A month after Annie moves in

Recently, Abed had been doing considerably well. He had been able to move on from that housewarming party after realizing that it was still always going to be the study group and most of the members were too old to change for the better. They may fight from time to time but they're always going to come back to each other in the end and that however sad it sounded occasionally, it was always a comforting notion.

There had been that two day phase where he was kind of conflicting his feelings about Annie but that phase was over when he met Stacey. Before that, he'd been dealing with something pretty new. He knew he'd never had conflicting feelings for anything. Things were always black and white for him when it came to how he felt about those things. If things didn't check either box, he was bound to break. However, after watching enough movies and spending enough time with people the past almost three years, he knew that conflicting feelings exist for other people especially those who you've had a past with so this time, he didn't freak.

Annie always seemed like a nice person to him. Not always a viable romantic prospect but thinking about it never hurt him. Instead, it made him muse. Annie was beautiful and she was also nice and that was a tough combination to receive in the world. Kissing her felt good. Her tiny arms splattered with paint felt good around his arms. Her soft, luscious lips that tasted of bubblegum lip gloss felt amazing. But they were just role-playing. If Abed couldn't role-play properly, he ought not to do it and since he didn't want to reach that particular conclusion (since role-playing was quite fun) he just neglected his feelings for long enough and then he moved on like he saw Annie did.

He didn't feel it would take Annie such a short span of time to move on from him to Jeff but maybe she was better at role-playing and getting lost in the act more than she let on. Maybe she was flustered at first but then she thought about it for a second and decided it was best if she moved on.

Then he met Stacey. She was nice. She was similar to him in most ways but a little more emotionally stable and quite sarcastic (which made commenting on whatever was going on in the hot-dog fest much more fun). She was quite pretty too. He really enjoyed talking about her to the group but recently, he felt like she was getting really flustered by someone else and that just frankly made him feel hurt. To be a good boyfriend, however, meant being trustworthy and so he didn't doubt her.

Ever since Annie moved in, it had been fun. He felt like a nice human being after doing that. He felt like someone who cared and could be finally at one with others. He didn't like the fact that she was living somewhere where she could be harmed and he definitely couldn't sleep after hearing that ever so he did the only thing he deemed fit. Without asking Troy, he asked her to move in. She said "yes" so quickly that he was surprised. He was used to people chuckling and being all "yeah, right." when he offered help but much to his happiness, Annie noticed and appreciated him. It wasn't hard at all to get Troy on board with Annie moving in. All he had to do was tell him that Annie applied a tourniquet to a guy who got stabbed outside her building and Troy said, "she can't live there." Abed replied, "yeah, obviously. We have an extra bedroom, though, what if she moves in here". "Yeah, that'd work" Troy smiled.

Recently, he'd stopped mentioning Stacey that often, not because he was a little skeptical about how strongly she felt about him in return but because he certainly noticed Annie's expression whenever he brought her up. Gritted teeth and balled up fists. A fake "aww". There was something up with her. He just asked her for a graphite lead and her cheeks turned bright pink. It was weird. Because it meant she suddenly felt things for him. That couldn't be true. Why would a pretty nice girl who lusted after bad boys feel things for Abed? Abed, himself, only had a few good qualities. He felt he was loyal, fond, caring and was willing to change as a person if there was something problematic with him but then again, he was emotionally unavailable, categorized as a nerd and was always unable to read the room. Maybe Annie saw all those good things too.

Regardless, he was already dating someone and he didn't want to mess that up all over something he merely speculated. So when Shirley asked him whether he was taking that girl to the dance, he said yes. And then he saw Annie question it all for some reason. He chided himself. He was already with someone and unless that relationship with someone was faulty, he wasn't going to do anything with Annie. He wasn't some infidel.

And so Troy and he left while Annie and Britta were to have some sort of conversation on their way home.

"Can I just say 'hi' to Stacey for a sec. She's in the biology room today? You should say 'hi' too, she's nice." he told Troy.

"Sure." Troy smiled.

And as he went to the biology room and opened the door, he saw Stacey kissing a certain someone he'd recently seen her get flustered by. Troy's smile faded as Stacey broke apart from the kiss as she stared at Troy and Abed in horror, pushing that guy away. "I'm so sorry, Abed. I swea–"

"Yeah, sounds about right!" Troy yelled, crying, "how dare you?" he yelled a bit more.

"That means it's over, Stacey" Abed said, shooting her an icy look.

"Let's go Abed. Let's get away from this [redacted] [redacted] [redacted]"

"Yeah, I think that's best."


