A/N: This loosely follows canonical Victorious, set in the future. Cat doesn't speak in non-sequiturs and Trina is a decent human being, more or less. This story contains OCs.
For your reading convenience: Singular slash (/) signifies character/POV change between Jade and Tori. Singular period (.) signifies scene change within POV segment.
Inspired by Katie Herzig's song and story's name sake, "Closest I Get."
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.
What if I wait and you don't show
If I left you half just to keep me whole
The only thing she can think about is that his feet are always cold.
How she hates getting into bed and feeling the coldness of his feet against the warmth of hers. How much it annoys her that he purposefully puts his cold feet on her legs when they're sitting together on the couch in the living room. How winters under the covers is the absolute worst because his feet are cold and all she wants is to be set on fire.
She can't live with someone whose feet are cold.
She sweeps her eyes around the cozy judge's quarters, her eyes passing her friends – their witnesses – who are giving her excited smiles and thumbs up. Her eyes eventually land back on him and he's smiling right at her, completely enamored.
A sinking feeling, something she'll later identify as panic, settles in her stomach.
Today she's getting married. But all she can think about is cold feet.
Jade barely snaps back into consciousness when they repeat her name several times. She frantically looks from Beck to their friends and to the judge before she slowly steps out of the claustrophobic space she has somehow caged herself in between them. She has to get out of there as soon as she can. The worried frown on Beck's face consumes her (later, she'll have nightmares of nothing but his faces of disappointment and anger).
"Jade…" She can hear him. She can hear her name, but she can't make herself stop backing away.
This isn't anything like she expected (and it's not until much later where she admits that it isn't anything like she wanted, either), so she tries to escape. She yanks her purse away from Cat who leaps in surprise before she continues to find an exit.
"No, I can't do this. This isn't-"
"What?" He quickly catches up to her and blocks the door.
She can feel the sting in her eyes of oncoming tears, but she refuses to drop them here, not when he's still in front of her, but for very different reasons.
"What is it?"
He's a good guy that hasn't given up on her. She wishes that he did, a long time ago, so they don't have to be here and she doesn't have to become the enemy.
"It's not. I'm sorry, but this isn't happening."
He walks closer to her, tries to make a private moment private again. "I swear to god," he starts to whisper, "you walk out of here and that's it. This is the last time, Jade. The last time."
She looks at how heartbroken he is and wishes that this is – that he is - what she wants. But she sighs and pushes the small bouquet of tied up fresh flowers into his hands.
"Beck, for the both of us, I fucking hope so."
She takes a final glance at her stunned friends behind her before she pushes past him. When she passes the threshold, she doesn't dare look back once. She hears echoes of her friends' protestations behind her but she ignores them all. She doesn't hear anything but the off-beat sounds of the pulsation of her heart in her ears and the clicks of her heels on the floor. She pushes past the city hall doors and gasps for air, trying to regain some sense of control.
She resists the urge to lean on the walls of city hall and cry, so she rushes to the streets and hails a cab instead.
She doesn't get a taxi until the seventh one stops for her and the very first thing that she does when she's inside the cab is take off her shoes.
When she gets home from city hall, she barges into the apartment and is quick to undress herself from her wedding dress as if staying any moment longer in it is physically suffocating her. She struggles to get the zipper down and it's only with a giant tug that the whole thing comes off and she's standing half-naked in the bedroom.
It takes a couple of minutes to get her breathing back to normal. In nothing but her underwear, she sits on the bed and stares at the pile of her broken promise. She wants nothing but tears to pour out, to justify the sadness and guilt engulfing her. But her face is dry, all of her make-up in place.
She bitterly laughs at how just mere hours ago, she's in the same spot, half-naked, but with the purpose of getting married.
She wonders how she can change her decision so easily just as she wonders if any tears will come.
She falls asleep on the floor of their bedroom.
