CHAPTER EIGHT:Jonah, Part IV
Part X: Wedding Planning, Part I
A year ago, if someone told Jade that her mother would sit her down at eighteen years old to forcibly discuss wedding planning, she would have punched them in the throat. Nevertheless, she finds herself sitting at her mother's kitchen table, newly engaged, and nearing eight months pregnant, doing just that. She is grateful, however, that she is not suffering through this alone. If her fiancé thought he could get away with skipping this one out, he was sorely mistaken. If she had to spend her Saturday doing this, so did he.
Beck has a strong distaste for Melissa Anderson. In her own way, she's extremely cold and calculating, but all the while heated and sporadic in her behavior. While his love for Jade even encompasses all her neuroticisms, he loathes all of the same traits in her mother. He knows that Jade has inherited parts of her attitude from her mother, clearly- but the way Melissa went about with her fiery temper and manipulative verbiage was so different from that of her daughter. Jade clearly acted out of an emotional response a majority of the time. Whether her actions were fueled by fear, resentment, jealousy, frustration, or sadness- there was always a root to the problem, and she was simply projecting. And he can't forget Jade's passion, oh he loved her passion. That fueled so much of how she behaved and, despite it consistently bring about frustrating circumstances that required his attention to detangle, seeing the passion in her heart in everything she did only made him fall deeper in love with her.
On the other hand, Melissa seriously lacked passion. Beck would even go as far to say that she often lacked emotion. To him, her behavior never seemed to be rooted in an emotional discontrol, but rather always supported by a devious agenda. He had seen time and time again the way Jade's mother manipulated her and twisted all situations to play in her favor. There was something so emotionless in her that gave Beck a severely off-putting feeling in the gut of his stomach.
However, Jade would simply disagree. She often saw the rage and disappointment in her mother's eyes when she would be scorned growing up. From barely 5-years old, she could understand her mother's fury with just the gaze in her eyes. Jade wasn't scared of much, but she was scared of that one specific look her mother could serve her at any given moment.
That fear was notably present by all during this particular conversation. After her mother ranted and raved over how stupid she thought the young couple was to even have gotten engaged in the first place, even going so far as to rope Todd in and have him back her, Melissa realized that she would have no chance at changing her daughter's plans. With that being the case, Melissa then switched gears to ensure that if her daughter was going to get married at a ridiculously young age, the wedding would then have to perfectly match up to her standards.
Going on and on and with little to no breaks for breath, Melissa starts firing off demands for the wedding as she scribbles them down onto a note pad, "well you definitely have to invite my Aunt Tammy- she did so much for me when I was a kid and it would be plain rude if she wasn't invited. Oh, but by no means can you invite your father's Aunt Mitzi- she is a ragging bitch and I refuse to be in the same room as her… speaking of which, do you have to invite your father's mother? You know your father gets his drinking problem from her right? You'll end up having to pay the biggest bar tab at the end of the night. Oh, that reminds me, there has to be an open bar- otherwise that's just tacky… oh and hydrangeas are tacky, too. Cannot have those in the centerpieces."
"Centerpieces?" Beck questions as Melissa forcefully underlines the phrase no hydrangeas on her notepad several times. He thinks she is absolutely ridiculous. She ditches her daughter's graduation but has the audacity to make an abundance of nonsensical, forcible expectations for her wedding? Now that's a steaming pile of bullshit if he's ever seen.
Melissa scoffs at Beck, "yes, centerpieces. You have to decorate for the reception- or what? Were you planning on having the wedding in a back alley with people eating dinner on dumpsters?"
Beck's annoyance is visibly growing as he replies, "obviously not. I just don't know why you're planning for some grand reception when we don't even know if we'd have one yet!"
Jade immediately recognizes the look on her mother's face in receipt of Beck's rebuttal. She's edging too closely to that look that has scared Jade since she was a little girl, and she instinctively squeezes Beck's hand under the table.
Under normal circumstances, Jade would still fight back her mother's fire despite her fear. However, she made it very clear to Beck before they arrived that day that she was in no mood and had no energy to entertain a fight with her mother. At this point in her pregnancy, she was worn out and only had enough vigor to worry about her baby, Beck, and herself. She decided that she simply could not be bothered to carry the weight of anyone else for the remainder of her pregnancy.
This conversation with her mother was merely out of obligation to let her know about the engagement, and she was willing to let her mother spit whatever ludicrous ideas she wanted to without objection all in the name of saving both her mind and remaining stamina.
At the feeling of her squeeze on his hand, Beck immediately felt guilty for being unable to hold his tongue. Beck was typically a pretty laid-back guy and had no trouble being quiet when he needed to- but there was something about Melissa that just couldn't let him just shut up and take it. Maybe Jade gets her ability to provoke him from her mother after all?
Teetering on the brink of fuming, Melissa retorts, "what do you mean you two might not have a reception? What the hell does that even mean? How do you have a wedding without a reception?!"
Closing his eyes and swallowing his pride, Beck apathetically responds, "you're right. I'm sorry- I was just getting confused. Sorry for cutting you off."
