A/N: This was a completely random idea and I'm aware that this concept probably has been done already - way better than I could ever do - but I still decided to post it and see where it goes. This chapter isn't really that eventful but maybe it will make you curious for more. Tori got into Hollywood Arts the same way as she did on the show. Other than that... I don't think I need to say anything else other than maybe I don't own anything.
A gasp rushed out of her mouth, followed by a loud sob as tears finally rolled down her cheeks. The blonde boy flicked his fingers against her ear again, making the little girl flinch in pain, while the boy on her right side, red, curly hair on top of his head and freckles all over his face, gave a sharp tug to her long brown hair. "You're such a weenie!"
"I'm not! Just leave me alone!" The boys merely cackled and when Tori tried to jump up and run away, the blonde boy harshly pushed her and almost made her tumble backwards over the bench she had been sitting on. She whimpered, sat back down and squeezed her eyes shut. Why wasn't anyone helping her? A teacher surely must have heard her crying, right? But no one came and Tori found herself wailing like a baby, which only seemed to spur the two boys further on. But suddenly, her hair was released and a loud thud, coupled with an "Umpf!" from one of the boys reached her ears. When she cracked her eyes open – first her left, then her right – she saw a girl with long brown hair and the prettiest eyes turn toward the blonde boy, then quickly pushing him to the ground.
"Stop teasing her! She's crying!"
With trembling lips, Tori curiously looked from the redheaded boy still lying on the ground to the blonde one, who stood up and brushed down his blue pants. "Those are new! My mom is gonna be so mad at me!" Tori flinched at the glare he sent the other girl but she seemed unfazed by it.
"I don't care. Just go and leave her alone or I'm calling my daddy. He's a lawyer and can put you in jail."
The boy's eyes widened comically and even Tori couldn't stop herself from silently gasping. Her daddy could do that? The redheaded boy quickly scrambled to his feet and stumbled over to his friend, urgently beginning to tug at his arm. "Let's go. I don't wanna go to jail!" The blonde's face morphed into a deep frown but he didn't say anything else, only let his friend drag him away. They silently watched them go before the girl turned to Tori.
"Thank you," Tori hiccupped, her fingers lying in her lap tightly wounding around each other. Her little protector nodded her head in response, then crouched down to pick up Tori's lunch box, which the boys had previously thrown to the ground. "Here," she said and held the box out, "This is yours, isn't it?"
The still crying girl slowly took her lunch box out of the other girl's hand. "Yes, thank you." Her eyes fell to the image of Scooby Doo on the front of her yellow lunch box. Sniffling, Tori ran her hand over it, brushing away the almost non-existent dirt. Tori felt like she should do something, thank the girl again, but nothing came to her mind. What was she supposed to do now? She probably thought she was such a… a baby for not being able to stick up for herself. Her face went red at the thought and fresh tears threatened to well up when she felt the girl quietly sitting down next to her.
"Are you okay? Do you need an adult?"
Tori shook her head. She waited and waited, but nothing else came. The girl didn't start to tease her, she didn't laugh, she didn't… do anything. She just sat beside her, quietly, and occasionally swung her legs back and forth, back and forth. "Can your daddy really put people in jail?" Her voice was quiet and almost scared as she asked. Hesitantly, Tori looked up and saw the other girl nod. "Yes. But I don't think he can put children in jail. That was a lie."
"Oh." Tori nodded and looked back at her lunch box.
"Why were they so mean to you?"
Tori shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know. I didn't do anything."
Biting her lip, Tori looked back up and looked into light blue eyes. "I'm Tori Vega. What is your name?"
The girl hesitated a second before she finally answered. "I'm Jade."
I still remember that day like it was yesterday. After all, it was the day my life completely changed. Wait, that didn't sound right. I was only seven, my life didn't completely change. That's very dramatic. But I guess you could say… that that day, I found my soulmate. It was the day I met my best friend. The day I met the love of my life.
The day I met Jade West.
She was... my knight in shining armor, I guess. She was so strong and brave, everything that I was not. I was so fascinated. Those two boys didn't come near me again after that day. I guess a lot of it had to do with the fact that Jade had always been with me from then on, everywhere one of us went, the other came with. We became best friends. I learned about her strange fascination with scissors, she about my fondness for Scooby Doo and superheroes. We were so different from each other, even at such a young age. But that's what made our friendship special and what made us to what we always were: best friends.
