Pairing: Ryan/Kelly, with a smidgen of Dwight/Angela
Spoilers: pretty general s3, with a tiny sort-of reference to "Product Recall"
Word Count: 2,218
Rating: PG (with one f-word, but the rest is very tame; avert your eyes if you must!)
Summary: When it rains, it pours. And makes Kelly want to reenact The Notebook.
Author's Note: So, um, this was going to be for office500 (which -- GO JOIN, all you Office fic writers you!), except, well, I ignored the 500 part and it somehow became 2,000+. Because I fail at life.
This is pretty much unrelentingly fluffy. That's all. I think I'm allowed, because he kissed her forehead.
It’s raining. Really raining, too: the kind of rain that, out of nowhere, erupts from the sky with righteous fury; the kind of rain that makes you suspect that God’s pissed off and it might be a good idea to start working on that makeshift ark as soon as possible.
Because he’s not, you know, insane, Ryan’s holding his jacket over his head and he’s running from the building to the car, and one second, Kelly’s right next to him, letting out a stream of semi-incoherent lamentations over how much this is destroying her hair. Except then all of a sudden, she’s not.
He stops about ten feet from his car and turns back, and, inexplicably but not surprisingly, she’s standing completely still in the middle of the parking lot, frowning. She’s not even wearing a coat, and she’s been whining about a sore throat a lot over the past few days as is. He doesn’t mean to turn into his mom, or anything, but this is the last thing she should be doing.
“Kelly, come on!” he calls.
She looks up at him, and the distressed expression on her face spells out his doom pretty immediately. “I dropped my lipgloss!”
He groans. Of course. “Are you serious?”
“Oh, I dunno, Ryan!” Kelly snaps, the indignant fury in her voice only heightened by the angry slap of rain against pavement. It’s like she’s enlisted the universe at large to team up with her in her angry tirades against him now. Which, swell. “Is dropping lipgloss something I usually joke about??”
The correct answer to that would be ‘no.’
“It’s just lipgloss,” he reminds her in this way that’s supposed to be patient and practical.
“That’s so typical!”
“I’ll get you a new one,” he throws out.
“Please! Like I’m going to believe that!” she scoffs. “It’s the expensive kind. You won’t even get anything that’s not on the dollar menu at McDonald’s.”
“I’ll get you a new one,” he insists, trying not to sound like he wants to kill something. “Just come on!”
“No, you come here!”
“Kelly, I am not coming there!”
“Oh, like it’s less wet where you are now?”
She has a point. Which sucks.
“Fine,” he mumbles darkly, and jogs back over to her. His eyes immediately start scanning the ground for anything remotely lipgloss-shaped: the really sad part is, he’s getting pretty good at searching for lost makeup. And forgotten sweaters. And dropped hairclips.
He (officially, as of last weekend) draws the line at tampons. He’s got some dignity left. Sort of.
“Okay,” he says briskly as he reaches her, “you look over by Michael’s car, and I’m gonna take the other side—”
“It’s not that Strawberry Temptation stuff, is it?”
“Raspberry Seduction,” she corrects. “Ryan—”
“Right,” he says. “I still can’t get that out of the collar of that shirt, by the way.”
“Well, you didn’t seem to have a problem with it at the time,” she points out, rolling her eyes.
“Valid point,” he admits after a moment. “Okay, go look over there, and we’ll—”
“Ididn’tdropmylipgloss,” she says really fast, like maybe the words will sneak by too quickly for him to get annoyed by them.
It’s a valiant effort, he guesses, but still. No.
“You didn’t drop your lipgloss,” he repeats flatly.
She gives him a nervous little smile and pulls Raspberry Seduction out of her purse, waving it as proof.
He inhales. Exhales. Stays calm. “So why is it, exactly, that we’re standing in the rain?”
“I just realized,” Kelly responds, in that tone she gets when she wants to convince him why it is really super important for them to watch E! News every single night, “right in the middle of worrying about my hair – we’ve totally never kissed in the rain!”
. . .
Yeah. He should have guessed. It’s like he keeps forgetting lately that she’s out of her mind.
