"Jess, get a move on, we're gonna be late," he yelled watching as she ran around the room looking under furniture and blankets, visibly frustrated.
"Hang on Nick, I'm trying to find my 3D glasses. I know they're here somewhere cuz I was using them the other night to watch Leprechaun." She checked cabinets and moved chairs around at the table as if they would somehow shake loose secretly hiding under a leg.
"Jess," he said quieter, more serious, "you do know those glasses don't work unless the movie was filmed in 3D, right?"
"Look at you, Nick Miller, fancy photographer," she smiled over at him while grabbing her purse, obviously giving up on her quest for the disposable 3D glasses they had both stolen after the last film.
Nick had complained endlessly about the extra cost of the movie because of the need to purchase the 3D glasses and swore he would take them all to court for false advertising.
Jess had appeased his grumpy rant with the solution of simply taking their glasses home, instead of turning them in for recycling. At the time, it was a brilliant move until he realized that she too had swindled him into thinking his glasses were worth something instead of just a symbol of capital greed.
That is until she had put hers on and started talking in a deep breathless voice about how much bigger everything was while looking at his button fly pants, enjoying how his face blushed while he tried desperately not to laugh. He finally gave in when she feigned being smacked across the face by his giant "penist" repeatedly until King Kong came and carried her away, saving her from the horrors of such an oddly large one eyed snake.
Now they sat in silence waiting for the elevator to make an appearance as Nick repeatedly checked his watch and Jess whistled the theme song to Snakes on a Plane. Why was it taking so long?
Nick hit the button again and again while taking deeper and deeper breaths, trying not to ruin his afternoon with Jess. The last time they had gone to the movies he had almost lost his mind trying not to get caught up in the drama of her latest boyfriend. She had gone on and on about how this guy didn't have any gumption, dreams, desires and how he had reminded her of one of her students and yet he was a grown man. Yadda Yadda Yadda, he had thought, rolling his eyes when she wasn't looking.
Perhaps it was that her description had hit too close to home or perhaps it was because last week he had gone home with a girl only because she had giant blue eyes. Secretly he had stuffed a fiver in the jar when he had crept in before sunrise hoping the silent donation would absolve him of his sin or make him feel better at the least. Regardless, there had been no blue eyes since then, or green, hazel or brown for that matter. He was pretty sure he couldn't go there while this crazy woman was still his roommate.
Jess played with her hair looking at the split ends mentally checklisting her need for a haircut. She looked up at Nick while he stared at his watch thinking he too needed an appointment. Wishing she could cut his hair herself, she pictured him sitting on a barstool in the kitchen with a sheet wrapped around his neck, running a comb through his curls holding his neck with her hand to keep it steady. She pictured spraying it down with water and Nick yelling at her to be more careful as he would fake wipe it away from his eyes grumbling about going blind.
She chuckled out loud, a faint smile on her lips as she stared at the elevator door absently.
"What," Nick said bringing her back to reality.
"You were laughing at something, I saw you, what was it?"
The elevator bell announced its arrival as the doors came open.
"Well, I was actually pretending I was cutting your hair, in my head." Why not tell him, she thought, it wasn't as if it was like her other daydreams that started off so innocently and then would make weird twists and turns into backrubs and then morning after sex. Now those were hers, locked deep into her brain to never ever make an appearance while she was hanging out with Nick. Just thinking about it sent a blush up her neck she tried to cover by re-adjusting her glasses.
"What, are you saying I need a haircut?"
"Well, maybe just a little one," she said reaching over and touching the sides of his head, just above his ears.
He flinched from her hand, his eyebrows tensed as he stared at her with an obvious bit of confusion flickering in his eyes.
What the hell had made her do that? She pulled her hand back quickly realizing she had overstepped the boundary they had set when they had decided to be friends.
"My hair is fine Jess, I've got weeks before I need a haircut," he said feeling his nerves kick in suddenly at the feeling of her hand on his head.
Pressing the button to the Lobby, they stood in silence staring up at the light, waiting to see the floors pass by as they slowly descended.
Nick couldn't help but ask her now that she had said something though. "Are you saying you think my hair should be shorter," he asked nervously, turning towards her still body, lips tightening as she stared up at the elevator light. "Jess, are you saying I should cut my hair shorter?"
