"So look what I wound up with," Britta says, digging around in her enormous purse.
Annie looks around. "Shouldn't we wait for Jeff? I mean, before we get into our weekends and all of that, I mean, you'd just have to tell your story again when Jeff got here, right?"
Britta blinks. "Right," she says, and continues digging.
Since that law firm started calling Jeff in to consult, he'd been coming to study group later and leaving earlier, and today Annie had her own reason for wanting to wait to share their stories, as she had a particularly humorous anecdote about Starburns whom she'd run into that weekend at a party supply store and had watched gleefully while he justified his litany of purchases to her; apparently the warming massage oil was for his grandmother's corns. Annie had even worked out some clever retorts if Troy or Pierce tried to get in a crude aside, but all of that will wait for Jeff to show up, even if it takes three or even four more minutes into their designated Anthropology hour.
"Jackpot," says Britta. She shakes a little prescription bottle and Annie bites her tongue hard enough to taste blood. "I have this cousin at boarding school and he ended up with like a hundred Adderall. He gave me thirty. What do you say? I figure we knock these puppies back, power through the presentation and then breakfast at Denny's before class."
Annie's eyes widen. "Britta," she whispers. "You know that I have a... problem with... Britta!"
Britta looks genuinely surprised. "Oh my god, Annie, I totally forgot this was what got you carted off to the crazy house! Are you okay? Look, I'm putting it away - it's gone, see?"
Britta puts the bottle back in her bag and Shirley's rubbing Annie's shoulder when Jeff comes in at five past.
"What's on the docket, junior partners?"
"Ah, shut your lawyer mouth, boy, you're at school now!" Shirley snaps, and then she gets all apologetic. "Oh. I'm sorry. I just felt bad about Annie and how Britta tried to tempt her with the drugs. I shouldn't have snapped at you. Can you forgive me?"
Jeff turns to Britta. "You did what?"
Britta slinks a little lower in her chair. "Dude, what. It's nothing. I scored some Adderall over the weekend and I forgot that Annie was, you know..." She lowers her voice. "A Person in Recovery."
"You don't have to whisper, Britta," Shirley says. "We all know Annie was a degenerate junkie."
"What? Junkie? Somebody speak up," Pierce mutters.
"We could give Pierce an Adderall," Abed says. "That might be funny for a few minutes."
"Nobody's giving anybody any drugs," Jeff says, and sits down. "And if I'm not mistaken we have like some kind of gigantic presentation due tomorrow, so if nobody minds, I'm gonna sit here while someone explains to me what we're doing so we can get started."
"I can do that," Annie says, any witty banter about Starburns' sex life forgotten. "What do you remember so far from the unit on the Kalahari bushmen?"
"Bush PEOPLE," corrects Britta.
"One thing we know," Abed says. "Is that their ultimate demise came in the form of a coke bottle, the hardness of which made them consider the very nature of their existence."
"We all saw that movie," Shirley says. "In class."
"The Gods Must Be Crazy," Abed says. "Jamie Uys's 1980 fable about the ironic primitivity of modern man."
"I'm not really sure this is anthropology," Britta says.
"Yeah, but we're getting graded on it," says Jeff. "So let's do a presentation on some fake people from the 80s, pass the class, and go study some more stuff nobody cares about."
"Ugh," Britta moans. "Okay. If we're really doing this thing then I'm definitely going to take my... birth control pill... first. We copacetic on that?"
"Only if I can have one," says Pierce.
"What are you gonna do with a birth control pill?" Troy asks.
"Obviously Britta's using it as a ruse so that Annie won't know she's actually taking the Adderall," Abed says. "It wasn't particulary bulletproof."
"Personally," Jeff says. "Unsubtle as that was, I am impressed Pierce picked up on it."
Britta pops a pill and Annie winces, but she busies herself squaring her notebook against the side of her Peoples of the World textook.
"Are we gonna work on this thing or what?" Shirley asks, and with that they get down to the business of writing an ethnographic history of a people as represented through a broad, but generally well-received, feature comedy.
Then about ten minutes later Britta's face and neck start getting all pink, and she coughs and waves her hands around and then they're in the infirmary, waiting while the nurse fusses over Britta behind a seafoam curtain.
