Title: Stalker, Stalker, Pants on Fire
Rating: T for bad words
Disclaimer: Victorious and all related characters do not belong to me. Neither do the songs used in this fic, along with their respective singer.
Summary: Jade has a secret admirer. Beck realized that she was not as undate-able as he thought she was.
Continuity: After The Worst Couple, so Bade is broken up (boo!). Spoilers through Crazy Ponnie.
Author's Notes: This may have been done before, but I've stumbled into a website with the top ten stalker songs masquerading as love songs and I came up with this.
For Lari (tsttoain) who wanted a happy Bade fic. Thank you for holding my hand as I was writing this.
Drop me a note here or on Twitter (ilurked)!
Stalker, Stalker, Pants on Fire
Beck's bad day (he didn't want to describe it as the worst day of his life because he did have worse days) began innocuously.
It was a typical Monday morning, he was hanging out with Robbie by the Make it Shine locker, listening to Tori's latest gripe about her sister. Although it was relatively early, there was a goodly amount of students lingering in the halls, eager to start the day.
The usual hustle and bustle of Hollywood Arts quieted when the school's PA system cackled to life.
Instead of the expected announcement from Helen or Lane, an electronic voice blared, "This is for Jade West. It is my fervent wish to one day sing this personally to you."
The opening bars of I Will Possess Your Heart by Death Cab for Cutie received mixed reactions from the student populace.
How I wish you could see the potential
The potential of you and me
It's like a book elegantly bound
But in a language that you can't read just yet
You gotta spend some time love
You gotta spend some time with me
And I know that you'll find love
I will possess your heart
With each line that came out of the speakers, Tori's eyes went wider and wider. By the end of the song, Beck feared they would bulge out of their sockets.
"Oh my god," Tori breathed out as the song died down.
"What?" Beck demanded when he realized that both Tori and Robbie were looking at him expectantly.
"Nothing!" Robbie quickly and vehemently replied.
"It's just that," whatever Tori was to say was forever lost in ether because of a long and high-pitched squeal.
"Jaaaadey!" a red bullet streaked in front of them, heading straight for Jade West, who was sitting on the floor in front of her locker, reading from an open textbook on her lap.
After exchanging looks, Tori, Robbie and Beck trooped towards Jade's locker. They stopped within hearing distance but far enough that they wouldn't get sucked into whatever conversation Jade and Cat would engage in.
"Jadey! Jadey! Jadey!" A Cat Valentine, who looked ready to explode from trying to contain her excitement, stopped a few inches from Jade West's boot-clad feet.
Jade failed to acknowledge Cat, absorbed in her readings.
Tired of being ignored, Cat let out a loud and grating "JAAAAAADEY!", which caused more than a few students to wince.
Jade looked up, glaring at the hyper girl before her. "What?" She demanded.
"Isn't this exciting? I love excitement!" Cat started hopping about. "This reminds me of my brother when—"
Before Cat can continue, Jade held out a hand to stop Cat's ravings. Jade reached for the pair of headphones covering her ears and slipped it down her neck. "What?" She repeated.
Cat deflated. "You missed it?" The redhead pouted. "You didn't hear the dedication and the song and everything?"
"Cat, I'm memorizing a script for later. Can it wait?" Jade began gathering her things into her bag.
"No, it can't!" Cat cried out like a petulant child.
"Fine." Jade rolled her eyes and stood up, shouldering her bag. "You have fifteen seconds to tell me all about it." She held out her watch. "And, go!"
Cat's eyes widened. She squeaked before talking faster than she ever did in her life, trying to get everything out in one breath. "Well, this morning I woke up and Mr. Purple was beside me and I just knew it was gonna be a great day! And I was right, because we had pancakes for breakfast with lots and lots of syrup. My brother drove me to school and he didn't even open the windows to moon old ladies we passed by! Then he dropped me off and as I was walking to my locker, I heard the PA system—"
"And stop." Jade smirked. "Now, don't you feel better having brought that out of your chest?" She gave Cat a patronizing pat on the shoulder before walking away.
