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guess what we'll discover (10/11)

Pairing: Jeff/Annie
Spoilers: None
Word Count: 10,805
Rating: R for sexy times, nothing too explicit
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Description: Jeff gets a new roommate
Author’s Note: To those of you still reading this thing, thank you.

It should be known that I never would have gotten this far without my soulmate beta 0penhearts constantly pestering me to finish it and generally being the greatest person to be a person ever.

Previous chapters


~*~*~

“Jeff?”

“Yeah?”

She doesn’t answer right away and Jeff focuses on breathing steadily in and out so that she doesn’t notice the way his heart started racing when her voice broke the quiet and startled him out of his thoughts. There’s pretty much no hope of going back to sleep anytime soon and since she crawled in next to him ten minutes ago he’s been aggravatingly aware of every point where they touch – her head resting against his shoulder, arm draped over his chest, eyelashes fluttering against the fabric of his tee-shirt every time she opens her eyes so that he knows she’s as wide awake as he is.

“Why were you babysitting Ben?” she whispers finally, genuine curiosity in her voice.

“Huh? What? Oh.” Jeff clears his throat and blinks up at the ceiling. “Shirley’s babysitter fell through and she couldn’t get a hold of you actually.”

“Oh.” She nods against him. “I forgot my phone this morning… yesterday morning?”

“I noticed.”

Annie nods again and falls silent for a long moment. Jeff’s arm is still around her, his hand resting against her hip and he brushes his fingers back and forth lightly, his thumb slipping just barely under the hem of her shirt.

“It was weird being without it all day,” she says over a tiny yawn, relaxing against him even deeper and slipping one leg over his. “I don’t think you would have survived.”

“Is that a challenge?”

Annie giggles softly. “Maybe.”

“Because I don’t accept.”

“Why not?”

“Because I freely admit it. I couldn’t go a day without my phone. And there’s nothing wrong with that.”

She sighs. “I knew people like you in rehab.”

“Hey, at least I’m not in denial.”

“But what if…” Annie pauses to yawn again, tucking her face against his side so that Jeff can feel the warmth of her breath through his shirt. He wraps his arm around her more securely. “… there’s a zombie apocalypse or something. And we lose all cell service?”

“First, despite what Abed and Troy say, I’m not real worried about that happening. And second, I rely on my phone because I can rely on my phone. Survival of the fittest isn’t just about nature, Annie. It’s about using all the tools and technologies at our disposal to the best of our advantage, to be better than other people. How do you know I’m not using my phone to research survival techniques?

“Are you?” she asks incredulously.

“No.”

Annie snorts and Jeff grins into the darkness. They both fall quiet again and Jeff closes his eyes when he feels her fingers slip down his side, mapping out the planes of his torso over his shirt and coming to rest with her palm flat against his stomach. She exhales in a low hum, her fingers twitching lightly.

“Night, Jeff,” she murmurs.

Her soft voice and the familiarity in her words tunnel their way inside him, under his ribcage to this tight spring of tension coiled deep and hard in his chest, relaxing and smoothing over the sharper edges until his entire body seems to unwind and flood with a cool weightlessness. It’s an assuredness and a calm that prickles over his forehead and down the side of his neck and behind his eyes and suddenly the right words are there, rolling around his tongue and threatening to tumble from his lips.

Jeff lifts his head slightly to peer down at her but she’s already asleep and doesn’t stir at his movement. He lies back and closes his eyes, his body so entirely wrung out and exhausted that he doesn’t even remember trying to fall asleep and when he opens his eyes again the sun is already beginning to peak in through the blinds.

~*~*~*~

It takes her a moment to catch her bearings when she starts to stir from sleep, memories from the previous day rushing back to her and falling into place as her legs slide along the sheets with a slow stretch and she turns her face into the pillow. She knows she’s alone before she even opens her eyes; the expanse of his bed is cold and empty without his comforting body heat.

Annie lifts her head to look around, yawning widely and blinking rapidly to clear the sleep from her vision. She almost calls his name but the rich aroma of freshly brewing coffee wafts in from the kitchen and she can hear water running from the bathroom so she only lays her head back down and curls her knees up into a tighter ball under the thin sheet that’s covering her.

The clock on Jeff’s nightstand tells her that it’s nearly eight o’clock but it feels too early like her body still needs another entire night’s rest and she squeezes her eyes closed tight and tries to ward off the nervous flutter in her stomach.

It only seems like moments but she drifts off enough that she doesn’t register the shower turning off and the bathroom door opening until she senses movement in her peripheral vision. He doesn’t say anything and Annie waits a beat before opening her eyes again and focusing on the way the sun slants in over Jeff’s pillow through the blinds. She smooths her hand out over the sheet in front of her, picking and plucking at invisible wrinkles before turning her head slightly to look at him.

He’s leaning into the door frame, arms crossed over his chest, his hair still wet and sticking up all over the place from his shower. He raises an eyebrow as Annie meets his gaze, the corners of his mouth twitching up into a faint, almost bashful smile.

It makes Annie’s entire body shivery with anticipation, a spattering of goose bumps breaking out along her arms, and she sits up slowly and brings her knees up to her chest as Jeff swallows hard, wetting his lips and shifting nervously before making his way toward her with his head bowed. He settles next to her on the edge of the bed, resting his hand over her foot. They both watch his thumb as it brushes back and forth lightly against her through the sheet until there’s a sudden echoing thud from the apartment upstairs, followed by an indiscernible shout.

The break in the quiet makes Jeff laugh, a quick broken laugh, before leaning down and pressing a kiss to her knee and then resting his forehead there, exhaling loudly. Annie giggles softly and brings her hand up to scratch her nails lightly though the hair at the back of his neck and then down just slightly under his shirt.

Jeff leans into her, turning his head to press a kiss to her palm. Annie’s fingers smooth over the stubble at his jaw and he puckers out his lips in another kiss.

“I love you,” he murmurs.

When he looks up at her his eyes are questioning, his features guarded and tense as if he’s still not sure that was the right thing to say and she watches him, chest heaving with a quick surprised breath that catches in her throat as she brings her other hand up to cup his face. She’s nodding then in quick jerky movements, her eyes wide and sparkling and the muscles at her mouth twitching slightly as she tries with every ounce of strength in her not to smile too brightly but everything, everything she feels for him, has ever felt for him, seems to explode and expand inside her at once, her hands shaking with it against him.

A grins breaks across Jeff’s face, eyes seeming to brighten and darken all at once, the lines across his face deepening and a bubbling laugh just starts to break from Annie’s throat as they both lean forward, lips pressing together in a kiss that deepens immediately, turning messy and frantic as they wrap their arms around each other, Annie up on her knees as she folds herself into his lap.

Jeff tugs her tighter against him, cupping the back of her head with his fingers tangling into her hair and Annie slides her hands all over him, across his shoulders and down his chest, over his hips and circling around to his low back. She breaks off into a breathless laugh that makes Jeff grin as he continues kissing across her cheeks and down her jaw, pausing to press his mouth under her ear and take a long deep shuddering breath.

Annie’s pulse pounds in her ears as she struggles to catch her breath and she clings to him, hands fisted in his shirt and desperate to keep him as close as possible, for that tiny pinprick of fear that this will end the moment she lets go. He pulls back slightly, tucking a strand of her hair that had come loose back behind her ear and tugging on her earlobe. They watch each other until Annie laughs and relaxes her grip on him, leaning down to press her temple to his cheek.

Jeff slides a hand down her back.

“Um.”

“So.”

They both start at the same time and then laugh, Annie pulling back again to look at him. With the hint of a smile she bites at her lower lip and fingers the seam of his shirt along his shoulder.

“Do you want breakfast?” she finally manages.

Jeff’s eyes narrow slightly, scrutinizing her as if he knows she has more to say and is trying to will it out of her with the force of his gaze.

“I could eat,” he says slowly.

Annie nods and untangles herself from him to scramble up and off the bed, tugging him to follow with a hand circled around his wrist.

