A million thanks to nomadshan and her beautiful story "Hope" who helped me realize that Jim and Pam are perfect in any decade
I've done a ton of research and I'm trying my hardest to keep this story historically correct as possible...but if you catch anything please let me know!
Disclaimer: I own nothing...not a single thing :( Please don't sue me
1. Leather Gloves by PamPongChamp
2. Black Cadillac by PamPongChamp
3. Tin Foil by PamPongChamp
4. Yellow Roses by PamPongChamp
5. Green Grass by PamPongChamp
6. Red Lipstick by PamPongChamp
7. Silver Lettering by PamPongChamp
8. Merry Christmas by PamPongChamp
9. Blue Dress by PamPongChamp
10. Brown Paper by PamPongChamp
11. Emerald Ceramic by PamPongChamp
He struck the matchbook and held the flame close to his mouth. He took a long drag and exhaled, watching the cloud of smoke dissipate toward the open window. He leaned back against the wooden slats in his chair and drank in his surroundings. The smell of fresh paint mingled with the smoke from his Chesterfield. This was his office, his building, his staff. He found himself with more at twenty-eight than many men had at fifty. But, somehow, it didn't feel quite right.
There was a small knock on his large oak door. He kicked his feet off the desk and sat up in his chair in the most professional way he knew how. "Come in," he called, pretending to be interested in the blank paper that sat in his typewriter.
The door opened slowly and a small woman walked in. She wore a printed dress, pink and yellow roses. Her waist was small, and the swing skirt fell beautifully past her knees. She held two white leather gloves and a small pink clutch purse in her right hand. She looked shyly at him, averting her eyes from his, toward the front of his desk.
"I'm here to interview for the operator job," she admitted quietly. Her voice was soft, soothing almost.
He quickly put out his cigarette into the green ceramic ashtray that had been a present from his mother. "Of course, of course, come in," he motioned for her to come closer. She closed the door and came toward the desk, where stood holding his hand out to her. "Jim Halpert" he said with a smile.
She lightly shook his hand, his warm smile easing her nerves, "Pamela Beesly."
He gestured toward the chair that sat in front of his desk. "Take a seat, Pamela."
She slipped into the chair and straightened her skirt, "well, 'Pam' is alright. Only my mother calls me 'Pamela'." She folded her gloves on top of her purse and laid them gracefully in her lap
He folded his hands in front of him, "So, Pam" he said, "What experience do you have in the field of switchboard operation? Or any office skills, for that matter?"
"Well," she began, "I worked at the telephone company when I first got out of high school. And in school I was the best typist in my class. I type ninety words per minute." she bragged with a smile on her face.
"Wow." His eyebrows were raised and he looked genuinely impressed. He looked at her a moment, she was now wearing a smile that she hadn't walked in with. Like her smooth voice, her smile was comforting. Her eyes were bright as he stared at him with anticipation. "Can you start on Monday?" he asked.
Her smile grew wider and she felt herself getting giddy. But her mother's voice was in her ear and she quickly composed herself, even pressing her lips together for good measure. "I think that would be fine," she told him.
"We'll see you then Miss. Beesly." He leapt up to get the door for her. His mother had always told him to be a gentleman. She began walking out the door, delicately placing her gloves back on her hands.
She looked up from her fingers to nod at him, "Good afternoon, Mr.Halpert."
The door closed and she was gone, and Jim noticed that the empty feeling he was contemplating earlier seemed to have slipped away. He was looking forward to Monday.
Outside the building, Pam clutched her bag in both hands, nodding politely to the men in grey suits who passed her. The white pickup pulled in front of the building, she walked gracefully to the truck and slid in, careful to keep her ankles together.
"So?" Roy asked, excitement in his voice and spread across his face.
"I start on Monday," she proudly announced.
He leaned over and quickly kissed her cheek, and threw the truck into gear. "Let's go celebrate."
Roy peeled out of the parking lot, while Jim Halpert began his afternoon daydreaming about the new switchboard girl.
He'd been too focused on her leather gloves to notice the ring on her left hand.
I'm a very visual person, so I have photos to go along with the chapter...Ifyou like to imagine things yourself, don't worry about it and just read...
Pam's work space: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/josie21612/1997_5002_11283_2.jpg
Jim's 1953 Cadillac: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/josie21612/1953_Cadillac.jpg
"Dunder-Mifflin paper." Pam adjusted her headset slightly. "Hold please." She transferred the line to C4, Mr. Wolfe, from sales. After only a week she wasn't using her cheat sheet anymore. She'd memorized everyone's extension. This job was turning out to be much easier than the one at the telephone company. Less pressure, less to memorize, slower pace. She guessed there were only twenty or thirty calls a day, and never more than three at once. She was lucky enough to be able to spend most of her time reading, but her eyes often left the page and wandered around the office.
Her location in the back gave her a great view of the whole office. It was a large room, desks in perfect lines facing the front door and Mr. Halpert's office. Bright lights hung in rows along the ceiling, tall oak bookshelves and large filing drawers lined the walls. The men in the office all seemed the same: grey or black suit, gold wedding band, cocky demeanor.
As Pam stared at the way Mr. Henslin chewed the back of his pen, Gladys placed a small yellow note on her desk. "Any messages?" Gladys asked robotically. Pam handed her the small stack of papers and she rushed off. Gladys was very skittish, always running around the office, from one desk to another, the filing cabinets, back and forth. She made Pam nervous.
She looked at the yellow note. "From the desk of James Halpert" the top said. Written in squiggly cursive was, "Meeting. 4:30."
The clock said 4:27.
Pam stood and straightened her skirt, and politely asked Gladys to watch the phones. Gladys barely nodded, shuffling her large stack of paper and practically running to her next location.
Pam entered Mr. Halpert's office. It was made of two parts, a front reception room where his secretary, Dottie, sat, and the office itself. Dottie clacked her red fingernails on the typewriter, and smacked her gum like a cow. The roots of her bottle-blonde hair were obvious in this light. Without looking up, she reached over to the intercom and said, "Mr. Halpert, Miss Beesly is here." After an obnoxious buzz, she heard, "Send her in, please." Pam smiled at Dottie, who didn't seem to notice her, before entering the office.
The only person in the building she wasn't afraid of was Mr. Halpert. He was very reserved and spent most of his day at his desk. But whenever he was out and around, his smile was warm and he was kind to everyone.
He now smiled at her from a relaxed position in his chair. Then he noticed her apprehensive face and urged, "Sit, you're not in trouble, I promise."
She eased up and took her seat.
"So, how has your first week gone?" he asked.
"Very well, thank you."
"You're figuring everything out alright?"
