A/N:

Hiya guys. Wow it's been a long time! I'm so sorry and I hate making excuses but school's just around the corner and I need to make sure all my assignments are completed before I go in. I'm sorry! Sixth chapter now…I hope it isn't getting boring and I'll try to speed things up. There's a little bit of Cece and Schmidt in this chapter. Not a lot but I couldn't help myself! By the way this is a loooonnnnggg one. I felt like I needed to make up for being away so long. Thank you so much for your patience and support, it honestly means a lot to me! Thank you guys!

-A

"I'm the luckiest man ever!" he thought before letting his mind go blank to enjoy his time with Jess.

Chapter 6: Back to normal…

They lay in bed, Jess resting on Nick's bare chest, her head just under his chin while his arms snaked around her small frame as he held her tightly, protectively, lovingly. She lay there, smiling at her head rising and falling with his breathing and listening to his loud but steady heartbeat, her arm on his stomach leading up to his chest where she mindlessly fiddled with the hair there. It was something she missed. Even though, most of the time she didn't even realise she was doing it, she still missed the feeling. But then again, maybe she just missed being close to Nick, cuddling up into him while he held her, making her feel loved. She felt so lucky to be able to hold him like that after so long and wished she could stay in that moment forever. Nick smiled, feeling the weight of her head on his chest, playing lightly with his chest hair. "She loves me!" The thought filled his mind and body as soon as she said it and he was still a little in shock but the feeling of pure, sincere bliss was coursing through his veins and had silenced any surprise he felt. In that moment he either forgot or didn't care why she had left him a year ago because she was with him now, lying on his chest and smiling at the memory of what they did only hours earlier. It was now twelve-thirteen and they had both woken up at the same time in silence and breathed each other in before Jess could feel Nick kissing the top of her head lightly, a smile on his lips and holding her tighter. Her smile widened and she looked up at him, pushing up and letting her lips find his. They held the sweet kiss for a few seconds before Jess pulled away and looked into Nick's eyes and shyly said, "Hi!" He smiled at her, pecking a quick kiss on her lips again before responding. "Hello there, beautiful."

"Beautiful? Well someone's in a good mood. Either that or your hallucinating!" She chuckled to herself as she blushed slightly at his compliment. She had never got used to people calling her pretty or beautiful. Her past boyfriends never really said those kinds of things and being best friends with a model never got her any compliments either. It had never bothered or even fazed her in the slightest, but after she moved in with three guys and met Nick, he would look at her and say things like, "Wow! You look great!" or "That's a nice looking dress, you look good in it" in his Chicagoan accent and her knees would feel weak. Even though they were still just friends when he said those things, it wouldn't stop her heart from going crazy and her breath from hitching. She wasn't a vain person, far from it, but she even remembered a time when he called her ridiculously hot. Even though they laughed it off like it was nothing, it was a surprise to her. No one had ever called her hot before. Schmidt did say she was "smoking hot" when she dressed up once but that was different. Firstly because she was trying really hard to impress and wasn't just trying to open a jar, she was still confused as to why he found that hot and secondly because it was Schmidt. She loved Schmidt but when Nick said it, it sounded better. More real and like he actually meant it but in a sincere and sweeter way, if that was even possible. Point is she still found it odd that someone, other than her parents, found her beautiful and never knew how to respond to the compliment. He looked at her with a more serious look on his face and took her hand in his. She instantly looked into his eyes again and stopped laughing. "Jess," he began, squeezing her hand slightly, "you are beautiful!" Her eyes widened as she heard the serious tone to his voice and knew he wasn't just saying it to make her feel good. He actually meant it. She chuckled nervously, wanting to shred the heavy atmosphere before anything happened. "He-hey, why so serious Mister?"

"Because I want you to know that I mean it. I know you don't see it, but you are the most beautiful person ever, Jessica! I wish you could see just how perfect you are in every way! You're beautiful and funny and smart and sexy and my life wasn't the same while you were gone." His absolute resoluteness and unwavering certainty was making her feel a little more than guilty. He was the sweetest and most loving man she had ever met and even after all the pain she had put him through, he was still so sure in thinking she was perfect. She loved him, but couldn't help thinking that if he thought she was perfect, he must be suffering from at least an acute head trauma. She really didn't want to leave Nick a year ago but she couldn't burden him with her problems. She loved him too much and even though it was the number one cliché, she knew because she loved him so much, she had to let him go. But now she was with him and she felt like such a horrible person for being so selfish. She felt like she was picking him up and dropping him at a moment's notice and didn't want it to look or feel like that! She didn't want him to go through that again! She didn't want to be like Caroline. Granted, her reason for leaving was better than Caroline's but that was beside the point. He saw tears prickle in her eyes but continued, "I don't know why you left me Jess but, ya know what? I don't want to know! I just want to be with you from now on, if you'll let me…" His voice was warm and loving with a hint of playfulness despite his serious eyes and she couldn't hold her burning tears in any longer, letting them silently slide down her cheeks with ease. He felt bad for making her cry and hoped they weren't tears of pain or hatred or, God forbid, guilt. He brought his hand up and gently wiped them away with his thumb, pushing them both up to sit on the bed. She looked at him and her response surprised him. "I'm so sorry!" she whispered. It was a whisper that was filled with guilt and pain and he couldn't understand why she was feeling like that. Had he said something stupid again? She looked down, away from him as more tears slid down her face. "Hey. Hey. What's wrong?" His nervous voice was still so soft but undeniably filled with concern as he spoke and his index finger curled under her chin, lifting her head to force her to look at him. "What are you apologising for?" It took a minute for her to respond but he waited patiently anyway. "I'm so so sorry…" she repeated again, choking slightly on her tears. "I never wanted to hurt you and I don't deserve you! You are willing to forgive me, no questions asked, and take me back and I don't deserve that. Not after the way I treated you! I not good enough for you…" Her tears continued to fall and her voice was breaking as she spoke. Nick couldn't believe what was happening and her voice broke his heart. The most perfect girl he could ever even dream of was sitting in front of him saying she wasn't good enough for him. Him! Nick Miller. Sure, he liked to think of himself as an overall, nice guy but she spoke of him like he was some kind of saint. How could she think she wasn't good enough for him? She was amazing! "J-Jess…" he stammered breathlessly, taken aback by her words. No one had ever said anything like that to him. No one thought that they didn't deserve him and it was a surprise. He was always treated like the guy girls settled for or was the guy that attracted girls that were more than happy to lead him around by the ear, not letting him really be himself. He was the consolation prize and he completely understood why, so hearing those words come out of Jess' mouth was a shock. "Jess. Why would you think that? You're amazing! And I love you! Why would you suddenly think you weren't good enough for me? You perfect, Jessica!" He was in a strong state of disbelief and needed her to know that she was all he needed. "No…" she said quickly, cutting him off before he could say anything else. "No Nick! I'm not perfect! I'm not amazing and I'm defiantly not good enough for you! I'm- I'm…I'm just like Caroline!"

