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.
1. Friday 22 December 2006 by 3vasectomies
2. Saturday 23 December 2006 by 3vasectomies
3. Sunday 24 December 2006 by 3vasectomies
4. Monday 25 December 2006 by 3vasectomies
5. Tuesday 26 December 2006 by 3vasectomies
Originally Posted 16 December, 2021
After the Christmas Party
There wasn’t any awkward tension amongst the two of them on the way back to Karen’s place, but she notices Jim’s a little… yeah.
He’s been like that ever since he returned to Scranton, and she wonders why. I mean, she really shouldn’t, look at their coworkers. Anyone would feel weird after interacting with them for five minutes, let alone an entire work week.
‘Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)’ by Darlene Love starts playing, “Oh, I love this one,” she turns up the radio, “The snow’s coming down / I’m watching it fall…” Jim smiles, but didn’t sing along, instead nodding his head and tapping his steering wheel to the beat.
As the song plays, his conversation with Michael not an hour earlier keeps replaying his head. She doesn’t deserve to be a distraction, no matter how broken his heart may be.
They pull up to the driveway as the song fades. ~“And was ‘Baby, Please Come Home’, alwa—”~ Jim shuts the radio DJ off, preparing for the worst.
This is gonna hurt like a mother.
“Hey, you wanna come inside for a bit?” Karen asks, concerned.
“Yeah, sure,” he responds as casually as possible.
Once she unlocks the door, he walks in and makes a beeline for the couch. He sits down, his leg bouncing like crazy, wanting to be anywhere else. But he needs to stop this. It’s not fair to either of them.
Someone as amazing as Karen shouldn’t be a rebound.
She sits next to him with two glasses of wine in-hand, and casually looks at him, “What’s up, Halpert?”
“What’s up?” he shrugs, trying to prolong this.
“Come on, man, you’ve been weirded out since you got in the car,” she rubs his shoulder, “Spill.”
This is getting harder and harder by the second, “Karen, I-I think we should break up.”
It had to be done.
And now he’s back there. Back to that night. Only this doesn’t sting nearly as much, which is both a relief and kinda sucks.
He tries to salvage this as best he can, “Look, you’re amazing and talented and you deserve so much better than—”
“It’s Pam, isn’t it?”
The pointedness of her question throws him off for a second, but he sighs out. Like a kid who got in trouble, he admits it, “It’s always been Pam.”
Karen scoffs, setting her drink down, “This is rich,” she get up out of her seat to saunter around.
“I can’t believe I thought you were different. I mean, I moved from another state for you, you know that right?”
He briefly gets annoyed, “Karen, that was your decision.”
“Yeah, well who’s the one who talked me into it, huh? ’Cause it certainly wasn’t Andy.”
He gets up to walk over to her, “I know you must hate me right now, but we can—”
“Oh yeah, I’m fine with just staying friends, yeah. You know, after you dump me for a girl you used to work with right before Christmas rolls around.”
“Just go already.”
He can hear the crack in her voice that she tried so desperately to hide.
Jim, upset with himself, simply gives an “I’m sorry,” and walks back to his car, being sure to grab his coat.
As soon as the door slams shut, she briskly walks back to the couch and sits down, head in her hands, crying.
On the way home, Pam thinks about how much Jim has changed, and yet hasn’t. He’s still Jim, he still loves pranks, he’s still as witty and dorky as ever. But it’s almost if he’s trying to downplay it, suppress it even.
He’s been like that ever since he returned to Scranton, and she wonders why. But tonight, it’s been made obvious to her: Karen.
She likes Karen a lot, especially after tonight. Jim deserves someone like her. She’s smart and savvy and confident and maybe a little bloodthirsty? In any case, she should be happy for him. For her, too. But… shouldn’t Karen like Jim for who he is? So he doesn’t have to change for her?
She fails to see the irony in that.
‘Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)’ by Darlene Love starts playing, and she turns off the radio.
She dwells on how Roy was acting tonight. He’s trying, she knows he’s trying, but she knows it’s wrong. She knows how it’ll end. Besides, she already screwed things up with Jim, she needs a while to think before jumping head-first into another relationship.
But… she’s lonely. God, she’s lonely.
She thought she had the chance to make it up to Jim, too. But whatever, it’s fine.
She walks in, grabs a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, and gets to scooping as she watches a rerun of Seinfeld.