"But, but, but," Cat pouted. "Phooey!" She stomped her foot in frustration at Jade's retreating back.
"How about you?" Tori asked Beck as they watched a dejected Cat Valentine walk away.
"How about me what?" Beck asked as he led the way towards his locker after the warning bell rang.
"How do you feel about this Jade's secret admirer bit?" Tori clarified.
"Well, we are broken up." Beck shrugged. "And if he is serious about her, I wish him all the luck. Jade's not really the easiest person to get along with."
"So, you're not jealous? Not even a little bit?" Tori pressed.
"I'm not jealous." He confirmed. "Plus, I don't think Jade's interested in dating anyone right now."
There was the unspoken, but mutually understood, fact between them that Jade was still in love with Beck and was not yet ready to move on.
Beck continued, "And her secret admirer's probably just ..."
Suspect: The Long-Distance Admirer
Sinjin Van Cleef proudly showed off his new car to everyone who would look.
"This is great, Sinjin!" Robbie gushed. "This is where the future is at, right, Beck?"
"It is certainly something." Beck said, for lack of a good thing to say at Sinjin's new, four-wheel, two-pedal, shiny red bike which he and Robbie lovingly referred to as a car. (This was proof positive that he would never understand nerds.)
He didn't know what he was expecting when Robbie dragged him outside between classes to check out Sinjin's Car of the Future, but it was definitely not this.
"Jade! Hey, Jade!" Beck heard Sinjin's call out.
True enough, Jade was walking back inside after getting her daily dose of Jet Brew, as shown by the tall tumbler in her hand.
"What?" She snarled at the curly-haired blond.
"Check out my new car," Sinjin said proudly.
Beck tried not to feel hurt when he saw Jade make a face when she realized that he was with the group of guys crowding around Sinjin's car.
"What car?" Was her automatic reply. Beck knew she immediately regretted asking the question because as a rule, she refused to get sucked in in any unnecessary conversations with Sinjin.
"This car," Sinjin replied proudly, gesturing at his bike like a presenter at a game show. "It even comes with a high-tech, fully computerized sound system." He reached inside and turned the radio on.
"Jade, be with me," an electronic voice pleaded from the radio speaker. "And I will spend my lifetime making you happy." Then, Lionel Richie's Hello started playing.
I've been alone with you inside my mind
And in my dreams I've kissed your lips a thousand times
I sometimes see you pass outside my door
Hello, is it me you're looking for?
"Wow, Sinjin. Way to creep me out." Jade rolled her eyes, took a sip of coffee and walked away.
"So it is you!" Robbie told Sinjin accusingly. "You're the secret admirer! And to do that in front of Beck, no less."
"It wasn't me!" Sinjin denied hotly.
"It's okay, dude." Behis patted Sinjin's back in sympathy. "I'm fine with it."
Robbie and Beck gave Sinjin one last pitying look before walking away.
"It wasn't me!" Sinjin called after their retreating backs.
Suspect: The Unassuming Friend
She was a vision in white.
Jade West walked into the Blackbox Theater in a pure white wedding gown with a long train, reconstituted to be the dress of the fairy queen Titania. She also had on a long, thick blond wig that reached the floor, braided in parts and decorated with flowers. Her makeup was natural and flawless, emphasized here and there by dabs of glitter and fake diamonds. From her back sprouted gossamer-thin fairy wings. (In Beck's opinion, the hair and makeup department had overshot the Fairy Queen look and headed straight for avenging goddess.)
Beck was mesmerized. Despite the amount of time he had spent staring at Jade back when they were still together, Beck still found himself drinking her beauty in, like he couldn't get enough of her.
Beck wasn't alone in his fascination in Jade. Somewhere from the catwalk above, one of Sinjin's crew dropped whatever he was holding, distracted by the sight of Jade. Most of the guys working the stage had stopped what they were doing to drool at her. Not that Beck could blame them.
Jade West was breath-taking and otherworldly.
