AN: My fellow aca-people, this is it. This is the end. U_U Do you know how hard it was for me to mark this as 'Complete'? Do you?! I almost cried and threw my computer out my window. But then I remembered I still had that unfinished game of Solitaire so I didn't.
Sorry this last chapter took me so long to post. It's as though my brain and heart knew what it meant so the bitches conspired against me and kept me from being able to produce anything for days!
But alas, here we are. I hope this story has been as fun to read as it was to write. :)
I dedicate this last chapter to all of you! 'Cause whether you guys feel the same or not, I consider you all my mothereffin friends. T_T
Love is one of the most selfishly selfless emotions we are capable of feeling.
The way we so desperately seek for the happiness of the other person, because only then can we ourselves truly be happy.
I guess that's the difference between making love and having sex.
I know I don't have much to base myself on, given that I've only been with two people in my entire life. But even then… I think back to my experience with Steven. It was quick and awkward and over before I could even understand what was happening. There was absolutely no connection between us, though I was so sure I loved him. Throughout it all, he was solely focused on getting off while I waited and waited for the good sensations that never came. And neither did I. Ha! Jade would be proud of my little pun.
How can I even begin to explain how it is with Jade?
I was as nervous and scared the first time with her as I was with Steven. But it wasn't so much from fear of what was gonna happen to me, or how I was going to feel. No. I was nervous because I didn't want to disappoint her. Satisfying her was the only outcome I knew would make me happy in the end. And I seriously doubted my ability to make that happen.
But suddenly, it became so much more than that. Touching her, kissing her, savoring her… Making her feel good became my ultimate pleasure. But not because that's what I had originally wanted. No, that was just an amazing bonus. Doing all these things to her was as gratifying for me as it was for her. And that's all I could focus on. The feel of her skin, the taste of her lips, the sight of her writhing in ecstasy as I greedily ravished her entire being.
See what I'm saying?
Like now, for example. Our hot, sweaty bodies move in beautiful synch as we become lost in one another. Her hips rock in rhythm with my hand while my fingers strum her skillfully. Her eyes squeeze shut and her head arches back, which in turn causes her chest to align perfectly to my face. I, of course, immediately seize the opportunity and hungrily attach my mouth to her breast.
God, I love it when she says my name like that. All breathy, and moany, and just- ugh… so – freaking – sexy.
I want to hear it again.
I need to hear it again.
I always do. Because it's an affirmation that I, and only I, make her feel this way. That it's because of me, and only me, that the usually calm and always in control Jade West is willingly submitting to my complete and utter dominance.
So I do the things that I know will cause her to say it again, and again, and again.
'Cause you know… love makes you selfish like that.
Better yet, I think with a smirk. I bet I can make her say it three more times before she comes.
I lean against the backrest of the couch I'm sitting on to better position myself beneath her legs which are currently straddling my lap. Her hands immediately grab onto the armrest and the back cushion of the couch to keep herself in place. I trail my left hand up her back while the fingers of my right continue moving expertly inside her. I then drag my nails slowly, yet firmly, across her skin, something I know drives her absolutely insane.
She sighs and brings her forehead forward to rest on my shoulder. I turn my head toward hers and start sucking and nipping on her neck while my thumb begins tracing slow circles around her clit.
"God, Tor…" she gasps.
I smile into her skin and shift my head around so that now my face is right in front of hers. I wait 'til her eyes flutter open and she looks directly into mine before increasing the speed of both my fingers and my thumb. Her breath becomes jagged, and her skin even more flushed as she stares at me; eyes flicking quickly between my own as the pressure builds.
There's always something magical when I have her look me in the eye when she climaxes. Her orgasm is always more intense, more… frantic.
Her brows furrow and her panting comes out in short, consecutive bursts of air against my skin. I can feel it. She's close. So I bite my lower lip and brace myself for the beautiful phenomena of Jade West unraveling before me.
One of her hands shoots up from the backrest and frantically cups my cheek, thumb roughly sweeping over my lips as I part them and envelop it in my mouth. A small moan escapes me as I gently suck and caress it with my tongue; my gaze never once faltering from her own.
That does it.
"Fuuuck-" she whimpers.
Come on… Say it.
She desperately tries to keep her eyes on me, but within a few seconds they're rolling back along with her head as she tenses.
Suddenly an idea flashes through my mind and with a quick twist and curl followed by a flick here and a stroke there, she's-
"Agh –mmm! To-TORI!"
Her entire body begins trembling and pulsating uncontrollably to the point where I have to pull her into me and hold her until nothing more than sporadic quivers and tremors ripple through her like waves.
"Holy shit…" she breathes into the crook of my neck. "Where… in the flying fuck… did you learn how to do that?"
"Cosmo." I chuckle a bit out of breath myself.
"Cosmo?" She pants. "As in Cosmo-fucking-magazine?"
"Yea…" I nod weakly, placing several small kisses on her shoulder. "They have some pretty good stuff in there. Remember that thing you liked with the ice?"
"You got that from there?!"
"Well shit…" she scoffs collapsing exhaustedly onto the empty portion of the couch.
I hum in agreement and sit up straight, stretching my back and arms as I glance around for my bra, which I spot hanging from the lampshade across the room. Right as I go to stand up, two legs drop heavily on my lap, keeping me from further movement.
"And where do you think you're going, Miss Vega?" Jade snickers grabbing my arm and pulling me down on top of her. "You think you can just come to my place, have your way with me and then scram?"
