Jade always woke up early. It was sort of a normal thing with her; she woke with the sun and went outside to sit and feel the dew around her, brushing against her skin. The sun would come up over the horizon, casting its rays over the nearby land – and Jade would smile, because it was the beginning of a new day, a new start. The sun, in response, would smile brighter, because when Jade West smiled, the whole world seemed to light up.
At least Beck thought so. For a while, his world had centered on Jade – Jade, Jade, Jade – the object of his affections, though she was so much more than that. She was his, all his, the only person he had only ever wanted to be his since he'd met her. And maybe other people didn't understand – but only because they didn't see her like he did.
He knew that she was hilarious. Perhaps her humor was not the conventional type, but that didn't make her jokes any less funny. Sometimes in class she would lean close to him and mutter some wisecrack into his ear, and he would bite his lip to keep from laughing. She was quick-witted and sarcastic and pretty much the funniest person he'd ever met.
She was beautiful – not in the normal sort of way, but in the sort of way that caught you by surprise, crept up on you until you were so blinded it was all that you could see. She had wide eyes that were some ineffable shade and ebony hair threaded with violet streaks and skin so pale that she was practically invisible, and she was a work of art, beauty in its most traditional sense.
He knew her, probably better than no one else. He knew her because no one else bothered to. And he was fine with that.
It was on one of those mornings when she was out, basking in the sun, letting the rays soak into her skin, that he crept out to sit beside her. On a normal sort of day he wouldn't have bothered (Beck was more of the stay up late sleep late type of guys), but already he knew today was going to be far from normal. At least, if things went the way he hoped.
"Hey, you," he whispered, tilting his head to smile at her. She pretended not to smile back, but secretly he knew she was pleased.
"I didn't think you liked the sunrise," she mused, her head falling onto his shoulder with ease. "You haven't come out to watch with me in ages. But I'm not complaining, anyway. You can stay if you want to."
He nodded, his head falling on top of hers, his fingers finding hers almost reflexively. He looked down at their entwined fingers and smiled – it was funny, he mused, how two people could be so entirely different and yet so very much the same.
They sat in silence for a while, the two of them, each of them quiet and lost in their own thoughts. There were moments like these often enough, moments when there were no words to say, but their silent communication said it all. Had they been two different people, two people with normal ideas of romance and gushiness and love stories, it might have been mushy, but for them, it was simply what they did. Perhaps not in front of the sunrise – but in the RV, in the park, after a particularly long college class – it was normal.
He leaned over, his forehead brushing against hers, and he whispered, "I think we should probably go inside now and well, get ready."
"Get ready for what?" Her eyebrows were up in a defensive manner, one he knew all too well. Her defense mechanism was too carefully practiced, used so much that he figured she didn't know when to stop, which saddened him. His Jade – who could want to hurt his Jade? She wasn't scary or mean or psychopathic or evil; she was just Jade, just a girl who'd learned that the only way to survive in life was to carve your own path.
"I'm taking you out," he said ominously, pressing a quick kiss to her lips before jumping to his feet. "Wear something nice?"
"I always look nice," she muttered, but he took that as an agreement, though she did, admittedly, always look nice. He waited, seated on the bed, as she took her time getting dressed, and then he waited even more as she primped, wondering if he'd ever understand the complex mind of females. His mind, on the other hand, was much simpler, and that was proved once she finally emerged from the bathroom.
She laughed. When she laughed, it was like the world shifted on its side, tilted, and then steadied itself again; it was so very momentous that Beck couldn't understand how the whole world didn't stop and stare. "Like what you see?"
He answered that with a simple kiss. His hand found hers and he tugged her out the door, already anticipating what was to come. He'd had this planned out the whole week when he was meant to be practicing and studying and whatever else; every single detail just had to be perfect. After all, this was for her.
"If you don't tell me where we're going, I'll cut the brakes out of your car," she threatened.
"Right," Beck said sarcastically. He had, after all, picked up a few tricks from Jade over the years, and he knew how to tell when she was bluffing. "Right after you bury me alive, right?"
