Title: In His Arms
Word Count: ~1800
Disclaimer: Victorious and all related characters do not belong to me.
Summary: Beck rekindles his love for his ex while holding her in his arms as she cries her heart out for another man. Written for Bade Prompts Writing Challenge, Round 6, with the prompt: home alone.
Continuity: Post-Bade breakup.
Author's Note: To say that I have struggled in writing this fic is a massive understatement. So please break it to me gently?
In His Arms
Jade West was not a praying person. She never found the need to pray before. She's not even sure that she believed that there's Someone Up There actually listening to mere mortals whine and complain. Plus, she's a firm believer that if one wanted something to happen, one must actually get up and make that happen, and not wait for some mystical being to do something about it.
No, Jade West was definitely not a praying person.
Until her back hit the proverbial wall and she knew that nothing—nothing!—she could do would make a difference.
At the end of her rope, not knowing what else to do, Jade West walked all the way home, lost in thought. She entered her empty house and shut herself inside her room.
She sank on the floor beside her bed, buried her face in her hands as if doing so would help staunch the tears that kept falling.
Not knowing what else to do, she started to pray, mouthing words she learned at her grandmother's knee, words which she thought were long forgotten.
Our Father who art in heaven...
Beck Oliver found Jade West hours later inside her room, sitting on her bed, back ramrod straight, posture perfect, staring off to space. In her right hand was an ever-present pair of scissors. On the other was a blond-haired, blue-eyed rag doll that had obviously seen better days. He was surprised that she was not cutting up the doll, but he figured it was only a matter of time.
"Jade?" Beck asked as knocked on the open door's post, eying the scissors in Jade's hand cautiously, as any smart man would. "Whatchadoin'?"
Jade ignored him, the only indication that she knew that she was not alone anymore was the hitch in her breathing.
Warily, Beck made his way over to Jade's bed and sat hesitantly beside her. He turned to Jade and noticed that her eyes were red-rimmed, her face scrubbed off its usual gunk. But what worried the boy was her usually expressive eyes: they were blank; her face gave away nothing. "Jade?"
"Why are you here?" Jade suddenly asked without looking at the interloper inside her room.
"I got—" he started awkwardly. "We all got worried when you didn't return after Lane called you out of Sikowitz's class."
"Yeah, but why are you here?"
Beck winced, feeling that the sentiment was a bit undeserved.
It was true that they were still broken up, but Beck thought they were both making progress (slow, lilliputian steps forward, but progress nonetheless) in repairing their relationship.
When Jade disappeared from the school after being called to the guidance counselor's office and refused to accept calls or to reply to text messages, Beck was the gang's logical choice to send after her to find out what had happened. (If Jade's on a homicidal rampage, Robbie had rationalized, Beck has a higher percentage of coming out alive than anyone else.)
Beck knew that Jade reflexively lashed out when she's hurt, so he bit back his scathing reply and settled for a, "Because after all had been said and done between us, I still love you. Right now, I'm worried about you." he reached out and cupped Jade's chin in his hands, drawing her face to his so she could see the sincerity in his eyes. "And because you love me too, so my chances of walking out of your room with all my limbs in tact is pretty high."
Beck playfully nudged Jade. "So what's gotten you in such a mood?"
"You mean aside from the usual?" without waiting for an answer, Jade rubbed her face in frustration before doubling over, placing her elbows on her lap with her face buried in her hands. She started speaking, as evidenced by her left hand leaving her face and gesturing in a circle, but her words were intelligible, garbled by her right hand.
"Uh, Jade, could you—" Beck tried to butt in Jade's tirade. "Jade, wait. Jade, I can't understand what you're—Jade! Hey, Jade! Babe!" in frustration, Beck grabbed Jade's wrist and pulled them away from her face.
"Your hands were in the way." Beck said. "Now start again."
Much to Beck's horror, Jade's eyes started watering.
"Oh, no." Beck murmured as he released Jade's wrist and started patting his pockets for a handkerchief. "No, no, no, no."
Jade shoved him back so that she could reach her bedside table, exchanging her scissors for a box of tissues. She took a moment to compose herself.
Beck waited patiently as he awkwardly patted Jade's back as she blinked back tears and wiped her face. (He wished he could rewind time and go back to the days when his touching her was as automatic as her falling into his arms.)
