Spoilers: All three seasons
Rating: PG-13, leaning to R
Word Count: 6000
Warning: Swearsies/Sexy times
Disclaimer: Me no own Community. Me stupid.
Description: A series of moments in Jeff and Annie's relationship starting in the summer before their final year leading to Graduation.
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7 / Part 8
One Sunday Jeff wakes to the smell of coffee and an empty bed. He doesn’t like it. As he wanders out to the living area rubbing the sleep from his eyes and yawning loudly, he hears the faint chords of music through his iPod speakers. Dressed in nothing but his dress-shirt Annie stands barefoot at the kitchen sink, humming, mouthing silently to the words, head bopping and hips swaying to the beat.
Jeff is entranced by her; hair a little mussed, elbow deep in soap suds and completely lost in her own world. On the counter he notices the coffee press and two cups on a wooden tray and the domesticity behind it has the smile inching across his cheeks and his pulse fluttering madly. At that moment Annie turns and smiles wide, blowing him a kiss full of soapy bubbles, and his stomach drops all the way to his feet as if he’s on the peak of a rollercoaster about to plummet.
Oh my god, he loves her.
For Abed’s birthday the group fund a couple of his favorite celebrity impersonators, and now Casa de Trobed is filled with ‘celebrity’ classmates. Jeff – as Mr Blonde from the movie Reservoir Dogs; thumbs-up approved by Abed – relaxes against the kitchen bar, picking at the label on his beer bottle as he surveys his dancing friends.
He’s not really into dancing although he should probably work on that, especially since his girlfriend is currently looking super-hot dressed like Lara Croft and every delicious part of her is jiggling too close to Abed.
He knows he has no reason to feel jealous because it’s his bed Annie sleeps in, his hand she holds at the movies, his name on her lips when she comes. But he can’t help the reflex tightening of his grip when Abed palms Annie’s hip. And even though the connection was brief – fleeting even – Jeff kind of wants to punch Abed in the face, which wouldn’t be right on his birthday and is probably illogical, if he thinks about it. It’s just…
He’s in love with Annie Edison.
And for some ridiculous reason he now wants to brand his name on her ass and make sure everyone knows that she’s his and no one else gets to touch her; difficult when no one knows they’re dating. And yeah, okay, he’s probably being irrational but he still hasn’t told her how he feels and it’s been a week. Seven days of this new awareness has driven him to the brink of insanity and everyone has noticed; even Pierce wondered if they should hide all the fire axes on campus.
But it’s just… now that the knowledge has escaped the deep recesses of his brain, Jeff can’t think of anything else.
How does he tell her? Should it involve flowers or a hallmark card? Should he just say it like he’s ordering lunch? The fact that he has no idea is endlessly irritating because he’s Jeff Winger; he knows everything. But right now, he’s nauseous and nervous and can’t stop the incessant tremor of his leg and no Troy; this is not his idea of dancing.
Across the room, Annie catches his gaze and winks and Jeff’s heart nearly crashes through his ribcage and goddamn it, it’s going to be a long night.
A few hours later, Jeff stretches across Annie’s bed. Needing space to think, he snuck into her room when everyone was busy watching Garrett attempt the dance scene from Risky Business in just his shirt. The result wasn’t pretty.
At that moment – as if she knows he’s not done thinking and is standing out on a ledge wondering if he’s ready to fall – Annie cautiously enters, locking the door behind her.
“The party was a success!” She squeaks happily. “Troy took Britta home and Abed is in the Dreamatorium with the Molly Ringwald lookalike. I don’t even want to know what they’re doing in there.”
Jeff chuckles. “I think it’s pretty obvious, babe.”
She shrugs, meeting his smile. “You look good laid out on my bed waiting for me. I like it.”
“I look good anywhere.” He watches her move to her dressing table, catching her gaze in the mirror as she unravels her braided hair. “Did anyone see me come in here?”
“No, luckily everyone thought you left.” She spins to face him. “Why did you come in here? Ooh, ooh, were you playing up to your James Bond impression? Because you really took a risk coming in here, Jeff.”
“Annie, I’m Mr Blonde not Mr Bond.”
“What’s the difference? They both wear suits.”
“What’s the… no, you know what? Irrelevant.” He picks at the thread of a pink cushion. “I came in here because I needed space to think and, you know, I can’t say I enjoyed seeing Abed’s hands all over you.”
Annie pauses in removing the holster from her thigh. “Jeff, we were dancing and he was in character -”
“Uh, I don’t remember Neo dancing in The Matrix.”
Her shorts pool at her feet. “Well, I don’t know! It’s Abed. It doesn’t mean anything.”
“But you’re mine and only I get to touch you.”
“Uh, possessive much?”
“Oh you love it.”
She gasps indignantly but her lips twist in thought. “Okay, maybe a little.”
She giggles, wandering over in her lingerie – a flimsy set in pink with silk purple bows at her hips begging to be unravelled. She sits astride him, trailing hot kisses down his neck. She nuzzles the soft skin behind his ear, her tongue flicking wetly against his earlobe and I love her I love her I love her -
“No, I can’t do this.” He lifts Annie off his lap and sets her on the other side of the bed, climbing to his feet.