"What the hell?" Nick thought. "Why would she say that? She is nothing like Caroline, in any way." Caroline had crushed him to a pulp and sucked all the life out of him with the plan to purposely leave him a broken man. And when he was almost recovering, she'd managed to lure him back with apologise and promises before, inevitably, crushing him again. Jess was nothing at all like Caroline. She didn't leave him to hurt him. He was sure of that. After hearing the sound of her voice and the sound of her tears as she ran out of the loft a year ago, he knew she didn't want to hurt him and he knew it was hurting her. He loved Jess! "What the-Jess, why would you think that? You're nothing like Caroline! At all!" He seemed a little on the peeved side but Jess wasn't hearing any of it. "No Nick! I'm exactly like her! I left you and when I was feeling better, I went after you again! I love you so much and I would never, ever do that to you ever again but the fact that I did it once makes me and Caroline exactly the same!" He couldn't sit there and listen to Jess, his Jess, compare herself to the devil. "Jess…" he began in a slightly stern yet loving voice, but before he could say anything else her phone started to ring. It was arguably the worst timing for a phone call but she still lightly pushed herself from his embrace and shuffled over to her phone which was on Nick's bed side table and as she answered the phone, she wiped her tears away before clearing her throat and speaking. "Hello?"

"JESS!" Cece's concerned and, well a little too loud voice rang down her ear canal and attacked her ear drum mercilessly. "JESUS, FFUUUUUDDDGGE!" Jess' phone had been playing up a bit and would sometimes decide to flip to speaker phone. She had no idea why it did that, water damage maybe, but her mind was on other things and getting her phone fixed wasn't top priority. Cece, noticing Jess' sudden outburst, softened her voice before speaking again. "Sorry Jess. Is your phone still spontaneously flipping to speaker phone?" Jess rubbed her ear violently before answering. "Yes Cece! Usually it's fine and I don't react but you just screamed down my ear! What is wrong with you?"

"Sorry babe! I was just a little bit worried that's all. I told you to call me but you didn't and I got a little bit drunk and left with that guy I was telling you about. You know the one I met on the way to the bar?" Jess recalled the conversation and after recovering, she made herself comfortable next to Nick, mouthing an apology to him before speaking. It seemed like they were back to normal already. "Oh, right yeah…umm…" her voice trailed off as she looked at Nick, an expectant look in his eyes. He was so happy with Jess and wanted to tell everyone and scream it from the rooftops. He knew that if Jess told Cece, he'd be certain she wasn't embarrassed or ashamed of him or what they did. She shuffled about a bit, nervous, and went to stand up and walk out but Nick was being nosy and pulled her down, holding her hand. She threw him a confused look and he leant in and kissed her gently. He didn't want her to go and didn't know if she was okay after their chat. The kiss was a mixture of showing her he truly loved her, convincing her to not be scared of them together if she was and testing to see if she was okay. Feeling her respond to his kiss made his heart flutter uncontrollably and he smiled under her lips. "Hello?" Cece was still waiting and Nick's sudden kiss had thrown Jess off a bit. She pulled away, blushing and trying to hide the cute little grin making its way on her face, saying, "Oh yeah, sorry Ceec. Erm…I remember the guy. Are you okay? Are you…safe there? He's not a weirdo or…or anything, you know, unsafe?" Cece laughed at her friend and Nick watched her, smiling. He loved how cute she was and how she worried about the weirdest little things when it came down to the people she loved. "Yes Jess. I'm safe. He's not going to kill me if that's what you mean…" She chuckled again and Jess smiled, realising she did sound a little silly. She looked over at Nick, who was still looking at her smiling, and she took in a light breath before quickly kissing him. When she pulled back she saw the surprised yet relived look Nick's scruffy face held and giggled slightly as Nick wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her between his legs, allowing him to put his head on her shoulder and her back to press against his chest. He loved the feeling of holding her so close and she relaxed in his arms as Cece began to talk again. "Anyway, why didn't you call me?" Jess looked away from Nick and to her phone a little confused. "What? Why would I-ooooooohhhh…" She remembered that she should have called her when she got home but in her defence, she wasn't at home…"Yeah!" Cece sighed at her slightly ditsy friend. "Hey doesn't matter. How did things go last night?" Jess felt Nick's lips on her shoulder smile before he nuzzled his face into the crook of her neck before whispering quietly, "How did it go Jessica?" She smiled, biting her lip trying to hold back a shy laugh. "Oh, you know…it was ok, I guess…" she said nonchalantly and Nick pulled away and looked at her in disbelief. She giggled, catching Cece's attention. "Hey. What's so funny? Jess? Are you with someone right now?" Cece's voice was playful as she teased Jess. Nick opened his mouth to talk but Jess put her hand to his lips to silence him, "What? Of course I'm not, it's just…" her voice trailed off and Cece was getting inpatient. "Jess!"

