Summary: After being raped at a party, Tori turns to Jade for help.
Jade West, irritated that she had to answer the door in first place, opened said door to find Tori Vega standing in the unusually cold December evening, her body bent over and shaking.
"Vega?" she demanded with an aggravated sigh. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"I…" Tori tried to speak but her voice failed her.
"Jesus! Alright, come on in. I don't need you dying of exposure on my doorstep." Jade pulled her classmate into her house, shaking her head in exasperation. She noticed the thin windbreaker the girl was wearing – not nearly enough protection from the cold front that had moved into the LA Basin. "Come on. Why aren't you wearing a heavier coat?" She shook her head again, "I suppose we'll have to get you warmed up before you get pneumonia. That's not fun, believe me."
In her mind, Jade stopped in her tracks. She actually was going to help this irritating girl. And, on top of that, she almost volunteered information about herself. But, to be truthful, everyone had noticed that Tori Vega had not been her typical, upbeat, bubbly self. Her personal interaction with her friends, classmates and teachers was barely above what was necessary to get her schoolwork done. And no one knew why.
Once in her bathroom, Jade turned the shower on, letting the water heat up. Then she pulled a big towel out of the small linen closet. "Get undressed and take a shower. I'll get you something to put on while you do that."
Tori had been unusually silent the whole time. She lifted haunted eyes to the other girl and finally said, "Jade…uh, thanks."
Jade nodded and replied, "If you want… I suppose…we can…um…talk when you're warmed up."
Jade returned to her room and started to pull out a long-sleeved shirt, some sweat pants and socks – all black of course. All the while, she wondered at her actions. Normally she didn't care if Vega was miserable or in pain. It often amused her. But she sensed something this time that caused her to break out of her usual cold stoicism.
There was a knock on her door. "Jade?'
"What Mom?" First Vega and now her mother? Jeee-zus…
"Who was at the door?" Jade's mother entered the room, cocking her head at the sound of the shower. "Is someone here?"
Jade looked at her mother, ready to release a smart-ass reply when she really noticed the concern in the elder West's eyes. "Vega is here. I don't know why but she nearly frozen."
Her mother smile at her daughter, "This the same girl you…um, hate?"
"Yeah… Well, I couldn't very well leave her out on the stoop."
"Why is she here?"
"I don't know. She seems kind of out of it."
"Drugs?" Mrs. West asked, naturally concerned if narcotics were involved.
Jade just shrugged.
"Take care of her. If you need me, I'll be downstairs. Your father and I are going over the bills."
"Thanks Mom." Jade replied, her voice unusually soft.
"Jade, I don't know what's going on or… Just don't fight your feelings. Okay? That's the problem your father is dealing with…has been dealing with. And it just makes things so much harder." She paused then lowered her eyes, and, in a quiet voice, said, "That's a big part of the reason we're not together anymore."
She'd heard all to often about her parents' problems before but still Jade blinked rapidly, confused at what she was feeling. Being compared to her father caused both a sense of pride and a feeling of shame inside.
Before she could reply, her mother came back in, kissed her on the forehead tenderly and left to resume work with her ex-husband on the family accounts.
After several moments, Jade shook her head yet again and grabbed the clothes, heading into the bathroom.
As she walked in, she froze. She expected – wanted? - to see the slender girl's body through the glass door of the shower but she didn't expect to see Tori balled up on the floor, the steaming water showering down on her. In another second, Jade realized Tori was sobbing.
"TORI!" she yelled as she ran into the shower, pulling the other girl to her. Feeling the now too-hot water through her shirt, she quickly shut the shower off and pulled the brunette out into the bathroom. She grabbed the towel and wrapped it around Tori, rubbing her as the girl stood there listlessly. When Tori finally managed to look up, Jade could again see the devastated look in her eyes. It frightened her.
"Okay Vega, we do need to talk. But you need to get dressed." She picked up the clothes she dropped in her rush to get to Tori and held them out. "Here, put these on." She glanced down at herself and muttered, "I need to change too."
Tori stood there, the towel still draped over her bare shoulders, staring at nothing. She held the dark clothes in her hand but didn't make a move to put them on.
Finally, Jade helped Tori who had just stood there, holding the clothes. She stooped down and helped her get her feet through the legs of the sweat pants. Then she worked at getting the shirt on, thinking this was almost as hard as dressing her brother when he was little and only wanted to wriggle around. Sitting the girl down on the closed toilet, Jade pulled up the socks. Then she led Tori into the bedroom, sitting her on the bed.