She pretends to still be sleeping when she hears Beck come in and open dresser drawers. She can feel his eyes bore into her back when he finishes packing, like he's willing her to turn around. But she doesn't move a muscle and before Jade can think about it, she hears the front door slam.
Jade begs for tears, but none show.
The first thing she does when she wakes up the next morning is take all of her suitcases from under the bed and plop it on top of it. She doesn't even think about what she's doing, just frantically walks around the whole apartment, rummages around and gathers her belongings. She's afraid that Beck is going to appear back into their apartment and have an unwanted confrontation. But it's a welcomed surprise to her when Cat's the one at the door, tentatively poking her red head in.
"Jaaaade?" she calls out, "can I come in?"
"No." It comes out more as a reflex than any kind of considered response; there isn't a hint of malice in it. So Cat gingerly steps forward before closing the door with a small click. Jade doesn't notice Cat remaining still, how she doesn't take a step, just keeps her hands behind her, clutching at the door.
"Jade, what are you doing?"
"Making waffles, Cat. What else does it look like?"
Cat shrugs and Jade sighs. She can't find it in herself to even act normal. "I have to get out of here."
"Can't you two just talk this out? I'm sure he'll be okay with taking you back and talking with you. He's very understanding."
She stops her manic packing and turns around to face her best friend. "I don't want to talk about anything. And I don't want him to take me back."
Jade resumes her packing. She's moved on to quickly pulling books and manuscripts out of the shelves and dumping them in one of the boxes cluttering the floor. She has to ask Cat to repeat herself when the papers fall with a thud, covering Cat's words.
"Well, what do you want, then?"
Jade regrets her decision asking Cat to repeat herself.
"I don't know. That's the problem," she says softly, but it rings loud in her ears.
Cat walks around to stand beside her near the bed. "That's okay. Someday, you'll find something or someone that you'll want."
Jade stares at her for a moment, but says nothing. She pushes the suitcase and sits on the edge of the bed. Cat wordlessly joins her.
"Do you think I'm making a mistake?"
"I don't know. If it feels right, then I don't think so. Does it feel right?"
She nods, biting her lip. "How is he?"
"He's messed up, but the guys are with him now. He's over at Robbie's."
"He'll never forgive me, you know."
Jade feels Cat's hand over hers. "He will. It's probably just going to take time."
Before she even has a chance to protest, Cat's head is already on her shoulders and her arms have wound themselves around her. She affords herself the consolation because even though she's the one that broke his heart, she broke her own too.
When she's worked enough out of her system, she stands from the bed and resumes filling boxes and suitcases of her belongings, a quick dash of emptying her home of herself. She doesn't want to talk about it anymore than she already has. So she appreciates it when Cat starts taking the rest of her folded clothes in her dresser and brings it to the suitcase.
"So where are you going?"
"I'm not sure. I just need to get out of here."
Cat nods quietly and slows her pace. Jade stops her packing altogether and looks at the redhead beside her.
"Well, are you leaving for good or…"
Jade hasn't thought about anything but her escape; she's forgotten about everything else.
"I think it'd be a good idea that I'm just not around." She knows it's not an answer, but Cat's not pushing for more so she leaves it as it is.
"Well, as long as you still come see me. I don't want you breaking up with us, too."
"Good, you better not."
Cat stands a little taller, a smile etched on her face, and continues helping her put her things away. Jade fights the urge to give Cat a big hug for being understanding. Instead, she zips up the suitcase and opens another one, and starts filling it up with more of her clothes.
Jade has somehow collected her things from their (once) shared apartment. She forces herself not to stop and reminisce about the relationship she ruined. She fools herself with a mental list of her things, ignoring the memories attached to each one.
When she thinks that she's gathered all of her things, she looks out over the half-empty apartment. She's reluctant to do it, but she otherwise scribbles out a note for him to find.
If you find anything else I might have left behind, just throw it away. If they had been important, I would have remembered.
