*A/N - A two part fic from a prompt requested by Newgirlystuff! Post Mars Landing hug, full of angsty and including some smut and a happier ending. This was painful to write if I'm honest so part two is a full on love and fluff fest, so you can proceed with reading without too much worry lol*
"I miss my friend."
"I really miss my friend too."
"So what does that mean? Are we...?"
So that's it. They're broken up. In the blink of an eye, everything has changed.
Nick has walked her out and Jess gives him the double finger guns like an idiot then steps through the door of her old room, but the sadness rises up from the pit of her stomach like a tidal wave, and slaps her in the face. Reeling from the shock, she finds herself rushing back outside. Her fingers are reaching for him and pulling Nick in to one last hug. Her arms close tight around his neck and his hands gently come up across her back as their bodies press together.
It feels so final, and neither one of them seems to want the moment to end. Jess knows she should let go, but she can't bring herself to loosen her grip. Can't bear to open her eyes and watch him walk away from her.
So she clings on tight and holds her breath, another tiny sob escaping her lips and finding itself muffled by the material of Nick's t-shirt. The way he's rocking her gently from side to side makes the hurt swell in her chest. He's trying to soothe her, even though he's hurting like hell himself, and it makes more hot tears spill over because Jess isn't even capable of trying to stop them anymore.
His big hand spans her back and she can feel the warmth of his palm spread through the material of her pyjamas. A million thoughts are racing through her mind, but one in particular practically screams at her from inside her brain...
I don't want this
She knows that he's all she wants and, just like that, she's struggling to remember why they got on to the insane subject of breaking up in the first place. This isn't what should be happening. Not with them, they were Nick and Jess. Sure, they don't always see life the same way - but what couple does?
She starts to panic that this is a terrible mistake.
Jess can't help but think back to the time when she was seven and had decided to freewheel on her bike down the big hill at the end of their street. She hadn't thought about what would happen after pushing off at the top. But once she did, the speed of the wheels kept increasing, her stomach had dropped and Jess realised she had absolutely no control over the bike at all. The road beneath her had become a blur, the wind in her face was disorienting, and she couldn't do anything about it other than close her eyes and hope for it to end while her heart raced inside her chest.
That was the day she ended up with stitches for the first time, just above her hairline. A tiny scar to forever remind her to think before she leapt.
That's when Nick grips her slightly closer and she hears his voice land near her ear, words laced with pain.
"I can't let you go." He croaks.
"So don't..." Jess finds herself saying, even though she knows that he doesn't mean it the way she wants him to.
She pulls her head back just slightly, looking up at him with her blotchy, tear-stained face, and honestly? Nick thinks he couldn't possibly love her more if he tried. But the way she's staring at him has 'messy break-up' written all over it, and that's not what he wants for them.
He can't be what she needs right now. She'd said it herself: "...if I was always honest with you, we'd never stop fighting!"
His insides coil up at the memory of her words. Had he made her that unhappy that she had taken to just lying to him because it was easier than speaking the truth? What kind of relationship was that?
Maybe loving her just isn't enough. That thought alone breaks his heart, because loving her was all he knew how to do.
"Jess..." he hisses her name in some kind of pained whisper, and he knows they are teetering on the edge of a bad idea.
Her eyes search his for answers to a question she hasn't even asked. Nick's words fail him and he simply gives a tiny shake of his head.
We can't go back
He thinks he can actually see the very moment where her heart drops to the floor and shatters in a thousand tiny pieces at their feet. The gleam of fresh tears well at the brim of her eyes. It hurts him more than he realised was possible to know he is the source of her pain. Every fibre of his body was experiencing a feeling he could only assume was akin to withdrawal symptoms. Jess was his drug, and now he had to go cold turkey.
Yet she was standing right there. Within reaching distance.
Looking up at him.
Holding out hope.
Don't let this be over
He brings her in close to him again, dipping his chin to land a kiss among her hair, because he feels like his universe has just imploded in front of him and he genuinely doesn't know what the fuck else to do, but Jess tilts her head up purposely to meet his lips.
Nick isn't quite sure how he should react, but then he hears her whimper slightly at the feel of his mouth on hers, and before he knows it, he's kissing her back like it's the only thing that can keep him alive. It's messy and desperate, and her hands are bunching in the material of the shirt around his neck. They kiss until everything fades into the background, until their hearts are pounding out of their chests, until their lungs are begging for air and they have absolutely no other choice but to finally break away.
Nick looks at her face with just a couple of inches distance between them: her lips are red and plump, still parted and glistening with the taste of him. Her cheeks are flushed with adrenaline, making her skin glow in the dim light of the empty hallway. Her hair is tousled and messy where his hands had been tangled among it just seconds ago - but when his gaze lands on her shimmering blue eyes?
