Jack expects Lemon to not have any idea what he's talking about, and ask for an explanation. But she doesn't. It's clear in her eyes that she immediately understands, although she is undoubtedly in shock.
"I've gotta go. To go move." Jack releases her, Liz practically runs to the door and is back upstairs with Criss before Jack can catch up.
She pretends that the conversation didn't happen and they're out of there in an hour. Jack sits down with a glass of scotch and deals with his rejection. Too late and too improvised, he thinks to himself. He concedes that she may never have thought of him that way, anyway.
Thursday morning is agonizing. Jack sits behind his desk, resisting all urges to go to the sixth floor. He actually has TGS business to discuss, but email will have to do.
As always seems to happen in the enormous building, it's the elevators that connect them. On his way down that evening, it's Lemon standing outside the door on six. He can read her thoughts as she processes them: Nerds, it's Jack. I'll wait for the next one. But no, that would be weird. And that would acknowledge the conversation we had yesterday. I guess I have to go in.
So she steps in.
"Lemon," he acknowledges.
She looks pretty: her hair has a flattering clip in it, and she's not wearing her glasses. Jack considers saying so, but doesn't.
It's silence as they go down: five, four, three, and it's almost over.
Lemon stops the elevator and cautiously moves to him. She keeps her gaze on him as her arms slide around his neck. She regards him for a moment, as Jack is too shocked to say anything.
"What the hell."
She plants her lips on his. It's exploratory, but oh does it feel nice.
As she withdraws, Jack knows the surprise and pleasure are obvious on his face.
"What was that about?"
She restarts the elevator. "I had to see."
The door opens. She steps out and turns.
"This isn't about your divorce count?"
"Then I have to think about it."
The door shuts on Jack just standing there, leaning against the rail and contemplating what just happened. He can't contain his smile.
"So what got into you?"
Jack hadn't really expected Lemon to have the courage to come into his office and confront him about this.
"For years, I've said I can't do without you."
"But not in that way."
"This is the first time I've been about to lose you."
"You're asking a lot, Jack. I've got a sure thing here."
He doesn't stop looking into her eyes. "I know."
"And you and me... it's not fair."
"But is it enough?" he offers.
Liz seems to despair of the choice before her. If life was about minimizing regrets, there was just no way she wasn't going to end up regretting something.
"I don't know."
Jack doesn't see Liz for a couple of days afterwards, days where he really can't concentrate on the tasks before him. It is late in the evening of the third day that she slips into his office; her body language is grim but determined.
"So I don't think we should do the script changes you wanted."
Jack wonders if she's really talking about the script changes, or if that's some kind of metaphor for what he wants most of all. He decides Lemon isn't quite that slick, that literary.
"Alright, Lemon, we can go over it again in the morning."
There's a pause.
"Is that all?" Jack is certain she didn't come up to tell him just that, given how much she'd relied on email the last few days.
She's not wearing her glasses again. Jack isn't sure if that makes it worse or not, given the emotional attachment he's developed to those frames on that face.
"No. I also just wanted to say what a tough thing this has been for me to work through." Her expression is serious, not entirely succeeding in bottling up her emotions. Her left hand sweeps her hair behind her ear.
It's then that Jack notices. He feels the ground fall out from under him. He's built a career out of containing feelings when he needs to, but it takes every ounce of his fortitude and moral courage to not yell, or whimper, out his next question. And indeed, his voice quivers a bit.
"Lemon, are you wearing a wedding ring?"
She allows herself a small smile, fanning her hand out before him in the age-old fashion. Her tone is hopeful, half laughing and half crying. "Yeah. Do you like it?"
"It's beautiful." Jack says it with wonder, and envy that Criss would do such a good job. There's a show tomorrow, but it feels like he's saying goodbye to Lemon forever. And after sticking his neck out like he did in the car that evening, maybe it can only be polite business for the rest of their lives. "It's entirely to your taste."
Liz glances down at it. "It should be. I bought it myself."
Jack's self-pity is replaced with genuine concern for his friend and the kind of man she's hitched herself to. He furrows his brow to ask, "He couldn't afford it?"
"Oh no, he could definitely afford it."
Jack squints, confused.
"It's just that... it's just that I knew he'd never get around to buying me one. He hasn't done it yet," Liz can't quite suppress a smirk, "and we've been married for two years."