She stares at the piece of paper in front of her. She wants to just be done with it, but she concedes defeat. She writes down some words and tries to be as mechanical about it as possible. When she releases the pen, she doesn't bother to look at what she's written. She folds the paper in half and carefully places it on the kitchen counter.
With the last of her things, she walks away from another door with abandoned things she left behind.
Later, when Jade is driving away with a car packed to the brim with her stuff, Beck will find a note on the kitchen counter. And he will be reluctant to read it.
There will never be enough apologies that would get you to forgive me. But I hope that someday, you could anyway.
He will crumple her note, the last of her around him, and he will throw it away.
Days later, Jade reaches the apartment four hours away that her cousin subleases out to her. She unlocks the door to an open space. It's quaint and it's empty, the emptiness echoes loud in her ears.
She's exhausted, but she uses the last of her energy in bringing in as much of her stuff up the three flights of stairs as she possibly can. She falls asleep on a flat sheet she throws on the mattress she didn't bother to push to her bedroom. She shoves it by the giant bay window and watches the city lights and shadows play around her walls, her ceiling.
Jade doesn't think the tears are ever coming so when she accidentally brushes her hand by her face, she's surprised her cheeks are damp.
She wishes she prepared herself this morning.
She wishes she left her heart at home.
Tori sits in the car, her hands hang loose on the ten and two position of the steering wheel. Her eyes can't concentrate on one particular thing in front of her.
"I just mean-," she hears beside her. "You don't really think this is working anymore, do you?"
Her wandering eyes finally settle on the woman on the passenger seat. "What? I thought this was going great!"
"Yeah, it was. But I don't know. It's just not working out for me. It's not you, Tori. It's me. Plus, we just want other things."
Tori scoffs her disbelief. "No, Emily, you want other things."
"Can we still be friends?" Emily asks quietly.
"Are you serious?"
"Look, Tori. I told you it's not you. You're such a great person, but I just need time for myself right now."
Her words are soft and she's uncertain if she means them, but she utters them anyway. "I'll think about it."
Emily smiles at her and has the gall to touch her arm, but Tori lets her, lets the touch sting her. The sob that's pushing past her throat gets harder to stamp down.
"You should go."
She keeps her eyes forward when Emily steps out of the car and pushes her head back in through the window.
"I hope we can still be friends."
Tori nods once, not moving at all, her grip on the wheel tightening with each passing second.
She backs out of the driveway, wanting nothing but to leave as soon as humanly possible. A look of horror plasters her face when she hears a small thud on the side of her car. She quickly sticks her head out of the window and checks into what she may have hit.
It's not lost on Tori when a miniscule part of her wishes it to be Emily. But she pushes those thoughts away when she hears her now ex-girlfriend's voice.
"You just bumped into the trash can."
"I'm so sorry! That was an accident!"
Emily holds her hand up. Tori doesn't need any other sign for her to leave. So she puts the car in drive and speeds away; her deafening sadness the only company she keeps in the car with her.
When Tori arrives at her door, she barely gets the key in the lock as the tears blur her vision. When she finally does get inside, she drops everything. She leans on the door before collapsing to the floor, barely beating the stream of tears that have already passed her cheeks. She pulls her legs close to her, and buries her head in her hands.
She picks up her head when she hears her phone go off. When she looks at it, she sees a message from Emily asking if she's okay. Without a second thought, she hurls her phone across the room and buries her head in her hands again, muffling an angry scream.
She inevitably falls asleep from exhaustion. She wakes up on her floor completely disoriented with a crick in her neck. She hardly makes it to her bed but she trudges on, convincing herself that heartbreak is much more bearable on a soft bed than on hardwood floors.
Tori can't do anything the next day, still dressed in her post-break up clothes.
She wonders when she's going to get the hang of it; when they all stop telling her that it's not her, it's them.
She wonders if it even matters anymore.
Trina shows up three days later to an almost unrecognizable sister. Tori gets dragged from her bed and into her bathtub, despite her screams of protests.
