Chapter 19 – Basic Construction Techniques
The first meeting back was…different, to say the least. Jeff and Annie came in being adorable, Britta and Duncan were already talking (and not fighting) when they entered, and the Dean was missing.
"I found this task that had fallen off the wall after the Dean mentioned all of our critical emergencies in his announcement. He said 534 instead of 535 so I came here and looked around." Annie was holding up the last star that had fallen off the wall.
"Rooftop frisbees?" Jeff sounded half confused and half sarcastic.
"Yeah, did you hear what happened? The roof caved in on the cafeteria and it was raining frisbees!"
"A sentence that can only happen at Greendale."
"I can't believe the roof collapsed. We almost killed Fat Neil!" Britta was clearly upset.
"That was Garrett", added Abed.
"See? We're monsters!"
"If they blame us for this, let me take the heat. I'll never see the inside of a cell." Chang looked over at Abed and whispered, "I've been reliving this day over and over for a thousand years."
"Now there's my next book", Duncan said as he scribbled something down on a notepad. Jeff rolled his eyes.
"Guys, this is not on us. That roof was going to collapse. 80% of the rubble is Styrofoam."
"But the Dean trusted us. I let everyone down. I knew I should have used push pins instead of tape. I already smashed through that wall anyway." Annie looked and felt defeated. Jeff reached his hand across the table towards her.
"Annie, this is not your fault. Stop being so hard on yourself." She looked up at him and smiled.
"Is it just me or is this table getting very white? Do Abed and I need to be concerned?" Chang looked to Abed for support and instead received a blank stare.
"You have my word. As leader of the white people, you have no cause for alarm."
Just then, the Dean walked in dressed in a construction vest, hard hat, and short shorts.
"Those frisbees almost killed a student. I thought you had this under control!" He was looking at Annie, knowing that she was more or less in charge of the action plans.
"Dean, I'm so sorry-" Jeff cut her off.
"You can't blame Annie or any of us for the roof collapsing. Some of those frisbees had been up there since the 70's. Forty years-worth of frisbees on a building designed after a Styrofoam cooler. And how do you expect someone to do all of this while you also have us planning campus tours all summer?"
"Oh Jeffrey, you're right", he said with a hand on Jeff's shoulder. "I expect too much from you. Maybe I should bring someone in."
"NO!" Annie shouted. She then looked around at everyone staring at her and relaxed a bit. "Dean, we're fine. We finished 534 tasks. One just fell off the wall and wedged itself behind some books. It could have happened to anyone."
"Well, it better not happen again. Do you know how much money it's going to cost to clean all of that out of the cafeteria? Plus replacing an entire roof."
"Luckily you have the tuition from all of those new students we brought in." Jeff looked up, smirking at the Dean. He trembled a bit before speaking.
"Oh Jeffrey, I can't stay mad at you."
"What about the rest of us?" Britta interjected as the Dean was fixated on Jeff.
"Oh, give it a rest, Britta. Obviously, I meant all of you." His tone shifted from crabby to his usual perky self as he focused back on Annie. "No more falling stars, okay? We can't afford much more without having to dip into my dance budget." The Dean exited the study room and the group let out a sigh of relief.
"Heaven forbid we only have 4 dances instead of 5", Duncan joked as he looked over at Britta, who was shooting him a coy smile.
"Are you two having a storyline?" Abed asked of the couple.
"A what?" Duncan looked around the table searching for a face that was as equally confused and came up empty.
"Abed, we're not having a separate storyline." Britta attempted to brush off his comment but he was too smart for that.
"Your tent is gone from the quad. Where are you staying now?"
"That's none of anyone's business", Britta snapped back.
"Holy shit, you two are sleeping together." Jeff said as he looked at Britta, shocked by the revelation.
"We're not sleeping together! I'm just staying with him for a while until I get things figured out. I have my own bedroom."
A collective "OOOOoooOOO" came across the table.
"Oh, grow up. I'm simply helping her sleep indoors."
"I find that very hard to believe." Jeff said quietly as he leaned towards Duncan.
"Watch it, Winger."
"Ian has been the perfect gentleman."
Everyone but Britta and Duncan laughed. She looked around the table, shocked at their response.
Duncan shook his head. "Don't bother. It's an uphill battle. Well, I have to get to class. Meeting adjourned?" He was getting up to leave and Britta angrily pushed her chair away from the table. Everyone else began collecting their things to go. Jeff stopped Britta from leaving.
"You're really okay with this?"
"Jeff, I needed a place to stay and he offered."
"We all offered. Why didn't you just come to my place?"
"And watch you and Annie play house? No thanks. Besides, Ian isn't a bad guy once you get to know him."
"Oh, I know him. I was his lawyer for his DUI." Britta leaned in closer and began to whisper.
"He's sober now. We're helping each other." Jeff seemed less than impressed.
"He gets 'sober' at least once a semester. I give it two weeks."
"You're wrong this time. He really means it."
"Well, my couch is open for when you actually get to know him." Jeff began to leave.
"I thought you two were friends." This stopped Jeff in his tracks. He turned back towards her.
"We are. Doesn't mean I want him taking advantage of you." He exited the study room and met up with Annie, who was waiting patiently in the hallway. She watched the two of them leave, smiling and full of love. Why couldn't she have that? Doesn't she deserve to be happy, too?