Read, Review, Enjoy.
We both knew that Monday morning was going to be difficult, but I don't think either of us knew just how hard it really was going to be. A few taunts, a few slurs, maybe, but nothing more than that.
I think that's why seeing the graffiti on my locker is such a shock.
Walking into the school is a trip unto itself, with Tori and I hand in hand, trying to ignore the whispers that surround us as we enter Hollywood Arts. People stare at us from every angle, and as hard as I try, I can hear them talk. Tori can, too, though her only reaction is her hand tightening around mine.
That was all well and good, but walking up to my locker and seeing the words Lesbian Whore spray-painted in a Pepto-Bismol pink on the metal was one hell of a surprise.
I'm not sure who is more upset, me or Tori. My reaction is rage. Hers' is horror.
"Who….who did this?" she asks me, her words barely above a whisper. I hear the chatter around us stop as everyone waits to see what we will do. For some reason, this angers me even more.
"I don't know, babe, but I'm planning on finding out." I reply, spitting the words through gritted teeth. "And when I do, I'm going to take my scissors and lodge them straight up their..."
"Who did this?"
The voice cuts me off before I can detail the horrible evisceration I planned to inflict on the culprit. It is Beck's voice, but it is hard and angry, something that most people would never expect from him. It is scary, even.
He walks up behind us, staring at my locker for a moment before turning to face the crowd. "I said, who did this?"
No one speaks up.
Tori's hand is squeezing mine so tight, too tight. I glance at her, and see that her face is ghostly white. I haven't seen her so scared and upset in a long time. I have to do anything I can to make this stop; make the crowd leave and defuse the situation so Tori can breathe again, and so I don't end up making the situation worse by threatening everyone around us.
"Beck, just….it's fine, okay?" I whisper, moving a bit closer to him so he can hear. "We'll find out who it is later. Right now, can you just help get rid of all these people?"
He turns his head just the slightest bit, his eyes meeting mine. For a second, all I see in them is a whirlpool of rage, but it fades away into soft understanding once he looks past me and sees Tori. He nods, and turns back to the crowd. He opens his mouth to speak, but before he can, a different voice echoes throughout the hallway.
"Everyone get to class! Come on, the bell has rung already, get out of here!" It's Lane, and he doesn't look too happy. Quite the opposite, really. But I'm fairly certain that his irritation comes from the fact that everyone is late, not because he knows the reason behind the congregation of students.
A few students trickle away, but the bulk of onlookers remain, eager to catch a glimpse of Lane's reaction to the graffiti.
Lane finally pushes his way through the throng of people, stumbling up next to the three of us. He looks pointedly at me. "What is the meaning of this, West? Are you disrupting my school again?"
I feel Tori shift, her hand dropping out of mine. I glance over at her, shaking my head. No need for her to do something stupid just because Lane is so unobservant. I'm used to it.
I look back at Lane, and step aside from my locker so that he can see the message scrawled across it.
When Tori and I accidently destroyed Festus' car, Lane had been the angriest I had ever seen him. But that pales to the anger that I see on his face as he observes my locker. For a moment, I'm afraid that he's going to make an even bigger scene than Beck did, but when he turns back around to the crowd, I can see that that's the last thing that he's going to do.
"Everyone…leave. Now. Get to class." He says, his voice calm and collected. "If you get there in the next minute, you won't be counted as being late."
That's enough for the rest of the crowd to dissipate, albeit relatively slowly. No one says a word until we're sure that they're all gone. Once it's apparent that the hall is empty, Lane turns back to us.
"Anyone want to explain any of this?" he asks. Again, he looks at me, expecting me to answer, but before I get the chance to, Tori jumps in.
"We didn't do this, Lane."
Lane nods. "I know that. People don't just vandalize their own lockers. I'm more interested in who actually did. But, knowing what's going on would be helpful. It's always easier to reach out to my students when I know what's going on in their lives." He gestures to my locker. "And I think that something is obviously going on here."
"Jade and I broke up." Beck begins, watching my face to see how I react.
"I already know that. Everyone knows that." Lane says. He walks closer to my locker, rubbing the paint with his thumb. A smudge of it comes off onto his skin. "But there's more to it than that, isn't there?"
No one speaks for a few moments, until Tori replies. "Yes. She left Beck for me."
"Huh." Lane turns to us, but seems to be looking past us instead of at us. "Guess I owe Sikowitz ten bucks, then."
"What?" I ask, more than a little shocked.
He shakes his head. "Nothing. Nothing at all. Anyway, so you two are a couple now, then?" he waits for us to nod. "Okay then. So, who painted the locker?"
"We don't know. That's what I was trying to figure out." Beck answers, and the edge in his voice shows just how angry he still is.
"Well, we'll find out, okay? Just don't do anything stupid in the meantime." He takes a moment to look at me again. I roll my eyes, and stare back at him. "We wouldn't want you to get in trouble or anything."
