he wanted to be.
"We've been seeing each other for three weeks now," she arched a perfectly sculpted eyebrow, "and now, in front of all these socially inferior students in the line," he motioned to everyone around them who had suddenly grown quiet, even Festus had stuck his head out to see what was happening, "I want to officially ask you to be my girlfriend."
Jade, after scanning the small crowd around them had rolled her eyes. Of course he would pull a stunt like this in front of a crowd, there was no way she could do or say anything that would jeopardize their cover so she turned her attention back to him, where Ryder's brown eyes were hopeful and to his credit, he probably would have even fooled her if she wasn't aware of what a jerk he was.
"So, will you?" He prompted.
"Will I what?"
"Be my girlfriend."
"Sure," she grinned and Ryder scooped her in her arms and spun her around. "I hate you." She whispered in his ear when he finally put her feet back on the ground.
Everyone around them cooed at the new couple and the helpless romantics giggled hysterically while some girls glared at Jade enviously but she was used to this look and ignored them, because she can't help it is she's so perfect, can she?
"Love you too, sweetheart." Ryder said loudly and Jade shot Festus a disgusted look as he feigned wiping a tear from the corner of his eyes while patting his chest with his other hand.
"I think they're cuter than Beck and Jade were." Jade heard somebody whisper before she grabbed Ryder roughly by the hand and dragged him away from the Grub Truck.
She supposed she should have been a bit upset with him- more than she actually was. But she wasn't, not really. They had gotten people talking and Jade had seen Andre patting a tight-faced Beck while Ryder had started spinning her around like she was some kind of carousel.
Phase 1; complete.
When Ryder picked her up the next day, Jade wasn't ready. Well, she was but then she decided to change things up a bit. She went easy on the black. Sure, she loved the colour but she had to show Beck Oliver what he was missing, so Jade opted not to wear the fishnets under her skirt. Nothing brought out Beck Oliver's barbaric side like a little skin. She knew that much. She also chose a low cut shirt that made her father stop her on the stairs and force her to put on another top.
"This is stupid," Jade retorted, but her father didn't budge and was, in fact, growing red-faced about that matter so Jade decided maybe it was best to change her top without a fight this morning, not because she was afraid of her father or anything, but because she didn't want to be late for school.
She heard the doorbell ring and she reached forward to open her bedroom door and run to the front door, but then she remembered that she was only in her bra and cursed her luck. Her parents weren't supposed to get involved. They asked too many questions. They never stopped asking questions. Jade supposed that's why Tori annoyed her so much; she was always worrying like Jade's mother did on a Saturday night when she came home too late.
Funny, Jade thought, fake dating Ryder meant that she was booked from Monday to Friday but free on the weekends. She wondered if he fooled around with other girls then, then frowned at the thought.
She would have to lay some ground rules and when she did-
"Oh hello, there." Her mother's cheery voice wafted up the staircase.
"Shit," Jade muttered. Then she reached inside her closet and reached for a top and threw it over her head. But when she passed her reflection the stupid top did not even match with the rest of her outfit and so she threw it off and dumped it on her bed, next to her abandoned fishnets.
"I'll just go get her then," Jade heard her mother giggle and she groaned internally. "Jade," her mother swung her door open and while Jade was expecting her mother, she still ended up shrieking and tripping over her school bag, landing in a mess on her wooden floor. "Jade, get off the floor." Her mother frowned.
"Because I clearly enjoy falling to my doom because of a stupid school bag," the girl spat out bitterly, while pulling herself from her own mess of limbs before examining her clothes. Then, almost as if remembering she wasn't really wearing a top, she spun around and said, "Mom, some privacy please."
To which her strawberry blonde mother waved her hand contemptuously and replied, "Nothing I haven't seen before, Jade. Now get dressed. There is a handsome young man waiting to drive you to school. Why aren't you dressed?"
Contrary to popular belief, Jade's relationship with her mother wasn't as horrible as people liked to think. Sure, she was annoying and smiled way too much but she was always around when Jade's father was too busy, and so Jade had learned to appreciate that enough to admit, "I don't know what to wear." Jade shrugged her shoulders and crossed her arms so as to limit her mother's view of her leopard print bra, which in turn, made her mother scoff and roll her green eyes exasperatedly.
"Since when do you not know what to wear?" Her mother arched her eyebrow and gave Jade a pointed look.
"I don't know," Jade paused and when her mother's gaze never wavered, she continued, "Now that Beck is gone, I want to show him what he's missing. That I'm much better than he ever thought I was. I want to show him that I can be soft and beautiful. I can be a princess if I want too, but I just choose not to, that I'm different but when it all boils down to it, I'm just like any other girl and-"
"Okay honey, calm down." Jade's mother stepped forward and placed her hands on Jade's shoulders. "I know without Beck right now, you must be feeling a bit lost. Like he took something that you need to get back, like he almost owes you all those years of your life, but let's focus on you right now. If you feel like you need to get rid of the Jade West who was with Beck Oliver, then do it. If you want to do something to show everyone that you're not the same girl you were when you met him, then go ahead, show them. But do not go around changing yourself because a guy tells you to."
"Ugh, mom. As if I'd ever-"
"I'm not an idiot, Jade. I am your mother. And I knew what you were like before you started dating Beck Oliver and I know what you are like now because you dated him. Don't think any of us here have forgotten because we haven't. And if you ever feel like resurrecting her again, my real daughter, tell her that her family missed her." Jade's mother cupped her daughter's face and looked her sincerely in the eye. "And we were always waiting for her to come back." With that said, Jade's mother gave her a quick kiss on her forehead before the seventeen year old could pull away and shot her one last knowing look before she left Jade's room.
Jade blinked once, twice, three times then fell upon her bed, hugging herself. Her mother had somehow gone all lifetime on her and started talking about emotions and feelings and things they usually never spoke about. It was unnerving to say the least but Jade was a bit relieved. She had always wondered if anyone had noticed her missing. Physically she was still there, but then again, she wasn't. She was no longer Jade West but rather a rather exaggerated version of herself.
It was an act at first to get Beck's attention. And then eventually she had stopped acting and started being rude, cold, bitter. She started getting piercings and tattoos without her parents' permission and started trudging home later and later on the weekends because, well Beck had an RV to himself and they were both hormonal teenagers with nothing better to do and sometimes things just happened.
Tell her that her family missed her, and we were always waiting for her to come back.
"Wow," Ryder whistled from a kitchen stool around the island as Jade descended, "didn't peg you as one of those girls who took hours to get ready." Jade scowled and punched him in the shoulder as she fell into step beside him. "You look different." He observed, taking a big bite out of a blueberry muffin Jade's mother must have given him.
