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A Shattered Heart

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It’s maybe been a little over a year. Annie usually tries to not to think too much about it, because she knows that he isn’t. Not anymore at least. Most days she’s okay. She even feels good sometimes. But then there are days when she has trouble getting out of bed in the morning. Staying up to the crack of dawn with the memories running through her head.

 

The night is always the hardest that’s when she misses him the most. Annie misses a lot of things about him, but she really longs to fall asleep in his arms again. Just one more time. When she lays in her bed that is now completely empty, Annie can’t help but wonder if his new girlfriend is lying in his arms. Often times Annie still wakes up reaching for someone on the other side but there isn’t anyone there. Ever.

As she lays in her bed, her mind reels with all the times she was blissfully happy with him. All the little moments that she didn't realize at the time that she would be longing for.

 

Flashback

They walked out of the restaurant each laughing so hard that Annie thought that she might hyperventilate. “Did you see the look on his face?” Jeff asked through a laugh referring to the manager of the restaurant. One of the employees had apparently had enough and thought the best solution was to throw water on the managers face.

 

“Did you see the waiter’s face?” Annie countered bursting out laughing again. The two continued walking to his car. The restaurant was busy so they were in the back of the lot.

 

Jeff looked down at Annie for a second, before locking his fingers into hers, he slightly rubbed his thumb on the back of her hand. His hands were surprisingly soft, and she wished that he had never dropped her hand. “I had a really good time with you tonight.”

“Me too! I can’t believe it took us six years to get here. Could you imagine if we had just done this after the tranny dance. We could’ve been already married by now.” Annie cringed so hard that she said that married part out loud. ‘It was only the first date’ she screamed at herself internally. ‘You’re going to scare him off.’ But Jeff didn’t seem to mind. Annie even thought that she saw a hint of a smile on his face.

End of flashback

 

Annie rolls over in her empty bed and shoves her face into a pillow. It doesn't smell like him anymore. The first month or so, after the break up, she could still smell him on everything she owned. It was comforting at the time, but now it had all worn off. She closes her eyes shut and refuses to open them again until her alarm clock starts going off. Even in the darkness, his imagine is still burned into the back of her eyelids.

 

At seven thirty Annies alarm clock jolts her awake. She turns it off before getting out of bed. The “Save Greendale committee” is meeting today. They weren’t still trying to save Greendale, they just like to meet up for lunch and catch up every once in a while. Annie dreaded these lunches, ever since Jeff and Frankie started dating. Annie has always known that Frankie was interested in Jeff, but she was slightly blindsided when she found out Jeff was interested in her.

 

They all sat down at the large table they had reserved at a restaurant. Annie sat down next to Britta trying to keep her distance from Jeff. It was still a fresh wound. Jeff sat down at the opposite end of the table, and Frankie sat down next to him. The two shared a smile that Annie recognized. She felt her heart drop to the floor.

 

After catching up, Jeff announced that he had some exciting news. He put emphasis on the word exciting. Annie could feel him stopping all over her already broken heart. “Frankie and I are dating.” He announced. She saw Frankie reach for his hand, which he accepted. The group was quiet for minute before Abed told them that it was out of character and wouldn't last long. Annie prayed to God that for once maybe Abed would be right.

 

Annie parked her car in the lot and turned off the engine. She sits there for a couple of minutes contemplating whether it would be rude to text the group and say she got sick or some lame excuse. She had been extremely lucky and hasn’t had to really interact with either Frankie or Jeff since they started dating. But now they were going to be sitting at the table and they would no doubt be all coupley. Doing things that Annie once loved doing with him, and seeing him do them with someone else would probably make her barf today.

 

Finally she gets out of her car and walks inside the restaurant. Britta and Abed are already there and seated. Annie chose the seat next to Abed. “Who all is coming today?” She asks.

 

“Everybody is.” Abed replies. “Even Shirley and Troy said they could make it!” Abed is very excited to see Troy again, and he wasn’t even trying to hide it. Not that any of them blame him. Abed and Troy had a friendship that really no one could put into words. Which is why it was so heartbreaking when Troy left. Even Annie is excited to see some of her old friends again.

 

“I’m kind of nervous to see him. Is that weird?” Britta asks. There isn’t a question in Annie’s mind whether she was nervous as she kept folding her napkin in her lap over and over again.

 

“No that’s not weird. Especially if you still have feelings for him. It can make it kind of hard to know what to say.” Annie says, although she isn’t exactly talking about Britta and Troy. She glances over at Abed who is staring her down.

