Each and every night, Jade was awake until the early hours of the morning, waiting for Dave to come home so she could bounce into his awaiting arms and kiss his nose or cheek or lips. She'd do everything she could to keep herself from dozing off. From making tomorrow's lunch for work, to reading romance novels and chatting with Rose until the early hours of the morning. Or until John called through and told Jade to let his wife sleep so they'd be up and ready in the morning.
She'd clean the house and paint pictures of sunrises and sunsets, of quaint houses in strange places and portraits of herself and Dave. Jade never thought about sleeping, that was what she did in the mornings, and then it was off to work for only about five or six hours in the afternoon. Her job wasn't important; all that she cared about was making sure she'd have time to make things nice for her fiancée. As long as she stayed awake, Dave would always come home to greet her from anywhere between two and three in the morning.
Their greeting was always the same. Jade would kiss Dave, and then whisper "I love you," as to not harm his headache any further. Dave would whisper back any number of things, depending on how bad he felt. He'd say, "I need an aspirin," when he hurt the worst, "All's well in the Strider-Harley home I see, love you too," when he felt okay, and the best was when he had no headache at all, "I can't wait for our wedding." Jade would giggle and hug him at that point.
They spent all that fall, planning for their spring wedding. John's father promised to bake the cake and give Jade away, while Rose called the florist and handled the guest list, which was extremely short, whilst she tried to make contact with Grandpa through many rituals that Jade did not understand. Whenever John saw his sister he always became close to tears.
"My sister's all grown up…" He'd say.
"Of course I have," she'd reply. "If I wasn't I wouldn't be getting married."
At this point, he'd cry and Jade would hug him.
Rose's good friend Kanaya sewed the dress and even Karkat agreed to partake in the event, no matter how jealous he was of Dave. Every other friend they'd had in high school was attending. From Ampora to Zahhak, everyone was coming.
Jade was glad, even if she had to wait endlessly sometimes for Dave to come home. As long as she was there, waiting for him, he'd come home safe and sound.
"I love you."
"I love you more!"
Jade knew Dave's job down at his brother's club wasn't always a safe environment, riddled with sex and drugs and things that Jade had always tried her best to stay away from. But she trusted Dave to watch out for himself.
"Be careful today!"
"You know I will be."
Weeks until the wedding Dave tried to make love to her, but Jade politely refused. She'd kissed him for a long time afterwards, snuggling with him in bed for the whole night, talking about everything at once.
"I just…think it will be more special if we wait until we're married…y'know?"
Dave humbly agreed.
Three days until the wedding.
Jade was waiting once again on the loveseat by the door, reading a magazine and thinking of baby names and how many kids she'd want to raise. Maybe just one. Or two. Maybe even three. She smiled to herself at her silly fantasy. It became two in the morning and it was now Saturday. Her eyelids were extremely heavy. Wait for Dave or you'll regret it later, she told herself. She yawned, attempting to braid her hair to keep her hands busy. Busy, busy, busy, that's how it was always at work. Keep braiding. Wait for Dave. Her mind was settling. Dave, come to me before I sleep. Waiting. I love you. I love you too. Don't sleep. I can't wait till we're married. Dave's coming; you gotta stay…stay awake…
Sometime during the night, hands roughened by years of using turntables had carried Jade to bed. The man removed his hat and slicked back his blonde hair, tears running in rivers down his angular face. Just a few days to the wedding now. He walked out of the bedroom, hands holding his face. Maybe if she'd only waited.
Jade awoke in the crisp spring morning air. She looked at Dave and smiled. "You look so nice today sweetie! It's our first anniversary today so I want to do something special!" After happily packing a lunch of Dave's favorite sandwiches, complete with bottles of apple juice, she took Dave down to the lake and set the blanket on the grassy hill, smiling.
"Isn't this place great?"
Dave did not reply.
They ate their meal in silence, enjoying the breeze and watching the ducks and frogs play. It was a lovely lunch and as soon as she was done, they headed back up together. There was a voicemail on the answering machine when they got back. Jade played it on speaker as she began to do the dishes.
"Uh, hi Jade…" It was Rose. "John and I already went…and I uhm…tried to get a hold of you earlier, along with John and Mr. Egbert… we ah, we were wondering if you wanted to come with us but you don't answer your phone very often so…well…geez Jade you've been cooped up in that house for almost what, a year now?!" Exactly one year and three days. "I don't mean to sound rude but…you don't take care of the house like you used to. It's a mess and…well I'm going to come over to clean it whether you like it or not. You need to face facts Jade. We're here, he's not. So…come visit him and us if you get the chance. Your brothers very worried about you. Hell, I'm worried about you! Sigh…we love you very much Jade. We just want you to be happy in life."
There was a beep and the countless others began to play. First it was Kanaya's sympathetic one, rambling on in long words that she could not comprehend. Next it was Karkat's grouchy but kind voice, trying to be loving. In the message he invited her to dinner and it was all Jade could do not to throw a china dish into the phone. After Tavros and Nepeta and everyone else began talking, Jade stopped listening.
She stood barefoot in the coldness of the kitchen, smelling sweet daisies on the countertop. The sun was bright outside and it glared off the photograph Jade had taken with her to lunch. She switched from standing to kneeling. Now Feferi was apologizing on her behalf. Kneeling to lying. Aradia. Lying to dreaming. No one's voice was heard as she blinked her eyes, fuzzy with hot weeping tears.
She dreamt of Dave's warm, thin but strong hands holding her close. His soft luscious lips pressing against her own. She saw in her mind the first time he asked her out. They went ice skating. The first time she saw his eyes. They were beautiful vibrant red. The first time he said 'I love you.' She said it back. The first time she waited. The last.
When she opened her eyes again it was dark outside and the phone was on a consistent beep. She got up, turned it off, and breathed in deeply. The phone rang. She let it.
"Jade I know you're home." It was Dirk, Dave's older brother. "And I know you've got a lot of emotional shit going on right now but…you gotta understand. You aren't the only one that misses him." There was a click and Jade cried.
"I can't wait till our wedding."
Green eyes blinked, looking out the large window that filled with darkness and shadows. In these shadows she saw his face, his body, handsome as ever in a slick black tuxedo.