Title: Perfect Score
Summary: “When Liz loses her baby, Jack goes to the hospital chapel and prays.”
When Liz loses her baby, Jack goes to the hospital chapel and prays. He prays often – usually to certain stock market symbols or gods of fornication – but not to Christ or the Heavenly Lord.
He prays for Liz Lemon though.
Liz Lemon who was almost three months pregnant only four hours ago.
Jack curses the circumstances that made her trip and fall hard so that she hit her head – and then fall that somehow made her lose the child.
He realizes, slowly, that he would have done so much for this baby. He would have fought, but he cannot fight the circumstances. He cannot change anything. And as his hands turn to fists, he cannot punch anything but the air.
Liz is asking for him. But he can’t see her now. Jack fears he would break down. That he would cry for her and her child and that he would give her anything – the sun, the stars, all the children of the world – but he can’t. He can’t bring little Sophia Lemon back.
Oh, God. He laughs suddenly, thinking he has finally found something he can’t do for Lemon. He can fix her hair, clothes and manners, but not the thing that actually matters.
The last time she had a serious baby incident was with when he was in Washington D.C. with Cooter. And all he could do was fly home to comfort her.
She is asking about him. He is the only one she wants to see. This is because he is the only who knows that she is – was – pregnant.
But he can’t think of what to say. How to help her.
He finally goes into her room with a cup of juice.
“How’s your head, Lemon?” he mumbles. Her hands are at her stomach.
“I lost her.” Liz shakes her head. “She’s gone. Although I don’t know if she was a girl.” Liz laughs lightly and the pain is even more evident.
Jack sits, puts the juice on the table and grips her hand hard.
“At least,” Liz gulps, “her father didn’t know yet. So that’s one less person to grieve.”
Jack looks away.
“You’re the only one who knows,” she whispers.
“Say something, Jack.”
“I’m sorry, Lemon,” he croaks.
“Does this mean I can’t have it all?” she laughs weakly again. “Maybe this is a sign.”
“No. It doesn’t. If anyone deserves to have it all, it is you, Lemon.”
She closes her eyes. “Jack, I’m lucky you were here. I can’t – I was scared.”
He doesn’t remind her that he was terrified to see her fall, that it was the slowest fall in the world, and that her not opening her eyes right after almost made his heart stop again. And he doesn’t remind her that he brushed her cheek with anxiousness every few moments as they waited for the ambulance.
“I know,” he says instead. “I understand.”
“I’m going to try again. But not like this. I can’t bear this.”
“Jack,” she turns to her side a little, wincing at the pain, and he steadies her, “I was thinking. Maybe adoption is the best plan. I don’t have a good diet. I don’t take care of my body. I’m not fit to carry a child.”
“Is adoption so bad?”
“No. Absolutely not.”
His fingers stroke the back of her hand. “Adoption would make you happy?”
“I think so.”
He nods and then moves a piece of hair out of her eyes. “Are you alright, Lemon?”
She shakes her head and buries her face into her pillow. His heart pangs again.
When the adoption agent asks about the males in Liz’s life, Liz hotly explains that she can handle a child alone without masculine help.
“But there must be someone,” the agent protests. “And if there isn’t, then will there be? And if so, what kind of a choice would you make?”
Liz sighs. “You’ve already met Jack. Mr. Donaghy.”
The agent smiles and nods.
“Well, I guess that’s him,” Liz says. Jack stops. “What I mean,” here she sends him an apologetic look, “is that this man would take her of my child, I know. So I guess he’s my best male friend.”
“He’s very caring,” Liz says. “And he can be logical. And intelligent, gracious, friendly and sweet. When he wants to. But I know that for my child he would always be those things.”
Later, Jack asks her if she meant these things. Liz laughs and tells him that he “wishes”. But she says again that she is so glad that the child will have him in its life.
“If I ever get a baby,” she moans.
“You will,” Jack assures her. “You will.”
He is planning to have Jonathan pull some strings.
The child never comes in from China or Liberia or Russia.
“This is a sign,” Liz says again, as she drinks with him in his office.
“No, it isn’t,” he disagrees.