Jade glanced at Tori then decided 'Fuck it!' She stripped her wet clothes off and then grabbed her own towel from the bathroom and dried herself off. Not bothering to take the time to pick anything out, she pulled on a black robe then jumped when Tori said, "I'm sorry I got you wet…"
Jade smiled, an honest smile for a change, and said, "Don't worry about it. You feel like talking?"
Jade sat on the edge of her bed near the headboard next to Tori. Reluctantly, as if she feared Jade would bite, Tori glanced at her. Trying to ease the increasingly tense atmosphere, Jade asked, "So, Vega, what brings you out on such a delightfully dreary night?"
Tori looked over, her brown eyes wide as she stared at Jade's eyes for a moment. Then she dropped her eyes and a tear quickly formed and fell to her clasped hands.
Now truly concerned, Jade whispered, "Tori?"
Her body heaving as she broke into sobs again, Tori said, "I'm pregnant."
"What?" Jade asked, sure she hadn't just heard what she heard.
"I'm pregnant!" Tori said in a louder voice. Then she collapsed onto Jade, sobbing.
"You remember that Northridge party last month?"
"Yeah. It was lame. Especially by Northridge standards," Jade observed. "Who has a Halloween party in November?"
"I saw Steven there."
"Steven the jerk who was dating you and iCarly?"
"Just Carly. I think." Tori managed to smile weakly, relieved that the truth was out there. Jade smiled back.
"So you saw Steven and…?"
Tori shook her head, "I ignored him and tried to enjoy myself. I remember dancing then it got hazy and a few hours later, I was in one of the bedrooms upstairs. I was…naked." Tori stopped and closed her eyes. "I had been r-r-r…" Tears started to flow again as Tori whispered in anguish, "Jade, I'm a virgin. At least, I was until…"
Jade pulled her close and held her. As she did so, she used one hand to text her mother, something she rarely did. A minute later, there was a knock on the door and Mrs. West came in. "Hey… Is everything…?"
"No Mom. Tori was…was raped," Jade growled like a feral beast given voice. "A few weeks ago at a party. And now she's..." Jade took a deep breath and continued, "She's pregnant."
"Oh dear, oh my poor dear," Jade's mother said as she sat on the other side of Tori, gently stroking her hair. "Why didn't you report this?" Seeing the look from her daughter, she stopped and asked, "Do you know who did this?"
Tori nodded, her face still pressed to Jade's robe.
Jade said, "I think it was Steven Carson. You don't know him. He's some home-schooled screw-up who dated Tori while he was dating another chick up in Seattle. They burned him live on this webcast called iCarly and… He left in shame but I remember him muttering on the way out the door of Kenan's house that he'd get his due. I didn't know what had happened at the time and didn't give it much thought." Jade then told her mother about the Northridge party.
Mrs. West nodded. In truth, she watched iCarly from time to time with her younger son. It was mindless fun and a good escape from the drudgery of work and dealing with her ex-husband and increasingly distant daughter. And she remembered seeing the video of the special iCarly at Kenan Thompson's house. When Kenan called the kid a wazbag, he was being generous, as far as the older West was concerned.
"And you think this Carson…?"
"He did it! He even laughed at me when I woke up…" Tori sobbed. "Said he had pictures for his…al-album!"
Jade's eyes narrowed. "Mom, can you help Tori out for a while? I need to see…someone about something…"
"Jade, please don't go. Don't leave me!" Tori cried.
"Jade, I think you should stay with her. For now."
"Okay, I think I know where he'll be later…" Jade smiled a twisted smile that caused her mother to shiver for a moment.
Mrs. West stood up and said, "I'll be back in a minute."
Nearly true to her word, she was back in a couple of minutes. She had a bottle with dark brown liquid, the label turned towards her, and three small glasses. She put a half inch of the drink in each glass and handed Jade one then forced Tori to take one. She kept the last for herself. "In this situation, I think we need a bracer."
Her mother drank it quickly. Jade followed suit, recognizing the taste of strong rum. She was about to comment on alcohol and pregnancy when Tori threw hers back, coughing violently for several seconds as Jade patted her back.
Unconsciously sounding like a cliché from an old-time commercial, Tori whispered, "Thanks. I needed that."
"Mom, she's pregnant. Should she…"
"A small, repeat small, measure of alcohol from time to time is okay nowadays. At least according to my ob-gyn." Seeing the inquisitive look on Jade's face, she shook her head, "I'm not pregnant. But you are growing up and I wanted to be as knowledgeable as I could be in case…" She nodded towards Tori with a sympathetic expression.
She again sat next to Tori and looked at her daughter, asking, "Do your parents know?"
