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Mistakes we knew we were making

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When he lets himself into the apartment it's quiet and dim, only the hall light on. There's no sign of Jess and her bedroom door is closed and he can't tell if that makes him feel relieved or disappointed.

It's been a long fucking day. He kicks off his shoes, drops his jacket on the back of the couch and unknots his tie on the way to the kitchen.

His brain's the kind of tired where it's just shut down entirely. Too much to process, system failure, the tomorrow version of Nick is going to have to deal with the fallout from all of today's stupidity. Tonight he's just going to pour himself a mug of tap water as a half-hearted attempt to prevent a hangover and lean against the counter and drink it in the dark.

Actually he's glad Jess wasn't waiting up for him, full of questions he can't answer about things he doesn't want to talk about, waiting with her mad face or her sad face or something worse.

He just wants this to be over, one way or another. The game isn't fun anymore. He doesn't know what to do to make things go right again. He's so tired of being tired.

**

Nick is sitting on the edge of his bed, elbows on his knees, forehead in one hand, scrolling through the increasingly confusing set of text messages Schmidt's been sending him, when he realizes Jess isn't asleep after all.

"Knock knock," she says softly and when he looks up she's standing in the doorway, silhouetted against the hall light. She's still got her bridesmaid dress on but she's barefoot and she's taken down her hair.

"Hey," he says, and then can't think of anything to follow it with. Just looks at her and she looks back, eight feet of air and confusing weird feelings between them.

Jess breaks the silence first.

"Can you help me unzip my dress?" she says and her voice comes out a little shaky. She's got one hand on the doorjamb and she's tucking her hair behind her ear with the other, her nervous tic. He swallows hard.

"Sure," he says, setting his phone down. She steps inside and (oh) shuts the door behind her so the only light left in the room is the soft glow from the lamp on his bedtable. (Sidewalk trash day find! People throw out the craziest things.)

Everything feels slowed down and weirdly detailed. He sees her quick glance down as she walks toward him to check the floor for rubble since she knows him and his room.

Jess sits down on the edge of the bed, half sideways so her back is to him, and pulls her hair over her shoulder to get it out of the way.

The zipper pull is just below the nape of her neck and this close he can smell her: hairspray and toothpaste and a little bit of sweat. He watches his hand reach out like it's someone else's and pulls the zipper slowly all the way down to the small of her back. The fabric separates and god, so much skin, her back all smooth and bare and uninterrupted except for the dark horizontal strap of her bra.

"There you go," he says and his voice sounds strange even to him.

"Thanks," she says, but doesn't stand up to leave. Instead she glances at him over her shoulder and gives him this look, half vulnerable, half challenging. It says here I am. It says what are you going to do with me?

And, well, shit. Of course he kisses her.

With his hands on either side of her face, fingers tangling in her hair, just like he keeps imagining, and right away it's intense and terrifying and exhilarating all at once, just like each of the last times.

Jess twists toward him and kisses him back, focused and determined, and he groans a little as her mouth opens against his. That's Jess' tongue and these are her hands sliding across his chest and down his sides and around to where his button down is untucked and she slips a hand under it to press against the skin of his back.

Nick doesn't even think, just pulls her onto his lap so she's straddling him and she breaks the kiss to gasp. There's a tiny moment where they're both just looking at each other, and then she gives him this wicked grin, so Jess it hurts, and grinds down, her crotch all warm against the pretty serious erection he's already sporting.

"Shit," Nick says, and she laughs, a laugh which turns into a yelp when he flips them both over, pinning her down on the bed under him and oh god, how he's wanted to feel this: her whole body stretched out against his, her knee hooking around the back of his leg. He can see her pulse going quick in her throat and he looks at her lips then back up at her eyes. And the thing is he really has no idea what the hell he's doing (not, like, in bed in general -- just with her, across the board) -- it's like this other guy takes over and does these crazy, intense things like grab her and kiss her. Or get to third base in the laundry room. And now he has to follow through.

So he does. Leans down and kisses her hard, reaching both hands down to lace his fingers with hers while he does. He brings their joined hands up so they're over her head against the pillow and moves to her neck, nipping a line from her jaw to her shoulder. Jess makes breathy little sounds as he does, each a different pitch and god, that could get addicting.

But he has other plans now.

"Stand up," he says, sitting up so she's not pinned underneath him anymore. Jess blinks up at him in surprise for a second before slipping off the bed. He slides to sit on the edge of the bed and takes her by the hips, turning her so she's standing in front of him, their knees almost touching.

Her dress is still unzipped and he reaches out and slides the straps down over her shoulders and slips the rest of it down her body. It pools on the floor around her ankles and Jess keeps her eyes on his as she steps out of it and kicks it aside.

Her bra is pink, with a little bow in the middle, and her underwear has yellow stripes, and everything in between is just-- Nick puts a hand on her lower back and draws her in 'til she's standing between his legs and he can lean in and kiss the top of one breast.