"I prefer the term 'toot it and boot it'." I grin. Her eyebrows rise in amusement while her hand tugs down on my neck until our foreheads press together.
"How 'bout 'smash and dash'?" she quips.
"Or… 'hit it and quit it, say you never did it'!" I giggle brushing my nose with hers.
"Nice. I bet Cosmo taught you that as well, huh?" she laughs, tilting her head to the side to take my lips in a gentle kiss.
"I really do have to go though, Jade." I breathe as I slowly tangle my hands in her hair and return it. "It's getting late."
"So?" She mumbles now nipping and sucking across my jaw.
"We – God – we… we got school tomorrow-"
"Jade-" I gasp when one of her hands sneaks up in-between our bodies and cups my breast. "You-you promised…" She stops her movements with a groan and lets her head drop back against the couch dramatically.
"God, Vega… We graduate in three fucking days!" She cries pushing me off so she can sit up and fold her arms across her chest. "Why the fuck does it matter anymore?"
"Exactly because of that!" I say sitting up as well. "We graduate in three days, Jade! In three days high school will be over. No more Sikowitz, no more school plays, no more having lunch at The Asphalt Café…" I trail off. "These last three days will be the last time we all get to hang out together at school." Her eyebrows furrow and she looks away.
"You swear like we're not gonna see them anymore-"
"We're really not." I say softly, reaching over to take her hand in mine. "Not for a while anyway. Cat and Robbie's orientation at UC Davis begins next month and Andre leaves to New York in a week!" She sighs and slumps down next to me again.
"Fuck…" she chuckles, rubbing tiredly at her face. "This is really happening already isn't it?"
"Yea." I smile. "It is."
She turns her face so that she's looking straight at me, green eyes studying my brown ones hesitantly for a moment before she suddenly jumps off the couch and heads to her dresser.
"Since we're on the subject- I uh… I wanted to ask you something – no – no, I wanted to give you something." She exclaims putting on her bra and pulling on some panties. "Yea, an idea… an idea in the form of a – question, I guess?" She chuckles and I can't help but furrow my brow and smile at how nervous and jumpy she seems.
"Okay…" I drawl getting up to retrieve my undergarments as well. "What is it?"
"Well. Ok. So... so we've been together for what? Close to a year and a half, right?" She motions with her hands as she sits awkwardly on the coffee table in front of the couch, attempting to casually cross her legs but being unable to do so given the short height of the table.
"Right…" I smirk, extremely amused by her behavior. It's not often that I get to see Jade's nervous and jittery side, and I find it so unbelievably cute. Of course I never tell her. She'd kill me.
"Right." She affirms, nodding quickly. "And… well, we're both, you know, attending USC next year…"
"Which is like… five minutes away from here." She points out the window in the direction of the school. "And well… you practically live here with all the time you spend in my apartment and-"
"Oh my God…" I gasp, covering my mouth with my hands. "Jade are you… are you asking me to-"
"Move in with me." She breathes, gulping loudly as she looks at me with wide apprehensive eyes. I can do nothing but stare at her, completely speechless. "It-it's cheaper than the dorms so I just thought that maybe – I don't know – you would…" She clears her throat and stands from the table, eyeing me cautiously as she takes small steps in my direction."I'm renewing the lease and-and I already got my trust fund money, which is more than enough to maintain us all throughout school so that neither of us have to work while studying. And I mean- you… you could… you would-"
"Get to live with you." I whisper, small smile pulling at my lips. Her face visibly softens and her own relieved smile appears.
"Yea…" She sighs, now standing right in front of me. "That too." She slips her arms around my waist, gently pulling me into her. "So?" She mutters, watching me closely. "What do you say, Tor?"
I wrap my arms around her neck and brush our lips together, smiling widely the entire time.
"I would get to fall asleep with you every night? And wake up next to you every morning?" I whisper as I delicately peck her lips. She smiles against me and nods her head slowly. "I would get to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with you… everyday?" I suck and pull on her lower lip, causing her grip on my waist to tighten.
"Everyday…" She murmurs with a small sigh.
"Sounds very, very tempting…"
"And lets not forget," she whispers with a mischievous smile. "we would be able to toot it, hit it, and smash it any… time… we want…"
"Without booting it, quitting it, or dashing it?" I giggle twirling a lock of her disheveled hair in my finger.
I let out the loudest and girliest of squeals and savagely jump into her embrace before clashing my lips against hers. She drops her hands to my thighs and I quickly wrap them around her hips so that she may pick me up. She carries me over to the kitchen area and sets me down on the countertop, never once breaking the kiss.
"Couple of ground rules though, Vega." She mumbles while pressing her body against me and kissing down my neck. "Number one: In order to save on utilities, joint showers are mandatory between roommates." I chuckle and let the back of my head hit the cabinet behind me as my eyes flutter shut. "Two: It's encouraged to use as little amount of clothing as possible at all times to save on the air-conditioning usage. Which sort of ties into rule number three," she continues. "Every evening on the days that end with 'y', the 'Topless Rule' is enforced." At that she reaches behind my back and unclasps my just recently re-clasped bra. "Can you adhere to these rules?" she purrs while trailing her fingers over my breasts.
"Gladly…" I breathe.
"Excellent." She snickers as her hands begin travelling further south. But before she can get too far, I drag my own arms down from her neck to her shoulders and push her away.
"But I really do have to go now." I peck her gaping lips and quickly jump off the countertop and out of her grasp.
