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Story Notes:

Standard disclaimer applies as usual. Spoilers through The Job.

Author's Chapter Notes:

Italics are flashbacks.

She's lying in bed, unable to fall asleep, but not really wanting to try. She can't remember ever being so content to just lie awake with her memories. Not since she was a very little girl, anyway.

Her face is occasionally covered by a grin, after which she grins even more, thinking about how silly it is to grin to yourself in the dark. She really should just go to sleep, and she knows it. But this is what she's waited for.

She spent so long not knowing if it would ever happen, sometimes hoping to forget about it all together, just so she could calm herself down. Because it was hard to live with the constant anxiety--the not knowing. It was so hard to blind herself to the evidence all around her that she was just being a silly little girl with a crush on a boy who had no interest in her whatsoever. She's never been good at handling the unexpected. And when your whole life is an unknown it's hard to keep living like that. It's stressful and tiring and most of the time you just feel like giving up.

But she didn't give up--she couldn't, somehow, even when she tried. Because he's it. He's the only one for her. It's kind of a scary thought, actually. Because what if for some reason this doesn't work out? Then what? There is no one else. It's Jim. It's always been Jim. Just Jim. And it has been for so long now that she can't remember what life was like when she wasn't completely in love with him.

So it's scary, but at the same time that's what makes it worth it. She was never this invested in her relationship with Roy, even when she kept telling herself that she really did want to marry him. But now she's with Jim. She's in a relationship with Jim, and wasting a minute to sleep when she could be thinking about that fact just isn't at all appealing at the moment.

Her smile spreads as she once again recalls Jim's appearance in the conference room. She spent the whole day being honest--well, as honest as she could be without openly admitting that she was still in love with Jim. But she had answered lots of questions that she normally would have passed on, and the crew had seemed pleased that she hadn't once come up with an excuse not to be called into the conference room for an interview.

So then she had just been sitting there answering questions, being real and honest, and for once feeling like she was just being herself, when suddenly that had finally been exactly what he was looking for. Even now, in the dark, it's hard to process the fact that this is all really about to happen. Has already begun happening, in fact.

The door opened and she'd looked over and for just a second she really thought she was dreaming, but then he spoke to her and she responded and when he left, leaving no doubt as to his intentions, the realness of the situation overwhelmed her.

She spent a few minutes composing herself in the bathroom after she finished with the camera crew. And then she returned to sit at her desk for the little bit longer that was left in the workday. She didn't really get anything done though, preferring instead to just watch him from the back, as she had for so long. But today it didn't matter anymore that he was at a different desk, that he never came over for jellybeans, or that he spent more time talking to Dwight than he did to her. None of that mattered because of what was already happening between them.

And when five o'clock came, her whole body felt like it was fluttering around in swirling circles on the inside and she couldn't be sure that she wouldn't just float away as soon as she stood up to gather her things. But then he looked over at her and smiled and even though the fluttering got worse, she knew for a fact that his pull on her would be more than enough to keep her on the ground.

In bed, remembering the way Jim looked at her then, she felt that same fluttery-but-grounded feeling again. His was a look of pure, open adoration that she had only seen a few times before, but it had been so long since he'd really looked at her at all that this particular look was like seeing an old friend again for the first time in years. And at the same time it was something totally new. For the first time since the day they met they were both free to show it all.

She knew from the way he was looking back at her that every little emotion was splayed across her face, that he could probably see straight into her heart. But she didn't care. In fact, she loved that he could see it all, that they were both finally in a place where she could be completely smitten with him and he could know that she was. This was exactly what she had been waiting for.

As much as she may have wanted to, they couldn't just keep looking at each other forever. And in a few moments--moments that seemed to be going by way too fast to enjoy them the way they deserved to be enjoyed--they were both out the door and he had agreed to meet her at her apartment in an hour or so.

She really wanted to cry on the way home. With happiness, not sadness, for once. It was just all so much, all at once, but she knew she couldn't let her eyes get all puffy and red when she was trying to make a good impression for their first real date, so instead she turned on the radio and sang along to the cheesy top 40's pop songs that had been her salvation lately when nothing had seemed to be going right.

Today she sang them as a victory anthem.

Chapter End Notes:

Sorry if the style is confusing, it's supposed to be a little wandering, because it's her thoughts, but I realize it can be harder to read that way. This isn't beta'd so feel free to leave feedback if you notice mistakes. Or if you just feel like telling me something! Say whatever you like; I'm not picky. ;)


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