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17 March 2008 @ 12:26 pm
(If Only I Don't) Bend and Break [30 Rock; Jack/Liz]  
TITLE: (If Only I Don't) Bend and Break
CHAPTER 4
FANDOM: 30 Rock
PAIRING: Jack/Liz
SPOILERS: 2x10
RATING: PG
SUMMARY:


*****

After Lay Lady Lay finishes and another big-band number starts up, Liz extracts herself from Jack's embrace, needing to escape to the ladies' room for a minute. The last time they had gone to a social function, Jenna had snuck in and was able to be the voice of reason (sorta) for Liz. Tonight, she had no one; her head was spinning, Jack smelled way too good while they were dancing, and suddenly her face is flushed. She's not sure how to deal.

Of course, if Jenna were here, she'd just tell Liz to go for it. Jenna has always been pro doing it with Jack. Whether it's Liz, herself, or some random chick. In her mind, everybody should probably do it with Jack.

Jenna's nuts.

In the ladies' room, Liz takes a few minutes to wash her hands (as if that would get rid of the Jack smell that's now clinging to her), and splashes some water on her face (thank God for waterproof makeup). She does not have feelings for Jack. No way in hell.

Jack's so... Jack. And Liz doesn't want a Jack. Liz really wants Han Solo, but she'll settle for a reasonable likeness if he comes along. Minus the eight-foot-tall furry sidekick.

Jack stands for everything she's against -- corporate greed, Republicans, arrogance, and spending way too much money on clothes you can find replicas of at Target for less. Maybe C.C. is much better suited for him, despite the fact that she's a Democrat. Something about that seemed to work, despite how oddly off-putting the whole thing was at times. She still can't figure out why that is.

"Hi, Liz." C.C. smiles at her as she enters the ladies' room and sets her pocketbook on the counter. "Lovely event, isn't it?"

Liz nods and pats her cheeks dry with a paper towel. "Yes, absolutely. I'm surprised, actually - Obama's got great taste in music."

C.C. smiles. "Yes, he's a very interesting man. He deserves a lot of support."

Aw, crap. Is she going to turn this into a political lecture? Because Liz will kick her and run out if that's the case. "Yeah. Yep."

There's that weird, awkward silence between them for a second before C.C. raises her eyebrows and sighs out, "So! You and Jack, huh?"

Liz nods and presses her lips together tightly, "Mmm mm-hmm," because otherwise she'll just spit out the truth that she barely tolerates Jack and the whole thing will blow up in his face. Actually, that might not be so bad.

C.C. smiles and casts her eyes to the countertop for a second. "Well, I... guess I'd be lying if I said I didn't see it coming."

Now it's Liz's turn to raise her eyebrows. "What?"

"You and Jack." C.C. tilts her head and makes Liz hate her for being so damned nice. Why couldn't she have just been a psycho bitch like Phoebe? Or a wacko like Bianca? She'd be much easier to deal with. "I saw it coming a mile away."

Liz just stares dumbly. "What?"

C.C. chuckles. "In conversation, your name would come up about once every thirty seconds or so. Jack's always been crazy about you."

"No," Liz laughs it off, because... no. "No no no, that can't be right. Jack and I, we don't--"

"And, y'know, there's something about it that just kind of fits. Though I can't say I'm not jealous."

C.C. is jealous of her? A Democratic Congresswoman from Vermont, that could pretty much buy any kind of boyfriend she wanted, is jealous of Liz, who has to tape her bras together and can't make a relationship last for more than a month? "What?"

C.C. laughs and Liz is pretty sure it's because she thinks she's a dumbass. Or because she thinks she's precious, it's kinda hard to tell. "Liz, I'm just going to be really straight with you -- I still have feelings for Jack. I wish things could have worked out between us, but with our work schedules and our differing beliefs, we just... didn't really stand a chance. You and Jack do. He adores you. He's told me so."

