Disclaimer: The Show Victorious, its characters and other associated copyrights are property of someone else and not me.
All it took
It was 9 am on a somewhat gloomy Saturday morning and I found myself wishing I was somewhere else. Where am I you ask? I am standing with Beck, Cat, Andre, Robbie and of course Jade in front of a dilapidated home waiting for Sikowitz. Next to the 2 story house is a large dumpster and next to that is a pile of various tools, and safety equipment.
You see yesterday, Sikowitz kindly informed us that Prinicpal Helen was quite pleased that we all volunteered to help renovate a home for the charity group called A house for everyone. That would have been nice if we knew we had volunteered. We didn't of course.
When Andre pointed that out to Sikowitz, he sipped from his cocoanut and said "I must have forgotten to tell you. You may take it up with Principal Helen if you wish and tell her you don't wish to come."
Principal Helen for reasons unknown to us has been in a rather bad mood lately. So none of us, Jade included, protested as we wanted to remain in school. It's rumored she kicked out a student for leaning up against her car last week. Though for the remainder of the class, Jade's angry glare remained firmly fixed on Sikowitz, making him most uncomfortable.
So we all stood there waiting. None of us looked very thrilled to be there. Jade looked downright pissed off. She just quietly sipped her coffee looking very unapproachable. The only person who even attempted to talk with her was Cat. A low grunt was all Cat received in response.
A moment later Sikowitz, came out of the front door followed by an attractive curly haired brunette woman.
"Ahh Children. Welcome to your good deed for the day, helping your community." He said cheerfully.
"I hate this community, I don't want to help it!" said Jade bitterly.
At this point Sikowitz whispered something in the woman's ear. I heard something to the effect. "That was the one I told you about."
He then pointed to the woman. "This is Karla, my girlfriend and regional leader for A House For Everyone. She will be explaining your task for today."
All of a sudden it became very clear why we had been volunteered. He wanted to impress his new girlfriend.
The woman stepped forward. "Hello, I'm Karla Banks. I'm so happy you volunteered your time to renovate this old abandoned home. Thank you. With your help, a low income family will be able to find a decent place to live. Your task today is cleanup and stripping all the plaster from the walls. We want it down to the studs. Though the basic structure of the home is quite sturdy, the plaster on the walls is crumbling. You will be divided up into pairs and assigned a work area. We have all the tools and safety equipment you need. Again thank you. I never new Erwin had such consciousnesses students. I'm very impressed."
Sikowitz, cleared his throat. "Ok, here are the pairs. Robbie and Cat, you take the 1st floor. Andre and Beck you take the 2nd floor. I cringed at this point, knowing I as next and who I'd be paired with. Jade and Tori you have the basement.
I then looked over at Jade who just shot me a hate filled glare. He's the funny thing. There's nothing more I'd like to be than alone with Jade. Probably because I'm in love with her. But Jade simply never really wanted anything to do with me. All my efforts to be her friend have failed, since I've known her. I know there's a good person underneath all those defenses. I've just never been able to get past them. Even after her and Beck broke up, I couldn't get any closer to her. In fact she's become more standoffish and hostile since then. I've know her for 2 years know and I'm an acquaintance at best. It pains my heart to think that's all we're ever gong to be.
I've tried everything to get closer to her, staying away, being nice, trying to take an interest in things she likes. She just brushes me off or insults me each time. Yet I still try. Every time I see those eyes, my heart simply melts. But by now, I've resigned myself to the fact that I will never get through to her and show her how much I car. I graduate in 5 months. After that Jade go off to college and will walk out of my life, I doubt I'll see her again after that. It's just a sad fact of life.
After the others were given their assignments, Karla came to us. "The basement has lot's of old Junk. You'll need to transport it up to the dumpster. If you find anything you like, it's yours. In addition someone built a small room down there. Tear it down. If you need any help, feel free to ask me or Erwin or any of the others for help.
Jade and I walked to get our tools and safety helmets in silence. I knew Jade was waiting to insult me. But she appeared to be in a fouler mood than normal, so I just decided to work and give her space.
"Great. Stuck in a stupid basement with you. How could thing's get any worse?" Jade snapped.
