Singin' in the Rain
Annie sure as hell wasn't going to bring it up.
Abed didn't seem so keen to start that conversation either.
What is wrong with you? Why right then, giving that excuse?
It was just a game of paintball.
"SHOULD WE START THAT MARATHON NOW?!" Annie tried to sound casual, but to her she sounded shaky and loud.
"Oh. Yeah. Come in," Abed smiled, oddly enough. Various things were missing or packed into boxes. Only the couch and TV remained. "We'd better start now. I'm supposed to be gone by noon tomorrow, and there are four epics still to go."
"I'm going to miss this place," Annie confessed timidly, almost forgetting who she was talking to. "You put in the DVD, I'm going to use the bathroom."
She tried hard not to flee the room.
Abed slouched onto the couch. In the real world, the sting of her rejection to moving in to the apartment was fading. In paintball, he'd been kissed by the smartest and most aesthetically pleasing girl to ever walk into Greendale. And while only the second statement was hyperbole, Abed believed both fervently. That was both the most thrilling and disappointing thing Abed could recall ever happening to him, ever since "Lost" ended, of course. But they were different people in paintball. He was different. And therefore... attractive to her?
32 seconds passed before the DVD menu's music looped. It had done so six times before Annie returned. She looked only slightly more relaxed.
"So let's get started!" she clapped her hands together awkwardly even before she reached the dorm, anxious for the excuse to shut up.
Annie had seen the movie a thousand times (it was practically required every time she visited her grandmother), but it was no less haunting. She always cried at the end. And the middle. And the beginning. Almost all the way through.
Abed was not blind. Summoning whatever 'Han Solo' confidence he had around Annie that hadn't died with paintball, he put his arm on the back of the couch, a subtle offer to comfort the girl next to him, who was Jewish and very sensitive, and therefore likely to cry. She was also very beautiful, but that was an objective thought. He liked her hair.
Annie instinctively laid her head on whatever was closest to her. In this case, it was Abed's shoulder.
Abed wasn't expecting that. He pretended not to notice.
On the Waterfront
Annie recovered slowly from the previous movie. However, she did almost immediately pick her head up off of Abed's shoulder. And now we have another awkward moment to never speak of again. Why did you have to go and do that? Annie could only assume that Abed hadn't spoken of their little mishap because he didn't return her feelings. And now she'd made things worse.
She'd liked it though. It was liberating. She'd thought about doing it for months now, she realized. Maybe even since he first invited her in. She always felt safe with him. Even when she hated him, seeing him gave her a sense of... consistency. Or maybe it was the movies, like he said. This thought distressed her. Still, they might have been what made her feel safe.
...No. When she was watching them by herself, she'd missed him dearly. Maybe she was just too stubborn to do anything about it.
She loved the movies. She loved him. Two separate entities.
This one was no different. At the end, in spite of the nervous tension which existed between them (that was possibly just a figment of her imagination), she couldn't help but remark, "That was great."
"What's next?" she turned to Abed, excited. It was only noon. They had 24 hours.
Maybe that was the climax, and he'd missed it. It was likely the arc had been aborted. By her, or him. He wasn't sure. Maybe she felt nothing for him.
He'd actually forgotten her, for a brief second, when Meghan dumped him. He was too angry to remember their two year friendship. And how much he had wanted to end that friendship for something greater at one point. She moved on. He stepped out of the way.
Still, she instigated it. And it lasted a while. The kiss, not their friendship. He'd started that, exactly 453 days and 8 hours ago.
"...helped launch the American New Wave, along with "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Easy Rider," which Michael Cimino ended."
"The guy who directed "The Deer Hunter?"
They'd started talking shortly after "On the Waterfront" ended. They hadn't stopped yet. Abed was avoiding the elephant in the room. Maybe she was too. Maybe she'd forgotten. Maybe the paintball game literally existed in another plane of being.
Maybe he made it up. He hadn't been called a "freak" for so many years for nothing.
The Wizard of Oz
"Ha! Really?" Annie stared at the DVD cover incredulously.
"One of the most recognized and influential children's classics ever made," Abed replied instinctively.
"Oh. Well, recognized, I guess."
"You've seen it?"
"Of course! Who hasn't? I just didn't expect it to be so high on the list. I mean, it's really campy!"
"Star Wars" is campy," Abed replied. Was he angry at Han Solo?
"Okay, point taken. Some of the characters in that movie are..." her voice quietly trailed off. She suddenly realized just how much had changed, and would always remain changed. Their secret little ritual had been forever changed. Realizing it would soon be over didn't make her feel any better. Abed glanced briefly at her, silent. She realized he knew it too.
Their were only two ways this would end. And they were both equally scared of both.
Lawrence of Arabia
Annie could only imagine the conversation the two would have had when the movie concluded at seven, if their friendship hadn't been strained irrevocably.
"Wow, that was long!" that would be her, of course.
"Not as long as the next one," Abed would say, always the subjectivist.
"Abed, I didn't kiss you because you were Han Solo! That was a stupid thing to say, but I don't know if you care, and if you do I feel horrible, and-"
Annie almost literally shook her head of the thought. Not even in her imagination could she escape this truth. The two of them couldn't tuck it away forever.
It was just paintball, she retreated. She knew it wasn't true.
A part of him knew it too.
Neither knew how to bring it up now. But they both wanted to.
Gone With the Wind
The intermission music played. Annie refused to admit she was tired. It was only 9:30. They were going to finish this. Here.
