Dear MyFictionalFavourites,

Hope you enjoy this and I'm warning you, this gets a little too cheesy... But well, the SONGGG, oh my god.

Prompt: Taylor Swift Song [INSPIRED]

Alternate Universe - Complete Alternate Universe

I guess I wrote this because when I first heard the song, all I could think of was "Nick & Jess", so I simply had to write this. Sorry again, it probably got a little too cheesy in the end.

Your NotSoSecretAnymore,
Santa.


Dress


I

Jessica Day didn't like parties very much. Yet, here she was, standing in the kitchen of the familiar loft, sipping pink wine. She scrunched her nose over the glass of wine, looking at all the people in the loft. There were so many of them, she mused. She liked the loft so much better when it was empty except for her friends. Right now, it was full of tipsy people, the scent of alcohol floating in the air and a cold night breeze was blowing through the open windows. But as her eyes flitted over to Cece and Nick in the hallway talking to a couple of people, she couldn't help the small smile that came onto her face. Both her bestfriends had worked very hard and definitely deserved this celebratory party. After almost a decade of working at the bar and carefully saving up money, Nick had finally bought it and had promoted Cece to the managerial position.

If it weren't to celebrate both of their achievement, she wouldn't have been here. She continued to sip her wine as her eyes lingered longer on Nick. Almost as if sensing her gaze, he turned to meet her eyes. He gave her a small smile and she raised her glass in a congratulatory gesture. His smile grew wider, but he didn't look away. Lowering her glass from her face, she set it on the kitchen island in front of her and continued to stare at him. She could see from where she was that he had gotten slightly tense and his eyes had darkened just a little bit. She bit her lower lip nervously and watched his eyes widen slightly. Blushing, she looked away and stared at her wine glass.

Best friends don't do that.

It was frustrating, to say the least. For quite a while now, they seemed to be stuck in some sort of a strange dance. She had a suspicion that it had started after the wedding they had attended a couple of weeks ago. It had started out as a simple favour to help Nick seem less pathetic after Caroline had left him (and boy, had he been pathetic for weeks). So when they had claimed that they were dating, to both of their complete surprise, Caroline had just shaken her head in a sad, defeated sort of way.

"I'm not surprised, actually," she had said. "I always knew it'd be a matter of time."

Ever since then, their gazes seemed to linger longer than usual, and his eyes seemed to turn darker when he saw her sometimes. Even the casual touches between them didn't seem so casual anymore. She wondered if she was imagining those moments between them, but that was probably not true. No one imagines eyes darting over to lips frequently during conversations. Shaking her head, she drained her glass and was aware of Nick still watching her.

She knew there was something brewing between the two of them. Any idiot who watched them could tell. Yet, she wasn't sure. She didn't want to get ahead of herself and ruin everything. She was probably being cowardly, but she didn't care. She'd rather be a coward and deal with the situation silently than throw away her years old friendship with Nick. When it was just the two of them, the tension was almost palpable, but both of them, very conspicuously tried to ignore it. There were some moments, like this one where he was wearing a black shirt with dark jeans, that her hands would be shaking from holding back from him.

Shuddering slightly, she refilled her glass and continued drinking for quite a while. Over the next couple of hours, many moments of silent exchanges passed between them. It was like their little secret that no one knew about.

II

When Jess walked into the bar after closing time, Nick was standing behind the bar, training the new barkeep how to handle certain drinks. She waved a 'hi' at him and took a seat at the bar stool, watching him teach the new recruit. She knew she was staring, but watching the fluid movements of his hands as he expertly mixed some drinks was making his muscles flex more than usual. She almost rolled her eyes at herself as she pulled out her phone to scroll through her Instagram, hoping it would provide some distraction. She was really tired of all this pining, in anticipation that he'd make a move. He clearly wasn't about to, because there was clearly nothing there. She was just imagining all that, the hopeless romantic that she was.

After fifteen minutes or so, she heard the trainee bid Nick goodbye and from her peripheral vision, saw Nick approach her. He slid a glass of wine towards her and she took it with a smile on her face. When she looked up, he had a peculiar look on his face; he wasn't particularly angry, but it looked like an odd mixture of excitement and thoughtfulness.