She rolled her eyes, annoyed at being caught in her bluff. "Just take me to whatever cheesy place you've decided on now." But she was smiling again, something she seemed to do often in his presence – and honestly her smiles made him brighter than any lightbulb in the world.
"Please, Jade," Beck scoffed, starting up the engine. Her hand immediately flew to the radio, another habit of hers; when Beck drove (which was most of the time) she found it necessary to fiddle incessantly with the radio dial, trying to find some song she didn't actually hate. Since Beck was more of the chill type when it came to music, he enjoyed practically every song, but her attempts to locate 'decent music' were amusing, especially when she got frustrated and bit down on her lip.
After a few minutes of Jade's fiddling and Beck's driving, they ended up at the place Beck had intended. It was a fairly high peak, not mountainous but not terribly small either. It was misty up there and cold too, so when Jade shivered, Beck shook off his jacket and draped it around her smaller frame. She rolled her eyes at him ("Cheeseball") but otherwise didn't protest.
"I'm not walking up all those stairs," Jade complained, staring up at the multitude of stone steps in front of her. "I've got on high heels because you told me to dress up, and – oh."
He had scooped her up in his arms, his arms curving around her back and slipping up to the top of her knee. She laughed, wrapping her arms around his neck; this public display of affection wouldn't have been acceptable at school, but in this secluded area she seemed to lose all of her inhibitions.
"You're an idiot," she told him once they reached the top, her cheeks flushed even though she hadn't been the one exerting herself. "Sometimes I wonder why I'm even with you." But she liked it, he could tell, and all the more as she glanced out over the horizon, taking in the magnificent view from where the two stood. There were other hills and mountains and the sky, the glorious sky, stretching out for miles upon miles. The houses seemed only specks in comparison to the stretch of land and sky.
"You like it." It was an assertion rather than a question, and Jade merely nodded in response. Probably no one would have assumed she was the type to enjoy spectacular views; they would've assumed the only view she enjoyed was a stretch of cold, hard gravestones. But nature held its own particular type of beauty, and Jade always claimed that it was so very wrong not to appreciate it, though she wasn't exactly the typical advocate of nature. But whatever.
"Do you ever think about how big the world is," Jade questioned, "and how small and insignificant we are in comparison?"
"You're right," Beck said, his eyes sweeping over the landscape, "the world is big. But Jade, me and you – we're not insignificant, because we're not going to let ourselves be."
Another smile, though this time it was coupled with a small, tender kiss. He held her there, pressed against his side, her head buried in between his shoulder and his head.
Their return to the car meant Jade returned to incessantly questioning Beck about where they were going next and why he couldn't just tell her because she hated surprises, really, just like she hated the majority of things in the world, and really after all this time he should know her better than all that. As always, Beck just laughed mockingly. So much time had taught him not to take things so personally.
"Honestly, Beck," badgered Jade. "I mean, it can't be anywhere that important, can it, and it's almost lunchtime, so I'm getting sort of hungry, so…"
"Calm down, Jade." Beck chuckled. Making her get worked up was one of the most amusing pastimes ever, especially since it proved this girl who seemed to be made of immovable steel was, in fact, malleable at times. "I think you'll enjoy this."
But perhaps he was mistaken, because as soon as he pulled up, Jade groaned. "No, no, no. We are not having lunch with the Idiot Squad."
"The so-called Idiot Squad is a bunch of our best friends from high school, Jade." His voice was serious for once. "And today, well, today's a very important day for me, though I can't tell you why just yet, and I'd like to be able to share that with them."
"Do they know, then?" Her voice was scathing. Her anger amused him.
"Yes." A simple response.
"Then they'll tell me. I can scare Robbie into telling me, but Cat will be easier. There's no way she can keep a secret for more than like, five minutes without having a complete breakdown. I guess if she was a coma she would, so I guess I'll have to prevent that from happening, and…"
"Jade, please." Beck rarely ever pleaded; he rarely ever found it necessary. But now he wanted something from her, needed something from her in fact, and so it seemed he had to resort to begging like some sort of homeless man on the street.
