The Start of Forever by beth9501

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: 3925 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. 

1. The Beginning of October - 2008 by beth9501

2. The End of October - 2008 by beth9501

3. The Middle of November - 2008 by beth9501

4. The End of November - 2008 by beth9501

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! 
The End of October - 2008 by beth9501
Author's Notes:

3,121 words written for NaNoWriMo today. 

6,438/50,000 so far!

Two weeks had passed since the beginning of Pam’s next chapter of life had started. Unintentional as it was, it was a new chapter, The Dunder Mifflin door had closed and she’d gotten engaged… all in the same day. 

Jim and Pam had spent every day apart and attempted to make up for it at night when he came over or she surprised him at his apartment the nights that Mark worked. It wasn’t the perfect system yet. She felt like she was missing out on pieces of his life that she’d taken advantage of when she saw him every second of every day. Did he still like Jelly Beans or was his fondness of them simply because of her?

Pam secretly spent the daytime working hours equal parts loathing everything and mourning the job she never even liked, teaching herself quality life skills, like how to play Family Feud. Who knew, maybe she’d be on there herself. She wasn’t certain of much anymore. When Jim would leave each morning, she would feel pretty silly sitting in her polka dotted pajamas while he put on his dress shirt and tie each day. It certainly didn’t help her current outlook on life. However, she didn’t want to upset him, so she secretly watched his car drive down the road (when he stayed with her) or left at the same time (when she stayed with him). She was able to be much stealthier when she was at her own place. She’d wait until his car disappeared, immediately turn the television on and wouldn’t move from her spot on the couch until it was almost time for Jim to come home. At that time she’d get up, shower off the sheer embarrassment she felt for her life right now, and cook dinner. She could fake having it all together while he was home. She did feel quite guilty though, lying to him like this. They were engaged now so weren’t they supposed to feel comfortable sharing all the intimate details of their lives with each other? It’s not that she didn’t feel comfortable, she was ashamed of the person she’d become. This was unlike her and her character. Bringing it up to Jim frightened her more. The unreasonable side wondered if he’d call their engagement off. She constantly had to remind herself that he’d proposed while knowing the circumstances.

On this particular day in October though, Pam had carried out her normal routine, watched Jim get ready for work, kissed him goodbye, and waited until his car disappeared down the road. Two hours into her morning binge session, a familiar feeling came across her. She had a desire to paint that she hadn’t felt in months. She switched the program off, stood up from the couch and stretched. She suddenly felt refreshed. She padded off to the extra room that was for storage, but also housed her paints and canvases. Picking up her easel from behind a moving box and a blank canvas from the stack, she felt the shock of being alive hit her system. The paints hadn’t gone bad yet for which she was grateful. Minutes later she had squeezed the colors onto a palette and began painting what she felt. 

Jewel tones mixed with black and cream. They swirled around into an impressionist painting that had no meaning to anyone besides her when she looked at it. She had started at the right-hand side of the canvas using the colors jam, emerald, navy, and black. They represented the loneliness she felt during the day, the one thing that had made her happy (well, was Jim who made her happy, but the office was the reason she’d met him). It showcased the emotions she felt during each work day and the uncertainty that loomed over her. 

By the middle of the canvas, the colors slowly mixed together to create a transition from the dark to the light. The cream paint helped her create this and represented the newness of this next chapter of her life. It also felt “bridal” to her and while her mind constantly stressed over her job, she had to remind herself to enjoy this season of life. She thought about how vastly different it was from her previous engagement. It wasn’t fair to compare the two, but she often found herself doing so. Jim made this engagement feel the way it was supposed to, a partnership between two that become one. While the planning wasn’t too far along, Pam felt more stable this time around.

Breathing in a content sigh as she let the brush stroke across the canvas one last time, she stepped back to admire her piece. She was glad she’d selected a 16x20 size as it showed progression across it. The room smelled like acrylic so she moved to the window to push it open. Taking a deep breath to soak in the autumn air before it was gone, she tried to recall the last time she was outside for pleasure and it had enjoyed the simple moments of the world, a bird chirping, the way the wind whistled around corners, or just a simple walk down the street. She checked the time, glancing at her watch that now had a light brush of emerald on the band, “Only noon. I still have time.”

She sent Jim a quick text message requesting he meet her at Nay Aug Park around 1:00pm. She received a quick response of glee.

