BJ texts her immediately after his appearance at Newton South, just like she knew he would, because it's like he has this need to communicate with her at least once an hour and they haven't spoken in two. It's not that she doesn't enjoy it or mind it or whatever, but she's on the phone with Brenda and trying to paint her nails at the same time (sometimes it's just fun to do it by yourself) and doesn't have time for needy boys.
When she doesn't respond right away, he sends her another text. And then another one.
"Something keeps cutting you off," Brenda says.
"BJ's texting me," Mindy replies breezily, trying to affect a nonchalant tone so Brenda doesn't jump on this, but clearly Mindy knows her friends too well (one of the many perils of being an astute and incredibly talented writer).
Too bad her friends are all smart, the crosses we all have to bear, etc etc. "Oh, yeah?"
"Oh yeah," Mindy says back, challenging. "So what are your Christmas plans?"
"Don't change the subject on me. He is in love with you."
"He is not, don't be retarded." She waves her hand through the air, the smell of nail polish stinging her nose. She and Brenda must have this debate at least once a week.
Brenda says "okay" in this unconvinced voice but whatever, Mindy is not going to question this tentative victory. She is, however, curious about BJ's texts. They were having a text debate about powdered jelly donuts vs. Boston cremes and yeah, she's kind of interested to know his latest rebuttal (she's on the side of the Dunkin' Donuts jelly). Not that she'll admit it. She might even wait another twenty minutes before she responds: Sorry, BJ, didn't notice your text! like she has something better to do over their Thanksgiving break than catch up on new Grey's Anatomy episodes with her mom.
" -- so I've decided to marry the homeless guy I pass in Central Square all the time. I'm thinking five, six kids maybe? Seven if he really wants to go for it. Then we're going to relocate to rural Maine and start a potato farm while I homeschool the kids."
Brenda sighs, but it comes out more like a laugh. "I knew you weren't listening! You want to go read BJ's texts, don't you?"
"No, I'm hanging onto every word of your potato-farming-baby-making-homeless-dude-marrying lifestyle!"
"Just text him back," Brenda says and hangs up on her. Okay, well, Mindy hopes she's very happy with her socially stunted homeschooled children. They're all Mose Schrutes in waiting.
Teenagers love me! is BJ's first, crowing text message. He gets more and more unbearable after each appearance. It's horrible and soon his head's not going to fit through doorways.
The following one is: But you clearly don't.
The next one is: Mindy, why don't you love me anymore?
Then: Okay, I thought a lot about this, and if you objectively look at jelly and custard, side-by-side, how could you possibly come away saying that JELLY is more delicious? That is just ridiculous and I thought you were better than that, Mindy Kaling.
She starts writing him back, referencing each text in the order in which she received them: I'm so glad teenagers love you, but teenagers are also known for their sudden rash decisions that they come to regret in later life. But, I do love you, BJ, rest assured. And custard is gross. It's not like it's frozen custard served in a donut. That would be amazing. Normal custard is just like going, "Ewwww, what is happening in my mouth?".
Mindy sets her BlackBerry on her rickety wooden nighttable that she got when she was six and returns to painting the nails on her other hand. It's good to make him wait for a it a little. Just a little.
The first text BJ ever sends her is a month after she starts writing for The Office. She thinks he's cocky and insufferable, but also incredibly funny and smart. And cute. Really cute, actually. This makes for a terrible combination in Mindy's opinion. He becomes a work crush pretty much right away. And then an actual crush. By the beginning of week three, she can barely stand to look him in the face when they're in a group. She can't tell if she wants to kiss him or punch him.
"I don't think the two are always mutually exclusive," Brenda says over the phone when Mindy admits this.
It's just the two of them left in the writers' room one night. Mindy's ordered in sesame chicken and dumplings and she should be looking over the script for the Alliance, but all she really wants to do is buy more moisturizer online. She has a dry patch on her left elbow and she's been thinking about it all day. BJ's sitting at his desk, brows furrowed, reading something intently on his screen. Every once in a while he'll eat a mouthful of lo mein and type something furiously for a few seconds. Mindy's narrowed the possibilities down to two -- either he's IMing someone or he's an undercover agent investigating the dark world of NBC midseason replacements.
"Mindy," he says out of the blue.
She hurriedly clicks out the window where she's been pricing moisturizers. Not that BJ would care, but. Force of habit. "What?"
"What's your favorite movie?"
She rolls her eyes to herself. Are they at freshman orientation? "I don't know. It's hard to pick just one."
"Oh, come on. Don't be that person."
"What person?" Even though she knows what person.
"You know, the person that's not sure what they should say because they want to appear to have good taste. They don't want to go too highbrow because that would be a blatant lie, but they also don't want to come out and say that they loved Titanic."
Which, incidentally, Mindy loves. So much for that one. "I like romantic comedies," she decides on and leaves her answer open to interpretation.
BJ is silent and he types something very quickly.
"What romantic comedies, specifically?"
She whirls around towards him. He's rolled his chair over to her desk, looking at her intently with his bright blue eyes. She stares back at him dumbly. He is adorable and annoying. Mindy wants to kiss him all of a sudden. He'd probably just think she's crazy, which Mindy is 99% sure that's how he feels anyway.
"I don't know. Um. I like Nora Ephron movies? Like You've Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally."
BJ's face lights up. "Who doesn't love When Harry Met Sally? Billy Crystal is pure gold in that."
Mindy grins back at him. "Right? And you can't not love Meg Ryan."
They abandon all pretenses of doing work when BJ finds two unopened beers someone shoved in the back of the mini-fridge. Mindy doesn't even like beer, but, when in Rome. She clinks her bottle against BJ's and takes a long sip, letting the carbonation tickle the back of her throat. They lie down on the carpet in the middle of the room, even though there's a weird stain where Paul spilled soup last week.
"Is it weird?" she asks.
BJ rests his head on the inside of his elbow. "What?"
"To end up here with John. Is that weird?"
"Yup," he says simply. "It's super weird. Cool, but weird. Like it's cool and weird that you're from Cambridge and we graduated the same year, but we met on this creepy set in Panorama City."
"Mmm, Cambridge," Mindy mumbles, closing her eyes. "I miss Boston."
"I do too."
This leads them into a quick and dirty argument about which is a better place to raise kids -- Cambridge or Newton -- and BJ wins on the schools one, but Mindy wins on overall awesomeness. They really get into it though, and Mindy finds herself smacking him a few times on the shoulder to drive home her point.
"Ow!" he says, laughing, so she can't have hurt him that badly. "You have a violent streak, you know."
"I just...feel a lot of feelings," she huffs, a bit embarrassed.
"I like that. Feel your feelings."
She shoves him. "I'm a liberated woman. I don't need your permission to feel my feelings."
He turns his big blue eyes onto her and smiles. Ugh. "I know."
And everything is quiet between them in the room, just the sound of them breathing, and Mindy is feeling lightheaded. She drops her eyes to his mouth. Oh my god, who is she right now, drinking beers at work and lying on the questionably-clean carpet with her co-worker and secret, giant crush???
Living the dream, is what Brenda would tell her.
BJ rolls over onto his back and sits up. "We should get back to work, huh?"
Damn him and his work ethic, but Mindy does the same. Yup, work. That. Yes. She sits back down at her desk and gets absolutely nothing done for the next hour.
It's almost midnight when she gets back to her dark apartment. Her phone buzzes in her purse. She flips it open as she's kicking off her shoes: Sleep well, Mindy Ephron. She can't even -- she has to sit down and read it twenty more times, grinning like an idiot.
Her life has never been more like a rom-com. Two months later he kisses her outside the writers' room, the two of them working late together again, and yeah, that's it. That's pretty much when she knew she'd never be over BJ freaking Novak.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving Mindy sets aside for BJ, even though she could be shopping with Jocelyn and Brenda, or watching movies, or doing basically a million other things. This is what she's thinking when he's ten minutes late to their Henrietta's Table brunch date and she's already filled her plate with oysters and bagels smothered with lox and cheesy eggs and bacon.
"So when are you going to write your book about me?" BJ asks, plopping himself down in the seat across from her, like they were in the middle of a conversation or something.
She takes a sip of her mimosa like she doesn't even care that he's late (though they're in Harvard Square and he had to get there from Newton, which, fine, it's kind of annoying but it's not like he took the T or anything!). "What are you talking about?"
He reaches over to her plate and steals an oyster -- best brunch in Boston! -- before answering. "You said you'd have to write a whole book about me and that's why that essay about me never made it into your book. So when are you going to write that book."
"Never, if you keep bothering me about it. Plus, who would want to read a book by me about you?"
"Uh, excuse me, do I not count?" He gets up to go get a plate from the buffet. "Table this for now."
Mindy thinks uncharitable thoughts about his insufferable narcissism and how his head can't fit through doorways and -- he comes back with a little plate of oysters just for her.
"To replace the one I stole," he says with this incredibly charming grin and.
Some days she just hates him and some days she loves him and most days it's this mix of love-hate confusion that she's not sure she'll ever find her way out of.
"My book about you would be so long," she says when he sits back down, a plate of definitely-not-kosher-his-dad-would-be-so-disappointed food with him.
BJ gazes seriously back at her. His eyes are so unnerving. "Too many good things to say about me, right?"
"Douchebag," she says, trying to go for a casual tone, but unsure if she's pulling it off. It's the eyes, jeez, ever since they met, those fucking eyes. "No. Horrible things, in fact. It'll be like the unveiling of a monster. All the years of abuse I've had to put up from you. The public will be shocked by my tell-all book."
"Maybe I'll get to play myself in the movie they'll inevitably make from the book."
"Dream on. They'll probably cast someone way hotter."
She can't think of anyone. She waves her hand about. "Um -- Joseph Gordon-Leavitt."
"That would be pretty cool. Who would play you?"
"Probably myself. Can you think of other chubby, female, Indian actresses?" To prove her point about the chubbiness, she spears a piece of bacon with her fork.
He shrugs. "I was going to say that I can't think of anyone who would be as beautiful as you."
Oh god, seriously?? One, that's lame, and two -- Mindy busies herself, fussing with her napkin, so she won't have to look at him. First the eyes and then the compliments and this day is just throwing her off. What kind of alien has taken over his body? It's comments like these that make her think Bren is right sometimes -- maybe he is in love with her. Again. Still? Again.
The worst part about thinking that is that more and more she feels like she wouldn't even mind.
When they break up it's basically the worst three months of Mindy's life. She's sure there have been worse times -- like right after she graduated from Dartmouth and she couldn't find a job in New York and she spent the summer eating Doritos and watching Law & Order: SVU on USA -- but she can't think of any others.
And, by the way, she's still not sure that summer sucked because she was depressed or she got depressed because it sucked.
She kind of has always felt like that was her bottom, which as far as hitting bottom goes, is really not bad as Joce and Bren have said, but no, this is bottom, this whole they're-broken-up-and-she-still-has-to-sit-next-to-him-at-work thing. This is by far the worst thing to have ever happened to her in her whole entire life, she is not even exaggerating a little bit (she takes everything she said earlier back).
Not that they were being obvious about it at work. They were professionals, after all, and their secret work makeouts only happened, at most, twice a week. Only one time did she let BJ have sex with her on set, really late one night, no matter how often Lee and Gene made insinuations (what was their fascination with her sex life anyway? Gross).
It was just super nice. Super, super nice. At first they're just shy and she blushes every time she thinks about his smile and how funny he is and that he actually likes her. He doesn't run off screaming when she admits that she's never had a boyfriend before (not real ones anyway; of course she's kissed guys -- what is she, Amish?). He wants to talk to her and play with her hair and kiss her all the time. It's the best.
The first morning she wakes up with him in her bed, she just lies there, cuddled against his shoulder, loving the way he makes her feel small and adored and important.
Which all makes the breakup even worse than she's sure most breakups are. He seems to deal with it fine, going off and being photographed with Katrina Bowden and Hayden Panettiere, in all their young blonde hotness. She apparently deals with it by crying on the phone to her mom and eating a mountain of tacos, even though it was her idea to break up in the first place, but they were his commitment issues.
Whatever. To each their own.
At three months, Mindy decides that the mourning period has to come to an end. It's stupid BJ, after all. She shouldn't be wasting her time pining over him and his stupid face. It's been exhausting coming into work every day and trying to talk to him like they didn't used to shove their tongues down each other's throats (granted, Ryan and Kelly still do that at times).
She goes on a new diet, buys a bunch of cute outfits, and saunters into the writers' room wearing sexy new perfume that she loves. When she walks by him, his eyes follow her, and she can feel him looking at her all morning. Mindy loves it, but she'll never ever admit it.
"What are you wearing, Mindy? You smell like a barrel of molding flowers," he says, waving his hand in front of his nose.
She throws a pencil at him that bounces off the wall and calls him a "fucking cocksucker" in front of all the writers and that's how things go back to relative normalcy again.
Mindy misses him at the weirdest, most inconvenient times. Like right before her Harvard Bookstore appearance, standing backstage in the wings, listening to the audience crowd into the theater. She's thinking about what excerpt she wants to read and suddenly she wishes BJ were here with her, cracking jokes and making her laugh at an inappropriately loud volume.
She hasn't seen him in a week. Of course they've been texting, but it's just not the same. All of the sudden she feels like the needy one. She likes it better when he's trying to talk to her desperately, sending her five million text messages in a row.
She pulls out her phone and rubs her thumb across the keyboard. She still gets nervous before every single appearance, even though as this point she's lost count of how many she's been to. If only he were here. Or her parents. Or Brenda.
Everything is lame and sucky here without you. Come back soon! BJ texts her midway through her signing. She doesn't see it until she's done and leaving, and she's glad of that. It makes her blush hotly, standing in her coat in the middle of Brattle Street.
Really? I don't miss you at all is what she sends in reply because, well, she can't give him the satisfaction of the truth, can she?
I know you do. Dinner tomorrow night? Before the movie premiere? he says, seeing right through her blasé response.
She doesn't even make him wait for her response. She's getting soft in her old age. Love to.
It's probably the open bar that's to blame, in the end.
Also maybe his eyes.
The bottom line is -- neither of them are complaining when she puts her empty martini glass down and kisses him, all tipsy and giggling, in front of the whole premiere audience at Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Or at least the people milling around near them.
He kisses her back like he's been waiting for it, hungry and fierce and amazing. And then they break apart and look at each other, unsure of what to even say. She thinks her lip is swelling up from the kiss and has the sudden desperate desire to rush to the bathroom to check.
Instead she opts for ditching him in some racist-ethnic-exit fashion when he's accosted by someone else and calls Brenda from the car.
"Let me just tell you how unsurprised I am right now," Bren says in this totally nonchalant voice. "I mean, did you also breathe air?"
BJ tries calling six times before she does the unthinkable and turns off her phone. She lies in bed and can't remember anything about the movie (sorry Gary Oldman, you were great and all) because all she can see is his face and those eyes and, ugh, why isn't she able to sleep right now.
He's not even super hot like Chris Evans, Mindy thinks angrily, and turns over.
She calls in late to work the next morning. Paul gives her this mournful, disapproving look when she gets in a little before lunchtime and she decides it's bad form to flip your boss off. At least it's not Mike Schur because otherwise she'd get a prissy lecture about professionalism that they'd later all mock (she loves him, she does, and she misses him too, but his primness is ridiculous; she hopes they're enjoying it over at Parks and Rec).
BJ waves at her from craft services and she gives him a bright smile before filling her plate with pasta and ducking around people to find Ellie. She is not ready to talk to him now.
Nor is the timing awesome an hour later, when they're filming a group scene in the conference room and the two of them are sitting next to each other. His hand keeps brushing her thigh. After about the third graze, Mindy's inclined to think that it's not an accident.
When they finally do get to be alone, it's again late at night, when everyone's gone and the two of them are the only ones left on set. Why do things always happen like this, Mindy wonders fleetingly, walking into the writers' room and seeing him still sitting there, illuminated by the glow of his computer screen.
"I'm in love with you," BJ blurts out without preamble, totally preempting everything Mindy was going to say.
And, well, if you're going to co-opt someone's soulsearching confession, that sentence is a pretty good one. Mindy can't remember what she was going to say because -- wow. She's not even sure she can still use words properly. Words? What are those?
"I think that maybe I never stopped," he continues, and she's torn between wanting to kiss him and asking if he perused rom-coms for these lines. "I. Um."
In the long silence that follows, she thinks about all the things that she could say -- that she loves him too and doesn't know if she stopped either. That it's unfair because he should really look more like Chris Evans, Ideal Husband. That her perfume didn't smell like rotting flowers; it smelled fun and flirty, and he's a dickbag.
"This is why everyone thinks I'm the best writer on staff," she says finally. "Because clearly I would've said 'I love you' way better than you just did."
"Oh?" he arches an eyebrow. "Do you want me to try again?"
Mindy rolls her eyes and closes the space between them in a few steps, putting her hands against his chest and looking up at him. "No, because we're not on television. And, that was pretty good for an unscripted confession."
"I was always better at improv." And his smug grin is just so smug, so she tilts her chin up a little and he kisses her, shutting up, just like she wanted him to.
"He'll be coming to Christmas dinner then?" her mom asks a few days later over the phone, also apparently completely unfazed. Seriously, what is this?
Mindy turns her head to look at BJ, still asleep in bed next to her, and smiles. "Yeah. I think so."