Melissa accepts her win at no bruise to her ego and continues on about her orders for the wedding. Over her own tangent, Melissa can't hear Jade's immediate sigh of relief- but Beck can and hearing her relax ever so slightly is like music to his ears.
After leaving the Anderson household, Jade found the idea of getting the engagement conversation with both sides of her family over with sooner rather than later as the best-case scenario. She always knew there was no way she'd be able to kill two birds with one stone on this matter, unfortunately though. She was able to get both of her parents in the same room together to announce her pregnancy, and that was a miracle in and of itself. She wasn't going to kid herself and expect some kind of repeat of that glitch in the matrix. So, they hopped in Beck's car and made their way to Jade's father's house.
Her father is much more blasé about the matter than her mother was, but still has some pretty strong opinions. And, unlike her stepfather, her stepmother also comes in with her own lug of opinions on the event herself. Here though, they're having their conversation in the living room, to which Jade is grateful for as she can sit her sore back down on the cushioned sofa as opposed to the hard and uncomfortable dining chairs from her mother's kitchen.
Upon entering the house, both Jade and Beck could smell the faint scent of vodka lingering on her father's breath. For once in her life, Jade was relieved- thinking that her father being at all inebriated would make this conversation easier to navigate and end sooner rather than later. Differently, Beck saw this as another moment of disgrace for his fiancée's parents- her father had clearly been drinking before and/or during their graduation, and seems to have now needed to pregame before sitting down to discuss his daughter getting engaged? Beck couldn't help but think of him as a mess of a human and a joke of a parent.
Chelsea, while channeling excitement for the couple, was overwhelming in just how many friendly suggestions she had for the event. For some reason, she still had so many pamphlets and other materials on hand from her wedding to George three and a half years ago that she insisted on bringing out of storage for reference. Suddenly, the young couple was met with some glaring price tags of Melissa's aforementioned demands.
"Centerpieces cost how much?" Beck questioned, shocked as he flipped through a pamphlet from a florist. Jade leaned into him to get a glance at what he was looking at and immediately shared a look of wide eyes as soon as she saw the price estimates being advertised.
Kneeling on the floor by the coffee table that was covered in flyers, booklets, and brochures, Chelsea responds as if explaining the obvious, "yeah, well everything gets marked up if it's for a wedding- that's just how it works."
"Huh?" Jade verbalizes.
Chelsea derides off her stepdaughter's ignorance on the subject and elaborates as she repositions herself on the floor to face them better, "haven't you ever wondered why a regular gown costs so much less than a wedding gown?"
"Why would you think I even know how much a wedding gown costs?" Jade pegs annoyed at her stepmother acting like this was commonplace knowledge.
Ignoring her stepdaughter's annoyance at the situation, Chelsea calmly warns, "you guys, weddings are expensive. How were you planning on paying for it anyways?"
As his wife is speaking, George makes his way up from his seat to refill his glass of what, skeptically, he claims is just water. As Chelsea comes to a close on her question, George quickly pipes in as he continues moving away, "I am not falling for that crap about the father of the bride paying for everything, by the way."
Jade shifts in her seat as she quickly rebuts back, "no one expected you to!"
Chelsea ignores her husband's departure, and pegs the questions again, "so, how do you two plans to pay for all this?"
Beck hesitates before answering, "well, do we really need all this anyways? It seems kinda pointless, and there's no way we'd be able to afford it all if this is what they cost…"
Jade nods her head in agreement and adds, "it's just sounds like a party, with ugly dresses, overpriced flowers, and having to feed a bunch of people we could really care less about."
"Jade!" Chelsea scolds, "what do you mean you don't care about them? It would be all your family and friends there to celebrate you two!"
"I just don't see why we'd have to invite every third cousin, twice removed," Jade explains, "they don't care about us, and I sure as hell don't care about them."
"No one said you have to invite everyone in the family," Chelsea counters.
"That list you started making earlier would beg to differ!" Jade pushes back to her stepmother as her father walks back into the room holding his refilled glass.
Annoyed at the bantering, George states, "Jade, stop complaining. There's family that we owe respect to, and that means you gotta invite them. Stop being so difficult, it's not the end of the world."
Beck can't help himself but then question, "if it's not the end of the world, then why do we even need to have some fancy wedding anyways?"
"So, what would you do instead? Have Elvis marry you in Vegas?" George taunts as he nurses his drink.
"That actually doesn't sound that bad…" Jade muttered, to which garnered a shocked gasp out of her stepmother.
"Jade! Do not even think about that. No, no, no- you're better than that," Chelsea condemns. She knows her stepdaughter would very well do that, and glares at her husband for even planting the idea in her head. That, on top of the pre-martial, teen pregnancy, would just be so embarrassing for their whole family to endure. She couldn't have their family take a blow to their reputation like that.
Reveling in her stepmother's distress, Jade keeps going, "better than what exactly?"
Annoyed at his daughter's attitude, George firmly asserts, "Jade, cut it out. It's not happening. You two are gonna have a normal wedding, and that's that," he pauses, as if he were finished and satisfied that he won the argument, until another thought pops up into his head, "and by the way, you better not invite your mom's fucking Aunt Tammy. She's a ragging bitch- she ripped my Aunt Mitzi's earrings off, Jade! She needed to get stiches on her ear lobes. She's a fucking maniac, just like your mother."
