AN: This is my first entry for the Jeff x Annie Annie Appreciation Week. I will upload at a random order, so this one will be the song-inspired prompt. The songs in here are "Little Things" by Mika Sade and "In Your Arms" by Kina Gratis, Both cute songs that match the spirit of this oneshot. Hope you'll enjoy it!
R&R and DFTBA
Annie pushed her suitcase into the trunk and shut the door. She shouldered her bag and walked to the passenger sit. When she sat down she looked for and pulled out from her bag the hand cream, and began to apply it. "Wow, I'm so glad this flight is over, my skin gets so itchy from the dryness.."
Jeff didn't answer. She looked up and saw him staring at the windshield, hands on the wheel.
"Jeff, is everything okay?"
He nodded, barely looking at her, but she managed to catch the eyes he tried to hide, to no avail.
"Jeff, are you... crying?"
"I'm not crying," he said, though his eyes were clearly bright and red around the rims. "Why would I cry? Grown men don't cry for no reason in broad daylight."
"Okay..." she said. They were still in the parking lot of the airport, not moving, but the engine was running. She watched his profile attentively, and managed to catch the glimpse he sent to the radio. She homed in on the device, and recalled how he turned down the volume when she entered.
Before he could stop her, she turned up the volume like a ninja would remove the head of an enemy - quickly, briefly, and deadly.
"We picked some apples, talked to the wind, and you told me that for the first time you feel free, though I thought you're gonna say you want to kiss - with me..." the music flowed from the speaker, the gentle voice of woman. Annie recognized the tune. The song has been featured on the radio for some time now, but it has always been in the background for her, she never actually tried to listen to it.
"What is it? What song is this?"
Jeff was reluctant to answer, but since she's already caught him in the act, he said, "Little things, by Mika Sade."
"Okay... care to explain?"
"There's nothing to explain," he said, and lowered the volume again. "It's a nice song. I like listening to it from time to time."
Annie tossed her bag onto the back seat and turned to him, as far as the passenger seat allowed her. Her knees bumped into the handbrake. "-And crying?"
"No," he said. "Because I'm not crying, got it?"
"But you just... Jeff, you don't have to hide it from me, I can see your eyes. And I'm your girlfriend, so I'm pretty sure you shouldn't be afraid to tell me what makes you cry. In any case, I promise not to spread the news that Jeff Winger cries, okay?"
He sighed. She watched his chest rise and fall. "Fine," he said, "but only because I appreciate your understanding of the importance of my reputation."
He shook his head, and turned up the volume. They heard the words, "I swear I'm feeling your kiss getting closer..." and the song faded and ended. He sighed when the radio continued to another song, and turned it off.
"Don't laugh," he warned her before he turned on his phone, found the song and clicked play.
Annie raised an eyebrow but did not laugh.
The music played again, the words begin instantly. "Little green is all I need, To remember a sunny day around the park..."
Jeff waited for the chorus and joined with a hum of his own, his voice low and soft when he sang to her: "Could it be I've waited for too long, to let you know I love you most of all? All the little things we've never done - Can't you see you've always been the only one... "
She waited patiently for an explanation. The song went on and she heard the words, "when I try to understand how people meet, Sparkling glance, moment to embrace..." She glanced at his eyes. 'Sparkling Glance' was a pretty good description for their "Annie Of It All" period, when all she had were stolen glances, and the thought that there might be something between them that not only she could feel. She was glad they were no longer there. Three months have passed since she'd returned from Washington, and Jeff was still into it, and she was certainly still into it. He even came to pick her up from the airport when she flew again, and if that didn't say that he was serious about her, she didn't know what did.
Jeff sang with the chorus, "and I promise I will never let you down..." He tried to look in her eyes even though she was sure he was thoroughly embarrassed.
The last line of the song played, "I swear I'm feeling your kiss getting closer..." and the music stopped. He pressed stop and asked, "Well?"
"Well, do you get it now? Can we leave it and get out of here?"
"First of all," she said, "We can go, I never stopped you from driving. We can speak and drive at the same time, like we always do."
"First put on your seatbelt."
She strapped; he lowered the brake and started to steer out of the driveway.
"Second of all -" She said, "No, I didn't get it, so we can't leave it."
