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Author's Chapter Notes:
The song and lyrics are from Barry Louis Polisar.  It's from the Juno soundtrack, and if you have not seen Juno, I highly suggest going out to see it. It's wonderful, and the song is wonderful as well. And this is longer than I've written before, so I hope it's okay. And, oh, Happy New Year's! Belatedly.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

 

If I were a flower growing wild and free / All I'd want is you to be my sweet honey bee

 

Jim's pretty sure he's never been this happy. Like this unbelievably, ridiculously, over the moon happy.

He's sitting in his parent's living room, watching his brother Jon rip into a present, and his mother watch expectantly to see if he's going to like the sweater or tie or movie or whatever she got him. It's Christmas Eve, and in the Halpert family, they open most of their presents Christmas Eve before heading off to midnight mass. Jim's already almost through his pile, but there's a pile next to his, smaller for sure, but nearly untouched.

Jim feels the couch shift as he feels a body sit down next to him, handing him a glass of eggnog and slipping a hand over the expanse of his back.

"What did I miss?" A voice asks, her breath warm and comforting in his ear.

"Not much, a pair of pajamas, a toy for Erin, a book for my Dad, oh, and aliens landed and took over the planet. You were gone a pretty long time," he grins as he turns to face her. Pam shakes her head, a grin tugging at her lips.

"Well, I found some chickens, got them to lay some eggs and I made the eggnog all by myself," Pam replies.

"Chickens, Beesly? Do you even know what's in eggnog?" Jim asks.

"Do you?" She shoots back. He just smiles in response, placing a hand on her knee.

"Hey! You two over on the couch," Jim's sister Annie calls over. "No funny business while we open the presents!" Jim ignores his sister, and thinks it's probably the most endearing thing he's ever seen when Pam blushes and buries her head in his sweater.

"Start opening, Pam," Jon demands. "You're going to be the only one with any presents left at this rate."

"I like to see what everyone else gets," she explains as she reaches for one on the top of her pile. "And really, you all got me too much." But she's pleased, Jim can see, and he's pleased that she seems to be getting along so well with his family.

Pam makes a big show while opening her presents, and Jim tightens his hold on her knee.

And he's sure he's never been this happy.

 

And if I were a tree growing tall and green / All I'd want is you to shade me and be my leaves

Jim's parents have them staying in Jim's old room, and Pam is surprised that they'll allow them to sleep in the same room, even though they aren't married, or even engaged. Roy's parents always had Pam in Roy's old room, with Roy on the couch, even after they were engaged and living together for years.

Not that Pam is going to complain, she's only slept by herself a handful of times since she and Jim started dating about seven months ago. The few times she was in her bed by herself, the bed felt cold and huge and foreign.

She asks Jim though about the sleeping arrangements, as they change and get ready for midnight mass.

"So your parents are okay with us staying in the same room?" She asks.

"Sure, they're not naïve," Jim shrugs. "Why, do you want me to sleep down the hall? After seven months, you're already pushing me out?"

"No," Pam shakes her head. "I was just wondering is all." She is slipping a pair of earrings into her ears, a Christmas gift from Jim, and she feels Jim's hands slip around her waist.

"You're beautiful," he whispers. She blushes for what feels like the millionth time that night. "Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas," she replies, turning around to face him. "We should hurry up, we're going to be late."

"Eh," Jim shrugs. But he gives her one last kiss before getting ready to go. She reaches up and fingers the earrings, and marvels at what a difference a year makes.

"Jim?" She asks. He's sliding his shoe on his foot.

"Yeah?"

"Did you...um, did you bring Karen to Christmas last year?" She feels slightly foolish asking, but she can't help but picture Karen sitting in the Halpert living room, joking around with Annie and Jon, probably bantering with Jim's father Mike, helping Jim's mom Larissa in the kitchen. She can't help but think that they were probably more impressed with the outgoing Karen then they are with the quiet and shy Pam. She can't help but wonder how many girls Jim has brought home over the years.

"No," he says seriously. "I didn't bring her home with me last year. She went home and did her thing and I did mine." He shrugs, and the second part is so quiet Pam almost misses it. "I've never brought anyone home before."

And Pam blushes again.

