fRated: T
Category: Drama/Comedy
Spoilers: Early Season Three
Description: Three times that Ryan says that he loves Kelly. Like, out of his mouth. Out loud. Season 3.
Notes: I'm a hopeless Relly shipper, but I still try to stay true to the cannon characters…and make up a couple characters of my own.
Disclaimer: I don't own it. I just heart it.
Feedback: The more the merrier.


Ryan was sick.

Really sick.

"…So I was thinking, we can always just watch a movie, since that is the only thing you can really do in this bed. But I had to think of something that you could watch with your eyes closed. So I thought, 'I know, an action movie' since, you know, there's a lot of shooting, and noise and screaming and whatnot, but the thing is you have to have your eyes open to watch the fights and the car chases or it's just not the same, you know? So then I thought, 'Of course, romantic comedy,' because romantic comedies are like all dialogue, so you can still get it even if your eyes are closed. But you hate romantic comedies, even though for the life of me I can't figure out why, but then I thought 'dong dong': About a Boy. 'Cause that's like a romantic comedy, but it has Hugh Grant in it, who is totally manly. And the movie has a boy, so duh, it's mostly about boys. Like Will, the main character, totally sleeps around and drinks beer and hates talking about his feelings, exactly like you, Ryan, except for the sleeping around part, because Ryan Bailey Howard, you better not be sleeping around on me," and she busted into giggles.

"Hey, Kelly?" Ryan asks suddenly. He totally appreciated everything Kelly was doing for him, but seriously, he needed a break. "Can you go get my Managerial Economics book out of my trunk?" Since he had started on his MBA thesis, his trunk had turned into a dump. Between books, extra ties, gym stuff, Michael's dry cleaning, and just miscellaneous everything, he knew it would probably take her at least twenty minutes to find it. He wasn't even totally sure if it was in there.

"Ryan, you need to be resting, not studying," she scolded him mildly.

"Yeah, but if I'm feeling better later I might catch up on my reading some." He coughed loudly.

"OK, baby," she said. She grabbed his keys off of the nightstand and left the room.


Kelly opened the front door to find a woman standing there. She was wearing a denim jacket over a grey hoodie. She had on yoga pants and was carrying a water bottle, like she'd just left the gym. She was cute enough, but too old for Ryan, so no skank ho alert here. "Can I help you?" Kelly asked.

"I'm Ryan's mother," the woman said. "You must be Kelly."

"So Ryan does talk about me," Kelly squealed and hugged the woman enthusiastically.

"Just barely," Ryan's mom muttered, patting Kelly's back.

"I am so excited to meet you," Kelly continued. "I have wanted to meet you for so long but the timing was never right, I guess."

"I'm glad to finally be meeting you too," she replied, smiling. "My name's Sharon." They stood there a few more seconds. "So, where's Ryan?" Sharon asked.

"He's sick. Like super sick," Kelly replied.

"What?" Sharon gasped. She took it upon herself to come in. Kelly shut the door behind her. "He hasn't been returning my phone calls. I knew something was wrong. I can't believe this." She dropped her purse on the couch. "Well, where is he? Is he here?"

"Yeah, in his bedroom; I'll tell him you want to see him," Kelly offered.

"That won't be necessary," Sharon said, making her way back. "Ryan," she called as she came in.

"Mom?" Ryan said, lifting his head. He had been face down in his pillow for probably hours. The light came flooding in and he shaded his eyes with his hand. It was just about all the exertion he could muster. "What are you doing here?"

"I kept calling to ask you if you wanted a subscription to this new business magazine that Heath's mom told me about, but your phone kept going straight to voicemail. Kelly tells me that you're sick." She sat on the edge of bed and rubbed the side of Ryan's cheek. "How do you feel, sweetie?"

Ryan collapsed back into his pillow. "Like sh—" he caught himself. "Like crap," he said. "I'm pretty sure I have the flu."

