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Story Notes:
So I have long promised one of your faves and mine a fic set around the Fairview rest stop. And it seemed like since today was her birthday, this would be a great day to post it.

But, like Shoe-La-La, it’s not ready yet.

Fortunately, I’ve teased poor Maxine Abbott with maybe a dozen fics that I’ve never gotten around to writing, and I did manage to finally pin down one of them.

So, not what you were expecting, my friend, but hope you enjoy anyways. And have a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

NOTE: There are extensive references to the tv drama Grey’s Anatomy in the first half of this cold open. I’ve tried to write this so that you don’t need to know the show to know what’s going on, but the main point is: it’s a show about a hospital full of attractive doctors engaged in love triangles, including its main character Meredith Grey, who is more in a love rectangle at this moment in the spring of 2006, and it was incredibly popular at this time.

DISCLAIMER: “You guys, I'm like really smart now. You don't even know. You could ask me, 'Kelly, what's the standard disclaimer explaining you don’t own the intellectual property you’re writing fanfiction about?' And I'd be like, 'blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah,' giving you the exact right answer.”

We open on JIM, at the coffee maker in the KITCHEN. JIM looks strikingly calm and at peace, almost serene. We hear KELLY talking a mile a minute, somewhere out of the shot.

…which *is* really weird when you think about it. I mean, why is everyone obsessing over Alex Mack when Gabrielle Union is like, *right there*? I mean, you get it, right Jim? (without pausing to allow him to answer) I’m glad I didn’t go to a rom-com high school, can you imagine trying to get a boy to notice you with like, Julia Stiles flashing people all the time? But anyways, it turns out that it’s Meredith’s. Half. Sister! And George has to figure out how to tell her!

JIM pours two cups of coffee, adds cream to one and sugar to the other, then crosses to the kitchen table, where he hands one to a similarly content-looking PAM, who is sitting across from a very animated KELLY.

He really has to get over her, don’t you think? (With zero pause to let *either* of them answer) I mean, I know they’re good friends and everything, but it’s *so* obvious Meredith and Derek are Made For Each Other. (heart eyes) And I guess he and Addison are doing okay now, but he just keeps giving Meredith these *looks*, and you can totally tell he’s not over her, and they’re trying to be friends, like that could possibly work, because he’s obviously *so* jealous, and like, yeah, whatever, Derek, you’re trying to make it work with Addison, is Meredith supposed to, like, cry herself to sleep every night waiting for you to wake up? She’s not gonna make out with Chris O’Donnell?

JIM sits beside PAM, who lifts the coffee to her mouth and smells. She looks happy. She sips and smiles at JIM, who nods and smiles back. They turn their full attention back to KELLY.

Who looks so good right now! I mean, I hadn’t seen him in anything in forever, and then he shows up as McVet and I’m like, dayyyyymmm! I’d totally hook up with him. (desperately) Oh, please don’t tell Ryan that? (PAM vigorously shakes her head, JIM waves his hands… and they do not take the opening KELLY has left them to break in. KELLY reconsiders.) Wait, maybe you *should* tell Ryan that, because jealous Patrick Dempsey? So. Hot. I *wish* Ryan would look at me like that. (The lust in her eyes is deeply inappropriate for the workplace.) I wonder if Derek and Chris O’Donnell are going to end up fighting? Two guys fighting over you is like, my ultimate fantasy, and *Addison* got two guys fighting over *her*, so why shouldn’t Meredith?

JIM sips. PAM folds her hands together under her chin and continues to listen intently.

(disheartened) I guess stuff like that never really happens in real life. (And finds another gear!) I had this boyfriend in high school who’s a professional hockey player now, well, not a player, but he works for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Penguins anyways, in, like, marketing or something, but I bumped into him at Cooper’s a couple months ago and he totally hit on me. I keep trying to get Ryan to take me there so we’ll maybe run into him again, and maybe they’d get in a fight. (wistful) I mean, a girl can dream, right? (Back to reality:) But Ryan says Cooper’s is way overpriced. (Reality sucks, why stay there?:) Maybe he’ll take me for my birthday. I mean, my birthday’s not until February, but that would almost be our first anniversary, so he’d have to do something special for me.

