This comes out of nowhere.
Yesterday there was nothing, and today there is something.
In the Northeast, where she used to be, where she belonged, fall comes one day with the flip of a switch. Yesterday there was sun and today there is a damp wind and the smell of rain with leaves dancing all around the sky.
In Colorado, in the study room, on some sort of instinct, Britta turns her head to smile at Jeff.
She doesn't mean to end up spending time with him. It's just, Annie's suddenly doubled down on studying because her parents have doubled down on her after she apparently spent her entire summer acting like an actual teenager, raising her stress levels to obscene amounts (and boy, Britta's suddenly glad her parents never cared very much about her grades after deal with her brothers) and Shirley spends most of her extra time with her children after some teacher made a bitchy remark at their parent-teacher conferences. Britta understands, she does, but most- the rest- of her few friends are across the country. Or in other countries.
And even though he would probably never, ever admit it, he's lonely too.
He comes over to her apartment with a veggie pizza and a couple bottles of mid-priced red wine. She opens the door and reaches out a hand to touch his arm, to show that she appreciates this, this surprisingly lovely gesture, then drops her arm and invites Jeff in.
They pull an all-nighter. It's like they're really in college.
They watch the Daily Show, and then the Colbert Report and Jeff teases her about her crush on Jon Stewart so she teases him about his crush on Samantha Bee. Eventually they watch Youtube clips of kittens and some local reporter from New York saying inappropriate things like nipple on air and getting caught on fire.
They talk. She only calls him a tool twice, and he bites himself back from snapping at her.
Britta finally relaxes, knowing how nice this is.
They fall asleep on her couch at 7 am. Jeff slides down, his body long and stretched out and most of him on the floor. Britta curls into a ball on one cushion, leaning against his shoulder, blonde curls falling across her face.
They wake up two hours later when her phone rings, loudly and obnoxiously. Sun spills into the living room, hot and golden, and it's far too bright. It's Annie calling: she has a reprieve and would Britta like to go to the mall with her?
Britta says yes automatically, because this is what they do, every weekend after the other, and then she looks over at Jeff. He nods blearily. When she's done talking to Annie, he's up and in the kitchen making coffee and eggs.
"I should go,"
"It doesn't matter. You can hang out here if you want."
"No, it's your place, it'd be weird."
"You're here, and I actually have food, plus we drank enough that your hangover's gotta be just as bad as mine."
A sigh, then- "yeah, okay. Are we at the point where I can use your shower?"
"Um- okay. That's fine. Use whatever stuff you find in there. I'll see you in a bit."
She picks up Annie. They go to Starbucks and then the mall. There's some fancy lingerie store than Annie pulls her into and then blushes pinker and pinker each time her eyes fall on anything slightly racy. It's definitely adorable, in that same category of Annie-isms like the doe eyes and the Disney face and the mild crazy.
Britta rolls her eyes and grins and dares her to buy the red leopard-print bra and underwear set.
While Annie is sputtering and laughing and then eventually paying, she picks out something pink and pretty for herself.
They go to another store and Annie convinces Britta to buy three cardigans and a pencil skirt. She's not quite sure how that happened, though she's pretty impaired from last night, still she's kind of glad it did.
Jeff's there when she gets back. She didn't expect that, to find him sprawled on the floor because he doesn't fit on her couch, her cat napping on top of him.
"What'd you get?" he asks. She shrugs and figures asking him why he's on her floor is moot, then he lifts the cat off of him to paw through the bags.
"I see a clear influence of Annie here," he mentions, tossing through the cardigans, and then: "what's this?"
It's the lingerie, shit, and Britta bites her lip and winces.
He looks inside the bag again and then glances up at her, making eye contact that makes her squirm even though it's so ridiculously adolescent of her to be embarrassed. His eyes have darkened a little bit and she licks her lips. Her mouth is dry.
What is it that Abed is always saying about sexual tension?
"Pretty," Jeff murmurs.
"I thought so," Britta manages to respond.
His next look is inquisitive and she's seen it on him before, at paintball, even on their first day back sophomore year. It says 'can I kiss you', it says 'if you don't say anything really, really soon I'm going to kiss you now'. She dips her head in the quickest consent she can give , then tips up her chin and his mouth is on hers.
They make out on the living room floor, leaning against the couch with his legs wrapped around her and his hands cupping her shoulders. It's sloppy and slow; unexpected but not unwelcome, because his hands are gentle and she fits into the curve his legs form around her and so when Jeff starts tugging at her bra and sliding his hand up her ribs, trailing his fingers across her stomach and she's messing with the buttons on his shirt so she can fucking feel him, feel his skin and warmth against hers- he gets into her bra, pinches a nipple and she exclaims "shit, your hands are freezing-" and so she gets up and pulls him into the bedroom.
"I don't get to see you in that pink getup?" he asks once they're in there, him splayed across her bed with his elbows behind his head, and Britta laughs and shimmies out of her pants.
"I don't suppose it would entirely be an imposition for me to stay for dinner at this point."
"Not really, no."
"So, should we get Chinese food then?"
"That sounds good. So long as you pay."
They have sex one more time on her bed, his hands grasping her hips tightly, almost uncomfortably so in return her nails press into his arms and leave red moon-shaped marks (and wow it's fucked up that she's proud of that, that she's left her mark on him like the indents in her hips mean he's left his mark on her) and then in the shower where after Jeff makes fun of Britta's brand of hair care product because apparently it isn't the sort that adds volume and calms frizziness or something hilariously specific like that. She groans, says "you're such a girl," and pokes him in the stomach, smirking while he doubles over because it turns out he is ridiculously ticklish, like obscenely and of course she doesn't take advantage of that at all.
This time they fall asleep in her bed. He curls up around her and she leans back into him, oddly grateful for the warmth.
She kicks him out the next morning so she can go to the gym (and sneak a cigarette in her backyard, okay fine, busted.)
"We're okay, right?" Jeff checks as he goes out the door.
"Yeah no of course we are," she responds. It's going to be easy this time, because there were no ridiculous circumstances surrounding them this time, plus they actually didn't argue for the whole weekend. Maybe the Greendale campus just brings it out in them.
At school the next week after they're basically at each other's throats for an hour over the interpretation of some literary essay (Abed says something about one-upmanship and predictability, but Britta' so used to tuning out those comments by now that she doesn't even filter it in), they spend forty-five minutes making out in an empty history classroom, sweeping stuff off the professor's desk like they're in some kind of big-budget movie until Britta remembers she was supposed to have lunch off-campus with Shirley.
"Later," she says, tugging her shirt into place as she rushes out the door.
It's about three weeks later when Shirley's eating cheese fries and Britta throws up. Really. She pukes all over the table since she can't even manage to make it to the bathroom. It is probably one of the grossest things she's ever done, and she once made vegan pot-enhanced goulash (the recipe was from the internet, okay.)
"Ugh," she says, looking down at the mess, and discreetly burping. Her mouth tastes absolutely vile. "Shirley, I am so, so sorry about this. Let me get some napkins clean it up?"