Tori shook her head. "I was… I'm scared. I don't know what to tell them. I mean…"
Jade gripped her hand and said, "I'll be with you. Don't worry." Tori looked at the pale girl, gratitude and a trace of confusion on her face. "Yeah, I know. Welcome to the softer side of Jade West. Now lay down and get some rest. I'll call your parents and tell them you're over here working on a project and are going to sleep over. Tomorrow we'll…"
Jade started to get up but fell back when Tori gripped her hand hard. "Don't worry. I'm just going to get your clothes, my stuff and the towels to throw them in the wash. I'll be right back."
Jade's mother had already crossed to the door, taking the bottle and glasses. "Jade, I can take them. You stay here with Tori."
"Thanks, Mom." Jade smiled a real smile of gratitude to her mother.
"And I'll call the Vegas. Let them know Tori is here and..."
Tori looked up, her eyes red and swollen. Swallowing hard, she asked, "Can you tell them about the project like Jade suggested, please?"
Reluctantly, Mrs. West nodded. "I…don't want to lie to them but…"
"No. Don't lie." Tori swallowed hard again as she reluctantly agreed. "Just ask them to come over please. I have to tell them and…if Jade is here, I think I can…do it."
"I'm here for you, Tori," Jade said softly.
Soon, Jade's father, Jim, led a very worried David and Holly Vega into Jade's room. Liz had already filled in her ex-husband who was understandably horrified that something like this hit so close to home.
By this time, Tori was in bed, cocooned in the blanket and sheets with Jade sitting beside her, holding her hand. Holly sat on the other side of the bed and ran her fingers across her little girl's face. "Oh, Tori. What's wrong?"
Tori shook her head then Jade squeezed her hand, a gesture not lost on Holly. "Mom, Dad… Oh God! Jade, I can't…"
"It's okay. I'll…" Jade looked up at the Vegas, anger flashing in her eyes as she said. "Last month, at a party in Northridge, Tori was drugged and raped."
"Oh my God!" Holly whispered, her hand over her mouth as her face paled.
"WHO?!" David demanded, his face red with rage.
"A prick named Steven Carson."
"I'll kill him," David said in a low voice.
"Not if I get him first," Jade countered.
"Stop!" Tori yelled. "Please stop… There's more." Tori's eyes were dry but the anguish was evident in her expression and voice. "It's not just the rape. I…I'm pregnant."
Tori started to quake and she turned to Jade who held her as the broken brunette dry-sobbed into her shoulder. Holly slowly extended her hand and ran it back and forth across Tori's back. David clenched his fists. He was beside himself that something like this could happen to one of his little girls. He was a big city cop and knew how much evil existed in the world but he had always fooled himself that his family was safe from it.
Spinning away from the scene on the bed, David turned to the wall and punched it, yelling, "Goddamnit!"
Everyone stopped and stared at him as he stared at the fist-sized hole he had created in the plastered drywall. Sheepishly, he turned around, "Sorry. It's just that I'm so angry… Uh, Jim, Liz, I'll pay for the repair work."
Jade's father shook his head, "Don't worry about it. I don't know if I could hold it together as well if this was Jade."
David frantically patted his pockets. "Damn it! I wanna call the station but I left my phone on the counter at home, charging. Holly?"
"Sorry, mine's charging right next to yours."
Liz West smiled sympathetically, "Please, you can use our phone."
Jade looked up from Tori, "You gonna bust him?"
"That's the plan," David said bitterly, sorry he couldn't do more.
"Wait! So far, it's Tori's word against his. Is that enough?" Jade asked.
"I don't know," David reluctantly replied. "I can arrest him but I'm not sure we have enough to hold him… Not yet."
"What if I could get you some solid evidence?"
"What did you have in mind?" David asked.
Jade led him and her father from the room, reassuring Tori she'd be right back. The broken girl seemed to be okay with that as long as her mother and Liz were there.
In the hall, she began, "Well, tomorrow I can…"
The Vegas got ready to go home with their daughter. Tori looked around frantically. "Jade?"
"Right here, Tori."
"Can…can you come home with us?"
"Tori, your parents can take care of you. It'll be okay. You can call me if you want."
Tori's face fell and Jade's heart fell with it. She looked at the elder Vegas, "Would it be alright? I don't want to…"
"Jade, please. Tori needs you. If that helps my little girl…" David replied.
"You are always welcome in our house," Holly added.
"Even if you're having a romantic evening and we crash it to laugh at your movie?" Jade asked with a smirk. The Vegas smiled back.
"Go ahead sweetheart," Liz said. "Call us later, okay?" Jade bit back a comment about when she ever needed permission but, instead, merely nodded. She grabbed some clothes and disappeared into her bathroom to change out of her robe.
Meanwhile, Liz spoke to the Vegas, "If you need anything at all from Jim or I, please don't hesitate to call."
