It’s two a.m.
Tori’s driving in her pajamas, eyes impossibly wide. She really can't doze off again, not when she just missed hitting a lamppost by the skin of her teeth a few blocks over. So she blinks hard and curses under her breath when she feels her grip on the steering wheel loosen. She really needs sleep—hasn't had any decent ones for days and while caffeine has been a great friend through this, it isn't helping anymore.
Today is supposed to be her day off but Jade had to call and go all-demanding-harpy on her, irritated like she's the one not getting any sleep because of this—almost like the sixteen year old girl who hated her for whatever reason the first time the met. Tori could've said no—because she’s not sixteen anymore. She can say no. But Jade has always been very persuasive even if she has outgrown her "old methods", or so she says. No one says no. And Tori is too sleep deprived to even argue with the woman, not that Tori would win anyway—it’s nice to think that she can. Okay, there's also the thing Tori not being able to say no to Jade. Try as she might to deny it, it's still true.
Though, it's really like they’re sixteen again, only Jade will never voluntarily call her over then. Still, it feels like they’re stuck on that loop except for the fact that Jade isn't—wasn't even stuck in the first place.
Tori pulls up on the driveway just behind Jade's SUV. The car screams "soccer mom" all over it and Tori still can't get over that even if she almost got smacked for teasing Jade about it. Jade isn't a mom and fuck everything and slit her throat if she ever becomes a soccer mom. And yes, Tori's been granted the privilege of teasing and laughing at Jade—the half blush, half scowl on Jade’s face is what keeps Tori doing it often as she does—without being cut, of course. Now that much has changed.
She makes her way across the drive way deliberately ignoring the pavement as she comes up on the porch in her unruly hair and grass-stained, fluffy pink slippers glory, glasses perched on the bridge of her nose. She doesn’t bother knocking and goes lifting the pots beside the front door—she still has to remind Jade that hiding a key under a damn pot is stupid when the woman never forgets anything. But it’s nice that she can sneak in whenever she wants, not like she would or even goes here that much. It’s just nice—again, stupid but still nice and that’s that.
The door clicks open after a couple failed attempts jamming the key in and Tori slides inside, making her way down the hallway to the kitchen. “You better have ice-cream,” she says, pinching the bridge of her nose at the light poking into her eyes, her other hand on her hip—god, she really needs sleep, sleep and dairy.
Jade looks up from her perch on the countertop, fingers curved around a mug of coffee. "Freezer," she points before turning her attention back to the rising haze from the mug as she sips. Jade's wearing too-thin clothing for the weather, merely a black tank top and boy shorts, and Tori sighs at that, shaking her head as she goes pulling out a pint of ice-cream and a spoon. She stands in front of Jade, raising an eyebrow but Jade just glances at her and shifts to the side obviously prompting her to sit. So she sits beside her, barely an inch between them. Tori stares at the label of the pint, squinting before turning her head to look at Jade who’s still somewhat engrossed on her coffee.
“Okay, what am I here for?” Tori asks popping the lid open and stabbing at the ice-cream with the spoon, apparently still cranky from her lack of sleep and near-death experience. Jade’s only response to that was the slight furrowing of her eyebrows. So Tori turns back on her ice-cream chucking a spoonful of it into her mouth and lets out a small sound of approval from the back of her throat. At that, Jade scoots closer, a little smile on her lips though her eyes are still set on her coffee.
Tori smiles too but quickly pulls it down, fake pouting with a glint in her eyes—she really just needed sugar in her bloodstream—as Jade turns to give her another glance. “If you eat that much ice-cream, you’d get fat,” she smirks, silver stud glinting on her eyebrow—Jade still keeps the piercing despite already being a practicing lawyer. Tori thinks it’s ridiculous. Cat thinks it’s adorable. Jade still doesn’t give a damn about what anyone thinks.
Just like that the haze induced by their version of “hellos”—always rather tense—breaks.
“I do not get fat,” Tori grumbles, pulling the spoon out of her mouth and jutting her chin out, “and don’t change the subject.”
Jade snorts, waving her hand dismissively, “Eat your ice-cream.”
“I will,” Tori says peeved and all, because she will eat her ice-cream and happily so. Besides, pushing Jade won’t get her anywhere. Patience is key. That and pain meds, usually.
