Prologue


It was a particularly sunny day in Los Angeles; the rays seemed to favor Hollywood Heights especially that Saturday morning. Sounds of breakfast being made emanated from the kitchen while the birds chirped and made their peaceful noises outside.

The TV was going in the living room when eight year old Jade West padded out of her bedroom in her navy blue pajamas. Her father was speaking in hushed tones with a feminine voice down the hall.

"… we just moved in a couple weeks a-" As soon as Jade made it behind her father and peeped around his leg, her blue eyes met pretty brown ones that reminded her of her mother's daily hazelnut coffee. A bright smile lit up the face of the peppy teenager and she knelt down to Jade's level while stopping mid sentence.

"Hi, you must be Jade!" The brown eyed girl beamed with an inner shine that seemed to radiate around her body. Jade's eyebrows dug down and she looked up at her father with a curious glance.

"Jade, sweetie, meet your new babysitter. This is Victoria." The man's deep voice turned soft while speaking to his only child, and while Jade was a handful, she was his pride and joy. Blue eyes rolled in annoyance as she turned the opposite direction and padded off down the hallway toward the kitchen. With the intention of getting rid of her newest babysitter, she went to her mother first.

Pale hands gripped the edge of the doorway as she peered around the corner and caught her mother humming happily to herself and pouring pancake mix into a hot pan. Seconds later, Jade made herself known and padded quietly over to her mother.

"Mommy, I don't like this babysitter." She stated bluntly with her arms crossed tightly across her chest. Mrs. West laughed good-naturedly and piled pancakes, bacon, and eggs onto a plate.

"Honey, you haven't even talked to her yet. I had a lovely conversation with her yesterday and she's… different than your other sitters." A warm smile tugged on the woman's lips.

Her blonde hair swung forward as she leaned down to pick up Jade, the girl was pretty small for her age. The pale girl pouted and leaned her head against her mother's shoulder as she turned off the stove and made her way back down the hall to properly introduce Victoria to her daughter.

The youngest of the West's had her face hidden in the crook of her mother's neck when they reached her new babysitter.

Victoria shoved her hands into her back pockets and rocked backwards on the heels of her clean, bright red converse. She really hoped that her nervousness wasn't obvious, as this was her first babysitting job and she was pretty sure that she was off to a bad start if the kid she was babysitting didn't like her.

A timid smile found its way to her slightly thin lips and she pulled one hand from her pocket to tuck her hair behind her ear.

"Mrs. West." Victoria laughed a little to ease her nerves.

"Did I come at a bad time?" The tan teenager asked, referring to the mood that Jade seemed to be in.

"No, no, dear. She's always like this. I don't know where she gets it from, but my guess is from his mother." Mrs. West jerked her thumb in the direction of Jade's father with a kind-hearted smile on her lips to show that she was only joking.

Mr. West rolled his eyes and chuckled as he took Jade from her mother's arms and into his own, only to then place her on the floor.

"I don't know why you baby her. Let her walk around on her own." Mr. West grumbled and ruffled Jade's hair. Mrs. West sighed and shook her head at him before she turned her bright smile back onto Tori.

"Do you mind watching her today? We're leaving after breakfast." She asked hopefully. Finding a sitter last minuet was out of the question, at worst, they'd have to just stay home.

Victoria shook her head and smiled, elated that she could begin her job early.

"No, I don't mind at all!" The brunette's smile came back full force and she had to stop herself from bouncing on her feet. Having her own money to spend was something that she wasn't used to and this was an exciting moment for her.

Leaning against the wall with the most pathetic, dramatic pout, was little Jade who looked about ready to burst into tears of frustration when her mother asked Victoria if she'd like to stay for breakfast.

The teen of course said yes, and they all gathered around the table. Jade sat across from her new sitter, all the while glaring daggers at her as she herself shoveled strawberry and whipped cream pancakes into her mouth.

While no one was looking, Jade flicked a piece of bacon at Victoria's head and unfortunately for Jade, she laughed it off good-naturedly and called her adorable.

Jade hated being called adorable, it was a word reserved for babies and small animals, and she was neither. When the sounds of forks scraping against the plates subsided and everyone finished eating, Jade pretended to drop her own fork and crawled beneath the table to retrieve it. While down there, she made quick work of tying Victoria's shoelaces together and soon emerged from beneath the table.

She was feeling cocky since that trick always worked on babysitters their first days of watching her. This time, however, as soon as her head came up from beneath the table, Victoria's eyes locked on hers and a perfectly shaped eyebrow quirked at her antics.

With a calm smile, Jade's new babysitter pulled her shiny new converse up onto the edge of the chair and untied her laces from each other before tying them appropriately and letting them drop down onto the floor once again. Needless to say, Jade was furious.


It was nearing six o'clock when Jade sat in the middle of the living room floor and crossed her arms petulantly. Victoria, or as she told Jade she liked to be called, Tori, sat on the plush couch with the TV off and her gaze never leaving Jade's.

They sat in a stare off for nearly two minuets before Jade fell backwards onto her back and huffed up at the ceiling. Until then, she'd been undefeated. For the past half an hour, they had been going back and forth on the subject of Jade cleaning her room.