Jade sighed, sounding resigned. "Fine, whatever. But only 'cause I tolerate you. But if the Idiot Squad makes fun of me for not knowing, I will force it out of someone, got it?"
He shook his head and grinned, knowing that was the best he'd get from her. Then he slipped his arm around her shoulders, kneading her right shoulder the way he always did when she was stressed about something. She relaxed noticeably at his touch.
By the time they reached the second-to-the-top floor of Tori's apartment complex, Jade seemed a bit more relaxed, but all the tension seemed to return once a beaming Tori pushed open the door. "Jade, Beck! Oh my gosh, I'm so glad you came! We've all been waiting, and oh my gosh Jade you look so pretty! I just can't wait until tonight…"
Tori's incessant babbling was cut off by Cat who dashed at Jade, wrapping her arms around Jade in a tight hug. Beck went over to greet Andre and Robbie, shaking his head as he noticed the two girls babbling at Jade in a stream of conversation Jade seemed both unable and unwilling to keep up with. They proceeded to direct the couple to the table, where they were all seated and continued in their friendly conversation, though Tori and Cat kept sneaking peeks at Beck and Jade and giggling to themselves. It might have been a bad idea to tell them, Beck thought, but they were his friends and they had a right to know. Even Robbie seemed a bit out of sorts, choking on his food occasionally and spilling his drink, though then again that might have just been typical Robbie behavior.
It was odd though; everyone knew except Jade, and somehow she hadn't guessed yet. Perhaps she was just unwilling to guess, or perhaps she was just in denial; Beck knew her well enough to know that, if she tried, she could easily figure out what he was planning – but she wasn't trying, wasn't putting in effort. Maybe she just didn't care (that scared him more than any other possibility).
But then Jade narrowed her eyes. "Anyone care to tell me what's so funny about me just sitting here next to my boyfriend?"
"Nothing," Cat chirped immediately, far too soon for Jade's scrutinizing eyes. "We just, um, you've got a little bit of mashed potato on your chin."
"I'll get it," Beck volunteered immediately, dropping a kiss to her chin. It was, of course, an excuse; Jade was not the type to get mashed potato on her chin, but Cat's false accusation would only further add to her suspicion, and he didn't need that.
"I'm just really glad you guys came," Tori said genuinely. "I've missed hanging out with all of us, like we used to in high school. Even though we're like, adults now, practically, and soon we'll be, um, getting married –" she cast a look at Beck, and he tried not to groan, "and growing up, I don't want us to grow apart. So yeah. And I haven't seen you in ages, and you just really look pretty and like, happy, and…" Tori trailed off. "I'm happy for you."
Jade gave a noncommittal shrug. "I guess." Her fingers tightened around Beck's, in that sort of way that told him what words, for the most part, couldn't. You make me happy. He squeezed back. You make me happy too.
"No, really," Cat chirped. "I'm so glad you're happy, Jade. And you too Tori, and Andre, and Robbie, and Beck, and I hope we'll all be happy and successful even after college. Maybe we'll get married…" She cast another look at Beck, "and have families and children and even get a picket fence!"
"That," Jade replied, "sounds completely and utterly boring."
"Would you be opposed to getting married, then?" Robbie blurted out.
Jade fixed him with a steely gaze. "I would not agree to marry you even if I was strapped to a table and someone was coming towards me with a chainsaw. But I'm not saying I'm opposed to the idea in general. I mean, there are… is one person I'd like to spend my life with, married or not."
She snuck a glance over at Beck, and he didn't hide his smile this time. They kissed lightly; at least until Robbie broke them up with another of his infamous throat clears. Robbie was entirely averse to any sort of public affection (except, well, his own affection for Cat).
"You two are so cute," Tori said dreamily, her chin in one of her hands and a bright smile plastered on her face. Back in their high school days Tori had been quite infatuated with Beck, but now she was one of the biggest proponents of their relationship (second only to Cat).
"We try," Beck said, draping his arm around her and shooting her a big smile.
She came back with, "Please, I do not try to be cute because I am not cute." But everyone else seemed to be in the business of not believing her, which made her wrinkle up her nose in that cute sort of way that Beck loved to see.
