This is my contribution to the Adopt-a-Prompt challenge for worldwide day of Bade. I'm sorry; it's a little bit late. I had some family come into town unexpectedly on Friday, which was lovely but made finding time to write somewhat difficult. My prompt was "parent's approval." Any and all feedback is much appreciated!
Title: And Means to Wed at Leisure
Summary: 'Oh.' She thought. 'This one's different.' Five times Beck Oliver's mother thought about Jade West.
Rating: Pg-13, for allusions to sex.
Disclaimer: If I owned it, you can bet your ass it wouldn't be getting cancelled. Or on Nick, for that matter. Title comes from The Taming of the Shrew and is also not mine.
AN: I know that a lot of fanon features Beck not getting along very well with his parents, hence the RV. But I kind of take the opposite stance? I feel like parents who trust and get along with their child are the ones most likely to let him move into an RV in the driveway and basically take responsibility for himself. So that's how I wrote Beck's mom. As an easy-going parent who takes an "I trust you to make good decisions and as long as you seem healthy and happy I'll do my best to ignore whatever else it is you might be doing" approach to parenting. So, yeah this whole thing is written from the POV of Beck's mother. Please give it a chance anyway? Also, since we don't know their names, I've named Beck's parents Calvin and Sara Oliver.
AN2: In case anyone's curious about my headcanon for Beck's mother's past, it is thus: Her grandparents immigrated from India to Canada when her father was young, and her other grandparents did the same thing a few years before her mother was born. Ok, I'll shut up and let you get to story now.
"I got the lead in the school play. I mean, everyone's saying that me and the other lead only got cast because we both got into Hollywood Arts, but we wouldn't have gotten into that school if we weren't good. Right?"
"Beck, sweetie, how was rehearsal?"
"Good. Kinda tiring, but in a fun way."
"And how's your co-star?"
"Great! We're in the same drama class, so we've done, like, scenes and stuff before, and she got into Hollywood Arts for acting like I did, so I knew she was good. But she's... she's really good. So that's cool."
"Hey, Mom, it's Beck. Did you accidentally leave your phone on silent again? Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you don't need to pick me up after practice. I'm going for pizza at Omar's. I got a ride home. I'll text when I'm on my way. Love ya, bye."
"But I thought you said everything was running smoothly?"
"It is! It totally is. But a little extra practice never hurts, right? And there's this one scene that's kind of tripping me up a little bit, and it just... seemed like a good idea."
"So what you're telling me is that I'm driving you to school an hour and half early- before I've even had my coffee- because you're a perfectionist?"
"...You're the best mom ever?"
"Uh-huh. Who's idea was this anyway? Your teacher's?"
"It was Jade's."
"The girl playing Kate."
"Well, at least you aren't the only OCD 8th grade thespian."
"...One last thing before we turn it over to the stars. Unfortunately our Katharina has had to leave town unexpectedly, but I'm happy to announce that she did have an understudy, so the role will be played tonight by Maggie Shaw! And without further ado, I present the 8th grade production of The Taming of the Shrew!"
"Beck? You're awfully quiet back there. Is everything alright?"
"It's just- It was kind of weird. Doing the play with Maggie. I didn't know that was happening until this morning."
"We thought you guys did great together!"
"Thanks. I didn't think it was bad, it was just different without- it was just different."
Some of Sara's friends and several of her acquaintances tried to tell her that it was probably the worst parenting decision she'd ever made. But her son had long outgrown his racecar wallpaper and his Spiderman sheets, and besides he was pretty excellent kid. She trusted him and Cal trusted him, so when he came to them in July and asked if he could move into the Airstream that had been sitting, unused, in the backyard since Cal got it at an auction two years earlier, they told him that if he could get it fixed up enough to live in, it was his for the taking.
