"Hey girl, can you talk?" Jess asked her friend Cece over the phone.
"Only for a second babe. I'm in hair and makeup at the moment. I have a gig today for Victoria Secret."
"Ooh nice!" she said enthusiastically "You've been dying to become a Victoria Secret Angel for a while! Has it finally happened?"
"Not quite. Most of the Angels are in Milan for Fashion Week, so they needed an exotic looking model to fill-in, my agent recommended me. What's up babe?"
"I found a place to stay!" she squeaked excitedly.
"Jess, you didn't have to. I told you that you are more than welcome to keep staying with me and Nadia."
"Umm Nadia honestly scares me, Cece. The other day when you were out, she was eating fruit with a sharp knife."
"She's not that scary, Jess." Her friend said laughing. "I get along fine with her."
"Well, you should have seen the way she jabbed the knife into the watermelon pieces and fed herself…I was so scared that I actually locked myself into the bathroom until you came home."
"Wait a minute, I thought you said you had diarrhea yesterday?"
"I only said that because she was staring at me like a psycho and I had just spent a full hour locked up in the bathroom waiting for you to get home."
Cece laughed loudly. "Nadia is harmless. She can be a little weird sometimes but that's only because her English is so limited. A lot of the time things are lost in translation when it comes to her. But she will never hurt you, Jess."
"Well regardless, I can't keep sharing a bed with you or sleeping on your couch. You need your space and after yesterday I don't feel at all comfortable sleeping on your couch while Nadia is around."
"Where's the place, babe?" Cece asked changing the subject.
"It's about twenty minutes from you. It's a loft, so it's a lot cheaper than renting an apartment. There's four roomates…they are all guys. I like three of them, the other is a yeller. He kind of freaks me out. Apparently I will get used to his personality and he yells at everyone all the time. Oh, and there's this one thing…I kind of had sex with one of the roomates-"
"-JESS!" Cece exclaimed loudly, cutting over her friend before she could finish her sentence. "You slept with one of the guys? Already?"
"No, it's not like that. I had slept with him before I knew he lived in the loft as well. In my defence, I was totally drunk and it just happened. He seems really nice though, he's going to help me move my stuff in later when he finishes work."
"Where did you met this guy? And how come you never told me about him?"
"It literally just happened today, Cece. I went to this bar because I was upset about Spencer and I had some time to kill before my roommate interview. He's name is Nick and he works there."
"He's a bartender?!" she asked loudly.
"I don't know, Jess. I just thought when you move on from Spencer you would go for someone more grounded in life!"
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Spencer was a douche. I never liked him and you wasted like six years of your life with him. He was immature and lazy, but you never listened to me until you caught him cheating. Now you are going for a bartender, Jess?! You deserve so much better for yourself!"
"You don't even know him." She said defensively. "He's actually a sweet guy. I mean I know I've only known him for like an hour, but I really like him, Cece."
"I just don't want to see you get hurt, Jess, that's all."
"How about you come over to dinner tonight and meet the guys? That way you can meet Nick too. I'm sure you will love him."
"How about another time? I'll let you get settled into your new place first and then I'll meet them. I don't want to intrude."
"No, Cece please…I already told them that you would be coming over for dinner and they are all so excited!"
"Even the yeller?" she asked a little surprised.
"Sure. I mean, he didn't tell me not to invite you. Please? Plus there's this one guy that is like super excited to meet you. Please say you will come?"
"Ugh. Jess, did you tell him that I was a model? I hate it when you tell guys that. They spend the whole night drooling at me."
"Just please come for me?" she begged avoiding her best friend's question.
"Fine." Cece whined.
"Thank you! Thank you! I'll pick you up at eight. Love you."
"See you then, Jess." She said before hanging up the phone.
"Jess?" Nick asked walking into the loft and walking around the place. "Jess are you home?"
It was a little after four thirty and he had promised to help her move some of her things inside the loft. Usually, he wasn't exactly a man of his word. Nick Miller was naturally lazy when it came to any forms of hard, manual labour; but he liked her. He liked her a lot and so he wanted to make a good impression on her.