"I knew I should have come sooner," she said sitting on the edge of the bed and rubbing his back. "But I'm always trying to respect your independence."

"Mmm fhuh," Ryan muttered.

They sat there in silence a moment.

"If you don't mind my asking," Kelly said to Sharon, "How old are you?" Ryan glanced up with one eye to see his mother's face. She was (predictably) confused.

"Why?" she asked.

"She's 48," Ryan answered. He already knew where Kelly was going with this.

"Ryan!" Sharon snapped.

"Oh my God," Kelly squealed, "You look sooo awesome for your age. Literally, like you look amazing for your age. I would have thought you were like, tops, 35. Except then you couldn't have had a son that was 26. 'Cause that's just not possible. Wait, maybe…oh, no, nine years…nope that isn't possible."

"Thank you…Kelly," Sharon said, politely.

"Mom, bucket," Ryan said, suddenly sitting up.


"Give him his bucket," Kelly said, motioning towards the floor, "He's about to hurl."

Sharon grabbed the bucket next to her feet and got it to Ryan in time…just barely.

"Why is he throwing up clear stuff?" she asked.

"That's Gatorade," Kelly answered.


"Yes, lots and lots of Gatorade. It's all he'll take. Gatorade has lots of teeny, tiney electrolytes in it—good stuff."

"And, um, Kelly, what's with this bucket?" Sharon said, holding it at a distance from her body.

"What do you mean?"

"It's not clean."

"That's because he just barfed in it."

"Yeah, but it wasn't clean before then either."

"I dump it out in the toilet every time he throws up."

"You just dump it out?" she said, forehead scrunched up. "You don't clean it?"

"Yes, I clean it too," she replied defensively.

"When? When's the last time you've washed it out?"

"Earlier today."

"Earlier. Today," she repeated. She took a hard breath. "Sweetie, do you realize that this thing is crawling with bacteria? You have to wash it constantly."

"He barfs constantly," Kelly explained. "If I washed it out every time, that's all I would do."

"Kelly, just…," she stopped. "Ryan, I'm going to wash this thing out, OK. I'll be back." She kissed him on the back of his head. When she'd left, Kelly took her place on the bed.

"Ryan," she says in a loud whisper. He can hear the beginning of a rant in her voice. He's not sure his head can take it. "Your mom's a witch."

"No she is not, she's a beautiful person," he mumbled, half asleep, "She's just worried about me, that's all."

"I'm worried about you too, Ryan. But she's trying to make me out to be some bad caretaker, like I'm Nurse Ratchet or something. I've sat by your bedside for the third day in a row and you would think that she would thank me for that or something, but all she has are complaints and criticism. God, I swear, what can I do to please that woman?"

"You just met her, Kelly." And his throat was really hurting. This was not the flu.

"Yeah, well so far, so bad. She has got to go."

"Kelly, I can't tell my Mom to go."

"Fine then, I'm going," she said and stood up.

"No, Kelly," Ryan said and grabbed her arm. The gesture calmed her down. "I want you to take care of me," he said. If Kelly left, then his mom would to take him to the emergency room, which he did not want. Kelly sat back on the bed and placed Ryan's head on her lap.

"OK, baby," she said, "If you don't want me to leave…then I won't. But you have got to talk to your Mom, OK?"

"Nooo," he whined, snuggling into her lap. He tried to smell the perfume that he was sure she is wearing, but his nose was decidedly out of commission. "Can't you just, you know, try to get along with her….for my sake?" God, being sick made him pathetic.

"OK Ryan," she said, and rubbed his hair. "I'll try."

Just then Sharon returned and Ryan suddenly got off Kelly's lap and buried his head back into his pillows. Lying like that in front of his mom would have just been…weird.

"There," Sharon said, laying the bucket back on the floor beside the bed. "All clean."

Kelly visibly bit her tongue.

"So no work today, Kelly?" Sharon asked. And she sounded a little cheerful.