"Vegaaa!" she whines like a petulant child, going as far as stomping her foot.
"Weeest!" I tease fixing my bra and slipping on my shirt.
"You're no fun." She pouts leaning back against the counter on her elbows. "We should be celebrating this momentous and very significant step in our relationship."
"And we will!" I laugh wiggling into my pants. "But as of now, I still have to adhere to my current house's rules, which require me to be back by a certain time on a school night."
"You're eighteen Tori! God, your parents aren't this overprotective with Trina!"
"Yea, that's because she's nineteen and lives on her own now."
"She lives in your parents' fucking pool-house!"
"Yea…" I chuckle while tying up my sneakers.
Jade mutters a variety of curses and unintelligible words under her breath as she makes her way towards the couch. She lets out a long and elongated sigh before dropping down onto the cushions. I can't help but giggle at the sight of her so gracelessly sprawled across the couch in nothing more than her matching gray bra and panties. She turns around and glares at me, her eyebrow arching irritably.
"Nothing." I snicker. "I'm just admiring how absolutely elegant and exquisite you look. The screaming vision of femininity." A small smirk appears on her lips as she slumps down even more on the couch, looking anything but feminine.
"Jack," She breathes, sending me an exaggeratedly flirtations look. "I want you to draw me like one of your French girls…" I nod and bite my lower lip to keep from laughing. "Wearing this." She continues while grabbing a small, green plastic bowl from the coffee table and tilting it so that the two small grapes that were in it tumble out before she slowly, and very sensually, places it on top of her head like a hat. "Wearing only this…" she whispers biting on her bottom lip dramatically.
I quickly make my way to the couch and drop down on the floor next to her, taking her hand in one of mine and desperately clinging to the cushions with the other.
"Promise me now, Rose, and never let go of that promise." I cry melodramatically.
"I promise." She whimpers while tightly clutching my hand and looking down at me with pain-filled eyes.
"Never let go."
"I'll never let go. I'll never let go, Jack." She squeaks out, and I again have to bite on the inside of my cheek to keep from bursting into laughter. "Now hurry the fuck up and die so I can have this floating piece of wood, that is clearly large enough for both of us, all to my greedy self." She deadpans shoving my hand away.
"But Rose!" I cry out through giggles, trying to keep a hold on the couch while she keeps pushing me off. "I love you!"
"We met like, two fucking days ago!" She snaps with a teasing smile. "You just want my money and this nice big piece of ass!" she smirks while loudly smacking her butt.
"Ooh, Busted!" I laugh. "Well, if I can't have you or your butt… no one else will!" I take a hold of her wrists and pull her down to the ground with me, where we break into a playful wrestling match that leaves us both breathless from exertion and laughter.
"God, I can't wait to live with you so we can do this everyday…" I pant, looking up at her from where she has me pinned down on the carpet.
"Well daily reenactments of Titanic and me kicking your ass are rules number four and five…" she smirks.
"Is that so?" I chuckle.
"Yep… Only at Casa de West."
"Soon to be Casa de West-Vega."
"Mmm… Not sure if I like the sound of that." She frowns. "I think the words 'casa' and 'de' being in Spanish should be more than enough to represent you."
"Ah si?" I gape at her with feigned offense. "Con que solo 'casa' y 'de'? Pues sabes que, gringuita? Vete a la casa de tu abuela con todo y tu apellido!"
"God!" Jade cries out dramatically. "I love it when you go all Ricky Ricardo on me!"
"Estas loca." I laugh, making sure to over-enunciate the last word.
"Yes, yes… Everybody knows I'm 'loca'…" She says with an eye roll before leaning down and kissing me softly. "Tell me something else."
"Aunque seas una demente y a veces me des miedo…" I whisper against her lips. "…te amo." She groans and pulls away.
"Don't be so queso!" She snaps.
"Queso is just cheese, not cheesy…" I chuckle.
"Whatever-o. Say something hot."
"You think you're a fucking riot don't you?"
"An absolute hoot."
"Didn't you have to go home?"
"I don't wanna go now."
"Ooh… a hoot and a rebel…"
"I'm a whole package kind of girl." I smirk lifting up my head to peck her quickly on the lips.
"Go make me a sandwich then."
"What? I'm hungry!"
"I got something else you could eat…" I whisper, wiggling my eyebrows suggestively.
"Ooh… a hoot a rebel and a nympho… Whole package indeed!"
"So is that a no then?"
"Rule number six," she says tightening her hold on my wrists. "We never, ever turn down a meal at Casa de West-Vega."
"Never speak of it!" I scream hurling an empty beer can at Robbie, who squeaks and just barely manages to dodge it.
"Jade!" Tori grabs my forearm and brings it back down to where it was previously resting on her stomach before giving me a pointed look. Once she's certain I'm not gonna throw anything else, she relaxes back into the position we were in, with me sitting across the length of the couch and Tori sitting in-between my legs with her back pressed against me. "We're all sharing our fondest high school memories and that just so happens to be Robbie's! So please stop throwing stuff at people."
"I wouldn't have to if everyone's precious memories didn't have me as the butt of the fucking joke…" I spit.
"Oh come on!" Andre chuckles slumping back on his chair and placing his feet up on the coffee table. "You can't tell me it wasn't funny when the entire school thought Robbie Shappiro passionately locked lips with the Jade West?"