"Ok. Fine. It was a little better then ok." Nick smiled at her and put his head back down to his original position as he kissed her neck, pleased with himself. Jess giggled again and Cece pushed for more information. "Better then ok, huh? So I'm guessing you talked to him…" Cece waited for a response. "Something like that" was Jess' reply and Cece couldn't wait any longer. "Jess! What happened? Come on! I'm your best friend! I need details Jessica Day!" Nick tightened his grip around her waist, kissing her again before whispering, more quietly this time, "I'll go to the bathroom. You talk…" She smiled as he let her go and walked out, silently. "Ok fine. I saw him at the bar and went over to talk to him and, well, you know…one thing led to another and…" Her voice trailed off as she waited for Cece to cut in but she obviously wanted every single detail which she was not going to get, especially not over speaker phone, in Nick's bed, while he was in the other room. "Nope, not a chance!"

"Oh come on, you don't want me to spell it out do ya?"

"Actually I do Jess, but maybe you can tell me later when your not in his bed!"

"What?! Wh-What are you talking about? I'm not-I am not in Nick's bed. Wha-pshh you're- you are-hey shut up!" She heard Cece laughing at her failed, flustered attempt to cover up the fact that she was with Nick. "Oh come on, little miss not-so-innocent! I know you honey and I can read you like a book. Not calling, the giggling, the silences every so often. Oh and the fact that Nick was talking to you…"

"You heard that?" Jess' voice was filled with surprised. "Jeezshe has ears like a bat!"

"Yes honey. You two aren't the most discrete of people, you know!" They laughed at the truth in her statement. "Where is he anyways?"

"Oh, he went to the bathroom to let us talk."

"Ok, so what are we gonna do then? We were supposed to be coming home from our morning jog by now. You know we're going to be late if we don't leave soon?" Realisation struck Jess and reality dawned on her, her face dropping as she remembered what she had to do today. Cece had been sweet enough to promise to go along with her and they had planned to go for a jog before they left so they didn't feel stuffy and cooped up all day. "Looks like that plan's gone out of the window!" Jess sighed, "Oh right. I forgot that was today…" Her voice was lower and a little disappointed. She just wanted to be with Nick, forgetting about the real life and all her problems. As soon as she said that, Nick was back, walking into the room and slumping back into the position he had moments earlier, grabbing her waist again lightly and kissing her shoulder. He had got back in to the obsession of pulling her into him every time he got the opportunity. Suddenly Jess felt a wave of nerves and actually fear wash over her and she knew she needed to change the subject before Cece could reveal anything. "Yeah hun, the hospital won't allow a reschedule you know."

"Cece!" Jess was completely tense and a little more than scared by now. How could she just blurt out about the hospital? She knew she was with Nick and on speaker phone! Nick lifted his head at the word hospital. "What? Hospital? What's going on?" He looked at Jess, confused, as she yelled Cece's name to shut her up. "What? I was just reminding you that…" Jess needed her to stop talking. She felt Nick respond to their words and couldn't let her continue. She didn't want him overthinking anything and overreacting. "Well you don't have to, ok? I already know! Look I'll meet you there later. I've got to go!" She hung up immediately cutting off Cece's "Jess!"

Nick looked at her waiting for her to explain but she didn't allow her eyes to leave her phone. "Erm Jess…" he began, but before he could ask what the hell was going on, she was up, saying something about getting ready. "What is going on? Why are they talking about the hospital and why was Jess acting so weird? Could it be…maybe she…" Nick cut off his thoughts. He didn't want to think anything stupid. Of course Jess was fine. What was he thinking? He got up after a couple of minutes to go to Jess. He found her in the bathroom, back in the dress she was wearing last night and running her fingers through her hair. She stopped when she saw his reflection in the mirror and let her hands drop, hoping he didn't ask anything but of course, he did. "Jess. What's this about the hospital? Are you ok?" She let out a nervous laugh before turning around to look at a concerned Nick. "Of course I am. Don't be silly Nick." Her response made him relax a bit but her voice wasn't very convincing. "Are you sure, Jess? You know you can talk to me. Why would Cece…"

"Don't listen to Cece. I'm fine! Okay?" He still didn't seem convinced so she continued, sighing. "Cece and I were going to meet up with Sadie at the hospital and have a girlie day out together with her little girl. You know, just have a little harmless fun. We've been waiting for her to have some time off for a while and if we're late, the hospital won't let her reschedule and take another day off. She's too busy for that. Cece was just reminding me not to be late." Jess was amazed with herself. She hated lying to Nick but technically it wasn't actually a lie. She was just not telling him everything! Nick's face turned into a smile as he sighed out in relief. "Thank God!" he thought. "Stupid imagination!" He walked closer, to a still tense Jess and rubbed her arms. "Ok. Sorry. I'm just a little crazy." He laughed at himself and smiled again as he felt her finally relax completely in his hands. She moved forward and kissed him sweetly. "Hey. Wait for me though" he said when they pulled back. "Why?" she asked, curious. "I'll drop you off at Cece's. You can't exactly go on a fun play date all dolled up, can you beautiful?" There it was again. That word. Beautiful. This time she just smiled at him and responded. "Why thank you. That would actually be really helpful," She held his gaze before adding, "Handsome!" She winked and turned around to continue on her knotted hair as his childish grin grew before he ran out to get changed.