"Good different, or bad different?" She asked cautiously.
"Good different," Ryder spoke earnestly when they weren't, you know, faking a relationship and Jade had learned to trust his words because he never had the habit of lying or holding anything back. That's what she liked about him. Not that she like-liked him, but if she was about to get killed and someone made her compliment Ryder in order for her life to be spared, she would say that. She would say his honesty was admirable, because she would be at gunpoint. That would be the only reason why she would even bother to think about him in a positive light.
"That's nice." Jade said casually, but she was internally patting herself on the back, and maybe giving her mother a high-five. She didn't do much, but her hair was in a high pony tail. She wore a simple white long sleeved top over her black mini skirt. Really, she didn't much at all, but it had been enough to grab Ryder's attention and Jade knew that if this v-neck didn't grab Beck's attention, her less heavy attire should. She wasn't covered with layers upon layers of skintight clothing, covering every inch of skin with the stretchy black material. She also wouldn't be wearing a scowl today.
"Okay, you kids are already late, just no speeding." Jade's mother gave her daughter smile as Ryder gave Mrs. West a polite kiss on the cheek.
"Thanks for the breakfast Mrs. West."
"Oh please, call me Emily."
Jade almost choked on how clichéd this all was. It was in like every romantic comedy geared towards teenagers. She wanted to throw up the words her mother and faux-beau just exchanged and like, stare at the sun until she was blind or something. It was disgusting. It was absolutely disgusting.
"We're like a teen movie," Ryder smirked in his car, sunglasses perched upon his face. "Girl breaks up with ex and falls head over heels in love with the handsome gentleman, Ryder Daniels."
"I am not in love with you," Jade hissed, slapping his chest. She kind of had this thing that she did now, where she responded to all of Ryder's crass comments with a linguistic and physical blow. It was because he was always driving her up a wall, because she often couldn't even vocalize her feelings so she left her hands do all the talking instead. A slap, a punch, an elbow in his side; that was how they communicated now. Except the most Ryder did was scoff or smirk down at her in response.
"You didn't deny I was good looking though," Ryder lowered the volume of the radio station Jade often turned her nose up at, before backing out of her driveway.
"Listen, there are some ground rules we need to cover."
"You aren't allowed to see anyone while we're still carrying on with this charade. Not even on the weekends, no flings or getting handsy with any other girls."
"I'm not an idiot." Ryder glowered and Jade sucked her teeth irritably. She hated it when people cut her off. "If you want to make this believable we need to go out period. Why don't we go out during the weekends then?" Ryder asked casually.
"So you're asking me out on a date?" Jade crossed her arms and pursed her lips.
"Well, I'm allowed to ask my girlfriend out on a date, aren't I, sweetheart?"
"Depends on where exactly we'll be having said date, honey bunch."
"Well I'll be sure to text you, love." They pulled into the school parking lot and Ryder had managed to jump out of his seat and scramble to open Jade's passenger door.
"Ever the gentleman, I see." She grumbled.
The hallways were empty, due to the fact that they were pretty much 45 minutes late and well into first period. Jade had Sikowitz now, she wasn't particularly worried. Frankly, she didn't care about who Ryder had, but he didn't seem worried so they were in no rush to get their things.
"You don't have to walk me to my locker, nobody's here." Jade gestured to their vacant surroundings before taking out her books. Ryder shrugged and took her books from her hands, walking her to class in a strange sort of silence. They were never silent; they were always bickering, throwing insults at each other or simply making fun of the other students when they weren't pretending to be haplessly in love. When Jade pushed open Sikowitz's classroom door, he had yelled at her immediately.
"Jade, you're late!" Her teacher leaped off the small stage in the front of the class, his bare feet thudding against the carpet.
"Sorry Sikowitz, that was all me," Ryder smirked wickedly behind Jade who resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Of course he'd make some kind of underlying comment about their nonexistent sex life. He was Ryder Daniels after all.
"Ugh, that was not what happened." Jade ignored Sikowitz's spluttering and from the corner of her eye saw Beck glaring at them, at Ryder's hand that had snaked its way around her waist. His lips were pursed in a tight frown and his shit stained (gorgeous caramel) eyes were narrowed into slits. His arms were fisted and he sat up straighter in his seat. Of course he'd only start to get jealous when they were over and Jade had a hot faux-beau on her arm.
This was almost too easy.
"My stupid mother gave him breakfast."
"That's only because you had to change your outfit like five times."
Cat giggled in her seat next to Andre. Her little squabble with Ryder was unlike any of those she ever had with Beck. They both aimed to poke fun at her, but with Ryder she knew he meant no real harm. Beck oily-haired Oliver however, liked a different game Jade had personally named "Let's Embarrass My Incredibly Hot Girlfriend In Front of Those Socially Below Us". That was his favourite game. Ryder bore a small smile on his face, and somehow, Jade felt the corners of her lips quirk up in a smile of her own.
"Whatever," she crossed her arms stubbornly and Ryder grinned cheekily at her.
"You guys are so cute," Cat clapped her hands and then patted an empty seat on her right, one she had saved for her best friend of course, "I saved you a seat."
Jade made her way to her seat but Ryder's hand pulled her back into a kiss. Their second kiss, again in front of a group of onlookers. How romantic.
Not that she was aiming for romance or anything, because she didn't like Ryder romantically. And the reason why she got so light headed was because she simply ran out of oxygen because when Ryder kissed, he really did kiss and what was she really saying here?
"Jade," Sikowitz cleared his throat, "kiss your boyfriend on your own time."
Where had she heard these words before?
"Oh, she will." Ryder spoke up before Jade a chance to catch her breath, because the whole lack of oxygen thing. Ryder winked and Jade felt her cheeks heat up, which was probably just an after effect of the lack of oxygen. Not because she was blushing or anything because she was Jade West and she never blushed. And even if she did, it wouldn't be because of the likes of Ryder Daniels aka most convincing faux-beau of- okay, what was she doing again?
When Jade woke up Saturday morning and headed into the kitchen for some breakfast, she found Ryder Daniels in her seat, eating her plate of food. She growled and grabbed the fork from his hand and shoved the piece of pancake into her mouth, chewing slowly with her eyes narrowed before reaching for the glass of orange juice. Her gaze never wavered and when she slammed the cup down on the counter, spilling juice everywhere, Ryder had burst into some sort of boyish laugh that made her frown deepen even more.
"She's not much of a morning person," she heard her mother say.
"Do I get my plate back?" Ryder poked her in her side and Jade growled once more.
