Pairings: Gil/Michael, Oscar/Gil, Michael/Jan
Word Count: 4,477
Spoilers: Up through A Benihana Christmas; set a few weeks afterward
Summary: Gil tags along to Dunder Mifflin Scranton's Welcome Back Oscar! Fiesta, and Michael winds up finding an unexpected new friend. (Or, more specifically, friend slash would-be-lover-in-an-alternate-universe.
Author's Note: Oh, man, I had irrational amounts of fun with this one. Possibly the most fun I've had writing for this fandom thus far, which is really saying something because I get way too giddy at the prospect of spending time with any of these characters.
You see, in terms of what this fic has going on for it, there's the fact that there's Gil. I have crazy, irrational amounts of love for Gil. (And his scarves.) Gil/Oscar is totally my "we've only had twenty seconds of screentime together but that was more than enough to win dollsome's heart" OTP.
And then, there is the fact that Michael is a spaz, and only gets spazzier where, say, homosexuality is concerned. There are few things more fun to write than spaz Michael.
Throw in a little unexpected mushiness, and really, it's the most-fun-to-write fic ever. WHEE!
Also, this fic operates under the assumption that the Jamaica trip went very, very well. ;-)
(And yes, I stole Send in the Clowns lyrics for the title, because Barbra Streisand is a goddess among mere mortals. Seriously.)
Oscar is staring at Gil very, very gravely. “You can still run.”
Gil stares evenly back at him. “Yeah, okay. I’ll keep that in mind.”
He moves toward the door, but Oscar grabs his arm.
“No, really,” he says, strangely fervent. “There’s still time for you to escape. You don’t have to do this.”
“Would you calm down?” Gil asks, reaching over to smooth the lapels of his jacket. “You’re acting crazy.”
“That’s what this place does,” Oscar says with great conviction. “It makes you crazy.”
“Fortunately,” Gil goes on, reaching up to brush his dark hair back, “crazy looks good on you.”
“I’m serious, honey. These people are cracked.”
“I can take it,” Gil assures him kindly.
“You say that now,” Oscar responds with utmost solemnity, “but you have no idea what they’re capable of.”
“Oh, yes, I do,” Gil retorts. “Who spent the last three months watching you recover?”
Oscar pinches the bridge of his nose, closing his eyes. “Gil—”
“Oscar,” Gil interjects, pulling his hand down and loosely entwining his fingers with Oscar’s, “I am completely capable of surviving a two hour office party.”
Oscar stares quizzically at him for a moment before letting out a sigh of defeat. Gil grins triumphantly at him.
“Just . . . stay away from Michael, okay?” Oscar instructs, and as usual, it looks like the thought of his boss inspires actual physical pain. “Whatever you do, don’t go near him.”
“Aw, why not?” Gil asks, elbowing him lightly in the side. “He sounds pretty cool.”
“Lots of fun to hang out with.”
“Not to mention an absolutely phenomenal kisser—”
“You’re evil,” Oscar proclaims, but Gil can tell that he’s trying not to smile.
“Yep,” Gil agrees pleasantly.
Oscar looks somewhat at peace for a second, the way he had been a few weeks ago laughing Gil’s barely passable French in Paris. Gil knows better than to suggest that he do something logical to solve this problem, like quit – Oscar seems obscurely addicted to the misery of Dunder Mifflin – but he still can’t help worrying about him. He’s never exactly been laidback, but this place is making him downright anal retentive, and it’s not exactly a joy to live with, to say the least.
“So,” Oscar says, and takes a steadying breath. “We’re going in.”
“That we are,” Gil confirms with a nod.
Their gazes flock simultaneously to the door, which is maybe five feet away and far more intimidating than any door ever has the right to be. Inside, he can hear the faint traces of voices and music (is that Shakira?).
He turns to see Oscar staring at him, his expression indecipherable. “Yeah?”
“I completely understand if you never want to associate with me again after this.” He swallows. “I won’t like it, but I’ll understand.”
“Don’t be stupid,” Gil instructs. “Do you really think I would have endured five and a half years of alphabetically organized socks and crappy classical music just to get rid of you now?”
“You’re a very good man,” Oscar says.
“I thought I was evil,” Gil reminds him playfully.
“It’s complex,” Oscar decides, and tugs Gil’s scarf slightly. Gil obligingly leans forward, and they’re about an inch away from what could’ve been a very nice kiss when the door abruptly swings open. Immediately, the abstractly dulcet tones of Shakira spill out into the hallway, and are immediately drowned out by tones that are much more abstract and much less dulcet.
