After a long weekend of calling Judy over and over again, Nick got to work on Monday half an hour early. Benji called him over to the front desk.
"Hey, did you talk to Judy?" Benji asked through a mouthful of donut.
"Yeah, she just wasn't feeling well."
"Oh, okay." Benji said, but like he didn't quite believe him.
Nick was the first one to the briefing room, and Judy was the last. He waited for her to join him on their shared seat in the front row, but she sat at the back of the room.
They were on a routine patrol of city center. They were usually given bigger cases, but there wasn’t much to investigate at the moment.
Nick caught up to Judy as she quickly left the room, "Can we talk now?"
"We're at work, Nick." She didn't look at him.
"When has that ever stopped us before?" He protested.
"Just let me do my job!" She whipped around and glared at him.
He nodded, and followed her to their car.
After their shift, Nick drove towards his house. Judy usually took the car home, and picked him up in the morning. This morning she had texted him to say that she couldn't and he had taken the bus.
He parked in front of his apartment building and turned off the engine. The two were silent for several seconds.
"Judy, I'm so sorry." Nick turned to her and she looked surprised.
"I know you saw me Friday night. I found your flowers on the ground."
"What?" She looked panicked, and unbuckled.
"I'm sorry for...for acting the way I did. I didn't think you would ever-"
"It's fine, Nick." All tone left her voice and she dropped her gaze.
"No, it's not, you need to know that I-"
"It's fine!" She repeated, and her voice broke, "Just get out of the car. Please."
Nick realized he was close to tears too. But he did what she asked and got out.
Judy waited until Nick was inside to cry, for what felt like the millionth time in the past three days. He knew? It was mortifying. She was perfectly content...well, not content exactly, but she'd accepted it. Anyways, she had accepted that they would just continue being friends. He would date other foxes, and she would date rabbits. It was foolish of her to think that anything would ever happen between them.
Part of her yearned to hear the rest of what he was trying to say, but she didn't think she could bear it if he rejected her.
But even if he didn't, why would he have been flirting with foxes if he was in love with her?
Nick was halfway up the stairs to his apartment when he stopped. She hadn't even let him finish. For all she knew, he could've been about to reject her!
He glanced out the stairwell window and was relieved to see she was still parked outside.
Judy jumped in her seat when Nick knocked on the window. She'd been too lost in thought to see him approaching. He pointed at the unlock button and she hesitantly pressed it. He opened her door and yanked her out onto the sidewalk.
"You didn't let me finish."
"So?" She asked.
"You have no idea what I was going to say."
"You were going to tell me we're better off as friends." Judy sniffed, and started to walk around the car to the driver's seat. Nick grabbed her arm and pulled her back.
"No, I was going to tell you that I'm in love with you." Nick didn't seem nervous at all. He seemed relieved, like he was glad to finally have said it, "I was going to tell you that I thought you would never feel the same way. I stood in front of your apartment for an hour on Friday, but could never bring myself to knock. So I went to the club and collected girls' numbers but I felt so guilty the entire time. I swear nothing happened with any of them, I just thought it would make me feel better to go out and have a good time. But it didn't. And then I went outside and saw your note and Benji called me and said that he saw you crying and...I know I screwed everything up but I just wanted you to know." Nick finished, breathing heavily.
Judy looked stunned. She hadn't expected...that.
"Well, um, I guess I'll be going." All his previous confidence evaporated into thin air and he nervously rubbed the back of his neck.
"O-okay." She said as he went back into his building.