The Start of Forever by beth9501
Summary:

A lot can change in a year, but for Pam and Jim, that year might be their sweetest yet. Unexpected life events challenge them to grow and become what the other one needs most.

An AU story that follows Pam and Jim through a year in their relationship starting with the engagement and ending with their marriage. 

 


Categories: Jim and Pam, Alternate Universe Characters: Jim/Pam
Genres: Angst, Drama, Drunk Pam/Jim, Fluff, Holiday, Humor, Kids/Family, Married, Romance, Steamy, Weekend, Workdays
Warnings: Adult language
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 4 Completed: No Word count: 10763 Read: 3931 Published: November 01, 2020 Updated: November 07, 2020
Story 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.

This story is being written for the NaNoWriMo challenge. I have big hopes for it! Come along on this fun journey with me because it's probably going to be crazy. 

The Beginning of October - 2008 by beth9501
Author's Notes:
I wrote 3317 words tonight for this challenge. NaNoWriMo says if I keep this up I'll hit 50k words (which I've never done in my writing before) by November 15. I'm a realest, so THAT'S unlikely. However, I'm super excited to set a new writing goal for myself of 50k words in a fic!

Pam gathered her belongings and made her way towards the front door of her apartment, headed to another day at the office. She glanced over and saw a pair of Jim’s tennis shoes sitting next to the doormat. Her apartment might as well have been Jim’s as well considering he slept here six out of seven days a week because it was “cozy, just like her” he’d told her one night. Laughing at the pure absurdity of her what her life looked like now, she grabbed her keys off the hook on the wall, unlocked the door, and locked it behind her. 


These types of mornings made Pam’s heart feel full. It was a Friday morning in early October where the air was crisp and leaves gently fell from trees in the slight breeze that added to that special Fall vibe she always loved. She walked quickly towards her car, wrapping her pale pink jacket tightly around her.


When she made it to her blue Yaris, she unlocked the door and sat in the driver seat, turning the car on and shutting her door in the same movement. It was 7:45am and she was excited for the pending day. She had finished getting ready earlier than normal and planned to grab coffee for her and Jim and donuts for the rest of the office on her way in. She didn’t do this often as she knew once it started people (Kevin and Michael) would expect it to become a regular thing. Rather she decided to do it randomly and keep people on their toes. Jim had an idea that she’d considered this plan when she accidentally let it slip at their dinner out the previous night.


Making her way out of her apartment complex parking lot and heading towards the nearest Dunkin’ Donut, she smiled to herself thinking about what nights with Jim looked like. Unlike her nights with Roy where she felt her role was more of a mother, tending to his dinner, laundry, and ultimately watching whatever he decided was worthy on television, Jim made her feel like an equal. When she looked back on what life pre-Jim looked like, she couldn’t fathom how blind she had been to what true happiness could feel like. With Jim, nights looked like joking around in the kitchen while making dinner and cleaning up together, snuggling on the couch to watch a movie, or having a jam session while doing otherwise boring house chores. While they didn’t live together officially, they stayed together enough that each felt that obligation to help clean the common spaces.


Pam made a right into the Dunkin’ parking lot, sighing at the long line, but thankful it wasn’t nearly the length of the Starbucks across the street. “The things people do for their morning coffee” she muttered to herself, stopping behind the car in front of her. The line of cars moved slowly and she played with the radio stations while waiting and people watched as patrons walked in looking sluggish and walked out looking like a bit more life had been added to them in the few moments that had passed. “Coffee truly is a miracle worker” she thought.


Pulling up to the ordering box, she placed an order for two dozen mixed donuts, a medium black coffee (for Jim), and a medium caramel latte (for her). She knew Jim would poke fun at her for her coffee and caramel flavored hot milk, but she didn’t care. It was Friday after all! Work was full of boring tasks, might as well spice it up with a fun drink. The cars moved a tad faster as she closed in on the pickup window.


She glanced at the clock again, 8:15am. She was cutting this close. She didn’t need Dwight yelling at her for tardiness, but was fretting it nonetheless. The last thing she needed was to lose this job. She wasn’t sure what she would do if she couldn’t see Jim every day. She was nervous because she’d been late two other times this month. 


