Disclaimer: Victorious and all related characters do not belong to me.
Summary: Jade knew that Beck was going to propose; the signs were all there. It was only a matter of time. Unfortunately, Jade is not the marrying kind of girl; but how can she say no when Beck refuses to get down on his knees and ask?
Continuity: Future Fic.
Author's Notes: Written for Bade Prompt's Save the Date: The Prequel to Every Wedding, with the prompt: this is what she was afraid of.
I feel like this fic has a split personality or something. I don't know why. Maybe it's just me? Well, be sure to tell me what you think after reading it! :)
Three Signs that He's About to Pop the Question
and One Sign that He's Not
Jade West wasn't the fairy tale kind of girl.
Even as a child, when all the girls her age were pretending to be princesses about to marry their princes charming, Jade would rather be a vampire. She always ruined all those silly princesses' dream weddings, for she patiently lay in wait for the most opportune time to (pretend) drain their blood. (Or sometimes, when she's feeling especially happy, she can also be persuaded to play with Princess Caterina, but only if Jade gets to be the fire-breathing dragon trying to keep Prince Andre from rescuing his princess. When the time came for Princess Caterina to marry Prince Andre, Dragon!Jade was lying on the ground, quite dead.)
Jade West thought that weddings, and by extension marriages, were stupid and illogical. What was the point of an expensive, stressful ceremony where one declares that one would sleep exclusively with another person until one dies or gets a divorce, whichever comes first? It's not as if a piece of paper declaring two people as married would miraculously make their love for each other stronger, or convince two people who no longer love each other to stay together.
(It's not that she didn't believe in love—she did. She had stayed over Andre's house and seen his parents too many times not to believe in true love.)
Jade's skepticism on weddings and marriages was affirmed when her parents got divorced when she was nine. For her, it was one more piece of evidence that weddings were just excuses to party and marriages serve no purpose in society.
Her stance on marriage was unchanged even after she met Beck Oliver, her own real-life Prince Charming. Sure, he made her heart beat faster, her head spin and other silly, girly stuff like that, but never in her wildest imaginings did she dream of marrying him. In fact, before she and Beck went exclusive, she explained to him that she may love him forever but she's never going to get married.
That was why, ten years later, Cat Valentine's declaration caught her unaware.
"What do you mean, he's going to propose?" Jade West demanded, unmindful that they were in the middle of an upscale boutique exclusively selling high-end, ridiculously expensive, avant-garde shoes.
Cat, who was seated on the couch reading a magazine while waiting for Tori as she tried on one shoe after the other, squealed at Jade's sudden outburst.
Tori paused in the act of testing out how comfy the shoes she was trying on by walking around the boutique.
"He's not gonna propose. He knows how I feel about marriages." Jade denied hotly.
"Well," Cat began hesitantly. "According to this Twenteen Magazine article," she waved said magazine in the air importantly.
Both Tori and Jade rolled their eyes. Cat had been toting that magazine since that morning and was religiously poring over each and every word printed on it, as if there's going to be a quiz later. (Not that Jade could blame the redhead: after all it has on its cover Cat Valentine, her first time to grace the front cover of a mag.)
"According to this," Cat repeated after sticking her tongue out at her friends' reactions. "Beck's exhibiting all the classic signs that he's going to propose soon."
"Why is a teen magazine publishing an article on wedding proposals?" Tori asked as she continued her circle around the shop.
"It's not just a teen magazine!" Cat's voice borderlined on a whine. "It's also geared towards ages twenty and up!"
"Let me see that," Jade made her way to her friend and snatched the offending magazine.
Splashed on the header of the article in an obnoxious red font was the title, Signs That He's About to Propose.
Tori walked over to where Jade and Cat were seated. Unfortunately, the shoes she was trying on, strappy gold sandals with a pompom of Swarovski crystals at the toe that made soft twinkling sounds when moved, distracted Jade.
"If those godforsaken shoes do not stop that irritating tinkling sound, I'm going to introduce them to the pair of scissors hidden in my boot." Jade snarled without looking up from the magazine.
Tori made a face at Jade's threat, but she did remove her shoes.
Satisfied that Tori or her ugly shoes would not interrupt her, Jade made herself comfortable on the boutique couch and began reading.
