Instant Star- Rise of The Next Generation

(Author's Note: Okay, this is not only my first fanfiction, but my first time posting anything on an Internet Site, ever. I only hope that people enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it! Special thanks to my friends- VZ, RD and MK, for their encouragement and support! Without them, I'd never have had the courage to do this- heart you guys!)

Disclaimer: I don't own Instant Star, or any of its elements (if I did, that season finale would not have happened. I mean -Tommy and Sadie- how wrong is that...). Later chapters do contain new characters/ideas which I do own.

Okay, I think the rest pretty much speaks for itself! Enjoy!

Chapter 1: Stars Across The Sky

Tom Quincy stretched a little, as he relaxed on his black leather couch. He smiled. He seemed to have a lot of reasons to smile lately. Of course, the most important to him was the beautiful redhead, half-asleep in his arms. Something played on the TV in front of him, but he remained oblivious to it, consumed completely by the thoughts and emotions coursing through him.

"Five years." he thought.

Five years since Jude's Sweet 16. Neither one realized then just how significant that night would become.

"That kiss" he remembered. Thinking of it even now sent electric tingles racing within his body. She was too young. It shouldn't have happened. But it had. For the first, and the only time. So he had believed then.

"Boy, was I wrong there." he mused, involuntarily shaking his head. Since then, he had never been able to get her out of his mind. Or his heart. He tried. What other choice could he make. Logic and convention opposed their relationship. She was only 16. He was her 22 year old producer. She was so innocent. He was not only experienced, but jaded. She was so full of hope, so romantic.

Truthfully, he was just scared.

For years, they struggled with their emotions. Playing a painful game of polar opposition. Of irresistible forces drawing them together, only to tear them back apart. Again and again. Until the night everything changed forever...

Tommy stroked Jude's long red hair lightly, remembering all that and more. His mind surged forward to her 18th birthday. How beautiful she had been then, in her long midnight blue dress, her hair a soft downy cloud around her creamy, glowing face. Desire overwhelmed him as he looked at her. His heart exploded, shattering any resistance he could possibly possess. All night, his eyes kept returning to and locking with hers. When he saw he quietly slip away, he followed. Chance, or perhaps fate, found them together in rtthe alley once more. A wave of deja vu passed over him as he took her in his arms and kissed her. It was everything the one from two years ago had been and more. Much more. The passion, tenderness and need in this kiss had multiplied, seemingly infinitely. It finally ended, leaving him weak and shaky. He needed only a quick look at Jude to see her trembling too. Tom knew only that he could not, would not deny this anymore. No pretending "it never happened". Not this time.

He reached for Jude again, drawing her to him. Her head rested on his shoulder. Her heartbeat was near his. He bent his head slightly, so his lips grazed her ear, urgently needing for her to know.

"I love you, Jude Harrison", he whispered softly.

Her response was not at all what he expected. She remained nestled against him for only a few brief moments before pulling firmly away. She looked him square in the face, her blue eyes widening.

"And not with happiness, either" Tom recalled. He ached, remembering her reaction.

"You've got a lot of nerve, Quincy!" she raged at him, eyes blazing. "You think you can just come out here, kiss me, say a few nice words and that's it? I'm gonna fall for it again! For you again!" she snorted. "Well, that's not gonna work this time! We've been here before, Tommy. Again and again. You always break my heart! You're not doing it anymore! You know there's someone else now! I'm not gonna let you screw that up! I'm done with this! Never again!" she said and walked away.

Tommy just stood there, stunned by her anger and her pain. How arrogant he had been, assuming she would still want him. Never before had he realized just how much he had hurt her, repeatedly. She didn't trust him now. Why should she? So she moved on and found someone else. Could he blame her? He feared that it was too late for them. He had lost her forever...

The stars twinkled outside Tommy's apartment as he looked down at her again, silently laughing. Thankfully, he had been wrong about that, too. After Jude's rejection, he hadn't known what the hell to do. He couldn't have her, that much was clear. But he couldn't tear himself away from her, either. All he could do was stay and be her friend and producer. That wasn't easy. He wanted so much more for them, and struggled every day to keep those feelings in check, knowing deep down, he'd eventually snap.

What he could not know then, was that she would too. Those same irresistible forces that brought them together before kept working, this time with even more potent magic. Collaborating on Jude's third album necessitated that they spend considerable time together.

"As much as possible", Tommy admittedly wanted. He then used every possible means to make that happen.

Slowly, but inevitably, they grew closer together, rebuilding their once strong connection. Tom could now see warmth in Jude's eyes when she looked at, or spoke to him. He knew she had started to forgive and perhaps even trust him again. The album progressed equally well. She never ceased to impress him, her talent seemed limitless and her new music just blew him away. Soon, they were finishing up the final track.

Jude had been somewhat mysterious about this last song. She insisted on writing it entirely by herself, and then laid down the music with Quest, their engineer. Only when the time came to record the lyrics had she permitted him to hear it. Quest had gone home, leaving the two of them alone that late night in the studio.