"We're not moving," she said in a whisper he could barely hear but understood as soon as he saw her lips counting slowly, her breathing becoming rapid. "1,2,3,4...," she repeated.
Nick looked back up at the floor light. She was right, they definitely hadn't moved for way too long. He reached over and pressed the Lobby button again and again, not feeling the floor shift or gears kick into place above them. His mind began to race as to what James Bond would do in this instant and then shook his head realizing clearly, McGyver would be a better choice in this situation. Checking his pockets for a stick of chewing gum or a paper clip, he finally turned to grab the emergency phone and began pressing the call button.
Jess stared at the light, waiting to see it change, counting to 10 over and over again to keep her nerves from beginning the panic attack starting in her stomach, warming her skin as it moved to the outermost parts of her appendages.
She now could feel the sweat starting on her back, her hands shaking as she pulled her hair off her neck and began waving her hand, fanning air on her now flushed face. Hearing Nick's voice talking to someone on the phone, she swallowed deeply knowing she wasn't alone. Nick would know what to do, she just had to keep counting to ten. "1,2,3,4..."
"Yes, no, we have't moved for about five minutes but the floor light is still lit. I don't think we even moved an inch." Nick looked over at Jess, seeing her in full on panic mode now, sweat above her lip, counting faster and faster. "Please hurry, it's uncomfortable in here."
He hung up the phone and began to rack his brain as to what he should do. She looked hot, he could see her skin pink on her chest and her hands holding up her hair. Moving behind her he blew on her neck hoping it helped somehow.
Once before he had seen this side of Jess. It had been at the bar, she had gotten locked into one of the bathroom stalls and couldn't open it. He had been walking to the storage closet and heard a woman yelling from inside. Rushing for fear she was being attacked he had found Jess sobbing from the other side begging someone to help her out. Realizing it was her, Nick had begun to laugh watching her legs kick the door with such little power all the while not realizing she could have simply crawled under it. When finally she had emerged, he had seen her eyes puffy, hands swollen from hitting the door so hard and the absolute wild fear in her eyes. He had felt terrible now knowing she was seriously claustrophobic and had walked her outside, holding her hand and rubbing her back until her panic breathing had subsided and she was able to cam down.
This panic attack was no joke for Jess. He knew that as he blew on her neck, watching her hands shake as they held up her hair. Not knowing what else to do, he reached out and began massaging her shoulders. She had looked so tense right then, it seemed automatic.
He could feel the sweat under her clothes but it didn't bother him. He kneaded at her muscles slowly, hoping the slow pace would help regulate the shallow breaths he could see her taking, hoping they would slow down to match his pace.
"Jess, you're OK, we're both OK. Lets take some deep breaths together, OK?"
"Yeah, OK, deep breaths, that sounds good."
Nick put both hands on her shoulders, firmly, "Here we go, breathe in, in, in, pause, now breathe out,"
The two of them stood there for what Jess thought was an hour, at least. Just counting and breathing, Nick rubbing her shoulders, just her shoulders. She could feel some of the stress ebbing, her heart rate slowing. She was able to close her eyes temporarily and enjoy the feel on her neck as Nick's strong hands pulled the tension out.
"Jess, you better?" he asked leaning closer to her head, whispering.
"Yeah, I am, I'm calming down," she answered, concentrating on his hands, counting each time they tightened on her neck, thumbs rubbing the skin deeply along her spine. "Oh," she sighed, shoulders slumping as her body began to relax.
Nick noticed she was no longer counting to ten and could feel her breath slowing under his hands. "Jess, hey Jess, listen, we're gonna be out of here in just a minute, lets just think about something else for awhile, OK?"
Her voice came out slowly to her ears, "I want to cut you hair."
She really had no idea why she said it. Perhaps it had been the last thing she had been thinking about before the elevator or maybe it was because she was thinking about Nicks' hands right now on her neck. Her thoughts wandered back to her fantasy where she's spraying down Nick's hair, occcasionally spraying his face, kinda maybe on purpose a little bit. She had to admit, seeing him get mad at her kind of still gave her a thrill sometimes.
His hands were pushing deep into her muscles now as she began to moan. Her eyes stayed shut and she concentrated on nothing but hands and breathing while they waited for something to move.
"Alright," he whispered behind her. "You can cut my hair."
It would just be a haircut. Nothing more serious than that. While they waited. For something to change. For something to move.