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24 October 2008 @ 11:02 pm
This Feels Like Something [30 Rock; Jack/Liz]  
TITLE: This Feels Like Something
FANDOM: 30 Rock
PAIRING: Jack/Liz
SPOILERS: "Do-Over" (3x01) - MAJOR spoilers
RATING: PG
SUMMARY:


*****

The first thing she wants to do when she gets home from the disastrous day is to take off her heels and get out of her dress. Instead, she heads straight for the kitchen and grabs a bottle of red wine -- Pinot seems too light after the nightmare she's just endured. She lights the decorative candles on the coffee table and pushes them back far enough that her feet won't knock them over.

She's definitely putting her feet up. In a totally unfeminine way. And she's not even gonna feel bad about it.

After pouring herself a glass and setting an empty one beside her, she leans back against the couch and takes a sip of the burgundy liquid, closing her eyes. When her phone starts buzzing on the cushion beside her, she knows who it is, and picks it up blindly. "Don't even ask."

"I wasn't going to. I noticed that you ducked out a little early, so I didn't want to press the issue."

"Thanks," she sighs, and she feels a fluttering sensation in her stomach. She's so glad he gets her, and she's so glad that he's back. Her eyes catch on the empty wine glass on the coffee table, and as she wonders for a moment why she never noticed she brought that out with her, her mouth continues on without her and impulsively asks, "Do you wanna come over?"

She thinks she hears surprise in his voice, but no hesitation, as he answers, "Sure. Give me fifteen minutes."

"'Kay." They don't say goodbye as they hang up... they never really have except on a few occasions. They don't need to, anyway. Goodbyes are so cliché and they both know this.

While she waits for the fifteen minutes to tick by, Liz looks around her living room -- the spotless perfection. The home office she's finally (correctly) assembled, the bookshelves all neatly organized... her DVD collection minus her Colin Firth movies. She spots the magazine with the charred bottom portion (now she'll never be able to finish that article about Sarah Michelle Gellar), and the strings for her blinds which she has now safely tied up. Next she sees the tiered dessert tray on one of her end tables -- the pies (which she had shellacked, so she's super glad Bev didn't ask for any) and the pile of sugar cookies (store bought -- because right, like she has time for baking).

She takes her feet down from the table, still clad in her deep red peep-toe pumps, and rises to her feet, walking over to the cookies. She grabs a couple and, instead of cramming them into her mouth like she normally would, she flings them at the wall. She nods then, like she's pleased with herself. Like flinging cookies will magically make it all go away.

This is when Jack comes in, giving a cursory knock before stepping into her unlocked apartment and (for once) not lecturing her on the dangers of leaving her door unlocked. "Lemon? What are you doing?"

She shrugs. "Just thought I'd celebrate my misfortune by... messing up my apartment again. Because it's not like there'll be a baby in it anytime soon, right?" She laughs at this last part, though it's not particularly funny. And her laugh has no trace of mirth whatsoever.

"This must have truly been a disaster," Jack surmises. "If it were bad, you'd be stress-eating. There'd be several empty potato chip bags and boxes of donuts by now, but to actually be so upset as to destroy food?" He shakes his head. "Lemon..."

"It's fine, Jack, really. I didn't want a baby anyway." She has no clue why she's saying this, of course she wants a baby. And of course Jack knows she wants a baby. He gets this weird look in his eyes whenever someone so much as mentions one around her.

"Perhaps you should sit down." He directs her toward her couch like it's his apartment, and she kinda wants to throw him out because she senses a big life lesson is coming. One of those Donaghy pearls of wisdom that's impossible to escape. Kinda like going to one of Jenna's plays.

Jack sits down beside her as Liz angles her body toward him, kinda sitting on her side against the couch, elbow propped up against the back. Jack tops off her wine glass and gives it back to her before he fills his own, and sits back. She demurely crosses her legs a little and props her feet up on the edge of the coffee table again, not missing how his eyes drift to her pumps.

Jack is a breast man with an appreciation for nice shoes. His eyes always make their way to her legs when she wears her boots, or when she wears peep-toe pumps. And she hasn't missed that he checks out her 'decent set' from time to time. But that's (hopefully) not the point of why he's sitting here with her. Although... there was that moment in the office earlier. The fake soap opera, the almost kiss. His hands on her waist...

She fights the shiver. "Why are you here, Jack?"

She watches his brows lift up for a moment and then drop back down. He answers evenly, "For the same reason I've shown up at your door every other time, Lemon. I want to make sure you're okay." He tilts his head. "And let's not forget that this time, you asked me over."

Oh, right. The empty wine glass. "Oh, right."

"And for the record, I don't believe for a minute that you don't want a child."

"I know," she huffs, and wonders just when he started to know her better than she knows herself.

