"Fat piece of shit," I curse under my breath. There's no point in mumbling the insult, seeing as though I'm alone in my own apartment, but I'm kind of pissed right now and things just happen. Get over it.
I huff my way to the dresser that houses some of my least worn articles of clothing, still angry that I'm having to pack it all up. Yes, I live in a shitty apartment and, yes, I live in a shitty neighborhood, but that doesn't mean that I enjoy being kicked out of the place I've called home for nearly four years. I mean, I'm only behind on rent by six months. That's not too bad, right? My landlord certainly thinks it's too long; the prick.
My situation could have easily been fixed. You know, if I was a whore. Mr. Prick has offered numerous times for me to pay my rent in a more "off the books" sort of way, but I'd rather watch a marathon of one of those horrendous ghost hunting shows than stick anything attached to him inside of me. And that's saying something, because I've hurt people who have even suggested I watch that crap. I would have kicked him in the nuts each and every time he suggested such things, but I'm kind of a fan of keeping my apartment, if you couldn't tell. I guess the only thing keeping me from doing it now would be going to jail after he pressed charges.
It would still be worth it.
I grab at the various clothing, picking it up in heaps and carrying them over to my bed, where they fall in a jumbled mess. Once they're all there, I sigh. I've already packed the things I wear on a regular basis, but my clothes are pretty much the only things of value I have left any more. So each and every piece, even the ones that probably don't fit anymore, are worth keeping.
Once everything is packed, I stop in the middle of my tiny living room/kitchen and just take in the sight. So many memories were had here. Granted, none of them were really all that great, but memories are memories. And, you know… memories are hard to forget. That's kind of the point of them. But it's not that I'm leaving this memory filled place that really upsets me, it's the fact that it only serves to remind me of the failure I've become. I was supposed to be famous; a star of sorts, but that never happened.
And now I have no idea what I'm going to do. I have no where else to go.
The biggest reason that I can't pay my rent is because I lost my job. Again, it wouldn't have happened if I were a loose girl. My boss at the coffee shop where I worked put his hand on my thigh. I believe what happened next speaks for itself. I had been so scared that he would press charges, since his nose did, in fact, turn out to be broken, but he didn't. No, instead he fired me. And there was nothing I could do about it because his little "innocent brush of the thigh" was passed off as a harmless accident that the already known to be mean girl, known as Jade West, overreacted to.
I guess the struggling actress thing is so cliché these days that no one bats an eye when one makes claims of molestation, believing that they had prompted it in the first place to try and move up in the world.
So I growl. Standing in the middle of my worthless little place, I growl an angry noise as loud as I can before yelling one last curse word to mark it as the final thing I would ever speak in this place.
I have no television, having sold it over a month ago so that I could actually have food to eat. And all of the furniture is too big for me to move by myself. Oh, sure, it would be so easy just to hire a moving truck to pick it all up and move it to wherever it was I went to. But I don't even have a place to go, let alone have enough money to rent a truck like that in the first place.
Fuck my life.
I compose myself and try my best to bottle up all of the rage so that I don't lash out and end up breaking someone's car windows. That's just another thing I wouldn't be able to afford. But, look at them, they're so enticing as I make my way down to the only other thing I have that is truly mine; My car. Those windows on other people's cars are just aching for me to shatter them. It would only be a small and momentary relief, but a relief that I would cherish like nobody's business. Whatever that means.
I somehow managed to fit all of the suitcases into my small, compact car, along with every other appliance I could fit, and then head off to nowhere. It's probably not the best idea to be using up what little amount of gas I have, but I had to be out of my apartment by noon today. And I have to find somewhere to live.
Anyone that I could ever have called a friend has moved on with their lives, onto bigger, better and more famous things. Most of them, anyway. There is one left. It's not like we were ever actually friends, but I guess I'll have to admit that she's a possibility. Only as a last resort, of course. If only I was still younger. If I were, then I could just call Cat and easily have her help me with a situation like this. But things are different between us now; they're different between all of us. I never told her that I would, but now I miss the little redhead.