Sign No. 1: You know he's going to pop the question when he starts reviewing everything about you: what you love; what you hate; your favorite flowers; and your favorite food.
"Why are you ignoring me?"
Beck, whose entire attention was focused on the computer screen in front of him, looked up in surprise at the interruption.
"You're leaving for New York tomorrow morning and you're ignoring me?"
Beck grinned at the sight of his indignant girlfriend with her hands on her hips.
"Technically," he replied. "I'm not ignoring you."
"Why is that?" Jade's glare became darker as she stalked towards him to see what had diverted Beck's attention. "Are you watching our sex tapes?" She demanded.
"What?" Beck's mouth dropped opened unattractively. "Sex tapes? We have sex tapes?"
Jade rolled her eyes.
"Babe?" Beck prompted.
"No," Jade replied, not very sincerely.
"I am not watching our sex tapes because we have none, right, Jade?"
Beck had lived with Jade for more than five years (officially), so he had learned to pick his battles. "I am watching your old Slap videos." With a tug on his girlfriend's hand, Beck soon found himself with a lapful of Jade, just the way he liked it. "Look at wittle baby Jade."
Jade frowned as she saw herself in the computer screen. She recognized it as one of the What I Hate Video she posted in TheSlap back in the day. "Ew."
"Not ew." Beck said. "Precious. Look how young you were. Watching the video made me realize how much I love all your little quirks. Remember? Easy is boring."
Jade rolled her eyes. Beck was rapidly gaining a reputation as a dramatic actor with a mysterious air, but not one of his fans would guess how much of a dork he actually was.
"You're such a pedo."
"I am not!" Beck denied hotly. "I watched your Jade with Tots video first, you know the one guest-starring me? And amidst the hotness that was us, I imagined us talking with our future children. See? Not a pedo."
Jade twisted herself on Beck lap to give him a long, deep French kiss.
Just as Beck was contemplating if having Jade on his home office floor was a good idea, carpet burns notwithstanding; his girlfriend broke the kiss, tapped his cheek twice and wiggled herself off his lap. "I don't know why you're contenting yourself with an old vid when you can have the real thing." She grinned evilly. "Have fun with virtual baby Jade." She said, pinching his cheeks before sashaying out of Beck's home office.
Beck almost knocked his laptop off the table and overturned his swiveling chair in his haste to follow his sexy tease of a girlfriend.
Sign No. 2: You know he's going to pop the question when he painstakingly makes sure that you are in a certain place, at a certain time for no reason.
Jade put the book she was reading on the bedside table when she heard her PearPhone ringing. At this hour, her caller could only be one person. "Hello?"
"Hey. What are you wearing?"
"Andre? Perfect timing. Beck is in New York. Hold on a sec while I slip into something a little more comfortable."
A pregnant pause, then, "Haha, very funny. Tell me again why you're an infamous horror scriptwriter-director instead of a comedian?"
"You do know it's two in the morning here, right?"
"Oh, sorry, babe." Beck replied. "But that would explain the bad sense of humor."
"So why are you calling me at two in the morning?"
"I just wanted to hear your voice before I return to the hotel. Sorry I wasn't able to call sooner. We just wrapped up our shoot."
"Sap," not that Jade was going to admit to him that she was reading a book, waiting for him to call.
"I think I prefer the term romantic, babe." Beck chuckled. "So, we're still on for Saturday night, right? You don't have anything planned?"
"Ugh, Beck, for the hundredth time, yes! We can hang out at home on Saturday. I blocked out my calendar from six in the evening until the following morning. What's so important on Saturday night, anyway?"
"Nothing!" Was Beck's quick (and suspicious) reply. "I just want to spend time with you. Why is that weird? After all, I've been here for a week now and we won't see each other for four more days. I'm flying in Saturday morning, then I just have to finish some dubbing in the studio, then I'm all yours after that. Aren't you looking forward to spending some quality time together despite our hectic schedules?" His voice feigned hurt.
"Fine," Jade told him. "But if you want to stay home on Saturday, you're doing all the cooking."
"Don't worry about it. I'll worry about everything. All you have to do is to be pretty and be there."
"Be pretty? So you mean I'm ugly when I don't make an effort? You're going to break up with me on Saturday, aren't you? You hooked up with your ditzy costar, didn't you?"
