Here it is- the first chapter to my latest story. I just wanted to get back to what attracted me to Instant Star in the first place, the relationship between Jude and Tommy. This is the introduction chapter and it will take place over a two week period. I haven't decided exactly how long it's going to be, but I know certain things I definitely want to happen, so we'll see. I hope you like it and I really hope you'll review. I do love those so.
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue, as always.
Jude stared out the window of her plane, completely unprepared for what was waiting when she landed. It had been nearly four years since she'd been Toronto and she wasn't ready to go back. Unfortunately, she had to. Her sister was getting married and Sadie had threatened to kill her if she didn't show up.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are beginning our final descent into Toronto," the pilot announced. "Please make sure all seatbelts are fastened and that seats are in their upright position. Thank you for flying on Delta Airlines today."
Twenty minutes later, Jude stood just outside terminal 4B, looking around. She'd spent the last three and a half years in Europe, traveling and meeting new people and performing in small clubs and cafés. She already missed it, but Sadie needed her.
"Jude!" a random paparazzi yelled as she walked through security. "What are you doing back in Toronto? Does it have anything to do with the recent engagement of Tom Quincy?"
Jude, who had no idea that Tommy was engaged, ignored him and went to find her luggage. Once she'd retrieved her old Ralph Lauren suitcases, she found Kwest waiting for her.
"Jude Harrison," he smiled, pulling her into a brotherly hug. "You look great."
"You, too," she replied. "A little older, a little wiser."
"Of course," he joked, helping with her bags. "So, are you excited to be back in TO?"
She rolled her eyes. "Hardly."
"Well, we're all excited to have you back," he told her sincerely. "Sadie's been cleaning all week and SME even spruced up 620. You know Karma's gone, right?"
"He told me," she nodded. "I'm proud of him for being so strong about it. I mean, Kyle said it got ugly."
"Very," Kwest confirmed as they walked outside towards where he'd parked his Ford Explorer. "I mean, no offense, but even since you've been gone, SME has done really well, and Karma only did okay, so she wanted half of everything and they didn't have a pre-nup."
"Oh, no," she breathed. "What happened?"
Kwest unlocked the SUV and loaded her luggage into the trunk, continuing with the story once he was in the driver's seat, buckled in. "She'd cheated on him, which ruled in his favor and she didn't even get a million."
"Wow," she sighed, looking out the window at the Toronto skyline. "How are things at the label?"
The label, Sewer Records, was the indie label Jamie had started with Pagan when Jude had left three and a half years before, named in honor of Patsy. While it had started small and independent in Jamie's nana's basement as NBR, it had catapulted to a top label and now accounted for many of Canada's biggest stars.
"Great," he answered, pulling onto the highway. "Busy, but Jamie's doing a great job and Pagan does a lot of behind-the-scenes work."
"Sadie said you're one of their top producers and head engineer," she noted. "Good for you, Kwest."
"Yeah, I still work with Tommy a lot, but we make a good team," he stated, noticing her posture change at the mention of Tommy. "He's engaged, Jude."
She forced a smile. "The paparazzi informed me. I'm happy for him."
"You're a bad liar," he chuckled, "but okay." He was momentarily quiet, as if planning his next question. "What happened to you two? He never said anything, other than you guys broke up and you were heading to Europe."
"Just didn't really work out," she murmured vaguely. "That's all."
Kwest, who'd grown to think of Jude as a sister, didn't believe her but also didn't want to press her, so he nodded. "Oh. Well, it happens."
"Mm-hmm," was all she said. "I guess so."
Being the end of January, Sadie had a roaring fire going in the house she lived in with Kwest, just outside downtown, as she waited for her younger sister to arrive. She wanted to make Jude's two week visit with them as warm and nice as possible, especially since Jude would not only be seeing Tom for the first time in three years, but also meeting his very pretty fiancé, Lauren Osgood.
"Is she here yet?" Spiederman demanded as he, Wally, and Kyle rushed into the house in a panicked frenzy. "Did we miss her?"
"Kwest just text me and said they're about five minutes away," Sadie reported. "Calm down, geez."
"My number one girl is back," Spiederman stated. "Excuse me for being a little excited."
Kyle stuffed a handful of Cheetos into his mouth. "Think she looks the same?" Although they'd all heard from Jude over the last three and a half years, no one had seen her. "Or you think she like, dyed her hair again?"