"The school and the entire fucking world saw that disgusting satellite picture!" I groan. "I almost wish I would have never agreed to have it retaken..."
"But then everyone would've been able to see you picking your-"
"Finish that sentence and consider it your last words." I growl through gritted teeth. Cat squeals in fear and buries her face into Robbie's shoulder.
"The best part was when Tori saw it and thought it was actually real." Andre laughs.
"Robbie said he was glad he always kept an extra pair of underwear and pants in his locker for situations similar to that one…" Cat giggles making Andre laugh even harder and Robbie shudder at the memory.
"Seriously, Tor." I chuckle pressing my face to the side of her blushing one. "I think you're even more dangerous than I am when jealous…"
"Ok, ok, so maybe that wasn't a proud moment for either of us…" Tori quickly mumbles leaning her head back on my shoulder to look up at me. "But what was wrong with the one we said about the Prome?"
"A grown ass fucking obese man in nothing more than an adult diaper carried me off as his fucking Prom Queen!"
"It's pronounced fucking Prom!"
"Alright, alright…" she chuckles. "How 'bout you then? What were some of your favorite memories from these last couple of years?"
"Easy." I smirk and clear my throat. "The time we took Rex to the hospital after he got sucked into the Turblow Jet and we told the doctor to kill him off when Robbie got there-"
"What?!" Robbie cries.
"The time Trina's body harness broke and she body slammed into the entire set-"
"Hey!" Trina's shrill voice echoes from the kitchen where she's making herself a drink. "I'm right here you know?"
"Yea, and I still don't know why since this is a party for us graduating seniors who are actually going off to college." I snap.
"First of all," She sneers standing in front of me with a hand propped on her hip and the other holding a wide glass of margarita. "I didn't go straight to college 'cause I wanted to take a year off to find myself."
"Yea, and you found yourself working part-time at Hooters and living luxuriously in your parents' backyard." I deadpan.
"Jade…" Tori warns, squeezing my hand in hers.
"And second of all," Trina continues completely ignoring me. "This also happens to be Tori's 'Move-in-with-my-gank-of-a-lesbian-girlfriend-who- probably-did-some-sort-of-African-voodoo-to -make-me-like-her party, so I, as the great and beautiful sister that I am, came to show my support." She finishes proudly while I roll my eyes.
"Whatever… I'm not taking it back." I huff as I scroll quickly through my phone. "That was a terrible… hilarious… accident. That to this day already has…" I look down at the screen and smirk. "Three million, six hundred and fifty thousand views."
"Tori!" she shrieks. "You said she took it down!"
"I need another drink…" Vega sighs pinching the bridge of her nose with her fingers.
"I gotcha." Andre gets up and walks over to the kitchen area, grabbing three beers and two Mike's Hard Lemonades from the fridge. He hands Robbie and I a beer while Tori and Cat get the lemonades. "Be careful, Little Red." He warns before she takes it. "Remember these are sneaky. Drink it slowly 'cause I don't wanna have to chase you down the fire escape like last time, got it?"
"Yes sir!" She says clanking her bottle loudly with his. "Cheers! Hehe!" Andre frowns and turns to Robbie with a sigh.
"That goes for you too, Rob. You guys make the worst drunk couple ever."
"I'm not that bad!" Robbie scoffs. We all mumble in disagreement. "Ok, so I tried to challenge that pack of stray dogs once… It was all in good fun!" he says dismissively.
"You peed on Cat's feet." Tori deadpans.
"And all over your stupid ass puppet." I add.
"Ok, so you have your happy drunks, your angry drunks, and your sad drunks…" He shrugs. "I happen to be a territorial drunk."
"That's just wrong."
"I think it's romantic…" Cat mumbles sheepishly. Robbie looks down at her resting her head on his shoulder and smiles before leaning down to kiss her softly on the forehead.
"Aww…" Tori coos intertwining our fingers and pressing them tightly to her chest.
Yes, Cat and Robbie have finally started dating. I honestly didn't think it would last since she has the attention span of a squirrel while he has the strength and masculinity of a… hell, I can't think of anything worse than a Robbie. But to my surprise, and I'm sure everyone else's, they've been going strong for five months now. Five months in which we've seen a lot less of Rex, thank the gods. Although, if I'm gonna be completely honest, I kinda miss that idiotic puppet. He could say some funny shit at times…
"What about you Tori?" Andre asks plopping back down on the couch across from us. "Any specific anecdote from our high school years you hold dear?"
"Hmm…" She hums tracing the opening of the bottle with her finger as she thinks. "Oh! That time at Karaoke Dokie when those two guys wouldn't leave us alone until we gave them a little songy song action, remember?" she chuckles turning her head slightly towards me.
"How could I not?" I grumble. "Those idiots were as thick as their scent of failure and desperation."
"Was that the time Sikowitz forced you guys to go on that special 'date' for the play where you guys were husband and wife?" Robbie asks with a knowing smile.
"Yea…" Tori sighs.
"The nutjob said we needed to learn how to behave in public without wanting to constantly fuck each other's brains out."
"His words, not mine."
"Sikowits did not say that!"
"It was pretty much the gist of it, Vega."
"He simply said that we had way too much sexual chemistry for a married couple in the late sixties." She clarifies. "And that our excessive PDA was distracting the rest of the cast and crew…" She adds quietly.
"You can say that again…" Andre mumbles with a smirk.
"Alright, so we were on the honeymoon phase!" I scoff. "Sue us."