A month after Annie moves in

Annie was in the study room with the rest, it was self-study time and they were all silently doing their pending homework so that they could chill when they got home. Annie, was however only pretending to study. She had a random page open in her English textbook and she'd pretend to turn the pages. She was too lost in her thoughts.

It was amazing living with Abed and Troy. She loved it. There had been a little problem with something called a Dreamatorium which they weren't willing ti give up under any circumstances because of which she would have to live in a blanket fort in the living room. She gave them an ultimatum, they moved their bunk bed to the blanket fort and offered her the room their bunk bed used to be. She was touched. She never knew her two friends who lived in their own world could be so genuinely sweet. Well, from time to time they'd create a mess of the house but they always tried their level best to clean it up. From time to time, they'd make her feel like a princess and perform some shadow puppetry just to make her smile and she truly felt special there.

But she was never able to be happy for long enough. Every time Abed mentioned his girlfriend (which was pretty rare) she'd become sad again. Now that she'd begun to see Abed in such a different light, it made her feel upset. Kind of like when Britta and Jeff were trying to date but even worse somehow.

She loved it every time she remembered how good Abed felt when he kissed her and she hated it every time she remembered that it was just some Star Wars themed roleplaying. She absolutely hated it with a red hot sizzling hatred, more red hot and sizzling than anyone could ever imagine and she didn't know what to do. Annie would never be an obstacle in Abed's love life. She'd never be so unethical as to make a move on him while he was in a relationship and since Britta and Shirley would "aww" every time Abed's girlfriend was brought up, she had to "aww" too.

She didn't know how to overlook it either, the look he gave her when he found out she made out with Jeff. She was probably scrutinizing it, there was probably nothing in that look but somehow it felt different, it didn't portray disapproval alone, it had a tinge of hurt and she could sense it when it was with someone who showed emotions as scarcely as Abed did.

Slowly, she started getting sadder more and more easily. There was something different in the way how Annie Edison functioned. She took every form of kindness from a seemingly attractive fellow as a sign of attraction because while growing up, no one was kind to her. She thought it was so rare that she'd formed a wrong impression and she did try to get rid of it but it was hard. She always felt stupid when she just started assuming some guy was into her just because he was down to earth and mellow. Rich, she thought, was flirting with her just because he was being easygoing and chill and just nice and himself. Jeff, she thought, was into her because he saved her when he saw her almost fall down or get choked.

Abed, however, lived with her and even though he wasn't technically a "nice gentleman", he was genuinely sweet and always sensed when her mood was off. Even though he was uncomfortable when he had to help others with their problems, he'd always help her, ask her if she wanted to talk. He called himself a student of human character and thus he could easily sense if Annie was feeling down and then he'd ask her if she wanted to talk about it. How could she? All she wanted to say was, "dump your girlfriend and kiss me right now." and who knew how he'd react. He'd freak out and it would take forever for him to ever want to talk to her.

All of a sudden, she heard Abed's voice saying her name and got startled, "hey Annie, do you have an extra graphite lead that I could put in my mechanical pencil?"

She nodded. "What size lead do you need?"

"0.7 mm" he clarified.

She needed to stop doing this. Being startled whenever she heard his voice.

"Abed, so are you bringing your girlfriend to the dance next week?" Shirley asked in her normal sweet tone.

"I haven't asked her yet but I'm pretty sure she will want to come." Abed replied.

"Uh, are you sure it's a romantic dance?" Annie asked with fake curiosity.

"Annie, it's a dance. Of course it's romantic." Britta said.

"Yeah sorry" she chuckled. Why did she even have to ask? She hoped nobody noticed her expression or her tone and started fake studying.

"Guys, it's already 5, I'm heading home." Jeff said.

"Yeah me too" Britta mumbled.

"Yeah, I gotta help with dinner" Shirley said.

"I need to bang a few chicks" Pierce boasted.

"Ew, Pierce!"

"Okay, Annie, let's go"

And like that, hearing Abed's voice say her name did things to her yet again. It made butterflies somersault in her stomach and made her cheeks flush.

"Yeah let's go."

"Uh, if you don't mind, Troy and Abed, I'd like to speak with Annie regarding something important." Britta said suddenly.

"You would?" Annie asked.

"Will you guys take long?" Troy asked, an almost complain forming in his tone.

"Yeah, it might, you guys should go on home, I'll drive her home." Britta offered.

"Yeah, okay" Annie said, still clueless as to what Britta was getting at.

"Cool. Cool cool cool." Abed said.

He walked off with Troy.

And his voice made her get flustered all over again for reasons she couldn't begin to comprehend.

"Something you wanna talk to me about, Annie?" Britta asked her as they sat in her cat.

"No, what are you talking about?" Annie asked with fake curiosity.