The couple wanted to spend the following day solely decompressing. Spending yesterday having to maneuver and deal with Jade's parents exhausted the both of them. On the other side, while Beck's parents knew they had gotten engaged, they had yet to have a similar conversation going over the details of the engagement and impending wedding just yet. Despite knowing that the Olivers wouldn't be nearly as bad as the Wests and Andersons were, Jade and Beck were not looking forward to rehashing the wedding conversations anytime soon.
They needed time before they opened that can of worms again, and they did not expect the can to crack open on this particular hot June day. They anticipated a lazy Sunday before having Monday come crashing in on them, forcing them to face reality for yet another week. Tomorrow, Beck had a few minor auditions lined up and then a shift at the car garage he's been working at since wrapping up school. It paid better than a barista gig and the scheduling was flexible enough to let him go to a handful of auditions every week and still have time to see friends, family, and, most importantly, Jade. He had no plans to work as a mechanic for long, he was waiting on one of these auditions to pan out well enough for him before he could quit.
While the job did allow him a good amount of time to still see Jade quite a bit, he still hated leaving her alone for long stretches of time when she was limited to only being able to do so much at this point in her pregnancy. So, on days where he auditions back to back with shifts at the garage, he would usually try plan for someone to check on her throughout the day. Tomorrow, he was able to get both Cat and Tori to stop by and check on her. As expected, Jade was not fond of this; she didn't want Beck to assign her babysitters- she was perfectly capable of handling alone time. While she hated the way he acted like she needed to be watched over, she was far too tired to keep fighting over him insisting it was more so for his peace of mind and not for her to be babysat.
As for their lazy Sunday though, unfortunately, they've learned time and time again that not everything goes according to plan.
They spent a majority of Sunday morning laying in their bed in the RV, lulling in an out of sleep and just enjoying the rarely serene moment for what it was. After graduation, Jade had officially moved into the RV with Beck. While this hardly changed their routine at all, she was now officially living there rather than pseudo-living there. Most of her furniture and décor remained in her old bedrooms at each of her respective parents' houses, but all of her clothes and daily-use personal items were now all moved into the small, metal caravan.
As the weather in Los Angeles began to soar to its typical Summertime highs, Jade's discomfort was only heightened alongside with it. She could not understand for the life of her that there could have ever been a single person who planned a pregnancy knowing they would end up heavily pregnant in the Summer. Having to carry all this extra weight along with suffering through the natural pains of pregnancy all in temperatures hovering around or above 100° F was absolutely miserable, and she made sure that Beck was painstakingly aware of the situation he put her in.
What they have both found that helps the most though, is when Beck rubs his hands over her swollen belly. Jade thinks it's the comforting touch of his father that calms the baby down, while Beck thinks it's that Jade is a much more affectionate person than she likes to admit, and his ministrations give her a soothing distraction from whatever else is going on inside her body. Either way, Beck will constantly bring his hands to her stomach and rub it as it is the least he can do, all considered- while Jade won't hesitate to pull his hands to belly whenever she wants.
So, this morning in bed they find themselves above the covers, with Jade laying on her back and Beck up close to her, laying on his side, facing her as he rubs circles all along her baby belly. With his free hand he starts to finger through her hair, too. Ever since Jade woke up this morning, the baby had been kicking painfully at her ribs. She quickly reached for Beck's hand and placed it flat against her stomach, and he immediately knew what to do and has kept it up for almost an hour now.
The feeling of his hand against her stomach was so relaxing that it started to slowly lull her back to sleep; she shut her eyes and turned to bury her face in between his head and shoulder. Watching her unwind so naturally under his touch really did wonders for Beck's ego.
When he sees her in pain, he can't help but feel immensely guilty, despite it being out of his control. 'I'm the one that did this to her, though' he tells himself. That because he is the one who got her pregnant, that makes it all his fault and he should feel guilty when said pregnancy gives her trouble. Even Jade, on her more irritable days, will vocalize her agreement in this herself.
On the other hand, however, as he watches her body grow and exude this maternal glow, he can't help but feel pride over being the one who did this to her. Sometimes he feels like this makes him some sort of a sick and twisted person, but Jade loves all things sick and twisted so he's sure she has no problem with that.
Like now, he's not only overjoyed to be the one who's able to comfort her so, but his fascination with the changes of her body fuel him to stop rubbing circles on her with the palm of his hand and instead start doing so with his index finger only. He soon brings his finger to roundabout the object of his focus: her belly button.
Jade quickly notices that he's stopped giving her whole belly equal attention and gently removes her head from the crook of his neck and lays it flat again the pillow again. Opening her eyes, she softly asks him, "what are you doing?"
"Your belly button," Beck responds, not looking away from what his finger was still doing.
Confused at how that answers her question, Jade pegs, "huh?"
"Your belly button is an outie now," he points out.
Jade rolls her eyes and picking herself up by resting against her elbows, "geez, thanks for pointing out the obvious. Is it too hideous to look away from?"
"What? No! I never said that."
"Okay, so what is it? Is it grossing you out? You know, it's only like that cause your kid is taking up too much room in there."