But it’s fine.
Two Days Before Christmas
Karen hears a knock on the door, wanting to slam it right back in the person’s face; she already knows who it is, and he wants to talk about things. Explain his side of the story, like it matters.
She answers the door. It’s Jim.
“I um, forgot my—”
She chucks his scarf at him, “Happy Holidays.”
She attempts that triumphant slam when he stops it, “Karen, I don’t want us to leave things like this.”
“What do you want, Halpert?”
He’s desperate. He sounds desperate, too. She should be enjoying this, but she isn’t.
With a glare, she opens the door and he lets himself in.
He walks over to the couch once more, as she sits to the chair adjacent to it. This oughta be good.
Jim tries to start things off, “Look, I—”
“No. I go first.”
He sighs through his nose, being patient, “Alright.”
“You broke my heart, Halpert. I’ve been dumped before, and it stung, but not nearly as much as last night.” He looks down in shame, again. “I know it’s only been about a month, but I felt something. And you kept dragging it on just so you can get over someone else? Was I just some rebound?”
Her choice of words hits him harder, “Karen—”
“The past month with you have been the best. Despite this town and that office, I’ve had fun. Did any of that mean anything to you?”
“Of course, it did.”
“Well, obviously it didn’t, since I was only some backup for when she hurt your feelings.”
“Karen, you don’t—”
“Why are you so obsessed with her, anyway?”
“Because I’m in love with her.”
His sudden change in volume caught her off guard.
“Alright? A-and you think I never wanted to be with you? You said it yourself: she broke my heart. And when I moved to Stamford, I was fine,” his voice steadily gets louder, “I was making good money, I got to know you— I was in a great place in my life. And now I’m back here with these conflicting emotions and falling back into these old habits when I’m trying to move on, Karen, I don’t want to be who I was. I don’t—” he thinks out loud, “Part of me doesn’t want to be in love with Pam. But for some godforsaken reason, all of me is. And you… you’re so beautiful and talented and smart and you should have never been dragged into this in the first place, we both know you deserve better,” he looks down and back at her, “I’m sorry. If I could take everything back I would, but…” and he ends with a Jim shrug.
Her mouth is slightly agape throughout all of this. She absorbs every single word, her gears turning. And then something clicks:
“Did you… move to Stamford because of her?”
He purses his lips and nods shyly, looking away, “She rejected me. Twice.”
“That must’ve sucked.” She almost feels sorry for the guy.
“Yup,” he still can’t look at her, “And I knew she wanted to talk things out, but I figured I could move on, and I just… can’t,” he finally looks at her face-to-face, “I’m a real piece of work, aren’t I?”
She nods, “Yeah, you kinda are.”
“So on a scale of one to ten, how badly do you wanna kick my ass right now?”
She can tell he’s trying to lighten the mood, so she plays along, “Only about a six.”
He smiles at that, “On my scale, it’s about an eight.”
She somehow laughs quietly, if only a little bit. But she swallows, “I do forgive you, you know.”
He nods, “Thank you.”
She shakily breaths out, trying to suppress her emotions, “I’m probably gonna ask Wallace if I can transfer.”
“You’re not staying?” he asks, disappointed.
“Jim… I moved here for you,” she repeats, “There’s nothing for me here.”
Karen keeps dwelling on what she lost, and tries to keep her tears at bay, but it gets harder when she notices Jim walking over to her. She couldn’t help it as she stands up and allows him to hug her, her arms dangling. It’s the last thing she wants. To display weakness, vulnerability, while she’s meant to feel triumphant. She’s out of a bad relationship, this is a good thing, right? She dumped his sorry ass the night before, she made him feel like crap, as he rightfully should. She even allowed herself to forgive him. But then
“It’s okay to cry if you need to.”
She gives up the ghost and lets it out, hugging him back. God, she’ll miss his hugs. And the smell of his cologne. And the way he’s able to calm anyone down without even having to say a word.
He lets go slowly to really look at her, “I know the last thing you want from me is advice,” he starts, “but all I have to say is don’t let this idiot ruin your Christmas,” he tells her, referring to himself, “Have fun, visit family, watch another movie as bad as the one we gifted each other,” she smiles at that, “You deserve a good Christmas.”
“It’s just…” she swallows, “That’s hard for me, Jim.”
“I know,” he sighs, “And again, I’m so sorry.”
