Every Part of You
"I can't go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then." – Lewis Carroll
It's pretty damn early, too early for anyone to be calling, when the sound of his phone ringing wakes him from his slumber. The air in the apartment is cold and he finds his hand reaching out and searching for warmth that isn't there. It causes his brow to furrow and his eyes to squint open, scanning the empty bed with a touch of sadness.
Nick rolls onto his back and looks up at the ceiling letting out a gentle sigh, before running his hand through his hair. The incessant ringing stops after a moment and he burrows deeper under the covers to try and cocoon himself in. He had worked late last night, later than he had planned, which had seriously cut into the time he and Jess had been planning on spending together.
They had had little time to talk, let alone to analyze exactly what was going on between the two of them. It had been four days since they had decided "not to think" and in that time all he had had time to do was think. And he couldn't help himself. He thought about the way she had let out a little gasp as he had picked her up and carried her to his room. He thought about the taste of her skin and the way she cried out his name. He thought about how comfortable it was waking up with her beside him. The thoughts delighted and tormented him.
She had woken up that morning to the sun pouring through her windows and her alarm clock blaring in her eardrum. It was only when she opened her eyes and actually looked at the clock that she realized that she had overslept. Grabbing the first clean outfit out of her closet she had thrown it on haphazardly before rushing into the bathroom to brush her teeth, hair, and throw on some deodorant.
It was obviously going to be one of those days.
With her toothbrush hanging out of her mouth, Jess looked at herself in the mirror and sighed at the dark bags under her eyes. She had stayed up late the previous night, hoping to get to spend some time talking to Nick. Instead, she had fallen asleep on the couch watching some late night documentary about purifying water. It had been a little after three o'clock when Nick had come barging into the apartment and she had stumbled her way to bed feeling cranky and frustrated.
Between her father's unexpected visit and CeeCee's wedding there had been little time for them to talk, let alone for her to process everything that had happened. She had hoped that they would find a time between her subbing at the school and Nick's bartending hours where they could get together and hash things out like grownups.
But that wasn't happening.
Grabbing her purse off the dining room table she looked longingly at the pot of coffee sitting next to the stove. While she was more of a tea in the morning type person, the caffeine could only help at this point. Sadly she didn't even have the time for that. Grabbing a package of strawberry Pop Tarts she rushed out of the apartment praying she didn't have to deal with homeless Dave or a ton of stray cats.
His phone was ringing again, the shrill beeping cutting through his pleasant dream and forcing him to pry his eyes open. The sunlight was slanting through his window and he found himself rolling over and looking at the clock, surprised to see how much of the day had past. Reaching his hand out, he grabbed his phone off the nightstand, rolling his eyes when he saw Schmidt's name appear.
"Shouldn't you be working," Nick grumbled as he let his head drop back down onto his pillow and his eyelids drift close.
"You need to answer your phone when someone calls you, man," Schmidt's voice sounded off and Nick found himself suppressing the urge to roll his eyes. Instead of replying he found himself humming into the phone, trying not to let his irritation through. "Get up and get dressed," Schmidt continued, "I'm pulling up outside right now."
"Schmidt," Nick barked, "I just woke up and I'm not in the mood for some random bro-venture that you've cooked up instead of working."
"If you would have answered your phone an hour ago," Schmidt replied indignantly, "you would know what this is all about Nicholas. I'm not kidding you have two minutes to get your ass down here." The next sound he heard was the click of Schmidt's phone as he hung up.
Grabbing the first thing he could find on the floor, not caring if it was clean or not, Nick stumbled his way out of his room and down the hall making a quick pit stop in the bathroom to do his business and brush his teeth. Looking at the clock on his phone in resignation he grabbed his keys and hit the elevator button repeatedly until it arrived.
If he had known what he was in for, he would have taken the stairs.
