“Dude, you’re holding a ring,” Monroe said, closing his umbrella and looking askance at a rain soaked Nick. “Feel free to explain anytime.”
Nick was indeed holding a ring. An engagement ring, to be exact. And he was holding it as though it were an extension of himself. An extension which included a white picket fence life that centered around a one Juliette Silverton. An unrealized future that, he, irrationally, believed would come crashing down if he set the ring, and all it symbolized, down.
The reality being that this future had already come crashing down some two hours ago when Juliette had abruptly, he felt, announced that she was leaving.
He tried to argue as she put the last of her things in her car; he tried to show her the ring and explain his perfectly planned out future with her and how much he wanted it. But she refused to believe him. She said they’d been running on autopilot too long, and he’d kept too much to himself. The worst part being that Nick knew deep down that she wasn’t wrong.
“Or not,” Monroe continued, pulling Nick inside his house and back to the present. He groaned as he realized that he was still dripping wet as he had, against all his better judgment, stood in the driveway, watching Juliette drive away in the light drizzle, hoping against hope that her headlights would re-appear, with her claiming it had all been a crazy mistake. But after awhile, Juliette had not returned and the light drizzle had become a steady downpour. Tears and rainwater had mixed and blurred across his face until he couldn’t tell one from the other.
He half thought he was dreaming when the yellow Volkswagen had appeared in his driveway. It didn’t make sense that things like Monroe coming over would happen when his world was falling apart.
He leaned heavily against the couch, exhausted and far from in the mood to explain to Monroe what had happened. Previously, Nick had been satisfied that the weather matched his mood, but his already runny nose gave him the sneaking suspicion he was not going to enjoy the consequences. However, he vaguely registered Monroe suggesting that he change and offering to make him coffee.
Fifteen minutes later, Nick was sitting on the couch, pulling a blanket over his back, feeling as though he’d admitted defeat by prematurely putting on his pajamas and setting the ring aside, when Monroe came back into the living room carrying two steaming mugs of coffee. Monroe studied him carefully, concern etched in his face, but didn’t say a word.
They sat in awkward silence for a few minutes, until Monroe thrust the untouched coffee into his hands, “You really look like you could use it.”
Nick, unable to deny that, sipped at it tentatively, and warmth that the blanket hadn’t been providing flooded into him. The coffee seemed to provide the strength necessary to form words.
“Juliette...Juliette left,” he choked out.
“I figured as much,” Monroe said. It wasn’t condescending, just a simple acknowledgment that her leaving was a fact.
“What do you mean you figured?” Nick demanded, angry that Monroe seemed to find something that he found mind boggling complex completely straightforward.
“She’s not here. And there’s stuff missing, and, man, you are mess,” Monroe summarized. Then asked a little awkwardly, “Did you want to talk about it?”
“Not really,” Nick said shortly. He knew without a doubt that Monroe would be the first person he told this story to even if he hadn’t shown up. However, right now, he just wanted to be numb. He didn’t want to think about it at all. What he really wanted was a distraction.
Monroe seemed to sense this as he turned on the television and began channel surfing. He stopped briefly on a show where people were having their valuable objects appraised, but kept going when Nick glared at him. Nick was glad that he was dozing off in earnest when Monroe found Disney’s Beauty and the Beast .
“This is never on on actual television,” Monroe was saying eagerly, and Nick knew it was probably true, but didn’t feel compelled to share. Instead, he gave a half hearted grin as he leaned into Monroe’s shoulder, feeling like the horrible thief of human contact that he was. But he didn’t want to be alone, and he didn’t think Monroe minded.
He woke up the next morning with his head nestled in Monroe’s lap and Monroe’s fingers laced lightly in his hair. He felt like he probably should have found this embarrassing, but he only found it comforting, “Still here, huh?”
“Like I’d leave you alone like this. May I remind you that you had an emotional break down over an empty tissue box last night?” Monroe asked, giving Nick a pointed look.
“I do not remember that,” Nick said, confused, and then annoyed as his voice came out a raw croak. Though as he said it, a foggy memory from the middle of the night started to come back to him. He’d woken up, he felt sure now, with a fever, unreasonably upset that the blue floral print tissue box on the coffee table had proven to be completely empty. Monroe’s arm had soon been wrapped tightly around him, his hand rubbing his back soothingly, as he sobbed into his shoulder, reassuring him that Juliette had most certainly not taken all of the tissues and cold medicine with her.
“Oh man, you really must have been delirious,” Monroe said, watching as Nick’s face illuminated with the memory, trying not to laugh. “If you had any hope of getting rid of me today, that is now gone.”
“Thanks. I really appreciate that,” Nick said, so used to thanking Monroe for things that he was trying to look like he really earnestly meant it. And he meant it more than usual because Monroe was there for him for something completely unrelated to Grimm stuff, completely unrelated to police work. And he didn’t know what he’d do if he didn’t have him there right now. Thinking about the potential of Monroe not being there right then was almost as painful as knowing that Juliette simply wasn’t. He wasn’t sure he’d realized before how big a piece of him Monroe had become.
“That’s what you always tell me,” Monroe said, grinning at him as he got up to go to the kitchen. “But I get it.”
Before Monroe made it two feet, Nick was tackling him into a bear hug and refusing to let go, “I don’t think you do. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“Die, probably,” Monroe said smiling as he untangled Nick from him. And though Monroe was merely teasing, Nick tried not to think about how true that probably was.
“You know, I’m going to start writing a journal about Grimms, the first entry of which will explain that they are unusually emotional when feverish,” Monroe began rambling as he went into the kitchen. But glanced back at Nick as he finished with a grin, “Which is fine by me. I like hugs as much as the next guy.”
Nick’s lips turned up into a crooked smile as he leaned into the couch. The pain of Juliette leaving was washing over him in waves, but the thought that at least Monroe wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon helped it ebb.