The mothers hugged and the fathers shook hands. They had all agreed not to chastise the girls about underage drinking at a high school party. Tori was suffering worse than any punishment and Jade…
Well, the Wests would deal with it later.
That night, Jade held Tori as the girl slept. The Goth found the feeling of being there for Tori surprisingly comfortable. A day ago, if someone had said she'd be helping out Tori Vega, Jade would've either laughed in their face or yelled at them. Comfort and more started to fill the pale girl and she felt some fear at these new emotions directed at Tori. She lay there for several hours, staring at the tree-shaped, streetlight-painted patterns on the ceiling. Eventually, close to 3 in the morning, she dozed off, Tori still sleeping in her arms.
When classes broke for lunch, Jade left Hollywood Arts and headed north to the San Fernando Valley and Northridge. She checked some of the coffee shops and a snack shop near the high school, guessing her prey would be trolling there for any new girls to use and abuse. Finally, for no specific reason, she settled on a Caribou Coffee that was close to Northridge High School.
Eventually, when she heard a bell announce the door opening, she looked up to see Steven Carson strut into the coffee shop. Not sure if he remembered her, Jade did a slow walk to his table after he settled into his chair. "Hi Steve. Remember me?"
"Uh, um, Jane! Right? The girl who likes witch soup."
Smiling convincingly, she shook her head, "No, Jade. But yeah, I like that about hot tubs.
"May I join you?"
Jade sat opposite Steven. They made flirtatious small talk for several minutes. Outwardly Jade was into it but inside she was seething. She pictured her scissors punching through one of his eyeballs then the other. Then his ears past the ear drums. Then lower down, she gelded him and shoved the remains in his mouth as she slowly slit his throat, watching him cough up blood through the remains of his genitalia.
She had to blink and shake her head for a moment. The image was so strong, she almost lost track of reality.
"Everything okay?" Steven asked with what sounded like real concern. Then his phone rang and he pulled it out. "Excuse me."
He spoke for a few moments when Jade stood up, grabbed the phone and poured her still-steaming coffee over his head, unwittingly copying one of her first torments of the girl she was now desperately trying to help. As Carson screamed from the scalding liquid, he stood up. With her steel-toed boots, she kicked him as hard in his groin as she could. She hoped his nuts were now up around his diaphragm.
"That's for Tori Vega!" she declared. Seeing fear flash across the dirt bag's face at the mention of Tori's name, she felt somewhat vindicated.
She left the coffee shop and headed to her car. In seconds, she was speeding out of the lot and back towards home.
Once she felt she was far enough, she pulled into a strip mall and parked in the alley behind the stores. Taking a deep breath, Jade shuddered for a moment. As hard-edged as she portrayed herself, she had rarely ever done real violence on anyone. Not since she pushed Stevie Hudson's face in the grass in fourth grade when he tried to peak up her school uniform.
Her body began to quiver as the adrenaline rush blew through her. It was intense but even more terrifying. Finally, she managed to force deep, calming breaths.
As Jade finally got over the shakes, she pulled her own PearPhone out and called the Vega house. "The package has been retrieved. I'll check it first, make sure El Creepo left anything incriminating on it."
"Understood," David replied noncommittally.
"I…uh, well, I did get some payback…"
"Thank you." She heard the smile on the man's face.
Jade was oddly pleased that her old frenemy's father was willing to go along with her crazy scheme to get the creep that hurt Tori.
She checked the phone itself. No nerdy label with the owner's name and no apparent security password lock. Idiot, Jade thought.
Then Jade began to access the picture files. Some of the usual inane pics people save on their phones then a couple of shots of the party then Tori lying on a bed. She seemed to be awake but her eyes were dilated and glassy. Jade felt her anger grow again. The next showed Tori with her top off and the bra lying beside her. Then she was naked. Steven Fucking Carson had his dick out and was waving it over her head. The next few showed him as he shoved it in her mouth, his face one huge grin. Then she saw him fucking her. The next few pictures showed him thrusting in and out. Then she realized she saw, in the pictures of him inside her friend, Tori's virginal blood. Jade's mind faded out for a moment, her body quaking with rage.
Slowly, through the red haze, Jade realized there was another person involved. As disgusted as she was by what she had already seen, she continued to scroll through the file, hoping to see the picture taker.
Coming back to herself, she felt her hand aching as it clenched the phone. She loosened her grip and the casing creaked. Forcing herself, Jade scrolled through more. She realized that the figure had changed.
This must be the prick who took the pictures, Jade thought. He looked familiar, a young guy, maybe college age with sun-bleached hair and a goatee. She was going to find this fuck too.