“Where the hell is h— OH!”
“Jesus,” Oscar mumbles, and turns away, “It’s starting.”
A fortysomething man in a suit is standing in the doorway, staring blankly – he’s kinda dorky-handsome, with dark hair and green eyes that are currently wide with shock. His tie is covered in tiny maracas and sombreros, and he’s wearing a paper birthday hat that says ¡feliz cumpleanos! all over it in celebrative, swooping letters.
“Hey!” Gil says as brightly as he can.
“Was he trying to kiss you?” Michael asks, staring at Oscar’s back with what might be fear.
“I had something in my eye,” Gil says gracefully. “He was just trying to help me get it out.”
“Oh,” Michael says, sounding profoundly relieved. “Okay. That makes sense.” He holds out his hand, offering him a broad smile that makes him look a little bit crazy. “Michael Scott. And I believe you would be Gil, Oscar’s roommate and emergency contact.”
“That’s me,” Gil confirms, shaking his hand. “Nice to meet you, Michael.”
“And where’s the man of the hour?” Michael brushes past Gil and opens his arms. “Oscar! Don’t you have a hug for your favourite boss?”
“I don’t think so,” Oscar says bleakly.
“Ehh, okay. Heartbreaker.” Michael turns back to Gil. “We’re close. Emotionally, I mean. Not phys – well, sometimes physically, too.”
“Huh,” Gil says, holding back a smile. “How ‘bout that.”
Michael clears his throat awkwardly, then forces on another bright smile. “So!” He throws his arms open and beckons grandly to the inside of the office. “Come in, come in! We, the people of Dunder Mifflin Scranton, welcome you to . . .” He pauses for dramatic effect, “the first annual Welcome Back, Oscar Fiesta!”
“Annual?” Oscar repeats, with a dull sort of skepticism. “Michael, I’m not going take a three month paid vacation in Europe again next year.”
“Shh,” Michael instructs as he leads them in. “You’re ruining the effect.”
Oscar sighs. “Sorry.”
“So, here he is, people!” Michael announces grandly. “Enjoy him, because who knows how long we’ll be able to keep him here this time? I might not be able to resist his sexy, sexy lips of love, and then he’ll go whining to Jan all over again!”
“What a baby,” Dwight contributes, throwing in a bout of asinine laughter. Gil really hasn’t missed him all that much.
“Just kidding,” Michael says, reaching over and punching Oscar on the shoulder. “I’m not gonna kiss you again.”
“Good,” Oscar says, sort of ardently.
A shrewish little blonde steps forward and sniffs disapprovingly. “Oscar.”
“Angela,” Oscar answers reluctantly, nodding at her.
“What – what, what, what?” Michael demands, immediately hurrying over to stand between them. “Oh, no. Angela! What did I tell you about your attitude, missie? We have to make Oscar feel welcome. This whole party is a celebration of all the things that he is. You can’t be bringing everybody down with your negativity.”
“I made an effort,” Angela protests, irritation sharpening her features. “I spoke to him, didn’t I?”
“Well, I’m sorry, but it just wasn’t good enough,” Michael informs her, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
Angela stares at Michael in indignant disgust for a moment before seeming to surrender. Quite suddenly, she fixes an unsettlingly bright smile onto her face. “Hello, Oscar! It’s wonderful to have you back, bringing your special friends into the office! We all appreciate the way you’re spicing up the workplace with your interesting proclivities.”
With that, she spins on the heel of her very sensible pump and stomps back to the refreshments table.
“Wow,” Gil mutters to Oscar.
“Told you,” Oscar retorts.
“You know,” Gil says with mock seriousness, “I think I might never want to associate with you again after this.”
“Shut up,” Oscar orders.
Gil doesn’t mean to wind up talking to Michael. He knows that Oscar wants to keep his work life and his private life as separate as possible, and that he should at least attempt to respect that. It’s just that Michael comes over right when Kelly (who’s a lot more endearing than Oscar had made her out to be) takes off to find her boyfriend, and there’s no way to subtly slip away and leave him all by himself.
They just stand in amiable silence for a moment, with Michael bopping his head lightly to the music.
“Ricky Martin?” Gil asks after a moment.
“Yup!” Michael confirms. “Because we’re all about Oscar today, even the tunes.”
“Cool,” Gil says with as much poise as he can muster. “And . . . is Oscar a Ricky Martin fan?”