He was so absorbed by the sight of his ex that he didn't even notice the giggling group of fairies led by Cat Valentine trailing after Jade.
It was tech rehearsals, that part of putting out a production that bored Beck so. They were doing Shakespeare's classic A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the actors were expected to stand on the stage decked out in their makeup and costumes for hours on end while the costume and hair and makeup people, as well as the tech crew, made sure that everything looked great on stage.
Beck, as Lysander, along with Tori (as Hermia), Trina (as Helena) and Robbie (as Demetrius), were in the audience's seat, awaiting their turn.
"So?" Jade demanded once she made it on stage with a little help from her fairies. "The queen is here. Where is her king?"
On cue (and to the joy of some of the fairies) a half-naked Andre walked in from the backstage. His costume was limited to form-fitting brown pants and a pair of wings sprouting from his back. In lieu of a top, he wore a generous coat of glitter all over his body.
"Did the costume department ran out of cloth?" Jade sent him a lascivious wink before twirling a finger in the air.
"Yeah, they used it all on your train," Andre shot back but gamely held out his hands and circled slowly to show Jade the full effect of his costume.
"You're lucky, King Oberon. Your queen approves." Jade replied.
Beck frowned at the exchange.
It sounded like somebody was quickly getting over his fear of Jade West.
He also realized that he was not the only one listening intently at the conversation. Everyone in the theater, including the fairy consorts (save for Cat who was happily bouncing around trying out her new pair of wings) were blatantly eavesdropping on the two. One by one, work stopped when people opted to stare with their mouths agape at the two teenagers masquerading as fairy lovers.
No one outside Jade's close circle of friends saw her playful side before, so most of the people in the theater knew only the scarily strong, sarcastic gank.
(Beck refused to acknowledge even to himself that he used to think that he was the only one who could coax out Jade's softer side. Apparently, this side of Jade comes out to play with Andre, too.)
When it became apparent that the Jade and Andre show had concluded for the moment, work restarted, only to be interrupted once again just as the costume people began fiddling with Jade's overly long train.
"What's this?" Andre, who was standing beside Jade, bent down and picked up something from the floor.
"Looks like a cheap MP3 player." Jade said as she moved even closer to Andre. (Too close, Beck thought. She was now invading Andre's personal space. Not that Andre seemed to mind.)
"There's a tag attached to it," Andre said as he turned the tiny machine in his hands. "Press play." He read.
"Do it." Jade told him.
"Jade," the same electronic voice from earlier emanated from the tiny speaker after Andre pressed the play button, the sound carrying to everyone inside the theater because of the room's great acoustics. "I'm always thinking of you," it said before playing If You're Not the One by Daniel Bedingfield.
I don't wanna run away but I can't take it,
I don't understand
If I'm not made for you,
then why does my heart tell me that I am?
Is there anyway that I can stay in your arms?
If I don't need you,
then why am I crying on my bed?
If I don't need you,
then why does your name resound in my head?
If you're not for me,
then why does this distance name my life?
If you're not for me,
then why do I dream of you as my wife?
Everyone turned to look at Andre.
"This is not mine, I just found it!" He said quickly, trying to hit the off button but failing miserably because he was getting the wonk on.
Beck frowned when Andre's eyes guiltily darted to his.
"Andre!" Cat's tone was reproving. "The secret admirer was you and you didn't tell me?"
"I swear, it wasn't me!" Andre said.
"If you say so." Jade rolled her eyes at him as she grabbed the player to turn it off.
"Are you sure it isn't you? 'Cause I wanna know who the secret admirer is!" Cat cried out.
"No worries, Kitty Cat. He will show his face when he's good and ready." Jade shrugged. "Right?" The last one was asked with a quick nudge at Andre.
"I told you, that wasn't from me!" Andre's denial was hot and quick. "I just found the player on the floor! I didn't even know what it was gonna play!"
Beck remembered how quickly, completely and irrevocably in love he had fallen for Jade when she allowed him a glimpse of some of the layers of herself that she never showed other people.
Beck decided to himself that he was wrong earlier. Maybe Sinjin isn't the only possibility for Jade's secret admirer.