Beck then removes his hand from her stomach and gently places it on her neck to make her look him in the eyes as he tears his gaze away from her bellybutton, "babe, I know. I just think it's cool."
"Cool?" Jade asks skeptically.
Beck nods his head, "mhm."
Jade studies his face for a moment before pulling her neck away from his grasp and decides, "you're really good at hiding just how weird you are, you know?"
"I'm not hiding anything!" He playfully responds.
She lets out a laugh and then asks, "since when are you so obsessed with outie belly buttons?!"
Beck shifts his gaze back to her bellybutton and begins to circle it with his finger again, "like you said, he's taking up so much room on the inside and… it's just cool seeing your body change cause he's in there, you know?"
Jade stares at him without garnering his gaze and decides to drop it as she falls back on the bed and frees her weight from her elbows, "well, I'm glad someone thinks it's cool then, I guess. There should be some joy to come from all my suffering, after all."
Turning to make eye contact, he gives her a playful glare that she understands as him telling her to stop twisting his words. He then moves his hand from her belly again to cup her face as he leans down to kiss her, and then pulling away to say, "I just mean-"
Jade shakes her head and pulls him back down to kiss as she cuts him off. She knows exactly what he meant and isn't interested in playing the pestering game she was provoking anymore. She just wants to start kissing him again and see where that takes them, and Beck certainly doesn't mind.
Just as they start to make progress to venturing into other activities, with Beck's hand suggestively venturing its way up Jade's thigh, they are interrupted by a knock on the RV door.
"Ignore it," Jade mumbles against his lips before reattaching them to his. Beck agrees with her and moves to hover above her as he starts playing with the bottom of her shirt.
They are quickly interrupted again by a firmer knock at the door that is accompanied by a voice that is very clearly Priya Oliver's saying, "don't tell me you two are still sleeping!"
Beck lets out a soft groan of frustration and resigns from kissing Jade and rests his forehead against hers. Despite also being annoyed, Jade taps Beck's side signaling him to roll off her and says, "go open the door for her."
As he walks over to the door, Beck slips on a t-shirt and Jade props herself to sit up right on the bed in an attempt to look a bit more put together before Priya comes in.
Beck opens the door to let his mother in, "hey mom, what's up?" Priya steps in and Beck follows behind her after shutting the door back up. Priya quickly glances around the room and is pleased with the level of tidiness in the space; Beck has never been one for being particularly messy, but she can't let go of her natural instinct to check him on it regardless.
Priya quickly makes herself comfortable and parks herself on the bed and turns to address Jade, "how are you feeling?"
Priya is clearly trying to gauge some sort of status update on the pregnancy for some reason. Jade self-consciously crosses her hands atop her belly as she confusedly answers, "fine…?"
Beck furrows his eyebrows at his mother and asks her again, "what's up, mom?"
Turning to her son, Priya says, "oh just wanted to check in on you two."
This only confuses Jade and Beck more and makes Jade particularly annoyed that their private time was interrupted for seemingly no reason at all.
"Okay…?" Beck responds, seemingly appeasing his mother all the while prompting her to continue with the real reason for her drop in.
Disregarding their confusion, Priya turns back to Jade and says, "so, I was just on the phone with my mother and sister, and we were just catching up and all… and then they asked me when your baby shower was gonna be, and then I realized we don't have one planned! We should plan one."
Jade's eyes go wide at the unexpected request and quickly gets out, "I don't want a baby shower."
Priya places a hand on top of Jade's that are still perched on her belly, "oh come on, I think it would be really nice. You can invite your friends and we could have some family come down from Canada-"
Beck cuts his mother off, "I don't think that's really necessary, mom."
Priya Oliver has a plan, and that plan accounted for the young couple's immediate apprehension to a baby shower. Her plan isn't even to have a baby shower come to fruition; she just needs it pose as if it is to use as leverage for what she really wants. So, she tries to portray a sense of concession as she gets up and says, "okay, well why don't you two just think about it then? No pressure, okay? We can talk more about it over dinner tonight."
"Dinner tonight?" Beck had not heard of any dinner with his parents tonight. He gives Jade a look that asks if she knows anything about this- to which she shrugs and returns an equally as confused look.
Downplaying her intentional blunder, Priya explains, "oh one of your father's clients mailed him some Omaha steaks and they don't have a long shelf life, so we have cook them before they go bad! So, we were thinking we could just make them tonight and we could all sit down together! It'll be nice!" She then pats her son against his arm and strolls out of the RV, disallowing them the chance to decline the invitation.
As the door shuts, Beck is astounded by his mother's brazen tactics and takes her seat next to Jade on the bed. Jade looks to Beck and then asks, "what the hell was that?"
"Okay, so I wasn't imagining that- she really did just rope us into all that?"
"What the hell is with all our parents with lately? Since when have they ever wanted to be so involved?! Ugh… why can't they just leave us alone?" Jade drops her head back against the half-wall behind the bed in frustration.
Beck just sighs and gently flops himself down on the bed against Jade's legs, equally as frustrated.
After Priya's visit, Beck and Jade successfully spent their Sunday vegetating around the RV, aside from showering and getting dressed for the impending evening. By 6:30 that night, they begrudgingly made their way into his parents' house for dinner.
