So this chapter has a lot more insight on Jade's family and kind of explains things a little bit. I'm trying to move things along realistically because I've known people like Jade so I hope things aren't moving too, too slow. The story won't be that long-maybe a little over 10 chapters. Thanks again for all of your feedback. I really appreciate it!
Jade didn't know how it got this bad.
Despite her rebellious nature in high school, she never really drank. She saw how it affected her mother and always promised herself she'd never end up like her. While her father buried himself in work, Jade was forced to take care of her mother. From sunup to sundown, Anna West would drink. Mostly in private for fear she'd expose Jade to the same lifestyle, but when things were bad, she'd gallivant all around their mansion moaning about her absentee husband. Jade just brushed it off because for as long as she could remember, her mother was a drunk. She mostly a happy drunk and Jade actually preferred it. When Anna was sober, she was miserable. She constantly berated Jade for the way she dressed and put her down every chance she got.
Jade would come home from school to find her mother usually passed out on their luxurious Italian leather sofa, drink in hand. That's when she'd go spend the night at either Beck or Cat's. Beck knew all about her mother and always promised to be there. And he was. Cat, on the other hand, was too childish and innocent to understand. Jade didn't want to expose her to anything she wasn't really familiar with. The Valentines did not allow alcohol in their home mostly in part to their son who nearly lit the whole house on fire when he knocked over a bottle of vodka and tried to light it with a match.
Anna West died shortly after Jade's sixteenth birthday. She felt more relief than pain. It was like a weight had been lifted and she could finally live her life. Her father vowed to spend more time at home but that lasted for two weeks. Jade didn't mind though. She and her father had an okay relationship. He grew to be supportive of her career and always found the time to see one of her plays. Then, he got a new wife and he practically dropped off the face of the earth. He didn't even call when she got arrested. That surprised Jade. Normally if she was appearing on the cover of magazines with her risqué fashion choices, he'd call and tell her to cover up. It always made her laugh. But since Jennifer came, Elliot West became a stranger.
Maybe Jade needed her father to lash out on her like he did her mother. He'd be able to talk some sense into her.
You doing okay?
Jade couldn't help but smile as she read Beck's text message. He'd be home in two days and she willed herself to stay sober for at least a day and a half. She didn't get the other parts she auditioned for and just couldn't do it. She told Cat she was taking a nap so the little redhead wouldn't bother her. Instead of napping, she polished off the half empty bottle of Jack Daniels from her sock drawer and grabbed another one hidden under her bathroom sink.
Of course, she typed back, squinting to see the keyboard on her phone. She couldn't make any mistakes because then Beck would be on to her. He wouldn't believe it was auto correct's fault.
Jade rolled her eyes. Beck knew all about her disdain for emoticons. Despite her hatred, she sent back a smiley face of her own and threw her phone to the side. The afternoon sun was starting to fade and she suddenly realized she had been in her room for nearly three hours.
So she wasn't surprised when there was a timid knock on her door.
"Jade?" Cat's muffled voice asked quietly. "Jade, are you awake?"
Jade was glad she locked the door when the knob began to turn frantically. She capped the liquor bottle and stuffed it in her drawer, shoving two pieces of gum in her mouth and spraying the room just incase any scent was lingering.
"Yeah," she slurred, shutting her eyes. She only intended to get a little bit tipsy, not completely wasted. But it was just Cat. The poor girl was easily fooled. "One second." She checked herself in the mirror and nearly flinched. Her reflection barely looked like her. Black hair fell limply past her shoulders while the giant bags under her eyes indicated she hadn't slept in days.
"Are you alive?" Cat pressed in a whiny voice.
Jade took a deep breath and swung her door open a little too quickly. She lost her footing and nearly fell into Cat. "I'm alive."
"I can see," Cat giggled, patting Mr. Purple as if he were a real animal. "Do you wanna go to Nozu with Andre, Robbie, and Tori? Andre and Robbie said they have big news and since you've been up here all day…"
The mere thought of mixing alcohol and raw fish made Jade's stomach lurch.
"I'll pass," Jade mumbled, using the door for support. She could barely see straight. "Have fun though."
Cat pouted. "I want you to come!"
"I'm not hungry," Jade lied, hoping that would work. But when Cat wanted something she wouldn't relent until she was left victorious. "But you go," she insisted more firmly.
"But Jaaaadeee," Cat continued to whine, jutting her bottom lip as far out as it would go and stomping her foot against the wooden floor of the hallway. "You've been hiding in your room for the last few days! I want to hang out with you!"