"Oh, babe, look at the time! I gotta go back to my hotel and memorize more lines. 'Bye, Jade. I love you!"
"Coward." Jade muttered with a content smirk when she heard the dial tone. That would teach the jerk to make her wait hours for a dumb phone call to let her know that he was still breathing and not lying in a ditch some place.
Sign No. 3: You know he's going to pop the question when he becomes interested in jewelry, especially rings.
Beck Oliver was a lot of things, but being a clean freak wasn't one of them. He wouldn't even fall even under the most overreaching definition of the word neat.
Jade blamed his über rich parents who made sure that the RV was in a good, habitable condition by regularly sending the cleaning lady to pick up after their son. Now, years later, Beck still acted as if he had a cleaning lady to mop up his messes (and maybe he did, in the person of Jade West.)
Case in point: Beck had just arrived that morning from New York and already their bedroom looked as if a tornado had just hit it. Beck's bags were empty and left forlornly in the middle of the room. His things and clothes were haphazardly placed on all available surfaces in his haste to find something clean to wear so that he can rush back out to do a last-minute dubbing for his film.
(He arrived and left their home with a quick peck on Jade's cheek and a hurried, "I slept on the plane babe, I'm fine, I'll be back as soon as I can! Don't forget that we're supposed to hang out later!)
Well, turnabout is fair play, after all. Beck had learned to live with all of her quirks and foibles, so Jade figured she could live with a few of his, that is, until she finally reach her breaking point and give in to his suggestion of hiring a cleaning lady of their own.
Jade sifted through most of Beck's clothes and separated the dirty laundry from the clean ones. She opened Beck's closet to put the clean clothes inside when she noticed a familiar blue paper bag. She was about to reach for it to investigate when she was interrupted.
In surprise, Jade dropped the folded clothes she was holding. "Robbie! See what you made me do!"
"I passed by Beck on his way out and he told be to come right in."
"Straight into our bedroom?" Jade raised an eyebrow even as she bent down to begin picking up Beck's clothes.
Robbie peered at something behind Jade. "So," he began as he entered the room to help pick up the fallen clothes.
"Well, go right in," Jade said sarcastically. "Don't mind our privacy. Come share our bedroom."
"Sorry. But have you noticed something out of place in Beck's things?"
"Yeah, I think I saw a paper bag from Tiffany's inside his closet."
"That is not a Tiffany's bag!" Robbie suddenly snapped as he straightened up and went straight to Beck's closet.
Robbie saw the said paper bag and snatched it right up. "And this certainly does not contain a ring!"
"What are you doing?"
"And Beck and I certainly did not close down Tiffany's to look at jewelries." And with the paper bag in his hand, Robbie marched right out of the bedroom. "Goodbye!"
"Robbie? Wait! Robert Shapiro get your butt back right here!"
"Holy chiz, Beck's going to propose!" Jade's eyes were wide and wild after reading the magazine article. If she were not already sitting down, she would have needed to. Suddenly, her whole universe was topsy-turvy and her world did not make sense. She was afraid of this. This was the stuff her nightmares were made of.
"You're going to need new pair of power shoes while you step on Beck's hopes and dreams," Tori told Jade. "Here," she said as she handed Jade the shoes she tried on earlier, the one with the irritating tinkling crystals. "My gift to you. Have fun."
The Sign that He's Not Going to Pop the Question: You know he's not going to propose when, despite the presence of all the signs that he's going to pop the question, he still fails to pop the question.
Tori and Cat dropped Jade off at the house she shared with Beck, still lost in thoughts and with her head pounding.
Beck was going to propose that night, she just knew it! What was she going to do?
She was going to break his heart if she said no, but she's not going to get married for anyone, not even Beck! But what if he leaves her if she refused his proposal? Wasn't being married to Beck better than being unmarried without Beck? And marriage was just a silly piece of paper, anyway! What difference would it make?
"Why am I even obsessing about this?" She muttered to herself she realized that her thoughts had come full circle. "I'm Jade West. I'm smart and mean. I can handle Beck Oliver. And if he doesn't like it, he can either take me or leave me."
She started mentally rehearsing how she was going to put down Beck gently, how she was going to assure him that she loved him even if she did not believe in marriage. Then, she'll make it a point to give Beck the best sex he'd ever had so that he'll think twice about leaving her.
