Another Sam/Jess fic, because I haven't written them for a while and I got inspired. I really love the five-things fic style, can y'all tell? The original working title of this piece was "Five Things Sam Remembers About Jess." Then, y'know, I remembered my old pal e e cummings. Thanks for giving my fic a shot!
O Sweet Spontaneous
He didn't know why he'd come to this party in the first place. He'd received a casual invite from a guy a few rooms down, and it had seemed like a good idea at the time. Now he was leaning against a wall, watching a bunch of underage students sucking down cheap beer, worrying about his paper due tomorrow, and wondering if that herby smoke coming from the back room was something that was gonna get him in trouble with his RA when he came back with the smell clinging to his clothes.
He found the guy who'd invited him and excused himself. Of course, the dude was so out of it by that point there wasn't much use. He didn't have his own car, so he started the mile-long trek back to his dorm. He was running over theses for his paper in his head when a girl appeared in front of him.
"You ever had sex outdoors?" she asked abruptly.
He was shocked to a halt. She looked familiar, like she was in one of his classmates, but he sure as hell didn't know her name or why she was asking him weird questions in the middle on the sidewalk. "I…uh…" he stuttered.
"Well?" she prompted, long blonde hair swinging in time to her tapping foot.
He could feel himself coloring. "Uh, no?"
She broke into a wide grin and practically bounced over to another girl sitting on a bench, who pulled out a wallet sullenly. A moment later she flashed a five-dollar bill at him and called, "Thanks! Buy ya a coffee sometime, yeah?"
That night he dreamed of blonde hair and doing it on the hood of a car.
He said, "What do you want to do for your birthday?"
She wrinkled her nose and replied, "Surprise me." Noting his panicked look, she sighed and waved him off with an "I'll tell you later."
Later, in his Criminal Mind class, he opened his notebook to see her familiar looping handwriting on one of the pages.
-- 25-28 mi. from Stanford (as the crow flies), no more no less
-- must include lunch
-- there must not be people who bring me a dessert and sing happy-happy-birthday or I'll break up with you
-- can't cost more than $150 for the entire day (gas included!)
-- animals get you bonus points
-- don't you wish you had just picked yourself?
It was signed with a silly face and a heart. If he had been panicked before, this was sheer terror.
Four hours on MapQuest later, he'd thought he'd found it. She seemed to think the miniature animal farm was a hoot, and she raved about the fried chicken and pie and the mom-and-pop joint he'd vaguely remembered eating at once a long time before. She said it was one of the best birthdays she could imagine.
He was rather embarrassed, however, when he came back from the restroom to discover that she'd told management it was his birthday, and they came out with candles and noisemakers and sang to him. She stole the brownie sundae they gave him, though.
"Here," she said, pressing a box into his hand. "I need help."
He stared down at the hair-dye kit and looked back up, confused. Yeah, somewhere down deep he knew she dyed her hair, but he never really thought about it. And besides— "Don't you usually have this professionally done?" he queried.
She snatched the box back and started reading the instructions. "Well, usually. But I happen to be broke this month because Greenwalt neglected to mention in the syllabus that we'd be needing three additional textbooks, so…" she raised one hand, "forty bucks at the salon, or…" she raised the other, this one containing the box, "eight ninety-seven at Wal-mart. Besides, it's just my roots that need touching up."
So he found himself wearing latex gloves, standing at the side of their brand-new shared bathtub, squeezing dye into her wet hair and massaging it in. And yeah, he got some on himself and ruined a tee shirt, but when she wrapped her hair up in an old towel to wait ten minutes, she patted him on the chest and congratulated him on learning a new skill.
He opened the front door and found her sliding along the linoleum in her socks, bobbing and spinning in time to the music on the kitchen radio. He tilted his head quizzically and smiled as she twirled twice then seemed to pop her shoulders in rhythm. She was singing along, loudly, and pretty much on-key.
—Mississippi moon won't you keep on shining on me—
Her hair was twisting around her face and he thought she was just beautiful. So he watched for a moment, leaning against the doorframe. Then she was staring at him, still undulating to the song, and saying, "It's not home 'til you can dance in it."
—ain't got no worries 'cause I ain't in no hurry—
She beamed. "My mom."
Before he knew what he was doing, he was pulling off his sneakers and sliding over to her in the middle of the tiny kitchen. She twined her fingers into his and pulled him along into her rhythm. He couldn't dance, not to save his life, but she led him around the little square of linoleum like they were doing a grand waltz.
—come and dance with your daddy all night long—
He figured they actually looked pretty stupid, but he couldn't complain. The song ended and the deejay started jabbering about current events, so she kissed him full and hard. His hands found her hips, which were still swaying slightly, and he grinned. Then the oven beeped shrilly and she broke away with a little squeak. She pulled the loaf of cornbread out and placed it on the counter, then whirled and winked, "Welcome home, by the way."
She always had her camera with her. For their first Christmas together, her parents had bought her a digital one. Not top-of-the-line, but still pretty nice. She had started playing with it that afternoon and never stopped. Everything was documented by multiple snapshots.
Most of the pictures showed both of them, him in the foreground, her snuggled up against him, various scenes in the background. They were almost always self-portraits, utilizing his long arms to snap the picture she wanted. Sometimes they used the timer, sometimes they snagged a passerby to take a shot for them.
Sometimes he would ask her why she took so many pictures.
When they went skiing, the really-advanced slopes barely in focus behind their wind-blistered and grinning faces, she replied, "When they find our frozen and broken bodies next spring, I want them to be able to identify us."
When he took her to the farm for her birthday, and she was cradling a little billy in her arms while he clicked the shutter button, she said, "I want proof that they actually bred goats this small."
When he had to find a unique angle to get both of them and the ten-foot-tall Uncle Sam on Stilts into the frame at the Fourth of July block party, she laughed, "I really wanted to see if you could pull it off."
When she whipped out the camera when they were curled up together on the couch, just enjoying each other's company, she murmured, "I want to be able to show off what a looker you were when we're old and grey."
And he read as much into that as she implied, and he hugged her all the tighter for it.
The five-dollar bill was handed to a cashier the day he tried his very first latte.
During an end-of-semester cleaning spree, he threw out that notebook and forgot to tear out the message.
He donated the dye-stained shirt to charity during one of the neighborhood's semi-annual clothing drives.
He never could get the station to play Doobie Brothers again, no matter how many lunch hours he called in to request it.
The camera was destroyed in the fire.
Sometimes he forgets what she looks like exactly, what her voice sounded like, what she felt like against his skin, but he's long past crying now.