School is back in session at Edward Truck Memorial High School. Follow our two favorite teachers as they wade though teenage hormones, handle ridiculous coworkers, and navigate their new marriage together.
Sequel to Beyond the Blackboard which you can find here
Categories: Jim and Pam Characters:
Fluff, Humor, Married, RomanceWarnings:
Mild sexual content
January 13, 2021 Updated:
October 17, 2022
This was never going to be a thing. Turns out peer pressure works, kids.
But in all honesty, I’ve missed this story ever since I finished the first one. I hope you all enjoy the second installment of English Jim because I know I’ll enjoy writing it. :)
1. Back to School by WanderingWatchtower
2. Chapter 2: Spirit Week by WanderingWatchtower
3. Chapter 3: The Library by WanderingWatchtower
4. Chapter 4: The Conference by WanderingWatchtower
5. Chapter 5: Parent Teacher Conferences by WanderingWatchtower
6. Chapter 6: Hazelton High by WanderingWatchtower
7. Chapter 7: Tour of Scranton Cuisine by WanderingWatchtower
Back to School by WanderingWatchtower
The bell rang, dismissing Jim’s final class of his first day back at school. He collapsed in his desk chair, closed his eyes, and started rubbing his temples.
Eyes still closed, he felt two small hands slide over his shoulders and down his chest from behind. He smiled, knowing the familiar touch immediately, and brought his hand up to cover hers that were against his chest. Her lips gently pressed against his cheek as she squeezed him a little tighter.
“Hey, Mr. Halpert,” she hummed against his cheek.
He swiveled his chair so he was now facing her and grinned. “Well, hello, Mrs. Halpert.”
She grabbed his tie and began fiddling with it, a smile peeking through as she bit her bottom lip. Giving a slight tug, she pulled him closer and kissed him gently.
“I like the sound of that,” she said against his lips as she pulled away. “Even if I forgot it was my name at least three times today when students tried to get my attention.”
He chuckled. “Guess it will take some getting used to,” he shrugged.
“Just like this will take some time to get used to,” she said, rubbing his face that now donned a trimmed beard.
“Oh, come on. You love the beard.”
She pulled up a chair next to him and crossed her legs. “It’s growing on me.”
Jim ran his fingers over his chin. “Technically, it’s growing on me, but whatever.”
She rolled her eyes and stood back up as quickly as she sat down. “Ooookay, Dad. I’m going back to my classroom.”
“I love you!” he called after her.
She turned back quickly and winked at him.
Jim turned, a smile still on his lips, and looked at his empty classroom. It was hard to believe that this time last year, Pam was nothing more than the cute new teacher he knew he wanted to get to know better. Now she was kissing him in his classroom, wearing a ring he gave her on her finger, and in about 20 minutes, they would drive home together to the house they shared.
It had been less than a month since he stood next to her in that cabin and promised his whole heart to her for the rest of their lives as if it wasn't already guaranteed—as if he hadn’t decided he wanted every day to begin and end with her from nearly the moment he met her. It had felt like the blink of an eye, but also somehow felt impossible to remember a time they weren’t tethered together.
After finishing up some paperwork, he tidied his desk, slid some papers in his bag, and shut off the lights to his classroom. Across the hall, Pam was at her own desk which was now covered with pictures of the two of them, the teapot he gave her, and the picture of the beloved ninja turtle Raphael that had become a symbol of the start of their relationship.
“You ready to go?” he asked, walking through the door. She glanced up and gave him a bright smile.
“Yep! Just let me grab my purse.”
He pointed to her desk. “Don’t forget your class roles.”
She grinned and grabbed the papers from her desk. Jim took her free hand in his and they walked out of her classroom together.
The hallways were mostly empty, barring the few student stragglers.
“Gross, Halpert!” a student joked from his locker. “You’re holding a girl’s hand!”
Jim chuckled and looked at the student—one of his best and brightest from last year, who he knew he could always joke with.
“Get over it, Dalton,” he said, waving his left ring finger toward the boy. “She’s my wife now. And at least a girl actually likes me.”
All the boy’s friends covered their mouths with their hands, laughing at his expense.
“That was low, Mr. H!” Dalton called after them, as Jim laughed and squeezed Pam’s hand. She looked up at him with a twinkle in her eye.
“I’m your wife,” she said giddily.
Jim kissed the top of her head. “Hell yeah, you are.”
They took the long way to the parking lot so they could avoid walking by the vice principal Michael’s office. Ever since he learned they got married and didn’t invite him to their very small, very private wedding, he’d been trying to guilt them into going on a double date with him and a “mystery lady”, as he put it. Worried (and pretty positive) the “mystery lady” was the principal Jan, who surely wanted nobody to know she was hooking up with Michael, they avoided any interaction with him as they could. Neither of them wanted to be in that situation.
They made it to the parking lot unscathed and Jim opened the car door for Pam. He got in the driver side and sighed deeply, looking over to her. A small smile crept up his cheek.
She smiled back widely. “Snack run.”
Jim grabbed the bag of popcorn out of the microwave, poured it in a bowl, and joined Pam on the couch, grabbing the copies off his class lists and put his feet up on their coffee table. Their house was still packed full of boxes that needed to be unpacked, but it would have to wait. They had things to do.
Pam lowered herself so her head was resting on Jim’s lap. She took a handful of popcorn and lifted a paper to her face. “Ready?”
“Let’s do this.”
Pam swung a Twizzler in the air. “Okay, first class period. No crazy names, but I have Tyson Fenton and Darryl said he’s a punk.”
Jim winced. “Darryl is right. Had him as a freshman.”
Pam groaned and put a mark next to his name.
“My first class,” Jim started. “I have a Chardonnay.”
“No way,” Pam gawked.
Jim pointed to the name on his paper and took a bite of an Oreo. “Way.”
He shrugged. “We may never know. Okay, second class period. Whatcha got?”
“Hmm…” She ran her finger down the list of names. Houston.”
“There could be worse names.”
Pam took a bite of her licorice. “Yeah, but they gave him the middle name Rocket. Houston Rocket, according to the role.”
“Nooo...like the basketball team?”
“Like the basketball team,” she laughed. “I also have a Rage.”
“RAGE?! Steer clear of that guy.”
“It’s a girl.”
Jim choked on his cookie. “My bad.”
They continued through the Kaizlyees, Zeppelins, and Braislynns, until they reached their last classes.
Jim gasped. “Elizabreth Jackson! I have her too! I thought it was a typo today.”
“Me too!” Pam exclaimed.
Jim ran his fingers through her hair and cleared his throat. “Okay, my final one: Jack.”
Pam’s eyebrows furrowed. “What’s the catch?”
Jim folded the paper over and tossed it on the table. “Last name is Daniels.”
Pam covered her face with her hands, laughing. “WHY?!” She seemed to have a revelation and removed her hands. “Wait, what was Chardonnay’s last name? Think they’re siblings?”
They sat silent for a beat before bursting out in laughter. Jim could tell this would become a new tradition every school year. He looked down at his wife, tears of laughter pooling in the corner of her eyes and chocolate smudged on her lower cheek, and he felt an immediate swell of adoration for her. A year together and he still couldn’t believe they were here—that she was his.
Pam sighed as she sat up, then stood to begin cleaning up their pile of snacks and empty glasses. Jim grabbed her hand.
Pam turned to face him. He tugged her hand with a smirk and beckoned her down with a quick backward jerk of his head. She chuckled and then lowered herself onto his lap, straddling his hips and placing both hands behind his neck. His hands spanned her waist and up the sides of the oversized t-shirt she was wearing—a shirt that he was certain was his at one point, but it looked so much better on her. She let out a sigh of contentment and scooted her hips closer to his and slinked her hands through the hair at the base of his neck. He slipped a hand out from behind her and lifted her chin up with his fingers.
“You have some chocolate, right…” he placed his lips on her jawline, his tongue slightly running along it. “...here,” he whispered against her skin. The hand he had on her back immediately felt goosebumps rise underneath it, which in turn elicited a spark deep in his core.
“Hmmm...anywhere else?” she whispered, leaning into his kiss.
He moved his lips to that spot under her ear and she let out the tiniest of moans. “Maybe some here…” he hummed, as his lips moved lower down her neck. “Or here…” He drew a line with his lips down her collarbone, lowering the collar of her shirt. “Might need to investigate what’s under here, though,” he said, as he lifted the shirt at its hem.