"My dad's plane had gone missing. They think it crashed somewhere in the Pacific Ocean."
"Oh." the hand at Jade's back paused in shock.
"You wanna know why he's on a plane? Because he's on his way to Hawaii. And he's en route to Hawaii because he's running off with his dumb secretary, leaving behind step-mommy dearest and his four-year old kid!" at the end of her statement, Jade threw the rag doll against the wall with a satisfying thunk.
All Beck could think was, thank god she let go of the scissors. (Although in the past, helping Jade fill in the holes in the wall lead to fun times, but he felt it was in his best interest not to bring that up.)
Jade struggled with the onslaught of tears. "I don't know why I'm like this. He's been out of my life for more than ten years. You'd think I've learned to let him go by now."
"He's your dad, of course you care what happens to him."
"He hasn't been my dad for a long time, Beck," she gestured towards the rag doll. "That was the last thing he gave me before he ran off with Wife Number Two. And now he's leaving Wife Number Four for Bimbo Number Seven!"
Beck's eyes widened. "You kept track?"
"I refused to remember the names of the women in and out of his revolving doors, so I just assigned them numbers." Jade shrugged. "Less confusing that way, especially when there's an overlap of relationships."
Gathering his courage and knowing that Jade, for all her tough exterior, needed it, Beck wrapped his arm around her shoulders and tugged so that there wasn't an inch of space between them. He then reached with his other hand to gently draw down Jade's head to his shoulder.
"Why do I have this sick compulsion to make emotionally unavailable men love me?" she wailed as she buried her face in her hands.
"First of all, ouch." Beck grinned at the involuntary spurt of laughter, immediately squelched, that came out of Jade. "And second, maybe you're that way because you're our chance for redemption."
"Shhh," Beck wagged a hushing finger at her. "Your taste in clothes notwithstanding, you bring color to those around you, Jade, because you're you, unafraid to be different and to stir up a hornet's nest. When you're around, people have no choice but feel things, even if it's just anger and frustration."
Beck gave Jade a warning squeeze. "And someone knew what he was doing when he made you stubborn as a mule. Because of it, you refuse to give up on people you love, giving them second, third and fourth chances."
Jade squeezed her eyes shut, desperately trying to lose herself in Beck's words, trying to forget the reality that was awaiting her, to no avail.
"I love how you're not afraid to fight hard and dirty for people you deem important, like how you fought madly for me and our relationship." Beck placed a sneaky kiss on her forehead. "I'm sorry I dropped the ball on that one."
"It was not all your fault." she said magnanimously.
Beck turned the two of them so that they were facing each other. "So maybe you're trying hard to win your dad's approval not because you want him to love you, but because you love him."
A sob escaped from Jade even as she viciously bit her lip to keep it from escaping.
"Just as you've kept giving me chances even if I keep messing up." he finished softly as he enveloped Jade into his arms, encouraging her to draw strength from him.
Jade lifted her head and hiccuped, "I'll get snot on your shirt."
"It's fine. It'll wash out," Beck pushed Jade's head back to his chest. "Just take all the time you need." he stroked her hair, wanting to take her pain into himself, to spare her from her grief.
They didn't know how long they stayed that way, ex lovers who still loved each other, both wishing that the circumstances were different, that they were there because they both wanted to, and not because one of them needed the other in a bad way.
Reality, of course, intruded, as it is wont to do.
Jade's phone rang, causing its owner to jerk up in alarm.
Beck reached over to the bedside table without disentangling himself from Jade and grabbed her phone. "It's your mom."
"It's probably news about dad."
Gently, Beck extracted himself from Jade before handing her the phone and standing up.
Pleading blue eyes looked up at him.
"Do you want me to answer?" Beck asked her gently.
Jade slowly shook her head. "No. I can do it."
"I'll give you some privacy," he said as he started to move away.
Beck hadn't even taken a step forward when he felt tentative fingers encircle his wrist, loosely enough that he would be able to shake them off with a weak twist of his hand. (Also, Beck realized that this was the first time Jade initiated contact with him since their breakup.)
"Stay?" Jade sighed. "Please?"
Beck nodded as he sat back down on the bed and reclaimed his hold on Jade. "Always."
Somehow, Jade found the will to answer the phone. She knew that whatever news await her from the other side, she would be able to bear it, not only because of her own inner strength, but also because she knew Beck wouldn't let her break.
"They found your father."