That's what makes his heart stop still.
They've always been his favourite thing about her - he could read them like a book and she's never quite known how he did it.
But that's why it kills him.
Because he sees everything he's feeling inside of himself reflected in her eyes as they look back at him. She's breaking apart just like he is, and the realisation of what's happening hits them like a sledgehammer. They're not ready for this.
It's the worst pain they've ever felt.
It's raw, and it hurts.
But above all else - it's love.
Overwhelming, soul consuming, all encompassing love.
All rational thought deserts them as their bodies collide. They mould together the same as always and his mouth is all over hers with a renewed sense of urgency that strikes fire through their veins. Jess gasps as she's lifted off her feet and Nick carries her back into his room without a single word spoken between them.
There's a loud bang as he lands them both against the inside of his door and presses himself into her, practically stealing her breath with his mouth. Nick's hands cup her face and he's pulling back to kiss her slower, his fingers shaking as he touches her skin and lands his lips to hers again. It's tender, soft, and gentle - it's altogether too much yet not enough.
A single tear betrays Jess and cascades down the curve of her cheekbone, landing on Nick's thumb where he protectively swipes it away and starts to kiss her harder, as if instinctively knowing it's what she needs.
Jess still has her arms locked behind his neck and allows herself to run her fingers through the downy hair at the base of his skull, her hands then tracing a path down his chest before finding their way up the back of his t-shirt, gripping his broad shoulder blades and pulling him as close to her as physically possible. She needs to sense his weight on her in as many places as she can. Needs to feel his heart pounding against her chest, matching hers beat for beat - some proof that this moment is real and she hasn't lost her mind.
Nick's hands fumble with the buttons of her pyjama top, giving up half way through and easing his fingers in to the gap to caress the soft skin of her right breast. She whines as his thumb grazes her nipple and he feels her reach for his erection as he lands his open mouth on her neck. He's so hard it almost hurts as she slips a hand past the waistband of his sweatpants and he can't stop the grunt that comes out when she wraps her fingers around his shaft and strokes him quickly. Jess has pushed his pants down over his butt to free him, and Nick tugs at her pyjama bottoms with equal urgency. Pulling one of her thighs up to his waist, Nick pauses at her entrance. He can feel her rib cage rising and falling against him and he has to ignore the knot in his chest when he chances a glance at Jess's tear stained face. His kisses her again, pushing away the voice of reason at the back of his mind when she opens her mouth to greet him, clearly doing the same as she searches for his tongue with her own. His erection is pressing against her and Jess can't fight it any more, she wants him now. She squeezes her leg around him and he pushes himself into her, moaning into her open mouth at the slickness that greets him. They've done this dance a thousand times, but somehow now it seems different. It's like he's experiencing it for the first time all over again, and suddenly Nick feels like a firework has exploded in his chest. His mouth is everywhere, as if he's ravenous to taste her. Jess whimpers beneath him and holds on tight, her grip never wavering.
It's hard, and fast, and frantic. The fingers on his right hand are holding her hip in place so firmly he's sure he's going to mark her, but he simply can't stop. By the way Jess is bucking her pelvis against him and digging her nails into his shoulders, Nick knows she is just as lost in this moment as he is. A sound that's mid-way between a moan and a sob escapes from Jess and falls on to the skin of his collarbone where she's burying her face and breathing in the scent of him every time she gasps for air, because she's terrified she'll never get the chance again.
The pulsing in her groin increases with every deep thrust, and the familiar waves of climax begin to ripple through her body, so intense that it shoots pins and needles down her limbs as she yelps against the crook of his neck. Nick follows her instantly, the spasming of her muscles dragging him into release. He lets out a noise into her hair. A primitive, strangled groan like a wild animal that's just been shot, and it sounds foreign in his ears as he comes inside her with a force that takes his breath away.
His weight pins her to the door as they pant heavily, adjusting their clothes and trying to catch their breath in the aftermath, holding each other tight, neither one willing or able to let go. Clinging on like the other is their crutch and everything will just fall apart the moment their embrace finishes.
Is this really the end?
Jess can't hold back the fresh wave of tears that rise up from the pit of her stomach and they fall helplessly on to his t-shirt.
Nick embraces her as she cries, and they both slide defeatedly down against the door to his bedroom floor. They sit there in a crumpled heap of shared pain and anguish.
Wiping his face on the shoulder of his shirt, Nick pulls away from her and lets his head fall back heavily on the the door.
"I can't do this, Jess. Not with you..."
