Disclaimer: I own nothing except the idea for this story. The song that I used in the very beginning of this belongs to the amazing Veronicas!

AN: So this is a different sort of story for me as in, well, it’s not Smitchie. In fact it’s actually a Tess-centric piece that just kind of came to me. As in, it was another one of those ideas that just wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it down. So I did and here we are 3 hours and 7 pages later. But I’m warning you now this is angsty. Hope you enjoy!

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I'm heavily broken
And I don't know what to do
Can't you see that I'm choking?
And I can't even move
When there's nothing left to say
What can you do?
I'm heavily broken
And there's nothing I can do

~Heavily Broken, The Veronica’s

Tess Tyler was beautiful. For as long as she could remember that’s what people had told her; she was beautiful, talented, and just amazing in every way. Her entire life, everyone had always complimented her outside appearance, and for a very long time, Tess had believed that the words were true. She believed what the nannies, her mother’s people and groupies told her because that was what she was surrounded by. Really, Tess was putting on a front, acted her part because she had to, because no one would care if there was anything else going on. After all, what beautiful girl could be anything but happy? What beautiful, talented girl could want anything more than all the material things she had? Surely, Tess was one of those happy-go-lucky rich girls with a talented mommy who loved and cared about her.

But in reality, she wasn’t. In reality, no one knew went through on the inside of this beautiful girl. No one knew exactly how breakable she really was, and even she hadn’t known until very recently. No one knew how alone she was, no one; they couldn’t know, and it couldn’t happen because then they’d know the truth about her sorry life. Yes, she had every material thing a girl could want: the finest clothes, the latest designer handbag. What Tess didn’t have was a family. She didn’t have love, and she didn’t have anything except her material possessions and the belief that she was beautiful, talented, and amazing all around.

Yes, she had a mother, but what good was a mother who was never around? A mother who was constantly on tour or out clubbing with her way too young boyfriends wasn’t a mother. And when T.J. Tyler was around her daughter, she was never there mentally or emotionally so Tess Tyler didn’t have a mother who cared. She didn’t even know who her father was because her mother couldn’t remember who she’d slept with in the week she’d gotten pregnant with Tess. From the moment of Tess’ birth, she’d been a mistake, an accident, a dent in T.J. Tyler’s all too perfect life and Tess knew it. Her mother would never say anything like it but she knew because of the way her mother didn’t talk to her and forgot about her, but she didn’t say anything. She just kept on believing that she was beautiful and pretended that her mother cared, that she just worked to provide them both with the life they wanted. It was easier that way.

Tess’ life had been spent in the company of nannies, a whole slew of them to be exact because many of them hadn’t lasted all that long. From a very early age, Tess had decided that she hadn’t wanted them; she’d wanted her mother instead, but her mother was never there so she had to settle for nanny after nanny. They’d all called her beautiful, letting her slip further into her belief, but still, she’d hated those nannies and T.J., in an effort to pacify her daughter, gave her free run of the house when she wasn’t there. Tess demanded and got everything she ever wanted physically, had the very best that money could buy, but she still hadn’t had anyone there with her emotionally. She distanced herself from the staff that tried to befriend her, and threw all sorts of tantrums to keep the nannies and then the tutors away.

All of it was done so she could be just like her mother because when she was seven, Tess realized something: her mother only liked people like herself. Tess strived to be like her mother: cold, distant, demanding, but most importantly, she strove to be perfect. That was something else she noticed about her mother; T.J. Tyler liked perfection. No, she demanded it. She got happy when things were perfect, and Tess being the good daughter that she was, strove to be just that. She made sure that she always looked perfect, was always showing that she was the daughter of a Pop Superstar, but still nothing happened with her mother.

Tess continued to try. After all, at seven what else was she supposed to do? And slowly, very slowly, Tess started to really turn into what her mother was. She pushed her emotions down, learned that crying was a weakness and really and truly refused to do it anywhere, but most importantly, she really and truly listened to what everyone said about her. They said she was beautiful and talented just like her mother and instead of being humble about it all; Tess let herself really and truly believe it. On some level, deep inside her heart, she’d known that this belief was wrong, but she’d pushed that feeling away. She didn’t like doubts; they made her seem weak and weakness signaled imperfection that she didn’t want to have. She couldn’t have imperfection if she ever wanted someone to see her, to love her because at this point, she was convinced that perfection was needed if she was going to get some sort of affection. Tess had trained herself not to think, only to believe in the good things others called her. It was easier to believe that she was beautiful and amazing and loved by all instead of succumbing to the reality she was really in, the emotions she had deep in her heart.