"Then I guess we're all done here. Enjoy your weekend, Pam."
"Thank you, Mr. Halpert."
He held the door for her. "Please, call me Jim." She just smiled shyly and slipped out the door. Jim looked out to find Dottie scowling behind her typewriter. "She's not married, you know," she informed him condescendingly.
He reminded her, "Neither are you." "But I'm only seventeen; she's what, thirty?" she mocked.
Jim retreated to his office and buzzed the intercom. "Back to work Dottie."
At 4:53, Pam heard the snapping of briefcases behind her. She reached up to switch off the phones but a light began to blink. She huffed and picked up her headset. "Dunder-Mifflin paper."
"Pammy?" The sound was garbled.
"It's me, Roy. I can't come get you at work. I'm on the boss's phone and I need to get back underground. So sorry." And then a click.
Jim was leaving his office when he saw her fallen face across the room. "Is everything alright?" he asked when he reached her side, still pulling on his overcoat
"I need the number for a taxi service." Her voice was small.
"Would you like a lift home?"
She panicked. How would it look if her neighbors saw her in another man's car? "I don't think that would be a good idea," she managed.
He knew Pam was big on manners, but he didn't want her in a cab. "Please, I insist."
After staring at her hands a moment, she said finally, "Alright. Thank you."
He grinned and placed his hat over his slick hair. "I'll be outside when you're ready."
She quietly thanked him again before he headed outside.
"Oh my," escaped from her lips without warning.
He looked over at her, her face lit up like a child's. "That's a Cadillac."
"It is?" he joked, "I just got it. I'm not sure if I like it yet."
Pam ran her gloved hands over the smooth black curves. "It's so beautiful," she breathed. He watched her bite her lower lip and it made him shiver.
He opened her door, but she stood like a statue, transfixed by the shine of the dashboard. "Would you like to get in?"
"Oh, yes. Yes, of course." She slid in the seat and folded her hands silently. He was angry at himself for startling her. Her smile was gone.
When he started the engine, she breathed in deeply the smell of leather and cigarettes. She hadn't been in a car like this ever in her life. It made Roy's sooty F100 look like junk.
The ride to Pam's home was quiet. The radio played softly. Jim lit up a cigarette, offered one to Pam. She politely declined, and gave him directions. When he almost missed a turn, she slid across the seat and crashed into his side. Her hand rested for a moment on his knee. He smelled wonderful, and his eyes were green.
Embarrassed, she scooted back to her proper place, fussed with her hair and didn't look at him again.
Finally, he pulled into her neighborhood. A dozen identical, adjoined apartments lined the street, each with one window, and four concrete steps leading up to a plain white door. He knew before she pointed it out which one was hers: the only one with curtains in the window and potted plants on the steps.
Before he could get out, she flung open her own door and rushed up to her steps.
He grinned, knowing why she had rushed out. "See you on Monday, Pam," he called and before she could speak, he added, "Please, call me Jim."
She smiled at the door before she turned. "Good evening, Mr. Halpert."
This chap is crazy short. I'm hoping to have the next one up very soon though.I found myself inspired by this 1957 educational film that I thought could have been a movie...if you've got thirty minutes, it's very cute: How Far Is Too Far?
Though the drive home was only a mile long, he took several side streets, driving slowly. He inhaled her sweet scent, which still mingled with the new leather. When he reached the small, white, split-level house, he sat in the driveway collecting himself from the encounter with Pam.
When he reluctantly entered the house, he hung up his coat and hat in the front closet, announcing, "I'm home."
Her reply came from the sitting room. "Robert?"
He stepped into the room. "No, momma, it's Jimmy."
"Oh, hello, dear," she smiled. Even after all this time the disappointment in her voice still stung.
"What did you do today?" he asked her.
She was sitting in the burgundy armchair, blanket on her lap. Her sad eyes were staring at the television, which wasn't turned on. "I wanted to make you a cake, but I couldn't remember how."
"That's alright," he reassured her, "I'll make us dinner. Would you like to listen to the radio?"
She nodded, closing her eyes.
He watched her a moment, but the pain of seeing the shell of a woman she had become was too hard to dwell on.
He flipped on the radio and went to the freezer for two T.V. dinners. He was beginning to really hate T.V. dinners; he missed his mother's cooking. He missed his mother.
He turned on the oven. As he waited for it to heat up, his thoughts drifted again to Pam. He'd only known her a week, but he couldn't get her off of his mind. He found out she was engaged to a coal miner. For some reason this fact didn't deter him at all.
He pulled the foil back carefully. The corn was still stuck in a clump. He wondered if Pam could cook. He wondered what Pam would think of his family. He hadn't brought a girl home in more than a year, he was afraid of what they might say. He knew that Pam would smile and enjoy the repetitive conversation with his mother. For a moment, he thought he might ask Pam to dinner on Monday.
He sat the tray in her lap, she smiled. They ate quietly, the radio softly playing.
She looked up at the clock, "I guess your father is working late tonight."
His heart broke a little more. "I guess so."
She carefully scribed the date at the top of the message for Mr. Halpert. June 1, 1954
Pam had been at Dunder-Mifflin for more than five months now. She no longer gave Gladys the messages. She had become partial to hand-delivery. Well, only when it came to Mr. Halpert.
He made work enjoyable for her. Pam couldn't remember a time when she'd had a male friend. She had begun going steady with Roy when she was sixteen, but they were never really "friends". She knew her mother would have a fit if she knew how much time Pam spent in his office alone with him. The conversation was always light-hearted, but sometimes he made her feel funny, which would result in ignoring him for a week or two.
She tried her hardest not to skip on the way. It was Friday and she was in a good mood. Plus, she knew that the note in her hand guaranteed her at least five minutes of fun away from her switchboard.
Dottie saw her before she even reached the door. She hit the buzzer and only said, "Miss Beesly."
Pam smiled at her before she opened his door and for the first time, Dottie smiled back. Pam figured that Friday was getting to everyone.
She entered the office and the blinds were closed, his chair was facing the window and a stream of smoke was rising toward the ceiling. She smiled inside; she loved this game.
He whipped around in the chair. "Whadda ya want?"
In her breathiest voice, she said, "You have a message, sir." She placed the paper slowly on the desk.
With his cigarette still hanging off the side of his lip, he said harshly, "Si' down."
She plopped quickly in the chair, trying her best to keep the giggles down.
She had joked with him once about looking like a detective when he put his feet on the desk. It led to a half-hour of talking in silly voices like in the mystery movies her father loved so much. Now "private eye" had become one of their favorite games.
"I got a problem, see?" He kicked his feet up onto the desk. "My secretary's gettin' married, see?"
She gasped dramatically, "Oh gee!"
