Character/Pairing: Angela and her various almost-exploits
Word Count: 3,692
Spoilers: pre-series to "Traveling Salesman"
Summary: Five times Angela wishes she were a little bit whorish.
Author's Note: This prompt was suggested by the ever-lovely allthingsholy, and this really just proves yet again that I am seriously incapable of being concise in any way whatsoever. So instead, there is this gigantic weird fic of Angela being crazy.
I randomly dedicate this to elsbeth_lynn's husband, just because. ;-)
Angela is nineteen, and the majority of her Friday nights consist of taking on the position of designated driver. It seems to be some sort of unwritten rule that even the most admirable people are doomed to fall from grace in college: she goes to the same university as a few of her closest high school friends, and, well – she’d certainly never have expected that they, of all people, would spend their weekends consorting with cads and hussies, imbibing grotesque amounts of alcohol and doing Lord knows what with Lord knows who. She’s finally forced herself to reach the disappointing conclusion that it’s quite simply inevitable, in most circumstances.
Not all, mind. She likes to stay home and read, and doesn’t mind being alone in the slightest. (Still, sometimes she thinks she’d like to have a cat or two.)
She knows very, very well that she’ll never yield to their idiotic requests that she ‘live a little.’ It’s deplorable, all of it.
Usually, she only has to give rides to her girlfriends, but occasionally a few of their miscreant friends tag along, and she doesn’t protest so long as Lucy or Isabelle remembers to pay her back for the gas money within a few days. It’s her Christian duty, she determines: she can’t imagine the destruction they’d surely wreak if they were to drive themselves in this condition. And if it twists something in her stomach, brings a lump to her throat to have them here, giggling and slurring their words and smelling acutely of alcohol, well – we all have our crosses to bear. It’s that simple.
On this particular night, though, it isn’t only Isabelle and Lucy and Katherine: they have a boy with them. His name is Luke, and she recognizes him from her Western Civilization class – his shirts are always wrinkled and untucked and it doesn’t seem that he ever feels bothered to shave, resulting in a forever-present five o’clock shadow. He’s at least a foot taller than she is, and his hair is dark and his eyes are warm and alive in a way that makes her heartbeat quicken for a reason she doesn’t care to understand. He’d asked to borrow her notes early in the semester, and he’s been calling her “Blondie” ever since. Sometimes he’ll wink at her when he walks into class after she does. She staunchly pretends not to notice.
And she hates him, of course.
It turns out that he lives farther away than all of her friends do, and in no time at all it’s only the two of them in the car, with him in the passenger’s seat right next to her, smelling of liquor and sweat (but not quite unpleasantly) and something she can’t recognize. His hands are big and if she were to pay them any attention, she suspects she’d find them callused and rough: right now, he’s twisting the radio dial, abandoning the gospel station without so much as asking first in favour of 92.6. It’s playing The Beatles – Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, and don’t think that Angela doesn’t know perfectly well what this song means – and he sings along, with his voice raspy and low and sounding more like a hum even as it shapes the words. She almost thinks she can feel the sound thrum right against her skin, all over her.
She keeps her eyes trained firmly on the road ahead of her.
When she pulls into the driveway, she wastes no time at all in telling him goodnight in a way that is brisk and final. Still, she doesn’t hear the car door swing open.
She turns to see him staring at her – just staring, which is unfamiliar and she suddenly can’t make up her mind as to whether she’s too cold or too hot, but either way she’s very, very uncomfortable. She can’t quite make out his features in the dark, but she’s quite certain his mouth is curving in a smile.
She sits up a bit straighter. “Yes?”
But instead of saying anything back, he reaches over and one of his hands comes to rest against her thigh. It’s warm and steady and the promise of sensation washes over her in a way that overwhelms and almost aches; she breathes in sharply, once, and the sound of it is delicate and so foreign.
A boy had kissed her once after church when she was sixteen. She’d slapped him and that was that.
