Jeff really isn't sure how it happened. How this… thing with Annie turned into… well, this thing with Annie.

Studying with the group had turned into studying with just Annie. Then studying with just Annie had turned into hanging out with Annie. Then hanging out with Annie had turned into going out with Annie. And then going out with Annie had turned into making out with Annie. So that means that going out had turned into Going Out and now here they are, in this undefined thing that's definitely a something even if it doesn't have a definition.

Jeff figures that this is how healthy, mature, adult relationships happen. You get to actually know the other person, and then you gradually fall for them. You don't just decide someone is hot, start a relationship, and then discover things along the way. Because then you find out all these things you can't stand about that person, but it's too late because you're already tied into the messy train wreck of a relationship and you can't get out of it.

No, this is right. This is how it's supposed to work. He knows Annie. He knows all the things he likes about her, and all the things he doesn't like about her, and he knows her well enough that all the things he doesn't like about her end up being things he actually does like about her. This is healthy and mature and adult.

What's not healthy and mature and adult is the whole "hiding it from our friends" thing.

It's not like it was a conscious decision. "Hey, let's sneak around behind our friends backs and not tell them we're together." Actually having it as a plan implies would imply that they think there's something wrong with the relationship that it needs to stay hidden. And yeah, Annie might be considerably younger than he is, but neither of them see that as wrong, and even though a few of their friends might have a bit of a problem with that, he's pretty sure that once they see how good Annie and Jeff are together that they really won't mind all that much.

So, yeah, it's not like they actually talked about it and made the decision to not tell anybody. They just… hadn't really gotten around to it yet.

Jeff figures they will, eventually. That he and Annie will just sit down with the group and tell them how it is. And that Annie will probably have the whole revelation outlined and double spaced, and that she might even use colorful poster boards to show the group the timeline of their romance.

He really never thought it would go down the way it does. All because of a stupid book.

Annie had come over to study on Friday night. And that study session had turned out great.

("Okay, I think that this incentive was a bad idea," Annie said as Jeff kissed her jaw.

"Really? Because I think it was an excellent idea," Jeff said into her neck as her pushed his hands under her shirt and pulled her closer.

"Maybe it would have been, if we had stuck to the rules," she countered, sighing when he nipped at her collar bone. "One kiss for every correct answer."

"We are following the rules," Jeff said, busying himself with trying to touch every inch of available Annie skin he could get his hands on underneath the shirt. "This is just one very long kiss."

"We aren't really getting much studying done. We're going to fail this test and it's going to be all your fault." She didn't seem to mind all that much, though, because as she said this she was moving to straddle his waist and push him back against the couch.

"My fault? You're the one who came up with the system," he started to argue. But then her lips connected with his and all thoughts of arguing left his head, replaced entirely with thoughts of soft Annie skin and warm Annie lips.)

When she'd left the next morning (yes, she was now spending entire nights at his apartment, and she had a tooth brush on his sink and a change of clothes, just in case, in the bottom drawer of his dresser, and he tries to think about when the relationship got this serious, but he finds he really doesn't care, except that he recognizes the weirdness of the fact that it is , yet nobody else actually knows about it) she'd packed up all her school things into her bag. Including her Spanish text. Her own Spanish text.

Or so he thought.

Spanish text books generally all look the same from the outside. It's not until you open them up that you can really see who they belong to. Well, maybe not even then, in most people's cases. If Jeff had mistakenly taken Troy's book, nobody probably would have ever noticed. But the second Annie's book is opened, it screams "THIS BOOK BELONGS TO ANNIE EDISON". For one thing, it says "Property of Annie Edison" right inside the front cover. (Of course Annie would keep her text books instead of selling them back. You never know when you might need a Spanish 101 text book. Things might need to be cross referenced or something). Add to that the post it notes on almost every page with helpful hints, references to other lessons or other texts entirely, and any other thing she might find useful in her studying.

So when he meets up with Britta and Abed on Saturday for a cram session before the test on Monday, the shit pretty much hit's the fan the second Britta opens the book that Jeff thinks is his but is actually Annie's. Of course, he has no idea that it's Annie's, so he's just wondering why Britta has such a comical look on her face. Then she says, "Jeff, why do you have Annie's book?"

And oh shit. He tries to cover up, because he was a lawyer for awhile, and this should be what he's good at. "Do I?" He leans over Britta to look at the book, and sure enough, there are at least five pink post it notes staring up at him. "Hmm…seems I do. We must have gotten them mixed Friday in the library."