She then realized that a third person was there taking the pictures now as Carson was standing, holding himself over Tori's face while his…friend raped the girl. He…
"He used her hair like a FUCKING TOWEL!" Jade shouted. She almost turned around to go back and actually kill the prick. She didn't but she growled out her promise, "I will make him pay!"
Jade didn't want to see any more. She wished she hadn't seen these but she had to learn what she could. The blond-haired guy was reaching out of the picture and she realized he took the phone so the third man could… Then she saw the third man…
"OH! MY! GOD! HE'S DEAD! THEY'ER ALL DEAD! I WILL FUCKING KILL THEM ALL!" she screamed, throwing the phone across her car to bounce off the passenger door.
The next thing Jade knew, she was staring at the front of her house, her mother tapping on the driver's side window and her father standing by his car in the driveway, a rare look of real concern on his face.
Jade powered down the window and shouted, "WHAT?!"
"Jade, you've been sitting out here for over five minutes. Where were you? What happened?"
Slowly, she unclenched the hand that was still gripping the steering wheel. Her knuckles popped and she grimaced from the sharp pangs she felt. Before she got out of the car, she leaned over and grabbed Carson's phone. When she saw the cracked casing, she smiled to herself. Another little bit of payback.
She stomped into the house and threw the phone on the coffee table. "That fuck!" she muttered. Knowing the situation, neither her mother or father said anything about her language. They did herd her brother up to his room. As he left, he stared at his big sister, with wide, frightened eyes.
"That…prick had pictures taken of Tori and him as he raped her. Then the guy who took his pictures took over. And then…"
She closed her eyes and massaged her temples. When they opened her parents were alarmed to see almost lifeless orbs staring out. Her voice was a flat monotone as she said, "And then a third bastard started to fuck my…Tori. It was Robbie Shapiro."
"Robbie?" her parents asked simultaneously. "The boy with the ventriloquist's puppet?"
"Yes, Robbie Shapiro. The guy I thought was… We all thought was just odd but harmless." She closed her eyes and then stood up. Her voice rose as she declared, "I will kill him…"
It took some effort on her parents' part, but they finally talked Jade down from her dark emotional peak and asked her to sleep on it.
"Please Jade. You doing something like that… Well, it won't do Tori any good if you're locked up too," her mother argued.
That hit home with Jade. She suddenly felt like she'd been gut-punched when she thought about not being able to see the slender brunette who had, for so long, been a self-inflicted thorn in her side. "Alright. I'll…settle down. I'll get this to the cops so they can get these guys legally. Okay?"
Her parents nodded.
As she walked out, Jade muttered, "But God help them if they walk. What they did to Tori will seem like a cakewalk."
Soon Jade collapsed in her bed, staring at the ceiling for a second straight night. And, for the second night in a row, she had to talk to Tori. She grabbed her phone and called the Latina.
A still somewhat timid voice answered, "Hello?"
"Veg… Tori, it's me."
"Jade!" the voice noticeably brightened.
"Tori, are you alright? You sound strange," Jade asked, concerned.
"Yeah, they just gave me some stuff to…" Jade heard a giggle then a deep breath over the phone. "Jade, I'm still scared and…"
"Ssh, Tori, I'm here for you. Whenever. Okay?"
"Okay… Thank you, Jade. I know we're not friends but…"
"Yes, we are. Tori, I've been a real bitch to you in the past but I want to make it up to you by helping. Any way I can."
Sniffling first then a voice that Jade could almost hear smiling, "You have. Thanks."
"Hey, good news! I got the evidence your dad will need." Jade didn't mention the other two creeps, not yet. Tori was dangerously overloaded as it was.
"That's great," Tori replied in a worried voice. "Will people need to see it?"
"Hopefully no one but the DA and the detectives involved."
Silence on the other end stretched out.
"Don't worry. You did nothing wrong. It's obvious you were drugged and nearly comatose."
Worried at the small voice she heard, Jade said, "Tori. I wasn't kidding. You are not at fault. These… Steven drugged you and assaulted you. You are the victim. Remember that. They…he is the bad guy. Okay?"
"Okay," Tori finally said.
"And, Tori, what I said earlier, I'm here for you. Any time. Twenty-four-seven. Got it? You wake up from a nightmare at 3 in the morning, call me. You can't sleep, call me. You want to talk, call me. You need anything at any time, call me. Got that?"
"Thanks, Jade. I really appreciate that."
"I mean it, Tor."
Jade could hear sniffling on the other end, but not the bad kind. Then Tori, in a choked voice, said, "Thank you Jade. For everything. I don't know if I can ever repay you."
In her best Godfather voice, Jade said, "Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me."