"No, I took the day off," she said. "I took a personal day."

"Wow," Sharon said, "that was very nice of you."

"Thank you," Kelly said, and smiled at Ryan, but his face was still buried. "I couldn't leave him here alone. I know how hard it is when you're sick."

Sharon smiled. Kelly smiled. This was…nice.

Sharon was still standing, and was eyeing her former position on the bed. Kelly wasn't going to move, and she could tell that Sharon was trying not to say anything. She sat in the chair on the other side of Ryan's bed.

"So, you from the area?" Sharon asked.

"Yep," Kelly said. "Well actually from Fleetville. That's where my parents still live. In my house. Well, their house. The house I grew up in. With my sisters. Three sisters. Well, three sisters that are living."

Sharon nodded. Kelly nodded.

"So you married?" Kelly asked. Ryan winced under the covers. His parents were separated. For now.

"Yes," Sharon answered.

More silence.

"I'd like to get married some day," Kelly said.

"When's the last time you've eaten, Ryan?" Sharon suddenly asked. Kelly tensed up.

He thought for a minute. "Ask Kelly," he groaned.

"Yesterday," Kelly offered. "He ate a pack of crackers yesterday night."

"A pack of crackers?"

"Yep. Captain Wafers."

Sharon bit her bottom lip and nodded. "It's 11:00. With all due respect, sweetie, you haven't given him anything since then?"

"He can't keep anything down but liquids, and barely that."

"There's soup," she sang, still faking cheerfulness.

"I tried…he won't eat it."

"Of course he—," she paused. "Of course he won't eat it, Kelly – he's sick."

"I…know," Kelly said.

"So you have to make him eat it."

"I would, except that everything he eats he throws up."

"Kelly, you can't have an empty stomach when you're sick," Sharon explained with a tone of frustration. "Your body doesn't have anything to fight with. You have to keep putting something on your stomach to throw up."

"Ok, that didn't make any sense."

"Ryan?" Sharon said finally.


"I'm going to make you some soup, OK?"

"Mom, I'm not hungry."

"Watch this Kelly," she whispered. She turned to Ryan. "I know you're not hungry, but you have to eat something, OK?"

"Sure," Ryan said, retreating further into his pillows. Just then, he sat up.

"Kelly, buck—" was all he said. She grabbed the bucket and held it to him.

He hurriedly propped himself on all fours and stared vomiting furiously. Every drop of anything he had ever eaten in his entire life came up in waves. When that was over, he started dry heaving and gagging. It was a nightmare to watch. When he was done, he stayed that way, on all fours, panting with his eyes closed. Kelly was rubbing his back. It was the first time Sharon had seen him completely up from under the covers. Her mouth dropped.

"Oh my God, Ryan," she said. "You have got to go to the emergency room."

"No, Mom," Ryan said, sitting up on the bed. His back was to her and his voice was shaky. "I'm fine really, just really tired. I just need more liquids and some vitamin C, or something." He clutched his head. "Just give me a few minutes to get myself together."

"Ryan," she said, running to the other side of the bed, "You are dehydrated. You're sweating. You're vomiting." She touched his head, "You have a fever."

"No he doesn't," Kelly chimed in, "I took his temperature this morning."

"And what was it?"

"Ninety-eight point seven."

"I'm taking his temperature again – he has a fever."

"Suit yourself," Kelly said, "The thermometer is in his nightstand."

"OK," Sharon said, opening the drawer. Ryan closed his eyes, cringing.

"All I see are condoms," she said.

"Kelly," Ryan whimpered.

"What, Ryan?" she snapped back, "You're an adult."

"You could have gotten it yourself," he said. No wonder the US needed healthcare reform. He didn't know which was worse, the illness or the help.

"There it is," Kelly said, and took a thermometer off the dresser. His mother snatched it from her. "You're welcome," Kelly muttered.