"But you had a do-over, Lemon. You had a second chance."

"Yeah, and then Bev's amnesia kicked in again, and that do-over -- which was flawless, by the way -- was just totally gone. After that," she sighs, "I figured we should just get her to the hospital in case she had internal bleeding or something."

"I see." He turns to look at her, and his eyes do that thing they did in Kathy's (his, dammit, his -- she can't stand thinking of it as Kathy's) office: they slide to her lips while he licks his own, before they drift back up to lock gaze with her again. "In spite of all of that, thank you for helping me out of my own dilemma. I... only wish I could have returned the favor."

She smiles and holds up her now-empty glass in a request for more, watching him lean forward to fill it. "Yeah, well, I don't think all the soap-opera-acting in the world would've helped me out of that one. But I appreciate the sentiment all the same."

Jack smiles as he leans back, handing her wine glass over as he murmurs a, "You're welcome." After he takes a sip of his wine, he comments, "I feel I should congratulate you, by the way. I didn't know you could do such a good impression of a soap opera maven."

"Yeah, Jenna was all bananas over General Hospital when we lived together in Chicago. That's where I got the weather machine thing."

"Nice touch."

"Thanks." They clink glasses and chuckle at each other over the rims while they each take a sip.

She wants to thank him for not kissing her with Kathy Geiss watching, but just before she opens her mouth she realizes -- she should be thanking him for not kissing her at all. Because that's not what they do. They're not the type of people who kiss willy-nilly, whether it's an act or not. That's not who they are.

But then there are times. Times like right now, where Jack looks at her a certain way, and Liz wonders if maybe they are the types of people who should be kissing each other. Because at times when he looks at her, it gives her this feeling in her stomach. And her heart. She can't put her finger on it and can't explain what it feels like other than to say it just... feels like something.

That 'something' feeling gets a little more intense when Jack takes her wine glass from her... when he sets both of theirs on the table and leans back again. He just looks at her, just traces her with his eyes, and it doesn't feel creepy like it did a couple years ago. She's still on her side with her elbow propped against the back of the couch, feet on the table. Jack eyes the curve of her hip (which she knows looks awesome -- she loves how this dress makes her figure look) and she thinks he gets maybe a little closer before he meets her eyes again.

He's looking at her in that certain way again, and he looks like he wants to say something -- even opens his mouth a couple times -- but nothing comes out. Another moment of silence ticks by (literally -- she can hear the clock ticking) before Jack speaks again. "Lemon, however this whole Bev situation turns out -- you should never doubt your skills as a mother. Don't judge yourself based on what happens in the workplace. Your show is infested with the most insane, rag-tag bunch of morons. Even the most saintly mother wouldn't be able to handle them."

"Thanks, Jack."

Softer, he says, "You'd be a wonderful mother."

She smiles... wants to say thank you but can't get anything out. She's too emotional today, too close to crying after that passionate speech about opening her heart and her life to a baby. So instead, she just ducks her head and is surprised when a tear slips down her cheek -- even more surprised when Jack reaches out to wipe it away. She looks up as his hand finds her face.

Things are changing between them rapidly. It feels like something is happening. She has no idea whether it's good or bad, but... it's something. Their relationship has gone further in the past two days than it has in the last two years. That's... something, right?

Their eyes meet and the air between them has changed. The air in the entire apartment has shifted. Liz can feel the heat from the flickering candles warming her toes... she can feel the heat of Jack's hand branding her cheek as it remains where it sits... she can feel his body heat as he leans a little closer.

She wants to ask him what's happening, but she knows. She wants to ask if they're faking another soap opera scene, but Kathy Geiss is nowhere to be found. He's just leaning toward her, kinda on his side now too, and she's just frozen in place with one hand braced on the cushion. Jack still looks a little nervous -- he stops inches away and looks at her. She was the one to break away from the fake kiss in the office, so the look in his eyes is crystal clear -- will she break it this time?

So Liz looks at his lips because she can't meet his eyes -- her heart is slamming in her chest too hard. And she curls her free hand around the lapel of his suit jacket. She leans to meet him and their lips are thisclose... so close to touching. She feels faint, like one of those melodramatic soap opera ladies, as her eyes slip closed and her lips part. She feels Jack do the same and their lips are just barely covering each other's when:

"Oh, nerds!" Her foot slips and knocks over one of the wine glasses, and they both jump up.

Her rug and the bottom of her couch are going to have a nice, ugly stain on it, so that's awesome. Jack runs to the kitchen, looking pretty flustered, and grabs some paper towels. "Lemon, let me help you with that."

"No, it's okay," she sighs, and pats half-heartedly at the stain with a couple paper towels. "I hate that rug anyway. Just an excuse to get a new one," she chuckles (nervously) because she doesn't know what else to say or do.