They reached Cece's place in exactly ten minutes, holding hands for the majority of the journey, and as they got there, they saw her just reaching her apartment. Nick honked his horn to get her attention as he pulled up and Cece turned around instantly, eyes wide, but relaxed when she saw who it was and smiled as she waved. She was so happy to see them together again. They were perfect for each other and she knew more than anyone how much Jess needed him over the past year. Cece was always against her decision but Jess was stubborn and set in her ways, thinking it was for the best but constantly regretted her actions, wanting someone closer than Cece to hold when she was in pain. Cece loved Jess and knew Jess felt the same, after all they had been friends since they were kids, sharing so many memories and had become like sisters, but she could see that she needed more. Despite her genuine gratitude for all Cece had done for her, standing by her and doing as she asked to keep them safe, Cece could see she needed more than a friend, more than a sister. She needed Nick. So after all of that, seeing them sit facing each other in the car, saying a quick goodbye and smiling was all Cece could ask for. She was so happy and couldn't hold back her smile as she witnessed Nicks look before Jess went to leave. He looked like he never wanted to see the back of her again and before she could open the door and held her arm back, grabbing her attention and turning her around before pulling her into a kiss. It was so sweet and Cece actually felt a tear in her eye. She felt stupid, but seeing it, she knew how much Nick loved Jess. He had no idea what Jess had to fight while they weren't together and had no idea that such a small gesture would mean so much to Jess. After he raised his hand to cup her cheek, he rubbed her face with his thumb and pulled away unwillingly. Cece saw Jess push her face into his hand as her hand went up over his and saw the smiles on their faces. But when she really looked at Jess, she saw the look in her eyes, which she knew Nick was oblivious to as he didn't know what they knew. She saw the sadness and regret and her own heart started to break. She needed Jess to be ok. After that, Jess said something and quickly kissed Nick's cheek before turning back and leaving. On her way out and to Cece, she looked back a smiled, mouthing "I love you" and waving goodbye before turning to her friend, hopefully hiding the tears in her eyes. As Nick read her lips, his heart started beating even harder in his chest as he smiled and sighed, wishing she would stay with him forever. He felt so stupid, like a sixteen year old again, all giddy, as Jess would say, over a crush, but with Jess he didn't care. He saw her go to Cece and watched as her friends arm went around her shoulder. He didn't see anything strange with that until he looked at Cece's face. The look it held worried him. It was filled with sadness and concern and her eyes were glassier than before. As her arm went on Jess' shoulders she moved her face closer before holding her a little tighter and looking up at Nick. She could see he looked a little confused and worried so put on her best it's-fine-don't-worry smiles before giving him a quick wave goodbye and leading Jess into her apartment block. She knew he'd forget about it eventually, she was pretty damn convincing when she wanted to be. And she was right. When he saw Cece's warm smile and wave, he put everything down to his over active imagination and sighed again, hoping he was right as he pulled away and reluctantly drove back to the loft, feeling a little colder now that there wasn't a particular beautiful brunette with big blue eyes sitting next to him, holding his hand and looking out the window, humming sweetly. He offered to take the girls to the hospital and even be their chauffeur for the day but she declined, giving him a grateful smile and a kiss on the cheek, saying she thought it would be better to walk there to stretch their legs, seeing that they had missed their morning jog. He understood and let her enjoy her girlie day with her friends. If he knew what they were going to do before going out, he would have been a lot more insisting.

As Cece lead Jess inside, unlocking the door and letting them in, Jess felt safe enough to let the tears slide down her cheeks. After what she had been through over the year, she had gotten a lot stronger but when things came down to Nick, she couldn't help but let the tears fall. The difference now, however, was she was able to control the volume of her crying and was able to hold her tears back for a lot longer, giving her more time to cover up her feelings. It's not the best or healthiest trait, being able to bottle up her emotions, but she hated to worry Nick so looked on her new found skill as a gift, if you will. However, as Cece had said before, she could read her like a book and knew before she even reached her, that she was hurting. But being the amazing friend she was, she reassured Nick with a smile and lead Jess upstairs, holding her upright, so she wouldn't break down completely in front of him.

Cece turned around letting Jess go and closed the door but when she looked back to see her best friend's glassy blue eyes, she couldn't help but let the tears return. She moved forward instantly and hugged her tightly. "I know! Don't worry! You'll be fine and it won't be too long until you can get back and be with Nick! I promise you everything will be fine and it will all go back to normal again! Okay? I promise!" Her voice was soothing and Jess felt so touched. Cece wasn't a crier or much of a hugger but, like Jess, she had changed slightly after everything that happened. Even though it was Jess going through it, Cece felt everything she did and took it so hard. She had always stayed strong in front of Jess but when she was alone, she wouldn't be able to hold up a front anymore and would break down. Jess didn't deserve any of what happened but they pushed through, together, hand in hand, and made it out ok, together, hand in hand and stronger than ever. Cece let her friend go and they both wiped away their tears. Jess took in a deep breath and smiled. She had done it again. Cece had actually made everything ok again just by doing the most simplest of thing, hugging her and telling her everything would be fine. If anyone else would have done that, she wouldn't have listened because it was just a hug but when Cece did it, she calmed down completely and realised how right she was and how much she was overreacting. She was going to fine and back in Nick's arms in a matter of hours. "You're right! You are always right! Thank you so much Cece!" They smiled at each before taking in a refreshing breath. "Ok! Let's do this!" Jess had a new found confidence and couldn't wait to get back and see the man she loved. Nick Miller.