There was a thousand things I wanted to say. Maybe tell a joke to try and make her smile or say it's not that bad. I just wanted her to not be angry.
"Let's just get it over with." I said with little emotion.
The basement itself was large and mostly open, thought is was dark, damp and musty. A huge ancient furnace sat quiet in one corner. A empty tool bench sat along another wall. In another corner was a small room constructed sometime after the house was built. It appeared to be simply plywood studs with wood paneling over it. In the middle of the basement sat lots of junk and boxes.
Jade without saying a word, took the sledgehammer and began to bash away the walls of the small room. As she worked out her frustrations I began to box things up and run them upstairs.
Jade would alternately say nothing or just plain insult me. I just kept quiet and did my work, having little reason to try to reach Jade anymore. It was pointless so I stopped trying. It used to bother me that I couldn't get past her defenses, but not anymore.
We had been at work about 2 hours and Jade was in the opposite corner near a pile of old boxes.
"God, look at all this crap. And I have to be down her and clean it with you. Stupid Skitowiz, the next time he volunteers me for anything, he's getting a pair of scissors shoved in his gut." Jade ranted.
Tired of her bitching, I decided to break my silence and push back. "It's an all for a good cause, they renovate this old home and a family gets to live here. Ok, we got shanghaied into doing this, why don't you just deal with it Jade and stop griping. Think of the family that will have decent place to live."
"Oooh. Vega can speak. I'm shocked you kept quiet so long. You're always running of your mouth about something cheerful." Jade said cynicly.
"What's wrong with trying to look on the bright side Jade?"
"Because behind the bright side is always a da…"
I was standing by the tool bench putting some wood scraps into a box, when I heard Jade stop talking. Figuring Jade had got interrupted by something she was doing, I just kept working. Though it seemed odd to me that she seemed stop talking in the middle of a word.
After a minute I became aware that it had become very quiet. I could no longer hear the shuffling of boxes coming from Jade's direction. Curious I turned around. I could see Jade, her back to me, standing next to a pile of boxes, but she wasn't moving.
She was just standing there, doing a great imitation of a statue.
"Jade?" I called out.
Jade stood there, quiet and motionless.
"Is everything ok?" I said as I took a step closer to her.
Still she remained utterly still and quiet.
I suddenly had a feeling that something was very wrong. So I started to walk towards her. She was standing next to a pile of moldy old boxes, her back was to me and her left hand was stretched out on one of the boxes. She wasn't moving at all.
As I moved around her front, I looked at her face.
Her eyes were as wide open as could be and seemed to be looking at her left arm. Her mouth was open and moving but no sound was coming from it. But the general look on her face shook me to my very core. It was one of utter and complete terror.
What ever it was that was scaring her, had her completely paralyzed with fear. I didn't think Jade was afraid of anything.
I looked down at her hand and with some disgust, saw a centipede about 2 inches long crawling off her hand and up her arm. As it got further up her arm the look of intense fear on Jade's face only got more distinct.
I quickly brushed if off her arm and stomped the creature with my shoe. Abruptly Jade screamed and begun to shake, tears forming in her eyes. Instinctively I threw my arms around her as she sobbed uncontrollably on my shoulder.
I had never seen Jade like this ever. Just the sight of that creature crawling up her arm was enough to reducer her to hysterics. I was baffled, was she afraid of centipedes?
"Hey down there?" I heard Robbie call out from the top of the stairs. "I heard a scream is everything ok?"
"Yeah, is everyone alright?" I heard Cat call out as well.
Jade who was still quietly sobbing into my shoulder immediately stiffened. Looking at me I could see this look of totally vulnerability. My heart ached simply seeing it.
I thought quickly. "Ah….I just saw a spider and screamed. Jade killed it. We're fine, we're all fine here now. Thank you. How are you?"
"OK, were fine." I heard Robbie and Cat say in unison.
At this point, all I wanted to do was to comfort Jade. I held her tight and let her cry it out and waited for her to stop shaking.
Gradually she seemed to calm down and stop crying, but seemed content to remain in my arms.
After a few minutes more, I released Jade and pulled up an old chair. "Jade, you still look a bit shaken up. Sit down."