“Jack, I’m not supposed to have a baby.”
“Yes, you are.” He wants her to smile.
“If I am, it’s not like this. Maybe I’m not supposed to be alone,” Liz hypothesizes.
He refills her wine glass.
“Jack, I have to get married.”
His hand shakes as he continues to pour.
“I could set you up,” he offers. “Not with Gretchen, obviously.”
“I don’t think that’s going to work.”
He turns away from her. “Perhaps the maternal instinct will simply disappear, Lemon. And thing things will be alright.”
“No. I’ll just be unhappy if I don’t have a baby now. And I’ve spent so much time trying to get one.”
“Let’s go out,” Jack suggests. “I’ll help you pick out a man to procreate with.”
Liz laughs. “I’m not dressed to go out.”
“You look fine.”
“You won’t want to be seen with me in public. Don’t think I don’t know that!”
“Just steal something from the dressing room if you’re so self-conscious.”
“Is that an order?” she asks cheekily.
He clenches his hand. “Yes, Lemon. How about one in plum if you can find it.”
“Plum?” she scoffs. “Alright, Mr. Donaghy. You’re so bossy.”
“You’ll thank me for it.”
He thanks himself for it when she emerges from the dressing room. Apparently, some of the employees were still around to help her with make-up and matching. She looks beautiful – not stunning and still very Lemon-ish – but beautiful.
In the limo, she asks where they are going and he responds that they are going to one of New York’s best bars.
Once they arrive, they assess jaw lines and eye colors and physiques. And then intelligence levels and charisma.
“You’re the best one here,” she finally says, and touches his forearm affectionately. “Jack, you’re the best.”
He smiles and suggests a man sitting to the right of them. Her eyes light up and she nods enthusiastically.
Half an hour later, Jack leaves the bar alone as Lemon chats with Robert.
His driver, George, asks where the “Young Miss Lemon is”.
Jack explains that she is with another man and George shakes his head sympathetically.
One day, in the elevator, Liz abruptly tells him that Robert will have a baby with her.
“He doesn’t think we have to get married first.”
“You think that’s okay?”
“Why on earth would it matter to me, Lemon?”
She turns away from him. “Sorry for wanting an opinion.”
“If it makes you happy…”
“It can’t be that bad?” Liz smiles.
“Something like that,” he nods. He’s a liar.
Liz comes to his door one night.
“I can’t have a baby.”
He sighs, hair tussled from sleep. “Lemon, are you having doubts again?”
“Physically, Jack. Physically I can’t have a baby.”
He pulls her into his living room and she slowly leans towards him.
“I know you think hugging is ethnic.”
She is against his chest.
“I’ll get over it,” he mumbles into her hair. Her heart is hammering – he can feel it. He hands glide of her arms, her back, soothing. His face is still pressed into her hair. She is quivering now, as if her whole body is crying. “Don’t, Lemon. I’m sorry.”
Her eyes slide closed and he realizes that she is finally relaxing. She’s tired.
“Come on,” He pulls her towards his bedroom because the spare bed isn’t made up. She grips his shirt tightly. He helps her into the bed as she protests.
“It’s alright. Just sleep.” And then as an afterthought: “Where’s Robert?”
“I don’t know. Gone, maybe. I was angry,” she slurs. “He didn’t really care about not having a baby.” Then, her own afterthought: “Where are you going to sleep?”
He shrugs, and then takes a chance. “Here.”
Her neuroses kick in instantly as her fingers begin to clutch at the covers.
“Relax.” Jack tells her. And then he climbs into bed. Slowly, he eases the fingers of one hand away from the blankets and holds her hand. She settles into the pillow.
And when she falls asleep, he slowly caresses his cheek. His arm settles around her waist.
He loves her.
Jack settles into the smell of him and her.
The next morning she eats toast, eggs and has some orange juice. He watches her.
“What are you going to do?” he questions finally.
“I’m going to find something else to focus on.”
“I don’t know.” She pauses. “This is so…non-feminist of me, but I don’t really want to be a single mother.”
He nods. “I understand.”
