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Chapter Eleven

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"Everything?" Jade asks, clenching the jeans in her hands so harshly that her knuckles are white.

Beck steps towards his girlfriend and gently takes the pants from her grasp. "I swear." He puts his hand in hers and steps over several strewn clothes to lead her to her bed. They lie down together, each on one shoulder so they can face each other.

"I grew up in Tulsa, which you know," Beck begins. He tries to think about where in his story he should continue, but everything he could say sounds too shameful in his head to say out loud. "Jade, I..." He sighs. "I can't tell you all of this stuff."

"Why not?"

Beck doesn't answer, and Jade can see his mind reeling just by looking at his facial expression. She gives him several minutes to speak again.

"It's embarrassing," he finally replies. Jade's silence and stillness indicates that she's not going anywhere, so Beck takes another few minutes to muster the courage to tell her.

"My dad has hit me for as long as I can remember. He'd been hitting my mom since before I was born."

Jade tries not to visibly flinch.

"I tried to run away four times as a kid. The first time they found me, my dad tried to drown me in the bathtub. I was seven." Jade's eyes water, but Beck isn't stopping now. "The fourth time, I was eleven. I don't remember what he did to me, only that I woke up a week later in a hospital. According to him, I'd been hit in the head with a soccer ball at practice and had a bad concussion. After that, I stopped trying."

"Beck," Jade cries softly, closing her eyes for a second of relief. At this point, though, her boyfriend is telling the story as if he had no personal connection to it.

"When I was in seventh grade I told my dad I was joining the soccer team. Pretending to go to practice was my excuse for getting a job. I lied about my age and they hired me at an ice skating rink. The uniform was jeans and a long sleeve shirt, which worked because I was completely covered up and never had to answer any questions about bruises or marks. That's how I made enough money to carry out my fifth runaway."

Beck goes on to tell her of his hitchhiking trail – how he'd met Cat and Lola, the kindness and harshness he'd experienced from complete strangers, and the true story of how his guitar had been stolen. "Georgia took me in when I had nowhere else to go," he explains. "She saved my life. I didn't even tell her about me or about my parents; she took me in anyways." He tells her about what Officer Byers had said about his parents searching for him, and how Bradley will help him stay away from them.

Jade's head is spinning as she realizes just how little she'd known about Beck's past. Things begin piecing together in her head – how hesitant Beck had been to hit Jordan or Mitchell, his ridiculously hard work ethic, and his habit of always peppering Jade with questions to take up the time he wouldn't spend talking about himself. Jade loses the control she'd had on her tears and brings her hands up to cover her face while she cries.

"Why didn't you tell me?" She asks softly. "You didn't tell me any of this." Beck doesn't answer, just gives her time to process. "All this time," she cries. "All this time I knew nothing."

"I'm sorry," he says. "I didn't know how to tell you."

"You can't just keep things like this from me," she explains tearfully.

"I know. I promise I won't again."

Jade finally meets his eyes. She puts her hand on his cheek and doesn't bother to catch the tear that rolls down her own face. "Are you okay?"

Beck nods softly. "I'm okay."

"I love you so much. I'm so sorry."

"It's okay. I'm okay." Beck takes her hand slowly off of his face and kisses it. He slides closer so he can wrap his arms fully around her, and Jade presses her head to his chest. He stretches up to turn off the lamp and then drops a kiss to her hair.

"What are you going to do?" Jade asks, after several minutes of silence.

Beck sighs. "I don't know. I guess I'll let them keep looking. They won't find me; I went too far and I didn't leave a trail."

"You can't just wait for something bad to happen," she argues back, but her voice is still tired and worn out from crying.

"I don't have much of a choice."

"You could turn yourself in. Explain to the police what happened; they won't make you go back to your parents."

Beck's stomach churns at the thought. "I don't want to risk it."

Jade sighs heavily into his chest, too exhausted to finish the conversation at the moment. She closes her eyes. "Just don't leave me," she says, almost too quietly for him to hear her.

"I won't."

When they wake up the next morning, the rainstorm that had started in the middle of the night is still going on. While the lightening and most of the thunder have subsided, the rain still beats against the window in Jade's bedroom. Tiger, who hates the rain, had curled up against Beck's back sometime last night.

Beck draws his fingers in back-and-forth movements against Jade's back. When he looks down at her face, he sees her eyes are still puffy from the events of last night. He kisses her forehead, and Jade figures – knowing him – that he's going to want to talk about things and make sure she's okay.