 

Flashback

“They won’t last.” Abed told her. He had wandered into the study room where he found her with her head down on the study table. She was crying, trying to keep it contained to where only she would know. She glanced up, and knew that he would be able to tell. Although she suspected that he already knew.

 

“What?’ Annie asked. She knew what he was talking about, but wanted to play it off as if she had no idea.

 

“Jeff and Frankie.” He repeated. “They won’t last. They can’t. It’s out of character. It doesn't make sense. The only reason that Jeff would be dating Frankie is because the writers realized that Frankie is just an older version of Annie. And when Frankie realizes that she is just replacing Annie, she will dump him. She will. Or maybe in a plot twist he will realize that Frankie is a more boring version of Annie, and Jeff will dump-”

 

“Abed.” Annie said. “You are rambling and it is hurting my head. And you know that this real life right? And that there are no writers that are sitting in a room deciding our fate?”

 

“Yeah. But I like to think that there is, because then there is a reason for all the little bumps in the road. A reason that you are in pain. Doesn't that make it better? That someone you don’t even know is hurting you and not Jeff?”

End of flashback

 

Soon the entire group is sitting around a table, talking, and catching up. Troy is telling stories of sailing all over the world, that without doubt made everyone jealous. Everyone is doing something completely different than they were when they left Greendale. Britta is now a therapist. A real one. Abed was living in Los Angeles and directing movies. Jeff has gone back to being a lawyer. And not the scuzzy kind. Even Annie is not working in a branch of FBI in Denver. She wishes that her family was here to see them, so that she could prove to them that community college does not make you a failure.

 

After everyone is done eating, they all say their goodbyes and head towards their cars. Annie can’t help but notice that Jeff and Frankie are holding hands as they walk towards Jeff’s Lexus. If she saw them on the streets and didn’t know them she would think they were married. The thought of Frankie wearing a white dress walking towards him at the altar made her heart shatter into a million pieces. Everyone says that high school breakups are the worst, but those people clearly don’t know what they are talking about. Because if she could turn this heartache into electricity, she would have enough to power a semi truck.

Annie gets into her car and turns on the engine. The cold air of the air conditioner immediately begins blowing in her face, and the radio picks up where it left off, blaring annoying pop songs that she more often than not would be singing along to at the top of her lungs.

 

Flashback
Annie went over to his apartment one night. He wasn’t home, but she had a key. She liked hanging out at his place, mainly when he was there, but it wasn’t bad even when he wasn’t. She was going to cook chicken and surprise him when he gets home. She had even gone to the grocery store to buy all the things she needs instead of hoping that maybe he will have something (which he definitely won’t).

 

She grabbed his speaker off the counter and connected it to her phone. It was one of those really expensive bluetooth speakers that made the music sound a thousand times better. After deciding on a pop radio station she turned the volume up as loud as it could go and ended up dancing around his kitchen and singing, which was more like screaming, all the words.

 

The music was so loud that she didn’t even notice him come into the apartment. He snuck up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. When she felt someone grabbing her she screamed out of surprise, before turning around to see him. “Hey.” She shouted over the music. He leaned across the island and turned it way down. It probably still seemed really loud to him, but since she had it full volume, it seemed as if it wasn’t even playing anymore. “You know my neighbors are going to complain right?” “Oh come on.” She said “These walls are pretty thick, you live in a nice condo.” “I could hear you the second I got off the elevator.” He said smirking. “Well then maybe we should start sleeping at my place, you know how I like to get loud.” “Maybe we should.” he said. “Because you are also trashing my kitchen” he gestured to the mess of the chicken that she was trying to make. You know I’ll clean it up. Have you ever seen me leave a mess before?” she raised an eyebrow. He thought for a second. “No. I haven’t” he admitted in defeat. He leaned down and lightly kissed her on the lips. Annie responded by putting her arms around his neck and pulling him down closer to her. End of flashback

Putting the car in drive, Annie pulls out of the parking lot and heads back to her empty home. The small apartment, as usual is spot free clean. It’s been that way for a while now. When she begins to feel upset, and can feel that she is about to do something she will regret, she tends to clean and clean until her hands are stained with bleach.

 

She orders take out food for one from the Italian restaurant that is right around the corner from her house. She changes into a pair of shorts and a t shirt When her food arrives she pays and takes the pasta from the delivery person. She sits down in front of tv, and doesn't even bother to take the pasta out of the container and put it into a bowl. Instead she eats it straight from the restaurants cart with plastic silverware, like some broke college student.