Pam drinks her coffee again, and a thought occurs to her. She gently elbows Jim to get his attention and motions towards the fridge, questioning. He makes a vague gesture, which she seems to understand, and rises.

(sulking) I bet Derek would take Meredith somewhere nice for *her* birthday. At least if they were together. (reconsidering) But there would probably be like a mass shooting or the restaurant would collapse or someone would get cancer or something and they’d have to cancel at the last minute. (with growing excitement:) But then they’d end doing some cool brain surgery together and Derek would apologize and Meredith would be like (in a voice that sounds a lot more MEREDITH PALMER than MEREDITH GREY) “are you kidding? Best birthday ever!” like Christina did, you know? (giddy) There’s just something so romantic about life or death situations, like you can see what people are really made of… like when Meredith stuck her hand in that patient’s chest with the live ammo, and Christina’s telling Burke to run the other way so he doesn’t get blown up, and Derek is asking if Meredith is safe even though he’s still with Addison… (wondering) like, what would make Ryan make a romantic gesture here?

Under KELLY, PAM walks to the fridge and retrieves a yogurt and a Granny Smith apple. She returns to the table, handing the apple to JIM, who is nodding attentively, and retakes her seat. They each begin enjoying their snacks.

(sarcastically) What, we’re going to have a candlelight dinner over customer complaints? Or maybe he could rescue me from another fire? (sighs) Ugh, when he left his cheesy pita in the toaster, *Dwight* tried to rescue me. He has such a crush on me, and he’s really awkward about it. Because he’s Dwight. He’s so weird. (KELLY looks momentarily downcast, then brightens.) Oh my god, do you think *Dwight* would fight Ryan for me? (This thought is as depressing as it is exciting. She starts to whine.) How come Addison gets Eric Dane and Patrick Dempsey fighting over her, and I have *Dwight*? I’m totally as cute as Kate Walsh, aren’t I, Pam? (Leaving PAM no time to respond.) But she saves babies, so that must count for something. I just deal with angry customers.

The mention of customers seems to spark something in KELLY, who pauses to breathe and looks over her shoulder towards the ANNEX, as if the mention of work has reminded her what she’s supposed to be doing right now. PAM is alarmed.

JIM (scrambling):
But maybe the customers could be cute? Like Denny, but instead of heart problems, he has… paper delivery problems?

Weak. But it really doesn’t take much, does it?

(You poor nave soul:) You’re sweet, Jim, but there is no way customers could ever be as interesting as patients, and they’re never as cute. Last week I tried to convince Ryan that this one customer of Stanley’s was, like, a retired model, but Ryan just said…

PAM smiles at JIM gratefully. They both calmly sip their coffee again as KELLY continues her monologue.

We cut to a talking head in the BREAK ROOM.

PAM (sincere, not yet tipping us off as to whether she’s sincerely sincere):
I know we joke a lot, but Kelly is actually a lot of fun in the right amount! You just either need a hard out after a maximum of five minutes…

…which we have a standing agreement to provide for each other…

…or you need to not have anywhere you want to be for a while.

They pause.

Total coincidence: today is order consolidation day. (Can you believe that?)

PAM shrugs as if to say who knew?

Plus, now we’re all caught up on Grey’s Anatomy!

MerDer for-eva! Made. For. Each. Otha.

PAM makes an M, F, E and O with her fingers as she speaks.

JIM (shrugs):
I was always kinda Team George.

PAM (amused):

I mean, I’m glad he’s happy with Callie now…

PAM (getting excited):
Oh my god, you’re a total Seattle Grace junkie.

JIM (wait, my man card!):
This is all from Kelly’s episode recaps.

PAM (pleased as punch):
Can you repeat Bailey’s speech from the pilot from memory? You totally can, can’t you? Come on, you start, I’ll join in.

We run through the episode as usual, before finishing the plot and cutting to…

…PAM, at a table in the BREAK ROOM, her 4:00pm candy in hand while KELLY waves around a bottle of water that she has yet to open.