“Why? The guys aren’t there. No one can hear us.”
“No, it’s not that. It’s just…” He steals a glance at Annie, unknowingly curled up on the bed like some fifties pin-up. “I need to tell you something.”
He needs to tell her before it eats him alive…
She swallows. “O-kay.”
“You see here’s the thing.” He paces back and forth. “The thing is Annie…” He roughly palms the scruff of his jaw. “Do you have any scotch? No of course you don’t. What am I saying?”
“Jeff, you’re freaking me out.”
“Well, I’m freaking myself out, Annie.” He fingers his shirt collar. “Is it hot in here? It’s hot in here.”
Annie wraps one hand around his forearm. “Jeff, what’s wrong? You’ve been weird all week.”
He pauses, hands landing on her firm hips as she kneels on the mattress and curls fingers into his shoulders, kneading lightly. His eyes close involuntarily as he inhales exhales deeply, adrenaline racing, heart thundering in ears. When his eyes finally open, Annie is staring at him, full of concern.
“Do you remember when you had your accident?”
She’s thrown by the question, briefly, before her eyes narrow. “Why do I suddenly feel like a suspect on the stand?”
His fingers tighten against her hip. “Annie!”
She giggles. “Okay, okay. Of course I remember.”
“But do you remember what you said to me afterwards? You wanted someone who didn’t care that you’d been to rehab or -”
“Ugh! Don’t remind me.” She flushes, shaking her head lightly. “I’m so embarrassed.”
“No, don’t be embarrassed. You see, I thought… the thing is, Annie, well…” His chest rises and falls. “I’m that… someone.”
“I love you.” He flinches, the words a tumbled rush of awkward in his mouth.
She freezes, studying every line of his face. “Jeff, you don’t have to tell me that just because you’re jealous of Abed. We were just dancing. I’m yours.”
As she shifts to move away, Jeff snatches her face in both palms; the fierceness of the gesture startling her. “No, that’s not what I meant Annie and you know it. You don’t have to protect yourself from me anymore. I’m not going to take it back, I’m not going to say it was a mistake and I’m not going to forget. I’m in love with you, in case you hadn’t noticed.”
He watches the arch of her neck as she swallows; her voice a shred above a whisper. “I…do you…no one’s ever said that to me before.”
“Well, I’ve never said that to anyone before so we’re even.”
He’s thankful he’s gripping her face because he’s pretty sure his hands would be shaking right now.
“Yeah. I feel like a nervous teenager hiding in the body of a ridiculously handsome thirty-six year old.”
“Well, you are ridiculous.” She giggles, leaping forward to claim his lips, kisses greedy and all consuming; clawing at his clothes with frantic fingers. Jeff finally tugs on those purple bows and loses himself in her.
Later, he lies awake staring at the ceiling; a sleepy and satisfied Annie nestled into his side. Unable to sleep for the gnawing sensation in his gut, he fidgets, kicking the sheets, twisting and turning, punching the pillow with a heavy fist. When he finally settles, it’s there, engulfed by the darkness and the hypnotic tick tock, that he realizes, that it hits him heavily and bursts forth. Of all the scenarios he imagined he never once thought she wouldn’t say it back.
Jeff opens one eye cautiously as evil spills through the slatted blinds in light form. His temple pulses to the loud beat of an incessant wail. The room spins and the walls close in and he’s pretty sure they’re not supposed to do that and holy crap he stinks of alcohol; it’s practically seeping through his pores.
Oh yeah, that wailing is the sound of his brain cells dying, suffocating from alcoholic fumes.
He groans to his feet, stumbles and staggers, every movement slow as he pulls his jeans from the chair. He makes it out to the living room and gets one foot in one leg before falling heavily, skin slapping the floor with a thwack. At this point he’s semi-grateful for all the alcohol he’s consumed because he’d probably be in agony right about now. He decides to stay there, naked, face squished painfully and one foot in his jeans.
When his landline rings loudly like a thousand daggers in his skull, Jeff moans until it stops, clicks and the message plays. “Jeff, it’s me. It’s pointless ignoring your cell when I know you’re old and have a landline. I’m coming over. We need to talk.”
Way to hit me where it hurts Annie, which is everywhere right now.
He manages to roll onto his back and pull on his jeans with a bit of wriggling and concerted effort. There’s a determined knock on his door and Jeff is reminded how much alcohol affects your awareness of time, unless Annie drives really fast which doesn’t ring true for Miss-Jeff-you-missed-a-stop-sign-Edison.
He crawls over to the door and finally gets to his feet to wrench it open. In the hallway, Annie’s arms fold sternly, nose wrinkled. “You’ve been drinking.”
“Well done, Sherlock. Case solved.”
Pout pronounced she marches into his kitchen, making little huffy noises when she notices the empty bottle of scotch. Jeff sits on one of the stools, head gravitating to the kitchen bar. Amid the perpetual head throbbing, he wonders if he did anything stupid while he got drunk, anything that could make her this mad.
But then there’s a break in the fog and he remembers that he’s mad at her and holy crap thinking really hurts.
Annie places a steaming cup beside his nose. “Drink this. Now.”
