“So the semester has really flown by, Jeff. Wow, I can’t believe you’re almost done with Greendale and that no major events have happened since Sophie’s adoption day.”
Jeff nodded absentmindedly as he cradled his landline and listened to Abed. As usual, he had no idea why they were having this conversation.
He remarked, “That is fascinating, but I have to go.”
He clicked off the phone and placed it on the counter. He then began to putter about the kitchen, opening and closing the fridge perhaps more than necessary, peering into the cupboards to make sure they had enough mac n cheese for the week, and checking the condition of the bananas on the countertop.
Yellow but not too yellow. Probably would last through the weekend.
He supposed there was no reason to go to the grocery store, as it was Wednesday and they were on spring break, but his brain was buzzing. He could use a good drive. And he supposed although they had stopped by the store this past weekend at Annie’s insistence that they get a jump on things so that they could have a lot of family time, he could maybe pick up some protein bars. He opened up a drawer and spied a pack of eight.
Okay, maybe not.
Only seven more weeks until his graduation. He had nothing to feel nervous about. Sure, he had kept telling the general student body he couldn’t wait until he left the halls of Greendale, but he and Annie both knew he was more than a little terrified. He and Mark had been busy setting up things for their practice, but they understandably couldn’t quite be out in the open about everything yet. After May 23rdthings would likely be moving rapidly.
Eh, he could probably handle that part. It was the anticipation that was driving him nuts. He never did like to wait for things.
He attempted to push other thoughts from his mind, the thoughts that were the more disturbing for him than the law practice part. He knew he could be a lawyer. It was something of which he was certain.
It was the other thing.
It was now April 3rd.
He sighed and hunched over on the counter, cradling his forehead in his hands.
“Hi, Daddy! What you do-ing?”
He felt the warmth spread through his chest and then travel to his cheeks. He realized shouldn’t have gotten so far into his head. His daughter could always cheer him up.
The munchkin was amazing. He remembered his therapist’s advice from their recent session. Yes, he’d make an effort to be grateful for what they had and for these precious moments.
He lifted his head to reveal his smile, and then was not at all surprised when he couldn’t see her. He stood fully and walked over to the side of the counter to spot her attempting to climb up one of the counter stools. He crouched down and picked her up, once again marveling at her lightness. She would be four this summer, but she wasn’t really that close to being out of her car seat. Dr. Rich said she needed to be forty pounds before she could be in a booster seat, and he doubted that would happen for a while.
It would have been a pain to have two baby car seats anyway.
Everything was fine.
He kissed her under her ear and as she giggled he said, “I’m so happy to see you. I thought you were playing with Mommy.”
Sophie’s eyes widened and she replied in all earnestness, “We pway-ed und now we don-ed. Mama say go get YOU!”With that, she smacked his chest and started squealing, clearly taken with her cleverness.
He continued to smirk and said, “Well you found me.” He walked down the hall with her, entering the master bedroom to find Annie on the bed cross-legged and looking mighty pleased with herself. In response to her preening expression, he remarked, “Why, look who got the canary.”
She rubbed her hands together, which he found pretty comical and strangely arousing. She half-squeaked, “Jeff! I just got off the phone with your mom, and she says she’d love to watch Sophie tonight!”
His chest tightened, and he found himself pulling Sophie closer to his shoulder almost protectively. He hesitated and then asked, “I thought this was family time?”
He looked at her pointedly, knowing she’d know what he meant.
Her expression faltered somewhat, and she bit her lip as she said, “I just thought. Jeff, I’m….”
“We agreed to take this month off.”
She nodded slowly, her brow furrowed in the way it did when she was strategizing. He so did not want to be strategized about right now.
After a few months of frustration coupled with midterms, they had agreed that, although spring break fell during a potentially convenient time, they’d take the pressure off. They had been playing lots of mind-numbing Go Fish with Sophie, going to the playground, and after bedtime had been cuddling on the coach watching Rom Coms or Star Wars.
Annie of course had also been studying, but she was insane.
He smiled slightly, hoping she’d return to their plan. He hated disappointing her, but he needed a break.
She patted the area next to her, and he walked over and sat down, letting Sophie roll to the side in a fit of hysterics. As Annie smooshed Bear Winger into Sophie’s arms, she said with a light tone, “I know. We don’t have to work on that, Jeff.”
He eyed her suspiciously, and she let out a huff.
