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01 January 2014 @ 08:56 pm
fic: This Will Be Our Favorite Song (1/2)  
Title: This Will Be Our Favorite Song
Author: [info]monroeslittle
Fandom: Community
Characters/Pairings: Jeff/Annie
Word Count: ~15,000
Rating: M
Summary: It's impossible not to kiss her. post-4x13.
A/N: This fic ignores spoilers for the fifth season. I was determined to post before the season started, and one day before is the best I could do! Title and lyrics from the Goo Goo Doll's "Come to Me." :)


Cover me with kisses, dear,
Lighten up the atmosphere.
Keep me warm inside our bed,
I got dreams of you all through my head.


---

Her phone starts to vibrate against a pizza box, and she jumps, elbowing Jeff in the thigh.

They're at his apartment for Samuel Jackson night, crowded around the television; Piece claimed the chair, Troy is sprawled across the ground, Shirley is on one sofa with Britta, and Jeff, Annie, and Abed are crammed onto the other, Annie's head against Jeff's shoulder, her feet in Abed's lap.

When the phone buzzes, she nearly jumps two feet in the air before she fumbles to answer it. Shirley tuts at the interruption, but Samuel Jackson is on the screen, and nobody bats an eye when Annie stumbles over Troy, bangs her knee on the coffee table, and scurries into the kitchen.

But Jeff knows what the call is about, and he can't help it. He follows her.

She nods into the phone. "Yes. Right." He tries to catch her gaze, cupping her elbow. She grabs his wrist, squeezing tightly, and her eyes fly to his face, but he can't read her expression. "Yes, thank you. Okay. Thank you." She hangs up the phone, biting her lip as her eyes drop to stare it.

He raises his eyebrows, waiting.

Slowly, she nods. "I got it," she breathes, a catch in her voice like she doesn't believe it. "Jeff, I got it. The internship. For the summer. I got it." She looks at him with big, bright eyes, shaking his arm as she starts to bounce in excitement at the realization. "I got it," she squeals, "I got it!"

He laughs, and she throws her arms around his neck.

He lifts her off her feet, swinging her around. He knew she would get it. She laughs a little, and he squeezes her as she shifts to look at him. "I got it," she repeats, awed, and he grins back at her.

She gives another cute, girly squeal, hugging him, and it's impossible not to kiss her.

---

He is a lawyer in his thirties, somebody with his life together, and it doesn't really matter that his study group is like a family to him, or that she is in that group. No matter how you figure things, in the real world it's weird for him to have a pretty, peppy twenty-something girl for a best friend.

She acts like it isn't, but it totally is.

They are friends, though.

He texts her about as much as he plays Candy Crusher, which is a lot, and he meets her for lunch on Wednesdays to catch up, and it's a regular thing now. He knows she is allergic to shellfish, and she knows he fractured his wrist when he was sixteen, and she helps him buy his mother a birthday present after they go to the movies on a Monday. They're friends. Which is the problem.

One month after he graduates, he doesn't want to be her friend.

When she texts him about a night on the town with the girls, he doesn't expect to see her at the bar where he meets with a few old law buddies, and he doesn't expect the realization to hit him.

Her blouse is pink, and she wears a fuzzy, pinker cardigan over it, but she is in slim black jeans, those pink shoes have heels, and her hair is curled. Britta waves her arms about stupidly, Shirley nods exaggeratedly in agreement, and Annie giggles at them before her gaze lands on Jeff. Her eyes widen in surprise, but he grins at her, and she beams back. She gives a cute, girly wave before she turns her gaze back to Britta. They don't actually talk that night, but he doesn't mind.

He watches her as she sips a cocktail, and she isn't a teenager.

She isn't a kid.

She hasn't been in years, and he wants her, and it's time to own up to it. She doesn't need him to protect her. She knows who she is, is happy with her life, and he knows who he is, or who he wants to be. And there are twelve years between them, but he wants her, and she kisses him back.

In his kitchen, her cheeks flushed with excitement at the phone call. She kisses him back.

She sucks in a breath, startled, but her fingers curl in his sweater, and her mouth opens under his.

He shifts her against him, his hands on her thighs to hoist her up, to hold her properly, and she wraps her legs around his waist. He turns to trap her against the fridge, and he starts to pepper kisses along his neck as he catches his breath, and that's when she stops him. "Jeff, wait, wait."

He looks at her, her face flushed, eyes wide, lips plump, and his heart is in his throat.

"You can't take this back," she says warily, and her hands hover at his shoulders, hesitant.

He presses a kiss to her cheek, the skin warm against his lips. "I wasn't planning on it." He can't look at her face as he whispers the words, but he forces himself to say them. "I'm better than I used to be," he breathes. "And you're older than you used to be, and let's do it. Let's do this. Us."

His nose ghosts across her cheek as he moves to kiss her lips, and her breath catches.

