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There are many things Jim knows about Pam. She’s an endless constellation of small glistening details that he can lose himself in so easily it’s scary. Yet there are many parts of her that remain a mystery to him. Things he wants, desperately wants, to know. How she looks when she first wakes up in the morning. Left or right side of the bed. What she tells her mother when she confides in her. Bacon or sausage. What it would feel like to sleep with her in his arms, her head resting on his chest, her hair soft against his cheek.
He’s imagined all these things – some on a daily basis – but he realizes how much he doesn’t know. Things that are probably familiar to Roy, or would be if he paid more attention to her. Intimate things that it makes Jim ache to think someone else knows, instead of him. Still, there are a few things he does know.
Jim knows that pink is Pam’s favorite color and that when she wears it she can take his breath away. If she were his, he’d tell her how gorgeous she looked when she wore her soft pink sweater. Or her pale pink blouse, the one that’s more fitted than usual and pulls just a tiny bit at the buttons over her breasts, causing him untold distraction. He’d tell her how beautiful she looked every day, whatever the color. He wonders if Roy ever tells her this. Or if he tells her often enough. He can’t imagine that he does.
He knows that Pam has always wanted to go to Europe. She hopes someday she can convince Roy to go, but she doesn’t push it. It just annoys him.
‘He likes the Poconos,’ she’d told Jim resignedly, but thinks he might be willing to go to Florida for their honeymoon.
Jim would take her to Paris, to Rome, to the Louvre, the Sistine Chapel, to Spain to see the Prado, to…. anywhere she wanted to go. And he’d sit with her for hours in cafes or on park benches while she sketched the buildings and the gardens. He’d be content just to watch her take it all in. He’d hold her hand while they’d walk for miles, exploring far away places where they knew no one. It would be just the two of them. It would be perfect.
And if she wanted to go to a beach, he wouldn’t limit her to Florida. He’d take her to the deserted bay in Cape Cod from his childhood memories, or to exotic tropical islands where he’d rub suntan lotion on her back. When he finished, he’d kiss her neck and her shoulders and her skin would feel hot from the sun. He’d inhale deeply and she’d smell like coconuts.
He knows that Pam is a truly talented artist. He knows how integral a part of her it is. He wonders if Roy knows this, or if he even cares. Jim remembers her saying that she had no place to paint, because she liked working in oils but they made too big a mess in her little apartment. She told him how she’d once gotten a small smudge of oil pastels on the sofa upholstery. She’d tried and tried, but hadn’t been able to wash it off. Roy had told her that she shouldn’t do ‘so much art stuff’ at home anymore.
‘As if he isn’t the biggest slob in the world,’ she’d said angrily, while Jim just looked away and bit his tongue yet again.
With him, she could do her ‘art stuff’ anywhere. He’d let her turn his entire living room into a studio if she wanted. He’d work super hard and become the world’s freaking leading paper salesman, just to earn enough so she could quit her job and be a full time artist. And then he’d frame her work and hang it everywhere. They’d go to the opening of her first gallery show and she’d be nervous, but beaming and he’d feel ready to burst with pride. She wouldn’t let go of his hand all night.
Jim knows that on Saturday mornings, Pam usually gets up early, while Roy sleeps in. She goes out running or to flea markets, searching for the hidden treasure she’s convinced she’ll someday stumble upon. She’d once found a beautiful tiny mother-of-pearl spoon that she’s never used.
‘It’s a silly, useless thing, really,’ she’d told him. ‘But I like knowing it’s there.’
If she were his, Jim would wake up early with her on Saturdays and make love to her all morning long. It would be slow and languid and she’d emerge from the depths of sleep smiling, already moving with him, sighing his name. She wouldn’t be in such a hurry to go running or to flea markets.
And when they finally did get up, he’d cook her huge breakfasts, anything she wanted. And then – because hey, this is his fantasy – they’d go back to bed and he’d make love to her again…anything she wanted. Anything. After that, maybe they’d go out to look for buried treasure, but they’d do it together. It wouldn’t matter whether they found anything or not. But he has a feeling they just might.
Jim knows that sometimes she likes to read chick lit, but is embarrassed to admit it. He’d had to wheedle this confession out of her.
‘Roy thinks it’s stupid, so I actually hide the books sometimes, can you believe that?’ she’d told him, with a self-deprecating laugh.
He can just see Roy rolling his eyes. As if Roy ever reads anything at all, Jim thinks. If Pam were his, when he finished a book he liked, he’d pass it along to her. He’d be pleased if she liked it too. Either way, he’d be curious to know what she thought. And she could read all the chick lit she wanted, with absolute impunity.
He knows that dark chocolates are her weakness. She’d confided this to Jim when Michael received a gift of really good imported ones and she’d snuck pieces out of his office all day. She’d stolen one for Jim too.
‘Close your eyes,’ she’d whispered, and when he did she’d said, ‘now open your mouth.’
‘What are you going to do?’ he’d resisted for a second, a little nervously, but strangely giddy too.