"Yea, we've grown and our relationship is on a new and more… reserved… level."
"Girls, look at yourselves!" He laughs.
I furrow my brow and glance down to see what he's talking about and my eyes widen in surprise when I realize my hand has made its way under Tori's shirt and is currently drawing circles on her smooth, taut stomach while one of her own hands is stretched back and tangled in my hair, softly massaging and tugging on it like she knows I like. And our legs are tangled together in such a way that allows Tori to slowly run her foot up and down the length of my calf.
"Well damn…" I smirk.
"Wow…" Tori chuckles awkwardly while retracting her hand and stilling her foot. "Would you look at that."
"Oh! How 'bout that time with those nice boys at the beach when we ate shave ice and tuna tartare!" Cat chirps clapping her hands excitedly.
"Well I wouldn't know about all that, now would I Cat?" Trina snaps. "As I was trapped in a stupid toaster oven of an R.V. with these losers!" She sends us all a glare. "Yea… offence."
"Well, other than almost dying from dehydration and drinking fish water…" Robbie smiles. "I had a lot of fun that day!"
"Yea…" Andre agrees. "Once we got out of the R.V. and were able to hit the beach it was all good."
"I miss those days…" Cat says with a pout, before her eyes suddenly widen and she looks over at us in panic. "I-I mean… I miss those days when-when Fat Biscuit was… you know… fat and-uh… – lalalala." Cat starts nervously mumbling a random tune, as she usually does whenever Beck is mentioned or inferred.
I know that's what she meant by 'those days'. She misses the days when Beck was around. When we would all hang out. The whole group. I know they all miss those days because I miss them too.
Beck was never able to fully come to terms with the idea of me and Tori. It's strange really. We still talk. We talk a lot actually. He will often come over to my place and we'll hang out, have a couple of beers, share a blunt or two. Whenever I see him at school he'll wave and smile and I'll return it. He talks to Tori too. He talks to all of us.
But he just can't be around when we're together, Tori and I. If he's with one of us and the other comes, he quickly excuses himself and leaves. For months we would invite him to join us whenever we'd all go out, but he'd always give us some lame excuse as to why he wouldn't be able to make it. After a while we just gave up and acknowledged the fact that this is how things were now and there was nothing we could do about it.
It hurt, I'm not gonna lie.
It still does.
I try to understand him, I do. I try to put myself in his place like Tori tells me to do in order to get where he's coming from. And yes, I know it must be hard to see someone you loved… or love… with someone else, but-
I don't know. I just feel that if he truly cared for me, like he says he does, if he truly wanted me in his life and was willing to take the only form of love I can give him, which is as a friend, then he would try to look past this… Right?
And now that Tori's moving in… I know I'll see him even less. Not only that, but come August he'll be leaving to Ireland for eight months where they'll be shooting a small independent film he got a starring role in. I could see the flash of hurt in his eyes when I told him about Tori. But I needed him to understand that I'm moving on with my life, which she happens to be a huge part of. And as much as I love him, it's up to him now to choose whether or not he wants to move on with it.
"I know, baby girl." I murmur wrapping my arms around Tori and gently pulling her into me while resting my chin on her shoulder. "I miss those days too…" Cat's face visibly relaxes and she sends me a small sad smile. Our attention suddenly turns to Andre as he pulls out his guitar from behind the couch and starts strumming along a familiar tune.
"Come on y'all," he smiles. "let's get this party started."
Fifteen songs, three neighbor complaints, and thirty-seven "Shut up Trina, you sound like a dying walrus" later, the doorbell rings announcing the arrival of our pizza. I jump off the couch Tori, Cat and I had been using as a stage and head to the door.
"It's been fifteen minutes more than your advertised thirty-five minutes," I call out as I unlock the door and swing it open. "So this pizza better taste fucking amaz-" I freeze and almost drop the Smirnoff bottle I'm holding.
"I think you're gonna have to wait even longer 'cause I'm almost certain I saw a pizza delivery boy wrestling a homeless man up front for a couple of pizza boxes." I can do nothing but stare. "I uh… I have beer though."
"Jade?" I hear Tori call out breathlessly as she walks up behind me. "Is the pizza here yet 'cause I'm so freaking hungry I could-" She trails off when her eyes follow mine. "Beck…"
Immediately, all the voices and laughter in the room stop as everyone turns their attention to the surprise visitor.
"Hey Tori." He smiles. His eyes shift back to me and he raises an amused eyebrow. "So… Can I come in or do I have to go help the guy get the pizzas back first?"
"No. No, no of course not!" Tori exclaims shaking her head and snapping out of her shock. "Come in, come in!" She reaches over and takes the 24 pack of beer from his hand and ushers him in. I simply move to the side to allow him to step through as my eyes continue fixed on him, still trying to comprehend if he's really here.
"Beck!" Cat squeals jumping up from the floor where she was sitting with Robbie to envelop him in a hug.
"Hey Cat." He smiles embracing her warmly before turning to the guys. "How goes it fellas?" They both smile and greet him as he makes his way around the table and plops down on the couch next to Andre.
Tori who is in the kitchen putting the beer in the fridge shoots me a perplexed smile accompanied by a shrug before heading back into the living room to hand Beck a drink while I continue eyeing the strange scenario curiously.
"So do you know if Beck's still single?" I'm slightly startled when Trina suddenly pops up next to me, margarita in hand as she watches Beck with a predatory stare. I clear my throat and blink several times, still coming out of my daze, and give her a slight nod.
