A big thank you: To Jordan.
Author's Notes: The original edited version of this oneshot was posted to livejournal on June 21, 2010.
by: Touch of Violet
"Was that Britta?"
Reluctantly, Jeff nodded. He set his cell phone to silent and hid it behind a couch cushion. With a sigh, he looked up at Annie. She was standing in his kitchen, wearing nothing but one of his old t-shirts and a pair of yellow rubber gloves. Suddenly, Jeff didn't feel quite so bad about Britta.
"You know, we're going to have to tell her eventually." Annie said, worriedly chewing her bottom lip. "I mean…right?"
Jeff snorted. "Why are you asking me? You're supposed to be the good one, remember? My moral compass?"
She waved a gloved hand dismissively. "I just don't want to hurt her. You know that."
He rolled his eyes and stepped into the kitchen, admiring the work she had done with his overcluttered kitchen cabinets. He barely recognized his apartment with her in it. There was a place for everything, and everything was always in its place. And all surfaces were so clean you could eat off them. It was nice.
"I think it's too late for that," he said, putting his hands on her waist. He barely recognized Annie anymore. She was literally wearing nothing but one of his old white t-shirts, her hair was a wild mess around her shoulders and her eyes were alight with just a twinkle of mischief. It was very nice. He kissed her forehead and pulled her into an embrace. "It's not like we can erase the past few weeks."
She relaxed against him. "Yeah, but, if we're honest with her maybe it won't be so bad. Honesty is the best policy, always. No matter what. Right?"
Jeff sighed again. After the debacle that was prom night at the community college, he and Annie had escaped to his apartment. He had sent a mass text telling everyone he had left for Vancouver for the summer to "think" and would be out of touch. And their group still thought Annie was off with Vaughn. They had just locked themselves into his little apartment and played house for the past five weeks.
To be honest, he wasn't sure what was going to happen. And he knew Annie was going out of her way to try to not make him promise something. She was probably questioning what would happen to them once the summer was over; what he would do or who he would choose.
It was both an awesome predicament and a totally, freaking lame one. Two incredible girls had told him they loved him on the same night. And instead of picking one then and there, or telling both of them he wasn't interested, he had shacked up with poor, once innocent, Annie.
Of course, he had tried to talk about these things with Annie then, being the gentleman he was. He didn't want to take anything from her she wasn't ready to give freely. And he couldn't give any promises about what he would do in the future because, well, he was a commitment phobe, and kind of a selfish dick, and the least he could do was warn Annie up front because he genuinely liked her. A lot.
But she had soundly convinced him she did not want to talk about it. And the subject hadn't been broached by either of them since their first night together.
Would he tell Britta and Slater the truth about him and Annie? Would he end up with one of them anyway? Or would he stay with Annie? The summer was ending, and he was going to have to make a decision soon.
"We don't have to worry about them," he spoke into Annie's hair. "We don't have to worry about honesty and moral compasses and anything right now. Because all of that, it's outside of the apartment. It's on the other side of the door. And while we're on this side of the door, nothing matters but us and my now totally awesome apartment. As long as we're on this side of the door, we don't need to worry about anything."
There was a knock on the door.
"Jeff!" A female's voice yelled. "Jeff, I know you're in there! This is the FOURTH TIME I've come knocking on your door, Jeffrey! Your car is in the garage! I'm sick of waiting – you better be ready to talk now."
"Slater," Jeff whispered. Annie's eyes grew to twice their normal size and before he could stop her she had dove under the kitchen table. He stared at her for a minute; her head was down and her arms were around her knees. "Um, Annie? What are you doing?"
Slater knocked again. "I mean it, Winger! Open up! I'm tired of you hiding out and not talking to me."
Annie slowly glanced up at him from behind her limbs. "Hiding."
"Okay, first of all, that's a terrible hiding place. You're highly visible. A better choice would have been the pantry, which is right behind you," he pointed at the pantry in the back of the kitchen and Annie hesitantly followed the point. "Second, it's Slater. I don't care if I hurt Slater's feelings. I've already slammed the door in her face three times now. It's Britta we're worried about, remember?"
"But what if she tells Britta! To hurt her!" Annie whispered. "If she has to find out, she should hear it from us first."
Jeff nodded his consent. "Fine. Go hide in the pantry. I'll get rid of Slater."
Annie ran to the pantry and hid herself before Jeff opened the door. The dark haired professor stood in the hallway, her arms across her chest.
She smiled when she saw him. "Jeff! I just, I wanted to tell you that I love you. And I'm not going anywhere."
"Awesome," Jeff smiled. "But I am going somewhere so, get out of my apartment building before I call the cops, okay?" He shut the door in her face. She squawked in confusion before cursing loudly.
"I'll be back, Winger!" She promised as she stormed down the hall. "You know what they say, fifth time's the charm. You WILL let me in your apartment and we WILL make up and you WILL be happy about it!"
Jeff raised an eyebrow as he listened to her storm away before shaking his head and heading towards the pantry. When he opened the pantry door, Annie was organizing his soup cans. She looked up at him with a guilty smile on her face. "Sorry," she said, "I couldn't help myself."
She was so adorable, so innocent that he could hardly contain himself. "That makes two of us," he said, and in flash his hands were on her, all over her, and they were kissing.
He knew he wouldn't be able to keep her.
The summer would end, they'd have to leave his apartment, and she wouldn't be his anymore. There was too much of an age difference, too much of a personality difference. She was too good for him, and he knew it. She was special, she was going to go places, she was going to be somebody; she deserved to be with someone who was better than a thirty something failed lawyer. He would have to give her up.
And maybe he'd apologize to Slater, and tell Britta the truth. Maybe everything would go back to normal and their group would be fine. But he knew he'd never be the same.
So he was going to ruin Annie.
He was going to make it his sole mission to ingrain in her their time together – so that no matter where she went or who she ended up with, every touch and every kiss would remind her of him and she would be ruined for other men.
It was only fair, after all. She had already ruined him.
End Notes: The original version of the drabble stood at 795 words and was posted to the livejournal community writing(underscore)addicts for their contest "Tick Tock". This unedited version stands at 1,301 words.