Liz comes over often. They watch movies and she wears his clothes. They are both entirely domestic.
“This is so nice, Jack,” she tells him. “We should’ve done this way before.”
She sleeps in his bed all the time. Sometimes he moves to the study and works, and every so often she pads in the morning and hands him a coffee. Every so often she brings her laptop over too and they work together, in their own little corners, but completely together.
She has stopped seeing Robert.
“Listen,” she says one day, “I’m writing a book.”
He raises an eyebrow. “The Dealbreaker book wasn’t enough?”
“This a novel! A humorous, but at the same time serious novel. Do you want to hear the beginning?”
“Let me read it.”
He comes up behind her and skims through the writing. Then, he reads it again, more carefully.
“It’s beautiful,” he decides. And then kisses her on the cheek.
She stares at him.
“It’s beautiful,” he repeats, and then kisses her on the lips. His hands find her waist and hers find his shoulders, his face, his hair. He pulls her up, so that she is flush against him, ad he kisses her with all his might. He cups parts of her body that are so familiar to his eyes and yet so foreign to his hands.
They make it to the bedroom.
“I love you,” he says.
She laughs. Not incredulously, but gloriously.
And that makes Jack smile.
“Do you want to adopt?” he asks one day.
“I’m okay right now,” Liz explains. “I can wait. But…I can’t wait too long.” She smiles. “So soon, yeah, I’d like to adopt. When you’re ready. If we can do it, I mean. Seeing as I haven’t had too much luck with the entire process.”
When Liz finally meets Sophia in China, she counts all the fingers and toes. And secretly, Jack does too.
Ten and ten.
The power has gone out, and for whatever reason, the NBC generator won’t turn on. She came to his office because the writers are driving her nuts.
He likes the way her skin gleams in the candlelight.
He brings out some wine, and she laughs, saying that she’s the only woman who can’t be wooed by his little romantic tricks. Or the only one that he’s not trying to woo. He thinks he might see a wistful gleam in her eyes, but maybe it’s his own reflection.
She doesn’t know how to appreciate wine. She just drinks, never smelling or really tasting – or anything. But he knows how to drink her in. Her eyes, tired, but mischievous. Her nose: pert. Her hair: thick, beautiful – too close to the candle. He brushes it away and smirks.
She calls herself a klutz. And then apologizes. He says nothing.
He tells her she’s beautiful –
- in his own head.
She suddenly sniffs, and then grins. And asks if the candle is actually rose-scented.
He nods, and then brushes his lips against hers.
Her hands brush his shoulders, and he sweeps his own hands into her hair, down her neck, down the sides of her breasts.
She inches towards him, and he pulls him against himself hard –
- in his own head.
She tells him he’s a good friend, and this is reality.
He tells her he doesn’t mind sharing an office with her. As long as she’s not in here too often.
She promises she won’t start channeling his mother.
And then the generator starts working. The romantic air disappears, and it’s just him and her. Laughing. Like always.
She guzzles the rest of the wine, and he hopes she is drunk, and can’t move, and has to sleep in his office forever and ever and ever.
But she’s okay, and she leaves, and he blows the candle out.
Just one more missed opportunity to tell her he loves her.
It’s the first time Jack Donaghy doesn’t want to have sex after meeting a beautiful woman. The woman is utterly insipid, and he’s done with that – he’s had Liz Lemon and suddenly everything has fallen into place. Except Liz Lemon has decided that a relationship won’t work – not when she’s trying to adopt. She doesn’t want her life topsy-turvy during the entire ordeal. He told her he would wait, but she says not to, because a part of her thinks she might never be ready to have him.
The blonde is pretty, but he hates the way she looks, spread out in his office. It’s dirty and cheap and her moans are carbon copies of bad pornographic sounds. He lowers his face to her breast and she lets out a shriek. Jack is glad Jonathon has left for the day (and honestly, who would stay at work until 7 PM unless they were having office sex?).
Jack hates her sounds. He almost tells her to shut up. He almost decides to gag her and present its some wonderful sex game. Because suddenly he wants to hear witty jokes during sex instead of…this.