“Oh, no,” Michael says, waving a dismissive hand. “It’s more of a theme thing. Because, you know, Ricky Martin, Latino. And – honestly, probably gay, so . . . two birds, one stone.”
“Good deal,” Gil says, and tries not to laugh.
“My thoughts exactly,” Michael concludes with an air of great accomplishment, and guides his cup of punch towards Gil’s.
“Cheers,” Gil says, pressing his cup to Michael’s.
“Cheers,” Michael echoes.
The guy’s really not so bad. Socially inept to a painful degree, and achingly desperate for approval, but there’s something strangely charming about him.
“So, what’s it like?” Michael ventures.
“Hmm?” Gil asks absently.
“You know,” Michael says, and lowers his voice in a way that suddenly makes Gil think maybe he was a little hasty in judging his character so favorably. “Being roommates with a gay guy.”
Oh, God, it’s sad.
And sort of endearing.
“What do you mean?” Gil asks delicately.
“Well, is it weird?” Michael continues obliviously. “It’s gotta be weird, right? Because, like, what if you’re in the shower and you forget to lock the bathroom door and then he comes in and you’re naked and he sees you and it’s like, is he checking you out? That’s gotta be awkward.”
Gil’s not really sure what to say.
“And then – oh, man, does he ever bring guys home?” Michael shudders a little bit. “Because eesh!”
“No,” Gil says. “No, he doesn’t do that.”
“Oh,” Michael says, nodding a little. “Well, that’s good. For you, I mean. Because . . . awkward! But,” he adds, scrunching his brow thoughtfully, “it’s gotta suck for Oscar. Because, wow, does he really just get no action? Ever? That’s kinda sad. Even though I still don’t get what could possibly be good about – well, what gay guys do. Ouch.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t think about it,” Gil suggests. “It’s Oscar’s business.”
“Yeah, but I’m his boss,” Michael says earnestly, “and it’s my business to care about him. That’s just how it works.”
The thing is that Gil can tell he actually means it.
He can’t help but smile. “That’s nice of you.”
“Thanks,” Michael says, smiling back. “What can I say? I love my employees. They’re my people. Even Angela, who’s . . . really kind of a bitch.”
“Yeah,” Gil agrees. “She’s scary.”
“Completely,” Michael agrees, nodding. “She refused to have anything to do with this particular par-tay, and actually temporarily resigned from the party planning committee. Big drama. Completely crazy. I finally had to wind up taking charge of the whole thing.”
“Really?” Gil asks, and glances around. “Well, you did a great job.”
They sink into a comfortable sort of silence. Ricky Martin gives way to the opening strains of Don’t Rain on My Parade.
“Ah,” Gil says, and smiles. “Babs.”
“’Cause he’s gay!” Michael offers by way of enthusiastic explanation.
“Yeah, I got that,” Gil says. If it were anyone else, he’d be offended by now, but there’s something so childishly oblivious about Michael that he can’t quite blame him. He sorta gets why Oscar let Michael hug him in the first place. “Have you seen Funny Girl?”
“Eesh, no,” Michael says, pulling a face. “Her nose is scary. And those fingernails? Yipes.”
Gil supposes he should have expected as much. But still. It’s so sad. “Oh, come on. It’s a classic.”
“Nooo thanks,” Michael says, holding up his free hand as though attempting to bring Gil’s words to a halt. “I’m not gay. I just throw the parties.”
Gil can’t help but chuckle. “Right.”
It’s quiet for a second, and then Michael starts talking again.
“So, has he ever tried?” he asks, and the blatant curiosity in his voice is really kind of sweet. “To, you know, put the moves on you?”
He has to explain it. It’s just too depressing otherwise. Oscar won’t mind, Gil reasons: he’s already been outed to the whole office, and everyone with remotely functioning deductive skills will have figured out who Gil is by now.
It’s just that Michael is special.
“Yeah?” Michael asks.
Gil takes a sip of punch. “Um, you know how I live with Oscar?”
“Yeah, duh,” he says, and smiles easily. “How else could you be his roommate?”
“And I’m his emergency contact?” Gil presses.
“Yeah!” Michael agrees. “Man, you guys must be, like, best friends.”
He’s really not going to make this easy. Sighing, Gil leans in a little closer and says, “Well, you see, actually . . .”
“Oscar,” Kevin asks slowly, glancing across the room at Gil and snickering, “is that your boooyfriend?”
Oscar follows his gaze, takes a moment to silently lament the fact that Gil is talking to Michael, and only Michael (figures), then responds evenly, “Yes, Kevin. That is my boyfriend.”
