They were talking pleasantly while they were waiting for the elevator.
Well, somewhat pleasantly.
"Jess, you have got to be joking. I refuse to believe that you actually think this."
He turned to her.
"You mean to tell me that you actually think that if you swallow a watermelon seed, a whole watermelon will grow in your stomach?"
Indignant, she pouted.
"Well, that's what my uncle told me, and you always see people spitting the seeds out!"
"I can't believe this," he said to no one, turning back to the elevator with a smile on his face.
"Oh yeah? Well, you thought Mount Rushmore just naturally happened!" she yelled, just in time for the doors to open, revealing an unusually packed elevator. There was an uncomfortable pause, and Nick glared at Jess.
"Weather erosion can do incredible things," he whispered hotly, then re-accessed the tightly cramped space before them. "Wait, what's this?"
"Were we not invited to another elevator party?" Jess asked. "I always wanted to go to one."
A woman who was squeezed in the back corner poked her head out of the group.
"My son pressed all the buttons," she explained, irritation and impatience apparent into every syllable. "So we'll all stuck until we get to the top."
"Oh. Ok. Do you want to wait?" Nick asked Jess. The other elevator was out of service for the fifth time that month, so they would have to wait for this elevator to drop off all its passengers and come back to them.
Jess shook her head.
"No, this will be quicker, and I have a parent-teacher conference to get to after we go grocery shopping."
Nick shrugged, gesturing for her to go first. She did not seem to anticipate this, for she very hesitantly stepped forward, not wanting to infringe on anyone's space. Nick rolled his eyes and pushed lightly on her back, trying to guide her through.
"I'm so, so sorry," she kept saying. "Excuse me, pardon me, oh god, I think I just stepped on a small child."
"You're fine, just keep going until you find a spot," Nick encouraged while people let them by, most of them wearing scowls.
"Uh, ok, um, I hit a dead end," Jess said, having reached the back. People moved aside so there was just enough room for her to turn around and rest her back onto the wall, and just enough room for Nick to move in front of her. Then everyone resituated themselves, and Nick knew there was no moving from that point until the end of the ride.
He tried not to think about how close they were, her chest pressed into his own with no room to breathe. The collective body heat was almost unbearable, and he could feel himself already beginning to sweat. He and Jess just looked at each other, breathless, and they both tried to smile uneasily at the situation.
The door slid shut.
And then the elevator lurched upward clumsily, making the occupants rock slightly, but just enough for Nick to get pushed in the back, and just enough for him to have to find an immediate source of balance by putting both hands on the wall in front of him, on either side of Jess's head.
Another nervous smile. Something about this whole scenario seemed dangerous.
"Are we sure we haven't hit the weight limit?" Nick called back to the rest of the crowd.
"That depends, do both of you add up to 500 pounds?" a voice called back, sounding like a younger man with a smartass attitude.
Jess looked at Nick with curiosity.
"No, Jess, I don't weigh that much."
"Of course you don't weigh 500 pounds," she scoffed. "But I'm just saying, that donut you had this morning could've tipped the scale and put us in mortal danger right now."
"I had a scone."
"We're all fine, these elevators are always like that if you have more than four people in here," said a calm and mature-sounding female voice from the front.
Nick gave her a look.
"See? We're fine."
"If you say so, Mr. Donut-a-Day."
Silence fell between them, but this just made Nick's heart race, because with no sound, there was nothing to distract him from the way Jess' body was perfectly contoured against his, the way her curves felt against his own form, the way sweat was making her neck glisten.
Jess seemed to catch on to the need to break the quiet.
"So, how is everyone feeling today?" she said, and Nick screwed his eyes shut. He knew what was about to follow.
Even more uncomfortable silence. No one said a word.
Jess seemed to deflate. Upon opening his eyes again, he hated seeing her crestfallen, so he tried to cheer her up.
"I'm doing great, Jess. How are you doing?"
She brightened, smiling. He forgot, for a moment, how stifled he felt.
"I'm fantastic, Nick! Can't wait to get those groceries at the store." She had such enthusiasm into her voice, and it made him grin.
"Yeah? What are you more excited about getting?"
