Caroline

The apartment is huge. Decorated in monochrome black and white, Caroline has everything highly organized. There is a shelf, a drawer, a label for everything. She has a drawer for his white socks and his colored socks. She's always got his beers with the label facing the front in the fridge, lined along the second shelf, perfectly. For every beer he takes out of the fridge, he must restock the empty place using the First In Last Out policy.

Caroline is big on policies.

She's got a policy for the organization of their shoes in the front hall; a policy on the organization of the cupboards for most practical, easy access. She spent six hours, when they moved, organizing their DVD collection alphabetically by genre and then photographing each cupboard, putting the photos in a reference scrapbook where the 'master copy' of the organized DVD collection could be reached in case of emergency.

Caroline is organized, precise, and very modern. She drank coffee that was brewed only in a single-cup Keurig machine. Never filter drip. She always drank from a stainless steel to-go mug, conscious of her carbon footprint. She made vegan meals twice a week, trying slowly to introduce her and Nick to a more environmentally-friendly palate.

In all the chickpeas and tiny stick-on labels in his condom drawer, Nick thought he was happy.

.

Neurosis aside, their relationship was good. Great, even. They went out together far more frequently than they'd ever done in their previous relationships together. Nick cooked her meals – sometimes even vegan – and they made love in every room in their house. Uncomfortably so, most often. It wasn't as hot as Nick thought it would be, having sex on an IKEA apothecary table in their never-used library.

A library: where Caroline and Nick's books were all neatly organized on a chrome shelf, with a little label inside that clarified who the book belonged to.

She labelled things like that, like in When Harry Met Sally. She very much liked to know who's was who, what belonged to who, and who would get it back when and if the bookshelf was no longer theirs.

Nick had his guard up, too. While Caroline often spoke in the long-term, implying that in ten years from then they'd be together, perhaps exploring Spain or opening a café together, Nick had a difficult time truly imagining it.

He was happy, glad to finally be reunited with the woman who'd always seemed to be his soul mate, living in their black and white apartment. He was happy. He was.

He was, he was, he was.

.

It had been a month. A month since they'd signed the lease and moved in. A month since Jess had caught Nick in the bathroom, telling him that he deserved love.

That he was the best.

That her face fell when he told her he was moving out.

His move out was uncomfortable. Jess had been fairly quiet, only once asking him if he was sure that he wanted to leave.

He'd said he was sure.

Nick hadn't gone back to the loft since moving. Jess, Schmidt and Winston had all hung out the bar, cozy in a booth with Caroline, or lined up along the bar wood. He'd expected it to be slightly uncomfortable with the six of them. He'd expected his former roommates to act coldly toward Caroline. They'd reacted so violently to his moving out and getting back together with Caroline; he'd figured that in her presence they would do all they could to manipulate her to break up with him.

But they were pleasant. They included her in conversation. Jess invited them over for dinner, offering Caroline her recipe for Nick's favorite red velvet cupcake. Caroline had graciously accepted, in response inviting Schmidt, Winston and Nick to a wine-tasting exhibit she was hosting.

It was good, it was nice.

Nick couldn't understand why he felt such a pain in his stomach. It wasn't from his new fibrous vegan diet.

To be continued