She smirked and lifted her arms above her head so he could free her of it, then he quickly turned her over so she was laying on the couch as he hovered over her. He ran his thumb along her cheek, his eyes skirting from her dark eyes to her mouth and back again until he finally captured her lips with his. She wrapped her legs around his hips and pulled him closer as their kisses deepened and intensified, bucking into him and driving him crazy until finally he decided they were both wearing too much clothing. In one swift movement, he pulled her up to stand, still exploring every inch of her with hands and lips. Guiding her down the hallway, he periodically shed pieces of clothing before finally grabbing her behind her thighs and lifting her up. He pressed her firmly against the hallway wall as she snaked her legs around his waist and he pulled back briefly to look at her.
“I really love you,” he said through heavy breaths.
She gave him a sly smile and pressed her lips to his. “Show me,” she whispered against them.
He backed them into their bedroom and made sure to do just that.
“That was a pretty great first day of school ritual,” Pam said lazily as she ran her finger along Jim’s bare chest in figure 8’s. “Let’s make that a tradition.”
Jim chuckled and turned to kiss the top of her head. “You don’t have to ask me twice.”
She looked up at him and smiled, running a hand over his beard. “It’s going to be a good year, isn’t it?”
Jim grinned and placed his hand lovingly over her stomach. “The best. Especially when little Chardonnay makes her debut.”
Pam chuckled and covered his hand with hers. “What about Houston Rocket?”
“Charlotte Bobcat,” he retorted.
“I thought they were the Hornets now,” she giggled.
“Oh, they are. But Bobcat would be a kickass middle name.” He bent down and put his head next to her belly, kissing it. “Wouldn’t it, kid?”
She threaded her fingers through his and gave him a gentle kiss as he laid his head back down by hers.
“Whoever we have in there, they’re pretty freakin’ lucky to have parents like us.”
He rolled his eyes sarcastically. “Obviously.”
She laughed and rolled over, pulling his arm around her waist as she did. He hugged her against him, taking in the smell of her hair that still seemed to intoxicate him.
“You ready for day two tomorrow, Mrs. Halpert?”
She squeezed his hand that was still protectively covering her stomach.
“Absolutely I am.”
Happy birthday, Beth!! ;)
Chapter 2: Spirit Week by WanderingWatchtower
A little different format for this one but I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for all the love in regards to bringing this story back! :)
Monday: Pajama Day
“I hate this week,” Jim groaned.
Pam leaned in closer to the bathroom mirror as she finished applying her mascara. “Babe, it’s pajama day today. It is literally the easiest day of Spirit Week. You are wearing a pair of basketball shorts and a t-shirt. This is like, your dream work attire.”
Jim huffed. “I just don’t like anyone telling me what to wear. And I don’t understand how Michael got this written into our contracts. He’s not even the principal.”
Pam put the wand back in the tube and turned to face him, hand on her hip and a sly smile. “Probably because he’s banging the principal.”
Jim shuddered. “Pam, we agreed to keep that kind of talk outside of these walls,” he warned, taking a few strides toward her. He lifted the hem of the pajama shirt she was wearing and rubbed it between his fingers. “I don’t think I have seen you wear this to bed once.”
She swatted at his fingers. “It’s cute.”
Moving behind her, he wrapped his around her torso and placed his chin on her shoulder, making eye contact with her in the mirror. “I never said it wasn’t. But,” he placed his lips at the base of her neck. “I much prefer you in what you normally sleep in.”
Pam chuckled, leaning back into him. “I can’t wear nothing but your t-shirt to work, Jim.”
He whined against her shoulder. “This week sucks.”
She sympathetically patted his cheek twice with the palm of her hand then shooed him away so she could finish getting ready for the day.
“Okay,” Jim said, taking his travel mug out of the cupholder and taking a sip of his coffee on the drive to the school. “Michael dresses up in a full pajama onesie today, or you get to pick the movie tonight.”
Pam thought about it. “I don’t know, he strikes me as a guy that owns a matching set of satin pajamas. With a monogrammed pocket. So...you have a deal,” she stated firmly, putting her hand out toward him. He put his coffee down and shook her hand across the console.
They walked through the front doors of the school and were immediately greeted by their vice principal.
“Yes,” Pam celebrated under her breath while Jim simultaneously cursed under his. “Love the PJs, Mr. Scott!”
Michael beamed, dressed head to toe in black satin (nightcap included) and pointed to the “MGS” on his chest. “Thank you! I had them specially made, just for today. I love spirit week!”
Pam turned her head to Jim, grinning wildly. “Me too.”
Later that night, Pam nestled herself comfortably under Jim’s arm and pointed the remote toward the TV.
“I can’t believe you’re making me watch this,” Jim droned. “Again.”
She nudged him with her elbow. “I don’t care what you or anyone else says. Legally Blonde is iconic. And a bet is a bet, mister.”
“Fine,” he grumbled.
Maybe one day he would admit he loved it just as much as she did. Maybe.
Tuesday: Wacky Hair Day
Pam’s alarm clock blared and Jim threw the covers over his head. She smiled and rolled over, stretching her arms and legs. Then she ducked her head under the blanket with him.
“Up and at ‘em, Tiger,” she said, placing a quick kiss on his cheek. She was always more chipper than he was in the mornings.
“I don’t wanna,” he mumbled.
She chuckled softly, then trailed her fingers down his chest, stopping momentarily at the elastic waistband of his shorts before barely letting the tips of her fingers dip under it. One of his eyes popped open and he ran his finger down her arm.
“But I could be persuaded.”
She rolled herself on top of him and lowered her lips to the crook of his neck. “And how would one do that?”
His eyes fluttered shut and he gripped her hips. “Mmmm...this is a good start.”
Pam brought her hand up to his hair as she continued kissing up his neck. His hands ran under the pajama shirt she slept in last night (“I’m already in pajamas, why would I change?”), letting his fingers ripple over her shoulder blades and back down to the curve of her waist. She sat up and the simple change in position made him take in a quick breath. He looked up at her, curls falling perfectly over her shoulders and she smirked playfully at him before leaning down slowly to meet his lips with hers. He moved his hands from behind her back to the buttons on her pajamas. After fumbling with the first one he broke the kiss and leaned his head back into the pillow.
“See?! This is why you should always wear one of my t-shirts to bed. I don’t have time for this.”
She sat up and chuckled. Slowly, she began unbuttoning them herself, maintaining sultry eye contact with him the entire time. The shirt slipped down over her shoulders and he ran his hands up her thighs, leaning up to kiss her. “Much better,” he smiled against her lips before flipping her over on the bed, her giggles echoing off their bedroom walls.
“We should really get going,” Pam said, planting a kiss on Jim’s bare chest. She grabbed his discarded shirt at the base of the bed and threw it over her head.
He sat up and stared at her. “Such a good look, Beesly. Seriously.”
Crawling over to him, she kissed him deeply. After she pulled away, she brought her eyes to his hair, now sticking up in every direction imaginable. A wicked smile spread across her face.
Jim’s brow furrowed as she made her way into the bathroom. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Pam poked her head out of the doorway. “It’s wacky hair day today, Halpert,” she winked.
His mouth dropped open. “Wait. Did you just take advantage of me just so you could mess up my hair for stupid Spirit Week?!”
She looked at him slyly as she pulled on her skirt. “Are you mad?”
Looking at his wife, her adorable baby bump finally beginning to make an appearance, he smiled back.
“Not even a little bit.”
Wednesday: Crazy Sock Day
Pam sat on the edge of their bed and pulled on her brightly colored, knee-high socks.
“Now this is a day I can participate in,” Jim said through a mouthful of toothpaste. “Nobody even sees your soc—oh.” He watched Pam roll up her pant legs. “I guess unless you do that.”
She rolled her eyes. “Every party has a pooper…”
“...so that’s why you invited me, I know, I know.”
She couldn’t help but smile. “So are you saying you’re actually going to participate today?”
Jim spit in the sink and rinsed his mouth. After wiping his mouth with a towel, he lifted up his pant legs at the knees and looked down, revealing one black sock and one navy blue sock. He looked up with a smirk. “Totally.”