“I’ll make omelets. You made breakfast yesterday and I didn’t…” She trails off as she heads into the kitchen, looking back at him with a guilty wince but he just shakes his head and reaches above her head to grab two mugs from the cabinet for their coffee.

“What did you do yesterday, though,” Jeff asks through a yawn.

As she prepares breakfast Annie tells him about the road trip, about Bishop Castle, and Princess Annie, Troy and Abed singing the entirety of One Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall, and the look on Abed’s dad’s face when she showed up on his front steps in her pajamas. She details the car ride and the scenery and the cheap souvenirs that Abed bought and she’s in the middle of describing the amount of food that Troy ate at dinner before getting sick a half an hour later on the side of the road when she realizes she’s been blathering on and that Jeff’s barely said a world.

She’s sitting next to him at the counter, their knees almost touching and he’s eyeing what’s left of his omelet as if he’s trying to decide if the calories are worth it.

Annie stops short and lets out a flustered laugh. “Sorry.”

Jeff looks up, his fork halfway to his mouth. “What?”

“I’m rambling. You don’t care about all this.”

“No, I’ve always wondered about the décor at the Tomahawk Travel Emporium.” He shrugs, his smile turning a little sly at the end and Annie nods and rolls her eyes as she gets up to take their plates to the sink.

“Okay, what about you? What did you do besides babysit?”

“Uh, I went to the mall.”

Annie nods her head toward him, indicating for him to go on but he just shrugs.

“I bought some stuff.” He glances toward the couch where he had dropped all his bags from the day before and then leans over the counter and fists his hand under his chin, grinning at her, “So any big plans today?”

She’s facing the other direction but she shakes her head and it takes her a moment to turn toward him. “Can we…” Annie smiles hopefully and shrugs one shoulder up as she searches for the right word. “Hangout?”

Jeff’s eyebrow cocks up in reply and she flushes.

“We could do that,” he adds.

~*~*~

After Annie takes a quick shower she stands in front of the mirror wrapped only in a towel, her reflection distorted by the tiny droplets of condensation that cling to the glass. The television is on in the living room and it’s muffled enough through the door that she can’t tell what Jeff’s watching but a moment later she hears him laugh softly. The sound of his deep throaty chuckle zips through her and the swell of emotion that overtakes her suddenly has tears pickling at the corners of her eyes and she’s unable to stop from smiling so wide and hard that it almost hurts.

~*~*~

Jeff is sprawled out over one end of the couch. He’s found an episode of The Cosby Show to watch, but keeps the remote control in his hand, tapping it against his knee, in case Annie wants to watch something different.

When she gets out of the bathroom she’s dressed in yoga pants and a tee-shirt, her hair still damp and tangled, and she’s combing her fingers through it gently as she settles next to him near the middle of the couch and curls her legs up under her and angled toward him slightly. The scent of shampoo and cherry almond lotion wafts around her in a familiar aura that makes Jeff smile as he watches her out of the corner of his eye.

“What?”

He shakes his head, “Nothing. This is a good episode.”

They sit silently and watch television. Annie keeps her hands in her lap and Jeff still taps the remote against his knee and they both laugh at amusing bits on the screen in front of them but they don’t talk or even look at each other save for little sideways glances.

After about ten minutes Jeff feels like he’s going to jump out of his skin. He wants to lean close and press his mouth against her neck just under her ear. He wants to lay her out against the cushions and spend the entire day kissing her. And he really wants her to just say something because the silence is making him insane.

Annie turns and glances at him then and he realizes he’s staring and looks away quickly. She sighs and Jeff clenches his jaw and rolls his eyes upward toward the ceiling because this is ridiculous and he is not a fourteen-year-old boy on his first date. He clicks the television off and stands.

“Let’s go out.”

“Where?” She looks a little startled but she follows his lead and gets off the couch.

“Anywhere. Somewhere...” he widens his eyes meaningfully at her and she scrunches up her nose.

“Less awkward?” she offers. Jeff nods and she goes to grab her purse and shoes. “As long as we don’t have to drive anywhere too far. I’m sick of the car.”

“Okay, we’ll walk.”

~*~*~

The bar is the closest most familiar thing in walking distance but the sun is relentlessly hot as it rises into the noon sky and by the time they’re being greeted by a blast of musty air from the oscillating fan in the doorway Jeff and Annie are both sweaty and overheated and a little irritable.

Annie goes to sit at a table in the corner near the dart board, slouching into her seat against the wall and fanning herself with one of the laminated menus until Jeff returns from the bar, his hands full with beers and waters for both of them. She accepts the water gratefully and gulps half of it down before Jeff is even fully in his seat across from her.

“Troy and Abed are getting an apartment,” she announces abruptly as she sets the glass back down with more force than necessary.

Jeff pauses with his beer halfway to his mouth, squinting at her in confusion before his brain catches up. He nods and finishes taking a drink.

“Sounds dangerous.”

Annie circles her index finger along the rim of her glass and doesn’t look at him. “They asked me to move in with them.”

“And you said yes,” he continues for her. His voice doesn’t betray any emotion so she finally has to look up and meet his eyes as she nods. He’s smiling softly at her and she melts a little, reaching out to trace one finger down through the condensation of his beer glass near where his hand is wrapped around it.

“I just think… we haven’t really talked about…” Annie trails off, widens her eyes and gestures her hand back and forth between them.

“This isn’t a CW drama, Annie. We don’t have to talk about everything. Real people don’t have those kinds of conversations. Things just happen.” Jeff moves his hand slightly so that the backs of his fingers brush up against hers.

“Okay, but what happens now? Do I just live with you from now on? Do I unpack my stuff? Do you give me half the closet? Do I move in and co-sign your lease and start calling it our place?”

Jeff snorts indignantly. “Half the closet?!”

Annie rolls her eyes, “If you think you’d get away with not sharing fifty-fifty you’re in for a world of disappointment, mister.”

A world of disappointment,” Jeff mouths silently and then presses his lips together to keep from smiling as Annie flushes and ducks her chin toward her shoulder. They fall silent, the sounds of the bar - the hum of running water from the kitchen, the low murmur of a soccer game playing on the dusty television mounted in the corner, the uproarious laughter from two inebriated gentleman on the other side of the room- all filtering around them.

Annie plays her hand lightly over his where it’s now pressed flat against the table, the pads of her fingers brushing over his knuckles and tracing along each vein down to his wrist.

“There’s a difference between me living with you and us living together,” she says finally.

Jeff nods. “I guess I hadn’t really thought about it.”

Annie looks up and Jeff has only a moment to register the intense spark of determination in her eyes before she’s leaning up and across the table and kissing him, holding his face in both her hands. It’s hard and fast and she’s just about to pull away when Jeff responds, sliding a hand into her hair to cup the back of her head and keep her close. He parts his lips and she hums and dips her tongue shallowly into his mouth, dropping one hand to brace herself against the table and lean further into him.

A few moments later Annie drops back into her seat, smoothing a hand over her hair and glancing around the bar with a flustered laugh.

Jeff clears his throat and knocks back the rest of his beer. “I bought a new shirt,” he finds himself blurting out, then, when Annie frowns in confusion, inwardly cursing himself for being so thrown off kilter.

“You asked earlier what I did yesterday. I bought a new shirt. And some moisturizer. And I ran into Britta.”

Confusion transforms into delight across Annie’s face as she beams at him and leans forward to rest her arms on the table, hands clasped.

Jeff laughs and mimics her pose across the table, “You going to kiss me again?”

She shrugs coyly. “Maybe. Tell me more about this new shirt.”

~*~*~

In the few hours they’re at the bar a cover of storm clouds rolls in, turning the sky a dark threatening shade of purplish gray. Annie and Jeff both groan as they step outside into the thick slog of humidity that makes everything sticky and damp. A faint rumbling of thunder booms off in the distance.

“Want to go chase lightening?” Annie quips with a little grin up at Jeff, but he only laughs and curls a hand around her elbow to urge her along as he lengthens his strides.