"Excellent." She mutters confidently before taking a sip from her glass.
"I… I can't believe he's here." I mumble more to myself than anyone else.
"He almost wasn't." She sighs. "I had to use every single ounce of my feminine charm to convince him. Never fails."
"Wait, you-" I gape at her in shock. "You asked him to come?"
"Well I know how hard Tori worked to put together this whole little shindig," she says motioning to the living room with her hands. "With Andre, Cat and Robbie leaving soon, I knew she had her heart set on you guys all being able to hang out together one last time before, you know, college and real life." She says with an eye roll as she throws air quotes around each word. "And I can see it. It's just not the same without handsome here. You all miss him." I turn my attention back to the living room where Beck, Tori and Andre are all laughing at Robbie's attempt to serenade Cat with a much slower and romantic version of 'Broken Glass'. "So someone had to get it through to him of what a fucking idiot he was being." My head snaps back to her in surprise. "I mean, yes, your girlfriend left you for another girl. Ouch. Heart shattered. Man-pride wounded. Just build a goddamn bridge and get the fuck over it!" She scoffs and I don't even try to hide the giant grin that appears on my face. "The world doesn't end and there are plenty more fish in the sea." She adds with seductive smile. "Prettier, more talented, and definitely more heterosexual fish."
"Well… Thanks." I mumble, looking down at my feet before tentatively looking up at her. "I know you didn't do it for me or anything but… thank you." She stares at me for a moment longer before taking a quick sip of her drink.
"You make my sister happy, Jade." She says seriously, small genuine smile tugging at her lips. "Happier than I've ever seen her. And that makes me happy. 'Cause I love her. And she loves you. So I am thus forced to love you too – but not in that way ok? I am one hundred percent hetero!" She quickly adds taking a small step away from me for good measure.
"You know, that's what Tori used to say before she fell madly in love with me…" I smirk.
"Well, as pretty a lesbian as I would make," She says flipping her hair over her shoulder and batting her eyelashes. "I couldn't do such an injustice to all men out there by not only denying them of me, but by taking away all their women as well." I simply smile and shake my head. "But anyway, I did do it for you, Jade. For both of you." she continues with a smile. "And well, for me too. I mean, maybe I could help Beck with the healing process, if you know what I mean…" She snickers sending me a suggestive wink.
"I'm sure he'd be thrilled." I laugh.
"Now come on. Let's go get chocolate wasted." She makes her way over to the kitchen counter to refill her glass before heading back to the living room where she wastes no time howling and shrieking along to the song Andre is currently playing on his guitar. I follow closely after and sit down on the empty couch where I have a front row view of the spectacle.
"Hey…" Beck breathes dropping down next to me.
"Hey." I grin, glancing at him briefly before turning my attention back to the other couch where Tori and Cat are busy trying to braid Robbie's unruly curls into cornrows while Trina is immersed in giving Andre a pedicure as both he and Robbie work together to compose a song about bottle caps.
"I'm here." Beck says throwing me his typical boyish grin.
"I can see that." I chuckle with an eye roll.
"No," he reaches over and takes my hand in his, making me turn to face him. "I'm here." He whispers sincerely, eyes boring deep into mine. "And I'm not going anywhere." I hold his gaze for a moment to make sure he means it, that this is real; and all remaining doubt and fear that he'll just up and go again begins to fade, instead replaced by a warmth in my chest as his eyes shine back affectionately. He leans in and presses a small kiss on my forehead, making my eyes shut tight and two hot tears trail down my cheeks. He pulls away and gives me one last smile before turning his attention back to our friends. I use my free hand to quickly dab at my eyes and also turn forward, resting my head on his shoulder as I watch the crazy fucking clamor currently taking place in our living room.
I see Tori look over at us and smile before fixing her eyes on Beck and giving him a small nod which he returns just as delicately. She then turns to me and my stomach flutters the same exact way it's been doing for the past year and a half whenever those beautiful brown eyes meet mine. She sends me a smile that immediately reminds me how very alive I am by the intense hammering in my chest.
And even though in a few days, weeks, months, years – this will all be but a distant memory; this moment, right here, right now – with these six people laughing and singing and screaming and smiling... will forever be my absolute favorite.
xxxxxx EPILOGUE xxxxxx
"God, this is so embarrassing!" I hiss while straightening out my dress and trying to smooth out the wrinkles across the red delicate fabric. "Everyone's gonna see-"
"Those who didn't already hear." Jade smirks as she attempts to fix her disheveled hair.
"Oh my goodnesss, was I really that loud?" I whisper with a completely mortified expression on my face.
"Aren't you always?" she deadpans with an arched brow, to which I simply frown and let out a sigh. "Hey can you throw me my shirt? It's right there."
I turn to where she's pointing and see the black laced blouse laying carelessly over a small stack of books on a shelf next to me. I quickly toss it to her and begin searching for my heels while she slips on her skirt. I find one of them on the floor under a pile of books that we'd accidently knocked off the shelf. I snatch it up quickly and slip it on before looking for the other one.
"Ha! Check it out Tor!" My head shoots up from behind the small couch I was searching under to see Jade waving something in her hand. "Can you believe we just did what we did in front of this?" she laughs holding up a pamphlet that says '101 Reasons to be Abstinent' on the cover. "I can't believe I never saw this before! Maybe you and I wouldn't have turned out like we did, eh?" She smirks skimming through it.