Traffic was heavy and her eyes were burning from the sunlight. Jess silently cursed the fact that she forgot to grab her sunglasses and reached up to adjust her visor at a better angle. The clock on her dash seemed to taunt her and she found herself flipping on her turn signal and veering through traffic, silently apologizing to everyone in the process. She hated impatient drivers and often found herself shaking her head at them like a scolding mother.
It was only her second day, though, and she couldn't be late.
Pushing down slightly on the accelerator, she gently pet her steering wheel with sympathy. She knew her car (it had been with her through so much after all) and she knew she was being rough on it, pushing it harder than she had in awhile. "That a girl Barbra," she replied "that a girl."
The car made a loud screeching noise in reply and she found herself lifting her foot off the accelerator and looking down at the dials. Everything seemed alright as far as she could tell. There were no blinking lights, she had enough gas, and the dial that told her if her car was hot or cold seemed somewhere in the middle.
She didn't even have time to brace for the impact.
There was a slight pain pulsing through her wrist and she could feel a dull ache settling deep in her forehead but otherwise she was alright; shaken, but alright.
"Jess was in a car accident," Schmidt tells him once he's buckled himself in. The words seem to float around him in a kind of blur and he finds himself watching Schmidt's mouth moving but not really understanding what he's saying. For a second he finds it hard to breathe and he brings his shaking hands up to his face and rubs.
He honestly doesn't even feel it.
For a moment he wonders if this is what a panic attack feels like. It's like his entire world is spinning out of control around him, he can't breathe, and he thinks he might be sick. He listens to the sound of his heart beating, and thank god it's still beating, through his ears and watches the little yellow dashes on the road go by.
Schmidt seems to understand he's having trouble processing because he gets really quiet and doesn't say much else. Every time they stop, though, his fingers seem to grip the steering wheel a bit harder, his knuckles turning white.
It takes him a good ten minutes before he can speak and when he does it comes out quiet. "Is she alright?"
"I don't know," Schmidt replies hesitantly, "apparently you're listed as her emergency contact. When the hospital couldn't get a hold of you they called other numbers in her cell phone. I guess I was lucky number two."
He's silent for a moment and all he can think about is how his phone woke him up early this morning and how he ignored it. There is this huge ball of guilt that builds up in his stomach and he can feel the acid and bile in the back of his throat. "My phone rang early this morning," he mumbles, "but I was tired and I…" he stops talking and shakes his head, his hand running through his hair as he fights back his emotions. "We need to call CeeCee and Winston."
"Already done," Schmidt replies.
She's sitting on this uncomfortable gurney in the middle of ER trying to patiently wait. Her wrist is wrapped in an ACE bandage and she was given some Tylenol for the headache. She was lucky, they said, that she didn't get more injured. Lucky she had lifted her foot off the accelerator and that she had been wearing her seatbelt.
Jess would like to think that, in a way, Barbara had warned her.
Peg had been more than understanding when she had called her from the ambulance. After explain what had happened, Peg had told her to take a few days off and come back when she was ready. When she had tried to protest, Peg had simply reminded her she was sleeping with the principal and that she would take care of it.
She would have to remember to make her some cookies, or brownies, or something.
Letting out a loud sigh, Jess rolled her neck and looked up at the clock in annoyance. How long would it take for them to let her go, she wondered. She closed her eyes and used her good hand to rub at her temples trying to ease some of the tension.
When she opened her eyes, she was surprised to find Nick standing in front of her, his face marred with stress.
Jess fights off the tears of relief she feels when she sees him standing there at the end of her bed. He looks so exhausted, so worried, and she can't help but feel responsible. Her nurse comes by and has her sign discharge papers, all while giving her instructions about how much ibuprofen to take and things she needs to watch out for.
The minute she's off the bed, Nick is beside her, his hand linking with hers. Neither of them really says anything, but he squeezes her fingers and she swears she hears him murmur "thank god."
