The Wall

As always... I don't own/know/determine destiny for anything Instant Star related. This is all wishful thinking. :) As for the story, it's something that's been simmering in my head. As a "warning" (of sorts): if things look jumbled at times, it's jumbled for a reason. And yeah... this is what happens when someone far from the IS demographic is obsessed with a teen show.

Rated: PG-13

Summary: When Jude's world begins to become unglued, the only thing left is the man that began it all.

Chapter 1 / Cornered

How did things get so complicated so fast? Jude thought to herself. She pushed her fingers thru her red hair as she searched around her feet for the pen she was just writing with. It had only been a week after her 17th birthday and, save for the party being yet another publicity carnival, everything else was the same – screwed. The past year had been a whirlwind of emotions, tours, and boys. Shay had tried to return to her life but she figured it best that she let that die. Tommy was Tommy. Him and Sadie traveled across Europe together and returned looking happy but later broke up over "conflicting interests". They both avoided each other and wouldn't tell her anything. She'd even tried the whole Jaime thing but realized quickly that he was her friend for a reason and that their hook up was a rebound. They ended on good terms but Kat hated her. Then Jaime went back with Kat and wasn't around as much. Her mother and father divorced and he married Yvette. Victoria began dating some pseudo-jet setter from Quebec. And then there was Jude, alone.

Jude shook her head, praying it would knock every insanity-ridden thought from her mind. All she felt was dizziness. She picked up her guitar and tried strumming out a hook for a song she'd been working on for three weeks. It wasn't working and she was becoming frustrated. Come on now, Jude. You can do this. It's easy. Write what you know and feel. Come on. After a few more failed attempts at getting the song done, she knew it just wasn't happening. She put her guitar away and grabbed her bag, heading outside of G Major. A walk will do me good. Clear my head some.

It was getting on in the evening, eight something, and everyone but she and Georgia had left for the day. Even Tommy had left. She sighed at the thought of him. Tommy... Again, she shook her head. Things between the two of them had grown tense after he's returned from Europe. She caught him staring at her more times than she could remember and all the pep talks and hugs before shows seemed more personal. Then again, that was it. There were no slights of hand and no "touches for no reason". There were no declarations of any type that would give her some clue as to what was brewing in the mind of the infamous Tom Quincy.

Jude pushed her way out of G Major's doors wearily, making her way down to the lower lying streets. She loved taking the back ways at dusk because it meant she could be completely encapsulated in its silence. She craved silence these days. It seemed that every move she made, every word she said, every cup of coffee she wolfed down in order to stay awake was being monitored and scrutinized. "Instant Star, Jude Harrison Addicted to Caffeine!" She snorted a small laugh and followed the same sidewalk path she'd been taking for the past 7 months. She counted her steps every time. It eased her mind to do something so idle.

As always, Jude found herself at the local coffee shop jonesing for a latte. It would be the same thing. She'd order her large skim latte with double espresso and would sweeten it beyond recognition with raw sugar. She'd sit in the farthest corner booth and mull things over while comparing the lines in her hands. For my life to be so chopped and screwed, this is getting too damned predictable.

She walked in, ordered, and waited. She stared at her faded black Converse and contemplated getting a new pair. She toyed with her rings and hair. She looked so nervous to be so numb. The door chimes jingling knocked her out of her anxious reverie. She didn't look up but rather looked at the person's shoes. She knew those shoes.

"Jude!" The rugged voice boomed within the small confines of the shop.

"Tommy! Hey... what are you doing here?" She instantly went to straightening up her clothes and hair.

"Was in the mood for espresso. But it's a good thing I ran into you. I didn't really want to chill alone." She pulled at the ends of her hair.

"Well... go ahead and order. Mine's up. I'll be in the back." He smiled a smile only Tommy could. She smiled back sheepishly as her insides melted into a puddle of nothing. Oh, why did he have to show up? She sighed. At least it's just Tommy...

Tommy watched Jude as she quickly disappeared into the back of the café. He'd waited outside for nearly an hour hoping she'd show up. He was just about to give up hope of catching her when he saw her walking towards him. He'd jumped behind a telephone box so she wouldn't notice him. He'd felt silly hiding but at the same time felt like a stalker for waiting for her. He had to talk to her. Things between them weren't what they were and he wanted to make everything right. She always looked so hurt and defeated when he was around, like he'd killed her dog, resurrected it, then killed it again. It killed him seeing her like that.

He grabbed his coffee and thanked the server graciously, hurrying to get back to Jude. He came up to her, but she didn't notice. She gripped onto the oversized white cup tightly, staring into the murky depths of her drink. Her face is so blank. He fought the overwhelming urge to grab her and squeeze her into him, taking away all that troubled her and putting it on his shoulders.

"Hey, girl..." She looked up at him, dazed.

"Hey." She nodded at the bench across from her. "Go ahead. Sit down."

"Oh... yeah... yeah." He sat and slouched down in the booth. She'd turned her head and was peering out of the window, staring into the nothingness. "Jude? We need to talk."

"What about?" She turned and stared directly at him. His heart gave a small flutter before stopping for a moment. Why does she have to look at me that way? Her eyes were wide as they danced around his face, the green-greyness looking darker than usual. Her lips were parted slightly as if she was anticipating his every word.

"I just wanted to tell you I'm sorry for being so far in my head these days. When Sadie and I got back, things were just... STRANGE. I mean, I know she's your sister and I'm only your producer so... I don't know. I'm sorry, Jude." She took a long drink from her latte, drinking in his words.

"It's ok, Tommy. Everyone seems to have stuff going on these days."

"How have you been?"

"You know me. Same ol', I guess." She sighed softly as he tilted his head to catch the emotion she was emitting. Everything about her in that moment was so far from what he knew her as and it was grabbing a hold of him. He wanted her to talk, wanted her to spill out everything that was wrong.

"Is that it?" He turned his head so he could look directly at her. "Nothing else?" Again, she sighed.

"Everything is kind of messed up for me right now. It's like I can't get ahead for falling farther behind. I've been working on a song for three week and NOTHING. I can't even get my fingers to play the chords right. The idea is in my head, but not the words or music. And then there is home. I haven't seen my dad in ages. Mom's always on 'dates' with Michael, and Sadie. What can we say about her? She won't even look at me let alone talk to me. I really don't get what I've done but since she's gone mute, I may never know. Jaime and Kat are twisted up in each other and... I'm alone."

"I'm here." She leaned back lethargically, and rolled her head to the side. She stared into space, slightly shaking her head.

"You're kinda there. Sort of. Sometimes." He placed his hand on top of hers, stroking the side with his thumb.

"I really am sorry, Jude."

"Don't worry about me, Tommy. I'm good."