Just a little plot bunny that hung around after the episode :) I'm working on something a little longer for the 3 week hiatus, so keep an eye out! Hope you like this one though! Feedback is always loved and cherished :)

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Disclaimer: They're so not mine :(

Enjoy!

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The Art of Falling into a Date

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"I thought the jar was Schmidt's thing?" Winston's hand hovers over the douchebag jar, refusing to drop his money in.

Nick frowns incredulously, "You sent a photo of my penis to Jess and all her friends saw it," he raises a hand to the side of his face, stage whispering the rest in the hope that Jess, who is sitting on the couch right next to him, won't hear, "And it wasn't even in its full glory." He looks pointedly at the jar, "That is more than douchey enough for us to forget that the jar is Schmidt's for tonight."

Winston concedes defeat, yawning. It's late and he's tired anyway, "I'm only doing this for Jess. No one should have had to see that picture."

Jess doesn't look up from scribbling down ideas for Cece's wedding, but nods, chuckling under her breath.

The note drops into the jar and he sighs, not quite believing that he's stooped that low. With a wave, he starts walking toward his room, calling a, "Goodnight," over his shoulder.

The other two mutter goodnight as he walks out of the room, but as soon as Nick hears his door close, he jumps to action, leaning across the couch to pull out the money Winston had just put in, "Ha!" He exclaims, unfolding the note, "Twenty bucks! What an idiot. You've already seen my junk."

Jess looks up then for the first time in an hour and notices immediately that she and Nick are the only two left in the living area. The panic that has accompanied this arrangement since their ill-fated date bubbles to the surface and she makes a kind of giggle squeak sound at Nick's words, hurriedly trying to cover it in a cough and a nod, "Yup, sure have."

He shakes his head at her, pocketing the money, "So what ya got there, partner?"

She composes herself upon hearing his familiar tone. If he can do this, so can she. No need for awkwardness here, no siree, "Just jotting down maid of honour duties."

She flicks her pen against the paper and he follows the sound with his eyes, noticing that the page seems to have a lot of scribble on it and not a whole lot of writing, "Oh, I thought…"

"She asked me tonight."

He nods, not really sure how to keep the conversation going from there. It's like their date all over again…well the first part of the date. When they put pressure on themselves, they become awkward teenagers and he hates that that habit has made it back to the loft with them.

This is their home. It should be easy here.

His eyes meet hers and the silence between them is all too much. He panics, "Cece told me you guys had a fight tonight," he suddenly blurts. His eyes widen, he had not meant to say that. He had no idea where it even came from.

But it gets her attention, "What?"

He scrambles to save the moment, trying to think of something, anything that he could have meant. But in the end he just has to settle with the truth, "I feel partially responsible."

She actually starts listening to him now, putting her pen and paper down. "Why?" she asks quietly.

He swallows. Are they really doing this? Are they really talking about their feelings? He doesn't know if he's ready, but at the same time, looking at her pleading eyes, he knows he has to be, "Because of us. Because of this limbo we're in."

It's one of those rare honest moments with him and she feels her heart rate pick up. She hasn't completely learnt how to handle this with him yet, "It's not entirely your fault, you know?"

He nods, a broken smile on his face, "Yeah, Jess. I know."

She reaches out a hand to grab his. It doesn't feel totally natural, but she figures if he seems to be allowed to touch her boobs every time he feels the need to break the stalemate between them, then so be it, "Good."

He offers her a small upturn of his lips. Not quite a smile, but something close and the silence settles around them again. Not wholly uncomfortable this time, just…them. A little bit weird, but with a lot of heart. His hand shifts under hers to squeeze her fingers and she smiles at him, "You know, I'd like to see it again sometime," she lets her gaze fall to his crotch, quirking an eyebrow.

And this time he gives her the smile she's been looking for, letting out a slight chuckle on a breath as well, "Maybe you will," he answers with a teasing lilt.

Behind them, the front door opens and Schmidt walks through, a smile on his face, pizza box in his grasp. Nick quickly drops Jess' hand, trying to school his features; he doesn't want to hear it from his best friend tonight about how he and Jess are ruining the loft. But the tirade never comes.

Schmidt saunters past them, dropping the pizza onto the coffee table, "I ate two, but the third defeated me. I need to train my body," he moves a pointed finger between Nick and Jess, "You two kids enjoy yourselves now." Then without stopping he just continues on to his room, shutting the door behind him.

They look at each other, confusion plastered all over both their faces, "I think we just got Schmidt's blessing," Nick observes, reaching forward to grab the pizza.

Jess watches as he opens the box, grabs a slice and doesn't even realise the implication of what he's just said. Schmidt's blessing for what? Does this mean Nick wants more? Could she even dare hope that he's opening up? She chooses to let it go though as he offers her a slice of pizza, greedily taking a bite and laughing along with Nick as they both end up with tomato sauce and pepperoni all over their faces.

Pressure off, easy conversation and food. This is the way dates are supposed to go and right now, that's all they choose to focus on.

They can worry about what exactly they got Schmidt's blessing for tomorrow.

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