She nods, trying to put everything into perspective, “It’s okay, it’s… better now than later.”
“Yeah.” The two finally let go of each other. “I know it’s stupid to ask if we can still be friends…”
“We can,” she smiles, “But one more thing.”
“I like Pam. A lot.”
“She’s great, isn’t she?”
“Be good to her. Or I will kick the shit out of you.”
He chuckles lightly, “I’ll keep that in mind.”
“And that is not a threat, that is a promise,” she starts to laugh alongside him.
“Good,” she nods, “Now get the hell out of my apartment.”
“You got it,” he says, going back to the couch to grab his scarf, “And thank you. For everything.”
She fears she might cry again, but pushes it down, “Likewise.”
He grants her a sad smile, “Goodbye, Karen.”
And with that, he’s off.
When she hears the door close, she takes a deep breath in, followed by a long and shaky exhale, as she figures out which challenge to tackle next.
Meanwhile, Jim has another stop to make.
Pam hears a knock as she’s getting her coffee; she’s dressed in her PJs, but she’s expecting a package so it won’t even matter.
She opens the door, mid-yawn, but flinches at who it is.
“Jim!” she’s nervous, “Um, morning.”
He smiles, nervous himself, “Sorry, I shouldn’t drop by like this—”
“No, no-no, you’re fine. If I would’ve known—”
“Don’t worry about it,” he shrugs it off, “May I come in?”
“Oh! Yeah, sure,” she moves out of his way.
“Thanks,” he walks in, “Lovely place.”
“Thank you,” she smiles just by being around him, closing the door, “Sorry, my hosting skills are a bit rocky in the morning.”
“Thanks,” she goes over around the bar to get her drink, “Coffee?”
“No thanks,” he sits across from her, “There is something about this kitchen, though.”
“There’s only one of them.”
She jokingly rolls her eyes, “Jim, that’s not how any of that works.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Okay, Miss 28 Days Later.” She reaches over and lightly smack his arm. “Ow!”
“Oh, hush, that didn’t hurt.”
He goes ahead and starts, “Yeah, sorry again for dropping by unannounced.”
“You’re just fine, Jim. What brings you?”
“Yeah, I wanted to tell you…” he just tells her, “I broke up with Karen last night.”
Her face falls, “I’m so sorry,” she tells him genuinely. And she is genuine. She likes Karen, and she doesn’t deserve to be dumped by her jerk of an ex. But that also means her best friend is single now, so that helps.
“It’s okay,” he nods, “It just… we never, really clicked. If that makes sense.”
“Right,” she responds, “How’s she holding up?“
“She’ll be okay,” he reassures her, “She’s upset and pissed, but…”
“Yeah,” it’s all she’s got.
They both look down, not sure how to proceed.
He delays it longer, “So how’s Roy?”
“Oh,” She wasn’t expecting that, “He’s um… he’s good, yeah.”
“Good,” he nods. He feels bad for Roy, he does, but Roy’s the last thing he wants to talk about right now. “I also came to say I’m sorry.”
“For what?” she asks, curious.
“For, y’know,” he rubs the back of his neck, “my… departure.”
“…Oh.” That’s a way to phrase it.
“Yeah, I left you all without a goodbye, and that was… shitty of me.”
“…Yeah, that kinda was.” He didn’t expect that response to be so cutting. She didn’t, either.
He’s ashamed, but feels the need to justify it, “Look, I… I just needed a change of pace.” Even he knew that was BS the moment it came out of his mouth.
“Yeah, sure,” she goes ahead and wipes her mug at the sink, letting all that anger bubble up.
His anger starts to bubble, as well, “It sounds like you don’t believe me.”
“No, not really,” she’s purposefully cutting with her words this time, not even looking up.
He shakes his head, “I didn’t know what else—”
“Here’s something you could have done, Jim,” she looks at him now, angry, “You could’ve not run out on me and everyone else.”
“Pam, I couldn’t be here.”
“You know why.”
“Yeah, no I don’t,” she folds her arms.
“Pam, I told you how I felt. Twice. And you decided you were gonna marry him anyway.”
“I didn’t decide on anything.”
“Well that’s what you answered.”
“And that’s on me. But I was scared and confused after my best friend dropped a bomb on me. I had no time to think.”
“What was there to think about, Pam?”