“Get off of me,” she orders. Her voice is steady.
“You’re really pretty,” he says, and the words are tinged with a warm, sleepy quality that threatens to ignite something in her. “You know that?” His thumb dances back and forth against her leg, inching slowly inward. “Why don’t you smile more? I bet you’ve got a pretty smile.”
“You’re drunk,” she informs him frostily. And then, for good measure – “And disgusting.”
“You don’t have to be such a frigid bitch all the time, you know,” he says, and she certainly doesn’t approve of such profanity, especially not when it’s applied to her, but then all of a sudden he’s leaning over and it would be so easy, the simplest thing, just one bite from an apple and in that instant it’s hard to recall why the fruit is forbidden in the first place.
He brings his hand to her cheek, brushes just barely across her face. His fingers are as wonderfully rough as she’d expected.
Panic explodes in her.
She recoils quite admirably and scowls at him, and regardless of whether this disgust is meant for him or herself, it’s certainly genuine. “Get out.”
He pulls back, and doesn’t argue. Just looks at her for a second and then shrugs. She closes her eyes as she listens to the car door swing open, and doesn’t open them again until it slams. Her hands grip the steering wheel hard as she watches him stumble up the walkway.
Angela doesn’t particularly enjoy the book club, but it’s a perfectly acceptable activity, and spending a half hour drinking tea and participating in discussion on Saturday afternoons is a worthy enough way to spend one’s time. She can’t help but object to the reading material occasionally, however.
“Pregnant at seventeen,” she frowns. “It’s completely unacceptable. I find it hard to sympathize with a heroine like that. Why don’t we all just build shrines to Hester Pryne and Queen Gertrude of Denmark?”
Laurie won’t have it. “But Novalee’s such a sweet girl!”
“That librarian boy is so lovely,” adds Tess, sighing fondly.
Angela is the youngest woman here. More often than not, she feels like the oldest.
“I don’t see why he’d take an interest in her,” Angela insists. “She’s a fallen woman.”
She hears a disdainful snort from the corner of the room, and looks over to see Abigail. Abigail is Laurie’s younger sister; she’s visiting for the week and apparently has nothing better to do than crash book club meetings. She has a nose ring and black hair that’s blatantly dyed; her lipstick is red and she’s smoking right here in front of all of them, with no concern whatsoever for their health and the dangers of secondhand smoke.
She is the epitome of everything that Angela loathes.
“Oh, come on,” she says now, and rolls her eyes. “This isn’t Jane Austen or whatever. It’s not the Victorian era.”
“That,” Angela says coolly, “was the Regency period.”
“Whatever,” Abigail scowls. “The point is, you can’t expect women to just be all demure and virginal these days. That’s all complete bullshit.”
“For the more whorish among us, maybe,” Angela declares, not bothering for a second to quell the venom in her tone. “And I suppose you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be a woman in possession of actual morals. I, on the other hand, am perfectly well-versed in not being a hussy.”
“Oh, like you haven’t—” Abigail starts.
“Haven’t what?” Angela cuts in dangerously.
Realization slowly dawns on Abigail’s face.
Everyone else is immediately staring at her with an expression that could very easily be classified as horror.
“Fuck,” Abigail finally says, and lets out an incredulous laugh. Her tawdry black hair swings shamelessly from side to side as she shakes her head.
Angela watches the smoke coil from her mouth and nostrils, and refuses to give way to the blush that threatens to heat her cheeks.
“Oh, honey,” Tess coos, and reaches over to pat her hand. “It’ll happen someday.”
Angela yanks her hand away.
The punch is very, very good. Angela doesn’t know why. Phyllis made it, and usually she doesn’t do nearly as good a job as Angela. She’s far too liberal with the sugar.
Todd Packer seems to like it, too. He’d been hovering around the punch bowl at the beginning of the party for a long time – a suspiciously long time –
But she can’t quite put two and two together, which is funny because she should be able to do that. She is an accountant, after all.