When Nick had got back to the loft he was greeted by his three male roommate's smiling and shouting, "Hey Nick! You're back!" enthusiastically, patting him on the back and leading to the couch. Nick was taken aback by this sudden warm greeting and couldn't be bothered with it. All he wanted to do was sit on the couch alone and watch TV while he tried to pass the time in waiting for Jess to call. After she declined his offer of driving her around, they both settled on him picking her up at Cece's to spend more time together. Before she left, she told him she'd call him as soon as they were finished and kissed him goodbye. He knew he was going to see her again but not seeing her with him on the couch, cuddled up into him honestly made his heart ache. He missed her so much! So much! He missed her beautiful face light up into a smile when she looked at him. He missed the feel of her soft lips under his. He missed the feel of her smooth skin under his coarse hands. He missed the sound of her voice both talking and singing and he missed the sound of her warm bubbly laugh. He missed her so much and did feel a little clingy but he didn't care. He needed her because it was paining him so much not to have her close. But there he was, being pushed into their shared leather sofa while his weird friends surrounded him with huge, almost frightening, smiles plastered on their faces. "So Nick…" Schmidt began, "Where have you been? Had prier engagements to take care of or just decided to go on a spontaneous early morning walk?" His voice was filled with a teasing suspicion and before Nick could answer him, pointing out that it was now just passed half-passed twelve, Winston started talking, asking him questions as well. "Yeah, Nick. Where d'ya go, man? Bit early for you to go out, isn't it? Usually you're just getting up around now…did you get up and go out for a particular reason?" Nick was trying to interject and answer their continual questions but they wouldn't allow him to. "Or a particular person maybe? You know, a friend? An acquaintance? A lover?" It was Coach's turn now and they were all snickering like idiots especially when he said "lover", breaking up the word, teasing him. "For God's sake you're all as dumb as it gets!" Nick couldn't be bothered to deal with them. He was thinking about a lot and if he took a second to sit back and look at the scene before him, he would have seen straight away that they obviously knew, but right now he was completely off track and annoyed at his idiot friends. "What's wrong, Nicky? Don't you want to share with your friends? You seem to be avoiding our questions, buddy…" Schmidt's annoying voice was getting on Nick's last nerve and when they all started chuckling and giggling like a bunch of pre-teen school girls, Nick had had enough. "You're all idiots. If you'd give me a second to answer your damn questions, you'd know that I was out with…"

"JJJeeeeessssssssssss?!" Schmidt cut in, singing her name and they all laughed again. Nick felt like he was defiantly missing something. Had they all been out morning drinking or had they all given away copious amounts of blood to hospital because if not, they all deserved a punch in the face. They were so infuriating. He got up, wanting to leave, but after hearing their voices, it hit him. "Oh I see…" he thought to himself, feeling a little stupid for not seeing it straight away. Schmidt and Winston, who were still sitting on the couch, either side of the gap where Nick sat, both grabbed an arm and forced him down and Coach's hands went over his shoulders to stop him from getting up and leaving before admitting being with Jess. "What-What is wrong with you idiots today?" Nick asked struggling in their grasp. He eventually gave up and slumped further into his seat. "Fine!" he said, giving in, "I was with Jess." Despite their giggling and stupidity, Nick thought that when he actually admitted it, they would shout out him telling him it was a mistake like they had when he was with Caroline. Like he said to Jess before, he didn't agree with her at all and didn't think what she did was anything like what Caroline had done, but he didn't know what the guys were going to say. He thought they'd be against it because of the way they acted when they broke up but to his pleasant surprise, he couldn't have been more wrong. They all let go of him laughing, cheering and whooping, all of them high-fiving and patting Nick on the back, congratulating him. He was amazed at how much noise only three people could make. "Wait, what?" Nick's confusion did quieten them down a bit but not completely. "You're all ok with it?"

"Why wouldn't we be?" Winston asked. "We all love Jess, man! You were best with her!" They all nodded in agreement, still smiling like maniacs. "Yeah, and you know…" Coach began, "Now we know she's back, we get to see her again!"

"Here here!" Schmidt said in agreement and they burst out into laughter again. "Wow!" he thought. He forgot how much Jess meant to the guys and smiled at them. Yes, they were idiots, but they all loved Jess and were lovable idiots. "Oh I see! So you don't care about us together, you just care about Jess? Soon I'll be pushed out of the picture, will I?" he was teasing them now and chuckled under his breath but his cockiness to get back at them backfired when they all simultaneously said "Yes!" and started laughing again. Yep defiantly idiots!

