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21 September 2007 @ 02:28 pm
Realtor Mode [The Office; Michael/Jan]  
TITLE: Realtor Mode
FANDOM: The Office
PAIRING: Michael/Jan
SPOILERS: Season three, and spoilers speculation (sorta)


"So thanks for meeting me here. I chose a public place so you wouldn't feel too weird about it."

Carol Stills sipped at her cappuccino and peered through her lashes at the smiling man across the table from her, Michael Scott. "Why would I feel weird about this, Michael?"

"Well, because you know... we used to date." He frowned sympathetically. "And, I know it must be hard for you to see me again and know that you... can't be with me any longer."

"I'll be fine," she assured him, smiling tightly... straining for politeness.

"You're so brave," he sighed, looking at her as if knowing the mere sight of him was crushing her soul. Which it really, really wasn't. "Anyway, the reason I asked you here was because I'm in the market again."

Carol raised an eyebrow, dread filling her stomach...

Then Michael tilted his head and amended with a smile, "Real-estate-wise, anyway."

"Oh!" She fought very hard not to heave a sigh of relief. "Okay... are things not working out with your condo?"

"No, they're working great. Really. I just... need to start looking for something bigger."

"So you're looking to purchase a house, then?" Carol was luckily back in realtor mode -- that was the safest mode to be in, around Michael Scott.

"Yeah, we're definitely going to be needing a house. Here in Scranton, preferably, or one of the surrounding suburbs. Wherever it's prettiest, I guess."

Carol frowned, unsure of how to designate between 'pretty' and 'non-pretty' suburbs by Michael's standards. Then, her mind caught on one word in particular. "'We'?"

"Oh! Yeah. I'm getting married. Didn't I tell you that when I called?"

"No. That, I believe you failed to mention." She knew she had to keep her voice level, business-like, or else Michael would take it to mean that she missed him terribly. Which she really, really did not. At all. He was a nice guy, but... no, she didn't miss him.

"Oh, I'm sorry. Yeah, I'm getting married... in a couple weeks, actually... and I want to surprise my bride with a big, beautiful house for us to raise our kids in."

She smiled, half-wondering just how he had somehow gone to Jamaica, started a relationship, gotten engaged and planned a wedding in two very short months. "Well that's wonderful, Michael. I'm very happy for you."

"Are you? Thanks a lot, Carol. I wouldn't want you to be, y'know, like... depressed or anything."

Carol flicked a smile and fought the urge to tell him she was a far cry from being depressed over his impending nuptials. "Not at all. I think it's great that you found someone." Raising her eyebrows, she couldn't help but add, "Quickly, too."

"Well, I've actually been, like, madly in love with her for a long time. Just..." He stared off into the distance and shook his head, blowing a raspberry through his lips. "The timing was off, I guess. There were some obstacles."

"There aren't now?"

"No, actually, it's been really, oddly smooth-sailing." He made a face, as if the mere thought of that was insane. "It's really kinda weird... but in a nice way."

"Well good. So, let's talk about houses, then. Was there a specific price range you were wanting me to look for? Did you have square-footage in mind? And how many bedr--"

"My fiancee's actually here, somewhere, having her final fitting for her dress." He twisted every which way in the mall cafe chair, the look in his eyes almost desperate as he searched for his (lucky?) bride.

"Is she?" Carol feigned interest and did a half-hearted sweep with her eyes around the mall, not knowing who she was looking for. "Well that's good. Now, Michael, if you're looking to stay here in Scranton, I do know of a few places where--"

"Oh, my God."

"What?" She looked up and saw his mouth ajar, eyes transfixed on a store window on the other side of the mall.

Without another word, Michael got up and started walking off, leaving Carol no choice but to follow. She had to find out what the hell he was looking at, after all... and maybe, possibly, steer him back on track in their real estate discussion. She took long, quick strides to catch up with him, and followed his line of sight, right to the large picture window of the bridal shop. Michael stopped, still staring, and Carol stopped beside him.

A woman with dark-blonde hair was stepping up onto a raised, red velvet platform, admiring her dress in a floor-length, gold-rimmed mirror. The woman's dress was beautiful -- strapless, white, that clung to her like second skin until mid-thigh, and from there to the floor the rest of the dress looked to be made of some sort of feather-like material. Carol couldn't help but let her brows raise appreciatively. It was really rather beautiful.

The woman twisted her body to look at the back of the dress, and that was when Carol caught a look at her face... and gasped. "Is that... your boss, Jan?"

She looked over at Michael and noted his awed, reverent smile reached ear-to-ear. He shook his head. "No. That's my future wife."

Then, still gazing at Jan as if she were an angel, Michael practically floated into the bridal shop. Carol glanced at her watch, wanting to be frustrated since she was so pressed for time, but she was oddly transfixed by the sight before her. She had not once seen Michael that happy.

She watched through the window as Michael stepped up behind his bride, tripped a finger down her arm and startled her out of her skin. Jan then turned around and whacked him on the shoulder, grinning though she was obviously admonishing him for seeing her in her dress before the wedding. She watched Michael shrug and raise his hands in the air, claiming it a coincidence. Then, surprisingly, she saw a lovely smile light up Jan's face as she laid her palms over Michael's face and pulled him in for a kiss, her engagement ring sparkling under the bright store lights.

What a mismatched pair, and yet... Carol couldn't deny the obvious: they were really, insanely happy, and very much in love. She watched Michael pull back and kiss Jan's ring as she still stood several inches taller than him on the platform. He was looking up at her adoringly, like a knight admiring the queen. Perhaps she should leave... call Michael about real estate some other time. Yet... something compelled her to stay. An almost need to talk to Jan... ask what happened. Just for curiosity's sake, if nothing more. How did she and Michael go from being boss and employee to a betrothed couple nearly overnight?

Michael's words came back to her: "I've been madly in love with her for a long time. Just... the timing was off."

That made Carol feel almost bad for wasting those few months with Michael. If only she'd known on Casino Night what she knew now. She wouldn't have even accepted his invitation. It had been obvious the entire night that Jan was the one he wanted to be with, anyway. She still distinctly remembered how his eyes would never stray far from Jan, no matter where she was or how far apart they were. Add that to the fact that, after Casino Night, most of his discussions about work involved frequent mentions of Jan... she should have seen it.

Carol smiled, glad that Michael was happy, and decided to leave. But that was when Michael looked up again and caught her eye; waved her inside. Carol looked at Jan and noted the sheepish expression on her glowing face... the way she bit delicately on her lower lip. She smiled and made a face, as if telling her that there was nothing to worry about. Then, she schooled her features and put herself back into "realtor mode," going inside to talk to the happy couple about purchasing their first home.


{x-posted to michaelandjan}