“Jim, I was with Roy for nearly a decade, okay? And—”
“And how well has he treated you?”
“Don’t start that,” she has to contain herself, “Roy’s family is like mine. We’re still friends, even now. And breaking up with him wasn’t the cut-and-dry choice you might think it was.”
“Oh, yeah,” he starts being sarcastic, “That was interesting news to hear from Kevin, of all people.”
“I don’t need to update you on every detail of my life,” she points out, “Especially not after, you know, you just ran.”
“I couldn’t take it, Pam,” he raises his voice, “If you wanted to marry him, fine, but don’t act like you didn’t break my heart.”
“I’m sorry, Jim, I really am, I just wanted us to talk about it after—”
“What more was there to say?” he shrugs, genuinely confused.
“I was going to tell you to just… wait. That I needed time to think and take everything in. And this was the next day, too. But you’re way too impatient for that, it seems.”
He shakes his head, “This was a mistake,” he get up from the bar and makes a beeline from the door.
“That’s it?” she scoffs, “Figures.”
“I said I was sorry, Pam!” he’s at the door, “Alright, isn’t that enough for you?”
She walks over to him, “It’s gonna take a bit more than ‘I’m sorry’, Jim.”
“So, what, we can’t be friends anymore?”
She stands in front of him, “We can be the moment you get your head out of your ass!”
“Funny, I was just thinking the same thing about you.”
“Fine! I’ll be sure to not let you know!”
Pam strides to her bedroom as she comes down from the high. Once she’s back in bed and her head hits her pillow, she starts to cry again.
Jim slams his head on the steering wheel thrice before heading home, realizing how badly he hurt himself as he puts the car in reverse.
Neither do anything but wallow in self-pity for the rest of the day.
It’s Christmas Eve, and the Halperts have all gathered at Gerald and Betsy’s.
Jim decides to go outside for a bit, only freezing his balls off because he can’t stand his asshole brothers flaunting around their perfect kids and marriages while he managed to screw himself over on that front. And the moment Pete and Tom pointed that out jokingly, Jim walked out the front door and slammed it behind him. Now he’s sitting on the front step, trying to figure out how to take it all back. Every little, awkward, petty thing he’s said and done. Especially Stamford, his biggest regret.
His sister Larisa can’t stand to see her big brother upset like this, so she decides to bundle up herself and takes a seat next to him, “This can’t be comfortable.”
“I’m fine, Larisa, really.”
“Your runny nose says otherwise.” He wipes under his nose with his glove. “They feel bad, you know.”
“As they should.”
“You know how they are.”
“That doesn’t excuse it.”
“You’re right, you’re right,” she concedes, “But if it’s any consolation, Cindy and Marcy are really letting them have it.”
He almost smiles, “I can only imagine.”
She decides to ask, “Pam?” She doesn’t know everything, but enough.
He just shrugs, “Who else?”
The last thing he wants to hear from her is ‘I told you so’, so he’s thankful she doesn’t go that direction, “You two need to talk this out.”
“Why?” he asks, “She made it perfectly clear how she feels.”
“From what I know about Pam, she has difficulty being honest with herself.”
He smirks, “Takes one to know one, huh?”
“Well, I wasn’t gonna say it, but…” she does a ‘Jim shrug.’
He nods, “Yeah.”
She decides to help him out, “I’m not Mom, so I’m not gonna tell you what to do. But sitting alone eating cookie dough and watching Sports Center all day isn’t the ideal way to spend Christmas, especially considering you’re right off the heels of a breakup. So why not at least express how you really feel about everything? Be honest with her, sure, but don’t get caught up in the moment.” He realizes that’s exactly what happened yesterday. “At the end of the day, you two are best friends. You shouldn’t throw that away, even if she doesn’t feel the same way you feel about her,” she puts her hand on his shoulder and he turns to her, “I love you, Jim, and you deserve a good Christmas. One where you’re not alone or dealing with all of them,” she points at the door, “You should spend it with someone you care about.”
He takes in everything she’s saying, a genuine smile growing on his face, “I… I needed to hear that. Thanks.”
“Of course,” she gets up, “Now get your ass inside before it freezes.”
“Ugh, fine,” he stands up and follows his little sister, feeling not quite as utterly defeated as he was ten minutes ago.
He now knows how he’ll spend his Christmas morning.
It’s Christmas Eve, and the Beeslys have all gathered at Will and Helene’s.
