Welp, this happened. Hope nobody's too OOC.
Disclaimer: I do not own: "New Girl," "You Are My Sunshine," Disney, "Enchanted," or anything else you recognize.
She's singing again, but it's a real song, and she's singing quietly, and nicely. It's hard to remember that she has a beautiful voice when she's doing her bizarre narration-in-song, but she is a genuinely good singer. Especially now, when she doesn't know anyone's listening, and she sounds so happy. Even relatively normal, Nick can't help thinking, but it's pretty halfhearted as his cynical thoughts go and it's quickly drowned out by the quiet singing. After a moment he realizes it's "You Are My Sunshine," and he smiles. It's pretty ridiculous, the idea that Jess needs someone else to be her sunshine. She is sunshine. If there ever were gray days in Los Angeles, she'd definitely make people happy on them. Sure, she's a little much sometimes with the goofiness, but moments like this make up for it.
At the bar that night, Amanda looks at him, puzzled. "Are we singing campfire songs now?"
"That song you're humming. 'You Are My Sunshine'? I guess that's more third-grade music class than campfire, but whatever. Kinda weird, Nick."
He mumbles something and stops, embarrassed to be caught humming such a juvenile song. But then he remembers how it sounded this morning, and ducks his head and smiles.
Paul's just picked up Jess for another fun, quirky date. They're going to do something with puppies and rainbows and ukuleles, probably; he wasn't really paying attention as she rhapsodized about their plans. As the door closes, Winston all but sighs, "They really are perfect for each other."
Even though the actual woman has left, there's way too much estrogen in the apartment. And no they're not. "No they're not."
Schmidt stares at him. "How can you say that? They like all the same things, they do the same weird singing thing, they have everything in common… How is that not perfect for each other?"
"Being the same person is not the same as being perfect for each other. It's actually creepy, if you think about it. It's like getting it on with your clone." Nick facepalms immediately, because he knows Schmidt's thinking about exactly that now. Winston shakes his head, having reached the same conclusion.
"So if Paul's not perfect for her, who is?"
He's vaguely aware he shouldn't be seeming to describe himself. "I don't know. Somebody who can keep her from floating away entirely." Too poetic. "Someone realistic, who makes sure the bills get paid but still appreciates her." What? "Somebody not a—a freakin' cartoon character!" He flings one hand toward the door, pixelating Paul.
"Ooh, yeah!" Schmidt's come out of his self-loving reverie. "Like in Enchanted! You know, we watched—that is, I noticed Jess watching it last week. Anyway, the cartoon princess gets stuck in the real world and teaches the gruff yet loveable lawyer about the magic all around him while he teaches her about anger and when not to sing."
When had Disney gotten prophetic? He makes a strangled noise that earns him a suspicious look from Winston, who asks, "So you could have just said 'Opposites attract' and left it at that?"
"I could have, if I wanted to tear out all the symbolism and emotional heft of the story," Schmidt retorts, and it devolves into an argument that Nick tunes out.
So maybe later that night he "borrows" the DVD and watches it with an excited dread usually reserved for slasher flicks. (He sure doesn't get goosebumps when McDreamy sings to the princess.) But it's just a kids' movie. He doesn't believe in fairy tales. And he can't shake the tiny but persistent feeling that he might be in one.
"Why are you smiling at me like that?"
"Would you rather I made the turtle face at you?"
She bounces on the couch and jabs a finger in the air triumphantly, a huge if slightly unfocussed grin on her face. "Aha! You acknowledge that you do have a turtle face!"
Why is he smiling at her? Well, why shouldn't he be smiling at her? She's insane and insists on using strange voices when she talks and had to practice, really practice, before she could say the word "penis" and is annoyingly perky in the morning, which are all valid reasons not to smile at her. But sometimes he just can't help it, and he decides not to try.
Jess is a little tiny bit buzzed after her date with Paul, and Nick gets home to find her watching TV and giggling. He stands there and smiles down at her and she asks why and he avoids answering and drops down on the couch next to her. He asks about her date just to listen to her talk, to be able to stare at her face without seeming weird. He tries to makes her laugh and they talk until she falls asleep right there on the couch.
As he's carrying her to her room he's afraid his heartbeat is going to wake her up, it feels so loud. When he sets her down on her bed—it's harder to do gently than they make it look in the movies—she grabs his hand and murmurs, "Nick."
"Remind me to pay my cell phone bill."
He whispers okay and good night and waits until she takes her hand away and tucks it under her pillow. Even he knows what the hero would do in a story: kiss her on the forehead and linger at the door. But he's just a bartender and a law school dropout, not a prince, and she's a teacher with a boyfriend, so he walks out and closes the door softly, and he doesn't even let himself take one more look at her sleeping there. Since this is real life, he doesn't know what's going to happen next. He's willing to bet it will involve more singing and frustration and arguments and smiles.
It's not a happily ever after, but it feels pretty good.