She stood at the microphone, headphones in place. He took his position by the control panel, curious as always to hear what she had come up with. He listened, transfixed, as she started singing, as always losing herself completely in her music. Tommy could only stare at her. He too, was lost. In the sound of her voice, in the emotion of her lyrics. Mostly just lost in her. He paid no attention to recording, absorbed completely by Jude, and her powerful, so intensely meaningful words. All about love, losing it, finding it, only to have it slip away yet again. He just sat there, completely captivated.

She finished the first take and looked at him, expecting him to either play it back or say something. Silence filled the room instead.

Tommy stood up. A few quick strides brought him right in front of her. Involuntarily, he reached out and grabbed her arm.

"That song. It's about us, isn't it?" he asked, his voice raw.

His question left her speechless. She couldn't answer, or even look at him.

Tommy turned her face towards him, meeting her eyes. "Say it. Jude, just say it. Please." he persisted, with undeniable need in his voice.

"Yes." she finally breathed. It was true. She could no longer control or conceal what she felt. Neither could he.

Jude found herself once more in Tommy's strong embrace. His lips met hers repeatedly, unstoppably. Again, he told her exactly what he felt. But this time, she whispered back.

"I love you, Tom Quincy."

"No running away this time, ok?" he pleaded.

"I can't" she honestly replied.

"Good. Because I can't, either. I love you too much. I need you too much, Jude."

Somehow, they found themselves on the studio couch, wrapped tightly in each other's arms. Kissing each other. Holding each other. Unable to let go. They remained there for hours, unaware of the passage of time, or the arrival of morning. Oblivious to anything but each other. Until the door suddenly flew open and Quest entered.

Quest took one look at the pair and grinned. "So, how'd that song turn out", he asked, immediately knowing what had finally happened.

Tommy and Jude untangled themselves. She self-consciously straightened her shirt, leaving him to answer his best friend.

"Er... we didn't actually finish it..."

Quest's smile didn't waver. "Yeah. I bet you didn't. About time, you two."

Jude blushed, just a little, but Tom's look of pure happiness remained unchanged. He looked quickly from Quest, back to her as his arm looped around her shoulder.

"Yes. It is." was his reply.

The deepening of Jude's breathing pulled Tommy back to the present. She was fully asleep now, still snug in his embrace. He certainly wasn't going to disturb her. Why should he? He was perfectly content to hold her like this forever, as memories once again engulfed him.

Hand in hand, they walked towards the parking lot. By unspoken agreement, they bypassed her car and both got into his Viper. He drove her home in silence, and parked. She looked at him expectedly.

"Get some sleep. We'll go back this afternoon and finish the song"

"You think?" she said, a twinkle in her eye.

"Yeah." he answered.

"Ok"

"And one more thing..."

He leaned over for a soft, but prolonged, kiss.

"Afterwards, I'm taking you out."

"You mean, like on an actual date?" she said, eyes still sparkling.

"Yeah."

"Where?" she asked.

"Anywhere you want" he replied.

"Oh. Ok"

She brushed her lips quickly against his and slipped easily out of the car.

Tommy gladly kept both of those promises. He returned later that afternoon and took her back to the studio. With concentrated effort from both of them, they finished recording the song. More importantly, they had their first "real date" that night. It was an exciting and romantic evening. Everything they both dreamed of.

So it had begun. The start of a relationship deeper than anything he had ever thought possible. He never thought he could care for anyone this much. Trust anyone so fully. He never did before. Until her. He gave himself completely to her and she matched his devotion in every way. They were simpatico, emotionally, mentally and physically.

Not that everything was easy. She was still, after all, only eighteen and lived at home. Her parents had divorced, but both had misgivings about their relationship. With time, they dealt with, and finally resolved that. However, it had been awkward for a while, especially as she spent more and more nights at his apartment. He constantly wanted her with him, and finally, a few months after her nineteenth birthday, asked her to move in.

Jude just looked at him, with that mischievous grin on her face, and said

"I thought I already had!"

They laughed. In so many ways, it was true.

The move was perfectly timed. As if fueled by their immense love, both of their careers skyrocketed. While they continued working together, creating Jude's records, they also devoted considerable time to other projects. Jude continued to be a sought-after performer, but her songwriting talents were also in increasing demand. Other artists clamored to work with her and two of her songs even appeared in movies.

Jude's success also benefitted G-Major. The once fledgling record company grew, becoming increasing lucrative and popular. The influx of new singers and production staff, talented, but not so experienced, posed new challenges for the label. Someone seasoned needed to guide them, to show them the ropes. Georgia, the company's owner tapped Tom Quincy to be that person. The offer of Executive Producer surprised him a little, but appealed to him considerably. Tommy recalled Jude's genuinely thrilled reaction. She knew exactly what this meant to him. He remembered what she said.

"I guess I'll just have to get used to sharing you."

He just put his hands on her hips and pulled her close.

"No, you don't. Not in any way that matters. Not ever."

"Not ever" he thought again this night. Moonlight slivered across them, illuminating her sleeping face. As if she read his thoughts, Jude stirred. Her blue eyes opened, and met his soft loving gaze, returning it. He glanced quickly at a clock, then even more rapidly back at her.

"12:05" he said, taking her face in his hands, his fingers softly caressing it.

"Happy 21st, girl." he whispered and lowered his lips to hers.