 

There is a knock at the door that startles her since she wasn’t expecting anyone. Annie sets her food down on the coffee table before she gets up to answer the door. When she opens it she is surprised to see Jeff standing there. He has a blanket draped over his arm. When he looks at her, his mouth drops open slightly before he closes it. Annie looking down at herself realizes that she is standing in her doorway wearing shorts that are a size too small for her and a pink t shirt with no bra. Feeling slightly uncomfortable she raises her arms to her chest to tries and cover herself up slightly.

 

“Hi.” Jeff says. “I uh, found this blanket in my house, and thought that you might want it back.” Annie looks at the blanket and a part of her achs. The last time that she had used that blanket she was wrapped up in it as well as his arms. She wonders if he was thinking the same thing. He probably isn’t considering that Frankie is probably back at his house waiting for him to come home.

 

“Thanks.” She says reaching out to grab the blanket, but he makes no advances to give it back.

 

“Can I come in for a second?” He asks her. Annie can feel her heart lurch out of her skin.

 

“Um, sure?” She asks it as a question, not completely sure why he can’t just give her the blanket and go back to his house. Nonetheless she moves out of the doorway and lets him inside her apartment. With him in here it seemed smaller. And even though it is freakishly clean, she feels self conscious about it. Can he tell that she has tried with all of her might to scrub away any last piece of evidence that he had been there?

 

He sits down on her couch and throws the blanket on the back of one of the chairs. Annie sits down on the couch, leaving one space between them. Her arms are still over her chest. It is ridiculous that she feels so awkward, it’s not like it wasn’t something he had already seen, but still it feels weird.

 

“Are you okay?” He asks after a moment of silence between the two of them. He is looking at her and she can tell that he is trying to search her face for something.

 

“I’m fine. Why would I not be?’ She tries to keep her voice steady when the only thing she wants to do is scream at him that of course she isn’t fine. He has a new girlfriend, and she is eating take out Italian with a plastic spork.

 

“I don’t know. It’s just that at lunch today you were really quiet, and I have gotten pretty good at knowing when somethings off, and well, something is clearly not right.” He has his arm rested on the back of the couch cushion, almost as if he is daring her to lean into him. To give into temptation and tell him everything.

 

“I’m fine.” she says slightly more defensive this time. She wants to ask him to leave but she doesn't know how to do it without being rude.

 

“You know, when we broke up, you said we could still be friends.” He says to her. “And friends tell each other when there is something wrong.” His voice raises slightly as if he is angry at something.

 

“Yeah well, most friends don’t have to fight back to urge to kiss each other all the time. Most friends haven’t seen each other naked. Most friends can sit and have a conversation without remembering their friend’s voice as they whispered sweet nothings in her ear.” She stops herself before she says anything else she will regret.

 

“You broke up with me Annie.” He is pissed. She can tell by his voice, and honestly he has every right to be.

 

“Well, unlike you, I haven’t slept with every girl in the group. You break up with one girl and just can’t wait to stick your tongue down another.” She can tell the words hurt by the way his face briefly changes before he puts on his mask.

 

“I can’t do this with you. You don’t get to pretend that you are the good guy. That I have done something wrong by filling the void you left.” He gets up off the couch and heads straight towards her front door. When he walks out he slammed the door shut, Annie didn’t even flinch.

 

She dreams about him for the first time in a long time that night. She used to dream about him when they were together. But those dreams were slightly different. In her dream last night he was sitting on her couch again. Only this time neither one of them ended up yelling at each other. Instead when he asked her if she was okay, she told him that she wasn’t and that she missed him every second of every day. He pulled her into a hug as the tears started forming in her eyes. They stayed like that long enough for Annie to lose track of time. But also long enough that she actually believed that maybe they could be friends. Maybe things could back to the way they were before things were complicated. But when she woke up the conversation of the night before is fresh on her mind, and she knows that they can never be anything less than platonic ever again.

 

The first thing she does that morning is text Jeff. She tells him that she is sorry, and that she didn’t mean to hurt him, now or then. The only thing he says back is that it is okay.

 

A couple of days later Annie receives a text on a group chat with all of their friends. It is from Jeff, he wants to know if everyone wants to come over and do a movie night at his house on Friday. Annie is honestly quite shocked that she even received an invite. She responds and tells him that she would love to go. Everyone on the group chat responds saying that it would be fun.

 

On Friday, Annie starts getting more and more nervous. She hasn’t seen him face to face since her little outburst. She should probably apologize to his face when she shows up at his apartment. Or maybe she could just let the whole thing go. He did say it was okay after all.