Jeff gingerly lifts his head. “You came to make me coffee? There are people called baristas who do that.”
She huffs and folds arms sharply. “I came to ask why the hell you left in the middle of the night because, oh, I don’t know, when you’re boyfriend tells you that he loves you for the first time, you kind of expect him to still be there the next morning!”
He exhales heavily and takes comfort in the coffee’s bitter warmth. He can’t look at her right now; he let himself get entirely too deep into this without thinking she wouldn’t do the same. And now he looks like a fool. He’s completely powerless and she’s done this to him. He’s let a woman do this to him. His twenty-five year old self is probably having a real good laugh at him right now.
“Annie, I don’t -”
“Want to talk about this? Change the record, Jeff!” She shakes her head, studying his refusal to look at her. “Do you know how it felt to wake up and discover you had left?”
“Oh, I have some idea.”
“Are you…do you regret telling me how you feel?”
His gaze bites to hers quickly. “No!”
The answer surprises them both.
“Then why?” She frowns into the distance. “I thought I did something wrong.”
His jaw tightens bitterly. “You did.”
She gasps. “What? Was it not good for you too…I thought…”
“Annie, this has nothing to do with sex. I said I loved you and you never said it back! Forgive me if I’m a little fucking upset about that.”
Just dig yourself deeper, Jeff. Dig yourself deeper…
“I…I didn’t?” Her mouth opens soundlessly; she looks like he’s just slapped her. “Jeff, I… That’s why you left?”
“You think I’m going to stick around like an idiot after I just put myself out there like that?”
Her expression softens as she studies every feature of his face, holding his gaze so intently he flinches and looks away. She huffs lightly. “Well, you must be an idiot if you don’t know by now how much I love you! And if you’d stuck around, I would have told you as much this morning!”
In the sudden snap of silence, Jeff exhales heavily. All the tension and breath leaves his body in a gush as Annie looks at him with eyes fiercely blue and determined. He’s never felt more vulnerable in his life. “You’re not just saying that?”
Her shoulders slump as she moves towards him. “You insecure fool! I guess I was so happy that you said it, I got carried away by the moment with the kissing and the -”
She rolls her eyes. “Yes, which was -”
“Amazing. Seriously, Annie, it’s always -”
“I know!” She flushes red, eyes wide.
As their gazes lock Jeff feels a little bubble of joy spring up in his chest because now he sees it, right there in her eyes, dusting every feature; she loves him. He – Jeff Winger – is loved. He swallows the lump in his throat.
“Come here.” Annie slides fingers along the scruff of his jawline. “I’m about to get sentimental and stuff; are you ready?”
He shrugs carelessly but can’t hide the half-smile twitching his lips. “I guess…”
“Look at me. I love you because you see me, you really see me. And I see you and I love everything I see, even those parts that aren’t perfect because -”
“Annie, I’m perfection in male form.”
She ignores him, palming his head so tightly the smile slips from his face. “Because I’m not perfect either but you make me feel like I am. I love you so much.” Jeff’s heart flutters as they study each other in silence, breaths heavy, gazes locked. “And now we’re even.”
Annie yanks him down to her mouth, kissing him hungrily; tongue seeking searching dancing with his own. He doesn’t know how long they stay like that, eager hands and searching mouths, lazy kisses that have no purpose except the need to be close. By the time they pull away a little breathless, Jeff wonders why he’s never done this love stuff before because even with a hangover he feels amazing and has this impulsive need to flex his muscles and shout things from mountain tops. He laughs out loud at that and Annie smiles curiously.
“What’s so funny?”
“Nothing.” He brushes her cheek. “I’m sorry I left like I did. I just felt -”
“I know, it’s okay. I’m sorry too. I’d just rather you told me and we could resolve it. I don’t want you to run away anymore Jeff, because I can’t keep chasing after you or waiting for you to come back. It…it hurts.”
He inhales deeply, heart a rapid beat, and snatches her hand, kissing it once, twice. He hugs her tiny frame deep into his, chin resting on top of her head, eyes closed, feeling all kinds of relief. Annie presses closer, breath tickling his chest.
“Uh, Jeff?” He hums in response. “I hate to be the one to tell you this but…you stink.”
He leans back, laughing heartily. “Join me in the shower?”
“I’m not the one who smells.”
“True, but I need someone to wash my back… and my front. I’m hung-over. What if my delayed reactions cause me to slip and hit my head? It’d be your fault. Do you want that on your conscience, Annie? Do you?”
She shakes her head amusedly. “Technically, it’d be your fault and that empty bottle of scotch on the counter but I suppose I could shower with you, if I must.” Her fingers dance the line between his shoulder blades as he leads her to the bathroom. “Do you need me to undress you too?”
Jeff smirks as the bathroom light flickers noisily and showers them in florescent brightness. “Yeah. I almost injured myself getting these jeans on; I can’t bear to think what might happen to this body if I attempt to take them off.”
She meets his playful smile and his stomach muscles contract as Annie draws her palms down his chest, tickling his lower abdomen, moving to his zipper.
“It is so tough being your girlfriend sometimes.”
Click for Part 9b