For three weeks, Beck traipsed back and forth between the house and the driveway, measuring and cleaning and using the toolbox he found in the garage. It was easily the most effort she'd seen him put into anything other than acting. Occasionally, one or two of his friends would show up to help, but usually it was just Beck, alone with his Pearpod and a design plan that only he understood.
At the start of the fourth week, she wandered into the laundry room and was met with the bizarre sight of her husband leaning across the washing machine to peer out the narrow window that faced the driveway.
"Cal? Honey, what on earth are you doing?"
He turned to look at her, perplexed. "There are girls in our backyard. Two of them. One is tiny."
Sara wordlessly handed him her mug of coffee and clambered onto the washing machine to get better view. Sure enough, there were two girls standing next to the RV watching Beck scrub the tinted window.
Brunettes, both of them, but that were where the similarity seemed to end. One was standing silently, arms crossed, and smirking in the direction of the other who was speaking so animatedly, her entire body seemed to vibrate.
"Wow, she is tiny."
She spun around and faced him, settling herself cross-legged on the washer.
"Since when do girls just show up here in the middle of the afternoon without Beck mentioning it?"
"Since now, I guess."
"How did they even get here?"
"I know everything you know. Less, actually. How long have you been in here spying anyway?"
"Few minutes. Does it not bother you that our fourteen-year-old son, who is moving into an RV soon, is entertaining girls without our knowledge?"
She frowned. "...No?"
Cal sighed. "Clearly you've never been an adolescent boy."
"Oh, shoot! I knew there was something I'd been meaning to tell you!"
He chuckled and handed her back her coffee. She took it and raised her free hand to cup his cheek.
"Seriously. Don't worry so much. We got a good one."
"Beck! I'm making sandwiches for your Dad and me. Do you want anything?" She called from the back door.
Forty-five seconds later, Beck appeared around the corner, accompanied by both girls.
He gestured towards them. "Can they eat here? They've been helping me."
She was opening her mouth to say of course she they could, and ask if they liked grilled cheese, when one of the girls- the tiny one- came bounding up the steps, grinning from ear-to-ear.
"Hi! I'm Cat! You must be Beck's mom! It's really nice of you to make us lunch, even though you didn't know we were coming. Me and Jade were walking to the drugstore- not for drugs! We're getting hair dye because I want to dye my hair red- and we passed your driveway and Jade was like 'hey, look Oliver's not the only person dumb enough to remodel an RV in the middle of summer' and then I remembered this one time that Jade said that Beck said he thought we- me and Beck, not me and Jade- lived kind of close together so I said that it probably was Beck and then we went to check and it was! But I think Jade knew that already and she was just-"
"Cat!" The other girl- Jade, presumably- cut in. "Chill."
Cat' grin didn't falter. "Sorry. Some people say I talk too much."
"Yeah, try all the people." Jade was grumbling under her breath as she neared the door.
Sara found herself choking back a laugh as she caught Jade's eye.
"Jade, I assume?"
"That's what they tell me. Thanks for lunch, Mrs. Oliver, this is really cool of you."
Behind Jade, Beck's eyebrows shot up so fast they got lost in his hair.
Jade shifted on her spot, suddenly defensive. "What? I can be polite."
Sara cast around for a way to respond and settled on turning and going into the house. Cat bounced past her, and from behind she could hear Jade softly saying, "I am polite. Sometimes. When I feel like it."
"Besides it's, y'know, your mom."
Sara didn't hear Beck's answer, because at that very moment, Cat's voice floated out of the kitchen.
"Hi! Are you Beck's dad? I'm Cat! Me and Jade were helping and then Beck's mom- your wife- asked if we wanted lunch and..."
Sara rushed off to rescue her doubtlessly frightened husband from the clutches of a bubbly fourteen-year-old girl, trusting that Beck could successfully navigate his other guest to the kitchen.
Cal had lasted a grand total of three minutes with Cat before turning tail and escaping to the living room and a pre-recorded hockey match.