"Okay." She nods. "Okay, yes," she mumbles, and he kisses the smile growing on her lips once, twice, three times, "yes, yes, yes," she says, her hands fisting in his hair, and she kisses him back.

---

(She likes to say that things started years ago, and he concedes the point when she pouts at him, because she decided to eat peanut butter from the jar as a ten o'clock snack, and her feet are in his lap, and it's impossible to argue with a pouty cheater when her kisses taste like peanut butter.

No matter where the story starts, this is what followed.)

---

His hands have inched beneath her sweater when Troy screams in terror.

She breaks away from him. "The group," she breathes. She smiles shyly. "Come on." She pushes gently on his chest, and he steps back as she slips off the counter. She runs her fingers through her hair, and he tries to focus. Right. The group. He wipes her lip gloss off his face. But she gives him a small, sweet Annie smile, and he touches her cheek, brushing his thumb against her mouth.

Her eyes flicker to his lips, and he leans in.

From the living room, Shirley shrieks. Right. The group. He hates the group.

---

Annie straightens pillows distractedly, trying to be subtle as she lingers. She isn't.

But nobody questions her claim that she wants to help Jeff clean up.

As soon as the door shuts behind Troy, her eyes meet his. It's quiet, the room between them. He takes a step towards her, and she launches herself at him. His hands find her waist as hers grasp his shoulders, propelling herself up, and he draws her into a kiss. "I thought they'd never leave," he murmurs into her lips, running his hands up her back. She giggles, and her teeth graze his lip.

He should've kicked the group from his apartment hours ago.

He presses hot, open-mouthed kisses to her throat, his hands tightening on her waist. "Do you want to stop?" he murmurs into her skin, and her pulse jackhammers against his tongue. Her fingers curl in his hair, but he draws back to look at her. "Annie." Her cheeks are bright, flushed.

"Jeff." She grins, her eyes dark, playful, a glittering want in them; it's as much encouragement as he needs. He slides his hands over her thighs, hoisting her up, and she giggles breathlessly in surprise, but he grins against her mouth as she wraps her legs around his waist, and he kisses her.

He drops her on the bed, pulling back from her to yank his shirt up over his head. She fumbles to drag her tights off, and he starts to help her, but they abandon the task at her ankles, and he surges in for another kiss as her hands snake across his back. He climbs onto the bed with her, and she scoots back to let him, trying to take her sweater off at the same time. But the buttons catch in her hair, and she laughs a little before he helps her toss the offending pink garment aside.

He kisses her quickly, tongue swiping into her mouth, before he unhooks her bra with one hand, the other tangled in her hair; he hardens painfully as she tugs the straps down, as he looks at her.

Her boobs are fantastic, and he always knew that, but, holy shit, look at them.

Look at her, hair tousled, pupils blown, naked from the waist up. Annie, naked. In his bed.

He kisses her roughly, skimming a hand up her stomach to cup a breast, a heavy weight in his hand; he squeezes, feeling her nipple pebble against his palm, and her breath catches in his kiss.

He slides his other hand down to her thigh to hitch her leg around his waist as he lays her back, and her hands fist in his hair, flit over his shoulders, skate along his arms. When his mouth ghosts over the spot on her neck that makes her gasp, he grins into her skin, and he looks at her.

Her lips are plump from kissing, and her eyes have that soft, adoring look.

She runs her hands up his stomach, her nails scratching dully against his skin.

He kisses the smug little grin on her face, kisses her throat, her collarbone, her breasts.

She breathes in sharply when takes a pert, rosy nipple into his mouth; her hands fist in his hair as he sucks softly, and she gasps when he bites down. He soothes the bite with his tongue, becoming impossibly hard at the soft, breathy noise she makes. He drags his lips greedily from one pale, perfect breast to the other, and it's better than every fantasy, better than everything ever.

It's a miracle that he manages to pull away from her, but he needs to get his jeans off now.

He rolls onto his side to shimmy his pants off, and she laughs at him.

Her own attempts to tug off her skirt make her breasts bounce, and she flushes when she realizes where his gaze is, but he grins as he meets her eyes, and he surges into a kiss. He doesn't let her deepen it, though; he kisses his way from her throat to her collarbone to her stomach, rolling her nipples between her thumbs as he mouths at the slice of skin that sits above her green underwear.

Annie, in her girly, green cotton underwear, her gaze intent on him as he looks at her.

He tugs off her underwear, she trembles a little when his hands run up her legs, and he smiles as he presses a kiss to her calf. He drags his lips across her thigh, stroking her hip lazily with his thumb, and she squirms. But her fingers sink into his hair, and her hands push lightly at his head.

He kisses the crease at her hip, grinning up at her. "Do you want something, Annie?" he asks.

"Like you don't know," she says, glaring, and he laughs before he presses his mouth to her.