 

She arrives to his apartment at the same time as Britta. The two of them ride up in the elevator together. Britta knocks on the door and Annie takes a deep breathe trying to convince herself that she can do this. Frankie answers the door and Annie wants more than anything to take off running down the hall toward the elevator, but instead she steps into his apartment.

Everyone is already there sitting around Jeff’s table playing a game of yahtzee. Annie, Britta and Frankie walk back to the table. Frankie takes the seat that she abandoned next to Jeff. There are only two empty chairs left, one on the other side of Jeff and one next to Troy. And of course Britta quickly snatches the chair next to Troy forcing Annie to sit down next to Jeff. She smiles at him as she takes the chair, and he smiles back although she can tell he was faking it. She wonders if he can tell that she was faking hers too.

 

They play several rounds before the pizza guy buzzes the building. “Should I roll the dice?” Jeff asks. Everyone at the table laughs. Even Annie chuckles slightly to herself.

 

“No!” Abed say. “I’ll get it.” He quickly gets up from the table and Jeff sets the dice back down on the table.

 

Part of Annie wishes that he had rolled it. Maybe in one of those different timelines she would be brave enough to tell him exactly how she feels.

 

“What’s so bad about rolling a dice for who goes to get the pizza?” Frankie asks looking at Jeff.

 

Annie rolls her eyes. Frankie is so wrong for him. She doesn't understand their group. If she has to ask what was so bad about creating alternate timelines then she shouldn’t even be sitting at the table.

 

“A couple of years ago, I rolled a dice and Abed told me that I was creating six different timelines. He then spent the rest of night, as well as the rest of our time in Greendale, wondering what was going on in the darkest timeline.” Jeff told Frankie the way he looks into her eyes makes Annie want to throw herself out his apartment window.

“Oh that’s funny.” Frankie says smiling and laughing a little as if she understands exactly what Jeff just told her.

 

“No it’s not.” Troy says. “There is nothing funny about Jeff losing an arm, me having no voice, Pierce dying, Annie getting locked up in a mental hospital. Shirley becoming an alcoholic and worst of all Britta got a blue streak in her hair.”

 

“Oh.” Frankie says. “I didn’t realize this was like a thing that you guys have thought a lot about it. Sorry.”

 

She is so wrong for him. So so wrong for him. Was the only thing Annie can think of at that very moment. Abed came back into the apartment with all the pizzas. The group finishes their game of yahtzee as they all eat the pizza. Then they move into Jeff’s living room where he pulls up the movie, Italian Job. He takes it from his shelf filled with all sort of what he called classic movies, that at one point he had forced Annie to watch. Annie can’t help but notice the newest edition to the movie shelf, La La Land.

 

Flashback

“You have to go see La La Land with me.” She pestered him one night while she was laying in his bed. She had her arm draped across his torso.

 

“You’ve already seen it twice, and I have no interest in seeing it.” He said back to her.

 

“But! I want to see it with you. It’s romantic Je-ff.” She said to him separating his name out into three syllables. “And the music is really good.”

 

“Why do you think that I would want to see it if it is romantic?” He asked her. She knew that he wasn’t really a big fan of romantic movies, but she still thought he could suck it up and go sit through it with her.

 

“Please. Please. Please.” She begged him. “If you don’t go see it with me, then I am done doing the things that you like it when I do.”

 

“Are you serious?” He asked her. “Are you really going to try and bribe me into that movie.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Then fine, we can go tomorrow. But expect me to complain the whole way home.”

 

They went to movie, and even though he did hold true to his promise of complaining the whole way home, she did see him smile several times throughout the movie. He didn’t even stop her later that week when she started blaring the soundtrack through his speaker and singing along.

End of Flashback

The movie starts and Annie had taken a seat on the floor by the couch. Troy and Britta were sitting next to each other on one of Jeff’s other couches. Britta has her feet in Troy’s lap and Troy doesn't seem to mind. Annie almost wonders if they are back together. She looks around at all of her friends, but stops when she sees Jeff and Frankie sitting on one couch.

 

Jeff is sitting on the side with his feet on the coffee table, while Frankie legs are spread out to the other end of the couch. She has her head on his shoulder and almost looked like she is going to fall asleep. Jeff’s arm is around her, and he doesn't even seem to mind the public display of affection. Annie wishes that she could look away, but it is like watching a train wreck. It is a horrific sight, but yet she can’t tear her eyes away.

