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Disclaimer: I don't own Jim and Pam.

She doesn't know how she let it get to this point. Her mom is telling her how beautiful she looks and her sister is straightening out the train on her dress.

Well, she takes that back. She knows. Jim kissed her, but she backed away and told him she couldn't, it was too late, because of Roy. On the way home that night, she told herself things would be different. Once she and Roy got married, it would be different.

She realizes now, as the panic was spreading through her chest, that she was just kidding herself. Things wouldn't be different. They aren't going on a honeymoon and she knows tomorrow night Roy will probably go out with Darryl to watch the playoffs. She knows that she will still at her desk at work, looking out over Jim's empty chair, and wonder what she will say to him when he walks through the door. She will still sit at her desk at work and try not to remember what his lips felt like on hers.

Her chest feels tight and she can't speak or move or breathe. Her mom is holding out her shoes, expecting Pam to lift up her feet so she can put them on.

"Pam, honey?" Her mom frowns up at her. "Your face is awfully pale. Do you feel alright?" She shakes her head, sinking down onto the nearest chair. She tries to take a deep breath, her body shuddering with the effort. "You just have the jitters, that's all. Before I married your father, I could barely eat for three days." She manages to shake her head. It's definitely not the jitters. She puts a hand over her chest, her breath coming in short wheezes now.

"Oh my God, Pam, honey?"

Her fingers are tingling, like they're falling asleep, and she realizes she can barely move her right arm. It feels about ten pounds heavier and when her mom grabs it, she can't feel her mom's nails pressing into her skin. She sees people rushing around and talking, but she can barely hear anything. Everything has been tuned down to a dull roar. She suddenly feels groggy and she can barely keep her head up; it feels so, so heavy. The last thing she thinks of before she closes her eyes is him.

When she wakes up, she squints against the bright overhead lights and feels someone's cool touch on her skin. Her mom is sitting next to her and when she looks towards her, she smiles, calling someone else over. She focuses on her sister standing at the foot of her bed and her dad, maybe, by her sister's shoulder. Then she notices the guy in a dark suit, pushing his way towards her bed. For a minute she thinks its Jim.

When she sits up a little straighter and feels his hand find hers, she knows its Roy instead. "Hey babe," he whispers. "How do you feel?"

She frowns, looking over at her mom. "What happened?" She tries to ask, but her mouth is dry and she can barely whisper. Her mom hands her a cup of water and Pam takes a sip, blanching at the tepidness, the harsh taste of chemicals and minerals against her tongue. She still feels drowsy and even though her mom is explaining everything now, she hears something about a panic attack, she can't help but close her eyes again.

Her mom is the only one sitting by her bed when she opens her eyes this time. The television is on, but her mom must hear her stir, because she looks over at Pam.

"Hey, sweetie."

"Hi," she whispers. She lets her gaze fall to the television, but she knows her mom is watching her closely, trying to figure out what brought on this sudden panic in her daughter. "Is Roy--"

"He went home, hon."

Pam nods, blinking back tears. Of course he did. It doesn’t matter; she didn't really want to see Roy anyway. "I'm sorry."

"You have nothing to be sorry for. I'm sorry. I thought this is what you wanted."

"I can't—I can't marry Roy."

Her mom's quiet for a minute. "Is it because of Jim?"

She squeezes her eyes shut for a minute, taking in deep breaths. "It's not just him, mom. I wasn't—we weren't going to be happy."

"You said his name, before you passed out."

"Who? Roy?"

Her mother lets out a soft chuckle. "No, Jim."

"I think I'm in love with him," she whispers. She lets out a deep breath, finally being able to say it. "I think I would have always wondered..."

"You don't have to explain to me," her mom replies, squeezing her hand. "Your father...well, I was dating someone else when I met your father."


"This boy down the street, Roger something. We were dating and I'd just started working at the hospital. After my first week there, your father told me I should quit. At first, I was angry, because who was he to tell me I should quit being a nurse. But then he told me it was because doctors treated their nurses like scum, like crap, and I was too nice and too sweet to be treated that way." Her mom smiles shyly, her gaze dropping down to her lap as she relays the story.

"I never—you never told me that."

Her mom doesn't reply, just says: "I want you to be happy."

"Maybe I'll get my chance," she sighs. "So did everybody leave?"

"Your dad and sister went to get food. I sent all the guests home, but—well, there was someone who insisted on staying." Pam looks at her mother carefully. "I'll be right back."

She tries to sit up in bed again, her IV pricking her arm as she struggles with her pillow.

"Well, Beesly, if I had known the ceremony was going to be postponed, I wouldn't have delayed my flight." She looks up, her mouth open, as she takes in Jim standing in the doorway. He's wearing a blue jacket with his blue button-up shirt sans tie and he's grinning at her in that way only he can. She wants to ask him how he can be so adorable all the time and how on her day, she ends up looking like hell. Except its not her day, anymore, and she's glad.

"You're here. You came," she says softly.

"'Course," he shrugs, nonchalant. "You're my best friend."

"I can't marry Roy," she blurts out. She puts a hand over her mouth, surprised she's so candid, even with Jim.

Jim's teasing, light mood falls away and he looks at her steadily. "Are you—I mean, you're not just—because I'm here, are you?"

She chokes out a laugh. "Why do you think I fainted before I even walked down the aisle? I thought I was having a heart attack. I've been kidding myself. I wouldn't have been happy—I'm not happy."

He glances down at the ground, kicking his foot against the table leg. "Pam, I—I'm leaving for Australia tomorrow."

"Well, I—I can go with you. I'll have money, because I have to take back all these presents and--"

"No, shhh, I don't want you to do that." He's sitting next to her now, the chair pulled up close to the bed, his hand on her shoulder. "You need to stay here and relax. You gave us all a scare, Pam."

"Why did you come today, Jim? I know, I know you didn't want to."

He drops his head and he looks a little sad. "I thought maybe if I came, I don't know...you might rethink things. It was my last shot, Pam." He sighs, taking her hand in his. "And I needed that last chance."

She squeezes her fingers around his. "Thank you," she breathes.

A few minutes later, when her mom sticks her head in the room, she and Jim are laughing, making fun of something on TV, and she notices how her mom smiles at her.

She can breathe much easier now.


mixedberries is the author of 13 other stories.
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