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26 August 2008 @ 09:49 am
Frightened You'll Slip Away [30 Rock; Jack/Liz]  
TITLE: Frightened You'll Slip Away
FANDOM: 30 Rock
PAIRING: Jack/Liz
SPOILERS: "Cooter"
RATING: PG
SUMMARY:


*****

Something awful happened when he least expected it. It had started innocently enough (as those awful things normally do) -- she was helping him move things into his new apartment upon his return from D.C. Well, it wasn't so much an apartment as it was a penthouse. Since Geiss had woken up and named him CEO, Jack had been in a particularly spendy mood. He upgraded his spacious Park Avenue apartment for a more spacious Park Avenue two-floor penthouse. And to top that, he'd put his negotiation skills to good use and knocked the price down a good twenty-thousand.

At any rate, the furniture for his penthouse had just been situated to his liking, and Lemon told him that they had better move on to the boxes now, or else he would never completely unpack. He knew all too well. He still remembered once seeing a few ten-year-old cardboard boxes in the corner of her living room as a matter of fact. But he pretended he had no such knowledge of that fact, and sat down on the floor with her (a feat that was becoming more and more difficult as the years went by).

They were going through a box of his leatherbound books and Lemon of course just had to quote that line from 'Anchorman.' And though he'd heard that quote, spoken by her, many a time... for some reason this time he found it unbearably funny. He laughed. And then, after the surprise wore off, she laughed too. Her hair was up, her glasses off, she was laughing, and then it just happened.

And this wasn't a lightbulb 'dear God how did I never notice' kind of moment, no. That happened months ago. This was more of a 'dear God I can't hold it in any longer' kind of moment. So as the laughter petered off and he smiled into her eyes, he said it: "I love you."

Lemon's smile faltered, but she was quick to slap it back into place. She faked a laugh. "Ha ha, very funny, Jack. I don't get it, but it was funny anyway." She went to stand up, to put some of his books in the mahogany bookcase (another 'Anchorman' thing she loved to quote) and he grabbed her hand, kept her in place.

He implored her silently to meet his eyes again, which she did as soon as he told her, "I'm serious." When she searched his eyes, he went a little bit further. "Liz, I'm in love with you."

Her smile dropped off completely. "What?"

Jack just pressed his lips together, half not knowing what else to say, half wanting her to say something more.

And she did. She stood up, shaking her head from side to side. "Jack, no. You're not in love with me."

"I am." He stood up to follow her.

Her laugh in response was high-pitched and very-obviously nervous. She practically shoved his books into the bookcase. "Jack, no! You're not! This is... nuts. You don't fall in love." She made a face. "Well... okay, you do, but. Not with me."

"Perhaps that was true two years ago, Lemon, but can't you tell how much things have changed between us? How close we've gotten? Have you truly not sensed any shift in our relationship that might have hinted at my burgeoning feelings for you?"

Jack wanted to write down every little thing, almost wanting to prove to her that yes, he was in love with her. But instead he just watched her, waiting for the pieces to fall into place. Lemon was smart -- surely she couldn't continue to stay oblivious, could she?

"The Germans..." was the first thing out of her mouth. She slowly lifted her head to meet his eyes. "The whole page-six thing, and-and Geiss, and... you didn't get mad about any of it."

She gasped, eyes fixed on something over his shoulder while her hand covered her mouth. "Crapballs, you are into me. Aren't you?"

Jack just flicked an eyebrow upward, responding after a long moment of silence, "Yes." And after another moment went by, he corrected her, "In love with you. Not 'into you.' I'm neither trying to seduce you on prom night nor am I pledging a fraternity."

Liz had started pacing between his couch and coffee table now, muttering things he couldn't hear. Then, a bit more audibly, "You're in love with me. What the hell am I gonna do?"

Both of his eyebrows flew up his forehead. "If it's not too much trouble, you could offer me a coherent response, Lemon."

"Jack, I just... I have no idea what I'm supposed to say."

His chin tipped toward his chest. "I apologize. I never meant to put you on the spot. It just... came out." He shook his head. "I should never have said anything. It's just that," he pointed to the area on the floor where they had been sitting mere moments ago, "when we were sitting there and you were laughing, you just looked so..." he smiled and sighed, "lovely. Beautiful. I was unable to hold it in any longer."

Now it was her eyebrows that were going up. "So you've... you've felt this way for awhile?"

Slowly, he nodded. "I can't say for certain how long, but yes - the feelings have been there for awhile."

"Is this the reason you bumped Dennis from the show?"

Jack pursed his lips. "One of seven, yes."

"I can't believe this." She was shaking her head and glancing at several places in his living room -- every direction but his, it seemed.

"You're upset about my bumping Dennis from the show?"

"What? No!" Her face scrunched into the 'angry little badger' expression. "No! I just... Jesus, Jack, can I have one second to think without you saying anything?"

"Of course." When she shot him a look, he held up his hands. "I'm sorry. I'll be quiet."

And so he was. He just silently watched her pace, watched her mutter to herself. He watched her face contort into many different expressions, each one more indecipherable than the last. He'd never seen her like this before, and it was part frightening and part arousing.

When he was certain at least five or so minutes had gone by, he addressed her -- by her first name, for good measure. "Liz..."

