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It's Thursday evening, and they're out for Girl-And-Her-Guys night at the bar.

It's a ritual - a loft thing, really, just her and her three boys hanging out, chilling, being bros. She loves it. She loves this. The only thing is, tonight Nick forgot he has to work, Schmidt keeps making eyes at a severe-looking brunette on the other side of the room, and Winston is holed in the corner with Daisy doing gross couple things like breathing each other's air and sucking face and making the people around them vaguely uncomfortable.

So, what she's saying is: she's had better.

She ends up mostly hanging out at the bar with Nick, making friends with a glass of wine. She chats for a while with a woman next to her about the mechanics and harsh realities of empire waists (so hard to pull off and yet so right) and Nick squeezes in time between working the crowd to chat when he can. He has a towel slung over his shoulder. She loves watching him work, the neat motions of his hands and the efficient system he has for assembling drinks.

The bar closes down around them and she's still there when the room has emptied out, snorting into her wine with laughter as Nick balances the register and wipes down the counters. Schmidt had disappeared into the abyss of the night with the nameless brunette (he'd air high-fived Jess across the room, grinning widely, as he'd left) and Daisy and Winston have made good on their nascent threat to jump each other's bones and are long gone. Nick's plaid shirt is rolled up to his forearms now and he keeps teasing her about stupid stuff as he closes the bar up for the night, like do you really think those glasses make you look smarter and no, really, have you seen those glasses? nobody looks smart wearing them, Jess. Nobody.

And it's only when he's leaning across the bar with a smug little grin, all close to her face and emphasizing some dumb point or the other, that she realizes (with a funny shock) that what they're doing right here, this is flirting.

Nick is hardcore, balls-out flirting with her! Like he hadn’t laid a disturbingly epic kiss on her a couple weeks ago, dropped the mic, and walked away with his hands in the air. Like he's just some random dude who wants to get into her pants and sex her up at the end of the night, and she's some anonymous chick at the bar who's had one too many glasses of wine and really wants to get her freak on with the hot bartender guy who's been working her over all night.

(Because let's be real here: she is totally flirting with him, too. There's no question about it. She's flirting back hard, her hand wrapped around the stem of her wineglass and her laugh getting throatier and lower into Jessica Day sexy land. She's gonna own it. She's an adult and fully capable of dealing with having hot and bothered thoughts about her friend/roommate/one-time make out buddy/whatever mess of a jumbled relationship they've built for themselves over the past year and a half.)

"Look, I'll prove it," he says then, and plucks her glasses off her face. The world fuzzes out a little at the edges. She can tell from the general shapes and movements in front of her that he's put her glasses on and crossed his arms over his chest, hands tucked into his armpits. "See? Do I look smarter now?"

"Uh, you just stole my glasses, so I can't really see anything right now."

He moves in closer to her and his face swims into focus. He smells faintly like the way-too-manly soap they all tease him about and the type of alcohol that burns the back of your throat. It makes her want to lick his face (and rethink her agreement with the general loft stance on douchey body washes).

"You look like a hipster," she says, instead.

"Bite your tongue, woman!" he gasps.

"You've got the plaid and the hair that looks like you don't care about hairstyles and the nerd glasses and everything," she points out. "If you were rocking some suspenders, man, you'd be un-stop-pa-ble." She sings that last bit and throws up some devil horns to show him how serious she is about this.

"Unstoppable at what?"

"I don't know. Hipster-ing?"

"Hipster-ing?" he repeats, starting to laugh, his face all close to hers and not acting at all like Sad Nick. And she loves Flirty Nick, she really does, so she can't be blamed for what happens next. He kissed her first, after all. And he smells like that and she lies awake at night thinking about him now and she wants to kiss him, she wants to kiss him so badly.

So she does.

She pitches forward and her lips land on his, her nose bumping into the glasses on his face. Her mouth slides sideways off his, catching at the corner, his lips slick. Her head is buzzing gently with wine and and okay, so it's not the smoothest move she's ever made.

