Title: One Way Or Another
Spoilers: Through Goodbye, Toby.
A/N: Title is blatantly stolen from Blondie. Started with a little snippet I wrote the first time I stumbled across that ten songs on shuffle meme. I sent said snippet to falulatonks who told me to build on what I had. Then she betaed it all very nicely before she abandoned me to go on a trip. I miss her. Any remaining mistakes are my own.
Kelly sits in her car outside his old apartment complex sometimes. She sees his roommate come out and ducks down in her car, hoping that he won't see her. She always hopes that maybe one time Ryan will be there visiting or something.
It doesn't happen though, because Ryan doesn't care about anything in Scranton. Especially not her.
She almost drives to New York one time, but she realizes she has no idea where he lives. She still imagines serendipitous meetings though and him magically seeing the light because destiny brought them together at 89th and Broadway.
New York City isn't as great as Ryan tells people it is. Not even close, actually. He doesn't know anybody and he doesn't know what he's doing and he doesn't know how exactly he ended up addicted to crack working his ass off to help what he knows is really a failing company.
Sometimes he wishes he would have been one of those guys who changed his major three times so he could stay a frat boy for as long as possible. It would have been incredibly pathetic and put him in years worth of debt. But it had to be better than this.
(He knows he's reached the bottom when his misses Scranton.)
One time, he calls. Darryl's in the other room, but she still answers (he won't be happy about that). Ryan sounds really messed up. She's about to offer to come there, to take care of him, to make her sure he's alright and makes it home without killing himself.
Then Darryl walks in and she says, "Ryan, you had your chance," and hangs up.
Then her and Darryl make out. She wishes he were shorter.
She calls Ryan back the next day to make sure he's okay. He doesn't answer. She tries not to freak out. It's a predictably unsuccessful attempt.
He comes into the branch that afternoon though. He avoids her eyes and treats her with just as much contempt as usual. She returns the favor.
Ryan knows there was no good reason for that trip to Scranton the day after he called Kelly.
When Ryan gets arrested Kelly tells the cameras and everyone else that Ryan's just getting what he deserves.
She kind of cries in one of the bathroom stalls though and thinks about that phone call and wonders what might have happened if she would have come to take care of him.
He gets out before she can take her proposed trip to to see him in jail.
The whole thing makes him jobless and homeless, so he moves back to Scranton (and in with his parents) and never thinks about calling Kelly l
ess than twice a day.
They don't run into each other on 89th and Broadway; they run into each other in front of a parking garage at Adams and Spruce.
It's not so romantic.
Kelly says his name and he says hello.
She says, "You shaved your beard."
He grimaces. "Yeah. My lawyer told me that it would look better in court."
At first Kelly isn't sure what to say to that. Then she thinks of the dozens of lawyer shows she's (attempted) to watch in her life time and bombards him with a million questions about whether or not it was exciting, and what he wore, and he did he cry, and did the judge bang his or her gavel (and for that matter was it a girl judge like Judge Judy or like a guy judge like it usually is on TV?).
Then he laughs. "No, it wasn't anything like that."
She smiles (he's laughed!), "Awww, Ryan if you're gonna go to jail and get arrested you have to have awesome stories."
He smiles again, but then stops abruptly, like he's realized what he's doing. There's an awkward silence between them and for once Kelly doesn't say anything. He rocks on his heels for a while.
"So, you and Darryl, huh?"
"Oh please, Ryan. Like you care." They are both surprised by that. He doesn't try to deny or affirm what she says, but just stands there looking blankly back at her. "He's better for me then you ever were."
That stings and he doesn't like it. He shouldn't care. He finally says, "Whatever. Good luck with life I guess," then starts to walk away.
He's gone about 30 feet when she finally shouts, "You, like, don't even have a car, do you?"
He sighs and shouts back. "No."
"I'll give you a ride home."
----It's very embarrassing being dropped off at your parents house if you're a twenty-something with an MBA. Especially if you are with your ex-girlfriend and you know your mom will have a lot of questions.
They sit in the car for a minute or two in silence. Quiet-Kelly kind of scares him, but he doesn't get out.
He finally asks, "Did you mean what you said before?" She looks confused, so he continues, "About Darryl." She shrugs. "Well I'm - " he sort of sighs a bit and she's still looking very perplexed. "I'm happy if you did."
He kisses her quick, opens the car door, and walks quickly to the house.
She calls him that night.
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