“I mean it! I was thinking we could have a romantic night out, go back to that place you took me on our first date.” She tilted her head and batted her lashes.
He said, “And finish it like we finished our first date?”
She shrugged. “Only if we wanted to. And it would just be for fun, Jeff. You know, you could,” she glanced at Sophie and then whispered through gritted teeth, “ravish me because you wanted to you know. We don’t have to turn everything into a project.”
He responded in a low tone, pushing down some tingly feelings he had at the word ravish, “Right, since when don’t you love a project?” He found himself inching a little closer, and it annoyed him. He was such a goner for her.
She smiled tightly and said, “I do love our project. I just don’t think you do. I’m sorry this has been so stressful.”
He closed his eyes and counted to five before reopening them and attempting to view her with gratitude.
She was his wife, and they were happy. Or at least they should be. God, sometimes he sucked.
“I’m sorry I’ve been such a grouch.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“So?...” She raised her brows expectantly, and he caved.
“We probably could use a date.”
“Daddy, I wanna watcha movie.”
After watching The Little Mermaid, they dropped off Sophie at Dorie’s, who winked at them and said she would keep her overnight. At Jeff’s skepticism that she could do so in the middle of the week, she hushed him and said she had worked everything out with her boss so she could take tomorrow morning off. Annie had eagerly handed her Sophie’s overnight bag and Ruffles’ leash, and when Jeff had started to say something about his mother being sure she could do this without getting into trouble at work, all of the ladies in his life groaned at him and he got with the program.
Right, date night.
No big deal. He and Annie needed this. Just have some good food, perhaps some wine (but not too much), and laugh and relax. If they ended up doing other things, it wouldn’t have to be so heavy.
Annie was looking up at him with concern. She swallowed and then said, “We’re here.” She gestured up at the sign and smiled slightly.
Mario’s Italian Bistro
He suddenly felt pretty embarrassed. He’d been practicing the opposite of gratitude, the polar opposite of mindfulness. He smiled tightly and nodded as he remarked, “Right.” He then took a deep breath and held out the crook of his arm. Full of affected confidence that he knew would be more genuine in a minute or so, he said,
Annie grinned up at him and accepted.
“You look amazing.”
He smiled over at her, and she returned it, doing that little bouncy thing she did in her seat when she was feeling very pleased. She was clutching the menu but her eyes were roaming the establishment.
“Thank you. I thought you might recognize the dress.”
He took in the sight of it, knowing full well the significance. He couldn’t even muster up a smirk, his heart was aching with sincerity as he said, his face open with vulnerability, “I’ll never forget you in that. When you were walking up to me on the quad, you took my breath away.”
His voice had lowered several registers but had also softened. He locked eyes with her, and he could have sworn she was literally melting.
“Awww!” She then whispered, her breath catching as she said, “You look very handsome. You always have. My Jeffy.”
They regarded one another with admiration, and Jeff couldn’t help but feel that everything in his life was amazing. He had the best partner on the planet and he was here with her. There was nowhere else he’d rather be, and this moment was perfect.
His head snapped up, and he spotted the notorious Mitchell Higgins. Goddamn it.
He flashed a smile and said, “Mitchell.” Casting a bemused look with Annie as they both noticed an impeccably dressed unknown blonde on his arm, he then added, “Funny running into you here again.”
Mitchell reached out and shook his hand, motioning for Jeff to remain seated. The whole thing was more than a bit condescending, but Jeff didn’t care. He was almost out of the law firm, and as long as no one got wind of his and Mark’s plans, everything would work out.
Which made him realize he probably should suck ass a little, for appearances sake. He cast another look at Annie, and knew she read his mind. He then said, “Mitchell, who is this lovely creature?” he indicated toward the blonde, who was now blushing a little as she took in the sight of Jeff.
He felt Annie’s foot on his, knowing she didn’t really like it when he flirted (or did she?). But this was necessary. He almost giddily added, “You, my lady, are looking gorgeous. Mitchell, you have excellent taste, and lady, this man you are with is a legal shark. I’m Jeff Winger, an mere lowly legal contractor at Mitchell’s firm.” He reached up and took her hand.
Annie’s foot pressed harder onto his ankle, and his rush of confidence was back.
The woman lightly laughed and said, “I’m Ainsley. So very nice to meet you.”
Mitchell regarded Annie for a moment longer than was polite and Jeff could tell it annoyed her. She glanced over at him and then plastered on her best Annie smile and rose slightly reaching out her hand toward Mitchell, who by now flustered a little as he stared at her chest and said, “Oh, right, Annie isn’t it?”