…and Pam, this girl is dressed like a total. Slut. And not like, in a cute way, in a trashy way, like you just know she’s not wearing underwear, you can tell just by looking at her, well, not by ‘looking at her’ looking at her, although I totally didn’t see any panty lines, but that doesn’t mean anything, but whatever, like, she wasn’t, and she wanted you to know it. So she’s like (simpering falsetto) “hey” and Ryan’s like (deep cartoon dumb guy voice that does not sound like RYAN even in the slightest) “hey” and she’s like (falsetto) “it’s been a long time” and Ryan’s like (Ryan voice) “too long” and she’s like (falsetto) “you look good” and she’s totally checking him out…

This time, PAM looks more like you'd expect for someone caught in a non-conversation with KELLY. Her desperation is restrained for the moment, but she’s clearly running out of patience.

…and he’s like (RYAN voice) “yeah, you too,” and he’s, like, eye-banging her! Right in front of me! And it’s sooooooo obvious they’ve, like, hooked up, or went out, or whatever, and I’m waiting for Ryan to introduce me, and he just doesn’t, I mean, can you believe that, Pam? Just pretends I’m like, not there! So finally she’s like (simpering falsetto) “well, I should go meet my friends, but you should come by and say hi! I know they’d looooooove to see you,” and Ryan’s like “yeah, that’d be fun,” and I’m like, how many of these girls have you slept with, Ryan?

PAM looks increasingly pinched. She grinds her jaw and sneaks a glance at the door.

So she walks away, and I’m like “who was that?” and Ryan’s like “no one” and I’m like “well, she obviously wasn’t no one” and Ryan’s like “just a friend” and I’m like, okay, I have to be cool about this, because I’m trying not to come on too strong with him, you know?

PAM sighs – it’s quick, but sharp and clearly annoyed.

I read this article in Cosmo all about how different kinds of guys act in new relationships, and it turns out Ryan is a Master of the Universe, and they’re super ambitious and they’re always testing you to see if you’re going to be a distraction from their goals, like, obviously Ryan is all about making it big in business, which is so hot, and he’s going to take me to all these fancy parties in like, Manhattan and Los Angeles and Paris some day, but Masters of the Universe need a girl who can go with the flow, you have to handle them being all (more of a generic guy voice) “baby, I can’t tell you how sexy you look in that dress right now because I’m preparing for this big presentation with a billionaire investor from the Russian mob” or something…

PAM looks to the door again. This time it’s less of a sneak and more something anyone who remotely cared would respond to.

…so I’m like, this is totally a chance to prove to him that I’m not high maintenance, and what is the chillest, coolest, lowest-maintenance thing I could do right now even though I *need* to know like everything about this girl, and she was really hot, Pam, I mean, trashy hot but hot, if you can imagine she was like a super blonde Jessica Alba, but Jessica Alba would *never* have worn that skirt, and so the cool thing to do is be like, “well, let’s go say hi to her friends before we get our next round,” just to prove I’m not jealous…

PAM surreptitiously checks her phone. We see horror dawning in her eyes as KELLY continues…

…and he’s all “we don’t have to do that” and I’m like “why not” and he says “well, that’ll be really boring for you, we’ll just tell old stories and talk about a bunch of stuff you don’t care about, like what’s going on in the world” and I’m like, this is obviously a test, and so then *I* said…

And we cut…

…to find a shell-shocked PAM doing a talking head in the conference room.

PAM (has seen some things now):
I only remembered after 15 minutes that Jim is out on a sales call.


NETWORK NOTES: REJECTED. Setting aside that we’re not going to have her advertise another network’s programs on our airtime… does anyone in the audience want to listen to Kelly talk for this long?


Chapter End Notes:
I similarly do not own 10 Things I Hate About You, the classic rom-com Kelly wandered off the subject to mention at the beginning of her rant.

I actually DO own Grey’s Anatomy. Funny story, really. I’ll tell you some time, but the moral is: if you ever have a chance to get drunk with Shonda Rhimes, do it.

Let me know in the reviews if you think I succeeded in writing this so you didn't need to know Grey's to enjoy it.

darjeelingandcoke is the author of 21 other stories.

This story is part of the series, Rejected Cold Opens. The previous story in the series is You Can't Handle The Tooth. The next story in the series is Dwight Gets Stuck In The Wall.

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