"No he hasn't." Maybe she is a wacko like Bianca. Liz presses her hands against her hair instinctively, protectively.

C.C. watches her do this, confused for a second, before she replies, "He has. I asked him about you once and he went on this long diatribe about your wit, your intelligence, and how you have the ability to be, in his words, 'rather adorable' when you don't have food in your hair."

Liz's heart jumps into her throat, though she's not sure she really believes what she's hearing. Jack would never use the word adorable. Especially when it's in reference to her. She thinks even when it'd be concerning a puppy he'd still blanch at the word. "Really."

"Yep. I should've seen it then. I should've pointed it out, actually, but you know Jack. He doesn't admit to his feelings until they've slapped him in the face."

"Right. Yeah." Unless he freaks out about losing some microwaves, in which case he'll propose marriage to a paper doll. Liz decides it'd be unkind to point this out to C.C.

"So it looks like everything is as it should be."

"So you really think you and Jack wouldn't have worked out? What if you found out he still had feelings for you too?"

C.C. eyes her for a second and Liz wonders if she can see through her. "Well... I suppose if he still had feelings for me I'd at least give a thought to reconciliation, but I don't see that happening. I mean, Jack and I were great, yes... but he's completely crazy about you. I don't see him giving you up for something so risky."

"He was considering giving up everything for you," Liz blurts out, and maybe the champagne is still affecting her. She shouldn't be saying these things to a woman she just barely knows.

"But he didn't. He chose his job; he chose you." C.C. fixes her hair in the mirror for just a second, as if remembering why she'd come into the ladies' room in the first place, before looking over at Liz again. "As we were breaking up, he said he couldn't leave you in the lurch. To me, that says it all right there."

Liz's heart is in the lurch... lurching rather. There's no way in hell that Jack has a thing for her. Just... no. She has to put a stop to this. "C.C., Jack and I aren't together. He lied. We lied. I'm sorry."

If she were Bianca, C.C. would be ripping the top of her dress down. Liz kinda wants to grab her boobs to make sure that doesn't happen, but she's able to hold back. C.C. kinda already thinks she's bonkers anyway. "You're not."

"No. I'm sorry. Jack just..." Oh God, how does she say this without making Jack sound like a total loser? "I guess he just hasn't... moved on from you. Yet."

"I guess I did find it kind of odd that he'd attend a Democratic event, but... I thought you were a Democrat."

"I am. But Jack would never do something like this for me," she smiles because it's true. If Liz asked him to go to one of these functions with her, he'd laugh. If she told him it was so she could spy on an ex, he'd just laugh harder. Why the hell does she do the things that she does for this man?

"I see." C.C. is nodding and glancing off to the side as if considering the fact that her and Jack are both still single and still hung up on each other.

"Please don't tell him I told you all this." Now Liz is desperate to cover up what she's done. Jack will absolutely kill her if he finds out she blabbed. Either that or he'll transfer her to Connecticut or something with Other Liz. Gross.

"I won't, I won't," C.C. assures her. Out of all of Jack's ex-girlfriends (or all of the ones he's actually been in love with), Liz dislikes her the least. She dislikes them all just on principle -- must be a side-effect of working so closely with him -- but C.C. is definitely the lesser of three evils.

"Thanks," Liz sighs. "Because I'd really like to keep my job."

"Don't worry," C.C. chuckles. "I still think, to Jack, you're pretty indispensible. But I won't tell him that either." She winks and heads out the door.

Liz really needs some more shrimp toast and champagne now.


*****

She's barely three bites into her shrimp toast before Jack pulls her out onto the dance floor again, another slow number, this time by Celine Dion and a buncha violins and stuff -- Liz is pretty sure it's 'To Love You More,' because she used to listen to that a lot when she was hung up on Floyd. "Oh, great," Jack sighs.

"What's the matter with Celine?"

