Title: Once and Never Again
Summary: Emma Nelson has the best luck until she forgets the essentials.
Disclaimer: I do not own Degrassi in any way, shape or form. No money is being made off this. It is also not intended for copyright infringement.
Rating: M; rated for later chapters
Warning: Excess cursing in later chapters, alcohol references, and maybe some smut that I will have to tone down for this stupid fucking site. Also fluff and humor galore. I think Jay’s quite a bit out of character but six years of maturing and some new redemption can mellow a person out so let’s pretend Jay redeemed himself and mellowed out.
Author's Note/ Beta Credit: Takes place six years after season six. Emma’s twenty-four and Jay is twenty-six. There shall be three to six chapters and then a multi-chaptered sequel. Beta credit to the lovely Tammywammy. And before I forget, the title Once and Never Again is a song by the band, The Long Blondes. I don't own the song so lets not sue me.
Chapter One–English Major Hogart
Emma Nelson was about to do the unthinkable. Instead of writing the thesis paper that would make or break her ambitions of graduating from the
Going to bars alone without the intention of meeting someone was the first step to alcoholism. She shook her blonde head to rid herself of these thoughts. She was just going to drink some beers and maybe flirt with a few guys but that was it. There wasn’t going to be any heavy indulging in hard liquor just a beer or two. She concluded this theory with the reason she was doing this. For a change in pace. That’s all she wanted. She was sick of the constant studying and the pains of typing paper after paper, developing more tech neck as the days went by. That battle in her mind was over twenty minutes ago and now; she stood at the front door of the small bar called Ruby’s, looking psychotic as she contemplated her choice of plans for the night.
It’s now or never, she thought simply, as she adjusted her black purse and brushed off any lint off her black capris and smoothed her grey shirt over. She took a deep breath and opened the door to the bar.
When she walked in, she immediately breathed in the pungent smell that only bars can hold. She smelt peanuts, beer, vodka, sweat and cheap cologne all at the same time. She winced at the overload of different scents before squaring her shoulders and walking towards the bar with her chin held high. She settled herself onto a barstool and took in her surroundings. The bar was plain with a clean yet dirty air to it. The barstools looked weathered and the chairs and tables scattered across the bar looked battered as well. The bar itself looked clean which made her feel relieved but still cautious as the bowl of nuts looked like a playground for various germs itching to infect her clean and healthy body. A jukebox that looked older than she was made her smile as it played “Danny Boy” by The Pogues. Her observations were interrupted just as she was contemplating on whether or not to lean her elbows on the counter by a gruff voice that seemed close to her. Her eyes snapped directly in front of her as she finally noticed the bartender who looked quizzically at her as he held a vodka tonic in his calloused hand.
“This was sent over by the fella in the black jacket.” The bartender grunted as he jerked his thumb in the direction of the man who sent her the drink.
Her eyes followed the bartender’s thumb to come into contact with a pair of mischievous looking pair of blue eyes. Her jaw dropped before she could stop it as she took in his appearance with utter dismay. The blue eyes, the messy brown hair, the smirk that seemed to leer at her. It was Jay Hogart.
Before she could bolt for the door and grab a taxi to sit at home at her computer with a cache of Snickers at her side, he plopped himself down on the barstool next to her. He kept on smirking and Emma could feel her stomach churning. For one of the few times in her life, big mouth, activist Emma Nelson was speechless. But not only was she speechless but she was speechless in front of Jay Hogart. The boy who convinced her to go down on him and “take a walk on the wild side” to only result in getting gonorrhea and later, having a fight with her now ex-boyfriend Sean. Real great conversation starters.
Finally he took it upon himself to stop the painful silence and to ease the awkward tension that surrounded them like a bunch of vultures.
“So, how have you been? I heard you got into the psych program at the
She felt…weird. Here he was acting nice and even friendly. Did he forget the whole epic adventure that went on resulting in the worst year of her life? Because she sure as hell didn’t. But hell, if he wanted to play nice, she could do the same.
“Yeah, I’ve been fine. The psych program’s really fun and quite interesting but a little stressful. What have you been doing? Did you go to college?” She asked polite and nice at the same time. Act cute and nice and find out why the fuck he was here and talking to her was her master plan.