He goes very, very still.

She pulls back from him slowly. His eyes are closed and he's breathing lightly but rapidly, like a wounded animal, and he still isn't moving. She kind of hopes she hasn't broken him.

He finally cracks one eye open and says, softly, "So the glasses do it for you, huh?"

She almost grins. "Shut it, Miller."

"No, really, I get that. I definitely get that. I mean, I guess I thought we weren't doing this; I wasn't allowed to kiss you anymore, but you kissing me, apparently that's cool - which is something I'm totally fine with, by the way - and..."

She leans in to shut him up for real this time, pushing herself up over the bar. He slides a hand up into her hair, and have his hands always been so big? His palm is enveloping the back of her neck, the pressure of his fingers at the base of her skull pulling her toward him.

And it's like, she never pegged Nick as an awesome kisser, at least not before The Hallway happened. But now she sort of thinks that when they would fight before, they were really just pre-kissing, because Nick kisses like he argues - kind of angry and really, really focused on her face. It unnerves her a little, the intensity he kisses with. It makes her feel all fuzzy and twirly and desperate.

He shifts his grip on the back of her neck, tugging sharply at her hair.

She crawls forward a little closer to him then, hands flat on the top of the bar. Nick makes a guttural noise in the back of his throat and seriously, this whole thing is quickly becoming so crazy erotic she's having trouble thinking straight. The bar is empty and deserted around them, dark except for the thin lights illuminating the center shelving. The chairs are all pushed away neatly under their tables and everything smells like brass cleaner and wood wax, and what they're doing is so wrong. They agreed not to do this again! He works here! It's a public place! So many things!

She's getting super frustrated with the bar separating them and the awkward leaning she has to do to kiss him, so she breaks things off to hop herself the rest of the way up on the bar, swinging her legs over. Her skirt bunches up while she's executing the whole across-the-counter maneuver, riding up embarrassingly high on her thighs. She's not sure if she flashes him or not (at least she's wearing a nice pair of panties today, the ones with the cute red polka dots, so good job, her-from-this-morning!). She sees him swallow hard, watching her.

There's a second wooden shelf under the main bar counter where they mix the drinks. She sits down on that and grabs Nick by the collar of his stupid work-a-day flannel to pull his mouth back on hers.

"Wait," he breathes, his mouth so very close to her own again.

And she can't help it, she whines low in her throat when he stops, strung out on frustration and this aching, clenching feeling low in her gut. She's never been the type of girl to whine when making out (but maybe she is, now?) so, um, that's kind of embarrassing. But Nick's breath stutters when he hears her, and when she looks up his eyes are dark and way intense.

To stall for time, she reaches up to pull her glasses off his face and puts them back on herself. She wonders if he notices that her hands are shaking a little.

"Nick?" she asks, trying to sound composed and adult-ish and not like somebody who desperately wants to grind herself up against her roommate until she can't remember her own name. She about 70% pulls that off.

He keeps staring at her, the muscles in his jaw clenching, like he's waiting for - she doesn't know what? Tentatively, she reaches out a foot and hooks it behind his left knee.

"Nick, it's okay," she says softly. She wants to say this was always going to happen. She doesn't. She pulls him in a little closer with her foot, though, and he stumbles forward against her body, his hands going reflexively to her waist.

And it's like that breaks the spell, because all of a sudden he is all over her, fingers spread wide against her lower back and his tongue in her mouth. He jerks her into him, her ass slipping on the polished wood, and the height of this counter is genius because they're, like, all lined up now, business-wise. His erection is hard beneath his jeans and she's getting dizzy again, overwhelmed by how much of his body is pressed up against her own.

She scoots forward to hook her knee around him, spreading her legs wide to grind up closer against him, and the motion hikes her skirt up high around her hips. She feels like she should maybe be embarrassed about the whole wanton woman thing she has going on here, but instead she feels... powerful. She's sexy Jess, she's dangerous Jess. She is woman!