"No baby, you're probably getting sick," Shirley says, avoiding the mess to pat her hand as Britta presses a hand to her stomach, because the nausea is at a rollicking, rolling boil. "You should go home. I'll bring you some soup when I'm done with my classes for the day."
Britta hiccups and agrees. She has to pull over twice on the way home. It's probably food poisoning- god only know what goes into that cafeteria food anyways, she's never quite worked up the nerve to ask Abed if he knows. She could have, like, e-coli or salmonella or something terrible like that.
Shirley brings her homemade vegetable soup and ginger ale. It helps her stomach and makes her grin, even if it's only a little before she pukes again.
It's when she's out jogging that it clicks. Well, it's that and the mysterious sign from above of her sports bra not fitting comfortably, but suddenly she knows. Call it women's intuition, call it something else, but Britta runs to the drugstore near the park and buys a pregnancy test.
It turns positive while she's leaning against the wall in the bathroom of a Starbucks, counting down the seconds under her breath so she doesn't have to hear, even if she has to see.
She doesn't know what to do, because this is real, this is a very real thing that she needs to deal with. She calls Shirley.
"Come to my place," Shirley says. "I'll make you some cookies and a nice hot cup of tea."
Britta breathes out once twice three times, and then gets in her car. It takes her five minutes to actually start the engine and drive.
"It's Jeff's, isn't it?"
"What- seriously, are you psychic or something, how would you know that?"
"You two make eyes at each other all the time, plus we knew all that bickering had to be covering something up because if you argued any more you would just be married already. Which I might add you should seriously consider because Jesus looks down upon those who have babies out of wedlock even more than he looks down upon those who have premarital sex, though at least you're being consistent-"
"I don't even believe in marriage, Shirley."
"What about your immortal soul? And what about the tax benefits? Because I am not kidding about those."
"…where's the bathroom? I'm going to throw up. Again."
"It's a sign, baby! I'll make you some more tea and we're gonna figure out what you're going to say to Jeff."
"Oh god, I can't even-"
"Don't hurl on the bath mat, okay there Britta? It's brand new!"
"I feel terrible."
"That's how it goes, sweetie, that's how it goes."
Shirley tells her that she needs to tell Jeff, and she needs to tell him soon because otherwise she never will and as her friend, Shirley has a god-given duty to make sure that she doesn't chicken out.
Britta's one hundred percent positive that Shirley's psychic at this point in the conversation.
When she hears a car pulling up outside the house and knows that it hasto be Jeff because seriously, her life is a sitcom, she knows that in addition to being psychic Shirley is also pure, sweet-natured evil. And that isn't an oxymoron in the least.
Jeff walks up to Shirley's house with a wrench. He's not sure why she called him to fix her sink (and he doesn't really know when and where he picked up the wrench either, probably around the whole chicken fingers thing when he was going to dismantle the deep-fryer) because Troy is a much better plumber than any of the study group, but maybe Troy's just still weird about stuff because half the time he feels like Shirley is his mom.
He's not sure why Britta's car is also in the driveway, but hey, girls hang out, right?
What he does not expect to is see Britta sitting in the kitchen, a couple of balled up tissues by her side while Shirley stands in the doorway like a prison warden.
"Um," Jeff stops short in the doorway. The wrench drops and clatters to the floor. "What. The hell?"
"Britta needs to talk to you, Jeffrey." Shirley flutters around to him and picks up the wrench, waving it in a way that could definitely be construed as threateningly. He remembers how specific that jukebox comment was and while he isn't scared, he's just- yeah. "I'll just leave you alone for a few minutes, shall I?"
She closes the door, then locks it.
Britta's stare at her retreating back is hostile.
"Britta?" Jeff asks.
She presses her lips together. "I'm think I'm going to start by saying that this is all your fault."
Britta's had this conversation before. She's had it when she was nineteen and was just a kid who had absolutely no fucking clue what she was doing, but she's had it before. This time, it won't be as painless, because this time, there's a guy who she maybe (really) likes a lot. This time she isn't nineteen, she's twenty-nine. But the thing is, this time the conversation's might go a whole lot worse.
She breathes in.
"I… uh. Whoa." Jeff sits down hard. "Really?"
Britta exhales. "…yeah. Really."
"I took a pee-stick test and everything."
Jeff runs a hand through his hair. "Okay." He looks at her, startled. "You. What about you. Are you okay?"
She doesn't really know. "I'm okay," she smiles tentatively, a quick twist of her lips. Jeff raises an eyebrow.
"Right," he says. A beat, a pause, a lull where all she can hear is their breathing.
"Let's get out of here-" she blurts, quick and sudden. They get to the door and there's another something, jerky motions and bumping hips until he takes her hand and leads her to his car.
He drives to a diner off the highway that she's never been to before, not even on her most insomniac nights: one of the ones with a squeeze ketchup bottle and ten variations of pancake on the menu, with sticky tabletops and plastic glasses of tap water delivered when they slide into a booth.
Britta's kind of surprised Jeff would know about this place at all.
He's sitting across from her, and he's doing this super-focused thing which is good because her brain is in a million little pieces in a million little places, and she's barely at the point of coherence.
"You're going to have a baby," he says, and for a split-second there's this blinding grin on his face, a blink and you miss it kind of thing, but she knows it was there and something inside her chest warms at little because of that look.
"Yes, I think so," Britta says.
Jeff's turned serious again. "If you don't want to have it, I- um. I'm not going to stop you from making whatever decision you think is best for you. You should know that."
She scrubs a hand across her face. She can't remember ever having been this tired before, even when she was driving across the country by herself and didn't have enough money for a motel if she wanted to be able to buy gas. "I don't know. Like, in my perfect world I would be having kids later if I was going to have them at all, but I like kids and usually I don't hate you, or at least I don't think I do and sometimes I think you're kinda cool, whatever, and the thought of- you know, our kid? It isn't abhorrent."
"Well that's good," Jeff grins, and suddenly they're laughing in this weird way she's really grateful for, in this way that reminds her of all the times they've gotten along really well (like against that dumb-ass kids).
"There's so much to think about," Britta says. "Like, being responsible adults stuff. Doctors and names and getting a bigger apartment, and what everyone else is going to say-"
"That doesn't matter. Matter as much," he amends. "You haven't been to a doctor yet?"
"I just found out I was pregnant when I was jogging," Britta says, gesturing to her getup. "Which was only a couple of hours ago. So no, I haven't managed to go to the doctor yet. Or anything else besides talk to Shirley and then have her ambush me with you. And ambush you with news. Yeah."
"Then how did you know that you were pregnant?" Jeff looks interested.
"My bra wasn't fitting right."
"Ah," and there's a look on his face that says he's kind of going to be focusing on her boobs for the next minute and a half, so Britta rolls her eyes and opens the menu to peruse the pancake selection.
