Jim was brushing his teeth when he walked back into the bedroom. “It's really no problem, Pam. I can wait until this afternoon to drive up to Syracuse.”
Pam gingerly rolled over in bed to look at her husband. Despite her headache, she thought he looked adorable in nothing but his blue striped boxers. “It's not a big deal, Jim. You leave now with Mark, and I'll drive up just as soon as I'm out of my doctor's appointment. It's only two hours straight up 81, I'm sure I can manage not to wreck your car.”
He grinned, a slight toothpaste mustache evident. “I don't care about the damn car, and you know it.” He disappeared back to the bathroom as Pam struggled to sit up and get out of bed. She sighed. She had been looking forward to this weekend for months. Jim's friend Drew was getting married, and as such a group of his college friends decided to make it a reunion weekend. The whole group was invited to stay at Jim's friend Greg's house in Syracuse on Friday, and then attend the wedding together the next day.
Pam had been getting regular headaches for the last two weeks. She seemed to wake up with them, so she first tried changing her sleeping positions and her pillow. It helped some, but not fully. She noticed that with the headaches sometimes came nausea that would last all day, and she feared she was suffering from migraines. Her mother suffered from them, so at Jim's urging she made a doctor's appointment, to get some pain relief medication if nothing else. Unfortunately the Friday of their reunion was the earliest she could get an appointment.
Jim had originally decided to go to the doctor's with her, then leave for Syracuse. Unfortunately that would mean he'd miss the basketball challenge Greg had set up for the guys that afternoon. Pam knew how much Jim wanted to be there for that, so she called Mark earlier in the week and asked if Jim could ride up with him. When Jim found out she'd done that, he tried to be annoyed with her but he just couldn't. He knew why she'd done it, and he really wasn't that worried about her headaches to refuse her arrangements.
So when he left with Mark that morning, he kissed her goodbye and told her to call him as often as she wanted to. She promised to call after the doctor's visit and when she got on the road to Syracuse. Her appointment was at eleven, so she promised to arrive well before dinner.
Pam's appointment ran longer than she expected, as they ran a few tests to try and determine the cause of her headaches. By the time she left the office, the analgesic they gave her left her pain free. She felt good and anxious to get to the party and to Jim.
The weather was lovely and warm for late April, and she drove north on Interstate 81 with the windows down and the music up loud. She called Jim and told him she was on her way, and he sweetly told her that he missed her and was looking forward to her arrival. Greg and Mark must have been nearby because she heard them teasing Jim with kissing sounds. She was laughing as she hung up, and looked forward to meeting everyone. This was the first time she would be meeting most of Jim's college friends, and this was their first real event as a married couple, even though they'd been married for nearly a year.
She had been on the road about an hour when she felt her phone vibrate in her jeans' pocket. She pulled over at the next exit to get gas and a drink and see what message was awaiting her. She was sure it must be from Jim. She pulled up to the pump and opened her phone. It was from Jim, but the only message seemed to be an attached photo from his camera phone. She clicked it open, then laughed out loud. It was a photo of Mark, Jim and another guy she assumed was Greg, all huddled together, with Mark's arm out, obviously holding the camera phone. Jim was holding a small paper sign: “Hurry up - the party's waiting for you!!” She saved the photo to her phone, and got out of the car to finish her stop.
The rest of the trip went quickly, and Jim's directions to Greg's house were clear. She rang his cell phone as she turned onto Greg's street, and she smiled when she saw him waiting for her in the driveway. He was wearing an old t-shirt and sweat pants, and the curls around his face were damp with sweat.
“Hey,” he said, enveloping her in a big hug. “I feel much better now that you're here. How's your headache?”
“It's still gone, surprisingly,” she replied. She could feel the sweat of his body through his t-shirt and it felt comforting. “I hope I didn't interrupt your game.”
“No, we took a break. You're just in time to watch me win the play-offs.”
She grinned up at him. “Great, I'll just grab my cheerleading outfit from my bag and I'll be all set to go.”
He laughed and pulled her close for a welcoming kiss. The sound of the garage door opening caused them to stop and turn around.
“Are you going to entertain all the neighbors or introduce me to your wife, Halpert?” A tall, dark-haired man said. Pam recognized him from the cell phone photo.
“Are you Greg?” she asked.