By the time they get home large raindrops are beginning to dot the ground and bright bolts of lightning zigzag across the sky at the horizon, but they’re both laughing breathlessly when they finally burst in through the lobby door of the building.

Annie brushes droplets of water off her bare arms with a shiver as she follows Jeff up the stairs and into the cool comfort of his air conditioned apartment where she immediately flops over backwards on the couch, her legs hanging over the armrest. She swings her legs back and forth to kick off her flip-flops and rests her hands on her stomach with a long sigh. Jeff grabs the remote control off the coffee table and carefully scoops her hair out of the way where it’s fanned out over the cushions so he can settle in next to her, one of his arms draped down at her side so that his thumb brushes every now and again against her shoulder.

They spend the rest of the afternoon and evening in a comfortable laziness, watching movies and barely even moving much for anything other than food and to change back into sweats as the rain continues to patter at the windows in a steady rhythm of background noise.

It’s only a little past nine o’clock when Jeff suddenly startles awake after dozing off for a moment in the middle of Die Hard 2, his head jerking up as he peers blearily at the too bright light of the television screen. Annie is curled up next to him on her side, head resting on a pillow against his thigh.

“We should go to bed,” Jeff murmurs as he slides his fingers through her hair. She grunts but doesn’t open her eyes so Jeff turns off the television and slides out from under her, pausing to brush his lips against the crown of her head and whisper, “Unless you want to just sleep on the couch.”

Annie only hums in response, but a few minutes later when Jeff’s brushing his teeth Annie stumbles in to join him at the counter, rubbing her eyes with one hand and fumbling for her toothbrush with the other. Jeff watches her in the mirror, smiling around his mouthful of toothpaste.

“Did you--” she starts, her words garbled until she shakes her head and leans down to spit and rinse out her mouth. “Did you want me to sleep on the couch?”

Jeff rolls his eyes and when she drops her toothbrush back into the cup by the sink he reaches out to haul her up against him, moving backwards to press her up against the counter. “What do you think,” he mutters in her ear as she laughs in delighted surprise. She tastes like the toothpaste they’ve both been using all summer since his ran out sometime in the beginning of July and he slides his tongue against hers and leans her back further against the counter.

“I thought we were going to bed,” she manages a few long moments later between kisses.

“Hmm-hmmm.” Jeff nods in agreement and starts maneuvering them toward the bedroom, stumbling around the corner and almost crashing into his door frame when Annie skims her fingers just under the waistband of his pants.

He groans and tugs her with him until the backs of his legs bump into the bed and then, trailing his lips over her neck and collarbone and the swell of her breasts as he goes, lowers himself to sit at the edge of the mattress. He grips at her hips, pulling her between his legs, fingers pressing against her ass as he nuzzles his nose down her side, making her shiver and curl her fingers into his hair. He brushes her shirt up slightly, and ducks his head down to lick along her hip above her pajama shorts and then bite gently. Annie gasps and feathers her fingers under his ear and jaw. “Maybe I should… I should sleep on the couch,” she says breathlessly.

Jeff pulls away only slightly, resting his chin on her hip to peek up at her though his eyelashes. “I can behave myself.”

His eyes are dark and hooded and he gives her a slow crooked smile before kissing the jut of her hip again. Annie swallows hard as her stomach seems to swoop down and then back up again in a quick tumble of nerves that buzzes through her fingertips. She feels drunk, silly from exhaustion and the heat of his kisses, and it’s suddenly too much.

She closes her eyes and exhales slowly and Jeff pulls back, his lips pouted out in contemplation as he regards her carefully. He runs his hands down the backs of her thighs.

“Tired?”

There’s a pause before Annie opens her eyes again. “It’s been a really long weekend.”

Jeff nods, blinks slowly, and nods again. “C’mon.” He curls a hand low on her hip and guides her back so he can stand, presses a kiss to the crown of her head, and then moves around her to the other side of the bed to turn the comforter down. Annie goes to turn the light out in the bathroom and when she returns Jeff has shucked off his sweats and is crawling into bed with a loud yawn.

She slips in next to him and curls up on her side mirroring his position, her cheek resting on one hand. Jeff’s eyes are closed and Annie watches him, her teeth worrying at her lower lip.

“Annie,” he murmurs after a moment, his mouth curving up slightly. “Go to sleep.”

He slides his hands over the sheets and tucks it under her pillow. Annie curls her fingers around his wrist and closes her eyes.

~*~*~

It’s only been four days but when Annie gets out of bed the next morning to get ready for work it feels like it’s been ages since she’s gone about her normal routine, and it’s not until she’s getting out of the shower that she remembers she never picked out her outfit the night before and made sure everything was pressed and ready to wear.

There’s a slight bit of panic mingled with the thrill of having to improv and she ends up choosing a green plaid shirt to tuck into her black pencil skirt instead of her typical blouse and blazer. Annie lets out a tiny noise of approval at herself as she does one last check in the bathroom mirror, spinning around with a little flourish to turn off the light.

She’s just about to head out, a thermos of coffee in one hand, her purse slung over her shoulder when Jeff walks out of the bedroom in nothing but a pair of briefs and she stops short in front of him.

“Oh. Hi. Good morning.”

Jeff smiles sleepily and scratches at the back of his neck. “You taking off?”

“Yup. I--” she starts toward him, arms slightly outstretched and then stops, eyes widening as she forces herself to laugh.

“No. Right. Do you--” Jeff holds his hands out to her, then looks down at them as if they’ve acted of their own will and drops his arms back down to his sides.

They both laugh again, unsure and Annie pops one foot behind her and sort of bends toward him before she realizes what she’s doing and quickly snaps out of it.

“Okay. Bye!” she yelps and runs out the door. As it shuts behind her she stops with wide horrified eyes, throwing her hands up in the air and mouthing a silent “WHAT” up at the ceiling.

~*~*~

Jeff is sitting at his desk a few hours later when his phone buzzes with a text message.

“I curtsied.”

“yes you did”

“We should probably avoid our friends for awhile.”

“good plan”

~*~*~

Jeff's barely through the door that night when Annie's barreling into him and tackling him back toward the couch, showering him with kisses everywhere she can reach.

"Is this you not being weird?"

She pauses and looks up at him through her eyelashes, her expression a mix of uncertainty and slyness. His arms tighten around her.

"I figured if there wasn't any room for awkwardness, then..."

"I can work with that."

~*~*~

“There’s a three bedroom over on Oakdale that doesn’t look too expensive.”

“Do they allow pets?” Jeff asks with a smirk in his tone as he pulls wet clothes out of the washing machine and tosses them into the dryer.

Annie side-eyes him from her perch on the counter. After making out lazily on the couch for an indiscernible amount of time she had rolled away claiming hunger and practically fluttered away to the kitchen to throw something together for dinner while Jeff went to change and discover that he was nearly out of clean shirts.

He had dragged her down to the building’s communal laundry room to keep him company but to his chagrin Annie had brought her laptop and insisted on spending her time looking up apartment listings instead of keeping him entertained.

“Why do you need three bedrooms anyway? I thought Troy and Abed were peeing themselves in excitement over getting a bunk bed.”

“Yeah, they want a spare room for…” Annie looks up from her scrutiny of the floorplan. “I’m not completely sure what. Abed said something about a simulated multi-sensory experience.”

Jeff pauses and looks up at the ceiling, eyes squinted in thought. “And in Abed speak that translates to ‘playroom.’ Have fun with that.”

“Didn’t you tell me that your condo had a spare room that you used as a closet?”

“Yes. What’s your point?” He slams the door on the dryer and presses the button to turn it on, the small room suddenly echoing with a muddled thumping as it spins to life.

“Oooh. Jeff. There’s an apartment for rent in this complex!”

His eyes go wide. “Annie. No.”

She blinks innocently at him. “But you said I could visit whenever I wanted.”

“You. I said you could visit.” He steps closer and leans in to nuzzle his nose under her ear and Annie sighs and scratches her nails through his hair while still peering down at the laptop propped up on her knee.

