Tori flicks through the channels until she finds a black and white movie where everyone looks sad. She mutes the TV and drops the remote on the floor. It's not like she wants to watch the movie. It's just that the room feels so big and empty without it on. She slumps down on the couch and sighs.

It's been three days since it happened. Since he dumped her.

Ben Faulkner; a senior at a nearby high school. They'd met over the summer when Tori was working in a record store to make some money. She'd noticed him on her first day, flicking through the second hand vinyl albums. He was absolutely gorgeous. Like, movie star gorgeous. Olden day movie star gorgeous. His jet black hair was fashionably tousled, his leather jacket hanging off just enough to give off a carefree air. Strangely enough, it was his t-shirt that proved to be the conversation starter that Tori needed. She recognised the band – an obscure folk-rock-emo type combo that Jade had dragged them all to see one night. He was impressed she knew who they were and they clicked from that moment on.

They'd been dating for a little over a month. Tori had thought they were happy. They laughed a lot and they liked the same things. He was a nice guy. The kissing stuff was kinda fun too. They hadn't gone much beyond that. Tori didn't feel ready and he didn't push. Another reason she liked him.

And then he dumped her. She wasn't expecting it at all. There were no signs like they talk about in magazines. Right up until he uttered the words, she was sure that he was as happy as she was.

What's worse is that his reason was perfectly, well, reasonable. He just didn't think they were working out. He didn't cheat on her, he didn't say bad stuff behind her back. He just didn't like her enough to be her boyfriend. It really sucks that he didn't do anything wrong because it makes it a whole lot harder to go from really liking him to hating him.

At least he had the decency to dump her on a Friday night. Three nights and two days to hide away from the world. After he'd left on Friday, she'd changed her relationship status on The Slap, put her phone on silent and cried herself to sleep. She's had dozens of phonecalls and texts but she hasn't returned any of them, except her mother's. Her parents are away for the weekend, so she has to speak to her mom at least once a day to prove that she's still alive and that Trina hasn't done anything too outlandish.

Trina has, predictably perhaps, been unsympathetic. Then again, Trina is used to getting dumped and it has very little effect on her, so she expects everybody else to be the same. She did pat Tori on the head on Friday, before asking her if she felt up to making dinner for the two of them, or if they'd have to order in. After that, Tori mostly stayed in her room.

But it's Sunday evening now and she figures she has to face the world tomorrow, so venturing into the living room seems like a logical step towards that. The doorbell rings and Tori puts a cushion over her head just before Trina's screech reaches her.

"Tori! Door! It'll be my pizza."

"Then go get your pizza." Her yell is a little muffled by the cushion.

"I'm in the bathtub! And you know I'm on my final warning with that pizza place!"

Trina has strange relationships with a number of food delivery places. Sometimes it's for abusing the delivery people, sometimes for stalking them. But they're running out of places that are willing to deliver to the Vega household so Tori drags herself up from the couch and trudges to the door. She's sure she looks awful; she hasn't glanced at a mirror since Friday. She doesn't care.

Opening the door, Tori physically takes a step back when she sees who's on the other side. Jade West is possibly the last person she expected to be standing there.


Jade says nothing, but reaches out and places two fingers on Tori's neck. "Okay, you're not dead. That's a start." She lifts Tori's hands, turning them over and looking at both sides. "No apparent breakages to the arms or fingers." Tori just stares at her, open mouthed, as she continues her assessment. "Motor skills do appear to be impaired."

Tori snatches her hands back. "Wh...what are you doing?"

"Trying to figure out why you haven't answered anyone's calls or texts for the last two days. We we-..." She stops and collects herself. "André was worried. So here I am."

"You haven't called me once." Tori's not sure why she brought that up. Apart from the fact that Jade's the person she wanted to call. To care. Part of what hurt so much about Ben dumping her is that it had been a big step for her to put herself out there. Because she'd spent the better part of two years pining after someone unattainable. That same someone who is currently standing on her doorstep.

Jade raises an eyebrow.

"I was in the room when other people tried to call you. It counts." She barges past Tori into the living room and drops her bag on the couch and shrugs out of her leather jacket.