“The one and only,” Jim replied with a smirk. “I'll grab the luggage and you go ahead in with Greg.”
Greg was warm and funny, and Pam felt immediately at ease in his presence. His wife Lily, a curvy redhead about Pam's height, was much the same. By the time Jim came in with their bags Pam no longer worried that she'd feel out of place. Lily showed them to their room - of the five bedrooms in the luxurious oversized colonial brick house.
Pam shut the door to their room and sat on the queen sized bed as Jim put the bags on the floor. “Wow. You didn't tell me they lived in a mansion!”
Jim sprawled out on the bed besides her, putting his arm around her waist as he laid down, bringing her down with him. “Well, I told you that they both came from money, didn't I?”
“Yeah, I guess,” Pam replied, staring up at the ceiling. “But I didn't think you meant this much money. I mean, they aren't much older than we are, and they have all this -” She waved her arms out above her. “And I can imagine what the back yard must look like.”
Jim rolled over, propping himself up on his elbows so he could see her face more clearly. “Hey, it's okay. Who cares? They're nice people; I can promise you that they don't care about money.” He leaned down, brushing his lips lightly against her cheek. “We're going to have a great time this weekend,” he said, his eyes twinkling. “I will be so proud to show you off.”
She chuckled softly. “Like the trophy wife I am?”
“Absolutely,” he replied. He pressed up closer to her, his hand brushing her curls back onto the pillow. “I know you get nervous about meeting new people, but just remember I'm right here. They're going to love you, Pam. Just like I do.”
“Just like you do?” she grinned, running her hand up his side. “That could be fun.”
They kissed again, then headed back downstairs. Jim held her hand as they walked out onto the back patio where Greg and Lily and the other guests were sitting.
“Drinks, guys?” Greg asked, standing up.
“Another beer before the playoff sounds good,” Jim replied.
Pam nodded. “Can I just get a coke or something?”
“We're also making margaritas if you'd prefer that,” Lily said. “I personally can't stand the taste of beer.”
Pam smiled. “I would love a margarita, but I'm on some medication and probably shouldn't.”
“Yes, Pam does appreciate a good margarita,” Jim grinned, putting his arm around her. They sat down together on one of the wooden gliders.
“I'm sorry,” Jim said, “I didn't introduce you to Jeff and Stacey.” Pam nodded and said hello, and then nodded a hello to Mark.
“Where's Anna?” She asked Mark.
“She's started a rotation this weekend at the hospital and she couldn't get out of it.” Mark replied. “I know she was really bummed to miss this.”
Greg brought out their drinks, and soon the guys were itching to finish their basketball game. Pam moved over and sat at the table with Lily and Stacy as they watched the guys play. Stacy was a sweet brunette, a little on the chubby side but it was clear Jeff was more than in love with her. She also had a wicked sense of humor that Pam felt in tune with. The women took turns telling stories about the guys in between encouraging cheers as they watched the game.
Jim and Mark were against Greg and Jeff, and Pam was admittedly proud as she watched Jim play. It brought back memories of the first time she watched him play basketball, back when she was engaged to the wrong man and she had to push down every emotion Jim brought out in her. Now she was free to beam openly as she watched him make shot after shot, admiring his skill as well as enjoying the view of his lanky body at play. She couldn't help but compare his finesse on the court with moves he saves just for her. She continued to listen to Stacy and Lily talk, but her mind was on when she'd get to be alone with him later that night.
The game ended with Jim and Mark winning, and Pam jumped up applauding as they walked back to the patio. Jim's shirt was soaked through with sweat, but Pam wrapped her arms around him anyway, tilting her head up for a kiss. Jim happily obliged, and they sat back down on the wooden glider after Greg brought Jim a beer. Jim kept his arm around her shoulder, while Pam tried to wish the rest of the group away. She couldn't shake thoughts of dragging him into the shower with her, and spending the night alone in their room.
Soon after a doorbell rang, and Lily said their dinner had arrived. Pam looked at Jim, confused. “Pizza?” she whispered.
Jim shook his head. “They had someone cater dinner. I don't know what it will be, but it's not pizza.”
“Heavens, should we change?”
Jim laughed, and bent his head down to hers. “Don't worry about it. I suspect it's casual around here.”