"Yea, like crazed sexual maniacs with absolutely no self-control?" I grunt getting on all fours so I can look beneath the rows of shelves for my missing shoe.
"Well, you really can't blame me for-"
"You're the only one to blame!" I hiss.
"Oh yea? Well, I didn't hear you complaining just a few minutes ago!" She snaps. "As a matter of fact, I vividly recall you being the one to knock down the 'Civil War Era Encyclopedia Set' with your enthusiasm." I turn my gaze and see the pile of books carelessly tossed around on the ground.
"Ugh… And those look like the expensive kind too." I huff, making her laugh, which in turn gets me even angrier. "Well you're the one with the little touches and caresses and just pretty much undressing me with your eyes out there in front of everyone!" I snap.
"And whose fault is that?" She cries while I gape at her in shock.
"No…" she laughs shaking her head and pointing accusingly at me. "You just had to go and get a fucking haircut today for this 'special occasion'." She spits out sarcastically while slowly making her way towards me. "And then to top it off, you decide to wear your goddamned glasses and that little, fucking, red dress that you know – you know – drives me fucking insane..." She growls forcing me to back up into a bookshelf as she steps forward. "What the fuck did you think was gonna happen, Vega?" She whispers, eyes flicking hungrily across my face. I gulp loudly and nervously lift my index finger to push my glasses back into place from where they'd slid down my nose.
"So-so you liked the haircut then?" I squeak, forcing an awkward smile. She responds with an animalistic growl before savagely taking my lips in a heated kiss, using her body to press tightly into mine, which in turn causes several books to fall off the shelf behind me… again. "No… Jade… Stop… We can't – Jesus – They're gonna… call me… up soon…" I manage to pant in-between kisses. She tears her lips away and groans.
"God, tell me why the fuck we're here again?" she cries walking over to where her knee-high boots are laying on the floor.
"It's our high school reunion, Jade." I sigh once again using my hands to smooth out my dress.
"I thought those were after ten years, not fucking eight." She grunts. "Why not just wait two more years and be like every other normal fucking school out there? I still don't miss anyone enough to want to see them again."
"Well, point is Hollywood Arts does them eight years after graduation, and here we are, ok?" I let out a quiet 'yay' when I spot my shoe sticking out from in-between the cushions of a couch. "And I just couldn't refuse when Lane called and asked me to speak as one of the Honorary Guests." I frown when I hear her scoff. "He would've asked you too if you hadn't said all those mean things to him over the phone." I chastise.
"I thought he was a telemarketer."
"Right… Because 'Hey Jade, this is Lane, your councelor from Hollywood Arts, how are you?' totally sounds like someone selling timeshares..."
"Well, whatever, at least we finally got to have sex in the school's library." She grins wickedly while picking up her purse from the couch. "One more thing to cross off my bucket list." She sends me a wink and begins heading to the door, but before she can get too far I grab her wrist and turn her around to instead pull her back towards me. Her eyes widen in surprise but her hands automatically settle on my hips.
"I'm glad you liked the haircut." I whisper before pressing my lips to hers in a gentle kiss.
"What time's your speech?"
"It's seven o'six."
I rip my lips away from hers with a gasp and hurriedly make my way to the library's back door that leads out to the Asphalt Café where the event is being held.
"Oh chiz, oh chiz, oh chiz!" I mumble as I swing open the door and burst outside, only to immediately freeze in place.
"The… lovely Tori Vega everybody!" I hear Lane awkwardly announce as a bright spotlight along with everyone's eyes set on me, frozen by the door while still holding one of my heels tightly in my hands. "A-and the… the always stunning: Jade West." He quickly adds as said girl leisurely strolls out, calm as can be, stopping to do a small curtsy for the crowd. She then turns around to face me and uses her thumb to wipe the, I'm certain, smeared lipstick off my lips and attempting to tame my, no doubt, unruly hair before pecking me quickly on the cheek, spinning on her heel and nonchalantly walking off towards her table.
The entire quad remains in silence, with a few awkward coughs here and there as I slowly come out of my frozen state and attempt to discreetly slip on my shoe before heading over to the small staircase that leads up to the balcony-like stage. Once there, Lane hands me the microphone and shoots me a small smile before heading down to his table. I clear my throat and bring it to my lips.
"Heeey..." I drawl out stupidly while doing an even more idiotic wave.
"Hiiiiiiiii!" Comes the unmistakable voice of Cat. I look over at our table and see Robbie reach out and gently pull his wife's hand down just as she begins to enthusiastically wave at me. Jade, who is sitting in the seat across from them simply rolls her eyes while Beck and his fiancé, Julie, chuckle quietly beside her. Andre and his girlfriend – Stephanie? No, Rachel. Uh… Patricia! Oh, I don't know, he changes girls every week – simply watch me with sympathetic smiles and nod for me to continue.
"Right." I clear my throat once again and reach for my purse to retrieve the note cards I had prepared only to mentally slap myself when I realize that I left it in the library. "When Lane asked if I would be willing to share my experiences and any wisdom that I might've come across over the few years since we left HA, I thought it'd be a piece of cake!" I chuckle. "After all, I've done more in these past eight years than I ever thought I'd get to do in a lifetime, and for that I am eternally grateful.
"I had written down all I wanted to say on some cute little pink flashcards but I, uh, seem to have… misplaced them… so I'm just gonna do a little improvisation. Though, I really never was very good at it, I'm afraid." I add blushing when out of the corner of my eye I see an even balder Sikowitz nod in agreement.
