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lover, please stay

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Jeff has been avoiding the question on his mind all morning. After Annie finally woke up, they kissed for a long time, but they haven’t spent any time talking. He wants to know why and how she’s here. He wants to know for sure that it has nothing to do with him.

Annie is sitting on the couch, holding a warm cup of coffee and flicking through the channels on the television. Jeff is in the kitchen attempting to make pancakes. He is trying to figure out how to approach this, whether he should bring it up first or let her. He really doesn’t want to be the one who ruins who dream.

He carries two plates of chocolate chip pancakes out to the couch and hands one to Annie. She smiles up at him and he’s a goner once again. They sit in silence next to one another, enjoying their pancakes and watching the news. It’s so natural and domestic, it almost feels like they’ve been doing it for years.

After about ten minutes, Jeff decides he can’t take it anymore. “Annie,” He begins.

She turns to face him, flipping her hair over her shoulder. “What’s up?”

“How are you here right now?” is the only sentence he can form.

Annie smiles and lets out a small giggle. “I just am.”

“No, I know that. Obviously. I just, what happened with your internship?”

This makes Annie shift in an uncomfortable way. “What do you mean?”
“Well, you seemed really into it but now you’re here. What happened?” Jeff says, trying his best not to scare her off.

She takes in a deep breath. “My internship ended about a month ago. I applied to jobs before it ended, but I never heard back. They never even called me in to interview.”

Jeff opens his mouth but closes it quickly. He gives her a supportive hand on her shoulder, and she cuddles in under his shoulder.

“So when I hadn’t heard back a week after my internship ended, I called one of the places and they told me I needed more experience before they would even consider me,” She says. She avoids his eyes and it looks as though she’s speaking to the shag carpet. “I didn’t have a job and my rent was due. I mean, I tried to work at Starbucks but I couldn’t do it. The customers can be so pretentious.”

Jeff holds himself back from mentioning he kind of likes Starbucks. Instead, he pulls her a little closer and says, “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay. I was naive to think I could follow my dream so quickly. But the reason I came back…” She pulls back and finally looks him in the eyes. “I don’t want you to think I up and left my dream because I missed you. I did miss you, all of you actually. But I also was able to find a job here.”
Jeff perks up and raises his eyebrows. “Where? Doing what?”
Annie finally smiles again. “Evidence recovery and processing!”

Jeff cocks his head, slightly confused. “They have that here?”

“Well, not right here. The job is about an hour away. I’ll just commute,” Annie trails off at the end, then looking away from him. “Which brings me to my next question…”

She stands up out of his arms and begins to pace. After she goes back and forth a couple of times, Jeff stands up as well. “What’s wrong?”

“I need a place to stay,” Annie blurts out, now pacing even faster.

“Be careful there, you’ll wear a hole into my carpet,” Jeff says, but she doesn’t seem to hear him. Jeff shakes his head with a smile on his face, then reaches for her arm. He twists her towards him, but she’s still avoiding his gaze. “If you want to move in with me, all you have to do is ask.”

She gazes up at him with those doe-eyes that get him every time. “Really?”

“Definitely.”

“Well Jeff, can I please move in with you?”

“Of course,” He says, then pulls her into a kiss.

~~~

Jeff doesn’t know how he ends up with the entire group sitting around his living room, but that’s exactly what is happening right now. After another make out session, Annie jumped in the shower and about ten minutes after that, Troy showed up at his door hauling Abed along, Britta hauling Duncan behind her, Pierce hauling Gilbert behind him, and Shirley holding a stack of pans full of food.

They have been here for ten minutes before he can even get a word in. Britta apologizes for rushing him off the phone while Duncan stares at her from the couch.

“It’s alright, I understand. I would like an explanation though. How did this happen?” Jeff asks, gesturing toward Duncan.

Britta just laughs and looks back at him. “Not really sure.”

She goes and sits back down next to him. Jeff looks around at his friends with a curious look in his eye. He backs slowly into his kitchen where he finds Shirley warming up the food she brought.

“Shirley, this smells amazing,” Jeff says, taking in the scent.

“Thank you!” She hums and grins ear to ear.

Jeff leans back against the counter. “So, why are you all here? I mean, of course I appreciate the gesture, but I can’t help but feel that there is some ulterior motive at play here.”

“Oh no! No ulterior motive here. We just…” She trails off, then busies herself with the oven.

“Just what Shirley?” Jeff questions, cornering her.

She turns to face him and shakes her head. “We felt bad, Jeff. You called us and after we talked, we realized we all pushed you off the phone. We know it’s been hard because everyone has been so busy, so we wanted to have a gathering.” She looks out on the group and chuckles to herself. “Britta and Duncan are something, aren’t they? And Gilbert hasn’t wanted to leave Pierce’s side since he found out he isn’t actually dead.”

“Yeah, they’re both something alright. But really, you guys didn’t have to do this. I’m doing okay. Great, actually,” Jeff starts, but Shirley holds her hand up.

“Jeff, please. We are the people who know you better than anyone else in the world. You’ve been a little depressed lately. And I know you’ve been missing Annie.”

Jeff smiles when he hears her name. “Yeah, about that…”

But he doesn’t get a chance to say anything because Britta beats him to it.

“Annie?”