Hope you enjoy this! Slightly angsty, I apologize for that. The prompt called for that though.
Prompt: Upset Jess
Set in Season 2
I chose this particular scene to rework (don't get me wrong, QHC is one of my favourite episodes) because I felt that the whole Shane-Nick thing would've/should've had a more profound effect on Jess. I've changed the context a little bit than in the episode. Hope you enjoy this!
Roomfriends and Cowards
When Shane came back around and pulled at Nick's shoulder to turn him around, Jess knew what she was about to see next. She could read it in her body language. She tried to look away when Shane kissed Nick in a familiar way, like she'd always been doing it, and she felt bile rise up her throat.
"Is she...?" started Jess as the pieces began to fall into place.
What an idiot I have been.
Her hands went to cover her face which she felt it scrunch into a pained expression. She felt like a complete idiot and was mildly overwhelmed at the panic that was starting to rise in her chest. As a wave of hurt and anger clouded her mind, she could hear Nick denying it while Shane stated in a matter-of-fact tone that they were sleeping together. Then she heard him start up another lame excuse, but stopped midway to just apologize.
"Why... I mean why are you sorry," she said, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible. "You're a free man."
It made her feel pathetic that he was lying to her, and his apology made her feel worse. It meant he probably knew he'd hurt her; that also meant she was obviously in the position of vulnerability. He cared enough to be worried about her finding out but apparently, not enough to prevent him from sleeping with other women. With Shane. It was not his fault; she'd probably read too much into it anyway. She started to feel hints of anger bite into her and she couldn't help but channel her resentment.
"Just... you're just... you know getting some stank on it," she added bitterly.
"Did you really just say that to me in my own bar?" asked Shane, outraged. "Nick, who is this?"
Dragging her eyes away from Shane's angry face, she looked at Nick, waiting. "Yeah, Nick, who am I?"
From the look on his face, Jess knew that he was going to say something completely and utterly ridiculous. The nervousness and unsureness were clear on his face as he started. "Shane, this is Jess... She's my, uh..."
"Hmm... she's uh... my room... friend."
"I'm your "room friend," Nick?" she asked quietly, wishing the earth would just swallow her up whole. She was starting to hate herself, and she really really didn't like that feeling.
Almost as if he could hear what she was thinking, Nick started pleadingly. "Jess, don't..."
She could feel herself starting to shut down. She needed to get out of here as soon as possible, and she watched dazedly as Bob tried to come to Nick's defence. "You don't have to do this Bob," she said, shaking her head and starting to grab her bag. "I have to go," she murmured, and turned around on her heels and stormed out of the bar.
The walk back home wasn't an easy one. Her legs felt like lead and her head hurt; she couldn't tell if it was because of what had just happened at the bar or because of all the medicines she'd been on. There was no denying that she had feelings for Nick. There was also no denying that it obviously didn't matter. She couldn't walk anymore. She stopped in the middle of the pavement, deciding to take a cab.
She went back to an empty loft and hoped against hope that there'd be some ice cream in the fridge as she headed towards the kitchen. She could use some. No, a lot. She would eat as much ice cream as her stomach could handle, then take a shower, possibly cry a little bit and then go to sleep. Thankfully, Nick's shift wouldn't end for quite a while, and obviously, at this point, his boss wouldn't allow him to leave after what had just happened. And Nick wouldn't want to get into her bad books now, would he?
Because he'd rather get into her pants.
He probably wouldn't even come home after what had just happened at the bar. Shane was bound to be pissed so they'd probably... spend the night. She felt a bitter laugh build up in her chest.
That's where he's been all these nights.
Jess had tried staying up at night to talk to him, but he came in really late. She'd thought he was caught up with work at the bar. She shook her head, chastising herself for thinking that way. What was the big deal, they had shared one stupid - okay, not stupid at all - kiss. She'd get over it. Jessica Day wasn't a bitter person, and she wasn't about to become one now.
Muttering gratefully as she saw a tub of icecream in the fridge, she pulled it out and set it on the table. Not bothering to get a bowl, she began to eat straight out of the tub. She thought about Sam, and how hurt he'd looked and felt sad all over again. She had genuinely cared about Sam. It would be a lie to deny that she'd found herself attracted to Nick occasionally, but if he hadn't kissed her, maybe there wouldn't have been any feelings involved. She wouldn't be feeling that fluttering or that fuzzy, warm, feeling when she was around him. Tears began to pool in her eyes as she thought about it and she shook her head again.
No. It's just a crush.