She didn't have many friends aside from me but I don't think it bothered her that much. It was always Jade and Tori and she liked it that way. I did too. Sure, I had other friends. But no one could ever compare with Jade and there was more than one time where I found myself incredibly bored when I was with them. I was never bored with Jade. Jade wasn't boring. She was so different from the other girls at my school. She didn't like Barbie's but instead liked to cut their hair with her scissors. She hated the color pink. She wasn't afraid of anything. Not even spiders.
I admired her. She was so smart and… always knew what to say, even in the most ridiculous situations. No one really liked her that much and I just couldn't get my head around that. She didn't like to be around a lot of people, she didn't like that the kids in our class were always loud and intrusive, so what? Not everyone was the same. She was different and I liked that. She had always been pretty quiet, inside of her head a lot. The other kids didn't understand her.
And they made clear that they didn't.
They stayed away from her as much as they could. But that was okay. She had me. I never left her side. Until she moved away.
I was twelve when I watched Jade's world slowly crumble around her without being able to do a single thing. The days we spent in the park or just lounging around at my or her house without a care in the world were over and were replaced with long nights of listening to Jade crying. The divorce of her parents hit her hard.
So many nights I would hear a knock at my window. I would get up to open it and reveal Jade with tears streaming down her face as she begged me to let her stay the night. Of course I always said yes. We would lie next to each other, sometimes in complete silence, sometimes with me listening to Jade quietly telling me what they were fighting about this time. But it always ended the same. I'd wake up in the morning with the pale brunette curled into my side and my mother would open the door, looking at the girl with a faint, almost pitying smile before she'd make an extra big plate of waffles.
I thought it would be a relief to Jade that her parents would finally call it quits. Divorced parents were better than parents who fought night for night, right? It was for the best. But Jade didn't think so. She blamed herself, no matter how much I, her mother, everyone, insisted that it wasn't the case.
And then, my world got shattered too.
Not too long after Jade's mom and dad had filed for a divorce, her mother announced that she and Jade would move.
To San Francisco.
San Francisco. It was a five and a half hour drive. I cried for weeks after she moved. We tried to keep in contact via phone and letters. I still have the letters she sent me. Every single one of them I kept, after she just… stopped. Everything stopped. She didn't write anymore. She didn't call and didn't answer my calls anymore. We fell apart. I fell apart. I still don't know what happened, why she so suddenly broke off every form of contact.
But now is my chance to find out. I'll try everything to make her my friend again.
No matter how long it may take.
"Dude, why are you rubbing my boyfriend?!"
Great. My first freaking day here and already did I manage to piss someone off. "I'm sorry, I was-"
But the moment my eyes fell on the girl standing in the doorway my entire vocabulary flew out of my brain and left a yawning void inside of my head. This couldn't be the same girl, could it? But when one shapely eyebrow lifted in question and I stared into the depths of blue and green, I knew. It had to be her.
She looked different. Duh! Of course she looked different, she had gotten older. But still, she changed so much. Her hair was black now, an even darker shade than the one her mother had. I still remember how envious little Jade always had been of her mother's natural dark hair color and how unfair she had found it that she didn't inherit that from her. Blue streaks ran through the black mass of hair and she was… she was pierced? Yeah, her eyebrow was pierced. Man, she changed so much. But her eyes… her eyes were still the same.
"Relax." The boy I spilled coffee on moved away and toward Jade, kissing her cheek. But she didn't acknowledge him very much, instead kept her eyes locked on mine, a frown carved into her pale face. Did she recognize me too? Did she know who I am? My mind began to spin with questions, my mouth went dry and my heart wildly puckered in my chest as I stuttered out an apology. "I spilled coffee on him and I… I'm sorry, I tried to… get the stain out but… I'm sorry."
But she didn't utter a single word. My eyes shortly flicked to her boyfriend, who looked really confused when Jade slowly stepped up to me. I swallowed and looked at her frowning face as she scrutinized every part of me. I felt like I shrunk two whole sizes under Jade's judging and curious gaze but I couldn't bring myself to step away from her, let alone tear my eyes off of her. "What's your name?" she demanded sharply. I felt my heart sink at the realization that she didn't remember who I was but then, then I looked back into her eyes and I… I knew. She knew who I was. I could see that she knew. Nevertheless, I opened my mouth to answer her but whirled around as a door behind me flew open and banged against the wall.