"I'm in my room." She called out loudly and he headed in the direction of her voice.
Nick knocked on the half-open door. "Can I come in?"
"Yes." She said walking over to open the door wider for him.
"Wow, Jess! This room is looking good. You've really done a lot." He said admiring the things she had already unpacked.
"Thanks, Nick." She said placing her hands on her hips and stepping back to admire all the hard work she had done.
"Where's your bed?" he asked frowning a little. "Oh…Is it still in your car?"
"Actually, funny story…" she said laughing nervously. "I don't have one."
"What- what do you mean, you don't have one?" Nick asked scrunching his face a little confused.
She figured he didn't really understand what was going on, so she would have to fill him in on the embarassing details.
"I, uh shared a bed with Spencer, my-"
"-ex." He said finishing her sentence. "Go on."
"Well, when we broke up we kind of divided all our things and the thing he really wanted was my bed."
"He kept your bed?!" Nick yelled a little, making her jump in a similar way that Coach did. "Who does that, Jess?"
"I know right? Because I paid for it and everything." She said pushing her glasses up on her face. "He had this shitty single bed when we moved in and it was my idea to buy a king size bed...which I paid for myself, he never contributed towards it. But he wanted it, so I left it for him. Apparently his girlfriend, the one he cheated on me with said it was the 'best bed that she had ever slept in'... So then I felt slack because it was like two against one."
"Jess!" Nick groaned a little. He couldn't believe the nerve of that guy. "You're too nice. You shouldn't let people walk all over you like that."
"I don't mind. I ordered a new bed today, after I knew I got the room but it's not available until the weekend. So it looks like I will either be sleeping on the couch in the living room or in Spencer's sleeping bag. He traded it to me when he kept the bed."
"You are not sleeping in a sleeping bag, Jess!" Nick said quickly. "Or on the living room couch. They are both so uncomfortable!"
"Then where am I going to sleep, Nick?" she asked pushing up her glasses again. "I can't sleep at Cece's because her roommate is a complete psycho."
Nick sighed heavily and started to pace the open floor space in her room, where her bed would have been.
"You can sleep with me."
"What- what about the roommate agreement?" she asked, her voice barely above a whisper.
"No one else needs to know, Jess. Your room locks, so this is what we are going to do... You are not going to tell the others that you have no bed yet. And you definitely do not want to let any of them in your room until you get one." he said continuing to pace up and down the small floor space.
"Isn't too risky? I mean if we get caught, I'll be evicted."
"As long as you keep your door locked until you buy a bed no one will ever find out. The guys will think that you have a bed and they won't think anything of you having your room locked. After all, you're a girl in an unfamiliar place with four guys...complete strangers who happen to be your roommates, so it makes perfect sense that you would lock the door until you become comfortable. Then when everyone has gone to bed tonight, I will come and sneak you into my room and we can sleep. My room locks too, so even if they wanted to they couldn't come in."
"In the morning, I'll sneak you out again."
"And are you sure that we won't get caught? Because I really need this place to live, Nick! It's so much cheaper than all the other places I've looked at."
"Jess!" Nick said grabbing both of her shoulders with his hands. "We will be fine. Relax. My plan is genius! It's a fullproof plan, Jessica Day!" he said smiling smugly. "As long as you keep your door locked at all times, it's going to be alright. We are not going to get caught. Trust me."
"I hope so." She mumbled, not fully convinced with Nick's genius foolproof plan.
"So what else do you need help with unpacking? Are there still boxes in your car?"
"I left the heavy things I couldn't lift for you...like you said. I'll show you where I parked my car."
"We better get them up here before the others come home and see that you have no bed in your room." Nick said as they walked towards the loft's exit.
"That's the last box." Nick said, before closing her car boot and picking up the box by the edge of the sidewalk. "This one is like extremely heavy, Jess. What is in here?"
"Books." She said smiling. "I read a lot."