"I'm hungry," he says instead, and it seems so uncharacteristic and well-timed that she almost laughs.

"Me too. I want oatmeal. And coffee." Before Beck can reply, Tiger crawls over his body and slides between him and Jade. The puppy licks at her cheek, making Jade squirm as he gets dog slobber on her face. "Tiger," she cringes, half-disgusted and half-laughing. Beck pulls the puppy's head up and playfully wrestles him to distract him.

"Come on, Tig. Let's get your food."

When the three descend the stairs, Bradley and Georgia are both sitting at the kitchen table with their morning cups of coffee. Neither of them mentions Jade's redder-than-usual eyes, as they can conclude for themselves her reason for being upset last night. While Beck makes coffee, Jade sets out Tiger's food and water bowls.

"Well, the good news is that the plants won't need to be watered for a while," Bradley notes. "It's been pouring for about eight hours now."

"I think we could all use a lazy Sunday," Georgia says, sipping on her coffee. And so it is. Beck and Jade spend the morning working on the new song they'd started last night while Bradley and Georgia build a puzzle on the coffee table. After lunch, Georgia works with her granddaughter to book her flights to and from Los Angeles. Jade wanted to get more clothes and personal belongings from her home in California in order to effectively move to Burley.

Meanwhile, Bradley is sitting on the covered portion of the porch with Beck, shielded from but watching the rain.

"How did Jade take it?"

Beck sighs. "She was...upset. It was a long night. I don't know if I feel better or worse now that she knows. I don't want her to worry about me, but the thing she was most upset about was that I hadn't told her."

The older man smiles wisely. "Women don't usually like to be left out of the know. And they always figure things out anyways."

Beck nods. "I just don't want her to think less of me, or be worried about me."

"I guarantee you she doesn't think you're any less of a man, Beck. And as for worrying about you – I bet she does that anyways." He takes a sip of his glass of Georgia's lemonade. "Now, I don't want to dampen the mood too much, but you know we've got some stuff to sort out." Beck nods again. "Are you okay to tell me everything I need to know?"

Beck looks uneasy, so Bradley continues.

"I'm only doing this so that I can start helping you build a case against your parents," he explains. "In the event that your parents get that warrant for your arrest, you'll have to testify against them if you don't want to live under their roof again."

"Okay."

A few shaky breaths later, Beck begins a conversation of mostly his dialogue that lasts for close to two hours. While he details every instance of abuse that he can remember – or stomach saying out loud – Bradley does his best not to visibly flinch. Beck recounts how his father never even had to have a drink in him to hit his son – even when he cried, even when he begged, even when he was barely five years old.

There are things he doesn't share, things that aren't completely necessary to his testimony. Things about how he felt inside, or the things he did and said to himself, or the lies he told at school to keep people from asking questions.

By the time Beck finishes talking, he's exhausted. Bradley palms his shoulder and gives it a reassuring rub. "You won't have to go back there, son. I promise."

"Thanks, Bradley. For everything."

A week later, Georgia and Beck drive Jade to the airport. Georgia kisses her granddaughter's forehead and hugs her while Beck pulls her bag out of the trunk. He sets it on the ground next to her and pulls her into a hug.

"I love you," he says before kissing her. "Call me when you land."

Jade nods. "I'll be back in two days. I love you too."

She lands at LAX six hours later, where Anna picks her up. The blonde takes her daughter into her new apartment in West Hollywood, where she had moved - by herself - all of both her own and Jade's possessions from the old house with Mitchell.

When they arrive, Anna gives Jade a tour of the place - of both bedrooms and bathrooms, the spacious living room, and the kitchen. "I know you won't be living here, at least for now," Anna says as Jade stands in the middle of her bedroom, "but I wanted you to have your room here anyways."

Anna had decorated the entire room by herself, in a very Jade-like color scheme of dark charcoal, purple, and blue. Jade sinks down on the soft, queen-sized bed. "It's really nice, Mom. Thank you." She wishes she could say something to ease her mother's mind about how she wishes she could really live in this bedroom - but, truthfully, she already misses Beck so much that it makes her bones ache.

That night, Anna takes Jade to her daughter's favorite gourmet Mexican food place in Los Angeles. The blonde puts in their order for an appetizer and then turns back towards Jade. "Are you excited to start school in Burley?"

Jade shrugs. "I guess so."

"You guess so?"

