A/N: I would highly recommend listening to the song while reading this. Also, this is just LOTS of fluff.

*This is a Sequel to OneShot - "Enchanted" - but can be read as a standalone OneShot as well*

Also, loadofschmidt guessed it right, yay!


Begin Again

After that first night, they'd met at the bar, they'd met a couple more times before Nick finally asked her out. Until then, they'd been flirting incessantly, and now that she was actually going on a date with him, she had had a million thoughts racing through her head. She wanted this to go well so badly; she genuinely felt that this might actually go somewhere. He was one of the most genuine people she had met and despite all the nerves and fears she felt, she hoped this would work. It was an odd day to go on a date too, right in the middle of the week, but something about Nick's bartending schedules made Wednesday. He had been really cute about it, Jess mused.

Jess laughed softly as Nick scowled at a drunk customer, and turned to her, face already melting into a smile.

"A Nick Miller special, please," she said with a smile.

Grinning at her, he turned away to whip up some new drink for her, as she watched him work quietly. She could see the flexing muscles in his back and caught herself staring. When he finally turned around with a drink for her, she was still staring. He caught her eyes and she didn't look away. He slid the drink across the bar, holding her gaze. She took the cup and sipped, murmuring words of appreciation.

Nick watched her for a few more seconds before inhaling deeply. "Hey, Jess?"

"Hm?" she responded, waiting with bated breath.

He ran his hand through his hair, suddenly very nervous and looked everywhere except at her face. "I- I know you have a lot on your plate right now, but I- I was thinking… Do you want to er, meet for coffee…. Or-or something…"

"Sure, Nick," she said, smiling, waiting patiently for him to look at her again. "I'd love to."

Evidently relieved, he looked at her, smiling again. "Tomorrow evening? 5 pm?"

"Sounds good," she said, taking a long sip.

"There's a cafe two blocks down from here. Murphy's?" he suggested. "They have the greatest-"

"Butterscotch tarts?"

"Yeah," he laughed.

"Well, Nicholas," she said, amused at the startled look on his face when she said his full name. "It's a date, then."

He smiled a little. "It's a date."

Standing in front of the mirror, she took a deep breath and stared at her reflection - a plain powder blue dress paired with silver high heels. Russell had never liked that she wore high heels.

"You look so much taller than me!"

But that relationship had broken and burned down, and though the fumes still choked her once in a while, she knew the fire would die. She knew it wasn't her fault that he'd never told her that he was still married, and she wished she scream this at all the heads that turned to look at her judgementally.

She shook her head, chastising herself for thinking that way. She grabbed her purse off the dresser and hurried out of her room and out the door. She turned the lock and put her headphones on, smiled a little when she listened to the song that had started play; it was one of her favourites.

"I never got this song," he laughed, changing the station as it played on the radio.

She breathed in the fall air, glad to see the deserted street. She walked slowly towards her car, and drove to the quaint little cafe they had decided to meet at, a few blocks down. Parking her car a block down the cafe, she walked towards it, aware that she was there earlier than said time; it was just something she did. It was strange because she was usually early despite knowing that everyone else would probably late. So she was surprised to see him already waiting, leaning against the lamppost in front of it. When he saw her, his face turned to an expression of surprise, and he waved at her. He straightened as she approached him, stuffing his hands in his pocket.

"You're early," she said, surprised, taking her headphones off and stuffing them in her bag.

"Yeah," he shrugged. "It's just something I do. Can't help it."

"Me neither," she said, smiling softly.

"You look great," he said, tilting his head at her, eyes twinkling just a tad as he looked her over.

Blushing, she thanked him shyly as he made his way to the entrance of the cafe. The cafe had cream-coloured walls and pale blue tables, covered in white tablecloth. The chairs were wrought iron, with dark blue cushioning. Rock music was playing in the background, very soft, just barely audible over the din.

Surprising her again, he held the door open for her as she entered. She indicated towards the table near the window overlooking a park, and he nodded, overtaking her a little. She watched in a daze as he pulled her chair out, a slightly nervous expression on his face, and that told her he was just as nervous as he was. She touched his arm in a gesture of gratitude as she sat down, making him smile a little, obviously pleased with himself. They ordered their food - black coffee for him, and vanilla bean latte for her. And of course, loads of butterscotch tarts.

Jess told him about her students, hesitantly at first, unsure if that would be of any interest to him. But with the rapt attention he listened to, her worry seeped away, and she started talking animatedly about her students, even imitating them at some points in her weird accents.

