*A/N: Well, here we have it, the final chapter (and epilogue that follows) of my first ever fanfic. Thank you for reading this far. I really hope you have liked reading! I just want to say a big thank you to Laura (mcloz98) for being my beta. You're ace and I'm so grateful. And to my awesome Roomfriends for spurring me on to write and giving their feedback!*
Jess lay in his embrace, naked against him, skin on skin and closer than she ever thought they would be. Is this what heaven felt like? She sure thought so. The strangest thing to her was that it didn't feel weird or uncomfortable in the slightest. This felt like exactly where she was meant to be. Usually after first time sex with a guy, she'd have that awkward moment of looking for her underwear to replace them, or covering herself with a sheet as she headed for the bathroom, the shyness creeping in. But not tonight. Not with Nick. It felt so wonderful to just be held by him, to feel his chest rise and fall behind her so rhythmically, lulling her into a deep slumber with his lips pressed against her neck and his arm firmly secured around her, fingers softly stroking the skin of her stomach. Jess hoped he'd never let go.
She woke an hour or so later, brought back to consciousness by the cool air she could feel on her skin and becoming painfully aware of the lack of contact between her and Nick. She furrowed her brow and realised the weight of him was missing from the bed. Turning over, her heart sank as she saw an empty spot on the mattress where he had previously been laying. She closed her eyes and could feel tears start to prick her eyelids, then suddenly realised exactly where he'd be. Jumping out of his bed and looking for her clothes, Jess remembered she hadn't been wearing any when they came in here...she'd been naked under her robe, and that was currently lying on the floor near the kitchen. Oops. Instead, she reached for one of Nick's flannel shirts hanging by the door and hurried out.
Jess opened the door to the roof quietly and, sure enough, there he was. In his 'thinking spot' - as he liked to call it - although it looked to have been transformed in to some kind of den. There were cushions and drapes everywhere. She approached quietly, but Nick seemed to sense she was behind him and looked over his shoulder.
"Hey, I thought I might find you up here..."
"Hey..." He just about managed to get the word out, left speechless by the sight of her stood there wearing only his shirt. Nick thought this might possibly be the sexiest thing he had ever seen anyone wear in his entire life. It just about covered her modesty, barely reaching the middle of her thighs. The top buttons were still undone, exposing the pale flesh of her collarbone where he was laying his lips just hours previously. Realising he was staring at her, Nick cleared his throat as she reached his side.
"Can I join you?" she asked
He smiled and patted the cushion next to him.
"Sure, although I think Schmidt and Cece were the last people up here judging by all the soft furnishings - so be careful." he gave a small laugh as Jess screwed her face up and lowered herself gingerly next to him, her left hand grazing the fingers of his right.
They sat in silence, looking up at the stars. Both smiling to themselves, then breaking into uncontrollable grins when they realised the other was doing the same.
"Intense!" Jess laughed, cheeks flushing slightly.
Nick chuckled and nodded his head. "I was going to say amazing, but intense works too!"
"But it was amazing" she confirmed quickly "...it was, like..." Jess raised her hands to the sides of her head and made the noise of an explosion before clarifying "...mind-blowing!" They both giggled and looked at the floor like embarrassed teenagers, neither quite knowing what to say next. After a few moments, she spoke.
"Thing is...when I woke up, you were gone" Jess was chewing on her bottom lip "so now I'm wondering what's going on, because we both know Nick Miller likes to run when things get messy. Did we just make this messy?" She gestured between them both with her hand, a worried expression appearing on her features.
He looked at her, faced scrunched up in apology. "I'm sorry. I didn't run...it's just...my mind was racing and I couldn't sleep. I didn't want to disturb you - you looked so peaceful - so I just came up here for some air...to think." He swallowed hard before finishing "I need to talk to you, Jess..."
Her stomach dropped with disappointment. That didn't sound good.
Nick must have seen it flicker across her face, as he reached his hand over to cover hers and laced their fingers together to reassure her, squeezing her hand under his.
"I couldn't stop thinking about what you said before. About me cheating on Sarah the way Spencer cheated on you..."