"So I need me a new one, whadda ya say?"
She completely broke character. "Me? You want me to be the secretary?"
He put the cigarette out. "Yeah. You start on Monday." He winked at her before turning the chair back around. "Now get outta my sight."
On the way out, she told Dottie her congratulations and rushed home to find an outfit for Monday.
Monday morning, Jim was excited to start spending more time with Pam. Dottie had been wonderful, but Pam was much more fun. He only wished he knew her more. Their relationship was very superficial. He wanted to know where she grew up, what her family was like. Her favorite color, what she did on the weekends. Now he would have all day every day to do so.
When he entered the front room of the office, Pam was in the corner taking off her sweater. As she hung it on the rack, he couldn't keep his eyes off of her. She was wearing a light pink dress, covered in yellow roses. The back dipped down in a low V that stopped just above her waist.
Jim found himself transfixed by the curve of her back, her creamy skin. Some of her hair had fallen in tiny wisps on her neck.
He began to cross the room, wanting nothing more than to run his finger down the length of her spine. As though it had a mind of its own, his hand started to reach toward her.
She turned around with a jump. "Oh! You startled me." She clutched a hand to her chest and laughed.
"That's a lovely dress," was all he could say.
She looked down and held the sides of the skirt out. "Thank you! I made it for Fourth of July, but the weather is so nice today, I thought I'd bring it out early."
He started toward his office. "Well, you look fantastic," he smiled.
She tried her hardest to hide the blush that was spreading across her face.
"Thank you, Mr. Halpert."
It's company picnic time! :)
Thanks so much to my 3 betas this time around, Azlin, Muggins, and Nomadshan. You guys seriously rock...and having so many different opinions is very nice. :)
The July sun coming through the tall trees felt warm on his back. The smell of summer wafted through the smoke coming off of the grill. His employees were all gathered around the park with their families. He was genuinely impressed by his own ability to organize a picnic. A football landed at his feet. He looked up to see a pack of boys, shirts un-tucked, faces dirty. If he wasn't supposed to be ‘the boss', and if these weren't new white trousers, he would have joined them. He decided to participate the only way he could: he launched the ball across the park sending the boys running, screaming, "I got it!"
Across the field he saw her. She was wearing his favorite dress, the one she had made just for today. She had a burly man behind her. Jim assumed this must be the famous Roy.
He smiled brightly at Pam as she got closer, "Happy Fourth, Miss Beesly."
"You too!" For some reason, she wanted to hug him. It seemed alright since they were out of the office, but the casseroles dish in her hand and the man at her side changed her mind. "Roy, this is my boss, Mr. Halpert." Even now, she just couldn't call him Jim.
Roy held out a hand. "Roy Anderson."
Jim noticed the coal on Roy's knuckles and under his fingernails. "It's very nice to meet you, Roy."
"Listen, I really appreciate you giving Pammy this job. She's much easier to deal with now that she's busy."
Jim gave a pained smile. "Glad I could help out."
"So you got any food? I'm starved," Roy announced.
"Well, a few guys are grilling over there, and I can get that dish to the table for you Pam. It looks heavy, and smells delicious."
"Thank you," she blushed a little, "But Roy can do it," she said, handing it to Roy, her eye's never leaving Jim's.
When Roy had ventured off toward the grill, Pam said, "I'm so sorry we're late. Roy had to work this morning, and unfortunately he has to go back in a few hours."
"You won't get to stay for the fireworks? That's really a shame because I've got a pretty impressive show going. I have two boxes of sparklers."
Her eyes went wide, her smile wider, "Wow, Mr. Halpert, two whole boxes? Too bad I'll miss that." She winked before walking ahead of him toward the group of employees gathered near the tall Oak tree.
The urge to touch her returned with a vengeance. The light pink dress against the summer glow of her skin took his breath away. She turned suddenly, snapping him from his daze.
"I'm going to introduce myself to some of the wives," she told him, "I hope that see you around. This picnic really is very nice."
It meant more coming from her than anyone else.
Pam was really enjoying herself. There were at least twenty wives and daughters for her to meet. She rarely got to spend time with women who weren't her mother. She was bouncing Lucille Henslin's baby, Susanne, on her knee when she felt a tap on her shoulder.
"Come on, Pammy, we got to go."
She reluctantly gave the baby back to Lucille and quickly said a general goodbye to everyone within earshot before following Roy across the grass.
She spotted Jim with some kids, playing quarterback for their football game. The sleeves of his plaid shirt were rolled up past his elbows, and there were grass stains on his trousers. His normally combed, slick hair was tousled around his head. Seeing him in this whole new light made her feel something she couldn't quite place. She knew that if she were to figure it out, it would only mean trouble.
He saw her, and stopped to flash a smile, ball still in hand. Before he could even show his teeth, (not so) little Billy McCoy took him down to the ground. She rushed over to him, a small giggle escaping her lips. "Are you alright?" she asked, holding out a hand to help him.
Roy was shouting from across the field, "Pam! Now!"
She let go of Jim's hand abruptly. "I have to go," she called over her shoulder sadly, rushing off after Roy. From the ground he watched her scamper away, her dress swaying around her knees. Roy grabbed her arm just a little too hard. Jim wanted so badly to go after him, tell him that he'd better not touch her like that ever again. She wasn't his property, she was a lady. A beautiful, refined lady that would be so much better off with someone else. It didn't hurt that Jim just happened to know someone who would fill the position perfectly.
By the time he had finished his thoughts a crowd of boys had gathered around and Roy's truck had peeled out. Jim looked up at their bewildered faces. Sadly, he was closer in age to some of them than his own employees.
"Are you alright, sir?" the smallest one asked.
He sat up on his elbows. "I'm fine," he sighed. "All right gentleman, who wants to help me set up fireworks?"
Pam shifted in her seat, a broken spring was digging into her back but this was the only clean part of the upholstery that wasn't threatening to get soot on her skirt. Besides the obvious pain in her back, she was having a hard time paying attention to the movie. She was never a big fan of westerns. She had really wanted to see "Rear Window." Mr. Halpert read about it in the paper that afternoon at lunchtime.
She was quietly sipping her tomato soup from her thermos, being extremely careful not to get anything on her new white sweater. She had bought it when Roy went on and on about Lana Turner and how Pam needed to wear sweaters. Pam had never felt more uncomfortable in her life, she'd noticed all day the way the clients that came in to see Mr. Halpert stared at her chest. After a few hours she considered throwing it away. But here, having lunch at her desk with Mr. Halpert reading in the leather chair in the corner she thought she needed to give it another chance.
"This new Hitchcock film sounds pretty neat. The reviewer called it a ‘masterpiece'." He said, popping his head over the paper to see her.