Abed felt the same way. Perhaps the whole situation was like "Lost in Translation": only under very specific circumstances could Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray fall in love. After it was over, the relationship would disintegrate. If there was any relationship to speak of, that was.
He and Annie weren't in love. Were they?
Another hour passed. The second half of the movie was less exciting than the first, and Annie started closing her eyes for concernedly longer periods of time.
"Here. They're kind of warm, but they'll keep you up," Abed broke the silence by revealing to her a couple 2-liter bottles of Mountain Dew, obviously coming from one of the boxes.
"Thanks," she muttered before unscrewing the lid. She hated Mountain Dew, but this was more important that her dislikes. It was more important than just the movies. It was him, and having to watch them with him. It was the way he smiled, and how he comforted her, and how nice and helpful he was to her and everyone else, even his insufferable girlfriend. He kept her grounded. He made her happy. "This is pretty bad," she waved the bottled liquid in the air.
He didn't respond. Only smiled a little.
"I didn't," she stopped. "It wasn't because you were, um..." she couldn't bring herself to say the rest; she was shaking as it was.
He slowly smiled, and quite a bit more at that. She blushed, and fixed her gaze on the screen, therefore missing his reaction.
1:15 they began it. Annie realized about two hours later this was the fourth epic. The final epic on the list. She quite enjoyed epics.
Abed had seen it many times before, and would see it many times after it. It was the greatest Mafia movie ever made. It was better than "Goodfellas." He loved it almost as much as.
Did she mean it? She'd only said it to make him feel better. Possibly. Maybe he should say something back. It had been four hours since one of them spoke.
"I wish it wasn't ending," Abed said at length, as Michael's son was baptized. He wasn't talking about the movie. Annie silently agreed.
They watched, both afraid to look at each other. Ingrid Bergman was leaving. Ilsa and Rick belonged together, but she was leaving. Couldn't she see that? Why wasn't he trying to stop her?
You couldn't with Rich and Jeff and Troy and Vaughn.
There was Meghan. The librarian. Agent Vohlers.
Then there's Abed.
Then there's Annie.
Annie realized just how little she wanted to lose Abed. Nervously, she began, "Abed, do you-?"
He nodded, unsure, nay, legitimately doubting she meant what he hoped she meant.
"I don't like Han Solo. I just, needed an excuse, in case you didn't... I like you. I have since before I can remember. I.. think that I-"
Abed summoned himself to interrupt her. By kissing her again. Interrupting her this way, he felt, was the appropriate dramatic romantic response.
The movie ended.
454 days and 10 hours ago Annie met Abed.
99 movies ago he welcomed her into his dorm.
98 when he introduced her to the study group.
84 when he came to her apartment for New Year's.
51 when he met Meghan.
50 when Annie decided she hated Meghan.
44 and she was gone.
31 and she was back, and Annie was gone.
20 and she left again.
16 and they were in love.
1 movie ago, in fact only a few minutes ago, they admitted it.
Annie, of course, was the more forthcoming. "I think I love you," she spluttered when Abed ended the kiss. "I think, I've loved you ever since Meghan, or New Year's when we watched Fargo..."
Abed cut her off, albeit less dramatically this time. "I love you too," he faced away from her and began to talk faster. "It makes sense. We're both grounded in our neuroses. We can both be manipulative, self-centered, and control freaks. We've had a string of failed relationships. We both love these movies. Given our will-they-or-won't-they dynamic... we've become Ross and Rachel."
By now the two were very close. "I'm so happy to hear you say that," Annie could barely whisper. She was almost in tears of joy. It was 4:00 AM.
"We have one left," Abed reminded her. Always the direct one. Now it was Annie's turn to kiss him. Annie was fully prepared to sleep with him, and it would seem as if they would, but seconds after she laid down on top of him she involuntarily passed out.
Abed woke her up, of course. She blinked. "What time is it?" she asked, sitting up. Abed was already poised, ready to watch "Citizen Kane," which was, of course, all ready to play.
"10:00. If we start right now we can-"
"-finish it, and-"
"Abed," she touched him, affirming that he was in fact there, for one, that last night had happened. And also to stop him from hitting the play button.
Annie finally made a very important decision. "Let's pack the movies up."
"Why? We're going to finish these movies here."
"We're past this. Past this room. Our friendship is over. I know we're both... scared of change, but we're in a relationship now," she talked very gently, and with increasing confidence.
"But, we need to finish this-"
"But it doesn't have to be here."
"...You want to move into the apartment?" Abed asked, half conjecturing and half hoping.
"Yes," Annie smiled. "We can can celebrate our... evolution tonight."
"By finishing "Citizen Kane."
"Among other things," Annie replied slyly.
"You're referring to sex."
"Abed!" Annie was less offended then surprised.
"We were about to do it last night, I think. Then you fell asleep."
"You're right," Annie smiled. The two kissed each other, this time longer and more passionately than before.
"Alright, put the DVDs in that box over there," Abed got up abruptly, not wanting to milk the moment, and pointed to an empty box as he ejected the "Citizen Kane" disc. Annie did so, loading each piece of the long road that brought her and Abed together. She smiled fondly on each one. She didn't realize when an hour passed, and it was just her, Abed, the couch, and the box.
"I love you," Annie whispered. He was hugging her gently from behind.
"I love you too," he whispered back.
"Abed," Annie whispered.
"I was doing some research, and apparently the AFI published a second list."
"Yeah. In 2007 they revised it."
"You know what that means."
"Subtracting Citizen Kane... there are still technically 23 left."