"Nick, this isn't funny!"
"Ok, Ok.. but Jess, I just wanna go over this one more time. Robby, as in Mr Perfect, I played bass on a Santana album.. told you he loved you, in a song where the punchline was "I must confess, I love you Jess."
"It's not a punchline Nick! The song is not a joke. It was not a punchline."
"And Jess, all you said was "thank you"?"
Nick wiped away the tears from his eyes as he tried to contain his laughter. Jess laid snuggled in her doona facing him as his back leaned upon her legs.
"We have been here before though." Nick turned to face her, resting his hand on her blanket covered legs.
"It seems to be the way with you Day. Guys are always saying they love you first and all you can do is give them the good old finger guns"
Why would he bring up the finger guns?
"I didn't give him the finger guns, Nick. That was a completely different thing."
Nick chuckled, it was still a touchy subject with her, all these years later.
"Not really a different thing, Jess. Remember Genzlinger? I sure do.. In fact, I still have nightmares about being trapped between you two at the Christmas party."
Jess still had a very unpleased look on her face, which made nick tense up. "This woman", he sighed inaudibly under his breath.
"I think you're just scared Jess. Where's Prince when you need him, am I right?"
Jess tried to bite back the tears. He really had no idea what was going on in her head. Sure, she was scared to admit her love for someone, but it definitely wasn't Robby.
The room was silent for a second too long and Nick caught a glimpse of the light reflecting in her eyes from the tears that had just started to form.
"Look Jess, I'm sorry." His tone had softened as he shook his head and looked to the ground.
"I really didn't mean to make you upset. I just think... You overthink these things. You and Robby have been together for a few months now and he's a great guy. Maybe he lacks the Nick Miller asshole attitude that I know you love so much, but he has his life sorted out. You deserve someone who can take care of you Jess, and I think Robby could be that guy. Stop thinking about it. Someone really good at this stuff once told me, if you love someone, it's simple. Just let it be simple, Jess."
"I don't love him." Jess was full blown sobbing as she sat up and crossed her legs underneath her.
"It is simple, Nick. I don't love him. This isn't like Genzlinger. I didn't even know what love was when I met him. I know how it feels now. Real genuine love. With all the passion and frustration. Good and bad." Jess let out the breath she had been holding in for so long, as the tears continued to fall.
"You didn't exactly set the bar low, Miller."
Nick's face froze still as he felt his breathing began to become unsteady. She was right. He had given up hope of finding something like what they had shared as soon as they had broken up. Stabilizing his breathing, he shuffled towards her, sliding one arm around her back and gently pulling her head to his shoulder. He slid his hand soothingly up and down her back as he felt her breathing begin to settle and she moulded into his arms like she had so many times before. He opened his mouth to speak, but bit his tongue as he felt her grip his t-shirt with her hands.
"Thankyou Nick." She whispered, voice low and gravelly. "I really don't know what I would do without…."
"NICK, ARE YOU HOME?"
Jess jumped out of his arms and looked to her bed-side table.
"Nick, its almost 4:30… shouldn't you be at work?" Her tone had quickly shifted as she wiped her eyes with her palms. Just as the door swung open.
"Nick, I thought I was meeting you at the bar at 4?" Reagan sounded mad. Not 'someone used her towel to dry up the bathroom floor again' mad, but more of a 'her boyfriend was late for work because he was too busy in his ex-girlfriend's room' mad.
Nick leapt off the bed and squeezed out the door, passed the tall brunette who had steam coming out of her ears.
"We'll sort this out later, I can't be late again."
"Well it's a bit late for that Nick!" Reagan screamed as she turned to chase after him, still not noticing the puffy eyed, messy haired, Jess, sitting frozen and vulnerable on her bed.
"Reagan, wait!" Jess breathed for the first time since hearing Reagan's voice. The loft door slammed and footsteps got louder and louder as Reagan soon appeared back at Jess' door.
"Oh God, Jess. Are you OK?" Reagan's voice was soft but upbeat, like she had all of a sudden noticed that she may have interrupted something serious.
Jess sighed. "yeh, Reagan, I'm sorry Nick was late, it was my fault. Just having some Robby problems. Overreacting as usual."
"I hardly think Nick is the right person to be giving advice on relationship problems, Jess. I mean, we've been dating for months, we live together, I changed my job for him for god's sake and he still can't say those three little words? That man. I just, I wish I knew what was going on in his head, you know?"
"Wait, Reagan, rewind... Nick hasn't told you he loves you?" The look on Jess's face was a mix of a million emotions and smugness was certainly one of them.