The Goth was gratified to hear Tori laugh as she said, "That's a horrible Marlon Brando, Jade."
They talked for another hour and, by the end of the call, Jade could tell Tori's spirits were raised somewhat. "Hey, girl," Jade said, thinking, Did I just say that?
Tori chuckled, "Yeah?"
"It's getting late. I got school tomorrow." Her mind flashed red for a moment as she pictured Shapiro at HA. Shaking her head. She went on, "I need my beauty sleep."
"Okay, but not too much. You're pretty enough now," Tori said softly. "The rest of us are already playing catch-up."
Feeling her throat catch at the unexpected compliment, Jade swallowed then forced a laugh, "Riiight… Okay. Cat or I will bring your assignments by later."
"I'd rather see you," Tori replied.
"Yeah, um, okay. Good night, Vega."
Jade could hear the smile on Tori's face as she signed off, "Good night, West."
Jade stormed into Hollywood Arts the next morning. In the main hall, she saw Beck Oliver near the door then, across the main hallway, Robbie Shapiro with his freaky puppet. Charging past Beck, she grabbed Rex from Robbie and tore off one arm, then a leg then his head then the other leg, flinging the pieces across the main hall. Finally, she tore held the shredded remains in her left hand, staring at Robbie who was keening softly, looking at his puppet.
"Shapiro! How's it feel? Huh? You and this fucking puppet…"
Without a pause, she punched him hard. His glasses shattered, the impact-resistant lens broke under the force of Jade's adrenaline-powered blow. Fragments cut him around the eye. Then she brought her knee up into his crotch, crushing the offending member and the boy's balls.
"You bastard," she growled as the hall fell silent.
Racing up to the two, Beck asked, "Jade, what's going on?"
Robbie held his crotch with both hands as he started to sob, "It wasn't me…. It was Rex… He told me…"
"Jade, calm down…" Beck said, trying to slow his former lover. He grasped Jade's arm and tried to pull her back.
"Let! Me! Go!" she snarled. She turned on him with a look of malice and anger causing Beck to release her, recoiling in fear.
Then, ignoring her ex-boyfriend, she screamed at Robbie, "YOU WANT TO BLAME THAT FUCKING PUPPET?! IT'S NOT ALIVE! IT'S JUST SOME WOOD AND CLOTH! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!"
Beck started to approach Jade again but halted at the woman's screaming.
Taking a deep breath, Jade growled, "You fucking bastard. Of all people. I thought you were her friend. But…"
"Jade, it's not like you think," Robbie gasped, cradling his damaged genitals. "I was stoned on rufinol. Rex told me it was a dream… I never knew it really happened."
"Does that help you sleep at night?! You raped a friend and you claim you were stoned? I've been stoned, Shapiro. And I even took rufi once. I didn't rape anyone. I didn't take this…" She held up the remains of Rex and waved it in his face, "I didn't take this and shove it in my friend. You are a reeking pile of shit!"
She punched him in his nose, blood flying. As his mouth opened in pain, she shoved Rex's hand in there. Then she kicked his hands into his crotch and, as he doubled over, brought her knee up into his jaw, causing him to chomp down on the carved wooden hand, splintering it. Robbie fell to the floor, blood pouring from his mouth and nose as Jade spun around and headed for the doors. Just before she left, she turned and saw a growing puddle spreading out from Robbie's groin, diluting the blood that had puddled on the floor.
She turned back to leave, tossing one more comment over her shoulder, "Oh yeah, you rat bastard, expect a visit from the LAPD!"
Jade drove away from Hollywood Arts, shaking as she came down from her plateau of rage. She finally had to pull over and sit. With her left hand, she gripped her right hand with the swollen, red knuckles. Jade had surprised herself. She had never really caused anyone serious injury in her life, regardless of her rep. She wondered if any of the plastic from the shattered lens got him in the eye. She wasn't too worried. It's far less than he deserved, she thought. But she knew that Robbie's nose was broken, a few teeth had to be loose if the jaw wasn't broken and his crotch would be in agony for a long time. Not that she minded that. If anyone deserved it, Robbie Shapiro did.
Under her breath, she muttered, "He was her friend. How could he…"
Jade broke off and moaned, "Oh God! How am I going to tell Tori about this?"
But that wasn't the sole reason why the Goth was scared now. She was worried that had she crossed that line. Admittedly, the whole situation was extreme but, she never really thought she was capable of such violence, regardless of how she talked and acted. Then she thought of holding Tori in her arms as the broken girl sobbed with shame and disgust.
Jade knew she'd do it all over again. And worse, if anyone tried to harm her friend again.
"My friend…" she whispered herself with a smile. Then she nodded, restarted her car and drove away from her school.