It could also be Andre.
But Andre was a strict adherent of the Bro Code, so even if he liked Jade that way, he wouldn't be playing her secret admirer, right?
Suspect: The Bad Boy
Most stories often went this way: the bad boy would fall in love with the good-hearted heroine, who was in love with the dashing hero, who in turn was in an unhappy relationship with the wild girl. The dashing hero would be captivated by the heroine's quirks and kindness. The bad boy and the wild girl would try to keep them from coming together, but not even their combined efforts could stop the path of true love.
The bad boy wasn't supposed to fall in love with the wild girl, but sometimes he does.
Beck hoped that this wasn't one of those times, as he felt that he was being punished enough right now for everything bad he did in his life.
You see, when Odettte, the voluptuous and mesmerizing ballroom dancing teacher, asked him to help out a struggling student by partnering with her in one dance number, he immediately said yes. It was only afterward that Odette (smart lady that she was) told him who the struggling student was—none other than Trina Vega.
Trina was not a bad dancer per se. However, she had a tendency to forget the choreography and invent her own moves in the middle of a routine because she was more interested in admiring herself in the mirror of the dance studio. Plus, there were times when Beck should take the lead but the hardheaded girl refused to let him, causing them to stumble. Worse, whenever they make a mistake, Trina blamed the choreography, the music, the floor, and once she even blamed Beck. In short, everyone but herself was responsible for her mistakes.
Even after an hour of practice, which to Beck's mind was more akin to torture, the two of them were no closer to finishing their dance. Beck was just about ready to give up.
"I don't know what you guys are dancing," a voice mercifully interrupted Beck and Trina's attempt to dance the Argentine Tango. "But it looks really bad."
Without warning, Trina stopped mid step, causing Beck, who was holding her, to stumble.
"What are you doing here?" Trina demanded.
"Your practice time is over," Ryder told her. "I have this room reserved for an hour."
If they were friends, Beck would have kissed Ryder Daniels in gratitude. He immediately made his way to the side where he had stashed his bag and water bottle.
"Yeah, well, Odette agreed for me to use the dance room again after you, so you better use your hour well. I won't let you steal our time." Trina replied loftily.
Beck winced as he slid down the floor, guzzling water. Great. He had an hour of break then it was back to Trina's special brand of torture.
"Don't worry about us," Ryder assured her. "We'll make sure not to overstay our welcome as you guys obviously need the practice."
"Who is your partner, anyway?" Trina demanded.
"Why? Threatened? Anyone would be better than you." Ryder shot back.
"Daniels, don't be an ass," a new voice joined the conversation.
Beck turned to the newcomer in trepidation. Yep. Of course. He was definitely having one of those days.
It was Jade West. With her hair pulled back in a bouncy pony tail, her spandex bra paired with black capri pants made of the same material, she was obviously Ryder's dance partner. Beck had to wonder how Odette convinced Jade to help out Ryder.
"Oh, wait. Too late." In a smooth move that most basketball players would admire, Jade passed the donkey head she was holding to Ryder Daniels, who easily caught it. "The costume department told me to give it to you. It should now fit your large head."
Beck tried to stifle a laugh, but a snort came out of him. Ryder was cast as Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, a character who would be sporting a donkey for a head in the middle of the play because of the meddling of a playful fairy.
It was only then that Jade noticed Beck. She frowned, but didn't say anything.
"That's rich, coming from the queen who will fall in love with my ass head." Ryder shot back.
"Touche," Jade said as she made her way to the wall farthest from Beck. She dropped her things and sat down to change her shoes. "Let's do this, Daniels. I have a lot of rehearsals today."
Ryder made his way to the middle of the dance floor while Trina made herself comfortable beside Beck. He wanted to make a quick escape especially now that Jade was here, but Trina quickly draped herself all over him.
"You guys staying?" Ryder asked.
Just as he was figuring out how to untangle Trina from his body, she replied, "Just scoping out the competition. Not that we're worried."
