This is another Kelly and Ryan fic. I can't get enough of these two and to my lovely surprise the most recent episode of the office came through for me. I however, wrote this fic over the last week on my daily commute on the tube to med school – it's the only thing I look forward to when I get on the overcrowded train and have to stand on one foot because there is no space for two feet. LOL!! (yup I'm a Londoner that loves the US office more than the UK version – shush don't tell my friends). So it's totally not in context with the current plot but I just wanted it to be put up. Hope you guys review it. That's really what spurs me on to write. Enjoy xXx

Reading between the lines

Kelly knew that there was something wrong as soon as Ryan walked into the office. He looked paler than usual and was shivering as he sat down behind his desk and placed his headset on his head. She needed to know what was wrong. The concern washed over her immediately but it wasn't as if she could just walk over there and ask if he was okay. She wasn't his girlfriend anymore. No, she would have to be more subtle, she told herself.

Formulating a plan in the back of her mind, she made her way over to him and took a deep breath. "Ew, Ryan! You're all gross and sweaty. What's wrong with you? Or did you just forget to shower again?"

"Thanks Kelly. Nice to know you're concerned (!)" he replied, making Kelly panic slightly before she realised that he was being sarcastic. "I've actually got the flu."

"So why didn't you stay at home? It would totally suck if you gave it to me. I don't want to be all yucky. I can't afford to. I have a boyfriend you know." As if on cue, Darryl walked through the doors with a brown, paper, parcel. Not waiting for a reply from Ryan and to reiterate the point, Kelly bounced up to her current lover and gave him a passionate kiss. There was something in Ryan's look that she couldn't quite read as she broke away. She hoped that it was jealousy, but Ryan being jealous was unlikely, she told herself.

"Kelly…" Darryl grumbled, pushing her away. "What did I tell you about displays of affection in the workplace?"

Huh? The rudeness! And in front of Ryan of all people. She needed to salvage the situation and fast. Wrapping her arms around Darryl's large waist, she hugged him. "Aww! BABY! You know you love it!" She kissed him on the cheek and broke away before he could reprimand her again. "Okay, I'm off to do some work. Bye Baby!" She walked away hoping that she had put on a half decent performance. If anyone could read her, it was Ryan.

From the annex, where she worked, Kelly could not see Ryan. But that didn't mean that she could just forget about him. Every thirty minutes or so, she would make up an excuse to walk past, whether it was to go to the bathroom, get a cup of coffee, or relay a message to Jim. She just needed to know that he was okay. But as the day went on, Ryan was looking worse. But what could she do? How could she tell someone without looking overly concerned for him? As far as anyone knew, she was over him. And she was, totally!

But as Ryan got up to hand a message to Michael he swayed before collapsing onto the office floor with a thud. Kelly's heart jumped into her throat as she took a sharp intake of breath, before charging in Ryan's direction. Thankfully, Jim had arrived by Ryan's side sooner than she had and had already checked his airways and breathing. Hauling Ryan onto his back, he proceeded to lay him flat on the chairs in the office in the waiting area. Kelly didn't know what to do. Her face had greyed in worry and she gripped onto Jim's arm shaking.

"Is he going to be okay?" she asked in a small voice.

"Yeah, he's got a fever. Nothing some Tylenol won't fix. Would you go get the medical kit from the kitchen?" Jim knelt down next to a mumbling Ryan. Kelly wasn't sure whether to be grateful that he was awake or worried that he appeared to have lost the ability to string a sentence together. Even so, she did as Jim had instructed.

The commotion had brought every office worker to the area and they all made a small crowd around Ryan. "Wow, the boy genius is down! Stand back everyone, I have seen this on Scrubs." Michael pushed his way to the front of the group.

"NO!" came a chorus of voices behind him.

"Michael, he'll be fine. Just give him a couple of hours and he will be as right as rain." Jim gently shoved his boss further away.