She figured she only had twenty minutes to get ready so she rushed towards the shower, scrubbing her hair and body clean as quickly as she could. Seven minutes later she stepped out feeling renewed. She found her mascara on the bathroom counter, forgotten a few weeks ago and swiped on a few layers before applying some tinted lip balm. It wasn’t much, but for her, it was a start at becoming Pam 6.0...or 2.0...whatever it was.

Slipping on her favorite jeans and Jim’s favorite green sweater of hers, she skipped towards the front door, grabbing her keys and a jacket.

A rush of cool autumn air hit her cheeks, flushing them almost instantly. She was reminded of her walk to her car a few weeks ago on doomsday. Though this time, she felt free and different.

She opened her car door and immediately turned on her favorite variety station. Drops of Jupiter, a song she hadn’t heard in a while came on. She recalled playing it on repeat when it first debuted. It was added to her list of “always play” from then on.

A quick stop at the sub shop down the street to pick up their lunch, tuna for Jim, veggie for her, some apples, and a pickle to split, and she was ready for his surprise lunch. Well not really a surprise since she asked him to meet her here, but it was unplanned until an hour ago.

She spotted him, long and lean, resting against the hood of his car and she pulled up next to him. He immediately greeted her at the driver side door and pulled her into a warm hug, planting a kiss on top of her head. 

“Well, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes.” he said, a smile playing on his lips and a finger twirling a curl.

She sighed into him, “You are the sweetest. I guess that’s why I felt so inclined to buy you lunch today!” Jim glanced past her to see the sandwiches sitting on the passenger seat. 

“Bees, you always know how to make a day better. This is awesome!”

They make their way to a park table nearby. She reveled in the crunch of leaves she felt under her feet and marveled at the way Jim’s hair naturally tousles itself in the wind. She can’t believe he’s hers. Not that she needs a reminder of what she almost lost, but moments like this do that to her. She feels overwhelmed with emotion and decides Jim’s seen enough of mopey Pam the last few weeks and takes a bite of her sandwich instead.

“The new receptionist they hired is garbage.” Jim tells her between bites. “Dwight has told her at least twenty times this week how to transfer calls to the sales team. Even Michael is over it.” He pauses and sees her lips lift on one side. She does. Not. Miss. Being. A. Receptionist. She just envies everyone who gets to spend time with her boyf-wait, fiance, she has to remind herself.

“I think Dwight wants you to come back.” Jim says, a hopeful look in his eye. 

That’s when it hits her, she doesn’t want this job anymore. Why does she keep reliving this moment with such negativity? Dwight firing her was the absolute best thing that could have happened to her.

She stared down at the half eaten sandwich before glancing up to Jim. “Tell him I don’t want it if he asks.” She responds, confidence in her voice.

Jim nodded, glancing away, but she doesn’t miss the smile that raised his cheeks. She knows he’s happy for her and loves him all the more for it.

She continued, “I don’t know exactly what I want to do, but I’ve thought of a few options. We can talk about them more at dinner tonight?” She sees him gathering his sandwich wrapper, the apple core, and a dirty napkin. 

“Oh, of course! I can’t wait to hear more about it.” Jim stands, stretching tall and she feels eyes of the stay at home moms on her, envious of her catch.

Stepping towards him, wrapping her arms around his waist, she kisses his cheek lightly. “I love you” she murmurs against him.

“I love you more” he responds in her ear. They part ways and she drives back home, the windows down, blaring music through her speakers and feels divine for the first time in weeks.

The afternoon is spent deep cleaning her apartment and making up for the time she spent neglecting the chores that needed to have been completed days ago. Laundry that had piled up swishes in the washer and dishes that rested in her sink, are thoroughly rinsed before placed in her dishwasher.

All the while she considers what her new career can be. She has a degree in Art History with an emphasis in design. She thinks back to her time in college. She’d had a plan, but then Roy had convinced her life could be much better if she’d work at Dunder Mifflin with her instead. She didn’t fight with him and simply applied. It wasn’t the life she had wanted, but there weren’t too many openings in the field she’d studied in anyway. She figures now that Roy regrets asking her to apply (if he’s even considered it) because she wouldn’t have met Jim.

She vacuums and ponders what that life would have looked like and shudders at the thought of being someone's glorified mother.

As she begins her dusting, she makes a mental list of all the places she can check for jobs. She won’t be too picky, she just needs to get her foot in the door. However, if she can find the ideal job of designing art displays at museums or galleries, she’ll jump on it. She always thought there was a method and psychology to how art showcases were laid out. The thought that she could start working her dream job at 29, years after her teenage self expected this to happen, fills her with an emotion she hasn’t felt in so long: self-confidence and potential.

