I do not want to be a “bad girl”. I will never smoke, or drink in excess or before I am of age, or do drugs. I will not give away my virginity before I am married. But there is one thing I will do. I will challenge the assumption that innocent is synonymous with naïve. I will challenge anyone who thinks that I cannot be kind and fierce at the same time.
a shockingly inspiring thing I churned out in English class
Innocence is not doing. Not running off to New York. Not drinking whiskey till 4 AM. Not fucking that boy or girl because they make your heart scream electric, then waking up unpunished the next day. Not hacking a system rigged against you. Innocence is a relic of a time when women had the same legal status as children. Innocence is beneficial to your owner. It benefits you not at all.
When I was a young girl, I expected
to be courted with flowers and chocolates
and gifts so unique they could only have been made
I thought I would be proud to introduce him
to my parents because I knew he would
try harder to make them like him
than he ever did with me.
I didn’t realize that he would not only
arrive late but never speak to me again
after I gave him what he looked for.
I didn’t realize the times would change
so much that I would be looking at his pictures
to figure out who he was before he
scrounged up the words to ask me on a date.
How could I have known that
I would make love to him
over the phone before I ever held his hand.
That I would stand next to my phone and
answer it in hushed tones because not only
was I embarrassed to be his but because
I didn’t want to have to tell my parents that their
precious daughter didn’t think
she had enough worth to be with someone real.
I made fake love to a stranger by myself
before my lips ever got the chance to feel
how they felt on someone else.
I broke myself before
I was even given the chance to be broken
But I pretended that the love I thought I felt
Wasn’t real because
what fifteen-year old girl knew what love was
When I was a younger girl
I thought I would find someone real to make love
with me before they ever made it
I thought that no broken keyboard would
throw me away from the things I
thought I wanted
I didn’t think that when I actually lost my innocence
I would be so far beyond myself that I
would forget everything that happened.
I didn’t think that I would let people
take advantage of me like a drunken doll
too broken to sit up straight
and without enough life to mumble “no.”
When I was a little girl
I thought I would find a boyfriend to love me
To bruise my heart and leave me waiting for the one
who would care for me
When I was a little girl
I thought love was real
When I was an older girl
I thought I knew
love was real
Now I realize that love isn’t enough of a reality
to be a string thick enough to
keep the holes in my soul
from falling apart.
When I was a little girl
I was wrong.
But the hearts of small children are delicate organs. A cruel beginning in this world can twist them into curious shapes. The heart of a hurt child can shrink so that forever afterward it is hard and pitted as the seed of a peach. Or again, the heart of such a child may fester and swell until it is a misery to carry within the body, easily chafed and hurt by the most ordinary things.
Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories
(a/n): This chapter includes a panic attack. Please do not read if that may trigger you
7 months, 14 days.
That’s how long it’s been since she left. Since then, I’ve been empty. I continued to do performances, my career is still going strong, but my heart is weaker than it’s ever been before.
I tried searching for her, asking everyone if they’d seen her. Fuck, I even tweeted about her in case somebody had any idea of where she was. I’m not even angry, which is strange. I just want to know that she’s okay, that she made it safely to wherever she was trying to run away to.
Sam and Perri left soon after Jade went. Sam texted me a few days later saying that Jade is okay according to her mam, but he hasn’t seen her since she left. I break down occassionally. I’m usually very good at keeping up a strong image, but nothing could have prepared me for the heartbreak that was to be caused by all of this.
Ironically, I’ve actually came to like Sam. He texts me with updates on how Jade is doing, though he continues to claim that he hasn’t spoken to her. Jade’s mam tells him, so I assumed she was at home. I tried visiting (turns out that background check came in handy) but all I got was a cup of tea and a “Sorry, Jade doesn’t live here anymore” from Norma.
My show just ended, by the way. It went well, it was the last one of my UK tour. You’d think that touring the entire UK would be a fool-proof way to find out where Jade went, but still no.
I’m in London, the complete opposite end to the country of where Jade lives. Or at least where she used to live. I mean, she could be in a different country by now and I wouldn’t know about it.
“Perrie!” my thoughts are broken by a shout from Jesy, my assistant.
“Jesy!” I grin. “How’ve you been?” I hug her.
“Pretty good, you?” she smiles, pulling back from the embrace.
“Well..alright I guess” I shrug.
“What’s happened?” she asks sympathetically.
So, I told her. From the moment she left (turns out she was pregnant!), till when I met Jade, till the last time I saw her.
“Oh Perrie..” Jesy says sadly, wiping away the tears from my cheeks.
“I know, and I can’t even fucking find her. She just left” I say monotone.
“Keep that head up, eh? How about we go out tonight and forget everything? Me, you, Leigh and her boyfriend?” Jesy says hopefully.
I was about to deny her offer, when I thought about it in better detail. I could use the night out, I just need to get drunk like I used to. To get high, and forget about her. Even if it’s only for one night, it’s one night where I might not cry myself to sleep.
I nod eagerly “Sure” I agree.
“Wooo!” Leigh screams as we walk into G-A-Y.
We thought it would be a good place to go, being the most popular gay night club in London.
The first half an hour is spent just sitting down and talking, catching up with Jesy. Eventually, we decided to make things a bit more interesting.
“Hey Pez, go get me a drink babe” Leigh says, handing me some money.
I ask if anybody else wants anything, and they all agree, so I decided to just get a round of shots.
