Thank you, Guest, for always reviewing. I'm glad this story is still getting read.
Nick woke up with a massive headache. He groaned, wishing he had not been so stupid with his drinking the day before. He reached around for his alarm clock with his hand, slapping random objects and knocking things onto the floor before he found it. He squinted at it.
"AH!" he shrieked. He flipped and rolled and struggled out of bed, reaching for his crutches. He hobbled out of his room and into the hallway. It was almost noon. He was going to be missing his doctor's appointment too if he didn't hustle.
"Nick?" Bonnie called, hearing him banging about in the bathroom. "Are you all right?"
"I gotta be at the doc's in less than an hour," Nick said back. "I slept in!"
"I'll drive you," Bonnie said.
Nick went fast, and he was in the car showered, dressed, and wolfing down a pop tart in less than twenty minutes. Bonnie kept looking at him as they drove.
"What?" he asked after the fifth look.
"Do you remember what you wanted to do when you came home last night?" Bonnie asked. Nick frowned, thinking.
"Sleep?" he asked.
"No," she shook her head. Nick thought hard. What had he wanted to do? Bonnie had kept her mouth shut as Jess left with her mother that morning to drop her off at the airport before going to work. It wasn't her place to say anything.
"I don't know," Nick said. "I don't remember."
"Nothing," Bonnie answered. She felt frustrated with her son then. It was all she could do to not cuff him for being ridiculous. Instead, she kept her hands on the wheel and dropped him off at his doctor's.
"I'm scared, Cece," Jess said, wringing her hands. It was after the work day, and she was at Cece's place. She knew Bonnie was waiting for her to talk to Nick, and she just couldn't do it.
"What is scaring you about it?" Cece asked. She knew they were referring to Jess talking to Nick about their relationship.
"What if he changed his mind? What if he did move on?"
"What if he didn't?" Cece challenged.
"Not helping," Jess pointed out.
"Look, Jess, you gotta just take the leap," Cece said. "Tell him."
"But is it real? I mean, he almost died, so was that just me freaking out and being like, 'Oh, Nick could have died! You have to love him!' or is it because I really do love Nick?"
Cece resisted smacking her friend upside the head.
"Jess, we all know you love Nick."
"Yes! It's pretty obvious," Cece pointed out.
"Like you're still in love with Schmidt?" Jess countered. Cece blushed hard.
"No," she lied.
"Aha! I knew it!" Jess cried.
"We are not deflecting onto me here," Cece said, giving Jess a look. "You need to talk to Nick. Properly."
"I decided to wait until after the babies were born," Jess said, wincing.
"Well! If he can make it through labor and childbirth, then he can make it through a relationship with me."
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard," Cece snorted.
"No, it isn't..."
"Let me put it to you this way," Cece interrupted. "If you don't tell him by the end of this week, then I'm telling him."
"Give me two weeks," Jess bartered.
"One week," Cece replied firmly. "Final offer."
"All right, fine," Jess caved. Cece gave her a triumphant look, and Jess knew that when this was over, it was going to be her turn to give Cece a deadline to tell Schmidt about how she felt.
One Week Later
Nick walked into the apartment knowing that it was the time to talk to Jess. They'd missed each other a lot the past week, and Nick was feeling it was intentional. Tonight was the night. They were talking even if one of them started dying during the process. Well, that was a bit drastic, but Nick was serious. He sat, waiting. He was glad his mother had gone back home. She would have made him even more nervous.
"What are you doing?" Schmidt asked, coming into the loft then.
"Get out," Nick ordered, pointing with his crutch.
"Get out! OUT!"
"Wait, I'm confused," Schmidt said, looking around. "I live here."
"Schmidty, I need you to get out," Nick ordered.
"STOP ARGUING WITH ME, AND GET OUT!"
"GET OOOOUUUUUUUT!" Nick practically screamed like a banshee, his voice all high pitched.
Schmidt reacted as though he'd been slugged in the chest. He fell against the door and scrambled to find the knob. Once he located it, he opened the door and fell through it, slamming it behind him.
Jess saw Schmidt coming towards the elevator looking frazzled and a bit pissed.
"What's wrong?" she asked him.
"I don't know. Nick's lost his damn mind. He doesn't even say hello. I open the door, and he's screaming at me to get out," Schmidt answered.
"Oh," Jess said. She had an idea as to why. She had t-minus 5 hours to talk to Nick before Cece did. She chastised herself for leaving it so close to the end.
"Good luck," Schmidt said to her. Jess didn't say another word as she turned to walk towards the loft door. She inhaled and exhaled slowly. This was it.