Pam sits alone, on the couch, feeling as awkward as she would with the Andersons during this time of year. Usually Christmas Eve with her family was the best time, leading to Christmas Day with Roy. But now, with her single, she decided to just stay home and relax instead of spending it with her parents like they offered. Relax with more Ben & Jerry’s she bought the other day. She knows it’s sad, but she can’t bring herself to care anymore.
She’s screwed over her own Christmas, she can’t drag down anyone else with her.
Her mother Helene walks over to her, all too perceptive. She never addressed the situation since it happened, but noticed that she’s has been talking to her less and less. Considering how close their relationship is, she’s never this quiet. And whenever Helene would ask certain questions, it’s usually “I dunno,” or “Let’s not talk about it.” Part of her is angry at that young man for breaking her daughter’s heart, but she knows he has some growing up to do. As does Pam. A lot of it, it seems.
She knows what they have is special, and neither of them can just abandon that. She doesn’t want them to make the same mistakes she’s made.
“You alright, Pam?” she asks, sitting next to her on the couch.
“I’m fine, Mom,” Pam reassures, “I’m just… distracted.”
Helene knows why. “I forgot to ask, how’s your friend, Jim?”
“Oh, he’s… okay, I guess. He recently broke up with his girlfriend.”
“Well, that’s a shame,” Helene says, a hopeful gleam in her eye.
“Yeah,” Pam can’t lie to her, “To be honest, he and I aren’t really speaking to each other.”
“And why’s that?”
“We had a fight.”
“Oh,” Helene expresses her remorse.
Pam decides to let her in, “I mean, after everything I told you, you know, that night, he apologized. But I really let him have it.”
“Then again, he fought back. I guess after months of not addressing it, we just… went off.”
A beat. “Pam, only answer this if you want to, because I don’t want to pry.”
“Do you still have feelings for him?”
She nods shyly, “Yeah,” it was barely a whisper.
“Does he still have feelings for you?”
“After yesterday? Probably not.”
“Do you know that for sure?”
“I know he at least wants us to be friends, but—”
“Pam,” Helene begins, “would you rather be right, or happy?”
“Is both an option?” Pam gives a small and knowing smile.
“Sometimes it really isn’t,” Helene smiles back, shaking her head, “And in those times, you just have to put away your pride to forgive them and yourself, no matter if you’re in the right or not.”
“I just…” Pam shakes her head, “he put me through so much,” her voice cracks and she starts to breathe heavily.
“Oh, honey, I know,” Helene comforts, wrapping her arm around her, “but if you really care for this man, and I know you do, the best thing to do is to sit down, talk it out, and forgive.”
Forgiveness is hard to reconcile for Pam after Jim running off only to come back with a shiny new girlfriend, Roy wasting nearly nine years of her life with his lack of ambition or consideration, Karen for dating Jim even though she did absolutely nothing wrong and seems like a great person, and her boss and other coworkers for their constant, constant butting into her love life and just generally annoying the piss out of her.
But she knows her mother’s right.
“I… I’ll talk to him.”
Helene smiles at her eldest with pride, rubbing her arm, “That’s my Pam,” she gives her a kiss on the head, “Come on, it’s time for dinner.”
“Of course, sweetheart.”
The mother and daughter join their family, Pam just a tiny, a little bit, better.
She now knows how she’ll spend her Christmas morning.
It’s around 8:30 AM when Jim arrives at Pam’s place to find her car missing, so he grabs his cell and gives her a call. However, his phone starts to ring, and he’s surprised by the contact.
Funnily enough, it’s Pam.
[“I know I’m the last person you want to speak to right now—”]
“No, no, I…” he figures out how to phrase it, “I was wondering if we could talk about the other day.”
[“…I’d like that.”]
“And I want to do it in person.”
“So when will you be back?”
“I’m at your place, and I don’t see your car.”
[“…Yeah, about that.”]
“I’m actually at your place.”
Her car is parked right outside his new condo.
[“Shut up. Really?”]
Her smile grows, “Yeah, really.”
[“Oh, my God,”] they both start to laugh, [“That’s amazing!”]
“I know, right?”
[“How in the world?”]
“Wait, I thought I saw a Saab on the way over here!”
[“That was you?”]
[“I found that car and recognized it but I had no idea.”]