The dinner went on splendidly from there, and even though their friends continually dropped hints, Jade didn't seem to be picking up on any of them. Then again, her comment from before had given him hope that she would accept.
By the time they left Jade seemed slightly more comfortable. She even gave Tori a hug, albeit reluctantly, and allowed Cat to tackle her before she left. She hugged Andre in a friendly sort of way and waved at Robbie as she left, which, for the two of them, was progress. As they left, he breathed a sigh of relief. "Thanks for being pleasant."
"I'm always pleasant," Jade snorted, but she smiled slightly. "What's next on your big day or whatever?"
He looked down, pretending to be consulting a list, though of course he'd been planning this day for ages and knew each component of it by heart. "Next," Beck said, a smile making its way across his face, "well… I suppose you'll see."
Jade muttered something that sounded strangely like 'troll' (though, with his effortless good looks, that was most assuredly not true). Beck just laughed and started up the engine; her pout had always been strangely adorable to him, just like every other component of her 'bad attitude'.
By the time they got to their next destination, Jade was strangely antsy, and had therefore been changing the radio station more than usual, so that the first strains of Train's 'Fifty Ways to Say Goodbye' blended with the new Ginger Fox song. Beck sighed as he pulled into a parking place. "If you're done fidgeting, we're here."
"You brought me to a movie theater?" Jade inquired incredulously. "This feels like one of those things thirteen-year-old boys do so that they can sit with their date in the back of the movie theater and like, make out with them. I thought you were a little more mature than all that."
"Actually I brought you here because they're playing The Scissoring for their 'classics weekend' and I thought you might like to go," Beck told her, feigning offense. "But if you'd rather go home and sit around, well, I guess we could just do that…"
"No!" Jade yelped. When Beck looked at her strangely, she blushed a bit and followed it up with, "I meant, this is fine, but you're paying."
"Don't I always," Beck muttered under his breath, but he grinned and took her hand in his own – this was, after all, her day, and he wasn't going to let any stupid fighting ruin that. "So do you want popcorn and candy or something?"
"Of course," Jade told him. "With extra – "
"Butter, and a bag of M&Ms," Beck finished her sentence, grinning at her with a smile he knew was probably very goofy and not attractive at all, but he didn't care because the only person he was trying to impress was standing right in front of him, eyes downcast and a smile tugging at her lips. (He liked that he was one of the few people that could make her smile; it made him feel empowered in an odd sort of way.) "Do I know you, or do I know you?"
"Whatever," Jade replied, but she squeezed his hand and let him lead her to the counter, where he placed her order and paid for it all. She carried the popcorn and M&Ms, leaving him to get the drinks (he'd ordered her coffee, which was admittedly strange for them to sell at a movie theater but this was California, after all). They found seats near the back of the theater, and Jade seized the opportunity to make fun of the younger couples in front of them.
"Look at that guy," she pointed out, motioning towards a dark-haired guy who seemed to be about high school age. "He's got a wandering hand; we know why he's here. Ooh – those two are getting intense down there. I didn't come here for that kind of show."
Beck just chuckled. "You know, that was us once upon a time."
She rolled her eyes. "Right, good thing we've grown up and gotten all mature now – right?"
The two of them locked eyes for a moment, and then before either of them could speak, Beck was attacking her lips with his own, dragging her as close as possible in the tight theater seats. She responded with equal fervor, at least until the title sequence started playing and she tugged away to watch her favorite movie with rapt attention. This, too, Beck found adorable; even if her favorite movie was more than a bit disturbing, her devotion to it was unwavering, and so he watched with her whenever she had the urge to (which was fairly often).
Probably in most stereotypical relationships, it was the girl who got afraid and it was the boy who, consequently, took time away from the movie to comfort her; however, in Beck and Jade's relationship, it was Beck who shook with fear and Jade who whispered "Calm down, you idiot" into his ear but held his hand tightly and kissed him on the cheek. Their relationship, therefore, was far from stereotypical, but it worked – it always had.