She tried to divert her attention and began contemplating whether she should watch a little bit of Dirty Dancing. But that was her Break Up Movie. No, that isn't what this is. Nope. No Dirty Dancing. She began to dig in harder, trying to get her mind to refocus on something else. Her eyes landed on the aquarium standing in the middle of the living area and she wondered with vague curiosity why on earth it was even in the loft. They didn't even have any fish. Why did Nick have to kiss me if it meant nothing!
She heard the door click open and as she saw Nick step in, she wanted to hurl the tub of ice cream at him and storm off to her room.
Who does he think he is, coming back home earlier when I'm not mentally prepared for this situation!
Saying nothing, she stared into her tub and continued to eat the ice cream, her movements more aggressive than she intended. She didn't look up whe he walked up to the kitchen island and took the seat opposite to her. She really didn't want to hear an apology again because that would just make her lose her composure; he needn't apologize. She didn't care.
She didn't care.
Nick sat across from her, watching quietly as she ate her ice cream. Her head was bowed down and she was eating her ice cream very angrily, he could tell. Her shoulders were rigid and her other hand was clenched into a fist next to the tub. She was angry, and in no mood to talk. That in itself unnerved him; Jess was rarely angry and she was never one to avoid talking. He wanted to explain to her, try and make her understand where he was coming from, but he wasn't sure what to say. He knew how angry he himself would've gotten if he'd found out that Jess was sleeping with somebody after that kiss they'd shared.
"Hi," he said at last, voice quite soft.
Without looking up, she simply raised her hand in a greeting as she continued to eat her ice cream. "Jess, I'm-"
"Don't say you're sorry," she cut him off as she dropped her spoon into the tub with a dull clink.
Her statement took Nick by surprise. He hadn't expected this. She was clearly hurt, as was evident in the tear tracks on her cheeks and her moist eyes. Not to mention the tub of ice cream sitting in front of her. He was genuinely sorry though because he knew it had been a mistake to distract himself from Jess by sleeping with Shane.
"No," she said more aggressively this time, finally looking at him warningly. "I don't want to hear it. It's fine. You... You can do what you please. I'm just your... roomfriend, after all," she said, letting out an uncomfortable chuckle. "Ha, roomfriend. That was a good one, Nick. A really good one."
Shaking her head, she continued to chuckle, all too aware of her voice breaking. Her eyes were starting to tear up again and her gaze darted back to stare at the swirl of pink ice cream in front of her. She did not want to cry right now. Not here, not in front of him. Grunting softly, she started to get up, wanting to run to her bedroom to have a good cry. Before she could, however, she heard Nick sigh softly and get up. As she started to relax slightly, she couldn't help the little disappointment at the idea that he really didn't have anything to say for himself.
Of course, not! You knew that already!
She had known that there was nothing he could really say to make her feel better. It would either be an apology, or an indirect implication of how their kiss meant nothing. But the romantic in her, the one that always loved more, had still hoped. Annoyed at herself for that, she continued to eat when she felt Nick return and take a seat in front of her. Again, she remained unmoving, gaze fixated on her tub. Then, she heard a peculiar scraping and a familiar stick appeared in her line of vision.
"It's a feeling stick," she heard him say.
"I know what it is," she snapped, scowling at him.
He simply shrugged and continued. "Whoever's holding the feeling stick has permission to say whatever he or she is feeling without being judged."
"I know the rules!" she hissed, eyes narrowed at him defiantly. There was nothing left to say because she wanted to push away the said feelings into the back of her mind into oblivion and pretend they never existed until they actually just disappeared for good. "Look, I'm not doing this right now," she said through gritted teeth.
Nick threw his hands up in the air, annoyed. "Fine. Maybe if I give you some more painkillers you'll be honest with me."
"What's that supposed to mean!" she asked hotly.
Nick took a deep breath before saying, "Last night, when you were on pills you said you want me."
"Shut up," she snapped, panicking slightly. What if she really had!
"You put your hand in my pocket," he continued slowly.
No, no, no. Shit. This was bad. "No, I didn't."
She, in fact, knew it wasn't beyond possibility. She had been stupidly attracted to him for quite some time now. She had fully intended to make that fact known as well, but it didn't matter anymore.
Ugh. I hate him.
"You said, "This little piggy wants to go to the market,"" he said seriously.
She knew he wasn't lying; it did sound like something she would come up with.
Stupid little pigs.
"Shut up, Nick," she said again, threateningly.
Of course, he didn't. He never listened to her, the idiot.
"It's something you were just saying, that's fine, that's cool, we'll move on and not talk about it," he said definitively, but lowering his voice, he continued, "But it is something that I've thought a lot about."