Jade knew there was no way around this. Cat would continue to whine and pout and eventually, Jade would snap and lose her temper. She'd no doubt flip out on Cat and rattle off so many curse words that it would surely make Cat faint. Tori was already suspicious when she called earlier to ask her something. How would she even begin to convince her she was fine?
"What time are you going?" Jade asked. If she had enough time to gulp several glasses of water down her throat, maybe she'd be able to sober up.
"At 5:30 so we have enough time to snuggle on the couch and watch a movie!" Cat beamed as her body shook with excitement. "Okay, Jade? Okay?"
Jade pinched the bridge of her nose and exhaled. "Fine," she replied slowly, dragging out the word. Cat took immediate notice. "Put in a movie and I'll be right down."
Cat skipped off in sheer delight, leaving Jade to pop some aspirin and guzzle down the warm water Beck left on her bedside table three days ago. It still wasn't enough. She had to pull it together. She took a quick shower and hoped the steam would somehow sweat out most of the alcohol. It seemed to help, as when she got out, her vision wasn't as blurry as it was before. Seeing two Cats nearly sent her into a tizzy.
Surprisingly, Jade was greeted with the opening sequence of The Scissoring when she finally got downstairs a good fifteen minutes later. Cat didn't question it though. She just patted the spot next to her and curled up against Jade when she plopped down with a strained sigh.
"You hate this movie," Jade said to Cat in confusion. She drank more water and tried not to get annoyed when Cat gripped her arm. "Ah, I see," she couldn't help but grin. "You put in this movie so you could do this, huh?"
Cat shook her head and giggled cutely. "No!"
"Uh huh," Jade countered, her fingers digging into Cat's side. It made her genuinely smile when Cat screeched in happiness.
Jade stretched her legs out on the coffee table and wrapped her arm around Cat, rubbing the younger girl's arm absently. Cat was more than used to this movie but she still screamed and whimpered at the bloody parts. Jade knew it was a ploy so they could snuggle, but she was grateful Cat didn't put in the Little Mermaid or something similar. The happiness would probably make her puke.
Cat grimaced when the gore appeared on the screen, dropping her head in Jade's lap and hiding her face in Mr. Purple. She sighed contently when Jade stroked her hair.
"I heard they're doing a remake of this movie," Cat mumbled against Mr. Purple's soft fur. She nearly got whiplash when Jade removed the animal and tilted Cat's head to the side so she was looking up. "Ouch!"
"They're remaking this?" Jade asked quickly. "Where did you hear that?"
"I read it on Perez Hilton," Cat confirmed. "I think…"
Jade's face lit up. It was her dream role to play Tawny Walker-Black. This would be her chance to get her career back on track and make it big.
"You should star in it!"
"Yeah, I should," Jade scoffed matter-of-factly. She knew she probably wouldn't be able to get an audition without the help of Beck. As much as that irritated her, she was willing to do whatever to play this role. "You just made my day, baby girl."
Cat smiled shyly and giggled when Jade kissed her forehead. "I did? Yay!"
Her Jade was back! This, this was her Jade. Not the cold and distant Jade who hid in her room for the past three days.
Jade didn't really believe in God, but she was pretty sure he was the one who helped her pull herself together when it was time to go to Nozu. Sure she was still a bit tipsy, but that was easy enough to hide. All she needed to do was sip her drink slowly and throw out a few sarcastic jabs and insults toward Robbie's way to trick people into thinking she was totally sober.
When they got there, Jade climbed out of Andre's obnoxiously oversized SUV and adjusted her sunglasses on her head. Despite being dark out, she needed something to hide behind if the paparazzi came charging toward her. Though lucky for her, Alyssa Vaughn was recently arrested for drug possession so that took some of the heat off her. And since she was with Tori, she was positive they'd hound her more because candid shots of her generally garnered more money.
Cat, who wasn't used to all the attention, held onto Robbie's hand tightly and allowed him to pull him through the sea of photographers. They were all shouting Tori, Jade, and Andre's name, cameras shoving in their faces. Cat whimpered and blinked rapidly to rid herself of the spots she was currently seeing. It was then she somehow lost Robbie in the crowd and found herself being shoved all around a bunch of smelly men.
Jade looked behind her just in time to see one guy knock Cat to the ground and step over her like she was nothing. She and Andre immediately swooped in to pull Cat back to her feet. Jade held her protectively and glared at the unapologetic man.
"Be careful," she hissed, guiding Cat behind her so she wouldn't end up blind.
Instead of walking away, the man simply laughed. "Are you gonna punch me?"