"I worked really hard to get us a spot at this restaurant," Trina tells Tori as her sister holds on to the shower head and gives her a bath, even if she's still in her clothes. "And you're going, even if I have to haul your ass."
Tori eventually gets control of the shower head and pushes it away, sputtering with all the water in her mouth. "Sleeping with one of the waiters doesn't count as working really hard."
"You watch your mouth and stop being ungrateful," Trina says taking a handful of shampoo and recklessly scrubbing her hair with it.
"Okay, fucking stop!" Tori says. "I'll take a bath. Just stop."
Her sister stares at her. "Fine. I'll be right here. So I know you're not lying." Despite her protests, Trina sits on the toilet cover and stares at her. With a groan, Tori yanks the shower curtain closed and gets undressed; she throws her wet clothes by her sister with smug satisfaction.
"What did I say about being ungrateful? Anyway, Javier and I are getting ready to take the next step in our relationship."
Tori rolls her eyes as she scrubs shampoo in her hair while she thinks about her current predicament. She reminds herself to hold another pity party later when Trina leaves because she's certain that getting dragged by your own sister into to the bathroom to bathe is hitting a new low.
"Tori don't roll your eyes at me. I don't need your judgment."
For once that day, she doesn't resist the small smile of amusement on her face.
Tori has to appreciate how much effort Trina, though misguided, is putting in trying to console her, even as her sister currently ogles their waiter, Javier. It's only after Javier has left to put in their orders that Tori swears she hears a familiar voice. Like finding an incessant fly, she furiously looks around her to figure out where the sounds are coming from.
"Tori, can you not look so insane? This is a formal establishment, not McDonalds."
She ignores Trina and twists her body to turn around before she witnesses a particular someone at the table behind her. She snaps back into place and shrinks into her seat, hiding behind her napkin.
"Trina, we have to get out of here."
"What? No, Javier was about to get us some bread with that apple butter stuff."
"No!" she whispers loudly. "You don't understand. Emily is right behind us and I don't really wanna be near her right now."
Tori peeks past her napkin as her sister squints at Emily's general direction.
"Who's that girl she's with?"
"Probably just some friends or something, to help make her feel better about the break up. Kind of what you're doing."
"Um, no. Last I checked I wasn't giving you mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to revive your broken heart."
"What?" Tori pops up in her seat, like a jack-in-the-box and swivels to get a better look.
"Yeah, we were unofficial for like four months and then she and I made it official about two months ago," she hears.
Tori quickly calculates the math and when she reaches the answer, she sees nothing but red.
She can't believe it. Trina waves for her attention, but she doesn't react. She decides to take matters into her own hands. She disregards her sister calling out for her and stands up, manhandling the refill pitcher of soda away from one of the waiters and walking towards Emily's table. Adrenaline has taken over and she's on auto-pilot.
Without any preamble, she pours the soda over Emily's head slow and steady, a wave of complete satisfaction consuming her. She stands unfazed as Emily and the woman beside her squeal in surprise and the rest of the patrons gasp in horror.
"You're an asshole. Time for yourself my ass."
Emily attempts to explain herself, but her words come out as incoherent sputtering. Tori puts her hand up and Emily reluctantly abandons trying to speak. Tori deviates her attention from Emily to, literally, the other woman. "Did you know about me?"
The woman shifts her attention between Emily looking horrified and Tori glaring at her.
"Don't look at her, I'm the one asking you a question."
"Y-yes, but it's not like-"
"Shut up. You're an asshole too."
Tori chucks the now empty pitcher at the other woman who barely has enough time to catch it without hitting her in the face. She stomps out and away before management has a chance to kick her out. Trina lags behind just enough to shake her head at them.
"Karma's a bitch, ain't it?" she says with a smug look on her face. Tori yells for her and Trina is trailing behind sister until she quickly runs back and picks up the full bread basket from Emily's table. She sticks her tongue out at them before scurrying after her sister again.