 

Flashback

Jeff was laying on his couch when Annie came into his living room and sat down next to him. She was wearing the shorts that she knew he liked. Mainly because they were far too short, and they were tight. “Hey.” he said softly.

 

He pulled her towards him pushing himself back further into the couch. She curled her body up against his, and he wrapped his arms around her waist, burying his face into her hair. He ran one hand through her hair that was slightly tangled, since she had just showered. “You smell nice.” He whispered into her ear making her shiver slightly.

He tightened his grip around her waist. “I missed you today. I mean there was nothing special or anything. I just...missed you.” She could feel his breathe on her neck.

 

“I miss you every second that you aren’t curled up against me.” he replied. After several moments where neither one of them said anything Jeff broke the silence. “I’ve been talking to my father”

End of Flashback

Annie quickly pulls herself out of that memory before it gets too ugly. She knows what comes next, and she has been trying to forget it for almost and entire year at this point. She gets up off the floor and walks down his hall toward where the bathroom is. She stays there for a moment before she decides that she doesn't want to be here anymore. Without a word to anyone else, she leaves the bathroom and slips out of his apartment as quietly as she could without being noticed.

 

When she gets into the elevator, she remembers the last time that she took the elevator down from his apartment. And although the circumstance are very different, the feeling that she has in the pit of her stomach is the exact same. Finally the tears spill over onto her cheeks. She doesn't even try to wipe them away. There isn’t any point anymore. She is hurting and she wants it to stop. She needs it to stop.

The whole way home she listens to sad songs, and lets the tears fall freely. That night when she is laying in bed she gets a text from Jeff who is wondering where she went. Annie doesn't even bother responding. Instead she turns off the light, and buries her face into the blanket that he had brought over. It is the one thing in her apartment that still smells like him.

 

Later in the week, Annie gets a group text from Britta who wants to know if the group wants to come over and play Cards Against Humanity later that night. Annie immediately checks who all is on the list and she is relieved to see that neither Jeff nor Frankie are on the list. So she texts back and says that it sounds like fun, she would definitely be in. She is however shocked to see that not only had Shirley been invented but she also accepted. She probably has no idea what Cards Against Humanity was.

 

At Britta’s apartment, Troy is the first one to ask the question that Annie has been dying to ask. “So why weren’t Jeff and Frankie invited?”

 

“We don’t like them” Abed responds casually throwing his card out on the table. “We like them individually but we don’t like them together.” he clarifies.

 

“It’s just that they are so annoying.” Britta says. “You can tell that Frankie is the heart and soul in that relationship.”

 

“I agree.” Annie pipes up, her voice slightly weak not exactly sure if it is her place to comment.

 

“Oh I feel so bad for you Annie.” Britta says. “I only slept with Jeff and it was painful for me to watch you two together sometimes. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have actually been in love with him.” She throws her card down. “They are going on a date tonight, I did extend the invite to him, but he said he would rather go to dinner with Frankie.”

 

Annie feels her heartbeat quicken. She really doesn't want to think about him out with her at a fancy restaurant.

 

“We should break them up.” Abed says glancing up from his cards to the rest of the group. “Classic twist.”

 

“What?’ Shirley asks. “No that’s mean.”

 

“I don’t know. I mean maybe we would be doing Jeff a favor.” Britta says.

 

Abed glances down at his watch it was only six. Jeff had said that his date was at seven. “We still have time to do this. We could all go over to Jeff’s place and stage an intervention.”

 

“We should do it. It’ll be just like tv shows Abed” Troy exclaimed looking at his best friend. “What better welcome home gift than to go on a wild goose chase to break Jeff and Frankie up.”

 

“Well it wouldn’t be wild goose chase” Britta says. “I figured we would just go over to his house and tell him how we feel.”

 

“Don’t Britta this.” Troy says to Britta

 

“Guys this is insane.” Shirley says. “Jeff and Frankie are both grown ups and if one of them is unhappy than they should fix it not us.”

 

“Let's do it.” Britta says clearly ignoring everything Shirley had just said. “But we can’t all go. Only one of us should. And it should be the one of us with the most pull on Jeff.” Everyone in the group looks at Annie.

 

“I’m not going to get involved.” Annie says simply. “It’s really not my place.”

 

“Annie.” Britta starts. “You are the only one in this group who would Jeff would even listen too. We all know that you want him back and this may be your only chance. Do you really want to receive an invite to the marriage of Jeff and Frankie in a year or so.”

 

“Britta. I have no pull over him anymore.” Annie says.

 

“Fine.” Britta says. “Then I guess you should just get used to calling Frankie, Frankie Winger.”

