So there had been singing and joking around and music - so much music - and the only thing running through Cory's head was Homer, you're overstimulated. Let's get some beer in you and then it's right to bed (woohoo!beerbeerbedbedbed!), and he was grinning a mile wide, his patented Dorks 'R Us smile.
And he was still wearing those reindeer antlers. Those stupid antlers, Mark had called them, but he'd just ruffled his hair and laughed, because you know what? It was Christmas. It was finally Christmas and people were stringing up lights, and and the drums backbeated their way into Cory's skin until he couldn't tell which was the music and which was his heart - which was kind of the way he liked it, they way he'd learned to live on the drums - and everything was just... it was just. What was the word?
Oh yeah. Awesome.
The collar on his jacket was popped and Cory was looking around for his boys when he heard a tell-tale shuffle of feet from behind and felt someone tap his shoulder. He grinned again, and drawled, without turning around, "You're supposed to cover my eyes and say 'guess who'..."
"I can't reach," the Mystery Girl admitted, cheerfully, and Cory turned around - and he'd already been grinning but his face almost split in two, because smiling up at him with the most mischievous, pretty little smile he'd ever seen outside a Tinkerbell was New Friend Nikki.
"Hey, you," he said, and reached forward to hug her, because she looked warm and pretty and happy and because the drums were still beating in his bloodstream. She hugged back, and Cory had to admit that it was nice that her head found its way to lean against his chest, how her arms looped around his waist. He'd felt like he'd known her for years.
When she suggested that he come by her apartment some time for some quality chocolate, the words "Is now okay?" tumbled out without a second thought, but they got a thumbs-up in approval from the second-thought police once he bothered to have one. He said his goodbyes, she said hers, and they left.
The fun thing about Nikki, Cory was learning, was that she was free-spirited, but not in the crazy incense-burning, crystal-healing, white-witchcraft kind of way. She was just kind of unflappable and spontaneous and fun, and she sang along to "The Final Countdown" in his car just as loud as he did, which he thought was pretty awesome - especially since she knew more words than It's the final countdown! Do-do do do, do-do do do do... which was all everyone ever seemed to know. But Nikki had it covered, and her laugh was really loud, and just, like, in-your-face-I'm-really-happy, and it wasn't that little giggle that he knew other girls practiced in front of their mirror.
There was no grand tour when they got to her apartment. "It's bigger than I expected," she offered with a shrug, and gestured at the kitchen, the bathroom, and the bedroom in turn. "It's pretty New York.” Cory thought it was pretty I was in a major movie musical but he didn't say it. Instead, he studied the pictures framed around the walls and thought about how happy she always looked in every last picture.
It was cute.
When he looked around for her, he heard humming in the kitchen - and there she was, Cory's own little antlers on her head, water boiling on the stove, an open bag of marshmallows on the counter beside her. Aww.
"My antlers!" he said, aiming for something between affection and mock dismay; Nikki merely flashed him a smile and pelted a marshmallow at his chest.
Cory - or as he decided he would be known from that moment on, Cory Monteith, God Among Men - dodged, ducked a little, and caught the marshmallow in his mouth.
After repeating the trick eight more times (he only missed) and then five times for Nikki (she missed twice, but not a bad effort), they finished making the hot chocolate and curled up on the couch to watch Spider-Man.
Cory couldn't trace exactly how the cuddling had happened. It seemed like first her head was just resting against him, and then the next thing he knew his arm was tucked around her shoulders and she was curled up with her legs underneath her, her head against his chest, and that other free hand of his own was stroking back Nikki's hair, because, okay, it was really soft hair, and it was really wavy, almost curly, and he'd never noticed that before.
She was kind of gorgeous, and he wasn't just thinking that because every time he looked away from the screen and down he had a good view of her rack. She just was, she kind of glowed, and if his hand was trailing over her side he couldn't really help it, because she felt awesome against him like that. He was warm from the hot chocolate and that warmth sort of spiralled out from his belly into his hands, his feet, and his eyes were half-closed, and Peter and MJ could never be, but whatever, Tobey Maguire got to be your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, and Cory got to have the girl.
He got to have the girl. "Hey, Nikki?"
She looked up at him, and her dark eyes seemed so big, and Cory leaned down and took the antlers off her head - put them over the arm of the couch - changed his mind - put them back on his own head. She laughed, and reached up to softly pat his cheek. "You're right. They look better on you."
"And you look hot," he admitted, tilting her chin up, meeting those eyes and looking at that face, and she was still smiling, a pixie smile, tiny but so full of life and excitement and just kind of everything. Nikki said something, and Cory can't remember but it could have been Look who's talking, but he really can't remember because the split-second after that was that split-second where he kissed her.
His fingers were under her chin and her lips were warm - warm and kind of cinnamon-y, and she twisted up, tilted up and he could feel her breasts against his upper chest, and she twined one arm around his neck like she owned him a little bit and hey, maybe she did. He closed his eyes and there was just the tiniest little touch where her tongue brushed against the side of his own. Nikki's breath hitched. He let go of her chin, shifted back against the couch, kissed her again - and she moved back with him, leaning in, and he let his hand slide down her back to cup her ass, which was amazing, and oh, yeah, in case he'd forgotten kissing was awesome.
Cory was close to out of breath and Nikki pulled away, and her cheeks were flushed and she laughed with this breathless abandon that he couldn't really get enough of.
"My couch is lumpy," she said, and then - wait, really? - Cory grinned, because Nikki winked, actually winked at him, and when she got up and held her hands out for him all he could really do was take them and let her help him up. He opened his mouth to speak but Nikki leaned up on her tiptoes, kissed him quickly, and added, "My bed is pretty comfortable, though."
Speechless, and advertising the national chain of big goofy smiles, Dorks 'R Us, he let her lead him into the bedroom and close the door.
Best. Hot chocolate. Ever.
Afterwards, they were closed and naked and laughing, and she was sprawled, and he was half on-top of her, head resting in the crook of her neck. She was wiping the sweat – seriously, there was sweat – from his brow, and she said, “Not bad, Monteith.”
“Don’t thank me,” he countered, and teasingly bit at her earlobe. “Thank the antlers.”