Pairing: Angela & Oscar
Spoilers: Spans from early on (pre-series? You decide!) to Speculative Season 5 Land
Word Count: 2,747
Summary: Four times Angela wants to move away from Oscar, and one time she's glad that she's where she is.
Author's Note: Thank you to musical_junkie for the excellent prompt, and to my homework for being so damn easy to ignore!
And, wow, I had to do a spot of editing there and change Angela's Opposite Of Art, It Destroys Art, It's So Much More Offensive To Oscar Than Hardcore Porn baby poster from firefighters to musicians! I have no idea why I remembered it as firefighters. A definite sign I've been away from this show for too long.
Oscar’s typing is abnormally loud.
Angela has half a mind to tell him as much. She supposes he must think he’s safe, considering loud typing doesn’t seem especially obnoxious compared to Kevin’s computer-related activities, which mostly consist of watching muted videos of animals or women doing obscene things and then claiming, when Angela asks why he’s giggling, that he read “a funny number thing” on accounting.com. Disgusting. (Not to mention a poorly crafted lie; Angela took it upon herself once to investigate accounting.com, and there’s nothing amusing about it. Kevin Malone is the most hopeless person she’s ever met in her entire life. Except Michael Scott. And Kelly Kapoor. And Phyllis Lapin. And – well. Wouldn’t you know – hopelessness seems to run rampant in this office.)
The point is, there’s no need to hit the keys that hard. Angela is a perfectly competent typist, and she doesn’t make a racket. In fact, she prides herself upon her quiet typing: it’s a courtesy she’s extending to her coworkers (not that they deserve it), and she ought to receive the same courtesy in turn.
She doesn’t. Of course.
One day, when Oscar seems to be composing some sort of never-ending email, she finally decides that it’s time to put a stop to this.
“I’d appreciate it,” she says, “if you could do that more quietly.”
The deafening typing ceases. Thank God.
“What?” Oscar looks at her with a light frown on his face. It’s clear he has no idea what she’s talking about.
“You type very loudly,” Angela enlightens him, straining for patience. “I would appreciate it if you attempted to check that habit in the future.” And then, because the look on his face hasn’t changed— “It’s very disruptive.”
“The way I type is disruptive,” Oscar says flatly, as though it’s ludicrous.
“Very,” Angela sniffs.
“It negatively affects your job performance,” he carries on, still with that terse, slightly incredulous note in his voice. Count on him to make this even more difficult than it needs to be.
“Yes,” Angela says firmly.
Oscar stares at her for several seconds, eyebrows raised and mouth open, like he’s about to laugh (or maybe snarl) from her sheer nerve. Typical. Angela matches his gaze the whole time. She certainly isn’t going to relent.
“Hey, Kevin,” he says then, turning to seek the input of the most useless human being in the world. “Does my typing bug you?”
Kevin’s eyes are glued to his computer screen, and he’s got a vacant, dopey smile on his face.
“Kevin,” Oscar persists.
Oscar looks at Kevin for a few more seconds, then returns his hands to his keyboard and pounds out an extended amount of nothing that no doubt resembles a chain of ‘ioural;fkdja8we75w985ufjdakl&&%*3897’ or similar. His fingers fly back and forth for what seems like an eternity in a cacophony of obnoxious clattering. Angela presses a hand to her temple. She can feel a headache coming on.
“You know what,” Oscar concludes then, stopping, “it doesn’t seem to bother him.”
“Bothering Kevin isn’t the issue right now,” Angela says, and levels him with a glare.
“Angela, I’ve got work to do,” Oscar sighs, as though he’s the one being inconvenienced.
More drastic measures are obviously necessary. “I suppose I’ll just take it up with Toby, then.”
“Yeah, you do that,” Oscar replies, unbothered. “And, hey, while you’re at it, tell him I really enjoyed that book he recommended.” He pauses nonchalantly. “He’s not still upset about you calling him a useless milquetoast over the whole Phyllis party-planning thing, is he?”
The corner of his mouth twitches in what is unquestionably a suppressed smirk of triumph.
She hates all of these people.
“Oscar,” Kevin says excitedly then, snapping out of catatonia and leaning over toward Oscar’s desk, “Oscar, you have got to see this—” His eyes land on Angela, and he slowly finishes, “—joke on accounting.com.”
Angela closes her eyes and prays for strength.
Oscar is staring at the wall behind her. He hasn’t moved for three minutes.
“What?” Angela snaps at last, because they can’t expect to get any work done if he’s going to spend the entire day still as a statue.
He twitches a little, his eyes trained on the wall.
“I thought,” he says at last, sounding strange and distant, “you were going to take that home.”
“I like it here,” Angela replies archly.
“But it’s – it’s—” He dwindles off into speechlessness, his face still blank with horror.
“Yes?” Angela prompts, impatient. She doesn’t have all day.
“It’s babies, Angela,” he says, words spilling out all at once. He sounds slightly hysterical. “It’s babies dressed like blues musicians.”
“It’s in my designated office area,” Angela replies, remaining as composed as she can. “And I like it there. I think it brings—” She pauses, fondly contemplating the poster, “—sweetness to the workplace.”
