The hot California sun beamed down on the Hollywood Arts lunch tables. Students talked and laughed freely. It was as if the warmth of the sun had been absorbed by the student body. Nobody displayed the bright disposition the good weather brought more than Tori Vega. Swinging a backpack over her shoulder, Tori walked casually through the crowd of students.
She slid into the seat across from Jade West, a girl who's friend or enemy status seemed to change daily, and pulled a notebook out of her backpack. The two of them would have to be friends for now. They were working on a movie with a third person, Beck Oliver. Beck walked up to the girls, carrying two Grub Truck meals and two sets of cutlery. He put one of the meals in front of Jade and sat down beside her with the other meal.
Jade pulled the lid off her lunch and glared. "Beck, what did I ask you to get me for lunch?"
Beck looked over at Jade's meal. "You asked me to get you a salad, babe."
"A salad with what?"
"Fresh lettuce, tomatoes, no avocado or beef..."
"And dressing on the side. You'd think a boyfriend of over three years could remember that much."
"I told Fester to-"
"I don't care what you told Fester, I care that this isn't done correctly."
"Can you please settle down?"
Tori's command caused the couple to stop their bickering. Tori continued, "We have a movie to make and if we don't get it done in time, we are in huge trouble. I don't want to get a bad grade and I don't think you two do either."
Jade nodded. "She's right, you know. Unlike somebody, who-"
"Please!" Tori tapped her notebook on the table. "Our assignment is to make a five minute film with full lighting, costumes, and sound. It must include a love triangle, stage fighting, and at least two set changes or locations."
"Sounds good," Beck said, picking up a piece of ravioli and raising it to his mouth.
Jade took Beck's fork from him. "What kind of ravioli is this?"
Jade took a bite out of the ravioli and immediately switched their lunches. Beck leaned forward as if he was going to protest, but instead shook his head and began to eat Jade's salad. Jade grinned, pleased things were working out her way. Tori asked the couple if they had any ideas for the project.
Beck stabbed at a tomato before suggesting, "How about two girls fighting over a guy?"
Tori smiled in agreement, but Jade scowled. "That's so cliche. We should vary it up. Have this one girl be a crazy virago chick and the other girl be a pretty but naive sweetheart."
Beck turned to Jade. "Sounds good. We can put the stage fighting in easily that way."
Tori wrote down the ideas. "The boy could be some sort of surfer, or a male model."
Jade glared at Tori. "He cannot be shirtless."
"A high-class waiter, then?"
Tori jotted down the last few ideas. She suggested having the first scene at a restaurant, the second scene at a parking lot or on a street, and the final scene at somebody's house.
Jade offered her house for the last scene. "I have a new camera, so we don't have to shoot one angle at a time."
"Aw, thanks. You're really helpful sometimes." Tori kept writing.
Jade quickly corrected her niceties. "The less time I have to spend around you, the better."
"We could give the crazy girl a pair of scissors. Scissors are easy to find." Beck mused before the girls could go at each other.
Tori raised an eyebrow. "How easy?"
Beck pulled a pair out of Jade's pocket. Jade snatched them from him and put them back.
Unfazed, Beck continued suggesting ideas. "In the first scene, we could have the sweetheart flirting in the restaurant with the waiter, and the crazy girl could see him with the other girl and freak out. The waiter could take the sweetheart somewhere and tell her the crazy is his ex. In the last scene, the sweetheart could go over to the other girl's house to apologize."
Jade sniggered. "Yea, and the crazy girl would be waiting to kill her. Mmmm, that will be a delicious ending."
"I... I guess so." Tori glanced up at the girl across from her before writing down Jade's idea.
With the story ready for scripting, there was only one more thing to do: cast the actors and name the wrote Beck's name by the waiter. As the only boy in the group, it was clear he would have to be the male lead.
Beck scraped the last bits of lettuce onto his fork. "Can we call him Alan?"
The girls agreed. Jade looked at Tori, analyzing the softness of her movements and the brightness of her smile. "Tori should be the sweetheart. She wouldn't be able to go to the dark levels a crazy character needs to. She's naive already. She'd barely even have to act in that role."
Tori wrote her name next to the sweetheart, who she decided to name Jill. "That makes you the crazy girl, Jade. You're going to be running around with a pair of scissors."
Jade just scoffed. "I like scissors, and so will Mara."
Tori filled in the last actor's name and the last character's name seconds before the bell rang. Jade grabbed Beck's empty container and threw it in the trash. Tori picked up her backpack, and the three teens walked to class.
Jade held onto Beck's hand, but she didn't pay much attention to him. They had been fighting a lot lately, and she was worried they would break up. It wasn't so much about Jade loving Beck, it was the safety Beck brought to her. She knew Beck was something the world would be okay with. Beck was secure even when she wasn't.
Tori walked casually through the hall, in front of Beck and Jade. Though Jade would never admit it, she was slightly jealous of Tori's free spirit. Tori didn't worry about what other people thought about her. She was like a goddess, good at everything she wanted to be. Even if she was still "the new girl", from Jade's perspective, Tori had the natural charm and sense of emotion necessary to become a great actress.
Tori stopped walking and looked over at the couple, her eyes widening. "Jade?"
Jade glowered. "What?"
"You're staring at me."
Jade turned away from Tori, a scowl crossing her face. She squeezed Beck's hand to reassure herself. Beck yanked his hand out of Jade's.
"Those nails hurt!" Beck rubbed the four small, red dents on the back of his hand.
Jade raised her eyebrows, unimpressed. "They're supposed to hurt."
Tori suddenly turned around. "I almost forgot. We're going to need a title."
The duo echoed, "A title?"
"Well, we can't call it 'The Awesome Beck-Tori-Jade Love Story Involving at Least Three Characters, Stage Fighting, and... you get the idea." Tori flipped open her notebook.
Jade looked around the room. "Steel Your Heart. Make it a play on words."
Tori gave Beck and Jade a quick, subtle wave before running to her locker. Jade watched Tori's run. A small smile slid across her face. Jade took Beck's hand again, and the couple continued to walk to class. Jade was more careful this time. After an incident like that, she needed to know her cover would still be okay. Her social safety would come at the cost of the truth.
Author's Notes: Hey guys! This is the first chapter in what I hope to be a long journey. Don't worry about me forgetting this- I have up to chapter 3 fully written and outlines for 12 more chapters. That means there shouldn't be too many times when I run out of chapters.
Oh, and to avoid flames, Beck and Jade will break up. Give it time.
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