“What are we doing in the janitor’s closet?” Tori asks, eyeing the fingers wrapped around her wrist and the slight digging of painted black nails on her skin. She absently wonders if later she’ll see the dark marks there. Jade doesn’t answer, still peering through the crack of the door, face half illuminated, flecks or her eyelashes outlined against the stream of light. Tori tilts her head, her frustration dissipating a little too instantly. Moments like this makes her wonder why she’s not scared of her certain fascination for this girl and finds her mind wandering along the lines of this being some sort of metaphor of Jade not ever letting her go or at least until the bruise fades—also, the closet. A few beats pass when she finally remembers to talk again. “Jade—“
“We’re hiding from Beck,” Jade says like it’s the most obvious thing and Tori’s too stupid to deduce it on her own.
The irritation creeps back but only a little and the slight amusement is new but Tori still crosses her arms, “We? Where do I come in on this?” Jade turns facing her. She’s standing a few feet away but somehow they seem closer. Tori falters for a second—only a second—at their eye contact. “Well?”
Jade shrugs, a smug almost-grin on her lips. “Because I need you to do something for me and you can’t say no.” She steps a little closer.
Tori gets the strange urge to say “I can too!” but opts to go the other way around. “Who gave you that idea?”
Jade just smirks at her knowingly and Tori’s bravado crumbles. “Yeah, you can’t and you wouldn’t even be able to because I have this.”
“That’s my—” Tori’s eyes widen, and stumbles forward—it’s mostly reflex, really—catching air in her hands as Jade snatches away her journal over her head.
“Nuh-uh, Vega,” Jade says tucking it safely in her back pocket with a pat, a smirk still plastered on her face.
“You wouldn’t,” Tori says more to herself petrified, mind racing, eyes barely settling on anything and especially not on Jade who’s the last person who should ever read that journal. That little black book—oh my god, that book. She’s suddenly claustrophobic—the walls and Jade closing-in on her—and she swears she’d hyperventilate any second now. Jade’s smirk drops watching her and exhales.
“It’s fine, Vega, I haven’t read it,” Jade says barely placing a hand on Tori’s shoulder when the girl began shifting on the toes and wringing her hands.
Tori looks up, doe-eyed and confused. The hand on her shoulder is so warm and comforting despite the stiffness and awkward way Jade’s standing now in front of her. “You haven’t?” she whispers, almost tripping on the syllables as it slides down her tongue. Her heart is racing still but she looks Jade dead in the eye, searching for something that will make herself believe Jade’s words. Honestly, Jade has never been someone who anyone would fully trust. Tori may want to like she would many of the people in her life but she isn’t stupid and Jade is… Jade.
Jade grins at her, hand sliding back to her side, absently reaching for her back pocket to touch the leather-bound journal. “But come to think of it, maybe I should have seeing as you’re so worried about it.” Her grin becomes wider but without any malice or mock boredom, just plain amusement and something else.
“No,” Tori says, unnervingly petulant in a way that pushes at Jade’s buttons. She’s still in a pinch but her nerves are calming and thank the heavens she didn’t have some sort of panic attack. Suddenly, the idea of going along Jade’s crazy ideas designed to make Tori miserable doesn’t seem so bad. “No,” Tori repeats more evenly, arms crossing on her chest, “you are not going to read it.”
Jade shrugs, turning to peer back into the crack of the door. “Whatever, you still won’t get it back if you don’t do this for me.”
The journal is right there and Tori eyes the thing slid inside Jade’s pocket. She just has to reach a little bit and she’d have it but then Jade turns facing her again saying, “Beck and I broke up.” Oh.
Somehow this seems much more serious than the million ones before, more than how Jade makes it sound but Tori knows by now not to make a fuss about it or this won’t end on good terms. Jade would lash out on her—most probably ending with a shredded and burned journal. So Tori raises her eyebrows and goes, “What? No broken kite this time?”
“Let’s not talk about it for a while,” Jade says to her coffee, closing her eyes at the steam still rising from the cup. It makes Tori wonder, perched on kitchen counter beside Jade, how many Jade has drank today. Probably a dozen cups. Maybe more.
"Please don't tell me you have a body hidden inside your trunk." She's humoring Jade. Complying is what Tori often ends up doing around Jade. Does it often enough to make Andre pull her aside and tell her she's spoiling Jade, it ain't pretty and does he have to smack it out of her system?
Tori lets out a quiet laugh but Jade stays silent. Her skin prickles and now Jade is looking at her from the cup.
"Maybe," Jade answers, taking a quiet sip like the coffee isn't scalding at all.
