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Story Notes:
Things I own: a VW Beetle (in two more payments), a stack of CDs and books, and four guitars. Things I don't own: any of the characters portrayed in the Office TV series (darn it). If however, Greg Daniels wants to swap... I mean it's a really tall stack of books... Just sayin'
Author's Chapter Notes:
In a reply to a review by Office Elly for Summer Camp, I thought that the road to Dunder Mifflin was paved with good intentions and small stumbles. That got me to wondering why Jim Halpert ended up at a failing paper company. I mean, folks seem to like him; he (finally) pursued his dreams by telling Pam how he felt, so he's able to find what he wants and go for it. He must have had goals that didn't involve the world's most adorable receptionist. So something must have gotten in their way. This goes AU after Jim's return to Scranton. It's written from Pam's point of view and is much more drama than comedy, especially the first couple chapters. For the purposes of this story, Jim was working at Scranton before Pam arrived.
Pam Beesly was lying in her bed, afraid to close her eyes. A glance at the clock confirmed that in about three hours and fifty-six minutes she would be at work and Jim Halpert would walk back into the office and into her life. And she had no idea what she was going to do.

At five thirty, she had decided on a plan. She would run up jump into his arms, kiss him, and tell him that she loved him. Simple, dramatic decisive.

At six fifteen, the plan was modified. She would keep the running and kissing bit, and then ask him out during lunch. No words that would echo through the office and into Michael or Kevin's ears.

At seven, the kiss was abandoned. Too much. There would be glares from accounting and Dwight would say her behavior was inappropriate. Besides, she really wasn't sure what Jim felt anymore. She sighed as she prepared her lunch. "I'm such a coward." But she was terrified that something would happen and everything she wanted to have with Jim would go up in smoke.

When Jim finally showed up, Pam simply jumped into his arms. She was so relieved to see his smile as he held her that she completely missed his defensive attempt at humor. The office had so much activity that morning, she scarcely had time to look at her former best friend/current crush. Her view was further away than she would have liked ("stupid Ryan and his refusal to let Jim have his old desk back. He's never getting another phone message.") But when she finally got a good look at Jim in the conference room, she noticed he looked thinner and tired. Almost to the point of being skinny. "Maybe he really was living on jelly beans when he was here," she thought.

During the morning get acquainted session, Pam saw one of the new girls, Karen, lean forward and give Jim a piece of gum. She was pretty. Jim smiled back at her in a way that made Pam a little nervous.

Just before lunch, Roy came up to the office. After a few words with Pam, that frankly she barely listened to, he turned and called out, "Halpert!"

Jim dutifully got up and walked to reception. He caught Pam's eye and smiled as if to say, "I'll be good."

They shook hands. "Good to have you back," Roy said. "I know Pam's missed you."

Pam looked down at her computer.

"Well..." Jim said, searching for an appropriate response. "You're looking good," Jim noted.

"Yeah, I've been hitting the gym," Roy said. "Playing a lot of basketball, you know. Maybe I can get your rear end back on the court sometime. You owe me a rematch, Larry Legend."

"Sure," Jim replied. "Anytime."

"How about lunch today?" Roy said, eager. Pam caught the look in her ex-fiancé's eyes. She knew how competitive he was. And even though Roy had been patiently trying to win her back and was on his best behavior, he would still bring up Jim from time to time. It was obvious that he thought Halpert had something to do with Pam's calling off the wedding. Which was, granted, true.

Michael picked that moment to stick his head out of the office and say, "Okay, we're meeting in the conference room after lunch."

Jim sighed. Pam could tell that Jim had forgotten just how stressful a day in the Scranton branch could be. "I've got my stuff in the car," Halpert said. "I'll be down at 11:30."

Pam knew that her presence in the warehouse would probably not be a good thing. It would mean boys showing off and pushing themselves. It would also mean sweaty Jim in shorts and a t-shirt. She brought her lunch.

In fact, most of the warehouse and office staff came down to watch the game, including the new girl. Michael, of course, wanted to join in on the fun.

Darryl said, "Well, if it's going to be two-on-two, I guess I could play. I've got some anger I need to work out."

"Well, I have this meeting to run later," Michael said as he looked at the intimidating blue collar worker. "I probably should be getting ready for it."

It was decided that they would play to 15 points. The game started slowly. Pam decided that Jim had definitely lost too much weight during his time away. He wasn't moving as well as he had last year.

Roy patiently took Jim inside, using his advantage in strength to go to the basket. He missed a couple of hook shots, but was able to put in a rebound and then hit a short jumper to go up four to nothing. Jim hung out on the perimeter when he had the ball. He missed a few long-range jumpers as he tried to get his legs under him.

Pam could also tell that Jim was holding back. She couldn't decide why; maybe he was letting Roy have some payback over how things had turned out last year.

