Character(s)/Pairing: Ryan/Kelly, with a hearty dose of Angela
Spoilers: general season three; set late-ish in the season
Word Count: 1,151
Summary: Ryan, Kelly, and one of those instances that should make him want to run like hell.
Author's Note: So, I was at Wal-Mart shopping with my mother a month or so ago, and as we strolled by the teddy grahams on the shelf, I realized how, precisely, Angela would react to them. Using it in a fic somehow has been my goal ever since. At last, it has come to pass.
Also, this fic is apparently brought to you by Julia Roberts films.
Also also, Ryan/Kelly won my soul back utterly and completely. Damn you, season three DVDs.
“Does it ever make you feel guilty?” Kelly asks thoughtfully.
Ryan looks up at her. “Seriously?”
“Yeah, seriously!” Kelly exclaims. “It seems so mean. It’s like, they’re so cute. I don’t want to hurt them.”
She stares sadly down at the tabletop. He knows he shouldn’t be surprised.
“Kelly,” Ryan says slowly, “teddy grahams don’t have feelings.”
“I know teddy grahams don’t have feelings, Ryan,” she snaps, rolling her eyes at him. “What, do you think I’m an idiot or something?”
Ryan doesn’t answer. Instead, he pops a couple of bears into his mouth.
“You do, you big jerk!” Kelly concludes from his silence, her mouth falling open in a scandalized ‘o.’ She reaches over and shoves him.
“I didn’t say anything,” Ryan protests mildly.
“You didn’t have to, loser,” she retorts, tossing a teddy graham at him. She’s still scowling, but her eyes are bright and he can tell she’s trying not to laugh. “I can read you like this month’s issue of Cosmo.”
“Yikes,” he deadpans. “That’s so intimidating.”
“No kidding,” she says with flourish. “I will so kick your ass, Ryan Howard.”
“Really?” he asks. The corners of his mouth keep tugging upward all inconveniently. “’Cause I’m pretty sure I can take you.”
“Oh yeah?” she demands, standing and putting her hands on her waist, Wonder Woman-style.
“Yeah,” he affirms. Maybe he’s a little cocky.
“Bring it on,” Kelly declares, and then, because she’s Kelly, she starts to tickle him.
This quickly turns into a fake roughhousing match, and he’s glad there’s nobody else in the kitchen to witness it because he’s pretty sure it’s nauseatingly cute. The thought is lurking somewhere in the back of his head, all ominous and depressing, but it’s pretty easy to ignore. Later he can think about how much he needs to get the hell out of Scranton before it warps him permanently.
He’s got his hands on her hips and he’s about to pull her down into his lap, with her squealing all the while in cheerful protest, when the door swings open.
Kelly sinks down onto his lap, apparently unbothered. “Oh, hi Angela!”
“Hello” is the actual word Angela uses to answer, but Ryan’s pretty sure what she’s saying is ‘The two of you are going to burn in hell.’
Eyebrows arched to the ceiling, she heads toward the fridge, casting distasteful side glances at them every couple of seconds. She’s so good at it that Ryan almost feels ashamed of himself. He wonders why she can’t ever do this when Michael’s around him – like, shouldn’t the mancrush from hell be higher up on her list than slightly skanky displays of heterosexuality? But she does seem weirdly okay with Oscar, so who knows.
“There’s nothing in there,” Kelly announces as Angela rifles through the fridge. “Dwight told Andy to get rid of everything.”
Angela stands up, frigid.
“Everything?” she asks stiffly after a moment.
“Yeah,” Kelly says. “What’s up with Andy being Dwight’s little slave boy anyway? He’d be so much cooler solo.”
“Hey, Angela,” Ryan cuts in nonchalantly. “Why would Dwight want to save your lunch?”
Revenge? Kinda sweet.
“He wouldn’t,” Angela finally responds, with perfect composure.
“Oh,” Ryan says casually. “Okay.”
“You can have some of my teddy grahams,” Kelly offers, beaming as she holds the ziplock bag out. She tends to go from hating Angela one minute to getting all obsessed with redeeming her the next, because ‘she must have an inner Disney princess under all those layers of wicked stepmother, right??’
“No,” Angela scowls at once. After a glance at Ryan, who stares placidly back, she adds a strained, “Thank you.”
“Come on,” Kelly insists, shaking the bag. “They’re totally cute. And you can’t just starve!”
“Well,” Angela says grudgingly, “all right. A handful,” she adds harshly, like she’s afraid Kelly’s just as loose with her teddy graham distribution as she is with her virtue.
Kelly happily starts pouring them into Angela’s reluctant palm.
“That’s enough,” Angela interjects sharply.
Kelly stops and stares at Angela with this ridiculously hopeful expression on her face. Angela’s sorting through the teddy grahams with terrifying precision, and doesn’t notice. Or maybe she does. For someone who’s spent a whole lot of time ignoring Kelly, he feels like he should be able to recognize the signs better.
“You’re welcome?” Kelly prompts after like fifteen seconds. Ryan thinks, not for the first time, that maybe she should be teaching kindergarten instead.
“Thank you,” Angela says flatly. She somehow manages to convey the sentiment of rolling her eyes without actually doing it. It’s scarily impressive. “You can keep these,” she adds, shoving like half of the teddy grahams back into Kelly’s hand.
“Wait,” Kelly says, frowning as she stares down at them. “Why’d you give me back all the ones with their legs open?”
Angela responds with a very deliberately piercing look. It goes on just long enough to be really uncomfortable; then she turns swiftly and disappears back out into the main office.
“What?” Kelly says blankly. And then realization strikes. “Oh! Oh my God, she is such a prude. Like teddy grahams can be slutty! Sometimes I think there is no hope for her, seriously.”
“She took them,” Ryan points out with a shrug.
“That’s right!” Kelly realizes, and gasps. “She must be making progress, right?” She drums her fingers excitedly against his chest. “I’m making her nice! My influence is totally rubbing off on her!”
“I’m sure that’s it,” he says obediently.
“I’m completely changing her life!” Kelly continues, more or less starry-eyed. “Like Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa Smile or something!”
“Yep,” Ryan says dutifully.
“You know,” she begins reflectively, draping her arms over his shoulders, “sometimes I think this place is total everlasting Sucksville, but then stuff like this happens and it doesn’t seem so bad.” Her fingers come up to caress the back of his neck, in that easy thoughtless way that develops when you’ve been together a long time. Too long, he reminds himself. “Does it seem like that to you ever? Like, you get what I’m saying, right?”
“I guess,” he sort of mumbles. It’s good enough for her, apparently, because she leans in and kisses him. He brings his hand up to brush her face without really thinking about it. For a really long time he never did that, because of something she said about Runaway Bride and perfect kisses and how she’d totally know she’d found Mr. Right if he did the face-brushing thing. She’s probably forgotten about it by now. There’s no way she can keep track of everything she says.
Still. These are the kinds of moments that make a lot of stuff clear. Like that he’s gotta get the hell out of this life, preferably now. And that . . . well, whatever.
Getting the hell out of this life’s the important part.