Relief

By Token

Rated T for language

Spoilers: Minor reference to Boys and Girls

Disclaimer: Not mine.

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Roy plops himself down on the couch and reaches for the remote. Damn, it's been a rough week. He's lost count of the number of shipments in and out, and of course they're all still trying to put the pieces back together from Michael's stupid visit to the warehouse. God, that guy is such a freak!

Now his back and legs and shoulders are aching and he's pretty sure his head might explode like in Looney Toons. Pam passes by as he turns the game on.

"Hey, babe? Can you grab me a beer from the fridge?" Roy toes off his shoes and settles further back into the couch. He acknowledges that she looks annoyed, but is too tired to care.

"Here." She says icily as she slams the beer on the table in front of him.

"God dammit, Pam! Be careful!"

She sighs, "Why? Are you afraid I'm going to hurt the furniture?" They both glance at the pock-marked $20 Ikea table. They (Pam) had agreed to save their money for the wedding instead of buying decent stuff – like the plasma screen Roy is dreaming on.

He snatches up the offending bottle. "No, you're gonna spill the beer." He takes a long gulp.

"Well then next time, maybe you should get it yourself!" She snaps.

"What the hell? What's with the attitude? Look, I've been on my feet all day, busting my ass while you sit on yours and play solitaire. I'm finally home and off-duty. I'm sitting and you're up and moving around. Is it really so much to ask for, huh Pam? 'Cause if I'm being completely unreasonable here, just tell me!" She looks down at her freakin' Keds, her momentary tantrum passed.

"You're right, Roy. I'm sorry. I'm just tired and stressed about the wedding."

Crap. The wedding is her damn trump card. Roy closes his eyes together for a second, scrunching them as if he was in physical pain before returning his attention to the game. He can't deal with one more never-ending nag about the stupid wedding. Not right now.

But she starts in anyway as she settles herself on the couch next to him. "Actually, there are some details I want to go over with you."

"No, no, no. Really Pam, I don't care. Just do whatever you think is best. I just want to watch the game."

"We've put this off too long as it is. It'll only take a few minutes." So Pam starts talking about something and Roy goes back to watching the game. He doesn't exactly mean to tune her out, but for Christ's sake, how many times does he have to repeat himself before it gets through to her? He doesn't care about the wedding! Or at least the planning part of it. Whatever.

Why can't she just shut up and sit and watch the game with him. She used to curl up with him and he would explain why the ref was an ass, who the best prospects for the draft were. He'd have a few beers, they'd have sex, they'd go to sleep. Easy.

Roy glances up at her and makes a non-committal noise to prove he's still listening.

God, that was so long ago! Roy wonders when she changed. Honestly, would it kill her to do something he likes once in a while? She doesn't drink, she doesn't like sports (on tv or in person), she refuses to learn poker, she won't hang out with his friends or spend time in the bar. Come to think of it, she's got a crappy sense of humor too – 'cause it's not funny if you have to explain it, and really, why should anyone have to explain a fart joke?

Now Daryl's girl is awesome. She does shots and plays pool and knows some of the dirtiest jokes Roy's ever heard. Why can't Pam be more like that? Relaxed and, well, fun? Roy suddenly feels that life is very unfair.

Pam's voice has started to rise and he realizes that she's mad at him for something. Only Pam could get mad at him for just sitting there quietly.

"Why haven't you found a band yet? Roy? Are you even listening to me?"

"Yeah, Pammy. I'll get to it." He's so tired, and his head is still throbbing. Maybe he'll just sack out on the couch until dinner's ready.

"No, Roy." She snaps off the television. Great, now she's going to turn on the water works. What the fuck did I do to deserve this?

Pam's voice is wavering, like she's trying to keep it together. "You've been saying that for months. This is important."

"Whatever, okay? I said I'd get to it." Roy crams his feet back in his work boots and stands. "I'm heading over to Poor Richard's to watch the second game."

Roy sees something indefinable snap in Pam's eyes.

"Great, running off to the bar again! You'll be home late and you'll be drunk and this'll get put off until tomorrow when you'll find a way to put it off again!"

This is it. This is his life. One constant, never-ending nag.

"Roy, what's going on? Do you even want to get married?"

He knows that it is one of those questions that you aren't supposed to answer, or one of those questions where the answer should be an automatic "yes". He knows what he is supposed to answer, but he can't.

He stops and stares at the girl in front of him and all he can see is all the things she isn't. He realizes that she's never going to drink with him at the bar, never going to cheer the Eagles, and never going to tell dirty jokes. She's never going to get him. And Roy suddenly knows that he deserves better.

"No." It comes out so low he's not sure he's actually said it aloud.

"What?" Pam's face just looks confused, so he tries again.

"No. I don't want to get married. I want to go to the bar and hang out with my friends and spend my money on stuff I like. I'm sorry, but I'm sick of being pushed into this. I don't want to get married!" He feels like a weight is lifting off of him with every word. He's smiling when he looks over at her.

Pam, however, looks broken, curled in on herself at the corner of the couch. She is sobbing.

Shit, What the hell did I just do?

"So that's it? Ten years and that's it? You're done with me?" Her voice is deafening.

"God, Pam, I'm sorry. I really am. Don't cry. Look I'm gonna go… I've got to meet the guys. Shit. I've got to think this out. We'll talk later, I guess, when you've calmed down." He closes the door behind him before she can respond.

As Roy drives, he knows he should feel guilty about leaving so quickly instead of hashing things out…and, of course, about breaking off the engagement and hurting Pam. But then Poor Richard's comes into view and all he feels is a strange sense of relief.

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A/N: Thanks for reading. I'd love to know what you think - please review!