Jade was so engrossed in her plans that she did not notice the passing time or that she was putting on pink, sparkly makeup, Cat's Christmas gift to her.
"Babe? You ready?" Beck peeked inside the room after giving the door two quick raps.
"Yes," Jade said as she stood up from the vanity, sprayed herself with perfume and slipped her feet into the nearest pair of shoes, which just happened to be Tori's gift to her earlier. "I'm ready. Let's do this."
Jade didn't know how she made it all the way through the dinner Beck prepared, her being lost in her thoughts and all. But she did notice that Beck was extra attentive than usual.
She was becoming more and more antsy and fidgety as the meal went on. She was so distracted that she failed to taste anything. She just went through the motions of cutting her food, putting it in her mouth, and chewing delicately before swallowing. If she was asked what she was eating, she would have been lost on what to answer.
By the time Beck brought out a box of her favorite dessert from Baby Cakes, she was practically falling out of her chair, impatient to get on with the proposal. She wanted it over with.
Jade saw Beck squinting at the cake with excessive concentration before he cut the first slice.
As Beck served her, Jade made a note to watch what she put in her mouth and to chew very carefully. She wouldn't put it past Beck to do something clichéd like putting a ring inside her dessert. (After all, there is a reason why he's better off as an actor than a scriptwriter.)
"Having fun playing with your food?" Beck asked when he saw how Jade was demolishing the cake slice with her fork in an effort to locate her ring.
Jade made a face and but gamely took a bite of her cake. She resisted the urge to dig through Beck's slice. Maybe Beck gave her the wrong slice, or something.
Okay, so maybe the ring wasn't in the dessert. Dammit, where was it?
Beck frowned as he stared at Jade. He sighed and began fumbling in his pocket.
Jade's eyes widened. Of course! The ring was in his pocket! Beck wouldn't be able to resist the lure of tradition, of bending down on his knees and asking Jade to marry her.
This was it. Moment of truth. Jade reviewed how she was going to say no to him, how she was going to explain that she didn't believe in marriage and how she never planned on getting married.
Her heart started pounding furiously when he finally found what he was looking for. He grinned conspiratorially at her before he slowly knelt down beside Jade.
"Oh my god, Beck, what are you doing?" Jade demanded, feigning surprise.
Instead of the expected diamond ring, Beck had in his hand a complicated-looking army knife. Gently, he took Jade's foot and carefully cut out the pompom of Swarovski crystals from her right shoe. He did the same thing to the other shoe.
Jade, for once, was too shocked to say anything.
After his little project, he went back to his seat looking smug. He pocketed his knife and threw the crystals he had removed on the table. He met Jade's eyes and grinned proudly, as if he had done her a huge favor.
"What did you do?" This time, there was no feigning Jade's surprise. Why on earth did that idiot mutilate her expensive, uncomfortable and ridiculous shoes?
Beck frowned, as if he was surprised he was not getting praise from Jade. "Weren't those baubles bothering you?" He asked. "I thought they were driving you nuts!"
"Why? Why would you think that?"
"Because you had been uncomfortable the entire evening!" Beck threw his arms up in exasperation. "I know you hate those tinkling sounds they made!"
It was true, Jade hated those godforsaken shoes and the sound those idiotic crystals made but, "I'm not uncomfortable! I didn't even notice that they were making tinkling sounds!"
"Then why were you fidgety?" Beck demanded. "And you smiled when I took out my knife from my pocket and knelt down to cut them off—" he trailed off as one by one, the pieces of evidence connected in his brain. Sometimes, Jade hated that Beck was too smart for his own good. "Oh." He said, his eyes widening. "OH!"
"What oh?" Jade snarled. "There is no oh!"
To her everlasting mortification, he started laughing.
"What's so funny?
"Were you," Beck began to ask, trying to squeeze out the question between bouts of laughter. "Were you expecting a proposal?"
"No!" Jade denied hotly.
Beck tried to get his laughter under control. Really, he did. "Sorry," he wheezed. "It's just that, really, Jade, a wedding proposal?"
"But the signs were all there!" Jade almost whined. "Cat said so!"
"Well, this special dinner, for starters!" Jade screeched. "Which you thought you were planning stealthily, but you're not stealthy at all! You were stealth-less!"