"Roy and I were planning on going to the drive in tonight."
She tried not to notice the way his face fell. He shook the paper and smiled, "Maybe you should go see the masterpiece ‘Rear Window'."
She surprised herself when she told him, "I'd rather see it with you."
"I like your new sweater," Roy finally noticed from the driver's seat.
"Thank you," she mumbled, keeping her eyes on the screen. She had a feeling where this conversation was headed.
Sure enough, he scooted over and draped his arm loosely over her shoulder. He placed a quick kiss on her cheek and settled back in to the seat. She smiled, finally a nice date with Roy. But not a moment later she felt his hand snake under the neckline of the sweater. His fingers grazed her collarbone and traced the top of her brassiere.
She sighed heavily, "Roy please?" She leaned back toward her door.
"What's the problem?" he asked forcefully.
"We aren't teenagers anymore Roy. Can't we just watch a movie without necking once?" by the time she reached the end of her question it was almost a whisper.
He flung open his door and jumped out, "You want anything?" he asked as nicely as he could.
"A coke please," she flashed her prettiest smile.
"Sure." He smiled back, his dimples showing.
Some of Pam's best memories involved Roy's dimples. The way he had smiled shyly when he asked her to go steady. She wore his letterman's jacket proudly over her shoulders for two years. In high school she just adored being Roy Anderson's girl. And one summer he drove her to Philadelphia for a big dance downtown. Later, they cuddled in the truck and he shakily asked her if she would wear his class ring until he could afford something better. She cried out of joy and his dimples looked extra adorable in the moonlight.
When they were halfway through with their lunches she excused herself to the powder room to further inspect the sweater for stains. She checked her hair also, but she told herself it wasn't because of him.
Back at her desk she saw a bottle of coke, a napkin, and a straw in front of her typewriter. She smiled at him, still in the corner, peeking up from the newspaper.
"Thank you," she rummaged for her coin purse for a nickel.
"Oh, no please Pam. The coke is on me." He assured her, setting the paper down.
"Are you sure?" she asked, reluctant to put it back.
"Pam I'm not sure if you know that I'm an important business man. I throw nickels into the streets for the peons every night. They are nothing to me. Ha Ha." He winked and headed back to his office. She twirled the straw in her hands until her stomach had come untwisted.
Roy returned to the car with popcorn and handed her the coke. His eyes focused on the screen as he shoveled a handful into his mouth.
"Roy," she said quietly, "did you bring me a straw?"
He looked confused, "Uh, no. I guess I forgot." Then he turned right back to the screen.
Pam scowled and took a drink. She got lipstick on the bottle.
At the end of the day she knocked on his doorframe.
"I'm going to go home now. Can I do anything for you before I leave Mr. Halpert?"
He looked around the room quickly, "No, I think everything is taken care of."
"Ok, well goodnight." She started to go, but turned around, "Can I ask you a question?"
He closed his briefcase and looked up at her, "Of course."
"How did you know? To get me a straw I mean."
He laughed, "My mother always insists on having a straw, so the bottle doesn't taste like lipstick."
She smiled, "Mine too."
"And I guess I noticed that you always have one." He admitted quietly.
"Well, goodnight Mr. Halpert."
I have some photos, incase you like that thing
me, demonstrating why straws are important when drinking coke from a bottle: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/josie21612/polka2-1.jpg
Thanks Azlin for the (very) quick Beta!
And Thanks to everyone still reading this. I know I don't update very quickly and this is a pet peeve of some people. So seriously, thanks for sticking with me!!
She came into his office that morning with a stack of files that she gingerly placed on the desk. "Happy Birthday," she told him sweetly, a grin on her face.
"Thank you very much Miss Beesly." He smiled back.
She pulled a small, carefully wrapped package from her handbag and put it on top of his typewriter. He looked at her a moment before picking it up, she looked especially, painfully beautiful today. He didn't let himself think she had done it for him.
He pulled back the paper, careful not to tear her handiwork. Inside he found a small silver cigarette case, the letters ‘JH' beautifully inscribed on the front. He ran his fingers over the details, unable to find the words to thank her for everything she had done since she'd started working for him. It wasn't just the beautiful birthday present, it was her smiles every morning, the way she always did her job without a single complaint-going out of her way to be helpful.
He pulled the crinkled box of Chesterfields out of his pocket. "Thank you Pam. Really, this is wonderful."
She blushed, her smile turning shy, "I was afraid you wouldn't like it."
He began to carefully line his cigarettes in the bottom of the case. "It is the most fabulous gift I have ever received." It seemed cheesy coming out, but he really meant every single word.
She reached for the empty box, "I didn't know you smoked Chesterfields," she said quietly, "James Dean smokes Chesterfields."
"Really?" he asked, placing a cigarette from his shiny new case between his lips.
"It's very silly that I know that." She smiled, "I guess I sort of have a crush on James Dean. It's my biggest secret...and I just told you."
He tried not to laugh as he struck a match.
"He's just very handsome," she told him, "Hey, you're both named James." She smiled, but quickly realized that she may have been making implications with that last part. She stammered a moment, trying to find words to explain herself. "I should get to my work now. Happy Birthday, Sir."
She left the office as quickly and quietly as she came.
While she sat at her typewriter she thought about what she'd let slip a few moments before. It could have been much worse, she could have said what she had been thinking: I have a crush on two men named James.
He appeared in the doorway and she jumped. He waved his hand, his cigarette leaving a trail of smoke in its path, "Pam, take a letter."
She quickly retrieved her notepad from the top drawer, and searched her desk for a pencil. "Go ahead, Sir," she told him, excited to practice her shorthand.
He took a long drag, pacing in front of her desk, "Dear Miss Beesly," he began.
She looked up from the pad. "I'm sorry sir. I think you said my name by accident."
"Pamela," he scolded, "I thought you were better at this. You write whatever I say. This is how it works. Now please, Dear Miss Beesly," he repeated.
She wanted to argue with him, but he seemed very determined.
"Words can not express how grateful I am for your gift. It was incredibly generous, albeit unnecessary. I greatly appreciate all of your hard work," he paused a moment, "and your friendship." He smiled at her as she scribbled on the pad. "Signed, James Dean Halpert." He smiled taking one last puff of his cigarette.
She laughed aloud, "That is not your middle name."
"You don't know that." He argued like a child.
"It's Matthew," she said quickly, without realizing.
"How do you know?" he laughed, putting the cigarette out in the ashtray on the side table.
"I don't remember." She lied. She went to put the pad away in the drawer.
"Hold on there. You have to type that up."
"It's all right Mr. Halpert. I heard you," she assured him, "and you're welcome."
