Title: Things We Do for Love (3/5)
Spoilers: Specifically 1x25, 2x12. Little details through 2x17.
Word Count: ~ 2700
Disclaimer: You know how this works. Don’t sue me
Notes: Ficcy Friday prompt from tilie12. Sequel to Things We Do For Money.
Summary: Greendale holds a bachelorette auction.
Part 1 | Part 2
“Another one sold,” Dean Pelton announces, standing next to a petite girl with a pixie haircut. He puts an arm over her shoulder and leans down to her eye level. “How fun for you!” He gives her a light nudge on the back to direct her off the stage. Watching her head for the stairs, he tilts his head and adds quietly, “Ah. I wish I was a bachelorette.”
As the dean turns toward the next woman up for auction, Jeff hears the familiar voices of Britta and Shirley. He spots them making their way to the rear of the gym to join the group. Shirley is all smiles, while Britta shakes her head and scowls. With her arms crossed, Britta storms past and takes a place at Jeff’s right. Shirley giggles and hugs Troy and Abed.
Before Jeff can ask why Shirley seems so giddy, Britta erupts, “You were right. Rich is creepy!”
“Told you so,” Jeff says triumphantly.
“And he is not perfect!” she continues. She leans past Jeff and shouts to Abed. “He couldn’t even get his lines right.”
“He had all the lines right,” Abed corrects. “Even yours.”
Britta rolls her eyes and insists, “That smug grin was not in the script.”
Abed acknowledges, “That’s technically accurate.”
“Every time I got a single word wrong, he had to correct me. Who the hell is he to tell me how to do my lines?” Britta turns to Jeff as she continues, “I thought you just hated him because he’s better looking than you, but he really is obnoxious and... disturbing. Nobody is that perfect!” She almost sounds apologetic as she adds, “I should have believed to you. ”
“Uh...” Jeff crosses his arms over his chest. “Thanks.”
“No problem.” She grabs a cookie off the refreshment before table continuing, “I got so sick of his smug superiority I wanted to strangle him. Instead, I told him he was a talentless slug who wasn’t worth the air he was sucking down.” She takes a bite of the cookie. “I think he got off on it! Tell me that’s not creepy.” She frowns and shakes her head. “I can’t believe I have to go on a date with him.”
Jeff peers down at her. “Can’t you just... I don’t know... not go?”
She’s silent for a moment, then she shrugs. “I can put up with him for a free social studies credit. One date won’t kill me, right?” Her voice is defiant as she amends, “But as an American citizen, I still have the right to speak my mind about how much I’m going to hate it.”
Jeff’s jaw drops. “You get a social studies credit?”
“Shit!” Britta mutters. “I forgot I wasn’t supposed to tell the men.”
“I knew you weren’t doing this for charity!” Jeff declares, filing the information away for future use. Maybe he can get a free credit for himself out of their weaselly dean.
“Sold for five hundred wampum!” Dean Pelton howls. “That’s such a fun word to say. Wampum!” The dean turns and looks toward the line of ladies next to the stage. “Who do we have next?” As Annie climbs the steps, he announces. “Ah. Annie Edison!” After looking past her toward the rest of the line, he cups his hand over one side of his mouth and lowers his voice. “Just a word of advice to the bidders. This is the last of the good ones. If you haven’t won yet, bid now. It’s all down hill from here.”
“Hey, we can hear you,” someone yells from the line.
Dean Pelton speaks directly into the microphone as he responds, “I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.” Then he turns toward Annie and exuberantly asks, “Who’ll give me one hundred wampum for Ms. Edison?”
“One hundred!” a voice calls out. Jeff can’t see the voice’s source but recognizes it as the allergic mess otherwise known as Garrett.
“Two hundred!” another voice which Jeff doesn’t recognize shouts.
“Three hundred!” Garrett responds.
Jeff smiles at the idea of Annie on a date with Garrett. Had he ever even talked to Annie before? Would he know what to say to a girl?
“I’m going to take that as a bid of four hundred for Magnitude,” the dean announces.
“Pop pop,” Magnitude responds with a nod.
Jeff continues observing the scene, amused by the thought of Annie sitting in a fancy restaurant, attempting to conduct a conversation but receiving only a single, repeated word in response.
As Jeff entertains himself with the idea of Annie’s terrible potential dates, he realizes he’s genuinely not jealous or upset. He’s actually one hundred percent fine with her going on a date with these guys. Jeff smiles, content with himself in the fact that all along he hasn’t been jealous. He’s just been protective. Proudly showing Abed how wrong his earlier implication had been, Jeff glances to his friend to meet his gaze.
Abed gives him a thumbs up, and Jeff narrows his eyes, wondering what exactly was going on in the other man’s mind.
“Five hundred,” calls another voice.
Jeff turns back toward the stage, and this time he sees a hand raised in the crowd. It’s a male hand wearing a thumb ring, attached to a forearm with a small tattoo of some Chinese symbol just above the sleeve of a pushed up gray thermal shirt. Jeff follows the arm to a head of thick, strategically messy, dark hair. Beneath those locks, which Jeff begrudgingly admits to himself are more expertly styled than his own, is a dimpled face adorned with a pencil mustache and soul patch.