Kevin stops giggling. He stares from Gil to Oscar a couple of times, as though at a loss of what to do with the information, and finally nods. “Oh. Okay. He looks nice.”
“Yeah,” Oscar says blandly, and stares into his punch.
“So you guys are . . . ?”
Michael stares a little dazedly over at Oscar, who looks profoundly miserable.
“Yeah,” Gil confirms.
“Huh,” Michael says numbly. “For how long?”
“It’ll be six years in July.”
“Wow.” Michael’s still staring fixedly at Oscar. “Wow, that’s great. That’s a really long time. And you’re not sick of each other?”
“For the most part, no,” Gil says, and smiles.
“That’s great,” Michael says again. There’s an undercurrent of something like envy or maybe longing in his voice.
“It is,” Gil agrees.
Michael finally turns to look back at him. “I probably should have figured it out before, huh?”
“That’s okay,” Gil says gently. “We’ve always been pretty private.”
“Yeah,” Michael says, and stares at him curiously. “Why is that?”
“People can be judgmental,” Gil says, and feels a little like he’s talking to a small child. Not in a bad way, necessarily. It’s almost kind of therapeutic. “He doesn’t like having to deal with that. And sometimes it’s easier to just . . .”
“Pretend to get turned on by women,” Michael finishes knowingly.
“Right,” Gil says, and laughs softly.
Michael looks thoughtful. “So, why don’t you do that?”
Gil smiles faintly. “I never felt the need to. I’m okay with who I am.” He glances over at Oscar. “But he’s different. And I’m okay with that, too.”
Michael studies him for a moment before declaring, “You seem like a really nice boyfriend.”
Gil smiles at him. “Thanks.”
“You know,” Michael says after a moment, taking a sip of his punch, “I kinda get what you’re saying.”
. . .
Maybe he should have seen it before. Michael has been extremely curious about him and Oscar, and—
“Whoa!” Michael interjects wildly. “No, no, not like that.” He chuckles suavely. “I am all about the ladies. Believe me.”
“Oh,” Gil says, and feels strangely relieved. “Okay. Right. Of course.”
“It’s just . . .” Michael sighs. “My lady’s not so okay with us being public.”
“Huh,” Gil says after a moment.
“It’s tough,” Michael says, and there’s so much open misery in his voice that Gil kinda feels compelled to hug him. It’ll probably give Oscar a brain aneurism, though, so he decides not to risk it.
“It can be,” Gil agrees as reassuringly as he can. “But it’s worth it.”
Michael shrugs. After a minute, he says, “Yeah, I guess.”
“She’ll come around,” Gil says, and reaches over to pat him on the shoulder.
Michael gives him a grateful smile. “Yeah. We’ll see.”
Another nice silence falls between them. Gil hums absently along to Barbra.
“So,” Michael says, “since you’re gay and all, what do you think of the fish in this sea?”
“Excuse me?” Gil asks, a little disoriented.
“Just like . . . I’m kinda curious to have that perspective,” Michael says earnestly, “And I’m guessing maybe Oscar wouldn’t be all that big on discussing it, so . . . what do you think? Who’s hot, who’s not?”
“Like . . . ?”
“Like . . . I dunno, Jim.” Michael gestures vaguely in his direction. “How about Jim?”
“Very cute,” Gil says immediately.
“Really?” Michael asks in faint disbelief.
“Almost indecently so,” Gil confirms.
“His hair’s so scruffy,” Michael points out, wrinkling his nose a little.
“Definitely adds to the charm,” Gil says.
“Huh,” Michael says thoughtfully. “How ‘bout . . .” His lip curls into a sneer, and he hisses, “Toby?”
Gil follows his gaze. “The HR guy?”
“Yes,” Michael says darkly.
“Not conventionally attractive,” Gil says decisively. “But there’s something about him. He’s definitely got an appeal.” He considers Toby for a second. “I think it’s his eyes. He’s got really kind eyes.”
“Eeesh,” Michael scowls. “Clearly, looks can be deceiving, because that guy is evil.”
Gil looks over at him in confusion. “Really?”
“Oh, yeah,” Michael says, nodding emphatically. “He’s the type who’ll take you out, get you drunk, have his way with you – he’d totally make you be the girl – and not even call you afterwards.” He fixes his mouth into a thin line. “That’s the kind of guy that Toby Flenderson is. Plain and simple.”
“Ah,” Gil says weakly.
“Also, he’s divorced.”
So, maybe Oscar’s sort of right about some of the stuff he says about Michael. Gil is willing to give him that. “Huh.”