 

All I want is you, will you be my bride? / Take me by the hand and stand by my side

Jim fingers the little box in his pocket. He's been looking for the perfect time to ask Pam to marry him. He doesn't know if it's too soon, but he doesn't really care all that much either. He knows that she's it for him. He's not sure what he wants to do with his life. He knows that he doesn't want to be a paper salesman forever, but beyond that he's not really thought about it that much.

What he does know is that he wants Pam. And as they sit in church, holding candles, he listens to her softly sing Christmas carols off key, and knows that he  may be unsure about many things, but never about her.

They only live a few blocks away from their church, and so it's tradition to walk to and from church on Christmas Eve. It's cold, but not snowing, and his sister Annie is leading the way and complaining about the lack of a white Christmas. Pam's gloved hand is tucked into his, and she's leaning into his shoulder and he watches as her breathing makes frost in the air. His parents are a few steps ahead, and he catches his mother glancing back at them every once in awhile, a smile on her face.

As Annie's diatribe turns towards the commercial aspect of the holiday, Pam glances up at him and grins a little. Jim grins back, and takes that opportunity to call up to his sister and tease her about taking back all her presents.

When they reach the house, they move quietly, so not to wake up Jim's brother Jon and his wife Maggie and their two kids. He gets in bed first, and a few minutes later Pam slips in beside him. He reaches for her and presses a kiss to her temple.

"Merry Christmas," he breathes into her hair.

"Merry Christmas," she murmured. They're quiet for a minute. "You know what I was thinking about in church?" She turns to face him.

"What's that?"

"How great your family is," she smiles lazily at him.

"They are pretty great," he agrees.

"I was really worried about meeting them," she confesses. "I wasn't sure if they were going to like me."

"Are you kidding? They love you. As if there was any way that they couldn't." He forgets sometimes how unsure she is. How she doesn't know just how amazing she is.

"I love you," she says. They've been saying those words for awhile now, but he still can't get over how she's saying them to him.

He thinks about asking her then, as they're lying in bed. He imagines them coming down in the morning and not saying anything and he thinks it would be his mother who would spot it first. He can see Pam lifting a mug to drink out of, her ring sparkling in the early morning light, and he can practically hear his mother and Annie's shrill squeals as they descend on Pam attacking her with questions about the wedding and how he asked her and demands to see the ring. He's about to remove himself from her arms so that he can slip to his pants and pull out the ring, but he glances down, and he sees that she's fast asleep, a ghost of a smile on her lips, and decides that he can wait until the morning to ask her.

 

All I want is you, will you stay with me? / Hold me in your arms and sway me like the sea

Pam wakes up first, and presses a kiss to Jim's lips before pulling on her robe and going out into the hallway to go to the bathroom. She can smell pancakes and bacon already cooking downstairs, and she's almost knocked over by a fast moving, small blur.

"It's Christmas!" Jim's four-year-old nephew Matthew stops long enough to shout at her, before racing down the stairs. His brother Jon is close behind, giving her an apologetic smile as he rushes after his son. She brushes her teeth and pulls her hair back into a ponytail before going back into Jim's room and gently shaking him awake.

"Good morning," she says as he blinks sleepily. "Your mom is already up and cooking breakfast."

"Oh man," Jim moans. "What time is it?"

"I think it's like seven thirty."

"I'm surprised Matt waited that long," Jim replies as he pushes himself up and rubs his eyes.

"I think Maggie told him last night that he had to wait until he saw the sun," Pam shrugs. Jim grabs his robe and her hand and they start towards the living room.

"There you are," his mother says as they reach the living room. "We're just waiting for Annie now. I sent Matty up to get her." Annie appears a second later, her hair disheveled, being pulled along by Matthew.

"Santa was HERE!" Matthew cries. Jim is crawling on the ground with his nephew, pulling presents out from under the tree, glancing at tags and making piles for individual people. Pam leans against the doorframe, unsure of how exactly things worked in the Halpert household on Christmas morning.

"Pam, come sit next to me," Mike calls, and Pam finds herself next to Jim's dad on the couch. "I always claim the couch because it's far less crazy over here. I'm a watcher." Pam could understand. Larissa hands her a cup of coffee, just the way she liked it, and she knows that Jim must have clued her in. She can't help but smile a little at that.

It's what she loves about him the most. The way he pays attention to details, and is always so careful to include her, take care of her. She's not exactly used to it, but she's starting to be.

