Fic: The Office (US): Everyone Changes (Ryan, Kelly) PG-13
Title: Everyone Changes
Fandom: The Office
Characters: Ryan, Kelly (R/K), Hunter, Michael, Andy, mentions of others.
Word Count: 1831
Rating: PG-13 for mentions of film gore and slight cursing
Summary: Ryan hasn't changed as much as people think.
Spoilers: All seasons to be safe
Author's Notes: Final gift for clinicallybored over at nifty_gifties. I hope that you like it. I apologize for how late it is. This is also a new style of mine (and the tone does not match the show very much), so hopefully it is decent. Hunter was Jan's assistant so I decided to leave him at corporate. I like him. :)
It's nights like these when Ryan thinks that maybe it wouldn't be horrible if they lasted forever. Or at least a little while longer. She's sleeping quietly on his couch, wedged into his side with a pillow under her head, while he watches a movie with the volume down and the subtitles on. It doesn't exactly have the same effect as if he were in a movie theater, but she's being quiet for once and he can't complain.
She stirs at his side and her hand flings into his lap. He tenses for just a second at the sudden movement, but relaxes when he realizes that it's just her. (Ryan isn't afraid of the dark or the boogeyman - it's just that sometimes movies make sense.) He can feel the heat from her hand searing through the fabric of his jeans and he tries as quietly and slowly as possible to move it from the spot.
"What is it?" Her voice is heavy and groggy and she sits up and looks at him. She brings the hand to her hair and smooths it down before he answers.
"Nothing. I was stretching."
"Oh." She rubs her eyes and he thinks that he likes her like this. When she's just waking up she's quieter than usual and her voice is deeper than usual, as if she's too afraid to speak loud, for fear that she'll be waking someone up. Her eyes flick to the television and she cocks her head to the side. "What are you watching? ...Eww! He just cut that guy's head off. This is so sick, Ryan. Gross!"
Something he has noticed about her on those rare mornings waking up in bed with her is that it only takes her about five minutes to fully wake up. Then she is in complete Kelly mode.
"It's just some movie on Showtime. Yeah, it's stupid."
"What else is on?" She lunges for the remote and starts flicking through the channels as yet another head is chopped off. She stops on a movie with a sappy name and a PG-13 rating (Ryan hates PG-13 movies because, in Kelly's case, they're almost always chick flicks). "Oh! I love this movie. Let's watch this one." She claps her hands together with the remote still in her right, turns up the volume, and then places it next to her on the couch.
"Sure." He rolls his eyes as the couple slow dance on screen and she sighs.
"That is so sweet. They totally love each other."
He looks at her and wonders if that is what she wants, but then she's looking at him and he looks back at the screen. She sighs again as the man kisses the woman and suddenly there is a short black screen before the couple returns in a wedding scene.
"That is so romantic. Isn't that romantic, Ryan? When we get married, I want pink flowers. No! All yellow. Or maybe both. My bridesmaids can wear pink and have yellow flowers. Or they could have really cute pale pink..."
Suddenly forever sounds a little too complicated.
It doesn't last much longer. The promotion happens and life is too complicated with her planning a non-existent wedding as it is. He will admit that the way he breaks up with her is harsh. It was the only way that he could think to do it, make it simple and quick. That way she would, hopefully, not try to follow him to New York. A part of him wishes that she would, if only to give him a reason to not feel about it.
He stays for a few more days, but gets the phone disconnected once she has called ten times in an hour. It's a bit too much for him and, when he hears the first of those ten messages, his heart can't help but hurt just a little.
"Ryan.... Hey, I was just calling to talk. Umm, I thought maybe we could hang out and talk about everything. I'm so confused, Ryan."
"Ryan! I think you owe me an explanation. You don't just go around saying things like that to people."
He doesn't answer his cell phone when she calls it either, but the calls ends around two a.m. and there are no messages left.
He visits the Scranton branch a few times after he moves to New York and, after the "I'm pregnant" incident, he finds himself feeling a little less bad about it. Still, when he visits again and she's kissing Darryl in front of him, things change.
"Michael, the banquet is tonight. Can you give everyone the direction sheets again?"
"So, is everyone invited? Because that doesn't make sense. Is Toby invited? Why would you want him at the banquet? He's going to bring the whole party down!"
"This isn't a party, Michael. This is a banquet for Dunder Mifflin. It is for every single Dunder Mifflin employee, including Toby."