She goes to the doctor. Jeff comes. Britta's exactly eight weeks pregnant and probably due in the late spring. Lines up with the end of school, isn't that perfect. The doctor remarks that it couldn't have gone any better if they had planned it and they both snort at exactly the same time.
After the appointment, when she's getting dressed again in her fat jeans and a loose t-shirt, Jeff winks at her. She kind of has no clue what that means.
They've- okay. Being pregnant kind of freaks her out once she's had a week to think about it. Like, there's another thing with her body to stress out about besides her boobs and her thighs and her cycling zits and also there's an added layer of she should never had gone with Abed to watch Alien kind of freakedness.
Because also as much as it's Jeff, and as much as he's being kind of great about the whole thing so far, it's Jeff and he's kind of even more freaked out over this whole thing than she is. Considering themselves 'Greendale parents' is so not anything significant in comparison to actually being parents, to actually having a living, breathing, squalling baby with spiky blonde hair and a ridiculously turned-up nose in their lives. Her waistline is expanding, just enough that she has to go up a size or two and has to pop open the button on her jeans, and while it seems like something small it's another one of those things that makes her realize that this is real.
And yeah, it isn't helping that they keep sleeping together. Like, he'll come over with ginger ale because he noticed she didn't eat anything at lunch and she'll totally jump him, hands all over him as soon as she walks into the kitchen and then they bang on the table, which is definitely not good because it's too wobbly for that kind of thing and one of these days they're going to go crashing to the floor. Or she'll go over his place to watch a movie and they'll end up screwing on the couch with her shirt pushed up to her collarbone and his pants down around his ankles (these hormones are turning her back into herself at nineteen. Which, this regressing? Not good at all.)
But in between this, there's always an undercurrent of something. They're trying to get to each other but to do it they have to tiptoe between shards of sharp, broken glass and neither wants to be the first to slice themselves open and bleed out. They're both avoiding catharsis.
He's in her bed again, tangled up in the sheets and one of his arms is flung across her. Britta's sleeping lightly, on her way to waking up, and she squirms out from under it. He finds her again, pulls her tight, but she slides out of his grasp and turns her back.
She stretches out a little and her foot touches his. She falls back to sleep.
Troy comes up to her before tap class one day.
"Britta," he says, his hands on his hips. "I have a question for you. And I totally understand if you don't want to answer, because it might come at little out of left field."
"Okay," Britta says, eyeing him. "What's up?"
Troy nods to himself. "Yo," he says, and then shakes his head. "Wait, that sounded not at all like I wanted it to. Okay. Look, are you like.. pregnant or something? Because if you are I'm going to feel way more uncomfortable with thinking you're hot."
"Right." She blinks. "Um. First of all, yes I'm pregnant. And second, Troy, you think I'm hot? Really? That's so sweet."
Troy tips his head back and stares daggers at the ceiling. "Why does Jeff have to win everything? How is that even legit? Is he like a magic man or something?"
Her eyebrows go straight up. "Um, if that's how you feel-"
Troy is still looking up at the ceiling. "It's isn't FAIR, whoever's up there. It isn't fair. This shit is not down with the T-Bone!"
Britta thinks at this point she might need to walk away quietly and find Annie to come up with a nice distraction for Troy while he calms down.
"I need to go find Abed," Troy sniffles, and then rushes away.
"Why does everyone always assume it's Jeff's?" Britta says to no one in particular.
By the end of her first trimester, well, it's pretty damn obvious what's going on.
When Annie takes her shopping again, she pulls her around to a maternity store. She doesn't need maternity clothes yet, not really, because while the bump is there it's not giant and she's more or less stealing all of Jeff's shirts very slowly- soon she'll have about half his wardrobe in her closet- but still. This is basically the kindest way Annie could have noticed.
Britta smiles: kind of awkwardly, kind of shamefaced, but Annie hugs her and squeals about how excited she is (and there's something in there about becoming an aunt, which: okay, cool, because someone needs to install a decent work ethic in this kid) so she hugs her back.
Annie's asking all sorts of questions about names and gender, the answer to both of which is no idea, and she talks about plans and childcare and how she has references saying that she's one of the top people to entrust with your children, and Britta can't help it because she's a mushy mess right now, but she's a little teary.
"What is it?" Annie asks, and she places a hand on Britta's arm, like they're not having this little heart-to-heart in the middle of the mall walkway.
"I'm sorry," Britta says. "I know that you liked- like? Jeff, and even though he was being a total ass when you guys confronted your attraction, I'm so, so sorry."
When Annie pulls away her eyes are kind of wet too. "It was always going to be you," she says. "I always knew it. He has this thing with you that he doesn't have with me and that he just… won't, I guess. He wants you. He's always wanted you. You were the reason he formed the study group, you were the person he turned to for scheming, you were the person he defended during paintball and drunk-dialed. And now he has you, even though don't take offense at this, but even though both of you guys are kind of giant messes- I mean that in the best way possible- and I think maybe he's actually kind of happy that this has happened, even if how it's happened isn't necessarily... organic, because he gets you. And that's what he's wanted all along. Besides, you guys are practically the same person."
There's a joke in there somewhere with the whole organic thing but she doesn't go for it. "I know." Britta sighs. "It used to freak me out."
"Yeah, you were kind of mean," Annie giggles a little.
"It doesn't freak me out as much now," Britta says. "I mean, there are like a thousand other things to obsess over, commitment issues notwithstanding but... I don't know. He's Jeff."
"Yeah," Annie says. "He's Jeff. I know exactly what you mean." She hugs her again.
Britta wants to say 'you're a good friend', but she can't quite find the words that will make it less cheesy and less weird, so she just hugs her a little tighter than before and buys Annie a frappe when they get to the food court.
"I'm pregnant," Britta says one day in the library.
"Old news, sweetie," Shirley says while Troy nods and Abed smiles in that way he does when he's predicted something accurately. Annie smiles, and Jeff squeezes her hand. She looks over at him, and his eyes crinkle up.
"So I was the only one who didn't know?" Pierce complains. "Come on, guys, it's cool to keep me in the loop."
"Actually Pierce, it really says more about your powers of observation," Abed says. "As you can see from Britta's waistline and breasts-"
"I'm going to stop you there," Jeff interjects. "Let's get back to studying."
Pierce scratches his head. "Wait, so her baby is Jeff's?"
It turns out that it's a good thing she got all those maternity clothes (they were having a really good sale and they had a maternity Pixies shirt, okay) because she's getting rounder. Not even her stretchy elastic-waist pants fit, she's way beyond just leaving open the top button of her jeans, and because she and Annie mostly got winter clothes, she walks into one of Duncan's classes wearing Jeff's sweatpants, which she has to roll the legs up a ton before she can walk without tripping, and his long-sleeved black thermal.
"Winger making a claim?" Duncan says, eyes sharp behind his glasses. "Is this his way of pissing a circle around you to mark his territory?"
"That's gross," Britta says, adjusting the shirt so it doesn't ride up anymore. "Please stop talking."