“Who the hell is that?” Jeff asks.
“Toby,” Abed replies. “He’s a theater major. He starred in my ‘Edward Scissorhands’ homage, ‘Jacob Rockfeet’, the story of a man persecuted by society for his poor dancing. He’s also a vampire.”
“How does he know Annie?”
“He’s a character in a movie, Jeff. He doesn’t know anybody.”
“Oh.” Abed shrugs. “I don’t think he does.”
Jeff looks up at the stage and sees Annie blushing with a coy smile across her lips and her shoulders pushed forward, enhancing her bust line as she gazes down at her bidder. Suddenly, her potential date no longer seems amusing in the face of this artistically sensitive bad boy whom Jeff is certain can pick up women without even saying hello.
“Six hundred,” Jeff blurts out before he stops to think about the reasons he shouldn’t.
“There you are, Jeffrey,” the dean interjects as he waves. “My, you look fit this evening. Who makes that shirt? It hugs you so well.”
From Jeff’s right, Britta asks, “What are you doing?”
“Saving her,” Jeff responds, noticing Annie’s surprised expression as she stares back at him.
“From what, catching a case of sexy-itis?” Britta taunts as she eyes Toby. “You don’t even have any wampum.”
“Yes, I do.”
“Since none of your business.”
Britta glares at him and crosses her arms.
“Don’t worry about it, Jeffrey. I’ll check your tag later,” Dean Pelton continues. “I’m sorry. I lost track. Where were we?”
“Seven hundred,” Garrett shouts in exasperation.
“Okay, seven hundred for Garrett. Do I hear eight?”
“Eight hundred,” Mr. Dangerously Handsome offers.
“Nine hundred,” Jeff says, ignoring the glare he knows Britta is still giving him.
“Jeff, why are you bidding on Annie?” Troy asks as he leans in front of Abed. “She’d probably go out with you if you just ask.”
“I don’t want to date Annie,” Jeff snaps.
Troy looks at Abed. “What does he think he’s bidding on?”
“One thousand,” says a voice Jeff distinctly recognizes.
Jeff grits his teeth and says under his breath, “Starburns!” Compared to him, the wannabe actor might as well be Prince Charming. Jeff won’t let Annie be subjected to that kind of trauma.
With only two thousand, Jeff realizes one of these walking hazards to female kind might be able to out bid him. “Abed, give me your money!”
Pulling out his front pockets to illustrate, Abed responds, “I don’t have any.”
Jeff’s eyes dart over Abed as if to discover the missing cash. “What happened to it?”
“Troy and I bought Shirley. I know you were supposed to bid on her, but since you were preoccupied, we pooled our money so she’d sell for more than anyone else. She said it was nice.”
As Jeff hears the bidding increase to twelve hundred, he groans. He puts on a smile before turning to his other side.
“Britta, I need money.”
“Well don’t look at me. I can’t even pay my own rent. I’m not about to pay yours.”
“What?” His smile disappears. “No! Give me your stupid wampum.”
She shakes her head. “Sorry, I don’t have any.”
“Didn’t you get paid for the movie?”
“Yeah, but I gave it all to Abed.”
“Ugh,” Jeff mutters, growing impatient as he hears Toby raise the bid to fifteen hundred. There’s no way Annie should date a guy with a mustache like that.
Jeff’s eyes drift to Shirley, who replies, “Don’t look at me. I have money, but I think what you’re doing is inappropriate.”
“You’d rather see her with Jack Sparrow over there!”
“Please,” Shirley objects. “Toby is a nice boy. This isn’t about him. You need to get those ideas about Annie out of your head. She’s too young for you, Jeffrey.”
“Shirley, I’m not trying to date Annie.”
Shirley’s voice deepens. “That makes it even more inappropriate. You have no business leading that girl on again.”
Jeff clenches his jaw. “Shirley, I’m just trying--” Jeff begins to insist, but is interrupted by Britta.
“Come on, Jeff. We’re not idiots.” She crosses her arms and lectures, “Pretending you don’t have feelings for her just makes you seem like a jerk.”
Jeff looks back at Troy and Abed who nod in agreement.
“Fine,” Jeff says and takes a breath. “Shirley, I would like to take Annie on a date. As a bonus, I would also like more than anything to keep her away from the worst Greendale has to offer. Will you please, as my friend, help me?”
Shirley clutches her bag to her chest and scowls at Jeff until Britta nudges her with her elbow and nods.
“Fine,” Shirley says as she reaches into her bag. “I have seven hundred. But that doesn’t mean I like this.”
“Thank you, Shirley,” Jeff replies as he takes the money from her hand.
The bidding is slower, but Jeff realizes he still might not have enough when he hears Garrett say, “Twenty three hundred.”
The dean calls, “I have twenty three hundred. Do I hear twenty four?”
“Twenty four,” Jeff says.