"The real question, Lemon, is what isn't the matter with her?" Jack sighs again, disgustedly, and Liz thinks it's kinda hilarious he harbors so much disdain for an international superstar like Celine Dion.

"Alright. So, I ran into C.C. in the bathroom."

"You did?" Jack immediately checks her hair for any bald spots. "Your thick hair seems intact."

"Yeah, she didn't tear my dress or anything."

Jack frowns at this. "That's a shame."

Liz rolls her eyes -- guys and cat-fights. They will never not be fascinated with them. "Right." Then she thinks of his comment -- her 'thick' hair. He's so obsessed with how she has naturally thick hair. Not to mention he's actually pointed out to her face that she has a decent set of boobs. Is it possible C.C.'s not so far off the mark where Jack's feelings are concerned?

"So what did you and C.C. discuss in the ladies' room?"

"Tampons and periods and stuff." Liz grins when she sees the pained expression on his face. "What do you think we discussed, Jack? One of the few things we've got in common -- you."

His ears perk up at that, and he pulls her a little closer, still under the impression that C.C. thinks they're dating. Liz drapes her free arm over his shoulder and lets him press his cheek against hers. "Did she say anything I might be interested in?"

Liz's heart jumps, either from Jack's lips way too close to her ear, or from thinking back on that bathroom conversation. "She... said... a lot of things. She totally bought that we were dating, by the way."

"Well I should hope so, Lemon, I gave a flawless performance. You could've done better."

She glares up at him and really considers telling him she's already blown his cover. Maybe she can shake him up in a different way. "She said that she knew all along we'd end up together with how much you talked about me."

She feels Jack tense for a second while Celine belts out about wanting to 'love you more.' "That's strange."

"Is it? She said it was pretty obvious all along that you had a thing for me."

"Well then I guess I should be thankful I'm no longer with her. She's obviously deranged."

Liz rolls her eyes and leans her cheek against his chest. He starts to sway them under tempo, back and forth and back and forth and Liz thinks that with a little more champagne, she'd be able to fall asleep just like this. "She misses you," she murmurs, closing her eyes.

Jack's chin touches down against her hair and she knows he's looking down at her. "Does she?"

"Jack?"

C.C.'s voice rips Liz out of her almost-sleep and she jerks her head off of Jack's chest. They both turn to look at C.C. smiling at them. Again, Jack nods at her cordially. "Celeste."

"I, uh... I don't mean to tear you away from your girlfriend," she exchanges a look with Liz, "but I was hoping I could cut in for just a few minutes."

Liz is about to tell her no -- this really is not a good idea for Jack -- but Jack lets her go and smiles brightly at C.C. "Of course."

So Jack and C.C. start to dance and Liz is just standing there watching until Jack shoos her away. Liz is hopelessly torn between not caring and feeling hurt. She goes back to her champagne and sits at the table chomping ruthlessly on another piece of shrimp toast while she watches Jack and C.C.

Maybe C.C.'s not her favorite of Jack's exes. Maybe C.C.'s kinda conniving and maybe she'll con Jack into getting back together with her. Then she'll just tell him it's too difficult a little bit later and break up with him, and as usual Liz will be left to pick up the pieces when he's out dragging hookers around town at three in the morning.

No. No way, she's not doing that ever again. Jack can't get back together with C.C., not ever. She has no problem telling him this. And if he accuses her of being infatuated with him again, who cares? Everyone seems to think she's infatuated with Jack. Well... Bianca and C.C. think he's more infatuated with her. Phoebe (stupid jerk) was the one that thought it was the other way around.

Just goes to show how bonkers Phoebe is. Liz should cut back in.

Well, she should finish her shrimp toast first and then she should cut back in. Jack got too serious about C.C. too fast. She doesn't want him to get burned again.

She wipes her hands on her napkin and heads back out onto the dance floor in the middle of the second verse, catching C.C.'s eyes, who nods and steps back from Jack. Jack looks upset and hurt, and looks at Liz almost accusingly. "Oh look, you're back," he greets her, devoid of any enthusiasm.