He shook his hair out of his eyes and leaned back in his chair. “Yeah, I finally got my act together and hauled my ass to a library to study for my GED. Finally got it and applied to various colleges until I was accepted by the
She was stunned at the fact Jay “Badass” Hogart finally decided to stop being a scumbag and actually do something productive with the brains God gave him.
“What did you major in?” She asked tentatively, leaning on her elbows and taking a sip of the vodka tonic he sent over. She deemed it decent and waited for him to answer.
“Promise not to laugh?” He asked slowly, looking into her eyes with his blue eyes clouded all of a sudden.
She raised an eyebrow and replied, “Of’ course.”
He took a long swig of his Labatt Blue before answering and she chuckled quietly at his sudden need for liquid courage. The old Jay Hogart never need liquid courage.
“English Literature.” He answered sheepishly.
Again, she felt her jaw drop and quickly recovered feeling it was incredibly rude. Wow, Jay Hogart studying English Lit? She quickly wondered if she fell into some alternate universe when she opened the door to Ruby’s and stopped her theory when she realized he was waiting for a response to his answer.
“Well, I’d be lying if I said I’m not surprised you chose to study English Lit. May I ask why if you don’t mind me asking?” She inquired, sipping again at her vodka tonic.
Immediately, his tense features reverted to back to being pleasant and now somewhat relieved. “I like writing and wanted to study some of the greats,” Jay shrugged. “I know it’s not what people expect of me but I decided a while ago that people obsessed with stereotypes can go fuck themselves.” He finished, grinning yet another boyish grin.
Emma was beyond perplexed by now and felt like she was in a daze. Here she was sitting in a bar with Jay Hogart, discussing college like it was nothing. And Christ, he was SMILING boyishly at her constantly. She considered reviving her theory of the alternate universe around her before deciding to fuck her notions of Jay before. If she could forgive Sean over and over again, then she could forgive Jay Hogart and act polite without an ulterior motive.
She smiled prettily at him and started a new topic. “So Mr. English Major, do you have a job or are you part of the starving artist bunch of writers?” she teased.
He stuck out his tongue and she shivered slightly at the appearance of his pink tongue directed in her direction. That tongue could be put use in many ways besides talking, she thought naughtily.
“No, I am a starving artist. I have a job back in
“Sadly no. I have no idea what I’m doing after graduation. I’m just praying I’m not going to end up a bag lady.” She laughed.
He chuckled softly and she reveled at how nice and rich his laugh sounded. He was so adorable here in all his cuteness and all discontent for him was slowly starting to fade away as their conversation continued.
He leaned back in his chair again before asking her the question that had been on her mind for the past five minutes.
“Er, this may sound weird, awkward even, but do you have a boyfriend?” He questioned, his blue eyes diverting her brown ones.
She smiled and leaned closer to answer his question. “No, I don’t have a boyfriend. What about you, Hogart? Do you have a girlfriend?” She asked politely.
He smirked before answering. “Nope.” He stated plainly.
“That’s interesting.” She smiled.
She wanted to rub her eyes or smack herself in the face but decided against it for the sheer principle of not looking insane. Here she had Jay Hogart, all grown up and now she was admitting, quite attractive and openly flirting with her. Her luck was incredible.
“So, Emma, are you doing anything tomorrow at 10 am?” He asked, playing with his beer label.
She smiled and thanked God that her classes started at 12 pm.
“No. Why?” She asked, smiling a pretty smile at him yet again.
“I was wondering if you wanted to go and grab a coffee and see an art showing with me.” He said, looking into her eyes.
She considered swooning over his uber intelligent date but decided not to.
“Sure.” She said, grinning.
“Great. Do you know of the Starbucks by
“Meet me there at around 9:45?” He said getting up from his barstool and paying the bartender.
“Sounds great.” She beamed, getting up as well.
“Wanna lift? I rented a car for while I’m here.” He asked, shaking his messy brown hair again and offering her his arm.
“Sure. By the way, how long are you going to be here in
“A month.” He answered, going over to his car and opening the door for her.
As she stepped in the door, Emma felt like maybe somehow fate actually did something right instead of fucking stuff up like it usually does. She grinned as she finally realized that maybe trips to bars were necessary once in a while.
Author Note: Hope you liked the first chapter of this two parter. The second part will be longer and have some smut in it hopefully. Constructive criticism is encouraged.