Wish you a Happy New Year! This is the last Secret Santa fic! I hope you enjoy it, and thank you for your patience with the string of fics I wrote, ha ha.
Basically a little Ness fluff, being domestic and things like that. Disclaimer: It's sorta really cheesy. REALLY cheesy at some points. Easily the cheesiest I've ever written, I think.
Prompt: Inspired by Taylor Swift Song
Set Post-Season 6 Finale
*This can be read as a standalone OneShot or as a sequel to the OS I posted yesterday, titled New Year's Eve.*
New Year's Day
It was a relief when people started trickling out of the loft. Drunk people laughing with reckless abandon, being supported on their way out by sober friends, incoherently grumbling, women and girls carrying their shoes down in the lobby as they hurried home, still riding on the New Year high. The loft's silence was welcome after the ridiculously loud party they'd just had; Jess was thankful no one had decided to call the police on them. Cece kissed Jess goodbye and wishing her a Happy New Year once again, headed to the Jaipur Aviv with Schmidt.
Jess closed the door behind her quietly and sighed when she was met with the state of the loft. There was glitter all over the floor and it was sticky in places where the soap bubbles had popped. All of Aly's gameshow machines made the loft look like a scene from a psychedelic horror movie. Then, her eyes fell on Nick, who was shuffling around the loft picking up the trash. She felt herself smile gratefully because she knew he hated cleaning up.
"You know, you don't have to clean up?"
Nick straightened and nodded. "I know. They should," he said, gesturing to the sleeping forms of Winston and Aly, passed out on the trampoline under the window. "But I also know you'll sneak out later to clean up, so..." he shrugged.
"You know me so well," she chuckled affectionately, heading to the kitchen to grab a trash bag for herself.
Trashbag in hand, Jess started to scour the loft for recyclable materials, picking up empty bottles and paper cups. They worked in silence, occasionally crossing paths and exchanging coy smiles as they did so. Every once in a while, one of them would make a stray observation and either laugh or complain about it.
"Jesus, there's candle wax on the floor!"
"So many half-empty bottles! What a waste of beer."
"Someone left their bra under the couch."
"Why is glitter so difficult to clean up! We'll never allow those two to throw a party ever again!"
After an hour, both of them headed to Nick's room and collapsed on the bed, Jess with her face into the mattress and Nick on his side, arm around her waist. "I'm so tired!" she exclaimed, voice muffled. Laughing, Nick pulled her closer and Jess turned onto her side to face him as he planted a kiss on her forehead.
"I should change into my pyjamas," sighed Jess, starting to sit up.
Nick grunted at the loss of contact, and Jess laughed softly and kissed his nose. "I'll only be minute."
She sat up and looked over her shoulder at Nick. "Hey, Nick? Can you-"
"Yeah," he said leaning forward to unzip her dress and kissed the middle of her back as he did so.
Nick's gaze followed her as she headed to their closet and pulled out one of his flannel shirts - her favourite. She placed it on the dresser before she grabbed her pyjamas as well. With her back to him, she slipped out of her dress slowly, as if he was not even in the room. Ever since they'd gotten married (it still filled him with warmth, just thinking about it), there was a certain intimacy they'd shared that he'd never had with anyone before.
It was in the smallest of things; the unsaid rule that he made her tea in the mornings, her bringing him packed dinner to the bar, the seamless transition into living together (he couldn't remember anymore why it had been so difficult the first time), him helping her out with her outfit every morning, her attending every single book reading irrespective of her own schedule... the way she changed without caring that he was watching her and the way she just wore his clothes without thinking twice about it.
It was the sort of intimacy Nick had always run away from, but with her... it was different. It was good, it was warm and affectionate. Every once in a while he would be filled with disbelief that he'd almost let her slip away and that he'd taken this long for him to go back to her. He often found himself staring at the ring on her finger, just to remind himself that this was real. He didn't think he'd ever get used to Jess being his wife.
He swung off the bed to change into a T-shirt and boxers. He passed Jess, who was now buttoning her (his) shirt, planting a kiss on her temple as he did. As he changed out of his clothes, Jess walked over to the bed and slipped under the blanket. Nick emerged from the closet in his boxers and T-shirt, dumping his worn clothes into the laundry basket, before joining Jess in bed. Suppressing a yawn, she threw her leg over his hip and drew herself closer to him, tucking herself under his chin.