"Of course I was planning a special dinner!" Beck replied. "It's our tenth year anniversary!"
Jade did a quick, mental calculation. "It is not! Our anniversary is not for another nine months, and it'll only be our seventh year together!"
"Yes! Remember, we got back together during the Full Moon Jam and I was singing a song—"
"Yeah, but we were together since we were fourteen," there was tenderness and remembrance in Beck's chocolate brown eyes, and they were almost enough to melt Jade into a puddle of goo. "And I never count our breakup. For me, it was a moment of temporary insanity."
Fortunately, Jade was not sidetracked, being made of sterner stuff than most woman. "Okay, so it's our tenth year anniversary," which apparently, she forgot, not that she was gonna admit it out loud. "But why were you watching our old Slap videos and imagining our future children?"
"I was feeling nostalgic." Beck admitted with a charming grin. "And the kid who's playing my son in the movie I'm shooting made me imagine what kind of kid we'll have together later."
"You want to have kids with me but you don't want to marry me?" Jade screeched.
"Later, Jade, later. Not now! We're both not ready for a kid yet."
His logic was flawless but that only made Jade madder.
"And!" Jade pretended not to hear Beck's latest rejoinder in order to lay down the most damning evidence that he was going to propose. "And I saw the Tiffany bag in your closet!"
"There was a Tiffany bag in my closet."
"But that's not for you. They're for Tori."
"WHAT? You're leaving me for that gank? I knew it! I knew it since I caught her rubbing coffee on you when we were in high school!"
"Babe, don't you remember Robbie Shapiro? Our best friend, Robbie, former master of Rex Powers? That same Robbie Shapiro who is happily married to Tori Vega-Shapiro?" Beck rolled his eyes. "I'm keeping the ring for Robbie who wants to surprise Tori with a second proposal because, as much fun as their Las Vegas wedding with Elvis was, he knows how much she dreamed of having a church wedding."
"That's even worse!" Jade wailed.
"How?" Beck's mouth dropped open. "How is that worse?"
Jade grabbed the bunch of flowers that from the vase that served as the table's centerpiece and started hitting Beck with it. "Because Robbie wanted to marry Tori twice and you didn't even think to ask me even once!" Jade finished her statement on a hysterical note.
Instead, however, of breaking down and cowering in fear, Beck, that stupid, infuriating man, started laughing so hard he couldn't even defend himself against the onslaught of flowers.
"It's not that funny!" Jade snapped as she slammed the poor, defenseless flowers on the table. On any other night, she would admire her handiwork, but at the moment, she was too angry (hurt) to care.
Beck made a grab for Jade's hands, but she easily evaded them.
"I need some air," she told him, whipping the napkin on from her lap to the table and quickly standing up.
"What's wrong with my air?" Beck asked, trying in vain to muffle his laughter.
Jade glared at him, telling him without words that his channeling high school Cat was not helping matters any.
The glare, however, did not have its desired effect. Instead, it once again broke the tenuous control Beck had over his mirth. Thus, that was how Jade left him: laughing like a lunatic by himself in their intimate table for two.
About five minutes after Jade had beat a retreat to their balcony, she heard Beck coming after her (because he knew all the badness that would ensue if he didn't).
He didn't say anything but stood beside Jade and leaned against the railing.
"I'm sorry I laughed at you," he said, his tone and voice thick with apology.
Jade tried so hard to contain the bubble of insecurity that threatened to escape from her throat. She was successful for about ten seconds, then suddenly, she found herself tearfully demanding, "Why don't you want to marry me?"
And just like that, Beck started laughing again, only to stop abruptly when he saw how hurt his girl was.
Jade spun around with the full intent of leaving Beck in the balcony, but he was quicker this time to grab her arm to pull her into his arms even before she could take two steps away from him.
She struggled in an effort to escape from his embrace (admittedly, she didn't try very hard at all because she wanted to hear what the jerk she's so in love with would say).
Beck didn't say anything immediately, content on holding Jade in his arms and admiring the view.
"I wanted to marry you since I was fourteen years old." He finally said when Jade's heartbeat had calmed down enough.
Say what? Jade was stunned. Then mad. "Liar."