Warily making his way through the door, Beck led Jade into the dining room to find his parents not there. Continuing their way into the kitchen, Beck's parents were also not there- but they noticed them through the window on the porch in the backyard.
Stepping out, they find Priya and Mark standing by the barbeque as Mark flips the steaks on the grill. Priya is standing by the grill, facing her husband as she sips on a glass of lemonade. As she catches them walking out, she smiles brightly and greets them, "oh good! You found us!"
"Yup," Beck responds awkwardly. Jade subtly adds sarcastically, "we found you."
"The foods almost done!" Mark announces happily, "take a seat!"
"Come on," Priya says excitedly as she comes up to them and gently starts to lead Jade to one of the plastic outdoor dining chairs on the porch. Jade shakes her off and continues on her own to the table.
Beck rolls his eyes as he follows to the table and takes a seat next to Jade. On the table is a bowl of mashed potatoes and a pitcher of lemonade. Priya immediately goes to pour everyone their own glass of lemonade as Mark pulls the steaks off the grill and onto a serving plate he carries over to the table.
They all fill up their plates silently. As Priya and Mark comfortably tuck into their food, Beck and Jade uncomfortable push around their food with their utensils, sparingly eating piece by piece as they wait for the other couple at the table to address the elephant in the room.
They're only a quarter of the way done with the food on the table when Beck reaches his breaking point and has to address the mood, "so, what did you guys wanna talk to us about?"
Mark gives a subdued laugh from his belly as Priya addresses the impatience, "well, I guess we lack subtly huh?"
Both Beck and Jade each give them a look that easily communicates they need to hurry up and get to the point already. Knowing his wife can often take her sweet time getting to the meat of a conversation, Mark takes over and says, "we needed to talk to guys about planning some stuff… like the baby shower, the wedding- we just want to make sure we're all on the same page before the baby comes, you know?"
"Okay, so why don't you start by telling us what page you guys are on exactly?" Jade asks bluntly.
"Let's start with the baby shower," Priya jumps in, "I know we don't have much time left, but we can certainly plan it with a quick turnaround!"
Exasperated, Jade reiterates, "I really don't want a baby shower."
"Yeah, it's not really necessary, mom," Beck adds.
"But we need Jade to meet the rest of the family- and how else do you expect everyone to get used to the idea of the baby?" Priya firmly questions her son.
"I'm not saying that we can't all get together, but I don't think it needs to be orchestrated through some baby shower," Beck responds.
"Okay, so you don't want them all to come here and- Jade, honey, it's not like you're in any condition to fly up to Canada to go see them anytime soon," Priya says gesturing to Jade's midsection. Jade returns her a look of mild bewilderment at her forwardness, yet still wraps her arms under her belly self-consciously.
Clearly getting annoyed, Jade questions, "condition?!"
Wary of where the conversation is now headed, Beck calmy and firmly states, "there will be plenty of other times for everyone to get together another time."
Seeing the opening, Priya then looks to her husband and signals that it's his que. Mark catches his wife's drift and jumps in suggesting, "I've got an idea that I think will be a happy compromise for everyone… how about all of us go up to Canada in December to see everyone for the holidays, instead? They baby would be old enough to fly and it's like you'd have to entertain anyone like if they were coming down here for a visit."
Beck and Jade look to each briefly as they contemplate what his father has just suggested. Beck then has to question it with, "but I'm sure Jade will want to spend time with her own family then, no?"
Beck looks to her as she contemplates her answer, and quickly settles her decision, "I don't really care to be with them during the holidays, actually. I'm mean, you've all met my parents- imagine what Christmas with them is even like."
Jade's rationale does qualm Priya and Mark's only hesitation about their idea taking her away from her own family during the season. Beck, however, isn't so easily swayed, "but what about your brother?"
Sincerely, Jade tells him, "he'll be fine… I think it's a good idea and we should go."
Beck looks to his fiancée a little bit oddly. Since when does she give into other's requests so easily? And a request that involves her going to Canada? It's just extremely out of character for her. Later, when the get back to the RV he'll question Jade's uncharacteristic agreeableness at dinner, and she'll let him know that it would be much less pressure to go and be the guests visiting rather than pseudo-hosting his whole family when they inevitably would have come down to visit them. For now though, he's not willing to rock the boat and will accept her decision without question.
After briefly pausing to gauge that energy is genuine and needs no further concession, Priya busts out a large grin, to which Mark sports a more subdued grin, and she says, "okay so it's settled! This will be great to everyone to meet the baby and warmed up to the idea of the wedding!"
Looking at his wife thankfully for bring up the next item on their agenda, Mark picks up, "speaking of which, how far out were you two thinking of having the wedding? I know, no rush- but were you guys thinking of two years? Three years? More?"
"What?" Jade asks confused. Sure, they weren't in a rush to go down the alter immediately, but when did they ever say anything about holding off three years or more?
Realizing that some things may have gotten lost in translation, "well, you know- we just thought that there's no reason for you two to rush into anything. Just want to make sure you both know you can really wait as long as you'd like."
Mark adds, "yeah, you shouldn't feel pressure to start planning something immediately."