She continued to clean, listening to the top 40 pop hits through her earbuds, her Mp3/radio player in her back pocket. The thought that she can actively change her life motivates her in ways she can’t get enough of. She promises herself that tomorrow, first thing, she’ll start the job search. Thinking back to the morning, she’s still unsure what overcame her and put her in a good headspace again, but she doesn’t complain. Sometimes things just happen at the right time. Or her body was over sulking on the couch. Either way she’s back to feeling like Pam, or rather a Pam that doesn’t feel stuck.

It doesn’t take much longer to finish cleaning the apartment and she glanced down at  her watch, checking the time. She wanted to cook a nice dinner for Jim. He’d put up with her the last few weeks (though he’d probably say “that’s my job”) and be all nice and sweet about it, but she recognized that she needed to acknowledge and thank him for it.

She pulled a pale blue dress out of her closet that she bought last spring at Macy’s and put it on. It cinched at her waist, had shorter sleeves that fluttered and flowed. It’s not a random dress she’s chosen for the occasion. It’s intentional. The last time she wore this dress, it ended up on the floor of her bedroom almost immediately. Jim had obviously loved it and she’d more than loved the outcome. She added some definition to her curls and added a bit more makeup than she had earlier. She wanted tonight to feel like a rebirth of her and make it special for her fiance. She’d been too down to officially celebrate their engagement and she planed to make that up to him tonight.

She moved quickly knowing that there wasn’t that much time left before Jim got off work and she was determined to look presentable and have dinner on the table before he was home. “Wow, already a housewife,” she laughed to herself, “My ancestors would be so proud of what they worked for”. Honestly though, she loved doing this for him because she knows he’d do the same for her.

Making her way into the kitchen, she checks to see that she had thirty minutes before he was due at her place and puts a pot of water to boil on the stove. She’s making his favorite meal, chicken alfredo with an Italian salad for tonight. Prepping the ingredients, she hummed along to the oldies station on her radio. It’s full of the classics and made for a romantic soundtrack. 

Fifteen minutes before he was due home, she was placing the thinly sliced chicken in the oven. The pasta was boiling, well on its way, and she set off to make the salad. She grabbed the ingredients of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, olives, and pepperoncinis. She made a quick vinaigrette and topped the salad with some grated parmesan. The fact that she had all the ingredients in her kitchen shocked her considering the state of mind she’s been in.

The candles haven't been used since she lost power a few months ago and sat with a thin layer of dust on her table. The warmth fills the room as the light flickers after they’re lit. She wished she had a dimmer in her kitchen lights, but decided to add a few more candles to the room...okay she has a problem. She wanted to eat by candlelight and really make it feel special. She quickly pondered how pre-electricity citizens would feel knowing this is considered romantic, but pushed that out her mind quickly as the timer dinged. Placing the glassware on the stove, draining the pot of pasta, and plating them all together with some canned alfredo sauce, she set the salad and dish on the table with two place settings.

Like clockwork, and she was truly impressed with herself, she heard the lock click open and Jim’s work bag thud softly by the front door as he shucked it off.

“Wow, what do you have g-” he stopped in the doorway to her kitchen and grinned at her. 

She had outdown herself. The kitchen was lit up in candles that flickered in the darkened space, the aroma of their dinner circled the air, and the blue dress she wore outdid everything she had done for the last few weeks combined.

He crossed the room and gathered her in his arms, a near growl at her ear. “I love this dress” is the first thing he says in her ear before gripping her waist possessively, his pointer finger and thumb playing with the material between them. 

Leaning back, she smirked at him, she could see the memory of the last time she wore this particular dress cross his mind and had a pretty good idea of where their night would lead after dinner.

In the meantime, she pulled back so they could sit down and enjoy their meal. The entire time, she ran her painted toes along his legs, sometimes slipping them under the pant leg. The shudder that moves through him doesn’t go unnoticed and she smiled into the plate of pasta, swirling the noodles on her fork.

They discussed her future job opportunities and like she had always suspected, he was incredibly supportive of her. When she brought up the dream job she’s always wanted, she paused because he gave her a look like he was in awe and when she asked him, “What?” He said just as she suspected, that he was in awe of her and she didn’t think she'd ever been more in love. She stood up slowly and moved to each candle individually, blowing them out, and never let her gaze leave his. She watched him swallow, his eyes connected with hers, but struggling not the watch the way her dress swung around her.