Ryder shrugged at Jade, as if to say he didn't mind their audience if she didn't either.
"Before we start," Jade looked expectantly at Ryder.
"Right," Ryder muttered, and Beck could have sworn he reddened a bit. "The house rules."
Beck's eyebrows raised. This was gonna be good.
Ryder sighed before he began. "I am not to look down at my shoes or the floor. If, at any time during the performance, I'm caught looking down, it would mean that my eyes are straying towards things that I should not be looking at and I will be murdered in my sleep."
When Trina snorted out a laugh, Beck couldn't help but do so also.
Ryder glared at them, but continued his recital. "My hands should not stray or wander about my partner's body except when required by the choreography. Unauthorized placing of hands on any part of my partner's body will result in a slow and painful death."
"Dancing with Jade sure is deadly," Trina muttered.
"I will keep my witticisms to myself. An unnecessary remark may result in premature baldness. An unnecessarily crude remark, on the other hand, is punishable by lost of life." Ryder continued.
"And?" Jade prompted when Ryder stopped.
"Drop my partner and I die." Ryder glared at Jade. "Can we start now?"
"Sure." Jade shrugged.
Ryder brought out his Pear Pad, swiped at the screen before putting it in a dock that would amplify its sound.
"I gotta pee!" Trina suddenly blurted out when the opening bars of Chris de Burgh's Lady in Red streamed out. She dashed out, leaving her partner behind.
Beck would have made his escape by then, but he had to admit he was a bit curious about how Jade and Ryder would work together.
From opposite sides of the room, Ryder and Jade danced towards each other. Just before they met in the middle of the dance floor, Jade leaped. Ryder caught her flawlessly before twirling her around.
Throughout the dance, Ryder and Jade kept in close contact with each other (sometimes unnecessarily so, in Beck's opinion). Ryder's hands were all over Jade's body, but his eyes! His eyes were permanently glued to Jade's. (Beck felt that the eye sex thing they've got going was over the top, but hey, that could just be him.)
Ryder and Jade stopped a few times to correct the positioning of a limb or to modify the choreography a bit, but it was clear that they knew what they were doing.
By the end of the song, Jade stood behind Ryder. She raised one long, shapely leg to wrap around Ryder's waist. She leaned out, extending her arms and free leg horizontally. After holding the dramatic pose for a heartbeat, Ryder reached behind him and scooped up Jade, carrying her bridal style. Jade placed her arms around her partner's neck. Ryder spun them around as the song drew to its conclusion.
The two of them were still held in thrall by the magic of their dance, even as Ryder brought Jade to her feet, their eyes glued on each others'.
Beck unconsciously tightened his hand on his water bottle.
The moment was broken only when an electronic voice, now eerily familiar, declared from Ryder's PearPad, "You fascinate me, Jade West," before it played Creep by Radiohead.
When you were here before
Couldn't look you in the eye
You're just like an angel
Your skin makes me cry
You float like a feather
In a beautiful world
I wish I was special
You're so fucking special
But I 'm a creep
I 'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here
I don't care if it hurts
I want to have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul
I want you to notice
When I'm not around
You're so fucking special
I wish I was special
"Wow. I'm flattered, Daniels. I didn't know you cared." Jade smirked. "But if you're in love with me, why didn't you just say so?"
"It wasn't me!" Ryder said as he furiously struggled to turn off his music player, to no avail. "It's like my PearPad is hijacked or something!"
"If you say so."
"It wasn't me!"
Beck frowned. Was it possible that Jade's secret admirer was Ryder Daniels?
"So, what did I miss?" Trina asked when she stepped into the dance studio like she owned the place.
Suspect: The New Guy
"Beck?" A confused Robbie stood beside Beck. "Why are you here in Tori's creeper corner?"
"Ssshhh!" Beck hushed him without even looking up. Instead, his attention was riveted on the trio of girls talking in front of the Make it Shine locker.
Shrugging, Robbie positioned himself behind Beck and prepared for a long session of creeping.
"Who do you think the secret admirer is?" Cat asked.