Beck's parents aren't being subtle, and it takes him no time to pick up on this. They want to prolong their engagement for as long as possible in order to push the wedding back to the latest date possible. They think Beck is rushing into this, and made a haphazard decision fueled by the impending arrival of his son. Despite their yielding support behind him proposing, he can tell they're still holding out for them to not go through with getting married. And they clearly see a breakup being much more management for themselves than a divorce.
Visibly annoyed at all of his parents' hidden agendas for the evening, he firmly shuts them down in a rarely used tone of his, "when we start wanting to make plans for it, we'll let you know."
Mark and Priya are very receptive to the seriousness and sternness in their son's voice and that the seriousness of his message is amplified by the scarcity of which he uses such a tone. Jade stares at Beck in simultaneous shock and awe; how is he so calm even when he's so upset? That he diffused the situation so peacefully and firm, all in the name of defending their relationship yet again. She squeezes his hand in silent appreciation of him, and they quickly try and wrap up the meal to go back into their own world in the RV.
Jade gets it, she'll never be the Olivers' ideal match for Beck or their first choice in mother of their grandchild. She doesn't really need or want their approval. She's learned from a very young age on how to cope without parent approval, and she thinks she's turned out just fine. Sure, the Olivers have warmed up to her more over time (definitely more so than her own family even, but that's not say much), and doesn't mind the idea of them ever growing to like her- but she'll never ache for their fondness. If anything, she just doesn't want to be the reason a wedge is driven between Beck and his family. She would never wish for Beck to have the same relationship with his family that she does with hers. So, she'll suck it up simply for how much she loves him, and if anyone will be driving a wedge it certainly won't be her. No, that would be fully on his parents- and she'll make sure of it never truly being her fault.
The next day comes, and Jade is even more reluctant to enjoy Cat and Tori's company than she was the day before. As soon as Beck left for the day, the baby decided that he was in no mood to let his mother relax and had been causing her severe discomfort.
Tori and Cat have now been sitting with her in the RV for over an hour and are still at a complete loss of what to do to help. Currently, Jade is lying down on the side off the side of the bed, with her back in the center of the bed and her legs dangling off the edge, with Cat sitting by her at the head of the bed and Tori at the foot.
After groaning in pain for what seemed like the millionth time that afternoon, Cat begs her, "Jadey, is there anything we can do to make you feel better?"
Tori gives Cat a sympathetic look as Jade covers her face in her hands and mumbles out in discomfort, "no! There's nothing!"
"Well-" Cat starts, "well, what does Beck usually do to help? Maybe we could try that?" Cat knows that Beck is Jade's source of comfort and relief, especially now. So, there has to be something he's been doing to keep her sane from all the pain, right?
Cat looks at Tori with pleading eyes for help, and she so she hesitantly asks, "it's not… like sexual… or anything, right?"
Without adjusting her position on the bed, Jade glares at her, saying, "you sick fuck, of course not!"
Tori disregards Jade's attitude, but is nonetheless relieved with her answer and replies, "okay, then what is it?"
Jade puts her hands over her face and almost wants to cry in frustration. She is so uncomfortable. The heat from the weather, the heat from her womb, the swelling of her legs and feet, the soreness of her breasts, the pain in her back- all of it is a combination for misery and she just wants to cry it out, but not in front of this audience of two she currently has.
However, her not wanting to cry it out in front of Cat and Tori is not enough to keep her tears at bay as she reluctantly answers Tori's question from behind the curtain of her hands, "he just rubs my belly, and holds me, and talks to me- and it just feels better okay! Ugh, and you two can't fucking do that cause you guys suck, and he doesn't- so don't even fucking bother!"
At this point, they know her anger is really just fueled from her discomfort and not really aimed at them. Hell, they know her usual, pre-pregnancy self would project her anger on undeserving victims all the time. Their used to this from their friend and know to take her words with a grain of salt and not at all personally.
Ignoring Jade's insults, Cat gently asks, "maybe we can try and see if it helps at all…?" Even if it didn't work, Cat would then be able to feel the baby again and that's a winning scenario in her book.
Poorly stifling another groan of pain, Jade removes her hands from her face and slams them back down onto the bed above her head, "go for it, prove yourself wrong, and waste all our time! I dare you!"
Tori is taken aback at just how irritable Jade is today, far more than the last time she saw her. Clearly as each day passes, she's more and more ready to get this pregnancy over with. On the other hand, Cat is undisturbed by her attitude and takes the allowance with stride and immediately begins to rub Jade's belly with vigor. Once she notices Tori's hesitance to join her, she grabs her hand and places it on the center of Jade's stomach to make her rub alongside her.
Jade genuinely does try to see if Tori and Cat's ministrations help her at all. At first, they help a bit, but after a while she realizes it was just an initial distraction and they don't have the same effect Beck does. Clearly, the relief comes either from her really enjoying her fiancé's touch or the baby really does relax around his father (most likely, it's a combination of the two).
After about 15-minutes, Jade lets out a groan, "ugh, this isn't working- get your hands off me!" She then struggles to sit up on the bed, to which Tori notices and helps her the rest of the way up.