He caught her drift after the third candle and stood up himself, helping her blow the flames out until they met in the middle, standing together in the dark.

“Remember the last time you wore this dress?” He questions her again, his voice barely above a whisper. It’s an intimate moment they share there in the dark, She wondered how she got so lucky, but it hits her, it’s because she took a chance. That’s what this has always been about.

“I remember.” she responds, feeling his hands stroke up her side to her cheek and caress her gently. She kissed his palm after his thumb grazed her lower lip. He knew how to undo her every time.

He pulled his hand back, placing it back on her waist and leaned in to kiss her softly before she returned it a bit more intensely and he responded in kind.

It wasn’t long before the dress ended up on the floor again, but this time it was the kitchen. “Not a bad day” she thought to herself as they moved together. “Not a bad day.”

End Notes:
What are you all thinking? I thought about adding some angst with Roy then decided that was a bad call. We'll just leave him in her past.
The Middle of November - 2008 by beth9501
Author's Notes:
NanoWriMo 9,015/50,000!

A few weeks of persisting with the job search down, Pam finally felt like she had some great prospects in the works. Jim had assisted her with making a pro and con list for each potential job and the companies. Was the commute awful? Would she start at an intern level and have to work her way up even at age 29? Was the pay more or less than working at a regular minimum wage job? Was it more or less than her receptionist position had been? These were all questions that made Pam slowly narrow her list down. The museum downtown required specific museum coursework. The art gallery near Nay Aug park only wanted someone part time. The cherry on top of the first exhausting week of job searching had been mistaking typing the wrong city into her computer’s search bar and seeing three openings total for an entire city. Once she’d realized her mistake, she was able to laugh, but thought it was too bad for the art scene there.

While she wasn’t trying to be too picky in her job search, she also wanted to ensure that she was making the best choice for herself and not settling for any old job. She’d spent quite a bit of time going with options that “made sense” and were financially responsible. Yet, she’d never been happy. After a few years in the workforce, she’d come to learn that if she was strategic enough in the search, she could find something that gave her the best of all worlds.

Her list from ten lowered to three as different locations were ruled out for other reasons. Those top three would stay as her plan A. The middle four would be her plan B. Leaving the remaining three to plan C. Pam was trying to stay optimistic with her top choices, deciding that she would only look to the remaining options if nothing else worked out.

Jim had stayed up with her each night mapping her plan out. When she’d gotten overwhelmed, he'd brewed her chamomile tea to relax, rubbed her shoulders, and had given her numerous pep talks. The thought that she didn’t deserve him ran through her head many times as he stayed upbeat for her.

On a chilly, Tuesday morning in mid-November, Pam woke up with Jim, saw him off to work, and started on the chores. Looking at the calendar she realized it had been a month since she had been fired. She smiled to herself. She’d overcome a lot in a short time and the feeling of resilience was overwhelming. The chores continued throughout the morning until she was interrupted by the phone ringing.

Jumping at the sound, she picked it up. “Hello?” She began cheerfully. “Yes, this is Pam.” 

Her lips rose into an elated smile. The first choice for her job search wanted to interview her tomorrow afternoon if she was available.

They asked her to bring her resume in so they could review it in person with her.

She made notes about the hiring manager and answered the questions that regarded her work experience and education as filtering questions before hanging up the phone.

As soon as she pressed the end button she jumped around her apartment excitedly, turning up the radio, and sang into the broom. She was stoked for Jim to get home where she could share the good news.

When he walked through the door a few hours later, she was waiting expectantly in her mini foyer. As soon as the key went into the lock she started jumping up and down, feeling giddy like a child at Christmas. 

Before he’d gotten the door closed, she’d thrown herself at him, kissing him hard.

She could feel his body tense with surprise, but melt soon thereafter.

She pulled back and looked up into his bright eyes that she was positive matched hers.

“Hi.” she breathed out. She loved the way he smiled and laughed around her and his response this time was no surprise.

“To what do I owe the pleasure of you greeting me like this? Can I continue to expect this level of service each time I walk through the door?” He smirked at her as she playfully smacked him on the shoulder.

“Service? Hmm, seems like the wrong angle, Halpert.” She smirked back in response.

He chuckled, setting his bag on the floor now that she’d given him the space to do so and pulled her back into his arms.