Jess felt herself engulfed in his scent and still couldn't believe that she was here. It felt somewhat surreal; things had happened so fast that even thinking about it made her head spin. Running away to Portland, and from almost moving out, here she was now, married the very person she couldn't look at without feeling her chest ache. She sighed against him softly and kissed his chest. "Happy New Year, babe."
She felt his hand glide up her upper arm to cup her cheek, and she instinctively looked up at him. He kissed her lips gently and then her nose. "Happy New Year to you too."
His hands found their way into her hair, and he threaded through them absent-mindedly as he thought back to last year. It sure had been a whirlwind.
"What're you thinking about?"
"Well, I'm nervous about the book being published," he said. "What if people don't like it?"
Technically, though he was nervous, that was a lie because that was not was bothering him at that moment. His mind kept wandering to different moments with Jess over the past year. leading back to the moment she'd told him Sam had broken up with her. She'd admitted a couple of weeks ago that Sam thought Jess was in love with Nick, and that was when it'd started. It had felt like everything was clicking into place as he'd remembered her face when she'd said she thought he was incredible, the mixture of sadness and pleading that he'd chosen to ignore when he left for New Orleans immediately after. How she'd hugged him when he'd come back.
"People will love it. You'll be the toast of the town, babe," she said. "And if you strike out, I'll be right here, waiting for you."
Nick smiled a little, but his hands didn't leave her hair, playing with her tresses absent-mindedly as his mind refused to step out of the past. He still hated himself for enlisting Jess's help with Reagan; in hindsight, he knew it was cruel and insensitive. And how she'd gone out of her way to help him with everything that she need not have; not when he was being such a terrible friend to her.
"Now tell me what's really bothering you," she said softly, reaching out to touch his face.
Nick sighed at her Jess, and Jess looked up at him again. "Nick?"
"I'm thinking about how much I love you..." he said slowly.
"And...?" she pressed.
"And how I wish I'd done something earlier. I'm so, so sorry about everything, Jess and-"
"Nick," she cut him off with a soft sigh. She kissed his chin and continued, "We've talked about this."
And they had. Ever since the elevator and getting married, Nick brought it up almost every other week. He would apologize to her for not seeing how much she was hurting earlier, and even go as far as to suggest that she deserved more than the sort of person who couldn't even tell he was hurting; despite loving her that much. At that, on ligher days, she'd joke that it was too late anyway and now that they were married, they were stuck with each other. But there were days when he would get into his own head too much and brood remorsefully about it for hours. On these days, she would not say anything much. She would just give him company and assure him in the smaller ways she knew he found comforting; squeeze his hand affectionately every now and then, tell him she loved him, bake him his favourite sheet cake.
"I know we have, but Jess I feel like such an idiot to not see how much you were hurting. I know what that feels like because I saw you fall in love with Ryan and-"
"Yeah, yeah, you didn't really love him. I know that now. I didn't then," he said shaking his head. "And I'm so so sorry for putting you through all that."
She cupped his face, caressing his cheek with her thumb. "It's all in the past, Nick. I'm fine, now. I've never been better."
"Jess you were hurting so much that you almost left. You left without telling me and-"
"I did almost leave," she agreed, thinking back to the day that she'd packed all her things, and those few moments she'd stood in Nick's room, drinking in everything before turning on her heels and walking out of the door. "But I came back, Nick. I stayed."
"Good. If you hadn't, I would've turned all of L.A. upside down or even moved to Portland if I had to," he said seriously.
Jess laughed softly. "I'm sure you would have."
"I can't begin to tell you how lost I'd felt when I'd walked into your empty room," he murmured.
She hugged him closer before planting another kiss on his lips. "I'm sorry, hon."
"Look, Nick we both have things we're really sorry about," said Jess. "I'm sorry for calling it all those years ago. I wish I'd had more faith in us, and I know you're sorry for letting me call it. I'm sorry that I didn't tell you how I felt sooner, and about Ryan and Robby and Sam. And-"
"Jess, you don't-"
"All I'm saying is that it takes two to tango, Nick," she said. "We were both at fault. But we're here now," she said, bringing his hand to between both of them, running her thumb over the gold band on his finger. "We're here now, and that's all matters."
He brought their intertwined hands to his lips and kissed her ring, and then her lips. "I guess you're, right," he said softly.
"I love you," she said, turning back to snuggle into his chest.
"I love you, too," he said, kissing her hair.
I might just get around to writing a pre-prequel to this about the elevator scene and the wedding, at some point. IF I get around to all the other things I plan to write.
P.S: HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY READERS! Thank you for all your support and validation, ha ha ha.