A/N: I'm so sorry that I haven't updated in months. School and family issues have sort of been kicking my butt lately and then when I finally had time to sit down and write my computer broke. I say that I've written and re-written this chapter by hand at least three times on my train home, it's not an exaggeration, but I'm still not thrilled with it. This final version is being written at 3 o'clock in the morning, is unbeta'ed, and may or may not be read over once before posting, depending on how sleep deprived I am when it's over.
"We need to talk."
"I'm a bit busy right now, but if you come back later I'll be sure to squeeze you in." The dark-haired girl replied as she continued to put her books away in her locker, not even pausing to spare the boy a glance.
"Now, Jade." The usually stoic boy's voce was surprisingly tense as he grabbed her arm and dragged her into the janitor's closet, closing the door behind them.
"Why Beck! Whatever can I do for you?" Jade asked in her faux Southern drawl while she perched herself on the tool chest in the back of the room.
"Cut it out, Jade. You know exactly what this is about."
"I'm not a mind reader, dude, so could you just tell me what it is that has your underwear in a bunch? Because I actually do have things I need to get done."
"You kissed Moose!" Beck all but shouted.
"And you tried to kiss Tori. Thank you for this lovely trip down post-break up memory lane, but if that's all I really must be going now." Jade responded her tone even as she hopped off the chest and made her way to the door.
"Hey" Jade hesitated, but didn't turn around.
Something in his tone made her listen to him, although she couldn't help but throw out an "I'm sitting because I want to." as she resumed her perch and crossed her arms over her chest.
"Could we dial the snark back a bit, Jade? I get it, you're witty and quicker than I'll ever be and if I step out of line, I'll walk out of here wearing my testicles as a hat. Did I cover it all?" Jade looked away from him and remained silent, which Beck took as acceptance. He let a long breath of air and attempted to make eye contact with her.
"Why did you kiss him?" his voice was soft, quiet "How could you kiss him?" vulnerable.
"Why do you care so much?"
"You know why"
"Do I?" she asked while looking him straight in the eyes, almost challenging him.
"You know you do" His gaze was unwavering, daring her to say he's wrong.
The two were silent, eyes locked, before Jade looked away and mumbled something under her breath.
"I'm sorry, what was that?" Beck asked, a knowing smirk curving on the edge of his lips.
Jade's eyes narrowed. "You heard me."
"No, no, I don't believe I did. Would you mind repeating that for me?" He asked.
"Fine! I said 'I'm sorry, okay!' I guess I got so caught up in the competition and beating Cat and Tori that I didn't stop to consider how it would affect you so I apologize." Jade said, spitting out the last word as if it left a bad taste in her mouth. "Now don't let it get to your head there, Beck; your ego can't afford to get much bigger." She added when she saw the full blown grin on his face.
"Isn't that a bit like the pot calling the kettle black there, Jade?"
"You're such an ass." She huffed, although there was no real malice behind her words.
"And we were having such a pleasant conversation!"
After a few seconds of silence, Jade pouted slightly and crossed her arms over her chest. ""Besides, a like black." She murmured.
Beck took one look at her and could no longer hold in his laughter, Jade joining in soon after.
"G-d I missed this." He said once they had quieted down. "Didn't you miss this?"
"What? Fighting in a janitor's closet? No, can't say that I did."
"I know, I know, not what you meant. And yeah, I did miss it. We haven't laughed like this in a while- too long really. And I really am sorry about the whole Moose thing. Seeing you and Tori sucked, but I can't imagine that hearing about Moose and me was much better."
"This jealousy thing is horrible. I mean I feel so drained. Were you always this exhausted?"
"Now you know why I've always been so addicted to coffee." Jade replied with a smirk.
"Hey, do you have your scissors on you?" He asked.
"Um, no, Captain Random, I don't. If I did, you would have known as soon as you none-too-gently dragged me into this fine meeting room here. That testicles as a hat thing probably isn't as much of a hyperbole as you thought it was. Why do you ask?"
"I never thought it was hyperbole. Anyway, I want to ask you something but I was trying to ensure that there was no chance of bodily harm before I did." Beck responded, subconsciously crossing his legs.
"Please," Jade said, rolling her eyes, "I can think of 47 ways to maim you using the contents of that shelf alone."
"But there's nothing but toilet paper and paperclips on that shelf"
"Exactly." Jade's tone was more than slightly menacing as she regarded him with one brow raised and a gleam in her eye.
"Okay then?" Beck said, his voice trembling just a bit.
When she noticed him shifting on his seat, Jade rolled her eyes. "But I suppose I promise to do no bodily harm." She said and Beck released a breath he had been holding.
"Why did Tori get so under your skin?" He asked.
"You really want to open that can of worms, Beck? We've already talked about that." At his nod, Jade let out a long sigh and brought her knees up to her chest. "Okay, but you can't interrupt. Remember 47 ways."
"But you promised no bodily har-"
Jade's eye narrowed. "47 ways." She growled and Beck raised his hands in surrender.