"Don't know, don't care." Jade said.
"Howdy, Miss West," a deep, seductive voice joined in the conversation, his drawl thick with the soft, lazy accent of the south.
Jade turned and looked up. To Beck's horror, he noticed Jade put on her come-hither smile when she saw who dared speak with her.
"Why, Mr. Williams," Jade purred (because there was no other word for it). "To what do I owe this pleasure?"
Beck barely admitted it to himself, but he was worried.
If he was inclined to list down the probabilities of who Jade's secret admirer could be (and he wasn't), the new guy, Christian Williams, would be at the bottom of his list (and it wasn't because he knew that of all the students in the school, Chris has the highest chances of going out with Jade).
Physically, Chris and Jade would make a very striking couple. They were both tall and lithe, with milky white skin that would make most painters cry in gratitude. They both had great smiles, even if one of them rarely gave them out while the other was in a perpetual state of grinning (like the Joker).
That was not the least of it.
When the two of them were together, like now, people couldn't help but be drawn to their eyes. Both had eyes of startling shades of blue that can draw one in...
(Beck shook himself before he could wax poetic over Jade's eyes.)
While Chris and Jade (their names even sounded cute together) looked beautifully in sync together, they wouldn't be more different, personality-wise.
Jade was to the dark as Chris was to the light.
Sunny, kind and personable, Chris immediately made friends the moment he stepped into the halls of Hollywood Arts. He was polite, respectful and always had a kind word for everyone. He was the sort of guy one couldn't hate if one tried.
Jade, being Jade, probably tried hating him, but apparently failed, if the smile she was giving him was any indication.
"The hair and makeup people for the photoshoot said they want us in the makeup room the moment the warning bell rang, and not a second after." Chris told her.
"They saddled you with the dirty job of wrangling Jade, huh?" Tori grinned up at Chris.
"I don't blame them." Cat said.
"Miz Vega, Miz Valentine," Chris nodded at them in turn.
"Hi, Christian," Cat waved.
"Jade," the electronic voice that Beck has grown to hate interjected, seemingly from out of nowhere. "You have lips that are made for kissing. It'll a crying shame to waste it." Right after, The Foundation's Baby Now That I've Found You started playing.
Baby, now that I've found you
I won't let you go
I built my world around you
I need you so
Baby even though
You don't need me
You don't need me no, no.
Spent my life looking for that somebody
To make me feel like new
Now you tell me that you want to leave me
But darling, I just can't let you.
Now that I found you
I built my world around you
I need you so, baby even though
You don't need me now.
"Where is that coming from? The PA system?" Cat asked.
"I don't think the secret admirer would resort to old tricks." Tori said.
"Uh, Chris, honey," Jade said. "I think the sound's coming from your pocket."
Chris, who, like Tori and Cat, was looking around, trying to find the source of the sound, froze. "Pardon?"
"The song." Jade repeated. "It's coming from your pocket."
The look on his face was comical as he slid his hand into the pocket of his jeans and took out his phone. True enough, it was playing the secret admirer's song.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I don't understand. I swear I had nothing to do with this. I don't know why it's doing this."
"Relax," Jade told the flustered boy. "Nobody's thinking you're the secret admirer."
Chris gave her a blinding grin. "That's a relief. I just want you to know that I'll never do something so disrespectful."
"I believe you." Jade said as she playfully tapped Chris' cheek twice.
"So, I'll see you later?" Chris asked, blushing.
"Oh, you can count on it."
"I'll be on my way then." He dimpled. "Ma'ams." To the girls' delight, he tipped an imaginary hat before walking away.
Jade, Cat and Tori watched Chris' retreating back in silence.
"That is one fine view." Tori sighed.
"Oh, the things I could do to that boy." Jade said.
Beck felt his stomach clench painfully.
"Jade!" Censure was in Cat's tone.
"What?" Jade asked.
"That sounded so dirty." Cat said.
"Because it was meant to be dirty." Jade retorted.
"You like Chris?" Tori asked. "He didn't seem to be your type."