Near the end of the movie, Beck glanced over at Jade. It was moments like these, random moments, when he looked over at his girlfriend and realized just how beautiful she was. The movie cast a rare glow over her porcelain features, and her eyes were bright with anticipation, and –
He leaned over and kissed her softly, only pulling away when she pushed him back. "Beck," she groaned, "I missed the ending!" But then she kissed him again, initiating it this time, and neither of them pulled back for quite a while, at least not until the usher asked them to leave (not being too polite, either).
Laughing, the two of them rushed out of the theater and back to his truck, where they sat in silence for a moment before Jade inquired, "What's next?"
"What, you don't want to just go home now?" Beck inquired, his mouth falling open in fake surprise. When she glared daggers at him (something all too typical of the dark girl), he laughed. "Okay, okay, fine, I've got more planned. And hopefully you'll enjoy this too."
She rolled her eyes at him, but once they pulled up at the graveyard, her sullen façade was nowhere to be found. "The sun's setting," she cried, "and we're at the graveyard. Maybe you do actually know how to make a girl happy."
He shook his head and laughed, seating himself underneath a tree. Admittedly, the graveyard was sort of spooky, but her excitement was worth every second of his discomfort.
As far as she knew, it was just him trying to make her happy, and although that was true, there was something else involved as well, something that had been nagging at him all day, tearing his nerves into shreds. He didn't want to lose her, ever, and it was that in itself that had made him decide to do this, all of this, for her. He loved her like he had never loved anyone else; he loved her with a passion that surprised even himself, considering the fact that, despite the fact that he was an actor, he wasn't really the passionate sort of guy.
"Come on, Oliver," Jade said impatiently as she made her way back over to him. "I found this really creepy grave, and there's one where the tomb is like, cracked open and you can see the bones – how cool is that?"
"So cool," Beck responded, his teeth chattering despite his attempts to stop them. He did, after all, find all of this stuff disturbing, but she seemed to enjoy it, and so he wasn't going to try to stop her. She showed him the grave (which had a skull carved into it, how morbid could some people get) and the tomb (which looked like one you might find in a horror movie, complete with the ominous cracks), and then he glanced down at his watch and realized they had to get going.
"What, have you got a date?" Jade questioned as he dragged her to his truck.
"Yep," he replied, "with the most beautiful girl ever." And she rolled her eyes, not even bothering to get jealous like she would have once upon a time, because she knew who he was talking about, and although she probably found it cheesy, she was also pleased, because her cheeks were tinted with red again. Immediately she launched into her typical firing of questions – Where are we going why can't you tell me oh my gosh Beck you're such an idiot – and that went on until he pulled up at the restaurant, the very same restaurant where Jade had agreed to be his girlfriend after days and days of pleading.
"Well, isn't this cliché," Jade murmured, and Beck elbowed her.
"Come on, Jade, I know you love the lasagna here," Beck told her, smirking over at her. "I remember you ate like, a whole plate of it that one time –"
"Are you calling me fat?" Jade interrupted, using her typical angry voice that meant you better refute my statement or you are in big trouble.
He had to laugh. "Of course not, babe; I think it's cute that you can eat and not be ashamed of it. It's seriously weird when girls don't eat anything. But I was just saying that you enjoy it here, and so don't act like you're all superior and I'm the cliché prince or whatever."
"I am superior," Jade retorted, but she let him lead her to a table anyway, the one he had reserved hours in advance in anticipation for what was to come. He let her look over the menu even though he knew already what she was going to order, and his expectations were fulfilled when she ordered the lasagna, just like last time, though she shot him a glare that clearly said comment and I will kill you. Rolling his eyes, he ordered a big plate of spaghetti, his favorite noodles, and then, once the waitress left, Jade immediately jumped into typical Jade mode.
"That waitress was flirting with you."
"She was not, Jade. She only looked at me because she had to take my order, all right? And besides," he shot her yet another of his overly confident grins, "I've only got eyes for one particularly gorgeous girl tonight."