"No way," Sadie shook her head. "She loves the blonde. I'll bet she looks the same."
"Nah," Spiederman interrupted. "I'll say it's still blonde but shorter."
"Yeah, right," Wally scoffed. "She loved her long hair more than the blonde. I say it's red again and still long."
Before anyone could offer another possibility, the door opened and Stuart and Yvette Harrison let themselves in.
"Is she here yet?" Yvette wondered excitedly. After years of being with Stuart, they'd finally gotten married and the two girls had happily accepted her into their family, though Jude wasn't home for it, while Victoria and Don were still MIA. "I can't wait to see her."
"None of us can," Kyle offered. "Dude's back."
They waited the next few minutes in sheer anticipation, each imagining the first words they'd speak to Jude when she arrived.
"They're here!" Sadie shrieked as she looked out the window. "Everyone, be calm."
Spiederman laughed. "You're the one shrieking."
Not even another minute later, Jude pushed back the door and smiled. "Hi, everyone."
"Aww, you couldn't even see us," Wally complained as they all closed in on her. "How'd you know we were here?"
"Because, even though I've been gone for a long time, Spiederman still drives that electric blue Jeep, you three never travel independently, and I just assumed about my dad and Yvette," she rationalized. "Now, who to hug first?"
"Me!" Sadie cried, pushing Spiederman aside. "I'm your sister and the bride-to-be."
Jude hugged her sister tightly, trying to fight off tears. "It's so good to see you, Sades."
"Yeah," Sadie whispered, unable to control her own tears. "We've missed you so much."
Spiederman was next. "Dude, your hair is hot. The shortness suits you well."
"Thanks," Jude grinned, hugging the other two boys, as well. "Dad, Yvette, hi!"
The three of them went in for a group hug, Yvette sobbing quietly as Jude told her how happy she was Stuart had finally married her.
"So, for dinner, I made lasagna, spaghetti, and breadsticks," Sadie announced, leading everyone to the dining room. "All of Jude's favorites."
Jude smiled as Sadie dragged her into the dining room. "Sades, you didn't have to do all this."
"Don't let her fool you," Kwest jumped in. "I helped."
"It doesn't matter," Jude assured them. "It's still great, all of it."
Being back in the house she grew up in really brought back a lot of memories for Jude. Sleepovers with Kat and Jamie, pillow fights with Sadie, music tutorials with her dad when she was little.
"So, how's Europe?" Yvette asked.
"God, I love it," Jude gushed. "I have no boundaries or ties anywhere. I know people everywhere and I just stay where I want, when I want."
Sadie cleared her throat. "Are you going back?"
"Yeah," Jude confirmed. "This isn't my home anymore, Sadie. You're getting married, Dad's married, and I have no place."
"620!" Spiederman cried. "There's a futon with your name on it."
"Even though I travel a lot, I still prefer clean beds," Jude teased. "Sorry, boys."
Kyle shrugged. "It's okay, cause that futon is where Wally sleeps."
"If you don't mind my ask, Spied, what happened to Karma?" Jude wondered. "Have you heard from her recently at all?"
"Nope," Spiederman answered, his upbeat demeanor quickly failing. "Not since our last session in court two months ago to finalize everything."
"Last I heard," Sadie spoke up, "she was in the States, shopping for a label."
Wally, who'd been mostly quiet, looked at Jude. "Have you heard about Squinty?"
"Wally!" Sadie cried.
"No, it's fine," Jude said quickly. "Yes, Wallace, I heard at the airport. Good for him."
Stuart patted his youngest daughter's back. "You're better off, Jude."
"Am I?" Jude whispered. "I mean, yes, things ended badly in Asia- no details- but I haven't even thought of another guy since then. And now I'm supposed to just let him marry some new girl?"
"Technically, she's not new," Kyle explained. "They've been together for over a year."
"Thanks, Kyle," she deadpanned. "So, what's she like?"
Everyone was quiet.
"Uhh, horrible," Spiederman finally said, though badly lying. "You know the type- plain brown hair, blue eyes, a simple smile."
"Ahh, practically perfect in every way," Jude nodded. "I get it, but thanks for trying, Vin."
Kwest shook his head. "She's still not you, Jude. He knows that, but he did his best to move on."