“Aww. It’s outside our budget anyway.”

“Too bad.” Jeff pulls the laptop from her hands and snaps it shut, sets it on the counter and curls his hand around her ankle, tugging slightly so that she uncrosses her legs. He runs one finger up the back of her calf as he moves between her legs and Annie giggles and jerks slightly when he reaches her knee. She loops her arms around his neck.

“I’ve always wondered though, how did you condense your closet back down into the tiny space you have now?”

Jeff rests his palms on the counter on either side of her and kisses the side of her neck. “Why would you bring up such a painful memory?”

Annie tilts her head to the side and lets out an exaggerated gasp. “Did you have to give up some of your button downs?”

“Stop.”

“Boots?”

“Annie.”

“Not the suits!?” She giggles and then pouts her lips at the stern look he gives her.

“Are you trying to make me cry?”

“It’s okay, Jeff. You can open up to me.”

Jeff nips at her her shoulder, nosing aside the strap of the tank top she had thrown on after work and slides his hands up to grasp at her hips, thumbs pressing into the tops of her thighs. “Shh, I’m busy.”

Annie bites at her bottom lip, her laughter hitching in her throat as she tightens her hold on him and curls her leg up to hook around his thigh. His lips trail up her neck, slow and lazy as he stops to suck lightly at the spot under her ear that makes her hum, and his hands circle around to slip under her shirt and trace up along the bumps and ridges of her spine.

“Someone could walk in,” she whispers, but tugs at his hair, pulling his mouth to hers and kissing him deeply. Annie scoots further to the edge of the counter, fitting their hips together and curling into his chest as he bows over her with an enveloping presence that spreads a silky warmth through her veins. She moans softly into his mouth and arches against him with a mindless roll of her hips.

Jeff groans, encouraging her movement with a hand pressed against her low back for just a moment before pulling back completely out of her arms and scrubbing his hands over his face as he tries to catch his breath. When he looks up and meets her eyes Annie smiles faintly, looking a little dazed and just as out of breath as him.

“So,” he exhales loudly. “Um. Tell me about the apartment. It was on Oakhurst. Hilldale. Something.”

“Um.” Annie glances down at her laptop and then back up at him. A flushing heat burns up her neck and into her cheeks as she shakes her head and hops off the counter. “I don’t remember.”

She grabs his hand and starts tugging him out of the room.

“Uh.”

“Someone could walk in,” Annie says again quietly.

Jeff’s fingers curl tighter against hers and she starts walking faster.

On the landing to the second floor they pass two of Jeff’s neighbors, an elderly couple that Annie’s chatted with in the parking lot and helped with groceries but she barely manages to chirp out a “hi” and a half hearted wave this time, her face ducked behind her hair as she and Jeff jog past them up the stairs.

His door is unlocked and he doesn’t waste any time, kicking it shut behind them, spinning her around and pressing her up against it. She murmurs his name, eyes fluttering shut as he leans in and kisses her soundly, slides a hand between her legs and cups her over her shorts. Annie sucks in a shocked gasp of air and clutches at his forearm, nails digging in and holding on, scratching up and leaving angry red lines etched along his skin.

Jeff hisses and pulls his hand away from her, circles his fingers around her wrist and pins it to door above her head. Annie arches herself toward him, hips searching him out and he grins as he reaches between them again with his free hand to pop the button on her shorts and quickly slip his hand into her underwear. Annie’s head falls back against the door with a thunk, her mouth open in a soundless moan. She rises up onto her toes with each one of his movements, her back sliding against the door and as he presses more of his weight against her she fists a hand in his shirt and curls her leg up and around his, her flip-flop dropping to the floor.

Jeff bends and trails a line of hot, wet kisses down along the soft pale skin of her neck, the vibrations of her breathy gasps buzzing at his lips. He tangles their fingers together where they’re still pinned against the door, presses his mouth to her forehead and squeezes his eyes shut.

“Annie,” he whispers a little desperately and pulls away to look at her - her eyelashes fluttering at her cheeks as she clenches her eyes tighter with each sensation he works up with his fingers, her lower lip red and pulled between her teeth. He can feel her toes curling against the back of his leg.

“Annie, look at me.”

Her hips rock into him as he slows the movement of his hand and she whimpers. It takes her a second, but her eyes finally open, hooded and dark and focused on a spot on his neck.

“Look at me,” he whispers again. She slowly meets his eyes with a little hitch of breath in her throat and he groans, moving his fingers in just the right way until she lets out a cry and jerks against him, forehead dropping against his chest as she sucks in sharp shuddering breaths.

“Jeff,” she whimpers.

He circles his arms all the way around her, turning them so that’s he’s leaned back against the door and Annie tucks her hands between them under her chin, trembling slightly as she comes down from her orgasm. As her breath evens out Jeff slides one hand up to cup the back of her head, his thumb tracing the outline of her ear. Annie sighs and pulls back to look at him.

She looks disheveled and undone - the strap of her tank top hanging off one shoulder, chest and neck red from the scratch of his stubble, lips swollen and dark - and Jeff smiles as he bends down and kisses her softly, lips just brushing over hers so that she barely responds to it at first. He pulls back and nudges his nose against hers and then kisses her again and suddenly she’s fisting her hands in his collar and pulling him lower, licking into his mouth enthusiastically.

Jeff leans over her, huffing out a surprised and amused burst of laughter that makes her grin into the kiss. She murmurs something on an exhale that sounds like “can we” and then takes a step backwards, keeping him close with her arms around his neck. A muscle in his low back twinges at the awkward way he’s bent toward her and he grunts in annoyance and in one quick movement swoops down and grabs her ass to lift her up into his arms.

Annie’s legs wrap around him as he carefully makes his way toward the bedroom, her mouth working at his jaw and her hands slipping under his shirt, pushing it up so she can get at more of his warm, bare skin, her fingers curling against his back when he lowers her to the mattress.

He crawls over her, straddling one of her thighs and kneeling up to pull his shirt off over his head and toss it aside. His jeans are low on his hips, briefs just peaking over the waistband and Annie’s hands are on him immediately. Her fingers slip up the v of muscle to his waist and he twitches under her touch, groaning and grabbing at her hips to throw her higher up onto the bed.

She laughs breathlessly and moves to pull her shirt off, suddenly desperate to be rid of her clothes as Jeff tugs at her shorts and leans down to press a kiss to her hip. In the sudden tangle her elbow connects sharply with his face and he rears back, hand held to his cheek.

“Ow. Shit.”

Annie gasps and scrambles to her knees, cupping his face and turning his head toward her.

“Oh my god. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”

Jeff rubs at his temple and works his jaw from side to side. “I should have known you’d be violent. The warning signs were all there.”

She rolls her eyes with an “oh hush” and then tilts her face up to his to kiss across his cheekbone where she hit him.

“Better?” she whispers in his ear, breath warm against his skin.

“Hmmm.”

His hands wander over her back and Annie slides hers slowly down the side of his neck and chest before bending her arms up behind her back to unclasp her bra. A flush of color blossoms up Jeff’s neck and he hooks a finger in one strap to pull it down her arm, the side of his nail dragging down her skin and leaving a wake of goosebumps. He pulls the bra off the rest of the way until she’s bare in front of him and Annie bites her lip, her eyes on his face the entire time.

Jeff sweeps her hair back over her shoulder, pausing to curl his hand against her neck and press his thumb in just the right spot so that her head rolls to the side. She moans softly and then he slides his hand down to the curve of her breast, cupping her in his large palm. A shock of sensation jolts through her body in a shiver and then he’s muttering her name and hauling her up to his chest, kissing her hard and lowering them both back down to the bed.

Annie shimmies her shorts and underwear off down her legs as Jeff reaches for the bedside table, one hand fumbling for a condom and the under trying to yank down the zipper of his jeans. He curses under his breath and then Annie’s helping him, her fingers grasping and pressing and feeling up his ass and low back.