Slowly, very slowly, Tess Tyler morphed herself into someone else, and by the time she was fourteen, Tess Tyler was a monster. She let herself fit the mold of any Hollywood starlet; rich, snobby, and a party goer. She strove for perfection in her appearance and attitude, made fake friends and then stabbed them in the back. She lived the life that her mother led, became her mother in almost every way, but still T.J. hadn’t noticed a single thing. So Tess tried harder, played harder, did everything she could and still nothing happened. She only fell further and further into the image she was supposed to have. She played happy, let herself believe she was, but in reality, she was slipping further into a charade that was bound to be destructive at some point. She kept doing it because she had to, she needed to, and when she was fifteen, she stopped letting herself pray for T.J.’s affections. By that point, all she wanted was someone, anyone to show her love, but still no one seemed to want to. They all just kept telling her that she was beautiful and amazing. Never that they loved her or wanted to help her. They never called her anything but beautiful and amazing. Never perfect and never loved, just beautiful and amazing. She continued to believe them because feeling was too hard.

When she was fifteen, her mother had sent her to Camp Rock. She said it was because she wanted Tess to be around others like her, but that was all a lie. Tess had known it was because her mother didn’t want her going on tour with her in the summer, and she didn’t want a reminder that she had responsibilities, but for once Tess hadn’t minded. Though she’d never tell anyone this because it could possibly get back to her mother, Tess Tyler loved music. She really did love listening to it, singing, and just being around it. Oddly enough, it soothed her in ways that she couldn’t describe, made her numb when she needed to be and she had been excited by the prospect of being at a Camp for music all summer.

So she went willingly and the press had loved it. After all, she was the daughter of a Pop Legend, why shouldn’t she want to be her mother? At least, that’s what all the magazines had said and Tess’ mother had eaten up all the press. She’d played the part of a concerned mother well, and Tess played along. She played along not because her mother had asked her to, but because she liked to pretend that for just a few minutes, her mother was showering her with affection because she wanted to.

The very second her mother had said goodbye, Tess went back to what she knew best: being beautiful and amazing. She came to Camp Rock with a plan to dominate and oh had she accomplished that in her short summer. In one summer, she’d managed to pick up some lackeys who went by the names of Peggy and Ella, sabotaged someone who dare defy her in the form of Caitlyn Gellar and, in her opinion, managed to outshine everyone at most of the Jams. Once again, they all told her that she was beautiful, amazing, and now talented.

She’d been sure that she’d win that year’s Final Jam, but to her absolute dismay she hadn’t. She’d come in second to some freaking act that consisted of three boys, two guitars, and a lot of hatred towards them on her part. They won what she, beautiful, amazing, and talented Tess Tyler, should have won. They got all the attention and love while she once again was stuck with no kinds of anything. She still had run of the camp but she hadn’t won; she’d been imperfect and that wasn’t acceptable in her eyes and for once, she’d been glad that her mother hadn’t been there for her, to see the disgusting imperfection she’d had to deal with at that moment.

In the end, it had only made Tess more determined to win at Final Jam the next year. She had to be perfect; Peggy and Ella would be perfect. Everything would be perfect and she would win. Maybe then people would take notice of her and give her what she was so desperately seeking. She left Camp Rock, pretended that she cared about people there, and returned to her life beforehand. Her mother came to get her, and once again the media followed, and Tess played along again, but the second they were home, everything was back to normal. Her mother pretended that she didn’t exist and Tess continued to let everyone tell her she was beautiful and amazing because after her horrible loss, she’d needed to believe those words even more than before.

The plus to losing was that Connect 3 was born and Tess decided that she and Shane Gray were absolutely perfect for each other. He’d barely acknowledged her at Camp but Tess would change that, she was after all T.J Tyler’s daughter. She got what she wanted and Tess had wanted Shane Gray, but not before she won Final Jam. She had to redeem herself after that dismal defeat and make herself perfect again. She couldn’t be anything but perfect when going after him, so she plotted and planned and practiced, and people once again began calling her talented in addition to beautiful and amazing. Tess was able to sink further and further into what she thought was true.

The year rolled by swiftly and once again her mother informed her that she’d be going to Camp Rock and again, Tess knew it was because her mother was going off to do something and wanted to be rid of her. She also knew that her mother needed some good press, so Tess played along because she wanted to believe it was for her. The media had of course eaten it up but the second her mother left, she was back to being herself. Peggy and Ella had come to greet her almost immediately, and once again they told her what everyone else did, that she was “beautiful” and “amazing”.