"Here," Jim says coming over to her and placing a wrapped gift in her hands. "This one's for you. Here Dad, I think it's from Annie, so we all know what's it's going to be."

"A tie," all the Halperts, apart from Annie, chime in. Annie places her hands on her hips indignantly from her place across the room.

"Fine, I won't get you anything next year," she says.

"Oh honey, you know I love your ties," Mike says to his daughter. He makes a big show of opening the box and putting the tie on over his pajamas. Pam thinks that she's falling more in love with Jim the more she gets to know his family.

Jim finally takes a seat next to her, and hands her a small box from him.

"I thought you gave me all my presents last night," she says, running a finger over the top of the smooth, small box.

"Not everything," he replies, and he looks vaguely nervous, and suddenly her heart is pounding, and she has been sort of expecting this, but hasn't let herself truly believe that it was coming.

She's opening the present then, her hands shaking slightly. Jim's hand is on her knee, strong and warm, and she finds herself staring a small box. She doesn't dare glance at Jim, but she notices that his grip is getting tighter. And she thinks she might throw up, and she's opening the box, and what's inside surprises her.

It's a necklace. A small diamond pendant hangs off a simple, elegant chain, and she feels tears prick at her eyes, and tells herself that it's ridiculous to be upset. Of course he wouldn't be proposing yet, they've only been dating seven months.

Pam is so busy convincing herself not to cry, that she misses Jim's confused look and his mouth forming a surprised "o" when he realizes that he grabbed the wrong box.

Pam turns to him and throws her arms around his neck and tells him it's beautiful when she finally gets a hold of herself. And she convinces herself that she never believed it was a ring to begin with.

 

If you were a river in the mountains tall / the rumble of your water would be my call

Jim couldn't believe that he screwed up his Christmas proposal. Once she had opened the necklace, the moment had slipped away, and everyone started paying attention to the baby and Matthew, and his mother was ushering them all into the kitchen for Christmas breakfast, and then they were cleaning up the living room and it was as he was showering that Jim finally realized that he had left the ring in his nightstand drawer. The necklace was supposed to be a gift for New Year's, to ring in a new year of no confusion and misinterpretations, but somehow he had gotten the two boxes mixed up.

Pam wore his necklace that day, showing it off to his relatives when they came for Christmas dinner, and he kicked himself all day. It should have been a ring that everyone was admiring. They should have been celebrating their Christmas as an engaged couple, and they would have been, if he wasn't such an idiot.

"You okay?" Pam asks at one point in the day, and she frowns, and he nods, and puts a smile on his face and tries not to let this ruin his Christmas. He'll ask her. Soon. Maybe New Year's, and the thought of slipping the ring onto her finger as the ball drops lifts his spirits, and he smiles for real and pulls her along to meet all of his crazy aunts and uncles.

They go home that night, making the hour drive after dinner, Pam fingering her necklace and smiling at him as they go.

"It was a great Christmas," she says as they reach her apartment.

"Yeah, it was," he agrees. They're supposed to head up to Pam's parents the next day, for a belated Christmas celebration with the much smaller Beesly family. He helps her carry her bags in, and she doesn't even ask if he's staying over, she just assumes, and as they lie in her bed that night, he runs his fingers over her empty ring finger, and tells himself that he waited three years, he can wait another few days.

 

If you were the winter, I know I'd be the snow / As long as you were with me, let the cold wind blow

Their post-Christmas celebration with the Beesly's is quiet and intimate, and Pam's just happy that her parents and brother seem to love Jim. She thought they would, but she was worried, after years of Roy, that they wouldn't know what to do with the change. The year before, with just her home for Christmas, had been hard and difficult. But as she walked in with Jim this year, her mother had immediately hugged Jim, telling him how much she had heard about him. Jim had responded by lifting an eyebrow, and she noticed that even her father, who had loved Roy, was soon joking and talking baseball and football with Jim. Accepting him.

She hadn't missed Jim and her father talking about something as they watched White Christmas, their heads bent together. She had tried to go see what it was all about, but her mother had needed help in the kitchen, and she reluctantly went to help her mother. When she had reappeared in the living room, Jim and her dad were trying to change the channel to something else, and she was too busy being outraged that they would turn off such an American classic, that she forgot all about their secret pow-wow.