“Too many clothes,” she mutters as she wraps herself around him and uses her feet to shove his jeans and briefs off the rest of the way until he can kick them free. “I hate clothes.”

Jeff nods, “I’m instituting a mandatory nudity policy in the apartment. Effective immediately.”

“Except when we’re cooking.”

“Agreed.”

Annie bends her knees up to cradle his hips when he settles over her and presses her into the mattress with an arm curled around her shoulder. He leans in to kiss her but she breaks away with a giggle, unable to help herself and Jeff arches an eyebrow. Annie shakes her head, biting down another sound from her throat but unable to stop smiling and the questioning look on Jeff’s face fades, his features softening as his eyes trace over her.

The overwhelming affection that she feels for him constantly is reflected in his features, in the way he looks at her, in an open vulnerability that makes her swallow hard and reach up to feather her fingers along the barely visible scar above his upper lip, the slight crease in his brow, along his forehead and into his hairline. He starts to push into her then, slowly, and Annie goes still underneath him, holding her breath, her nails digging into the back of his neck.

“Baby,” he grits out as he slides deeper.

Annie nods, whimpering brokenly, “you’re so... Jeff... good...”

Jeff closes his eyes, dropping his forehead to her chest. “Fuck.”

He’s never been so unraveled by sex before but his mind is filled with this fuzzy white noise, his vision tunneled until all he can see and feel and hear is Annie. She fits against him, curling into the contours of his body, her small, soft, frame belied by the fierceness with which she holds onto him, her arms bent up under his so that her palms are pressed flat to his back near his shoulder blades. It holds him together, keeps him from completely flying apart as he moves over her.

Their mouths press together in a wet heat of muffled groans and gasping breaths until he reaches back and tugs her knee up higher and she throws her head back against the pillow, a loud moan tearing from her throat as Jeff kisses her forehead, her nose, her cheeks, down the exposed arch of her neck. Annie clutches at him, nails dragging against his skin and he tugs her earlobe between his teeth, murmuring to her in an incomprehensible mess of words as she shudders around him.

Her entire body seems to melt into the mattress as she comes down from it, but she encourages him on, hooking her ankles behind his back and curling her arm up to cup the back of his head, tugging at his hair when he starts to move faster, his hips jerking erratically. She presses her other hand against his low back and mouths along the damp curve of his shoulder, whimpering into his skin as he tenses and then drops heavy against her with a faint moan.

The room is quiet and dark, the only light coming in from the living room and slanting over the bed, throwing everything else into shadow. Annie can feel the light against her eyelids but she turns her face into Jeff, continuing to hold onto him as tight as she can until his weight over her is too much.

She groans, shifting her body as much as possible and Jeff lifts his head, smiling down at her. His eyes are hooded and tired and he presses a lingering kiss to her forehead before rolling off her and flopping onto the other side of the bed. Annie stretches her legs out leans up onto her elbows, looking down her own naked body. Jeff blindly reaches his arm out until it’s nudged against her side and Annie slides her hand down his forearm, brushing her fingertips along his wrist and palm absentmindedly.

 “You left your clothes downstairs.”

Jeff huffs out a laugh and nods slowly up at the ceiling as he curls his hand around hers to still her and twine their fingers together.

“I can buy new ones.”

~*~*~*~

At around eleven o’clock the next day Annie receives a text that says simply, “lunch?” and an hour later she’s straddling Jeff’s lap in the front seat of his car with her skirt rucked up around her waist as he plants a trail of kisses down her neck. They’re parked in a darkened corner of the parking garage in the building where he works but Annie still looks up every few minutes through the back window to make sure no one’s around.

“This is going to be a problem at school,” Jeff groans against her skin. “If you thought I was easily distracted before...”

Annie pulls back and shakes her head, “Jeff,” she says warningly. “You managed just fine before.”

He raises an eyebrow and she grins, playing her fingers down his loosened collar.

“You were practically writing my name in your notebook surrounded by little hearts, Jeff. Everyone knew it.” She draws a little heart shape over his chest, trying to hold back laughter at the look of indignation on his face. “I half expected to get a note from you asking, ‘Do you like me? Check yes or no.’”

Jeff growls, grasping at her hips and tickling up her sides so that she shrieks with giddy laughter and tries to jerk away. He only strengthens his hold on her and then shifts up and, with as much grace as someone his height can manage, hauls her with him into the backseat. Annie gasps as he lays her out and crawls over her, leaning down to kiss her.

“It was cute,” she murmurs in between kisses. “Admit it. You were so in love with me.”

“Oh I’ll show you cute, baby,” he says low and threatening, biting at her shoulder, but it only makes her laugh harder.

~*~*~

They avoid their friends as much as possible over the next few weeks.

Annie gets together with Troy and Abed to apartment hunt and Jeff has dinner at the Bennett’s one night but for the most part they don’t leave the apartment for much at all besides work and trips to the grocery store.

When Annie gets a text from Britta inviting her to go shopping on Saturday she quickly taps out an excuse about being busy and then throws her phone aside. She’s sprawled across the bed on her stomach wearing one of Jeff’s tee-shirts and a pair of panties while Jeff does push-ups in front of the doorway to the bathroom. Her eyes glaze over appreciatively as they trace over the curve of his low back and the tensed hard muscles in his arms contracting with each down and up. Her phone buzzes again with another text but she ignores it.

~*~*~

The muscles in Jeff’s stomach contract and twitch under Annie’s mouth and she peers up through her eyelashes, pleased at the slack jawed look on his face. He’s propped up on one elbow, his other hand smoothing over her arm, grasping a little harder whenever she does anything in particular he likes. Annie smiles as she continues crawling backwards over his body, her arms braced on either side of him, but as she slides her tongue slowly along his hip someone knocks at the front door and they both freeze.

“Ignore it,” Jeff grits out.

“Jeff! It’s us!” Troy’s voice echoes in from behind the door and Annie’s eyes go wide as she lurches up and sits back on her heels to wrap her arms over her breasts.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” Jeff’s head drops back to the pillow and Annie holds a finger up to her lips.

“They’ll go away in a minute,” she whispers as she cranes her head back to look around the corner toward the front door. It’s silent for a long moment and they’re both breathing a sigh of relief, Jeff reaching to wrap his hands around Annie’s waist and pull her back into him when there’s another knock.

“We know you’re there! Your cars are in the parking lot! And Jeff we know the route you take to go jogging!”

Annie rolls her eyes and Jeff clenches his jaw as he struggles to sit up with her still straddled over his legs. “These are the people we choose to be friends with, Annie.”

“Why do you sound like you’re blaming me for that?!” she whispers back indignantly.

“It’s not normal. That’s not normal.” He waves his hand out toward the door.

“I’ll just use my key then.”

It’s Abed’s voice this time and Annie and Jeff both go scrambling up and off the bed, Jeff cursing under his breath and searching the ground for his underwear. Annie turns around a couple times in half circles frantically and then darts, still naked, out of his bedroom and into the bathroom, shutting the door behind her.

“Annie!” Jeff whisper-shouts at her, quickly yanking on his jeans and half-tripping out to the living room. The shower turns on and he gapes and throws his hands up in the air, looking around incredulously as if someone in the vicinity is going to agree with him about how wrongfully he’s just been betrayed.

He goes to unlock and yank open the front door, one hand braced on the door frame. Abed and Troy stand there on the other side smiling but he just glares at them, jaw clenched. “How the hell did you get a key to my apartment?”

“Oh I don’t have one. I just knew that would get you to open the door.”

Jeff’s mouth sets into an even deeper frown and Troy eyes his bare chest. “Were you busy?”

“I was taking a nap,” Jeff practically growls.

“Cool cool cool.” Abed produces a stack of papers from his bag and holds them out to Jeff who doesn’t take them, just continues glaring, unwilling to play nice.

“As you know we will soon be taking up residence with our mutual friend Annie,” Troy says smiling and Jeff breaks slightly to squint suspiciously at the odd formality.