"Although he's clearly done that already by inseminating you, so the rest is just overkill as you might expect." Britta groans- and honestly, how does every single person who knows she's pregnant know that the baby is Jeff's?
Behind her, Shirley is eying Duncan with the kind of look that says she's going to do something illegal to his car later.
Most of the way through her second trimester, Jeff starts to talk about moving in together. She has a nice apartment, he has a nicer one, and if they combined the money they pay on rent they could afford at least a two-bedroom. Maybe even a house, if he dips into his stash of lawyer money and they get a decent mortgage- entirely possible, he says, he knows a guy.
"I have issues with your décor," Britta mutters one morning when she wakes up in his bed, entwined with him in a way that's becoming increasingly common. He's hogging the blankets like usual, and the comforter is this weirdly textured fabric that isn't soft at all. "It's minimalistic in this kind of dickish way. Plus I'm afraid your chin-up bar is going to fall and hit me in the head every time I walk under it."
"That's ridiculously irrational," Jeff points out. "Are you having crazy hormones? Because while I enjoyed the ones that made you horny, I don't like the mood swing ones. Or the cravings- seriously, who needs pickles at three in the morning?"
"Your unborn child," she says, and crosses her arms over her chest. Pregnancy has given her totally impressive knockers. "And you ate like half of those pickles. With mustard, and just when I thought that my constant nausea was over too."
Jeff shakes his head. "Okay, well I apologized like five times for that while I was holding your hair back from falling into the toilet. And look, I can take down the chin-up bar if it freaks you out."
"Right," Britta says. "Even though I'm being totally irrational?"
"You kind of are, actually, okay? It's a part of my morning routine, just like yours is to complain about how your butt keeps getting larger- I've told you, I don't mind at all, seriously."
"Stop mentioning my butt." She pulls the sheet up to her collarbone and squinches up her nose at him. Jeff sighs.
"So do you want to look in the paper for a place today?"
Britta bites her lip. "Maybe. I don't know."
His forehead creases. "You don't know? We've been talking about this for two weeks. If we want to move before the baby comes, we should have gotten started weeks ago."
"I told you, I don't know." She turns to stare at the dresser. "Okay?"
His arms encircle her, one hand sliding up towards her breast until she slaps it away. "It's not okay, because there's something this is about."
It's kind of hard to squirm in this position, especially when you're not wearing clothes, but Britta pushes him away and finds her bathrobe, tying it off securely over the swell of her stomach. "It's about me not wanting to move right now. It's about me not wanting to deal with this right now, at 7 in the morning. It's about me liking this the way they've been going until you brought up all this shit."
"You're six months pregnant! This is something we need to talk about!"
"Not now it isn't."
"Britta-" his tone has turned pleading now, hinting that there's something this is about for him even more so than there is for her. "I'm not going anywhere. You know that."
He's sitting upright on the bed now, the sheet twisted in his lap, and dear god Jeff looks ridiculous, but his face is sincere and that's what makes her terrified, that's what makes her want to run all the way back to her apartment to wrap herself in more familiar-smelling sheets and bury her face in a pillow that fits the indents of her head.
"Yeah. I know that."
"Britta." There it is again, and he's facing her dead-on and just fuck all this, fuck early morning confessions and earnestness and honesty, because she so isn't prepared to deal with any of this right now at all. "Britta look, I loveyou, and if you don't know that you should."
There it is: he says it, and she knows that he's saying it for real. This isn't like the transfer dance. There's not anyone to beat here, there's just her to win.
She breathes in and counts to ten until the silence becomes too strange. "Thanks."
His eyes are pleading with her to say something, to recite back what he said but she simply can't do it. She can't, because she's never been this person before- Jeff hasn't been this person before, and it's all too weird; it's too new, newly birthed sentiment and she can't say what she's supposed to say.
Britta tugs her fingers through her hair, catching at tugging at the snarled curls. "Look, I- I have to go, okay? I need to go."
"What are you talking about- it's seven in the morning, you crazy person- where are you even going to go anyways?"
"I'm going to go out," she says, searching for some sort of underwear and dress from the clothes in the heap by the closet door. It's getting harder to bend over but she's not going to ask him for help (and he probably wouldn't give it to her. There's that too). She manages to pull something out and yanks it over her head, putting her hair up in a messy bun. "I guess I'll see you at school."
"It's Saturday," Jeff says.
She slips on her shoes. "Whatever," she says, then pulls on a sweatshirt and leaves the room.
Her most pressing problem right now is that there's nowhere to go. Nothing is open at half past seven on a Saturday; the only people awake are those who go for early morning runs and walk their dogs. She could go to Starbucks but she doesn't want to pay three bucks for tea just because she isn't supposed to have coffee, and the thought of going to the park is unbearably depressing.
In the end Britta sits in the driveway for fifteen minutes with morning talk radio buzzing low, staring distantly out the windshield because she can't go back to Jeff's right now.
She eventually drives over to her house and lies down in her bed, but her sheets are cold and her favorite pillowcase must be in the laundry. She also left a window open and the whole place is drafty. She can't find her slippers either, and she's not going to watch morning television by herself, since she's already fallen to new depths she can't go that much further.
After a hour of sitting there, an hour that passes both slower and faster than she ever thought time could, she ends up driving to Whole Foods. There's something comforting about walking through the aisles and seeing the overpriced cheeses and organic cookie dough, something calming about it she can't get from the local grocery store or the bodega that's next to the take-out Chinese food place on her block.
Britta ends up in the aisle where all the healthy baby food is, looking at the labels. Abed would say that it's heavy-handed symbolism being shoved down the viewer's throats, but honestly it's just her feet leading and her head drifting off to be somewhere else unencumbered.
There's another woman there, one who looks like a mother with a sensible haircut and jeans that are not the ride shade of blue, but she has a friendly face and when she smiles Britta can't not smile back.
"When are you due?" The woman asks, still smiling. "You look pretty far along. Do you know the gender of the baby yet?"
"I'm due in the beginning of June," Britta says. "I don't know the gender yet. We have an ultrasound scheduled in a couple of days in order to find out, since they say by now they have a pretty good idea and neither of us particularly want to be surprised."
"It's your first?" the woman inquires.
Britta nods. "Yeah, this is my first."
"You and your husband must be getting pretty excited by now," the lady says, shifting her basket from one hand to the other. "I know me and my husband were just thrilled when I was going to have our first."
"I- don't have a husband," Britta interjects. "The father is not my husband." She doesn't know why she has that need to clarify to a stranger, but it's been a stressful morning and so what if Jeff isn't around to hear this, it's not like she hasn't said it to him anyway.
"Oh, sorry. Your boyfriend then." Another smile, but it's a lot more tentative this time.
"He's not my boyfriend either. He's like my friend, who I hung out with and slept with a few times, and then suddenly I was pregnant and we started sleeping together all the time, and now he apparently loves me. Which is really- okay, I'm being dumb. Sorry." She shakes her head and presses her thumb against a knuckle. "Sorry."