I drive around aimlessly for a while, mostly just trying to think of anywhere or anything that could help my situation. Forty five minutes later and not only is my gas running dangerously low, but I'm starting to panic. There is no one. There is nothing. The realization that my life has amounted to a whole shit-load of nothing hits hard and for the first time in years, I feel like crying. But I don't.
Parking my car in a relatively empty parking lot, I try and get a hold of myself. I have two options; One, I could sit here and cry as if my life is over and act like there truly is nowhere for me to turn to. Or two, I could give myself a swift kick in the ass and admit that I need Tori Vega right now. I might be Jade West, but I would really rather cry, to be honest.
I growl again, dropping the weight of my upper body forward and slamming my head into the top of the steering wheel. She would love this, wouldn't she? Tori would relish in the fact that I have to turn to her for help. And she would actually help too, I know she would. She always did, being the good natured little princess that she is. So instead of crying like a pathetic loser, I give myself that swift kick in the ass and pull out my phone. I have no idea what her number is anymore, but I'm one hundred percent positive that she is one of those people who posts their address on TheSlap for all of the stalkers and murderers to see. So pretty, yet so naïve. It's quite the cliché.
Oh, look, I was right. What a complete and utter shock.
She lives on some street I've heard of maybe one time, but I head there anyway, hoping to anything that I don't run out of gas before I get there. I don't, but I know for a fact that I need to fill up immediately the next time I hop in my car. So she better let me stay with her for a while, or else. And I'm pretty sure I can get her to pay for the gas, too.
Huh. This might not be as bad as I thought.
It doesn't take too long to get to my destination and I instantly realize that she lives in a place that is just as shitty as mine. Well, I guess I can't keep calling it mine anymore. It's twelve fifty eight, so in two minutes I'll have officially been homeless for an hour. And the only person I can turn to fix that problem is someone I claimed to hate all through high school. Oh, and her Slap page hadn't been updated in months, so who knows if the information was even accurate at all.
Again, fuck my life.
Leaving literally everything I own behind me, I walk up the narrow stairs to what is supposed to be her upstairs apartment. And even with all of the despair I'm experiencing today, I smile. I smile because at least she hasn't hit it big and gotten famous either. I've always taken a bit of happiness from that thought. This place is so small and the apartments are so close together that they can't be more than a single bedroom. That's fine though, I'll just make her sleep on the couch when I inevitably gain access to the place.
It takes her less than a minute to start opening the door after I knock, and I can't help but feel a bit nervous, as well as angry in having to even do this. The door opens and she's surprised. Quickly, she fixes her clothing and flattens her hair as best as she can, fixing her glasses more properly on her little button nose. "Jade?" she asks with that same dorky laugh I remember. She slips into her presentable and happy persona, but I can see right through it. Her clothes were obviously thrown together without much thought, she has no make-up on and I don't think she's even showered today. And she's tired, with strain in her eyes, as if she's been struggling as much as I have lately.
"Yeah, that's me," I say. I'm not sure how to go about the whole situation, suddenly feeling like I might not be able to push this version of Tori around as much as I did the one I knew in high school. "Are you going to invite me in, or keep staring at me like I'm about to murder you?"
I liked that she still seemed to be scared of me, but I needed to move this along.
"Uh, yeah, sure. Come on in." She steps to the side and opens her door further, motioning for me to make my entrance.
I barely even make it a few feet into the apartment when the girl is already scrambling for something to say. "Would you like something to drink? Water? Tea? Soda, maybe?"
"Do you have any liquor? Alcohol? Anything like that would be perfect." I don't make eye contact with her, instead looking around the small room. It's just as run down, if not worse than mine, and yet, it's just as homely as anything you might expect from Tori Vega.
I guess no matter where she is, she has to be as positive as possible.
Pretty much immediately after I ask my question, she responds with, "Yes!" a little too quickly. She scurries off to her refrigerator, which is also in a kitchen that is melded with the living room, before returning with a case of beers and sitting them on her coffee table just in front of her couch. Sitting down, she pats the seat next to her, silently asking me to take a seat. I do, and immediately grab at a beer and yank the bottle opener out of her hands.