He keeps his own mouth shut the entire time, but she can’t, it seems.
And when they’ve finally finished, he sits for a moment and then dresses.
“You’d better go,” Jack tells her. “I’ll call.”
“Okay,” the blonde agrees.
And she leaves. But before she does, she pops her head back in. “Jack? There’s a woman here to see you. About work, she says.”
Jack snaps his head up and straightens his tie. “Is it Lemon?”
“Uh, sure. I guess?”
“Tell her to come in.” Then louder: “Lemon, come in.”
Liz is very pale when she walks in, and her lips are drawn in a straight line.
“Hello, Lemon. You’re working late.” He rubs his face. “Shouldn’t you be going home?”
“I was finishing the sketch.” She hands him a small stack of papers. “Can you read through it?”
“Of course,” Jack answers smoothly. “Are you alright, Lemon?” But she’s already halfway out the door. Then, she turns:
“You two were awfully loud,” she bites out. “Couldn’t you have taken her home, at least?”
Jack pauses. “Perhaps you’re right, Lemon.”
“All that moaning and groaning, what the hell were you doing in here?” Liz grimaces.
“Wouldn’t you like to know, Lemon?” Jack growls coldly. He wishes he could kiss her.
“No. Not really. Sick, twisted sex games aren’t really my style.”
“Oh, for God’s sake!” he exclaims. “I didn’t ask you to sit out there and listen.”
“How was I going to know when you were done otherwise?” she asks snidely.
“You made a choice you know,” he says, staring at her intently. “In the business world, deals and negotiations are often hard to go back on, and you have to deal with the consequences.”
She crosses to the other side of the room, clearly thinking hard, and when she turns back to him, there is hard frustration in her eyes. “It isn’t my fault you’re everything I’ve ever wanted, but also nothing I can deal with.” She closes her eyes. “Jack, you said it’s impossible to have it all – so I have to choose. A child, once I get one, is so…stable. I know it’ll love me, because I’ll love it with all my heart. But you – I can’t say that about you.”
“Well,” he steeples his fingers, “if I were to apply the same logic – if I love you with all my heart, then you’ll love me too. And we’ll be, what did you say? Stable?”
“But…” She seems lost for words.
“Elizabeth Lemon, you’ve survived my friendship.”
“Jack, it’s not the same.”
He stands, and strides forward. “Did you laugh on our date? Did you enjoy it? I know you did. Don’t even try to lie.”
And suddenly her back is straightening. “You don’t know anything!”
“I know you.”
He grabs her arms, and pulls her to him. Suddenly they are hugging, and he is clinging to her.
“This is…ethnic,” she says.
He tangles his hand in her hair, feeling the silky stands. The other explores the expanse of her back – there are areas he already knows, from leaving his hands there to lead her somewhere – but there is the new curve of her shoulder blades. He learns that she shivers when his hands stray a little too close to her breasts. She gives a little gasp, but she is warm in his arms. Her head fits just above his collarbone.
Jack rarely hugs women. Or men, for that matter. It has truly always seemed like a waste of time. But with Liz, he could keep her in his arms forever to prove that he needs this.
“Friends hug, Lemon.”
She buries her face in his shirt.
“You smell like perfume, Jack.” Liz slowly disentangles herself from him. “You just had sex. I’m not going to…forgive you for loving me and having sex with someone else. It’s not right.”
She’s a feminist, he remembers, and for the first time, he really and truly hates it.
“I’m sorry, Lemon.”
He looks away and curses women who scream like porn stars.
Liz bites her lip. “I didn’t hear you. The entire time…it was her.”
“I didn’t exactly enjoy it.”
“There are rules, Lemon, such as – with women like that, you have sex whether you want it or not, because you don’t want rumors spreading around about how you couldn’t get it up or something with other CEOs and such. But that doesn’t mean I enjoyed it.”
“I know what you thought.”
She sits on the floor, cradles her head in her hands, and then stares into his eyes. “Oh, Jack. All for you job. Again.”
“Social status, actually.”
And then she begins to laugh. “You’ve always been what I thought, you know that? You’re just a better version of what I imagined.”