"You really don't get it?" He shot her a disappointed glance. She sighed and took his smartphone, pressed play and listened again. "Lovely song," she muttered. The calm melody actually began to grow on her.
"Yeah, I listened to it a lot after you went to Washington."
"I guess I like tormenting myself."
She moaned. "Are you going to explain at any point?"
He shook his head, not looking at her but at the road, and passed a car which parked on the roadside. "I thought it was obvious. 'Could it be I've waited for too long, to tell you that I love you most of all'?" he quoted.
"Oh..." she began to grasp, and placed her palm on his arm. "You think this song describes you?" after a second thought, she added, "us?"
"Yeah, I mean, not right now... but how I used to be. How I've waited. How I almost missed my chance..."
"Jeff..." She stroked his arm, and moved her hand down to the crook of his arm, fidgeted closer to him and rested her head on his shoulder. "But you didn't miss it, you're here with me."
"But I was very close not to be..." he sighed, laid his cheek on her head and kissed her hair, before returning his attention to the road. They were now on the highway, and he had to invest most of his attention on the task of driving.
"Sometimes when I hear this song I recall what a fool I had been, how I could tell you for so long how I felt - at least since Borchert - and said nothing for the most stupid reasons.." she managed to convince him that all of his reasons were stupid. At the time, they seemed very serious.
"But listen to the last part..." he said. She pressed play and looked for the ending. "It stays on my mind, Something is moving inside, Am I Dreaming? Stare into my eyes, I swear I'm feeling your kiss getting closer..."
"What?" she asked. She stroked the fabric of his sleeve. It was nice to be with him again, to feel his warmth pulsing under her hands. With her head on his shoulder she felt every breath he took. They were seperated for almost two weeks and spoke only on facetime and texts; she feared that the first time they meet again they will be a bit awkward, after not seeing each other face to face. She should have known that they will flow into their regular routine with ease, as always.
"The song's ending is optimistic, but you never know what happens next. Does the kiss reach its destination? Or not?"
"Oh," she chuckled softly. "It's definitely reached its destination. Big time."
She thought about the kiss in the study room, which both of them thought was the last one, then about the other kiss later that night, in her room in Casa De Trobad, after he sent her, "awake?" And she sent, "Yes, wanna come over?" And he did. No questions, no drawbacks: he just came over. But nothing improper had happened that night - Abed was in the other room, you think they would give him a chance to catch them red-handed? And after all was done, Jeff told her he preferred it that way, that he wanted to wait for the right time, preferably after they went on an official date, at least once.
They debated whether one date, or two or three were a reasonable time to wait. But when he took her to his apartment after their first date (she insisted on watching the episode of Lost he'd told her about), and they didn't even bother to turn on the lights as they walked in, so the answer was obvious: one date was the right number for them.
All this passed through her mind, skipping to the good parts, and she turned her lips to kiss his shoulder. He surely felt it through the fabric, since she could certainly feel his warmth herself. "And then it's reached its destination again, and again .." she muttered. "The kiss, I mean."
He chuckled, shaking his head. "Annie..."
"I can't believe this conversation started with me, pouring my heart out, and ended with you, talking dirty to me. Who would have guessed how the roles would be reversed..."
She chuckled. "You know as well as I do which one of us has the dirtier mind..."
They said it together, and Annie giggled, burying her face in her hand. Jeff smiled to himself.
"Perhaps we can agree," she said, "that both of us are not the most pure minded, especially when we're together?"
He agreed: "especially when we're together."
Annie watched the roadside zipping by. "You're no longer crying, are you? I'm here."
"Well, I wasn't crying in the first place, so.." He shrugged.
She smacked his shoulder, then straightened. She found her bag and took out her phone, scrolling through the songs.
Jeff watched her from the corner of his eye. "What are you looking for?" He asked.
"You wanna know what I listened to when I thought of you in Washington?"
"Errr..." he said, "Duh. The answer to that is YES, highlighted and underlined, in three copies."
"Found it!" She cheered, and pressed play.
The first notes that played cheerfully announced that before you was a song that Annie liked: a cheerful and sweet tune, entirely made of Annie, straight in the morning with dawn, after she drank her coffee, washed her face and was ready for a new day, before creeping under the covers and kissing him on the cheek. If he was lucky, she let him draw her for a proper good-morning kiss, but usually she was already dressed and made up and didn't give him too much freedom. But he appreciated what he got.