Winston was watching Cece carefully as she worked the bar. He was finished meddling with Nick and Jess, but he was just getting started on Cece and Schmidt. He wasn't as oblivious as people thought he was sometimes. That and he had heard Jess ranting about it when she shared how mad she was that Cece was going to tell Nick when Cece should be talking to Schmidt, or something to that effect. Winston had gotten a bit lost in the vent fest, but he did catch that Cece had feelings still for Schmidt.
"What?" Cece asked him, noticing he was staring.
"Oh, nothing," Winston answered. He sipped his beer casually then. Cece narrowed her eyes at him.
"That's not a nothing look," she pointed out.
"Sure it is."
"Bloody hell," Schmidt said, coming in then. He was annoyed, and he slammed his bag down on the bar top. Winston watched Cece's face carefully as she saw him. There was a hint of red in her cheeks, and her eyes did brighten. This was going to be easy.
"What happened?" Cece asked.
"Nick just kicked me out of the loft seconds after I went in," Schmidt answered. "You'd think I had the Black Plague or something."
"He's going to talk to Jess," Cece said, realizing.
"Huh?" Schmidt asked, looking at her.
"Jess and Nick are finally going to talk about their relationship," Cece said excitedly. Schmidt was frozen in place for about five seconds.
"Well, then what are we doing sitting down here?!" he exclaimed, jumping to his feet.
"Easy, cowboy," Cece said, reaching to grab his shirt and yank him back down into his seat. "They don't need any eavesdroppers."
"Right," Schmidt nodded. "Right."
"I'd love to be a fly on the wall in there, though," Winston mused. They both nodded in return.
Coach opened his eyes to discover that he was not alone in the loft. He had gone down for a nap after coming home from work because those kids wore him out. He woke up upon hearing Nick shout at Schmidt, and he didn't want to get yelled at, so he stayed quiet. Now, he was listening to Jess come into the loft and talk to Nick. Eyes wide, he sat by the door and listened.
"Hi," Jess said, seeing Nick sitting and waiting for her.
"Hey," he said back. She finished coming inside and taking off her coat and setting down her purse. She made her way over to where he was sitting and stood in front of him.
"Well, sit," he urged. "Sit."
She sat. Nick had to hold himself to stop from falling into her from the weight of the babies and her bringing the couch cushion down suddenly.
"Sorry," she said, realizing.
"It's okay," he laughed nervously. Then they sat side by side, twiddling their fingers.
"So," she said.
"So," he nodded.
"You first," Jess said. Her words were all jumbled in her head now.
"All right," Nick agreed. "Look, you know how I feel about you. It hasn't changed. I know you basically said back on the roof that there was no chance, but I just feel I gotta give it one last shot, you know? What I said in the hospital after my accident...I didn't mean that. I know we broke up and those reasons haven't changed, but are they that big of reasons that we can't figure it out?"
Jess felt the tears in her eyes. Of course they weren't. They could figure out anything together. She wished she had realized that sooner.
"Oh, Nick," she said, reaching for his hand and holding it tightly. "I was lying to myself. Ever since I got pregnant, I kept thinking that it wouldn't change things, but it has. Nick, it has. I just was scared that if we tried again and failed, this time we have children to think about."
"I never wanted to break up in the first place," Nick said. "It just got out of control, and then I didn't now how to stop it."
"I didn't want to break up either, and when it got too far, I didn't know how to go back, but when Cece told me you'd been hit by a car, I realized how crazy I was for denying us being together. The thought of losing you for real was so devastating, and I knew then I had to tell you. I just...didn't know how."
"Neither did I," Nick laughed. "But here we are now."
"So, what are we doing?" Jess asked.
"Coach is in the loft!" Cece hissed, showing Winston and Schmidt his text message.
"What?" Schmidt asked, shocked.
"No way!" Winston laughed.
"He says it's sounding positive!" Cece squealed.
"Yes!" Winston fist pumped. Then he high fived Schmidt and Cece.
"Come on," Cece said. She gestured to her coworker to take over before leaving the bar and going to sit outside the loft door with Schmidt and Winston. They all craned their ears.
"We're doing this," Nick answered, smiling at Jess. "Us. If you're game." He sounded unsure, and Jess hated that she had made him feel unsure because of her own stupidity.
"I'm game," she nodded, smiling back.
"Wow," Nick said then. "I'm...I'm just so overwhelmed. We're doing this."
"We're doing this," Jess agreed, laughing a little. She pulled him into an awkward hug, thanks to her enormous belly. Then he put his hands on both sides of her face and kissed her.
"I love you," she said when he stopped.
"I love you so much," he replied, kissing her again. Jess almost cried from relief. She wished she hadn't wasted all this time fighting what she knew was supposed to be.
Nick and Jess jumped apart, startled beyond belief as Coach rushed in and crashed into both of them, throwing his arms around them both and hugging them hard.