It would be several hours before she learned that she had broken two knuckles when she cracked Robbie in the face.
As she pulled away from Hollywood Arts, she felt her body begin to quake. The knuckles of her left hand were white on the steering wheel as she tried to maintain control. Finally, she cut across two lanes of on-coming traffic and screeched to a halt in the lot of an empty store front, panting and sweating.
The adrenaline had drained from her system and her body was feeling the aftereffects. Her right hand was throbbing and she was covered in a cold sweat. Jade felt herself on the verge of panic. She actually was ready to kill Robbie. The fact that he deserved what he got didn't matter – what mattered was how easily she fell into the lure…the old ultra-violence.
The realization that she quoted A Clockwork Orange to herself actually made her snicker and helped relieve the physical anguish a bit.
It still did nothing to assuage her feelings of guilt for her actions. Or the fear that she could so easily go over the edge.
After regaining her composure, Jade changed the broken PearPhone's screen wallpaper knowing the cops could look in the phone settings for the owner info. And, once they saw…
Jade carefully wiped the phone of fingerprints then drove to the central Northridge police station.
"Hi. I found this phone in the parking lot of a coffee shop and decided I should drop it off here. Maybe you guys can take care of it? Find the owner?" She tried to look coquettish and held her right hand back, the phone in her left as she held it out towards the cop.
"Sure. Do you know who owns it?"
"No. Can I just leave this with you?" Jade held out Carson's cracked PearPhone, discretely holding it by the edges with the lower pads of her fingers, away from the prints. She smiled sweetly and added, "Like I said, I…uh found it at a coffee shop near Northridge High. I figured you could find the owner."
As he took the phone, the desk sergeant eyed the Goth suspiciously when he saw her swollen hand and nodded towards it. "You might want to get that looked at."
Once Jade returned home, she texted Cat. She glared at her near-useless right hand but managed to send a message to the faux red-head asking her to bring her homework and Tori's to her house.
She did smile when she saw 'KK' on her PearPhone screen.
"Hi Jade!" Cat called as Jade opened the door.
"Hey Cat," Jade muttered. "C'mon in."
"Kay-kay." Cat walked in and set the small pile of paper on the living room coffee table. She turned and asked, "Jade? What happened with you and Robbie? They took Robbie to the school nurse then he ran off. Lane was looking for you and even Sikowitz was quiet in class."
"I don't want to talk about it right now."
"'Kay. But everyone is talking about it and there're so many stories…"
"NO!" Jade said fiercely. She immediately felt bad when Cat shrank back from her.
In a quieter voice, the red head said, "'Kay. This one time, my brother…"
"Cat! Please…" Jade held up her hand, her voice noticeably strained and tired.
"Ja-ade! Your hand? It's so swollen!" Cat exclaimed.
"Cat, it'll be okay. Don't worry about it." Jade sighed and turned away from her old friend. Way too much perkiness as far as the dour Goth was concerned. If Cat only knew… Jade thought.
"Why not?" Jade said aloud. "You'll hear about it soon enough. Cat, I have to tell you something. But you gotta keep it to yourself. I'm serious. Don't mention that nothing's wrong or text that nothing happened or anything… I really, really mean it, Cat"
"Okay, Jade. I won't tell anyone anything. I swear!"
"Good. Cat, this is bad but… It's gonna be hard to hear but Tori's not just home sick."
After Jade explained the gang rape and Tori's pregnancy, Cat went through a range of emotions in seconds. Horror, fear, sadness, more horror then anger leading to rage. The petite girl was so enraged by what happened to her friend, that Jade was actually scared for a minute.
"Robbie? Robbie Shapiro?! Was that what the fight was about? I knew you were mad but I never imagined… Oh god, I want to get one of my brother's baseball bats and pound his nuts to soup!"
"No, Cat, I've provided the cops with what they need to bust these guys." Jade then smiled wickedly, "And I'm not sure his nuts are good enough for soup anymore…"
In a deeper voice than normal, Cat said, "If you need any help, I'll help you get these guys. And Jade, if they get off, it's the last thing…"
"Whoa, Cat! They won't get off." This was a side of Caterina Valentine Jade had never seen. Then she explained getting Carson's phone and what she did before dropping it off with the cops.
All the normally perky redhead said was, "Good. That's good."
The next morning, Jade went to the Vega house. Holly answered the door. "Jade! I'm so glad you're here. Tori has been asking about you since yesterday. She's been sedated but when she comes around, all she asks is if you're here."
"Yeah, I know. She called me last night about 3:30 and we talked for over an hour… Anyway, I'm… How much do you know?"