She bites down sharply on his shoulder, totally riding the wave of power, and his hips buck sloppily into hers for the first time.

"Oh fuck," he groans against her neck, and moves back up to kiss her again, urgent and hard. It consists mostly of teeth with no tongue, like how you would kiss somebody who was about to leave forever on an airplane and you couldn't fuck them at that exact moment so you settled for trying to devour their mouth.

"You're such a good kisser," she gasps when he tears his mouth away.

"I'm not, I'm really not," he pants, like that's something he legit wants to argue with her about.

"Nicholas Miller, learn to take a compliment," she says, and chases back up to kiss him one more time.

It gives her the shivers, the dirty shivers all through her body, his lower lip rolled between her teeth and her fingers twisted up in his rumpled hair. He rolls his hips against her again, but he does it almost lazily this time, like he's not even aware that he's doing it.

His nose keeps bumping up against her glasses. She reaches a blind hand up between them and peels them off one-handed, like a superhero.

He pulls back a little. "You don't have to..." His voice starts to pick up an awkward speed. "Your glasses. I like them. I like it when you wear them. You should do that. That thing. Glasses."

She pauses to let that one sink in. "You... like my glasses?"

"Yeah," he says fast, and winces.

She unfolds the arms and slowly slides them back on, going all out on the sexy. "Like this?" she asks, and lowers her eyelashes to smolder at him.

She means it to be flirty, because she's feeling empowered and pretty damn awesome right now, but instead his eyes get all serious and he draws his lips down in a mini-frown, like every adorable picture of a petulant, grumpy cat on the internet ever. Then he blinks, like he's reached some sort of a decision, because he suddenly puts his hands on her waist and yanks her forward on the counter a few more inches. She leans back instinctively to keep from slipping off the edge, bracing her hands against the wood.

And he drops to his knees in front of her.

"Oh my God," she says hollowly. "You do have a thing for my glasses." Or her glasses have magical sexy-time powers. Maybe both of those things are true. Oh God.

He spares a second to flash a grin up at her, smirking and crooked and more than a little cocky. It's the kind of look she'd normally make fun of him for, but wow, just wow is it ever working for her right now. She's also not usually a big fan of the whole going-down-on-her-lady-parts thing (it's messy and slurpy and honestly kind of embarrassing, even if it does get her going) but the sight of Nick with his head between her legs is doing it for her so hard, it's not even funny.

He wraps a hand carefully around her ankle. "Is this okay?" he asks. She wonders if he's purposefully being a jerk by making her say it.

"Um, yeah. Yup, yes. Go to town, sailor." She throws in a jaunty little salute down at him, because that's the kind of gal she is.

Her skirt is still bunched up around her hips, leaving her naked to the waist. She feels flushed and exposed, flashing her polka dot underwear at him. He laughs softly at her, and she feels it everywhere.

Then he scrapes the flat of his tongue up the crotch of her panties, and oh my God, ohmyGod. This is actually happening. His tongue is hot and the air that rushes in afterwards is cool and her hips jerk forward helplessly into the sensation. She awkwardly tries to keep herself from slipping off the counter with the control she has left, but Nick seems to figure out the problem at the same time and slings an arm up over her hip bone to help anchor her, like the champ that he is.

Then he finds her clit with his teeth, tonguing it through the wet cotton, and all bets are off.

She lets her head fall back because controlling her neck muscles at this precise moment seems way too complicated. Her shoulder blades hit the second, higher bartop behind her and her brain is starting to short-circuit with how much they are actually doing this.

He reaches up to push the fabric of her underwear to the side, holding it there with two fingers as he sucks directly on her clit, and she squirms blindly into the pressure.