He waits until they are both situated in the backseat of Schmidt's' car before he really looks at her. She's wearing a pair of simple black shorts and red top, her hair is twisted and clipped up off of her neck, tendrils falling around her face. He doesn't see any bruises, but there is this haunted look in her eyes that almost makes his heart stop for a second. He realizes that it's probably the most vulnerable he's ever seen her.
The car ride is quiet and he finds himself resting his hand on the back of her neck, his fingers stroking the skin, lightly massaging it. Nick finds his eyes focusing on her face as he listens to the purr of the engine and the sound of the tires on the road. "Are you hurting?" he murmurs his voice so quiet he's not even sure she can hear him.
Jess shakes her head no and her hair brushes against his fingers making them tingle. Schmidt keeps looking at the two of them through the rearview mirror and there is so much that he wants to say to her. But not here, not like this, and not in front of Schmidt.
He knows there's nothing he can really say to make it any better, but his heart is beating hard and his ears are ringing and every breath he takes hurts because of the words that he now knows he needs to say.
CeeCee and Winston are on the couch when they get back, both of them rising the minute they walk through the door. Nick finds himself holding his hand up at them and grabbing Jess with the other, gently dragging her down the hall without saying a word.
He can hear Schmidt in the background telling CeeCee and Winston to "give them a minute." He waits until the door clicks behind him before he lets his shoulders fall and the worry etch his features. There's so much he needs to say, but first he needs to know that she's ok.
Nick reaches his hand up and brushes the hair out of her face, his hand resting on the base of her neck. "Are you OK?" his voice shakes and he can feel everything inside of him bubbling to the surface. It's crazy and intense and he feels worry, concern, stress, and relief pressing down on his shoulders and all he really wants to do is turn around and run away.
That's not really an option for him anymore, though.
His fingers reach up, circling her jaw and tilting her head back. He stared into her eyes for a moment, forcing his breathing to steady. "I could have lost you." He rested his forehead against hers, his breaths shuttering through his lips. "I was so afraid," his voice broke off and he stood for a moment, his head shaking back and forth before his mouth took hers.
The kiss was hard, hot, filled with need. "I can't lose you," the words were whispered against her lips. Jess raised her hands to curl around his shoulders, her fingers digging into the flesh as she looked into his eyes.
"You won't. I'm fine."
Nick's mouth was on hers then, tongue thrusting deeply. His scent engulfed her and she breathed it in deeply, her chest heaving with the effort. He smelled like soap, liquor, and something that was distinctly him. "I need you," his voice was deep, desperate and she realized she needed him too.
He shoved down her shorts as her hands yanked on his waistband trying desperately to open it. He lifted her up and pushed her back against the door and jerked her panties to the side. Her heart was racing, body shuddering and then he thrust into her. It was hard, strong, and he filled her completely. His eyes stayed focused on hers as she felt his hands glide over her hip and dip between the two of them.
She could hear the sound of the TV in the other room, the quiet murmur of their roommates talking. He withdrew and thrust again and she bit her lip, trying to force her moan back into her throat. Again and again he thrust and she felt her mouth drop open, sounds tumbling from her lips that he tried to muffle with his mouth.
Her back hit the door hard and there was a small rattle, her legs tightened around him, and she felt the tears threatening to spill over from her eyes. This wasn't gentle, but it was exactly what she needed. It was proof that they were there, alive and filled with raw emotions, need, and something much more.
Her breath caught in her throat, holding in the scream she so badly wanted to release, and she felt the waves of pleasure crash over her. Time seemed to stop and for a moment she felt as if she was being swept away. Nick drove deep against her two more times before stiffening against her and gripping her tightly. His breath rasped against her neck and she could feel the thundering of his heartbeat against her chest. Then he kissed her again, so soft it was almost a caress.
"I don't want things to be up in the air," he murmured, "I don't want there to be any lingering questions or doubt. I don't want to go back to the way things were before, because I can't live that way anymore. Not when I know what I'll be missing now." He took a deep breath and she could feel his hands trembling against her waist. "I want you, every part of you. I think I'm falling in love with you."