"All of it. David knows better than to hold out on me about this." Holly had a small proud smile even as her eyes were clouded with grief. "I can't believe that boy was stupid enough to use a picture of…" Holly took a deep, shuddering breath. "A picture of Tori for his screen."
Jade just gave her a small secretive smile. The cops would have no reason to go into his phone's files without a warrant but, if they had to open it to determine the owner, they'd see his wallpaper. More than enough for probable cause.
"I…uh…addressed another part of the problem yesterday and…" She held up her hand showing the middle two fingers splinted together. She gave her friend's mother a small smile and said, "At least, if I have to give someone the finger on the road, they'll know I really mean it…"
Holly smiled. "David told me that Robbie was…in a bad way when they brought him in." She shook her head sadly, "I still can't believe Robbie could do anything like that."
"Me either," Jade admitted. "I think that whole thing with Rex finally went too far and he snapped."
Holly took a breath and said, "You remember when Trina was hurt in that play rehearsal last year?" Jade nodded. "David said Robbie admitted that Rex 'did' that too."
Jade's face turned hard. "And he blames that damned puppet!"
"Anyway, Tori's in her room. She's probably still sleeping though." Holly took Jade's hand, "She doesn't know any of this yet. I'm not sure…"
Jade squeezed her hand reassuringly.
"I won't say anything. I'll make up something about this," Jade said, holding up her injured hand.
"But it's okay if I sit with her?" Jade asked, wanting to make sure Tori was okay.
"Of course, Jade. We're just so glad she has a friend like you she could turn to."
Jade closed her eyes for a moment. Friend? I've been anything but that. Still, I do kinda like that, she thought again. She smiled inwardly that she did consider Tori her friend. And she wanted to be the best friend that poor, injured girl ever had. She said, "I'll just go up then."
With closed drapes, Tori's room was mostly dark with a small lamp on the table by her bed. Jade saw the small mass under the covers. Tori had curled into a fetal position and practically burrowed under the covers. She pulled the chair over from the desk and sat quietly.
Almost an hour later, Tori stirred and Jade, who had dozed off, jerked awake, almost falling off the chair. In a quiet voice, she asked, "Tori?"
"Jade? I knew you'd be here." A tanned, slender hand emerged from under the blanket and Jade took it in her left hand. Tori pulled and Jade moved onto the bed, sitting next to the Tori bump.
"Would you lay down and hold me?"
"Uh… I… Sure. I…uh…I'd like that," the paler girl admitted.
After Jade lay down on the soft mattress, Tori slowly uncurled and partly lay on top of Jade, her head resting on Jade's shoulder. Tori reached out to take Jade's hand and found the bandages. "What happened?"
"I had an accident at school. I'll tell you all about it later. Okay? I'm just here for you." She looked at Tori and saw from her eyes that she was still under the effect of the sedatives. "Oh, and I brought your homework."
Tori smiled at Jade, a small, timid smile. "I'm glad you're here. Even with homework."
"Me too," Jade replied truthfully.
"Jade? Can I tell you something?"
"Of course. Anything."
Tori smiled wider and said, "I love you."
Jade laughed, "You're stoned Vega!"
Jade interrupted her. "Tori, right now I'm the Florence Nightingale here." God, did I just say that? Jade thought. Aloud, she continued, "I mean, you feel grateful to me and that can cause transference of..."
"No…" Tori interrupted, her brown eyes were pained as she stared at Jade.
"Please let me finish, Tori." Tori nodded. "I like you. A lot. I never thought of you as more than a…a pain in my ass for the past year or so. But I realized you are my friend and I want to be a friend to you too. Okay?" Tori nodded again. "Good. Now, love? Let's wait until all this is behind us. You're very vulnerable now and…. I don't want to take advantage of you or hurt you. For now, I just want to help you. I want to be here for you."
Tori smiled and said, "Okay Jade. But, you know what they say about people under the…" Tori's face contorted as she tried to remember the word, "You know, under the… Um, the…"
"Right!" Tori said with a smile. "They tell the truth."
Jade smiled, "Okay Casanova. But let's talk about that later. Now we just gotta get you back on your feet."
As her eyes slowly closed, Tori managed to say, "'Kay…" Her eyes fully closed and her breathing slowed down but before she fell completely asleep, she had one last request. "Will you be here when I wake up?'
"Sure. I'll be right here."
Jade held the sleeping girl and smiled.
In her sleep, Tori muttered, "Jade…be there…for me…"
Kissing the girl's forehead, Jade whispered, "Always."
Later, Holly came to check on the girls and found them both asleep, Jade holding Tori in her arms lovingly. She smiled and quietly pulled the blanket over the pair then left the room.