"Open your mouth and lift your tongue," Sharon said, pulling the cap off. Kelly erupted into laughter. "What's so funny?" Sharon barked. Kelly laughed even harder.

"It's a rectal thermometer," she finally said and tears where literally running down her face. Even Ryan laughed. On the inside.

"I'm glad you think this is funny," his Mom said, and threw it in the bucket. "Don't you have the other kind?"

"I still think it's in the nightstand," she said, still giggling. Sharon rummaged through the condoms until she found it.

"Now open up," she said, growing more impatient with each syllable. She shoved the instrument into Ryan's mouth. Ten seconds later she yanked it out. "Told you," she said, shoving it in Kelly's face. It read 100.1. "He has a low-grade fever."

"He didn't this morning," Kelly maintained.

"Yeah, well he does now and he's getting worse," Sharon said and started pulling Ryan's T-shirt off. He was too weak to resist.

"What are you doing?" Kelly asked.

"He's going to the hospital," she said flatly.

"He doesn't want to," Kelly shouted and started pulling his shirt back down.

"And you keep talking about what he wants and not what's best for him," Sharon said, pushing Kelly away.

"And you keep overreacting and treating me like I'm the enemy," she said, pushing Sharon back.

"Look, young lady," Sharon started, "I don't know who you think you are, but I am Ryan's mother—"

"Well I am Ryan's girlfriend," she screamed. "And I've been here since Saturday caring for him."

"I would have been here if you hadn't tried to keep me away from him."

"I just met you today," Kelly snapped back.

"Well, thank you for your services, but your work here is done."

"I am here because Ryan wants me here," Kelly shouted, "And I am not leaving."

"Ladies," Ryan shouted. Both women stopped. He was breathing hard. "God, I am right here. I am a grown man and I can decide for myself what I want." He pulled his shirt back down and fell to the bed. "I am not going to the hospital."

Kelly smiled a smug grin.

"I can't believe you're taking her side," Sharon whispered.

"I'm not," Ryan groaned.

"I don't care what you say, Ryan, you are going to the hospital. I am calling your father to meet me there in twenty minutes." She left the room, presumably going for her purse.

"And Dad's gonna leave work?" Ryan said.

"I've done all I can do," Kelly said, and grabbed her purse too. "I'm leaving. I won't be disrespected another minute. I just won't."

"Kelly," Ryan pleaded. "Do not leave."

"Well what do you want me to do, Ryan?" she asked, frustrated. "Just roll over and die?" She always exaggerated.

"Kelly—" He sat up on the bed, and, man, he was dizzy. Kelly sat down beside him. "All I just need is, like, a few more hours of just... sleep, and I'm never going to get with you too going after each other."

"Ryan, it is sooo not me," Kelly protested, "Did you even hear her—"

"Kelly I just need you to do this one thing for me, OK? Please, go tell her that I need just one more day and that I promise I'll be better by tomorrow." Kelly was unenthused. "Please, Kelly. Think of something." A statement he had never, ever uttered before.

"Why don't you just go the hospital?" Kelly finally asked. "Maybe you should."'

"I can't," he said, "I'm still within 90 days at Dunder-Mifflin and my insurance hasn't kicked in yet. I don't have the money for a big hospital bill." Kelly sunk.

"Oh, baby," she cooed and cradled his head. "Why don't you just tell her that?"

"I don't want to. She overreacts and goes crazy. She thinks I'm better off financially than I really am. She told me not to work for a temp agency with no benefits. And I definitely don't want my parents paying for it." He fell back on the bed. "Just, tell her I'll be better tomorrow Kelly. Please?"

Kelly kissed Ryan on the forehead and walked out. Sharon was in the living room, leaving a message.

"…So, I'm taking Ryan to Mercy. Call me back when you get this message. We'll probably already be there when you get this." She put her phone in her purse. "Can I help you Kelly?"