"For all of us working in the entertainment world, the word 'success' implies a lot of things: talent, recognition, fame, fortune, and so on and so forth. We're taught from the very beginning that we will be forever judged based on whether or not we're accepted, and only then will we be considered successful individuals.
"But to be completely honest with you, I think that's a complete load of chiz." I shrug, eliciting several chuckles and snickers from the audience. "I hate to think that my success will come down to how many albums I sell, what place one of my song makes on the music charts, or how many Grammys I win. And don't get me wrong, those things are all awesome. But it's the road that gets you there that matters...
"If we wanna get technical here, whoever is able to survive more than two years in showbiz is already a success in my book." I smirk. "That's what success is. Overcoming the impossible, whatever the outcome may be, the mere fact that you followed through 'til the end already makes you triumphant." My eyes immediately search for the green ones whose owner makes these words ring loud and true. "Trust me on this," I smile. "I happen to know a little about conquering the impossible…"
"Jade?" I turn on my side to face her and delicately run my index finger over her plump lips.
"Hmm…" she grunts in response. Eyes closed as her hair flutters in the gentle breeze.
"Marry me." I whisper after a few seconds, dragging the back of my fingers across the pale skin of her cheek.
Her lips twitch into a small smile, eyes remaining shut.
"Ok." She whispers back.
"So am I," she chuckles. "just like I've been the last fifty times you've asked."
"The key is knowing exactly what you're after. What you want. What you're willing to give up for it. How much you're willing to fight to get it."
"Why can't you just enjoy this lovely day at the park in peaceful silence, Vega?"
"Because you're not taking me seriously!" I huff sitting up and crossing my arms tightly across my chest. She folds her arms leisurely behind her head and shoots me an amused smile.
"I told you I do, Tor." She laughs. "It's the state of California that doesn't."
"Well I don't care what the freaking state of California has to say about it." I grumble. "I'm marrying you and that's that."
"And it's not easy." I shake my head with a grin. "It's not easy at all. You guys know better than anyone else all the crap you have to take from people, all the butt kissing you gotta do, and all the pervs who'll offer you a part in a movie in exchange for you sleeping with them who you have to very politely slap across the face and tell 'em where they can shove it…" Laughter ripples through the audience. "And I guess the question you have to make yourself at that point is: Is it worth it?"
"Tori, you're being crazy…" Jade laughs pressing her hands to her eyes and letting herself drop back down onto the thin blanket on the grass.
"What's so crazy about this?" I demand crawling over and straddling her.
"You're asking me to marry you right here, right now, in a park, with that squirrel and two humping dogs as witnesses." She deadpans.
"Don't forget the beautiful ring I made you out of dandelions." I add to which she simply rolls her eyes and snickers. "You gotta work with what you're given, Jadielicious." I smirk, placing both hands down on either side of her head.
"I think you're just doing this to get out of buying me an actual ring." She teases.
"I promise you that the moment California decides to stop being a royal gank and allows me to do this for real, I will get you that beautiful black diamond ring you've always wanted." Her eyes light up and a huge smile pulls at her lips. "But until then," I clear my throat and pick up the tiny green ring I had constructed in just under five minutes. "Will you, Jade West, make me, Tori Vega, the happiest, luckiest-"
"-girl in the world and marry me?"
"You're a dork." She chuckles, eyes staring deeply into mine as she lifts her hand to gently caress the side of my face. "The answer's yes." She whispers. "It's always been yes." I squeal in delight and slide the makeshift ring onto her finger before leaning down and claiming her lips in a passionate kiss.
"So is it worth it?" My gaze meets Jade's once again and my heart swells as I think back to how we came to be. How I fought for her from the very beginning. How I'd fight for her all over again. "Definitely." I whisper, smiling widely when she rests her chin on her propped up left hand and I see the beautiful black rock shining elegantly on her fourth finger. "Because nothing that is worth getting will ever be easy to obtain." She sends me a knowing smile, her eyes reflecting the same love and adoration displayed on mine. "You'll have to be strong and determined, willing to fight and take a few hits yourself. Because the best things in life, our greatest successes, the events that lead us to a victorious existence…" I sigh, glancing one last time at my greatest victory, at the girl who once stood my adversary, and now stands as my entire reason for living. "Are often found, behind enemy lines…"
AN: So now, as a parting gift, what do you say you present me with a review? Pretty please? Even those of you who never reviewed before, if you liked the story (or didn't U_U) it would mean the world to me to hear from you.
Awww guys! Imma miss you! :( I really don't have any plans for future fics at the moment... I'd love to write again. But I'll probably take a break for a while since this little monster took quite a toll on me over the past four months :S No seriously, you guys are troopers for sticking with it, this story is freaking long! Haha! I might build on that one-shot I posted way back when, Falling In Hate With You. Maybe make it into a two-shot or something? Not sure. But you should check it out if you haven't ;)
And again, thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who reviewed and/or favorited-followed. You guys are amazing and truly the only reason I pulled through with this 'til the end :P I love you all.
I hope that any time you guys watch Locked Up! from now on you'll remember this story, and your good ol' friend Wikster :) I know that episode will forever hold deeper meaning to me after this, because now I'll know what truly happened at Yerba T_T
Until we meet again, PLUR ON my friends! :D
And always remember: Love much, Fuck more; Someone gives you trouble? Fuck that whore! ;)