“And we have a quick questionnaire we’d like you to fill out about her roommate habits,” Abed finishes.

With a long, burdened sigh Jeff finally reaches out to grab the stack of papers. “Guys this is like twenty pages. You’ve known her for three years.”

“You can’t be too careful, Jeff.” Troy leans in, “Have you seen Single White Female?”

Jeff stares at him. “Was that all you needed?”

“Yeah, we just--”

But the last of Troy’s sentence is cut off as Jeff slams the door. He takes a beat to feel bad at the slightly hurt and confused look on both of their faces, then rolls his eyes and throws the questionnaire on the couch.

The shower is still running and Jeff raises an eyebrow and goes over to knock once and then open the door. He’s greeted by a warm cloud of steam.

“Thanks a lot for that, Judas... Are you actually taking a shower?”

Annie peeks her head out from around the shower curtain. Her hair is wet and slicked back and there are large droplets of water dotting her shoulders and sliding down her arms.

“I didn’t know how long they were going to be here. It would have been weird if I had walked out and didn’t look like I had taken a shower.”

“Yeah, that would have been weird.”

Annie eyes him. “You could take a shower with me,” she says sweetly.

Jeff smirks but he’s already kicking the door closed behind him.

“I’m just being practical. You’re going to have to take one later anyway.” Annie shrugs and disappears behind the shower curtain again as Jeff shoves off his jeans.

“So you’re into water conservation now,” he says as he steps in with her. It’s a tight fit and he steps up right behind her and pulls her closer, sliding his hands around to the slick skin of her stomach.

“It’s an important issue.” Annie’s head drops back to his chest and she closes her eyes and arches against him before turning around to meet him.

“Besides, you can use the money you save on your water bill for that new hair product you said you wanted to try.”

Her hand slips down his torso and he groans.

Such a thoughtful girlfriend.”

A half an hour later Annie’s standing in front of the mirror, wrapped only in a towel, smoothing lotion over her arms and legs.

“So what did they want,” she calls to Jeff who is in his bedroom getting dressed.

“What?”

“Troy and Abed.”

“Oh.” Jeff tugs a t-shirt on and scrubs his fingers through his hair as he walks out to the living room and grabs the questionnaire from the couch.

“They’re vetting you.”

He leans into the doorway of the bathroom and smirks as she whirls around and grabs it out of his hands.

“What?!” Annie flips through the packet and then looks back at the front page. “Number one, what’s her blood type?” She looks up, her eyes narrowed. “Why would they need to know that?”

“Hey, you’re the one that wants to live with them.”

Does she sing bedtime songs?

“Well that one’s pretty cute. Although I’ve yet to hear a single bedtime song this entire summer so that’s going to be a mark against you.” Jeff widens his eyes playfully.

Annie frowns at him and waves the packet in the air. “You’re not answering any of these.”

“I don’t know.” He grabs it from her hand and flips to the middle. “I like this one: is she a good kisser.”

“What,” she gasps as Jeff steps back and turns toward the kitchen.

“I guess I’ll say yes to that one. Huh. What’s her favorite sexual position? That seems a little personal.”

“It does not say that.” Annie follows after him, darting around him and planting herself in his path.

“It does, right here.” Jeff holds the packet above his head just out of reach of her outstretched arms. “You can’t see that? How small are you?”

“Jeff!” she shrieks, jumping for it and then growling at him when he just holds it higher and gives her a shit-eating grin. “You’re such a--” With as much force as she can muster she throws her entire body into him so that he stumbles backwards against the couch with an “oomf” of surprise. His arms flail out to the side to catch himself and Annie grabs the packet from his hand, marches into the kitchen and dumps the entire thing in the trash can.

The knot holding her towel around her has come loose in the exchange and she clutches it to her chest as she walks back past Jeff with a haughty flip of her hair. He rubs at his chest where she had knocked her shoulder into him, wincing.

“Jesus, have you been secretly practicing that with the football team?”

But as she disappears back into the bathroom he huffs out a small laugh, then flops over the back of the couch to stretch out on his back. He yawns loudly and folds his hands over his chest, a small smile twitching at his lips.

~*~*~

“Are you sure this is a good idea, Annie?”

Annie pulls her shoulders back and and narrows her eyes at Shirley as the waiter appears at the head of their table just then with the food. She waits to answer until he’s gone.

“Yes. I don’t just do things without thinking them through first, Shirley. Living with Troy and Abed will be fun.”

Britta snorts. “Sure. They’re fun when you don’t have to be the one to take them home and buy them food and make sure they don’t pee on the carpet.”

Shirley’s face turns down into a frown of disgust, but then her eyes dart up to the ceiling as she thinks about it and nods in agreement. Annie rolls her eyes at both of them.

“Britta, they’re not cats.”

“She’s right though. I don’t want to even think about what kinds of shenanigans those boys are going to get up to living together.” Shirley purses her lips together and shakes her head as if to ward off any such thoughts.

“Oh please, remember that blanket fort they built? Or their fake news show? That was adorable.”

“Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Living with someone is completely different. I moved in with a friend in New York for a few months and didn’t find out until three months later that he made all his money by mugging women on the Subway. I thought he just liked purses.”

Shirley and Annie both gape at Britta.

“What? He was a nice guy.”

Annie sighs, “ Well, I’ve lived with Jeff for three months and I’ve yet to find his illegal purse collection.”

She regrets the words as soon as they’re out of her mouth. Shirley and Britta exchange meaningful glances and Annie braces herself.

“Speaking of Jeff,” Shirley starts slowly but then the table jostles and her head jerks in Britta’s direction, glaring her down with fiery eyes. Britta shakes her head tightly and Shirley widens her eyes and tilts her head in Annie’s direction.

They continue to communicate silently through a series of increasingly erratic gestures until Britta brings her hands up and mimes strangling someone and Shirley lifts her fork and points it across the table.

Annie makes a noise of disgusted exasperation. “Oh my god, stop. If you have something to say just say it.”

Britta and Shirley both go still, eyes locked on each other. Shirley sets down her fork and folds her hands on the table in front of her. “Did… you… have something to say?” she asks sweetly.

Annie glances between the two women. Britta’s face is passive and doesn’t betray a lot as she fiddles with the napkin in her lap. Shirley nods toward her encouragingly.

“No…” Annie wets her lips. “Not… yet.”

Both her friends nod and return silently to their food but their gazes meet again over the table and there’s a visible flicker of concern there between them that sends a sudden wave of affection rolling through Annie's chest.

She smiles widely and sighs, “I love you guys.”

Britta looks up and then away, flustered, while Shirley coos. “Aw, that’s nice. I love you too pumpkin.”

“Please,” Britta scoffs, “She’s just trying to butter us up so we’ll help her move again.”

But she sits up a little straighter and when Annie catches her eye Britta gives her a tiny smile and a nod.

~*~*~

The Friday before Annie moves Jeff gets out of the shower to find that she’s already left for work. He runs his hand through his still wet hair as he follows the aroma of freshly brewed coffee to the kitchen with only a towel wrapped around his waist.

On the counter is a single green post-it that reads, “Do you like me? Check yes or no.”

Jeff snorts and rolls his eyes but he’s smiling as he uses the pen she’s left to put one large check mark in the ‘yes’ box. He pauses and surveys the mess of color covering every inch of the fridge, then starts peeling off every single post-it note until the stainless steel is visible and empty for the first time in weeks. He presses the new note above the water dispenser, running his thumb along it firmly to make sure it sticks.

~*~*~

It’s nearing midnight that night when Annie sighs loudly and flops over onto her back, punching at her pillow a couple times until it’s shaped to her liking and kicking her feet to loosen up the sheets around her legs. She stares up at the ceiling.

“Annie.” Jeff’s voice is gruff and a little annoyed.

“Sorry,” she grumbles. “I keep thinking about all the things I have to do tomorrow.”

The mattress shifts as Jeff turns over onto his side and clears his throat. He squints at her through the darkness.