Wandering up to the bar, manouvering through the dancing crowd, I eventually make it safely to the bar. I wait as the bartender makes drinks for other people. It’s Saturday night, so it’s packed.
“We need more staff at the bar, send J and Em” I hear the bartender shout into a walkie talkie attached to his shoulder.
“Oh my god! You’re Perrie Edwards!” I hear a voice shout from next to me.
Sighing, I turn around and force a smirk.
“Yeah” I say casually.
“I was at your concert tonight, it was great by the way!” the girl continues.
“Thanks, what’s your name then?” I ask.
“Oh I’m Emily, but most people just call me Em. I work here” she explains.
I nod in approval before speaking again.
“Well, fancy making me a drink then?” I ask cheekily.
“I’d love to! However, I’m only allowed to serve them, not make them so I’ll go get the other girl. Okay?” Emily rambles.
“Sure, thanks” I say, watching as the girl rushes off to find the other bartender.
I wait another 5 minutes before I can hear Emily’s voice again.
“I swear she’s so hot, just please don’t become a nervous mess like I did!”
I spin around, seeing Emily drag another girl towards me. I stifle a laugh.
The other girl’s face is covered by a mop of caramel hair, oh.. how that brings back memories for me.
Just as the girl lifts her head up, I feel a cold liquid splash on the front of my dress.
Gasping, I look down to see a clear wet patch soaking through the black material.
“What the fuck!” I scream at the drunk boy stood in front of me.
“Sorry Miss, I didn’t mean to” he slurs.
“You’re so fucking lucky that this dress is black, and that your drink wasn’t coloured!” I shout, before he makes a quick retreat.
I sigh out in frustration, turning back around to see the new bartender. Her back is faced to me, all I can see is a beautiful mane of caramel-brown hair. Her body is petite, she looks to be just over five feet.
“Excuse me, can I have a drink then?” I snap.
Immediately, the girl spins around and stands in shock.
My heart pounds, everything is in slow motion. Those brown eyes, that cute button nose, the cheekbones, the lightly tinted blush on her cheeks, those full lips. Jade.
“Jade..” I trail off.
She stands staring for a second, before snapping herself out of it and standing up straight.
“Yes, of course. What would you like?” she mumbles.
I blink back in surprise at her ignorance. I expected some sort of reaction from her.. not this.
“A conversation with you” I reply.
She glances up from the glass she is holding in her hand, and briefly meets my eyes.
“That’s not on the drinks menu, here, have a look” she says, handing me a menu.
I slam the menu down onto the bar seperating the two of us.
“No! You talk to me right now!” I demand.
“I don’t think we have anything to discuss” she replies bluntly.
“Jade, don’t do this. I don’t know what I did, I didn’t want you to get hurt. I didn’t want you to leave me. I know I was a possessive asshole but I loved you so much, I still fucking love you! You kissed me and left me, you never even gave me the chance to be your girlfriend!” I cry, and I can feel a tear escape my eye.
“Don’t do this here, please Perrie. Can we go somewhere more private?” Jade asks, glancing nervously at the people staring at her.
“Why? I’m not afraid to tell them that I love you, is that what you want? Do you want me to tell everybody that I actually have feelings because of you! Jade..”
I stop talking as I notice her eyes getting blurry and her cheeks going red. Music is playing loudly throughout the club, but I can hear her desperate panting.
“I can’t, Perrie. Perrie!” she screams as she begins to have a panic attack.
I run round the bar, rushing to go help her.
“Jade!” I shout as I reach her, taking her shaking hands into my own.
“I’m gonna die! I can’t breathe, Perrie!” she screams as tears stream down her face rapidly.
“Shh, you’re fine. You’re not going to die, baby shh. I’m not going anywhere, I’m right here don’t worry” I soothe, rubbing her back comfortingly.
“They’re all staring at me!” she shouts, breathing unevenly.
I look up and see a crowd of people watching us both.
“Fuck off! Turn the fuck around, dickheads!” I shout at them all, causing everyone to quickly get away from us both.
“They’re all gone now Jade, it’s just me. Shh..” I say calmingly, watching as she gradually calms down.
When I think she’s breathing well enough, I pull her into my arms for a hug.
“Don’t go” she whispers desperately.
“I’m not going anywhere, I know how much that hurts” I say, my voice cracking.
“I’m sorry. I just had to get away” she says, wrapping her arms around my neck tightly.
“I know baby, I know” I say, kissing her forehead gently.
I feel her weight fall against me, and I look down. She’s fainted.
“Shit!” I mutter.
“Uh, Emily?” I call the other girl back over.
“Is she okay?” she asks quickly.
“Yeah, yeah. She’s fainted, I’m gonna take her back to my apartment alright. Let her boss know where she is, here’s my address incase he needs it. But don’t give it to anyone, or I’ll sue you” I say, with a hint of threat laced in my tone.
I pick her up gently, bridal style. I wander towards our table, seeing all the shocked looks on their faces.
“I asked for a drink Perrie, not a girl” Leigh laughs.
“Is that Jade?” Jordan asks.
“Yeah, long story short, she fainted and she’s coming back to mine. You guys coming?” I ask.
“Yeah, let’s go” Jesy agrees.
As we walk out to the taxi, Jesy bumps shoulders with me.
“She’s beautiful you know?” Jesy says kindly.
“I know, she doesn’t though” I say, looking down at the peaceful girl in my arms.
“Well, that’s your job” she says simply as we sit down in the taxi.
“Huh?” I ask, confused.
“Let her love herself, before you let her love you”