"This sucks," Jade declares.
Sympathetically, Tori tells her, "at least it's almost over, right?"
"Ugh, don't remind me"
"Are you not excited to have the baby?" Cat questions.
"I want to have the baby, I'm just not excited for how I'm gonna have the baby. It's gonna suck, but whatever. There's really only one way for him to get out, after all."
"Well… there are technically two ways-" Tori begins to correct until she sees Jade's glare and then she promptly shuts up.
Cat's face then brightens at a thought coming to her, "oooh maybe we can play music for you during the birth to help distract you, and we can bring movies, and snacks, and-"
"Cat! Cat- stop it," Jade cuts her off, "none of you are gonna be there when it happens, don't get any ideas."
Cat pouts, "aw but I wanna see the baby when he's born!"
Rolling her eyes at the redheads' dramatics, Jade tells her, "you will see him, after everyone's cleaned up and the chaos is over. I refuse to let anyone in that room while I'm in labor."
Confused, Tori asks, "nobody? So, you don't even want Beck here?"
"Ugh, of course Beck is gonna be there! He put the kid there, so he's gonna help me the kid out!"
Tori puts her hands up in surrender to Jade's aggression in response to her misunderstanding. But, she then realizes that they've been able to successfully distract her from her discomfort, so after a pause- she decides to test her luck, "hey, I think Robbie and Andre will be free a little later- maybe we should ask them if they wanna meet up for lunch somewhere?"
Leaning back against the wall of the RV from her place on the bed, Jade whines, "ugh I don't want to go anywhere."
Quickly thinking on her feet, "okay! Well why don't we have them bring some food over here? Then we can hang out here for the rest of the day and all have dinner together once Beck gets back?"
Jade thinks about it for a moment, she really doesn't want to be surrounded by all her friends right now, she's way to irritable at the moment. On the other hand, "can we make fun of Robbie when he gets here?"
Cat's hesitant, she doesn't want to make fun of Robbie after all; but she also doesn't want to deny Jade anything in her current state. Tori shows no hesitance though and will trade whatever she needs to make her plan pan out "sure!"
Much to Cat's relief, once Andre and Robbie showed up Jade wasn't in the mood to put in any effort to actually make fun of Robbie. Instead they just ate the food the boys brought and have watched a couple movies as they wait for Beck to come home.
"It's kinda weird being here without Beck," Andre thinks out loud from his place on the couch.
"Yeah, I've actually never been in here without him around," Robbie agrees, sitting beside him.
Sitting up in the bed and not looking up from something on her phone, "yeah, well get used to it- the occupancy is about to have tripled from what it was a few months ago."
Completely ignoring her friend's sour tone, Cat gushes and leans over Jade's legs to gently hug her belly and lean her check across it, "aww, it's like he's gonna be your little, tiny roommate! How cute!"
Jade had been so serious is not wanting her belly fondled throughout her pregnancy, but Cat wore her down endlessly and she's finally reached a point in her pregnancy that she's given up more often than not in peeling the redhead off of her with fear.
Tori looks conflicted at Cat's comparison, saying, "well, the baby is gonna be a lot more work than a roommate…"
Annoyed, Jade bites back, "obviously. No one was thinking the baby is actually gonna be some self-sufficient roommate that pays rent, Vega. Are you stupid?"
Before Tori can even respond, Cat is back at shifting the topic at hand as she airily questions, "what are you and Beck gonna name the baby?"
"I don't know." Jade answers flatly. It's not that she doesn't know, her and Beck have talked about quite a few names and are pretty confident they have the one. But they're waiting on seeing their son's face for the first time to determine whether it actually fits him or not before announcing it to the world. It doesn't need to be publicized until it's finalized on his birth certificate.
"Oh, come on," Cat begs as she sits up, "you don't have any ideas?"
Jade goes back to her phone, not doing anything in particular but to just to emphasize her lack of attention to the questions, "nope."
She tries again, asking, "how about Beck? Does he have any ideas?"
Painfully sarcastic, Jade replies, "Beck doesn't give a shit what we name the kid, Cat."
"That's not true! He definitely cares! Why would you say that, Jadey?!" Cat clearly did not catch Jade's tone.
"Cat, I'm the one whose doing all the work here. All Beck had to do was a bust a nut and sit back while I've been incubating his sperm into a human being, okay?"
Jade's harshly grotesque cause all of her friends in the room to recoil, prompting Tori to scold, "Jade!"
Andre adds in clear discomfort, "ugh I could have gone the rest of my life without picturing that side of Beck."
Jade continued to sit and scroll on her phone, looking at nothing in particular, completely unbothered with the energy she shifted in the room. Cat was speechless, and, after a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, all Robbie could was awkwardly and quietly said, "that may be a bit reductive to Beck's role in all this… but, I guess it's not wrong…"
The group was able to move past the imagery planted in their minds from Jade's commentary after a little while- all until Beck came back home and they were suddenly reminded.
Confused at the reaction he garnered walking in, Beck laughs it off, "uh, did I do something?"
Patting the spot next to her, prompting Beck to take the seat next to her, Jade simply answers for the rest of the group, "you didn't do anything. They're all being a bunch of pansies. Don't worry about it."