"But...why you? You don't even like me..."

Jade runs a hand through her hair, irritated. "Believe me, Vega, I tried to get somebody else to do it. But it turns out your friends are all pretty useless." She holds up a hand when Tori looks like she might protest. "Cat's...Cat. And the boys are...boys." That smirk Tori knows so well makes an appearance. "It looks like I'm your best option. Congratulations."

"Yay." Tori says without inflection, closing the door. She folds her arms over her chest. "So, you've seen me. You can go back and tell everyone that I'm a mess. In fact, take a picture and post it on The Slap. It'll be quicker."

"Oh, Tori." Jade clicks her tongue. "Such a low opinion of me."

"You told me yourself you like it when I'm sad." For the hundredth time, her eyes grow hot with tears. She hate it, because this isn't her. She's the girl who's cheerful in pretty much any situation. She hates that Jade's getting to see her like this. Wallowing. "You must be having a ball right now."

Tilting her head to the side, Jade seems like she's considering this point. She lifts a shoulder and lets it drop.

"Yeah, well, maybe I should've been more specific about that." Jade grabs Tori's wrist and drags her to the couch, giving her a little push to sit her down. She also takes a seat, pulling one of her legs up so that she can turn to face Tori. "Maybe I only like it when I make you sad."

The words are spoken softly and, despite the content, the tone is almost affectionate. At any other time, Tori would've been ecstatic to receive such a reception from Jade. But in her current state of mind, there's really only one possible outcome. She covers her face with both of her hands and starts to cry.

The heavy sigh is expected. The warm hand on her back, rubbing small circles, is not. It makes her stomach tighten in a not entirely unpleasant way. Just as she's thinking about how she might address the situation, the doorbell rings again and makes both of them jump. Tori sits up and wipes frantically at her eyes.

"Tori! Get the damn door!"

Jade raises an eyebrow at Trina's dulcet tones coming from upstairs. "She having a meeting of her coven this evening?"

"No, it's her pizza." She turns her gaze to Jade. "Unless you brought in reinforcements."

A scoff escapes Jade's lips. "Yeah, Vega, there's a whole military style plan in place to get you over your break-up funk." She stands and heads to the door, looking over her shoulder. "I told you, I'm all you've got."

Continuing to try to salvage her face before Jade opens the door - she doesn't want to traumatise the delivery person - she allows herself a small smile at Jade's words. She finds herself not being sorry in the slightest that Jade is 'all she's got'. An already wary teenage boy takes a step back when Jade opens the door.

"Uh... Meat Feast for Trina Vega? Extra meat and extra cheese?"

Jade smiles at him, which seems to scare him further. "We'll make sure she gets that." Tori walks up behind her and holds out some money that she got from Trina's purse.

"Here, keep the change." He nods at her, happy to be on his way. Jade closes the door and Tori turns in the direction of the stairs.

"Tri-mmmph." A hand covers her mouth and she turns to find Jade shaking her head. "What?"

"I think we should help Trina eat this pizza, don't you? Judging by the size of her ass lately, we're doing her a favour." She opens the box and Tori's stomach immediately lets out a growl. Jade's eyebrow creeps up, her piercing catching the light as it does. "Jesus, Vega, when was the last time you ate?"

Tori places a hand over her belly, her face flushing a little. "I...don't know. I had a cookie yesterday."

Jade's mouth drops open. "This is serious, I've never known you to willingly miss a meal." She nudges Tori's hip with her own to get her to move back to the couch. She places the pizza box on the coffee table and lifts a slice out. The cheese drips over the sides and Jade uses a finger to catch the strands and break them. Tori follows the progress of that same finger as Jade puts it in her mouth to suck the cheese off. It's only when Jade kicks her shin, the slice of pizza in her outstretched hand, that Tori realises that she's staring. And that she possibly might have moaned a little. It's fine, she can blame it on hunger.

She takes the offered slice and bites into it. Real hunger floods her body as it realises that it's been starved for the last two days and Tori finishes the slice before Jade's even managed to sit down with her own. Jade is currently looking at her with lips twisted in disgust.

"Well, wasn't that just a lovely, feminine sight?"