He thought perhaps she flinched at the sound of her first name coming from his lips rather than her surname that she'd grown so accustomed to hearing. And she didn't look him in the eye as she said lowly, "I have to go."

"But--"

"No. I just... I'm sorry, Jack." Now she looked up at him and her countenance was sad, full of regret.

Was she sorry because she didn't feel the same, or because she was leaving him in the lurch? "Please just stay a moment so we can discuss this."

Another high-pitched laugh sounded, and now it seemed as if she was close to screaming at him. Her voice had raised several decibels. "No! I can't 'just stay,' Jack! You dropped a huge bomb of... poo in my lap, and I just -- I just... I have to go now! Okay?"

Jack nodded, his heart so heavy he could almost feel it cutting off his oxygen. "Alright."

Lemon went for the door like she was running for her life, grabbing her coat off his armchair and promising distantly she'd see him at work.

And Jack could do nothing but watch her leave.



FIN


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{x-posted to jack_liz and 30_rock}
 
 
 
haters to the left: gotham alecstamatina_rae on August 26th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC)
Loved it! Heart wrenching but great.
a.: jack/liz; affectionregalish on September 9th, 2008 07:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much! I'm glad you liked this part.

(And sorry for the late response)
haters to the left: rollingstonestamatina_rae on September 10th, 2008 05:50 am (UTC)
I'm pretty new to LJ and just discovered your stuff a couple weeks ago. I read all your 30 Rock stuff and it was awesome! You and michellek are amazing. I hope my stuff is even half as good as yours.
(Deleted comment)
a.: emjay; don't dream it's overregalish on September 9th, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks much!
smashton_usmashton_u on August 27th, 2008 12:52 am (UTC)
I haven't even finished reading yet, but I have to say:

"Crapballs, you are into me."

Followed by:

"In love with you. Not 'into you.' I'm neither trying to seduce you on prom night nor am I pledging a fraternity."

Pure awesome.
smashton_usmashton_u on August 27th, 2008 12:55 am (UTC)
Addendum: ACK! But still awesome. I'm really digging the angst lately.
a.: bowie; is my musical jesusregalish on September 9th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)
Haha! Glad you like the angst too ;D

P.S. OMG I LOVE YOUR ICON. Bowie is pretty much my deity.
a.: cameron; ponytailregalish on September 9th, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much and sorry for the late response! I'm glad you liked it :D
(Deleted comment)
a.: jack/karen; i'm with youregalish on September 9th, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC)
Aww thanks! I figure Jack does angst better than Liz ;)

Glad you like the title, too! I heard that song once and went "OMG JACK AND LIZ." And thus, this whole series was born, lol.
Cec: 30 Rock - Liz3cecism on August 28th, 2008 06:26 am (UTC)
This is so great; the way Liz just had to process it and then rushed out seemed so perfectly her. And poor Jack, going out on a limb there. Loved it! (Uh, that makes me sound sadistic. I don't mean it like that, obv.)
a.: liz; *facepalm*regalish on September 9th, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
(Uh, that makes me sound sadistic. I don't mean it like that, obv.)

Haha, no it didn't! We all love a little angst now and then. And I'm sorry for such a late response, but I'm glad you liked it! I didn't think it'd be very Liz-like for her to just fall into Jack's arms or anything, hehe. Thanks again!
paulachica07 on August 28th, 2008 10:14 pm (UTC)
aww I love all of your stories, but this made me sad! Poor Jack, it makes me sad to think of his heart being broken, but I really think that it would be him on the show to realize his feelings first...Anyway, you're a very talented writer, and I can't wait to read more of your stories!
a.: jack; accustomed to her faceregalish on September 9th, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it despite its angstiness. And I kinda guessed that Jack would be the first to realize his feelings, since he was always so adamant in denying any attraction to Liz, hehe! (And it seems I'm correct in that guess -- I mean, look how Alec plays him now! Totally smitten)
csiAngel: 30 rock Jack smittencsiangel on August 30th, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC)
Aw brilliant!!! So angsty! Poor Jack. Poor Liz. Oh such angst!! :-) Soooooooooo glad there's a sequel :-D
a.: jack; almost like being in loveregalish on September 9th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
Heee! Thanks muchly, Jac! I felt like throwing some angst at Jack and Liz (because part of me secretly hopes we get some next year what with Jack being smitten and Liz being oblivious and all).
stephen@charleneforever.com: 30 rock: jack/liz & ustmichellek on August 31st, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
Aww, I love it. The 'Anchorman' stuff made me totally happy, for some reason, and I love the whole "I can't pretend not to be in love with you for any longer" type of thing.
a.: jack/liz; it was the cheese curlsregalish on September 9th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
Aww, thanks! I totally thought Liz Lemon would be an Anchorman fan lol.

and I love the whole "I can't pretend not to be in love with you for any longer" type of thing. ME TOO. That's why I felt so compelled to write it. Probably desperation on my part, hoping and praying something like this happens on the show.
Fimuldy on November 11th, 2008 02:04 pm (UTC)
So like I've been sitting here all night reading your fics, and I just wanted to say I haven't stopped to comment on them because I can't wait to get to the next one. They are awesome.

I love your writing!!!

And this was one of my favourites so far (omg this sounds like a lame comment made by a 12 year old, I apologise) so I thought I should stop and tell you how awesome you are!! (and I will from now on comment on all your fics that I read)