Michael glares fiercely at Toby for another few seconds before his gaze shifts slightly to the left, and suddenly softens. “Hey,” he says pensively, “how ‘bout Ryan?”
Gil follows Michael’s gaze to find himself staring at Kelly’s boyfriend. She’s got her arms around him, and they’re swaying awkwardly back and forth to Send in the Clowns. He looks a whole lot like Oscar had when Gil had picked him up after the day Michael kissed him.
“Ehh,” Gil says. “More ‘not’ than ‘hot.’”
Michael looks taken aback. “Are you serious?”
“Yeah, definitely,” Gil nods. “He looks like he’s wasting away of tuberculosis.”
“Seriously?” Michael’s staring at him in complete disbelief. “Because, I mean, I’m not gay, obviously, and even I’m kinda like . . . well, look at him!”
“I don’t see it,” Gil says apologetically.
Michael looks genuinely depressed.
“But Kelly seems to,” Gil adds helpfully. “Maybe you guys should talk.”
This seems to console him a bit. “Yeah. Yeah, maybe. And really, who are you to say who’s hot and who’s not, anyway?”
“Good point,” Gil allows. “It’s all completely subjective.”
“Yeah,” Michael repeats. “Subjective.”
“Yep,” Gil agrees. He’s about to ask Michael how he rates the girls in the office, just for the sake of equality – it’s not like it’s really his area of expertise or anything – but he’s cut off when Michael starts talking again.
“So,” he says, very nonchalantly.
He takes a sip of his punch, and shoves his free hand into his pants pocket. “Do you think . . . ?”
Gil stares blankly at him. “What?”
“Nothing,” Michael says immediately. “Nothing nothing nothing.” He seems decidedly torn about something. And then – “It’s just, if you . . .”
Gil realizes what he’s getting at.
“You mean, do I think you’re hot or not?” he asks mercifully.
“No!” Michael exclaims, and lets out an extremely unconvincing laugh. “God, no. I don’t care. I just – but, well, if you wanna tell me, I’m not going to stop you or anything.” His eyes are very wide, and sort of pleading.
“You’re very handsome,” Gil says generously.
Michael’s face immediately breaks out into a grin. “Really?”
“Definitely,” Gil affirms. “You’ve got a great smile, and really soulful eyes.”
“Soulful,” Michael repeats, pleased. “Definitely a better adjective than ‘kind.’ More meaningful.”
“And you seem like a really nice guy,” Gil goes on.
“Wow,” Michael says, looking genuinely flattered. “Uh, thanks.”
Gil wonders if he’s being a little excessive, but it honestly seems like the guy doesn’t get nearly enough praise, and could desperately, desperately use some.
“If you were gay,” he finishes, “and I wasn’t blissfully happy with the love of my life, I’d be completely interested.”
“Seriously?” Michael asks, grinning. “Hey, thanks, man! Right back atcha. Gimme five.”
He holds up his hand, which Gil is about to slap when Michael suddenly lowers it.
“Hey, no, you know what?” Michael says, and opens his arms. “Come here. I wanna wrap my arms around you, man. In a straight way.”
Gil can’t help laughing. “Well, if you insist.”
Oscar looks up from where he and Angela are leaning over the books. She hasn’t apologized for how she acted earlier, nor will she ever, but she’d silently brought Oscar a brownie on a brightly coloured napkin and then offered (in a commanding sort of way) to fill him in on everything he’d missed. It’s the closest they’ll ever come to making up, and it works for Oscar. Accountants have to stick together.
“I think Michael’s stealing your boyfriend.”
Oscar looks over just in time to see Michael enveloping Gil in a merciless embrace. “Oh, dear God.”
“Seriously, he’s not that bad,” Gil insists as he pushes the front door open.
“I don’t even know what to say to that,” Oscar responds dully.
“Sure, he’s kind of weird, but who doesn’t like that?” Gil goes on, more to drive Oscar crazy than anything else. (He is evil, after all.) “It’s more like he’s quirky.”
“He is deranged and psychotic,” Oscar corrects, and wastes no time in collapsing mournfully onto the sofa. “And you are terribly, terribly blind. I don’t get why. I don’t want to get why. You just are.”
“I had a good time talking to him,” Gil protests, sinking onto the sofa next to Oscar. “We had an enlightening discussion.”
“I don’t want to hear about it,” Oscar insists drearily. “I just want to forget everything that happened this afternoon, as well as the fact that I am willingly going back there on Monday.”