Tori leans over to grab another slice. "Then look away because there's about to be a repeat performance." She takes the biggest bite she can and ends up with bulging cheeks and grease running down her chin. It feels great.

She gets another kick to her shin. "You pig. You'll make yourself sick." But Jade's smiling behind her own slice of pizza and Tori grins back, chewing away.

"Hey! That's my pizza!"

They turn in sync to see Trina standing on the stairs, her body wrapped in one towel and her hair in another. Jade rests her chin on the back of the couch and smiles sweetly.

"We're only thinking of your figure, Trina." She lets her eyes travel the length of Trina's body and back up again. "Someone has to."

Trina sputters with rage. "There is nothing wrong with my figure, Jade West." She turns around and slaps a hand against her towel clad backside. "I don't think you're ready for this jelly, my body's too bootylicious for y-"

"Woah! Now that I wasn't ready for." Jade's hands are firmly over her ears, her eyes clamped shut. "You gotta give a girl some warning when you're about to unleash that abomination you call a voice."

"Are you gonna let her speak to me like that?" Trina asks Tori, who has moved onto her third slice of pizza and just shrugs and indicates her full mouth. Seeing she's not likely to get an answer, Trina adjusts her towel and huffs. "Well, I don't have to stand here and be insulted." She storms down the remaining stairs and over to the coffee table, where she slams the pizza box closed.

"Yeah, I bet there are tons of places you could go to get insulted, right?" Jade's having fun now. "By the way, I think some of my hair got caught in your pizza when I opened the box, so, you might wanna pick that out before you eat it."

"Ew! Gross!" Trina drops the box like it's burning her. She turns on Tori, practically hissing. "Why is she even here? I thought she hated you."

Tori shrugs and looks at Jade. "She's..."

"She is still in the room." Jade throws a wink at Tori that Trina can't see, before turning to the older Vega, completely straight-faced. "And I'm here to corrupt your baby sister and bring her over to the dark side. You cool with that?"

Trina rolls her eyes and starts to leave. "Well if it stops her wailing all night long about some dumb boy then it'll be an improvement. I've had to wear earplugs for the last two nights." As a parting thought, she tosses over her shoulder. "Enjoy my hairy pizza!"

Jade turns back to Tori with a look of disgust. "Please make sure that I never again see your sister in a towel, talking about her hairy pizza."

Nodding her agreement, Tori suddenly stops chewing. "You...uh, were kidding about the hair in the pizza, right?"

Jade glances over at the half empty box and looks back at Tori with a smirk. "Would it stop you from inhaling another slice if I said no?"

Tori looks at the slice in her hand. She shrugs and takes another bite. Jade's chuckle draws her attention.

"You're filthy, Vega."

Tori's not sure if her face is hot from blushing or from the rush of calories. She guesses it's a blush because when Jade leans in closer, her temperature goes up.

"Don't worry, I kinda like that in a girl."

She tries her hardest not to choke on the pizza.


"I didn't like him."

They're sitting on the couch flicking through the channels with a bowl of popcorn between them. Trina's pizza is nothing but a distant memory. Trying to find a movie or show that doesn't enrage Jade or disturb Tori is proving a challenge. Tori glances at Jade. It's the first time since she arrived that she's actually made reference to Ben directly.

Rolling her eyes, Tori throws a piece of popcorn at Jade. "You don't like anyone."

"Well..." Jade's head is tipped to the side, seemingly in agreement with Tori's assessment of her. "I really didn't like him."

Tori turns to face Jade more fully, ignoring the TV completely now. "Why not?" Even now, Tori can't bring herself to think of him as a bad guy. She's curious as to why Jade might think of him as particularly unlikeable.

Jade shifts, almost like she's uncomfortable with the subject matter, even though she was the one to bring it up. "I dunno. Reasons."

Tori sighs and turns back to the TV. "Well, that's perfectly clear now."

A hard poke in the side makes her yelp and she turns to see Jade looking annoyed. "Hey. I'm being supportive here, okay? We're supposed to talk about what a prick he is. I'd have thought you'd have seen a few chick flicks in your time. We talk about how much of a shit he is, get drunk and then drive into the Grand Canyon. Everybody knows that."