"Tommy and I were dysfunction at it's finest," she shrugged. "We deserve better."
Once dinner was cleared up, Jude went upstairs to her old bedroom, which hadn't been touched, and climbed out the window to sit on her roof.
"Hey," Jamie called up to her as he stood outside his Nana's house next-door. "You're back. I thought you were going to call me?"
"Sorry," she apologized lamely. "It got a little hectic around her."
"Can I come up?" he asked, toying with the ladder they'd always kept between their houses. "We can talk."
She grinned. "Sure, Jame."
A moment later, he was lying beside her and they were staring up at the sky, huddled together for warmth.
"Remember, in fourth grade, when you dared Spiederman to see if he could jump from your roof to mine?" Jamie laughed. "And me, you, Wally, and Kyle lined the grass in between with mattresses in case he fell?"
"Which he did," Jude nodded in remembrance. "Luckily, he just broke an arm and we told his uncle that he'd fallen off the jungle gym."
"We were wild kids," Jamie sighed. "Then you and Spied started to really hate each other over different taste in music and we all split. Who'd have thought that at just twenty-two, we'd all be best friends again?"
"Not me," she answered, breathing heavily just to see her breath in the freezing Toronto night. "I also didn't think I'd be a rock star, living in Europe, and have my heart broken multiple times by the same guy."
"Yeah, how are you dealing with the whole Quincy-being-engaged thing?" he wondered quietly. "Does it even bother you? It's been years."
She looked at him pointedly. "Jamie, of course it bothers me. I know you hate hearing this, but Tommy was the love of my life and I lost him. I only had him six months and he bolted."
"Is that what happened?" he asked. "In Asia, I mean. He just left?"
"Not exactly," she muttered. "I talked about settling down once we got back, you know, moving in together and all that. Apparently, it wasn't something he wanted and he ended things. Just left one night and I haven't seen or heard from him since."
Jamie was quiet. "I hate to tell you this, especially since you're so down about it, but Lauren's a nice girl. I think she's going to be seriously intimidated by the fact that you're back. I mean, Jude Harrison and Tom Quincy were once an unbeatable combination."
"Ahh, yes, once being the operative word," Jude sighed. "That's the past, James, and I'm all about the future." She paused. "So, tell me about Sewer Records. I'm so proud of you guys."
"Yeah, it's amazing at how far it's come along," he told her. "I mean, we started in Nana's basement and now, we have a three-story building downtown and I finally moved out."
"Jamie Andrews moved away from Nana?" she teased. "No way."
"Yes," he confirmed. "I think it about killed her when I told her, but she understands. I mean, I'm twenty-two and I run one of Canada's most successful labels. One that you'll be warmly welcomed to if you ever come home."
Jude scoffed. "Don't count on it anytime soon. It's one thing to be here a couple weeks for Sadie, but to be here all the time, especially with Tommy getting married, would be suffocating."
"So, did Spiederman mention Tommy's sister?" Jamie asked.
"No," Jude shook her head. "Have you all met her? I've only heard of her from stories he's told me or that Kwest has mentioned. I hear she's a real spit-fire."
"Definitely," he laughed. "Nic Quincy is her name and she's about as brutally honest as one can be. She's not nice, but everyone adores her. Most of the time, she lives in New York and works at Vogue, but she's visited a lot lately and we all think Spiederman secretly is in love with her."
"Before I hated her, Portia once told me that she's beautiful," Jude stated. "Is she?"
"Yeah," Jamie replied. "Not particularly my type, but beautiful nonetheless. Long, wavy brown hair and navy blue eyes. She rarely smiles, always smirks, and keeps Quincy on his toes when she's around. I also get the impression she doesn't much like Lauren."
"Oh, yeah?" Jude mused. "Why's that?"
Jamie could practically hear Jude smiling. "Nic's an extrovert, Lauren's an introvert, and they find no common ground. The reason we all think Spiederman is in love with her is because she was the first girl to make him laugh after the divorce was finalized and they keep in major contact. Sadie and Kwest invited her to the wedding, so you should meet her."
"Cool," Jude said. "I'll need an ally in hating Lauren."
"You haven't even met her yet," he pointed out.
"She's engaged to Tommy," she reminded him. "That's immediate grounds for me hating her."