"It's fine. I remember I was a little crazy then too. I wish you the best of luck." The stranger gives her a half smile and turns to walk down the remainder of the aisle, her basket banging into the back of her legs with every other step and swing of her arm.
Britta pinches her arm with the sharp ends of her nails and goes to find some fruit so she can actually have a purpose for being here so early in the morning. So she can tell herself that she's being productive and useful, not being ridiculous and timid (though she's done it before.)
She goes back to her house and she falls asleep. She put on her own pajamas, though the shirt barely reaches her navel and it's a good thing that the pants are drawstring because otherwise they would be protesting loud and strong. She turns on quiet cello music and pulls the covers over her head to block out the sunlight. Her eyes are closed tightly, and by sheer force of will she falls asleep.
She had left the bag of fruit on her kitchen table, along with her purse and her phone and all of those other personal items. Her phone is set to vibrate, and so she doesn't hear the repetitive buzzing, all throughout the morning and into the afternoon from five different phone numbers, each calling in intervals, though Jeff calls the most.
But even if she had heard the noise, she wouldn't have picked up anyways.
She cuts school on Monday too. She's spent the entire weekend in bed or on the couch, what would be the difference here. People might talk about her but they've done that before, in high school and through her twenties and into her time at Greendale: Britta is more than used to it. She expects gossip at this point, where negative or in adoration (and that was weird when that happened, she never thought that snake thing would actually catch on).
Shirley sends her an angry text message or two, and she gets on from Troy that says what the hell britta jeff is being mopey and an un-badass and that is NOT COOL because you BROKE JEFF! and while she can definitely decipher his meaning she pretends not to understand and doesn't text him back.
At about 3:30, Jeff shows up at her door. She sticks to her guns and doesn't answer but he's persistent, and the ringing is enough to annoy the neighbors as well as her. And she really doesn't want to give the crazy woman next door more ammunition about her life of sin, since she's already complained to the landlord twice.
She yanks open the door. It bounces off the wall with a hard ping and she stops it with her foot.
"What." Britta snaps. Jeff holds his hands up in a defensive move, a precursor to whatever she's going to throw at him.
"We have to go get the ultrasound today," he says.
Someone stuck a pin in her, someone let out all the air. Britta's shoulders, tense up around her chin prepared for battle, fall to the earth.
"Okay," she says, and Jeff looks calmer.
"Okay," he says.
She gets in his car. He makes a motion to turn on the radio, but Britta shakes her head. The silence reigns superior for the first few minutes of the ride. Traffic noise drifts in through the cracked window but that is all; that is a nothing contender to the noise of nothing at all.
Britta tells herself to say something, tells herself this is the opportunity for her to say something.
"I'm scared." She says.
Jeff doesn't even look over at her. "It's just an ultrasound. You've had them before. It's fine."
She closes her eyes. "That's not what I meant."
He sighs. "I know."
She should apologize, she should tell him how much she loves him too, all the sharp and jagged pieces of him.
"You're a mess," Jeff says.
Britta looks down at as much of her lap she can see. "Believe me, I know."
"You're kind of neurotic and you care too much about things that don't matter. You're ludicrously competitive. You're kind of a bitch and you act like you're more self-confident than you actually are, and then you cut and run just as soon as something might actually be happening, especially if that something is good for you because you get scared. But- I don't know. I don't care about any of it. It doesn't bother me at all."
She smiles a little bit, and maybe even laughs a little. "Yeah, okay, well, you're not exactly a prize either. You think everything can be solved with a rousing speech, you lie your ass off and you manipulate people, you're just as competitive as I am, you don't care enough about things that matter, and you cut and run just like I do. And I don't care either, okay? I don't care at all."
His eyes slide over to meet hers, and she smiles this time, genuinely smiles. "I love you. I really do."
"So we're good then." Jeff says. He laughs a little deprecatingly. "And of course I love you. I've loved you since paintball and you slid through my legs to save my ass. You stole expensive faucets for me!"
She covers his hand with hers. "First of all, we're definitely good now. Secondly Jeff, that is hilariously dirty and probably not something we should tell the kid. And finally, I can't promise I'll never be an idiot again, and when you're telling this story in the future I'm going to be inclined to blame it on hormones, but we're going to be something good. Even better, we're going to be something awesome."
He raises an eyebrow. "I've definitely got to agree with you."
Britta laughs. "I would so kiss you right now, except you're driving and I don't want to end up in a tree."
So there it is, this is them.
The baby kicks out savagely and she presses a hand to her stomach.
"What?" Jeff says when she looks over at him with an annoyed glare. "The anger issues of this child are going to be all inherited from you."
"I would think it's at least 60-40," Britta retorts.
In the waiting room, she leans her head against his shoulder and absently he strokes a hand through her hair.
She breathes out.
About an hour later, examining the ultrasound, the doctor tells them that they're going to have a girl.
She makes out with Jeff even though she's on an exam table covered in freezing cold goo, and the doctor rolls her eyes and closes the door to give them a moment.
"We have to think about names," Britta says on the way back. "Since I think we should stop calling her It. We could give her some kind of complex."
"Probably," Jeff agrees. "Besides, It was the name of that creepy brain thing in A Wrinkle in Time."
"That reference was totally weird," she says. "Like, seriously out of left field. Anyways, what names do you like? Have you thought about it at all yet?"
"A little," Jeff shrugs. "I'm not sure. I like the name Sarah."
"Sarah Perry? That sounds kind of lame. And way too much like the word serendipity which just reminds me of hot chocolate. Veto." Britta glances over at him. His head is tilted towards her.
"What? Sarah Perry? Um, hello, what about Sarah Winger? Remember me, the father of the kid?"
"I'm not giving my daughter a name that ties her into this ridiculous patriarchal system our society has!" Britta argues. "Also, Winger sounds flippant and douchey. It works on you, but you know, you make that whole thing work for you."
"Thanks," he practically growls. "But unless her first name is going to be Winger and her last name is going to be Perry, I'm not allowing you to hijack her name like that. Seriously, I will ambush the delivery room nurse if I have to."
"Oh- you're going against the desires of a pregnant woman? Great going, Jeff. Really appreciated." Britta huffs and rolls her eyes. He rolls them in turn, presumably at her childishness. Whatever.
"Could we at least compromise on Sarah Winger-Perry? Can't you agree to hyphenate?"
"..maybe." She considers it. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, certainly not, but- "and when did we agree on Sarah?"
"Oh yeah," he says after a pause. "Right. What other names do you like? And I'm telling you now Britta, if you suggest something like Sunshine or Rainbow I will stop this car right now."
"Ew. No way," she says. "What about Ava?"
"Eh," Jeff responds. "It's fine for a middle name, but kind of short for a first name."
"It has the same number of syllables as Sarah does!"
"It only has three letters!"
"Sarah only has five! You're being ridiculous."
"Fine. I don't hate it. And I'm being distracted from the road. You want to let future Britta and future Jeff handle this? We have a couple more months."