They were back at Jim's apartment a few days after Christmas, as Jim did some laundry, and they watched a marathon of Dead Like Me, both seasons Pam had gotten from her parents for Christmas. He seemed to be as infatuated with her family as she had with his, and he kept saying how much he liked her father and her brother Paul.

"Paul and I are going to go to a Flyers game next week. He said that he has season tickets, and wanted to know if I wanted to come with him and your dad," Jim said grinning. She knew that he had been worried about how they would react to him too, even if he wouldn't admit it. He seemed equally pleased that they had accepted him, as she had that his family had accepted her.

"That's great," she had said, before turning her face away so that she wouldn't see the death on screen. They had only briefly talked about what they were planning for New Year's, and Jim had insisted that they do something great for their first New Year's together. Pam was used to going to Roy's brother's house for a party where she would stand nursing her one beer all night, so that she could drive Roy home later, instead of sleeping on the moldy couch in Kenny's basement. The year before she had stayed in by herself, crying at midnight at the stupid choices she had made over the past year.

She wasn't sure why Jim was so insistent that they go out, but she allowed him to make the plans. If it made him happy, then she was happy. All she needed was him at midnight, everything else was secondary.

 

If you were a wink, I'd be a nod / If you were a seed, I'd be a pod

Jim checks four times that he has the ring in his pocket as he gets ready to go pick up Pam for New Year's. He's made reservations for dinner and then he thought he could take her to the roof of their office building to watch the fireworks. He figures that's a good, romantic place to propose to her. He feels like it should involve Dunder-Mifflin in some way, because as much as he hates to admit it, their history is wrapped up with that company.

He pats his pocket and feels the ring, and grabs his coat and heads over to pick up Pam. He talked to her earlier in the day, telling her what time he would swing by to get her. She had said she wasn't feeling all that great, and that she was going to take a nap, and she was sure she would be fine after that.

He is as nervous ringing her doorbell as he had been the first time he had taken her out to dinner, all those months back in May. She answers after a few seconds, she is wrapped up in a blanket, and her nose is red, and her eyes are watering, and Jim feels his heart drop. Then he feels guilty for feeling that disappointed that their plans are ruined, when she is obviously sick, and that's not her fault.

"I'm sorry," she says with a frown. "I seem to just keep getting sicker all day. I was going to call you, but I fell asleep and just woke up a few minutes ago. You should still go out though, Kevin's having a party right?" As if he would be anywhere without her on New Year's Eve.

"No, no, I'm staying here with you. Are you okay? Do you need anything? Do you want me to go get you soup or juice or Nyquil?"

"No, I'm good, thanks," she smiles at him and steps aside so that he can come in. "I'm so sorry, Jim."

"Don't apologize," he says waving off her words and slipping out of his jacket. "We'll just stay in tonight." He has a drawer at her place where he keeps some clean clothes, and he goes back to grab a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt. She's on the couch when he comes out, still wrapped up in her blanket.

"Are you hungry?" She asks. "I won't eat very much of it, but we can order Chinese or pizza?"

"Chinese sounds great," he says. "I'll order it, don't worry." He gets her soup, and orders her favorite dish, even if she really can't enjoy it, and they settle down with her head in his lap as they watch a movie.

"I'm sorry," she says again as she starts to drift off to sleep. "I know you were looking forward to tonight." He runs a hand through her hair, and tells her that it doesn't matter, he's here, with her, and that's more than he can ask for.

 

If you were the floor, I'd wanna be the rug / And if you were a kiss, I know I'd be a hug

Pam stirs when Jim gets up to answer the door and pay for the food. She knows that she should be making an effort to stay up and alert, but she feels so crappy, and her head is pounding.

"I got you soup," Jim says placing the food down on the coffee table as he goes into the kitchen to grab drinks and silverware. Pam swears she's going to make it up to Jim for ruining their New Year's.

"Thanks," she says making herself sit up.

"You should probably try to eat something," Jim suggests as he dishes out food onto a plate for her. She nods and tries to eat a few bites of rice.

Jim puts back on the movie, but she only watched a few minutes here and there and so she finds herself confused, and ends up resting her head against Jim's shoulder and falling back asleep.

When she wakes up again, Jim has cleaned up the food and placed a blanket over her. The television has Dick Clark's Rocking Eve, only it's not Dick Clark, it's Ryan Seacrest, and she makes a comment about how Ryan Seacrest seems to be on a mission to take over the world, and Jim laughs and he continues to run a hand through her hair, and it eventually lulls her back to sleep.