Jack's smile is just as nervous as her laugh, and for a moment they just stand staring at each other. What the hell are they supposed to do? How do you follow up a real almost-kiss?

"Well, I should get going." Jack heads for the door before Liz can even try to make a totally lame joke to break the tension.

"Oh! Uh, okay. Yeah. It's getting late. It's almost..." She looks at the clock and makes a face. "Six-thirty."

"Right."

She opens the door for him and he walks into the hallway, just beyond the threshold before he turns to face her. His lips are pressed together tightly and he's doing that thing where he clenches his hands into fists at his sides, drumming his fingers on his thumb. "So...."

"So." Yeah, their relationship might suck for awhile, until they get over this.

"Tomorrow's another day, Lemon," he assures her randomly. He always needs to get a pep-talk in somewhere, no matter how long or short.

"Yep."

They stare at each other another moment, and Jack gets that look in his eyes once more. Liz thinks maybe he'll try to kiss her again. Instead, his lips touch down on her forehead while he touches her shoulders. "Goodnight, Liz," he murmurs, and it's almost a slurred rumble as his lips slide to just under her eye, kissing gently once again.

"Goodnight, Jack," she echoes reflexively, and this doesn't feel like a normal goodnight. His lips on her cheekbone, just under her eye makes her bones feel... something. Kinda melty, maybe?

Either way, she's gonna have a tough time sleeping tonight.


*****

The next morning comes and she gets wind of Bev's condition. She's feeling better and remembers the original (bad, awful) interview. So, no baby for Liz. She heads up to the office, which is now rightfully Jack's again, to update him. The sight of him there fills her with such joy she almost wants to stick around and report to him with more stuff. But she's got nothing. So she tells him about Bev, tells him she's going to try another adoption agency, and Jack assures her with a smile that she won't be disappointed with the semi-virtuous path.

On her way out, she notes that there are no more unicorns or Marky-Mark posters, and her heart skips; things are getting back to normal. And then, she can't help it.

She peeks back into the office and just watches him, sitting in the place that's been his all along. He looks up, probably sensing her looking at him. "Did you need something else, Lemon?"

"No." She smiles. "I just like seeing you in there."

The smile he gives back sends tingles shooting from her toes to her lips, and she walks back to the elevator with her stomach and heart tumbling. It's hard to pinpoint what exactly it is she's feeling, but... it's something.

And she thinks it might be something good.



FIN


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{x-posted to jack_liz and 30_rock}
 
 
 
excellent conversationalist (with food): jacklizfacetouchmuic on October 25th, 2008 07:01 am (UTC)
I am loving-hating you right now. This was such a good read! But argh, so close! Red wine is really not Liz's drink.

It's love Lemon, stop denying it.
a.: jack/liz; almostregalish on November 2nd, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC)
Heee, why thank you! I shall even take the hate part as a compliment ;)

Red wine is so not her drink. Hence, I always want her to drink it when Jack's around.

Glad you liked this!!
stephen@charleneforever.com: 30 rock: liz & loves jackmichellek on October 25th, 2008 08:52 am (UTC)
♥ X a million. I can't think of anything else to say because it's super late, but I love this.
a.: liz; see youregalish on November 2nd, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
Awww, why thank you! I'm so glad you liked it :)

Isa: 30 Rockanakisa on October 25th, 2008 12:54 pm (UTC)
Ugh, so close!
But really great story, I could definitely see this happening :)
a.: ab/tf; you win againregalish on November 2nd, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed :D
There was a star danced and under that was I born: 30: just nice seeing you therelavenderseaslug on October 25th, 2008 01:17 pm (UTC)
My heart was pounding with Liz's when they were thisclose to kissing. And I, too, said, 'Oh, nerds' (but in my head, because I have a sleeping roommate...). This was wonderful, and so should have been a part of the season premiere.

I like the way you filled out the last scene with their thoughts, and that Liz's thoughts fit her character so well.

she kinda wants to throw him out because she senses a big life lesson is coming. One of those Donaghy pearls of wisdom that's impossible to escape. Kinda like going to one of Jenna's plays. - That was one of my favorite lines. It was just a little burst of humor, and it was excellent.

This was lovely, thank you so much.
a.: liz; see youregalish on November 2nd, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
Hehe! Thank you so much, I appreciate the comment! So glad you liked this!