An exasperated sigh escaped her as she stood up and placed a hand squarely on his chest. She raised up on her toes and placed a kiss on his cheek. “You’re impossible, Halpert.”
“Impooooosibly handsome, funny, smart, and charming?”
She walked out of the bedroom, calling over her shoulder. “No comment.”
Thursday: Dr. Seuss Day
She stared at him with her hands on her hips. “Who are you supposed to be?”
He pulled his plain red t-shirt out in front of him and looked at it. “I’m a Thing.”
“A Thing. Which one?”
“I don’t know.”
Pam pinched the bridge of her nose. “There are only two. Pick one.”
Her face remained expressionless for a full ten seconds before shaking her head and walking to the kitchen. Jim shrugged and followed behind.
Later that day, as Jim worked through his prep period, Darryl walked into his room wearing a red and white striped hat.
“What’s up, Darryl?” Jim said, putting his pen on his desk and leaning back in his chair.
Darryl handed him a stack of papers. “Here are my handouts from last year’s Huck Finn unit I did. Feel free to use whatever.”
“Oh, sweet,” Jim said, taking them from his hands. “Thanks, man!”
“Who are you supposed to be, anyway?” Darryl questioned before turning to leave, pointing to Jim’s shirt. “Thing 1?”
“Thank you! Pam didn’t get it.”
Darryl chucked. “Dude, your wife is way more into this than you are.”
Jim glanced across the hallway to where Pam was teaching her class. She was wearing a full fuzzy black and white onesie, white gloves, a striped Cat in the Hat hat, and a full face of paint. His head instinctively tilted to the side as he watched her, his lips pushing up into a small smile.
“She really is.”
And truth be told, he loved her for it.
Friday: Duo Day
He put the lid back on the marker and blew on the wet ink. Slowly, he peeled the sticker off and placed it on his chest. He looked in the mirror and smoothed it out, the words “Hello My Name is: Han Solo” displayed in reverse back to him.
Straightening his tie, he walked into their bedroom.
“So, do you think Michael will be able to convince Jan to be the other part of his duo today?”
He looked up and saw Pam’s shoulders slump in front of their full-length mirror, a white belt dangling from her hand. She turned around slowly and met his gaze. She looked stunning in the flowing white gown, meant to be modeled after Princess Leia. He could see sadness lingering behind her eyes and she lifted up the belt.
“It doesn’t fit.”
“That’s okay,” he gestured to his chest. “The sticker is a little tight too.”
A smile flashed on her face, but never fully reached her eyes. She frowned and took a deep breath.
“Hey…hey,” he said, walking over to her and guiding her to sit next to him on the bed.
She grabbed his hand and fiddled with his fingers. “I don’t know. I should expect that things would start to not fit soon.”
Jim kissed the top of her head. They had found out about a month before they got married that Pam was unexpectedly pregnant. While they were elated to get the news, it came with a hint of uncertainty and changes happening quicker than they had anticipated. But every day brought more clarity to Jim that he wanted nothing more than their current circumstances.
“Pam, you’re growing our baby,” he whispered firmly. “Do you know how amazing that is?”
She looked into his eyes. “Is there another baby growing behind me too, because that seems to be growing just as fast,” she rolled her eyes. “I know it’s amazing, it’s just hard to feel like myself when everything’s...expanding.”
Jim let out a small, breathy laugh and lifted her chin with his knuckle. “You. Are. Beautiful. Always will be. In fact, right now you are more beautiful than you’ve ever been.”
Her eyebrows met and she brought her lips to his softly. “Thank you.”.
“Hey,” he said, brushing a stray hair from her face. “Do you still have that white vest?”
She gave him a look of confusion. “Yes, why?”
Jim shifted and grabbed his phone from his pocket. He typed something and showed the phone to Pam. “Leia wore other things, you know. And she’s kind of a badass here.”
Pam studied the picture and her face lit up. “I’m going to get ready.”
Jim remained on the bed while Pam ran to the bathroom to undo her buns and change it to a braid across her head like the picture. He looked down to the sticker on his chest and slowly began picking at the corner. Standing up, an idea sparked in his mind, he began rifling through his drawers.
Twenty minutes later, Pam emerged from the bathroom. When she caught sight of Jim, she covered her mouth with her hand, though it couldn’t hide the smile behind it. Jim placed his hands on his hips, then adjusted the vest he had found in the back of the closet and smoothed out the white henley shirt underneath: the spitting image of Han Solo.
“You like me because I’m a scoundrel,” he smirked, walking toward her.
She grinned and tugged him closer by his vest. “I love you.”
He brought his hands up to the side of her face and brushed his lips against hers as he whispered against them.
In case you need a visual of Pam’s Leia outfit adjustment, here you go
Chapter 3: The Library by WanderingWatchtower
Jim grunted as he pushed the last desk into place. It was the final day in the Romeo and Juliet unit for his sophomore classes and he preferred to have their desks in a circle while they discussed it. Which is why he was at the school before anyone else—to arrange desks and return the class set of books back to the library so the other English teachers could start their units with them.
Pam had decided to stay home and sleep in a little later before driving separately into work, maintaining that pregnancy fatigue was alive and well. He believed it, because gradually he had started waking up before her and had to rouse her after she fell asleep on the couch at least twice a week.
Jim carefully stacked the tattered copies of Romeo and Juliet in a box and made his way through the empty hallways to the library. He didn’t expect anyone to be there, as school didn’t begin for another 45 minutes and Angela, a creature of habit as far as Jim could tell, always arrived promptly 30 minutes before the first bell. This was better anyway, he thought, because now she couldn’t scold him in that shrill tone about how he brought his AP Lit class to the library with only 15 minutes left in the class period yesterday. (“I don’t like being rushed, Mr. Halpert.”) She was actually quite terrifying for such a tiny person.
He rounded the corner to the library, hoping to make the stop quick and painless. He had just placed the box on Angela’s desk, when he thought he heard a sound coming from behind the bookshelf nearest the desk. He stilled his movement and strained his ears toward the sound.
“Is that…” he whispered almost silently to himself.
He definitely could hear the unmistakable sound of lips and moans and sighs, and he rolled his eyes. It wasn’t the first time he would have to separate two hormone-riddled teenagers playing tonsil hockey at school. Just as he was about to clear his throat to make his presence known, he heard something else.
No. No no no. Angela?! Uptight, super-Christian, resident prude Angela? Angela, who threatened to remove The Scarlet Letter from the library because Hester Prynn was “far too promiscuous”, was now making out in the library before school. He couldn’t decide whether to feel confused, disgusted, or amused. Before he could land on one, he heard a man’s voice.
“I should get going, Monkey.”
Dwight. Dwight K. Schrute was making out with Angela Martin. In the library.
There was no mistaking it. Jim bit the knuckles on the back of his hand to keep from gasping out loud and giving himself away. As quietly as he could, he tiptoed out of the room and pressed himself against the wall right outside the door of the library to process what he had just discovered. Suddenly, the absurdity of it all caught up to him and he couldn’t seem to suppress his laughter as it bubbled up. He reached for his phone to text Pam but then suddenly decided he needed to see her face when he told her. He would somehow hold onto until lunch.
He heard Dwight’s footsteps coming out of the library, so he quickly scrambled to push himself off the wall and stand up straight. Dwight exited the room, chest puffed out and a smirk plastered on his face, and walked passed Jim without looking at him.
Since when did he call him just Halpert?
Dwight continued down the hall with wide, purposeful steps and Jim looked on in amazement.
Pam was going to lose her mind.
He tried not to think about the incident at the library while he was teaching, but unfortunately he was discussing Romeo and Juliet with his classes. Clandestine meetings, forbidden love—all he could do was picture these two unlikely people sneaking around and sucking face in the school library. And it was gross.
Finally the bell rang to dismiss for lunch and he rushed his students out as fast as he could because he knew Pam would be walking across the hall any second and he was just about bursting at the seams with this secret.
He saw her come out of her classroom, nose in her phone. Without looking up, she questioned him as she passed the threshold into his classroom. “So what’s this big secret you need to tell me?”
He pulled her fully through the door by her arm, checked the hallway, and shut the door behind them. She finally looked up from her phone, amused bewilderment written on her face.
“What’s going on?” she chuckled.
He put both hands on her upper arms and made solid eye contact. He couldn’t stop the grin from forming on his face as he excitedly unveiled his discovery. “Okay, so, I dropped off my books at the library this morning, right? And I heard something.”