There. Problem solved.

Or not.

Because instead of just accepting the explanation, Britta's quiet for a few more moments, and Jeff can almost see the gears turning in her head. He looks over at Abed, who's just watching them quietly, and Jeff's pretty sure the creepy psychic already knows what's going on, and he's just thanking god that at least Abed isn't saying anything right now.

"But…" Britta starts out, and Jeff actually winces, because he knows if she's not just dropping it then this isn't going to be good. "Annie and I had Biology together after the study group yesterday. After you'd already gone home."

"So?"

"So, I borrowed her Spanish book to look at the homework for the weekend. And she had her book."

Jeff's not really sure what to do. Well, he is a little bit. Meaning he allows himself a split second to give himself a mental high five over the fact that clearly the sex he and Annie had the night before had been so mind-blowing that she didn't even know which book was hers the next morning. But yeah, beyond that, he really doesn't know what to do. So he just stares at her.

"Jeff?"

"Hmm?"

"Did you see Annie again after school yesterday?"

Well, he can't lie, considering the proof is setting right there in front of Britta. So he decides to tell the truth.

"Yeah. We got together to study."

And that really is the truth. Mostly. He just doesn't mention the part where they really hardly did any studying and instead did things that wouldn't be decent to mention in public.

"Really?"

"Yes, really. Look, can you stop looking at me like I committed some crime? Can we just get to the studying now please? I have an appointment this afternoon that I don't want to be late for." That part is mostly true, too. Only the appointment is with Annie, and it's more of a date than an appointment.

Britta's still fixing him with a look, and he can tell that she can tell that something's not quite right, but she just pushes the book towards him. "You should probably get that back to Annie. You know how she'll freak without her little notes and everything."

Jeff just nods and looks at Abed, who's shaking his head slightly.

Damn it.

Jeff recognizes the fact that from this point on, it pretty much is entirely his fault.

To be fair, he really had every intention of just returning the book to Annie when he saw her that night, and then maybe having a conversation about finally telling their friends the truth.

And then she actually showed up at his apartment. She was wearing these ridiculous pajama pants that had snowboarding ferrets on them, and she was wearing his Norte Dame sweatshirt, and she wasn't wearing any makeup, and her hair was pulled back into this messy ponytail, and she looked so adorable and flat out beautiful that he couldn't really remember anything he wanted to say, much less, "Hey, here's your Spanish book, and by the way, we should probably tell our friends we're together because I'm pretty sure Britta's on to us."

It was an awesome night, but in a completely different way than the night before had been. They just sat on the couch and watched a movie (Benjamin Button, again, and god help him, he was actually starting to think it was just as compelling as Annie always said it was) and she fell asleep in his arms with her head nuzzled into his neck between his head and his shoulder, and oh my god, he knew he had turned into such a woman when he thought that falling asleep watching a movie was just as awesome as really great sex.

The next morning he made her breakfast (pancakes and scrambled eggs with cheese in them, her favorite), and they spent most of the morning just hanging around the apartment. He read the paper while she organized his DVDs by year, they played a trivia game on his X-Box, they watched ESPN and he laughed affectionately at the confused look she had on her face while he tried to explain the way sports worked to her. He was so busy thinking that if he was doing exactly this in fifty years he'd probably be happy that he completely forgot about her Spanish text until she was out the door.

So he puts the book in his bag on Monday morning, completely intending to give it back to her before class starts. It's not until he's walking through the door that he remembers Britta's words: "You know she'll freak out without her little notes and everything." And, well, freaking out Annie is both really cute and completely amusing. There is, of course, the voice in the back of his head screaming loudly at him that he needs to just end the things with the book entirely, because Britta's already catching on, and if he messes around with the book much more everything is just going to blow up in his face. But he's never been smart enough to listen to that sane, rational voice, so why should he start now?

That's why, instead of opening his bag and handing the book to Annie when he walks through the door, he keeps his bag closed and just sits down in front of her.

The back of a small arm presses against his shoulder and his Spanish textbook appears in front of him. "I have your book," Annie whispers into his ear.

Jeff feigns surprise and relief, "Thank god, I've been looking for it everywhere."

He can feel her eyes burning into the side of face, but he doesn't turn to look at her, because he's not sure he'd be able to keep a straight face, and because she's so close to him that if he turned around he'd practically be kissing her, and, well, they really don't need to be doing that in the middle of the classroom.