Jess hasn't broken eye contact and when he opens his mouth again his voice sounds like someone else's.

"Take off your bra," he says, and she sucks in a breath. This time she doesn't pause though, just reaches behind her and unhooks the clasp and drops it on the floor.

If this is a dream it's the best one he's ever had in his life. Her breasts are basically right at face level, still perky, even better than he thought he remembered them. He brushes his thumb over one pale nipple, watching it harden, and then leans in and covers it with his mouth. Jess gasps and brings her hands up to tangle in his hair. He rolls his tongue over it and sucks, just enough to make her moan, and brings a hand up to cup her other breast just in case it's feeling left out. It fits perfectly in his palm and she presses into him and he squeezes and she tightens her fingers against his scalp.

He could do this for a while, and he does, moving his mouth between her breasts, until Jess pushes back on his shoulders and he looks up at her questioningly.

"Hey mister," she says. "Why so many clothes?"

Nick has probably never gotten undressed so fast in his life. Jess laughs as he fumbles with the buttons on his white shirt, whips his undershirt off and flings it across the room -- he grins back at her -- and stands to get rid of his pants.

And then, well. Yeah. He sure is naked.

He sees Jess flick her eyes down and then look back up at his face fast, like she just realized he might notice her looking. She's blushing a little, standing there in nothing but her underwear, sneaking peeks at his cock and he can't stand it.

"Come here," he growls, pulling her back onto the bed and shoving the covers out from under them at the same time. She lands on top of him, bare breasts pressed against his chest, face close to his.

He kisses her again, slower this time, his hand cradling her jaw, holding her in place so he can explore her mouth. He doesn't realize what she's doing 'til he feels the cool of her hand slide over the head of his cock and he groans into her mouth because yes yes yes, he needs to be touched so much. Her hand keeps going, sliding down to the base of his dick, cupping his balls, one knuckle pressing on a spot right behind them that makes him say her name and some swear words all in a jumbled rush. He has to stop her or this is going to be a very short carnival ride.

"Wait," he says, and rolls them over so she's on her back again. He's kneeling up between her legs, and she's lying there looking up at him, eyes wide.

Nick swallows and hooks his fingers in the cotton sides of her panties. She lifts her ass off the bed so he can slip them down her legs and off her ankles and throw them on the floor and then she's naked.

He knows exactly what he wants to do. He doesn't let himself stop to think: just slides his way down her body, down the bed, pausing just to kiss her hipbone, 'til he's lying on his stomach. Jess breathes in sharply and he reaches out and spreads her legs. He almost can't believe it when her thighs fall open with no resistance and he tears his eyes away from what's between them to look up at her face. She's staring at him and biting her lip and he keeps his eyes on her as he leans in and touches her with his tongue.

The noise she makes is obscene and amazing, her hips jerking up, and he brings his hands up to hold them in place when he does it again.

And fuck, he loves this. Loves doing this to any girl, has always loved it, but this is Jess he's got his mouth on, Jess he's tasting, and it's so much better-- he closes his eyes and traces his tongue up through her folds, then back down to her entrance. She's even wetter than she was in the laundry room (god, what a discovery that was) and she tastes like his fingers smelled all morning, that salty tang.

She's squirming now, making these amazing breathy sounds, and Nick is probably as hard as he's ever been. He lifts his head to watch her face when he slides the first finger inside her and he can feel her tighten around him as she hisses, spreading her legs even wider. Damn.

He lowers his mouth back to her clit and she's babbling, a steady stream of oh god and Nick and um wows and, when he adds a second finger, holy moses. He laughs at that one, mouth still against her, and Jess laughs too, a laugh that turns into another moan and Nick closes his eyes and uses his fingers and tongue the best way he knows how. He feels the press of her heel in the small of his back and he uses his free hand to push her other thigh down, opening her up to him even more. She's making these high pitched little noises all strung together in a row and then, oh fuck, she makes a surprised sound and comes, pressing into his mouth.

Nick keeps going while she clenches and shakes around him and only stops when she does, her legs going loose around him. He eases his fingers out of her and swipes the back of a hand across his mouth while he looks up at her. Jess's face and chest are flushed all over and she's breathing hard and he knows the grin he gives her is totally cocky but he can't help it. If you're good at something, you know it. Jess sees it too and rolls her eyes at him even while she's reaching down to tangle her fingers in his hair.

He lets her pull him back up her body (so much smooth skin) and she turns her head to kiss him again, mouth opening to his and he's sure she can taste herself and the fact that she likes it or doesn't care is so damn hot--.

He rests his forehead on hers when they stop and she's still breathing hard, he can feel her chest rising and falling against him. He's so hard he can feel the head of his dick bumping against his stomach and Jess traces her nails up the skin of his back and he has to close his eyes, this is so -- everything.