He sits on the floor with her. “Lemon, are you going to change your mind at any point?”
She kisses him.
“Jack, I don’t know.”
He grabs her hands and pulls her on top of him. His mouth is on hers instantaneously, and his tongue is battling for control with hers. His hands are in her hair again, and then they slide down to her breasts. He kisses the corner of her mouth and then goes back to kissing her hard. She moves her hips a little, in order to get more comfortable and he lets out a groan. Her weight on top of him feels perfect, and he can’t help but react. She breaks the kiss and cocks her head. She then moves against him again. Jack grits his teeth, trying not to make a sound, but it escapes his throat anyway.
“I see,” she murmurs, raking her fingertips lightly over his chest. He shivers.
“Lemon, she could be as loud as the hell she wanted, but I was still rather loyal. In my terms.”
“Yes,” Liz grins. “And things are always in your terms, aren’t they?” She stands suddenly. “Go take a shower, okay? I hate that smell. It’s disgusting. And then I think we should go on another date on Friday night.”
He leans his head against the desk. “That sounds fine.” He pauses. “What made you change your mind?”
She shakes her head. “You love sex, Jack. For you to…not be interested says a lot. And then for you to be that interested. Well. That says a lot too. It’s all pretty logical.”
Jack smiles. Her so-called logic is probably twisted, and it’s really her heart speaking, but he’s not going to correct her.
A/N: Hope someone uses this prompt differently - while I liked how this turned out, I kind of wanted some hot NC-17...haha. Oh, well, maybe I'll write another one using the same prompt!
Jack knows that Liz spends the rest of the week in flurried excitement. She can’t help it, but it makes him smile. After all, her unhappiness impedes the success of TGS.
When Friday comes, he lets her dress herself, and simply e-mails her the time the limo is arriving. He doesn’t want her to misunderstand.
“Hi,” she says, at 6:30, arriving in a beautiful red dress.
“You look lovely,” he tells her calmly. The driver opens the door for them. “I got tickets in the fourth row,” Jack explains. “I thought it would be best…being too close is irritating. Your neck might hurt. And in the fourth row, you’re close enough to the falling chandelier – oh, we’re seeing The Phantom of the Opera – anyway, you’re close enough to the falling chandelier.”
Her eyes widen. “Fourth row?”
“That is alright, isn’t it, Lemon?”
“Yeah. Uh huh.” She bites her lip. “That’s perfect, Jack. Thanks. The writers went out to a bar. They thought it was suspicious that I didn’t want to. They said that I’ve acting weird all week – although, apparently it got better by Wednesday – and that I should go and make it up to them…”
Jack feels a strange jerk on his heart, and hopes to God he doesn’t have a heart attack tonight. “Did you want to, uh, go out with the writers? We could postpone, Lemon.” He’s feeling gallant.
“Oh, God, no! Blergh. I didn’t mean that. Look, I got dressed up, didn’t I?” she says, a little pathetically.
He touches her hand. “That you did. And I complimented you already. Don’t go fishing for compliments, Lemon.” This breaks the tension, and they laugh.
The rest of the limo ride is quiet, but companionable. When they finally reach the theatre, the doors have opened.
The show starts soon after, and neither speaks until the chandelier drops. Liz gasps, and he grins as excitement and surprise radiates off her.
“Wow,” she tells him at intermission. “That was really, really great. The Christine just has the most gorgeous voice.”
Jack agrees with her, grinning at the fact that she’s flipping through the playbill to the read the bios for the fourth time. She’s having a good time, he’s sure of it.
Then, at the end of the show, she is crying. He helps her out of her seat, and into the limo.
“Oh, wait!” she says, suddenly, darting back out. “I really wanted autographs. Sorry, Jack. Um, you can go, if you want. I’ll just get a cab.” She wipes a few tears off her cheeks.
“No matter, Lemon. I have all night. Come on, I’ll convince someone to let us backstage.”
“Oh. No. I was just going to wait by the stage door,” Liz says.
“Really? The stage door, Lemon? How…common.”
She raises her chin a fraction. “I am common, Jack.”