Jade nodded and slowly sat down and quickly pulled up another chair and sat down next to her. I took a chance and took her hand. She tightly gripped my hand in response and seemed to appreciate my comfort.
"What happened? Are you OK?" I said softly.
Jade wiped her tears and took a deep breath. "When I was a little girl I visited my grandfather's farm. One day I was playing in the old barn when I bumped and old wall and a bunch of centipedes fell on me. On my face. I must have disturbed a nest or something that was on the rafters. I remember screaming and screaming until my father came. I..I…I've been terrified of them ever since. I can't stand the sight of them. I couldn't even watch the Human Centipede movies." She said, her voice sounding very shaky.
"So I'm guessing that while moving one of those boxes, that one crawled on your hand."
Jade nodded. "It did and I couldn't move. I was so scared. No one other than my parents know I'm deathly afraid of centipedes and millipedes. Thank you Tori."
Everyone has their weakness. I guess Jade is no exception.
"You're welcome Jade. Don't worry about me saying anything. As far as I'm concerned, it was a spider, I screamed and you killed it."
Jade seemed to smile a bit. "Why are you always so nice to me? I've been horrible to you and you've keep trying to be my friend. Thought lately you've been keeping away a bit, I've noticed.
I bit my lip and wondered if this was the opportunity to tell Jade how I feel. After a moment, I figured it was now or never. I knew her deepest secret; it was only fair to tell her mine.
"I like you Jade. More than just like. I'm in love with you."
A look of surprise came to her face as her lips parted slightly.
"I have been staying away, you're right. I kind of figured I'd never get past your defenses. I just kind of gave up trying to get close to you. I guess, I just came to the conclusion that it wasn't meant to be."
For a moment I couldn't read Jade's expression. "Tori, why would you love me?"
I could hear that vulnerable tone of voice as she said it. "I love you hair, like everything it's beautiful. You're wickedly smart, very talented. You don't take shit from anyone. Every time I'm near you I feel weak. I just want be with you. Touch you. Have you look into my eyes….I'm sorry, I'm rambling."
At this point I became aware that Jade was still holding my hand. It felt wonderful, I never wanted her to let go. After what I said, I was kind of puzzled as to why she still was.
"Centipedes weren't the only thing I was afraid of. I was afraid of you." Jade said quietly. "Afraid of my feelings."
My heart suddenly jumped. "Feelings?"
Instead of saying a word, Jade leaned in and kissed me. Time seemed to move in slow motion as she pressed her lips against mine. My heart began to race as our lips began to move in concert and I could feel her arms slide around me. I couldn't believe it, Jade was kissing me. It was heaven.
I don't know how long we kissed in the musty, stinky basement, a minute, an hour, I don't know. Frankly I didn't care and neither seemed Jade.
"I love you Tori." She said as she broke the kiss.
I smiled and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. "Jade, you don't have to be afraid of me. I'll protect your secrets as if they were mine. As for feelings, I assure you they are more than mutual."
Jade smirked at first but then a broad smile formed on her lips. "I guess that leaves only one thing for me to be afraid of."
"Centipedes? Their disgusting, but I'm pretty good at killing them."
The smirk reappeared on Jade's face. "Than you have the Job then."
I gave Jade a curious look. "What Job."
"Girlfriend and all around centipede killer."
I grinned. "When can I start?"
Jade gave me a quick kiss. "You just did. Let's get out of this basement and get some fresh air. Then we can talk about colleges. I'll want my girlfreind nearby of course. Their might be centipedes to be killed and me to be cuddled afterward."
I took Jade's hand and began to walk out of the basement. As I did, I glanced back at the remains of the dead bug on the floor. All those defenses Jade had and my attempts to break through them. That's all it took; one small centipede to smash through Jade's walls and bring us together. One act of kindness on my part, getting rid of the bug and comforting a terrified Jade.
That's all it took.
I had this idea and thought I would burn it out this morning. Just a bit of semi fluff. Sometimes for all our efforts, it's just the smallest insignificant things that make all the difference.
The charity group in this story, A House For Everyone, if fictitious. However there are real groups that help build and renovate homes for the needy. Such as Habitat for Humanity, which helps many people every year.