It isn't a pretty joke and for a moment Tori freezes, something caught in her throat. Her eyes open widely, a little more then her eyeballs would pop out and no-one can really blame Jade for laughing hysterically at that face. It's a little bit manic, the way Jade's laughing, almost evil but that's how you know it's genuine. Tori swats her arm. "Not funny, West." She doesn't know what's making her really gullible tonight. Her left eye twitches. The laughing doesn't stop.
When it does end, Jade's wiping imaginary tears. "My boss is a douchebag, Vega, but I had Robbie to get used to that."
And they both laugh hard in a way that they'll both be gasping after.
“Should I be worried though?” Tori asks when all the air needed has been inhaled and Jade's shoulders has stopped shaking.
“No,” Jade says, lips curling into a gentle smile. Tori can be so “Tori” sometimes. It makes Jade want to puke most of the time. She has told Tori that plenty of times. Now, it seems Jade appreciates it.
It’s sunny and yet a bit cold but it doesn’t bother Tori as she watches orange leaves crumble under her feet. They make the crunchiest sound, she decides. She skips, making the leaves fly everywhere.
She's dusting of leaves on her dress when she hears a sniffle somewhere behind the tree. It sounds awfully like a little girl and Tori frowns. Nobody should be sad on such a nice day, everybody should be happy and skipping and eating apples.
The girl sits alone on a park bench, hunched over and whimpering. So Tori climbs there beside the girl, their feet dangling above grass. The crying suddenly stops. “Are you lost?” Tori asks, tilting her head to see the girl’s face. She has pretty hair, Tori thinks.
“No,” the girl answers, wiping her tears with the back of her hand, sniffling. She’s looking down, dark hair curtaining her face. Tori tilts farther but she still can’t see anything so, with small hands, she tucks the hair blocking the girl’s face behind her ear.
“Did your mommy leave you here?” Tori smiles—her mommy told her to always smile so sad people would smile too and also help people if she can.
“No,” the girl scoots away, eyes flickering to Tori—they’re green and Tori thinks they’re pretty too—maybe prettier.
“Do you want to play?” Tori tries again, shuffling closer, knees on cool wood.
“No,” the girl says again looking directly at her.
“You say no too much,” Tori pouts, “Can you say anything else?”
“You ask too much,” the girl crosses her arms but a wide smile spreads across Tori’s face and hops down the bench.
“I like the blue in your hair,” Tori pulls the girl’s hand and she hops down too, dress slightly fluttering in the soft wind.
“Really?” the girl’s face suddenly lights up and Tori’s smile spreads wider. She doing a good job, she thinks. “My daddy tells me I look like a hoolib…hoolibbum,” the girl says, fiddling with the blue lock of hair.
“I think it’s supposed to be something bad.”
Tori pouts again, suddenly feeling dislike for the girl’s daddy. “Well, I think it’s cute,” she puts her hand on her hips, huffing and the girl giggles. She smiles again.
“Hey, Tori—” her mommy comes, ice-cream cones in hand. “Oh, hi there,” she smiles at the little girl who’s looking up at her, wide-eyed.
“This is um…” Tori looks at the girl beside her, their hands still clasped together, “a friend.”
“Do you like ice-cream? I’ll give you mine.” The girl nods, little hand reaching up.
“Mommy, isn’t her hair pretty?” Tori licks at her ice-cream cone as she looks up at her mother smiling with all pride. She never had a friend this cute and…small.
“It is. I like the blue on your hair,” her mother crouches down their level, a smile still on her lips.
“That’s what I told her!” Tori bounces on her feet, smiling reassuringly at the girl beside her.
“There you are! I was so worried. I thought I lost you!” another woman comes, hurrying beside the girl. The lady is pretty and tall. Maybe Tori’s friend will look like her someday. Tori is giddy somehow.
Tori’s mom and the woman talk and Tori decides not to listen—adult stuff are boring—and just stare at her new friend.
“I guess you’d be leaving already,” Tori says, smile slightly faltering.
Their hands slip apart as the older woman takes the girl’s hand, thanking Tori and Tori’s mom.
“I like your mommy,” the little girl looks back, smiling as the woman took her away. “I like you too!” she waves goodbye.
"Are you gonna tell me why I'm here in the middle of the night now?" Tori knows she is patient, but Jade has a habit of squeezing every bit Tori has until she just snaps—Tori has the creeping feeling that it's what keeps Jade around. And really, who could keep patient with a woman who just hops down and walks away without a glance? Tori still follows Jade to the den though, half pint of ice-cream cradled at the crook of her arm.