"Pamela, I asked you to take a letter. Please type it up and place it on my desk when you're finished. I would like to hand deliver it."
She shook her head and grinned.
He waved his hand. "Come along, I don't have all day."
She challenged him with her eyes as she set a piece of paper in the typewriter. "Yes sir. Right away."
He went back to his office as soon as he heard her fingers clacking on the keys.
At his desk, he turned the case over and over in his hands, and for just a moment, he considered buying a leather jacket.
"May God bless all of you and your families on this holy day. Merry Christmas," the priest smiled, "Go in peace."
Pam stood at the back of the church, her father and mother beside her in the pew. She watched the rows and rows of people exit from the front and up the aisle. Many smiled and spoke hurried greetings to her parents. A little girl in a frilly, white dress with at least two petticoats walked down the aisle, rubbing her sleepy eyes. Pam remembered being that age and loving to get dressed up for midnight mass, only to fall asleep in her father's lap.
She noticed him a few rows down. He had an older woman on his arm who looked as though she had been beautiful once, though her eyes seemed hollow now. When he reached her pew he simply smiled while putting on his hat, "Merry Christmas, Miss Beesly."
And before she could wish him the same he was out the doors. Her mother clutched her arm as they turned to exit the pew. "Pamela, who was that man?"
"That was my boss, mother." Pam told her, searching her mother's face for any signs of an upcoming scolding.
She leaned forward so Mr. Beesly couldn't hear, "He's very handsome." Mrs. Beesly smiled.
. : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : .
"Oh Daddy, it's wonderful!" she cried as she examined the box of her beautiful new sewing machine.
Ever since Pam was a child it had been a tradition in her family to open one present after mass. When she was a girl, it was like a reward for sitting through mass quietly and not falling asleep. And even though she was older and could now stay awake easily, it was still something she looked forward to and wasn't willing to give up. This year she chose the biggest package, as always.
She rose to kiss her father on the cheek.
"It's the best one on the market, or so the man told me." He grinned, his pipe held firmly in his teeth.
"Thank you, Daddy," she smiled.
"Of course." He rose from his chair, "I'm going to turn in. You girls don't stay up too late."
"Merry Christmas, darling." Mrs. Beesly said, placing her teacup on the coffee table.
Pam was sitting on the floor next to the tree, her skirt spread around her knees. The new hat her father had gotten her for this evening had been laid carefully on the table, along with her favorite white gloves. She ran her hand over the top of the sewing machine box, her mind dreaming up all the things she wanted to make.
"It's quite a present, isn't it dear?"
"Oh yes," Pam sighed.
"Pamela." Mrs. Beesly said, her tone changing. "Your father and I would like you to come back and live at home."
For the first time in ten minutes Pam peeled her eyes off her new toy, "Why?"
"It is inappropriate for a single woman your age to be living alone."
"I'm not single, mother. Roy and I are engaged."
Gloria Beesly tried to suppress her scoff. "Pamela, you will be twenty-three in May. I had already been married for six years when I was twenty-three." She was about to start ranting but then she saw the hurt in her daughter's eyes. "Don't you want all of this, Pamela? Don't you want a house with a room to sew in? Roy, he can't give you that. I don't think he wants to."
"What do you mean?" She knew what her mother meant. Pam had lived a privileged life. Sure they weren't wealthy, but her father had always provided them with everything they needed, and there was always a bit left over for the things they wanted.
"Pamela, you've been with Roy for almost seven years. If he wanted to marry you, don't you think he would have by now?"
Pam knew it was true. Every word of it. Her parents had never really approved of Roy, tolerated him, maybe. She knew they had probably just assumed it wouldn't last.
"Do you love him?"
Pam put her head in her hands, "I've been with him for seven years."
"But do you love him?"
"I have to, don't I? After all this time?" she felt tears pricking at her eyes, "Oh, mother I'm just so mixed up!"
"Just because you've been with someone a long time doesn't mean you have to stay with him forever. I understand you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. You're a kind woman and I am thankful to have such a wonderful daughter." She reached forward to lift Pam's chin, "But you need to do what makes you happy."
. : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : .
The next afternoon, after all the presents had been opened Pam and her mother were preparing dinner in the kitchen.
"Pamela," her mother said closing the oven, "That boss of yours..."
"Yes, do you think he has any plans this evening?"
Pam fidgeted with the spoon in her hand, "I'm really not sure. But mother it's Christmas. I'm sure he has plans."
"You should invite him to dinner."
"He can have Roy's place at the table...since he's working. Such a shame, working on Christmas."
"It just seems inappropriate. He's my boss." Pam fidgeted, "I don't even know him that well." She lied.
"It doesn't hurt to be friendly. Perhaps just dessert?" Pam tried to protest but Gloria raised her eyebrows in that motherly way and Pam had no choice but to listen. And she'd thought about their conversation all night. Maybe she was ready to take a chance on something.
. : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : .
It had been one of the worst Christmases in years.
Mrs. Halpert was having a terrible day. Screaming and yelling at Jim and a few people who weren't even there. The doctors told him last month that her mental state was deteriorating quickly. Her hallucinations were more prevalent and her memory was almost zero. Jim decided to hire a nurse after the holidays. He just couldn't let her stay home alone any longer.
This morning he'd woken up when he heard her call down the hall, "Joe! Jimmy! Robert! Wake up! It's Christmas!"
When she'd realized that there was no tree or presents, she'd lost it-worse than usual.
Jim was sitting in the living room, trying not to listen to her scream in the bedroom, "Phillip, how dare you! It's Christmas and the boys don't have any presents!"
The phone rang on the wall just as she started to wail for him, "James! James I need you!"
He ran to the kitchen to grab the telephone, "Hello?" he asked in a rushed voice.
"Merry Christmas, Mr. Halpert. This is Pam by the way. Pam Beesly." She sputtered nervously. Gosh was she adorable.
"Hi Pam." He huffed, tapping his fingers nervously on the countertop.
"I was just wondering, if you don't have any plans...My mother would like you to join us for dinner this evening."
He heard glass breaking down the hall.
"I'm sorry Pam, I can't." There was a sharp click as he slammed the receiver down, leaving Pam stunned and heartbroken on the other line.
So much for taking chances.
Pam's Hat: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/josie21612/6c64_1_b.jpg
Pam's Sewing Machine: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/josie21612/pamsewingmachine.jpg
and something silly that I did in photoshop
Jim's not as good...the picture wasn't quite right...oh well.
So I see that I've kind of disappeared for a good 5 months...I'm really sorry about that.
