Back behind door No. 1, Jess and Nick were predictably awkward. “Let’s just suck it up and French a little,” she urged pragmatically. Though he didn’t care for that particular verbiage, Nick was willing. He asked, “Are you a tonguer?” Oh dear… Suffice it to say, there was no kiss at that time — though there were several failed lean-in attempts involving an aborted countdown, a creepy face, and Nick’s teeth. Lots of desperate screaming and banging on the door later, they had tired themselves out.
They sat down, and Jess once again admitted she was Nick’s cooler — 30 percent of the time. The other 70 percent — all Nick. “Some basic grooming,” she encouraged, “and you’d be smokin’ hot.” This unexpected compliment provided a much-needed mood lightener, as well as a natural cue for Nick to put his hand casually on Jess’s knee. It seemed he didn’t really realize he’d done it — until he did. Then Jess did. And they had one of those end-of-the-party moments when you’re just tipsy and relaxed enough to realize possibilities existed where you never saw them before. They looked into each other’s eyes and were nearly about to lean in… when Sam knocked on the door. Moment. Gone.
Or was it? Before Sam let Jess and Nick out, he asked what they were doing behind the door. Cut to a minute later when he was cheering them on. This is the same guy who rebuffed the advances of a stripper. Yet he was totally okay with his girlfriend making out with her roommate. Clearly he has never considered Nick a threat. So, with six people cheering them on, Jess and Nick were once again pressured to put out. She said they should just do it already, but Nick blurted out, “Not like this!” That was the moment when the toothpaste was out of the tube. She asked what he meant, and he found himself stumbling around this maybe-confession. All the while, chants of “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!” rang out in the background. That’s what you call a Greek Chorus, my friends. Those peer-pressuring partygoers, drunk on Jack and power — they were us.
Nick lapsed into a panic attack over almost admitting his feelings for Jess — feelings he may not have even realized he had. So he did the logical thing: He escaped out the window. He immediately realized what a horrible mistake he’d made while he shimmied over to the living room window. The others heard his terrified screams and saw their lady trench-wearing roommate on the edge of death. And that’s when Schmidt fainted.
A bit later, with Nick safely inside, Winston and Schmidt vowed to talk about this massive overreaction… in the morning. Tonight they had ladies to “do stuff with” (though Holly did tell Nick, “If you ever feel the urge to jump again, call me!”). The guys headed to their rooms, followed by a highly amused Sam (even less threatened than before), who went to bed with Jess.
In the middle of the night, Jess thought she heard scratching again and called Nick. He opened the front door and was attacked by a huge St. Bernard-type dog. Its owner came running over to apologize — and recognized the coat she’d ordered online. Nick was sleeping in it. After demanding the coat off Nick’s back, she walked off, muttering angrily.
And then there were two. Jess and Nick laughed about the the return of Old Nick and the passing-on of Trench Coat Nick. “I liked him,” said Nick. “He had guts.” The statement, tinged with the slightest bit of regret, hung in the air for a moment before Jess gave Nick a friendly tap on the arm and turned to go back to bed. She got maybe a step before Nick grabbed her by the elbow and pulled her into him. They kissed, mutually and with a surprising amount of passion. It was HOT, is what I’m saying. They pulled away slightly, but Nick went back for more. “I meant something like that,” he said softly and walked off. Jess touched her face, tried to process it all. Her mouth was still partially open in shock when Sam emerged from her room and asked if he could move the DIY scarecrow to the living room. Jess croaked out an okay and walked, dazed, back into her bedroom as Sam dropped Melonhead Nick on the floor. Pan down to a busted cantaloupe in a hoodie. Perhaps Old Nick was gone after all, but a bit of Trench Coat Nick was here to stay.
NEXT PAGE: “It’s like a taffy pull on a hot summer’s day!”