"It was never about Tori, not really anyway. And yeah, I've said that all of our problems can be traced back to your first kiss with her, but if I'm being honest with myself, I know that that started way before she got here. For whatever reason, because I will not fall into the 'mean girl with daddy-issues' stereotype," Beck had to smile at her fierce disdain for cliché that she had always adamantly opposed, "I was terrified of losing you to someone better. And most of the time when you talked to other girls I could find something better about myself- If they were pretty, I at least I'm more talented; If they were smart, well let's face it, I was always smarter- and so I was content to just chase them away with a well-placed glare."
"So why was Tori different" Jade's eyes flashed to his, her ire obvious in her ice-blue orbs.
"I know! '47 ways.' I'm sorry, please continue."
Jade glared at him for a moment. "Anyway," she ground out, "with Tori, all of a sudden, I couldn't find something wrong with her. Clearly she's attractive if you go for that sort of thing, she was getting all the leading parts, parts I ordinarily would have gotten, and, loathe as I am to admit it, she's actually pretty smart. And you were into her."
Beck opened his mouth to contradict her, but she held up her hand to stop him. "No talking! Besides, are you really in any position to deny it given recent events?" Beck closed his mouth, realizing that he didn't have a leg to stand on.
"So I was extra mean to drive her even farther away. But it backfired, because all it did was push you away from me. I just couldn't see at the time that the tighter I tried to hold on, the more distant you became."
Beck once again opened his mouth to speak, but stopped when he remembered her conditions. Jade just stared at him for a bit, enjoying the feeling of having such control, before she finally relented and told him that he could speak.
"That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!" He exclaimed while running his hands through his long hair. Jade's expression turned dark, but Beck beat her to it before she could had the chance to speak. "No, now it's my turn. I would have never done anything with those other girls! The reason I could talk to them without considering it flirting was because the thought never even occurred to me. They were so insignificant in my mind and I couldn't fathom how you could be jealous when I almost felt sorry for them. When I was with you, Jade, you shined so bright that I couldn't even see anyone else, in any respect."
"Wow, cheesy much?" Jade asked, her harsh words belying her true emotions evident in her glistening eyes and small smile.
"My turn, Jade."
"Oh, I love it when you get rough, Beck."
The tan boy, unable to formulate a response, simply shook his head and continued on. "And yeah, Tori was different. Something about her intrigued me. But that doesn't mean that I thought she was better than you! I meant what I said the other day outside the vet office."
Jade uncurled is body and turned so that she could rest her hand on his arm. "I know you did, Beck, but you asked how I felt and I told you. As I said, it was never really about Tori, she just brought many of my own issues to the surface and I resented her for it. I never really doubted your loyalty. You just don't have it in you to be that bad of a person."
Beck looked at her hand on his arm and laughed, marveling at the fact that she could make something that should be a compliment sound like an insult.
"Look, I don't want to let jealousy ruin our friendship like I let it ruin our relationship." She continued.
"I don't want that either."
"So it's decided then. We're done with jealousy. We can each date whomever we want to date and the other will be supportive." She declared while extending her hand for a shake. Beck grasped her hand in a firm hold but then pulled it slightly towards him.
"But no kissing Moose."
"And no kissing Tori." She answered, pulling their clasped hands towards herself.
"Then no Andre." He replied while continuing their little game of tug-o-war.
"He's had a crush on you for a while now. Since you guys worked on that song together, I think."
"Jade!" Beck exclaimed, shocked that she seemed to be considering their friend.
"What? He's not bad looking."
"Jade…" He practically growled.
"I'm kidding!" She laughed, her eyes lighting up with mirth. "No Moose, no Tori, and no Andre."
"Agreed." They said at the same time, sealing the agreement with one final pump of their hands.
Beck got up and made his way to the door but stopped when he realized that Jade was not following him out. Turning around, he noticed her climbing up the shelves and trying to open the cover of the air vent.
"Whatchya doing?" He asked in a sing-song voice.
Once again, she spoke without turning to face him, completely focused on her task. "If we both leave this room together after being in here for this long, people are going to talk and I for one would like to avoid that. Aha!" she exclaimed when she finally managed to get the grate open.
Beck watched with a bemused expression on his face as she pulled herself through the opening and into the vents when something occurred to him.
"Hey, you never said anything about Cat!" he called to her just as she disappeared through the hole in the ceiling. Jade's face reappeared as she poked just her head back through. "You didn't say anything about Robbie." She countered.
"Please, Robbie wouldn't survive one day with you."
"Yeah, well, you wouldn't survive one day with Cat." And with that Jade pulled her head back in and closed the lid behind her, vanishing from Beck's view.
As he turned to leave through the door (like a normal person, he couldn't help but think), he could only laugh and shake his head at the truth of her statement.
A/N : okay, so I would like to say that this isn't the end, but realistically, it is. I tried to write it so that Tori Saves Beck and Jade seems like a logically progression, so hopefully that came across.
Thank you for all of the kind reviews and constructive criticisms. They really meant a lot to me.