It was like a switch had been turned on. Jade suddenly felt the anger pulsate through her veins and she lunged forward, only to be pulled back by Andre who had his arm firmly around her waist.
"Watch it," Andre warned the photographer, keeping his grip on Jade. She was breathing heavily but there was no way he was going to let her make the same mistake twice. Especially since he owed it to his friends to keep an eye out for them while Beck was still in New York. "Next time you won't be so lucky."
"Let me go," Jade demanded once Andre dragged her inside the entrance of the restaurant. She glared at Robbie, who sheepishly stuffed his hands in his pockets and turned away. "What the hell is wrong with you? You can't just leave Cat!"
Cat blinked and latched onto Andre's forearm as Tori stepped forward. "Calm down," she whispered to Jade. "Don't make a scene."
Jade bit her lip because Tori knew. Tori knew she had already been drinking. She was going to blow her cover and ruin everything. Instead of fighting back, Jade removed her sunglasses and patted Cat's head. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," Cat promised with a smile. "I'm okay! Paparazzi guys are meanies."
Tori went to check on their reservation and made sure they got a table nestled in the corner so no one could really bother them. Jade was already on edge and any unwarranted attention was going to set her off. She also made sure to tell Mrs. Lee, the crazy, fame-obsessed owner not to bother Jade either. Luckily, the owner did as she was told and escorted them to a private table in a private room none of them knew Nozu had. It was much needed.
Cat pushed Robbie so she could sit next to Jade. Tori took the seat next on the other side of her, which caused Jade to fidget uncomfortably. Robbie sat next to Cat and Andre took the seat across from Jade, rubbing his hands together in excitement.
"Aright, I can't wait anymore," Andre said, his face resembling a child's on Christmas morning. Cat giggled at his excitement. "I'm gonna be the opening act on Tori's tour!"
Cat immediately responded. "Hehe, Tori's tour!"
Jade sipped her water and forced a smile. "Wow," she replied in her usual monotone. "That's awesome. Congrats."
"Thanks," Tori nodded with a smile. "We're really excited."
"That's so fun!" Cat clapped. "I want to come see you guys!"
"Our first date is in Los Angeles," Andre winked. "You better be there front and center, Little Red."
"I will, I will!"
"So will I!" Robbie added in hastily, not wanting to be left out. "I have some news of my own."
Jade slumped down in her chair as everyone turned their attention back to Robbie. She cleared her throat and couldn't help but kick his legs under the table.
"Spit it out!"
"Ow! Jade!" Robbie whined dramatically. He leaned down to rub his shin with a pout that resembled the likes of Cat Valentine. "As I was saying," he began again, glaring at a smirking Jade. "I'm also going on tour!"
"On Tori's tour?" Cat asked, still giggling at how silly it sounded.
Robbie scowled. "No! I'll be joining a comedy troupe!"
"Nice," Andre nodded in approval, bumping his fist with Robbie's. "Where's your first stop?"
"Uh," Robbie cleared his throat. "Well, it's more like a cruise line…"
Jade burst out laughing. "You're cruise ship entertainment?"
"I'm not surprised," Tori joined in on the laughter, as did Andre once the sentence settled with him.
Cat, however, was more supportive. "I think that's great!" she complimented Robbie, fluttering her eyelashes at him when he blushed. "Go Robbie!"
"Thanks, Kitty Cat," Robbie shrugged his shoulders shyly. He waved over Mrs. Lee and frowned when she ignored him. "Why isn't she coming over?"
"Yo, Mrs. Lee," Andre called. Mrs. Lee came running over.
"Yes my favorite young record producer?" Mrs. Lee asked with a winning smile.
"My boy over here wants to order."
Robbie sighed and pulled himself together. "Yes, hi," he greeted.
"Hurry up!" Mrs. Lee demanded. "I have more important customers in my lounge!"
"Okay, okay," Robbie said hotly. "I would like a bottle of your most expensive wine and four glasses please." When Cat pouted, he snapped to get Mrs. Lee's attention. "And a Shirley Temple for the kid."
Jade could feel Tori's concerned gaze on her. She made an effort to flip through the menu and just ignore her. Besides, wine was like water to her. It didn't really affect her as much it would affect someone else. She could easily polish off three glasses without feeling a thing.
"We're celebrating," Robbie informed Mrs. Lee after she was done barking orders to a frightened young man.
"Good for you." With that, Mrs. Lee slinked away to check out the new customer at the door.
Jade assumed this would be the part where she would share her own good news but since she didn't have any, she sat back and traced the rim of her water glass.
