Pure unapologetic FLUFF.
Disclaimer: I don't own New Girl.
When she dances, he walks away.
When she sings, he covers his ears.
When she smiles, he refuses to react.
But when she laughs, his whole black and white world comes bursting to life with color, and suddenly he finds himself struggling to keep the heavy shade of dull and lifeless gray from being lifted from his eyes...his heart...his soul. A part of him wonders with some unspoken question, why he's so dead set on hanging on to that dark barrier he's become so accustomed to, what's he waiting for?
But just as suddenly as the question comes, he knows the answer...
It's a simple one really.
He's waiting for her.
"It's a miserable day." He tells her, shooting a scowl up towards the sky.
Shifting the grocery bags in his hands, he ducks under an awning to wait for her, his frown deepening when he realizes that she's lagging behind with a faraway look in her eyes.
"It's not that miserable, don't be such a grump." Her reproach is light and halfhearted.
He ignores her, "you're getting wet...hurry up."
With a laugh she shoots him a smile; it's a smile that has stars bursting through the flimsy barrier of his dark and foul mood, threatening to lighten it with the mere lift of her mouth. And the cynic in him, quickly reminds him that smiles aren't made up of moonbeams and stardust, while scornfully telling him to lock it up.
Slipping out of her shoes, she shakes her hair out and spreads her arms wide; tilting her head up towards the lightly falling rain, she begins to spin, laughing low and husky as she does.
"Come and join me Nicholas." she says, her eyes sparkling with happiness.
He watches her from the safety of the canopy, vaguely noticing how part of him itches to do as she requests.
"No Jess, not today."
Silently he wonders if he'll ever be that carefree.
She's cleaning, and hasn't noticed him yet. The Wicked soundtrack is blaring from her nearby laptop—he hates that he's able to identify it, and silently curses both Winston and her (mostly Winston because he should know better) for their shared love of the musical. She's using the broom as her microphone and is spinning and twisting, humming and singing; her cheeks are flushed and her hair is messy—whipping around her face with each exaggerated and somewhat ungraceful movement she makes.
It takes a moment for him to tear his eyes away from her, and just as he's about to leave her to her solo performance, she notices him and the smile that breaks across her face, makes him wonder if maybe fairies do exist because there's no way that a mere human could possibly have a smile that looks like that.
Almost as soon as the thought crosses his mind, he feels the heat of a blush creep up his neck as the curmudgeon in him scowls, asking him when it was that he became such a pansy-ass romantic.
Twirling around, she prances over to him and dips her makeshift microphone to the floor, before bringing it back up and belting out the last words of the song with a breathy finish and a final bow. When the next one starts, she grins and reaching over, grabs a mop, offering it to him with a little shake.
"Come and join me for a song Nicholas!" She asks, her eyes twinkling with playfulness.
He looks at the dripping wet mop in her hand and watches as she wiggles it in what he's sure is meant to be an enticing way.
"Um no, that's not gonna happen Jess."
He glances at the mop one more time before walking away, pretending not to notice her frown of disappointment as he leaves her alone to finish her concert.
She's baking with Winston and Schmidt; the smell of Christmas cookies is wafting through the loft, filling it with warm and homey scents. He can hear them all laughing and joking around; Schmidt is explaining the proper way to use his high-end mixer while she and Winston are lightly mocking him; good-humor is laced in their voices with the easy banter, and the sounds of metal clanging against metal as plastic spoons scrape and scoop, fill his ears.
Walking into the kitchen he takes in the sight of her standing between his friends; her cheeks are flushed and there's flour on her nose. When she glances up at him, her whole face lights up with happiness.
She loves this time of year.
"Come and join us Nicholas!" She says, her eyes pleading with him to make this a complete roommate activity.
The part of him that remembers snowy Christmases with his Ma, boxed brownie mixes, Aunt Rita's spiked eggnog, and Bing Crosby playing on his grandpa's old record player, screams YES! While another, more derisive part, scoffs at the idea of standing around with two guys and a fairy princess, icing gingerbread men and spreading good cheer. Walking to the refrigerator he opens it and grabs a beer, glancing back at the trio with a shake of his head and a deep frown.
He notices how the light in her eyes dims just a bit with the action.
"No thanks Jess."
He doesn't wait around for her to ask again.
She loves weddings; she's spent the better part of the day telling him as much, and he has to wonder how the hell she convinced him to come with her to this particular one. It's getting harder to say no to her; he's finding it difficult to do anything that might disappoint her...and he's not sure how he feels about that.
They're sitting at a table; he's playing with their name cards, secretly enjoying how they look next to each other, only vaguely aware of the harsh voice in his head that's whispering it could never happen. Even so, briefly he wonders how far in advance she had sent in her RSVP—how they knew to put his name on the card...he had only agreed to go with her just a few days ago.
Twirling the small cards in his hand, he barely listens as she babbles on about an old college friend she had bumped into on the way to the ladies room, when suddenly she trails off. He looks up to see why the incessant rambling has stopped, noticing how she's tilting her head to the side, obviously listening to the slow song that has just started playing. There's an affectionate little smile playing across her lips and her eyes close briefly before opening again, and looking over, she pins him with a slightly pleading gaze.
"Come and join me on the dance floor Nicholas." She says, her voice is soft, her eyes shining.
He looks down at his Jack Daniels and takes a swig, wincing as it burns its way down his throat.
"No Jess, I'm good here."
Throwing back another sip, he barely looks up as she stands and walks away from the table...apparently it's still not that hard for him to disappoint her.
They crossed that line.