 

Annie feels her cheeks go slightly red at the idea of Frankie last name being Winger. She would never be able to call Frankie that. She is supposed to be Annie Winger. “Okay. I’ll go over there, but only to talk to him, and I can’t promise anything will happen.” She gets out of her chair and grabs her coat and car keys before heading out of Brittas apartment.

 

She parks her car in the spot next to his Lexus. She doesn't wait this time to get out of her car, there is no point. She wants to just get this over with as soon as possible. Annie has no idea what she is going to say to him. A part of her had debated just driving around killing time before going back to Britta’s and saying that it failed. But she had to try. She knew that she couldn’t keep living like this.

 

“Annie?” Jeff asks when he saw her. “What are you doing here?”

 

“Uh.” Annie stumbles she should’ve been more prepared. She lets out a sigh. “I just want to talk, do you have a moment.”

 

“Not really. Sorry. I’m meeting up with Frankie for dinner.” It bothers Annie how dressed up he was. He was wearing a suit jacket with one of those skinny little ties. There was stubble on his face, just the way Annie had always liked it. She loved the way it tickled when he kissed her. She misses the days when he dressed up like that for her. And only her.

 

“That’s the problem.” Annie says fast so she can’t stop mid sentence. “We don’t really like that you are dating Frankie.”

 

“Whose we?” He asks raising his voice at we. “The group? Or you?”

 

“Both.” Annie admits honest. “I mean I fall into the category of the group.”

 

“Yeah, but you function a lot different in a group than you do when you are on you own. When you are in the group you tend to try and fit in and appease everyone. When it’s just you, you are far more honest and you care more about yourself.” Jeff seid. “So who doesn't like Frankie and I together?”

 

“I don’t” She says her voice strong.

 

“Now are you talking as a friend or as an ex girlfriend? You don’t get to play both parts.”

 

“As your friend.” she’s lying and they both know it. “We can all tell that you are unhappy with her. You don’t love her like you did…” She trails off slightly trying to keep up the act of the friend.

 

“I don’t love her like I did what? Like I did you?” He stops for a moment looking into her eyes. “Annie you said it best yourself years ago. You either want me or you don’t. And you need to makeup your mind.”

 

“I did make up my mind.” Annie says firmly. “I don’t think you should go out with Frankie tonight.”

 

“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t get in my car and drive away leaving you here alone in this parking lot. One good reason why I shouldn’t go meet up with the beautiful woman who is waiting for me halfway across town. The woman who will most likely come home with me tonight. One good reason Annie.” Jeff says to her looking into her dark brown eyes.

 

“Becauseistillloveyou” Annie spills the words out of her mouth so fast she wonders if he even knows what she said. But judging by the look on his face he heard her loud and clear. There is something on his face that she has never seen before. It is a mixture of several different emotions, love, hate, lust, anger, happiness, all rolled into one look.

 

He starts to step towards her but must have changed his mind, because he quickly turns around and gets in his car. He slams the door shut so hard Annie is surprised it doesn't fall of the hinges. Just as quickly as he walked away he drives away leaving Annie standing alone in the parking lot just as he said he would.

 

Flashback

“I’ve been talking to my father.” Jeff whispered while the two were laying on the couch. Annie immediately sat up straight turning to face him.

“What?” She asked shocked by how casually he mentioned it.

 

Jeff sat up straight as well. When they were both sitting it was apparent how much taller he was than her. Annie didn’t mind the height difference. In fact she kind of liked it, he was like her human ladder. “Well I got a call from Willie Jr. a couple of weeks ago. Apparently my father had kicked him out of the house and he had nowhere to go. He said that he didn’t know who else to call. When he asked me if he could live here for a couple of weeks I said yes-”

 

“Is that why you wouldn’t let me come over for all of last month?” Annie shouted a little louder than she meant to.

 

“Yes.” Jeff admitted. “Well as it turns out William Winger does care about one of his children, just the one with his first name, because he showed up at my house wanting to take Willie back. Willie thankfully moved back in with him.”

 

“He invited me over for dinner to thank me for taking care of Willie. I wasn’t going to go, but Willie begged me. So I went. And it wasn't horrible at first.

 

Annie got up off the couch and started pacing. “Jeff, you had decided after you met him during thanksgiving that you wanted nothing to do with him.” Her voice was raising.

 

“Yeah, and I briefly changed my mind.” Jeff seid now rising to his feet. “I can do whatever I want. Just because I say something three years ago doesn't mean that I won’t change my mind.”