“Puppies are sweet,” Oscar says obstinately. “Anne Hathaway is sweet. That, that’s perverse.”
“It’s staying,” Angela says sharply, “and that’s final.”
He’s in a terrible mood for the rest of the day. How dreadful for him.
When the documentary crew asks, she tells them that she had expected it, or something along those lines – that it wasn’t a surprise. (“It explains so much” – that’s what it had been.) But really, she is surprised. Repulsed. Betrayed. To think that this man, the man who’s sat next to her day in and day out, who’s been her partner in this accounting department for years upon years (Kevin doesn’t really count) – to think that he could be a—
She supposes she ought to have known when he recommended she rent the Brideshead Revisited miniseries a few years ago. Then, she’d just thought he might have been a Catholic. That had been disquieting enough.
She thinks of the random references he’s made to his roommate Gil throughout the years – little things that had seemed very unexceptional and ordinary at the time, like ‘Gil hated that movie’ or ‘Gil makes the best pasta salad.’ She can remember just a few days ago, him telling a story about Gil forgetting the house key when they’d gone out for the evening – as friends, she’d thought at the time, and surely no one can blame her – and them having to crawl in through a window at ten o’clock at night. She hadn’t thought anything of that, other than that Gil must have been very irresponsible.
She can’t believe she hadn’t seen it before.
It’s only that Oscar’s always seemed so – so ordinary, for the most part.
She takes out the hand sanitizer from the bottom drawer of her desk. It’s about time to start taking precautions. She obviously has years to make up for.
“Yeah … yeah, that sounds great … no, believe me, I’m going to need it … okay … okay … love you too … bye.”
Angela can’t help watching out of the corner of her eye as Oscar hangs the phone up and goes back to his computer. He has a faint smile on his face; it’s obvious the conversation put him in a good mood. There’s an unpleasant, squirming feeling in her stomach, and she thinks it can only partially be blamed on the fact that they’re nearing lunchtime and she’d had a light breakfast.
“What?” It’s only once he says it that she realizes she’s staring.
“Nothing,” she answers stiffly.
He stares at her as though trying to ascertain whether she’s telling the truth, then shrugs and goes back to the computer. How nice for him, that he can dismiss these things so easily.
She, on the other hand, can’t. Her mind is poisoned, suddenly, by what on earth that might have meant – “believe me, I’m going to need it.” She shudders to contemplate the whole can of sin-drenched worms that might open. And then there’s the easy, thoughtless “love you, too,” which had had the nerve to sound so utterly normal, like any person might say to their significant other. Perhaps that’s the most disturbing thing of all – the normalcy. The travesty of normalcy, she corrects herself.
“Believe me, I’m going to need it.” Dear Lord. Maybe she ought to bring it up with Toby. There’s absolutely no way it’s appropriate to discuss that sort of thing with coworkers in earshot—
“You’re going to need what?”
She blurts it out, which is undignified enough in and of itself. She certainly hadn’t meant to.
No wonder homosexuality’s a sin. It’s wreaking all manner of havoc.
“What?” Oscar asks, clueless.
“What you said on the phone,” Angela says tersely, once she’s decided there’s no point in pretending she hadn’t said anything. That’s the only reason she carries on with this. It’s not as if she wants to know. “To him. You’re going to need what?”
His face takes on a very familiar, beleaguered look. “Is it any of your business?”
No, she realizes. The thought makes her very uncomfortable. She tries to make up for it by adopting as lofty an expression as she can. Sometimes in this job, a little disdain is necessary. More than sometimes. More than a little.
He sighs, then, and says, “Time away. We’re going to New York for the weekend.”
“Oh,” Angela replies. The word sounds strangely hollow.
“You look disappointed,” Oscar adds sardonically. “What were you expecting? A gay orgy?”
“Don’t be crude,” Angela snaps. She can feel her cheeks beginning to flush. “I’m sorry for asking.”
“That’s fine,” Oscar says shortly.
She thinks about asking him something else – what they’re planning to do in the city, maybe. She finds there’s a part of her that would like to make some pleasant conversation with him. But instead of the slight smile that he’d been sporting before, his forehead is creased in irritation, and when he clicks his mouse, it’s with a certain degree of violence. It’s the entirely wrong atmosphere for small talk.
This would all be so much easier if he would only give up men. She thinks it wouldn’t be hard at all to compile a list of women from church who might be interested in seeing him socially. He’s very nice, all in all: intelligent, responsible, good-looking, dignified. Why, some of them – for instance, that Lillian Merchant, just divorced and obviously desperate, and whose lemon squares for church picnics have always been almost flavorless altogether – would be lucky to have him.
She thinks she might bring this up to him the next time he’s in a good mood. He can’t very well fault her for attempting to save his soul, after all.
Everyone knows. Everyone.
A sickening lull has descended over the office. As she walks back to her desk – no more quickly than usual; she won’t show them how she feels, she won’t – she secretly fears that her knees might give out under her, and she curls her hands into fists so no one will see them shaking. She can’t remember the last time she felt like this, or if she ever has in her life. Even losing Sprinkles hadn’t been this way.
