Disclaimer: I do not own instant star or any of the songs that appear in my story unless otherwise indicated.
If there is anything the underground rock-star; Jude Harrison, has learned it's that relationships are ever changing. And as you live life, new ones spark and old ones flame out. It's just one of those sad realizations that come with growing up. Supposedly, it's what you get out of these broken bonds that make it all worthwhile.
But when you have a sister who'd gladly push you off a cliff in the blink of an eye, and parents, along with both of their own significant others, pulling your family in opposite directions; sometimes the lemons life gives you can be a little too much to stomach.
Now, when life hands you lemons, the general census is that you're supposed to whip up a batch of lemonade. In other words, roll with the punches; try to make life's hardships more bearable, take everything one spoonful at a time…yada yada. Well, Mary Poppins, here's to hoping sugar helps everything go down.
Pairing: J&T for life!
'Inner Thoughts': (thoughts will always be italicized. If there is lyrics in the same chapter then the single quote signs will be around them, like so.)
Lyrics: (song lyrics will be italicized as well.)
Text: (Italics or bold font might also be used to put stress on certain words)
Chapter 1: The End of an Era
"I want you out Stuart, I mean it!"
Sadie and I sat at the bottom of the stairs, not quite able to bring ourselves into the living room turned war zone.
"Now wait just a minute, we have to talk about this."
"I am talking, I want you out!"
"You're not talking you're yelling!"
"We'll you're screwing a tour planner so I think I'm damn well entitled to some yelling! Now I want you to go upstairs, pack up your things, and get out of my house!"
I felt Sadie grab my hand and I wasn't quite sure whose grip was tighter, hers or mine. I knew she was still angry with me for telling mom, for causing all of this, but I guess I got a free pass on account of our family falling apart.
"Victoria, please… I know you're hurt but…can't we just sit down and talk about this like two rational adults."
The hollow laugh that followed made me cringe.
"Oh, you want to talk" my mother paused, her voice notably calmer, and for a moment all that could be heard was the sound of the dining room chair being pulled out, "Okay, let's talk."
I could just imagine the cautious look on my father's face. After all, Victoria Harrison was never so bold as to purposely initiate confrontation so we were already in uncharted territory.
But as it turns out, my mother was full of surprises today.
"So, how was she?"
"You heard me…"
"You wanted to talk."
"Yes, but…" My dad fumbled over his words, a habit he'd fallen into as of late. I never understood why until I found the vacation brochure in his briefcase a week ago. And ever since I had, I'd been wishing I'd never found the damn thing, that I'd just wake up from this nightmare and realize that Yvette was just a name, not my father's mistress.
But alas, there is no Santa Claus, happily-ever-after's are just a myth, and this was not a dream.
"She must have been something to get you to throw away twenty-two years of marriage Stuart; I mean a real wildcat, younger obviously, someone who could make you feel a little dangerous right?"
The stinging sensation of bile rose in my throat, getting progressively worse as the hateful words she spouted became more intense. I could feel them even from the bottom of the stairs.
"How could you do this to me? How could you abandon your family like this?"
"I haven't abandoned them..."
"The minute you started sleeping with that women, you abandoned us! I guess I expected too much from you, I mean you've always been a selfish bastard but I never thought you were capable of something like this!"
I know he was in the wrong. I do know that, and I would never make excuses for why my dad did what he did.
But…Stuart Harrison was still my father, and to hear him being degraded and stripped of everything that made him a hero in my eyes was unbearably painful.
"What do you want from me, Victoria!" My father finally yelled.
"I wanted you to care! I wanted you to try!"
"I have tried, for twenty-two-years, I've tried! I'm just…" Dad trailed off, the pent up anger draining from his voice as his breath hitched in his chest.
I held my breath for what I knew would come next, something I feared would happen ever since I was a kid.