The first, was a day neither her or Jim could get themselves out of bed. Rather, a morning when he kept distracting her before she could take her shower. He’d ended up cutting it close, while she’d still had to dry her hair and do her makeup, walking in ten minutes later. Dwight had told her it was “strike one”. When she’d complained to Michael, he’d taken Dwight’s side and promptly gone back to work. It was very...un-Michael like. 


The second time she’d been late, she’d gotten a flat tire on the way in. Jim had insisted he stay to help her, but she’d convinced him to go into work so he didn’t get a strike either. She had called AAA, had them tow her car to her apartment and called a taxi into work. Dwight had told her “strike two”. When she’d complained to Toby, he’d reluctantly told her that it was company policy and to review the Dunder Mifflin employee handbook. She’d been peeved to say the least. The company had recently decided to start enforcing the rule about “three strikes”. She’d complained to Jim and he’d been kind, telling her that it would all work on and that Michael wouldn’t really fire her. “Dwight’s an idiot” he’d said to her in bed that night. Yet, as Pam sat in her car trying to do something kind for her coworkers, she considered today could be the day she got fired.


She paid, grabbed the drink holder, and the box of donuts, placing both on the passenger seat. She grabbed her change back from the window attendant and sped off, briefly reading the clock that said it was 8:20am. On a good day, she was still ten minutes from the office. Traffic wasn’t usually good to her. “Well, I can’t do anything about it now. It’s Friday and I have donuts. Dwight will get over it.” She reached for her coffee while at a red light, leaning in towards her to take a sip and yelped in surprise when the lid wasn’t on tight enough and a quarter of her cup spilled down the front of the light jacket and soaked through onto her shirt. The hot liquid was painful, plus there was the added bonus of the shirt being a pale pink. Salty tears pricked her eyes as she fought the urge to start a flow of curse words at the pain and the fact that her favorite jacket and shirt were probably ruined.


Today was Friday and it was supposed to be a good day, dammit. “Fall days were inherently so”, she thought.


The clock indicated she had negative time to turn around to go home a change so she continued down the road and hit every red light in the process. Her nerves grew with each passing minute that crept up to and past 8:30am.


At 8:47am, seventeen minutes after she was supposed to be in her seat, ready for the phone to not ring off the hook, she pulled into the parking lot. She took a steading breath while pulling the rear view mirror down to double check her mascara. She’d spent the better part of five minutes feeling the hot tears run down her cheeks as she felt the hot coffee pierce her skin. She quickly wiped under her eyes, grabbed what was left of her coffee, Jim’s drink, and the box of donuts.


She walked swiftly across the parking lot, feeling a heat warm her face as she became embarrassed, a wave of stupidity suffocating her as she walked into the building. She recalled as a child when she’d be feeling really great, something would always come in and ruin that feeling making her feel small and unworthy of whatever it was. Pressing the up button on the elevator, those same emotions came crowding back.


The elevator dinged and she stepped on, taking a deep breath as the doors closed, wondering what she was about to walk into.


Jim was standing near reception when she made her way to the door and was watching her juggle her belongings while trying to open the door. Being the gentleman he was, he rushed over, pushing the door open and immediately grabbing the box and a drink from her. They made eye contact and his face looked worried, which sent her own mind into panic mode. She brushed past him, ripping her jacket off in a flash, and grabbing the box from him again to rush the donuts into the breakroom.


“Pamela, we need to talk in the conference room. Immediately.” Dwight yelled after her. She felt the wave of panic rising up higher in her stomach.


She pushed open the door to the breakroom and nearly collided with Kelly coming out of the bathroom. 


“Oh my gosh, Pam! Are those donuts?” She squealed.


“Are you dumb, of course they are. They’re in a box that says Dunkin’ DONUTS on it” Pam thought to herself, internally rolling her eyes.


Instead of being snarky she responded with a quick, to the point, “Yep” before heading to the door that opened up to the bullpen again.


