Chapter 1: He Wasn't Warm
"He wasn't warm. Well, not to her. Well, not to us" -At The Ballet
"Jadelyn, go play outside," Mr. West says, "I need to be on a conference call to Tokyo in ten minutes".
"But Daddy, it's cold out," Jade whines.
"Put on a jacket. I can't have you running around while I'm on the phone. This is a big deal, it could mean lots of money for the business," he replies starting to shut his office door.
Jade quickly sticks her little fingers between the doorframe and the door. "Can I go to the park? It's boring on the lawn".
Mr. West sighs, "What park? The one your mom takes you to all the time? Fine. Don't get into any trouble. Get going, Jadelyn".
The heavy wooden door closes this time. Jade swallows hard and walks into the mudroom. She pulls on a dark purple sweatshirt and ties on black sneakers.
When she leaves the house, she walks three blocks to the park. It's got a big play structure and she loves to play pretend there. Princess locked in a tower, pirate sailing on the high seas, ballerina on stage, strutting down the bridge like a model, pretending to fly when she jumps off the swings, anything but house, that one's no fun.
Jade wishes that Mommy was home and not at the grocery store. Then she would be snuggling in the basement whispering stories instead of outside.
It was foggy, like she was in a cloud. At first it was kind of fun to run in the mist. But it made its way through her clothes and left goosebumps on her skin.
Finally, she was at the park. No one else was there. It wasn't busy like when Mommy brought her on sunny days. Jade decides that this is better because she won't have to push people out of her way.
She climbs up to the platform.
"I'll be the evil witch," Jade says softly.
Her voices trails off when she realizes there's no one she can boss into being the princess and knight. Whatever, she'll be the witch and they can be pretend. She won't need to explain to anyone that the horse doesn't talk, it neighs and princesses don't get bored waiting in towers, they pretend to sleep until she says so.
Jade practices an evil cackle. It's really cold now but she presses on.
When it starts to rain, Jade freezes mid-threat to the princess. The sky opens up and rain pours hard. Her hair is soaked and turns a dark brown. She shivers and starts to walk down the stairs. It's slippery and she nearly misses a step before catching herself by grabbing on to the railing.
Jade jumps off the final step and pauses. She can't go home, Daddy will still be on the phone and Mommy won't be back yet. She huddles under the bridge to avoid some of the rain and thinks. Mommy said to go to Mrs. Valentine's house in an emergency. This counts as an emergency, doesn't it?
Thunder cracks and she decides it most definitely does. Jade takes off running to Cat's house. It's only on block from the park, and she's glad. The sky roars again and Jade tries to tell herself it's just God and the angels bowling like Mommy told her. It hard to believe though when Daddy rolled his eyes and started to interrupt until Mommy shushed him. Jade slips in a puddle and drenches her pant leg, which gets coated in mud.
Finally she reaches the Valentines' house. Jade pushes the bell hurriedly and only remembers later that Cat's brother might be sleeping.
Mrs. Valentine opens the door and looks down on her in surprise. "What are you doing here Jade?" she asks.
The thunder rumbles again and Jade jumps, her face paling slightly.
"Well, never mind. Come in from the cold," she instructs tugging on Jade's arm.
Jade stands in the foyer, sopping wet. She's dripping all over the tile and her face goes slightly red.
"Jade?" Mrs. Valentine asks, tipping Jade's head up with her finger.
Jade looks at her and bites her lip. "Mommy went to the store," she starts.
Mrs. Valentine nods in encouragement.
"And Daddy said to go play outside. But then it started raining, and I got scared," she says sheepishly.
"Oh, Jade. It's okay. I'm glad you came here," Mrs. Valentine says, stopping herself from berating the man who would let a six year old out alone.
"Go upstairs. Cat's in her room. I'm sure she'll be glad to see you. You can change into her clothes and eat dinner here. I'll call your parents," she says looking at the poor child.
"Not Daddy. He's on a business call. Call Mommy," Jade instructs, starting up the stairs.
Partway up she stops, "What's for dinner?"
"Spaghetti sound okay?"
Jade just grins, spaghetti is her favorite and Mrs. Valentines knows it.
Jade stomps up the rest of the stairs and flings open the door to Cat's room.
Cat is her very best friend. One of her only two friends actually, besides Andre. They met in preschool, and Jade can't think of a time without her.
"Jadey," Cat squeals rolling off her bed. She hurries to hug her and then pauses, "You're all wet".
"Duh," Jade replies pushing her away, "I need clothes".
Cat just giggles and throws open the doors to her closet. Jade grabs a pair of leggings and an oversized shirt. Cat is so stinking tiny this is all that will probably fit her. She changes quickly into the black pants and long red top. She turns to show Cat and get her opinion only to be blindsided by Cat body slamming her and hugging her tight.
"No," Jade says trying to pull Cat's arms off her, "We talked about this Cat".
When this has no effect, she starts to count and Cat's arms slip off her quickly.
Cat's pouting and Jade can't stand it, "What did I tell you?" she prompts.
"No hugging, unless you do it first," Cat says frowning, "but Jadey".
"Exactly," Jade answers.
Jade presses her lips together and then slings her arm around Cat's shoulders.
"Time for spaghetti," she says walking them towards the stairs.
A smile has bloomed on Cat's face and she starts to bounce with this news, "That's my favorite," she says happily, "yours too".
Jade nods and tugs Cat along faster.
When they get to the kitchen, Mrs. Valentine scoops up Cat and kisses her face before reminding her to go wash her hands.
She then turns to Jade and lifts her up onto the counter.
"All better, huh?" she says using a towel to dry Jade's hair and then pulling it up into a ponytail.
Jades nods, swinging her legs.
Mrs. Valentine sets her down, "Hands," she reminds her.
After washing their hands the girls take their seats at the table. It's covered with plates, spaghetti, salad, dressings, bread, and drinks. Theirs have curly straws, Jade's is purple and Cat's is pink. Jade moves to grab a roll, forgetting at this house they say grace. Cat elbows her and Jade remembers. She bows her head and folds her hands together.
Dinner at Cat's house is always loud. Louder than at home anyway. Mr. and Mrs. Valentine ask about each other's day and joke with Cat. Her brother is eight and kind of crazy. Sometimes Cat's Nona is there too. Jade wonders if her home would be as happy if they prayed before eating. Their dinners were usually silent. Her dad thought, "children should be seen and not heard". But when he was away for business, her mom would order pizza and they would laugh and talk at the table.
Jade is sprawled out on the floor beside Cat after dinner. She's on her tummy with her head in her hands. They are watching the Wizard of Oz and Cat's admiring Glinda's dress while Jade's rolling her eyes and waiting for the flying monkeys. The doorbell rings but they both ignore it. Then Jade hears her mom's voice. Dorothy just met the tin man but Jade jumps up anyway. Cat's her shadow and follows her into the foyer.
"Mommy," Jade shrieks reaching up.
Her mom picks her up and kisses her cheek. "I heard you were out in the rain, monkey," she says stroking Jade's hair. Jade nods clinging to her tightly.
"Thanks for keeping her, Patricia" her mom tells Mrs. Valentine, "I hope she wasn't too much trouble".
"Moi?" Jade mouths with a giggle.
"She was fine. The girls had fun," Mrs. Valentine answers.
"Nice clothes, silly girl," her mom says, "Time to go home".
"But we were going to have ice cream for dessert," Jade says crossly.
"You can have some at home. You've been here long enough Jadelyn," is her mom's stern reply.
"It's really no problem Shannon," Mrs. Valentine says.
With that Jade is wriggling down and following Cat into the kitchen.
Mr. Valentine dishes up the ice cream. Red Velvet Chocolate Chunk for both of them and a bowl of Funky Nut Blast for her brother. Mr. Valentine and Frankie go in another room to eat it leaving the girls in the kitchen.
Cat is going on and on about Mr. Purple's adventure to the zoo or something. Jade's tuned her out and is listening to the mom's conversation in the hallway. She can't hear all of it but it sounds like they are both pretty mad at her dad.
When the girls finish they climb on a step stool and set the bowls in the sink.
Cat smiles at her and says, "I'm glad you came over Jadey".
Jade isn't fond of the nickname but she has like a million so she ignores it. Instead she hugs Cat for a brief tight squeeze and then goes back to the parents. Jade hates to be touched, can't stand it, but she's usually okay if she initiates it.
Jade's mom is holding a bag with her wet clothes and motions for Jade to go to the car.
She falls asleep on the way home and wakes up in her Mom's arms as they walk up the stairs. Her mom makes sure Jade brushes her teeth and changes into her midnight blue pajamas. Then she takes Jade's hair down and brushes it out while singing Mambo No. 5. It's on the radio all the time and Jade sings along too. Her mom scoops her up and dances her around the bedroom laughing.
Then the door opens to reveal her dad. They both stop.
"Very nice," he says stiffly, "as long as it's just for play. You will never make a career out of that Jadelyn".
He calls her Jadelyn all the time. Every else just uses it when she's in trouble, then again she always seems to be in trouble with him.
Her dad bends slightly and offers her his cheek. Jade brushes her lips against his face and pulls back.
"Good night," he says exiting and closing the door.
Jade looks slightly bewildered, even though this happens every night. Her mom picks her up and tosses her lightly on to the bed.
"What story tonight?" she asks cuddling up to Jade.
Jade scoots away and snuggles a blanket up to her face.
"The next chapter of Little House in the Big Woods," Jade says like the question is stupid.
She just got the books for her birthday and they're pretty good. Her mom was right to ask though because sometimes Jade isn't in the mood for calico dresses and maple syrup parties.
She's asleep halfway through the third chapter of the night. Her mom presses a kiss to Jade's forehead and tucks her. She clicks off the light; Jade's never been scared of the dark, and closes the door.
A/N: So that was the first chapter. The story will go over Jade's childhood and Beck's briefly until they meet. Then it'll cover from pre-pilot to post-finale. Expect lots of Bade with some Cade friendship, but all the gang will be included. Please let me know what you think. Thanks.