“Yes, we’ve met.” She turned toward Ainsley and said, her voice dripping with territorialness, “I’m Annie, Jeff’s wife.” She shook the blonde’s hand and then carefully sat back down fully, swishing her hips to the side just a little, which made Jeff readjust his belt slightly.
“Why, you two are stunning. Mitch, aren’t they a gorgeous couple?”
Mitchell cocked his head and said, “Yeah, they are.”
Annie piped in, “We have a gorgeous child too! Do you want to see a picture?”
Jeff closed his eyes for a moment and tried not to laugh. He was of course having flashbacks to their first date when Annie had tried to ingratiate herself with Mitchell and whats-her-name, Bonne? Barb? Yeah, Barb. But Mitchell had quickly shot that down, clear on them spending the nights separately and likely not having much use for mingling.
To Jeff’s almost horror, Ainsley was now making her way over to Annie’s side of the table and pulling up a chair. Mitchell shrugged but seemed bemused by the whole thing and promptly sat down next to Jeff.
Jeff turned toward him and let out a long breath. “Women.”
He caught Annie’s reproachful look, but he didn’t mind. She was the one who invited this mess, but in that moment he knew she was trying to help him. He gave her a soft smile and said, “Sorry. She is pretty adorable.”
“Of course she is, Jeff.” Annie affected a haughtiness and then resumed showing Ainsley some pictures.
As the oohs and awwws commenced on the other side of the table, Mitchell remarked, “You know, Winger, I’m glad you’ve stuck around.”
“When you’re done with your degree, there are strong rumors Ted’s got his eye on you for something special.”
“Oh, come on. Not after everything.”
Mitchell lowered his voice to an almost whisper, “Alan told me he kinda spilled the beans to you already, so you know that. It makes sense why you’re not trying to start over on our own, which let’s face it, is something that would be a complete disaster because we’d ruin your reputation in a hot minute if you tried anything like that.”
Jeff tried not to let his face betray anything. He knew Alan was pretty stupid when it came to interpersonal stuff and only accidentally landed on things once in awhile, but Mitchell was a different story. The guy certainly had more suave, and Jeff couldn’t tell if he was just messing with him or was feeling him out. Probably a combination of both.
He nodded and said, “That would be pretty insane. And a lot of work.” He flashed Mitchell a charismatic grin as he added in a whisper, “I like cute assistants and an expense account. Alan can suck it.”
Mitchell let out a whooping laugh, and Jeff relaxed somewhat.
“I knew you were my kind of guy, Winger! Continue to play your cards right with Ted, and we’re gonna have so much fun. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to keep your Missus in style. I’m sure she’ll love it.”
Jeff allowed Mitchell to pat him on the back and then cast a look over at Annie, whose eyes were dancing between him and Mitchell.
Touching her décolletage, she purred, “I love pretty things.”
Despite his best attempts, he ended up losing control the moment they returned to the Lexus.
Not that he really minded. Control was over-rated as a coping strategy anyway, wasn’t that what his therapist had said?
“God, Annie.” He mumbled the words into her cleavage as she hoisted her leg over his lap. She had insisted she drive them home, explaining she thought he had a little too much to drink, but he strongly suspected that was because she wanted to maneuver herself onto him with no steering wheel as an obstruction.
He didn’t really mind.
His hands when to her hips and then he dipped his left one lower so that he could shimmy it under her dress. As his fingers reached a tantalizingly moist area, he felt her body buck into his, and he knew they were doing this.
In the Lexus, and in the restaurant parking lot. It was probably pretty irresponsible, but hell.
There was a loud knock on the passenger side window.
After being given a warning for public indecency by a peeved looking Officer Cackowski, they high tailed it out of there. As Annie drove, she was flush with the thrill of it all, and her excitement only made Jeff hornier.
“I can’t believe you talked him out of issuing us a legal citation!” She let out the words almost breathlessly as she pressed more firmly down on the accelerator.
Jeff licked his lips and moved his hand to her thigh, liking the way she widened her legs slightly so that he could proceed with a little more freedom.
He said with an affected nonchalantness, “That’s how we roll, us Wingers. He didn’t have evidence of indecency, as we were fully clothed. But still, better we go home.”
He felt her tense and then let out a soft sigh at his continued his maneuverings before she swatted at his hand, and he pulled it back.