"Not lying." He said as he placed his chin on Jade's shoulder. "It's the truth."
"So why don't you wanna marry me now?"
"I do." He replied simply as he kissed Jade's temple.
Jade closed her eyes and let his words warm her cold body.
"I love you, Jade West. I'm already the happiest man on earth because you love me, too. But I'm greedy because I want more."
"Are you asking me to marry you?" Jade asked as a solitary tear finally escaped from her eye. She viciously wiped it, because she was Jade West and she did not tear up over some ridiculous romantic cliches such as this.
Beck the jerk actually chuckled when he felt Jade's body tense at his denial.
That stupid, infuriating, overconfident, robotic chiz! Who did he think he was? Jade could easily replace him with a snap of her fingers! She was the second sexiest woman in the world according to a poll in a man's magazine, even if she had never posed for the said magazine!
"I'm not asking you to marry me." Beck tightened his hold on Jade when she restarted her struggle to get out of his embrace. "But I am asking you to ask me to marry you."
That statement gave Jade pause. "What?"
"I want to marry you, Jade, but I know you don't believe in marriage so I never asked. I don't want you to feel that you have to marry me to make me stay." Beck squeezed her tighter. "But if you feel you're ready and if you want to get married, ask me. I'll say yes. No hard feelings if you don't. As I've said, I'm already the happiest man on earth. Nothing can change that."
Jade hiccuped and, just like that, she lost the battle for control of her tears.
She loved Beck Oliver with all her being, she always had since she was a teenager. No piece of paper was going to change that. But her sweet, loving, handsome boyfriend wanted that piece of paper. (And maybe, in the deep recesses of her dark, twisted soul, maybe she wanted it, too.)
Suddenly, the choice became easy to make.
"I don't have to get down on my knees, do I?" Jade asked softly.
Beck laughed as he buried his face on his beloved's neck.
Jade felt a drop of liquid fall on her shoulder. Was Beck crying?
"Shh." Beck whispered. "Let's just have this moment."
And they did.
Minutes later (when Beck had his emotions under control, Jade supposed), he stepped back and slowly spun Jade around so that they were facing each other.
"I'm sorry now that I didn't purchase anything from Tiffany's." He said as he removed one of his rings. "But I think this is even better."
Beck reached for Jade's left hand as he held his ring in his free hand. "Ask me now." He said.
"But, Beck," Jade's eyes widened in shock. "That's your uncle's ring. You always wore it since we were kids."
"It's supposed to get passed down to family. You're my family, marriage or no." Beck smiled. "Ask me now." He repeated urgently.
"Beck," Jade had to push the words out of her mouth because her chest was chock-full of emotions. "Will you—"
He didn't wait for her to finish; he can't. "Yes." He said as he slid his silver ring onto her finger. (Even though he wore the ring on his pinky, it was still a bit too big for her.)
Jade smiled through a film of tears (which she can't stop from falling! What was wrong with her?).
"There. Now it's official. We're engaged." He said right before kissing Jade.
"I think we're doing it wrong," Jade grumbled half-heartedly when they paused for breath. "I did the asking so I should be the one giving you a ring."
"Since when have we played by the rules, babe?" He asked as he admired the ring on her hand.
"Never." Jade grinned as she brought down Beck's face to hers for another kiss.
Later, when they were sated, satisfied and snuggled in bed (if just-got-engaged sex was this great, Jade thought, she can't wait to have just-got-married sex), something occurred to Jade.
"We're doomed, aren't we?" She asked.
"If by doomed you mean the parentals are going to descend upon us like a pack of rabid vultures, the paparazzi are going to eat us alive, and Cat is going to get more crazy than usual with all the wedding preps," Beck began. "Then, yes. Yes, we are."
"Want to elope to Las Vegas?"
"As much as I love you, Jade, I think I'm more afraid of your mom. So that would be a no." Beck replied as he gathered Jade into his embrace. "I like my head on my shoulders, thank you very much."
"And proud of it."
"Love you, too. Now, go to sleep."
And for once, Jade did as she was told.
Jade West may not be the fairy tale kind of girl, but in the end, she got her and they lived happily ever after.
P.S. If I say it's my birthday tomorrow, will it earn me more reviews? Because it is my birthday tomorrow and I'll take reviews in lieu of presents. :)