"It's mine." She muttered bitterly in-between bites.
"Sorry princess, would you like me to relinquish the throne so you can enjoy your breakfast the proper way?"
"I hate you." Jade said darkly. Her mother chuckled along with her father who had recently entered the kitchen, taken one glance of Ryder and his daughter arguing over which seat Jade could sit in to finish her breakfast and grabbed a plate of pancakes himself. Her father usually never stayed for breakfast and Jade found herself self-consciously trying to flatten her hair in place.
"That's not helping," her little brother, Jonah said cheekily and Jade shot him a glare, making him sink further into his seat. Must to her displeasure, Ryder had laughed and high-fived her little brother, as if the little brat had even said anything remotely funny- which by the way, he didn't.
"Go get dressed," Ryder pulled her plate away, "and give me back my food. Your mom's pancakes are amazing." She supposed stabbing him would have been too gory for her little brother (not that she cared about him) and would have been way too messy to clean up. So she snagged the last piece of bacon on the plate, smiling wider with each bite. She opened her mouth to rub her victory in his face, but Ryder shut her up with an innocent kiss on her cheek and a gentle push out of her kitchen. "Tick tock," he called out obnoxiously and she stomped up the stairs in response.
When she came back downstairs, Ryder and her father were engaged in a heated discussion about the local economy while her mother was cleaning up, with the help of her little 5 year old brother.
"Jade," her brother whispered covertly while their mother's back was turned. He motioned for her to come closer and when she knelt down to hear what he had to day, Jonah said, "I like Ryder a lot more than I liked Beck." His child-like sugary breath tickled the skin on her ears and he gave her a toothy grin before turning back to help their mother.
"I do too, kids." Came their mother's sly response and her two children groaned in response.
"This is stupid, I'm not going in there." Jade had her signature scowl and her arms crossed. Ryder had rolled his eyes exasperatedly before he picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder. She yelped and then proceeded to pound her little fists into her back and Ryder smiled a bit, because she really believed she was hurting him and that frown of hers was just a little too cute when she was upset. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"What does it look like?" Came his guff reply.
"This is kidnapping. Let me go, I swear I will-" before Jade could finish another one of her empty threats, Ryder had put her on the floor. As her feet came in contact with the wood flooring, it made a light thud; it was then she quickly attacked him with punches where he waited until her little temper tantrum was over. He gave her another one of those annoying shoves, where he was indirectly ordering her around and usually Jade hated when people told her what to do but technically speaking, Ryder hadn't even opened his mouth. All Jade did was huff and eye her surroundings apathetically before the swinging door at the left of the room was pushed open and a petite woman with raven hair stormed in. She cleared her throat, her grey eyes menacing and Jade found herself immediately standing up a bit straighter, almost as if she was on edge.
"You're late." The woman spoke in a clipped tone and Jade would have opened her mouth to retort, but Ryder had grabbed her hand and given it a squeeze, so she kept her mouth shut instead. Yet another one of his indirect commands. She supposed she was used to guys trying to control her. But at least Ryder didn't outright tell her what she could and couldn't do. He didn't order her around like a kid, but gave her a gentle prod in the right direction.
Behind his leather jacket and lazy brown eyes (that weren't shit stained brown like Beck's, mind you), Ryder Daniels had a heart of diamond.
(Beck's heart was made of lead; this much Jade tried to believe sometimes).
Not even gold, but diamond. Because Ryder had done a good job of hiding it, behind layers of coal and his eye rolls, impatient sighs and tiny little smirks but Jade knew it was there and it took pity on her- the girl whose heart was stolen by the very boy she had loved with it. She wasn't an expert of love or happiness, but Jade knew she had never felt anything like Beck's love. Or rather, her love for him.
Sometimes, she doubted his love and- okay, but why was she thinking about that long nosed idiot?
"Sorry mom," Ryder mumbled before the woman took off her apron and jabbed a finger, pointing to the kitchen behind her before shoving the apron into Ryder's hands and stalking out the place. The woman made sure to slam the door shut and Ryder sighed heavily and rubbed his chin.
"Your mom?" Jade hissed when the bell tinkled and the door slammed shut. "Since when are we meeting each others parents now?"
"You didn't even speak to her." Ryder shot back and gave Jade a pointed look. He shrugged off his leather jacket and put the apron over his head. "Come on," he motioned for her to follow him and proceeded to tie his apron. "So this is the family place."
"It's a bakery." Jade responded flatly.
"No shit, Sherlock." Jade gave Ryder a cold smile and allowed him to continue, "I usually do this with my brother but he bailed, so I told my mom I'd get a friend so help me and since you're my girlfriend, guess what you'll be doing today?"
"If you think I'll be-"
"Jade, please." Ryder motioned around the large state of the art kitchen they were now in. "I can't do all of this by myself. I can't bake and handle the register at the same time." Ryder scratched his head, an embarrassed smile on his face before he gave her a hopeful look.
There were loaves of freshly baked bread, rack after rack, lining the walls. A large stainless steel fridge was against the lilac walls, at the back of the room with an open kilogram of flour slumping next to it in a brown paper bag. The mixers were the biggest Jade had ever seen and there were roughly three large ovens opposite the cooling trays that currently housed all the bread. Jade turned and examined the room while Ryder shifted from foot to foot, impatiently waiting for her answer; dumb boy never had any patience. She eyed the way the kitchenware shone under the overhead fluorescent bulbs and picked up a stray spatula, slapping the soft, flexible part on the inside of her palm.
"No," she said firmly then she slammed the red spatula down, before swiftly turning around.
"Girls stop by here all the time to see me work, if they see you're here then word would spread to your Oliver boy and boom, he'll come back tail between his legs. Just like you wanted." It was all he needed to say to get her to tilt her head to the side, the way she did when she was piecing things together, when she was trying to figure something out. It was the faint smile and the faraway look in her eyes that Ryder knew she was wearing, even if he couldn't see her face. It was her calculating look; the one she wore before she made her final decision, before she would open her mouth and-
"Nobody uses that saying anymore, but fine. Only because we need to be seen spending time with each other outside of school." Jade groaned as Ryder broke out into a grin. She was already beginning to regret this decision. He tossed her an apron and after seven minutes of arguing, she finally put it over her blue tank top and pulled her hair into a bun, clipping it into place. When she went into the display room and sat down on the stool behind the register, she heard Ryder's laugh and mentally pictured herself burning down this stupid bakery with stupid lilac walls.
At least it smelled nice.
Beck's RV smelled like boyish sweat and mildew.