Nick smiled a little comfortably and prayed that Jess wouldn't ask him if he read. He hadn't picked up a book in years. In fact, it had been so long since he had last read anything for pleasure that he had forgotten the name of the last book he had even read.
"Do you read?" she asked, holding the door to the apartment complex open for him.
He was waiting for that one. So far they had played twenty questions while they were bringing her remaining boxes up to the loft. She had asked him if he could draw, because Spencer drew in his spare time. He had obviously said no. He was the most uncoordinated, untalented person alive on the planet earth. She then asked him if he fished because according to her 'all guys loved to fish'. He couldn't really tell if she was relieved or disappointed to find out that he was one of the only men alive that did not fish.
"I don't like fish Jess…they freak me out. They breathe under water. That's not natural." He had replied and she had given him a weird look before moving on to the next question.
Every question that he answered felt as if she was judging him; almost as if to see how compatible they were for each other. It felt like she was seeing if he met all the right ticks in her check list.
But so far, the biggest thing that would determine how compatible they were for each other was the reading test.
"Nick?" Jess asked, waving a free hand in front of his face to get his attention.
"Sorry." He said blinking, slowly coming back to reality.
"Do you read?" she asked again enthusiastically, before hitting the elevator button.
"Sometimes." He said shrugging a little.
Nick watched as her face lit up with excitement and wondered if sometimes was enough to get another box checked on her list.
So he lied. He felt kind of horrible, but he didn't have the heart to tell her that they only thing he read was the tv guide. After all, reading must have been one of the things that she was most passionate about, judging by the strain he was now experiencing from lugging her extremely heavy box around for her.
The elevator doors opened and they stepped inside quickly. Nick silently prayed that old elevator would not take too long to get to their floor, because the box was starting to unbelievably hard to hold and his tired arms could not support its weight anymore. Of course he could just put the box on the ground until they arrived at their floor, but he was stubborn and he wanted to impress Jess in any way that he could.
"So what's your favourite book?" she asked when the doors finally chimed open.
"My favourite book?" he asked, as his eyes widened in shock at the question.
"Yeah." She said unlocking the door to the loft and allowing him to step inside, before locking it shut behind them again.
"Where do you want this?" he asked avoiding the question by changing subject.
Crisis averted. He thought smiling smugly to himself in satisfaction.
"You can put it on the floor, over there, by the other boxes." She said laughing a little. "So…what's your favourite book?"
Nick sighed heavily. He really had made a mess of things now! He couldn't even remember a single book title to save his life. Well other than Twilight…everyone always talked about that stupid book! But Jess wouldn't believe him if he said that, would she?
"My favourite book is, uh, well you see I have a few, Jess." He said running his hands through his hair nervously. "It's kind of hard narrowing it down to just one, because there are so many that I really, really love."
He could feel his back building with sweat.
"So you're like a full on reader then." She said pushing up her glasses on her face and smiling at him. "What's in your top ten, then?"
"My top ten?" he asked repeating the question, a little confused.
"Your top then books, Nick." She said laughing at him.
"Let's see…I really love The Shinning, The Green Mile, Misery, Carrie-"
"-Are you just quoting Stephen King movies…or have you actually read his books, Nick?" she asked raising a perfectly arched eyebrow.
"Uh, of course I've read his books! Back home in Chicago, I have his whole collection! I was so obsessed with Stephen King, that my friends used to make fun of me."
"Oh okay." She said smiling. "That's pretty cool."
He hoped that this would be enough to convince her that he read. Nick breathed a sigh of relief…Thank goodness he listened to Schmidt whenever he rambled on for hours about how Stephen King was the best author and how most of his films were turned into equally great movies. At the end of the day, it had really come down to remembering Stephen King movies that had saved him now.
"So that's four." Jess said snapping him back to reality. "What's the other six?"
"The other six what, Jess?" he asked frowning. He never did have a great attention span. His teachers at school had always said that he easily got distracted from basic tasks.
"Your other six books in your top ten, silly."
"Uh, I also really enjoy… the Harry Potter collection?" He said squirming a little. "How many books are there again in that?"