Michael makes a disgusted, defeated sound from the other end. His voice perks up when Andy says something that Ryan cannot hear. "Will there be an open bar?"
Ryan sighs. "Unfortunately."
This time he hears Andy just perfectly. "It is time to PAR-AR-TAY!"
After two hours at the banquet, Ryan inwardly thanks whoever set up this banquet for including the open bar. He's not seated with the Scranton branch, but he is facing them and Jan glares at him the entire time. He sees Hunter shift uncomfortably in his seat at his right.
"This is awkward."
He looks at Hunter and smiles. "Yeah."
"Also, there is a girl staring at you. You really must have left an impression. She's cute."
Ryan looks over at the Scranton branch table and meets eyes with Kelly. She stares at him, glares, and then looks back to Darryl. Ryan looks away and lifts his glass to his lips, downing the rest of the drink. He does not care if there will be a hangover in the morning.
He's sitting at the table after most everyone has left. Hunter is still seated at his right, but otherwise there is no one that he actually knows.
He looks up and nods at her, forcing himself not to look at her too much. He has to be professional. He knows that Hunter, someone he has surprisingly made friends with, will have to know everything later.
"I'm going to go get a drink. Anyone want one?"Hunter stands from his seat and places his hand on the fabric covering it. "You can sit down if you like," he tells Kelly and she does.
Of course Hunter chooses this moment for his grand exit. Of course.
"Kelly. How are you?"
"I was just coming over because Michael said that it would be best if one of us came and said thank you for inviting us all here tonight. Jan refused to allow him to do it."
"So you did instead," he says, unsure as to why she would.
"No one else would. I think they all hate you actually, which is kind of funny since you used to hate all of them."She gives a little laugh. "Or maybe it's just sad." She puts a finger up to her mouth as if she's thinking and looks back at him, dropping the hand onto the table. "Yeah, it's just sad."
She's right really. It is sad because he hates people like him, and yet he loves being this new person. It's better than being a salesman at a paper company, especially one that never once made a sale.
"I guess you probably hate me too," he says before he can stop himself. He shakes his head because the alcohol is definitely starting to effect him.
"I guess I don't as much as they do. I guess I kind of understand why."
He looks at her as if she's insane. "You understand? I'm such a dick, Kelly, and you understand?"He honestly cannot stop the words from coming out of his mouth. He notes her shocked reaction at his openess and hopes that Hunter returns with drinks soon.
She stares at him for a moment longer and then stands to leave. "I'll just see you later. Good night."
"Yeah, good night." He looks around for Hunter, but isn't surprised when he sees him talking to a tall blonde by the bar. Looks like he'll be finding himself another designated driver after all.
He flips the thought of calling her over and over in his mind. It's three o'clock in the morning, but he can't seem to fall asleep. Thoughts of them, and her, and everyone ever at the Scranton branch attacks his mind. He doesn't know where these new found feelings have come from, or if they're just suddenly coming to the surface.
He's sitting at his desk, the view of New York City behind him, and all he can do is stare at his phone. He has never felt this willing to tell someone that maybe he was wrong, but, in this moment, he wants to do nothing else.
He picks up the phone and dials her cell phone number, knowing that everyone would know immediately if he went through Pam. Of course they'll probably hear everything after he hangs up with Kelly herself.
"Hi. This is... Ryan."
"Oh. Ryan. Why are you calling? I didn't recognize your number."
"I'm calling from my office. I just... I thought that maybe we could talk. You called a lot after I left, but I never called you back. Let's get together for coffee and talk."
He hears her scribbling something on her desk or a pad of paper, something she did when she was on the phone with someone. He remembers her doing it when they were in the annex together, and he remembers how much it used to irriate him to hear the almost echoed noise in the small cubicle. Now, though, he almost loves the sound of it. There are some things he misses after all.
"I guess that would be fine, but I do have a boyfriend, Ryan."
"Yeah, I know. I just want to talk."
"I was thinking tomorrow night. Somewhere outside of Scranton."
"Sure. Pick me up at seven."
She didn't seem as excited as he thought she would be, but perhaps that is for the best. She seems to have changed. She has a boyfriend and he is, still, Ryan. Ryan laughs to himself, but realizes that there is nothing funny about that.
At least he can truthfully tells his mother that New York hasn't changed him as much as it seemed.
He types out "seven o'clock - pick up kelly" in his Blackberry and reaches to call Michael for, yet another, complaint about sexual harassment. Some people haven't changed since he left.