The stubble of his perpetual man-scruff is scratchy like velcro on her thighs, and she's even weirdly into that, of all things. The thought that he's scraping her skin up pink and raw turns over something unexpectedly hot inside of her, the warmth licking up her spine.

She's rocking her hips, she can't even help it, and she's pretty sure her eyes are rolling back in her head (because that's totally hot, right). And they're doing this in front of the shelves of clean upside-down glasses, all lined up in neat rows! The pencil stub Nick uses to balance accounts next to the cash register! The clear containers of lime wedges covered up in plastic wrap for the night! Everything seems so normal and everyday and yet somehow this is happening, where she is half-naked and sprawled out on top of the bar panting like a wild woman with her roommate's tongue inside of her.

She and the bar are going to have a very complicated relationship after this.

Everything's building fast inside of her now, molecules and atoms and chemicals smashing together in her body like a science project turned all techno rave party. Nick shifts his hand to slip two fingers inside of her. He cups his palm underneath her and pulls her all the way into his mouth, wet and overwhelming and sloppy.

And she's basically out of her mind with how good this feels. She can't stop writhing on the stupid bar counter. She wants to say his name, wants to let the syllables of it roll off her tongue, Ni-cho-las, like that, Nick, Nick, Nicholas, the letters round and full in her mouth.

"Ni-," she gasps, then rounds off that stunning try with a hodgepodge of random consonants and vowels that seem to be stuck in her throat.

(Earlier today, they'd smiled at each other over the kitchen table. She'd been nursing a mug of tea, he'd been stabbing a fork at a plate of eggs. They hadn't said anything.)

She comes hard around his fingers, riding his hand, and she hears him say "fuck" and "Jess" before moving up fast to kiss her, and while she thinks that maybe he wiped his mouth off with the back of his hand first, she can still taste herself on him. She's weirdly cool with that. Maybe even kind of into it? (Normally she thinks it's pretty ick, okay.) Or maybe she can't bring herself to care when she feels like this. Any of the above, really.

When she opens her eyes again, his hands are back at her waist, keeping her on the counter. He's just looking at her, this super intense version of Nick Miller. This isn't the rumpled person she knows who slouches around in hoodies and doesn't 100% agree with her definition of clean bedding and drives her up the wall about half the time. The guy is front of her is somebody who went to law school and seduces women in bars and is mind-boggling hot in a way that's mostly about confidence and a little bit about the epic bedhead he has going on (it totally works for her, it really does) and she's not sure she understands this version of him at all. Her heart feels strange and her pulse is thumping erratically in her veins.

(She can feel saliva dripping down her thighs.)

She reaches around for his wallet in the back pocket of his jeans. He audibly sucks in his breath and holds himself still as she fishes it out, and it's weird how casually intimate rummaging through his wallet still feels after everything else. She unearths a condom tucked into the billfold behind a couple of ratty looking singles. She clamps the corner of the unwrapped condom between her teeth and sets to work on his belt with two hands.

"I can..." he starts to say. He's still hard, his erection visible beneath his jeans.

"I can," she mumbles around the condom wrapper, like a seamstress with pins in her mouth. "I've done this to, like, a thousand cucumbers, so."

She finally manages to snake the belt out from around his waist and toss it a few feet away. The metal of the buckle clanks loudly when it hits the floor.

"I've thought about this," he says in a rush. "I tried not to. But I did."

She leans back to lift her hips, shimmying out of her panties and letting them drop at his feet. The after effects of her orgasm are still rippling their way lazily to the outer reaches of her body, settling low in her hips, making her muscles clench up empty and causing her fingers to fumble at the button of his jeans. "I know," she says. "Me too."

She finally manages to get the zipper down and reaches a hand through his boxers for his erection.

His eyes straight up roll back in his head at that, and oh God, this is definitely, for sure happening. They are going to have sex. Sex. Sex with Nick Miller. He ducks his head to kiss her again, his lips still tart and salty and faintly bitter from going down on her. She pulls herself away from his mouth long enough to tear the corner of the condom wrapper with her teeth, and latches straight back onto kissing him, rolling the latex over his erection between them blindly.