"Seven." She said smiling a little.
He had no idea if Harry Potter counted as great literature but he heard lots of Asians talk about it at his bar when the place was not too full, much to his honest dislike.
"So your collection is essentially made up of Stephen King and JK Rowling. Nice."
"What, uh, are you favourite books?" he asked. He really didn't care but he figured he would be polite. "What's your top ten, Jess?"
"It's mainly the classics…I love anything Austen, so like Pride and Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma… I also really love Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, North & South, Vanity Fair, Tess D'Urbervilles, Great Expectations and To Kill a Mocking Bird."
"Cool." He said clapping his hands together. He had literally never heard anything on that list before except Pride and Prejudice and To Kill a Mocking Bird.
Caroline was always reading Pride and Prejudice and had tried many unsuccessful times to persuade him to read it, but he never did, because he could never get past the first boring page.
And he would never justify reading To Kill a Mocking Bird when he could just watch the movie.
"Have you read any of those?" Jess asked, as she started to unpack her most recent box; the one with all the books.
"No. But I want to read some of them. You have a much better list than me, Jess." He said trying to seem convincing.
"Well, you are more than welcome to borrow them anytime, Nick. I have heaps of books." She said as she started to fill her bookshelf up with the collection of books.
"Thanks Jess." He said smiling at the thoughtful gesture.
Even though he had no intention ever of taking her up on her offer, he still found the suggestion so sweet. She really was a special girl.
"Well, I'm going to hop in the shower now before dinner." He said looking down at his watch. "It's almost six, so the others will be coming home shortly. Remember to keep this door locked and don't let anyone in here until you get your bed, okay?"
Jess nodded. "Thanks Nick, for helping me with the boxes."
"It was my pleasure, Jess."
"The answer is NO, Schmidt." Winston said walking into the loft. "Can you please just drop it?"
"Oh come on, Winston! You have no idea what you are missing out on!" he said begging his friend. "I really need this! Can't you please just do this for me?"
"Hell no, Schmidt! I am not going with you to a day spa! I have literally said no for the last half hour…can't you take Nick instead?"
"Nick? Winston, really?" he snapped annoyed. "Did you not listen to anything I said? It's a couple's day spa…Nick and I would never pass as a couple, Winston and you know it!"
"We do not pass as a couple either!" Winston said yelling out the sentence slowly for emphasis. "I have a girlfriend, man! How do you think Shelby will react when she hears that I went with some dude to a couples day spa?"
"It's not some dude, okay? It's me, Schmidt…your oldest friend, Winston. As your people would say 'help a brother out.'"
"Never quote my people again, unless you want to get punched in the face."
"So, will you come with me or not?"
"What's going on?" Jess asked walking up to the two guys fighting in the living room.
"He's being weird." Winston said pointing an index finger at Schmidt.
"He is being stubborn!" Schmidt said at the same time as Winston. "He won't come with me to this day spa. My boss at work gave me vouchers but they can only be redeemed when you take someone else. Its a couple's spa and I told her that I was seeing someone. I lied. I didn't want people in my office making fun of me because I've been single for a while." He said avoiding Jess' eyes and looking around the room quickly. "And now the vouchers expire in three days and I have nobody to go with me."
"I'll go." Jess said smiling. "I mean, only if you can't find somebody to go with you before then."
"That could work." Schmidt said nodding hotly. "Yeah, that could work."
"Thank you, Jess!" Winston said planting a small kiss on her cheek quickly. "I knew voting yes to you living with us would pay off."
"Aww thanks, Winston. That's so sweet." She said touching the spot on her cheek where he planted the kiss.
"Don't even go there." Schmidt said pointing a finger at Jess when Winston had walked into his bedroom. "Three words… Girlfriend and Roommate Agreement."
"Isn't that four words?" she asked correcting him.
"Did you invite your model, friend tonight?" he asked swallowing his apparent embarrassment before changing the subject.
"I did and she said yes. So I will pick her up at eight."