Tori's fuming as she holds a death grip on the steering wheel, almost hyperventilating.
"I can't believe this is happening right now. I am so mad!" Tori repeatedly bangs the steering wheel with the palm of her hand.
Trina quietly watches, nibbling on her freshly stolen bread. "Let it out sister."
"What? Come on, you're upset. Just get really mad. Let it out. Throw some punches. Slash her tires," she says before she takes another bite. "Oh! Oh! Steal some of that Lancôme makeup that she has that I told you I really liked but couldn't afford. That'll really show her."
Tori glares at her. "You're not helping."
"What do you want me to do? She cheated on you in your boring relationship."
"It was not boring! She was the love of my life!"
Trina stares at her past the bread roll in her hand. "What? Really? You fell in love with that bitchy skank hoe from that boring relationship you were in? How?"
"It was not boring."
"Oh come on," Trina says with a bite of bread in her mouth. "I'm not saying you deserve to be cheated on because you don't. I'm saying she probably cheated on you for any of the following reasons: because she has deep psychological issues, she was probably bored out of her fucking mind, or she's just an asshole. But I'd bet it's all three."
"Look, Tori. I'm going to say this to you because I'm your sister and I love you and I know more than you. But you're a simple girl. And not the fun simple. Ever since high school, you went from young and the restless to old and dying."
"I have not!"
"What time did you go to bed last night on your day off?"
"Ten, but that's because I was tired from the night before!"
Trina puts her hand up and Tori slumps back down. "And how old are you?"
"Yeah, what's up with that, grandma? Look, you're young and beautiful – but obviously not as beautiful as me. You might as well just kind of hang out and start fresh. Try and live a little. Do that travelling thing you always wanted to do. It's one thing to have stability, sis, but what's the point if there is no fun?"
Tori sighs. She knows her sister's right. It's not exactly surprising news to know that she's played it safe for a long time. "How'd you get so smart?"
"Excuse you!" Trina scoffs. "I was always smart."
"Yeah, yeah. Let's just get something to eat. I'm starving."
Tori is incredulous when she stares at her sister. "You just ate that whole basket of bread!"
"Yeah, and? That was the appetizer. Now that I'm appetized, I'm ready to go eat the main course."
Tori shakes her head before pulling out of the parking lot and driving to another local restaurant. When they reach a light and she makes a left turn instead of a right, Trina perks up from her seat.
"You and I both know this is not the way to Rita's Taco Heaven."
"Just a little detour. Don't worry, you'll get your meal. I just have to stop by somewhere."
"Are you gonna buy a gun?" Trina asks curiously. Tori repeatedly glances at her as she keeps an eye out on the road. "What? You could! Guns are sexy."
"No guns. Just a little payback."
Tori slows when she gets into a neighborhood. She makes a couple of sharp turns and Trina has no choice but to grip the door handle. Tori pushes down on the gas pedal when they reach Emily's street and swerves to the other side of the street. Trina doesn't realize what's happening until she hears a thud from the front of the car.
"Oh my god what was that?"
Tori smirks from her seat, another dose of adrenaline rushing through her body. "Karmic retribution."
A week later, Tori's in the midst of hauling her things in random boxes when she decides to call Trina.
"Why are you breathing har-oh my god, Tori, I swear if you're having sex and you're calling me, I'm going to rip your hair out," Trina greets.
"I'm gonna move."
"So you're not having a mindless one-night stand in the middle of the afternoon like I told you?"
"No, that's not-" Tori huffs as she attempts to get the conversation back on track. "That's not what's happening."
"Then why are you interrupting my afternoon massage?"
"I thought about what you said about travelling and starting fresh and all that stuff. And, I don't know, just decided to go for it. Be more spontaneous or something."
"But who's gonna hang out with me?"
"I don't know. Aren't you and Javier taking your relationship to the next step?"