“Guess what happened today?” She began, but continued before he could answer, “The gallery downtown, you know the one that was my first choice…” She gestured at him as he nodded, “They need a design coordinator and called me! They want to interview me!” She practically squealed and leapt into his embrace again.

His animation matched hers as he held her shoulders and beamed back down at her. 

“Pam! That’s amazing! I told you were qualified! Who was right?” He looked at her questioning.

“Okay, listen...yes you were right this time, but it’s not that we knew…”

“I knew, you just didn’t believe me” Jim interrupted.

“BUT IT’S NOT THAT WE KNEW,” she repeated louder this time, eliciting a laugh from Jim as she emphasized her last point before she’s been interrupted, “that I would even be qualified for this. I’m just thrilled someone even wants to take a look at me being all washed up.”

“You’re 29, you have a few more good years in you before you’re washed up.” Jim joked in response. “But seriously, I’m so happy for you. If anyone deserves this, it’s you.”

She pulled him in tightly again before leading him to the kitchen to make dinner.


The next morning after Jim had left for work and she’d finished making breakfast, Pam began ironing a set of interview clothes while her resumes finished printing in her spare room.

Her interview was scheduled for 1:00pm so she had some free time to prepare for the interview, review her resume, and get her nerves pulled together before walking into the gallery.

She recalled back to her interview at Dunder Mifflin years ago when it had just been a reason to make ends meet while she found herself the more permanent role she’d envisioned for herself. She thought back to what those feelings were that day. She remembered her emotions running rampant and the interview adrenaline coursing through her body. What she couldn’t place now was the eerily calmness she felt today. When she’d gone through the interview at Dunder Mifflin, she’d felt sick before her interview, blaming bad eggs, but in reality knew it was the sadness in the pit of her stomach of feeling like she was settling and would never work her dream job.

Even if she didn’t get the role she wanted today, she was well aware that the person she’d grown into being today far outweighed the one who’d interviewed to be the receptionist. She was proud at the steps she’d taken to become more confident in her abilities. 

The iron was hot and the steam felt like a refresh to her skin as the metal skimmed over the dress pants she’d set aside. She was thankful she’d invested in a steamer as well for the silk top she planned to wear as well.

Losing herself in the racing thoughts in her mind, she came back to her happiness that surrounded Jim. She would always recognize Dunder Mifflin as the place that ultimately pushed her and challenged her to become better, even if she didn’t feel like it.

Once the ironing was finished, she stepped into the shower ready to physically feel renewed, like she was washing off her uniform of being the person Roy had wanted her to be, and becoming the person she’d dreamed she would turn into, and the one that Jim would be proud of.

Unsure of where the newfound confidence  and self-love came from, but wanting to ride that high as long as she could, she kept her thoughts in that lane. At least through the interview. Then if negativity seeped in, at least it wouldn’t ruin her positive outlook.

After finishing in the shower and wrapping a towel around herself, she wiped the mirror down. She hadn’t done a full face of makeup for an interview or work in a long time and rarely did it in general. She had about forty-five minutes before she needed to leave. 

As the steam from her bathroom escaped out the door once it was opened, she padded over to the radio turning it on to sing to the 90’s hits. Her all time favorite era of music was on the list for today. It was the only way to prepare for this next phase of her life, after all.

She hummed along to TLC and moisturized her dry skin, focusing on her face, wanting to seem as awake, aware, and ready to go as possible.

Moving to her makeup, she carefully lined her top lids, praying for a miracle that she wouldn’t mess that up, added some carefully placed brown eye shadow, and swiped a few layers of mascara on. She carefully warded off a sneeze, afraid her hard work would be ruined. 

Once she’d completed her makeup, she unraveled her hair from the towel that soaked up its water and began blowing it dry. Once her waves had been brushed out, she plugged her curling iron in to add more depth. She always loved the way her hair looked when she did it like this. It reminded her of the effortlessness that cover-models always seemed to have. She wasn’t unaware that she didn’t look like that, but it at least gave her the illusion she was something more.

It didn’t take long for her to finish the curls and add a light misting of hairspray.

The mirror was no longer foggy and she stared back at herself. She didn’t recognize the woman staring back at her. She was so...beautiful. She smiled softly at her reflection wondering when this had happened. It felt freeing and like a weight was being lifted off of her. She was Pam Freaking Beesly and she was awesome!