"Don't forget to wake me up right before midnight," Pam reminds as she feels herself drifting farther and farther away.

 

If you were the wood, I'd be the fire / If you were the love, I'd be the desire

If you were a castle, I'd be your moat / And if you were an ocean, I'd learn to float


There's about ten minutes until midnight, and this is definitely not how Jim thought he would be spending New Year's Eve. But he presses a kiss to Pam's temple, and shakes her gently awake.

"It's almost midnight," he whispers.

"Oh, okay," Pam blinks a few times and then opens her eyes. "Did I miss anything?"

"Carrie Underwood, Fergie, and the Achey breaky heart guy's kid who all the preteens are crazy about," Jim replies. Pam sits up, and Jim wraps his arm around her.

He didn't need fancy dinner reservations, or romantic settings. He was happy here, with her. And this was how he wanted to ring in the rest of his New Year's.

"Oh! I bought hats, let me go get them," Pam says, standing up and walking towards her bedroom. "I'll be right back." She sees that Jim tossed his pants on her chair when he came in, and she wants to be annoyed at his sloppiness, but she's secretly thrilled that he's comfortable enough to do that in her apartment. She notices something on the floor, and she picks it up. She thinks she's going to pass out when she figures out that it's a jewelry box, but then she remembers the necklace on Christmas and calms herself down. She forgets about the hats and noise makers and walks out into the living room, holding the box in her hands. She can't pretend that she didn't see it now, she's bursting to find out what's inside.

"Uh, Jim?" She asks as she steps into the living room.

"Yeah?" He glances up and then his heart stops. She's holding the ring box in her hands, a puzzled look on her face.

"This, uh, fell out of your pocket," she says finally meeting his eye.

"Oh." He wishes that he had something more intelligent to say, but his mind is scrambling and his heart is racing, and he stands and walks over to Pam.

"Oh?"

"I just...I wanted it to be perfect. New Year's, I mean. Well, actually Christmas, I meant to propose on Christmas, but that didn't work, because I mixed up the boxes, you weren't supposed to get the necklace, and..." he's aware that he's babbling, but he can't help it, and she's looking at him with this strange look on her face, but he thinks that might be the cold medicine, and he shakes his head, because he's not doing this right. "Well, this isn't how I wanted it to go. I had plans for tonight, I was going to take you onto the roof at work, and I had champagne and blankets and candles up there, and it was going to be really great...but this will do." He drops to one knee, and Pam starts crying, and he knows that there's no going back at this point.

"Oh my God," Pam breathes.

"So, here's the thing, Beesly, I love you. Like a lot, like more than I thought I could love anyone. And it actually kind of makes sense that I propose like this, because my favorite memories and moments with you are the ordinary ones. And I want a lifetime of ordinary, wonderful moments with you, if you'll have me. So, I guess, I mean, I'm screwing this up I think, but will you marry me?"

"You aren't screwing this up as badly as you think," Pam assures him. "Yes. Yes!" And he stands and slides the ring on her finger as behind them the countdown reaches one. He leans in to kiss her, but Pam pulls away.

"What's the matter?" He asks.

"I'm sick, I don't want you to get sick," she frowns.

"Oh to hell with that," Jim replies, leaning in and kissing her.

"Happy New Year," she says as he leans his forehead against hers, and they both admire her ring.

"Happy New Year," he echoes. Pam thinks about what her grandmother used to say at Christmas after she had opened up all the ridiculous presents that Pam and her brother and cousins had gotten her. The slippers that were too big and the magnets that proclaimed her the world's best grandmother.

"My heart is full," she would say, smiling at her grandchildren.

As Pam rests her head against Jim's chest, as Time's Square erupts in cheers and the lights flash 2008, as her head pounds, and the ring sparkles on her finger, as she sways in Jim's arms, Pam thinks that her heart is so full that it might explode.

"My heart is full," she whispers, and Jim tightens his hold and thinks that this maybe wasn't such a bad way to propose after all.

And he's pretty sure that he'll never be happier than he is right at that moment.

 

All I want is you, will you be my bride? Take me by hand and stand by my side

All I want is you, will you stay with me? / Hold me in your arms and sway me like the sea

 

 



sillyrabbit519 is the author of 14 other stories.
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