Now she was surprised. Had he? She wanted to laugh at the absurdity of the situation. He was probably lying, he had to be. If he had thought about it, he wouldn't be sleeping with his boss. Flinching at the thought, she heard him continue.
"But you were never clear about that so there were other options. And this little piggy ran around to different markets, but he didn't know."
Was that supposed to calm her down!? Because it really wasn't doing that. It made her angrier. How much clearer could she have been!? She had kissed him back! She had told him that she'd enjoyed the kiss, that she didn't regret it. And he had the gall to tell her that she hadn't been clear?! She simply shook her head in response and got off her chair. Holding the ice cream close to her, she simply passed by him, rolling her eyes as she headed towards her room. In an unexpected move, she felt him grab her elbow and turn her around, making her yelp in surprise.
"Do you want to have sex with me, yes or no?" he asked, voice dangerously low as he stared at her
"Yes!" she said, angrily, yanking her hand away from his. She saw his eyes widen in surprise and shook her head. "No! Yes! I mean, I did." Then continued defeatedly. "But that was before... before I knew that you were you were doing all that for your boss. That you're sleeping with her."
"Fine, forget-forget the boss," he said pleadingly, taking a step towards her.
She took a step back and looked at him incredulously. "What, no!" Then she threw her hands up in the air, shaking her head annoyedly. "I'm not going to forget her, Nick! Shane, was it? You're sleeping with her! What, now you think I'm available you'll just do me instead!? Nope, no, sir," she said, shaking her head. "This little piggy doesn't roll like that!"
"Jess, I told you! I didn't-"
"You didn't know?" she said, exploding in anger.
God, he knew just what to say to piss her off.
"That's a load of nonsense. I made it abundantly clear, Nick."
"You want to know how I feel, fine. Fine," she said finally, cutting him off. She stormed past him again towards the table and grabbed the feelings stick, and turned back to him. "I'm upset, Nick. I'm really upset because I honestly thought that the kiss meant something. You kissed me, Nick. And-"
"But Jess, it does mean-"
"No. It clearly doesn't," she said with emphasis, her voice breaking. "And... and it's fine. It's not your fault. We made it clear that both of us are sometimes attracted to each other, right? So that must've been it. So, yeah. Yeah."
She dropped the stick back on the table with a sigh. She rubbed the back of her neck, eyes down and turned back to put the ice cream in the fridge. She placed it inside and closed the door with another sigh. She bowed her head down, and shook it once. "Let's drop this, okay? I'm hurting and I'm tired as hell. All I want to do is pass out on my bed," she said pleadingly."
When she turned back around, Nick was standing right in front of her, the feelings stick in his hand now.
She stepped back with a groan. "Now you want to talk about your feelings. Nick, you don't have to! I told you it's fine and-"
"Hey, I thought you weren't supposed to judge! And that you were supposed to listen!"
Rolling her eyes and stubbornly looking away from him, she crossed her arms, waiting.
"I slept with Shane because I didn't know how you felt."
Jess started to say something, but Nick cut her off. "I know you think you made it clear, Jess, but I also thought that maybe we were just roommates who were attracted to each other. Like you just said. I wasn't sure there was anything more. I can't even begin to tell you how much that kiss meant to me because I've been wanting to do it for so long. But with everything that happened later, I was just... I don't know, Jess, you hadn't brought it up in so long that I just thought that... I had to get my mind off of it and so I just... saw the chance in Shane and I took it."
Jess stared at him, not knowing quite how to respond to that. "You never said anything to me."
"Neither did you," he replied quietly.
"I... I kissed you back, Nick," she said, staring at him before continuing. "And you were brave enough to... you know, kiss me that day and-"
Nick frowned. "That was because of the-"
"It wasn't because of the trench coat, Nick!"
Well, fine! It did have something to do with how badly I wanted to kiss you," he muttered, shaking his head. "That stupid robe of yours."
"Then why didn't you just do it again!" she yelled exasperatedly.
"Well, I kissed you first! So you knew I wanted you too," he retorted, poking a finger at her shoulder. "Why didn't you do something!"
Jess's mouth dropped open in surprise. "What! I... I don't.. I just..." she started to stutter.
"You're a coward, Jessica!" he interrupted, looking at her accusingly.
"What!" she squeaked.
"You're a freakin' coward!" he said, starting to grow slightly amused.
"No, I'm not, Nick!" she said, annoyed now, taking a step towards him.
"I'm so disappointed in you," he continued, inching closer to her.
"No, shut up, Nick. I'm not!" she said indignantly taking another step, swallowing nervously as she closed the distance between them.
His lips tugged into a small smile, as he watched her step closer to him. "Then, prove it."