“Angela. Angela and Dwight. Making out behind the bookshelf.” A giddy noise of anticipation escaped him as he waited for her reaction.
Pam’s eyebrows raised a fraction, but it was not at all the reaction he had expected. She looked back to her phone and walked to his desk. “Oh, yeah. That’s been going on for a while. I thought everyone knew.”
His jaw ricocheted off the floor as he stared flabbergasted at this woman he thought he knew.
“I’m sorry,” he uttered. “What?! You knew?!”
Pam looked up at him and shrugged. “Yeah. Thought it was common knowledge. I mean, they don’t think anyone knows. But people know.”
Jim looked at her and pinched the bridge of his nose, squeezing his eyes shut. “You knew and you didn’t tell me?!” His brain was starting to finally catch up to the words she was saying.
Now Pam was laughing. “I’m sorry! You’re always saying how you don’t want to talk about...” she lowered her voice to a whisper, “...Michael and Jan…so I thought this was the same thing! Just something we don’t talk about.”
Jim started pacing. “Oh, we definitely talk about this, Beesly. What else are you keeping from me?!”
Pam casually strolled over to him and placed her hand on his cheek that was now flushed from the whiplash he just experienced, and lightly kissed his cheek. “Nothing,” she smirked and walked to the hallway and toward the faculty room.
He stood there stunned for a moment before chasing after her. “This discussion isn’t over, you know!”
By the time they got to the faculty room and he could talk to her again, there were too many listening ears and Jim decided to table the discussion until they got home. But that didn’t keep him from shooting her playful glares across the hallway for the rest of the afternoon.
As they sat together that night, Jim leaning back in the corner of the couch, while Pam laid her head on his chest, Jim shook his head and let out a low chuckle.
“What?” she laughed, looking up to him.
Jim tangled his fingers in hers. “I just can’t believe you never told me you knew about Dwight and Angela.”
She rubbed circles on his palm with her thumb while he stroked her arm with his other hand. “I guess I’m just more perceptive than you.”
He huffed. “And you didn’t think to bring it up to me, even once?”
She pushed herself up on his chest with her hand to look at him. “I told you, I thought you knew!” she exclaimed through a laugh, then settled back in the crook of his arm, shimmying until she found the perfect spot nestled into him. “Sorry. Do you forgive me?”
He gave a dramatic sigh. “I guess…”
She turned her face into his chest and placed a kiss there. “Thank you,” she said, running her hand along his chest. “I promise I will keep you in the loop about all ETMHS gossip from now on.”
They sat in comfortable silence for a few moments before Jim shuddered.
He frowned and shook his head. “Nah, just imagining Dwight and Angela again. Don’t you think it’s...unpleasant? I mean, Pam. They were making out in the library. Of our school. Dwight.”
“Exactly! You would think they would, I don’t know, do it somewhere else that isn’t a high school?”
Pam let out a roar of laughter.
“What?!” he questioned.
“We literally have a sex handprint on the gym wall of our school.”
Well, there was that.
“That’s,” he fumbled for the right words. “That’s completely different.”
“Oh,” she scoffed. “Is it?”
He shrugged, now feeling the laughter rise in his chest. “I’m not Dwight and you are definitely not Angela.”
“That’s for sure.”
“So it’s different,” he attempted to say solidly, hoping for agreement.
She smiled and wiggled herself up his body to give him a kiss. “Sure.”
Shifting slightly, he moved to lay across the length of the couch, all of Pam’s weight now comfortably pressing him into the cushions. He wistfully traced a finger along her hairline and up and down her arm. Pam lifted her head and propped her chin up on her folded arms across his chest so she could look at him.
“I’m going to miss you next week.”
Jim was set to go to an annual educator’s conference in Boston the following Monday for three days. The English department rotated who went each time and it was Jim’s turn this year.
“Me too,” he said softly. “But think of all the episodes of The Bachelor you can get caught up on without my commentary.”
Her face crumpled with thought. “That does sound pretty nice.”
“And I have to be there with Michael and Dwight. For three entire days. And I have to be trapped in a car with them for almost five hours. Twice. Maybe you can have Iz come stay with you.”
“And paint nails and talk about boys?” she mocked. “Is that what you and Dwight will be doing?”
“Yes, and braiding hair. No, I’m serious! I would feel better if someone was here with you anyway,” he said, stroking her cheek.
He knew she was capable and independent and strong. She would be fine while he was gone. But he couldn’t help the surge of protectiveness that flooded him as soon as they saw the two pink lines on the pregnancy test. She was his sun, moon, and stars, but now she was also growing something inside of her that they made together and he knew he would do anything to protect them both.
She rolled to the side and buried her face in his neck. “We will be fine,” she whispered as her hand drifted to her stomach, almost absentmindedly.
Jim turned and kissed the top of her head, still amazed that she seemed to have the innate ability to read his mind at all times.
“Want to watch the Bachelor?” he said against her hair with a smirk.
“Not with you…”
Jim feigned offense. “What? They said it would be the most dramatic episode of the season, Pam. And the last episode was the most dramatic, so can you even imagine?! And we need to find out if What’s His Name is there for the right reasons.”
She playfully smacked his chest while she giggled. “You’re dumb.”
Jim squeezed her tighter, wrangling her squirming body closer to him as she tried to escape his grasp.
“Hey, at least I’m here for the right reasons,” he said as she finally wiggled free and glared at him through a smile as she turned to walk up the stairs.
“If you stop making fun of my trashy TV shows, you can join me upstairs in the fantasy suite,” she said with a raised eyebrow.
Jim scrambled off the couch and ran after her. “I hate so much that I know what you’re referring to!” he called out.
Pam stopped abruptly at the top of the stairs and turned around to look at him, biting her bottom lip and raising an eyebrow.
He let out a slow breath. “And suddenly I don’t hate the Bachelor anymore.”
I’m excited to continue explore this relationship of the German teacher and the librarian. ;) Thanks again for your reviews!
Chapter 4: The Conference by WanderingWatchtower
This chapter has admittedly very few moments of Jim and Pam, but I hopefully made up for that with some Michael Scott moments. Enjoy!
“I’m not kidding, Pam, he told jokes for the entire last hour of the drive.” Jim switched his cell phone to his other hand and leaned up against the wall in the hotel hallway. “Like, bad jokes. Bad, bad jokes.”
He heard Pam’s chuckle rattle through the speaker. “Were they dirty jokes?”
“I would say about 40% of them were. But some of them were just so incredibly dumb. Too dumb to laugh.”
“Aww,” she cooed. “But you faked a laugh, right?”
Jim pushed himself off the wall and paced the length of the hallway. “It wouldn’t have mattered. I don’t think he would have been able to hear my laughter over his own.”
“Well, now you have to tell me some of them.”
Jim ran his fingers over his beard. “Let’s see. So, he opened with: Want to hear a joke about ghosts? I said sure and he said, ‘That’s the spirit!’”
Pam laughed in his ear. “Oh, come on! That’s a good one. Tell me more.”
Despite his efforts, he smiled. Her laugh had that effect on him. “Okay. What’s blue and smells like red paint? Blue paint.”
Again, her giggles echoed through the speaker and he felt himself let out a small laugh himself. “Okay, here’s one he definitely made up himself. What’s the difference between a boxer and a duck hater?”
He heard her guffaw. “The set up is as good as a punch line! Tell me,” she said in a delightedly high pitch tone.
Jim ran his hand down his face, completely unable to contain the laughter escaping his chest. “One ducks punches and the other punches ducks.”
Pam snorted and then went quiet, which meant she had tipped over the edge and had entered into the realm of silent laughter where he felt like he needed to remind her to breathe.
He started giggling himself, biting the tip of his thumb, hating that Michael Scott’s jokes were making his wife laugh so hard but also being simultaneously happy to hear her gasping for air between fits of laughter. Ever since he met her, he made it his mission to hear that sound as often as he could, and if these crappy jokes brought it out, so be it.
He smiled into the phone. “I would ask you if you had been drinking, but I know you haven’t.” He fixed his eyes on the light fixture in the hallway, suddenly feeling a pang in his chest. “Hey. I miss you.”
“Babe, you’ve been gone for like 6 hours.”