“Jeff? You’re bidding again?” Dean Pelton sounds disappointed as he says, “Ms. Edison, you’re quite a lucky lady.”
Jeff glances around the room for someone with additional money. Abed catches his eye and points to a spot slightly to the left of the stage. Jeff follows his gaze to find Pierce. Jeff pushes his way through the crowd until he reaches his elderly friend. “Pierce, how much fake money have you got?”
“Sixteen hundred,” Pierce answers.
“Give it to me,” Jeff demands as he hears Toby bid twenty five hundred.
“No way! I couldn’t afford Brittles, but I’ve got my eye on that one,” he responds, pointing to a middle-aged, blond woman standing in line.
Jeff rolls his eyes. “You know they don’t have to have sex with you right?”
“They don’t? Then what the hell is the point of this!” Pierce yells loud enough that everyone looks at him.
Pierce thrusts his wad of bills into Jeff’s chest as he storms off toward the back of the room. Jeff smiles, feeling comfortable that forty three hundred will be more than enough to win Annie.
“Twenty six hundred,” Jeff shouts.
“Twenty seven,” Garrett says.
“Twenty eight,” Jeff counters.
Jeff sees Garrett near the front of the stage, counting a pile of bills.
“Do I hear twenty nine?” Dean Pelton asks.
Toby holds his hands up in defeat, and Jeff lips curl upward. For the first time since he started bidding, he takes a moment to think, and he realizes it’s exhilarating. Not the auction or the bidding, but the possibility of getting his feelings out in the open, of no longer denying them to himself, his friends, or Annie. It’s like the moment he locks eyes with a juror and realizes he’s got them in the palm of his hand, except he feels more alive and more like Annie’s the one who’s got him in her palm.
Jeff looks up at Annie. When she meets his eyes, she mouths, “What are you doing?”
He smiles a genuine, unguarded smile and raises his hands in an over the top shrug.
“Twenty nine,” Garrett declares triumphantly, waving his bills.
“Three thousand,” Jeff says without looking away from Annie. He notices her cheeks start to flush.
When no one offers another bid, Dean Pelton announces, “I’ve got three thousand. Do I hear thirty one hundred?”
Garrett’s shoulder’s slump, and he hangs his head. In any other circumstance, Jeff might feel bad for the guy.
“Going once,” the dean says when there are no further takers.
Jeff smiles as Annie looks at him with confusion written across her features.
“Four thousand,” comes from the back of the room.
Everyone turns. Jeff frowns when he sees the douche bag, hippie he had temporarily forgotten to worry about.
“What a grand gesture!” Dean Pelton exclaims.
“Forty three hundred,” Jeff says, knowing that’s his max, but hoping the stupid stoner has reached his as well.
“Five thousand,” Vaughn responds.
“Shit,” Jeff mutters then decides to throw the rules to hell. “Six thousand!”
The entire room turns toward Vaughn, who dejectedly shakes his head. Jeff exhales sharply and rolls his head back to bask in his victory.
“I have six thousand. Going once.” Silence. “Going twice.” Silence. “Sold to Jeff Winger!” The dean gives Annie a shove toward the steps as he continues, “Please pay up at the table to my right. Remember, you have sixty seconds or she goes to the next highest bidder.” He turns toward the line of remaining women. “Wow. That was exciting. Who do we have next?”
Jeff watches Annie descend the steps. Fresh off his bidding rush, Jeff is eager to talk to her before he comes to his senses and convinces himself otherwise. He had forgotten about the stupid time limit. Jeff pulls his eyes away from her. He has sixty seconds to keep Annie from going on a date with Vaughn. No problem, he tells himself. It hadn’t taken him very long to get forty three. He can get another seventeen hundred in two minutes, then he’ll talk to Annie. Jeff looks around for a patsy he can manipulate for money, and his eyes immediately dart to Garrett. Jeff wades through the crowd to the front of the stage where the young man is camped out.
“Hey, Garrett. Nice bidding. I was wondering...” Placing his hand on the other man’s shoulder, Jeff asks, “Is it just Annie you were interested in, or are there other women you might want to date? Anyone I might be able to help hook you up with, like Britta or... Britta?”
Garrett seems out of breath as he replies, “I was hoping for a brunette or a red head.”
Jeff nods, not letting on the fact that he doesn’t know any women off-hand he could get to date Garrett. “You’re in luck. I think I can arrange that.”
Garrett eyes Jeff suspiciously. “Why would you help me?”
Jeff puts on his best “I’m your pal” smile and answers, “Just to make up for out bidding you.”
Garrett turns back toward the stage and tosses back angrily, “I don’t need your pity.”
Jeff leans in close. “Look, I over bid. I need another seventeen hundred. I’ll give you whatever you want for it. Money, dates, anything.”
Garrett’s eyes go big, and Jeff immediately knows he’s made a mistake.
“He doesn’t have the money! Jeff Winger doesn’t have the money!”
“Shut up,” Jeff growls as he feels hundreds of eyes upon him.