"Ryan asked me to tell you—"

"That's quite alright," she interrupted. "He can tell me anything he wants me to know."

"Listen," Kelly demanded. "He doesn't have any health insurance."

Sharon looked confused. "Is that what this is about?" She sighed hard. "I told him about working for that temp agency."

"Wait—" Kelly demanded—she was whispering now. "He told me not to tell you. He's embarrassed. He loves you a lot and he wants you to be proud of him. But the truth is...he just doesn't have the money for a hospital visit right now."

"What about Dunder-Mifflin – they don't give their employees health insurance?"

"He's still within the 90 days," Kelly explained.

"I cannot believe this." Sharon looked down the hall and then back at Kelly. "Then we'll just have to pay out of pocket. I'm not taking no for answer."

"Shhh," Kelly said.

"Does he have the money for a funeral?" Sharon yelled down the hall, visibly fuming. "Kelly, you have to know that is unreasonable."

"I hate to be the one to tell you but your son can be very unreasonable sometimes. I have to nag him all the time about the silliest little things and he doesn't listen to me at all. I mean he's a really smart guy, but honestly. Like the other day…"

"Kelly," Sharon interrupted.

"The point is...I made him promise me that he would go to the hospital tomorrow if he was not better by then."

Sharon eyes brightened. "You did? Because I thought you were really just into some kind of twisted power struggle."

"I mean, I totally want my little Ryan love bunch to get better just as much as you do." She touched Sharon's arm. "Look, I'm just going to pump him with vitamin C, green tea, Gatorade, Isabgol (that's what my mom gave me when I was little), Tylenol,—"

"Kelly, you have got to get some food in him."

"I know, I know. Chicken soup. I will," she said.

"I guess he also said he didn't want me around," Sharon conjectured. Kelly looked at her sadly.

"Yeah, he did," she lied.

"Fine," Sharon said after a beat. "I'll leave. But when I come back tomorrow his fever better be gone and that vomiting better be under control or his butt is going to the emergency room."

"I totally agree," Kelly said nodding. "I couldn't agree more. Like not one bit."

Sharon just shook her head. She walked towards the door. "You take care of him, Kelly, OK?" she said.

"Absolutely," Kelly said, growing giddier the closer they got to goodbye.

Sharon walked out and shut the door behind her.

"Thank God she's gone," Kelly said. She would be the worst in-law of all time, Kelly thought to herself, even worse than Joe Simpson. She walked back towards the room.

"What'd you'd say?" Ryan asked from under the covers.

"I told her that I made you promise me that if you hadn't improved by tomorrow then you would go to the hospital."

"And what did she say?"

"She said she was leaving, but that I better take care of you or your butt was going to the hospital tomorrow."

"Fair enough," he said. He emerged from beneath the covers. "And you didn't mention the insurance stuff, did you?"

"Nope," Kelly chirped, shaking her head. Ryan put on a sleepy smile. He patted the bed next to him. Kelly sat down and he placed his head on her lap again. Relief washed over his body. "God I love you Kelly Kapoor," he said.

Then he froze. He couldn't see her face, but he hoped she wasn't going to go crazy and start squealing and calling all her friends (or God forbid the office) and telling everybody that they were getting married.

"I love you too, Ryan Howard. With all my heart," she said simply and kissed him on the forehead. And that was pretty terrifying too, but nothing he didn't already know. And well, she had been really, really good to him. Seriously, who else would do all this? He couldn't deny her that. He didn't even want to.

"I'm going to make you sick," he said, turning to look up at her.

"No you won't," she said "I've been taking Airborne every day. And washing my hands."

"Nice," he said, and snuggled in even more.

"So, where were we before that interruption?" Kelly asked. Getting my Managerial Economics book, Ryan thought to himself. But she was definitely off the hook. "That's right, About a Boy," she started.

"Yeah, Kelly, tell me all about it," Ryan said. Closing his eyes, he listened as he quietly drifted off to sleep.