Jim kicked a spot on the carpet. “I know, but I just feel like it’s going to be a long three days.”
He heard her laughter finally settle and he could picture her wiping the tears from her eyes that were brought on by it. “I know. I miss you too. When is your first workshop?”
Jim flicked his wrist upward to glance at his watch. “In...about 30 minutes. Just waiting for Michael to finish changing out of his ‘driving clothes’.”
“I’ll send pictures.”
“Please do. I love you!”
“Love you too,” he smiled, then pressed end. He scrolled through his camera roll to find the picture he sneakily snapped of Michael wearing a NASCAR jacket, freshly dry cleaned jeans, and a pair of black cotton gloves with the fingers haphazardly cut off. He sent it to Pam with a text that said, “I commented on his jacket and he said, ‘Did you know NASCAR is an acronym? And it’s also a palindrome.’ Yeah, it’s definitely not a palindrome.”
He pressed send as Michael walked out of the hotel room, a tie in his hand.
“Jimbo, can you tie this for me?”
Jim’s brow dipped. “You don’t know how to…”
Michael waved his hand at him. “All my clip-ons were dirty, Jim. And my girlfriend usually does this kind. Just do it? Please?”
Jim sighed and took the tie from Michael, wrapped it around his neck, and made sure to stand as far away from him as he possibly could while still being able to tie a windsor. “You can just, uh,” he dropped the tie to Michael’s chest and backed away. “Tighten that yourself.”
“Thanks, buddy. You ready?”
Jim adjusted the strap on his messenger bag. “Let’s do it.”
The afternoon was filled with workshops, classes, lectures, and following Michael to each booth as he collected every piece of free promotional “swag” that was offered. Dwight was with them every step of the way, generating arguments with all the booth workers as Michael schmoozed them into giving him duplicates of everything. It was pretty much exactly as Jim had expected it would be.
When dinner time rolled around, Michael approached Jim.
“Hey, Halpertosis. Dwight and I are going to go grab dinner somewhere else because I have to go get supplies for my presentation tomorrow. ‘Magic Tricks for Your Next Assembly’.”
Jim suppressed a smirk. “Um, wasn’t your topic supposed to be about strengthening the administrator and teacher relationship?”
He could see the annoyance dance across Michael’s face. “Magic brings people together, Jim. Works both ways.”
“Alrighty then. See you back at the hotel?”
“You got it, man. Thinking about throwing a mini rave in my room tonight,” Michael sang with raised eyebrows, bobbing his head to music that was definitely nowhere to be heard.
All Jim could do was lower his head and let out a deep sigh.
After getting his plate of mediocre catered food, he found an empty seat and pulled out his phone to text Pam all about the recent Michael Scott gems, when a man and woman sat across from him. The man, who Jim thought he recognized, pointed to their chairs.
Jim placed his phone on the table and shook his head. “No, all yours.”
The man held out his hand.
“I’m Danny Cordray,” he said. “And this is Karen Filipelli. We are the principal and vice principal at Hazelton High School.”
Jim lit up. “Hey! Fellow Pennsylvanians! I’m Jim Halpert. I teach English at Edward Truck in Scranton.”
Karen looked down to her plate and then back to Jim. “Yeah, we uh, actually know who you are.”
“Oh?” He tried to mask as much confusion as he could in his voice.
“Yeah,” Danny started. “See, we have a very…special basketball team.”
“They suck,” Karen said bluntly.
Danny blushed and then laughed. “Anyway, we saw what you did with that team of yours in Scranton. Dude, you turned that dumpster fire of a team into a playoff team in one season. And I know high school sports aren’t everything, but it would be great for our school if we could get some recognition in that area. I don’t know if you have made any agreements yet with your administration, but…”
Jim could see where this was going and he was fully ready to turn down the offer. But he let Danny continue.
“If you want to, we would love to bring you on as our head coach. We got clearance to double the pay from what the last coach was getting.”
That tripped Jim’s thought process. He wasn’t getting paid at all to coach at ETM. They had needed a coach last minute and he stepped in to fill the position. It was fun for him, so he never thought twice, but with a baby on the way and living on teachers salaries, the extra money was enticing. He would have to talk to Pam, of course, but suddenly he wasn’t so quick to reject the proposition.
“Wow, uh, thank you. You know what, let me talk it over with my wife and get back to you, okay?”
“No problem,” Karen smiled. “But know we would love to have you in the Hazelton Hornet family.”
Their conversation shifted as they continued their meal, but in the back of his mind, Jim couldn’t shake the offer they had made him. Hazelton was just under an hour away, which wasn’t ideal but it was doable, especially just for the season. His team last year was mostly comprised of seniors who had since graduated, so he wouldn’t be leaving a great number of his previous players. He’d have to deal with breaking the news to Michael, but he could find a way to cushion the blow. And Darryl, who had been his assistant coach last year, would make an excellent head coach, so ETM would still be in good hands.
But none of this mattered if Pam wasn’t on board. So he finished up his dinner, shook Danny and Karen’s hands, and made his way back to his hotel room to call his wife.
He dropped his bag on the desk, slipped his shoes off, and sprawled himself on the bed. He was grateful Dwight insisted on sharing a room with Michael, because it meant Jim got the second room to himself, since Oscar was supposed to come but came down with the flu the day before they left. Even with the room to himself, he knew his vice principal well enough to know he wouldn’t be alone for most of the night. Relishing the quiet time before Dwight and Michael returned, he pulled out his phone and called Pam.
“Hey you!” she answered after two rings. “How’s the conference?”
He sunk right into conversation with her, telling her about the classes he attended, the number of free pens he now owned, and Michael essentially preparing for a magic show tomorrow.
“Pam, it’s going to be a disaster. I don’t even know why they asked him to present anyway.”
She chuckled. “I bet he won a raffle or something. Only explanation.”
“Yeah,” he laughed. “Probably. Hey, something else happened today during dinner, actually.”
“Yeah, uh,” he said, as he sat up and ran his hands through his hair, suddenly feeling a little nervous to bring up his conversation with Danny and Karen. He had really tried not to make up his mind before talking to Pam, but he had to admit to himself that he actually wanted to accept the offer.
“So I was eating by myself because Dwight and Michael had left to gather supplies for tomorrow’s trainwreck, and two people from Hazleton High came and sat by me. I guess they knew who I was because of last season’s basketball team. Seemed pretty nice.”
“Oh, cool! What did you talk about?”
“I guess they--”
But before he could finish telling her, he was interrupted by banging on his door.
“Halpert!! Open up!”
It was Michael. Jim sighed. “Houdini is back. I can tell you later.”
“Oh, okay. I’m probably heading to bed early tonight so I guess we can talk tomorrow?”
“Sounds good. Love you. Wish me luck.”
Jim glanced toward the door. “I don’t know yet, but I’m sure I’ll need some luck.”
She laughed. “Then good luck. I love you! Goodnight!”
The banging on the door persisted. “I’m coming, hold on!” Jim yelled. He opened the door to find a very excited Michael wearing a feather boa and plastic top hat. He lifted up two bags.
“Come one, Jimmy Boy, let's get this party started, HA!”
Jim ran his hand over his face. “What party?” he said dryly.
“Dwight and I are throwing a party in our room tonight! Come on, help us set up!”
“Michael, I don’t think---”
Michael cut him off. “No, no! There are no party poopers in Scranton. It’s going to be fun! Come on, Jim, live a little!”
With another deep sigh, Jim grabbed his room key off the table and followed Michael across the hall to the other room, where he ended up standing in the corner, watching Michael and Dwight scattered cheap decor, blacklights, and streamers all over.
"So, who did you even invite to this thing anyway?" Jim asked.
Michael looked up. "Oh, you know that smoking hot lady at the front desk?"
Micheal scoffed, "I don't know, I don't speak Italian. Her name's Marie. Anyway, I told her to tell everyone about it."
Jim shook his head. " No way she's actually going to do that."
"Of course she will! And everyone else will come quickly once they hear how much fun we're having."
Jim braced for it.
"That's what she said!!" Michael yelled, followed by an outburst of laughter.
The night went on, and it became very apparent that Concierge Marie seemed to have forgotten to pass on Michael's message. The only people who showed up were two teenagers who left immediately after poking their heads in door, and an elderly couple who came in to scold Michael about the volume of the music. Eventually, a member of management showed up and timidly asked if Michael could shut the party down due to complaints.