Dinner turned out to be catered by a neighborhood Mexican restaurant, and it was delicious. Pam had her fill of fajitas and black beans and rice, and the company was talkative and boisterous. Jim was ever-present, and she reveled in how special he made her feel despite being around all his friends. She briefly thought about similar situations she had been in with Roy, and dismissed the images as soon as they appeared. It had been a bit like hell in comparison to this. She leaned over and kissed Jim at the first available moment.
“What was that for?” he said into her ear.
“Because I'm so lucky to have you,” she replied.
Shortly after dinner Lily jumped up. “Oh hell, I forgot the treat bags!” She exclaimed, practically running out of the room. Everyone else looked slightly bewildered at her statement, until they saw her walk in carrying silver gift bags.
“I just thought that since this was a college reunion of sorts, you'd like to relive a few memories.” She handed a bag to Stacey and Jeff, a bag to Mark, and a bag to Jim and Pam.
Jim put the bag on Pam's lap, his arm still around her shoulders. Underneath silver tissue paper and ribbon was a small photo album and a CD. Pam pulled out the CD, and printed on the cover was a photo of Mark, Greg, Jeff, Lily, and Jim, circa 1999. It read “Cool Songs for Even Cooler People”. Pam couldn't help but laugh as Jim reacted with a heart-felt “Awesome!”
“I guess I know what we're listening to on the drive home,” she teased.
“This is brilliant, Lily!” Jim said, lightly smacking Pam's arm. “Thanks.”
“I'm sure you'll come to appreciate it, Pam,” Lily laughed. “And I think you're going to love the photo album.”
Pam pulled that out, and held her hand to her mouth as she paged through the photos from Jim's college years.
“Ice cream, anyone?” Greg offered as Jim explained each photo to Pam.
“Yes, please,” they said in between pages.
While Pam teased Jim over some of his photos, she actually was feeling quite sentimental and almost sad. Her attempts at college didn't go nearly as well as his seemed to, and I wondered what it might have been like had they met back then. She had no doubts they had their whole future before them, but she loved him so much she often wished they had even more of a past then they had.
The ice cream sat a bit uneasy on Pam's stomach, so she put the CD and the photo book back into the gift bag, and told Jim in a low voice that she was going to go up to bed. Jim stood up and made their excuses for the evening and followed her upstairs.
Pam put the gift bag on the dresser as Jim lifted their suitcase onto the bed for her. She handed him his toothpaste and toothbrush and he left to use the bathroom down the hall. She pulled out her nightgown, toothbrush, brush, lotion, and pills the doctor had given her today. She had told Pam to take one at bedtime, as they were sometimes hard on the stomach and it would be less noticeable during sleep.
She put her things on the dresser next to the gift bag and changed into her pajamas. She had just finished when Jim returned from the bathroom.
“I brought your blue pajamas, since you'll need to be wearing something to go to the bathroom here,” she said, placing them on the bed. She watched him as he pulled off his t-shirt and sweatpants.
“I really need a shower,” he complained. “Do you mind if I grab some towels and go get one?”
“No, of course not, but let me use the bathroom first.” she said. “Can you just take the suitcase off the bed before you go?”
While in the bathroom Pam remembered she needed some water to take her pill. She brushed her teeth, then her hair, deciding to wait until tomorrow for a shower. She gathered her stuff and a small paper cup full of water and walked back into their guest bedroom. She shut the door behind her, then froze when she saw Jim holding her pill bottle.
She set her things and the water cup on the dresser, her eyes never leaving his.
“Where did you get these?” He asked softly.
“From the doctor this morning. She said they might help with the headaches.”
“Pam, these are prenatal vitamins.”
She felt her whole body shaking, and she didn't know if it was from anxiety or excitement or perhaps a bit of both. “I know,” she replied.
“Is there something -”
“Yes,” she interrupted. “And I was just about to tell you.”
He put the vitamin bottle down, and she noticed his hand was shaking. “Tell me what?”
“Apparently these headaches are not uncommon during the first weeks of pregnancy,” she said, a hesitant smile appearing. “Hormone fluctuations and all that.”
Jim stepped closer, unable to tear his eyes from hers. “Okay, say that again, because I think you just said -”
“Yes, Jim,” Pam grinned, “We're pregnant.”