It turns out that all he can say is “Seriously?”
“Yeah, seriously!” she exclaims, and if he weren’t standing in the rain, he would almost be forced to admire how much she believes this is actually remotely sane. “It’s like one of the basic staples of being in love, and we just totally skipped it! It’s amazing that we’re still even together, Ryan!”
“Not gonna argue there,” he mutters. And unless he’s totally off, which he kinda wishes were the case but technically knows isn’t so likely, then in approximately five seconds, she is going to mention—
“And besides, think of Rachel and Ryan in The Notebook!”
“I hate The Notebook.”
“Whatever, we should be, like, trying to emulate them.”
“They weren’t in the Dunder Mifflin parking lot,” Ryan reminds her.
“Well, yeah, but that doesn’t really matter,” Kelly says matter-of-factly. “As long as you pick me up all manly and strong and awesome like Noah does.”
Oh, Jesus. “No.”
“No!” Ryan yelps. “No way.”
Kelly puts her hands on her hips. “Why not?”
“It’s wet, Kelly,” he says, because she drives him to state the painfully obvious. “It’s wet, because it’s raining, and neither of us have coats or umbrellas and you’re getting sick and like half of the people at work haven’t even left yet, and knowing our luck, Angela will probably walk out right when I kiss you, which I won’t, and then she’ll try to give you a pamphlet for a sexaholics support group again and you’ll freak out just like you did last time and I’ll have to deal with it. Again.”
“I am not a sexaholic!” Kelly snaps. “God, just because I’m not all repressed and Jesus-y!”
“I know that. That wasn’t really my point—”
“And, God, since when does Angela have the right, anyway??” she demands furiously. “All I ever was was nice to her, and supportive, and she’s just all mean and judgmental! Sure, I have sex with you! Because you’re my boyfriend and I love you! It’s not like I waltz into the office dressed all slutty and just shout, ‘Okay, do me, anybody!’”
“Hey, don’t get all upset again,” Ryan cautions, “It’s just Angela—”
“And she could have knocked before coming into the supply closet, okay?? Jeez. Show some courtesy.” Her hair is completely drenched and her eye makeup’s streaming down her face, and he sort of wishes she could see how she looked right now, because then there’s no way she’d be okay with being in a public place.
“Kelly, let’s go, okay? This is ridiculous.”
“Nope!” she says; her eyes are all bright and hard, the way they get when she’s dead-set on something and there’s no hope of her changing her mind. “Not until you kiss me in the rain!”
This is very rapidly turning into one of those moments where he wonders why he even bothers at all. “I thought we established that there was no way in hell that was happening!”
“You kiss me in the goddamn rain right now, Ryan Bailey Howard!” Kelly demands, stomping her foot.
“You know, maybe Angela was right about that whole sex addict thing,” he snaps.
“Aaarrrghhh!” she shrieks, and jumps up and down in frustration, pounding her fists ineffectively against his chest. She is officially a crazy person. “I hate you! You ruin everything. Can’t you ever just be romantic for once?”
He tries to ignore the guilt that immediately settles in him. “People don’t kiss in the rain, Kelly.”
“Some do,” she protests, glowering. “Some totally do.”
“No,” he says evenly. “Movie characters kiss in the rain. Real people don’t kiss in the rain. Real people get out of the rain.”
“I don’t know what I did to get stuck with you,” she announces darkly, hoisting her purse up higher onto her shoulder and storming off in the direction of the car. She manages to crush his foot with her heel as she does it, and if he were a little less irritated, he would probably take the time to acknowledge the pain, of which there is a lot.
Instead, he sort of just stupidly limps after her and demands, way louder than he usually talks, “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“You’re so cynical about everything!” she accuses over her shoulder. “You probably don’t even love me.”
“Don’t be stupid, Kelly.”
“You don’t!” she insists, throwing a quick angry glare back at him before fumbling with the car door. “You’re just like, ‘Oh, she’s here and there’s nobody better, so I guess I’ll date her and that way I can get some on a regular basis!’”