"Well," she begins, that same mildly angry expression on her face that I used to enjoy making. "You certainly haven't changed."
But I don't respond to her. I'm too busy taking a huge swig of the liquid in my hands.
She continues trying to talk, proving herself to be quite the same person as well. "Would you mind telling me why you're here? Don't get me wrong it's cool to see old friends and all, but-"
The bottle quickly leaves my mouth as I make an "mph" noise to interrupt her. "Who says we were ever friends?" I ask without even thinking. I guess it's still an instinctual thing to do.
She sighs and I can tell that she doesn't have the energy to fight me like she used to right now. "Jade… just tell me why you're here, please."
But, again, I don't immediately respond to her. I take another big sip of my drink, handing her the bottle opener finally, and then fall silent in thought for a few moments.
Suddenly I'm speaking, surprising even myself. "How is it that out of all of our friends, me and you were the ones that never garnered any fame? I mean, we were easily the most talented. I just don't get it."
As I expected, Tori is surprised as well, and then I'm speaking even more surprising words because of it. "What? I may have been tough and mean to you, but I never denied the fact that you were talented."
She smiles. It almost makes me smile, seeing her tired face light up in a genuine smile like that and I can tell that she's flattered. This is already going in the wrong direction. Since when was I in the business of making Vega smile like an idiot?
"Wow," she huffs. "I should get you drunk more often, apparently."
"Why? So you can take advantage of me and then finally go as far as you've always wanted when giving me those many hugs of yours?" I responded, giving one good insult to try and counteract whatever had come over me a moment ago.
I expected for her to stick her tongue out, but she just laughed sarcastically instead. "Very funny, Jade," she said.
I finish my first drink a moment later, guzzling it down and then grabbing at the next one. She also seems to down hers as well, and I can't help but feel a bit proud of her for that. We both destroy our second and are halfway through the third when I finally start barfing out words again, finding myself enjoying having someone to spew my troubles at.
"I don't know about you, but I can't even get a paying gig anymore," I say, fiddling with the bottle in my lap and avoiding eye contact with her out of shame. Then I laugh a defeated laugh before continuing. "And now I have to live out of my car because of it."
I figure I'll be subtle about it at first. I'll wait until she pities me, as bad a that sounds, before finally dropping the bomb on her. And then she'll have to say yes.
"I know how you feel," she replies. "My job is so low paying that I barely manage to pay my bills every month. Most of the time the payment is late. Oh, and I can't even afford a car."
I nod and we fall back into a silence, sipping our drinks and just feeling completely awkward. Finally, her head lifts up and she looks me right in the eye.
"So, are you going to ask if you can stay with me yet, or what?" She asks out of nowhere.
And here I was thinking I was all sly about it and shit.
I purse my lips, clear my throat and expertly manage not to show my embarrassment. "You caught that, huh?"
"Look, Tori," I begin, trying to find words to continue with after she caught me off guard. "You have no idea how grateful I would be. I'll even do chores around the house and drive you around as payment until I get another job."
Did I just say that? I mean, seriously?
"Seriously?" she asks, repeating my thoughts.
I sigh, but reluctantly reply, "Yes, seriously. I wouldn't have come here if there was anywhere else I could go. You're my only hope, Vega."
She squints her eyes and looks me up and down. "I'm sure there's a Star Wars joke in there I could make about that last line you just said, but I don't feel like looking like an idiot when I get it wrong, so I'll just say sure, why not? Welcome to your new apartment, Jade."
And apparently the alcohol is finally hitting me, because I burst into laughter at her dorky little speech. I mumble some sort of thanks as she joins in with the laughter, and we continue to guzzle down the rest of the beer, causing our giggles to continue for longer than I was actually comfortable with. I think I can handle this for a while. It's only temporary, and once I finally land that one good role, or one of my plays finally gets picked up, I'll be out of her hair for good.