Michael shut off the music and sat on the edge of the bed, dripping with defeat. "Complaints...my only complaint is that guy. Kyle. Pffffft…"
Jim shrugged. "Hey, I had a good time."
"Yeah...whatever. Wait," Michael asked, eyes spanning the blacklit bedspread he was sitting on. "What are all these spots?"
Dwight stood square, assessing the cover. "That is either blood, urine, or semen."
Michael stood up quickly and turned to look at it.
"Wow, I hope it's urine," Michael said under his breath.
Jim took that as his cue to leave, making mental notes of everything he needed to tell Pam in the morning. But for now he needed sleep. There was a big magic show in the morning and he wanted to be very well rested.
My brother made up the duck hater joke, and I just had to include it. ;)
Chapter 5: Parent Teacher Conferences by WanderingWatchtower
Jim yawned as he walked down the hallway toward the faculty lounge. It was around 5:30 p.m. which meant they had another hour and half before they could leave. It was parent teacher conferences at Edward Truck Memorial, which equated to 12 hours straight at the school. This year, however, they had changed the format of the conferences. Now, all the teachers had small desks set up five feet apart in the gymnasium and parents could come and go as they pleased, talking only to whichever teachers they felt necessary. That was great, in theory, but Jim was finding out that this new format attracted a…certain type of parent. Basically, his afternoon had been spent trying convince parents that their child had a low grade because he or she had to actually turn in assignments to get credit (and therefore a decent grade) and that he wasn't, in fact, "out to get them".
He walked to the nearest table in the faculty lounge and lifted the lid on a pizza box with a frown. Pizza by Alfredo. Michael must have been in charge of ordering food for the staff. He lifted up a slice, then dropped it back into the box. It was basically glorified cardboard with sauce on top. However, he knew he had a pregnant, hungry, hormonal (though he never used that word unless she did first) wife back in the gym, so crappy pizza would have to do. But he bought her a Snickers from the vending machine for good measure.
His phone buzzed in his pocket on the way back, so he shifted the plates he was holding to grab it and check his messages.
One New Message: Danny Cordray
Hey man, given any more thought to our offer? Let me know!
Jim put his phone back into his pocket. He had been home from the conference in Boston for a couple of days now, but every time he tried to bring it up with Pam, they were interrupted or he chickened out. He really had no reason to believe she wouldn't support him in taking the coaching job, but there was always a chance she would be hesitant and he had already realized he really wanted to take it. So by avoiding the subject, he delayed the possible disappointment.
He entered the bustling gymnasium and sat at his assigned desk. They had lined all the teachers up by last name, and lucky for Jim, he now shared his last name with Pam and therefore got to spend the day next to his wife, who was now deep in conversation with a student's mom. He could hear the words "rose ceremony" and "Jordan M." and "not the right reasons" and smiled to himself. She could make friends anywhere, especially if those friends watched The Bachelor.
Pam wrapped up her conversation and Jim placed the plate of pizza on her desk.
"I didn't realize The Bachelor was part of your curriculum now."
She took a bite. "Shut up." Then her face scrunched with disappointment. "This is Pizza by Alfredo, isn't it?" she said, gesturing toward her mouth.
"Sadly, yes. Which is why I bought you this too." He handed her the Snickers. "It has peanuts in it, so protein. Chocolate comes from a tree, so basically a vegetable. You're covered."
She grinned and rubbed a hand over her stomach. "We thank you."
Jim scanned the room. The number of parents had been steadily decreasing, so he took his chance.
"Hey," he said to her, clearing his throat. "I actually wanted to talk to about something. Remember at the conference how I told you I ran into some of the administrators from Hazelton?"
Pam nodded. "Oh yeah! We never finished that conversation. I was too eager to hear about the Michael trainwreck to remember to ask you about it. What did you talk about?"
Jim rubbed the back of his neck and began talking at double speed. "So, I guess they have an opening for head basketball coach. They saw how I turned the team here around last season and they were impressed and they kind of want me to take it? I know it's a commute after school every day to practice and I'll have to figure out a way to break it to Michael. But they said they would pay me, which would be helpful with the baby and everything…"
"Jim," she stopped him. He hadn't realized that he had been avoiding her gaze until she caught his attention, but now she was looking at him with a genuine smile spread on her face. "All I want--"
"Excuse me, Mr. Halpert?"
Jim turned around and was startled by a red haired woman standing extremely close to him.
"Hi! Did you need to meet with me?"
The woman nodded and stepped over to his desk, plopping herself down in the chair opposite him.
"Okay, what's the name of your child?" Jim started, filing through his class roles.
"Jake. Jake Palmer."
He wasn't sure how he didn't recognize her immediately, but flashbacks of awkward meetings like these flashed through his mind. Not only was her son easily the most difficult student he had ever taught, his mother usually smelled of booze and basically spoke in innuendos every time he had the "pleasure" of meeting with her.
"Ah, yes. What questions do you have for me, Mrs. Palmer?"
"It's Ms. Palmer to you, sweet cheeks," she said with a wink. "But you can call me Meredith."
Jim tried his best to keep his composure, even though he was positive he heard Pam spray bits of her Snickers bar while she tried to disguise a laugh.
She slouched back in her seat. "Yeah, I got a question. Why is Jakey failing your class?"
Jim stroked his beard with his hand. "Well...he's been suspended. Twice. And never did the make up for that. Plus, it looks like the only thing he has turned in is the paper on The Great Gatsby, which was a page too short and he referred to the character of Jay Gatsby as 'DiCaprio' multiple times."
He stared at her, willing his jaw to stay closed. "So…he needs to turn in his work to get points."
"Any way I could…persuade anyone to get those grades higher?" she said with a smirk.
Jim's eyes widened as he scrambled to find a paper. "You know what? Here's a list of all the assignments he's missed. Just have him turn them in for partial credit and we'll be good. Okay? Okay. Alright." He stood up quickly and held out his hand to shake hers. "Have a great night Ms. Palmer!"
She grabbed the paper with an eye roll and walked to the next teacher on her list.
Slowly, Jim lifted his head to look at Pam, who had her arms folded and head tilted, a look of wild amusement on her face that he wanted to kiss right off with how cute it was, despite what he had just undergone.
"Do I need to be worried, Mr. Halpert?" she joked with an eyebrow raise. "Seems I have some competition."
"First of all, ew," he said firmly. "Second of all," he inconspicuously pointed to the wall behind them. "See that wonky little 'firework' at the bottom of your mural? That should answer your question," he winked. "No competition. Ever."
After grabbing a good pizza from Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe, Jim pulled their car into a corner of the parking lot. The windshield fogged as he opened the box and he chuckled when he saw Pam’s eyes roll back as soon as the scent of mozzarella and warm crust hit her nose. She grabbed a piece and took a huge bite.
“This is burning my entire mouth,” she said through the pizza. “But I don’t even care. Let’s name our kid Alfredo.”
“Middle name: PizzaCafe.”
They each polished off a couple more slices before Jim put the rest of the pizza into the back seat. Pam shifted sideways and leaned her head back against the headrest.
Jim reached his hand over the console and rested it gently on her knee, then parroted her tone back to her.
“We didn’t get to finish talking about that coaching job.”
Jim looked down. “Yeah...listen, if you don’t want me to…”
She placed her hand on his and smiled. “I think you should take it.”
She shrugged, still smiling. “Yeah! Hazleton is not that far away. We’ll still see each other at home and at school. And the season only goes until February...March at the latest. Plus, you love coaching and you said they would pay you at Hazelton? That seems like a pretty good deal.”
He felt the relief course through him. How could he have thought she wouldn’t want this for him? She’s never been anything but supportive.
“Well, then. Okay!” he laughed. “I guess we’re doing this. I’ll call Danny when we get home.”
Pam grinned and reached back to grab the pizza box, taking another slice. "One more. For the kid."
Jim tossed his keys on the entry table as they walked into the house and turned on the lamp.
“I’m just going to put the pizza in the fridge, give Danny a quick call, and then I’ll be up,” he called after her as she headed up the stairs toward their bedroom.
As he shut the refrigerator door, he pulled out his phone and pulled up Danny’s number. He paced as it rang once, then twice, then finally he walked into the next room and sat on the couch.