“OMG, Pam. You’re like, totally trying to get me fat. Did you see on Entertainment Tonight, the Lohan’s have sworn off donuts forever? How crazy-”


Pam pushed the door open to the bullpen to see Dwight standing by the conference room door and Jim’s eyes wide.


“Pamela. Now.” Dwight’s stern tone caused the rest of the staff to quiet their conversations around and stare at her.


“I brought donuts” her voice was quiet, small, not confident, and certainly not radiating the “Friday during the Fall” feeling she’d had not even an hour ago.


She glanced at Jim who mouthed, “I love you” to her like she was a soldier going off to war. She nodded to him and stepped into the conference room as Dwight shut the door and made his way to the blinds, closing them each individually. 


The panic rose higher creating a lump in her throat. She wasn’t an idiot. This was strike three. She sad on the edge of her seat waiting to be told the bad news she already feared was coming.


Dwight sat across from her, opening a manila folder and Toby walked in, some papers marked as “CONFIDENTIAL” across the top. Tears filled her eyes again, her palms grew sweaty, and she was positive she was going to have a heart attack. Toby couldn’t make eye contact with her and kept shifting uncomfortably in his seat. That was confirmation enough for what the impending doom would be. Her face warmed, embarrassment flooding her, a few rogue tears streaking her cheeks. 


“Pamela, you’re fired.” Dwight said frankly, no fanfare made about this at all.


A sob escaped at the final release of the tension. She needed this job, she needed to see Jim. She didn’t know who the heck she was without this stupid building and it’s over-priced paper. Everything good that had happened to her, had happened because of Dunder Mifflin. She blocked out that every bad experience she’d gone through had also been here. That didn’t matter when she needed the life she had now more than anything. She felt herself regretting every negative comment she’d ever made about this desk job that she would give anything to still have.


In an attempt to argue her cause and maybe salvage this, she sniffed, her voice breaking as she responded, that she was just trying to do something nice for everyone and bring donuts in. She apologized for the inconvenience and promised to work overtime to make up for her tardiness.


Toby looked at her, sadness in his eyes as well, though she didn’t understand why. “Pam, I’m really sorry, this was strike three as you know and company policy states…”


She delicately wiped her nose and stood up, “I know what company policy states. I’ll go collect my things.” It was worth a shot to try at least. She’d finally gotten really good at going out of her comfort zone.


“Wonderful, Hank will be up here momentarily to escort you out.” Dwight said, a hard, cold edge to his voice. She wouldn’t miss that. Dwight closed her folder and left the room as quickly as he’d entered it. Presumably to go ruin someone else’s day.


This left her and Toby to discuss what next steps would look like. She regained control of the tears that had betrayed her, thanked Toby for his kindness all these years and with this process, and walked quietly to the reception desk, feeling all eyes, including Jim’s on her.


She ignored everyone else and only stared back at him, seeing his eyebrows knit together in sadness and concern and the end of the era that was “Pam and Jim at the office”. At least they were still “Pam and Jim, boyfriend and girlfriend” which she liked more, but still. She felt a camera zoom in on her. Well, that wasn’t something she would miss. She was grateful they hadn’t asked her for an exit interview, quite literally and hoped they wouldn’t show up on her doorstep anytime soon.


She had to look away from them all, feeling the heat reach her face again, her stomach doing flips, and her tear ducts betraying her once more.


Hank sat on the couch next to reception, flipping through a GQ magazine, looking uninterested in the Hollywood cover-star and their story of achieving a “new life” with whatever workout routine was hippest at the moment. She didn’t care and gathered he was biding his time waiting for her.


She finished gathering her belongings, opting to gift the office the new desk plant she’d bought last week to spruce up reception. She gave one last look around, a quiet sob breaking again before rushing out behind Hank, mortified that all of her coworkers, or now, ex-coworkers had seen her in such a state.


Jim had raced out as soon as she’d left and met her at the elevators, hugging her to his chest. “Oh God, Pam. I’m so sorry. We’ll figure this out okay? Go home. Take some time to relax and when five hits, I’m on my way to you. I love you.” He said into her ear, her body shaking against his.


“I love you too.” she responded weakly before stepping back onto the elevator and saying goodbye to her time at Dunder Mifflin.