At this, he grins, feeling that it’s good that she’s beginning to feel more comfortable with herself and not that Nathan-Liz that she’s presumably been the entire summer.
“That a girl,” he whispers, and she looks at him curiously. He simply pushes her to the stage door, hand on her lower back.
“That was a terrible ending,” she complains, as they wait.
“I thought you knew how it ended,” he responds, with a raised eyebrow. “Don’t you have the soundtrack memorized?”
“Yes. But…oh, poor Phantom!” she laments.
“Really? I always preferred Raoul. He has money, charm, and loves her. What more could you want?”
“But the Phantom is the poor tortured soul!” Liz protests.
“Lemon.” He shakes his head at her.
“Jack, thanks a lot for this,” Liz finally says. “This was really great.” And then she drops her playbill. “Oh, my God. Hide me.”
Go To Part Seven:http://allani.livejournal.com/3735.html
Liz looks annoyed and the bartender has moved to the other end of the bar, Jack notes, when he reappears.
“What happened?” he asks.
Liz groans. “That guy – the bartender- he comes over here and he starts flirting. I mean, what nerve?”
Jack raises an eyebrow. “What nerve?”
“Lemon, you’re not married. There’s no wedding ring signifying that you’re untouchable.”
Liz falters momentarily, and then speaks. “Well, I was with you! And he knew that.”
Jack rolls his eyes. “I didn’t kiss you or hold your hand. Men like to leap when opportunity presents itself, Lemon. Aren’t you aware of that?”
She looks away, and he feels a little guilty.
“Well, what did you tell him?” Jack asks, grinning, hoping it will lighten the mood.
“Nothing. I was just pretty quiet. And then I asked him for a beer. Why did you get me wine anyway? I’m not in the mood to be classy.”
He glares at her. “I only waste my time with classy women.”
“A waste of time, huh?” She doesn’t sound very angry, more defeated.
“At this point, yes. Lemon, why not just flirt with the man, have a nice drink, live your life? There are other fish in the sea.”
“I wanted him.”
“You don’t even know if it would have worked out.”
She stares at his face, and he looks into her slightly red eyes. “Have you been crying, Lemon?”
“No! Alcohol…makes my eyes water.”
Jack leans an elbow on the counter. “If he came back, what would you do?”
Liz laughs. “Kiss him maybe?”
“After all he did? You’re a masochist, Lemon. I never would have thought it.”
“I’m not. You don’t understand, Jack.”
He pats her shoulder. “No, I don’t.”
“I don’t think anyone understands.”
“Of course they do. People understand the concept of love and wanting it, and ‘all that jazz’.” He pauses to see if she will catch the Broadway reference. She smiles slightly. “But many people don’t wallow in it. You are.”
She nods. “Yeah, I am. I really am. But I almost like having something to wallow in. I’d rather be sad than have never…experienced something great.”
“Lemon, I am attempting to smack sense into you. There are better things than this Nathan man.” He slides his hand to the small of her back (where it usually sits, actually) to illustrate his point. Liz leans towards it.
Jack’s mouth tightens. “Something like that, Lemon.”
“You’re getting better at the comfort thing, Jack.”
“I learn from the best,” he answers with a smirk.
“Thanks!” Liz responds lightly.
He shakes his head, not really sure if he meant her or not. Then, struck with a brilliant idea, he turns to look at her.
“Have you seen a Broadway show on-Broadway yet, anyway, Lemon?”
“Nope. Never had the time or will to go alone. Nathan and I might have gone, but…”
Jack shakes his head. “I suppose you want a more formal invitation: Elizabeth Lemon, would you care to go to a Broadway show on Friday?”
“Naturally. I am attempting to make you feel better. Accept it, or I will accuse you of wallowing again.”
“Right! Er, done. Thanks, Jack.”
Jack smiles, glad to be of some kind of assistance to the woman who has helped if out of many scrapes before – although, they are even in many respects…well, he certainly isn’t doing it to be nice, he decides. He can’t stand moping Liz Lemon, that’s all.
To Go To Part Six: http://allani.livejournal.com/2365.html