This summer she’d come with a plan and had gotten to work the second she’d finished unpacking her enormous suitcase. She started practicing with Ella and Peggy only stopping when someone ran into the cabin to tell her that Shane Gray, the man she wanted, was here at Camp Rock to teach. She’d smirked at that because really, him being here fit in perfectly with her plan. She’d win Final Jam, be perfect, amazing, and beautiful all over again and then she’d get him. Oh yes, this summer should have been perfect to a T, but it wasn’t because of a stupid girl coming in, shaking up the camp completely.

Mitchie Torres. The very name made Tess shudder because that bitch had come in and literally taken everything from her in the blink of an eye. Mitchie had been new to camp this year, but she’d quickly sought out Tess because of course, everyone wanted to be associated with someone like her, and as was expected, Tess had brushed her off like she should have. After that, she’d mentioned what her ‘mother’ did and Tess had reconsidered. She thought that Mitchie had connections and no one in this camp should have them except for Tess, so she’d accepted that little witch into her group of lackeys because she didn’t want anyone outshining her. She didn’t want anything risking her chances at perfection this year.

Once she’d found out that Mitchie could actually sing, really sing, Tess had been livid. Tess wasn’t willing to risk her chances at anything, so she brought Mitchie down, made her sing back-up with Peggy and Ella to ensure that her act would be perfection. When she took Mitchie and put her with Peggy and Ella, she was beautiful and amazing all over again, running the camp and soon she’d have her title and Shane Gray. One day, she discovered how close Mitchie had become with Shane; she had spotted them out on the lake, looking oh so freaking cozy together and Tess saw red. She was beautiful and amazing, and Mitchie Torres was not. She, Tess Tyler, should have the amazingly hot Pop Star because she wanted him; because she was going to be perfect and he wanted that. Mitchie Torres was not what he wanted, and Tess Tyler set out to sabotage Mitchie in any way she could, and she found a perfect way of doing it eventually.

It seemed Mitchie Torres had lied to the entire camp about what her precious mother’s occupation was, and Tess all too gladly exposed her because she had to be the top in everything. She had to be the beautiful and amazing girl that everyone always called her in every aspect of life and that included where Shane Gray was concerned. That had been one of the best plans of her life. Not only had it brought Mitchie down a peg or two and shown her who was boss, but the entire camp, with the exception of Gellar, now hated her. Tess was on top and the world was right again. She thought that she’d done enough to make sure she got what she wanted this year; perfection, but once again that bitch had done something to jeopardize it all.

Tess discovered that Mitchie was actually that stupid girl with the voice that Shane had been looking for all summer, that her song was the one inside his head. How had she found this out? Eavesdropping of course and it served a great purpose because once again, Tess Tyler saw red. She was supposed to be the girl inside his head, the beautiful and amazing girl that everyone said she was. So she’d had to sabotage and she had, of course, succeeded. Mitchie had been kicked out of Final Jam along with Caitlyn and now life was great. She was going to sing and win Final Jam, as well as Shane. She would be perfect and maybe, just maybe, someone would finally see what she wanted. Maybe, just maybe, she’d finally get that perfection her mother so silently demanded.

Unfortunately, things can’t always work out the way you want them to, they never can. Nothing was perfect anymore, and nothing was beautiful or amazing like she should be. No, Tess Tyler was a disaster and currently sitting alone, in the dark forest curled into a ball on the cold ground. Why, you ask? Because of the very reason that she had screwed up, royally and truly screwed up and everyone had seen it. She’d performed at Final Jam, but her stupid lackeys had bailed on her at the last minute so she’d been forced to make adjustments. She hadn’t minded because it just meant there was all the more she could do to shine and show everyone her beauty and talent.

Her mother, her freaking mother, the one who never came to anything, showed up to Final Jam and was sitting there in the audience and Tess had noticed. She’d been so confused at first. After all, her mother barely acknowledged her presence and then she’d decided to come to Final Jam. For just a moment, Tess had dared to hope that maybe she’d come around and realized that she had a daughter that loved her. She thought that maybe her mother was there to support her and finally talk. The idea alone spurred Tess on, ready and willing to show her mother that what everyone said about her was true, that she was beautiful and amazing and talented. Then her mother had answered her stupid cell phone and started talking into it and Tess had completely lost track of whatever she’d been doing. That distraction had cost her; she’d tripped and almost fallen off the stage because of her mother and her own stupid hopes.