"I liked him." She hates how small her voice sounds. She hates it even more because she knows Jade's trying her best to lighten the mood, which can't be easy for her.

"Sucks to be you." Jade's mouth creeps up at one side. "Because I'm over him already."

Tori lets out a little laugh and Jade's wearing that half smile and it feels too early to be joking about this stuff. But what else is she gonna do?

"Then teach me, oh wise one. How do you mend a broken heart?" As soon as the words leave her mouth she regrets them. It hasn't been that long since Jade's break-up with Beck. And they'd been together for years. "Jade...I..."

"Isn't your usual method to sing a humiliating song about the heartbreaker in a public place?" Jade asks with a quirk of her eyebrow.

Still thrown by the semi-affectionate tone of Jade's voice, it takes Tori a moment to form a smile in return.

"I don't think that's gonna work this time. He just...he didn't like me enough."

Jade sighs heavily. "Okay, I feel like we're heading for some serious self-pity here. And if that's the case, I'm gonna need hot chocolate to get through it." Jade jerks her chin towards the kitchen. "Go make some."

For a moment, Tori hesitates, wondering if she should protest at being told what to do. But hot chocolate does sound really good. And she knows that Jade's trying to distract her, to keep her mind and hands occupied. And she appreciates that. That doesn't mean she can't grumble a little as she pushes herself to her feet.

"God, you sound like Trina."

Before she actually makes it to a standing position, her wrist is grabbed and she's yanked back down.


Jade's eyes are blue fire, but there's as much amusement as there is anger flickering in them.

"Never compare me to Trina."

Adopting an overly serious expression, Tori nods. "You're right. No-one deserves that."

"I'm glad we understand each other." Jade lets go of Tori's wrist and shifts back into a comfortable position on the couch. Tori gets up and heads to the kitchen, but apparently Jade's not finished with the topic.

"Anyway, if I was gonna sound like Trina, I'd do this." She throws her head back. "Tooooooriiiiiiiiiii..." Tori lets out a laugh, because the whiny tone is already so very Trina. "Go make me hot chocolate and while you're at it, put some yoghurt, honey and anchovies in a bowl and then bring it here and apply it to my butt because I read somewhere that makes you more talented."

"You're really good at that." Tori manages, through her laughter. Jade looks over and lifts an eyebrow. "Voices. Mimicking people." Jade's mouth opens but Tori's quicker. "Not me, because I sound nothing like you make me sound. But other people." She shrugs as she turns on the burner to heat the milk. "You're really good."

"It's called 'acting', Vega, you should look it up sometime." Though her tone is dismissive, Tori can tell, even from a distance, that Jade is pleased. She locates the chocolate mix and stirs the milk, humming to herself. She glances over at Jade's profile and smiles. Still distracted by Jade's face, she manages to knock over the pot, spilling hot milk over her hand. Her yelp of pain earns Jade's attention.

"What is it?" She's already on her feet and heading over. Tori cradles her hand protectively against her chest, clenching her teeth against the pain.

"I...burned my...hand..." With her good hand, she reaches for the cold faucet but Jade grabs her wrist to stop her.

"What are you doing?" Tori's hand is throbbing and all of her energy is going into not bursting into tears. Jade's actions make her want to cry more. "I'm actually hurt here, Jade. I know you like pain, but I don't and I..."

But Jade's not listening. Instead she's found a large bowl and is filling it with water, swirling it around until she's satisfied. Without saying a word, she gently takes hold of Tori's wrist and eases it away from her chest. Her touch is so light and unexpected that Tori doesn't protest. Jade places Tori's hand into the bowl of water. Tori hisses as the afflicted area comes into contact with the wet substance, expecting it to hurt. But almost immediately she feels relief. She looks up at Jade.

"Lukewarm water, not cold." Jade's fingers are still on her wrist, the very tips of them just touching the water. "And for way longer than people think. You need to keep this in here for about 30 minutes."

Tori looks at Jade with a question on her brow. Jade gives an embarrassed shrug.

"They told me at the hospital that time I was maimed during one of Sikowitz's acting experiments."