Before Mr. and Mrs. West had left that morning, they reminded Jade to clean her room before they got back. That was a task that had yet to be completed, and if it was up to Jade, it would stay that way.

"Alright, Jade. I'll make you a deal." Tori suggested as she leaned forward with a kind smile on her face. Jade tilted her head upward from the floor and looked at her for a moment before dropping her head back down.

"I don't make deals with strangers. Only the losers at school by the playground for candy deals." The eight year old grumbled toward the ceiling. Tori laughed lightly and shook her head at the kid.

"Alright, how about I tell you what it is, and you can decide if you wanna take me up on it or not?" Tori suggested without really expecting a response from the pale girl.

She didn't recieve one, so she said, "I'll make you apple pie if you clean your room."

Jade's ears perked up at that, and immediately she shot forward to look at Tori.

Quickly, she tried to school her expression into one of disinterest, but it was too late.

"I don't even like apple pie." The girl lied through her teeth but Tori knew from the child's mother that Jade loved apple pie.

"Sure, sure. My offer expires soon. Take it or leave it." Tori chuckled and her smile turned into a full blown grin when Jade grudgingly agreed to go clean her room for that lovely apple pie.

Tori had the house smelling like apples and cinnamon within minuets while Jade rushed to put all of her toys, pencils, crayons, and paper away. She pushed her electric keyboard back against the wall where it belonged and tugged the sheets up on her bed while tucking the excess cover beneath the mattress.

She still had a few things left littered around the room and she didn't know what to do with them, so she ended up shoving them into her closet and beneath her bed.

Satisfied with her work, she ran into the kitchen and nearly collided with Tori's leg. She hadn't realized how long it had taken to get her room in order because sitting on a plate on the kitchen table was an entire apple pie made from scratch with her name on it.

With a bright smile, Jade slid into the seat nearest to the plate and nearly demanded a fork from Tori.

With a relaxed roll of her eyes, the half-Latina placed the utensil in the girl's waiting hand. Several bites in, Jade's hands flew to her neck and squeezed as if she was choking. Her azure eyes went wide and she fell to the side of the chair, landing on the floor. Tori rushed over in a panic and kneeled down beside her writhing body without a clue what to do.

"Jade? What's wrong, Jade!" The brunette demanded with alarms going off in her head. Tears had come to the small girl's eyes as she choked and thrashed on the kitchen floor, then all of a sudden she stopped and a wide grin spread over her face.

"Gotcha, stupid." She laughed heartily and rolled around on the floor with red staining her cheeks from the effort.

Tori stood indignantly and huffed as she paced around the room in an attempt to calm down and not blow up on the pale girl rolling around on the floor as if she had just heard the funniest joke of all time. She wasn't sure what to do with a situation like this one. Did she quit? Did she tell the parents? Or was she supposed to let it slide? Tori sighed to herself and took a glance back at the still giggling kid.

She decided to leave it alone.


Mr. and Mrs. West arrived late at night, when the stars were barely visible in the sky due to the city's lights. The house was silent since Tori had dozed off on the couch with Jade sitting next to her scribbling ideas down in a notebook. The kid looked peaceful enough with the calming quiet in the house, and she supposed that sleeping Tori wasn't all that bad.

The sharp click of Mrs. West's heels jolted Tori from her light sleep and she quickly sat up and ran a hand through her wavy hair. A tired smile found its way to her face when Jade's mother stepped into the living room.

"Hey Mrs. West!" Tori waved a little and scooted back on the couch.

"Please, dear. Call me Katherine. Mrs. West is my mother." The woman waved off the giggle that came from Tori at her comment and Jade finally looked up from her notebook.

"Mommy, where'd you guys go?" She asked with a little spark in her eyes. She found herself loving to hear about all the places her parents went when they met up with their friends. It was one of the most exciting things of the night when they'd get back. Her small legs swung over the edge of the couch and she ran up to her mother's legs to hook one arm around her waist in a hug.

"We went to the country club and relaxed with our friend Debbie and her brother Dave. Dave fell off of his horse and the poor thing ran away." A sigh left her parted lips and she shook her head.

"The little guy got in a nice kick to his shoulder before he made a break for it, though." Katherine laughed and played with Jade's hair. As she told the story, Mr. West had come into the living room after he hung up his coat, and he plopped down onto the couch beside Tori.

"How was little Jade for you, Tori?" He asked in his deep voice while he crossed an ankle over his leg.

Tori and Jade made eye contact across the room in the short silence that followed the question.

"No problem at all, Mr. West. She's a fun kid." Tori nodded and stood to grab her jacket from off of the coat rack in the corner.

"I should get home though; I need to study for my Trigonometry final." Tori smiled kind-heartedly and headed toward the door.

"You're in Trig?" Katherine asked curiously with a slight raise of her blonde eyebrows.

"Yeah. I skipped a level of math, so I'm taking the class with Juniors." Tori grinned proudly and proceeded to open the front door at the end of the hall.

Jade peeked around her mother's hips and gave a small wave when Tori called out a cheery goodbye from the front of the house, not that Tori could see, but to Jade it meant something.

It meant that for the first time in her short life, she didn't totally hate her babysitter.


A/N: This was an idea that came and refused to go away. My other stories will be updated at some point this week, but I've added another on the list. Review and let me know if you'd like me to continue?

-C