Eight hours later, and Jess had finally called Nick. Nick was so bored while she was gone. He did speak to the guys about them two, acting like teenage girls over the whole thing, asking questions like, "So how did it happen?" and "What was she wearing?" He thought it was hilarious and was actually happy to answer their stupid questions, telling them about the amazing night and morning they had shared, but when Schmidt inevitably turned the conversation to more inappropriate questions, Nick got a little angry and stopped their little girls talk there. Coach and Winston immediately groaned and slapped Schmidt because they all wanted to know how Jess was. They all missed Jess for lots of reasons, some shared and others more personal. Winston missed the little chats they had. Even though he was the last of the group to meet Jess and was a little uncertain at the first encounter, they had instantly got close and he would always give her inspirational chats as well as stupid little chats about things they both found hilarious like, cats in hats and bow ties or onesie pyjamas. Coach missed laughing about the weirdest stuff with her. Even though he liked to think of himself as a hard nut and a bit of a tough guy, he was honestly the softest guy around and always felt like a child when he was with Jess. It was silly stuff like baby pigeons and glaucoma glasses but he missed her all the same. Schmidt just missed everything Jess. He missed her innocence and quirkiness and would do anything to see her cook a frittata in a sauce pan again. They all missed her but none more than Nick, so when she called him, he was so excited and felt like he could breathe again. "Hey Jess. I missed ya." He smiled as he heard her response. "Aww. Hi Nick. I missed you too. Sorry it took so long. We weren't planning on spending the whole day out but we went to that old arcade and messed about before picking up Sadie's daughter and going to the zoo. I don't know why the zoo but I have to admit, I love the zoo." Nick loved listening to Jess talk and could listen about her day for hours without ever getting bored. Yet another thing he missed when she was gone. He laughed as she explained her love for the zoo and everything that happened, sounding like an excited little girl going there for the first time. She continued before cutting herself off, realising just how long she was talking for, "Wow, sorry Nick!" she said with a giggle. "No complaints here Jess!" he said, returning with a chuckle. There was silence for a bit while they both smiled before Nick remembered the plans he'd made. "Oh, hey, Jess do you wanna come down to the bar? I know it's not the best place but we're all getting down there for nine and we could catch up. What d'ya say?" He was really hoping she said yes. Even though he wanted to spend alone time with Jess, the guys insisted on meeting at the bar to see her again and he felt bad saying no and he was happy just to see her. "Erm…yeah sure, why not? But just to clarify, when you say 'we're all going', who does that include?" She knew who he meant, but she didn't want to set herself up for disappointment. Even though she missed Nick the most, she couldn't deny just how much she truly missed her three guys and wanted to see them so badly. It wasn't the most opportune time when they walked in, that morning, but now she was more than happy to see them. "Schmidt, Winston and Coach." Nick said, uncertain of what her reply would be. "Is that ok?" How he hoped it would be ok. "Are you kidding me," she said, barley containing her excitement. "That's more than ok! I've missed them so much! I can't wait to see them!" She was so happy at the thought of seeing them again, that she almost forgot that her and Nick had planned alone time. "Oh sorry Nick" Nick knew instantly what she meant. "It's fine. Really! I'm happy you're just as excited to see them as they are to see you! They've really missed you Jess!" Jess' smile began to grow at his words. "They missed me? They don't hate me?" She thought, like Nick, that after what she did they would be at least a little against her. "Really?" she asked. "Are you kiddin' Jess? Of course they missed you. They kept telling me how happy they were for us but then they went on and on about everything they missed about you, your quirkiness, your little chats, you cooking…they really miss you Jess. They love you!" Jess let out a breathy laugh as tears welled up in her eyes. She missed them a lot and was so happy they didn't hate her. "Okay!" She said looking over at an impatient Cece. "I'll meet you all there at nine. You don't need to worry about picking me up, k?" She couldn't wait to tell Cece so they could get ready and go. She wanted Cece to be there as well. She was also part of their odd little family and Jess knew she missed them. Especially Schmidt. "Are you sure, Jess. You know I'm more than happy to get you?" Jess laughed again. "Yes, don't worry about me. I'll see you there. I love you." Nick felt the warmth he'd missed for so long, spread throughout his body and his heart beat against his chest unbearably hard. He smiled too. "Okay. See ya there. Love you too." She hung up with a smile on her face and butterflies in her stomach and turned to Cece, telling her to get ready to go out. Nick put his phone in his pocket as Schmidt walked into the living room from his room. "Aww. Isn't that just adorable? Nick's in love!" his voice should have sounded sarcastic, or so Nick thought, but it wasn't. Coach and Winston both walked in and looked at Nick. "When are we meeting her?" Winston asked. "Nine." Nick replied before going to his room to make sure he was ready.

It had been twenty minutes and the two girls were already ready to leave. Hair done perfectly, wearing dresses that suited them both fittingly and make up done to perfection. They smiled at each other, unable to contain themselves as they left. Jess texted Nick on the way to the bar walking with Cece, side by side.

"Hey, we're making our way to the bar. See ya in a bit. X"

"K. We just got here. Are you with Cece? X"

"Yeah. She'd never admit it but she misses everyone as well. Especially Schmidt."

"I know! Well I'll order you a pink wine. What does Cece want? X" Jess smiled at his last text. Pink wine! She loved him so much! She asked Cece want she wanted and returned to her phone. "Thank you Miller. You know me so well. Nothing strong for Cece, just a beer. Thanks again Nick. I love you. X" Now it was Nick's time to smile. He loved hearing, or reading-in this case, that she loved him. "No problem Day. See ya in a bit. I love you too! X"