"God," says Jess. "I want-- do you have a, um--"

"Yeah," he says and slides halfway off of her so he can lean over the side of the bed and grab the shoebox there. He keeps his legs tangled with hers while he rummages in it for a condom and bottle of lube (hero of the kinda-well endowed!), then sits back on his heels while he rips the wrapper open.

He flashes an awkward grin at Jess while he eases the condom on and makes quick work with the lube. She's watching him with dark eyes, her hair all splayed against his pillow, her breasts bare and he almost can't breathe, can't believe he's getting to live inside this moment right now.

He's back between her legs as quick as he can be, kneeling over her and leaning in to kiss her again and tweak one of her nipples. She slides a hand up the back of his neck and he brings his fingers back down to her clit. Jess whimpers and tilts her pelvis up and wraps her legs around his, rolling her hips a little.

"Yeah," he says. "That's right. Just like that," and her eyes come open to look up at him. He slips a finger back inside just to watch her reaction again. It doesn't disappoint and he works a second finger in, making sure she's loosened up for him.

"You thought about this," she says breathlessly, like she likes the idea, and he's got no filter at all right now.

"Yeah," he says. "I've thought about having you here. In my bed like this. Nothing on."

Jess groans hard and arches up against him, her eyes fluttering shut.

"I'd hear you," he says as she reaches down between them and wraps her hand around him again. "When you were with -- someone." Jess strokes him smoothly once, twice. "Imagine what they were doing to you when-- shit," his hips buck involuntarily into her hand and telling her this is turning him on so much.

He slides his fingers out of her and wraps them around her wrist, stilling her hand on his cock. He looks at her hard and her mouth is a little open, her pupils large. "Think about what I wanted to do to you," he finishes. It must be the right thing to say because Jess sucks in a sharp breath and then kisses him hard, messy and wet, their teeth knocking together a little.

Nick's still holding her wrist and he brings it up, pins it beside her head on the pillow. She leaves it there when he lets go and Nick takes his cock in his hand and brushes the head of it against her, right between her legs. Jess whimpers and squirms under him and fuck, he can't believe he's seeing her like this. Doing this to her.

"Oh god," she's saying, her eyes shut again and then she opens them and looks right at him.

"Nick," she says, and it's helpless and frustrated and private all at once. He feels tight in his chest. Is this what a heart attack feels like?

She says his name again, almost a sob.

"Yeah," he says. "Yeah, Jess, it's me."

"Please," she says, like something straight out of one of his goddamn fantasies and he can't help it, he grins right at her, and her breath catches and she grins back and starts laughing, like she's just noticed how crazy and ridiculous and amazing this whole thing is, what they both sound like. Nick can't help it, he laughs too. For a second it's just them like they've always been, chuckling at each other, and he barely has to shift to get the angle right so he can start slowly sliding into her.

Her laugh cuts off, turns into a moan and god, fuck, yes, that's a sound he wants to always hear. And this is something he wants to always feel: how hot and tight she is around him, her skin touching his skin everywhere. Her head tilts back against the pillow and her eyes flutter shut but then she opens them again and she's looking at him, so intensely, mouth dropped open a bit while he finishes pushing all the way into her.

She gives this tiny little gasp when he gets there and he holds as still as he can.

"All right?" he says and god he hopes she says yes.

"Yes," she says, "god, yes yes yes," and he lets out a breath and lets his hips move.

He goes as slow as he can, which is not very, and Jess's eyes are huge and he can't look away, can't stop watching her while he's doing this to her, while he's feeling her like this, and she must feel the same because she keeps looking back, even while he speeds up, and she starts to let out a string of moans and jumbled phrases.

For a girl who has to be strong-armed into using the names of any body parts below the waist, she talks a surprising amount in bed. (Yeah, he'll admit it, that's definitely on the list of things he's wondered about.) It's a stream of out-of-date exclamations and pleas and his name all coming out in a rush and he'd probably be laughing at some of them (he almost definitely hears a yeah, mister in there) if every particle of his brain weren't focused on how amazing this feels, how all he wants to do is keep thrusting into her like this, feeling how tight and hot she is around him.

He's going faster now and he shifts his rhythm, pulling back a little bit to look at her. Jess works a hand between them so she can touch herself. She rubs in slow circles, her knuckles brushing against him, then faster, and god, he could watch her like this forever.

He leans in and kisses her, wet and messy and long, because he can. When he finally stops, Jess gasps into his mouth.

"Please," she says. "I can-- harder." It sends a jolt of electricity up his spine.

Her legs are hooked around his waist (when did that happen?) and Nick reaches behind him for one of her calves. He bends her leg so her knee is up against her chest, pinned between them, shifting the angle so he can press into her deeper.

Jess hisses as he starts driving into her harder and he says "okay?" without pausing.