"Don't worry, Lane. We won't do anything that would get us in trouble." Tori says, her hand reaching out and taking mine.
Lane nods, and looks at the graffiti again. "As your counselor, I'm supposed to ask how you all feel about this." He pauses, looking back at the three of us. "As your friend, I'm asking if you're all okay."
"I'm fine." Beck replies. "Jade?"
"I'm pissed, but I'll be okay." I respond, looking at Tori. "Vega?"
She nods, squeezing my hand. "I'm okay."
"Well, then, if any of you need anything, you know where my office is. And we'll get this off your locker as soon as possible, Jade." He sighs, crossing his arms across his chest. "Are you alright to go back to class?"
We all nod in unison.
"Good." He begins to walk away, before pausing a few feet away from the stairs. "If you happen to change your mind, your teachers will surely understand."
With that, he leaves without looking back.
"Did he basically give us permission to skip class?" I ask, wanting to break the silence that his absence left behind.
"Seems that way." Beck answers, leaning against the lockers next to mine. "I don't know about you two, but I don't think I'll be going. At least, not first period."
"We're not." Tori replies. "I don't feel like dealing with those idiots right now. We'll go to Sikowitz's class, but that's only because our project is due, and I don't feel like failing."
"You're not going to ask me if I want to go to class?" I joke, nudging her gently with my elbow. She just shakes her head in response.
There's another awkward moment of silence, where the three of us sort of just look down at our shoes so we don't have to look at each other. It hits me that this is the first time that we've all been together since Tori and I hooked up. This realization serves no purpose than to just make me even more uncomfortable.
Tori finally breaks the silence. "Are we alright?"
I'm about to respond, until I realize that the question wasn't meant for me. She's looking at Beck, who doesn't seem to really want to look at her, but does anyway. He's just that kind of guy.
"I think so." He scratches the back of his head. "I won't lie and say that I'm not still a little confused by the whole thing, but I think I'll manage."
"Good." She lets go of my hand and walks over to him, wrapping her arms around him in a tight embrace. "Because I've missed you."
He catches my eye, nodding at me before hugging her back. "I've missed you too."
Tori's voice comes out muffled, but her words are clear anyway. "Jade! Get over here and make this a proper group hug!"
Beck nods at me before I can even protest, opening an arm to allow me room. I consider saying no, but then Tori looks at me with those huge puppy dog eyes, and I can't refuse.
I walk over to the two of them, wrapping my arms around their backs before finding myself enveloped by the arms and bodies of my two best friends.
Walking into Sikowitz's class is awkward, to say the least, but at the same time, it feels less awkward than the majority of the day's events.
We enter together, the three of us. Beck is on my left, Tori on my right. Every eye in the room is on us as we walk through the door, every breath held as we stand there, waiting for someone to make a stupid-ass comment.
André is the first to say anything. "Hey Jade, I gotta say, I really thought you would end up with someone tall, dark, and handsome, not tall, dark, and female!"
There's a collective intake of breath around the room as everyone waits to see what my reaction will be. Even Sikowitz stops what he's doing to watch, sitting down on the platform with his coconut in his hand and his eyes open wide.
I cock my head, looking straight at André. I try my best to keep my expression angry. "Well, Harris," I begin, "You know what I think?" I pause, letting the moment sink in before replacing the anger with a smirk. "I think that tall, dark, and handsome pales in comparison to that sweet, sweet Latina ass."
Tori starts laughing first, with Beck soon following. It takes a moment for everyone else to join in, since I'm certain that they still think that I'm going to end up murdering them all, but once they do, the room echoes with laughter.
As they laugh, Tori and I make our way over to where André sits, sitting down in the seats behind him. I lean over and punch him on the shoulder. "You're such an ass, you know that, Harris?"
He nods, grinning ear to ear. "I know. But, hey, it diffused the tension, right?" He turns around fully, looking at Tori and I. "How you girls doing?"
"We're fine." Tori answers before I can. "Just getting used to everything."
"Aren't we all?" André nods towards Beck, who is being mobbed by the rest of the class. "How's tall, dark, and handsome over there?"
"Why don't you ask him?" I shake my head as I watch a bunch of girls flirt with him. "He doesn't look too distressed over it."
"Do I detect a hint of jealousy?"
The three of us look up to see Sikowitz standing over us. He looks extremely amused as he sips form his coconut, waiting for a response.
"Not at all." I reply, throwing an arm around Tori's shoulders. "If anyone should be jealous, it should be everyone else, because I managed to land this lovely lady and they didn't."
Sikowitz chuckles, shaking his head. "Oh Jade. Always so blunt."
"Hey, Lane said something about him owing you ten bucks. What's up with that?" Tori asks, leaning into me.
His cheeks turn red, and he nervously sips from his coconut again. "Oh, uh…nothing." He turns to the class. "Everyone! Take your seats! This is a classroom, not a circus!" He walks away quickly, obviously eager to get away from Tori and I.