She is already wet for him, and it isn't hard to work her up, tonguing at her clit, curling his finger inside her, his hand on her stomach to pin her to the bed as she starts to rock against his mouth.

He brings her to the edge, and he stops. "Jeff," she whines, shoving at his shoulder as he moves to his knees to shed his briefs. He bends over her for a kiss, and he slides his finger into her; eager, she rolls her hips against his hand, but he pulls his slick fingers away to pump his erection.

He fumbles for a condom from the drawer beside his bed with his other hand.

He doesn't take his eyes off her as he rolls one on.

She gazes at him with dark, heavy-lidded eyes, and he kisses the top of her breast, the curve of her shoulder, the corner of her lips. "Jeff," she says, whimpering; his hands guide her legs, bending her knees, and he starts to push into her at last. Slowly, inch by inch, into hot, tight bliss.

He pauses, kissing her. Draws away, and starts to push back in.

When he bottoms out inside her, her mouth finds his in a shaky, sloppy kiss.

Annie. He is inside Annie, and it's the most fucking fantastic moment in his life.

He gives her a moment to adjust before he pulls back out, surging forward as carefully as he can, and he knows this won't last long, but he isn't about to finish without her. She shifts, rocking into his thrust, but the timing is off, and "here, wait, wait," he pants. He grasps her thighs, rolling onto his back and taking her with him. She settles on his lap, his cock sheathed inside her, and she smiles breathlessly as she grips his shoulders, steadying herself when she rocks up on her knees.

She takes the reigns, sinking back down onto him.

As soon as he can, he catches onto her rhythm, thrusting up into her as she sinks down on him, and her gaze is heavy on hers. He can't look away, doesn't want to, because this is Annie, his silly, sweet Annie with her purple pens and her unbelievable boobs and her crazy, intense antics, his Annie, riding him. "Fuck, Annie," he mutters, and she leans in, her breasts brushing his chest.

He grunts at the new angle, kissing her, and she starts to move in a frenzy, mumbling, "there, fuck, Jeff, oh, oh, yes," and her hair tickles his face, and her nose brushes against his, and, "yes!"

She starts to clench around him, coming apart.

As soon as she slumps bonelessly against him, he flips them, and he slams into her.

Her breasts bounce as he fucks her, and her mouth is slack beneath his; but her breathing rises, her sweet, breathy little screams building a second time, and his last thrust pushes her up the bed.

He pushes into a few more times, slowly, lazily, as he finishes, and her hand strokes his back.

He forces himself not to collapse on her, settling on his back beside her. He pulls off the condom, tossing it. It's quiet for a moment as he stares at the ceiling, as he realizes he might have fucking blacked out for a second there, coming inside her. When he feels her gaze on him, he turns to look at her. She bites her lip, a soft, satisfied smile tugging on her mouth, and it makes him grin.

"You're welcome," he says, and she dissolves into giggles.

He wraps an arm around her waist, dragging her into his side. "Jerk," she says, and he kisses her.

---

Annie is a mouth breather in her sleep, and she keeps her hands curled up under her chin.

He stares at her, at the way she managed to roll herself up in his blankets in the night, hogging the sheets to craft a cocoon with them, and he wonders what the fuck is supposed to happen next.

How is he supposed to do this?

He told his therapist about his daydream, about the darkest timeline. But she didn't congratulate him on his realization that he didn't have to be scared to graduate. Instead, she asked about Annie, about why he imagined himself with her. He shrugged. "Does it really matter?" he asked.

She smiled, and she told him that he wasn't evil to want to be with Annie.

That was three weeks ago, and now Annie is in his bed, naked, wrapped up in his sheets.

He brushes the hair from her face, and she mutters at him to go away, "m'm sleeping." He smiles at nothing, and he tucks her cocooned little body against his. She smacks her lips, burrowing in.

---

He expects her to ask what this is, what they are.

She'll ask, and he'll admit that he doesn't know. It's the truth, and he'll remind her that she knows who he is, knows his history, knows that he isn't great at this. But he wants to be with her, has always wanted to be with her. It's weak, but he'll apologize for the way he treated her in the past.

Hopefully, she'll take him for his word.

They'll have a chance to do this, whatever this is.

But two weeks in, she hasn't asked.

(It's what he used to say to clients, to women who thought the guy who fucked them in his car wanted a relationship, to his mom when she asked when he was going to visit her, don't ask questions you don't want to know the answer to; it was a motto he embraced from an early age.)

---

They're at the kitchen table, and Troy keeps his arms crossed as he sighs dramatically, refusing to look at Jeff. Abed won't not look at Jeff. "Guys, we're just going to dinner," Jeff says. "That's it."

"What will you do after dinner?" Abed asks.

"Bring her back to us, obviously," Troy says, glaring at Jeff. "Her curfew is eleven."