‘Trust me,’ she’d giggled almost seductively, ‘you’re going to like it.’
The sub-text of this promise was not lost on Jim as he obeyed her command. Once he’d opened his mouth, she’d put a chocolate directly onto his tongue, then ordered him not to chew, just to keep his eyes closed and let it melt slowly. The sense of her standing so close that he could feel her breath on his face, but not being able to see her, while the chocolate gradually dissolved in his mouth was one of the most erotic things he’d ever experienced. Right there in the middle of the office.
‘See what I mean?’ she’d asked, gleefully. ‘Isn’t it wonderful?’
When he opened his eyes, they’d locked with hers for a suspended moment before the phone had rung, or Dwight had interrupted or something had happened to break the spell. It had only lasted for a second, but he’d known she’d felt it too.
A few weeks later she’d done him a small favor, picking him up at the garage when his car went in for a tune-up and taking him to work. She’d driven her own car that day, so Roy wouldn’t be bothered. When Jim got his car back later, he’d searched all over town until he found the same chocolates she’d liked and bought a ridiculously expensive two-pound box to thank her. He’d left it on her desk the next day, with no note.
Of course, she’d known it was from him. She’d sent him an email that had simply said: ‘You are too sweet. Thanks for indulging my weaknesses – at this rate, you’re going to get me hooked. XOX, Pam.’
He smiled as he read it, imagining that the double entendre was intentional. At least on some level. He’d saved the message for a very long time.
He knows that she’s insecure about her looks, which blows his mind because she is so beautiful that sometimes it hurts just to look at her. She’d mentioned that Roy had a subscription to Playboy and that she didn’t like it.
She’d asked Jim if all men thought those artificial looking girls, with their ‘gigantic fake boobs and vapid expressions’ were sexy.
‘Nah,’ he’d answered, ‘they don’t do it for me, anyway.’ Looking at her at that moment, he’d never meant anything more.
He could just imagine Roy making oblivious remarks, not realizing that he was making Pam feel inadequate. Jim thought this was crazy because her body was real and warm and perfect and he wanted her a thousand times more than any Playboy model.
He remembers one time standing in the break room making coffee, when Pam had gone into the ladies’ room to change clothes because she was going out for the evening right from work. Phyllis had gone in and when she swung the door open, Jim had inadvertently caught a split second glimpse, obliquely reflected in the mirror, of Pam wearing only her bra and skirt. It had been so fleeting, and he’d actually seen less skin than you’d see in a conservative two-piece bathing suit, but it had been Pam and it had struck him like a bolt of lightening. His response had been instantaneous and pronounced. He’d had to hurry back to his desk, holding a newspaper in front of him, then sit there forcing himself to focus on Dwight’s bobblehead while thinking about sales figures. Anything to make it subside enough to walk to the front door without humiliating himself. It had taken some time. He’d always wondered if she’d seen him looking at her in the mirror. He doubted it and would have been mortified if he thought she had; but still, he wants her to know that she’s more desirable than any inflated fantasy in Roy’s magazine.
He knows Pam likes kissing. Sadly, not from personal experience, except for that one time at the Dundies. He’d like to think that counted, but he knows it was different. He thinks it might have meant something though. It had to mean something. But, he’d overheard a conversation she’d had with Kelly.
‘Isn’t it frustrating how guys like never want to kiss, unless they think it’s going to lead to something?’ Kelly had whined. ‘I mean, seriously, I think guys just don’t like kissing just to kiss. Do you know what I mean? Don’t you wish they did?’
Pam had simply replied that she did know. And she did wish. And she sounded a little sad, like she really meant it.
Hearing that, Jim had to restrain himself from dragging her into a dark corner and kissing her silly right then and there. Kissing her long and hard and gently and hungrily and deeply and playfully and tenderly and passionately and every way. He’d show her how very wrong she was.
He’d kiss her all the time, without necessarily wanting it to lead anywhere…well, sometimes - okay frequently - he would want it to. But he’d kiss her just as often when it was an end in itself. He’d steal a kiss in the middle of the day, just to recharge their batteries. He’d kiss her in the morning when they woke up, before they slept, while they slept, whenever he could. He’d kiss her for no reason and for every reason. And she’d kiss him back.
He knows Pam gets lonely sometimes. That she doesn’t talk to Roy much – at least not about her thoughts and feelings. Roy has made it plain that she should keep those things to herself. Jim knows she’s grateful to have him to talk to, but there are limits because he’s her friend and not, well, her fiancé. He knows she knows that, but sometimes it gets hard for her not to blur the lines. Sometimes it's hard for him to even find the lines at all. He tries to stay distant or he gets too close; either way he loses.
If she were his, he’d want to hear everything she had to say. He’d want to tell her everything. She’d never have to feel silly, or like she was annoying him. He’d never dismiss her. They’d lie in bed together late at night, talking for hours in the dark. He’d make sure that she never felt lonely.
He knows these things and many more about Pam. About himself. But there’s so much more to learn. If she were his.