"Yep, because I wanna dance with my boyfriend again. C.C.?"

C.C. takes another few steps away and smiles at Liz, gesturing to Jack. "He's all yours. Thanks."

Jack pulls Liz into his arms almost angrily, but dances with her slowly. "Lemon, what are you doing?"

"Saving you from further heartache, Jack, even though I probably shouldn't because you're kind of a smug jerk sometimes."

"I'm not sure how to take that."

"Yeah, well, I'm not sure how I meant it. So we're even." Sighing, she drapes both arms over his shoulders this time and Jack has no choice but to pull her in close so their cheeks are touching. He still smells good. Dammit. "Jack, she knows you and I aren't together."

"I know. She asked me point-blank if we were and I couldn't lie to her anymore. So we can probably drop the act."

"Alright." Except neither of them move. It's kinda weird, but they don't say anything about it.

Liz looks up at him slowly and leans back. "You really miss her, don't you?"

"I do, Lemon. I know it wouldn't have worked, but all the signs were pointing to the fact that it should've."

Liz's hands fall to his arms as his remain locked around her waist. She searches his face while he looks around the dance floor. "Jack, I've never seen you like this."

"What?" He looks down at her and smiles a little.

Liz can't smile back. There's this weird lump in her throat. "You were really serious about her, weren't you? Not like with Phoebe."

"No, definitely not like with Phoebe. You were right, Lemon, Phoebe was... a mistake. I went after her for all the wrong reasons. With C.C. it was for all the right reasons. I loved to be with her, I missed her when she wasn't around and despite the differences, I felt like... for the first time, I really belonged with someone. Y'know?"

He looks down at her again and Liz cuts her eyes to the side. She's not entirely sure why she can't meet Jack's eyes right now, or why she feels like crying. "Yeah. I know."

"I wanted to give up everything for her, Lemon, and I've never felt that way about anyone before."

Seriously. What is with the sudden urge to cry. She's not jealous of C.C. Maybe she's jealous of Jack, because she's never felt that way about anyone before.

"I mean we're so different," he continues as Celine keeps going on and on about how 'she won't love you like I will.' "Republican and Democrat, Saks Fifth Avenue and outlet malls, filet mignon and TV dinners..."

Liz swallows the lump in her throat and loops her arms around Jack's shoulders again. He probably doesn't even realize that his hands stroke down her arms for a second before wrapping around her waist again. "She stands for all those hippie principles that I can't stomach and I of course represent a corporation at its highest level. There are a million reasons why it wouldn't work out between us and only one for why it should -- because it works. She and I just... work. We may not always agree with each other, but we can always work together to come to some sort of a consensus on something."

Liz for a split-second wonders when Jack stopped talking about him and C.C. and started talking about the two of them. They are total opposites. He stands for everything corporate that she can't stomach. He likes expensive filet mignon and she's more than happy eating a salisbury steak TV dinner (provided it's cut up into small enough pieces so she won't choke). He spends way too much money at Saks every pay period and she's totally fine buying all her clothes from Old Navy.

But it works for them. Despite the differences, they somehow work well together. And then it hits her.

"Oh, God." She's jealous. She's jealous of C.C., not Jack. Oh, God.

"Lemon?" Jack pulls back and searches her eyes. "What's wrong?"

"Jack, you can't get back together with C.C." Only for entirely different reasons now.

"Who says I'm even considering it?"

"You are, Jack. I know you are." The lump in her throat gets bigger and she can't let him do this, she can't. It hurts suddenly.

"I find it unsettling that you can read me so easily, Lemon," Jack sighs.

"Yeah. I know." She can't agree more. "You can't get back together with her."

"I already have."

"What?!" She leans way back now, but his hand is still around her waist, pressing her lower back against him tightly like he doesn't want to let her go.