"I'm just tired of pretending everything's fine. Things haven't been fine for a long time…you and I both know that…"
After that, I sort of lost track of everything around me, too busy staring at the hole in my jeans, but when I finally came to, my father was already at the front door, suitcase in hand. How he'd gotten passed me without my knowledge was a testament to how screwed up I was.
He turned towards me and Sadie, red eyes and all, a broken smile on his lips. He moved to speak but stopped when Sadie let go of my hand and went back to her room without so much as a goodbye. I didn't hold it against her, wanted to follow her even, but I couldn't…for the same reason I gave him a week to tell mom about the affair, for the same reason why the words she threw at him hurt me so much; because, in spite of everything, despite his faults, I loved him.
When Sadie's door slammed shut, my dad just sort of clasped into himself. But then he looked at me, with blue-green eyes identical to my own, and I couldn't help but wrap my arms around him. I wanted him to know that someone still loved him, that someone still cared enough to give him a proper goodbye.
I felt his tears seep through the thin fabric of my old Beatles t-shirt, which ironically enough I'd stolen from him. We fought over it all the time, and for some reason this made the tears I was trying so hard to hold back finally fall.
"I'm so sorry Jude, I'm so so sorry…" He whispered, and I could tell by the rawness of his voice that it was true.
"I know, Dad, I know."
"It's going to be okay, We'll fix this, I promise." We both knew it was an empty promise, but we needed to hear it, if only to convince ourselves that it would be okay. I was my father's daughter after all.
Hearing the approaching footsteps, I clung tighter to my father. My mother's form came into view, and she swiftly stepped passed us towards the doorway, clasping a hand around the handle. She pulled the door open faster than I could blink, letting the cold November air waft into the front entrance.
As she stood there, her face void of any emotion, holding the door open, I had to fight down the urge to scream. It was only for a split second, but for that one second, I wished she were the one leaving. I quickly let the thought filter to the back of my mind. She was the wronged party, she was hurting, and she needed me right now. As much as it killed me to side against my father, I knew it had to be done. Because I wasn't sure if my mom could handle this on her own, she just wasn't strong enough.
My dad's arm loosened around me as he bent down to lay a kiss on my forehead.
"I love you sweetheart."
I closed my eyes, searing the moment into my memory because I was sure it would be awhile before we saw each other.
"I love you too." He gave me the best smile he could muster, and I appreciated the effort.
I let my arms fall to my side, taking a step back as he grabbed his suitcase, and walked out the door, nodding once to my mother as he walked passed her.
The front door slammed closed with resounding finality.
We stood there, mom and me, listening to my dad start the car. It wasn't until we heard the car drive away, that my mother finally spoke again.
"Why…" She whispered it so softly I almost didn't hear her.
"Why?" She repeated, more firmly then before, and this time I couldn't miss the accusatory tone.
This time it was loud and clear.
"Why did you have to tell me?"
That one question …was all it took for my world to shatter.
"Why did you tell me? We were happy. I was…h-happy…" Her body started to sway from the force of her sobs, unconsciously forcing my arms to steady her.
It happened so fast I barely had time to register what happened until I felt the stinging sensation on my cheek.
She slapped me.
My mother, Victoria Harrison, slapped me, hard.
The force of the blow knocked me off balance and straight to the floor.
I tried to form words, tried to get my jaw to move, but nothing came out. I studied her face carefully, hoping beyond hope that I would find regret, something, anything to show me she hadn't meant it.
But there was nothing. No remorse, no guilt, in its place was a cold calmness that I'd never seen in her until today. She left me there on the floor, broken beyond repair, not even glancing back as she climbed the stairs to her bedroom. Even at the age of fourteen, I knew this moment, this emptiness, was something I'd never forget.
"Oh God...what did I do…what did I do…what did I do?" I whispered over and over, rocking myself back and forth as I cried at the bottom of the stairs.
"What did I do…what did I do…"
A word to the wise; watching your family self destruct before your very eyes is not for the faint of heart.
A/N: So tell me what you think. Just a heads up the next chapter will fast forward about two years in the future.