"I felt my heart was trying to find the place for you to stay, a place where I feel safe..." Annie sang with the singer. "In the rain, in the dark we'll lay, In your arms, in your arms I'll stay..." she slipped her hand in the crook of his arm again and squeezed. He smiled.
The song went on as they listened quietly, until Annie repeated the line, "I remember feeling like this part of us will never change..." and smiled.
"Actually, that's all there is to it," she said. "That's all this song says, 'in your arms I'll stay'. When we had that one week before I left, my favorite thing was to sleep together, wake up together..."
"Yep, sleeping together certainly has its benefits..." Jeff had to add.
"Jeff, I'm in the middle of telling you about a memory dear to my heart!"
"Sorry," he said in a tone that didn't hold any regrets.
"And on my third day in Washington, when I was sick with longing for Greendale, for the group, for you and for this thing we didn't know how to define but really wanted to find out..." She continued, "I heard this song in my playlist and just thought, 'this is me and Jeff. That's what I want.' And I listened to it when I was lying in bed and imagined you holding me..."
Jeff didn't want to admit it, but his eyes began to tingle again, and he was afraid he was going to cry again; not to say that he cried in the first place, of course.
"And ever since I came back, I started listening to it when you're not in the apartment and I'm waiting for you. It calms me. And it's the best when you come home and the first thing you do is hug me..."
Jeff sighed. She found him too quickly when she left the airport building and went straight into the car, so he hasn't had the opportunity to hug her yet. Now his muscles cried out with the need to do so.
"I'll hug you when we get home, okay?" he said quietly.
She made a sound rather like a puppy's whine. "What if I want it now?" He didn't see her face but was confident that she was pouting and making her eyes bigger, in the look which she believed had worked wonders on him; she was wrong. He simply liked to give her whatever she wanted, no matter how her face looked.
He almost laughed, but then changed his mind. There was a nearby park, so he changed route for the next exit. She looked up when he did. "What are you doing?" She asked. "This is not the way to Greendale..."
"I'm going to pull over," He told her. She watched in silence as he entered the park's parking lot which was mostly empty and parked as close to the entrance. They were far from the park itself. He lifted the brake and turned off the engine. Then he got out.
For a moment she just stared at him circling the front of the car, advancing toward her door. She managed to unfasten her seatbelt when he opened the door and pulled her out, "Jeff!" she shrieked when her head grazed the doorframe. He ignored her protest and pulled her to stand, and then his hands were around her and he crushed her to him, and her face was in his chest and his smell was the scent of the cologne she bought him after discovering which brand he preferred, and without his knowledge also spritzed the Teddy Bear she took everywhere.
She sighed and circled his back with her hands. He leaned her back into the vehicle, and his face dropped to her shoulder and his nose rubbed against the tender skin of her neck, and now she was a goner. She shut her eyes and let herself melt into his body, the way that always made her feel like they were two parts of the same person, that only when he embraced her she could recall that they, in fact, were one. "Oh, that's nice..." Her sigh disappeared into the sweater he wore.
"I've missed you..." he said softly, his lips on her skin passing the sound a thousand times better than air.
"Me too," she mumbled. Damn, he gave the best hugs. No one could compare. When he finally walked away she reached up and grabbed the sides of his face, before kissing him. The kiss lasted longer than the hug; they hadn't touched each other for two whole weeks, one would expect them to feel somewhat deprived.
"I love you," she murmured. "You didn't miss your chance. Thank you for coming to get me today."
He smiled his soft-eyed, lopsided smile, the one that was hers, the one that was reserved for her long before it made sense for him to look at her that way. "I love you," he said. "But sometimes I think about what could have been if... I actually waited for too long, to tell you that I love you most of all."
"There's no point thinking like that. There is no 'what if' - you're here, I'm here, why can't we be happy with that? We've spent so much time fearing and misunderstanding... I'd rather seize the time we have now."
He nodded. "Wise words from a woman who still takes a doll with her to every flight," he teased.
"Shh, let me pretend a little longer that I have the best boyfriend in the world."
"Come on," he said. "Let's get you home."