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Author's Chapter Notes:

Songfic generally isn't my thing, but you write whatever you're inspired to write, right? Besides, this has been stuck in my head for a while, and what better way to start off my writing for the new year than with a heavy dose of angst?

DISCLAIMER: I own nothing. Not The Office, not the characters, not The Fray, not the song. I just borrow them all to play puppetteer and amuse myself.

He loves her. They are perfect together, for each other. She completes him.

Or so he tries to tell himself.

He’s happy at first, for the first time in a long time. But soon the relationship that he thought would free him becomes suffocating. And he can’t help but think of her. The one he left behind. But he’s an idealist, and so he reminds himself (forces himself to remember) he’s happy. And thoughts of her are silenced, if only for a while.

There are certain people you just keep coming back to
She is right in front of you
You begin to wonder could you find a better one
Compared to her now she's in question


She’s putting the pressure now. “Where’s this going?” “What do you want out of this relationship?” She drops words likemarriage,” “children,” “future.” Each time he swallows his panic and begins to kiss her neck, whispering sweet nothings in her ear. But he knows that she’s smart and making love (images of her invading his mind as he moves over her) will not make her questions go away. So he buys a ring and asks her the question she’s been waiting for.

Looking for the right one you line up the world to find
Where no questions cross your mind
But she won't keep on waiting for you without a doubt
Much longer for you to sort it out


Ten years gone and his life is nothing like he imagined. Married, two beautiful children, but he’s restless. She knows, notices it, but says and does nothing. He can feel he’s losing her, but he can’t care because all he can think about is her. Wonder where she is, what she’s doing, how life could have turned out if she had been the one he chose. He tries to feel guilty, focus on her, but it’s getting more difficult ever day.

Maybe you want her, maybe you need her
Maybe you started to compare to someone not there


He’s walking to his car after a meeting, and suddenly she’s there walking toward him as if in a dream. Except she doesn’t even notice him until he calls her name. He asks her out for coffee and she agrees.

And all at once the crowd begins to sing
Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same


Their coffee is long gone, and it’s just like before, when he was happy. She says she should be going, but before she can stand up he asks her out again. On a real date. Her face falls. “You’re married. And so am I.” It’s only then he notices the ring on her finger. Somehow the topic of relationships hadn’t been brought up. He thinks he may have done that on purpose.

Maybe you want it, maybe you need it
Maybe it's all you're running from
Perfection will not come


They part ways, knowing it’s the last they’ll see of each other. He knows she’ll make sure of it. He can feel his dream slipping away, and though he wants nothing more than to hold her close and leave his family, leave his life, leave her, he swallows his panic and shakes her hand in a simple farewell.

“Bye, Jim.”

“Bye, Karen.”

Maybe you want her, maybe you need her
Maybe you had her, maybe you lost her to another
To another






Chapter End Notes:

I'm a die-hard Jam fan, I swear. But my cynical and pessimistic mind had this song on repeat after the S3 finale. It really felt like the perfect song for this love triangle.

Oh, and just for fun, according to MS Word, this fic is written on a 3rd grade level. :-)

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StarShine is the author of 9 other stories.

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