He always knew it would happen eventually—but they crossed it much sooner than he had anticipated. He can't say he regrets it, but things are messy now...things are complicated and left feeling incomplete—his world seems slightly skewed. He's not sure what to do, he's not sure where to go, he's not sure if he wants to run away fast or stay...because there's a big part of him that really believes that with her is where he truly belongs.
The pessimist in him chuckles darkly at that, and tells him he already tried the whole love thing while harshly reminding him of just how that turned out.
Still, when he let's himself into the loft and sees her sitting alone on the couch, he can't help but notice the tightening in his chest; she looks slightly lost and her mouth is dipped down into a small frown.
She hasn't smiled at him for days.
And for days, he hasn't found anything to look forward to.
She glances up after what seems like an eternity, his heart threatening to beat right out of his chest, and his eyes pricking with what he refuses to believe is any kind of moisture. When her gaze meets his, he notices how tired she seems—the look in her stare is wary and hesitant and as her eyes drift over to the empty spot next to her, he knows then and there that she wants to talk, that she thinks it's time.
"Come and join me Nicholas." She whispers, her eyes watery and threatening to spill over.
He knows he's still not ready.
"No Jess, not yet."
Walking away, he hates himself even more than he had before.
They fight and it's bad.
She screams at him and calls him a coward, tells him he's going to live his whole miserable life alone because he's too damn afraid to open himself up to anyone.
He yells back at her; screeching that she's delusional, that the world isn't the happy and bright place she pretends it to be—and maybe not everyone is running around looking for love, and maybe it's time that she just take a step back and stop sticking her nose where it doesn't belong, stop ruining his goddamned life because she drives him fuckin' crazy.
She holds his stare for a moment or two, and he desperately wants to tell her he doesn't mean it, but she's brushing by him and heading towards her room before he has the chance.
It takes him less than five minutes.
The room is dim, a small lamp on her nightstand providing what little light there is. She's sitting on her bed, with her knees pulled up to her chest, her chin resting lightly on them. She looks so small and vulnerable with her red-rimmed eyes and slightly disheveled hair and as he studies her tear-stained face and quivering lips, he wants to kick himself for being the cause of her distress.
"I'm sorry," he tells her, hoping that she realizes he's being genuine.
"It's fine." She says quietly with a wavering voice, her eyes stay focused on a spot on her bed as another tear slowly makes its way down her cheek.
He grits his teeth as he watches her swat it away.
"No it's not fine. I shouldn't have said that stuff."
She smiles sadly, the action breaking his heart and causing his world to dim just a little bit. And when the irritable old man in him tries to mock him for his thoughts, he pushes it aside and fixes his attention on the woman in front of him.
"I need us to be alright Jess."
There's a heavy pause. He feels as if he's teetering on the critical edge of some unknown cliff, and as he looks at her, he wants to plead and beg for her to pull him back—to safety, to her, to where he belongs.
"I'm tired Nick."
His heart drops when he hears the defeat in her voice, and he has to take a deep breath to steady himself. "I need you Jess."
It's the first time he's ever admitted it to either of them.
She raises her head and looks at him hard, her chin trembles ever so slightly. "Did you mean all of that stuff before?"
He cringes as his words echo in his brain. "No."
She still studies him, arching an eyebrow at his quick answer, not saying a word, only waiting for him to continue.
"Well I didn't mean most of it." He amends quickly, realizing that she knows him too well for his own good.
"So I drive you crazy?"
His smile is gentle. "All the time."
"Do you think I stick my nose where it doesn't belong?"
"You want me to answer that truthfully?"
Her mouth tilts up into a tiny smirk and she looks up at him with blue and glassy eyes. "Do you think I've ruined your life?" Her voice is soft and unsure.
He shakes his head; his palms are clammy, and mentally he berates himself for being such an ass. "No—you've made it better. Since I met you, everything is brighter—I don't know, I can't explain it...but it's just better now...you've opened me up to love again...you've only ruined me for anyone else...and that's fine, because—damnit Jess, I don't want there to ever be anyone else."
He doesn't say it...not yet...but they both know he takes his time with these things.
The smile she gives him wavers around the edges, and then suddenly and without warning she's laughing, a watery chuckle, that hits him hard, right in the gut.
"Oh God, we're the worst." she tells him between small hiccups—and he has to agree.
After a moment or two, she gives a little sigh, and tilting her head to the side, studies him, narrowing her eyes and biting her lip as she does. And then her face is brightening and she's taking a deep breath while scooting over in her bed; throwing the blankets back, she pats the space next to her.
"Come and join me Nicholas," she says, her eyes big, and glimmering with the hopeful request.
He waits only a heartbeat or two, and it's then that he feels his resolve quickly fade away and acceptance slowly sink in.
"Okay." He says simply, surprised by how easily the words come out.
When he settles next to her, he wraps his arms around her tight, vaguely wondering if he'll ever let go. Inhaling her sweet familiar scent, he doesn't bother in trying to deny the smile that threatens his lips. And when she rests her head against his chest, wiggling ever so slightly as if there's a chance that she might be able to nestle in even closer, he's pretty sure she's worn him down.
There's a very real possibility that he'll never say no to her again.
Not surprisingly, this doesn't bother him.
When she dances, he gives her his hand.
When she sings, he listens.
When she smiles, he smiles back.
But when she laughs, his whole colorful world gets that much brighter and without hesitation he finds himself joining her, reveling in the musically husky notes that spill from her lips. A part of him wonders with some unspoken question, why it took so long, why he waited to give into the ever-growing feeling of contentment that was threatening to burst inside him.
But just as suddenly as the question comes, he knows the answer...
It's a simple one really.
He was waiting for her.
Like I said, pure unapologetic FLUFF.
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