"Oh. Right." Mostly Tori remembers the shorts Jade was wearing that night. Blood rushes to her face at that thought. Jade holds out her right hand, the one not currently stroking Tori's wrist, and Tori is thankful for the distraction. A silvery line runs across Jade's palm, one that Tori had never noticed before. She brings her uninjured hand up to trace along its length. Shame washes over her when she thinks of her complete lack of sympathy for Jade the night it happened. And here's Jade, taking care of her.


Lost in her thoughts, Tori hasn't even noticed that she's gone from tracing the scar to running her thumb up Jade's arm to her tattoo and back down again, repeatedly. She yanks her hand away, but Jade's smiling. Tori smiles back before they both look down again. And Tori's almost certain she saw Jade blush.

"See? Aren't you glad I'm here now?" Jade's voice is quiet, almost husky. "If Cat had been here you'd be smothered in some weird concoction of peanut butter and cheerios that her brother told her is good for burns."

"I never said I wasn't."

Jade's head snaps up, her eyebrows drawn together in confusion. "Huh?"

"I never said I wasn't glad you were here." Her honest answer seems to have thrown Jade. It's not their usual routine of barbs and teasing.


Enjoying the rare sense of having the upper hand, Tori stands lifts the bowl of water, reluctantly forcing Jade to remove her hand. Tori moves around Jade and heads back to the couch. She turns to speak over her shoulder. "It's not me who doesn't like you, Jade."


Having kept her damaged hand in water for the requisite time period, Tori's watching Jade pat it dry with a soft towel. The tenderness in the other girl's touch is becoming less surprising as the evening progresses, but Tori still finds herself marvelling in it.

"Do you have anything for burns? Ointment or something?"

Tori catches herself before she blurts out something entirely lame about how Jade's touch is more effective than any ointment would be. "Uh...maybe in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom?"

Jade nods. "I'll go check. Try not to injure yourself while I'm gone."

Watching Jade leave, the beeping of Tori's phone startles her. For the first time in two days, she actually feels like checking her messages. The latest one is from Cat; it's a picture of a bunny with a party hat on. Tori smiles as she scrolls back through the other messages Cat's sent her. Most involve animals in some way, others are questions about how she's feeling with lots of extra punctuation and sad faces. She dashes off a quick message to let Cat know that she's fine and that the bunny made her smile.

Beck and Robbie have each sent a few texts checking if she's okay so she responds to those too. André's sent the most messages of all. Some are enquiries into her state of mind. Some are offers of physical violence against Ben. Some are just the usual kind of texts he'd send her about songs or shows on TV. She feels bad for ignoring him and types a response to his last text.

- Sorry I haven't been in touch. Been kinda mopey and didn't want to bring everyone down :( Thanks for sending Jade to take care of me xx

Almost immediately, a reply pops into her inbox.

- Hey chica! Good to know you're doing better :) But I didn't send Jade.

She frowns. She was sure Jade had said André was worried and that's why she'd come over.

- Then who did?

Again, the answer comes back right away.

- Nobody did. Jade spent all weekend yelling at us to call and text you to make sure you were okay. Today she said we were useless and she'd have to do the job herself.

Tori's throat grows thick. Jade had chosen to be with her, with no prompting from anyone else. Footsteps on the stairs jolt her back to reality and she dashes of a reply to André.

- Oh. Okay. Thanks. I'll see you at school tomorrow.

Stashing her phone under a cushion, she smiles as Jade sits back down beside her holding a bottle.

"I can't find any ointment, but this has aloe vera in it, so it should help." She lifts the towel off Tori's hand and lifts it and rests it on her knee. She takes her time spreading the cool gel over the red, swollen flesh on Tori's knuckles. Tori's still reeling from her newfound knowledge that Jade had chosen to come over and spend time with her like this. She only notices when Jade sets the bottle aside and runs her fingertips over the burned area. She looks over to find Jade biting her lip.

"It doesn't seem too bad. Maybe we should take you to a hospital just in case?"

The concern one Jade's face makes Tori's heart beat faster. But she decides to play it off. She nudges the other girl and launches into Jade's 'Tori voice'.

"Maybe I'll meet a handsome young doctor, get married and share a soda pop."