"Right," Jeff says. "Again, I want to emphasize that —"

Troy sobs. "No, you listen!" he cries. "If you're going to date our Annie, you better treat her with respect. Like a princess! Because she is a princess!" He fans at his face, struggling not to tear up.

"It's not a date," Jeff says. "It's dinner." It isn't a big deal. They've been sleeping together for two weeks, but that doesn't mean they aren't friends, that they can't go for dinner on a Thursday night.

"I remember when she took her first step in the apartment," Troy says, sniffing.

"This is hard for him," Abed adds, and Troy waves a hand dismissively at him.

"And her first time in the Dreamatorium, and — and the first time she made the chocolate chips in my pancakes smile at me — and, oh, they grow up so fast!" He bites down on his fist, sobbing.

Jeff raises his eyebrows. "Well, this is fun." He pulls his phone from his pocket, glancing at Abed, who blinks at him. "Annie," Jeff calls, raising his voice, "how much longer do you need?"

"What are your intentions, Jeff?"

"To take Annie to dinner, Abed."

"There aren't two amigos," Abed says. "Or two musketeers. The trio is an established trope in television. Buffy, Willow, and Xander. Sam, Neal, and Bill. Michael, Fiona, and Sam. Laurie, Ellie, and Jules. They're my favorite, obviously. But I could go on. Would you like me to go on?"

"I'm not going to ruin your trio," Jeff says, exasperated.

It's quiet. Troy sniffles, and Jeff fiddles with his phone. He glances at Abed.

Abed stares back at him. "Do you know how many movies I've watched, Jeff? A lot. And I watch every genre. Thriller. Horror. I've picked stuff up. From television, too. Have you seen Dexter?"

Holy crap.

"Are you threatening to kill me?" Jeff asks. "Actually, don't answer that." He sighs, glancing at his phone for a moment to thumb absently through his apps. "I'm not going to hurt Annie, guys."

He looks back up, meeting Abed's stare.

Abruptly, Abed relaxes. "Cool." He nods. "Cool, cool, cool."

As soon as Annie emerges from her room, Jeff is on his feet. She smiles brightly, starting to greet him, and he cuts her off. "Let's go," he says, grabbing her hand. He shakes his head in explanation when she shoots him a cute, puzzled look, and she lets him drag her across the room.

They're at the door when Troy shoots to his feet. "Jeffrey. If you hurt her, I'll make you hurt."

He glares at Jeff, and Annie starts to smile. "Aw, Troy," she says.

"Noted," Jeff says, and he explains when they've left the apartment that Abed might've possibly threatened to kill him. Annie laughs, her hand hooked on his elbow, and promises to protect him.

---

She is snowed in at his apartment the next day, the sleet drumming loudly against the windows.

He talks her into the shower with him in the morning, and they have waffles for lunch.

In the afternoon, she finds an old, unopened puzzle that his aunt Millie bought him a while back, shoved into the closet for a reason. But she is thrilled at the find, and he watches Duck Dynasty while she pieces the thing together, sitting on the floor with her back to him; he suggests pieces every once in a while, toying absently with her hair from his position sprawled across the couch.

(For a long time, he told himself that he wouldn't know what to do with Annie.

He might've wanted her, but he couldn't have her.

She was Annie, and she deserved a relationship, but he couldn't be in a relationship with her, because, seriously, what the fuck would they do in a relationship? He liked scotch, boobs, cynicism, and reality TV; she liked to play house at a hotel, to participate in things, to try at life.)

---

The group celebrates his birthday with karaoke at a bar, but he leaves with Annie around ten.

As soon as they arrive back at his apartment, she jumps him.

Her hands snake their way beneath his shirt, shucking the material up until her nails scrape over his nipples, and his fingers fist in her skirt at the sensation. She draws away teasingly, though, and her little white hands flit over the buttons on her green, polka dot blouse as she gazes at him with big, Disney eyes. Four buttons down, and her pink, lacy bra is revealed, clasped in the front.

It's the first time she's worn one with that opens in the front.

She giggles as he covers her mouth with his.

He knows she expects him to steer her to his bedroom, but he doesn't; he walks her to the wall, trailing kisses down her throat as he catches his breath, and he starts to turn her. She blinks at him in surprise, but he squeezes her hip in reassurance, smiling against her cheek for a moment.

She kisses him before she turns to face the wall.

He rucks up her skirt as she tugs down her underwear, and he wraps an arm around her, holding her to his chest, palming her breast with one hand as his other unclasps his belt. As soon as his pants are at his ankles, he traps her against the wall, and she grinds into him. He groans into her hair, his lips grazing her ear, her neck, hovering over her pulse as he pushes into her from behind.

She gasps, rocking against him.

They find a rhythm quickly. "Jeff," she murmurs, and he knows what she wants.