Tori looks at me, eyebrows raised. I just roll my eyes and shrug.
Sikowitz's voice rings out again. "It's time to present your projects! Someone want to volunteer?" He waits a moment. "Please?"
"We'll go." Tori says. Sikowitz pales, but nods. Tori stands, and I follow.
We make our way to the stage. Tori pulls down the projection screen as I upload our video to Sikowitz's computer. Once we're done, we stand together on the platform, looking out into the audience.
"First off, we have to thank Robbie Shapiro for filming this for us." Tori begins. I see Robbie sink into his seat as everyone looks at him, though I'm not sure if it's because of the sudden attention or because he's having flashbacks of Tori attacking him. Most likely, it's a combination of both. Cat, who sits next to him, leans over and whispers something in his ear. He straightens, and nervously smiles. Cat pats his leg, then looks up at me and winks. I can't help but grin.
Tori nudges me, and I'm brought back to what we're supposed to be doing. "Oh, uhm...so, this is our short film! I'm sure you'll all enjoy it."
We sit down as Sikowitz turns the film on. Someone turns the lights off, so all that's left is the glow of the screen.
"Tell me where you hid the bodies, and you can get a sentence that won't result in your execution."
I wince as the sound of my own voice comes out of the speakers. I hate watching myself, so I turn away. Tori notices, and rests a hand on my thigh, trying to reassure me. I glance up at her and smile.
We look at each other for a few more moments, ignoring the film, only looking away when Tori's voice rings through the room, tinged with sarcasm and wit. "Well, a body would help."
"You know, you really are a great little murderer." I whisper, low enough so only she could hear.
She grins, and I'm reminded once again just why I love her so much. "And you're a great little detective. Did I ever mention that I get really turned on by that?"
"You are such a little minx." I whisper back, leaning in to kiss her. "And I'll make sure to remember that."
She smiles against my lips, and kisses me back.
I feel someone nudging my side, and pull away, irritated. "What?"
"Uhm….your movie is over." André whispers, his face red. "And, well…"
"Are you two done making out now?" Sikowitz asks from the front of the room. "Because, if you aren't, we can find you a nice warm detention room to continue in."
Tori blushes, and I just grin. Sikowitz shakes his head, and turns off the projector.
"Very nice film, ladies. You should be very proud." He looks around the room. "Who's next?"
I don't know who went next, nor do I really care. All I care about is Tori, and nothing else.
This Monday proved to be very long, with school seemingly dragging on forever. The paint was eventually scraped off my locker by the fucker who put it up there to begin with. I don't know their name, and as much as I would've liked to, I wasn't allowed to disembowel them. Lane promised that their punishment would be enough. I disagree, but there are more important matters than dealing with punks like that.
After school, our group hung out at Karaoke Dokie, just like we used to. I won't lie and say that it wasn't awkward at points, because it totally was. Beck flirted with every girl in sight, André kept watching to see if Tori and I would make out, and Robbie and Cat kept trying to apologize to us. But it was still really nice to be with them all again. I know Tori is relieved that everything is okay in our group. She doesn't really like conflict.
And now, as I drive her home, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I had kept Sinjin as my partner all those weeks ago. Would Tori and I ever have fallen for each other? Would we have continued to be mortal enemies? Or would fate have worked its course anyway, pairing us together in some other way?
"You alright, Jade?" Tori asks, concern apparent in her voice.
I nod. "I'm fine, babe. Just thinking about things."
"What kind of things?"
"Us, mostly. Wondering what would have happened if I hadn't traded my slip with Beck. Stuff like that."
"What slip?" There's obvious confusion in her voice, and I remember that I never told her how I had ended up being her partner in the first place.
"Well, you see…your name wasn't the name I picked out of Sikowitz's hat. I picked Sinjin, and for obvious reasons, didn't want to be his partner. So, I traded with Beck. Your name was the one he picked."
There's silence, and I'm afraid that I've said something wrong. But then she laughs, a sound so beautiful and welcoming, I can't help but sigh in relief.
"So, you mean to tell me that if it hadn't been for your hatred of Sinjin, we would never have made that film together? We wouldn't have ended up being together?"
"Well, you know…fate and all that shit." I reply, pulling into her driveway, shutting the car off. "Worked out in the end, right?"
She rolls her eyes, leaning over. "You are such a gank, Jade West."
I grin, cupping her face in my palm, pressing my lips against hers' gently. "Yeah…but I'm your gank."
"And you better never forget it." She replies before unbuckling my seat belt and pulling me into the backseat along with her.
I may have been drunk the first time that I thought about Tori in a "less than innocent" way, but I'm stone cold sober now, and every single one of those thoughts still remain. And as long as I get my way, I'm sure I'll be thinking them for a long, long time.
I can't get Tori Vega out of my head, but that's alright. I love her, and she loves me. And that's all that matters.
A/N: Thanks for sticking with me, everyone! Hope you enjoyed it.