Instead, she has another glass of punch.
She turns to see Michael standing in front of her, right next to Packer. The sight of Michael usually gives her a headache, but right now, she finds him almost tolerable.
“Having fun, Angela?” Michael asks, and grins knowingly at her. She wonders what he knows. Usually, it seems like he doesn’t know anything.
“In fact, I am!” she says, and feels a giant smile stretching across her face. It feels very strange.
“Hey, uh, how ‘bout that punch there?” Michael proceeds. “Good, huh?”
“Delicious,” she agrees, and Packer elbows Michael in the side and Michael winces (he’s so weak) but then the two of them both start snickering right away. Angela will never understand Michael’s sense of humour.
“Keep on drinkin’, sweetheart,” Packer instructs. “Soon, you’ll be having lotsa fun! Whoo boy. ”
He and Michael exchange high fives.
“That’s disgusting,” Angela informs them, trying to frown. It doesn’t quite feel right.
“Hey.” She turns her head to see Oscar coming over. He looks worried. “What did you do to the punch?”
“It wasn’t me,” Michael immediately proclaims, hands flying up in surrender. “It was not me. It was all this guy over here.”
“Guilty,” Packer chuckles.
“Nice,” Oscar says. He sounds angry. “Very nice.”
“Don’t be such a downer, amigo!” Packer instructs, reaching over to slug him in the shoulder.
Oscar ignores him. Instead he wraps an arm around Angela’s shoulders, which is completely inappropriate, but for some reason she doesn’t quite feel like telling him that much. It’s sort of cozy, being pressed against him. He smells wonderful.
“Hey, Angela, come on,” he murmurs. “Let’s go get some coffee from the kitchen, okay?”
“The coffee here is disgusting,” she informs him. Besides, it’s not wise at all to drink coffee this late in the afternoon. She’d be up all night. She really doesn’t understand what he’s getting at.
“I know,” he agrees. “Just . . . come on, okay?”
They take a few steps, and behind them, she can hear Packer’s voice.
“Oh – ohhh! I see what’s goin’ on!” he calls from behind them. “Our hombre here wants to get a little of that ass.”
Oscar starts walking faster. Angela can feel him tense up.
“A-fucking-riba, my friend!” Packer shouts. “Andale, andale!”
Michael laughs like it’s the funniest thing he’s ever heard, even though it’s really just stupid and profane. Michael might be the most unintelligent person she’s ever met.
“Bastard,” Oscar barely mutters under his breath. Angela can still hear him. She has exceptional hearing.
“Language!” she chastises, and decides that ‘language’ is a very strange word to say. So many syllables.
“Sorry,” Oscar says obediently, and leads her into the kitchen.
Angela likes Oscar a lot more than she allows him to believe most of the time. She’s the head accountant, after all, and if she acted too kind, it could jeopardize her authority. But she does enjoy his company. He’s responsible and doesn’t laugh all of the time over the grotesque email forwards Michael sends out, the way Kevin does. He also has impeccable handwriting. His a’s look like the typewritten kind, and his letters are very evenly spaced.
He sits her down at the table, then heads over to the coffeepot. They’re the only people in here. Everyone else is in the conference room at the party. Angela still doesn’t understand the concept of a tsunami fun-raiser. She planned the party impeccably anyway. It’s her job.
“I only like the white mugs,” she reminds him as she watches Oscar swing the cabinet open.
“I know,” he says, and pulls one down off the shelf.
She supposes he must have noticed that about her. It’s a pleasant idea.
“I feel funny,” she says thoughtfully.
“Yeah,” Oscar says, his back to her. “You’re pretty drunk.”
Fury floods through her at the accusation.
“I most certainly am not!” she exclaims.
“Yeah you are,” Oscar assures her, turning back to glance at her for a second. “The punch was spiked.”
Angela gasps. “I should have known! That Phyllis Lapin is such a—”
“Packer spiked the punch,” Oscar interjects, pouring coffee into the mug.