"Excellent!" he said smiling widely. "I am very excited to meet her. Is Nicholas out of the shower yet? I need to exfoliate before she comes."
"WHERE'S THE TV REMOTE?" Coach yelled from the other room.
Jess gulped loudly, her body trembling slightly from fear and contemplated whether or not to tell him where she had put it.
"Hey, Coach… I didn't know you were home." She said walking into the living room to find him ripping apart the couch cushions.
"Did you touch the remote?"
"I did. I left it by the TV, see." She said walking up to the TV and retrieving it quickly to pass it to him. "Here you go. I thought it actually made more sense to keep it by the TV than to have it hidden in the couch…it took me a while to find it when you guys were all out. I had no idea where it was." she said laughing nervously.
Coach closed his eyes and mentally counted to ten. He had promised Nick that he would be extra nice to their new roommate, but she was already starting to test his non-existent patience.
"The remote stays in the couch, Jess for easy access…got it?"
Jess nodded quickly and walked back towards her bedroom. There was no point pleading her case with him however logical her suggestion was. He honestly scared her too much.
"Ugh, I'm so nervous." Cece said as they walked into the open elevator of Jess' new building.
"Don't be. They are all really nice, except for Coach. He is the ones that yells. If I was being honest, he scares me a lot, but on a different level of how much Nadia scares me."
"Which one did you sleep with again?"
"And the one you think is gay is called what? I remember he had a funny sounding name."
"Schmidt. He's like supposably this big ladies' man, but I don't think the other guys see that he is like a closet gay. When he came home from work today, he was begging Winston- he's the one with the girlfriend- to go to this couples day spa with him."
"Eww. That's definitely gay." Cece said scrunching up her nose in disgust.
"I know, right?! How come none of the others see it?"
Cece shrugged. "Boys can be clueless babe."
"Okay, so here goes." Jess said as she slotted the key into the door. "Just be yourself okay, I'm sure they will love you."
Cece smiled faintly. She had no idea why she was so nervous. Maybe it had to do with meeting four unknown men all at once; but she figured if Jess could do it so easily, she should be fine as well, right?
"Hey guys," Jess said walking into the living room. "As promised this is my friend, Cece."
"Hi everyone." Cece said sweetly, waving her hand a little to greet the guys hello.
Schmidt quickly jumped over the couch he was sitting on and skid across the floor to stop in front of the girls.
"Hello Cece. WOW, you are even more beautiful than I envisioned." He said taking her hand and bringing it slowly to his lips to kiss it.
"You must be Nick." She said smiling.
"Actually, that's Schmidt." Jess whispered to her friend.
"Nick? God no. Nick is over there watching TV…being all anti-social." He said nodding his head quickly in his direction. "I'm Schmidt and I don't know if Jess has told you already, but I've been dying to meet you. And you have totally been worth the wait, Cecelia. I like that. Can I call you Cecelia?"
Cece smirked a little uncomfortably and pulled back her hand quickly. "Cece is fine."
"Hi, I'm Winston. Nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too." Cece said shaking his extended hand.
"I'm Coach. I don't usually like meeting new people, but I have to be completely honest you are drop dead gorgeous. Do you have a boyfriend?"
"Woah! Somebody is forward." She said laughing nervously.
"Back off man, I already called dibs on her earlier." Schmidt said nudging him hard.
"I'm sorry, but you called dibs on me?"
"Schmidt's weird like that. He was telling the truth, he has been dying to meet you all day." Nick said joining the others finally. "I'm Nick."
"Cece." She said shaking his hand.
"I've heard a lot about you from Jess. I feel like I know you already."
Cece smiled sweetly and was about to say that she had heard a lot about him too, but Jess spoke first.
"Okay, should we eat?" she asked heading over to the kitchen.
"Sure." Cece said following her friend. "I'm starving."
"Actually Jessica, I need to quickly speak to the men of this apartment urgently…" Schmidt said and all the guys groaned in unison. "This will only take a second. Let's go to the bathroom. Be right back soon Jess….Cecelia…" he said smiling sweetly before leaving the room.