 

“You can’t handle it when you see him.” Annie was now screaming at him. “When you get depressed you drink, and it’s not healthy at all. Alcohol is a depressant you know?”

 

“Why are you so pissed at me right now? I thought you would be happy, that I am finally healing old wounds.”

 

“Oh please, I’m not Britta.” Annie snorted. “I don’t need you to get some kind of closure.”

 

“Well maybe I did. Maybe I needed that. Not everything is about you, you know? Maybe everyone was right, you are too young for me. Maybe I need to be in a relationship with someone more mature.”

 

“You know I didn’t mean it like that Jeff” She countered. “The last time you talked to him you almost drank yourself to death. And don’t act like you’re not drinking again. I can taste the alcohol everytime we kiss.”

 

“Then why didn’t you say anything then? If you knew I was drinking than why didn’t you say anything?’ He questioned, she watched his facial features change with each word.

 

“Because I trusted you!” She screamed at him. “I trusted that you knew what you were doing and how to take care of yourself.”

 

“Oh so you don’t think I can take care of myself. Annie I am almost forty years old, and I’ve gone through thirty years on my own without you, and somehow I survived.”

 

“Please.” She said. “Had you not found all of us in Spanish class and formed a fake study group, you never would’ve made it out of Greendale alive. Don’t try to kid yourself. You got lucky. Everything you’ve accomplished has been based of an over looked over technicality.” She regretted the words as soon as they came out of her mouth.

 

There was a silence on his part for a moment. She could tell that those words hurt. How could they not. Mentally she prepared herself for his next words which would probably somewhere along the lines of we are breaking up and get out.

 

Instead he took several steps towards her and caresed her check with a hand. He leaned down to kiss her but she turned her head and the last second. It was too late. Her mind was already made up. “We should break up.” she whispered afraid to hear her voice say the words too loudly.

 

“What?’ he asked taking a step back from her. “Why?” he asked.

 

“Because I can’t do this. I can’t watch you drink yourself to death and feel sorry for yourself twenty four seven. It’s not fair to me.”

 

“Annie.” He said “I’m not talking to him anymore. I changed my mind again.”

 

“It doesn't matter.” Annie said tears forming in her eyes. She didn’t even try to blink them away. “Because you did” Her voice cracked at the did part. “You talked to him and instead of being honest with me you lied. I could’ve helped you, could’ve supported you, but you just left me in the dark.” Her vision was getting blurry and the back of throat burned.

 

“Annie please.” He said. Through her blurred vision she thought that she could see the hint of tears forming in his eyes. “We can work through this. That’s what you are supposed to do in a relationship. We had a fight, I made some mistakes. That doesn't mean that we should quit. I love you and I know you still love me.”

 

“Not anymore” Annie said. She turned around and grabbed her coat and car keys off the hanger. She didn’t slam the door shut, instead she closed it softly. She walked down the hall, the tears still streaming down her face. When she got in the elevator she hit the ground floor button, before she let her back hit the wall of the elevator. She covered her mouth with her hands to try to make the sobs more quiet. With each ping of the elevator, taking her further from Jeff, she felt a piece of heart break.

End of Flashback

Annie texts Britta saying that she was not able to convince him. Britta responds with a sad face before asking her if she wouldn’t mind picking up pizza.

Back at Britta’s apartment Annie sat the pizza down on the table. The group is still playing cards, Britta deals Annie into the game.

 

After several rounds of cards that made anyone with a moral alignment blush, the door to Britta’s apartment is thrown open and an angry Jeff storms into the apartment. “You all are horrible people.” he says to the group sitting around the table. Annie still feeling embarrassed about what she said tried to hide behind Troy's shoulder. “Especially you Annie.” he says singling her out. She didn’t move her head from where she was “hiding”. “You know I was perfectly happy with Frankie.” Jeff continues. “But then you guys had to get involved and ruin everything I had going for me just as usual.”

Everyone in the group is quiet until Abed pipes up. “You weren’t happy with Frankie. You were happy pretending that Frankie was an older Annie.” Annie closes her eyes and prayed that this will all just be some terrible nightmare.

 

“Did she break up with you?” Britta asks. “Cause that doesn't really make sense considering Annie only talked to you. How would Frankie have even known about the intervention?”

 

“That’s not important.” Jeff says turning to leave the apartment. “And Annie.” He shouts from the doorway. “When you are finally feeling brave enough, why don’t you call me. I think that you and I need to have a conversation.” He closes the door behind him when he leaves

 

Annie sits up from her chair and throws her cards down. She tries to play it off cool and hopes that no one will say anything. It only lasts point two seconds.