Britta thinks about it. "Sure," she says. "We can wait until later."
They're in the library all gathered around the table, actually quietly studying (for once) when Jeff decides to pipe up.
"So Britta and I are having a girl," he says, and Annie's squeal is so loud and high-pitched that Britta wouldn't be surprised if dogs came running at the sound of it.
"That's wonderful!" Shirley says, clasping her hands together; Abed and Troy say congrats in unison. Pierce nods. "Do you have any names yet?" Shirley continues.
"Sarah," Jeff says, at the same time Britta says "Ava."
"They're both lovely names," Annie smiles. "Although I like Ava more. Sarah is the name of one of my cousins, and she's a total bitch. But it's still very pretty!"
"Ha," Britta says to Jeff, who sends her a look.
"I think Troy is a good name for a girl," Troy says. "You should consider it."
"Um," Jeff says. Britta raises her eyebrows in Troy's direction.
"You should make sure that you don't give your child an embarrassing middle name," Abed says. "According to a lot of shows that scars characters for life, especially when their friends use it as ammunition."
"Exactly, just like in that move we were watching last night!" Annie chimes in, and then everyone watches as her face turns an alarming shade of pink.
"Last night?" Troy inquires. "So where was I, Abed?"
"You weren't invited," he answers. "Cause this was kind of a date thing, and I thought it would be uncomfortable if you had to watch us make out instead of watching the movie."
"Make out, huh?" Britta grins at Annie, whose shoulders are twitching uncomfortably around her ears.
"It was very nice," Annie bites her lip.
Troy slaps the table. "Damn!"
"What?" Abed looks over, concerned.
"This is not fair, okay? First Jeff knocks up Britta so I can't even look at her boobs anymore even though they've gotten, like, huge now because that would be weird and getting in on his territory, and now you're hooking up with Annie? Is the whole world trying to mess up my love life by taking away all the hot girls I know?"
"I'm sure you'll find someone someday, Troy." Abed pats his hand reassuringly. "If it happened to me, it can happen to you."
"Hmph," Troy scowls.
Under the table, Jeff squeezes Britta's hand.
She wakes up in his bed with his arms wrapped around her, or around as much of her as he can. One hand has drifted up to play with the hair around her temple and the other is drawing lines across her collarbone. It's nice being the inside spoon, she thinks. She tucks her head under his chin and slings an arm back to feel the muscles around his spine.
Jeff kisses the top of her head. "Hey, so you know those crazy sex hormones you had a while ago."
"Mm-hmm," she responds. "You smell nice."
"O-kay… well, I was wondering, whatever happened to them? Because out of all your crazy mood swings, those were the ones that I enjoyed the most."
Britta laughs and flips over so she can kiss him. He's a lot gentler than he used to be, even with kissing her: he treats her like she might break, or go into labor, at any second. And while a lot of girls would probably enjoy it, she isn't necessarily one of them, because it's a lot more fun when there's a competitive edge, when everything is tit-for-tat, one against the other. (She's come to terms with this particular little thing of hers a long time ago.)
Still she kisses him back softly, because it's there's that glowing morning light filling the room and right now feels like a good time to be gentle.
It kind of makes sense that as she advances in her pregnancy, she becomes grumpier. Her body has been stretched and malformed by this baby, and while the bigger boobs seemed great at first, eventually she becomes tired of them too. And she really doesn't want to fall into the old, tired cliché of 'do I look fat? I feel fat. Are you sure I don't look fat?' except that she totally does. Her stomach is out and up and her ankles are puffy and she can barely sleep in whichever bed at whoever's house they're staying at that night, so she ends up in a recliner because of her back.
Jeff complains about being lonely by himself (something she never thought that she would hear him say, but she's gotten used to sleeping next to him as well) and she really does miss watching him do mostly-naked upside down curl ups while she gets herself un-drowsy. She definitely misses that. A lot.
One morning, when she wobbles into the kitchen for breakfast, she finds a plate full of pancakes and organic maple syrup waiting. She leans up and kisses him on the cheek. He's having some totally gross protein drink for breakfast, which, ew. The smell of it makes her nauseous, just like the smell of ham.
"Look down," Jeff says.
Right next to the cup of freshly-squeezed orange juice (which begs the question, where has he been hiding a juicer all this time? She thought that she thoroughly investigated all of his cabinets), there's a small velvet box.
"What. The fuck." Britta says, because she's seen enough television shows that she doesn't need to open it to know what's inside.
Jeff offers up a sheepish grin. "I know that you don't believe in the institution of marriage or whatever, but believe me when I say it makes sense for tax reasons."
"Okay, yeah that's fine but I wanted to be the one to propose!"
Jeff stands up. "What, wait, that is so totally unfair. You got to be the one to propose last time!"
"That argument doesn't count because last time didn't count and was totally orchestrated by Abed!"
"Uh, whatever, it's still my turn."
"Uh-huh your face says it's your turn."
He doesn't call her out on that admittedly moronic comeback. Instead he smiles, and it's one of the sincere genuine smiles she's been seeing more and more, sometimes only when she's looking at him out the corner of her eye when he thinks that she's focusing on something else other than him. "Wait. Wait a minute. You're not saying no to my proposal."
Britta shrugs. "I've been thinking about it, and while I still don't like the idea of marriage in general, I guess being married to you wouldn't utterly suck."
"Yes! Haha! I win!"
"Now that is not fair. You won last time. When exactly do I get to win?"
Jeff pauses for a moment to think about it. "The wedding night?"
"I'd say ew, but yeah. And we're not having a big wedding."
He walks over to her. "That's fine with me. Remember how my mom still doesn't know that I'm not a lawyer? And you don't talk to your dad? And none of our immediate family knows that we're having a baby?"
Britta bites her lip. "Oh yeah, that. I should probably tell my brothers soon, shouldn't I. My nieces and nephews would totally want to visit their baby cousin. Plus I can prove Lucas wrong since he said when I was fourteen I wouldn't be able to find anyone willing to put up with me."
"Well, my mom told me that I couldn't get married until I found someone as special as I am, and I'm not telling my mother about the wedding or the baby until I absolutely have to. I might just send her a text message. Think that would be effective?"
"You're a terrible human being."
"Probably. But you're the one marrying me." Jeff leans forward and kisses her. She kisses him back best as she can manage with the belly in the way, and he fits his arms around her back and then makes sure to grab her butt while he's at it. Pretty much all thoughts of breakfast are expressly forgotten.
All in all they end up going down to the courthouse that morning, because they have nothing planned for the day and if they're going to do it, they might as well get it over with. At the last minute, Britta texts Annie, figuring that if she's with Abed they can have a couple of their friends-slash-witnesses, then and there.
The judge greets Jeff like an old friend while they're waiting for Annie and Abed to arrive at the courthouse. It turns out he knows Jeff from some case that he did at some time, and apparently Jeff's lawyering was very impressive. Or something. Britta isn't quite sure.
