|At Least It Was Here
Author: nyclove3 PM
Post Season 3 finale. What happens when Jeff and Annie meet unexpectedly while on vacation in Europe? Nothing. Right? *three chapters rated M*Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Romance - Annie E. & Jeff W. - Chapters: 10 - Words: 52,575 - Reviews: 135 - Favs: 84 - Follows: 132 - Updated: 01-27-13 - Published: 06-08-12 - id: 8198108
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Me no own Community. Me stupid.
A/N: Title is Community's theme song but you guys knew that already. Duh doy! This is loosely based on a prompt by claymay83: 'Over the summer, Jeff goes on vacation in Europe, runs into Annie and they have a passionate European fling.' It kind of became this...I don't even know guys. A couple of chapters will be M rated but I'll let you know when that happens. Also, when I mention Twitter handles there should be an 'at' symbol but it's not showing up on ff dot net! Anyway, I hope you like it. :)
Annie marches out of her bedroom clutching a purple notebook and pen; a spring in her step as she wanders over to Troy and Abed watching re-runs of Saved by the Bell. Perching on the arm of Abed's recliner, she steals some popcorn from the bowl settled on the foot-rest but soon scrunches her face in disgust, her tongue wriggling sourly.
"That's not sweet."
Annie dusts her hands of salt grains, "Uh, yeah, I got that, Abed. Thanks."
"You're welcome," Abed stares unblinkingly at the TV, holding out his hand. "Have you got that list?"
She sighs, handing him the notebook, "I don't know why you want to read it. I'm quite capable of planning my own trip."
"You do have exceptional organizational skills and you're incredibly anal about writing lists and making plans."
"Anal." Troy chuckles around a mouthful of popcorn, "Butts."
"But," Abed continues, finger ceiling-bound, "You're lacking experience."
"Abed, you've never even left the state."
"I watch movies. They tell me everything I need to know."
"Oh Abed," Annie frowns, patting his shoulder softly. "That's kind of sad."
"Not really," he shrugs, eyes never straying from the screen. She can't blame him really; Zack and Kelly were getting married.
"You know, you guys could still come with me." Her fingers dance lightly as she sings, "It'll be fuuuuuuun."
"Thanks Annie, but I have plans this week, you know, doing stuff…" Troy fingers the neck of his t-shirt nervously, "with Britta."
She grins wide and raises shoulder to cheek playfully, "Oooh. Plans, huh?"
He rolls his eyes, "Yes. Plans."
Annie nudges Abed with her elbow. "What about you?"
"I don't have plans with Britta."
"No, I didn't mean…" she sighs, "I'm asking if you'd like to come away, silly."
"No. Europe is at least seven hours ahead of us and that just doesn't make sense to me. I'm not comforted by the thought of going ahead in time, at least not without some sort of flux capacitor or D.A.R.S.I.T."
There's a heavy pause as Annie and Troy glance at each other but both decide to just let it go.
This happens a lot.
"O-kay, well, it doesn't matter. I know I'm going to have a great time, even on my own." She claps and wriggles excitedly, "I've got so much planned."
"Yes, I can see that," Abed peers down at her notebook, finger jabbing a line of swirly handwriting. "Why is this number one? Is this why you're going?"
Annie flushes lightly and shrugs as flippantly as possible. "I've not listed things on a scale of importance, Abed. It's just random things I'd like to do. So I want to have a summer romance with a sexy European man. Who doesn't?"
"Uh," Troy scoffs. "I don't."
"But this is not how these things work," Abed says, tone serious. "You're going to find yourself. That will never happen if you let soapy relationshipy romance stuff get in the way."
"Find yourself?" Troy glances away from the TV, brow pinched. "Are you lost?"
"It's just an expression, Troy. Last-minute trips abroad are usually an epic voyage of self-discovery. Think Eat Pray Love."
"Oh," he smiles warmly, reaching for another handful of popcorn. "I loved that movie."
"Hang on a minute," Annie starts, "in Eat Pray Love she went away to find herself and fell in love." Her roommates look at her with raised eyebrows and her hand rolls the air flippantly, "What? It's right there in the title."
"Hmm. So you want to find yourself and fall in love?"
"No, Abed!" Annie makes a noise of frustration in the back of her throat as she eyes the ceiling. "That's not why I'm going at all! I'm just saying that if ever there's a time to have a wild uninhibited fling, I'd like it to happen when I'm on vacation. A girl can dream can't she? I mean, do you have any idea how long it's been since I've been on a date?"
"As far as I'm aware, two years and three months, give or take a few days."
Annie's lips pinch tight as she snaps her arms underneath her bust.
"You're doing that thing with your lips again," Abed's eyes narrow searchingly. "Are you upset? Did I say something wrong?"
She sighs, "Women don't like to be told how long it's been since they've been out with a guy, Abed."
"But you asked me."
"It was rhetorical."
"I don't understand."
Annie waves her hands in frustration, "Ugh, never mind. It doesn't matter. The point is, it's been a while since I've been, you know, romanced or been made to feel special or desired or anything by a man and -"
"What about Jeff?"
Annie's mouth parts soundlessly. She was not expecting that…damn him. She frowns unseeingly at the wall before realizing that she's not said anything, and makes a derisive little shake of her head. "Abed, we've been through this, remember? And please! Jeff Winger's idea of romance is a three-way in a hot-air balloon."
Troy shrugs, "I bet the view was romantic."
She huffs out a laugh, "You men are all the same. It's shocking really."
Troy frowns but then his eyes bug wide in understanding, "Annie! I meant the actual view like hills and trees and stuff, not…" his neck cranes a little as he studies her with fascination, a little dazedly, "Who are you?"
Feeling the heat suffuse her cheeks, Annie shoots her gaze to her hands preening the hem of her denim skirt.