"We talked things out while we danced--"

"For ninety seconds? You worked everything out in ninety seconds?" She can't believe him. While she's at it, she kinda can't believe herself. She's jealous of C.C.?

Maybe she's not, maybe this is just because of the song they're dancing to -- the song lyrics. Yes, that has to be it. It's all Celine Dion's fault. French-Canadian bitch.

"Lemon, what is the matter with you? Why are you getting so upset about this?"

Liz is going to cry. So hard. She can feel it. There will be no stopping it. There will be no saving face, no first poignant glistening tear that ebbs into soft cries. No way. She's gonna burst into huge unstoppable sobs any second now and she has to get away from him. She's jealous. She is so jealous.

Celine filters back in, filling her head with stuff that shouldn't be there. Romantic thoughts. About Jack.

Believe in me, I will make you see all the things that your heart needs to know

She shoves Jack away rather harshly and covers her mouth, closing her eyes. She has to get away from him.

"Lemon, are you going to be sick?"

She shakes her head and uses the three-second break in the song after I'll be... to run for the door.

...waiting for you here inside my heart, I'm the one who wants to love you more

Celine is a horrible horrible person for doing this to her. She's jealous and has a thing for Jack and it's all Celine Dion's fault. If they were dancing to Van Morrison she's pretty sure she wouldn't be feeling this awful.

You will see I can give you everything you need, let me be the one to love you more

Liz just barely makes it outside before she bursts into tears and doesn't even care that it's January and that it's freezing. Everything is coming at her at a million miles an hour. Jack... C.C... what C.C. said to her in the bathroom... what Bianca said to her at the creepy prince's birthday party... hell, what Jack said to her when he thought she was infatuated with him, that she's a wonderful woman.

She just cries with the back of her hand against her lips and shakes her head back and forth, because no. Celine's wrong. She doesn't want to love Jack more. She doesn't want to love him at all.

Problem is, she kinda does anyway.


TBC



{x-posted to jack_liz and 30_rock}
 
 
 
van_canucksvan_canucks on March 17th, 2008 06:06 pm (UTC)
In her mind, everybody should probably do it with Jack. --- I'll gladly board that train :)

But back to the story and not my dirty, dirty thoughts. That was seriously heartbreaking. The things that were going through Liz's head when she figured out that she does has a thing for Jack was just super sad and super amazing in detail and just full of emotion.

It's a great change from other stories that have Jack chasing Liz. I can't wait to see how continues.
a.: jack/liz; a decent setregalish on March 18th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
Haha! I'd gladly board that train too, LOL.

I'm glad you liked this, because I really was not sure about taking the drama route. And I love the idea of Liz chasing Jack :)

I'm posting the next chapter today (yes, already, LOL)!
mybaloney on March 17th, 2008 06:14 pm (UTC)
Dramatic yes, but totally sweet. There ARE lots of similarities between C.C. and Liz and I'm kinda waiting for the characters (and maybe Tina and the writers) to realize this and do something about it.
a.: jack/liz; two sides of the same coinregalish on March 18th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC)
Aww, thanks. I'm glad to hear the drama wasn't too overdone. There really are a lot of similarities between C.C. and Liz, personality-wise. And I also find it interesting that Phoebe and Liz were very similar physically speaking -- same build/hair color/eye color/etc. Ahh, oblivious Jack :D