Finally she just says, "And you have mine, right?"

"Noooo…." he says slowly. "Should I?"

"Jeff!" she practically shrieks. "Of course you should. Clearly I took yours by mistake this weekend and left mine at…" she lowers her voice, "…your place."

Jeff furrows his brow and pretends to think really hard. "No, I think I would have noticed a Spanish textbook in my apartment. I mean, I was in such a near-panic when I couldn't find mine. If I had found yours I wouldn't have worried about it so much. Nope, I'm pretty sure I don't have it. Maybe you took both?"

Jeff can see Annie's mouth opening and closing out of the corner of her eye, and yes, this is so very amusing. "No! No! Absolutely not! There was no way I could have fit an additional text book in my bag. It was already too full."

Other students start to enter the classroom and Annie sits back in her seat quickly. Britta walks in, eyes the pair with suspicion, and sits down next to Jeff. "Did you give Annie her text book back?"

Annie gasps. "Jeff! You said you didn't have it!"

"I don't. Britta, I don't know what you're talking about."

Britta roles her eyes. "Come on, Jeff, stop screwing around, just give Annie her book back."

Jeff turns around to face both Annie and Britta with an expression that clearly screams 'I'm indignant right now!' "How dare the two of you accuse me of lying? I'm your friend. I would never lie to you."

He turns around in his desk and enjoys the glares the two women are aiming at him.


It all goes down in the parking lot.

Jeff kind of figured it would be a more dramatic place than the parking lot, but whatever.

He's unlocking his car when he sees Annie's reflection in the window. Her arms are crossed, her jaw is set, and she is looking awfully damn formidable.

Jeff turns around with the sweetest smile he can possibly muster on his face. "Hello, darling."

"Don't you dare 'darling' me, you big jerk. I want my book back."

Jeff opens up her bag and pulls out the Spanish text book. "You mean this one?"

Annie lunges for it, but he's too fast for her, using his height to his advantage to hold it above his head, well out of her reach. She makes a few comical leaps for it and then gives up, crossing her arms over her chest again.

"Why did you say you didn't have it?"

"Because it was funny."

"It wasn't funny. It was mean." She pouts, and looks up at him with big, glassy brown eyes.

"Nope," he says. "You were doing better when you were trying to be formidable. I mean, that wasn't really working that well, but the tears and all that really only works when I'm actually being mean."

"You are actually being mean."

"No, I'm being play mean. There's a difference."

"And what would that difference be?"

"This mean I don't feel bad about."

"Well why not?"

"Because it's funny."

She huffs. "Okay, you've had your fun. Will you just give me the book back?"

He holds it up a little higher, just to make his point. "You have to say the magic words."

"Jeff, please."

"Those aren't the magic words."

"Ummm… abracadabra?"

"Nope."

She stomps her foot, and it's just too adorable. "Jeff, I can't say the magic words unless you tell me what they are."

"They are 'Jeff, you're a golden god, you're the handsomest, awesomest, sexiest man alive, and I totally worship you.'"

She rolls her eyes at him. "I am not saying that."

"Then you don't get your book back."

"Gah! Fine! Jeff, you're the handsomest, awesomest, sexiest man alive, and I totally worship you."

Jeff thinks about it for a minute. "No, you didn't say it like you really meant it."

Annie's clearly had enough. Because she kicks Jeff in the shin. Not hard enough for it to really hurt, but hard enough for it to sting just enough that he forgets what he's doing temporarily and his arm that's holding the book above his head drops just low enough for Annie to make a decent grab at the book. He recovers, though, and pries the book away and brings it back over his head. But now her arms are around his neck, and he knows she's like a little monkey, and now that she has his neck she can easily climb up his body to get the book. Normally Annie crawling up his body is something he'd immensely enjoy, but right now his mind is completely on keeping the book away from her.

He decides his best bet is to just get the book out of his hands, away from both of them, and to then restrain her in some way. So he tosses the book across the top of the car and it lands on the other with a thud. Annie lets go of Jeff's neck and starts to lunge behind the car, but he manages to reach out and grab her around the waist. Naturally, she struggles, and he wrestles her so that her back is against the car, and he's got her wrists pinned on either side of her. She pressed against him from head to toes, and he's leaned over her, so close to her face that just a fraction of a movement and he'll be kissing her. She's still struggling, warm and giggling and rubbing up against him.