"Yeah. I just need a break from everyone at school here. And it's not as if Beck can move here."

Anna stares at her daughter intently. There's something different about her - not good or bad, necessarily, just different. She looks more mature than the girl Anna had dropped off in Burley three months ago. "Tell me about Beck."

Jade furrows her eyebrows. "What do you mean?"

"Nothing. You two just seem to be...very committed. I don't know him well—"

"And whose fault is that?"

"You don't have to get defensive," Anna says, keeping her voice calm. "I know I was skeptical of Beck at first. I admit that. But now that you two are dating - and pretty seriously after a short amount of time - I just want to know about him."

Jade sighs and sips on her glass of water. She pauses before speaking. "Beck is a good guy. You don't have anything to worry about, if you thought you did to begin with."

"I didn't. You must really like him if you're willing to go to school in Burley just to stay with him." The brunette blushes a deep red and she looks down at the table. Anna fights a smile; never in her life has she seen Jade get like this over anyone.

"Can we not talk about this?" She mutters.

"Jade, you've been away all summer and you're about to be gone for I-don't-know-how-long." Anna doesn't mean for her blue eyes to water but she can't help it. Jade looks up at her mother and Anna quickly wipes a tear from her cheek. "I'm sorry. I don't want you to think that I'm trying to get you to stay. I'm happy for you and I want you to do what makes you happiest."

Jade considers the fact that her mother will be here in LA, alone, in recovery from alcoholism and coping with the fact that she'd unknowingly married a psychopath. She sighs.

"Beck is the best person I know," she says honestly. Anna smiles and barely notices when the waiter sets the appetizer on the table between her and Jade. "He's works harder than anyone at everything he does. He's polite; everyone loves him. He's annoyingly hard not to get along with. You'd actually have to try - hard - to dislike him."

"It doesn't hurt that he's downright adorable," Anna adds, and Jade bites back a smile. That's one detail she can't deny. After a minute, the blonde eyes her daughter again. "Promise me something? Two things, actually."

"Hmm?"

"First, promise me you'll be safe - in every meaning of that term. You know I trust you; I trust you more than I trust myself after what's happened. I just want to know that you'll be careful with yourself. You've had more than enough hurt for one lifetime." Jade nods and Anna continues. "Second, will you visit California? Just every once in a while. You could bring Beck."

"I will," she promises. "I'll need a break from Burley eventually, and Beck has always wanted to go to California."

"Okay." Anna catches another stubborn tear before it falls. "Thank you."

Later that night, Jade is trying - unsuccessfully - to get comfortable in her bed. She's already texted Beck that she was going to sleep, but she's been trying for half an hour to fall asleep and has had no luck whatsoever. Frustrated, she props her pillows up and grabs her phone.

To: Beck

Still up?


Beck's phone dings and he picks it up off of his bed. He smiles when he sees the text from Jade.


To: Jade

Yep, still working on this song :) Couldnt sleep?


Jade sighs in relief.


To: Beck

No. It's weird.


To: Jade

What's weird?


To: Beck

Idk

.

To: Beck

Not having you here, I guess. It's weird.


To: Jade

Thank god


To: Beck

?


To: Jade

It's SO WEIRD. I miss you so much


Jade can't help or control the smile that erupts onto her face.


To: Jade

Seriously. I can't wait to see you


To: Beck

Is it bad that we can't even go two days without seeing each other?


To: Jade

I don't think so. I mean, we've been together pretty much all day every day for three months. We're allowed to be weirded out by a few days apart


To: Beck

Ok, good. Shit I really miss you.


To: Jade

Rest up, babe, because after I pick you up at the airport tomorrow night, you won't be getting any more sleep


To: Beck

Beck, you can't say things like that to me when I'm trying to fall asleep


To: Jade

Sorry. I've just been thinking all day about how I'm going to push you up against the wall and kiss you


To: Beck

Beck oh my fod


To: Jade

I'll put my hands up your shirt and on your breasts to make you moan my name


To: Beck

please


To: Jade

And when all of our clothes are off I'll make love to you against the wall


To: Beck

yEs


To: Jade

And even after I make you come, I'll carry you to the bed so you can sit on my face


To: Beck

You jnow I love thaf


To: Jade

Imagine my hands gripping your hips as you ride my face until I can taste you again


To: Beck

beck

.