“Great minds think alike, I suppose.”
A beat. [“So do you still wanna talk?”]
“I mean, I can drive back, it’ll be around… fifteen minutes.”
[“I was actually thinking the two of us could meet somewhere else.”]
“Where’d you have in mind?”
Pam rubs her hands together as she stands under the gazebo. She notices Jim walk over, “Oh, hey!”
“Hey,” he smiles as he walks to her, “Didn’t have any trouble getting here, did you?”
“Not really, no.”
“Good,” he rubs the back of his neck and looks away, “So um… how do you wanna—”
“I can start.”
He nods, “Okay.”
She decides to grab his gloved hands with hers, and he’s initially surprised by the gesture, but he decides to slowly grasp them.
“Jim,” she starts, “I’m sorry. About everything. I really am. You’re right, Roy never treated me the way I deserve, but… I still needed time.” Jim nods in understanding. “And I know you know that. But after you left, I did have time. A lot of time to myself, to think. And despite everything, Jim, you’re still my best friend, and if it wasn’t for you, I would’ve never had half the courage to get out of a bad relationship or go to art classes.” He smiles at her in support. “But beyond all of that, I was hurt. And to be honest, I still kind of am.” He starts to feel guilty again. “But I get why you left. I’ve been the queen of bad decision making for the longest time, and I need to stop. Give myself a kick in the ass and get over myself, because… I don’t want us to hurt each other anymore.” He grasps her hands tighter. “And in spite of everything…” she prevents herself from getting emotional, “I really hope you can forgive me.”
It’s Jim’s turn, “Pam, you should be the one forgiving me. I should have never left, and I knew leaving how much it was gonna hurt you. But I never even thought about how it’d hurt Michael. And Dwight, but he’ll never admit it.” She smirks. “It was selfish and idiotic and I’ll never do it again. And Karen… that was an even bigger mistake. She didn’t deserve having to move somewhere just for me,” he takes a deep breath, wanting to phrase this carefully, “When that Benihana waitress stole Michael’s bike,” they both repress their giggles, “I-I told him what a rebound is. Someone who’s basically a distraction from the one who broke your heart.” She starts to cry, but he softly holds her cheek and brushes away her tear with his thumb. “I wasn’t honest with myself, Karen, or you. And that needs to stop. All I want now is for us to start being honest with each other. Because we really haven’t been.”
“I want that, too,” more tears begin to fall as he cups the other cheek and wipes them away.
“You already know how I feel about you, but if you want us to just be friends, I’ll respect that. And I know I sound like a broken record, but I’m really sorry for everything.”
“I forgive you,” she starts to smile.
“And I you,” he smiles back.
They finally embrace, coming to revelations after having a talk that they should have had in the first place. As they part, they smile at each other once again, and — catching him by surprise — she kisses him. He kisses her back, getting the kiss he was hoping for on Casino Night: a display of love and contentment rather than a botched mistake that led to two broken hearts.
After they part, he just stands there, dumbfounded, “Wow.”
“Yeah, wow,” she starts to laugh and he joins her.
“Let’s get out of here.”
“Please,” she practically begs. They walk out of the gazebo and back to their cars, hand-in-hand.
“So, had any plans?” he asks.
“Rather than eating ice cream and watching bad Christmas movies, not really. You?”
“Something similar, I was going to eat cookie dough and watch ESPN.”
“How about we compromise: cookie dough and bad Christmas movies.”
“Of course, you big dork! I’m not about to spend Christmas sulking in my tiny apartment all day when I have a boyfriend I can spend it with instead.”
“Oh, so we are a couple,” he jokes.
She just looks at him, “Y’know, you’re really lucky you’re cute.”
“I am pretty cute, aren’t I?” he brings her hand to his lips and kisses it. She blushes, trying not to melt. “We can head back to my place,” he offers, “You already know how to get there.”
She smirks, “That’s true. Besides, I’ve had enough ice cream. Time to switch it up.”
They finally reach their cars, and she’s reluctant, “I don’t wanna let go.”
“Me either… Twenty minutes.”
“Twenty minutes.” They let go, arms outstretched, and walk to their separate cars.
Jim and Pam finish off the cookie dough, both in their Christmas PJs, his arm draped over her shoulders as she places her spoon down, “Ugh, I’m stuffed.”
“Me too,” he says, “Also, wonderful choice for a movie, I might add.”