So while he -for lack of a better word- hid, Sara made five grilled cheese sandwiches and listened to the conversation that was taking place behind her, around the kitchen island.
Surely it didn't count as eavesdropping since one of the participants had half of her genes. At least, that was what she told herself.
Cat was, Sara assumed, the most recent girl to take an interest in Beck.
It wasn't all that surprising. He'd gone to a few dances, and out with groups that had included several girls, and she'd even driven him to and from the movies for a couple of "dates." As far as she could tell, Cat wasn't much different from most of the girls who caught his interest. Cute and sweet and vivacious.
Sara kept her mouth shut though. If Beck didn't want to say anything, she wasn't going to be the one to bring it up.
She turned around with a plate of sandwiches. Cat - bless her- was still talking.
Then she noticed, through the empty space next to Cat's legs, that the other two had their legs pressed as close together as they could get them and their fingers were tangled together on top of the bare skin of Jade's thigh. But across from her Jade was muttering something to Beck and grinning. And Beck was looking back at her with an expression Sara couldn't remember ever seeing on her son's face before.
Oh. She thought. Uh-oh.
"So," She asked. "Where are you girls going to school next year?"
Cat beamed. "Hollywood Arts!"
She didn't miss the grin pulling at the edges of Beck's mouth. Or the genuinely happy smile that spread across Jade's face when she said, "Yeah, Cat sings and I act."
Beck jostled her a little with his elbow and spoke around a mouthful of cheese. "You sing too."
Jade turned her head back toward him. "Not in my audition. I got in because of acting."
He swallowed his food. "So they haven't heard you sing yet?" He asked, amusement tingeing his voice.
Jade grinned. "Nope."
"They're gonna fall out of their chairs."
She shrugged. "I figure it'll give them some excitement in their boring lives. Distract from the fact that teaching in a high school is their career path. But," -She dragged her attention away from Beck and back up to Sara- "I want to be an actress."
"She's really good." Cat offered.
"Amazing." Beck agreed, emphatically. "Mom, Jade was the other lead in the play. She was the one who had to go out of town?"
"Oh, yeah." Suddenly Beck's moodiness after that play made much more sense.
Jade glared at her sandwich. "Grandma and her stupid hip. She was fine in, like, two days."
Beck rolled his eyes, but she still saw him move his hand around the back of Jade's stool and run his fingers over her spine. Jade relaxed instantly.
This one's different.
Crossing the hallway on her way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, Sara heard the refrigerator open.
Is that boy absolutely incapable of remembering to restock his supply of soda at a normal hour?
She ambled into the kitchen, flipped on the light, and was met with the unexpected- although not exactly shocking- sight of Jade West pouring herself a glass of juice.
Wearing what appeared to be the same shirt Beck had had on when Sara had seen him last, and a pair of blue boxers that she recognized from the pack she'd bought for him at the mall the month before.
For a moment, she and Jade did nothing but stare at each other.
Until, "Beck doesn't have cranberry juice."
"It's a tragedy, really. Hey, what are the odds of me being able to convince you this just a dream?"
Sara laughed. "Not great."
Sara watched as Jade's eyes darted from the glass in her hand, to the shirt she was wearing, to Sara's face.
"Here's the thing. Um. See, we were watching a movie and then Beck was going to drive me home, but then his car wouldn't start, and he was trying to fix it and there was this freak rainstorm- I'm surprised it didn't wake you up- and my clothes got all wet, and this is really not convincing at all is it?"
"I tried. Bye."
With that, Jade turned and disappeared through the laundry room, bottle of cranberry juice still in hand.
Sara's remained where she was, long after she heard the backdoor slam closed, and tried to get a grip on her spinning thoughts.
She knew Jade slept in Beck's RV at least as often as she slept in her own house. It was, after all, hard to miss. She was pretty sure the two of them thought that she and Cal had been suspended in blissful ignorance for the better part of two years, despite the fact that they were perfectly capable of noticing two people getting out Beck's truck in the evening and the same two people getting into the truck the next morning.
