Later the night of the dinner with the Lemons
Jack had just arrived back to work, having a few things to take care of before the Christmas break. He stopped by the TGS floor to pick up some papers he had left there earlier in the day, and was turning around to go up to the 52cnd when he heard the sound of someone crying in Lemon's office. Curious, he silently crept back and peeped his head around the door. There on her sofa, was Lemon, crying openly thinking she was alone. Immediately struck with concern that she hadn't brought whatever was troubling her to him earlier today, he walked swiftly in the room, saying her name softly. She looked up abruptly, shock blatant on her face, but then softened some when she saw who it was.
"Hey Jack" She muttered as she scooted over to make room for him on the couch.
"Lemon, what's wrong?"
"Nothing, I'm fine I promise." She said as she tried to dry her eyes.
"Really, Liz? Come on, just tell me."
Liz visibly resigned to telling him. "I uhm… It's just that my family has never really fought like that before. We've always been peaceful and supportive of one and other, and it's just strange to know how they really feel. I mean it's understandable, I'm not overwhelmingly pretty, I don't make a ton of money, I'm not married, I haven't given them grandkids, and it's not like my work changes lives. Of course they're not as proud as they always appear to be, I already knew that. It just hurts to hear the extent of it. And I know I should just suck it up, that plenty of people, like you, have worse parents and this probably sounds like a ridiculous reason to be crying, right?"
Jack was overwhelmed with guilt at the thought of this, knowing that it was his mother who had pushed the Lemons to their limit, and he had been sitting there, smiling next to her. He felt absolutely horrible.
"Oh god Liz, I'm so sorry, this is all my fault." He said as he scooted closer and pulled her into him with one arm. She lay her head on his shoulder and let the tears run their course down her face. "Just because they had one slip tonight doesn't mean they're not proud Lemon. There's plenty to be proud of, you're a hard working woman in New York City with solid employment," At that line he remembered saying "no" when Lemon's parents asked if she was his best employee, and was hit with a new wave of guilt, because she was. Why else would he have chosen her for the promotion when he thought he was going to be CEO. He took a breath and continued, "and you're going to be a great mother someday when you find the right guy. And just because they didn't go see your football game and were a little emberassed by it doesn't mean they weren't impressed with you. You were still brave enough to make that happen, even when your parents didn't support it, and that Lemon, is the main reason why I am proud of you."
A look of surprise crossed Liz's face as Jack realized his slip.
"Why your parents are proud of you. They're the ones with all those reasons and everything."
Liz smiled softly to know that with all his playful insults and constructive or otherwise criticism, Jack was truly pleased with her. And he was right about her parents, even if they didn't support her every decision, she knew deep down that they still loved her.
"Thanks, Jack. I feel a lot better now." She said softly, still leaning into him. He smiled down at her and pulled her a little tighter. At least he'd been able to clean up his mother's mess. For all his teasing, he was genuinely fond of Lemon and it was very upsettting to see her cry. He opened his mouth to give a playful comment clarifying that girls, under no circumstances, should play football, but found her to be asleep on his shoulder, breathing evenly. He could sit here a little while longer he supposed.
Jenna walked in the next morning and found the two of them asleep on the couch, his arm around her and her head on his shoulder.