“He’s terribly sad,” Gil points out, looping his arm through Oscar’s. “And lonely. You get that, right?”
Oscar’s quiet for a second. “Yeah, I know,” he finally admits.
“I can totally see why you gave into the whole hugging thing,” Gil says thoughtfully. “He’s endearing. Kinda cute, too.”
“Can we not talk about Michael?” Oscar demands, sitting up straighter and massaging his right temple. “It’s depressing me.”
“Why?” Gil asks, and grins at him. “You jealous?”
“Don’t be stupid,” Oscar instructs.
“’Cause it sounds like you’re jealous,” Gil continues wickedly.
“What,” Oscar says, his exasperation just a little too sharp to be genuine, “can I do to shut you up?”
Gil pulls Oscar’s hand away and presses a kiss to his temple.
“Three guesses,” he mumbles smilingly against his skin.
It’s past six and there’s nobody around at the office anymore, but Michael’s still hanging out. His office is dark but he doesn’t mind. He kinda likes the dark and the quiet; it’s relaxing. He’s got a lot to think about, after today. It’s kinda cool to have a new friend slash would-be-lover-in-an-alternate-universe.
Granted, Gil’s a little bit crazy – Ryan, not hot? Right, and Pluto’s not a planet – but Michael likes him.
He reaches for the phone and dials her number. He guesses he could be at home, or at least calling her from his cell, but there’s something he likes about using the office phone. It reminds him of her.
“Jan Levinson,” she says after a couple rings.
“Hey, you,” he says, pretty quietly. It seems wrong somehow to talk too loud here right now.
Her voice softens a little. “Hi.”
“How are ya?”
“Tired,” she sighs. “Long day at work.”
“Yeah, things were pretty interesting around here, too.”
“Hmm. How so?”
“Well,” he says, and idly twists the phone cord around his finger, “Oscar’s welcome back party.”
“Oh, that’s right,” she says, and he can pretty much hear her tense up. “It went all right, didn’t it?”
“Yeah, yeah, it was great,” he says.
“No lawsuit threats?”
“No. Jeez. Don’t you think I’ve learned my lesson by now?”
“I can never tell with you, Michael.”
“But that’s what you love about me, right?” he asks brightly.
She’s quiet for a second. “Something like that.”
Man, he loves her.
“So, anyway, interesting news,” he says. “A gay guy pretty much hit on me today.”
It’s quiet for so long that he starts to think she hung up.
“Jan?” he ventures.
“Michael,” she says, very wearily, “I’m sure that Oscar was not hitting on you. Am I going to have to—”
“Not Oscar,” Michael cuts in, rolling his eyes even though she can’t see him. “Oscar’s not the only gay guy in the world, Jan. Sheesh. Way to be closed-minded. It was Oscar’s boyfriend, Gil.”
“Oscar’s boyfriend hit on you,” she says delicately, like it’s weird.
“More or less,” Michael replies easily. “He was cool.”
A pause. “Ah.”
“We had an interesting discussion,” he continues casually.
“Did you, now?”
“That we did,” he confirms, and figures that if he’s going to say it, now’s as good a time as any. It’s been floating through his brain since that conversation earlier, and it’s best not to keep things bottled up for too long. Bad for the soul. And the skin. “Hey, I want you to know that I’m okay with this.”
She sounds confused. “With what?”
“All this living in secrecy and stuff,” he says. “I know I give you a hard time about it, but I’m okay. I get to be with you, and that’s what matters.”
She’s quiet for so long that he almost thinks she hung up again, but she finally says, in that nice soft way she talks sometimes when she’s too tired to be bitchy, “That’s very sweet, Michael.”
“Yeah, well.” He’s glad he’s alone, because he thinks he might be blushing a little.
“Oscar’s boyfriend said this?” she asks, a little skeptically.
“Yeah,” he confirms. “And also that I have a great smile and soulful eyes. What do ya think about that?”
She’s a lot skeptical now. “He said that.”
“Yeah. Why, don’t you believe me?”
“I really don’t know. I’m having a hard time processing it.”
“Why?” He can’t resist. “You jealous?”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Michael.”
“’Cause it sounds like you’re jealous.” It’s too easy to piss her off, and he will never not enjoy that fact entirely.
“I’m certainly not jealous of a conversation you might be making up and if not are almost certainly misconstruing,” she says, her voice taking on that dangerous edge that ensures this conversation will rapidly escalate into a bickering match that could very well last hours and hours into the night.
Funnily enough, Michael is very, very okay with that.