“Trust me, I’m a connoisseur for this sort of thing.”
“I can’t believe you had it with you. Like, a physical copy.”
“Well, I dunno, I thought we’d enjoy it.”
“I ironically and legitimately did. Do you have more of these?”
“Just the particularly good ones.”
“Amazing. But I don’t know why you called it a ‘Hallmark’ movie when it aired on…” he checks the box, “ABC Family.”
“You don’t understand, Halpert. Hallmark in this case is not a channel, but a genre.”
“And this movie is the embodiment of said genre: awful writing, unlikable lead, token minorities, a plot so predictable you can figure it out without having to watch the movie, and timed commercial breaks. It has it all!”
“I was gonna say, this is probably the whitest thing I have ever seen.”
“I’m in love with you.”
The sudden shift in her voice during her confession throws him off, “What?”
“I’m in love with you, Jim,” she swallows, “And I understand if you don’t—”
“You already know how I feel, Pam,” he smiles, moving his arm to cup her cheek, “I’m still in love with you.”
As tears well in her eyes, she smiles brightly back at him, “I’m such a mess,” she whispers, starting to cry again.
“Aw, come here,” he brings her onto his lap and holds her, happy as a lark, as she leans into his shoulder, arms around his neck, “You okay?”
“I’m sorry it took me so long to tell you,” she whimpers into his shoulder.
“Hey, we’re here now,” he comforts, “and that’s what matters.”
She leans her head up to face him, kissing him. “I didn’t get you anything for Christmas,” she laments.
“Yes, you did.” And they kiss yet again. “Hey, are you free for dinner tomorrow night?”
Her smile is infectious, “Yes.”
“Perfect. Then, it’s a date.”
The Day After Christmas
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Michael announces as he exists his office, getting everyone’s attention, “It appears that another one of our own is leaving the flock.” Jim raises his eyebrow. “Karen Filipelli,” he gestures to her, “has decided to transfer yet again to Utica, New York and will take over as Regional Manager after the last one’s misuse of company property… to call a certain service.”
“What kind of service, Michael?” Jim asks with a knowing smile.
“Of the escort variety.” Jim’s eyes widen while Pam tries not to keel over. “Let’s give her a hand, everybody!” Everyone applauds her achievement, Dwight and Andy the loudest.
“Thanks everyone,” Karen smiles genuinely.
Michael decides to do this: “Speech! Speech! Speech!”
“Speech! Speech! Speech! Speech!—”
“Speech! Speech! Speech! Speech!—”
“Okay, shutup!” Michael shuts Dwight and Andy down, “Karen… the floor is yours.”
“Alright,” she shrugs, feeling no more awkward than usual. She stands up and faces the office. “I just wanted to thank everyone here. I know I haven’t gotten to know you guys for very long but um, please know it has nothing to do with you. This is just an opportunity I can’t pass up.”
“Understandable,” Dwight nods.
“Indeed,” Andy nods as well.
“Thank you guys again, and Andy? Still up for Call of Duty co-op?”
“Yes ma’am!” Andy raises his fist.
“Alright,” Michael decides to drape her arm around Karen, who purses her lips, feeling uncomfortable, “I’ll give you guys some time to say your goodbyes.”
Karen receives (mostly) warm goodbyes from her coworkers. She gets Kelly’s number, Phyllis’ perfume, an all-too-firm handshake from Dwight, and some evidence-ladened gloves from Creed that she’ll burn later.
But there were two more people who needed to say goodbye.
“I forgot to ask, how was your Christmas?” Jim asks walking up to her.
“Oh it was… actually really good.”
“Yeah, went back to Stamford to visit family. It was fun.”
“Oh, it was,” he awkwardly turns to Reception, then back at her, “it was great.”
She peers back then faces him, giving a sad smile, “Good.”
They both lean in for a hug. “Don’t be a stranger,” he tells her.
“I won’t,” she promises. After they part and exchange small smiles, she walks with her box of items towards Reception.
Pam looks up at her, “Do you need any help?”
“Nah, I got everything,” Karen reassures, “Thanks for a kickass Christmas party.”
“I should be thanking you,” Pam tells her, “And, um, keep in touch, okay?”
Karen nods, “Certainly. And Pam?”
She looks around and leans in, “If he hurts you again, I’ll kick his ass.” Pam responds with a laugh. “Thanks again. For everything.”