Once he starts to talk, she comes apart around him; it's what always gets her. He whispers that he always wanted to fuck her like this, that he loves when her ass is pressed to his cock like this, that he loves how tight she is for him, for his cock, that he wants to fuck her until she can't walk.

He talks the way she likes, and he brings her over the edge twice before he finishes.

Afterward, he pulls her underwear back up for her, and she kisses him as he tugs his pants up.

---

She complains that his towels smell like mildew, and he gives her a credit card to buy new ones for him, because the game is on. He forgets about the exchange within ten minutes, but three days later she shows him the purple towels she bought to match the new swirly, purple shower curtain she purchased, but "there are gray swirls, too," she says, wide eyed, "gray, manly swirls!"

He sighs. It could've been worse; she could've found a floral print.

She claps when he agrees to keep the towels, the curtain, the fluffy purple toilet seat cover.

---

It's a few months before Britta decides to share her thoughts on the matter.

The group runs into Rich when they're in town for dinner, and Pierce invites him to join them at the bar. Honestly, Jeff tried to like Rich. But people aren't supposed to be that nice. It isn't natural. Two hours in, the group is at the bar with Rich, and Jeff is on his own in their old booth.

Apparently, this means the time is ripe for Britta to needle him.

She joins him in the booth with a cheap, girly beer, starting right in. She prattles on about how Jeff is lucky that Rich refused to date Annie, or Jeff would've lost his shot with her. "I mean, Annie would've driven off into the sunset with a guy like that," she says. "He is perfect for her."

"Pfft. He is not."

But Britta looks pointedly at the pair, and Jeff is forced to glance at them. "He isn't an insecure jerkosaurous like you, but he is funny, smart. Attractive. The guy is a nicer, niftier Jeff Winger."

"He collects stamps," Jeff says.

"Annie like stamps," Britta says.

If he weren't drunk, he might've been able to make a stronger, sounder argument. But he is drunk, and he glares at Britta, and he growls that Annie isn't with Rich. She is with him, and she is happy, and "I was the first person to show her how good sex can be," he says. He is good for her.

Better for her than Rich, or Vaughn. Or anybody. He is the best for her.

"Nice try, jerk," Britta says. "But you weren't the first person to give her an organism. I was."

He starts to reply, but her words sink in. "Wait, what?" He gapes at her.

She is smug for a second, only to notice his shock. "Not like that," she says. "After I learned that her boyfriend in high school wasn't stellar in the sack, I realized she hadn't had an orgasm before. I told her that she didn't need a man to be happy, and I taught her what to do." Proudly, Britta straightens in her seat. "That's right, Jeff," she says. "I taught your girlfriend how to masturbate."

He stares incredulously at her. "When?"

"Freshmen year. After the STD fair. I told her what to do, what to look for. She tried, reported back, and I gave her more pointers. Tried a second time, reported back. Only took a few tries. What's the problem? Are you upset at the idea that women don't need men for sexual pleasure?"

"There isn't a problem," Jeff says. "I'm just surprised. That's all." It's the truth. "I didn't realize you were that close with Annie." He raises his eyebrows at her, and she glares, crossing her arms.

"I'm friends with Annie," she says. Her expression grows defensive. "I know that I'm not always the nicest role model, okay? Pobody's nerfect, Jeff. But Annie is my friend." She glares at him, and he realizes what this is about, why Britta started this whole conversation. "Look, I love you," she says. "I do. I love you, and I owe you a lot. But I love Annie, too. She's like my little sister."

"I know," he says. He didn't, though. He hadn't realized Britta cared about Annie that much.

"This better be about more than just sex, Jeff. She wants more than that. She might pretend like she doesn't, but you know that isn't what Annie's about. She wants more, and she deserves more."

"I know. I care about her, too." He pauses, and his gaze drops. "If all I wanted was sex, I wouldn't risk my friendship with her. It isn't like there aren't other woman who'd have sex with me."

Britta is quiet, and his gaze travels to Annie.

"What do you want?" Britta asks.

Annie catches his eye, and she smiles, wiggling her fingers against her glass in this small, silly wave. He smiles back, and he looks at Britta. "Annie," he says. "I don't know much more than that, but. Annie. That's what I've got for you. I want Annie." It's the truth, and he holds her gaze.

She seems to appraise him. Finally, she nods. "Okay. Cool." She pauses. "So. How's your dad?"

---

His life isn't what he'd planned for while at Greendale, what he'd counted on, but things are good.

Things with the group are good, and things with Annie are good.

They watch television, and they participate in shenanigans with the group, and they make a pizza from scratch, because it's something Annie has always wanted to try, and "it'll be fun," she pushes, "and it'll be healthy, Jeff, which means you won't have to add three miles onto your run!"

They have dinner at an Indian place she wants to try, and he takes her bowling one night.