Giving the reflection one last smile, she made her way to her bedroom to get dressed. This was one of those times she was grateful she didn’t have a pet. She randomly thought to herself that couldn’t imagine having set her clothes down on her bed and immediately having them covered in fur.

Putting her clothes on and smoothing out the gentle wrinkles that had set from her bed, she took one last look at herself in the mirror, giving herself a thumbs up and a quiet, “you got this” before heading to grab her resume.

Five minutes later she was out the door, a tad earlier than anticipated, but it gave her the time needed to find parking.

The air chillier than a month prior, she was happy the heating in her newer car worked well. It made her finger tips toasty as she drove towards the main route into downtown Scranton.

It wasn’t long before she was at her destination with twenty minutes to spare until her interview. She parallel parked on the street next to the right side of the old brick building sighing at the pure beauty and simplicity of the design. A charming two story in the heart of the city with floor to ceiling windows, she recalled marveling at the alluring space as a young girl. She had always enjoyed when her parents would take her on a drive and on the way home, they’d drive through what she considered to be the art district. It’s where anything that was considered to be related to the arts resided in Scranton.

She sat in her car, wringing her hands together, her earlier nerves that she’d scared off, coming back full force. Taking a few deep breaths, she reminded herself that she was qualified, capable, and freaking awesome. She was looking for a job when she found this one. Okay, that didn’t work as well, but it wasn’t entirely wrong. If this didn’t work out, she had her list.

Pepping herself up a bit more, she glanced down at the clock. Ten minutes until her interview. She grabbed her back on the passenger seat, checked to make sure no cars were coming, and exited the car. 

Her confidence increased with each step she took towards the entrance. She opened the door and was hit with the fresh smell of apples and art. It was the sweet mixture of the seasonal smells, old wooden floors, and canvases. If she could have bottled it up to take home as a candle, she would have jumped at the chance.

She walked towards the receptionist desk, feeling her hair swing behind her like all the professional women she’d always admired had.

“Hi, welcome to Sequoia. My name is Alicia, how may I help you?” Pam smiled down at the thin blonde, admiring her use of a pencil to secure her hair.

With ease and self-assured voice, Pam indicated she was there for an interview.

Alicia stood up and shook her hand, motioning Pam to follow her.

The walk towards what Pam assumed would be a conference room allowed her to get a mini tour of the gallery.

She’d always seen the glass sculptures that hung inside while driving by, but had never imagined they were this grand.

The modern artwork that adorned the walls captivated her and left more questions than answers in her mind.

When they arrived at the conference room, Pam carefully took the space in, noticing three Macbooks and two iMac computers along the north wall of the room. An oblong table stretched in the middle of the space with desk chairs neatly arranged around them.

An espresso maker sat on a counter with two bar stools on the stark white south wall. The north and east walls had exposed brick while the west wall opened up to the sidewalks with its expansive windows.

Two employees stood up, smiling pleasantly as Pam moved forward to sit in one of the orderly chairs.

“Hello, I’m Pam. It’s wonderful to meet you all.” She shook their hands and waited for the introductions.

“Hi, Pam. I’m Danielle, the Sequoia's director. I’m pleased to meet you.” Danielle looked toward the man in the room awaiting his formal reply.

“Pam, I’m Joshua. I am the executive coordinator of design. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Please, sit.” He gestured.

Pam took a seat and folded her hands on the table, with bright eyes staring back at Danielle and Joshua.

“Alright, let’s get started!” Danielle began, shuffling the papers in front of her.


An hour later and exhausted from the mental capacity it took her to get through an interview, Pam left the studio with the giddy feeling that she had excelled in her interview.

She checked for cars and opened the door, quickly sitting in the seat and starting her car. 

She grabbed her phone out of her bag to see an encouraging Jim message flash on her phone. Typing, back a quick reply, she then placed her phone in her bag and headed to the nearest coffee shop. It was time for some caffeine and then a quick power nap before she continued becoming the best version that existed of herself.

End Notes:
Thanks for reading this little update!
The End of November - 2008 by beth9501
Author's Notes:

10,994 words and a bit over 1/5 of the way towards my NanoWriMo goal 50,000!

I'm feeling pretty good so far, but half way through this chapter, I questioned if I liked the path I was on and struggled to get it out, but I think it turned out nicely! 

