Jade sat anxiously awaiting for Tori to arrive. Why was she nervous? She had no reason to be. But still the jitters were getting to her.
Tori waved as she entered the restaurant, “You came!” She was beaming from ear to ear.
The two girls embraced, “I did!” Jade responded as they pulled apart.
“Let’s eat! I’m starving.”
The two sat in comfortable silence as they ate quickly. Tori seemed nervous leaving Jade worried about what her true intentions were.
“I’m sorry, again. I feel bad.” Tori apologized with a heavy heart.
“Seriously, Vega, it’s fine. I hold no grudges.” Jade reached across the table to gently pat Tori’s hand.
“Wow, becoming a mom has made you soft.” Tori joked with a glint in her eyes.
“How’s that going? Being a mom?”
Jade drew in a big breath, “Best surprise I've ever gotten. It's not all cupcakes and lollipops, but that’s what makes it worth it. I love that little girl.”
“Aww, that’s nice. Hope I get to meet her.” Tori and Jade exchanged smiles.
“So, why did you want to meet, Vega?” Jade asked before taking a sip of her drink.
Tori paused and smoothed out her napkin, “Well, I need to ask a huge favor... but please don’t feel obligated!”
Jade cocked an eyebrow, “Okay, shoot.”
With a shaky breath, “I need to get married.”
Jade, feeling very confused, sat up straight in her chair. “Okay, why?”
Clearing her throat, “Because I’m not a citizen. We’re from Canada. My visa is getting ready to expire and I’ve been told I cannot renew it again.”
Jade went wide eyed, “Ouch. Why are you telling me this?”
Quiet fell over them for a moment as Tori prepared herself, “Well, I was hoping you’d marry me...”
Blinking rapidly, “Whoa there, Vega. I have a Parker to think about.”
“We’d just have to be married long enough for me to get my green card! That’s it. I promise we’d get divorced or an annulment as soon as I was legal.” Tori explained as she played with her drink glass.
“Why now? Why me?”
“Slack Records wants to sign me and I trust you to be discreet.”
Jade sighed heavily, “I have Parker to think about, Tori.” She spoke of the five-year-old daughter she shared with Beck.
Tori nodded, “Slack is giving me a substantial advance for my first album. I’ll give you half. Use it for Parker.”
Jade shook her head then, “This is crazy. Why not ask one of the guys?”
“Andre already said no and I have a feeling so would Beck.” Tori spoke gloomily.
“So, you ask me?” Jade bit her bottom lip.
“I trust you and that’s what matters most.”
“Tori Vega trusting me. What has the world come to?”
Tori lit up, “Like I said, don’t feel obligated.”
Jade folded her hands, “I’ll have to think about it. Is that cool?”
“Yes! Absolutely!” Tori was bursting.
“Don’t take this as me agreeing,” Jade huffed.
“Definitely not. I’m just relieved that you’re considering it. Didn’t think I’d even get that far.”
“Well, I’m apparently full of surprises.”
“Uh-oh,” Beck sighed as he approached Jade.
“What, daddy?” Parker asked as she gripped his hand.
“Something bad must have happened because mommy is smoking again,” he replied.
“Ew!” Parker scrunched up her nose.
“Yeah, ew is right,” he responded just as Jade spotted them.
“Hey Parks!” She happily greeted her daughter before stamping out her cigarette.
Parker ran up to her mother and engulfed her into a hug.
“I thought you’d quit,” Beck asked in a stern voice.
Jade gave him a look, “Mommy needs to talk to daddy, Parks. Why don’t you go play for a bit?” She got down on her daughter’s level.
“Okay!” The brunette headed little girl happy skipped off to the play structure a few feet away.
“Tori asked me to marry her.” Jade sighed once Parker was out of earshot.
Beck turned to her with wide eyes, “I didn’t know you two were dating.” He joked.
“Did you know she was an illegal alien? Her visa is expiring and she cannot renew it. So, it’s marriage or deportation.” Jade explained as Parker climbed to the top of the slide.
“I did know they were from Canada, but I didn’t know they weren’t citizens.” He replied as Parker giggled her way down the slide.
“There’s more,” Jade sighed. “A big record label wants to sign her. Tori said she’ll give me half the advance from her first album if I agree.”
Beck smiled at Parker as she waved at them, “Wow, how long would you have to be married before she gets her green card?”
“I don’t know, but awhile at least.” Jade shrugged.
“What would happen after that? Would you two divorce?”
“That or an annulment.”
Beck turned to face her then, “Are you thinking about doing it?”
“Parker does need a college fund...” Jade tilted her head to the side with a slight grin.
“I’ll support you with whatever you decide.”
Jade let out a heavy sigh, “Is it weird that I’m seriously considering it?”
“Nah, you care about Tori and our daughter. I just look at it as a mutually beneficial thing.”
“Ugh, don’t say I care for Vega, please.”
“But you do. Or you wouldn’t even be considering this.”
“I guess you have a point.”
“Look at it this way,” Beck paused to lick his lips. “You’d be helping a friend and doing something for our daughter. It’s a win-win.”
“Also, it’s not like Tori is being shady or withholding something. She’s laying all her cards out for you.”
“I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t do it, honestly.”
“And it’d only be temporary.”
“Guess this would be a funny story to tell the grandkids.”
“Hilarious. Grandma married one of her friends from high school so she wouldn’t get deported! We’d be retelling it at Christmas dinner every year.”
Jade grew quiet. Watching Parker play and giggle. She’d do anything for that little girl.
“Fine. I’ll do it. But there’ll be rules and contracts. I’ll have my dad draw them up. I don’t want anything left to chance.”
Beck smiled at her then, “You’re a good friend, Jade.”