She marvelled at how he laughed, not out of mockery, but a genuine from-the-gut kind of laughter, head thrown back. She didn't know why, but it warmed her that he found it funny; Russell never had.

Nick told her about quitting law school, and how he got into bartending, intended to be a temporary job, explaining his dream of being a writer. He looked at her rather surprised when she asked him what he would like to write about.

"No one asks me that," he said, eyes wide.

She tilted her head, resting it in her palm. "Well, I guess I'm not no one then," she said with a small smile.

"I guess not," he said, smiling back.

He went on to tell her excitedly about zombies, explaining that he had no idea when and how he started to become obsessed with zombies, but he just was. And as absurd as it may sound, he really wanted to incorporate a detective into his story, somehow.

"It's not at all absurd," she said seriously. "It could be very possible. And this detective could have a gal Friday that he could always rely on."

"I like that," he mused. "The two of them could-"

Nick stopped midsentence, eyes narrowing slightly and a look of concentration coming over his as if he was listening to something.

"What?" whispered Jess, leaning towards him curiously.

"It's James Taylor," he said with a smile.

Frowning, she strained to listen for a few seconds and then nodded brightly. "It is!"

"I love the guy!" exclaimed Nick. "Man's a genius."

"Couldn't agree more," laughed Jess, already excited to show Nick her collection of James Taylor records.

So went on the date, and at some point, they were holding hands across the table as the talked. Both of them were acutely aware of that but liked where they were at, and sitting there, with her hand in his, Jess could see that this was the start of something. She liked that warm feeling of hope, as she watched him talk to her. All that faith she felt like she had lost over Russell was slowly ebbing to life again, and she could feel something begin again. Finally, when it started to get darker, they paid the bill and stepped out on to the quiet street. He was holding her hand, and Jess made no move to slip hers out of his.

They walked down the block to her car, a few moments of silence settling between them. It wasn't really that awkward, not to Jess at least. She knew that this had been a good date, and she was almost certain that they would see each other again. But it made her slightly uncomfortable that he hadn't brought up Russell even once, from the day they had met.

When they reached her car, Jess inhaled deeply and turned to Nick, her hand still in his. "Nick, I know we haven't talked about my... Well... About all that nonsense with-"

"Russell Shiller?" he asked, propping his elbow on the roof of the car.

Jess nodded once and Nick sighed. He left her and stepped closer to her, brushing a stray strand of hair away from her face. "Jess, we don't have to."

"I know," she said, and then looked up at him a little shyly. "But if something is happening... here," she said, gesturing between the two of them. "I just... I need to, you know, address that. I want to."

Nick smiled a little, and his hand slipped down to hold her again. He nodded at her to continue, and she looked down at their intertwined hands with wide eyes before looking at him again.

"I used to stay extra hours at school* to help his daughter Sarah with math," she sighed. "And it got really late one night so he offered to buy me dinner. And I don't know, after that it just... He told me he was divorced," she finished in a whisper.

Nick said nothing, and Jess worried her lips as his hand left hers. Then, he kissed her forehead and pulled her into a hug. She was startled by that and was tensed at first, but as she felt the depth of his hug as he pulled her to him, she relaxed. She leaned into him slightly, and they stood there against her car for a few seconds.

"Thank you," she muttered against his chest, and she felt him chuckle softly.

"For what?"

She drew her head back a little and gave him a watery smile. "For listening. No one did, actually."

"Guess, I'm not no one then," he said, grinning.

Chuckling, she slid her hands upwards and circled his neck to pull him down to meet her lips. Nick pushed her gently against her car and kissed her back, gentle at first, tugging at her lips as she meth is tongue. His hands brushed up her waist, grazing the sides of her breast gently, and she drew away from him breathlessly.

"Sh-should we take this slow?" he asked, reluctantly, but wanting to make sure they were on the same page.

"I- I don't see why we should," she said raspily, hands bunching the fabric of his shirt.

"Good," he said grinning as he captured her lips again.


Sequel: Delicate [mild smut alert] *already published*

A/N: I have a profound and inexplicable love for anything that is butterscotch flavoured. And my goodness, boy was that a lot of fluff.

*I'm not sure if that's a thing in the USA, but it sure is here. You suck at some subject? then sometimes you are to stay after school hours with the teacher to get some help.

Ahhhh I don't even know if the read is smooth, but I had to set up for the next one so, sorrry.

[Yeah, I changed the bridge bit from the song cuz it'd've been weird if he brought up movies that his family watched every single Christmas, out of the blue lol. Oops.]

Jesus, so much smiling and chuckling. Need to unleash my angst soon. [Coming Soon...]