Roy backed Jim down again and spun away from the taller man. Jim was caught off balance and fell as Roy got a layup. Roy looked up at Pam and shrugged as if to say, "this is easy."

Pam's eyes moved to Jim, who had noticed the exchange. The look on his face told her that things were about to get ugly. The salesman scored the next twelve points on layups, pull-up jumpers, and drives that left the warehouse guy pawing at the air. Roy only managed two shots during the span. Jim pressed Roy on his right side, forcing Roy to dribble with his left hand. Roy wasn't able to prevent Jim from repeatedly swiping the ball.

It was almost surreal. Pam had been dragged to enough sporting events to see that Jim wasn't just playing well for a weekend warrior. Some of the things Jim was doing she had seen at Sixer's games. If he was this good, why was he selling paper?

Pam knew that her former fiancé had a temper. As the catcalls from the warehouse workers echoed, Roy's face got more and more red. Jim was breathing hard; it was clear that he hadn't been playing much. But she could tell that he wasn't going to let up.

Once again, Jim knocked the ball away from Roy's left hand. There was a scramble for the ball and Jim ended up flying against the warehouse wall.

Jim jumped up and turned to Roy, his fists clenched. Darryl, who had noted the way things were going, was prepared and jumped between the two guys. "I think that's enough for right now. We need to get some work out of you guys this afternoon."

Jim forced himself back under control. "Yeah, that paper won't sell itself. Good game," he said to Roy.

"Yeah," Roy said before turning away.

After lunch, they had settled in for the team building exercise when Jim suddenly got up. Pam thought he looked shaky.

"Jim, I'm just getting started here," Michael said, irritated.

"Sorry, I..." Jim started before turning and walking out.

"Jim, it is very disrespectful to Michael. As the new number two..." Dwight started. Jim had just left the conference room when he tumbled to the floor.

Kelly screamed.

"Phyllis, call 911," Dwight ordered. He ran up to his fallen coworker, as did Angela. Jim's body was jerking; it looked like he was having a seizure. Angela tore open his shirt and yelled out, "He's not breathing," before starting CPR.

Pam and Karen both rushed to Jim. Karen accidentally knocked Pam away from the tall salesman.

"Please," Angela hissed, not looking up. "I need room."

Dwight yelled to Pam, "Check his messenger bag for pills."

Pam shouted back angrily, "Jim's not on drugs."

Dwight shook his head, "I mean prescription drugs, Pam. Jim takes heart medication."

"But," Pam started. Surely Jim would have told her if...

"The ambulance will be here in five minutes," Phyllis called out.

"Pam, NOW," Dwight yelled.

That was enough to snap Pam out of her inner dialogue. She emptied Jim's messenger bag, but there were no prescription bottles or pills in it. "I can't find any," she said.

"Idiot," Dwight said, "Let me look at my employee health database." All eyes but Angela's turned to him. After a few keystrokes the salesman said, "His heart doctor is a J. Lambert. Ryan, see if you can track him down online."

"How did you get that information?" Karen asked.

Dwight's intensity frightened Pam. She could only imagine what the folks from the Stamford branch were thinking. "When Jim started here, he had an...incident. Fortunately he had his medication with him. As his supervisor..."

"You were not his supervisor," Phyllis said.

"In any event, I took it upon myself to obtain the information off his pill bottle so that I would be prepared in the event of a future emergency."

Ryan ran an internet query and found the doctor. The doctor asked to be told what hospital Jim was being taken to and that he would be in contact with the staff cardiologist. Ryan got the information from Phyllis.

Pam grabbed Jim's right hand. His skin was cool and clammy. She started to cry; she couldn't lose him like this.

Angela leaned back. "He's breathing again." The normally pale blonde was flushed as she turned to look at Pam. "He's...They'll help him," she whispered to the receptionist. Karen had shrunk away from the group surrounding Jim.

The EMS team stormed into the office. Michael pulled Pam away, forcing her to let go of Jim's hand.

"No," she sobbed.

"Pam, we have to let them do their job," Michael said, trying to calm her.

She rounded on her boss, "Why didn't you tell me!" she shouted.

Michael shrank back as if she'd struck him.

Pam broke down again. "I didn't know... He never said..."

Pam was engulfed in a hug from Kelly. "It'll be okay," She whispered to the receptionist. "It has to be okay."

The EMS team had secured Jim to a gurney and began to take him out. "I want to go with them," Pam said, shaking.

Kelly turned and called to her boyfriend, "Ryan, you're driving."

Pam felt Kelly and Ryan leading her out. Just before she left she noticed the new girl, Karen, alone in the corner of the office.

Michael was leaving the most of the rest of the Scranton workers. "Andy, you're in charge. Call Jim's emergency contact; there's a list in filing cabinet, in my office-top drawer. And Jan." He ordered as he left.


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