“Oh,” Angela says. She feels like maybe she should have known that. But still. “I still don’t like Phyllis. She was a burlesque dancer.”
“She’s a nice lady,” Oscar says, and pops open the microwave to stick the coffee in. Angela doesn’t want old coffee – it’s bad enough when fresh – but it’s so nice of him to get it for her. Chivalrous. She supposes she won’t complain.
Well, not about that, anyway.
“I don’t like most of the people here,” she says instead. “Pam is practically a harlot, with that boyfriend of hers, and Jim is always putting things into Jello, and Michael is a complete idiot, and Dwight completely ignores his own potential to be his mindless slave, and Kevin is so juvenile, and Toby is a complete coward. And Creed probably escaped from a mental ward and he’ll ax murder us all someday.”
“Yeah,” Oscar agrees. “People here are pretty weird.”
“Not you,” Angela decides after a moment. “You’re reasonably normal.”
Oscar’s quiet for a second. “Thank you, Angela,” he finally says. His back is still to her, but it sounds like he’s smiling.
“In fact,” Angela decides recklessly, “I like you.”
“I like you too,” Oscar says, “when you’re drunk.”
She scowls. “That’s not nice.”
“No,” Oscar admits. The microwave beeps once, and Oscar takes the cup out. He sets it down in front of her, then sits down in the chair next to hers.
“Thank you, Oscar,” she says graciously and smiles at him. “You’re a gentleman.”
“No problem,” he says, and reaches over to pat her hand.
Angela knows that she should take a sip of the coffee.
Instead, she leans over and kisses him. It’s been a very long time.
Even before she can properly sink into how nice it is, though, he’s pulling away.
“Um,” he says. “Whoa.”
“Stop talking,” Angela insists impatiently, and leans forward again.
“Angela,” Oscar says, pulling back so fast and far that the legs of his chair squeak against the floor, “you don’t want to do this.”
“I do too,” she snaps, although it’s not very romantic; she doesn’t understand why he won’t just cooperate.
“I’m not your type,” Oscar insists, sliding his chair back even further.
“Nonsense!” she cries, clamping a hand onto his knee. “Your handwriting is perfect.”
“Okay,” he says awkwardly. “Then you’re not my type.”
She pulls her hand away.
“What?” she asks sharply, and supposes she should have seen it coming.
“It’s nothing personal,” Oscar insists. He reminds her very much of a deer in the headlights. “It’s just . . . we work together, and it’s not such a good idea, and—”
“How am I not your type?” she demands, and her voice sounds terribly loud.
“You’re just . . . not,” Oscar says hopelessly.
Indignant rage rushes through her. “I suppose you’re just like every other man, who likes those big-breasted harlots with fake trashy red hair and legs up to here!”
“Up to where?” Oscar repeats with panicked confusion.
“Here!” Angela repeats, gesturing exactly nowhere.
“Um,” Oscar says. “Okay. And no,” he adds. “That is not my type.”
Angela crosses her arms in front of her chest. “Then what is?”
He just stares at her for a moment before announcing, “You don’t want to know.”
Which just opens up a whole new realm of horrifying possibilities.
She glares at him. “Prostitutes?”
“Moms?” she demands, recalling something that Kevin and Jim always seem to be discussing.
“Yes,” Oscar says, in a way that sounds very resigned. “I am attracted to goats.”
Angela’s eyes widen. “Really?”
He scowls at her. “No.”
“Well,” Angela says huffily, and pushes the cup of coffee away from her. If he’s going to reject her, then she’s certainly going to reject his chivalrous beverages. “I won’t be having this.”
“But you should,” Oscar says, nudging it back in her direction. “You really should.”
“But I won’t,” Angela announces sternly. “I don’t want anything from the man who thinks he’s too good for me.”
Oscar looks like he’s going to yell at her for a second, and she doesn’t mind – she concludes that he can go ahead and dare to try, at his own peril.