 

“What the hell did you say to him?” Britta questions.

 

“I didn’t really say anything.” Annie lies.

 

“Bull shit.” Britta says “We all know Jeff well enough to know that him storming in here to tell us how he feels is so out of character. So whatever you said to him must have really upset him, or pissed him off.”

 

“I agree with Britta on this one.” Abed chimes in. “I’ve been studying Jeff’s character for a really long time and this just doesn't fit in. Maybe we are in the darkest timeline.”

 

“Enough with the timelines!” Everyone at the table yells in unison.

 

“The only thing I said to him was that we, as a group, didn’t think that him and Frankie were right for each other. I told him that to all of us it never really seems like he is completely happy with her.” Annie isn’t lying she did said all of those things. She just said them a little differently and went a little off script.

 

“Well I guess it worked.” Britta says casually.

 

“Jeff was right.” Shirley says “You guys are horrible people.”

 

After several more rounds of cards it was getting close to midnight. Everyone around the table seemed to be drunk except for Annie. Britta told them all that they were more than welcome to stay at her place tonight. But Annie opted to go home. Not her home, at least not right away. Right now she needed to have a conversation with someone. She wanted to do it now before she chickened out in the morning. Plus she herself had one shot, and was feeling pretty good right about now.

 

At his house she silently rode up in the elevator alone. She wasn’t crying and she didn’t even feel like crying. Instead she felt like screaming. She had no idea what he was going to say and not a clue what he was going to say back.

 

She knocks on his door twice before taking a step back and waiting. When he opens the door he is wearing sweatpants and t shirt. His hair is messy, but not in a bed head way. Without saying a word he opens the door far enough for her to step inside his apartment.

 

“Look” is the first thing that she says. “I didn’t mean for you and Frankie to break up.” She holds her hands down in front of her. She is standing in his living room, but he is still standing by the door.

 

He laughs. Not a fake little laugh but a real laugh. The kind she would expect to hear if he was at a stand up comedy show. “Oh come on. Let’s not lie to each other now. You weren’t even subtle about trying to break me and Frankie up. In fact I bet that you are pretty happy right now. Probably because for the first time in a long time you will be able to sleep tonight without the imagine of my hands roaming over her body in your mind.”

 

She purses her lips. He’s trying to get back at her, trying to make her hurt the way she had hurt him. She knows that, but it still stings to hear him say it outloud. Especially since the words he is saying aren’t all that far from the truth. She can feel the tears welling up in her eyes.

 

“Please don’t cry. You know I hate it when you cry. You can’t keep doing this Annie. Expecting everything to be okay by tricking people with your disney eyes, and crying to make them feel as if they had done something wrong and not the other way around.”

 

“I don’t expect everything to be okay. That’s the problem. I know very well that I am the bad guy here. I am the villain in your story, trust me I’ve thought about that every night for an entire year.” Annie says through tears. “I’m not trying to make you feel like you did something wrong, because you didn’t. You never did anything wrong. That’s the second problem. I tried to convince myself that I deserved to have you, but in truth I didn’t.”

 

“But why did you say it?” Jeff asks even his voice seemed to crack a little bit.

 

“Because I was afraid.” She says. “I was terrified that you were going to break up with me. Terrified that you would leave me, I would be heartbroken while you moved on. So I ended it before you had the chance. I thought it would be easier if I broke myself before you could. And in actuality I think it was harder.”

 

“Annie.” Jeff says calmly. “I wouldn’t have broken up with you that night. I don't think that I ever would’ve broken up with you.” For some reason that is what hurt the most. The idea that none of this would’ve happened if she had been just a little bit more brave.

 

“Did you love her?” Annie asks terrified of the answer she may receive.

 

“No. I didn't. I thought I did, with her it felt the same way it had with all the other girls before. I called it love but I don’t think it was love. To be honest, I don’t think I ever really knew what love was until you. With you everything just seems different.” He walks towards her and takes her hands into his.

 

“Then why did you leave me in the parking lot?” The other question that she was afraid to have an answer to. He wanted a good enough reason to stay, yet he still left.

 

“Because I wanted to do this right, I didn’t want their to be any sort of shadow lurking.” He says as he leans down to kiss her. She doesn't pull back, instead she wraps her arms around his neck and stands on her tiptoes so he doesn't have to lean down quite so far. His hands quickly find their way into her hair. And before Annie knows what is happening, the sweet little kiss becomes a much more passionate one. One that is making up for all the lost time.