Not to mention the times that Jade's car appeared in the driveway and didn't leave for days.
So, yes, she'd known.
But there was still something sort of final about seeing her son's girlfriend standing in her kitchen at three in the morning wearing nothing but his clothes.
The third night in a row that Beck fell asleep in the living room while watching late-night infomercials was the night that Sara decided something was definitely not right.
For one thing, she couldn't remember the last time he'd slept in the house. Of course, the fitness equipment that had taken over his old room might have had something to so with that…
She crossed the living room and gazed down at his sleeping form. She wasn't sure when it had happened, but somehow her baby had grown into the foreign creature in front of her. With its feet hanging over the end of the couch and what was unmistakably stubble on its jaw line and upper lip.
Her breath caught when she got a good look at his face. Even asleep he looked tired. Tired and defeated and far older than seventeen.
She reached down and brushed the hair back off his face.
He stirred and opened his eyes. "Mom?"
His face clouded and he pushed himself into a sitting position. "Nothing's wrong."
Sara sat down beside him. "Oh, so you just had sudden desire to see the-" She glanced at the television- "Slapchop Deluxe in all its widescreen, high-def glory?"
She stared him down. "What's wrong?" She repeated.
Beck crossed his arms over his chest and sunk as far back into the couch as he could.
"Jade and I broke up. For real this time."
She'd figured as much, but that didn't stop her heart from breaking for him.
She laid a hand on his arm.
He shrugged. "I don't know. We were fighting a lot. Not, like, bickering. Actual fighting. And I couldn't figure out how to fix it, and I don't think she could either, and we just… fell apart. And then, a couple days ago, she walked out and I didn't follow her. And it was over."
She squeezed his arm. "I'm sorry."
Beck frowned. "Why? I didn't think you liked her."
"What? Of course I liked her! I didn't see her much, since she was out there with you most of the time, but I liked her."
"Dad didn't like her. Remember when he told me the best Father's Day gift I could get him would be to break up with Jade?"
"Well, your dad can be funny about people who lock him in RVs with Dobermans."
"I think so."
"Do you mind if I sleep here? Again?"
"No, Baby, I don't mind. Is that a hint that I should leave you alone and go to bed?"
Beck didn't respond.
"Thought so. Do you need anything before I go?"
He steadfastly avoided looking at her when he quietly asked, "That depends. Do you happen to have something that would make wake up tomorrow and not be in love with her?"
Sara smiled sadly and shook her head. "I wish I did."
Idly, she wondered if somewhere in the city, Jade's mother was looking at an equally heartbroken child and feeling equally helpless.
"It was a long shot. G'night Mom."
"Good night, Beck."
"Beck! Are you ready? We're supposed to be at the restaurant in fifteen minutes!"
Her hand hovered over the doorknob. "Beck!"
She sighed. He was probably still asleep, brunch with his aunt completely forgotten. She hadn't actually heard him come home the night before, but his truck was in the driveway so he'd clearly returned at some point.
Alright. She thought. Five more seconds and I'm going in after him. One…
"Beck!" Two… Three…
She knocked again. Four… "Wake up!"
She grabbed the doorknob and found it unlocked. After the last time (Beck with his shirt buttoned wrong and his hair a mess kicking what looked suspiciously like a bra under his bed, while Jade perched on the couch with equally messy hair and her hoodie zipped to her chin), Sara had sworn to herself that she would never again walk into the RV unexpectedly, but desperate times and all that.
Besides, Jade hadn't been around in months.
So she swung the door open, stepped inside-
And froze dead in her tracks.
Because while Beck was indeed still asleep, he wasn't the only one in bed. Jade was there too, draped halfway on top of him, her head buried in his neck. One of his arms was wrapped around her back, holding her close, and the other one was curved up over his head, his fingers laced with Jade's.
As quietly as she could, Sara stepped back outside and closed the door.