"So this is what you've been up to on your time off!" The judge exclaims. "Meeting girls and starting a family! Though I must admit I never thought you were the type."
"It was a bit of a surprise," Britta interjects, her smile plastered across her face. "But we're very glad it happened."
"I'll say that," the judge adds. "Guess you managed to tie down Winger good and tight. The old ball and chain, eh?"
As Jeff leans down to quietly ask when exactly did Annie and Abed say they would show up, Britta silently resolves to stay as far away as she can from any more of Jeff's legal gatherings. And possibly contract a contagious disease for any dinner parties that might pop up in their future, just to be on the safe side. Thankfully for her brain, Abed and Annie show up right around then.
"A shotgun wedding!" Abed says as soon as he catches sight of them. "It's just like- actually, I can't think of a good pop culture reference to make because I'm extremely excited, but I'm sure that you're following in the footsteps of many esteemed fictional characters."
"We're so happy for you!" Annie adds on. She's put on a nice pink dress and heels, probably the reason why it took them a while. Abed is wearing a shirt with a cartoon happy face on it. To show his joy, he explains. Annie pats him on the shoulder.
"Britta," Annie says, surveying her. "You can't wear that!"
Britta glances down at the button-down grey shirt she's wearing and the nicer of her maternity jeans. "What's wrong with my outfit?" She asks.
"Yeah, that's one of my favorite shirts," Jeff adds.
Annie's return look is cold and calculating. "I brought you a dress," she says. "And before you say anything- that goes for you too Jeff- think about this: Shirley will kill you if you don't look nice in the pictures. She's been dreaming of this for months."
"Because Shirley is what really matters," Jeff mutters, but Britta takes the dress, which is blue with a v-neck, and goes to change in the courthouse bathroom. Annie follows her, clutching a purse that seems suspiciously full of mascara and lipgloss.
When she comes out, fully made up in the dress and black Converse hi-top sneakers, Annie looks satisfied at a job well done.
"So you just showed up?" Abed inquires while the girls are making their way out. "And they made sure you weren't married already, checked your IDs, and said okay let's do this?"
"Well they wouldn't let us get the license until we forked over 30 bucks," Jeff adds. "But yeah, it was that easy. Pretty different than my other experiences in a courtroom."
"Yeah," the judge deadpans, "cause in those cases you were wearing a suit."
"I have on a button-down!" Jeff protests. "Anyways, can we just do this thing?"
"This is so romantic," Annie rolls her eyes. "It's going to be such a great story to tell your child."
"Usually wedding episodes are more exciting than this," Abed adds. "For example, when Monica and Chandler got married on Friends, everyone also found out that Rachel was pregnant. Except that wouldn't apply here because Britta is already pregnant. Unless…" he turns to Annie. "You're not going to surprise me with some news later, are you?"
Annie gasps. "Ohmygod, Abed! No!"
"If this doesn't start right now you're going to go into my lunch break," the judge says.
Jeff flashes one of his lawyer smiles. "My apologies," he says. "We're ready to begin."
In their vows, Jeff calls Britta an overconfident dork once and a hipster twice. He adds the words awesome, hot, and surprisingly lovable at the end, and maybe he slips something in there about how he wouldn't want to be anywhere without her. Britta calls him a tool and makes sure to mention that he did not win her over with his rousing speeches and knowing exactly at which point to slap the table really hard – Abed nods knowingly at this- but it's okay because now they're even and she loves him even though he's kind of an arrogant douche, and maybe she says something about how she always will.
In spite of what have to be the most unromantic vows ever (unless you're listening really closely) Annie cries throughout the entire ceremony.
In all of the pictures that a friendly clerk takes after the judge has pronounced them man and wife and goes to eat his pastrami sandwich on rye, only three of them will pass Shirley's inspection.
In three of them, Britta is poking Jeff in the side. In another two, his eyebrows are raised so far they look like they might actually pop off his face. In one, they're bickering over who gets to stand where. In another, they're both laughing while Abed makes a troll face and Annie looks both amused and horrified in the background.
(In the picture that Shirley frames and gives to them as a wedding present, Jeff's arm is around Britta's back and she's leaning into his side while he looks down at her. Both of them are smiling. Britta puts it on the end table in the foyer, right next to the one where she and Jeff are sticking their tongues out at each other and of course the troll face one. She can't help it, because Abed's troll face? Is really hilarious.
They announce that they got married over the weekend at the next study group meeting.
No one seems to be surprised.
The weekend later, at exactly the beginning of her eighth month, Britta realizes that they are probably the most unprepared people ever. Like, if there was a zombie apocalypse, the only skills they would have are snark, lawyer-talk, and some really excellent death glares. And paintball skills, but paintballs don't stop zombies as effectively as giant shovels do, and in her state Britta doesn't think she would be able to wield a shovel. And another thing to not watch with Abed? Zombie movies. Except maybe Shaun of the Dead.
"We suck," Jeff says one morning while he's making fresh carrot juice. (Seriously, where on earth has he been hiding the juicer? She can't find it anywhere.)
"Why do we suck?" Britta tilts her head to the side. "Is it because we haven't told our family yet about the baby and the fact that we're now civil partners?"
"Yes, wife, that is one of the reasons why-" she throws a piece of cereal at his head, and it bounces off his nose- "but actually I was thinking that we don't have a nursery yet. And unless we want the baby to sleep in a drawer, we should get on that."
"I was actually just thinking that!" Britta adds. "My lease is up soon, so either I move in here or we can find a house. Really quickly." She pauses. "But whichever way, we're keeping my comforter. Yours is weird."
"Uh, mine is way more expensive." Jeff rebuts.
Britta scowls. "It's oddly slippery."
"Whatever," Jeff says. "We should buy a crib though. Or a bassinet? And a changing table? Or do they give us that kind of thing at the baby shower?"
"There's going to be a baby shower?" Britta looked terrified. "Where did you hear that? I don't give a shit about mainstream feminine things, you hear anything about a baby shower and you and I are going to hide out at my brother's for the weekend. I don't care if we have to take care of my niece and nephew the entire time, I am not going to-"
Jeff bites his lip. "Act surprised when Shirley calls to take you shopping later today? And I'll call Troy and Abed to put together a crib and move things out of the spare bedroom."
"You mean your man cave."
"Semantics. And we'll buy a crib too."
"Jeff, as my husband you cannot leave me to the whims of Shirley throwing a party for me! I think there's something against that in the marriage license!"
"Yeah, no. There's no way I'm going into a room that full of femininity. Also she maybe invited your sister-in-law-" he ducks to avoid the barrage of cereal coming his way, because he has heard quite a few times how Darth Vader could take lessons from Britta's sister-in-law . "I'm going to chalk this up to hormones and we can forget all about it. And I'll even be nice and clean up the cereal if you promise not to throw anything else at me. Please."
Britta nods, but then eyes Jeff and then her carrot juice threateningly.
Because Abed is probably a shaman and has a desire to subvert tropes, he, Troy, and Jeff manage to get some semblance of a nursery put together in about three hours, including putting up a few cheerful wall decals that Jeff knows will ruin the aura of the room forever and ever.