"Well, you know, beating around the bush is something I don't believe in so I want to talk about Abed."

"What about him?"

"Your feelings about him! Are you seriously telling me that your face isn't getting all pink when he says a random word and you're questioning if a dance is romantic or not out of jealousy? You're into him!"

"Britta, maybe I am but he's taken! It's not like I can do anything about it."

"You can talk to me, Annie," Britta said as she was just taking a turn to reach apartment 303, "it doesn't even take a psych student to know that you can confide with someone. If you feel you're having complex feelings, you can come to me anytime."

"Thanks." Annie smiled, "I think that'll help."

"Hey!" Britta smiled back at her, "Anytime."

With that, Annie left the car and headed on upstairs to get to her room

Annie preferred doing her biology homework in the living room for a change. Usually, Troy and Abed would be playing games or watching TV but today, there was some peace and she'd been just looking at Abed while she was supposed to be doing her homework. She freshened up and sat on the dining table with her textbook and her notebook.

After half an hour, Abed came in looking droopy, accompanied by a fuming Troy.

"Hey guys," Annie said cheerfully till she saw the expression on their faces, "what happened?"

"Abed's [redacted] girlfriend was making out with some [redacted] guy." Troy sobbed. "How could she?"

"Troy, it's okay. That's what my life is supposed to be like." Abed said glumly.

"Abed I'm so sorry, " Annie said, "and don't say that! Your life is supposed to be amazing and great. That's what her life is supposed to be like" Annie said.

"Yeah" Troy agreed. His phone beeped. "Damn it, I forgot about my football practice. But I can ditch it and we can hate on Stacey."

"No, you go on ahead," Abed said. "You've got a tournament coming up."

"Yeah, Troy, I've got this." Annie looked at him. Troy looked back, his eyes shone with understanding and a sense of gratitude.

"Okay, bye, I'll be back in about three hours or so." he said.

"You wanna watch a movie?" Annie said, as she boiled some pasta and heated some cocoa mix.

"Sure." he said.

"Which one?"

"Whichever" he said glumly.

She didn't like this version of Abed. He was sad and she just knew instinctively that Abed being sad was something that would make her cry. She pulled herself together.

"You know, let's watch As Good As It Gets, I've heard great things about that one"

"Yeah, me too"

She tried for a smile and put the movie on.

Halfway through the movie, Annie realized that she put this movie up on purpose without even realizing it. She had read about the movie earlier and she knew the plot and even though watching As Good As It Gets was a random idea, she knew it was a subconscious decision. A movie about a socially awkward guy with OCD who wrote romance novels and had trouble understanding people getting close to a normal woman. Of course, it didn't fully resemble what Abed and she were like in any regard. Abed wasn't even a quarter as mean as Jack Nicholson's character and their age difference wasn't as eighth as big and weird.

She started to notice a few things as the movie went on though. After putting their dirty dishes of comfort food aside, she had snuggled close to Abed. Much closer than she could ever imagine. And he had his arms around her, protectively but gently. She felt nice. And safe. And cared for. She was sure he would never let Britta get this close to her.

The best part was that as she snuggled closer and closer to him, he tugged her closer and closer too while looking at her for a second and looking back up at the screen. He was aware, not subconscious. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach. And as the credits finally started rolling after Melvin Udall was casually walking the streets calmly with Carol Connelly instead of miserably living in his tiny apartment, their eyes met for too long.

Way too long. Longer than anytime her eyes met with Jeff's.

They stared intently at each other and before she could get into some sort of an inner monologue, she started leaning in. And he complied, slowly, steadily. She, overtaken by her impulse bridged the gap between them, fast. She didn't want some door knock or some buzzing phone or some oven timer buzzing as their faces were covered with frosting to just have them lingering with an almost kiss, leaving things unattended forever but knowing there was something.

And that kiss was amazing.

Somehow, even better than the Han Solo one.

It was so amazing. It was so great. It was his arms around her waist, slowly making their way up to her soft hair. It was her arms around his neck, on their way to cup his jaw. It was what you'd call an electrifying kiss.

They weren't playing characters this time. They were fully aware of what they were doing.

But they needed to breathe. They needed to gather their breath. She was scared that it'd stop but they kissed again. Softer. Sweeter. Longer.

But they needed to breath again. This time, however, they couldn't start. Before they could lean in again, they heard the door opening.

Troy was home.

"Hey guys, how are you Abed?"

"Considerably better." he said, smiling at Annie.

Troy looked at Annie with an expression of gratitude while she returned it with an expression of "thanks for going to the football practice but like couldn't you have gone for longer?".

She actually felt happy for the first time in months.