She asked a little breathlessly, “Home?”
He whipped his head toward her and caught her mischievous gaze.
At his unspoken question, she said, “I have an idea.”
They pushed their way into the Biology lab, grabbing at each other as Jeff hoisted Annie to his chest. She deftly swiped the custodian’s badge so that the room would unlock, and he once again marveled at how they could have overlooked the perks that Annie being the Dean’s assistant offered them.
She was really hot when she stole things. Or, as she phrased it, borrowed. She had batted her lashes and said something about them missing out on Biology sex because of the damned yams.
Even the way she said yams was making him hard, but that was probably not something to overanalyze at present.
So he didn’t, and they made their way onto Professor Kane’s demonstration table, which was luckily free from beakers and vials, as it was the middle of the night.
Jeff laid her down carefully on the table before covering his body with his. After kissing her relatively tenderly, he pulled back to see her smiling at him with lust.
He murmured, “This is a great idea.”
She nodded emphatically and pulled him down into another kiss.
Although not nearly as comfortable as their king-sized bed, Biology table sex was enjoyable in a whole other way. As Annie clenched and then shuddered above him, he finally let go, his mind completely free for the first time in weeks.
She held her position for a little while, pressing her forehead to his as he hunched his back to meet her halfway. He let his hand caress her sweaty spine, and he found himself letting out a soft laugh that she matched. She then rolled off him, and he held her for a perhaps more than a few minutes.
Finally, he asked, “I never know. How long is the appropriate time for spooning, Hector?”
He felt the swat from her far hand on his wrist and grinned, pulling her in a little tighter. He was so glad he had overcome his aversion to cuddling.
She slowly turned around and faced him, placing a kiss on his bare chest. “I love having Biology sex with you.”
He glanced up at the ceiling and marveled, “I never thought I’d be back in this room, minus failing the class, so I guess this surprised me.” He arched a brow and stared down at her, noticing she was meeting his gaze and beaming.
He added with a note of suspicion, “How long have you been thinking about this?”
“Ever since we were thwarted the first time. But I didn’t have access to the pass again until Carlos dropped it in the Dean’s office last week.”
He chuckled and pressed a kiss to her temple. “He hasn’t missed it in a week?”
She shrugged, and he pulled her into a front cuddle, taking a moment to nuzzle his head into her neck.
They then heard the sound of footsteps and scrambled for their clothes, which were strewn about the room.
Jeff shut the apartment door behind them and let out sigh. He wasn’t sure if it was relief or what, but he was definitely coming down from some adrenaline high, and it was pretty amazing. He hadn’t felt this since cocky and carefree since his trial days.
Who knew amazing and scandalous sex could be had with one’s wife?
God, he was damn lucky.
He stepped forward and confidently threw a laughing Annie over his shoulder so they could continue things in their own bedroom.
“How was your evening, dears?”
Jeff did his best to keep a neutral and breezy expression but was aware Annie’s eyes were bulging, and he squeezed her hand in an attempt to make her quit it before realizing his mother was full on blushing.
She added, “Oh, it was a nice night then?”
Annie laughed a little too lightly and said with a swat at the air, “Oh, you know, it was! We had a great dinner, where we went on our first date! And we ran into one of Jeff’s coworkers! It was so much fun!”
He cringed as he heard the squeak in her voice, but then noticed his mother was clearly holding back a smile.
He glanced down at Ruffles, who had just trotted in and had a smattering of green goo on top of her head. He squinted and looked at his mom with a questioning gaze as Annie bent down to nuzzle Ruffles.
“You’re all green, sweetie.” Annie patted what seemed to be a sticky substance and lifted her head to regard Dorie.
Hank moseyed in and began licking Ruffles’ back.
Dorie explained, “Sophie will be very pleased to see you both. We made special cupcakes.”
“Mom, you know how she is with sugar…”
--“Nonsense, Jeffrey. I’m not going to let her eat all of them. We thought we could have some for breakfast, as a family.”
As they entered the kitchen, they were greeted by the sight of Sophie wearing her Chef’s hat and apron, standing on a chair and proudly gesturing toward a table full of bright green cupcakes. Hickey was seated next to her, and he was apparently attempting to stifle a laugh, his hand over his mouth, as Sophie announced,
“Ta da, Mama! Ta da, Daddy! Dey all GWEEN!”
“They look delicious, munchkin.”