When they get back to the study room, Annie plugs in her digital recorder to listen to Professor Duncan's unit again, on the unrealistic hope he'd said something useful or fact-based about bushpeople. Pierce, who had asked the nurse for some antihistamines of his own, is sleeping.
"You sure you're okay?" Jeff asks Britta.
She scratches at her neck. "Yeah, she said it was an allergic thing; I'm sure that antihistamine she gave me will fix me right up. I'm more concerned about the obvious white privilege we're bound to express in any attempt to describe the people of the Kalahari, when clearly --"
"Privilege of the what now?" Shirley cocks an eyebrow.
"Sorry," Britta says, not sounding particularly sorry to Annie. "Western privilege, whatever. I mean first he goes and shows us that movie, which means there's the inherent anticipation that --"
"Look what I found," Abed says. He's holding up Britta's Adderall bottle, empty.
"Oh, God," Annie says. Her heart starts racing, because this is how it started last time, even though last time she definitely burst into tears and this time -- wait. Why was she freaking out? She didn't take those pills. "Whew," she exhales, and blinks, and realizes everyone's looking at her.
"Mm?" she asks.
"Something you want to tell us, crackhead?" Shirley hisses.
Annie starts sweating again. "What? Wait. I didn't take them. Come on, you can't really think that -- guys! I went to rehab! Plus, we were all in the infirmary for like a half an hour, anybody could have come in here and taken them!"
Jeff smiles, that big soft one that makes his forehead relax and makes Annie's mouth water under normal circumstances, but this time she's suspicious. "Annie," he says. "We're not gonna judge you. Just tell us the truth."
"We're your friends," Troy puts in. "And last time you were hooked on those things you did some hi-larious things, so I am fully on board for a rerun if you know what I mean."
"Troy!" Shirley snaps.
Pierce wakes up. "What?"
"No, I'm Troy," says Troy.
"Oh, thank God," Pierce says, and goes back to sleep.
Then Shirley turns to Annie. "So, sweetie? Is there something you want to tell us?"
Annie stands up. "Yes," she says, banging her hands on the table, hard enough that her wrists hurt. She rubs them. "I didn't take the stupid pills. I'm clean, I tell you! So look somewhere else!"
Nobody looks anywhere else.
"I could dust for prints," Abed says. "Jeff, you be the Latino dude who's way too hot to be a lab tech, and Britta, you be the cop who's hounding the crime scene unit to get the evidence, STAT."
There's a moment. "What show is that?" Jeff asks.
"Who cares, Jeffrey, Annie's on drugs again!" Shirley cries.
"Annie's on drugs again?" Pierce comes around. "Are the Feds coming? Can one of you guys flush some stuff for me?"
"No, Pierce, it's -- Britta, help me out here." Jeff turns to Britta, and they all turn to Britta, whose head is tipped to the side and is loudly snoring.
"Antihistamine," Abed nods knowingly.
Jeff stands up. "Look, Annie's history with addiction is a private matter, and I think it should stay that way. Whether or not she took the pills --"
"Oh, she took the pills," Shirley asserts.
"She really did," Troy agrees.
"Even I know Little Annie Adderall took the drugs," Pierce says.
Annie drops her head on the table. The room is spinning. She remembers from before, how great the pills were, the boundless energy and focus, the fascinating changes to her appetite and bowel movements, the constant vibrating and rocking and, later, the sex, and the screaming and the running and the bit where she drove a jet ski into a restaurant patio. Never again, she'd sworn, and she'd kept that promise.
"I didn't take the drugs," she says.
Jeff does his 'all eyes on me' wave. "Whether or not Annie took the pills is her own personal matter and is not going to, as far as I know, get us any closer to understanding the Kalahari bushmen."
"Bushpeople," mutters Britta, who wipes some drool from her mouth and falls back to sleep.
There's some quiet.
"Wanna help me put her on the couch?" Troy asks Abed, and they go move Britta and tuck her gently under her leather jacket.
Three hours later they have a presentation largely about a Coke bottle, Britta's awake, Pierce is asleep, and Annie is sure without a doubt every one of them thinks she's hooked again.
As they pack up to leave, she clears her throat. "I didn't take those pills of Britta's."
Britta blinks. "We know, sweetie."
"Yes, of course you didn't," Shirley says.
Annie doesn't believe either one of them.