Bowling isn't like skiing, a thing that cool people are supposed to like to do.

It's distinctly, definitely uncool, this sport that isn't a sport. But his mother used to take him when he was a kid, and she would smoke with her friends while he played by himself. Needless to say, he was a natural. He might've won a trophy, or ten, but it isn't like he enjoys bowling as an adult.

He hasn't been in years, because he isn't a dork.

But Annie lights up when he mentions that he doesn't, you know, hate the idea, like, you know, in case she wanted to go but had assumed he wouldn't want to, well, he would take her. Bowling.

It isn't uncool to go to a bowling alley when the girl you're sleeping with wants to.

(He wants to cheer her up, to take her mind off Troy, who left, and Abed isn't dealing, she says, and he believes her, but he knows she isn't dealing either; she hasn't been herself in three weeks.)

She tries to talk smack with him as she laces up those awful, dorky shoes.

She isn't that bad, except she is; her technique is awful, and she starts to laugh when she realizes that his isn't, that he knows how to bowl. "Jeff, you're a bowler!" she says. He scoffs, but she propels herself up to kiss him, her hands on his shoulders as she smiles briefly against his mouth.

---

Her hand runs lazily over his stomach, and her thumb grazes his scar.

"What's this?" she asks, tracing the smooth, raised mark.

He shrugs, his eyes closed. "Happened when I was a kid." It's an answer that satisfies people, and he likes to leave his explanation at that. But her fingers flit over his skin, and he blames how tired is when he starts to talk, when he tells her what happened. How he wanted to know he was liked, how he made up a story, how he gave himself that scar. "I was a pretty weird kid," he adds.

It's supposed to lighten his story, and he forces a smile into his voice.

Annie doesn't respond, but she shifts, and her lips tickle his skin. She trails soft, feathery kisses down his stomach. He breathes in, breathes out, and she presses a long, lingering kiss to the scar.

---

She graduates in May, and her internship at a forensics lab starts in June.

The air conditioning unit in his apartment breaks in August. His plan is to avoid the kitchen until the super fixes it, but Annie promised a woman at the lab that she'd bring a dessert to the summer's end bash, and she commandeers his kitchen to try to bake a three-layer chocolate cake.

Unfortunately, she can't seem to bake one that isn't lopsided. It's a crisis.

He comes into the kitchen for a beer, and he is greeted with a flushed, hysterical Annie, her hair curling in a frizzy halo from the heat. She looks ready to burst into tears as she turns to face him.

"Shirley knows how to do this in her sleep," she says. "Britta knows how to do this! Britta!"

"Nobody cares how the cake looks," he placates. "As long as it tastes good, you —"

"I care how it looks!" she cries, eyes bugging. "Jeff, it looks like somebody sat on it!" Her face starts to crumple, and he knows he needs to nip this in the bud, but he is at a loss for what to say.

He kisses her. She can't cry when his mouth is on hers, right?

She jerks in surprise, trying to reprimand him. "Jeff!"

But he slides his hand into her hair, and she gives in after a moment.

He backs her against the counter, and he reaches for the cake, swiping his fingers in the frosting; he trails his fingers up her throat to cup her cheek. His thumb brushes over her mouth, and her lips part; she's lick his fingers clean. "Told you," he says, kissing her. "Tastes good." He doesn't wait for her reaction before he noses at her cheek, kissing away the icing he left a moment ago, and her hands curl into his shirt as he licks the sticky, chocolate smudges off her cheek, her neck.

It isn't long before they've managed to smear chocolate across his chest, in a line between her breasts, on his stomach, up her thigh, and he drags his hands through the sweat that coats her back when she straddles his hips. His back presses into the cool, hard kitchen tiles as she kisses him, and he licks away the chocolate that stains her mouth, the sweat that beads on her upper lip.

She pulls away to tug off his briefs, and he reminds himself to think. "Need a condom," he pants.

He needs to keep them in every room; as it is, this means a trip to the bedroom, and he expects Annie to spring to her feet. Instead, she pins him with this long, pointed look. "Or not," she says.

He stares, confused.

"I'm on the pill, and I'm clean." She smiles shyly at him.

Slowly, he nods. "Me, too. Clean, I mean." She raises her eyebrows, and he grasps her hips in answer. Her eyes are on his as she rises up on her knees, her hands splayed on his chest for balance when she sinks down onto him. He groans at the heat, and what started in a hurried, chocolate frenzy slows impossibly in that instant. She circles her hips, and "Fuck, babe," he says.

When she clenches purposefully around his bare cock, he knows this is his end.

He won't survive this, Annie riding him bareback on his kitchen floor.

As soon as her walls flutter around him, he takes her hips, guides her, slams her down onto him, and she rides him through her orgasm, bringing him to his. Afterward, she collapses on the ground next to him, and the sticky, sweltering kitchen is quiet around them. Her arm brushes his.