Jade smiles but it quickly fades. Her eyes drop to Tori's hand. Their fingers are lightly interlocked as they lie together on Jade's lap. "Yeah, well...try and make sure the next one is someone who'll buy you a whole damn case of soda pop."

There's no levity in her voice. She's deadly serious and Tori has no response. Except that she really wants to hug Jade. Like really wants to.


"What?" Jade's still looking at their hands.

"I don't think a soda pop would help me feel better right now...but I know what might..."

They've been in this situation often enough that Jade knows what she's talking about without asking for clarification. And, for once, Tori doesn't have to beg or bargain or blackmail. Jade reaches out and pulls Tori into her arms without so much as a sigh or an eyeroll. Tori closes her eyes, scrunching up her brow as she concentrates on remembering how it feels to be held by Jade. She expects it to be short, but Jade holds onto her and rocks them both back and forth.

"You're a real swell gal, dollface." Tori jumps slightly at the unexpected volume right by her ear. "And if Ben can't see that, well then he's all wet."

Tori smiles into Jade's shoulder, hugging her tighter. "I don't talk like that."

"Sure you don't, Vega." Jade's grip loosens and Tori tries hard to be grateful for the hug, and not to resent the fact it's over. She looks into Jade's eyes and sees something that looks like resignation. She looks like she's come to a decision she's not happy about.

"Okay, I was hoping that I wouldn't have to say this until later...or, you know, at all." Tori notices Jade wringing her hands and wonders if she should reach out and take one of them. Jade starts speaking again before she can do anything. "And I'm only going to say it once, and if you repeat it I will remove each of those little stars from your locker door and insert them into your right nostril, got it?"

Tori nods, slightly dreading what was to come. Jade rolls her eyes and sighs, but she holds Tori's gaze.

"He's an idiot, okay? You're a really nice, sweet girl who's not all that difficult to look at. If he doesn't see that, then it's his problem, not yours. People are lining up to date you. Move on."

Jade's a lovely shade of pink by the time she's finished speaking. Tori's stomach is doing somersaults at the implications of Jade's words. And then backwards somersaults at the thought that she's reading too much into the situation. She knows she can't be overly effusive in her response, or Jade will back off and deny everything. So she nods once.


Jade moves away and folds her arms over her chest. But she nods too.

"Don't mention it. And I mean that. Don't mention it."



The next words out of Tori's mouth are spurred on by a sense of 'now or never'. Or perhaps by a bout of intense stupidity.

"Are you in the line, Jade?"

All movement ceases and the air feels heavier all of a sudden. Tori only half wishes she could take the question back. Jade looks at her, eyes guarded and unreadable.

"That depends."

It's not an immediate rejection, which Tori had pretty much braced herself for. Her voice is high with excitement when she replies.

"On what?"
She can see Jade's jaw working, like she's forcing herself to speak. Her voice doesn't waver when she does, and neither do her eyes; currently boring into Tori's.

"Are there any more stupid boys ahead of me?"

Tori shakes her head violently. "Nobody's been ahead of you for a really long time."

Jade looks down, but not before Tori catches the relieved smile that blooms on her lips. When she looks back up, it's still there.

"Then I guess I'm next in line."

Swallowing thickly, Tori urges her mouth into a smile. "I guess so." She starts to lean towards Jade, her eyes drifting closed.

"Well..." Jade says. "This is a predicament." Tori opens her eyes to see Jade sitting exactly as she had been before.

"Wh...wha-...what predicament?" Tori's confused now. Didn't they both just say what she thought they said?

"I don't do rebounds, Vega. When I got here you were crying over a boy. I'm sure as hell not gonna make out with you to make you feel better." Jade raises her eyebrows. "You want to do this?" She gestures between the two of them. Tori nods, with a hopeful smile. "Then we have to do it right."

Tori's smile fades. "And...that means no kissing?"

"No kissing. Not tonight."


"Buh buh," Jade mocks. "I'm serious, Tori. I don't want whatever happens between us to be all mixed up with you getting over that buttcheek who dumped you."

Wrapping her arms around herself, Tori sits back a little. "I think I preferred you before you told me you liked me."

"No-one used the word 'like'." Jade's answer is immediate, though she does look a little contrite when Tori huffs in frustration. "Fine, I like you, or whatever. But I'm still not kissing you until you've got that idiot out of your system."

"But Jaaaaade..."

"No buts." Jade's standing up and moving to put on her jacket as she speaks. "When you think you're ready, you can ask me out on a date. And if I think you're ready, I'll probably say yes."

"Probably?" Tori squeaks, trailing Jade to the front door. "Seriously? Probably is all you're giving me?"

Jade pauses with her hand on the doorknob. She turns to look at Tori over her shoulder. "Well, I have to keep you on your toes, don't I?" Sin drips from every word and Tori wants to scream.

She reaches out and runs her finger down Jade's forearm, looking up at her through lowered lashes. "So you're just gonna leave me here? All alone?" She lets her tongue trace along her bottom lip. And Jade laughs.

"Uh, okay, so I see subtle seduction isn't your strong point. You should work on that."

Tori has one last card to play. She pouts and holds up her burned hand. "But I'm hurt!"

This time, Jade's face does crease in sympathy and Tori thinks she's got her. Jade very gently takes the injured appendage with her own hand and brings it to her lips, looking into Tori's eyes as she places the lightest of kisses on the inflamed skin. Tori lets out a sounds that she's reasonably sure she's never made in her life before. Still holding Tori's hand, Jade leans in and presses her lips at the very edge of Tori's mouth, only letting them linger a second or two before drawing back.

"There, you big baby, consider that a preview."

And with Tori too shocked to do anything about it, Jade opens the door and walks out. It takes Tori a moment to come to her senses. She darts forward to stand in the doorway to see Jade slipping into the driver's seat of her car.


The other girl looks up and tilts her head to the side. "What, Vega?"

It briefly occurs to Tori to ask Jade out right there and then. It would be a gutsy move. But maybe also a stupid one. And she doesn't want to risk Jade thinking she's not serious. So she plays it safe.

"Thank you. For tonight."

Jade puts a hand to her chest. "You're ever so welcome!" And she yanks the door closed with a cackle. As Tori watches her drive away, she pulls out her phone and types out a text.

- I don't talk like that!

When she can no longer see the taillights of the car, she closes the door and leans back against it, a stupid grin adorning her face. Trina plods down the stairs, looking around warily until she spots Tori by the door.

"I heard the Wicked Witch of the West leave. Thought I'd better check she hadn't killed you and sucked your blood or anything."

Tori smiles up at her sister. "Nope, there was definitely no sucking." Unfortunately, she added to herself.

"Well...good, I guess." Trina starts to go back upstairs, but stops and turns back around. "You seem weirdly happy...are you sure she didn' anything to you?"

"Nope. She didn't do anything." That's not strictly true. She turned Tori's world upside down. Her dopey smile gets bigger. "Nothing bad, at least."

It seems like Trina wants to delve deeper, but after a few moments she holds her hands up. "Your smile is freaking me out and I really don't want to continue this conversation. So if it turns out she roofied you or whatever, you'll have to come in and wake me because yelling doesn't work with my new earplugs."

"'Kay. Night!" Tori gives her sister a little wave. Trina just shakes her head and trudges back up the stairs. Tori's phone beeps and she's so keen to read the message that she almost drops the thing.

- Sure you don't. Sleep well, Sweet Sally Peaches. I'll see you at school. Who knows? Maybe you'll ask me to go steady and we can go to the sock-hop together! x

The little kiss at the end of the message makes Tori giddy. She holds her Pearphone against her chest and sighs. With shaking fingers, she taps in a reply that might be pushing the boundaries a little at this stage.

- I guess we'll see... But here's a question...Will you buy me a soda-pop? ;{P

She watches the message upload and the whooshing noise it makes as it sends is mirrored by the dip in her stomach. Seconds tick by without a response, turning into minutes. Just as Tori's thinking of something else to write, her text tone sounds and she jumps. Squeezing one eye closed, she opens it up.

- I'll buy you a whole damn case, Vega.

And with those eight little words, Tori knows her heart is mended.