"No, I’m still thinking about it." Jade tells her like she's distracting her from something.
"Seriously, why am I here?" Tori asks more to herself, voice is starting to get shrill but she stifles it and picks up pace beside Jade.
"Don’t be a baby—I hate babies," Jade adds and swivels around, plopping down the couch heavily. There's a tiny crease between Tori's eyebrows as she sits beside her. Jade smoothes it away.
Tori sputters then grumbles.
The smell of gasoline thick in the air makes her want to gag and the sticky layer of sweat is making everything worse. Tori doesn't know what's taking the tank to fill up so long. She has to get out of this truck. She hops down from it, sunglasses tucked in her hair like a headband, and walks across the gas station to the convenience store.
Tori's shivering as soon as the door opens—bikini and cut-off jean shorts aren't made for this blizzard temperature. But she isn't complaining. It's better than outside and spilling her guts out in front of her friends. She goes straight for the refrigerators, picking out a Peppy Cola and then a cup of ice-cream. It's too friggin' oven hot out there especially in that crowded truck. She actually believes the ice-cream would melt the instant she steps foot out of the store. Maybe she'll take a pint and a bag of ice as well.
She's still contemplating about the ice when she thinks she catches a glimpse of someone. She cranes her neck, looking around. The store seems empty but then her focus lands on that someone. A grin splits her face into two—well, almost.
"Jade?" Tori jogs up to the girl standing by another fridge and, sure enough, she gets greeted by a familiar smirk and eyes so green.
"My, what a… pleasant surprise!" Jade ducks out the fridge, a can of ice coffee in hand, her "Betty Sue Goldenheart" accent ringing in Tori's ears.
"Oh, what a jovial way to greet a long lost friend," Tori says, holding her heart dramatically, mimicking Jade’s overly fake southern accent. Tori's over that a long time ago even if she was really adamant in saying that she does not sound like that! Does she sound like that? She doesn't sound like that. It's actually a little funny because it isn't true.
Jade arches an eyebrow while Tori chuckles breathily. "Seriously, it’s great to see you and that smirk again. But first things first. Hug me?" Tori stretches out her arms, puppy-dog-pout in place, waiting. Jade doesn’t respond—only looks her up and down. For a moment there Tori feels exposed with Jade's eyes on her like that but she powers through it and tries again, "Oh, come on! You’ve already hugged me dozens of times!" Jade’s face twitches and Tori knows that she has permission for the hug.
“Okay, you’ve hugged me long enough.” Jade sounds exasperated and bored as usual but Tori knows better now. She likes to believe so and Jade isn't pushing back yet so Tori soaks-in the moment until cash register guy clears his throat pointedly at them. Tori jumps away at that, a little disappointed and anxious.
She thinks she sees Jade glare at the guy when she realizes that the fridge beside them is still open. Tori smiles apologetically and shuts it gently. It somehow makes Jade snort before going up the cash register, paying for her drink. Tori trails behind her thinking how surreal it is sometimes how Jade can be graceful and callous at the same time while doing something like shoving her purchase on the counter. Tori can't help shaking her head at that.
"So, spring break, huh." Jade's leaning her back on the counter, completely ignoring the cashier sliding her her change. Tori moves to the side giving the guy another apologetic smile and the cola and ice-cream she's buying.
"Some friends and I are headed to Mexico," Tori says handing ten dollars and gathering Jade's change. Tori gives it to her. Jade snorts again but takes the pennies from Tori.
"I always thought you'd be the type to go home this time of the year. Chicago's pretty far away. Don't you miss mommy?" Jade steps aside giving Tori a too-wide grin and the guy behind the counter another glare, too irritated with his constant grumbling. Tori doesn't blame him. Jade isn't exactly a nice person, at least not stereotypically.
"My parents are actually on a cruise which leaves me choosing between spending time alone with Trina or going on a trip to Mexico, so..."
Jade actually grimaces and Tori can't stop the giggle from bubbling up. "And Chicago's going great for me," Tori adds as an afterthought. Jade has a funny way of showing that she cares. She unconsciously draws her eyebrows down.
"You, are you on your way back to California?" Because they're just three states over. But Tori remembers vividly how much Jade hates her family. Tori never did understand how parents can be like that but she does remember.