The music stopped and she glanced around at everyone watching her, satisfaction in the eyes of the campers, concern in the eyes of parents watching, but none of that mattered to her. All that did matter was the look of utter disgust her mother shot her, making Tess finally break. She’d run offstage in a fit of emotion and had collapsed into a corner backstage, finally having had enough. She was embarrassed, and completely, utterly imperfect. She was everything her mother hated and there was nothing she could do to change it. Tess Tyler cried for the first time in many years and then she had to sit and listen to Peggy perform, to discover that her lackey, the girl who she could’ve actually been friends with, was actually truly talented. That hadn’t even been the worst part of it all. No, the worst part about the entire evening had been listening to Mitchie sing her heart out on stage and then listening to how perfect it was when Shane joined her.

Tess had listened and even watched some of it, and she was kind of convinced that that was what had really and truly broken her, because for the first time she felt sorry for herself. Anyone could see how perfect Mitchie and Shane were for each other from the way they sang together and Tess hated that. Not them, but the connection they already seemed to have, the connection she’d never had with anyone but so desperately longed for. She hated that and she hated herself for it. She was starting to hate herself for a lot of things, but in that moment, she hated what Mitchie and Shane so obviously had and what she had lost with her stupidity. She’d broken then, and she was starting to see a lot of things about herself and had even managed to congratulate Peggy, Mitchie, and Caitlyn. A shock to herself but she guessed that it was just her conscience finally coming to the surface after years of pushing it down, finally saying ‘hey, you’re an idiot who needs a reality check’, and she didn’t fight it at the time. Hell, she’d even forced herself to be happy during Final Jam because it seemed that Peggy was more than willing to give her a second chance by singing with her, not for her.

After that song, Tess had run. She didn’t like all of these things happening at once, and more importantly, she really and truly didn’t like who she was and who she’d been for years. She’d run to the forest and hadn’t gotten that far into the trees before finally collapsing onto the ground with a sob. She’d curled into a ball and that was exactly where she’d been for the past few hours, crying her eyes out because she was starting to really see herself for what she was. The things people told her about herself, that she was amazing and beautiful, were all lies. Tess Tyler might be beautiful on the outside, but on the inside, she was the ugliest thing in the world. She hated herself for that, for being ugly because she should be beautiful, but she wasn’t. She should be amazing, but she was far from it. No, Tess Tyler was imperfection at its finest. She wasn’t anything important or special, and everyone had just said that because they’d never dared to say anything bad about her.

She knew that she’d really been keeping her emotions bottled up inside. She’d pushed them away because it hurt too much to feel, but tonight she’d let them come out. She let that seven year old girl longing for her mother come out and play and she’d hoped for the best. She’d prayed that her mother would finally notice her and give her some sort of affection and those hopes had been dashed by a damn phone call. Unlike the seven year old girl who learned to push her feelings away, Tess’ had finally come to a boil and there wasn’t anything she could do to escape them, so she’d sobbed and wept and come to the ever so startling realization that her mother would never love her and that her mother only cared when it involved good press or something that could help her career. Tess knew that she would never get any sort of love from anything associated with her mother.

Deep down, Tess had always known that but it was as if her heart and brain were finally meeting as one and telling her that it would never happen. The two organs were also telling Tess something else that she couldn’t be perfect and never would be. That realization more than anything else scared the living hell out of Tess Tyler because for most of her life, she’d believed that perfection equaled love and now it didn’t mean anything at all. It just meant that she was wrong about anything and everything she’d ever held close to her heart. It meant that Tess Tyler was finally and truly broken into a million little pieces. It also meant something else: there was hope that she could change things, hope that she could maybe accept the same things that everyone else seemed to. It certainly wasn’t going to happen today, tomorrow, or even next week, but it could, if she had the right support system. Certainly not her mother, but maybe if she actually had friends, they could help her learn. She knew it was a long shot, but it was worth a try. She had a feeling that if she begged and explained and told Peggy and Ella her story, they would forgive her. She had a feeling that she could even talk to Mitchie and Caitlyn and it could be okay. Well, not okay just yet, but better.

Yes, Tess Tyler might be broken into a million little pieces, but that meant she could try and put them back together. Maybe with a lot of time, she could be beautiful on the inside again, and not whole, but beautifully broken.

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So there we go! I actually had a lot of fun writing this and I’m thinking about maybe doing a series of character centric one-shots. Would you guys be interested in reading that? Vote on the poll in my profile as to which character I should go for next!

Feedback is greatly and wonderfully appreciated. Thanks for reading!