Fandom: The Office
Summary: He stays around because one day, he hopes she'll be brave enough to say yes.
Title borrowed from Ingrid Michaelson's You and I.
What's your biggest fear?
She closes her eyes and remembers a time when she wasn't afraid. She's Kelly, she's beautiful even though she can be a complete bitch at times. She never worried that she wouldn't get married. But then Ryan walked into Dunder Mifflin and knocked her off her feet.
He made her care about something. Doesn't that count?
If Ryan gets laid off, I will kill myself.
Maybe she was being a tad over-dramatic. But that's only because he means everything to her and he cannot leave her behind in Scranton.
She never told anyone, but it's on her bucket list to leave this town in a convertible with the wind in her hair. Kelly doesn't plan to ever look back.
She later amended it to leaving with Ryan by her side. Possibly with Just Married on the back of the car and her in a white dress.
She always did look good in white.
"What if we get married?" she asks him one night with her head laying on his chest.
He mutes the TV.
"What if we do?"
"Don't you think it's time?"
He shakes his head. "Don't you think we're not ready?"
She wants to tell him no, that they are ready, they've been ready for years and they're both too damn afraid of different things for anything to ever happen.
Instead, she just settles back into him and falls asleep.
He leaves her on the couch, too afraid to move her.
She wakes up and leaves his house before he has the chance to talk to her again.
He storms up to her desk on Monday.
"Kelly, you can't just leave people like that and then ignore them!"
The office cringes, because their relationship drama is just too much to take.
"I don't have time for this. Just," she shoos him off. "Go away".
She's shocked and angry. Her already flustered face gets even worse.
"I told you to go away".
He leaves her desk, and everyone is staring at them.
"In the words of Michael Scott, when did this office become involved in people's personal lives?"
Everyone quickly looks away except for Jim.
Ryan really can't stand that Jim knows exactly what is going on, when Ryan really is at a lost for what just happened.
Andy comes out of his office.
"Ryan, can I see you for a second?"
Ryan grumbles, but goes into Andy's office anyway.
"Well-eh-ell. What's going on, man?"
"Look, Andy, can we just get down to the heart of it?"
"The heart of who, exactly?"
Ryan mentally slaps himself for giving Andy that wordplay.
"If this is about me and Kelly, it's none of your business".
"It is my business if it affects how you do your job!"
"Just drop it Andy! I know how to separate my personal and professional life".
"Yes, because dating your- you know what, I have no room to talk. Just stay focused, ok?"
He sends her a text later that afternoon.
I meant what I said earlier. Every single word.
He sees Kelly read it, and then drop her phone back into her bag.
Ryan sends her another one.
Please marry me.
She ignores it.
Later, when she does read it, she deletes it.
It's a new kind of fear, because as much as she wants it, she's afraid of what might happen if she says yes.
She hears it from Phyllis of all people. Erin won't look her in the eyes.
"Kelly, did you hear that Robert offered Ryan a job at headquarters?"
She wants to smash something, anything. It's his dream come true and she'll be left to face her fears all over again. Only this time, she'll be alone.
He strolls in later whistling some happy tune for his new happy job, and as much as she loves him, Kelly absolutely detests him in that moment.
Gabe walks up to him. Ryan's eyes flash and Kelly knows it's because he can't stand Gabe (and only she knows, because really, it's hard to despise baby-faced Gabe).
"Hey, man, I heard about your promotion. Congrats!"
Gabe goes to high five him, but Ryan places a hand on his chest.
"Actually, Gabe, I don't think I'll be taking it," he says, his eyes darting over to Kelly's desk.
Her heart stops beating and her breath catches in her throat.
But she still can't find it in her to say yes.
Gabe looks surprised. "But I thought that's what you've always wanted?"
"Well, things change, I guess," and Kelly knows he's looking straight at her as he says this.
She hisses at him.
"Why are you staying here?"
Ryan just smiles. "A friend of mine is in this problem. He asked his girlfriend to marry him, but before she could say yes, he was offered a better job far away. But he stays around because one day, he hopes she'll be brave enough to say yes".
He looks hurt during as he says this, and Kelly wants to stay mad but she can't.
What happens if she says yes?
He smiles because he's that much closer to a yes.
He replies with:
That's for you to decide.
She furrows her brow as she reads it.
Meet my at my place tonight?
Ryan wastes no time with this plan.
Jim smiles as Kelly nods across the office at Ryan.
He opens the door to a crying Kelly.
"I've been thinking, Kelly, and..."
"Shut up for a second, will you?"
She pulls him close to her and kisses him.
Ryan can taste her need, sadness, and hope.
He pulls back.
"Yes. Yes. I was such an idiot and I don't want to rush into anything but yes. I will marry you, Ryan".
"I don't think we're rushing into anything anymore. In fact, we might be rushing to catch up at this point".
He slips the ring he bought for her this afternoon onto her finger. It's large and shiny, and even though it's cliché, it's completely Kelly.
They drive out of town in a blue convertible with the "Just Married" banner stretched across the rear bumper.
Cross that off her bucket list.
A/N: And thus concludes my first "Office" story. Now go tell me this was rubbish. Or, alternately, that you loved it. Either works.