A/N: I'm already expecting a lot of hate for this (and I wouldn't blame you), but I hope you'll be patient, trust my shippy heart and give me the benefit of doubt.
This fic will have plenty of Pining!Nick.
Nick woke up to the sound of mild chatter. Forcing his eyes open, he blinked at the familiar surroundings, but he was not in his room. He raised his head off the pillow, trying to tune out the dim voices he could hear from outside, and realized with a jolt that he was naked in Jess's bed. With a small groan, he clutched his aching head and tried to sit up when he felt an unfamiliar hand draped around his waist. At the back of his mind, he could hear a reprimanding voice, tinged with slight disgust, berating him for what he had done. He started to feel the beginnings of regret seeping into him already. As he scrunched his eyes shut and massaged his forehead, he had flashes of last night skip through his mind.
Getting spectacularly drunk during True American and kissing a drunk Reagan as his friends stood in an uncomfortable silence. He pushed away the image of a white-faced Cece staring at him with pursed lips as he let Reagan pull him into her room… no, Jess's room. Repressing a groan, he tried to slip out from under Reagan's hand when the bedroom door clicked open and Jess walked in with an unsuspecting smile.
The regret and self-hatred that paralyzed him in that moment was nothing compared to the numerous times he'd felt those two feelings before. Not knowing what to do or say, feeling like an idiot, he sank a little further into her bed. They hadn't planned it, and wasn't sure how the whole thing began in the first place; he wasn't sure he wanted to know. Nick didn't know what had gotten into him, alcohol aside.
In hindsight, he would wonder if he'd done it to just prove a point to everyone, or if it had been repressed spite and pettiness that he decided to act on in a drunken haze.
Whatever the reason had been, it didn't seem to matter as he watched Jess standing in the doorway. She stood ramrod straight, the smile slipping off her face as she blinked, in confusion at first.
Almost as if in slow motion, he watched realization cross her face, painfully aware of the way her lower lip was starting to tremble. His throat dried up as he saw the tears fill her eyes and she closed them tightly, bowing her head before taking deep calming breaths.
"Jess..." he started hoarsely, but she shook her head, holding on tightly to the suitcase, knuckles white, and when she finally opened her eyes to look at him, he felt his heart drop.
She stared at him wordlessly for a few seconds before, to his horror, giving him a small smile.
"Um, sorry," she muttered, stepping away from the door, she closed it behind her softly.
Leaping out of bed, he ignored Reagan who was starting to stir and calling Jess's name, he looked around, trying to find all his clothes. He flew out of the bedroom once fully clothed, eyes searching for Jess. He spotted her suitcase, lying abandoned next to the sofa, and then his gaze fell to the table where there was one plate of unfinished breakfast next to a coffee mug that he recognised as Cece's usual.
He left the loft, closing the door behind him with a loud thud, not caring that it was too loud. He had a feeling as to where he'd find her, and also knew that it would be better to leave her alone rather than join her in Cece's company. But in that moment, he couldn't really think straight. Almost like a mantra, his mind only had space to chant the same word over and over again.
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.
As he took the stairs to the rooftop, he had a sinking feeling that the image of Jess standing in the doorway, with a slipping smile, would be burned into his brain forever. He burst onto the roof, throwing the door wide open as he squinted in the sunlight. Jess and Cece were sitting in the lawn chairs, the former's back facing him. Cece was leaning forward in her chair, anxiously looking at Jess as she was rapidly murmuring something. Whatever she was saying, she stopped mid-sentence as she caught sight of Nick.
She stared at him till Jess looked over her shoulder and saw Nick stepping towards them slowly.
He thought he saw a flicker of panic on her face, but only fleetingly. She turned away wordlessly, and he hastened his footsteps, finally coming to a still in front of her. When she looked at him, he felt like his heart had stopped. He had seen the blue in her eyes take on various shades before, but he'd never seen them so ice cold, looking at him with an unnerving calm. She'd pasted on the ghost of a smile on her face, as she looked at him, questioningly.
"Jess, I'm really sorry and-"
"Don't worry about it, Nick," she said, waving her hand at him, dismissive of his apology before he'd even completed, "You have nothing to apologize for. I'm happy for you. Glad that we're… both moving on."
Nick swallowed, looking at Cece for any form of help, but she simply stared at him blankly, making clear where her loyalties lay. Sighing, he looked at Jess again, her face still a carefully crafted mask of calm.
"It's just that... I-It was in your-"
"It doesn't matter anymore, Nick, really," she laughed humourlessly. "Being away for so long has given me time to think. I was going to do this later in the evening with everyone around, but I might as well tell you now..."
She set her glass of wine on the table carefully, and turned to him, looking him square in the face. The only giveaway of Jess not really feeling the way she was trying to seem was her twiddling thumbs in her lap.
"Tell me what...?" he asked, slowly, apprehensive of what she was going to say. It possibly couldn't be anything good.
She said nothing for a moment and just as he thought her eyes were softening again, her gaze quickly flickered to the floor, almost like she was taking a second to compose herself.
"I'm moving out. So…. your bed, my bed, the couch. It doesn't matter, Nick. Relax, will you," she said, adding a chuckle in the end. He might just have believed the genuinity of the smile on her face if it weren't for her eyes - the coldest blue he'd ever seen, and he knew that there was going to be a major shift in their relationship.
A/N: As always, reviews appreciated (even if they're negative). Speak your mind, I'd like to know what you think. This won't be a very long fic. 6 chapters, max.