Jade eyed the numerous cookies, cupcakes, tarts and loaves of bread neatly packed in the glass cases and wondered if Ryder made any of them. Probably not, Ryder was such a macho sometimes, the most he probably did was man the ovens. And yet, he was in that ridiculous white apron that had "Daniels Bakery" on the front. Feeling his eyes on her, she turned around and saw Ryder's lingering gaze through the large glass panel that only showed the top half of his body. It was a long, wide rectangular glass pane that gave both Ryder and Jade constant view of each other. Great.
Traditionally, it was probably used to make sure the bakers weren't doing shit to the food, but now it was probably mostly used to check out Ryder. Jade could tell from all the girls that stopped by the glass windows at the front of the store, and shamelessly flattened their noses against the glass, peering through, in order to get a view of Ryder in the backroom.
They could have at least bought a cookie or something and gotten a better glimpse of him at the register, but Northridge girls (because Jade didn't recognize any of them) didn't tend to think that far ahead. Or think at all. So when Jade met Ryder's gaze, she did what anyone else in her situation would have done; she flipped him off. And after, she certainly had a good time laughing at his shocked expression.
"So how was your date with Ryder?" Tori asked the following week, when Sikowitz, their only teacher worth mentioning, was running a bit late.
"What's it to you?"
"I saw pictures on TheSlap!" Cat announced behind Tori, making Jade frown.
"There are pictures on TheSlap?"
"There are pictures all over TheSlap. They're everywhere. Everyone's talking about you and your new boyfriend." At Tori's stress on the word 'boyfriend', Jade cringed and hoped nobody saw. Tori however, was looking at Jade suspiciously before she waved her phone in front of Jade's face. An annoying trait she had never stopped doing when she wanted to prove a point to the other girl. On it featured a laughing Jade, wisps of her hair falling out of her clip, shadowing her porcelain face. He was holding unto one of her hands and rubbing flour into her hair with the other. She supposed to an outsider, they looked like a happy couple, inside of that stupid bakery of his.
And she supposed she was happy, because Ryder had tripped and kicked over the entire bag of flour. Then, when Ryder tried to clean it up, he had slipped when Jade swung the swinging door so hard that it slammed against the wall and he tumbled into the mess. She bellowed with laughter, the corners of her mouth turning up into a full smile. It wasn't the harsh, cold laugh Ryder was used to hearing; biting like a frosty December morning, but it was something different. The way her eyes closed and the way she hiccuped, it reminded him of summer. The way she held her sides and doubled over made him join her because, well when Jade West smiled, she really smiled and you couldn't help but smile along with her.
(The same went with pain. If she felt pain- you did too.)
"How did people even get these?" Jade used her finger, to flip to the next few photos (because Tori had finally gotten the PearPhone XT and well, she could do these things like the rest of them could, now).
"Maybe they followed you?" Cat suggested. "One time, my brother followed an old lady but then she hit him with her purse and pulled out some pepper spray and-"
"We really don't need your brother's autobiography right now." Jade interrupted and Cat played with her red hair, dejectedly.
"He was only trying to make sure she got home safely." Cat mumbled, twirling that red hair of hers.
"Oh yeah," Jade snorted, "I'm sure that's exactly what he was trying to do." Tori and Jade exchanged the look, you know, the one anyone around Cat usually got when she told stories about her brother, before they eased away from her.
"Not everyone is like that, Jade. Some people just want to help people, so maybe that's all Cat's brother was trying to do." Tori chided her friend (although Jade wasn't sure why Tori considered her a friend anyway) and patted Cat on the back, hoping to reassure the smaller girl.
"Guess you should keep that in mind before you tell me about how much Ryder is using me, right?" Jade spoke stiffly and her eyes gleamed dangerously when Tori froze and then frowned before Sikowitz scurried into class, voice booming.
"So Jade," Beck spoke up when Ryder was sick one day, making her fall into place with her old group, "Where's Ryder?"
Everyone at the table froze and Andre and Tori exchanged worried glances. Beck Oliver sure did know how to push his luck with Jade. He did things nobody else would do, and for that he earned respect from many students but according to Jade, the general consensus was that Beck did these things because he was an idiot and he liked to prove it. And thus, he did things like ask stupid questions. Like the one he just asked.
"Oh, I don' know Beck. Up my ass maybe?"
Beck pursed his lips together and Cat whimpered and Robbie shot the redhead an awkward smile (which did nothing to calm Cat down, by the way).
"You don't have to be rude, you know."
"You don't get to order me around anymore. We broke up."
"I never ordered you around when we were together."
"Actually, you kind of did." Cat spoke softly and Beck shot her a piercing glare that made her slump in her seat and shift uncomfortably.
"Name one time!" Beck protested.
"When you sent her to sit on the stairs at Tori's house that time," Andre supplied and when Beck shot him another dirty look Andre held up his hands and said, "what? You asked and I answered."
And that was her cue to leave so she picked up her tray and gave them a cold smile.
So everything was going as planned. Two long months of hand holding and uncharacteristic giggling meant that Beck's face finally glowered with emotion and usually, that emotion was jealousy or anger. It really didn't matter, Jade loved them both. Beck was finally jealous.
It only took eight weeks, but this was it.
She had spent every waking moment with Ryder, at her house (because her family was scarily accepting of the boy with the leather jacket who seemed to prefer playing football with her little brother, discussing business with his father and taste-testing her mother's new dishes over taking her to dinner) or at the bakery, which really wasn't as bad as she had initially thought. Ryder had even started to teach her how to bake. It only took her five times to get it right, but she still ended up making it with him at her house when her parents were at work and Jonah never shut up about food and ugh, he was such a whiny brat when he wanted to be.
They did everything together and Jade found herself getting less frustrated and actually looking forward to their little weekends away from school.
How lonely was she?
It was probably because they were finally away from everyone and their constant glances, their constant murmurs and opinions about their relationship. Away from Tori's suspicious looks and Cat's "aww, that's so cute". Away from Jennifer's condescending stares and the rumors. That was probably why it was easier to spend time with Ryder alone than when everyone else were muttering about them.
The rumors were the worst but she was Jade West, so she held her head high and thought nothing about them.
"Jade, you smile more now." Cat whimpered one Wednesday afternoon during their Fro Yo run.
"I do?" Jade was genuinely surprised. She was never really a smiley person to begin with, so for someone to tell her that she was smiling more, well it was shocking. It was probably because she was having way too much fun enjoying Beck's suffering.
"Yes, when you and Ryder get into arguments. You're always smiling. You never smiled when you got into arguments with Beck."
"Oh," was all Jade could say, before directing her plastic spoon full of ice-cream to her mouth.
"Your arguments are different now. Robbie doesn't cry and I don't faint. We like when you guys argue, it's cute." Cat giggled and reached out to grab her best friend's hand, holing them inside her own hands, her chocolate eyes gleamed. "I like you guys. Especially since you're happy." Cat dropped Jade's hands and reached for her own spoon, "I like happy Jade."
"So it's been three months now," Ryder spoke behind her one morning while she was at her locker.
"And? You want to break up or something?" She slammed the locker shut.
"Ah, the famous Jade West line." He dug his hands into his jeans pocket. "Let's celebrate."
"Celebrate what?" Ryder grabbed the books in Jade's hands, like he usually did, and gave her an exasperated look.
"Our three month anniversary."
"Oh god, please tell me you're not one of those," She grimaced.
"This is my longest relationship, ever. I want to celebrate." When Jade looked up to catch his gaze, Ryder wore a solemn expression. She thought he was kidding when he said this was his longest relationship, but apparently he wasn't. He seemed a bit embarrassed to admit that and cleared his throat anxiously.
"Well then, have fun getting high tonight."
"Sounds like fun, you in?" He prodded her shoulder.
She stopped rolling her eyes when he did.
"No to the smoking, yes to watch you embarrass yourself more than usual."
"That's my girl," he grinned cheekily.
And she couldn't really argue because technically speaking, she was his girl.
Jade was fucked.
She really was.
She may have said no to Ryder's weed but she did not say no to his alcohol. His parents owned an apartment a few minutes out of town and Ryder had stocked the place with his goods and was, "seeing the world in a new light- in purple." Funny, that was the colour of her highlights.
"Is this really your longest relationship ever?" She asked in between drinks and he took another long pull on his joint before answering.
"I'm not a really good boyfriend," he shrugged.
"You're better than Beck was." He examined her face and when he realized she was she wasn't lying he smiled, "seems our little drunk Jade West has acquired some loose lips."
"Shut up." Jade intended to slap him on his shoulder, but he was further than she originally thought (or she was just drunker than she thought) and stumbled off the arm of the sofa. On her way down, she had reached out and grabbed unto Ryder's t-shirt and they collapsed into a mess of limbs. He was on top of her, his joint discarded on the tiles a few feet away, soaking up the rum and coke from her plastic cup she had dropped on the impact. "You whale, you're fucking heavy."
"It must be all my muscle." He winked and Jade groaned then mustered as much strength as she could to push his dead weight off of her. "You know, most girls would kill to be in this position."
"Well I think you should know by now, I'm not most girls." Jade turned her head away.
She grew self-conscious of Ryder's close proximity for the first time. His breath tickled her lips when he spoke and she was getting all tingly from the alcohol and, well nobody else was around, and they were both gone. She couldn't drive home and she wasn't letting Ryder drive her. Lucky for her, she had texted her parents saying she was sleeping over at Cat's when she got a load of just how much alcohol she had available at her disposal.
"Trust me, Jade, I know." She smelled the weed on his breath and wrinkled her nose in disgust. She was about to give him a wise ass comment about his knowledge about girls, seeing his longest relationship was, in essence, fake but he had rolled off of her and flopped unto the tiles. "I feel like I'm swimming," he said.
"You're lying in my drink, dumbass."
"God, you're not even a nice drunk."
"That's because I can hold my drinks."
"You mean hold them in your hand. You barely had anything to drink and you're already gone."
"You're such a pig."
"You're full of empty threats."
"And I hate when you smirk."
"I like when you smile."
"Your stupid eyes distract me."
"And your hair is so glossy."
"I like when you bake."
"I like how you burn everything."
"I like how you always eat my burnt cookies."
"I like you."
Somehow she woke up with him arms around her, nose-to-nose with Ryder Daniels on his living room floor in that empty apartment, with a smile on her face.
[Cat did say she was always smiling now]
"You seem different," Andre commented one day.
"Do I?" Came Jade's breezy response. Andre had always been her friend. Scratch that, he was always like an overbearing older brother. When they were younger, he never liked when he was too far from him or she did anything without him. It made her feel important and well, he still had that effect on her.
"Calm?" Andre mulled over his thoughts for a second, trying to find the correct words, then tried again, "maybe it is calm. I don't know, you just seem different."
"Good different, or bad different?" Not like his opinion really mattered or anything. She was just trying to be nice.
"Good different," Tori turned around from her spot in the front row of class and supplied the answer. Jade would have told her off, but you know, she didn't feel like. "I don't know what it is either, but you're just really different now." Then Andre nodded his head in agreement.
"I noticed it too." Came Robbie's voice behind Jade.
"See, you are acting different." Andre shot her a pointed look, smiling in victory and Jade rolled his eyes. She didn't know what they were talking about, she was always like this. She didn't change, she was still Jade West.
"Maybe you're finally over Beck," Tori said softly, and the group of friends took this opportunity to turn and look at Beck who was listening to Cat ramble on about her older brother, a docile look on his face.
"Hey guys," Cat stopped her story to wave at her friends on the opposite half of the classroom, "why are you staring?"
"Doesn't Jade seem different to you?" Robbie called back, a bit too eagerly for Jade's liking.
Jade had opened her mouth to tell them all to shut the hell up because this conversation was between her and Andre and all this yelling was starting to annoy her, but Cat's response cut her off, "Yeah, Jade's finally happy. Isn't this great? We're all happy friends now." Cat clapped her hands in glee and tripped over Beck's feet as she scrambled out of her seat and ran over to her friends. "Look, we're all smiling and everything."
"Calm down, Cat." Jade huffed and crossed her arms.
Of course they were all embarrassing her.
"You're right, Cat." Tori mumbled to herself, "Jade has been a lot nicer."
"Are you complaining? Would you prefer it if I were-"
"No, no," Tori said quickly, shaking her head. "I'm fine with this."
"I am too," Andre said.
"Me too." Robbie nodded.
"Me four." Cat squeaked and everyone shot her a weird look. Andre snorted while Rex chortled in Robbie's lap. Tori shook her head, a small smile on her face, while Jade groaned.
"You were supposed to use three." Jade grumbled.
"I always forget."
They had a competition going. They did this thing now, where they tried to see who could cut the other off the most, with a kiss. It annoyed her at first but she wasn't that annoyed (because she was lonely and Ryder was a really good kisser). Now, she kind of enjoyed smiling smugly when she cut him off with a kiss. He would blink three times, and then release a breath of air. He would get a dazed look in his eyes (well, at least Jade would like to think so) and then Ryder would smile at her cheekily.
"I knew you couldn't resist me," He said that particular time. Jade had rolled her eyes and Cat and Tori exchanged a look (because they sat with them now, whereas all the boys chose to sit with Beck). Jade didn't know why Tori and Cat were hanging around her like that; around them.
Cat once told her it was because she was looking out for them, and that Tori thought that it would be safer this way.
"Tori said we can always be here for you if Ryder pulls anything." Jade sipped her cola to hide her oncoming smile. Part of her was aggravated that Tori just would not leave her alone to carry out her master plan, but another part was proud, moved even.
Sometimes, Jade swore when she was with Cat and Tori, and they weren't arguing, when Cat wasn't telling stupid stories about her brother, when Tori wasn't pestering her with questions about Ryder and when Jade wasn't mocking Tori's sweet-Sally-peaches voice, she liked to think that was what friendship was like. They made her smile (even though she liked to deny it) and they certainly did distract her from her ingenious plan for a few moments.
And maybe, on a particularly good day, Jade would swear that she could feel something with that icy heart of hers. Like it was melting, and every time they all threw their heads back and laughed, her body temperature raised and her heart would defrost, just a little bit more.
It kind of made her wonder if she really needed Beck to undo his handy work at all. Sure it was a slow process, but every time she cracked a smile, she felt his hold on her weaken and Jade would find the piece of herself that he had stolen away from herself. She didn't need him to put her back together.
If she was one of those mushy persons, she would say that maybe Cat and Tori were the ones who kept those missing pieces she recovered from Beck's hiding places safe, hidden in their group lunches and obnoxiously loud laughs and that maybe Ryder was the one holding the flashlight that chased away the shadows of her old relationship with Beck long enough so she could find more pieces, but she wasn't.
So instead, she said nothing.
But she felt the change.
"Ryder," Jade said, "why did you agree to do this with me?"
Ryder looked at her, a confused boyish expression covering his face, and Jade had to admit, it was cute. But she didn't have to admit it aloud, so she was fine. "What do you mean?"
"You aren't benefiting from this, I'm the one who gets to take down Beck."
"I thought you wanted Beck to take you back? Now this is about taking him down instead?"
Jade remained silent then shrugged, "I don't know what it is anymore."
"Maybe it's you finally moving on and enjoying life. Maybe it's you finally becoming the Jade that you wanted to be- the Jade that you couldn't be because you were with him." Ryder never liked to say Beck's name. Jade never understood why. He wasn't the one that got his heart abused and frozen, was he?
"Don't get all deep on me," Jade snorted and watched as Ryder clicked his car unlocked.
School was over and student were piling around the school car park, waiting on their parents, getting into their cars or just hanging around with their friends. Why anyone would hang out with their friends in school when they had already spent eight long hard hours there, Jade had no idea. She saw Cat waving furiously a few meters away and Jade rolled her eyes. She planned to ignore them, but then Andre had waved to and even called her name out.
Jade cringed as they shouted her name, attracting the attention of many students. When Jade subsequently turned around, Tori was also next to them waving and hollering her name like barbarians. The three of them wore matching, wide obnoxious grins and were all waving at her. If she squinted, she could see Robbie and Beck, hanging back while the other three continued to wave.
All this commotion just to embarrass her in the parking lot. All because they wanted to say goodbye. On any other occasion, Jade supposed she would have bit their heads off and told them to shut up, but instead she found herself rolling her eyes playfully. Ryder noticed and shot her a look.
"What? They're my friends." She shrugged.
It was the first time she had admitted it aloud.
"I know." She liked how Ryder acted like her saying this was no big deal.
"You never did tell me what you were getting out of this f-"
And he kissed her. Now, they were at a tie; next person to kiss the other won.
They hadn't established what the prize would be, but they both had a feeling that it would be something they would never want to forget.
She smiled and he held her hand and led her to the car.
[She could hear Cat whooping in the background. This was too much like another one of those teenie bopper movies]
She didn't really mind it that much if it meant she got a happy ending
"So, Jade." Tori had somehow included herself into their Jade-Cat-Friendship-Gossip-Time-At-Fro Yo. She came with Cat in tow, then pulled up an extra chair at their table and awkwardly spooned the yogurt into her mouth. Tori and Cat were both into the fruity flavours, while Jade herself preferred the typical Cookies and Cream, Chocolate or Vanilla. She had lost her taste for coffee.
[Just like how she was kind of losing her taste for Beck]
"What?" Jade asked, and Tori was pleased on realizing that Jade's attitude towards her wasn't as sour or as irritable as she used to be before. It made Tori wonder if Beck was the sole reason for Jade's unhappiness. Ever since they broke up, after the initial Oh-Shit-Now-I'm-Single-And-Beck-Isn't-My-Hand phase, Tori had realized that Jade actually seemed a lot more carefree when Beck wasn't around them. Whenever he spoke, her shoulders would stiffen, and her lips would turn down in that old, familiar frown they were used to seeing back then.
"I wanted to talk to you about, Ryder." Tori admitted and avoided Jade's gaze. The girl in question let out a long frustrated groan and Cat had surprisingly stayed silent. Out of all the times when she could have told one of those rambling stories about her brother to lighten the mood and distract Jade long enough so Tori could manage to escape with her life, Cat chose to shovel strawberry pineapple yogurt down her throat instead. The tiny redhead even had the pink substance around her mouth, something both Jade and Tori opted to ignore.
No matter how old they got, Cat would technically still always be their 'child'. She was the group baby, even if she was older than Tori and Jade by a good few months.
"Let me spare all of us by saying; I don't care what the fu-"
"No, it's nothing bad or anything!" Tori scrambled to cut Jade off before she dropped the f-bomb. "I just wanted to say that I was wrong."
Jade dropped her spoon inside her yogurt container and leaned further into her seat, "keep going."
Tori cleared her throat and shifted in her own chair, choosing her words carefully. "I thought Ryder was using you, like he was using me. But I realized he wasn't. He genuinely likes you. I didn't see it at first, but the way he looks at you when you don't notice him staring. The way he never lets you out of your sight. The way he sort of hates Beck. The way he always goes out of his way to do things for you, to surprise you." Tori finally looked up at Jade. Next to her, Cat was nodding her head furiously up and down. "They say differently."
"Sometimes, Jade," Cat voiced softly, then changed her mind and clamped her mouth shut.
"What?" Jade leaned forward and folded her arms on the table.
"Nothing," Cat mumbled and picked at her fingers.
"Come on, Cat. Just say what you want." Tori nudged her smaller friend who squeaked.
"Sometimes I think Ryder loves you more than Beck." Cat spoke shrilly. Her eyes widened when she realized she had spoken out loud and she covered her mouth with her hand and froze, waiting for Jade's to rip her head off or yell mean things like she usually did when she was upset.
"I think that too." Tori said and Jade snapped her gaze from Cat and glared at Tori.
She wasn't even in a real relationship with Ryder and now they thought he loved her more than Beck? Did Beck even love her at all? She knew he treated her like a secondhand toy sometimes, but she didn't think it was bad enough for people to notice.
It made her irate, angry enough for her head to start pounding and for her vision to become blurred.
"Jade, are you okay?" Came Tori's concerned voice, before Jade kicked back her chair and ran out of Fro Yo, pushing some teenaged boy out of the way. She wasn't running, she just needed a breath of fresh air is all.
People were never supposed to realize that Jade was actually the weak one in the BeckandJade romance. She was supposed to be controlling, dominant, overbearing, just so she could overshadow the fact that Beck Oliver was and probably always be a shitty boyfriend. He was an even worse ex-boyfriend.
When they were dating, he felt too little and now, he felt too much. He was always grilling her about Ryder when he wasn't around (which by the way, wasn't a lot) and when Ryder was around, he would bring up a private moment they had when they were still together, something only he knew and would parade it in front of Ryder's face and say, "Oh, didn't you know…?" then smirk into his stupid cup of coffee.
She hated him.
[Okay, she really didn't]
She wanted to hate him.
[But she really couldn't]
And now she was running down the street, ignoring everyone's skeptical gaze as they fell upon her. She wasn't crying, those tears were because the wind was stinging her eyes and making it dry. So to keep the eye moist, her body was making her cry. Simple science.
"Jade, Jade please stop." She heard Tori's voice behind her and Jade cut through a small alley and ran, praying she wouldn't slip on the mossy ground, before she made a sharp turn and found herself in the neighbourhood park. It was one of those green parks, with numerous trees and flower bushes strategically planted around the plot of land. The landscaping allured visitors to its flowery scent and peaceful air, but the locals often hurried past it without a second glance.
At some point, she had collapsed upon the bench but the tears were still streaming down her face. She didn't bother to wipe the tears away, but rather chose to stare at the pond a few feet away. She had chosen this bench, far away from the road and the sidewalk, from staring pedestrians and especially away from Tori and Cat.
She thought she had done a good job of it too, until she felt someone wiggle next to her and realized Cat had squeezed herself next to her while Tori fell into the space next to the fax redhead.
Nobody spoke; the only sound they heard were the birds, singing their annoying bird songs to each other. They whistled from tree to tree, when the birds weren't making the most noise, it was the ducks down by the pond. An entire family, a mother floating in the pond's surface followed by a line of four ducklings behind her. She hated them; she hated ducks. But she couldn't bring herself to make one of those sadistic comments she usually made. She couldn't bring herself to do much actually.
"It's okay to cry, Jade." Came Tori's voice. She had gotten up and now moved to sit on the other side of Jade, so the raven haired girl was sandwiched between the two girls she really didn't like to refer as her friends.
"Go away." Was her bitter response.
"No," It was the first time Cat ever told Jade 'no' and well, it was sort of Tori's first time too.
"Why are you crying?" Tori had even gone so far as to pat Jade on the back. She expected the other girl to shrink away from her touch but Jade did nothing, and so Tori took this opportunity to continue, "you know you can tell us anything you want, Jade. We're your friends. Your best friends I think, and you're our best friend too. No matter what it is you tell us, we won't judge you or think of you any differently."
"Sometimes, I wish I never met Beck." Was all she said.
What was she supposed to say?
Ryder Daniels wasn't in love with her? Well, he was but he wasn't. It was all an act right?
And she was crying because she had forgotten that.
At some point, she forgot it was all for show.
"Jade, can I speak with you?" Beck asked, running his hand through his hair. He always did that when he was nervous.
"What do you want?" She crossed her arms; she always did whenever in a terse conversation with Beck these days. It shielded her from whatever he was going to say, from his cold words and bland, empty looks that froze her heart.
"How are you?" He managed to ask after a few seconds of an uncomfortable silence.
"Are you being serious right now?" When Beck nodded, Jade backed away, "Okay, well I'm gone."
"Wait, just hear me out." Beck grabbed her forearm and pulled her next to him. His hand slid down her arm until he was cradling her hand in his. "I miss you." He mumbled, avoiding her gaze, "And I want you back." When Jade didn't respond, Beck continued. He sucked in a deep breath then looked around the empty classroom, almost as if he was afraid they had an audience. It wasn't that Beck really cared if someone heard them or not, he just wasn't used to this. With words.
He did everything by actions. When Jade needed someone, he would always wrap her in his arms. When she was upset, he would play with her hair and she would playfully slap his hand away. When she was happy, he would hold unto her hand and never let go. When she was angry, he kissed her cheek to calm her down. That was how things went in the world of BeckandJade. That's what Beck wanted now, he wanted her.
He wanted her burning jealousy and fiery temper. He wanted to hear her hum in his RV whenever they tried (and usually failed) to study for finals. He wanted to bring her coffee (even though she had stopped drinking it) and he wanted her to smile when he got her order right. He wanted to play with her hand, and trace the lyrics to their favourite songs on the inside of her palm. He wanted to go back to the days when they weren't Beck Oliver and she wasn't Jade West, when they weren't spoken of separately or separated by a conjunction. They were BeckandJade and they did everything together. She had a drawer of her own clothes in his dresser and her blue toothbrush was still keeping his red one company.
"It isn't that easy, Beck."
"I know," he spoke solemnly, "I can change if that's what you want. I just- I need you back. I feel empty, like I'm missing something, you know?" He had released her hand and started to pace in front of her. He only ever did that when he was trying to figure something out. When he couldn't understand something and was trying to force himself to.
So Beck was missing something too?
"And I didn't know what it was for a while. I thought maybe it was something physical, so I tried to kiss Tori but she turned me down and even when I had kissed those other girls, they didn't give me what I was looking for. So you must have it Jade. You stole it and I really don't mind. You can keep it, if you just give me you in return. I won't ask anything of you." Beck's words fell out of his mouth in a rushed, sloppy manner and Jade hurried to catch his words and follow his train of thought.
When he was finished, he wore a determined look on his face. His lips were pressed into a thin line and his brown eyes burned with hope. The last time she saw that expression, he had asked her out for the seventh time; it was that look that made her say yes for the first time. He stopped pacing and took a step closer to her where he reached up and brushed some of her dark hair from those blue eyes he loved so much.
This was what she wanted.
This was what she planned.
This was all going according to plan.
Except it wasn't.
"I'm sorry but, I can't." She retreated and hurt flashed across Beck's face. She shook her head and reached down for her school bag, "I just can't."
What the fuck was she doing?
"Jade, please. I love you."
"I know and I loved you too. But things are different now. I have Ryder and-"
"Seriously, Jade? I know it was all an act okay. I knew you were faking it. I knew the entire time." Beck spat out his words bitterly.
"How-how did you know?" She spluttered and lost her footing and tumbled back for a few moments where she struggled to compose herself.
"I'm not an idiot. We've been together for three years. I know when you're acting and when you aren't," Beck shrugged and ran his hand through his hair. Again.
"If you knew this entire time, then why didn't you say something? Why didn't you come and get me?"
Now she was crying, like an idiot from one of those soap operas her grandmother was always watching. It wasn't cute crying either, it was ugly crying- red faced and red-nosed. She sniffled and wiped her tears away. Why was she even crying anyway?
"Jade, please don't cry."
"Shut up," she croaked and then cried even harder because she was just a mess and, jeez, why couldn't she just pull herself together already? "You knew all this time and you never came to get me." She repeated and Beck avoided her gaze.
"I needed time."
"You always need time."
"I did, and look what happened. I came back to you, isn't that what you wanted? Why are you crying?" Beck grabbed Jade's shoulders and shook her gently. "I don't understand Jade. This is what you wanted, so why are you so upset? I can't do this without you, okay. Do you understand that? I love you and I know you love me too." Jade struggled until she had finally freed herself from his grasp and stumbled away from Beck, trying to put some distance between them.
What was wrong with her?
This was what she wanted.
Except, it wasn't.
"I can't do that Beck."
"Is it Ryder? Is he doing something to you?"
"Then what is it?"
"It's me. I just can't-"
"Don't do this to me, okay. I can't do this without you. I can't function, I can't think. I forget what I'm doing and I take the wrong turns to get home sometimes after school. You're what I need, Jade. You're what I'm missing and I can't do anything without you and without whatever you took."
"Did you give me your heart, Beck?"
"I did and I don't want it back. You keep it. I want you to have it. Nobody else will love it like you do."
"Here's the thing, Beck; you stole my heart and you froze it. I can't feel anything. I know you didn't mean to, but for a while I was dead and all I felt was pain and anger. I thought I'd never get it working again, but then Ryder came along and things changed. I changed, you changed. And we're different people now."
"We can work through this."
"And there's something else too. I don't want you to have my heart anymore. I want it back. You can take yours back as well."
"Jade please, listen to me."
"If you knew I was acting this entire time, why didn't you say anything?"
"Because at some point, you two had stopped acting. At some point it became real, and I knew I'd lose you if I didn't do anything about it."
"So I heard you spoke to Oliver." Ryder said on their way to school. He had picked her up from her house where she sat on her doorstep, chewing on her bottom lip. He ruffled Jonah's hair, shook her father's hand and gave her mother a quick hug. They had invited Ryder inside for a hasty breakfast, but he polity refused on seeing Jade's panicked look. He could read her like a book.
Five months could do that to a person.
"Yeah, we did." Jade sighed heavily and turned her head so that she was staring outside the window. There was a still, tense silence before Ryder opened his mouth to speak once more.
"So what happens now?" He asked, pulling into the school parking lot.
"I don't know." She shrugged and unbuckled her seatbelt. She was ready to bolt out of Ryder's car, but he had put his hand over her shoulder and sometimes when he touched her she forgot how to move and talk and she just froze and ugh. It was stupid.
"Do you want something to happen?" He turned her head and lifted her chin so they were looking each other in the eye. He saw faint freckles scattered across her nose and the way her blue eyes flashed with more emotions than he could identify. He gently reached out and gave one of her purple streaks a playful tug, earning him a small smile as she batted his hand away.
"I don't know; maybe?"
"Maybe?" he repeated.
"Yes," she finally said, "yes I want something to happen." She had mustered every courageous bone in her body in order to admit that. Last night, she stayed up replaying what everyone had been telling her. About Ryder making her happier, about her changing, Tori and Beck's words, they were all true. At least she hoped so. Because if Ryder didn't care about her, then things were about to take a turn for the awkward.
"Well I don't. I want us to stay this way." There it was, the slap in the face she had been waiting for; the hammer to her heart. "I don't want us to change." Wait, what?
She scrambled to find her words, to keep her breath from speeding up and attempted to be as indifferent and as calm as she could, settling for a "Good. So we can date, for real this time."
"What made you think it wasn't real back then?" His response was what sent her off the edge. The very mask she had fought to keep in place, the very mask she had developed because of Beck and his cool apathy for anything requiring sensitivity and emotion, had shattered. It broke into tiny pieces, and Jade found that she was quite happy when it did. She let out a sigh of relief and had broken into a large smile.
She was done with pretending. She was finished with trying to change in order to keep boys who didn't want her. She had been nothing but Jadelyn West with Ryder, because she didn't care about whether or not he genuinely liked her. It was all an act. He saw her worst sides, and he saw some of her best ones. He saw her bedhead and animalistic morning behavior and still wasn't turned off. He liked her family and didn't mind spending time with them, unlike Beck who often suggested his RV to get away from them.
And God, she was still comparing them, but it was in a different way.
And now her cheeks were starting to ache from smiling so much and Ryder's grin was really kind of creepy too, but she didn't mind. Not that much.
Ryder never hid his emotions from her. He was always honest about everything. And he never flirted with other girls. She never had to man him like a dog and, Jade never really felt jealous when he was talking to any other girls. He would always divert his attention solely unto her. He would squeeze her hand, he would wrap his arms around her, or he would even include her into the very conversation.
Beck had never done any of those things.
"What do you-"
He kissed her, which meant that he won their game. She kissed him back, willingly of course.
His consolation prize?
Her heart, if he was lucky because she was sure she already had his in the palm of her hands. She had it for so long, and never even realized.
When she heard someone tap on the car glass and they sprung apart like two teenagers caught by their parents right before they got it on, she didn't even bother to flip the person off. Instead, when she heard Cat's giggle and saw Tori's long brown hair and caught sight of Andre's dreds as they ran across the courtyard she had smiled and shrugged sheepishly and said, "those are my friends."
She was done with pretending.
Forget typos, I'm a lazy mofo.
Somehow, this changed. A lot. Idk man, I think I might like this one, which essentially means nobody else but myself will like it. Ahh, my life.
I forgot how to write guise, forgive me.