After the insanity that was planning and enjoying Thanksgiving with two diverse families had ended, Pam and Jim found themselves thoroughly enjoying the quiet cocoon they’d wrapped themselves in following the holiday. It was the calm period of time that lasted just shy of a week between ending one holiday celebration and preparing for another one. Jim had been spending most nights at her apartment and they’d taken full advantage of what a living space without a roommate could be like. The weather had been blustery, but nothing compared to what they would endure once February came. This was the previews that made them ready for the main event.

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and forgetting to set an alarm, they both were startled awake around 9:00am by Pam’s phone ringing on the bedside table. Jim had called in sick late last night when it was clear he wasn’t going to be getting any sleep.

Pam had been in the limbo between asleep and away, enjoying the warmth that surrounded her both in blanket and Jim form. The rest of the room was chilled and she dreaded moving, but sighed and slipped gently away from his embrace.

Sitting up, moving the sheet so it wrapped around her, she reached over Jim’s body to grab the phone. She felt his fingers tickle her sides before stroking up and down her spin leisurely. It made her want to drop the phone back on the bed side table and resume where they had left off the previous night where comfort and love took precedence over their outside lives. 

She glanced down at the caller ID, recognizing it as a Scranton number, but seeing no name. She cleared her throat of sleep before answering the call, the noise and buzzing in her hand, lifting her out of the post-sleep fog quicker than she’d wanted.

“Hello?” The question sounded softer and younger than she intended when the words fell from her lips.

“Yes, this is Pam.” She responded as the other person verified she was the recipient of the call. She leaned back on her pillows, wishing she could go back to ten minutes ago where the cuddling had been all that mattered.

She listened as Danielle informed her that while they absolutely adored her, they had found someone else for the position. Pam felt her throat close up and the tears ready to fall. Jim must have sensed her change as he sat up, his eyebrows furrowing in sweet concern.

Danielle asked if she would be interested in the receptionist position as Alicia was planning on moving on to another company soon and promised Pam that, “she could work up to something more fitting in the future”. She started sweating, a panic beginning low and spreading throughout her body. Was this all she was meant for?

Pam did a quick mental refresh before losing it on Danielle who was just doing her job. How was she supposed to know that this was Pam’s second chance in life? She politely thanked Danielle for the consideration, but declined. Hanging up soon after she threw her phone on the bed in frustration as the tears spilled onto her cheeks. 

As always, Jim was right there to catch her when she fell and he pulled her into his arms while she sobbed into his chest. She burrowed herself in as close as she could.

“I just…,” she hiccuped, “don’t understand…,” a snot bubble grew as she wiped it away before he could notice, “why am I not good enough?!” she wailed.

She felt Jim stiffen next to her before pulling away. “Not good enough? Those people are insane for not seeing your talent. You are the most inspiring person I’ve ever met and I’ve met Michael Scott.” She smirked at him through her sodden eyelashes.

“Yeah, but still. You’re not the one hiring me…” she quipped back, another hiccup escaping her lips.

“Ah, very true, but this is only the first job interview. Most people don’t get the first one. This is why you made plan A-C. Just in case. You did apply to the other nine companies, right?” He questioned, tilting his head to the right a tad.

She glanced away, biting her lip. “So I might have made a mistake and put all my eggs in one basket…” she peered back at him, nervous of his reaction. She needed to stop comparing his reactions to what Roy might have done.

He gave her a half smile. “It’s okay, we’ve all done it. How about I help you today and we’ll get the rest of those applications out. You’re capable and a hard worker. There’s going to be someone and a company who values you as much as I, and everyone else around you, does.”

She moved in close to him again, kissing him on the cheek. “I love, you know? Thank you.” she breathed out, the tears falling much slower now. He really did know how to change her moods. Cuddling into his chest, she closed her eyes breathing him in. 

“Anytime, Bees. That’s why I’m here.” He responded into the crown of her head, smiling a bit before laying a gentle kiss there.

Jim was a blessing in her life. As he held her, rocking her in his arms, soothing her. She was grateful. 

Ten minutes or so of self-wallowing passed and she moved to look up at him. “As much as I want to sit and dwell on this, it won’t change anything. I need to get up, be an adult, and find something that works. My savings isn’t going to last forever…” He loosened his grip on her to let her go. 

“Let’s get to it then!” He responded enthusiastically, waiting until she had fully untangled her limbs from his before following her into her makeshift office.

Sitting down at the desk where her computer was housed, she switched the power button on as Jim pulled a chair up next to her. She let her mind wander momentarily and eyed his lean body that made any piece of furniture look good.