Beck wraps his arm around her and takes her word for it as no one else in the room is willing to contest what she's said. That would require repeating what she had said and reopening that can of worms, only this time being much more embarrassing as it would be in front of Beck himself.
"Okay, so then what's the plan for the rest of the night, guys?" Beck asks, eager to hang out with the gang after his day of work, "we wanna go out somewhere for dinner or order in?"
Before anyone can suggest anything too wild, Tori immediately suggests, "I heard of this new pizza place in Larchmont Village that's supposed to be pretty good- we can just order from there for delivery?" Luckily avoiding any suggestions that she knows she would have to convince Jade out of for her own wellbeing, Tori's suggestion is easily accepted by the group and she goes ahead and places their order.
Several partially eaten pizzas lay in their ajar boxes throughout the RV as the gang slowly finishes dinner, most of them still grabbing intermittent bites here and there as they try and keep up stimulating conversation.
It's only when Jade bites back yet another snide remark to Robbie that Cat finally addresses the elephant in the room. While she's smart, Cat can also be fairly oblivious- and that oblivion can cause her to be painfully blunt. Right now, especially so, as she forwardly questions, "why are you so crabby tonight, Jade?"
It's undeniable that Jade has a soft spot for Cat, but that doesn't prevent her from giving the redhead a hard glare as she harshly replies, "I think I've earned the right to be as crabby as I want until I pop this kid out."
Without missing a beat, Cat goes in on explaining her thought process, "no I mean like… look- Pregnant Jade is clearly more crabby than Normal Jade, but today you're crabbier than Pregnant Jade and that's a lot oof-"
Tori drags herself from her spot on the couch to Cat sitting crisscross at the foot of the bed to slap her hand over her friends' mouth. It's definitely not a good idea for Cat to continue digging this hole she's created.
Attempting at damage control, Tori says, "what she means is, are you doing okay, Jade?"
"Don't placate me!"
"I wasn't! I was just-"
"Yes, you were!"
"Jade," Beck reprimands her in a warning tone as he turns to her, "come on, you don't need to take it out on anyone."
Jade gives Beck a hard glare back and doesn't say anything. Slowly, she gives under his firm gaze her face softens slightly in surrender. This act of confirmation makes Andre perk up and feel the need to prod, "so, something is up?"
Jade groans as Beck answers on her behalf, "it's just our parents, not a big deal."
"Ugh, that's the whole problem! It's not a big deal, but they keep making it one!" Jade can help but start venting.
The rest of the group look around at each other, clearly missing some piece of the puzzle here- causing Andre to mutter a confused, "huh?"
Robbie then bravely, yet all the while meekly, adds, "what's not a big deal exactly?"
Jade groans as Beck takes it upon himself to explain what's been going on with their parents over the last few days.
After hearing the couple out, Tori is first to speak casually, "well, it just sounds like they care and want to be involved."
"Yeah that's not what my parents are doing," Jade says dismissively.
Ignoring Jade's sourness, Cat looks on the bright side, "but they're right! It'll be so much fun with everyone who loves you guys to come and it'll be a big party!"
"That's… one way… to look at it, sure," Beck says, hesitant on accepting Cat's glass half full mentality. Beck has never been a showy or materialistic person, and some grand wedding like what everyone is asking of them seems to fit that bill to a T. Of course, he loves Jade, and wants to marry her and doesn't care who knows it. But he just wants to have something intimate with those who genuinely care about them more than they care about some party. However, that seems like far too much to divulge to the room who doesn't seem to see eye to eye on those ideals, especially not directed towards Cat of all people.
Jade groans in agreement with Beck. They don't always see eye to eye, but on this whole wedding debacle they very much are in sync. Since when were they the least ones interested in getting married? His and her parents didn't want them to get engaged so soon, and she knows none of their friends really jumped for joy at the news either. She guesses the difference is actually that her and Beck are more interested in getting married than having a wedding- whereas everyone else thinks they're rushing into getting married, but wouldn't mind going to a fun, properly done wedding.
They feel stuck and have to find some way out. Neither Beck nor Jade want to expose the depths of these feelings to the other in fear that it would come across as cold feet- but, little do they know, they are far more aligned with each other than they give credit.
A/N: Another extremely long time between updates again, and I am simply just sorry. I have this story fully planned out in my head but am struggling finding the time and motivation to put it all into words. I also think a huge issue I'm facing is that I want to cover all memories in certain chapter portions but they're simply getting too long to make them out quicker. So, I'm going to start shipping out shorter chapters, I think. I know this one is super long, but I've been sitting on more than half of it for quite some time.
If anyone at all is interested in helping me out with this fic in a writing capacity, I would adore taking you up on that. Again, I have the story mostly mapped out and a very clear ending in sight- I'm just a very long way away from it.
Nonetheless, I hope you enjoyed this chapter and let me know what you think. I am always open to any discussion about the story, and it really helps keep the juices flowing and my motivation high for this to actually be completed. To be honest, I feel like this chapter wasn't up to par- but I just couldn't look at it any longer and let the story get held up further for it. Hoping to a better next chapter.
Thank you all so much for giving my story a read and I really appreciate it!