Her jealousy, Beck knew, was a defense mechanism; she used it when she was feeling particularly insecure, and so he'd taken to complimenting her whenever she became irrationally jealous. For the most part, it seemed to work. She would settle down and smile secretly to herself, which pleased him for some inexplicable reason; it was nice to have some measure of control over her.
As always, she smiled slightly, and then she asked, "So did you just like, bring me here to be even cheesier than normal? It's not like, my birthday or anything. It's not even our anniversary."
"As far as you know, yes, I'm just here to be cheesy," Beck said with a slight smirk, which seemed to irritate Jade, since she swung her feet back and forth in a restless sort of manner. He laughed, and then focused on her expression, on the way her eyebrows were tilted up slightly and her eyes weren't angry as they usually were; instead, they were filled with something like curiosity.
"What are you staring at?" Jade questioned in a snarky tone, her eyebrows raised.
"I love you," he blurted out before he could stop himself, and then he composed himself, following it up with, "I love you a lot, okay? No matter what happens, I love you."
"Just when I think this dinner couldn't get any cheesier," Jade groaned, putting her head in her hands, but then she muttered something that sounded a lot like "I love you too", and he had to smile. Jade loved him – he knew that. She was bad at showing it sometimes, but he knew she cared for him, possibly more than she cared for anyone else in the world, and that – that was oddly satisfying.
"No, I mean it, Jade," Beck said, his eyes wide. How long had he been waiting for this moment – days, weeks, more like years – and probably he was ruining it, doing it too early, before the food even got there, but the moment seemed perfect to him, and for something like this it seemed best for him to go with his impulses. "I love you more than I've ever loved anyone, ever."
"Well, I would hope so," Jade replied dryly, obviously still not catching his drift. "So?"
"So I want to spend the rest of my life with you." And then, in one fluid motion, he was on the floor in front of her, down in one knee, the velvet box he'd been hiding in his pocket flat in his hand as he pulled up the lid to reveal the ring, her ring – diamonds surrounding a single jade stone. "Jade West, I love you so much and I don't think I'll ever stop, really. I don't think it's possible. And all I want is to be able to spend the rest of my life with you and no one else. So will you – will you do me a favor and marry me?"
"Beck," she breathed out, glancing down at him – clearly, despite his multiple hints, she hadn't been expecting this – clearly, as far as she knew, it had just been a normal day. But she was smiling, a broad smile that took over most of her face, which sort of gave him hope as he waited with bated breath for her answer.
"Is that a yes?" he asked hopefully, closing his eyes as he waited for her answer, hoping for the best.
"Of course, you idiot," she said, standing up to press her lips against his – and then the whole restaurant, which had apparently been watching their little scene, burst into applause. After she pulled away, eyes sparkling, she inquired, "Did you really think I would say no?"
"I'd hoped you wouldn't," he confessed, kissing her lightly on her forehead and sliding the ring onto her finger. "But Jade – I hope you know that this is probably the best moment of my life."
"It's just getting cheesier," she warned, leaning her forehead against his. "But, you know. I love you too and all that. Otherwise I never would've said yes."
"I'm glad," he teased, kissing her lightly again, watching her eyes, her glorious eyes – they had that spark in them, that glimmer of happiness, and it was that that made him the happiest man in the world, honestly. He had only ever wanted her happiness, and he was glad that he could provide that for her.
"Now, if you'll let go of me," Jade said in a matter-of-fact sort of way, "the waitress has just showed up with our food, and I'm rather in the mood to devour that whole plate of lasagna – with my fiancé."
He laughed and released his arms from around her, following her back to the table. His head was dancing with visions of their wedding, of her as Jade Oliver, of her as his wife – and it was crazy to think that this was all becoming a reality. With a shake of his head, he looked at his beautiful fiancée and he smiled, wondering how he had gotten so very lucky.
A/N: This is for badeprompts' proposal fic thing. My prompt was 'as far as you know' and this is really bad so don't laugh. CASSANDRA MADE ME DO THIS so if it's really bad it's all her fault okay and you can send her angry messages or whatever. Go read everyone else's; they're probably way better than mine, but I hope you enjoyed this anyway! Please read and review. Thanks!