My contribution to New Girl Secret Santa on Tumblr. This takes place at the very end of the Sam, Again (5.13) episode, where Jess was going to take Sam brownies the second time. Enjoy!

Jess grabbed the tray of brownies that were residing in the passenger seat of her car. She had managed to hit yet another pothole, and she was starting to wonder if maybe she was too preoccupied to even be driving right now. Ever since Sam reappeared in her life and had confronted Nick, so many cans of worms had been opened. She felt the only way to regain the status quo was to make sure Sam wasn't still mad at her, but Cece's words had been haunting her for the whole car ride.

Because he's mad at you or because you still have feelings for him?

Obviously she was upset because he was mad at her, right? Right? Arrrgh, she couldn't make sense out of any of it! She'd sat right in the middle of the Feelings Farm, listening to Sam say how he'd had such a hard time after they'd broken up, and then Nick with his fever-tinged speech about how in love he and Jess had been. It was enough to drive a girl insane, especially a girl who could never leave things alone.

If she was honest with herself, once she'd broken up with Sam that had been it. She'd not really given him much thought since then, even long after she and Nick broke up. She'd had some good moments with him, but once Nick had pulled her and her pink robe close to him and given her the most amazing kiss of her life, she knew it would never be the same with Sam. He'd just ended things much quicker than she figured.

And then there was Nicholas. She hadn't been able to shake off his words. We just, we fell in love with each other, like crazy love... like, a lot of good memories, a lot of passion. Nick had talked about their love like Jess was the best thing to ever happen to him. What if she was? He was for her. It certainly wasn't Spencer. She shuddered remembering how many years she wasted with him. It wasn't Russell. That was fun, but she knew it was never forever. It wasn't Ryan, despite how perfect on paper he seemed. What even was that? Did she even really love him after all? It had been far too easy to let him go.

But Nick? Nothing had prepared her for losing him in such a blindsided way. That one hurt, a hurt no amount of Dirty Dancing could ever help. She'd managed to bury all of it very deep, and had tried to get on with her life. In her very core, however, she hadn't been able to truly move on, despite how she appeared to everyone around her.

Crazy love. Sam and Jess had never been crazy in love, and now he was just crazy.

What was she doing?

She found the first turn lane she could and made a U-turn. Jess had managed to have her own Feelings Farm breakthrough, and it didn't matter what Sam thought of her. It didn't matter to her if he was mad, or not mad at all and wanting her back, or even if she ever saw him again.

Her foot pressed harder on the accelerator as she raced back to the loft. She needed to see Nick. It mattered what Nick thought of her. And maybe she would never get back together with Nick, but either way, she knew Sam wasn't the answer. He was meant to stay in the past.

She deserved better.

It was quiet when she returned to the loft. Before she'd left, the whole sick gang was grouped on the couch, but apparently they'd all retreated to their rooms to rest since she'd been gone. With a burst of purpose, she strode into the kitchen to pull veggies out of the fridge.

When everything was ready, she took her tray and gently rapped on Nick's door.

"Yeah?" was the muffled response.

She opened the door to see him buried under blankets on his bed, and her heart jolted a bit. She was overcome with a desire to take care of him, quite possibly for the rest of her life.

"Hey, Nick. I made you the soup I promised. There are also some brownies, as well as 2 glasses of water because I'm guessing you haven't had nearly enough water while you've been sick."

He grunted as he shifted to a sitting position. "You know me too well, Jess. Thank you for all of this."

"You're welcome."

"Hey, weren't these brownies for Sam? Did you see him? Are you back together?"

Jess sighed and sat on the edge of his bed. "They were for Sam, but I didn't go see him after all, so we're definitely not back together, and not going to be."

"You chicken out? That's not like you," Nick said as he slurped up a spoonful of soup. "Man, that's your best batch ever."

"I didn't chicken out. I just didn't care anymore what he thought. I've been concerned about the wrong person's opinion."

"What do you mean?"

Jess wrung her hands together. "It doesn't matter if Sam hates me. I need to make sure you don't hate me."

"What are you talking about? Are you sure you aren't the one with the fever?"

"I'm serious, Nick! Your opinion matters the most to me. Sam and I didn't end great, but you and I ended far worse. And if he's mad about it years later, I can't even imagine what you must have thought all this time."

Nick put the bowl down and looked intensely at Jess. "Ok, I'm still not feeling 100% yet from this cold, but I'm going to try to say this as coherently as I can."

"Using 'coherently' is a good start," Jess said.

"I have been mad, for a long time, actually."

Jess sucked in a sharp breath. "Ok, wow, um, just jumped right in there! It's fine, I expected that."

"But not at you. I've been mad at myself. I'm the one that let you go. You were worried about the future, that our love was all we had in common, and I felt you needed an out. I thought I could never truly be what you needed, and I had to let you off the hook. I gave you an out. It killed me to give you that out, but I wanted you to have what you deserved, someone like Ryan or Sam who could really take care of you."

"But you do take care of me, Nick! You've been taking care of me since the day we met, more than any other guy ever has!"

"I mean someone who can provide for you, someone who's thinking about the future and has a clear plan in place."

"You were right, though, about not knowing every detail of the future. I mean, my plans get derailed over and over. Lately, everything seems to have a big question mark. But you know what? I kinda like it. It's exciting not knowing where things might go." She glanced over at Nick, hoping he somehow caught the additional meaning in her words.

"Well, we really screwed up all of that up pretty good, didn't we?"

Jess gave a nervous laugh. "Oh yeah, big time."

They looked at each other and both started laughing, remembering that first Thanksgiving together, when their argument over Genzlinger had been heard by the entire gang.

Nick sighed after the laughter subsided. "I don't hate you, Jess. I could never hate you. It's hard enough trying not to lo—" He shut his mouth in horror as his eyes bugged out.

Jess wasn't stupid, but before she could revel in her delight at his words, she needed to make sure. "What were you going to say, Nick?"

"What? Nothing! It's the fever. I'm just rambling."

Jess placed a hand over his. "Tell me, please," she whispered.

Nick looked down for a moment before returning her gaze. "It's hard enough trying not to love you."

Jess could feel tears pricking at her eyes. "You still love me?"

"Never stopped."

"Wow. I still love you, too, you know."



"Then can I ask a question?" Nick asked, squeezing her hand.

"Sure, anything."

"Why the hell aren't we together right now?"

"Because we're idiots."

"The biggest," Nick added as he pulled her to him and kissed her soundly. His arms snaked around her as she lay down next to him. Her hand caressed his cheek as their lips danced in a perfect rhythm. Her soul was calm, the calmest it had been in a long time, about two years, actually. She was finally back where she belonged.

Nick pulled back in concern. "Wait, Jess! My germs! I'm so sorry. You're starting your new job tomorrow."

Jess waved her hands in dismissal. "This is more important."

"It's your dream job."

"Well, you're my dream man. Ugh, that sounded cheesy, didn't it?"

"Yeah, but I'm good with cheesy right now," Nick answered as he leaned in for another kiss.

Jess paused right before he made contact. "Are you sure you're ready for all of this again? Because this is it for me. You are it for me."

"Jessica, you are the best person I have ever known. No other girl has ever compared to you. You are definitely it for me, too. We'll make it work this time, I promise. I'm not ever letting you go again."

Yep, definitely the opinion that mattered most to her, she thought as she kissed him again.

This is my first attempt at a Nick and Jess story, mainly because I wasn't ever sure if I could really get them in character enough. Hopefully I did, though. It was fun to be part of this year's Secret Santa. Reviews are the best Christmas present you could give me! Thanks for reading, and I wish you a merry Christmas!