Nick had only recently started to notice how blue her eyes were, and how full her lips were. They'd known each for years now, and admittedly, he'd always thought that she was an attractive woman. But at the wedding, they had both taken their roles very seriously. She had flirted with him openly and was hooked on his arm all the time. She had even planted a kiss or two on his cheek, and he was sure he'd seen her eyes dart to his lips at one point. Emboldened by her forwardness, he had kissed her cheeks too and kept his arms draped around her shoulder throughout the time they were there. And Caroline's lack of surprise had definitely surprised him; he could see that Jess was taken aback too. As the wedding drew to a close, he found himself wishing they could continue this little game a little longer, and on their way back home, though they were laughing, he found himself wishing that this could go on and their pretend game was real.

After that, he'd found himself staring at her quite often, and she almost always stared back. He had caught her tucking her hair behind her ears quite often while in the middle of a conversation with him, eyes nervously darting to the floor before looking back at him; he'd known her long enough to know what that meant. That did elate him a little bit, but quite frankly, he didn't know how to broach the subject with her without making it too awkward. He had thought they laying low and being patient might help, but very frankly, it wasn't.

"So how's it going?" she asked, sipping her wine slowly.

His eyes flickered to her face searchingly and he tilted his head at her. "Good, actually," he murmured, still lost in thought.

When he didn't elaborate further, Jess wondered if something was wrong. She watched him for a few seconds, trying to gauge if this was the kind of situation where he'd tell her if she just left him alone or if she should push him to be open with her. Lost in thought herself, she started to bite down on her lower lip but was broken out of her reverie at the sound of Nick's voice.

"Stop that," he growled.

She looked at him in surprise, wondering what exactly it was that she needed to stop. "What?"

"I- I just..." he trailed away, shaking his head. Then added in a mutter, "Stop biting your goddamn lips."

"Excuse me?" she said incredulously. What was that even supposed to mean?! She was biting her lips, no big deal. She did that when she was nervous, ever since she was a child. A habit her mother chastised her for picking up from Aunt Jane. Only her mother was allowed to prohibit her from these things and no one else. "Why-"

Running his hands through his hair, Nick cut her off with a frustrated sigh. "Ugh, screw this whole "silence and patience'" deal," he muttered.

"What?" asked Jess, still staring at him incredulously.

Was he drunk!?

"Jess, I will ask you something. Plain and simple, okay?" he said carefully.

"Okay," she said unsurely.

"I-I um, I know we're bestfriends. That we have been that, for years," he said nervously, as she waited with bated breath. "But... I want more. I... feel like we could, just... You know... You're my bestfriend but you're also so..." he trailed away with a sigh, and finally looked at her, eyes fixed on her face. "I don't want you like a bestfriend."

"Me neither," she said quietly.

III

Jess found herself standing at another party, this time in her own home. Cece and Schmidt had gotten engaged two nights ago, and she was actually quite happy for them. Nick hadn't arrived yet, and she was starting to feel a little crazy as she waited nervously. It had been three days since their conversation at the bar.

At her response, he'd swallowed thickly and looked at her lips for a second before he'd jumped on to the bar and swung off of it to her side. Standing between her legs, he had cupped her face and pulled it to his, kissing her senseless as her hands found themselves in his hair, tugging hard. She'd held on to him, relishing in every touch and sighed as he kissed her, secretly noting that he was as good as he'd always claimed he was. The night ended with a chaste kiss on the forehead and he had walked her back home while holding hands.

After that, they had gotten swept away with Schmidt and Cece's engagement and hadn't really gotten the chance to talk about it. And as she paced in her living room, she was freaking out about all the various possibilities - What if he changed his mind? What if the kiss fell flat for him? What if things change for the worse!? Thankfully, Cece was on cloud nine to notice her agitation, and Jess preferred not to tell anyone anything until she'd herself figured things out.

Her eyes kept going to the clock, and with every passing second, her growing nervousness was satiated with a glass of wine. She knew it was a bad idea to get drunk right now but her nerves refused to calm down. As the buzz started filling her head, the crowd's chatter started to get to her and she just wanted some time alone. Refilling her wine glass, she headed to her bedroom to find that there were people in there as well, indulging in some unholy activities on her bed.