She's waiting for Jade's answer when the guy (whose nameplate says "Gus") ups and leaves for what Tori thinks is the staffroom. "Huh." Tori leans over the counter wondering why he suddenly just leaves in the middle of punching-in her stuff.
"Beck’s taking me somewhere."
Tori's head snaps back. She must look stupid with her torso half balancing her on the counter, feet dangling behind her, but she grins. "I wonder how he got you to come without telling you where you guys are going."
Tori was expecting some sort of retort but instead Jade just slaps her own forehead, shaking her head.
Well that's new.
"What’s new?" Jade says, looking up from her hand.
Tori's sure she's doing a great impersonation of a fish. She actually is doing a great job of it. "Did I just say that out loud?" She decides blinking would help stop how much her mouth is flapping. "Oh, never mind that. What I mean is that." Tori nudges Jade's elbow. Tori's actually also great at recovering from moments like this.
Jade looks up at her and Tori just has to add, "That and that smile."
The said smile just widens for a thousandth of a second—something one wouldn't notice if she weren't watching Jade's lips—and Jade just grabs at Tori's arm, pulling her up close enough for it to mean something but far enough for it to mean nothing else but a game named "Make Tori Squirm". Tori would be thinking how funny that she could finally sum up their weird relationship here if she wasn't stuck staring at Jade's eyes. It's like time just dissipated somewhere between Tori leaning forward and watching how those green eyes shift darker. Well, just until a door swings open, snapping Tori back a good foot away. She smiles nervously.
Thirty too-long seconds of scuffing her shoe on the floor since she pulled away pass. By then, the smile Jade's holding slides away and she's drinking from the can she bought. Gus charges Tori 4.50 and the cash register opens with a generic ding then slides close.
"I think your friends outside are starting to get impatient," Jade gestures at the glass windows, watching from above her drink.
Tori looks over her shoulder. How could she not notice the continuous beeping and waving at her from outside? She looks back at Jade. Just like that the awkward moment passes. "Say hi to Beck for me?"
"Well, I’ll see you again?"
“Maybe,” Jade grins and Tori does the same even though at the back of her mind she knows that isn't the case.
"It’s really nice seeing you again," Tori says, now halfway through the door.
"Same here," Jade pushes her, waving a lazy goodbye.
The truck drives off with Tori.
"Why isn't Cat here?" There's supposed to be an "instead" somewhere in that sentence but Tori, contrary to how she approaches their friendship, doesn't like being hurt. She knows she isn't Jade's bestfriend but she doesn't like it being slapped into her face by her own self of all people or anyone at all.
The ice-cream is still tucked in her arm. It's cold but she doesn't put it down.
There are chrysanthemums covering the coffee table. Funeral flowers, fitting along with the actual decorations in Jade's den—skulls, weird lumpy things in jars, pinned insects in glass cases—her favorite and she's snipping at them. Tori tilts her head, her hands are freezing, absently clutching at the half empty ice-cream. She watches Jade.
For a long time, Jade doesn't talk, just sits there snipping with her oldest scissors.
A sigh and, "Pregnant people need their sleep—wait, does that mean I have to like babies, and kids, and being an aunt?" Now, Jade’s shredding petals, working with the scissors with almost inhuman speed.
It actually makes Tori laugh like tonight hasn't been full of heavy silence. Who’s the baby now?
"Aunt Jadey… has a nice ring to it." She’s staring-off into space, mouth clamped on the spoon though the pint stays lidded. She's actually imagining it—Jade stern-faced and protective, being parent-like and her regularly scary self.
"Shut up," Jade picks up another flower, snapping it off from its stem.
"Jade, come on, you're drunk."
Jade's swatting at Tori who's trying to keep her steady. "No, I am not," she slurs, legs twisting. They almost trip.
"I can smell it in your breath."
"No, it only means I drank. I can take care of myself." How Jade's still stringing coherent sentences, Tori doesn't know. All she knows is that it sucks to be sober right now. God, why does it have to be Tori hauling Jade across the parking lot? Oh, right, Andre made her do it because one, Beck isn’t around, two, Cat can’t carry Jade, three, Robbie’s already passed out, four, Andre can’t be seen walking around with a drunk girl, and a whole lot more reasons that Tori didn’t catch through the blaring speakers.
"Okay, so help me out here." Tori heaves the arm slipping off her shoulder.
Jade gives her this lop-sided smirk then shifts, almost curling around Tori. "See, 'm not drunk."