"Yes," she says, "yes, yes, don't stop, god."

His movements are getting all jerky and messy now and he doesn't know how much longer he can last. With one elbow braced on the bed to hold himself up, he slips his other hand behind Jess's neck, working his fingers into the tangle of hair at the base of her skull. Jess is rubbing herself faster now, eyes closed, and breath coming fast.

"God," he says. "Jessica-- fuck." She opens her eyes to look at him and with the hand in her hair he tugs, once, sharply. And apparently he was dead on with that private bet because she lets out a moan and comes.

He can feel her clenching around him as she does and he keeps fucking her through it, 'til the noises she's making go high and breathy, and only stops as she catches her breath and opens her eyes again.

"Nice," he says, and he can't stop smiling and she gives an exhausted little laugh. Then her expression shifts -- she's got her scheming face on -- and she pushes at his shoulder.

"Switch," she says, and he swallows hard and rolls off of her when he realizes what she means.

He's barely on his back when she straddles him and reaches down and oh -- takes his cock in her hand and oh -- she's moving it to her entrance and sinking down on it, taking him in. He can feel his eyes roll back in his head a little. She's still so wet; she slides down smoothly, eyes closed in concentration, and only hesitates a little toward the end. But then she goes the rest of the way, settling against him, and it feels like they're touching everywhere, his hips between her thighs, his pelvis pressing up between her legs.

"God, Jess," he says in a choked voice, and brings his hands up to her waist. She opens her eyes and smiles, this delighted, wicked, beaming grin, and then she starts moving. Slowly at first and then quicker as she settles into the rhythm of it, lifting herself off him and driving back down. After a minute she leans forward so the angle shifts, and her breasts are brushing against his chest, and her hair is falling down around them, and every single part of this is so completely perfect right now.

Nick slides his hands down to grip her hips (hard, he can't help it) and sets up a matching rhythm, driving up into her, feet braced on the bed. It only takes a minute. He says "fuck--" and he says "Jess--" and he comes harder than he ever has in his life.

**

When he ebbs back into reality, Jess is collapsed on top of him, breathing almost as hard as he is, their skin sticking together everywhere. Jess, Jess is -- they just -- Nick lets out a long, shuddering breath and Jess lifts her head off his chest to look at him.

She looks amazing, lips all swollen, face flushed and sweaty, hair everywhere, eyes as wide as his feel. He can't help it, something bubbles up inside him and before he knows it he's laughing. He's so full of endorphins and he can't really believe this happened and he feels wild and happy and overwhelmed.

Jess starts laughing too, and oh, he's still inside her, his dick softening, and he can feel it, her laugh reverberating through her muscles and around him, like he's inside of it, like there's no space between them at all.

**

She slips out of bed and makes a dash for the bathroom while he's turned away dealing with the condom, so he doesn't see what she's wearing 'til she comes back in. It's one of his shirts, which she must have scooped off the floor on her way and it's barely decent on her and it looks amazing. Even now his cock twitches at all that leg. And the idea that she has nothing on under there.

Jess hesitates, looks down at herself then back at him, where he's sitting up in bed.

"Is this okay?" she says. "I thought--"

"C'mere," he says, reaching out, and she slides onto the bed, kneeling next to him. He slides a hand across her jaw and kisses her, as slow and sweet as he knows how. Jess sighs into it, relaxing against him. She brings her arms up to rest on his shoulders and he slips a hand down to her bare thigh and up under the hem of the shirt to squeeze her ass. God, he's wanted to do that for so fucking long. Jess breaks off the kiss with a surprised laugh.

"You look hot as hell and you know it," he growls against her lips and she giggles, resting her forehead on his.

A wave of exhaustion rolls over Nick. He can't even imagine what time it is, how many hours he's been up, how many weddings he's been to.

"Sleep," he says. "Sleep now." He tugs at the shirt hem. "Take this off, come to sleep."

He slips out of her arms and slides down to lie flat in bed, eyes already at half mast. Jess hesitates for a second, then pulls the shirt over her head, tossing it behind her.

She's all creamy curves in the lamplight, kneeling up over him, looking shy and open at once. It makes him feel like he can't breathe all over again. Like he wants to say things he doesn't even have words for.

Instead he reaches out and tugs her toward him, 'til she's lying on her side with her head on his shoulder. He's still naked and she's curled around him, one knee over his thigh, her hand resting against his ribcage. His arm's around her, hand on the curve of her waist and he can just reach with his free hand to turn out the lamp.

In the darkness, it feels like Christmas Eve when he was a little kid, when he'd try not to fall asleep because he didn't want to miss anything at all. He used to wake up early the next morning, before Jamie or his parents, and lie in bed feeling the bubble of excitement in his chest, thinking about all the awesome things he might be about to get. He falls asleep like that, listening to Jess breathe, feeling her chest rise and fall against him.