Jess pulled her hand away and buried her face "Oh my god, Nick, I'm so sorry I said that!"
"Don't be. I'm glad you were honest with me. But I need you to know something - that's not who I am, Jessica. I'm not an unfaithful guy, really, I'm not"
"I know that, look, you don't have to explain..."
"The thing is, when it comes to you, Jess, I think I was always going to end up becoming that person...I'm sorry, but it's true. I can't help it. When I'm around you, thinking about anything or anyone else just isn't possible." He paused and shrugged "I can't explain the effect you have on me..."
Jess let his words sink in before replying quietly "I had no idea you felt like that. I had no idea I felt like that, to be honest. When you started dating her, it hit me like a sledgehammer. Straight up knocked me for six...and I was confused. I tried to push it down, to ignore it. But it got too big to handle and everything started to unravel. I am sorry the way things happened, Nick. And for comparing you to Spencer. I didn't mean to get Sarah caught up in it all. I feel so guilty..."
She looked at the ground but felt his fingers under her chin, bringing her head back up to him.
"You don't need to feel guilty. Sarah and I wouldn't have worked out anyway. All that history with her ex bothered me more than I admitted to myself and I already felt like things were heading south before the crap that happened with them at the gallery. I should have had the guts to end it earlier, I just didn't know how to. As always." He sighed heavily "Truth is, I've wanted to kiss you for a long time, Jess. Even before I knew you felt the same way." Nick reached up to stroke her cheek and she gave him a watery eyed smile. He paused slightly as he considered his next sentence.
"I mean, do I regret the way it happened? A little, yeah. I didn't wanna hurt anyone, that wasn't my intention...but do I regret that it happened at all? No. Never. I'll never regret kissing you."
Jess felt the tears escape her eyes. She swiped them away and giggled shyly as Nick curled his arm around her waist, pulling her close to him. Kissing the top of her head, he spoke into her hair. His voice was soft and the hum of his throat rumbled through her.
"Look, I'm not Spencer. I'm Nick Miller. I'm the kinda guy who is always gonna let you cuddle up to me when we watch a scary movie, the kinda guy who'll come to your aid when your car breaks down, the kinda guy who finds your lost purses and steals your cupcakes..." They both laughed out loud before he pulled back from her and looked deep in to her eyes. He wanted her to feel every word he was about to say "...and, Jessica, I will always be the kinda guy who thinks you are the most beautiful girl in every room you walk in to. So, I'm going to ask you again. Is this something that you want? You and me?"
She played her bottom lip with her teeth. Her heart was thumping in her chest as she answered quietly "Well, I know I definitely don't want to go back to being just your friend, Nick."
"You were never just my friend, Jess. That much I can tell you for sure"
At that, she launched herself forward and claimed his mouth with her own. Kissing him until neither of them had air left in their lungs. She broke away, her breathing rapid and sat back on her heels next to him.
"So, we're doing this?" Nick asked, his eyes shining under the moonlight. Jess smiled as she nodded enthusiastically, reaching for his face, bringing his stubbly cheek closer to her and confirming "We're doing this!"
He kissed her then, slowly and deeply. His tongue exploring her mouth as she parted her lips to him. She tasted sweeter than ever. He could feel his groin throbbing once more, aching for the feel of her again. He groaned against her and she felt herself pulse between her legs. He had no idea how he made her body ignite just from his touch. Jess was also now acutely aware of the fact she was wearing no underwear, as Nick's fingers began to trace their way up her thigh. He pulled back and his eyes widened when he realised. He words were husky in his throat "Oh good god, Jessica Day..."
Grinning, she reached up to unbutton the rest of the shirt but he grabbed her wrist with his free hand.
"No?" She asked, giving him a questioning look.
"No..." Nick repeated firmly and shook his head, moving closer to her. His eyes were dark and his breath was deliciously warm on her skin as he pressed his lips to her ear "...leave it on..." he whispered the instruction and a thrill shot through her "Really, Miller?" she purred.
"Really" he growled as he laid her back under the stars, feeling like the luckiest man in the world.