This chapter was very important to me, and has been in the making since the story began...it's a bit long...sorry about that.
p.s. you might wanna re-read the story because I'm sure after all this time you've completely forgotten the plot :)
He has beautiful hands. She notices them for the first time while she’s staring at them firmly grip the steering wheel. Icy February winds whip around the Cadillac, making a hollow noise inside.
It is exactly two-hundred ninety-seven miles to Pittsburgh, and they were almost halfway there, but to Pam it had felt like six hours rather than two.
Mr. Dunder and Mr. Mifflin had invited all three of their managers to the city for a weekend to talk business and maybe have a free dinner or two in the middle. They’d asked the secretaries to come as well to take notes, and Pam was pretty sure it had something to do with the fact that last year Mr. Mifflin had left his wife for his secretary.
She didn’t want to go. In fact she wasn’t all too keen on spending time with Jim at all. Since Christmas, their relationship hadn’t been the same. The laughter and jokes were all but disappeared. For more than a month they’d been just a boss and the girl who types his letters.
Jim struck a match on the dashboard and lit his seventeenth cigarette of the trip. He stopped rolling the window down six cigarettes ago when he noticed Pam shivering against the other window. Even though she hardly acknowledged him or even took the time to tell him she was cold, he still paid extreme attention to her every move. Jim was pretty sure he’d never stop kicking himself for Christmas.
They pulled into the Penn’s View Hotel around 8:30pm on Thursday.
She stayed quietly behind him at the desk when he checked them in. On the way up the stairs he asked if she might like to go get something to eat. She brushed him off with a simple, “I’d like to get settled in my room first.” Even though they both were aware of just how hungry they were.
He walked her up to her room, her modest tan suitcase in his hand. She delicately turned the key in the lock and entered the small room. Despite it’s size it certainly was much nicer than the few motels she had stayed in during family road trips. There was a twin bed against the wall with a grand carved headboard. There were two windows adorned with white lace curtains on either side of a small fireplace. She crossed to the other side of the bed and turned on the light that sat atop the night stand.
Jim stood patiently in the hall, his arm holding open the door. Pam was standing by one of the windows, carefully surveying her room. “This is so lovely.” She finally said, reaching to run her fingers through the lace curtains.
“Would you like me to put your suitcase somewhere?” he asked.
“Oh!” she scampered toward him, “Let me take that, I’m sorry.”
He’d already stepped into the room when she’d reached him. The door closed behind him with a very loud click. Pam’s eyes darted quickly around the room, she lunged for her suitcase.
“Okay, thank you Mr. Halpert. You can go now.” She was obviously flustered and her voice was much louder than usual.
“Pam, are you alright?” he asked as she struggled to push her suitcase under the bed despite the fact that it was much too large.
“You just can’t be in here! It’s just- you shouldn’t! Please go.” she pleaded.
He reached behind him for the doorknob. “I’m sorry I wasn’t thinking. I didn’t mean to upset you”
She was sitting on the edge of the bed nervously smoothing her skirt. “Please, just go.”
He backed out of the room without another word and shut the door behind him as quietly as possible. Then he retreated to his own room, the one right next door.
They both went to bed hungry.
"Alright gentleman," Mr. Dunder said, "I think that's enough business talk for now. I will see you all this evening for dinner."
He and Mr. Mifflin exited the room, and on his way out Mr. Mifflin looked right at Pam and said, "I hope you brought something real pretty to wear." and left with a wink. Pam felt her skin crawl, Jim noticed her obvious shudder and felt very protective of Pam.
She was silent all the way to the car, and the first dew blocks toward the hotel. He was about to apologize for Mr. Mifflin’s behavior when she spoke up, "How fancy is this dinner tonight?" Before he could answer she continued. "I didn't bring anything that nice. And anything I could have brought wouldn't be up to snuff for a big city restaurant."
"Would you like a new dress Pam?"
She only stared at her lap, but he knew the answer and he knew that Pam would never ask him for anything. Still he turned around at the next stop sign.
Pam had never been to Saks Fifth Avenue. When she was nineteen the Scranton times wrote about the new store. She had begged Roy to drive up and take her, but he insisted that she give up that idea because he wasn't about to lose two months pay to get her a mink coat she would never wear.
As soon as they stepped in the doors Pam felt warm and happy inside. The scent of French perfumes and new leather shoes danced in the air. They walked past the jewelry counter and Pam stopped dead in her tracks when a string of pearls in the case caught her eye.
Jim tapped her shoulder, "Go on upstairs and pick out something nice alright? And don't you dare look at a single price tag."
"Mr. Halpert I-"
"Miss Beesly I do not want to hear it. Go! I will go look at ties, and I think I want a new suit."
She smiled and practically ran for the escalator. It was the first time in two months Jim had seen her smile.
She turned to look at him but he was heading toward the men's department. He waited until she had disappeared upstairs to go back to the jewelry counter.
He knocked on her door at 6:15 sharp. His palms were sweating. he was having a hard time keeping a good grip on the black bag in his hands.
When she opened the door he thought he might faint. He’d only caught glimpses of her dress on the hanger at the store. But the blue fabric draped so perfectly over her body was almost too much to take. The skirt was full, but the waist hugged her just the right way. The neckline was high, conservative…so very Pam. Her hair was in perfect curls and tucked back with a sparkly barrette.
He was speechless and she couldn't stop smiling. He stood there silently until she finally raised her eyebrows and asked, "Well, shall we?"
He collected his thoughts long enough to reach into the bag, "No, I have something for you."
"A present? Really this dress was enough."
“I just…” he was too stunned for a clever response so he told the truth, “I just wanted to get you something nice.”
He held out the box and she took it, her face a little displeased. He felt stupid, maybe this was too much.
“You didn’t have to do anything for me.” It sounded a little harsh, which she quickly realized when she saw just how sad he looked. He was allowed to do nice things for her, it wasn’t hurting anyone.
She smiled warmly and opened the box to find the same string of pearls she’d been admiring earlier. “Thank you.” she whispered.
“Would you like to wear them?” he managed through his nerves.
He carefully removed them from the velvet box and Pam turned around. He reached around her to fasten the necklace and had to fight every urge in him to touch her. When the clasp was closed she turned back to him with her eyes shining, her fingers traced over each shiny sphere. “Thank you so much.”
“You’re welcome.” He said extending his arm for her. “Let’s go.”
She really wanted to tell him the reason she was so thankful. She finally felt like she belonged in the big city.
For the second time that day Pam was taken aback by the way the "other half" lived. The restaurant was beautiful, large leather booths surrounded a large dance floor. At the end of the room a jazz band of at lease fifteen stood on the stage, all in white suits.