The next day she isn't at all surprised when they get an A on their presentation, and only the tiniest bit more surprised when Dean Pelton calls her into his office.
"I'll be frank," he says. "We knew your history when we let you in, and to tell you the truth I thought you were a gamble back then, but this school took a chance on you, Annie Edison. And how have you repaid us?"
She huffs, her mind reeling. "Are you kidding me? Countless ways! The Dia de los Muertos party? That was me! The STD Fair? The DIORAMA-RAMA? Do I seriously need to continue, here?"
The Dean temples his fingers and smiles. "See how productive you can be without chemical alteration? You don't need the pills, Annie."
"I know that!" She starts shaking again, because this is going way too far, farther than she should really be having to defend herself as an innocent individual at this point. "I have been clean for two years!"
The Dean sighs. "I see I have no choice," he says. "Either produce the pills or I'll have to suspend you until you can."
Annie blinks. "In other words, you're sending me out on the street to score Adderall."
"Which I will then confiscate, yes," the Dean says. "So can you provide the evidence, or must I assume that you took the pills yourself?"
"You think I took thirty Adderall yesterday," Annie says, not even a question anymore. "I'd be dead."
"You seem to know an awful lot about it," is all the Dean will say, and he dismisses her from her office and bans her from school property with one swoop of his slamming door behind her.
Annie sits outside on the stoop and considers her options. She can go to an NA meeting, but she's not sure what good that will do considering she's not actually on drugs. Still, she was told that whenever drugs complicated her life she should turn to NA, so she doesn't totally scratch out that choice.
She can go try and find some Adderall for the dean, like maybe from Britta's cousin, but that will just make the rest of them think she's a junkie even more.
Jeff. Will make Jeff think she's a junkie, she clarifies to herself. Jeff, who manages to be such an adult and such an infant at once will think even less of her than he already does. Will look down on her. Probably already is.
She puts her face in her hands, rubs her cheeks and eyes hard, and stands up.
She'll get Jeff to believe her, is what she'll do. And the rest will fall into place.
So she goes around to the side door of the library, creeps in and ducks behind the stacks, shimmying till she's flush with the wall the library shares with the study room.
"I know they're talking about me," she mutters, and puts an ear to the wall.
Abed's telling some sort of story, using a lot of clicking sounds and for some reason he keeps bringing up manure. Annie listens a while longer but no one mentions her; no one seems to notice she's missing at all.
And then just as she's about to go in and give them a piece of her mind, she hears Jeff. "Now I know I said before we should just let Annie make her own decisions about whether or not she wants to do drugs again, we all know that that's bullshit. So while she's gone, let's talk about the best way to handle this."
"Carefully," says Britta.
"Helpful insight," says Shirley.
"I say we narc her out, tie her up and wait for the guys from the rubber room to come get her," Troy says. "I was there the day they dragged her outta high school. That was some funny-ass shit, yo."
"Troy!" Britta hisses.
"What about an intervention?" Shirley suggests.
"Oh, I've seen that show," Abed says. "Free sharing isn't really my best thing but I'm up for it if you guys are."
"I think we have to figure out what drove Annie to the drugs in the first place," Pierce says. "Really get to the root of the problem."
Annie's heard enough. She pulls herself to her feet, waits a thirty-count for her lower lip to stop trembling, and storms into the room.
"Jeff, may I speak with you in private, please?" she says, as steadily as she knows how.
"Um, sure, Annie," Jeff says. "But don't you think anything you have to say to me you can really say to everyone in this room?"
"We're your family!" Shirley puts in.
"Jeff, alone, now," Annie hisses.
She doesn't say a word as they cross the library and she leads him outside to one of Vaughn's favorite quiet trees.
"Okay," Jeff says. "Are we alone enough now?"
Annie can feel her face flushing, which leads her to believe they are very much alone together and that she very much wants to place her hands on his chest and see if his pecs are as hard as they look through his very expensive, and, let's face it, extremely flattering button-down.
"I need you to lawyer me," she says. "I need you to help me prove to the Dean I didn't take the pills."
Jeff sighs. "Annie. Annie. It's okay. We're not going to judge you. Community college is hard, okay? If you need a little extra --"
She puts her hands on his pecs -- they are hard, but that's not important right now -- and pushes him into the tree. "JEFF I DID NOT TAKE THE PILLS. Britta left a bottle of meds on a table in an unlocked room for anyone to get their hands on, and that entire time, I was in the infirmary with you guys. Fact or not?"