"Let me go!" she shrieks playfully.

"Say the magic words," he teases. "And say them like you mean them."

"Fine!" she sighs dramatically. "Jeff Winger, you're the handsomest, awesomest, sexiest man alive, and I totally worship you," she says in a mock-sexy voice.

"Was that so hard?" he asks, but instead of releasing her, he moves his head that fraction of an inch, and he's kissing her, soft and slow. He lets go of her wrists and moves his hands to her face, to her hair, and she wraps her arms around his waist. It's a perfect moment, until…

"Holy crap," they hear from not to far away.

Dazedly they pull their lips apart and turn their heads to look at Britta, Abed, Troy, Shirley, and Pierce, who are all standing together for some reason in the parking lot, in the parking space in the row directly across from them.

Annie's arms are still around Jeff's waist, and he still has one hand behind her head, tangled in her hair. "What's up?" he asks, feigning nonchalance.

Their friends just stare at them, each wearing very different expressions. Troy looks confused. Abed looks completely and totally unsurprised. Shirley looks like she's not sure if she should be happy or pissed. Pierce looks like he's thinking some not decent things. Britta has that look on her face like she's both shocked and completely unsurprised at the same time. "What's going on?" Shirley finally says.

"Jeff and Annie's secret romance has been revealed," Abed explains.

Jeff and Annie finally overcome their shock and disentangle themselves, turning to face the group.

"I knew something was going on," Britta says. "I knew it was weird that you had her Spanish book."

"I'm sorry," Jeff says, finally recovering, "is there a reason all five of you are together, as a group, in the parking lot at the same time."

"Well, I can only assume that at this is the natural point in the story for all of us to discover your relationship, so a weak plot device has to have been introduced to get us all out here in the same place at the same time," Abed explains.

"I made everybody brownies. They're in my car," Shirley explains in a much simpler way.

"Don't try to turn this around on us!" Britta explodes. "This is all on you two! We totally caught you! You've been sneaking around! And lying to us! How long have you two been dating?"

Jeff and Annie both laugh uncomfortably and stutter out some thing that can't really be counted as words. Finally Annie says, "I wouldn't really call it 'dating'." She even does the air quotes. Jeff kind of can't contain himself when she's this adorable, but he realizes now that it's essential for him to do so.

Britta turns on Jeff. "So, what? You're just sleeping together? You're just using her for sex?"

Whoa, now. Now he's just indignant. "What? No! We aren't 'sleeping together'! I mean, we are sleeping together, but we aren't just sleeping together."

"Wait, so you're not dating, but you're not just sleeping together?"

"Well, no, we are dating, and we are sleeping together…" Annie starts, and Jeff is grateful that she's started to do some of the talking, but she just sort of peters out after that.

"And…" Britta prompts."

"And…" Jeff continues, "it's, you know… more than that."

Five sets of eyes are staring at them, judging them, and waiting for an explanation. Well, maybe only one is really judging them. The other four are kind of just waiting for this to be over so they can get their brownies.

"I… you know… I really care about her." This is so not the way he wanted this to go. He really wanted the whole "telling our friends thing" to just be a nice, factual, "yes, we're together, that's the way it is" thing where they didn't have to start talking about their feelings and justifying their relationship. But when you get caught making out in the school parking lot, that's what you get.

Annie's hand slips into his and she squeezes it tight. "And I really care about him, too," she says with much more confidence than he did, and he kind of feels bad about that, but then he looks down at her, and she's smiling up at him with that look of absolute adoration she gets every time makes her eggs with cheese in them or kills a spider, and he's pretty sure he's looking down at her with that look he gives her every time she really tries to understand his favorite sports or wears his shirts that are a million sizes too big for her.

And apparently that's enough for Britta, because she clears her throat and says, "Okay, Shirley, let's get those brownies."

The gang turns around and follows Shirley to her car. Jeff and Annie follow, but not before Jeff leans down and gives Annie a quick kiss. She smiles up at him. "I'm glad they know."

"Me too."

Shirley hands everyone their brownies, which are personalized with their names in icing on top. Annie finishes her brownie in record time, so Jeff tears of the "J" portion of his brownie and gives it to her. She kisses him on the cheek, and the rest of the group jokingly makes "get a room!" type comments, and Jeff and Annie wonder why they waited so long to tell them in the first place. So they all stand there, eating brownies in the parking lot, like a bunch of dorks.