Hank walked her out of the building and she avoided eye contact with anyone who gawked at the women being kicked out. He followed her to her car, ensuring she wouldn’t make a mad dash back inside to cause a scene. He quickly grumbled to her to “have a nice day” and walked back inside, shutting her out once and for all.


Pam numbly placed her items in the backseat before gripping the door handle tightly, trying to ground herself in this weird process. As soon as her car door shut, the louder, rougher sobs came out. She was terrified of the next steps and was scared of the unknown. She sat in the parking lot for a few minutes as she regained composure, certain that her former coworkers were watching her breakdown and considered the possibility that Dwight would be sending Hank out any minute if she didn’t leave soon.


She sniffled the entire way back home, her pale pink jacket and favorite shirt ruined from coffee and the shirt additionally soaked in salty tears.


She reversed her earlier actions, hit every green light on her way home, passed the Dunkin’ Donuts and their shorter line, and made her way back to her apartment parking lot. She parked, grabbed her items, and walked inside. She breathed in deeply, feeling the cool air hit her lungs, listened to the leaves rustle in the wind, and felt the sun hit her cheeks. She felt a whole lot calmer and unlocked her door, pushing it open.


She spent the remainder of the day curled up in her coziest sweatpants, mindlessly watching daytime game shows, wishing an endless stream of television and movies existed on demand and ultimately fell asleep to the boring droning of the older hosts explaining games that in truth made no sense to the average person.


She awoke to hearing a key turn in her door, dazed, and wondering what day or year it was. It all came crashing back down on her and she perked up knowing it was Jim on the other side of the door. He stumbled in, carrying a bag of takeout which was promptly placed on her hardwood floors, and toed his shoes off as she ran into his arms. A fresh stream of emotions flowed from her eyes all over his untucked work shirt.


He held her tightly against him, stroking her tangled hair the best he could, and whispering words of affirmation in her ears. At some point they’d ended up in a heap on the floor, her sitting in his lap, her head against his chest, the tears fewer and far between, the sniffs slowing again. Pam had a massive headache having not cried this much since she was a teenager.


“There you go. It’s going to be okay.” She registered Jim sweetly whispering into her ear.


She looked up into his eyes and gave him a tiny smile. “I love you, you know?” she placed her hand on his chest and felt him melt into her touch like she’d melted into his.

“I love you too. So much.” he responded, pulling her hand that rested on his chest to his mouth to place a gentle kiss upon it. 


He moved to stand up, pulling her feet up. He smoothed her hair as she gave him a tiny pout at the loss of contact. 


“We’ll get through this together. You are my everything. My absolute life. I will never leave your side and will support you through it all.” He put his hands in his pocket.


“Pam, I know this may not feel like the right time. I was planning on doing this tonight anyway. I mean, it’s Friday during the Fall. The weather was beautiful and I drove to work completely in awe of you and us. I considered not doing this, but I can’t think of a better time to show you how completely devoted to you no matter where you work.”


Jim pulled out a tiny black box and she gasped, yet another wave of tears making their way to the surface. This time for a much better reason.


He gracefully lowered to one knee in her foyer, their takeout long forgotten and asked her the question she’d been anticipating for months, his eyes begging for a “yes”.


“Pam, I want to spend forever with you. You’ve already given me everything I could ever want, but this one thing. Will you marry me and let me make you happy and comfort you for the rest of our lives?” His voice cracked slightly at the end, shaking a tad, and full of nerves.


She nodded, excitedly exclaiming , “Yes! Yes, absolutely yes. You have my heart forever.” She pulled him down to kiss his full, warm lips. He wrapped her in his arms again, deepening the kiss, tracing her lips with his tongue, a large grin on his face evident.


They both pulled back, breathless and declared their love again in unison, their foreheads pressed together, and their eyes full of love and excitement for the next chapter.


“Hmm,” Pam thought to herself, excitement bubbling within her, “maybe this is all in my life plan. Maybe getting fired was the best thing that could have happened to me.”


She hugged him back harder than before, ready to see what was next.

End Notes:
I hope you all like it, but let me know what you all think! 
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