Beck couldn't breathe as he waited for the reply.
"He's not," and Beck felt all was well again, but Jade continued, "I just want to have my wicked way with him."
Just like that, Beck's breathing became a problem again.
"I wanna tear off his clothes and check if he blushes all over. Then, I'm gonna take a bite off that fine skin," Jade trailed.
"That's hot." Tori admitted.
"Give me three hours alone with him to do whatever I want." Jade nodded. "Or one night. I could do a lot in one night." She turned, then frowned.
For a moment, Beck thought Jade saw him, but she didn't say anything. Instead, she turned back to Tori.
Beck jumped when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"Let's go." Robbie told him.
Beck wasn't sure of what to make of the pity in the boy's eyes, but followed him without question when he walked away.
Suspect: Best Friend's Brother
"Oh, one time, my brother-" mercifully, before Cat could finish her statement, she was interrupted by Jade's bellow.
"Jadey needs me!" Cat giggled dizzily. "Bye!"
"How come I've never seen Cat's brother?" Andre suddenly asked as he watched the dizzy redhead ran towards Jade.
"I think he's a figment of her imagination." Tori admitted.
"She's pretty much out there, but I don't think she's that far out there." Beck tried to defend the girl.
"Have any of you seen Cat's brother?" Tori asked as she slammed her locker shut.
Both boys shook their heads.
"See?" Tori told them triumphantly.
"Hey, of all people, you should be the last one judging Cat because of a person we never saw. Remember the Ponnie incident?" Beck stated.
"That's different!" Tori was quick to defend herself.
Before she could expound on how her situation was different, an irate Jade and a sad-looking Cat walked by.
"Please tell your brother to keep out of my stuff!" Jade was saying.
"'Kay, 'Kay." Cat said, apology dripping from every syllable.
"Wait," Andre interjected. "Jade, you've seen Cat's brother?"
Jade looked at Andre as if he had sprouted a second head, but she answered, "Yes."
Beck flashed Tori an I told you so look.
Jade was not yet done with her rant. "He dropped by just about lunch period was over and gave me this!" She thrust a small paper bag at Andre.
Andre, more out of reflex, accepted the bag. He reached inside and pulled out a black, lacy piece of cloth. He unfurled it, to reveal a sexy thong. "Whoa!" Surprised at the risqué piece of garment, the bag he was holding dropped on the floor with a loud thunk.
"Please tell your brother that he still can't wear my bra even if he buys me underwear, okay?" Jade snapped as she snatched the offensive piece of fabric from Andre.
Beck, however, was more concerned with the paper bag. An empty bag would not make that much noise when hitting the ground, would it?
Curious, he bent down and took it. Reaching inside, he brought out an old-fashioned micro cassette recorder. On its face, a message was scrawled using a black permanent marker: J, Your beauty is incomparable. -SA.
"Oh my god," Tori breathed when she saw what Beck was holding in his hand. "Another one."
As if in a trance, Beck pressed play. The secret admirer's newest song offering was Every Breath You Take by the Police.
Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I'll be watching you.
Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
I'll be watching you.
"My brother is your secret admirer?" Cat's eyes were as big as saucers. "If you fall in love and get married and have babies, we'll be like sisters!"
Just before Cat launched herself at Jade, the brunette snarled, "No!"
"Plus I don't think your brother has enough living brain cells to come out with a plan like this." Jade told her. "So if you really want to discover who my secret admirer is, you better look at someone else."
"Harsh!" Cat told her. "But true."
"Aren't you even a little bit concerned about this secret admirer business?" Beck couldn't help but ask, his tone deceptively calm.
"No." Jade replied shortly. "Why? Are you?"
Before Beck could come up with a response, Jade had walked away, Cat trailing after her.
Suspect: The Ex Boyfriend
If Beck Oliver hadn't been stalking Jade's Slap page on a break during rehearsals, he never would have seen the secret admirer's message.
Jade, on the other side of the room, as far away from her ex as she can manage, updated her status with, Somebody please teach my secret admirer songs from this century.