Their party was sat in the corner and champagne was quickly poured for everyone. Pam sat quietly in awe of everything. Mr. Dunder ordered steaks for everyone, and she savored every bite. She had never in her life been on a date this fancy. But she had to keep reminding herself that this wasn't a date, it was business. But even so, she felt like she was floating.
When the meal was finished the drinks kept coming. The table seemed to shrink as everyone started to disappear onto the dance floor. Jim looked over at Pam, cradling her glass of wine and barely swaying to the rhythm of the music, her eyes transfixed on the couples gliding around.
“Look at you Miss Beesly, you are dancing.”
She looked at him startled, “I’m not dancing…I’m swaying.” She smiled.
“Would you like to?” he asked.
She stared down at her drink, “like to what?”
“Dance with me.”
She looked up and he had already risen from the table. He was extending his hand toward her with a look in his eyes that made her feel like she had no other choice but to say yes.
She took his hand and he gently pulled her out onto the floor. The band leader turned to the crowd, "Well ladies and gents it is now midnight, which makes it officially Valentine's day. So grab your sweetie and hold her tight or go out into this lovely place and grab yourself a gal."
The band began to softly play “You Don’t Know Me” one of Pam’s favorites. If she weren’t so nervous she would’ve told him that, but he already knew.
He timidly placed a hand on her waist, and took her hand away from where it was folded in front of her. She swallowed hard and put her other hand on his broad shoulder. She was glad it was his job to lead because she was having trouble standing at the moment.
She took a deep breath and listened to the music drift around the room. The champagne bubbles must’ve had gone to her head, because when he pulled their hands to his chest, she laid her head right next to them. His heart was pounding hard against her cheek and smelled like cologne and cigarettes, as she breathed him in deeply he set his chin down on her head. He didn’t want this moment to ever end, he knew deep in his heart it wouldn’t ever happen again.
Did you know that the 10th Saks Fifth Avenue was built in Pittsburgh in 1949? Now you do!
Also, "You Don't Know Me" is one of my all time favorite songs and fits this story quite perfectly. If you aren't familiar with it, you should d/l it. It's available on iTunes by more than 50 artists from Elvis to Michael Buble and even Willie Nelson...I prefer the Harry Connick Jr version...he's so talented. :)
Reviews would be absolutely lovely
I'm actually kind of waiting on a beta, but I'm way too excited and posting anyway...so you might see a different version by tomorrow...hehe.
Also, this is by far the longest chapter I've ever written for this story, which is awesome.
Pam's heart was pounding in her chest as she carefully turned the corner onto his street. She was a terrible driver. Her palms were sweating and stretching out her gloves. They slipped all over the large wheel. She tried to breathe normally. Her daddy would never forgive her for crashing his new car.
But driving wasn't the only thing getting her nerves. It was only a few blocks and she'd already considered turning around a few times. But when she'd come in that morning to find Mr. Halpert gone and getting a call from him later to say he was quite ill and couldn't make it to work she just felt like she needed to do something. So she'd gone to the market to buy all the ingredients and now she was going to his house to make him dinner. He didn't know that of course, which is part of why she was feeling apprehensive.
The other part, was that her feelings for Jim had taken a sharp turn since Valentine’s day. But those were feelings to be tucked away for now. Because after all, she was engaged to Roy.
She pulled into the driveway as slowly and carefully as possible. She parked behind the Cadillac, seeing as there was another car next to it. She wondered a moment why he might have two cars before going to the trunk to get the groceries. She struggled with the two large paper sacks and started up the walk. A moment before she reached the front door a woman walked out of it. She looked a bit younger than Pam, curly blonde hair, strikingly beautiful. "Hello there" Pam choked out, her body betraying her as her head shouted to run back to the car as fast as possible.
"Hello" the woman replied. Pam suddenly felt very foolish. Of course he had a girl. Did she really expect a young successful man like him to sit at home alone every night?
She started to turn but Jim had seen her through the screen, "Pam?" he called.
She put on her brightest smile and faced the porch, "Oh, hello sir."
He opened the door for her, but she was still frozen on the front walk. Staring at him with her heavy grocery bags and plastered on smile.
He laughed uneasily, "Is there something I can do for you Miss. Beesly?"
"Oh!" she snapped out of it and stepped onto the porch, "I just heard you weren't well, I wanted to come make you dinner."
He looked back into the house, and then back at her. He wasn't sure if he wanted Pam to see this, to see what his life away from the office was like. His mother was a lot to handle, and the last thing he wanted was to scare Pam away.
He'd taken too long to answer, when he looked up from the ground she was already heading to the car, one of the bags on her hip was tearing at the bottom.
He leapt off the porch to chase after her, "Pam! Wait, please."
"I was very stupid to come here." She was fumbling for her keys, the celery on the top of a bag starting to teeter out. Her voice was heavy with impending tears,”I didn't know, that...that girl and...I'm just sorry."
He placed his hand on her arm, "Come inside please, I want you to meet someone." He put his arms out for the groceries, "Please, you went to all this trouble. I can't let you just leave now."
She handed him the bags tentatively. "There. Was that so hard?" He smiled.
They entered the house and Pam was surprised at just how much it felt like a home. She'd expected it to be more like a bachelor pad, big leather couches instead of matching floral printed ones. There were framed pictures on every wall, bookshelves filled with books and knick knacks. To her right was a beautiful dining room with a full china cabinet that stepped down into the kitchen, to the left was an old family photo hung over a small table. Jim ducked into the kitchen to put the groceries down and Pam went to admire the photo. A mother and father, a boy of about seven, another younger boy that she immediately recognized as Jim, and a toddler on the lap of his father.
Jim appeared in the doorway of the kitchen. He sighed heavily, preparing himself for what came next. "Would you like to meet my mother Pam?" he asked quietly.
Of course, the woman from Christmas mass. Pam lit up, "I would love to."
"Alright then," Jim had a sudden urge to take her hand, mostly out of fear. The two of them stepped down into the living room. Mrs. Halpert was in an armchair next to the sofa. She had an afghan draped over her lap and her head was resting on her chin. Jim left Pam in the middle of the room and crouched in front of the chair where she could see him.
"Mother," he spoke softly, "My friend Pam came here to make us dinner. Would you like to meet her?"
"Alright" she said softly. Jim motioned for Pam to come over. He was terrified that she might just run out the door any second. But she knelt right next to him and gently placed her hand over his mother's frail one. "Hello, it's lovely to meet you Mrs. Halpert."
For the first time in months Jim saw his mother smile, "Hello dear."
"I'm going to go start our dinner alright? I hope you're hungry because I'm making my famous chicken pot pie." She patted Mrs. Halpert's hand and went off to the kitchen.