Jeff considers. "Fact."
"Which -- coupled with the fact that I am not HIGH NOW, helps the argument that I did NOT take the drugs, right?"
Jeff considers more. "I'll accept it."
"So, will you help me?"
"Help you what?" Jeff asks. "You didn't take the pills, I believe you. Let's go back inside; it's cold out."
Annie is about to scream. "Jeff, this is what got me kicked out of high school! And the name-calling, and the mocking and the interventions, I don't think I can take it again! I finally thought, coming to Greendale, I'd be free from the judgment."
Jeff gives her a long look, and his eyes are twinkly, wide and warm. And he doesn't think she's a junkie, not anymore. He believes her. "And you should be," he agrees. "Greendale is a place where weirdos like us can leave our former reputations behind."
"Right!" says Annie.
"So let's go clear yours," Jeff says, and like a very determined militia of two they march back into the study room.
"SOMEBODY GRAB ANNIE'S BOOBS!" Troy shouts as they come through the door.
Annie clutches a textbook to her chest, instinctively, but she also catches Jeff giving her the once over, and maybe a smile's coming to his lips as he follows her curves, though the smile's gone by the time she looks him in the eye. Plus, there's a monkey swinging from the light fixture.
Abed leaps onto the table, but Annie's Boobs is too fast, and bounds to the next fluorescent, just out of Abed's grasp.
"Get a ladder!" Pierce shouts.
"Move the table!" Shirley calls.
"That is one spastic monkey," Britta observes, and Troy hisses.
"Annie's Boobs are not spastic, they are delightful," Troy says.
"Don't you mean She?" Britta says.
Then there's a plink, over by the wall, and everyone turns. A vent is half open.
"Quick, seal it up before Annie's Boobs can get back in the wall," Abed says, hopping down from the table.
He dives for the vent.
"Hey," he says. "Look what I found."
When he turns around he's holding Annie's purple pen, the one a sullen ghost from 1856 may or may not have stolen from the study room several weeks before.
"Annie's Boobs!" Troy scolds.
"Speed, speed, the monkey's on speed!" Shirley says, and they look up, and all of a sudden it makes sense.
Annie's Boobs is hanging from the light fixture, whipping her head back and forth like a cat at a tennis match. Her pupils are huge and even her little monkey fingers and toes are twitching.
"Yeah, that's a monkey on Adderall there," Britta agrees.
"You SEE," Jeff says. "I told you guys Annie wasn't a junkie again."
"Actually as I remember it you were the one who was convinced she WAS on drugs," Shirley says.
"Shut up," Jeff says.
And it turns out Annie doesn't care, because Jeff does believe her now, and plus she had never really been comfortable with that ghost theory and finding the purple pen was making Annie's world all make a little more sense.
"I think we need to call animal control," Britta says.
Annie looks at Jeff. "Jeff, can I see you outside for a minute?"
Jeff smiles. "Sure," he says.
"Don't you touch Annie's Boobs," Troy warns.
"No promises," Jeff says as he follows Annie out, but he's just teasing.
Back at the stoner tree, Jeff calls animal control and gives them Britta's cell number. Then he turns to Annie.
"You feel better now that you're exonerated?" he asks.
"You really thought I was hooked again," she says.
"Well, look at the evidence, Annie, you can't blame us for --"
"I'm not blaming us. I'm blaming you. You of all people should know what it feels like to be unfairly stereotyped just because of a mistake in your past. And plus I thought, since we kissed --"
Jeff is nodding. "You're right," he says. "I should trust you more. You're an adult, after all."
"I'm already 20," says Annie.
A wet look comes over Jeff's eyes and he even licks his lower lip. "Really," he muses. "That doesn't seem quite so inappropriate anymore."
"See?" Annie smiles.
Then she pulls herself up on her tiptoes and kisses him, and their kiss rocks hard. So they do it again, and this time when Annie says, "we shouldn't be doing this," just to test him, he says, "why in God's name not?"
And they tumble down to the base of the tree, hands everywhere.
"God you're hot," Jeff whispers.
"Thank you," is all Annie can manage to say, but it doesn't matter, because Jeff's still kissing her and there's no reason to stop this time.