The first comment Jade's newest status read, Meet me at the janitor's closet in ten. - SA.
With the way Jade jerked in surprise from her seat, Beck knew she just read the comment.
Almost immediately as the message appeared, it was deleted.
Beck's eyes narrowed. Who deleted the message, Jade or the secret admirer? More importantly, was she going to meet the dude?
He got her answer ten minutes later when Jade stood up and exited the theater.
Beck found himself standing up even before he made a conscious decision to follow Jade. He justified it by saying that he was just looking out for her because he still cared about her, even if they were broken up.
When Beck exited the theater, Jade was nowhere to be found, so he went straight to the janitor's closet.
Beck looked around the tiny room. Aside from the janitor's supplies, there was a radio in the corner, playing Garbage's #1 Crush, but no Jade West.
I would die for you
I would die for you
I've been dying just to feel you by my side
To know that you're mine
I will cry for you
I will cry for you
I will wash away your pain with all my tears
And drown your fear
I will pray for you
I will pray for you
I will sell my soul for something pure and true
Someone like you
See your face every place that I walk in
Hear your voice every time I am talking
You will believe in me
And I will never be ignored
He entered the room and turned off the radio. The song was the creepiest one yet, and he was genuinely concerned for Jade's well-being.
"So it is you." Jade's voice, coming as it did from behind Beck, startled him.
"What?" Beck spun around. "Your secret admirer? You think I'm your secret admirer?"
"Well, yeah." But doubt clouded Jade's eyes. "You're always there when he strikes. Plus, isn't that the reason you've been hanging out with Robbie lately? For the tech stuff? So, am I wrong or what? Are you my secret admirer?"
He knew that opportunities like this came only once in a lifetime, and it would truly be stupid for him to waste it.
Beck Oliver had been called a lot of negative things—vain, robotic, and masochistic—but one thing he had ever been was stupid.
"No!" Beck said quickly, sending out a telepathic sorry, I'm not sorry to the real secret admirer. "No. You're not wrong. I am your secret admirer." He gave her his special smile. "Did it work?"
"I'm here, aren't I?" Jade asked with a raised eyebrow. "I almost decided not to meet the so-called secret admirer, but on my way out of the bathroom, I saw you slinking in here. I figured, if that isn't a sign, I don't know what is."
"So you love me again?"
"Take me out for coffee and I'll think about it."
When the real secret admirer decided to come forward in the future (like later that day), Beck hoped that him and Jade would have a good laugh over his (necessary) subterfuge. He was not holding his breath, though. (Jade would most probably shave his hair off when she finds out.) It would be worth it in the end, though. He's got his girlfriend back (almost).
And that was how one of Beck's bad days ended up to be one of the best days ever.
Only ten years old, Jimmy West already had more names than he could count (and being a child prodigy, he could count very high indeed!). On top of his head, he was the Midget (in school); the Pest (affectionately, by his big sister Jade); Wonder Boy (by his teachers); the Brat (by his step mom); and his latest was Secret Admirer, an unoriginal moniker he clothed himself in so that he could test a theory regarding the bizarre courting rituals of homo sapiens (he told himself it would be a useful nugget of information for possible future use, but really, he just wanted to get his sister to stop moping around the house).
He knew it was not strictly legal, but he told himself that he would not have been a computer wizard if the Big Man Up There did not want him to use his gifts to better the people around him. Hacking into the computer system and website of Hollywood Arts as well as various cellular phones and tablets were child's play to him.
With that in mind, Jimmy West tapped into the school's CCTV camera and saw his sister and her new (old) boyfriend walk out of the janitor's closet hand-in-hand.
Satisfied, Jimmy gave himself a well-deserved pat on the back before deleting all traces of Secret Admirer with a few deft strokes of the keyboard.
-Not being a choreographer or a good dancer, Ryder and Jade's dance was based on Derek Hough and Nicole Scherzinger's Rhumba in Season 10 of Dancing with the Stars.
-Stalker songs used by SA were researched from various websites courtesy of Google.