"I didn't want it to descend into hilarious chaos," Abed explains his reasoning for their speed, as Troy pokes at things with the screwdriver and in general attempts to look manly. "Though I'm sorry, Jeff, for taking over. Except you were holding the instructions upside and you know, that would have slowed us down a lot."
"It's alright. And Troy, I didn't know you had such good taste in nursery décor."
Troy looks up from where he's trying to detach his sleeve from the wall. "I have very many hidden talents," he responds, nodding wisely.
"Want some help with that?" Jeff asks.
When Britta walks into her totally unexpected, very surprising surprise baby shower, hosted by Shirley, Annie, and a lot of pink streamers, after everyone yelling 'surprise!' and her pretending to be shocked, the first person she talks to is her sister-in-law.
"So, Britta," Natalie says, casually leaning against the wall. "Lucas and I were very surprised when we got an invitation inviting us to 'Britta Winger's baby shower'."
Britta scowls. "Shirley!" She yells across the room, over to the direction of the artfully arranged stack of brownies and the woman who baked them. "I did not change my name, okay. I kept the Perry!"
"Have you told your mother yet?" Natalie inquires. "Because I don't think she would be very happy to hear the news from me. She probably would have wanted to hear it from you. And I think that she would have wanted to hear it about six months ago."
"Wait a second," Britta narrows her eyes. "This is an elaborate plot, isn't it. You're trying to make her mad at me because she's still mad at you for promising to name your daughter after her and naming her Marissa instead! See, this is why I don't talk to you guys and only spend time with Jeremy. Because Jeremy isn't evil and hasn't converted to the dark side!"
"Hmmm," Natalie narrows her eyes right back. "We'll see."
Britta escapes to find Annie, who is animatedly talking to some of her old anarchist friends and might be a little too interested in the conversation.
The shower comes to an end when Shirley's babysitter calls her, saying that they've been kicked out of the arcade and she needs to go fetch her boys or the sitter is going to charge her double the normal rate. Britta hugs her extra tightly on the way out, while Annie helps her load up the car.
"Jeff's going to appreciate the organic baby shampoo," she says. "I would say that you know us too well, but thank you."
Annie grins and looks a little teary, and so Britta hugs her extra tight too.
She goes into labor two weeks after classes end at Greendale, something she is very thankful for because having her baby at Greendale Community College would be ridiculous.
It happens like this: she wakes up because of back cramps. They feel like the false contractions that she's been having for weeks, but they're different in a way, and her women's intuition pops back into play. It's five in the morning, and beside her Jeff is snoring away, making this odd little choking noises every couple of breathes.
Britta pokes him in the side. He bats her hand away and stays asleep.
She considers him for a second, then leans over and pinches his nose tightly closed. Jeff makes a couple of extremely evocative noises, and then bolts upright.
"What is it? Are there zombies?"
She raises an eyebrow. "No, there aren't zombies Jeff, but you're going to need to tell me about that dream sometime soon."
"Guh." He blinks rapidly. "Right. What's going on?"
"I think I'm in labor." He's already sitting up in bed, but this has the effect of truly waking him up.
"Wait. Seriously? This can't happen now! We haven't decided on a name yet. Did your water break?"
"No," Britta responds. "But I'm having contractions. And of course it's happening now."
"Do they hurt?"
"Huh. Um." She presses a hand to her lower back. "No, they just twinge a little bit. We probably have all morning to think of a name."
"So why did you wake me up?" he asks.
She shrugs. "I just thought you should know. But they're not that close together, so I think we can wait on driving to the hospital."
"So if nothing's going on can I go back to sleep?"
She leans her head against his chest. "Yeah, why not."
Forty-five minutes later, when her water breaks, they decide that they probably should go to the hospital.
"We totally have to use my comforter now," Jeff says, as he pulls on a pair of jeans.
Britta stays in her pajamas. "Whatever," she grumps at him. "Hurry up."
"I can get it out of storage!"
She bites her lip as a contraction hits, stronger than the last ones. "I hate you," she says, before starting to walk to the car, very slowly. Jeff follows, car keys and bag in hand.
They get to the hospital, and things actually go very smoothly. There's a midwife there who is decidedly un-crazy (though sometimes they forget how people can often been very sane once they're outside the influence of the Greendale campus) and a private room.
Once she starts really being in labor- moving past twinges into pain that Britta feels emanating throughout her entire body, she maybe sprains two of Jeff's fingers.
He tells her it's okay.
At two am the next morning, after Jeff is positive that Britta has the strongest grip in the entire Western half of the United States and Britta has decided that she's never going to have sex with him again, they have a baby.
It's a girl, as expected, and as they place her on Britta's chest she has a very wonderful idea.
"I think we should name her Lucy," she says, looking up at Jeff (who manages to look good looking even in the horrid hospital scrubs they made him wear. Bitch.)
He looks just as tired as she feels, but he smiles all the same. "How about Lucy Eleanor Winger-Perry?" he asks.
"Perry-Winger and you have yourself a deal," she says.
"What? Winger-Perry sounds so much better!"
"I just gave birth to her," Britta argues. "My name deserves to come first." She shoots him a look, and sighing, he reluctantly agrees. She smirks. "Ha. Lawyered."
Once it becomes later in the morning, they start to make phone calls. Jeff calls his mother: "so, you know how I'm a lawyer? Well I kind of am not that anymore. And I got married and I have a kid I'm-hanging-up-now-I-love-you-bye!" and Britta calls her brother: "hey Jeremy, did Natalie tell you that I'm married and pregnant? She did? Bitch. Yeah, I know you hate her too. Anyways, you're an uncle! Want to tell mom for me?" and Jeff calls the rest of the study group, once it's a little bit later, say eight.
It turns out that Abed won the betting pool on when Britta was going to give birth. He uses the money to buy the baby a bunch of Baby Mozart DVDs, and Britta doesn't have the heart to tell him that they've been proven to not really work.
Three days later, Jeff is holding Lucy in his arms. Britta stands in the doorway, but his back is turned to her and he doesn't know she can hear what he's saying.
"So this used to be my man cave," he whispers to the baby. "Though I think it does okay as a nursery, don't you? Even though my foosball table now have to live with Troy for a while. But it's okay, because I love your mother very much. Ever since she called me on my own bullshit, probably. After all, she stole faucets for me and sacrificed herself to a crazy Spanish teacher slash suicide bomber wielding a paint bomb for me. I think that's true love, don't you? Also it was really hot."
Britta walks across the room and leans her head on his shoulder. Jeff kisses her cheek.
"I think she has my nose," he says.
"Maybe she'll be freakishly tall like you too." Britta grins up at him.
"We can only hope," he deadpans. "But if she looks like you we're going to have to beat the guys away with sticks."
"I think there's time before we have to worry about that," she says. He kisses her again.
(As Abed would say, this is where we stop for the happy ending.)