Jamie was momentarily quiet. "Whatever you say, Jude. So, tomorrow, you wanna come see Sewer?"
"Absolutely!" she cried. "I have a dress-fitting at 10:15 with Sadie, Yvette, and her friends Leila and Morgan, but then I'll come over."
He grinned. "I'm glad you're back, Jude. It just hasn't been the same around here without you."
"Well, don't get used to it," she warned. "Europe's calling."
"Can't you move on from here?" he wanted to know. "You've got an entire group of people to back you up. You don't need Tommy."
"See, that's the thing," she said. "If I'm here, I know I'll fall back in love with him, just like always, whether he's married or not. It's the effect he's always had on me."
"I know," Jamie agreed, "but you can't live your life cautiously because of that. I'm sure Europe is great and people love you there and all, but no matter what you say, Toronto is your home. Your family is here and I'm here and SME is here. Your entire life began here and you're giving that all up over a washed-up boy bander? Come on, Harrison. He can't control your life."
Jude bit her lip. "But he does. How fucked up is that? Little Tommy Q can control the way I live. How pathetic."
"Let's just not talk about it," Jamie suggested. "In two weeks, if you still want to leave, go ahead. But we have fourteen days to make you want to stay."
"Good luck," she joked.
"Hey, Jude?" Sadie called out. "Dad and Yvette are leaving."
Jude carefully crawled back into her window, Jamie following closely behind. They went downstairs and said good-bye to Jude's father and step-mother.
"It's so good to have you back, Jude," Yvette told her. "I'll see you for the dress-fitting in the morning."
Soon after, everyone else filed out, including Sadie and Kwest, who went to his brother's house, leaving just Jude and Spiederman, who wanted to stay and hang out.
"Spied," she began as they situated themselves on the couch in front of the TV, "tell me about Nic Quincy."
He rolled his eyes. "I wondered if Andrews would mention it. Look, it's nothing. I just like that she's absolutely nothing like Karma, except that I wouldn't describe Nic as being 'nice' at all. She's smart and funny and honest. Karma always had me wondering what she was thinking but Nic tells you straight up what's in her head. She lives in Manhattan, so we're just friends."
"Jamie says she's beautiful," Jude noted.
"Oh, my God," he muttered. "You have no idea. She's a supermodel without actually being a supermodel. I mean, Karma was hot, but Nic is like, stunning. It's completely different, you know. She sort of takes your breath away."
"Does she know you're in love with her?" Jude asked nonchalantly.
"No, I don't know how to- wait!" he cried. "I don't love her."
Jude eyed him. "Mm-hmm. I know you far too well, Vincent Spiederman."
"That what I'm always afraid of," he whispered. "You're like an arsenal of my life, ready to release information at any moment."
"That just means you should stay on my good side then," she laughed. "I know about your secret tattoo and your serious crush on Jessica Simpson and that you once kissed my sister on a dare and liked it."
Spiederman blushed. "I was twelve and back then, I did absolutely anything on a dare."
"Cause you thought you were invincible," she stated. "Still think that?"
"Considering I wanted to kill myself when I was going through the divorce, I'd say no," he answered quietly. "God, I sure know how to pick 'em, don't I?"
Jude scoffed. "Uhh, you did pick me long ago. Was that so awful?"
"Silver lining," he said. "But there was Allie Baker in ninth grade, Carlee Christianson in tenth, and then Monica Robbins just before you. Add a marriage to Karma to the mix and I've got an entire line-up of total losers."
"Well, is this Nic Quincy good or bad?" she asked, changing the channel to MTV.
"She'd be the best," he reported. "No offense to you or anything, but she just would be. Nic's honest and real and down-to-earth. All the others were liars and manipulators and just evil."
"Then tell her," Jude shrugged. "How do you know she doesn't feel the same?"
Spiederman shook his head. "No way. I barely know her."
"Jamie said you guys talk like, every day," she said. "You must know her pretty well."
"We're friends," he mumbled. "That's all."
"If you say so," she murmured. "So, what about Wallace and Kyle? Any women for them? I haven't talked to you since about last summer."
He chuckled. "Kyle's got a different girl every week, so nothing's changed with him. Wally's actually been dating Lee Murphy, an old friend of Nic's, since like, August. She and Nic grew up together in Montreal and Lee lives here now and works downtown at Barrett & Forrester, managing their finances."