To: Beck

I swear to god I love you so much


To: Jade

I love you more. I miss you. And I can't wait to do exactly what I just said I'd do


To: Beck

God I can't wait for tomorrow night


To: Jade

Me either. Get some sleep, I love you


To: Beck

I love you. Text me when you wake up


To: Jade

Promised. Goodnight babe


Jade boards her plane back to Idaho twenty hours later, a large suitcase and two carry-on bags in tow containing everything she'll need for the fall and winter. She'd made Anna promise to take care of herself - and promised her mother that she herself would do the same. When she exits the terminal back in Burley, she's nearly shaking with anticipation to see Beck.

When she gets to baggage claim, she sees him standing in a crowd of about ten other people, presumably also waiting for others. She grins at the sight of him standing there - tall and smiling, in a dark green plaid button-up and jeans. As soon as she reaches him, she drops her carry-on bag at her feet and throws herself into his arms to hug him.

Beck lifts her slightly off the ground and then sets her back down to kiss her. "Hi," he says against her mouth.

"Hi." Jade kisses him again, and they don't pull away for almost a full minute. "Wow. We can never do long distance. Ever."

"Ever," Beck agrees, pressing his lips to hers. "I missed you so much. How was your flight?"

"I slept." She winks and Beck laughs and kisses her before taking her hand and leading her over to the baggage carousel. When all of her bags are loaded into the truck, they start the drive home.

Jade holds his hand in the space between their seats and Beck rubs his thumb against hers. "We've got orientation for the new school year this week," he says. "It's on Wednesday."

"Ugh. I cannot imagine going back to school. Summer has been so surprisingly relaxing."

"Andre said he'd go at the same time as us. He can introduce us to some people."

"I guess that would be okay. I'm not really interested in knowing anyone besides you, Andre, and Cat - but I'll go."

Beck shrugs. "Everyone in this town seems pretty nice. Can't be too bad."

After the two have arrived back home and Jade has greeted her grandmother and Bradley, Beck helps her carry her bags upstairs to her room. "Jade, did you pack bricks in here?"

"More like boots," she replies, opening the door for him since he has no free hands. Beck sets the bags down and grabs onto Jade's waist to pull her onto the bed. She giggles uncharacteristically as he crawls on top of her and kisses up her chest to her neck.

"I missed you way too much," Beck whispers. Within five minutes, he's grabbing a condom out of her bedside drawer. A month ago, they had figured that buying them from the convenience store on the outskirts of Burley would be their best option.

Beck slides it onto himself and kisses Jade as he enters her. Since they know Bradley and Georgia are watching a movie downstairs, they don't have to be completely silent - but they're also not about to risk being heard.

When they've both finished, Beck pulls out of her and, out of nowhere, Jade laughs.

Beck turns his head towards her. "What?"

"I still have to unpack everything."

"Nah." Beck shakes his head and pulls her to cuddle next to him.

Jade laughs again. "What do you mean nah? I have three suitcases to unpack."

He kisses her temple and smiles as he closes his eyes. "We can do it tomorrow. I'm tired."

"I don't care," she says, tapping his chest with her palm. "My clothes can't get wrinkly. Get up; we have work to do." After Jade grabs his button-up and slides into it, she pulls on a pair of underwear and stands up to decide what the best method of unpacking will be. Beck, meanwhile, is propped up on his elbows with only a sheet halfway covering his middle.

He doesn't say anything, just watches as his girlfriend dons his shirt better than he does. When she notices the staring, Jade turns towards him, placing her hands on her hips. "Can I help you?"

He smiles. "I'm just appreciating the way you look in that shirt."

"We have work to do. Would it help you if I took the shirt off?" She asks, threatening to unbutton the latch that would release her otherwise uncovered chest. Beck shakes his head wordlessly and Jade throws his boxers at him. "Get up."

Beck pulls his underwear on and crawls off the bed near where his girlfriend is standing. He holds her from behind and kisses the back of her neck. "What can I do to help?"

"For starters, don't kiss me until we're done with this. It's already midnight and this is going to take forever if we end up pausing to have sex again." Beck complies by pulling his lips off of her neck, but the break of contact only makes Jade want him to keep going. "Okay, just for a second," she says, almost breathlessly, as she turns around in his arms. Beck kisses her lips and then drags them smoothly down her cheek and back to her neck. Jade's hands slide down on his bare chest, and then back up to grip his shoulders.

"I missed you," she says, and it comes out as more of a moan than she had intended. After another minute, she has to forcibly hold in a whimper when Beck pulls away again.