"Yeah." Tori laughs and takes a tentative step.
"Are you—do that again and Imma…your face!" Jade tries to stand on her own but stumbles back to Tori who gets the air knocked right out of her.
"You're still as stubborn drunk as you are sober, you know that?" Tori huffs, bracing around Jade again, half-dragging her on the blacktop.
"I told you I'm not drunk!" Jade squirms again but ends up with her face in the crook of Tori's neck. No big deal. It's just hot breath skimming over Tori's skin. Nothing to be flustered about except she already is.
"Okay, you’re not drunk so will you please stop moving around so much."
"'kay," Jade says, her voice slightly higher than usual.
"Good girl," Tori pats Jade’s head and thankfully is now only holding back from exploding into a fit of laughter. She's starting to like this drunk Jade even though this can be called as some form of torture. “We’re almost there."
"Mmhm." Jade nods then nuzzles further into Tori's hair. "You smell nice."
It takes all of Tori's will power not to stumble forward and face plant. Jade's drunk and that's all this is.
"Hey, where’s Beck?" Apparently, Jade's chatty when smashed off her face.
"He went on a tour with his band, remember?" Miraculously, Tori's footing is back and so is her natural body temperature.
"Oh, right, he has a band," Jade claps once, her back now resting on a car window, head lolled up towards the sky.
Tori watches her for a moment. It doesn't happen very often that she sees Jade carefree like this even if it's alcohol induced. She smiles and feels for her keys in her purse. When she looks back up, Jade's suddenly in her space. "Wha—," Tori starts but then feels Jade's finger stop her lips.
"Shhh." Jade leans closer with eyes looking sober. "Can you stop talking? I can't stop looking at your lips."
Tori laughs nervously. Jade really looks sober and the only thing giving her away is the strong scent of rum and coke in her breath. Tori has to remind herself that it's the alcohol talking in front of her. Maybe she doesn't like this drunk Jade after all.
"Jade, get in the car."
"No." That again. "This is your fault. You just had to tell me you like me and now I can’t stop looking at your lips," Jade pouts, the cold summer air whipping at her hair.
"Seriously, that was a year ago!" Tori, suddenly pissed, pushes Jade aside and slinks away. Jade's limp by the hood of the car and Tori sighs, pinching the bridge of her nose.
“What am I doing? You’re wasted." Tori gives herself a few seconds of breath before she opens her eyes again. "Come on.” She carefully picks Jade up, and gets her on the back seat. She thinks she hears Jade say something about being wasted before Jade dozes off, face on fake leather.
"Stupid Jade," Tori murmurs before starting the car. She checks for Jade for the last time before backing up. She may not like drunk Jade but that doesn't mean she's a little bit adorable like this.
Tori's half asleep, lulled by the steady sound of scissors and a little high on sugar. The ice-cream pint is empty and she's ready to sleep. Jade can wait like she has done all night.
Her face is burrowing in one of the couch pillows when Jade nudges her. Tori whines but Jade only nudges her harder. She turns her face to find Jade's eyes so close, so serious. Tori swallows. The hand resting on her arm burns.
"Beck and I are getting married."
"Oh," Tori blinks, then blinks some more, "great," she adds with a toothy smile.
Jade lifts an eyebrow at her.
"Really, that's great." Tori's eyes close, taking a moment of respite from Jade's smoldering gaze. She opens her eyes. "But I don't understand why you have to make me come all the way across town at two am then make me wait for close to three hours all to tell me this."
Jade shifts on her feet, pulling back a little with the corner of her lip caught in her teeth. "I don't know," she breathes, looks down and brushes her hands through her hair. It reminds Tori of Beck. "Maybe I wanted to see how you'll… react." Tori starts but Jade's eyes are back on her, gaze more intense. "I mean alone."
Before Tori can say anything, Jade is on her feet, far from Tori’s grasp, leaving a trail of petals fallen from her lap.
A second passes and some more.
Tori snorts, lifting herself up to stand in front of Jade. Her arms open wide, smile engraving itself on her face and says, "Oh, Jade darling, tell me everything!" with the fakest southern accent she can muster while offering her hand.
Jade takes it and her hand doesn't burn as much as it used to.
"Thank you," Jade says and it may be the first time Tori ever heard her say that without a second's hesitance, "really." And then Jade hugs her, startling her for a second but she hugs back, burying her face into Jade's hair, blue streaks touching face.
It’s time to let herself be unstuck.