“Hey! Danny! Sorry for the late call, we had parent teacher conferences tonight.”
“Ah, yes, I know how those things go. Any crazies tonight?"
“Just a few,” he chuckled into the phone. He glanced upward and saw Pam come down the stairs. She had let her hair down and was wearing nothing but one of his blue button down dress shirts. It hit her right at her upper thigh, revealing plenty, but still not enough.
“So, Jim. Given any more thought to the job?"
Pam gave him an evil smirk as she walked slowly toward him. Suddenly he forgot how to arrange letters into words and words into sentences.
“Uh...yeah, um. Yes. I...have.” He cleared his throat. “I have given it some thought.”
Pam straddled his lap, nestling her knees against his hips, and brought her mouth under his left ear, causing him to nearly drop the phone that was against his right right one. He swallowed hard and slammed his eyes shut.
"I...I'm really interested in...doing it...uh taking it. The job."
Pam began kissing down his neck while blindly untucking his shirt and undoing his belt buckle with ease. His eyes rolled back as he ran his free hands up her bare thigh.
"That's great!! I'll call you Monday and we can talk more details. Can't wait to have you as part of the team."
Pam's hand ventured further down and Jim's voice nearly shot up an octave.
"Yep! I'm really excited too."
Pam gave a slight squeeze and whispered, "Yeah you are..." in his ear.
"Okay, thanks Jim! Talk to you soon."
"Bye! Thank you!" he said hurriedly, scrambling to find the "end" button. He successfully hung up, threw his phone across the room, and flipped Pam onto her back in one swift motion.
"That wasn't very nice," he said against her smiling lips.
"I could stop," she teased.
He shook his head, brushing his nose against hers.
"Please don't ever stop."
Hopefully this chapter wasn't a hot circle of garbage.
Chapter 6: Hazelton High by WanderingWatchtower
Not a very long one, but hopefully setting up for something more substantial. Go ahead. Say it. (That's what she said.)
Jim caught the ball as it fell through the net and bounced it back to the 17-year-old in front of him, wiping the sweat from his brow onto his sleeve.
"Good, Jensen! If you can make contested shots like that in games, it's going to make a huge difference."
He glanced down at his watch. He would still make it home for dinner with Pam if he left right now.
"Listen, man," he said to his starting point guard. "I have to take off but let me know if you need any more help or reps after practices. Your hard work is paying off!"
Jensen gave him a grin and a fist bump, then headed to the locker room while Jim gathered up basketballs off the court and packed up.
The season had been going on for about a month and already Jim felt at home on the court at Hazelton High. His players were bright and talented. The rest of the coaching staff was personable and easy going. It didn’t feel like work, even though he could call it work now, since he was actually getting paid. He knew it was nothing more than a high school coaching job, but in this moment, he felt more himself than ever. Every part of his life seemed to be locked right into its rightful place--Pam, their baby on the way, this job. He had never felt happier.
As he slung his gym bag over his shoulder, Vice Principal Filippelli appeared in the doorway of the gym.
“Halpert! Glad I caught you.”
“Hey, Karen. What’s up?”
She approached him. “The team is looking really good! Undefeated. I think we made the right call bringing you on as coach.”
He gave a bashful smile. “Well, we have a good group of guys this year. They make it look easy.”
Karen cleared her throat. “So, um. Listen. We got some news from the district today that we need to discuss. Can you meet me and Danny in his office in five?”
A pit began to form in Jim’s stomach. What could this be about?
“Uh, yeah. I’ll be right there.”
He watched Karen head out of the gym and he fiddled with the strap of his bag.
So much for getting home to Pam on time.
Jim glanced at the clock on the dash as he pulled into the driveway and winced. 8:02. This was the third time in a week he had gotten home from practice later than he promised. Not to mention that he also had to leave school earlier than usual that day for a coaching meeting, so he hadn't even seen Pam since lunch.
He rushed inside and tossed his keys on the entry table before realizing Pam had fallen asleep on the couch. She stirred and lifted her head to meet his eyes, a small, tired smile playing on her lips.
"Hey, stranger," she said groggily.
His own smile tugged at the corner of his lips and he walked over to her. Leaning over he placed a kiss on her forehead. "I'm so sorry. Jensen wanted some extra practice so I stayed to help him out."
Pam reached up to brush her fingers across his cheek. "You're a good coach."
He brought his own hand up and placed it on hers as he sat down on the edge of the couch next to her.
"Maybe, but I'm also a pretty crappy husband lately."
"Oh, hush. I get it. I mean, I miss leaving school with you. But you seem to be really happy coaching there."
Jim beamed, realizing for the millionth time how undeserving he was to have her, then leaned over to kiss her gently on the lips. She hummed happily against him.
“And besides,” she said quietly. “It’s not like this will be forever. The season will be over in a couple months, then I get you all to myself again. Before, during, and after school. No more commutes and long practices.”
Jim thought back to his conversation with Danny and Karen earlier and couldn’t help but feel guilty. He knew he should tell her. They told each other everything. But right now her lips were trailing down his neck and her fingers were tugging at the waistband of his basketball shorts and he decided that another time might be better. He closed his eyes and melted into her.
“But I might…” she mumbled between kisses. “I might need you to shower first though.”
Jim laughed into her hair and then sat up to look at her. “Curse that pregnant sense of smell of yours.”
“Hate to say it, but the neighbors could probably smell you too. And I know I’ve been craving salty things lately, but...this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.”
He kissed the tip of her nose with a chuckle and stood up. “Fair enough. I’ll make it quick.”
“That’s what sh---”
“Don’t,” he warned. “No Michael Scott-isms in this house. We’ve been over this.”
Pam’s eyes rolled back playfully and she rushed him upstairs.
Jim stepped into the shower and let the hot water stream over his face. With Pam’s hands no longer distracting him, he had time to think back to earlier that evening at the school.
He gave three quicked knocks on Danny Cordray’s office door.
Cracking it open and poking his head through, he found Danny and Karen seated next to each other in front of Danny’s desk. “Jim, take a seat.”
Cautiously, and a bit nervously, he sat down in the vacant chair opposite the two of them. “Is everything...okay?”
“Oh, yeah! More than okay.”
Jim relaxed into his chair a little as Danny continued.
“We have been so impressed by what you’ve done with the team. I mean, some of our seniors are already getting looks from scouts and we are only a month into the season. I know your coaching has brought a lot of that.”
“I don’t know if I can take credit…”
Danny cut him off. “Don’t sell yourself short, Halpert. The team was a disorganized mess before you came along, and even with great talent, that doesn’t get you very far.”
Jim nodded his understanding and thanks with a smile.
“So, I know Ms. Filippelli already told you we got some news from the district. Apparently, starting next year, all head coaches must teach at the school they coach for.”
“Which means,” Danny continued, leaning forward. “We either lose you as a coach or...we hire you to be part of our teaching staff. And if you’re asking me, the latter seems mighty appealing. Word on the street is that you’re as good a teacher as you are a coach.”
Jim sat up. Teaching at Hazelton? The district was better, the pay a bit higher. It was a better funded school, meaning more resources for his classroom. Not to mention how much he had loved coaching the basketball team. And the higher pay would mean no more teaching driver’s ed in the summer to make ends meet. No more babysitting Michael at school dances...
But Pam. Maybe there could be a spot for her too? She would love it here. And she would definitely love the bagel shop around the corner. He knew he should talk to her about it, but Jim already knew what he wanted, just like when they offered him the coaching job. She was supportive about that, so why not this?
“Wow,” Jim started. “Okay. Well, I love your school, first off. I think it would be a pleasure to teach here. How soon do you need my answer?”
“Technically not until the end of the school year, but the sooner the better if you ask me. Get the ball rolling.”
“Alright, then. I will talk it over with my wife and let you know. Thank you so much for the offer. I will very seriously consider it.”
Jim rinsed his hair under the water and turned off the faucet. He needed to talk to Pam.
Wrapping a towel around his waist and turning off the bathroom light, he walked into their bedroom to see Pam sitting up in bed in nothing but his t-shirt. Jim sucked his bottom lip between his teeth as he walked toward her.
“You know what wearing that does to me, Beesly.”
“What?” She gave a coy smile. “This is all that fits me anymore.”
He reached the edge of the bed. “We both know that’s not true, but I’m just going to play along.”