When Jess and Cece walk into the bar, the guys turned around and saw them. Jess was wearing a dress, obviously, and she looked amazing. It was so Jess and it reminded Nick of the first time she wore it, him being Julius Pepperwood from Chicago. The top half was a vivid blue V-neck that brought out her beautiful blues, which were now sparkling under her black frames, and the bottom half was a white skirt with little Russian dolls on them, a blue trim around the hem and bow at the side, pulling the dress in at the waist and setting it off, make it look even more Jess. She wore little black ballerina pumps and had a little purse hanging off her shoulder from a long chain. Her hair was tied up by the hair at her temples and her bangs fell over her forehead. Her raven like curls cascading down was pulled over her shoulders and rested over her chest. She didn't were a lot of makeup, a little bit of black eyeliner and mascara and a little bit of pink lipstick, bringing out the natural blush to her cheeks. Other than that she didn't wear make-up, not like all those other girls that would cake their face in makeup, changing and contouring. Nick preferred it when girls stayed further away from makeup, especially Jess as he liked to see her pale porcelain skin, a beautiful sight. She was so beautiful and Nick caught his breath when he saw her. Cece was beside her when walking in and although looked beautiful and wore clothes that suited her perfectly, she was completely different to Jess. She wore a plain black dress with a scooped neck and cuffed sleeves sitting on her shoulders. It was a simple dress but because she was so beautiful and wore it with such confidence, it was all she needed. She didn't need a mass amount of jewellery or accessories. She just needed the dress. Unlike Jess, she wore black heels which made her long legs appear even longer and her thick, silky hair was only lightly curled at the ends as it fell over her shoulders. Her bangs also fell over her forehead, framing her face and her eyes were made up with slightly thicker eyeliner and long lashes that fluttered and made her big dark eyes appear bigger and darker. Her dark skin with flawless and it was obvious she was a model. As they walked in, Jess' eyes shot straight towards the bar where four men, swivelling their heads over their shoulders to look at the two beauties that had just walked in, sat and her eyes met a very pleased Nick. She smiled and looked up to Cece seeing her look at Schmidt and then away. She missed him but Jess knew it would still always be a little bit hard for Cece. She looked at Schmidt, who was looking in utter amazement at Cece and watched as the smile on his face turned down when Cece looked away. He looked a little bit defeated and turned away, facing the bottles on the bar. Jess then looked at Winston and Coach who were smiling like mad men and she couldn't hold back her growing smile. She took Cece's hand gently and gave her a you-can-do-this smile before slowly leading her to the bar. It was just a little busy and as soon as they walked in ever man in the bar turned and stared at them. Half way from the door to the bar, two men in their late twenties-early thirties, moved from their seats at the bar and walked up to Jess and Cece, cocky and confident. Nick and Schmidt saw them making their way to the two beautiful girls and took an instant disliking. They stopped in their tracks when the two guys walked in front of them. The more tanned, muscly and obviously more cocky one started talking first. He looked Cece up and down and smiled. "Hey, good looking. I saw you checking me out. How about you buy me a drink?" He was so cocky it was unbelievable! Did he actually think that would work on anyone, let alone Cece. "Excuse me?!" Her disgusted reaction shocked him at first but he laughed smugly as he spoke, "Fine. Tight on cash? Don't you worry, I guess I'll buy you one. Lucky for you, I'm loaded!" He sound like an idiot and Jess wanted to slap him around the head, button up his shirt and tell him to act his age. That's when the other guy stepped in. He looked different from his idiot friend. He was paler and not as muscly and looked at lot less cocky and a lot more nervous. As soon as his friend started talking he winced at his arrogance. "Urm…I'm sorry! He can be a douche sometimes…" He was looking up at Cece timidly as her anger built up and she tried to control herself from punching him square in the face. He then turned to Jess and his eyes lit up. Jess could see that he was the nicer guy and didn't mind talking to him. "Hi, um, I'm Tim. It's nice to meet you. Could you and your friend forgive us and join us for a drink, maybe?" He was clearly nervous and Jess felt bad for the guy. Sure he was good looking but she had the best guy ever. He was good looking and funny and her own little grumpy, turtle-faced mystery and right now he was drinking his beer, before putting it down to get up and stop the two guys from making a fool of themselves. Both him and Schmidt got up started to walk over. Jess looked at Tim and, in her nicest way, turned him down. "That would be nice, er, Tim?" he nodded so she continued, "But you see, I'm meeting my boyfriend and some friends here and I feel like if we stay any longer my friend won't be able to hold back and will end up punching your friend in the face." At the mention of the word "boyfriend" his little face dropped but he chuckled at the thought of such a beautiful woman punching anyone. But when he looked up at Cece, her jaw was shut tight and her eyes were wide and serious as she nodded. He knew they were serious. "Really?" he asked just to make sure but as soon as he said that, two shadows fell over them and a big hand went down, heavily, on his little shoulder. Tim jumped and he and his friend, Dirk, slowly turned around to see two tall men standing in front of them. One was quite stocky and he looked like he could take a guy down in one hit. He was wear a flannel shirt and jeans and he had one day scruff on his face which only made him look scarier, especially when he was staring down at tiny Tim. Jess and Cece knew that Nick could make himself look bigger and tougher if he needed to and would defiantly throw a punch, but only if he needed to; he had made that clear with Artie, the coffee shop owner, but they both knew he was just grumpy Nick Miller who was being a little jealous and protective and they smiled at his towering demeanour. The two, now quite scared, men then both look over at Schmidt who was although clean shaven with slick hair and in a suit, had also made himself look just as tough as Nick, staring down at them. "Really." Nick said, low and threateningly, answering his question. "Why don't you two just run along now?" His voice was very threatening even though he hardly even said anything and Jess smiled. Tim instantly backed away, confused as to why such a small sweet girl was with such a scary looking guy and apologised to the man towering over him but Dirk thought he could try it on. He scoffed and turned to Cece, "Well you don't have a boyfriend, do you? Looks like I can have you then!" Schmidt's face turned into a look Jess and Cece had never seen before, pure hated. He tapped Dirk on the shoulder and when he turned around, punched him in the face. Dirk instantly grabbed his swelling eye. He let a quite a feminine squeal and a few curses before walking off, like a scared little puppy, say something about a big mistake. Jess and Cece, hell even Nick, was in a state of shock. If anyone was going to hit someone the two women standing in front of them and the two men at the bar would have put money down on Nick. But to everyone's surprise, even to his own surprise, it wasn't Nick, but Schmidt that had thrown the punch. He wasn't going to stand there and let someone talk to Cece like that. He, as did everyone that knew her, knew she was very capable in looking after herself and didn't need anyone to sweep in and help her. She actually preferred if they didn't. So when Schmidt had done that, a load of different emotions buzzed in Cece's head. At first, it was initially shock, then it was humiliation, thinking it looked like she needed saving, then it was sadness as she thought of how Schmidt was when they were together, always putting her first and loving her more than anyone she'd ever met, excluding Jess. But finally her mind settled on something that shocked her even more than what Schmidt had done. She was grateful and happy that he had done that and she hoped it was a good sign. A sign that showed he still cared about her. A sign that showed he still…loved her.

As soon as Schmidt hit Dirk, Winston and Coach shouted in surprise at him. "OOOOHHH! Damn! Schmidty!" They were laughing at getting to witness it, a once in a lifetime opportunity, but Schmidt couldn't hear them. He just stared at Cece, trying to work out what she was thinking. He still cared about her and still loved her and he hoped she wouldn't be mad at him. Finally her eyes met his and she asked quietly, "Why did you do that?" Seeing Cece sent Schmidt's heart beating hard and suddenly he didn't want lose her. "I'm sorry Cece! I just couldn't have him talk to you like that!" His head dropped and he knew she'd be upset for embarrassing her. By now it was only them standing alone. Nick had pulled Jess aside to talk to her and the rest of the bar had gone back to what they were doing. Cece looked around and seeing that no one was looking, slowly brought her hand down to pick his up. She picked up the hand he hit with and pushed her lips to his knuckles. At the first whisper of a touch, Schmidt's head shot up and watched, wide eyed, as she kissed his bruising knuckles. He took in a breath as she did and when she put his hand down, not letting go of it, she looked him in the eyes and whispered a sincere, "Thank you!" It was surprising to Schmidt and he was rooted to his spot as she smiled and slowly let go of his hand and walked over to Jess to talk to her.