Jim sat on the floor unaware that it was possible to love her any more.
Pam was carefully chopping celery and potatoes were boiling on the stove.
Jim came in, "It's been a very long time since anyone has actually cooked something in here. Thank you."
"It's really nothing." She went to the stove to check the potatoes, “Would you happen to have any flour? I didn’t bring enough.”
Jim went to the cabinet, “There should be some around here. I guess you didn’t think you’d be cooking for three.”
“I don’t mind really.” He found some flour and set it on the counter for her, she smiled quickly before turning back to her cooking. She tried her hardest not to sound mean when she asked, “How long have you been seeing her?”
“I’m sorry, seeing who?”
“The woman who was leaving when I arrived.”
“Do you mean Sarah?” he laughed.
Pam scowled at the can of chicken broth she was trying to open using a rather old can opener, “Yes, have you been seeing her long?”
Jim couldn’t believe how incredibly jealous she was getting. She really did care didn’t she? He stepped toward her, “Pam, Sarah is my mother’s caretaker. She’s in terrible shape and I can’t leave her alone here during the day.”
But Pam’s jaw was still tight and her eyes focused hard on the cutting board, “Well she is very beautiful.”
Not as beautiful as you, he wanted to say. But she continued, “I think you should take her out on a date.”
Jim tried to hide the defeat in his voice, “Yes, perhaps I will.” He turned to go, “I’ll be in the other room if you need anything.”
Later, the sun had begun to set. Jim helped his mother off to bed. He came back into the living room to find Pam standing near the fireplace, carefully studying the photos on the mantle. The warm glow of the setting sun through the windows was kissing a perfect glow on her skin.
“That dinner was wonderful, really.”
She turned toward him with an odd look on her face, “Did you fight in the war?” she asked quietly.
He went to the sofa and sat with a heavy sigh, “Yes I did.”
Pam was only fourteen when the war began. A lot of boys from her high school were drafted. Her neighbor Mary’s sweetheart had been sent to Asia. She proudly showed Pam her letters, pictures of him in uniform. Pam thought it was the most romantic thing ever to have a hero on the other side of the world, fighting just so he could see you again. The romance disappeared when the reality of it all sank in. Mary’s boyfriend never came home.
Jim followed her glance to mantle where three portraits of men in uniform sat in a row.
“My older brother William, he’s the one on the left,” He began, “He was a pilot stationed in Florida and he shipped out immediately. But I was still too young.” He laughed almost bitterly, “But right on my 18th birthday in ’43 I was on my way to boot camp.”
“Who is that on the right?” she asked.
“That is my baby brother Robert before he went to Korea.”
“You’re just a whole family of heroes aren’t you?”
Pam smiled, feeling an unexpected sense of pride. But she saw the look on Jim’s face, his eyes completely transfixed on the wall. It was the same look her father used to get when people talked about the war. She knew better than to press him with any more questions.
“I’m going to get the kitchen cleaned up now.” She started to leave but Jim caught her hand.
“Thank you for everything Pam.”
“I’m always here whenever you need me.”
She disappeared and he wished desperately that he could tell her that he needed her to stay.
Today's reference pictures have a bit of story behind them.
When I was writing this I imagined a picture of Jim's family and wrote out that very description. Then I google searched "1930s family portrait" so that you, the audience could have an idea of what a photo from that period might look like. And I found This photo It seriously freaked me out! that kid in the back totally looks like Jim!!
And then I leave you with the best manip I've ever made: Private James Halpert
Comments and criticism are always welcome. :)
You don't have to keep blinking like that...you are ACTUALLY seeing a new chapter to this story. Shocking, I'm sure.
I've made a pact with myself to just push my reservations aside and finish this story. It means a lot to me and I just can't leave it to die unfinished after 2 years.
Since I haven't been writing in awhile I've lost contact with all of my betas. So if any of my old betas or new ones are interested in helping me finish this thing out please let me know! :o)
He stared at the large pieces of jagged green ceramic scattered in his wastebasket.
It had been a completely normal day. He was a little sidetracked when Pam had come in an hour before with a stack of reports for him. When she set the papers down onto the desk she’d knocked his ashtray onto the ground. It shattered completely on the hardwood floors. He’d snapped at her. Cursed even.
And now he couldn’t get the image out of his mind of her pacing in front of his desk with tears threatening to spill onto her cheeks. Swearing to pay him back, begging him to take it out of her salary.
Maybe Jim was feeling more than little distracted. His mother needed nurses 24/7. Everyone suggested sending her to a home but he couldn’t do it. He already felt guilty enough about the fact that he was too inadequate to take care of the woman who’d raised him.
It was well past five when Pam knocked on his doorframe.
“Sir, I need to ask you something before I go.”
He didn’t look up at her, “Yes?”
“Can I please have a few days off next week? I have…there are some things I need to take care of.”
“Sure.” He grumbled, “And you know what? It might be better if you don’t come back.”
“Why not?” she asked meekly, folding her hands across her stomach.
It was as if something inside of him snapped. Everything he had been holding in since the first time her laid eyes on her suddenly cam spilling out.
“Because I can’t sit in here with you everyday and not touch you. I can’t have a conversation with you without telling you how much I love you. A man can only take so much, and I can’t take it anymore.”
She stared at the ground and stammered, “I’m not sure I understand.”
“No! Don’t do this. Don’t act like you don’t feel it too.”
When she finally looked up from the ground he’d come from behind the desk and he was standing toe to toe with her. He was staring right through her, begging for an answer, “Tell me.” He demanded.
Before she could find her answer his mouth had covered hers. His arms were wrapped tightly around her waist, pulling her as close as he could.
Standing there pressed against her he felt a wave of panic. Had he made a mistake?
When Pam’s lips slowly started to move against his he lost every rational thought in his head.
He quickly turned them and lowered her down onto the desk, he pushed his typewriter away with one hand, making a loud scraping sound across the wood.
Jim moved away from her lips to kiss his way down her neck. He flicked his tongue across her collarbone, tasting her light, flowery perfume. She let out a soft cry that gently echoed off the walls of the empty office.
He needed more of her. He needed all of her. He swiftly pulled her skirt up enough to wrap her legs around her waist and press her further into the desk. She ran her small hands up his back and threaded her fingers through his hair. He pulled his lips away to catch his breath, he reached up to unbutton her blouse. With every button he kissed the newly exposed skin. As he hovered over her navel, his hot breath tickling her skin he heard her faintly whisper, “I’ve never…”
His heart sank to the pit of his stomach.
The wave of shame that washed over him carried him straight out the door, leaving Pam sitting on the desk with her skirt wrinkled and her blouse unbuttoned.
He left his hat on the chair.