He moans into her open mouth as she does that, rutting up into her hands a little. She spits onto her right hand - totally ladylike, she's owning at the lady stuff right now - and gives his cock the old one-two (because: Jessica Day, lubrication heroine!). Then she scoots her ass forward another inch on the counter and wraps her legs around his hips.

But first he pauses and presses his forehead up against hers like they're in some sort of stupidly epic romance novel. His face is close enough to hers that she can tell when both of them stop breathing when he starts to slip into her and it's easy, she's wet, so embarrassingly wet, and it's so overwhelming, the thick slide of his cock inside of her. She feels overheated and thin-skinned. She keeps forgetting to breathe and remembering in shallow gasps.

She has to wiggle forward a little more, pushing her skirt up even higher around her hips to get her legs fully around him. Her skirt ceased to function as a skirt so long ago, it's ridiculous. She experimentally tries to grind herself up against him for friction, but he groans and grabs her hips with both hands.

"Stop," he bites out, his voice thin and tight. "Stop. You gotta hold on a sec, Jess."

He tilts his lips down to hers. His kissing is messy and distracted, and his breath keeps shorting out.

She rucks up the back of his t-shirt and traces swirly patterns on the bones of his hip to distract herself from the urge to move, to rock up into him. And it takes a minute, but eventually he works his way up to nibble on her earlobe, his breath gusting loudly in the shell of her ear. She figures it's probably a pretty good sign that he's up for something that requires basic coordination and a little bit of incentive.

"Yeah?" she breathes.

"Yeah," he says, his forehead pressed up against hers again.

He moves against her with a rough push, his fingers tightening on her hips to keep her from slipping back, and swallows her gasp with his mouth. She feels hot and heavy, her pulse pounding between her legs. The fabric of her bra is rubbing at her hard nipples, chafing them a bit, and she craves his skin on her skin, everywhere.

She leans back from him to grasp the hem of her blouse and pull it up cross-armed over her head. She throws it at the floor and goes to work on the buttons of his plaid shirt. (It's awkward work since they're both still, you know, totally going at it.) Nick's carrying most of the load as she tries to make her fumbling fingers go as fast as they can, but she ends up ripping off the last two in a moment of sheer sex-fueled Wonder Woman-esque mania anyway.

Her hands scramble underneath the t-shirt he had on underneath the flannel. She grabs onto the bare skin of his torso and yanks him into her and they both moan, and she's not even embarrassed anymore about how frantic she sounds because he's right there with her, like he's out of his mind with want and need and other words that are terrifying and confusing and primal and happening right, right now.

She arches her hips to change the angle he rubs up against her at, oh, oh, just like that, and it's only when she notices his gaze is fixated a little south that she realizes she's giving him a pretty awesome view of her balconette bra. Oh, and her boobs, yup.

His left hand snakes around her to spread over her lower back, acting as a stopper to keep her from sliding. His right hand wanders up to graze the side of her breast, the tips of his fingers dragging over the bare skin at the top of her bra. His thumb moves over her nipple.

"Jess," he says. His voice is low and scratchy, like he's been screaming.

She reaches up to pull him toward her by the nape of his neck and puts her lips at his ears.

"Call me Jessica?" she whispers, trying not to make it sound like she's pleading, and she really doesn't know where that came from. It bubbles up from somewhere deep and crazy complicated inside of her, and what, just, she doesn't know. She doesn't care.

"Jessica," he groans, and his voice cracks at the middle syllable. She can feel the fluttering beginning deep inside of her again, the restless, building itch. "Jessica," he tries again. She shoves a hand down between them, just above where his cock is moving in and out of her.