Annoyed that they go out of their chairs for a fever, everyone else went back to work. Only Jim, Michael and Kelly stayed. In a period of silence between the trio, Ryan's strained voice was heard. "Kelly…"

Kelly froze on hearing her name. She was unsure of what to do. The guy was calling out to her. She looked over at Jim for guidance but he just shrugged. She decided to stay rooted on the spot. It wasn't her job to look after him anymore. But another look at his helpless body and she was beside him in a flash, wiping his brow.

"What's going on here?" boomed a voice behind her that Kelly was all to familiar with. Darryl.

It was time for damage control. "Oh, hi Darryl. Ryan was so stupid today. He like came into work today even though he was all icky. And then he has the nerve to just faint like an idiot right across the floor and Jim and I had to sort him out. Because we couldn't just leave him there. He kept getting in the way and HR won't allow bodies on the floor or something…" Kelly knew that she was spewing a bunch of bull, but hoped that her long-winded explanation would void any suspicions that Darryl might have.

Not that Darryl was the jealous type.

Kelly's explanation seemed to sit with Darryl and he questioned it no more until Ryan opened his mouth and changed everything.

"Kelly…I love you, Kel…" Ryan's croaky voice was followed by pin-drop silence.

Of all the things in the world that Ryan could say to her, Kelly was not expecting that. She had imagined Ryan saying 'I love you' to her in various different ways, but it was never with her current boyfriend in hearing distance, and Ryan himself being semi-conscious. Ryan sure knew how to pick his moments. She was torn between jumping around the room squealing, texting Pam and remaining completely calm, as if she hadn't heard a thing. She opted for the latter and but Darryl wouldn't let her.


Kelly could only try and attempt to salvage he relationship. But she wasn't sure that she even wanted to. "He's…Ryan…totally didn't mean that. He doesn't know what he's saying, and it's not like I care. I'm with you…"

"Kelly, I saw your face when he said it. We were just a bit of fun. Go ahead. I'll see you around." With that Darryl left.

Kelly was in a state of shock. What the hell had just happened? Darryl Philbin, the warehouse guy, had just dumped her. What was that all about? NOBODY DUMPED KELLY KAPOOR AND GETS AWAY WITH IT! She was fuming.

"Kelly! Kelly…I need you."

Oh my god! Ryan! He was too cute, she thought to herself. She leapt over and crouched next to him again. She could hear Jim and Michael in deep conversation.

"I think we show take him home. He's not well enough to work."

"Not possible. We need Ryan to man the phones. Look, I know you think that Ryan is a threat to Pam's old job but let's be honest. We need a pretty face. Pam's cute and all, but she can't compete with Ryan in the looks department. We'll find something else for Pam to do. Maybe a copy-girl?" Kelly giggled at Jim's face in response to Michael's words.

Jim picked his words carefully. "No…no that's not it. He needs to go home. He can't answer calls if he cant even sit up straight."

"No…I suppose not." As an afterthought Michael added, "Has he tried answering calls since he collapsed?"

Jim's stern look hushed him.

"Okay then. Jimmy-boy, you take him home. Kelly, it's okay, Jim is going to take Ryan home. You can go back to work now."

Kelly groped through her brain for an excuse, any excuse for her to stay beside Ryan. She couldn't leave him now. He loved her! But she failed to think of anything feasible.

Jim, however, came through for her. "Actually Michael, I think Kelly should come with me. After all, I have a client to see in an hour and Ryan's going to need someone with him in case he wakes up and needs anything."

As Kelly mouthed a thank you, Michael mulled the situation over. "Okay Kelly, I'm afraid you are going to have to accompany your ex-boyfriend. Sorry about this, but we can't afford anything happening to Ryan." Michael left, sauntering off, back to his office, leaving Jim and Kelly to drag Ryan into the back seat of Jim's car.

What should she do? Kelly wondered on their way to Ryan's apartment. She needed to talk to Pam. Why did she have to go away on that art course?

"Jim?" she asked from the passenger's seat. "Do you think that Ryan meant it?"

"Huh? What are you talking about Kel?"

"When he said the 'I love you' thing? Do you think he meant it? You know him. What do you think. Be honest, I can take it," she said knowing that if Jim said in his opinion Ryan was lying, she wouldn't be able to take it.

