(a/n) i'm horrible at titling chapters. like horrible. but i also dont want to be one of those authors who just numbers them. so we end up with crap titles like "the sleep before." sincerest apologies

When Jess finally retired to her room with a stretch and a cute little mewl, Nick could let his panic out in the open. With every second since he accepted Jess's challenge (that wasn't even really a challenge) his anxiety doubled. No, tripled. No, it didn't matter. He had to figure out how to get out of this. He collapsed into his bed and slammed his head into his pillow, imagining it was actually a brick wall. He was going to go to the gym with Jess and she was going to see that he had no upper body strength, or lower body strength, or any body strength at all, and she would fall in love with someone else and would never love him the way he loved her.

Not that he loved her. Not like that of course. That would be crazy and depleting to his mental health in a way that he just couldn't handle. He just wished she wouldn't see him as a big brother in the way he knew she did. Why else would she snuggle with him on the couch and tease him and even rumple his hair sometimes? Heck, she treated him like one of her first graders half of the time, and that was fine because any time with her was time well spent, but sometimes he really wished she would see him as just a little bit more. And this would be his chance. If he was in shape, but he wasn't and she would realize that she deserved so much more and she would run off with Doctor Sam who was in shape and who had motivation. So, he would never get to be more than just friends with Jessica Day.


He whipped out his junky laptop and opened Google and searched "how to get in shape in one night" and quickly glanced over the results. According to the gods of Google, the fastest he could get in "sexy shape" was a week. But, he wasn't going to the gym in a week he was going tomorrow, so he opened the page and multiplied all the exercises by seven because that must be how that works, right? It works with alcohol. After the first five pushups he figured it was time for a break and rewarded himself with a couple beers. He really did intend to finish shaping his body after that but when he got down on the floor for the next set of pushups he felt himself dozing off...