"To be honest," she began, "I never, ever thought Wally would settle down. Not when he's only twenty-two, anyways. Are Nic and this Lee our age?"
"Older," he clarified. "Lee's twenty-four and Nic's twenty-three, so not too much. They kinda look alike, too, except Lee's hair is shorter."
"Compare them to people," Jude requested.
"Oh, geez," he breathed. "You remember that show Sadie used to like, uhh, One Tree Hill?" Jude nodded and he continued. "And how in the last season, the one married to the basketball player had short, dark hair? Well, Lee looks a little like her, but taller and prettier. They just have the same haircut. And Nic is a mix of every beautiful girl I've ever seen, and some."
Jude rolled her eyes. "I should've expected that."
"So, what are you going to do when you meet Lauren?" he asked. "Just immediately hate her?"
"Probably," Jude answered. "I mean, what does she have that I didn't that makes her okay to settle down with and not me?"
Spiederman smirked. "She's closer to his age, not so emotional, and way more submissive. He definitely wears the pants in their relationship and in yours, you two were always back and forth."
"She's submissive?" Jude repeated. "How can he possibly want someone who does everything he says without question? That's boring."
"I think he just realized that being with someone so passionate and fiery, as you and I guess Angie had been, he wanted stability," Spiederman explained.
Jude was confused. "How are you so knowledgeable about the inner workings of his mind?"
"Surprisingly, we've become decent friends since he came back," he told her. "Weird, huh?"
"Very," she confirmed. "Wally's tied down, you and Tom are friends. Next thing I know, you'll tell me that Pagan is normal and this is all a dream I'm about to wake up from."
"Well, I can tell you that this isn't a dream," he replied, "and Pagan still is a New Age freak, but it's going to be okay. Two weeks won't be so bad, will it?"
"No, except Jamie's going to do everything in his power to make me stay," she sighed. "And so will Sadie and my dad and Yvette. Hell, by the end of this week, you will be, too."
He smiled. "We just like having you here, dude. You've changed all of our lives."
"Not always in the best ways," she countered. "I've done some bad stuff in my time."
"You're not a serial killer, you haven't robbed any banks, and I have yet to see any plans you have to take over the world," he pointed out, "so I think you're okay. Maybe some of the decisions you've made aren't the best, but everyone has survived."
She laid her head on his shoulder. "Vin, my life here is a wreck. That's why I can't stay. I'd go back to recording and fighting with Tommy and dealing with all sorts of drama. Europe is so mellow and laid-back. I'm not stalked or followed constantly by paparazzi, unless they're from here. I like who I am there."
"Who you are? But is the girl you are over there the real you?" he wanted to know. "The Jude I've known and loved since kindergarten?"
"I'm the Jude who doesn't care about record sales or producers or tyrannical bosses," she said. "I just make music and I'm happy."
"Happy is good," he assured her, "but you can still be happy here. You can be happy without Tommy."
"I don't think so," she admitted. "My entire happiness relied on him for over three years, Vin. Three years!"
He wrapped an arm around her. "You loved him, dude. That's all."
"And I need to grow up," she decided. "I'm twenty-one-years-old now. I'm not a kid anymore."
"Good mantra," he complimented. "Just be you."
"I will," she stated confidently. "Just Jude. I don't need to be one-half of 'Jommy' or part of G-Major or the younger Harrison sister. I'm just Jude."
"But still my best friend," he added.
Jude laughed. "Right, still your best friend." She let out a long sigh. "Oh, these next two weeks will be a total nightmare for me."
"No," he interrupted. "Just Jude will have a great two weeks with her best friend, Cool Spied."
"If you say so," she mumbled, turning up the volume on The Real World. "I just hope you're right."
"When aren't I?" he wondered.
She eyed him out of the corner of her eye. "You really don't want me to answer that."
"You're right," he agreed. "I don't. But, in my head, I'm never wrong."
Jude scrunched her nose. "Oh, Spied, how I've missed you so."
"I'm unforgettable," he said. "So you can miss me all you want but I'll always be around."
"I certainly hope so," she told him. "I don't know what I'd do if you weren't."
"Be sad," he answered for her. "Devastatingly sad."
"Right," she teased. "Keeping dreaming, guitar boy."