"Oh God," he says faintly, and drops his head to the crook of her neck and fucks into her. She is incoherent and gasping and restless like a live wire, and there's this spot he's nailing somewhere inside of her, and this is Nick and she brings herself off with a final flick of her fingers, right over the edge, as hard as she's ever come in her entire life.

He ruts up desperately into her orgasm, his breath hot on her neck, leaning her back against the bar for leverage. "Fuck, fuck," he gasps, and then, "Jessica Day," and when he comes he bites down hard and mean on the muscle of her shoulder. It's painful, but she squirms into it. She thinks dimly that it'll probably leave a mark tomorrow.

There's this moment of quiet then, him gasping into her shoulder as his breath starts to slowly even out.

And she thinks: okay, so this is it. The end. El finito. They've had a little somethin' somethin' and now it's gonna be super awkward and ruin things forever, like the kiss times infinity, plus extra awfulness. She's already bracing herself to regret it. All she's going to be left with tomorrow are sore thighs and bite marks on her shoulder and a huge gap in her life, and seriously, Jess, worst idea ever.

But Nicholas Miller, King of the Freak Outs, just kisses her sweetly without saying anything. He pulls out and knots the condom up like a boss. He sorts his pants out and hands her panties to her calmly, and she wants to hug him for how smooth he's being. She drops off the counter to step into her underwear, tugging her skirt back down into a functional piece of clothing.

He's frowning down at his belt, so she reaches over and grabs it from him, batting his hands away. He stands silently as she re-threads it through the loops of his jeans.

He clears his throat when she finishes. "Thanks," he says, and his voice is back from a fucked-out range to a normal, non-sex voice pitch, and huh, she knows what Nick's sex voice sounds like now. Totally normal, right. New piece of information: check and check.

(It occurs to her then that this is something he now knows about her, too.)

She smiles up at him cautiously. "You're welcome."

She has to go up on her tiptoes to kiss him again, because she's already forgotten how tall he is and she's only wearing flats. She sweeps her tongue along his lips, and he kisses her back very gently. She can feel the knot inside of her start to relax a little. Maybe they'll be okay. Maybe this, maybe all of this will be okay.

"Are we good?" she asks carefully, and he looks down at her with a strange, inscrutable expression.

"Yeah," he says finally. "Yeah. We're good."

"Okay."

He starts to smile at her, and it takes her breath away. "Yeah, okay. Good, okay," he parrots back at her.

She's starting to grin, she can't help it, the smile eating up her face. "Shut up, man," she says, and slugs him on the shoulder.

"What, I didn't say anything!" he yelps, rubbing at his arm and adopting a wounded expression. She starts to laugh, and it's like a dam breaking inside of her. "You're so weeeeird," he whines, but there's something super fond in the way he's looking at her. She feels all light-headed and giddy, like her heart has turned into a cartoon heart and is trying to float up out of her chest.

"You should talk," she says, and reaches over to help him with the last of his flannel. She brushes at the loose bits of string, where she ripped the two buttons off earlier. "Also, sorry about the whole button hulk smash thing. I'm obviously a super powerful woman who doesn't know her own awesome strength. I can fix it for you, if you want."

"Jess, if there's one rule I hold sacred in my life, it's that hot women ripping off my clothes never need to apologize." He clears his throat. "But, ah, you can fix it if you really want to. Buttons confuse me on a very basic level."

"Big hands, little holes," she agrees absently, still rubbing the fabric between her fingers, and wow, ha ha, that sounded waaaaaay sexual.

He arches an eyebrow at her, and she starts to laugh again, snorting with the sheer hysterical weirdness of the situation.

"You said it, not me."

"Damn right I said it!" Her cheeks are starting to hurt from smiling, and her muscles feel all achy and blissed-out and she is going to crash so, so hard tonight.

She crooks an elbow in Nick's direction. "Take me home, Miller?" she asks, and he only leaves her hanging for a second before hooking his arm in hers.

"Yeah," he says. "I think I can do that."