" Uh yeah, Jess I'm with the guys on this. He aint gay."
"What is it Schmidt?" Nick groaned when he had gathered the guys inside the bathroom and locked the door.
"This is clearly about Cece…" he started and the guys all groaned loudly. "I like her and you are all stealing my thunder! Remember who's idea it was for her to come to dinner tonight and back off, okay?"
"How am I stealing your thunder, Schmidt? I just said 'hi' to her." Nick said frowning a little confused.
"Hey Cece…I've heard a lot about you from, Jess…I feel like I know you already…" Schmidt said mocking him. "Can you be any more subtle in your flirting, Miller?"
"Uh, Schmidt, why am I here?" Winston asked. "I have a girlfriend, I'm not interested in her."
"You're a strange man, Winston Bishop! An angel from heaven couldn't be more beautiful than this girl and you are not interested? Beats me."
"Can we go now? I'm hungry." Nick said sighing heavily.
"Not until you and Coach promise me that you will both back off."
"Fine, I'll back off." Nick said playing along. The truth was he was never, not even for a second interested in Cece. Sure she was beautiful, but he couldn't shake her best friend out of his mind since their morning encounter at his bar.
"I'm not promising anything." Coach said stubbornly. "I like her. I find her sexually attractive and I will make it my mission to date her."
"I'm going to date her!" Schmidt snapped loudly. "I've been obsessed with her all day! Even before I knew what she looked like!"
"Well too bad, because now you've got some competition." Coach hit back.
"Nick! Tell him to back off. She is literally the most beautiful woman I have ever met…she's my dream girl, Nicholas!"
"Back off Coach, let him have his dream girl."
"No." he yelled. "You'll have to fight me for her."
"Fine." Schmidt yelled back. "Then I will beat you fair and square. Women of colour always prefer Vanilla guys to boring African American men anyways."
A small knock at the door interrupted their fight.
"Guys, it's Jess. Can I come in?"
Nick opened the door and Jess stepped inside quickly, before shutting it closed behind her again.
"Hey guys, I don't know if you know this or not, but Cece and I...we heard everything you said! You guys are freaking out my friend! Can you stop acting like douchebags?"
"He started it." Schmidt said pointing the finger at Coach.
"I did not." he bellowed back loudly, nudging Schmidt hard.
"Hey, hey, HEY!" Jess yelled over the two guys as they continued to nudge each other. "Would it kill you to grow up and act like responsible adults?" she whispered angrily.
"She heard everything?" Schmidt asked, avoiding her gaze and looking around the room quickly.
"Yes! She thinks that you are all so weird... except for Winston!"
"What? What did I do?" Nick snapped defensively.
"Apparently she thinks that you are supporting Schmidt in some way because you are not encouraging him to back off."
"Thanks a lot, Schmidt." He said shaking his head disapprovingly at his friend.
"Now, we are all going to go back into the kitchen, sit down and be normal, non-creepy people and eat dinner with my friend. Got it?"
Everybody nodded in agreement and Jess smiled smugly. It felt nice to make them all cringe in fear a little. Especially Coach.
"And I swear to God, if you guys freak her out anymore... this will be the last time you will ever see her again! If you do anything at all to make her uncomfortable in any way, I will not bring her over again. Capiche?"
They all nodded solemnly and followed Jess quietly back into the kitchen.
Sorry that I haven't posted in a while. I had a lot going on and I didn't really have any time to update. I also had the feeling that nobody was really reading this based on the reviews, so it kind of slipped my mind.
To answer a reader's previous review/comment… I am aware that 4D only has 4 bedrooms, hence the reason why Coach is not currently on the show and why Jess had to move into the loft. But since my fic is an Alternate Universe (AU) story, I choose to incorporate Coach into the fic and therefore I've allowed for him to have a room in 4D. I hope that makes sense.
I don't know how I feel about this chapter, so reviews would be appreciated.
Hope you enjoyed the read. Please leave me a review if you can.