As awesome as the premiere was, I felt like there was just a smidge of something missing, some little filler between the almost-kiss and the end. Thus, this fic was born :D
star_watcher81star_watcher81 on October 25th, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC)
That was fabulous! Very in-character, and I like that you brought them so close to kissing without actually sealing the deal. Yay unresolved romantic/sexual tension! Looking forward to more of your fics :-)
a.: ab/tf; whispersregalish on November 2nd, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed this. It's super hard for me to write unresolved tension fics just because I'm such a hardcore shipper, lol, so I appreciate that you thought I could pull it off :D
yourmomroxxs: Liz Oyyourmomroxxs on October 25th, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
Woot! I of course enjoyed it as I always do! It was a good reward for getting my required reading done :)
a.: liz; smittenregalish on November 2nd, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
Heee! Thanks, dolly! So glad you got your required reading done ;D
lz1982lz1982 on October 25th, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC)
Nice! I like how you built the story around actual scenes from the show. I really wish we'd gotten a Jack reaction shot after Liz's last line, so thanks for that.
a.: jack/liz; so closeregalish on November 2nd, 2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I too wish we'd been able to see Jack's reaction (since I assume we'd see a look very much like the one in Subway Hero, hehehe).
do I dare to eat a peach?: (30r) a goofy pairstop_theworld on October 25th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
Oh oh, so good! You have them down so well!

(now she'll never be able to finish that article about Sarah Michelle Gellar) I DIED. Kinda like going to one of Jenna's plays. Haha!

I love the moment leading up to the kiss, that suspension, that anticipation. I love how she keeps thinking of things to say but holds herself back from speaking. And I really love that you didn't quite go there, that of course something got in the way. This scene slots into the episode so nicely and leaves us with hope.
a.: ab/tf; you win againregalish on November 2nd, 2008 06:07 pm (UTC)
Heeeee! Thanks, Dizz! ♥

I was ALMOST contemplating having them kiss, but I thought this'd be more fun.

I love how she keeps thinking of things to say but holds herself back from speaking. This is very insightful; I actually had no idea I did that until you pointed it out. Once I start typing sometimes, the stuff just flows without me really consciously planning stuff out.

But anyway! LOL. I'm so glad you liked this, hon! :D


azlin_murstazlin_murst on October 25th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, come on! They were thisclose! You don't mess with thisclose! Gah!

I'm kidding. Honestly, I think one of the best parts about watching them is how they get so close and then just back off. They've definitely got the tension thing down, and I love them for it.

Nice job with this. I really love the idea of them meeting up again after Liz's bad day.
a.: jack/liz; turnregalish on November 2nd, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
Hahaha! I HAD to mess with thisclose, at least thisonce. ;D

I definitely love them for their tension as well. That almost-kiss on the show was lovely torture. The best might've been the polite refusals -- they weren't exactly opposed to it, but they weren't going to do it there in front of Kathy. At least, that's how I see it.

I'm so glad you enjoyed this fic!
Uther Pendragon's Loyal Wench: jackliz pornfirthgal on October 26th, 2008 02:01 am (UTC)
Oh, this was awesome. So, so awesome and perfectly perfect. I love it when you torture us like that. KEEP DOING THAT! Oooooh, I loved this. Particularly the forehead/cheek kiss at the end. And the last couple of lines were perfection (your last lines are always perfection, I don't know how you do that). Loved it!
a.: jack/liz; i will possess your heartregalish on November 2nd, 2008 06:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! And I have a love/hate relationship with torturing you guys LOL. I love it because it's what Tina does to us, and it makes us love her even more. But I hate it because even I want to make them kiss. If you say to keep doing it, tho, then so I shall ;D

Glad you like the last couple lines too! Those last couple lines, for me, are one of the most important parts of the fic aside from characterization. Sometimes it takes me a good twenty/thirty minutes after finishing the fic for me to come up with the last lines. Glad to hear you liked them, tho :D

Little Ninja: [30R] Jack/Liz (hug)littleninja245 on October 26th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
Ack!! The most perfect torture!!
Really wonderful written and totally in character!
Tina'd be proud of that unresolved sexual tension! XD :P
a.: jack/liz; takin' care of businessregalish on November 2nd, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! The unresolved sexual tension was the most difficult aspect of this to write, lol, but I kept Tina's wishes in mind the whole way ;D

Glad you liked this!
csiAngel: 30 rock Jack smittencsiangel on November 1st, 2008 01:40 pm (UTC)
Awwwww! This is just so awwwwwww! I just feel like saying awwwww and hugging this fic :-) So brilliant! Disappointing that she knocked that glass over at that moment but it works - it works perfectly :-)

I love this - and you for writing it! Thank you!
a.: jack; almost like being in loveregalish on November 2nd, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
Heeeeee! Thanks, Jac!! I'm so glad you enjoyed this despite it being minus a kiss (I SO considered it, too, but gotta try for the UST every once in awhile, huh? Hehehe).

I love you as well, my friend! Thanks for the lovely comment! ♥