Next chapter will be up in a few minutes!
mybaloney on March 18th, 2008 08:25 pm (UTC)
Oblivious Jack, indeed. Both Tina and Alec have said several times that Liz and Jack are both in love with their work, not with each other (stupid first season audio commentary crushing my spirits). I wonder if Tina and the writers are oblivious too or if they're just screwing with us.
a.: liz; lemonregalish on March 20th, 2008 03:14 am (UTC)
Aww, that's a bummer. I knew Tina's position on it has always been kind of a firm, "Ew, no," but I didn't know Alec was against it too. That sucks. I really hope they're just pulling one over on us, because come on... how can they give us tons of scenes like the ones we've been getting since the Pilot and then expect us to not ship them?
Kat: jack & liz_forpele on March 17th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
Dramatic indeed. This is not what I was expecting but I really like it. I definitely think that if (when?) Liz realized she had feelings for Jack she would be upset about it. It's definitely an example of not being able to choose the one you love. Anyway, great job. I especially like the digs at Celine hahaha (even though I'm Canadian),and I love Jack admitting Liz reads him so well. Keep writing!
a.: jack/liz; black & whiteregalish on March 18th, 2008 03:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I have NO idea why I decided to sway it toward the dramatic, lol. I guess I just figured we were due for some in our fandom :)

And I agree with you, I think if Liz ever figures it out (or Jack, for that matter) it would be upsetting to both of them, because they definitely don't want to feel that way about each other.

They love to hate each other, and hate to love each other :)

(LOL I HAD to make a few digs at Celine. My BFF is Canadian too, but I've just been seeing "OMG!CELINE!!!" posts ALL over my f-lists, almost constantly. I had to have an outlet for my frustration, haha!)

Chapter five will be up today!
pacific1987pacific1987 on March 18th, 2008 01:08 am (UTC)
Jack! Lemon is sad! Go fix it!!!!
a.: jack/liz; balconyregalish on March 18th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
Haha! Thanks, more soon! :)
courtney_mudie7: 30Rock: wrong ideacourtney_mudie7 on March 18th, 2008 02:41 am (UTC)
awww..!love the direction this is going in! as always, looking forward to reading more:)
a.: jack/liz; two sides of the same coinregalish on March 18th, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'll be posting the next chapter in just a few minutes. :)
flyingfantasticflyingfantastic on March 18th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)
Sooo just sooo! I wanted to start crying with Liz! Update soon please? This fic is great! Nice job!
a.: liz; beautyregalish on March 18th, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC)
Aww, thanks! Glad the drama wasn't too much :)

More will be posted today!
stephen@charleneforever.com: 30 rock: jack/liz & black backgroundmichellek on March 18th, 2008 03:24 am (UTC)
Aww, you have to write more of this soon. I'm a little emo now. In a good way though, it was a wonderful chapter.
a.: jack/liz; 10 secondsregalish on March 18th, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC)
Awwwwwws! *sends you a Jack to cuddle* Sowwy to make you emo, hehehe.

I'm posting the next chapter in just a few minutes, and I'll slowly get back to the comedy, LOL. I'm glad you liked this one!
(Deleted comment)
a.: jack/liz; followshipregalish on March 18th, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I was so worried the drama would be overdoing it (but lol, I figured this fandom was overdue for some drama anyway), so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this!

And LOL @ Celine Dion. I enjoy her music if I'm in the right mood for it, but I've been seeing "OMG!CELINE!!" posts plastered all over my f-list for weeks. I kinda had to just toss a little dig in there to ease some of my frustration, LOL.

The next chapter goes up in just a minute! :D
Puckface: Jack/Lizpuckhiggins on April 14th, 2008 02:18 am (UTC)
I love this!!! It's so great thus far, and also very sad. I've been in Liz's position so many times before.

I also love all the parts where she's blaming Celine for her feelings towards Jack. XD
(Anonymous) on February 15th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
anguish/laughs
"So what did you and C.C. discuss in the ladies' room?"

"Tampons and periods and stuff." Liz grins when she sees the pained expression on his face.
Love your Liz voice!
Seriously, if NBC doesn't get them together one way or another, i don't know what i'm gonna do. im like totally invested in the idea of them, and now its too late to take my stock out and put it somewhere safe.
p.s. my account name is tessaschwarz but i haven't confirmed my e-mail so it wont let me post:(
pekunoblepekunoble on November 14th, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)
celine is a total bitch. she does that to me all the time :)

i love your work by the way :)