"Coach!" Nick shouted. "What the hell?!"
"I'm so HAPPY!" Coach cried. "Guys! Come in! They're together again!"
"Wait, what?" Jess asked, craning her neck. The door blew open, and Cece, Schmidt, and Winston clambered in and piled onto the group hug.
"You guys," Schmidt said, ruffling Nick's hair. "I love you guys."
"About damn time!" Winston said.
"I knew you could do it," Cece said to Jess, hugging her friend tightly. Jess caught Nick's eyes, and they both smiled at each other. They were beyond lucky to have not only each other but to have friends like theirs. He found her hand among the tangle of the others', and he held it hard.
"You and me," he mouthed.
"Me and you," she mouthed back. It was as it should have always been, but Jess was just grateful she'd been brave enough to finally be honest with him and that he was right there waiting. Not everyone was as lucky. She closed her eyes, taking it all in. Everything was perfect.
Schmidt walked Cece to the elevator after the evening of celebrating was over. He had been doing some thinking since it seemed Nick and Jess had worked things out. He knew his relationship with Cece had been complicated and he'd hurt her greatly, but he felt there was still something there.
"What?" Cece asked, looking at him.
"If Nick and Jess can figure it out..." he started slowly. "I'm just wondering what other relationships out there could also be figured out."
He looked at her, and she knew he was talking about them. She gave him a slow smile.
"Well, I guess time will tell, won't it?" she asked. The elevator had arrived then, and she stepped onto it. Schmidt shared one last smile with her before the doors closed. He walked back to the loft with a good feeling in his chest.
Five Weeks Later
Jess was having a hard time sleeping. Nick was curled behind her, his arm around her as best as he could. They had started sleeping together again since they agreed to get back together. Jess just enjoyed the company of him in the bed with her. She hadn't realized how much she had missed him.
They had had a good evening together. Jess had started her maternity leave, so she was working on some final touches since the babies were due very soon. She was starting to feel excited that any day now, she was going to see their babies and hold their babies for the first time. Nick was getting excited too even though his fear of twins was still there a little bit. They had opted not to find out the gender of the twins, so that was also exciting.
Jess eventually fell asleep, but after a while, she woke up. She realized that it was pain that had woken her up. Her clock said close to four a.m. now. She'd slept for about five hours.
"Oh," she said out loud. She froze. Was this it? After a bit, the pain came again. She sat up, holding her belly. When the pain came a third time, she just knew.
"Nick," she said, reaching to find him. "Nick!"
"Urghhywha?" he groaned. Her hand connected with his face then. "Aha! What? I'm up." He sat up beside her.
"The babies are coming," she answered.
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"Yes," she nodded. "The babies are coming!"
"Okay!" Nick cried, jumping out of bed as though he'd been set on fire. "Okay, okay, okay!"
"Nick, calm down," Jess ordered.
"The bag," he said, tripping over things to get it. They'd done up the "go bag" a week ago. "Got it!"
He bolted from the room to find it. Jess managed to get to her feet just as another contraction hit.
"Oh, wow," she said, gasping. She breathed through it, but she knew it was just the beginning. They would get more intense and more frequent.
"Stroller!" Nick shouted, pounding past the bedroom door.
"What's going on?" Coach asked, coming out of his room then.
"The British are coming, the British are coming!" Nick shouted, flying past him.
"What?" Coach asked again, sticking his head into Jess's room.
"He means that the babies are coming," Jess corrected. Nick didn't think straight when he was both tired and stressed out.
"The babies are coming?!" Coach yelped.
"Yes!" Jess laughed.
"WINSTON! SCHMIDT!" Coach screeched, racing to wake them up. "THE BABIES ARE COMING!"
Jess called Cece, whose shriek pierced her ear. She made her way to the common area where Nick was losing it and Winston, Coach, and Schmidt were running around trying to remember what all they needed to take and have with them.
"HEY!" Jess shouted, making them all stop at once. "You all need to calm the heck down. I'm going to the car now."
All four of them raced to help her, to hold the door for her, to help her get her coat and shoes on, and to carry the go bag and car seat down. Jess called her mom on the way to the car, and her mom promised to let her dad and Bonnie know. They'd fly in later to see her and the babies.
"We got this!" Schmidt shouted as Nick helped Jess into his car and he ran around to the driver's side.
"Are you okay to drive?" Jess asked him as he started the car.
"Yes," he nodded. "I'm good." He shook his head and took some breaths to make his point before putting the car into gear. The others had all piled into Schmidt's car to follow them and were waiting.
"We're having our babies," Nick said as he drove. He felt panicked but also suddenly okay. He looked at Jess, who smiled back at him.
"Yes, we are," she agreed. Their lives were never going to be the same, but they were ready for it.
One chapter left!