“I can go sleep on the couch,” Annie whispers a little reluctantly and even though she can’t see him clearly she can practically hear his eye-roll. She smiles.

“I have a better idea,” he says after a moment.

She giggles, “We already did that. It didn’t help.”

“Hey, I can have ideas that don’t involve sex.” Jeff sits up and scrubs his hands over his face and then throws the sheets of his legs as he climbs out of bed. “They aren’t my best ideas. But I have them.” He flips on the light and goes to his dresser.

“What--” Annie stops and winces, covering her eyes from the sudden blinding brightness.

“You should go put on a bathing suit.” He turns and eyes her lasciviously. “Unless you want to go skinny dipping.”

“What--” But Annie interrupts herself again and smiles slowly as her brain catches up to what he’s saying.

Ten minutes later they’re sneaking again over the locked gate of the pool and slipping into the chilly pool water, both of them shivering as they submerge up to their chests. There’s no moon but the lights from the parking lot cast long shadows over the water and Annie tries to stay in the deep end where it’s the darkest, keeping her movements gentle and quiet, constantly aware of every sound that she hears from around the apartment complex.

She warms up as she continues treading water, unable to touch her toes to the bottom of the pool without dunking her head and Jeff floats around her making more noise than he should with each splash and kick. Even as her eyes adjust to the dark she can hardly make out his face and something about that, the security in not being able to see the visible way he always reacts to her makes Annie start talking.

“I was scared.”

Her turns toward her with a sigh. “Annie we’re not going to get in trouble. I promise.”

“No. I meant about.” She stops and swims toward the edge of the pool, grasping onto it with her fingertips. “You make me happy,” she whispers.

Jeff moves closer behind her until she can feel his hand at her low back. He folds his arms over the deck next to her, resting his chin on his shoulder and smiling at her softly.

Annie traces a finger over his shoulder. “It sounds stupid. I’ve never…” She huffs out a frustrated breath at not being unable to articulate herself. “I’ve never really been satisfied. And I don’t know if I know how to be.”

She pushes away from the edge and sinks down into the water until it reaches her chin. Jeff nods slowly. “You afraid I’m not going to be enough for you, babe?”

His tone is light but Annie can hear a nervous twinge laced throughout his words and she moves back in behind him, pressing herself against his back.

“No. That’s not it.” She leans her head against his shoulder, circling one hand around to rest a palm on his stomach and Jeff shivers into her touch.

“I think,” he starts, before shaking his head slightly and gathering himself. “I guess it was the opposite for me. I never wanted to want anything.”

“You wanted to be a lawyer.”

Jeff snorts. “But I didn’t want to want it. Why do you think I cheated my way in?”

Annie nuzzles her nose against the side of his neck as she thinks about it. “Because if you worked for it, then you’d want it more? But if you cheated you could at least pretend it didn’t mean anything?”

He doesn’t say anything at first but he spreads his hand over hers where it’s still pressed to his stomach, interlocking their fingers.

“Yeah,” he breaths out, then turns in her arms, pushing away from the wall of the pool so that they slide through the water, waves rippling out around them. “You know, you weren’t such a bad roommate after all.”

Annie beams at him and curls her arms around his neck. “We should do it again sometime.”

“Absolutely.”

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
second_shooter
Apr. 30th, 2013 01:31 pm (UTC)
THIS STORY WILL GO DOWN AS ONE OF THE BEST JEFF/ANNIE FICS OF ALL TIME! Looking forward to the final chapter.
jennynoname
Apr. 30th, 2013 01:57 pm (UTC)


SHANNON

FREAKING

RENEE.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME, WOMAN? There I was, blissfully going about my business and then BAM! Update for GWWD and now I just -- how am I supposed to go about my day, wife-in-law? HOW?

You're absolutely brilliant and perfect and wonderful and there was just so much emotion and romance and humor that makes me wonder how in the world you're not an actual writer for the show. Because even though I know this is set pre-canon, you still encapsulate canonical elements SO seamlessly. And AND you really understand the characters and their voices. Every time I read a story of yours, I can HEAR these characters. Moreover, one of the things that you do (which makes you such a great writer, not just fic writer) is that you are able to describe physicality SO well that it makes the piece vivid (one line in particular about Annie ducking her chin to her shoulder was so simple but like... I could SEE it because I know what that looks like).

Anyway, I could ramble on for days about your writing, but I'll pick out some of my favorite bits (which is hard to do because everything is spot-on):

- THE MOMENT HE SAYS "I LOVE YOU." I JUST. GO ON WITHOUT ME.

- The television is on in the living room and it’s muffled enough through the door that she can’t tell what Jeff’s watching but a moment later she hears him laugh softly. The sound of his deep throaty chuckle zips through her and the swell of emotion that overtakes her suddenly has tears pickling at the corners of her eyes and she’s unable to stop from smiling so wide and hard that it almost hurts.

This part is just so beautiful, for reasons that even I can't explain. I think maybe it's this moment, too, for readers (and viewers of the show) where we see Jeff RELAXED. And it's so rare that it just makes us catch our breath because he's genuinely HAPPY. Stop, Shannon. STOP.

- “A world of disappointment,” Jeff mouths silently and then presses his lips together to keep from smiling as Annie flushes and ducks her chin toward her shoulder.

I love when Jeff is amused by formidable!Annie ("Intro to Polysci"). He just finds her so endearing.

- “Okay. Bye!” she yelps and runs out the door. As it shuts behind her she stops with wide horrified eyes, throwing her hands up in the air and mouthing a silent “WHAT” up at the ceiling.

This may be my favorite thing in the history of EVER. I'm not even exaggerating. I blame you for me laughing out loud at work.

- “I curtsied.”

“yes you did”

“We should probably avoid our friends for awhile.”

“good plan”


AND THEN I LAUGHED SOME MORE.

- Annie tilts her head to the side and lets out an exaggerated gasp. “Did you have to give up some of your button downs?”

“Stop.”

“Boots?”

“Annie.”

“Not the suits!?” She giggles and then pouts her lips at the stern look he gives her.

“Are you trying to make me cry?”

“It’s okay, Jeff. You can open up to me.”


Seriously perfect dialogue is perfect.

- AND THEN I WAS LAUNCHED INTO AN AVALANCHE OF ~FEELS AND 'WOW, THAT'S SOME GOOD WRITING' AND THEN I DIED.
jennynoname
Apr. 30th, 2013 01:57 pm (UTC)
HEY THAT OTHER COMMENT WAS TOO LONG.

SO HERE'S MY CONTINUATION:

- Luckily enough, I was resurrected so I could read this:

“You were practically writing my name in your notebook surrounded by little hearts, Jeff. Everyone knew it.” She draws a little heart shape over his chest, trying to hold back laughter at the look of indignation on his face. “I half expected to get a note from you asking, ‘Do you like me? Check yes or no.’”

- AND THEN THIS IS HOW I DIED. AGAIN. “Annie!” Jeff whisper-shouts at her, quickly yanking on his jeans and half-tripping out to the living room. The shower turns on and he gapes and throws his hands up in the air, looking around incredulously as if someone in the vicinity is going to agree with him about how wrongfully he’s just been betrayed.

- “Jeff!” she shrieks, jumping for it and then growling at him when he just holds it higher and gives her a shit-eating grin. “You’re such a--” With as much force as she can muster she throws her entire body into him so that he stumbles backwards against the couch with an “oomf” of surprise. His arms flail out to the side to catch himself and Annie grabs the packet from his hand, marches into the kitchen and dumps the entire thing in the trash can.

The knot holding her towel around her has come loose in the exchange and she clutches it to her chest as she walks back past Jeff with a haughty flip of her hair. He rubs at his chest where she had knocked her shoulder into him, wincing.

“Jesus, have you been secretly practicing that with the football team?”


EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS IS PERFECT.

- That "check yes or no" paper, Shannon. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE EXACTLY? Ugh, I hate you.

- “Yeah,” he breaths out, then turns in her arms, pushing away from the wall of the pool so that they slide through the water, waves rippling out around them. “You know, you weren’t such a bad roommate after all.”