Karen turns to face the rest of the office, “Goodbye, everyone!” The rest of the employees echo it back to her.
“Karen Filipelli, everybody!” he starts to clap and gets everyone to join in as she awkwardly smiles and departs Dunder Mifflin Scranton forever.
Jim and Pam look at each other, happy that Karen is getting the life she deserves.
“Al…right, no rest for the wicked,” Michael pats Ryan shoulder, who subtly rolls his eyes, “Let’s get back to work.”
Some time later, as Jim munches on his baby carrots, he sees her walk in, “Hey.”
“Hi,” she looks downtrodden as she sits next to him.
“How’d it go?”
“Well, he was angry, of course, but he thankfully didn’t make a show of it.”
“Does he want me dead?”
She smiles at that, “No, not anymore. Not after what I said.”
“What did you say?”
“You were right about being honest, that’s why I wanted to tell him, to begin with. So I told him the truth about how he made me feel and he…”
His eyes widen, “Oh.”
“I didn’t mean for him to go this far.”
“Hey, this is his choice at the end of the day,” he comforts, “You can’t help that.”
“Yeah, but he’s still important to me.”
“Look, you’ve done everything—”
They turn to find Roy, his face wearing an unreadable expression.
Jim and Pam look at each other, then back at him. “Hey,” is all he can bring himself to say.
Roy’s face softens, “Be good to her, alright?”
Jim nods in understanding, “I will.”
Roy walks over to him and gives him a powerful handshake, which Jim reciprocates. He looks at Pam, his face growing a smile, “See ya around, Pammy.”
She starts to smile back, “See you, Roy.”
All three exchange smiles before he walks to Toby’s desk.
They turn back around and he puts his arm around her shoulders the moment he notices her eyes watering. She turns to him and they beam at each other.
“Alright, for you sir, a pound of steak with rib-eye and grilled chicken,” the waitress carefully lowers the heavy plate to Dwight.
“Thank you, ma’am.”
“And for you, miss, a single bowl of kale.”
“Thank you,” Angela says quietly with a small smile.
“Alright, enjoy!” the waitress is off.
After Angela says a quick prayer to herself, she looks up to see Dwight monstrously digging in, “Dwight!” she chastises, getting his attention, “We are in public. Please, slow down.”
He pauses, “Sorry,” he says with meat still in his mouth.
She sighs, “All is forgiven,” she grabs her fork and starts to eat.
“God,” Dwight starts, “Did you see that idiot cheer along with me?”
She rolls her eyes, “Don’t remind me. I already have to share a desk clump with him.”
“I’d never thought I’d see a pathetic slacker with a bad haircut worse than Jim, but there you go.”
“Hold on,” she looks to her left.
“Ninety degrees to your right.” Dwight turns and spots them from afar.
Jim and Pam.
Jim looks practically the same rather than wearing a more pressed suit. Pam has on a blue dress and make-up, her hair having more volume and not nearly as frizzy.
“Speak of the devil,” Dwight shakes his head.
The couple turn to face each other again. “Did you see Pam?” Angela starts in exasperation.
“Yeah, I think she could do better,” Dwight takes a bite of his steak.
“I can only imagine what Jim actually sees in that… hussy.”
“Yeah, I think he could do better,” he starts carving his steak once again.
“I mean, who dresses like that and doesn’t seek attention from other men?”
“To be fair, she did get out of a relationship that was less than ideal.”
“And that justifies dressing like a whore in the middle of a restaurant?”
“I’m just saying, this is her idea of liberation. After looking demure and unassuming in the office all day, one can imagine the freedom she’s experiencing right now.”
She looks back at Pam, “I guess you’re right,” she concedes as she stabs her kale, “As long as she doesn’t dress like that in the office.”
“Eh, I doubt she will,” he gets started on the ribs, pouring some A1 on them, “Knowing they never brought it up in the office, they plan to keep it a secret. You and I certainly have experience with that.”
She nods, “Indeed.”
“It’s funny,” he shakes his head, amused, “As infuriating as I find them, I can’t help but feel sort of happy for them.”
“And why is that?”
He looks at her meaningfully, “Because they’ll have what we have.”
Dwight and Angela exchange smiles that they only express to each other.
(Also, I know this is pretty similar to my last work, I think I’m done with S3 outside the Only You material.)