He sees her swallow hard at his words "...we need a clean break, or this is just going to be too hard."
"Maybe we don't need a break at all..." Jess's voice is desperate and shaky.
"This doesn't have to be over, Nick."
He pauses and drags his hands slowly down his face, the pained expression clear as he grits out his response.
"It's not what you need, Jess. I'm only going to disappoint you."
"What are you talking about?!" Her voice jumps up an octave with frustration and she's giving him daggers.
"I don't want you looking back at this in five years time and regretting it." His voice is low and sad as he turns his head to look away at the ground.
"So you think you get to make my decisions for me now? Screw you, Nick! You're being a coward!"
"I'm not being a coward, Jessica - I'm trying to protect you!"
"No - you're just afraid!"
"Of course I'm afraid - I'm fucking terrified! You think I want to lose you?" His head snaps back round and she can see the tears he is fighting to hold back.
"Why would you lose me? I love you."
"I love you too, but what if that's just not enough? My Mom loved my Dad and I'm certain he loved her back, but he broke her heart more times than I can count..."
His voice cracks as he remembers the image of his mum sat at the dining table sobbing her heart out when Walt had yet again failed to come home. Bonnie would wait until she thought Nick and Jamie were asleep and cry until her tears ran dry, unaware that Nick would be sat listening from the top of the stairs, his head resting on the bannisters, with that familiar hollow feeling spreading from his gut, making his limbs feel heavy with sadness and hating the fact that he couldn't make it better for her.
"I can't be the reason for your tears, Jess. I refuse to do that." Nick swipes the back of his hand angrily across his damp eyes "You need someone who knows where he's going and has his future planned out, someone reliable - and we both know that's not me. Eventually you're going to wake up and realise I'm not the guy you should be with."
Jess has spun sideways on the floor so she's facing him. Her cheeks are crimson with anger and her voice is loud in his ears.
"Stop it, Nick! I can't listen to you keep tearing yourself down. I don't care about that stuff!"
"You do! You said it yourself, Jessica. We can't just pretend that conversation tonight never happened."
"Maybe not, but I think we owe it to ourselves to keep talking about it. Don't you? Why are you okay with giving up on us so easily?"
"How can you even think that I'm okay with this?! I'm not okay, Jess! I'm fucking broken."
Nick's emotional outburst silences her, and she slumps back against the door with her shoulder resting on his. The only sounds in the room for a long while are his heavy breathing, and the little sniffles coming from Jess.
She realises this is about more than them. This is about everything Nick fears he will become. The only example he had of a husband/father figure growing up was the shitty one his Dad had set. Jess knows she can be a bit of a control freak, that her obsession with organisation can be suffocating, and suddenly sees how every single time she had pushed Nick to change something in what she thought was an effort to help him, it was actually received by him as yet another example of how he wasn't good enough as he was.
Jess reaches her hand across and lays it on top of his, seeing his eyes close at the contact.
"Nick..." she speaks gently "...I don't need a guy with a ten year plan. I'm not looking for someone who has every last detail mapped out. I just needed to know if we were on the same page. I wanted to hear you say we were headed in the same direction."
He turns his hand under hers so their palms are laying flat together, his thumb now tracing lines on her skin. She hears him take a deep breath and clear his throat as he leans forward, turning to look her right in the eyes, still holding her hand in his.
"Look, i've never been the kinda guy who likes to think too far ahead. And I know that seems strange to you, like I'm lazy and I don't have a plan - but it's not like that. It's because if I start allowing myself to think about how I want things to turn out, I get my heart set on it...and, from what I learned so far in my life, it just doesn't happen. Then I end up feeling like I've been cut off at the knees when things come crashing down around me. I just figured it out the hard way with my Dad, you know?"
"You're not your Dad."
"I'm scared I might be more like him than you realise..."
"And that's okay. It's okay to be scared, Nick. But you can't be afraid of looking to the future forever because of how he was."
Her hand reaches up to stroke his face and Nick smiles, almost shyly.
"I promise you, the only thing I know for sure about my future - is that I want it to be with you, Jess. Actually, screw that. I need it to be with you. More than I've ever needed anything."
He leans his forehead against hers and kisses her ever so gently on the tip of her nose before leaning back on his heels.
"So we agree - we keep talking and we work this out, right? Because I love you, Nicholas. More than I've ever loved anybody."
"I love you, too. I want to make it right. You think we can do this?"
Jess lays her head on his shoulder and lets his arms embrace her again, surrounding her with his warmth as they sit on his floor. Her lips press softly against the spot below his ear and she whispers with a smile "There's no guarantee that it will be easy, but I think we're worth it..."
PART TWO TO FOLLOW...