"I really want to get some more cookie dough so I can-…"
"Cookies? I want a cookie!" chimed in a juvenile voice to Nick's left. He turned his head to see a little boy holding his mother's hand, the same mother who had spoken earlier. This must be the boy who pressed all the buttons. He lowered his left arm so Jess could see him clearly.
Jess rewarded him with a vibrant, eager expression.
"Of course! If your mom says it's ok, we can go back to your floor later and we'll drop off a fresh cookie! What kind is your favorite?"
"Chocolate chip!" he exclaimed. His mother shushed him softly, but smiled at Jess.
"Thank you, but you don't have to do that."
"No, it's fine! I'd love to make him some cookies. What's his name?"
Jess and Nick immediately both react, acting like a crazy coincidence just occurred.
"Oh hey, me too!" Nick said, lowering his hand so the younger boy could give him a high-five. The boy grinned and slapped his palm.
"That's so weird! What are the odds?" Jess said.
"Does your mom call you 'Nicholas' when you're in trouble?" Nick asked.
"Yeah," young Nick grumbled, making his mom smile good-naturedly. "And then she makes me go sit in the corner and I don't get dessert."
"Mine too," old Nick said, scrunching up his face at the thought. "Dessert's always the best part, too."
"Well, you're getting dessert tonight, sir." Jess told young Nick cheerfully. "As long as you behave."
"I will!" he said, stomping his foot with determination. The other Nick turned to Jess.
"Do I get dessert?" he asked, half genuinely curious and half mischievous. Jess smiled, and Nick could have sworn it was at least a little flirty. Half the time, he drove himself crazy wondering if Jess was ever purposely flirtatious or if he was just reading too much into it.
"That depends. Are you going to behave? You were being pretty mean earlier." Jess looked to young Nick and donned her teacher voice. "Teasing is not nice, and you shouldn't do it." Young Nick nodded dutifully.
"This girl in my class teases me all the time," he said, like he was tattling. "She pushes my chair and calls me names. I told her she has cooties."
"Well, now, don't be too hasty. Sometimes girls and guys tease each other because….uh…" Nick realized that his sentence was suddenly like a derailed train. He had thoughtlessly driven it somewhere he didn't want to be, but there was no stopping it. He refused to look back at Jess. "because they…like each other."
He was definitely sweating now.
"Ew, gross!" young Nick said, sticking out his tongue. "Girls are yucky!"
"Hey," Jess said, but Nick still did not turn back to her. "Not all of us. There are plenty of yuck-free girls."
The mother smiled gently, nudging her son.
"Well, this is our stop…"
"Oh, ok! What's your apartment number so I can bring the little guy dessert later?"
"Apartment 5A," she replied, then turned to them as her son ran ahead. "Um, by the way…everyone else got off on their floors, so…" She trailed off awkwardly, hurrying after young Nick.
Nick looked around. The entire elevator was empty except for them. He had no idea how long it had been that vacant, or how long he had unnecessarily been pressed against Jess. All he knew was that this was extremely, dangerously embarrassing.
Trying not to seem flustered, Nick backed away from Jess and decided to look everywhere but at her while they were brought them to the lobby.
"So…groceries?" Jess said, her tone indecipherable. As they exited the elevator, he glanced to her sideways, wishing that Jess was just a little more decipherable, or that he was just a little better at deciphering.
"Yeah, groceries," he replied, terrified that this awkwardness would last the entire trip.
"Fresh produce and somewhat slippery linoleum floor, here we come!" she announced, striking an adventurous pose. Nick burst into a laugh, shaking his head.
He should have known. Jess can make any situation better.
Author's Note: This is my first New Girl fanfic! I'm sorry, I'm in LOVE with this show and I had to write something for it. Nick/Jess are already one of my favorite couples of all time. I'm SO excited for them. I was originally going to have the elevator get stuck, but that seemed more cliche than I wanted to be, so I stuck with this. It's short and simple, but I really like writing about the little moments between these two. I'll probably start a drabble series for them sometime soon. To clarify, this fanfic takes place several episodes before "Tomatoes." Hope you all like this!