How rude.

Not in the mood to make a scene, she headed to the bathroom, stumbling slightly on her way there. She closed the door behind her and inhaled deeply, revelling in the familiar scent of her shampoo with a touch of Cece's. The pale pink walls of the bathroom were spinning slightly, or so she thought. Stumbling towards the bathtub, she sat down in it. It wasn't actually that bad, she noted. Quite comfortable, if she was being honest. Smiling slightly, she sipped on her wine slowly, letting her mind wander. Her reverie was broken as she heard the bathroom door click open, and the flood of noise from outside filled the bathroom.

"Jess?"

Huh. Everything seems to have stopped.

She noted with delight that the music seemed to fade away a little bit. Wow I really must be drunk. She felt herself grinning at his voice, and all of her senses focused on him as the annoying music

"Ah, Nicholas!" she called and turned to look at him. He was looking at her with an amused expression and gave her a smile.

He closed the door behind him and walked up to the bathtub and crouched in front of the end where her head was resting against the rim. "Sorry, I'm late," he said. "Busy night at the bar."

Then, she turned to face him, forgetting the glass of wine she was holding. Jess pouted. "I spilt wine in the bathtub."

"So you did," he chuckled.

"Cece's going to be mad," she said, biting her lower lip.

"I'm sure she won't mind," he said, reaching to tuck a lock of her hair behind her ear, brushing her cheek with his thumb as he did so. She leaned into his touch with a soft sigh, and he smiled at her affectionately. He bent towards her and planted a small kiss on her forehead.

She scrunched her nose as she smelt the alcohol on him. "You're drunk."

He smiled at her sheepishly. "I'm not drunk, exactly. Had to do a few shots with some guys. Tips and stuff, ya know?"

She nodded and her hand found his collar. She sat up straighter and pulled him into a kiss that he returned with fervour. When they broke apart, she gave him a dazzling grin. He stood up and offered his hand to her, which she took gladly. Standing up, she stepped out of the bathtub, Nick's grip on her elbow steadying her. He fully took her in for the first time since his arrival and felt his breath hitch. She wore a red, strapless dress that stopped right above her knees. The bodice clung to her, showing off her curves while the skirt flared into pleats from her waist.

Feeling his gaze, she looked at him consciously. "What?"

"Your dress is..."

"Do you like it?" she whispered.

"Oh, I like it alright, but-"

"That's a shame," she said, giggling. "I only bought this dress so you could take it off."

"-but not enough to leave it on you," he finished with a laugh.

IV

When Jess woke up, it was still dark. There were tints of orange in the sky as she peeked out the window; break of dawn, she guessed. When she tried to get up, she felt an arm around her waist weighing her down. Then, a flood of images from last night filled her mind, and she felt herself blushing with disbelief and shyness. She realized that her head was tucked under his chin and she very, very carefully turned herself under his arm to face him, surprised to see that he was already awake.

"You're up early," she murmured.

"I woke up just in time, I would say," he said, kissing her forehead.

They lay next to each other in silence, and Jess still facing him began tracing patterns on his chest. She waited for a sense of awkwardness to step in, but it didn't. She never would've imagined that she would ever wake up naked next to him at the crack of dawn, both of them covered only with sheets.

"Remember when we first met?" she laughed into his chest. "You had a buzzcut," she murmured, her hands going up to play with his hair.

"Yeah. And your hair was bleached," chuckled Nick. "I like it a lot more now. It brings out the blue in your eyes."

Sighing softly, she reached for his hand and intertwined her fingers in his. He brought their laced hands to his lips, planting a soft kiss on her knuckles. He pulled her closer to him and she rested her head against his chest. Both of them began to drift off to sleep again, but closer to sleep, with their walls down, they knew that they could wake up like that everyday. They had gotten so used to each other that neither could imagine their life any other way. Both of them had seen each other through their mistakes, caught each other through rebounds that went wrong and despite all the lies they had said, a part of them always knew to come back to the truth that they'd always be there for each other.