The worst part is that she deserves it. It’s all her fault. She’s behaved terribly. She’s terrible.
Still, she takes a breath to steady herself as she reaches her desk and is careful to sit up straight. She can feel the eyes of everyone in the office on her – Pam gaping from the reception desk, and the obvious delighted smile concealed by Kelly’s gasp. Even Creed seems lucid. She hadn’t dared look at Phyllis, and thanks God Dwight had had the sense to walk out right after.
Andy is hiding in the bathroom. Every so often, she can just catch the sound of a garbled shout or a low, strangled sob.
“At least,” Michael says, with a chuckle and that inane grin of his, “he didn’t punch a hole in the wall. Although – maybe he shoulda. Because if there’s one thing we, as men, should punch holes in walls for, it’s women who don’t treat us right. And Angela – what were you thinking? First, who would have thought she’d have two guys after her in the first place? She might be blonde, but still, she’s like – she’s like a Quaker grandma.” He turns his attention to Angela. “Did you even let him touch anything?”
“Wait. Is him Dwight, or is him Andy?” Kevin pipes up, brow furrowing in confusion. She feels a stab of – well, something awful, and has to remind herself that no better could have been expected from Kevin. He’s Kevin. It’s not as though he has any kind of loyalty to her. And yet—
“Either of ‘em,” Michael says, making a face. “Because seriously, Angela, you have never struck me as the type to – but whatever. Naughty accountant. I get that. Sort of like naughty schoolgirl. Back me up here, Stanley; show ‘em the picture – but don’t, because that’s your daughter, that’s right, that’s completely inappropriate. Maybe you should get a new picture? Like, trade it in for a more recent – she must be, what, almost legal now, right? Anyway. Anyway. Moving on. Angela. What’sss the dealio? Who you gonna pick? Who you gonna choose? Youuu are Ellen Pompeii—”
“Pompeo!” Kelly corrects.
“That’s what I said.”
“You said Pompeii,” Kelly tells him. “Like the volcano place.”
“I meant Pompeo. You say Pompeii, I say Pompeo—”
“Yeah, but you said Pompeii.”
“Kelly, you are being very disruptive, and—”
“Anyway, on the show her name’s Meredith. I thought you watched every week. Like, shouldn’t you know that by now?”
“I missed a few last season.” He falters a little, his voice going quieter, as he adds, “Jan didn’t like it.” Angela hopes, blindly and without the slightest trace of composure, that he might become so wrapped up in his own ridiculous problems that he’ll forget all about her. Please, please, God, let him forget about her. (Never mind that God in all probability isn’t pleased with her at the moment, and rightfully so.)
“Oh my God, you did?” Kelly exclaims. “Michael, that sucks, it was so crazy, there was so much going on, and I don’t care what anybody says, George and Izzie were totally cute together.”
“George and Izzie?” Michael wrinkles his nose. “You think so?” Angela can hear Kelly’s squeaky little intake of breath as she prepares to ramble on about her stupid show, and for the first time, she feels thankful for Kelly Kapoor’s existence.
But then Michael starts talking.
“But whatever. This isn’t about George and Izzie. Iz…orge.”
“Gizzie!” Kelly squeaks indignantly.
“—this is about Angela. Angela Ellen Pompeo. And you, dirty lady, must choose your McDreamy or McSteamy.”
"No, that was Addison," Kelly corrects with a degree of omniscience that she has no right to whatsoever. "Meredith had to choose between McDreamy and McVet. Oh my gosh, Chris O'Donnell was so adorable--"
"Kelly! Shhhhhut it, okay?"
"Fine," Kelly pouts.
Michael points at Angela, still beaming like this is nothing, like it’s simply some form of tawdry tabloid entertainment. “Come on. McDreamy or McSteamy. Or McVet. Go. Except now, it's like … McWeirdo and McFreaky. McFreaky and McDork. McFreaky and Mc—”
He’s cut off by a particularly audible yell from the bathroom, followed by a big clang.
“Jim,” Michael says, frowning, “maybe you should go check on Andy. That sounded – weird.”
“On it,” Jim replies, and practically sprints out of the room. He must be happy to have the chance to escape.
Everyone listens with bated breath. There’s another clang and a long moan. Then things go ominously quiet.
Tears prick in her eyes. She blinks them furiously back. She thinks she might be sick. If there is one thing, one thing in the world she can’t endure, it’s causing a scene like this in front of these people, these people she has always felt the unquestionable right to look down on—
The brush of fingers against the back of her palm is so startling she lets out a little gasp. She looks over to see Oscar’s hand resting on hers. Slowly, she looks up at him. He’s not smirking at her, the way she thought he might be. His eyes are full of sympathy.
The compulsion to cry suddenly becomes even more powerful. She tries to swallow the lump in her throat.
Michael is practically dancing over to the accounting corner. “So Meredith Grey, now’s the time you must choose. McFreaky or McPreppy.” (“McPreppy,” Kevin mumbles. “Nice.”) “Who’s it gonna be?”
Oscar gives her hand a gentle squeeze. She closes her eyes – just for a moment – and loosely entangles her fingers with his.