Characters: Angela, Mose
Spoilers: through "Dunder Mifflin Infinity"
Word Count: 1,363
Summary: Angela finds an unlikely source of (something that vaguely resembles) comfort.
Author's Note: Almost immediately after I saw Fun Run, this idea occurred to me. And then this deleted scene came along, which I couldn't help but take as an actual sign from the Office gods. Oh, Office gods. I do so dig y'all.
Angela is having a bad day.
A bad series of days, if you’d like to get technical about it.
She wouldn’t, for the record.
She hasn’t spoken to Dwight Schrute all week. It’s a good start, she reasons, to her overall plan, which is not to speak to him ever again. It certainly hasn’t been easy, with him hovering around her, making pained faces and whispering about how he misses her and it isn’t the end of the world and she has three other cats anyway and he is still fully capable of going out and recapturing Garbage if she changes her mind. She hates him, which clashes inconveniently with the fact that she loves him, and the obvious solution is to eliminate every trace of him from her life altogether. From 5 P.M. to 8 A.M., anyway. And on weekends.
The discovery that Mose Schrute is standing on her porch when she arrives home from work does absolutely nothing to help this.
“Hiya, Angela,” he says sheepishly, raising his hand in an awkward wave.
She narrows her eyes at him. “What are you doing here?”
The expression on his face suggests that he’s wondering the same thing. She’s struck by a surge of annoyance. She doesn’t like Mose, with his lewd whittlings and his appreciation for inappropriate independent films, and the last thing she needs is him attempting to win her back on Dwight’s behalf. She knows for a fact that he hasn’t even left the farm in the past ten months, save for attending a showing of Becoming Jane which he dragged Dwight along to. Angela occasionally suspects that he would get along well with Oscar.
“You haven’t been out to the farm for awhile,” Mose points out. It’s obvious he hasn’t overcome his fear of her. He’s clearly acting under Dwight’s orders.
“No,” Angela agrees coldly. “I haven’t.”
Seven seconds of terse silence pass.
“I heard about your cat,” he adds.
Her throat immediately tightens, and her eyes begin to sting. “Oh.”
“That’s too bad,” he continues earnestly. “I always thought Sprinkles sounded nice.”
“She was nice,” Angela retorts. “Until your cousin shoved her into my freezer and left her to die.”
“Yeah,” Mose says uncomfortably. “He told me about that.”
“I’ll have you know that I threw all of my frozen food out,” Angela informs him, fighting for composure. She will not display her grief. Not in front of Mose. “And now I can no longer use my freezer. It’s a terrible inconvenience.” She blinks rapidly. “I occasionally enjoy – frozen yogurt, and certain vegetables – but now, thanks to Dwight, I’ve been driven to buy canned green beans, which are disgusting—”
“Aw, Angela,” Mose says, reaching out to her. “Don’t cry—”
“I’m not crying!” she snaps, swatting his hand away. “I just hate canned green beans! Which you’d understand, if you had normal tastebuds. And there’s something in my eye.”
“Okay,” Mose agrees easily. Too easily. After a moment, he tentatively adds, “I understand how bad you must be feeling, though.”
“How could you?” Angela sniffs. “Your kind slaughter cats for sport.”
“Not always,” Mose protests, looking a little hurt. He sinks down onto the front step. After a moment, Angela does the same. But only because she doesn’t approve of other people sitting on her porch alone. She’s careful to keep a good foot of distance between them.
“I had this dog,” Mose says thoughtfully, gazing across the street at the poorly behaved little hoodlums playing in the yard. “Tuck. He was real special. You know, for a dog.” He smiles slightly. “I trained him how to open the front door with his paws. Dressed him up like a pumpkin on Halloween once.”
Angela sternly reminds herself that she doesn’t like dogs.
“Dwight thought he had rabies this one time when I shared one of my cream pies with him, and he –” Mose stops, swallows. “Say, have you seen that movie Old Yeller?”
“Well,” he says, and his voice is thick with emotion. “Y’know.”
For a moment, she feels almost inclined to pat him on the shoulder. Luckily, the compulsion passes quickly.
“That sounds just like Dwight,” she says instead, trying to keep her tone neutral. “He’s a monster.”
Yes. A monster. A monster who quits the job he cares about more than anything to keep her virtue from being impugned, and lights up with joy at her Valentine’s Day gift, and wears glory so well that it awes her – but a monster nonetheless. Certainly a monster.
She realizes abruptly that she’s begun to cry, and it only makes her angrier. Look at what he’s reduced her to! She isn’t Pam, finding her way into the bed of any man who catches her fancy and then weeping pathetically when he won’t commit (and, really, why would he bother? Why buy the cow, and all of that).
She chokes back a sob, and looks over to find Mose staring sadly at her. After a moment, he offers his sleeve.
She stares at it.
“You must be joking,” she says icily.
“Er,” he says, and pulls his arm back. “Yep.”
She starts to rifle through her purse for a tissue.
“The thing is, though, he didn’t mean to hurt you,” Mose says. “He just doesn’t understand how people can get attached to animals.”
“Well, I don’t understand how someone can’t understand it,” she retorts sharply.
“He’s a little strange sometimes,” Mose agrees. “But I know that he misses you. He’s so sad he hasn’t even been keeping up with the new season of Heroes.”
She pauses in spite of herself. “He hasn’t?”
It can’t be true. Not a Tuesday went by where she wasn’t forced to endure a half-hour recap of every detail of every episode of that never-ending festival of Satanism and incest.
“I taped the season premiere,” Mose tells her. “He hasn’t even looked at it.”
“Oh,” she says. For a moment, she imagines Dwight, collapsed on his bed and staring aimlessly at the ceiling, not caring for a second that his ridiculous program is blaring on the television downstairs.
No. He deserves the torment; he’s brought it upon himself. He’s a murderer.
“Well, he might as well start watching it again,” she says archly, sitting up taller, “because this situation isn’t going to change. It’s over between us.”
“I figured you’d say that,” Mose replies, a little glumly.
“And you can just pass it along to Dwight,” she continues, folding her arms in front of her chest.
“He didn’t send me,” Mose says with a shrug. “I was just kinda worried. That’s all.”
“Oh,” Angela says awkwardly. She feels a little like she just got slapped. Surely this isn’t a random act of kindness. Surely a man who’s seen Brokeback Mountain four times isn’t capable of such things.
At a loss as to what else to do, she stands up.
“Goodbye,” she says pointedly, staring down at him.
“Oh,” he says, clearly caught off-guard, and scrambles to his feet. Dwight’s assessment that Mose would be an easy target for a ninja attack suddenly seems exceptionally valid. No wonder Dwight is so protective of him. “Um, see you later, then. Or, well, not, I guess.”
“Not,” she verifies firmly.
“’kay,” he says, his revolting beard only masking the disappointment on his face a little. He lifts his hand in another awkward wave and then turns around, heading down the driveway.
She watches him retreat, shuffling toward the sidewalk. He jumps a little when one of the children across the street cries out gleefully. What on earth possessed him to come here in the first place—?
The devil, probably. It wouldn’t surprise her, what with all those Venus figurines.
“Mose?” she calls.
He turns. “Yep?”
She pauses for a moment, then decides surely it can’t do much harm. “I’m sorry about your dog.”
A slow grin spreads across his face. “Thanks, Angela.”
“You’re welcome,” she replies, not quite allowing herself to return the smile. “Goodbye.”
She turns back to her front door, retrieving her keys from her purse, and can hear the faint sound of him beginning to whistle as he walks away.