And the thing is, he’s standing in the rain. He’s drenched. He’s tired. Michael called him, direct quote, “Buns of Steel” earlier, and he botched another sale, and Dwight confiscated his cheesy pita, and he just wants to go home already. Life sucks.
But it’s like all of a sudden, it sinks in: he feels sort of sick, because the thing is, a year ago, what she’s saying now would’ve been true – only back then, she’d been too desperate to call him on it and he’d been too much of a coward to end it. This isn’t a year ago, but he still hasn’t figured out how to tell her that. Not when it counts, anyway.
“Hey, don’t ever think—” he starts, but then that’s it. He doesn’t know where to go from there, and for a second he’s jealous of Noah and Mark Darcy and about twelve other variations of Prince Charming whose names he really, really wishes he didn’t know. Instead, he sighs in frustration and catches her elbow in his hand and says, “Kelly, just don’t, okay?”
She shakes him off and turns to face him, her eyes narrowed. “Why not?”
Without bothering to think, he pulls her to him and kisses her.
He’s just about to start thinking that the whole kissing in the rain thing might not be so completely lame after all when she abruptly pulls away.
“Oh, no you don’t, Ryan Howard!” she admonishes, but she’s a little bit breathless and her eyes are softer. “Mean boyfriends don’t get to just – just kiss in the rain and redeem themselves in two seconds!”
“Oh yes they fucking do,” he protests, and can’t help grinning a little even though it’s highly possible that that’s the lamest thing he’s ever said in his life.
“That wasn’t rain, that was snow,” she points out, but she’s got a gigantic smile on her face and he can tell she’s trying not to giggle. And her hair’s flat and tangled and there’s mascara running down her cheek, and she’s probably the most gorgeous girl he’s ever seen.
“I do,” he says, and he sounds sort of stupid but it’s true and he owes her. “You know, love you. A lot.”
“Oh, I know you do!” she responds brightly. “I just have to mess with you a little bit sometimes.”
“Nice,” he scowls, although he can’t quite bring himself to actually get upset.
“It’s important to keep your guy on his toes!” she protests, beaming. “Hi, Ryan, it’s only, like, the number one rule of Cosmo.”
“Right,” he says, rolling his eyes and trying not to smile. “Of course.”
“By the way,” she adds, laughing, “you look horrible.”
He tries to keep his expression blank. “Excuse me?”
“You do!” she exclaims, tugging his earlobe. “You totally look like a drowned rat or something!”
“Wow, thanks. I wasn’t gonna say anything about you, but—”
“Oh, whatever. We both know I’m always adorable.”
“Right,” Ryan says, and makes a face. “About that—”
“Look at your hair!” she squeals, reaching over and running a hand through it. “This is totally like that time you were in the shower and totally freaked out about that itty bitty little kitchen fire—”
“And then you dropped the towel—”
“And the pizza guy for next door had come to your apartment instead, and—”
And, well, kissing her is definitely his favourite way of shutting her up – not to mention the most effective, so, really, it’s a practical solution. She drapes her arms across his shoulders, clasping her hands behind his neck, and he can practically envision the swooping camera angles she’s probably got going on in her head right now. It’s a good thing that the documentary crew took off already. It’s nice, to have it be just the two of them—
And a very pointed, disapproving sniff.
Kelly disentangles herself from him and brightly chirps, “’Night, Angela!”
“Goodnight,” Angela responds tersely, followed by a darkly muttered, “God help you.”
“Oh, Ryan!” Kelly sighs dramatically; Angela’s footsteps quicken.
He thinks Dwight comes out a few seconds later, but honestly, Ryan’s a little bit distracted.
“Good evening, Dwight.”
“Good night, Angela. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Yes. Tomorrow.” ... “You know, certain people I know have never embraced in the rain before. They think it seems . . . pleasant.”
“Really? Hmm. Unrelatedly, for random trivia rather than future reference, the sprinkler systems at the beet farm are topnotch. The illusion of rain can be crafted at any time.”
“Oh. How interesting.”
“I think so.”
“I’ll see you . . . tomorrow morning.”
“Yes. Tomorrow morning.”