"There's a huge fire in the building!"
My eyes widened, exclamations of panic all around me. I made a move to run out of the door but a strong grip on my forearm hindered me to go anywhere. I looked down at the hand enclosing my arm, heart pounding – I wasn't quite sure if it was simply because of the thought of a fire or because of an entire different reason though – before I looked up into the calm face of Jade. She stared at me, emotionless. Then, the voice of the crazy teacher echoed through the room. "Kidding, kidding! Just wanted to get your blood pumpin', which I did, ha!"
The air in my lungs puffed out of my mouth in one long breath but it did close to nothing for my fast beating heart. Jade's hand let go of me, so did the pounding of my heart, and I watched her saunter over to her boyfriend before both of them took a seat. I stood there a couple of seconds longer – like a total idiot – before Andre called me over to sit down next to him. I smiled as the teacher – who I embarrassingly gave two dollars to earlier that day because I thought he was homeless. Ouch. – introduced me to the class and started explaining to me what 'Improv' was. "So then. Jade! Come on stage and choose a group!"
My heart started to hammer in my chest and I swallowed thickly as I watched her step onto the small stage. "Cat, Robbie, Beck…" Her eyes roamed over the room for a second until they stopped on me. I scratched my nails against the fabric of my jeans while her eyes seemed to drink me up. A breath puffed out of her nose and I can't even describe the kind of disappointment I felt as she looked away from me. "And Eli."
She could have picked me. Why didn't she pick me? Instead I sat glued in my seat, my shoulders stiff and eyes following the blonde boy – Eli – walk on stage.
It was going to be a long day.
It turned out to be one hell of a task to get Jade alone. At lunch I sat with her and her friends – turned out that Andre was friends with her too – but she didn't acknowledge me much; only once she grumbled quietly for me to pass her the salt. She seemed to never be alone. When she wasn't with her boyfriend – Beck, I had learned – she was with the crazy little redhead called Cat. But I wanted to talk to her, no, I needed to. And I got my chance. Luck was on my side in a brief break between classes and I found myself standing by my locker, waiting like a hawk for Jade to show up at her own locker (hopefully alone), which was conveniently right across the hall from mine. I knew it had to be hers. Who else would decorate their locker door with scissors? Just a short couple of minutes passed and I found myself proven right when the now dark-haired Jade opened the with different colored scissors decorated black metal door and plucked a thin book out of her bag to replace it with a thicker one. This was my chance, she was alone and I could freely talk to her. So I began to walk toward her, really nervously might I add, until I stood right in front of her.
She glanced at me without much interest, then turned back to her locker. "What do you want?"
Her cold and bored tone caught me a little off guard and caused my smile to falter. I thought she'd be happy to see me again, just like I was, but apparently that wasn't the case at all. "I just wanted to-" I thought about what to say for a moment and settled for the probably dumbest thing ever. "-say hello."
She snorted quietly and shook her head. "Hello."
"Hello…" Well, that was probably the most awkward start of a conversation I've ever had. Her hands kept fumbling with something inside of her locker while I tried to think of something else to say, maybe something smarter this time. "Um… Jade you… you do remember me… don't you?" So much for smart. But at least it got a reaction out of her, which… was a good thing… I figured. I watched with baited breath as she stilled her hands, her lips pursed and her eyes staring into her locker. Then finally, she took a deep breath and turned toward me.
"You're Tori Vega," she simply said and still looked at me with that same cold indifference in her eyes.
I rolled my lips together and nodded, slowly and hesitantly. "Yes. I'm Tori Vega. We met in-"
"I know when we met," she interrupted me with an eyeroll, closed her locker door before crossing her arms and letting out an annoyed breath. "What do you want me to do now? Throw confetti?"
"I-" But I couldn't think of anything to respond. Why was she so… so cold? Didn't it mean anything to her that we've found each other again? We were best friends for God's sake, didn't that mean anything to her anymore? It suddenly felt as if the bones of my ribcage shrunk together and painfully pushed against my heart, squeezing, prodding, biting at it. I had obviously been quiet too long for Jade's liking because she rolled her eyes again. "Listen, I know very well who you are but I don't see why that should matter. Don't make such a big deal out of it, seriously."
And then she just left. She left me standing there in the hallway of this completely strange school without as much as a glance back, and it hurt.
Man, did that hurt.