He turns his head to look at her. Her brow is crinkled. "What?" he asks.

"I'm going to have to buy a cake," she says, pouting.

He pats her side. "There, there."

She huffs at him, but a smile tugs on her lips, and he grins lazily at the ceiling.

He knows a shower is in order, one he intends to drag her to soon, but he can't bring himself to move quite yet. It's quiet, and he tries to remember the last time he had sex without a condom. He can't, and he glances at Annie. She smiles lazily back at him. They stay like that for a while.

---

Three weeks later, he pads into the living room, yawning, to find Annie in purple spandex, doing squats, an exercise video on. "Morning!" she greets, her ponytail bouncing as she hops around.

He rubs his eyes. "It's six in the morning," he says. She isn't fazed. "On Saturday," he adds.

"Go back to bed," she replies, cheerful. "And wake up in time to shower with me!" She flashes him a smile before she skips across the room to extract a giant blue exercise ball from the closet.

He stares at her, and they're together. In a relationship. The kind with texts to say you're going to work an hour late, with pancakes on Sunday morning, with giant blue exercise balls in his closet.

It was a relationship from the start, wasn't it? His longest relationship yet.

He is her boyfriend, the guy who orders Chinese for dinner when she is stressed, who watches Teen Wolf with her, who picks up her sweater from the dry cleaners. He goes on runs with her, and he jogs easily in circles around her while she whines at him, "to stop it with your long legs!"

"Jeff." Annie shoots him a funny look. "What's that face?" she asks, stretching over her exercise ball. Her own face is upside down as she smiles; everything about her in that moment is Annie.

"Nothing," he says. "Just — you look hot." He smirks, gaze sweeping over her.

She rolls her eyes, failing to suppress a smile. "Go back to bed, pervert."

(She confesses eventually that she might've decided to act on the assumption that they were in a relationship despite the fact that "you had yet to articulate properly your feelings for me." He starts to protest, and she smiles indulgently at him. "I'm sorry, you're right. When I think about a man who happily discusses his feelings and expresses himself openly, I think about Jeff Winger."

"Hey," he says, pointing a finger at her. She kisses his finger, and it's a relationship.)

---

It's months before he realizes that there are things they really need to talk about.

He texts about dinner, and she responds that she is busy with research, but "I would take a break for pizza!" He arrives at her apartment an hour later, pizza in hand, and she smiles in greeting.

But she doesn't move to stand, to take the pizza, to kiss him. Her focus returns immediately to the papers strewn over the table, and he glances at Abed, who is eating cereal as he watches TV.

Jeff puts the pizza on the counter and takes a beer from the fridge, twisting off the top before he looks at what, exactly, is more captivating than he is. His hip is at her shoulder, and she tilts her head to press her temple against his side in acknowledgment. "I've picked my top ten," she says, "and I'm narrowing that down, and I'll apply to my top five." Schools. The research is on schools.

"Okay," he says, sipping his beer. She reaches up, and he hands the bottle to her.

But his gaze stays on the papers, on the list she penned in purple. There are schools from across the country on her list, schools in New York, Philly, Boston, California, Washington D.C., but there isn't a single one in Colorado. He starts to ask why that is, but the words stick in his throat.

"Did you get ham on the pizza?" she asks.

He blinks at her. "I'm sorry, did you want ham on the pizza?" He snaps his fingers. "Shucks, I guess I must've missed the nineteen texts you sent me about how much you like ham on pizza."

She swats his side, and he steals his beer back.

But she takes a break for pizza, and they don't talk about the things they should talk about.

---

The waiter brings a dessert menu, and Jeff starts to shake his head. But when he notices that the restaurant has pecan pie, he orders a slice to go. "I thought you didn't like pecan pie," Shirley says, frowning. "After all, you didn't want my pecan pie last week." She narrows her eyes at him.

"I don't like pecan pie," he replies. "But Annie hasn't stopped raving about yours." He shrugs.

---

They have Thanksgiving with his mother in Denver. Annie twitches excessively the whole drive, tapping her foot, shifting in her seat, smoothing her skirt, and she peppers him with question after question about his mom. "I want her to like me!" she says, fussing with the clip in her hair.

It isn't until they're slowing to a stop in the gravel driveway that anxiety twinges in Jeff.

He loves his mother. For the most part, he likes her, too, and he wants Annie to meet her. But he knows that his mother isn't exactly what people expect. She used to work at a supermarket, smokes shamelessly, sports a frosty blonde perm, and likes to watch poker championships on TV.

(The taunt in the schoolyard was "white trash." But Jeff was smart, and his mother reminded him daily that he was better than those boys, and he charged twenty bucks a paper to the wealthy, stupid kids at his high school; he used the money to buy his mother diamond earrings from Sears.