Mrs. Lee returned with the shiny wine bottle and Jade was the first to pour herself a glass. She filled it up to the brim and continued to ignore Tori's pestering gaze. Robbie took the bottle next and Cat slurped her Shirley Temple happily as she swung her legs back and forth underneath the table.
"Stop looking at me, Vega," Jade grumbled lowly. "I'm fine."
Tori bit her lip and decided against lecturing Jade in the middle of dinner. Everyone but Jade ordered sushi. She opted for a salad but the putrid smell coming from every angle was starting to make her stomach churn. It didn't help that Cat was constantly waving her California roll around wildly as she told the group an uninteresting story about a guy in her class who broke his toe.
"Cat! Stop waving your food in my face!" Jade finally snapped, hitting Cat's hand away and knocking the chopstick out of her hand. Cat looked forlornly at her wasted sushi roll and huffed dramatically. "That's what you get."
"You can have some of mine," Robbie offered kindly. He scooped two rolls onto Cat's plate and pinched her cheek lovingly. "All for you!"
Cat was happy again. Jade made sure no one was watching when she refilled her wine glass. Her assumption about wine was way off. Not only did it hit her right away, it also made her extremely dizzy and nauseous. She was going to puke.
Without warning, Jade sprung from her chair and made a mad dash to the ladies room. She could hear her friends muttering about her sudden move but she didn't care. As soon as she bent down in the first stall, the contents of her stomach emptied. Her forehead began to perspire as she wretched and wretched. It was mostly bile seeing as she didn't eat anything since the early morning.
She kept thinking about her mother and all the times she found her in the bathroom, puking her brains out and crying out in pain. Her head was spinning violently and she was praying this wouldn't lead to a blackout.
"Jade?" The bathroom door opened and Jade closed her eyes at Tori's soft voice.
"I'm fine, Vega," Jade managed to blurt out shakily. She was trying to swallow down the bile rising fast in her throat to convince Tori she was okay. But it didn't work. It came out so fast Jade barely registered it. A loud gagging sound followed and the next thing she knew, Tori was pounding on the stall door.
"Let me in," Tori demanded, trying her best to stay calm. "Jade," she tried again, tugging at the flimsy door. "Please."
Jade had no choice. She wiped her chin with her sleeve and used all her strength to unlock the door. Tori's face immediately fell and Jade expected a verbal lashing that was a long time coming. But Tori just sighed and bent down next to her with concern written all over her face.
"How much did you drink before you came?" Her voice was calm.
Shrugging, Jade looked down. "I don't know."
"Jade," Tori said more firmly. "How much did you drink before you came?"
"About a whole bottle of Jack Daniels," Jade admitted, her voice breaking. Why was she admitting this all to Tori? She was going to rat her out to Beck.
"Why?" Tori's voice shook. She held Jade's hair back when she went to turn and puke again. "Just breathe," she whispered, rubbing Jade's back when her breathing became erratic. "Breathe, Jade."
Tori was usually pretty good in a crisis but Jade was so far gone that she couldn't control herself. She kept rocking back and forth, muttering under her breath as she choked out sob after sob. Tori's eyes were welling up with tears and the last thing she needed was for Cat to come in after her to see what was happening.
"You're okay," Tori attempted to say. She finally got her arms around Jade and pulled her close. Both girls were petrified. "Jade, look at me, okay? You're okay."
"Beck," Jade choked out in between gasps of air. "I, I need Beck."
"He's in New York," Tori informed the hysterical girl slowly, as if she was talking to a small child or even Cat. Jade just shook her head. "He's coming home soon."
"No," Jade slammed her eyes shut, covering her face with her hands. The pain between her eyes was back with a vengeance. "Y-you can't tell him," she mumbled faintly. "Please, T-Tori."
Tori swallowed past the lump in her throat and nodded her head just to appease Jade. She was finally starting to calm down and Tori didn't want to induce another mini breakdown. One was scary enough. But things were spiraling out of control so rapidly. Beck needed to know and Tori was willing to risk the wrath of Jade West if it was going to save her.
Jade leaned back against the stall and closed her eyes. She could clearly see the image of her mother perched over their toilet with violent gagging noises emitting from her mouth. It was a normal day so Jade walked away completely unfazed. Then the sound stopped and Anna West had died, choking on her own vomit.
Realization hit her. If she kept it up, she could suffer the same fate as her deceased mother. Jade didn't want that. But she was too proud to admit she had a problem and too stubborn to admit she needed help.