"Hey," he says, getting her attention. "You know that I would be happy to continue this on the bed, but I know you want to get unpacked - and if we keep this up, I'm not going to be able to help myself." He nods towards his boxers and she sighs.

"I know. Let's get this over with."

Beck kisses her forehead and drops his arms back to his side. He moves to the first suitcase, and opens it to find that it's filled entirely with shoes. "Really?"

"I like shoes!"

"Five of these pairs are black boots. You already have two here with you!"

"They're each different," she argues. "Take them out and find each one's matching shoe so I can start organizing them in the closet."

An hour and a half later, all three suitcases are unpacked. Shoes are put away, clothes are hung, and the closet is neat and organized just the way Jade likes it. She walks over to Beck and steps into his arms to kiss him. "Thank you for helping."

"You're welcome."

She kisses the line of his jaw and then sucks at the spot on his neck that she knows he loves. "Are you too tired?" She whispers against his skin.

He laughs. "Are you kidding?"

She doesn't have to say another word before he's lifted her in his arms and carrying her to the bed. After pulling her underwear down her legs and flinging them onto the floor, he buries his face between her legs. He's gotten so much better since the first time he'd gone down on her, which is more and more evident to Jade every time he does it.

After half an hour of pleasing each other, she collapses against him and lets her heartbeat slow down. Beck pulls the blankets over their naked bodies and Jade snuggles closer to him. "I missed you," he says in a yawn. "Love you, babe."

She mumbles the words in return against his chest before drifting off into a heavy sleep.

Three days later, Jade, Beck, and Andre are walking into Burley High School for the junior class's orientation. When they walk inside the main building, Beck grabs ahold of Jade's hand.

"So, this is BHS," Andre informs them. "We'll go to the library first to get student IDs for the new year. The cafeteria is that way," he says, pointing behind them, "and the buildings are organized by A, B, and C. Don't worry, this school is pretty small."

"How many people are in our grade?" Beck asks.

"About a hundred and fifty."

"So everyone knows everyone," he concludes.

"And gossip spreads like wildfire," Andre answers with a grin. It's then that Beck and Jade notice that people are staring at them. "You'll get used to it," he says easily. "We never get new kids - ever. People are just surprised to see two in one day. Here, let me introduce you to some."

Within a few seconds, Andre has called over the group of guys who had just gotten their IDs printed. "Guys, this is Beck and Jade. They're new here."

"I'm Nate," the tall blonde says, mostly to Jade.

"I'm Carter," the one next to him says, "but most people call me Chapman."

"Emmett," the last one introduces himself. "Welcome to Burley. I think I've seen you," he tells Jade, who raises an eyebrow. "You're work at Dr. Dunne's office, right?"

"Oh," Jade says, almost laughing as she remembers, "you brought the dog that had eaten the toy firetruck."

"My little brother's," Emmett explains, grinning. "Glad you remember."

"How could I forget? Usually we get old women bringing their sick cats into the office. It makes me want to jump out the window. At least your dog had something interesting going on."

"Jade West, already making friends," Andre interjects. "Anyways, we've got to get our IDs. See you guys around!"

The boys say their goodbyes and Beck doesn't realize how tightly he's clenching Jade's hand until she taps his arm. "Babe, ow."

"Sorry," he says, easing up as they walk into the library.

By the time they've finished orientation, they've met more people than Beck or Jade can remember. A few girls lingered their eyes on Beck for far too long, in Jade's opinion, leaving her annoyed. Beck, on the same note, seemed to play up the bodily contact with his girlfriend any time he caught other guys staring at her. By the time they get home, they're tired and content to watch a TV movie on the couch together. During a commercial break, Beck turns his head down to look at Jade, who is cuddled against him. "You nervous about school?"

She shrugs. "I don't like the fact that we don't have all of our classes together. That Tori girl looked like she was ready to spread her legs when you said hi to her."

"I'm not worried about her. In case you haven't heard, I'm actually dating the new girl at Burley High School. She's gorgeous, with bright blue eyes and the prettiest hair I've ever seen."

Jade grins. "Now you're just trying to get me to spread my legs."

He laughs, and then sighs. "I don't want to share you with every guy at that high school, either."

"I wouldn't worry about that," she says, nearly repeating his words. "You're stuck with me, Oliver."


Up Next: Beck and Jade start high school, and Beck's parents make a move to get their son back.

Thoughts?