His life as a lawyer taught him taste. The necklace that matches the earrings is from Tiffany's.)

He puts the car in park, and he smiles at Annie. She'll like his mother. It's impossible not to.

His mother bursts from the house, delighted, and envelops Jeff in a hug as soon as he steps foot on the porch. She smells like cigarettes mixed with perfume from J.C. Penny, and he gives her the sloppy, smacking kiss on the cheek that she likes. "Look at you!" she crows. "My handsome boy! I like your hair like that. It's distinguished!" She rambles on, and he preens under her praise.

He steps back at last to introduce Annie, hovering anxiously on the steps. "Hi, Ms. Fitzgerald."

"Annie!" she exclaims, and she tugs Annie into a hug. Annie is startled, and Jeff grins at her wide eyes as she pats his mother on the arm. His mother is a big woman, and Annie looks tiny compared to her. "Such a classy, beautiful girl! My boy certainly has an eye for beautiful things."

Annie blushes, and his mother exclaims at how her cheeks are such a lovely, pretty pink.

Like he said, it's impossible not to like his mother.

They listen to Loretta Lynn croon Christmas songs while they make dinner. Annie is tipsy on his mother's fruity beer within half an hour, and she tries to embarrass Jeff with tales about his time at Greendale. He objects to her blatant, unnecessary exaggeration, but his mother laughs, patting his cheek fondly. "But you know I'm proud. Takes a real man to admit his mistakes like you did."

He nods. He might've taken his time, but he did tell her eventually that he was at Greendale. She was disappointed with him, and she cried about how she failed him when he needed her most. But that was two years ago, and her ability to be disappointed in her son proved to be short-lived.

She starts to smoke after they've finished the pumpkin pie that Annie brought.

"Mom, come on," he says, admonishing.

"Oh, hush," she replies. "If I wanted your opinion, I'd ask for it." She taps her cigarette on the ashtray, voice breezy as she adds, "I'll quit when you give me a few grandchildren to play with."

Jeff chokes on his breath, and his mother asks Annie how she curls her hair like that.

She wants to go to the movies when she finishes her smoke, but she needs to dress up, and Jeff ends up on the porch with Annie, waiting for his mother to dress up to sit in a dark movie theater.

"I like her," Annie says.

Jeff nods. "Me, too."

"Actually, that's why I'm a little confused," she says. She pauses.

He raises his eyebrows at her. "Go on."

"If you like her as much as you seem to, why don't you visit her more often?" She bites her lip as she looks at him, her foot drawing lazy, invisible circles on the ground. "I mean, she adores you."

He nods. "I know." She waits, and he sighs. "I worked surprisingly hard to disassociate myself from everything I grew up with. From — from my dad leaving, from the guy my mom married after he left. From the guy she married after that guy left." He shrugs. "It's not like I haven't checked up on her. I bought her this house, you know. Back before my career was in the dumps."

"She might've mentioned that once, or twice, or fifteen times," Annie says, teasing.

He grins. "I'm a good son, what can I say. It's another reason I'm awesome."

Annie snorts, knocking her ankle against his. "She is a lot like you," she says. "Charming."

"What?" he says, amused. It isn't exactly the first adjective he'd have used.

"She is," Annie insists. "She isn't charming in the same way you are. I mean, she doesn't use her powers for evil." He gasps mockingly, and she grins at him. "But she is charming, and sharp, too. Knows how to deflect. I have a feeling the woman knows how to get what she wants."

He nods, smiling a little. "She does. It's true."

"Her mannerisms are like yours, too," Annie says. "The way she talks. The faces she makes."

He starts to say that she is making things up now, but she touches his shoulder suddenly, tilting him towards her, and she kisses his cheek. "She likes you, too, you know," he murmurs. Annie hums contentedly in response, her head resting on his shoulder, and he kisses the top of her head.

Finally, his mother steps onto the porch in a loud, floral print dress. "How do I look?" she asks.

"Stunning," Jeff says, standing.

His mother swats lightly at him. "Oh, Jeffrey." She sighs happily, shaking her head. "Always such a sweetheart." She glances at Annie. "He really is the sweetest, my boy. The very sweetest."

She hooks her arm with his at the same moment that Annie slips her hand over his other elbow, and they talk him into seeing an awful movie about a couple that falls in love in dreams, or something. When they drop his mother back at her house after the movie, she hugs Jeff twice, kisses Annie on the lips, and insists that they take Cheerwine from the fridge to drink in the car.

She waves from the porch as they drive away, and Annie waves back. "That was nice," she says, curling up sleepily in her seat, and he pops open a Cheerwine can with one hand. It wasn't awful.


part 2.
 
 
 
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Rashka the Demon (wolf in the cave): Katara/Zuko bright imperious linerashaka on January 2nd, 2014 10:26 pm (UTC)
This is all kinds of sexy.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )