keep my hand in yours by niagarafalls
Summary: Pamdora's box. What if the teapot note was one of many? 
Categories: Jim and Pam, Present Characters: Jim, Jim/Pam, Pam
Genres: Drama, Fluff, Hurt/Comfort, Oneshot
Warnings: No Warnings Apply
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes Word count: 3411 Read: 354 Published: April 15, 2024 Updated: April 15, 2024
Story Notes:

I know I'm breaking an unspoken rule about how we broach the teapot note, but this idea came to my mind and I could not help but write it out. I'm sure I did not do it justice, but I hope you will enjoy the read!

 

Title is from Everywhere, Everything by Noah Kahan. 

Chapter 1 by niagarafalls
Author's Notes:

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

 

Cross-posted on AO3. 

 

May 2006

 

 

 

He’s almost done packing his entire life up. Tomorrow he leaves for Stamford, and he wants no loose ends. Most of his stuff is already in boxes scattered throughout his room and living room, he’s picking up a truck in the morning, and then Mark and him are driving down to Connecticut to move him. The only thing that he still needed to work on was his closet, since it’s mostly stuff he would still need in his everyday life. 


He’s packed his last suit and he takes a quick glance around his small closet, which is when he sees it. On the top shelf, in the corner, barely in sight. A box. He takes a sharp intake of breath and almost decides to just leave it there, it’s of no use to him anymore. Or at least that’s his hope. He sighs and reaches over to grab it, and brings it over to his bed where he sits and stares at it, almost as if he’s afraid to open it. 


He knows every single item that’s in the box, and at the same time he’s too afraid of what will come out of it. Pandora’s box. Pamdora’s box. He chuckles at the stupid pun and wonders if she would find it funny. 


He knows he can’t bring it with him. The whole point of leaving is to move on, leave all of this behind, leave her behind. But he can’t bring himself to get rid of it either. It’s been such a huge part of his life for the past 4 years. He grabs the box and walks over to Mark’s door and knocks. 


“Come in,” he hears Mark say, and he comes in. “You done packing?”


“Almost.”


“What’s that?” Mark asks when he glances away from his computer over at Jim.


“Um, it’s a box,” Jim says, uncomfortably.


“Yeah, no shit.” Jim chuckles, but doesn’t expand. “You okay, man?”


“Yeah, listen, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind holding on to this for me for a while?”


Mark frowns, confused. It’s a small box, he’s sure it fits in one of Jim’s boxes in the truck. “Sure,” he replies, nonetheless. “Are you sure you want to leave it here?”


Jim looks down at the box for a second before he nods and looks back up at Mark, “I’m sure.” He walks over to Mark’s bed and leaves it there. “Thanks,” he says before walking back to his room. 


Mark turns his chair over to the bed and looks at the box. He looks back at the door, and curiosity gets the best of him. He walks over to the box and opens the lid. A bunch of small trinkets are sprinkled inside, but his eyes zero in on a white envelope on top. In Jim’s handwriting he reads Pam. “Oh,” understanding coloring his face. He closes the box back up again and puts the box in his closet. He’ll keep it safe until those two get their shit together. Maybe it can be his engagement present for them. 




 


 



November 2006 

 

 

 

“Wait, so your old branch is closing?”


Jim sighs over the phone. “Looks like it.”


“That’s crazy, man,” Mark says, and after a second he adds, “Actually, I’m surprised it took this long.” Jim laughs and neither says anything for a beat. Mark takes a deep breath. “So… Is anyone from here being transferred over to Stamford?”


“I don’t know, actually. I assume they’ll offer positions in other branches to the top salesmen, but I'm not sure about the rest of the office.”


“Oh,” Mark says.


“If you have something to say or ask you can just do it, you know?” Jim says, his voice tight. 


Mark sighs, knowing that Jim knows exactly who he’s wondering about transferring, but he guesses they probably wouldn’t transfer the receptionist. “No, man, forget it,” he says and he hears Jim sigh in relief. He switches the subject to his latest fantasy football team and a few minutes later they hang up. 


Mark tosses his phone back on the bed and walks over to his closet, tripping over a couple of already packed boxes, and grabs the small box on his top shelf. He was wondering what to do with the small box as he packed up his room, wondering whether he should mail it back to Jim, but clearly he’s not ready for that, so he figures he’ll do the next best thing. He grabs his phone again and dials a number. 


Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam.


“Hi, Pam, this is Mark. Jim’s old roommate.”


Pam doesn’t say anything for a few seconds. “O-Of course, Mark. How are you?”, her voice shaky. 


“I’m good, how are you?”


“I’m okay.”


“Listen, I’m sorry to bother you at work but I have something for you, something that I think belongs to you, and I’d rather not give it to you at work. Do you think we could meet somewhere so I can give it to you?”


“Oh, uhm, sure,” Pam replies and he hears the confusion in her voice.


“I promise I’m not trying to murder you,” he chuckles uncomfortably. He’s only ever met Pam once so he understands her uncertainty. Thankfully, she laughs.


“Sunrise Cafe is close to you, right?” Pam asks.


“Yes.”


“Okay, I can meet you there at five thirty?”


“I’ll see you then,” he replies.


“I’ll bring my pepper spray.” 


Mark laughs as they hang up.



 


 



It’s five forty when he walks into Sunrise Cafe and searches the room for Pam. He finally sees her in a small booth by the corner window with a cup of coffee in front of her. He’s only ever met her once, but he notices the change in her, and the contradiction in the change. She sits up straighter, more certain of the space she occupies in the world, and yet, the bags under her eyes, and the way her clothes hang off her, he knows maybe she’s not as okay as she wants it to seem.


“Pam!” he calls out and she turns and waves him over. He slides into the booth and is pleased to see there’s already a cup of coffee for him on the table. 


“I didn’t know how you took it so I told the waitress to just pour a full cup and leave a second cup in case you want to add milk.”


“Thank you,” he says while he prepares his coffee, adding his usual five packs of sugar to it. Pam raises her eyebrows and he laughs. “Please don’t judge me.”


Pam laughs and brings her hands around her cup. He can tell she’s nervous. 


“Listen, I know it’s weird me calling you out of the blue when we’ve only met literally once, but–” he doesn’t know how much of the branch closing she knows about so he goes for a different version of the truth. “I’ve been packing up my place–”


“You’re moving?” 


“Yeah, Nikki and I are moving in together, but this place is too big for us. And too expensive.” Pam nods in understanding. “But anyways, I found this in my closet,” he says as he slides the box over to her. Pam reaches out, her hands shaking, afraid to even touch it. “Jim left it in my care when he left for Stamford.”


Pam pauses and retreats her hands. “I’m not sure he’d want me to have this. Whatever it is.”


Mark looks at her. “I think he does.”


Pam stares back at him and nods. “Thank you,” she whispers. 


He notices that Pam is having a hard time keeping her face straight and not crying, so he gives her an out. “Listen,” he says as he grabs his cup of coffee and stands up, “if you don’t mind I’m gonna get this to go. I actually have to go pick Nikki up from work, we’re going over to her parents’ for dinner tonight.”


“Of course.”


Mark looks at her for a beat longer. “See you, Pam.”


Pam stares back at him, her eyes so wide. She looks like Bambi. She desperately wants to believe they will see each other again at some point, because surely that would mean that she would see Jim again. He nods at her before walking away. 


She stares at the box. She wants to open it. She does not want to open it. 




 


 



May 2007  

 

 

 

They walk into her fancy new apartment together, nervous and exciting energy between them. 


“Do you want something to drink?” she asks, mostly so she has something to do.


“A glass of water would be nice,” he smiles at her. His throat does feel a little bit dry. 


She walks over to the kitchen and pours them each a glass of water before walking back into the living room. He’s sitting on the couch, glancing over the sketches scattered on her coffee table. 


“These are good.”


“Thank you,” she smiles at him, handing over his glass. “So,” she starts after taking a small sip.


“So,” he can’t stop grinning. 


“I’ve had a great time.” Jim’s face falls and Pam notices it. “Oh no, I’m not saying goodnight, I’m not ready for the night to end. I just, I have something I want to give you.”


Jim frowns, confused. “Like a gift? You didn’t have to get me anything, Pam.”


Pam smiles, “No, no. Give me a second,” she says, placing her glass on the coffee table, and going into her room. Jim sets down the glass on the table next to Pam’s, and sits back to wait for her. A few seconds later Pam walks in holding a box in her hands.


Jim’s breath hitches. “How’d you–?”


“Mark.” 


Jim chuckles, in shock. “Of course.”


She lifts her eyes and looks at him shyly, putting the box on the coffee table next to their glasses and takes a seat next to him. “I never opened it.”


Jim looks up at her. “You didn’t?” She shakes her head. “Why not?”


She shrugs. “I figured if you wanted me to open it you would have given it to me yourself.”


“Pam,” Jim started.


“It’s fine,” Pam says, reaching out and grabbing his left hand to hold in both of hers. “Listen, I know there’s a lot–”


“Pam you don’t have to–”


“No, I do. Just, let me get this out, please,” Pam pleaded, and Jim squeezed her hands and nodded. “I just, I know I hurt you last May, and you hurt me over the past year, but just because it’s been hard does not mean it’s not been worth it, right?” Jim nodded again. “You are my best friend, and I don’t want to forget anything about the way we got here, because I am so incredibly happy being here with you, finally.”


“Me too,” Jim replied as he scooted closer to her. 


“But that being said, I want you to take this box back, and you can give it to me whenever you’re ready to share its contents and their meaning with me. I promise, I will be right here patiently waiting for it. There’s no rush, as long as I already have you.”


His hands left the comfort of hers and went up to her cheeks. “You so do,” he said as he pulled her in for a kiss. 


 

 

 


 



May 2013 

 

 

 

“I’m afraid that I’m not enough for you.”


“Is that really what you think?”


He can’t believe he’s in this situation. He knows, looking back on his life, particularly the past decade or so working at Dunder Mifflin, he could apply that sentiment to so many different moments, a lot of which some would argue deserve it more than this moment right now. But in his experience, this situation he’s currently in where Pam is somehow completely unaware of exactly what she means to him, is the most unbelievable of all. What has he done wrong for her to not know? How can she not know?


He asks the crew for help putting together some sort of visual evidence of his feelings. Pam is a visual learner, so maybe this will help. But he knows what he needs to do. 


That evening while Pam is taking a bath with Phillip, he goes into Cece’s room, his old bedroom. Cece is downstairs coloring on the couch, so he has a few minutes before the curious toddler comes after him. In the closet there’s a hidden panel he found when he was a kid and Tom had locked him in there as a joke for the third and last time before Betsy Halpert threatened to lock him in his own closet for double the amount of time it would take for Jim to be found next time. 


“Daddy?” he hears Cece come in looking for him. 


“Hey, sweetie, ready for bed?” he says as he walks over to her and leads her to her bed.


“What’s that?” Cece asks, glancing at the box in his hands.


“A surprise gift for mommy. Can you keep the secret?” She grins and nods. “Good girl. Now, sleep time.”


He says goodnight to his daughter and rushes to hide the box in his messenger bag before Pam exits the bathroom. 



 


 



“You watched it?” 


She startles at his voice and is quick to wipe the tears from her face as she nods “Yeah”. Is he mad?


He’s not. He smiles. “Well then, I guess you’re ready for this,” he says as he pulls an envelope from his back pocket.


“What’s that?”


“It’s from the teapot.” She gasps as she reaches out her hand to grab the envelope. “Everything you’ll ever need to know is in that note.”


She takes a deep breath before she opens the envelope with trembling hands and pulls the note out. 


Beesly,


Merry Christmas! I have to tell you, I was so psyched when I pulled your name for secret santa this year, for all of like 2.5 seconds, until I realized I’d have to actually get you a gift, and what could I possibly give you that could ever measure up to what you’ve given me? And then it hit me. Pamdora’s box. 


It’s this stupid nickname Mark came up with for a box I have in my closet, a box that is full of little trinkets and memories we’ve shared together. (So what? I’m a sentimental guy. Sue me). 


I’ve been told that Christmas is the time to tell people how you feel, so here it goes. 


When Mark first saw the box he chuckled and said “What are you like in love with this girl?”, and I knew he was just messing around, but it got me thinking. What is it exactly that I feel for you? All I know is that ever since that first day when you walked me to my desk, you are the first person I think about in the morning, and the last person I think about when I go to sleep. Did you have a good day? Do you have plans for tomorrow? What’d you eat for dinner? Are you thinking about me? 


The reality is that I don’t have words for what I feel for you. I have sat down to write this exact note so many times, and I can never finish it because how can I explain it to you? How do I explain that one day you offhandedly mentioned you liked me better in blue tones, so that weekend I went out and bought 5 new ties and 3 new shirts, all in different shades of blue? Or how, after our first date, all I could listen to for the rest of the week was Travis’ “Sing” on repeat, and every time the chords start, I would just smile. I’ve never seen something as Pavlovian (besides Dwight, of course). 


So instead of trying to explain this to you, this is my gift. A collection of notes I’ve dribbled down at specific moments since we’ve met where my feelings for you were so immense that I had to externalize them in some way shape or form. Some will be short, some will be extensive, and I’m sure all of them will be embarrassingly cheesy. But they’re all true.


Even if this doesn’t turn out the way I’m hoping it will, at least you’ll know. You’ll finally know: you’re everything to me.


Yours,

Jim


Pam took a deep breath and held the note close to her heart as she looked up at Jim. 


“Not enough for me? You are everything.”


She stands up and hugs him fiercely. “Thank you.”  She clings to him for a solid sixty seconds before he chuckles.


“Do you want to see the rest of your gift?” he asks, as he pulls out the box he was hiding on a chair behind her. She takes a step back and laughs as she nods and wipes away tears from her face.


“So, as I so inarticulately mentioned on the note, over the past few years whenever we would have a moment that I’d treasure, no matter how big or how small, I would write something down on a piece of paper and save it. Because sometimes the love I feel for you is too big for me to just keep it all inside, so I needed an outlet, a way to express it, and I obviously couldn’t express it the way I wanted to when you were with Roy or I was with Karen. So I created these little outlets.”


He opens the box and slides it over the table towards her. She sits down, grabs a few pieces of paper, and reads them. 


Butterflies are beautiful. Not a bad day.


Pam, watching two dumbasses poorly play with fireworks while eating grilled cheese sandwiches with you has easily become one of the top 5 moments of my entire life. And Sing is now my favorite song ever.


I chickened out. I’m so sorry, Pam. You deserve better than a half gift. But oh my god, your face as you went through the teapot stuff. I’ll always have that with me. 


God, Pam. If only you know how jinxed I feel every time I’m around you. 


Oh, Beesly. I just dropped you off at your sister’s for whatever girl-fest you guys have planned, and I was driving back home and next thing I knew I found myself at a jewelry store. We’ve officially been together for 1 week, but it truly feels like we’ve been together for much longer. And this ring, Beesly. It’s just perfect for you. I know it. 


I just have to say, laughing with you is one of my favorite things in this whole world. Even when you’re laughing at me. I can’t believe you tried to trick me into thinking you’d forgotten about our date on the rooftop. And I can’t believe you actually saw me hide that card that Christmas. I promise, I will find the perfect time and place to give this to you.


I’m laying in bed while you’re about to take a shower, and even though you were right next to me two minutes ago, I miss you. I just keep thinking of how absolutely beautiful you looked in your dress, surrounded by the mist. I’m the luckiest son of a bitch alive, I know it. That’s it, I can’t take it, I’m joining you in the shower right now. 


I can’t believe you walked through fire for me today, Beesly. You looked so beautiful and excited and glowing. I don’t think I’ve ever been more in love. 


Tears well in her eyes once again as she looks up at Jim, whose eyes are also welled up.


“Of course, I’d soon learn how mistaken I was, because every day since I met you I fall even more in love with you than I already was the day before.”


“Jim,” she sighs. 


“Do you get it now, Beesly? Athlead was fun, yes. It was new and exciting and something to be proud of. But I get that same level of excitement and pride just by spending the night in building a pillow fort with you and the kids. The kids, you, us. That is my greatest accomplishment.”


She looks into his eyes for a beat. She so desperately wants to believe him. Believe that this life is enough for him, that he won’t grow bored of her and their simple lives, and just walk away one day. Or worse, stay out of obligation, because of course Jim would be the type of guy to do that, and grow to resent her more and more each day. 


He can see the struggle in her eyes. “What’s wrong?”


“I just- I don’t want to see you lose your dream,” she mumbles, her eyes on her feet.


He brings his hands to her cheeks and looks right into her eyes. “Lose her? She’s right here. And I’m never letting go of her.”


Her eyes fill up with tears once more as she pulls him down for a kiss. 


“I love you so much,” she whispers as she pulls back. 


“Oh Beesly, you have no idea,” he replies.


Actually, she thinks she does. 


 

End Notes:
I hope you guys enjoyed! And yes, that dream line was inspired by a line Nathan says to Haley on One Tree Hill. I promise no copyright infringement was intended and I made no profit from it. I just have thought about that line every day of my life since I heard it over 10 years ago because wow
This story archived at http://mtt.just-once.net/fanfiction/viewstory.php?sid=6276