Annie beams at him and curls her arms around his neck. “We should do it again sometime.”

“Absolutely.”


GO AWAY SHANNON.

GO.

AWAY.

I.

CANNOT.

DEAL.

WITH.

YOU.

Ugh, you beautiful tropical fish. I guess I kind of love you. But also hate you. It's a complex relationship. In short, you're brilliant and I love you and this fic has been one of your crowning achievements in the J/A fandom, for realsies.

<3
kbisthebest
Apr. 30th, 2013 02:10 pm (UTC)
EVERYTHING IS SO BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT I CAN'T EVEN ASDKFJLSJKFLSKJF.
na_thalia
Apr. 30th, 2013 02:42 pm (UTC)
I just recently re-read this story wistfully hoping for a new chapter and IT HAPPENED! My latest theory? Maybe I'm a god. I've denied the signs for too long...

Ugh, I loved it. My only wish is that it were longer. And that the next chapter was out now.

I can't... I can't even say more because I am overwhelmed. Yay! I'm so happy you're still writing... Ugh. You broke me.
communityfan23
Apr. 30th, 2013 03:43 pm (UTC)
I can't lie when I saw you updated this story I did a little happy dance. This a amazing chapter and it was worth the long wait. I love how you write JA, the way you write them is so in character I can just hear them saying your words. This Fic is probably in my top five fanfics for JA, and i'm going to be sad when it's over. But hopefully you will write more for Jeff and Annie because your one of the best writers for them. I can't wait to see how you wrap things up in the last chapter, i'll be eagerly waiting to find out.
treblebeth
Apr. 30th, 2013 04:28 pm (UTC)
I don't have time to read this yet but I want you to know I was SO FLIPPING HAPPY when I woke up and there was an email notification from M/M that you had posted an update. I'll be back after work to read and squee and gift you multiple Joel McHale gifs of thanks.

Edited at 2013-04-30 04:29 pm (UTC)
kimmierocks
Apr. 30th, 2013 06:39 pm (UTC)
I hate you and your writing is the worst.

Also, it's opposite day..

crittab
Apr. 30th, 2013 10:46 pm (UTC)
So good. SO GOOD! I don't even know what to say. It's just simply one of the greatest fics I've ever read, in any fandom.
woobloo
Apr. 30th, 2013 10:46 pm (UTC)
ASJDLKFAH;LKDFA;HGP[;QAIEOL;FEODKJQAPFKJP;QGHEKPASHGDOPSIUGHPASI

YOU UPDATED.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(let it be noted i don't mean this in a pressure, WHY DON'T YOU WRITE FASTER way, but in a ridiculously happy that i get to read your fic way.)

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
rachyins
Apr. 30th, 2013 11:06 pm (UTC)
I could read this forever.
veritas724
Apr. 30th, 2013 11:53 pm (UTC)
<3 <3 <3
nyclove3
May. 1st, 2013 12:39 am (UTC)
*SQUEE!*

I actually gasped out loud when someone told me you had updated. GASPED. Is this real life? Is this happening? Somebody pinch me. SEND HELP!

I adore the way you write so effortlessly. I can picture every detail so vividly. Your world-building is flawless and everyone is always so in character that it never fails to immerse me completely.

I loved the awkwardness between J/A at the start. The uncertainty of how to act with each other felt so very real, like two teenagers on their first date or first love, which it is really. Jeff's "I love you" actually made my heart skip and Annie's subsequent reaction, where she nods like she just can't help herself, had me grinning like an idiot. What have you done to me?!

I think one of my favourite parts is the post-it and the way Jeff removed all the others before sticking that one to the fridge. The simplicity and meaning behind it is all the more striking because it's there for all to see and J/A will 'stick' and it's the only note that really matters and excuse me while I drown in feels.

I'm not sure what else I can say without rambling on a little too enthusiastically. I should be more embarrassed that you've turned me into a 29 year old fangirl but whatever. This was superb and sublime and all other descriptives beginning with S. Stunning? Superb? I already said that but it's deserving of it twice.

Hands down my favourite J/A fic and since I don't actually read anything but Community fanfic, that makes this the best fic I've EVER read. *Sends you chocolate cake to celebrate* It's wonderful, truly. Thank you for such an amazing piece of writing. This is my canon now. It is done. You are super talented and I only hope you know it and believe it too!

Hearts in eyes right now. I'm going to leave before I break out into song or something... Teehee! <3 :)
fangirl_101
May. 1st, 2013 02:34 am (UTC)
Today of all days I needed an update from one of my fave writers. Your timing, like this fic, is impeccable.

I can't even properly explain how much I love this fic so I won't even try. You are amazing!
woobloo
May. 1st, 2013 08:52 am (UTC)
So I came back and I read this and then I was dead.

I MEAN.

Perfect fic is perfect, sah.

The smut and the banter and the awkwardness and THE CURTSY.

This is legitimately my favorite JA fic of all time. BEAR THAT RESPONSIBILITY WELL. :D
elizbethmay
May. 1st, 2013 10:41 am (UTC)
SO SO SO GOOD!! I have been waiting for this update! Amazing chapter for an amazing story! Thank you :)
wallows
May. 1st, 2013 01:04 pm (UTC)
I didn't think my heart could take reading this after canon-gate,
but I dove in, devoured it like pralines and read it again. Those little intimacies...why do you insist on killing me? So here lies me. It's sooooo beautiful, I felt like this... the swell of emotion that overtakes her suddenly has tears pickling at the corners of her eyes and she’s unable to stop from smiling so wide and hard that it almost hurts./
IT'S SO PERFECT IT HURTS SO MUCH. Shhhhaaaannnnon!!! I'll have to resort to screaming your name because my emotions have no words SHANNNNOOOOOOONNN!!!!!!
cozy_cupcake
May. 3rd, 2013 03:01 am (UTC)
SO MANY EMOTIONS. I saw the update and OMG!!! One of my favorite fics ever, ever. So excited for the last part!
treblebeth
May. 9th, 2013 08:22 pm (UTC)
I CANNOT BELIEVE I FORGOT I HAD THIS OPEN IN A TAB. My only excuse is that I currently have 46 tabs open and they are all the size of half my pinky nail. I AM THE WORST. Please forgive me and accept the below as an apology.

HOT

Anyway, moving on. DELIGHTFUL FIC IS DELIGHTFUL. I don't know if you realize how much people live for this fic, but it reads so effortlessly. Every piece fits together. Like, this is going to sound really strange, but regardless of when we'd even seen Jeff's new apartment on the show, I have a really vivid image of what his place looks like through your fic, from the layout to the appliances to the general aura (I'm totally sounding like a high Luna from HP again, aren't I. whatever) But the point is you weave the atmosphere in so well that I'm kind of amazed I'm not reading a fic about a movie I've already seen, since it all feels so accurate and true.

and I love the way you are handling their moving in together/not moving in together. it's all so realistic and honest to their characters. I'm so jealous of your grasp on both of them, but not really because I'm glad that you have it and are willing to share. god, I'm being so flowery it sort of sounds disingenous but I'm really not. I think you are so talented that I feel incredibly lucky you ever spend your time reading my stuff and I'm not entirely sure why you haven't quit your job yet to go write all the time.

IN CONCLUSION: worth the wait. which says a lot, since you made us wait FOREVER.
marcialitman
Jun. 4th, 2013 07:46 am (UTC)
OMG, I procrastinate my reading because of that, BECAUSE I KNEW I WOULD NEED THE VERY LAST CHAPTER LIKE RIGHT NOW. Please, din't leave me like that, I need this chapter, please D:
LMartink
Oct. 12th, 2013 05:34 pm (UTC)
This fan fic is awesome. Wish you would update this ASAP though :( Don't leave your avid readers hanging.
nazwaz
Oct. 30th, 2013 12:34 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes yes yes. I can re-read this forever, but I need the final chapter, please. *smiles winningly*
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