"Ugh, don't ever mention his name ever again. He was taking his relationship to the next step in Becky's pants."
"Sorry to hear that," she says as she fails to cover her laughter.
"It's whatever. Anyway, so you're moving and abandoning your favorite sister. Keep going."
Tori sighs. "Nope, that's it. I talked to someone from work and she says that there's a club that's recently opened like four hours away. So if I wanted to jump on it, I could."
They're quiet for a time and Tori almost calls out to her sister. Tori doesn't mention it, but she hears a distinct sniffling on the other line. "Well, as long as you don't move to some cow town or something because I don't look good in farm chic, ok? It's just not in my color palette."
Tori laughs and lets Trina talk about future plans of visiting her. It's comforting to know that her sister tries to keep things under control as best as she can.
It surprises Tori at how quickly she packs her life away. She imagined it'd take her at least a week, maybe more. But seething rage becomes a great motivator. She packs half of her things just to trash the other half. She's left with nothing but a cast shadow from the hallway light when Trina stands beside her.
"You got everything?"
Tori gives her sister a hug and wipes a solitary tear that's suddenly found itself on Trina's cheek. She gets in her car and drives off, sees her sister in the rearview mirror waving goodbye before turning a corner.
Jade only realizes that a neighbor moved in across the hall until late one night when she finds stacked boxes in the corner of their hallway after she gets home from a late movie. She hopes that the neighbor isn't psychotic. But she thinks maybe that would be good. Someone else can be crazier than she is for once.
Settling isn't as hard as Jade expects. Cat's already visited a couple of times, after Jade finished putting her things away and the apartment looked more like a real home than a storage locker.
"Are you making any friends?" Cat asks when they're sitting by the giant bay window in her living room.
"I don't need to make any of those."
"I already have you," she says as she takes a sip of her coffee. She tries to avoid the goofy smile on Cat's face by adding Robbie's and Andre's name but the damage is done. She's not up for the fight so she lets Cat hug her for it.
They let themselves talk about everything under the sun to catch each other up, to normalize Jade's decisions.
They talk about everything but him.
Jade goes on with an ordinary life. She resents it for being so predictable, but she thinks maybe this will be good for her. She doubts it, though.
What she doesn't predict is acquiring a job downtown as a voice instructor to children. What's more surprising is that she doesn't actually hate it.
She doesn't think about the neighbor across the hall. She figures that whoever they are must have different hours than she does because she never sees them. But it's by a mix-up from their mail that Jade's neighbor falls back into her radar.
When she sees the name, she thinks it's a prank. It takes a while to reel back in from her shock. After she returns from downstairs, she stares at the door across the hall. She contemplates about slipping the envelope under the door but holds off on the idea and takes it in with her.
She lets the mail sit on her coffee table. She tries not to pay attention to it, but her thoughts gravitate back to it every time she's in her apartment at all. It's a gamble, to reveal herself, but she figures that it's worth something, at the very least for the shock value.
So she waits three days before she finally decides to knock.
Tori's trying her hand (again) at cooking. She's hoping that the red wine actually makes it to the pan with the chicken instead of just her sipping from the bottle like she did the first time she tried cooking. She's in the middle of explaining to her appliances what makes this chicken marsala so delicious to make in the summer time when she hears a knock at the door. She wants to ignore it and keep going back to her fantasy of becoming a Food Network Star but the knocking doesn't relent.
Growling in frustration, she places her spatula on the edge of the pan before running to the door. When she pulls the door open, nothing could have prepared her for what she sees.
Tori is rooted in her spot by the door. She doesn't – or can't – react when Jade West is standing in front of her with an all too familiar smirk on her face. She barely registers that there are words coming out of Jade's mouth when Jade raises her hand and brings an envelope up to her face.
Jade's smirk widens.
"Tori Vega, you've got mail."
A/N: There are seven parts total. Update for the second part will be posted next week. Thanks.