But then, suddenly, his expression softens.
“Angela,” he says, in a way that’s low and earnest and immediately makes her a little less angry in spite of herself, “You’re a lovely woman. And probably way nicer than you seem about ninety nine percent of the time. And I’m sure that somewhere, there’s a really great guy who will be completely head over heels for you. I’m just . . . not that guy.”
And there’s a genuine kindness to his words, and so she decides that perhaps she can forgive him.
“I suppose that’s acceptable,” she finally admits.
“Good,” Oscar says. “I’m glad.”
After a moment, he awkwardly scoots his chair forward to the table again.
Angela stares down into her coffee.
“Am I going to be hung over?”
“I’d be surprised if you weren’t,” Oscar says.
“I’ve never been hung over,” Angela protests dimly. “I don’t approve of hangovers.”
Oscar shrugs. “There’s a first time for everything.”
“Know what, Oscar?”
“I’m pleased that things didn’t work out between us,” she informs him matter-of-factly. “Pursuing romantic relations with your coworkers is whorish.”
“Right,” Oscar agrees, and pats her on the shoulder.
It’s July and the heat lingers and stifles, and Angela is wearing a fine silk blouse the colour of her eyes and a skirt that barely falls past her knees. The weather justifies it, of course. She isn’t one to flaunt her figure like Kelly or Pam or Jan.
She steps outside at a little past five thirty and immediately the heat presses against her; there’s only one other person in the parking lot.
“Hey,” Roy says. Angela doesn’t usually approve of facial hair, but something about it suits him. Coupled with the sadness in his eyes, he seems older. More mature.
“Hello, Roy,” she says tentatively. She loves Dwight, and would never for a moment contemplate allowing her affections to stray, but there’s something very compelling about Roy. Something primal and masculine.
“You wanna go somewhere?” he asks, and she almost thinks she’s imagined it. (Not that she imagines such things.)
“What do you mean?” she asks hopelessly, although she already knows that, of course. Something about him unloosens something in her. It’s disconcerting, and if she were any other sort of woman—
But she’s not.
“Never mind,” Roy says dully, and shoves his hands into his pockets as he heads over to his truck. He doesn’t look back at her once. It’s just as well.
She goes over to Dwight’s to watch the new series of Doctor Who, which he’s been raving excitedly to her about for weeks. She immediately discovers that she’s not impressed: that blonde girl leaving her boyfriend in order to go and cavort through time with another man she barely knows!
Dwight sits beside her and clasps her fingers loyally in his, their hands resting on the middle sofa cushion in between them, but she can tell he’s completely enveloped in the world trapped in the television screen, near-indecipherable British accents and poor special effects and all. She almost envies him. The more she sees of reality – especially after what’s become of poor Roy – the more she thinks she’d prefer to look elsewhere.
People, as a whole, are infinitely disappointing.
And Jim – Jim is just like this ridiculous Doctor man. If Pam were remotely wise, she’d learn to keep her feet on the ground, to embrace the here and now.
“—we all shall fall.”
She wants nothing more in this moment (this horrible unreal moment that seems to press down against her until she’s ground into a fine powder, until she’s nothing at all) than to be loose and immoral, to have no sense of propriety and no fear of God, to be like Pam or Kelly or even Phyllis, to kiss in the breakroom and dance at office parties and throw around the words “my boyfriend” with total unconcern like the slatterns and trollops and harlots that surround her every day of her life with their endless flurry of “oh my God, I love Ryan!” and “Jim and I are just friends, really” and “Bob got this for me for our six month anniversary” so that at least she could spare him this, this noble devastating sacrifice all in the name of his love for her, giving up everything he knows and cherishes because it pales in comparison to her, because she is more, and she feels in her bones that she need only open her lips and let the truth spill out (he’s mine he’s mine he is mine) but it’s just that she can’t and she’s not, don’t you see?