Pam ran a finger along the edge of his towel, lightly grazing the skin on his hip as she did. She reached the point where he tucked the corner in and gave a slight tug, keeping her dark eyes on his the whole time.
“As you should,” she whispered.
Her head was heavy on his chest and he could feel sleep starting to take hold of her as she fiddled with his chest hair.
“Anything else exciting happen today?” she mumbled, eyes closed.
“Well, the highlight of my day happened about 15 minutes ago,” he smiled against her hair.
Pam let out a breathy laugh. “Ha ha. But you had a good day?”
This was his chance to bring up Danny’s offer and he wondered if she could hear his heart quicken slightly.
“Yeah. It was...a good day.”
“Good,” she said lazily. “I missed you.”
“I missed you too,” he said quietly.
He felt her breathing slow and her body get heavier against him. He closed his eyes and pressed his lips against her head, taking in the smell of her conditioner.
Chapter 7: Tour of Scranton Cuisine by WanderingWatchtower
Oh hi. Remember this story? Yeah, neither do I.
Eight more “maybe tomorrows” came and went and Jim still hadn’t asked Pam her opinion on teaching at Hazelton. It would be a big adjustment for them. It meant either a commute for him with earlier mornings and later evenings, or uprooting them right after having a new baby and taking them away from a life they had just begun to build in Scranton–a life he knew Pam loved. He loved it too, but he couldn’t deny that the new job in Hazelton would be everything he imagined when he dreamt of his teaching career in college. It was only an hour away, but it felt so different there. So he decided to tell her that night.
Lately, he and Pam had been driving to school together and he would drop her off at home before heading to Hazelton for practice. It gave them a few minutes to discuss their day before he had to leave. To be honest, it was the best 6 1/2 minutes of his day. Her hand in his as they drove home and traded stories of high school hormones and teenage absurdity was his favorite thing.
But today he wanted more than 6 ½ minutes. He snuck away during lunch and called his assistant coach.
“Hey Wayne! Listen, I’m not feeling so great today. Do you think you can handle practice today on your own? Yeah. No, I should be good by tomorrow hopefully. Yep. Thanks man, I appreciate it.”
He hung up and joined Pam in the faculty lounge again, feeling healthier than ever, but Wayne didn't need to know that.
The final bell rang and Jim began to gather his things. It had genuinely been a good day. The “problem” students were less problematic, his AP class had some of the best discussions about To Kill a Mockingbird he’s probably ever had, and he had even gotten a note from one of his students thanking him for being such a great teacher. It only got better when he felt a small scratch on his back and a pair of soft lips on his cheek.
“You ready?” Pam asked. “I’ve got a couple doozies to tell you from today."
He slung his messenger bag over his shoulder and gently placed a kiss on Pam’s lips, ignoring the “Get a room, Mr. H!” he heard from the hallway. “Let’s get out of here,” he smiled.
On the drive home, Pam told Jim about the two students she found making out in the janitor’s closet when she went to find some more paper towels for her classroom and how Michael mixed up the words “physics” and “psychic” in an email to her.
Jim pulled into their driveway and killed the engine, prompting a confused look from Pam. Normally, he pulled in, kissed her, and left without getting out of the car, so as not to be late for practice in Hazelton.
“Did you forget something inside?” she asked.
“I did,” he nodded, opening the door. He walked around the front of the car and opened her door, offering his hand to her. “I forgot that I needed to spend some quality time with my wife.”
“No, there’s practice. Just not with me today,” he shrugged with a smile. “Is that okay with you?”
Her eyes beamed and she nodded enthusiastically, taking his hand as he helped her out of the car. They walked inside and Pam made her way to the kitchen. She began filling up a small watering can at the sink while Jim leaned up against the kitchen counter and observed her carefully water each small house plant around the room.
"So," he began, grabbing an apple from the fruit basket beside him and shining it on his shirt. "Where do you want to eat tonight? Any particular cravings?"
She stopped watering and squinted, as if deep in thought, mindlessly running her fingers over her growing belly. "Are there any Thai places that also serve chips and salsa?"
"If there aren't, there shouldbe," he said, mouth full of apple.
Pam smiled and walked to him, wrapping her arms around his torso and resting her cheek against his chest. Jim thought about how much extra time they could have if he took the job at Hazelton and they moved there. He kissed the top of her head. "I love you," he said quietly against her hair.
Her head tipped back, chin on his chest, and she smiled blissfully. "I love you too, Mr. Halpert."
They ended up going to a Mexican restaurant for appetizers and then a Thai restaurant for the main course because Pam couldn't choose, claiming she "just might die" if she didn't get both.
"Well, we can't have that," Jim protested, and came up with the solution of two restaurants, and even suggested a third place for dessert. "The tour of Scranton cuisine" he called it.
He was halfway through his bowl of Tom Kha Gai when he heard his name.
It took him a second to make his brain adjust to seeing Karen outside of Hazelton High.
"Oh, hey! Karen!"
Jim could see the look of confusion playing on Pam's face across the table.
"Pam, this is Karen Filippelli. The vice principal at Hazelton. Karen, this is my wife Pam."
The women exchanged pleasantries and Karen pointed to Jim. "Your husband," she said, "is one hell of a basketball coach. The kids love him. And the winning record doesn't hurt."
Pam flashed Jim a grin. "That's the only reason I married him, really. His coaching skills."
Karen let out a laugh. "Well, hopefully he teaches as well as he coaches. We can't wait to have him on the staff."
Jim's stomach dropped and the look on his wife's face didn't help. Pam scrambled to compose her expression, letting out a forced chuckle and nod, obviously unable to find any actual words. Luckily, Karen's friends called for her to join them so she quickly said her goodbyes and left their table.
Jim swallowed hard, watching as Pam softly placed her spoon down on the table. "Pam…"
"Can we go?" she interrupted.
"Pam," he insisted. "I haven't…"
"I'll be in the car."
She stood up and walked out. Jim put his elbows on the table and buried his face in his hands, cursing under his breath.
After paying and boxing up the leftovers on the table (Pam would surely be upset but it would only be made worse if she stayed hungry, he knew) he approached the car and lowered himself into the driver's seat. The two of them sat in silence, the only sound being the occasional squeak of the styrofoam containers in Jim's hands as he contemplated what to say first.
"I was going to tell you tonight," he said quietly.
She couldn't seem to look at him. "How long has this been a thing? Teaching there?"
He shook his head and turned toward her, wanting to reach out but he could almost physically feel the wall she was putting between them. "I haven't accepted the job. Karen made it sound like I have, but I haven't given them an answer."
Finally she looked at him. "How long?"
He sighed. "A little over a week."
A flash of hurt fell between her knitted eyebrows before she looked down to her hands in her lap. "Oh."
"I wanted to tell you about it, I just…"
He what? Why couldn't he tell her?
"Are you going to accept it?" she asked.
He shrugged. "We can talk about it. But…I'd like to," he said cautiously.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you when I got the offer."
She just nodded her head. He continued to look at her, but when it was clear she didn't want to say anything else, he started the car, grappling with how he was feeling–guilty, frustrated, confused. He knew he should have told her earlier, but it's not as if he took the job. He had always planned to tell her before he made any decisions. He tried to tell himself that it was Pam who was being a little ridiculous, because he truly wasn't doing anything without her input.
But in reality, he also knew that the two of them talked about quite literally everything. He had always immediately jumped to tell her the mundane, the minuscule, and the minute details of his life and so the fact that he kept something of this magnitude to himself for a week would understandably be hurtful to Pam and he hated himself for it.
The car ride was deafeningly silent and when they arrived home, Pam walked straight upstairs, wordlessly. Jim put the leftovers in the fridge and loosened the tie he had been wearing all day. He finished the dishes in the sink, took out the trash, and finally dragged his feet up the stairs too.
When he entered their room, the lamp on his bedside table was the only light on. Pam was in bed, wrapped up to her chin with the comforter, eyes closed, seemingly asleep. But he knew her–he had watched and marveled as she slept so many times–and he knew she wasn't actually sleeping. Her breathing gave her away. But he let her pretend, a nagging pain settling in from knowing that he had caused her any sort of hurt, and he flicked off the lamp.
It was the first time she had ever skipped kissing him goodnight.
So, see you in another 18 months I guess?
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