"Kelly, I'm not really the right person to ask," the driver said honestly.

"Jiiiiiiiimmmmmm," Kelly whined, hoping that Jim would get the message. She needed advice. He was the only one she could turn to.

"Kelly, you are going to have to ask him yourself, when he comes round."

"OH MY GOD JIM! How can I do that!?" Kelly's sudden outburst nearly caused Jim to swerve the car. "That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. I can't just go 'Hey Ryan, by the way did you like say you loved me when you were sick?' Jim that would be soooo embarrassing! You are soooo clueless! No wonder it took you ages for you and Pam to get together."

Jim chose to ignore his chatty colleague for the rest of the journey to Ryan's.

A couple of hours later and Ryan was regaining consciousness. Kelly was in his bed next to him, munching on a bag of chips and watching her copy of Love Actually that Ryan had never returned. She was surprised to find it stacked with all of his other DVD's. Kelly had to smile when she noticed that a number of her possessions were amongst his. The odd bit of jewellery, a couple of magazines and a hair slide, made her think that he still cared. Why had she never noticed that he hadn't returned any of those things?

Kelly didn't contemplate Ryan just moving last minute to New York and leaving his Scranton apartment exactly the same. She wanted to imagine that he took her things to remind him of her. She knew it was stupid be she couldn't help it.

Jim had left as soon as Ryan was lugged onto his bed. Ryan had fallen asleep as soon as his head had hit the pillow. Kelly had spent the next two hours tidying the small place and cooking a chicken broth so that he would have something to eat later. Just in case, he invited her to stay for dinner, she cooked enough for two.

As Ryan began to stir, Kelly switched off the DVD. "Wakey wakey, sleepy-head. How are you feeling?"

Ryan squinted at the change of lighting. "Kelly? What are you doing here?" Kelly frowned. From the tone in his voice, Ryan sounded pissed off.

"Don't you remember? You were ill." She tried to explain the situation the best she could.

"The last thing I remember was being in the office. Why are you sitting in my bed eating MY CHIPS?" He snatched the bag away, rudely and gave her a look that said get-off-of-my-bed. Kelly scrambled off and straightened out her clothes.

"I stayed to look after you. Jim had to go to see client and I didn't know your mom's number," because you've never introduced her to me, she added to herself.

"Oh, well you can go now." Ryan said switched the TV on and Kelly felt her heart start to break all over again. How could he be so cruel? It was now obvious that he didn't mean what he had said, but as she turned to go, she just had to make sure. "Ryan, do you remember what you said to me back in the office?"

"Kelly, I had a fever. How the hell am I supposed to know?" She could tell he was getting irritated by her presence and this made her angry. He toyed with her feelings yet again and this time he didn't even know he was doing it. "And what did you do with all of my things, Kelly?"

"I thought that I would be nice and tidy the place up while you were asleep. So you wouldn't have to do it if you were still feeling bad. And I made you a chicken broth for dinner. I didn't want you to go hungry. I'm sorry. That was really stupid of me. I'm soooo sorry for caring Ryan!" Kelly was practically screaming at him but she didn't care. Picking up her bag she opened the apartment door wide, before slamming it behind her.

She refused to let the tears fall. She really wished she didn't love him. But she couldn't help it. Deep down, Kelly knew that she had never stopped loving Ryan and she doubted she ever would.

As she reached the stairs, Kelly's phone buzzed. Flipping it open, she read a text message from Ryan.

"Sorry Kel. Wanna come back and watch a movie? Your choice? Ryan x"

The first thing that Kelly noticed was the kiss at the end of the message. Ryan never put kisses at the end of a message. EVER! This time she didn't contain the squeal as she retraced her steps to the apartment. Whatever Ryan said now, she knew that he loved her.

She would just have to read between the lies until he accepted it. Yes, It was only a matter of time before Ryan Bailey Howard would be hers.

It was all about the lines.

WHOOHOO!! Another Relly fic done. I think my next one will be about Ryan and Kelly back together as a couple and how he cope or something.