"I wonder what Jeff will think of your plan to have a summer fling?" Abed tilts his head pensively. "It's times like these I wish we still had the Dreamatorium to run through scenarios."
The bite of agitation at his question soon fades when Annie notices Abed scribbling over her perfectly planned list that took her five hours to compile oh my god and she huffs, "He won't think anything because a) there's nothing to think, b) he's not even here and c) he probably wouldn't even care."
Troy's eyes narrow doubtfully, "Oh come on Annie. We've all seen the way he looks at you, even Shirley. She was cursing your googly eyes at dinner last week."
Annie swallows thickly, wanting to kick herself for the little flair of hope dancing giddily in her chest. "Googly eyes? Don't be silly."
Abed looks up from her notebook, pen poised in the air. "No, Troy's right. I'd ask Jeff to confirm but he's gone off grid. I can't get hold of him."
"Yeah, where is he?" Troy asks. "I haven't seen him all week. Do you know?"
Annie frowns, "Why would I know where Jeff is? Your guess is as good as mine."
"But you two are…" his head tilts and his eyebrows lift suggestively, "you know…"
"Uh, I don't know actually. Anyway, I'm done talking about this. I have packing to finish." She snatches her notebook from Abed's outstretched hand, "You better not have ruined this list, mister."
"Ruined? No. Perfected? Yes." Abed clicks the tip of his pen once, twice, three times. "Follow that list and you will have the summer to remember." His eyes widen a little excitedly, "A summer worthy of the movies."
"Three weeks is hardly -" Annie pauses in walking to her bedroom, eyes flitting across Abed's blue-inked scrawl. "Um, Abed…?" He swivels his chair to face her. "This is just a list of everything that happened in National Lampoon's European Vacation."
"But I think the point of that movie was that you're not supposed to do those things. I mean, no one can actually knock over Stonehenge with a car; it's physically impossible."
Abed watches her with an unfathomable unblinking expression, "Oh, well then I can't help you," and rotates his recliner back to face the TV.
Annie shuts her bedroom door and leans against it with a heavy sigh, staring at the neat piles of clothes and shoes lined up on her bed. If ever there was a time to go on vacation, it was now. The question wasn't where Annie should go but when and why couldn't she have left yesterday?
Jeff sits at a small table in Starbucks, sipping on his coffee and staring absentmindedly at his phone. Surrounded by a sea of strangers, there's the occasional accent that has him checking over his shoulder for Ian Duncan, and it's this and the British pound notes in his wallet that serves to remind him just where he is and what led him here.
Another endless line of mistakes.
Deciding to find his father had been his first error. Why did he want to find that asshole anyway? He abandoned him for a reason, right? And it's not as if he needs to know that reason – therapy is taxing enough as it is.
Following a random lead all the way to London – England for fucks sake – had probably been his second mistake. As if his con-artist waste-of-space father would ever make the effort to come all this way. It's just… his mom mentioned something, fleetingly, and then the web search said… ugh…
He does not want to keep thinking about this. He needs his friends around him; he needs to not be alone right now. The sooner he heads home the better.
It's already been a tough year and he hasn't even had the whole summer to recuperate. Re-taking Bio 101 and a few other courses, no thanks to Chang and his stupid army of brats, has left him with three measly weeks before the fall semester. Three. Damn. Weeks. How was he supposed to get a tan that lasted all the way through winter with those kinds of odds?
Sighing heavily Jeff downs the rest of his coffee in one quick gulp, the cup clattering back to its matching plate with a bit too much force. Stuffing his wallet and phone into his pockets he exits onto the busy sidewalk teeming with tourists, surrounded by a city noise somehow so different than Denver. Still a little dazed by the huge red bus as it passes on the wrong side of the street, Jeff starts towards Trafalgar Square; that Nelson's statue thingy high enough in the air for him to find its direction.
It's not the reason he's here but he should probably, at some point, buy a map except he doesn't want to look like a tourist. Or a douchebag. It's the same reason he doesn't carry a book-bag at college or an umbrella when it rains, even though those are both looks he would rock if he gave them half a chance.
As the square comes into view, Jeff stops for a moment – a little taken aback by the sight before him and holy crap he's in London, London baby, and he's whining about his deadbeat Dad? Shaking his head lightly, he pulls out his phone and takes a picture of the statue and the fountains as discreetly as possible before uploading it to Twitter and finally tweeting his whereabouts with a, "Surprise: guess where I am?"
He regrets it a minute later.
It's just… he hadn't actually told any of his friends where he is – he's not sure why, maybe because it was such a last-minute decision or that they don't know he's started looking for his father and he's not quite ready to tell them yet… to deal with Pierce's questions or Britta's offers to help 'therapize' him of his 'obvious Daddy issues' or Abed noting all the long-lost father-son movie parallels. It's exhausting just thinking about it.
He briefly wonders what Shirley would have to say about this whole Dad thing; she'd probably give him a big understanding hug – the kind of hug he'd gotten far too used to this past year – and a brownie he would throw in the trash when she wasn't looking because hello, abs to maintain here. And then he thinks of Annie and his heart races just a little bit as he remembers the last time he saw her; blue eyes wide and tempting across the dinner table, the little pink flush to her cheeks he can't find anything but endearing, the seductive bite of her pink glossed lips and wait, what was he thinking about again?
Damn that woman can throw him off track even from thousands of miles away.
As Jeff approaches a road crossing with the rest of the crowds, smiling at the little red man on the traffic signal, his phone vibrates in his pocket and he quickly presses view, eagerly anticipating the flood of comments and questions from his friends. Jeff frowns at the single reply he receives.
JeffWingerAtLaw Is that London? Spoiler Alert.
Yeah…he has no idea what that even means but then again, this is Abed.