Schmidt got home about two thirds of the way through the first screening and moved quickly and quietly to his room without comment to Jess.
During the second viewing he finished the presentation he’s got to give on Monday with the use of noise canceling headphones. Great, now his weekend just opened up.
As the movie began for a third time, he decided (in order to preserve his sanity) to do a modified cross-fit workout in his room. That lasted a solid hour and fifteen, and as the ringing in his head dissipated (hanging upside down will do that to you) he realized they were at the scene where Johnny is accused of stealing the wallets and can hear Jess tearfully reciting every line.
Her cracked and mournful tone caused an uncomfortable pressure in his stomach. Great. Their break-up was giving him a friggin ulcer…or maybe the never-ending movie was. Either way he was granted a reprieve once he stepped into the shower, taking an extra long time on his nightly ritual of steaming, conditioning, ice bath and moisturizing.
Tip-toeing back to his (well Jess’s) room, he noticed the only lights on were the sad yellow glow creeping from under Nick’s (and Jess’s?) door and the television emitting flickering light over Jess’s sleeping face, a fourth run of Dirty Dancing almost halfway through.
Scoffing at his two idiotic roommates he entered his bedroom. How could they not have known this was going to end in disaster? He knew! Grumbling to himself as he threw on his specially ordered Egyptian cotton sleeping shirt, he lets the truth of the situation sink in. That two people, he will begrudgingly admit to loving more than even himself, were in a lot of pain right now.
And honestly….so was he. Ok, he had been adverse to the change between them and had resisted it with all his might (even tried to sabotage it, but he doesn’t like to think about those Dark Schmidty days); so at first he thought the relationship had a gigantic, red stamped end date on it. But then he noticed the change in his best friend and thought maybe this thing these two weirdos had is real and is good. But it had all crumbled down and the “I told you so” he had planned on using won’t make it passed his lips.
Coming to a decision, he rose from the bed and slipped on his Ugg slippers (what? Tom Brady wears them) before quietly opening the bedroom door. Standing next to the TV, he took in the image of the brokenhearted girl who had cried herself to sleep, the lights from Dirty Dancing flickering across her pale and splotchy face, glasses askew, snotty tissues everywhere. Schmidt was not immune and felt the moisture build behind his eyes but with a quick sniff he got to work.
Walking silently up to her, he gently removed her glasses, folding them up carefully before placing them on the coffee table. Next, he grabbed the two empty tissue boxes and filled them with the used and discarded tissues…without the use of rubber gloves…that’s how deep he was invested in this moment. Schmidt, the OCD Clean King of Apartment 4D, was handling soggy snotty, tear-soaked tissues with his bare hands.
After filling up both boxes, he tucked one under his elbow to free up a hand to remove the empty wine glass and bottle of rosé. Throwing out the hazardous material and rinsing the wine glass, he returned to Jess with two tall glasses of water and three Advil for when she woke up. He squatted in front of her, brushing her bangs aside before leaning forward to press a kiss to her forehead and extracted the remote from where she clutched it to her chest.
He froze when she shifted on the couch, tucking her hands under the pillow; a soft, “Thank you, Nick,” falling from her lips.
With a sad smile, he rose, the second glass of water in hand, and made his way to Nick’s room. As he passed the TV he clicked the remote, cutting off Patrick Swayze’s (admittedly glorious) leap from the stage in the final dance.
"Nick?" Schmidt tapped the door, counting to five Susquehanna’s (he refused to count Mississippi’s because it’s a trash river full of hicks and gators) before cracking the door open.
"Nicholas?" The room was silent. Nick took in the sad plank of wood lying where the bed should be and saw Jess’s makeshift sleeping cubby next to the closet. Glancing to the other side of the bed, a broad, gray clad shoulder stuck out.
Sighing, Schmidt moved to the other side of the bed and took in the image before him. It was just as sad as the one of Jess on the couch. Before him laid a clearly brokenhearted man, asleep (or passed out), clutching a bottle of whiskey like it was a child’s teddy bear, with no blanket, and dark circles under sunken eyes.
"Oh, good lord."
Setting the glass of water and Advil on Jess’s desk he took a moment to plan out his next move.
"Nick, you’re using a cinder block as a pillow!"
Nick’s only comeback was a loud snore.
Sighing he leaned down to pry the bottle of booze from Nick’s arms, unmindful of jostling him (once he passed out drunk, it was physically impossible to wake him back up). Next, he had to figure out how to move the cinder block and replace it with the pillows which were currently under Nick’s butt. Moving a dead-weight Nick Miller is no easy feat. Plus he was laying so awkwardly with his back against the night stand and his feet disappearing underneath the ‘bed.’ He was perpendicular to how he was supposed to be laying, the dummy.
Schmidt regretted that intense cross-fit work-out as got down on his knees to lean under the plank, hands searching for Nick’s ankles. Getting a firm grip he yanked the sweat-pant clad limbs out from under the wood, positioning them properly on the makeshift floor bed. He then leaned down to tug the pillows out from under Nick’s ginormous butt.
"You have got to do squats with me, Nicholas, or at the very least, I know some great kettle bell workouts," he said as finally got the plaid covered pillow free, a pair of Jessica’s tights dangling out from the opening. Sighing, for what felt like the twentieth time, he tugged them free and tossed them over to Jess’s side of the room.
Now to get his head off concrete and on to a pillow.
"Seriously, Nick, these plaid sheets have got to go. You had them in college. They can’t even be considered cotton anymore from the feel of them." He positioned the pillows behind Nick’s shoulders, then grasped his left bicep from behind with his right hand, placing his other hand under Nick’s neck, hoping to minimize any scrappage from the cinder block (although with that amount of stubble, he’s pretty sure Nick’s face has a pretty good buffer from the rough surface). With a great heave, he lifted Nick up off the cement pillow and down on to the feather encased one.
Nick grunted, startling Schmidt before a quiet “Thanks, Jessica,” mumbled passed his lips as he shifted his right arm above his head (classic Nick Miller sleeping position), then sunk back to the comforting blackness of a drunken sleep.
Crouched next to Nick’s sleeping form, Schmidt ran his right hand through his hair, rubbing at the back of his neck. What he is gonna do with these two?
"Sleep it off, Nick," he patted Nick’s shin before tugging the green sleeping bag out from under Jess’s desk, biting back the judgmental comment, and tucked it around his roommate and best friend for over ten years.
Knowing if he left the water on the ground it’ll just get knocked over, he kept it on the desk and grabbed the sharpie marker that had been hidden among the blanket folds (and had dug into his knee when he was on all fours dragging Nick’s feet out). He wrote water with an arrow pointing diagonally to the right on Nick’s left hand, then laid it back across his torso and stood.
Turning off the light, he left the room, closing the door quietly behind him so as not to wake Jess.
"How’s he doing?"
"Winston!" Schmidt whispered harshly. "Do not startle me like that! What is my rule when you walk the halls at night?!"
Winston released a long suffering sigh. “That I walk with wide eyes and teeth bared at all times, clothed in white t-shirts only.”
"Thank you. Yet here you are either shirtless or in a black tee and no smile!"
"The worst," Winston grumbled. "But seriously," he nodded to Nick’s closed door before his eyes darted to the dark lump on the couch.
Schmidt reached out to pat Winston on the shoulder but missed before Winston grabbed his hand, placing it on his shoulder. “Right here.”
Schmidt sighed before he focused determined eyes on Winston.
"We’ve got some work to do."