Nick and Jess were smiling about something. He had pulled her to the side, taking advantage of the situation to ask her if he did anything. "Nick, I promise the smaller one was a lot nicer and apologised for his friend. He was just being nice."

"Nice?" Nick said, a little jealous. "He wanted to buy you a drink, Jess. That meant he wanted to get you drunk so he could try to get into your panties!"

"Nick!" She hated that Nick thought the worst of people and trusted no one, but she also loved it. He took care of her no matter what and made it clear that, despite his friends, she was the only person he really trusted. "What? It's true. I mean, look at you Jess. You're the prettiest girl in the damn bar!" She smiled. "Aww!" She couldn't help but react. It was so sweet and reminded them both of Mexico. They both went silent after Nick sighed and Jess took his hand. "Ok. You're right. I'm sorry!" He looked up at her and she smiled. "But you don't have to worry," she said, continuing as she wrapped her arms around his neck, "Why would I agree to drink with him, when I've got a handsome bartender boyfriend waiting for me?" He smiled. They hadn't had the "girlfriend/boyfriend" discussion yet but the moment he saw her he really wanted to hear her call him her boyfriend again. He thanked the Gods because he was lucky to hear it twice in one night. "Boyfriend, hey?" He said playfully as he pulled her in tighter, his arms around her waist. She blushed, remembering that they hadn't actually got any time to talk about them and she felt anxious for jumping the gun. But when his arms went around her waist and he playfully teased her, she knew he was okay with it. "Well…only if you want to be" she said with the same amount of playfulness, moving closer to his face. He looked in her eyes and then flashed down to look at her plump pink lips, curled up into a sly smile. He returned back to her eyes before saying, "Oh, I definitely want to be." He smiled and added "Girlfriend!" She giggled at his response, blushing again and closing the gap between them. It was a tender kiss but it was filled with passion and love. When she pulled back she smiled and placed her forehead on his before saying, "That's a relief" and giggled as he laughed at her. Jess dropped of her tiptoes and to her normal height just as Cece came over. "Erm Jess, I'm sorry to interrupt but could I talk to you for a second, alone?" Jess knew what it was about and threw Nick an apologetic look before leaving with Cece. Nick watched them walk into the ladies room and walked to the bar where Schmidt now was smiling and getting congratulated while he inspected his fist.

As soon as they got into the bathroom, Cece started rambling. "Oh my God, Jess what am I gonna do? I like him. I like him a lot. But it's Schmidt and I should be over him and I thought I was. I mean sure I missed him, but I missed the other guys too and I didn't think about it but when I saw him, all these feelings rushed back and then he protected me and I couldn't help but feel thankful and usually I hate it when people do that and I kissed his hand and thanked him and he smiled and I'm freaking out." She continued to talk before Jess cut in. "Hey. Hey slow your horses. Take it easy Cece, it's not like he proposed to you. Just calm down and think about it. You said you like him, right? Are we talking as a friend of more than that?"

"Oh I don't know Jess, it's just…" her voice was still high and frantic and Jess had to stop her again. "Cece. Calm down and just think about it. Take your time." Jess' voice was soothing and gentle and Cece obeyed, taking in a deep breath and thinking about it. Did she like him as more than a friend? Both Jess and Cece found it funny how their roles had switched. Just the other day, Jess was freaking out about meeting Nick and Cece was calming her down. She looked at Jess and sighed. "I like him. I like him a lot more than a friend. I-I think I might, even love him." Realisation hit Cece and she felt sick. "Oh god, I love Schmidt!" Jess smiled earnestly at her best friend. She was the best at helping other people with their relationships but she wasn't the best when it came to her own. "What should I do Jess, I mean I can't tell him!" Cece seemed to be going back into her frantic state but stopped herself, looking into Jess' eyes for guidance. "You can't?" Cece stared at her friend. "Of course I can't. You know Schmidt he won't accept me and I'll look stupid and…"

"Cece. Remember when I was scared to talk to Nick and you talked to me? Do you remember what you told me?" Cece looked at her and didn't want to admit to it. "You told me to stop stressing. You said that it was Nick we were talking about and that he could never hate me. It's the same with Schmidt. He would never decline you, not after all you've been through. You didn't see how he was when you broke up. He was so upset and he wanted to get you back. He told me he loved you. Trust me, his feelings have not changed. I saw the way he looked at you when you walked in. He loves you Cece and I think you need to tell him how you feel. Ok?" Cece was taking in everything Jess was saying and had come to a decision. "You're right. I'm going to tell him!" She smiled before saying "But in my own, okay?"

"Whenever you're ready to!" They smiled and walked out together, holding hands. When they left, their four men were all wanting for them, coats on and ready to leave. "What's going on? I thought we were going to have drink?" Jess looked confused and Nick answered her. "Yeah, turns out the manager saw Schmidt's little boxing match and wants us out. Big Bob stalled him for a bit but now we gotta go." Jess smiled. "No problems here!"

They all made it back in the loft and straight away went for the alcohol and put it on the table. Winston, Coach and Schmidt had already giving Jess a big squeeze, telling her how much they missed her but now it was time for a drinking game, 4D style. They all stood, circled around the table smiling at the game they were going to play. "The game is True American" Winston announced and they all cheered before he shouted, "One. Two. Three. JFK!"

"FDR!"

Everyone was so happy and it finally felt like they were back to normal.

To be continued…

A/N:

Hi guys. Again I'm sorry. I hope you liked that chapter and I'll try to get chapter seven up as quickly as possible. I'm sorry if that was a little too long and I'd love to hear what you think! I hope there aren't any silly mistakes. Thank you for reading! See ya soon.