Glancing up at him, she admired the way he looked determinedly at her computer as it booted up, waiting for the home screen to pull up. It was like this was his personal fight as well.

However, she felt badly, a small voice nagging her that he shouldn’t have to sit here and waste his day. “Jim, I am totally capable of doing this on my own. I made the mistake. You shouldn’t have to sit here and wait for me to fix it. I don’t want to ruin your day off!” she bit her lip and looked at her hands that sat in her lap, hoping he would heed her concerns.

“I know you are, but I want to help and support in any way that I can. Plus, then I can crack the whip if you get sidetracked.” he joked, his eyes sparkling. 

Okay, he enjoyed this way too much clearly.  She snorted, “Yeah, okay, thanks for that!” 

Her computer finished booting and she pulled up job links for the nine other companies. She’d realized very quickly she might not be able to be as picky as she would have liked. Putting an application in for all of the positions was her best bet if she wanted to be considered for something.

As she sifted through the job opportunities, she realized she was in way worse shape than expected.

Turning towards Jim, a small look of panic in her face, she spoke with nerves in her voice, “Half of the jobs I wanted no longer have openings.” She could feel her throat throb with impending tears ready to spring at any moment, but closed her eyes inhaling deeply to calm herself instead. Honestly, this was a lesson for her. She’d made a mistake. Other positions existed. She would find them.

Before Jim could respond to her, she turned back towards her computer closing the screens that were no longer useful in the job search in a haste, wanting to focus on the openings that did exist.

She waded through the remaining five options: Assistant Art Curator, Art Designer I, Museum Designer-Main Exhibit, Gallery Guide, and Museum Guide. 

Art Designer I was in her top three, while Gallery Guide was in the middle, and Assistant Art Curator, Museum Designer-Main Exhibit, and Museum Guide were at the end of list. It figured that out of the five remaining positions, three would be at the end of her list.

She sighed heavily and saw Jim move slightly out of her peripheral vision. He stood up and kissed her on her head, “I’ll be right back.” He exited the room leaving her with this project.

Focusing back on the computer, she clicked on the Art Designer I position, and began applying for it. Half way through the application, she became distracted and started searching for other art positions out of Scranton to see what might exist. Her eyes widened at the possibilities she saw in Philadelphia. Obviously the city was much larger and would certainly have many more opportunities. She checked the door behind her to see if Jim was anywhere close before opening a few new tabs to apply for a couple of positions.

An hour later and Jim still hadn’t come back, but Pam had applied for two jobs in Philadelphia and completed her application for the Art Designer I role. She turned her head to the side, feeling accomplished that an hour had passed without her being distracted.

However, her legs ached from sitting still so long and she desperately needed a stretch. She checked the computer clock and saw it was still early. There was still time to enjoy this day. Pushing away from the desk and standing, she leaned forward to slightly crack her back and stood straight to stretch her arms up high.

Jim must have snuck in when she was rolling the chair back because she felt his arms snake around her waist and his lips kissed the left side of her neck softly. It left her feeling a hum of satisfaction. The kind she craved with him.

“Hey.” he commented quietly. She could feel his morning stubble rubbing against her cheek. It was a feeling she’d decided long ago she could never live without.

“Where’d you go?” She responded in her hushed tone. She loved leaning back into his embrace, feeling his arms tightening in that firm, comforting way she never wanted to escape.

“The longer I sat here, the more I considered, you might not enjoy feeling like I was watching you, so I took my book out on your patio with my book to give you some space.”

Her heart swelled at the kindness he had for her. Sometimes she still felt undeserving of a love like this, but it was times like this, she couldn’t be more grateful for him.

“I found some jobs in Philly…” she started, almost wary of what his reaction might be.

“Oh?” he questioned, waiting for her to continue.

“I applied for them too…” she paused, biting her lip as her nervous habit came rushing back full force.

He kissed the top of her head and moved her so she faced him. “I think that’s amazing! If you get a job, we’ll figure it out.” 

A swell of relief filled her body. With Roy, she would have felt like she needed to make a dozen excuses to do what she wanted. With Jim, she didn’t feel like she had to be anyone other than herself. 

He stroked her cheek with his thumb gently. “Are you hungry? I did check your fridge and pantry. Seems like you're fully stocked on all pancake ingredients and coffee. What do you say, breakfast in bed?” 

She beamed up at him, “absolutely.”

End Notes:
Next stop, December!
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