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Author's Chapter Notes:

I think Pam is as capable of holding a grudge as well as anyone. And maybe she never would make a big deal of it, or ever act rude about it in public, but the truth is that if you cross Miss Beesly - well, that's not something she easily forgets. Or forgives.

Reflections on a single incident long forgotten by everyone but Pam.

 

Don't own 'em. No copyright infringement intended. Looking forward to April 10th like it was my own birthday.

Jim started the Saab's engine then turned all his charm on her. Or at least, all the charm he could muster after another soul-numbing week selling paper at Dunder Mifflin.


“So, how about we stop out at Viewmont and get these Secret Santa gifts out of the way, then we'll go somewhere I can wine and dine you properly?”


Pam removed one of her mittens so she could push her wet hair out of her eyes. The snow had started mid-afternoon and was still falling so heavily that even the short walk from the building to Jim's car had left her completely snow covered. “Are you sure we shouldn't just head home?” She asked, glancing out the front window.


“It's not supposed to continue for much longer,” Jim shrugged. “Besides, everyone else will probably stay home so it'll be less crowded.” He could tell he hadn't quite convinced her yet, and leaned across to kiss her cheek. “Come on, it'll be fun. I promise.”


“Fun?” Now she was suspicious. “You never think shopping is fun.”


“Maybe I'm being an optimist.” He smiled as he watched her take an elastic and pull her hair back into a damp ponytail. “Why, what plans did you have?”


“None really,” she admitted. “Just hanging out with you. Again.”


“Well, hang out with me at the mall.”


“Okay,” she sighed. “But I don't even know what to get for Secret Santa.”


“Who did you get?”


Pam frowned slightly. “Phyllis.”


Jim pulled out of the parking lot and headed toward the freeway before replying. “What's wrong with Phyllis? I would think she'd be one of the easiest people in the office to buy for - except me, of course.”


“No, yeah -” she grumbled. “I don't know. I used to think she was a friend, but there've been times I just don't get her. And given some of the off-handed comments she's made over the past couple of years, I'm starting to think she's not all that sweetness and light that people give her credit for.”


“Wow. Are we talking about the same Phyllis Lapin Vance?”


Pam nodded, her gaze focused on the passing traffic.


“You sound a bit like Angela, Pam, I gotta say. Where is this coming from?”


Now Jim and Pam had been a couple for quite a while now. They were coming up to their second shared Christmas, and their first living together. Over all that time discussions about past mistakes, broken promises, hurt feelings and sensitive issues had weaved through their conversations as needed. They had the comfort and trust in each other that they had worked through things and were able to laugh about it now. They didn't allow the past haunt them anymore. At least not usually.


Pam struggled with what to tell him. For all the years they'd been at Dunder Mifflin, Jim always had a soft spot for Phyllis. Even when she would make slightly inappropriate comments about Jim and Pam's sex life, Jim would let it slide - even if the same comment from Michael would not have been tolerated. Jim just saw her as harmless.


Pam used to think of Phyllis that way. She though that Phyllis was perhaps the only person in the office outside of Jim that she'd ever consider confiding in. But over time Pam noticed that Phyllis had an appetite for office gossip that left Pam feeling less than comfortable sharing private things with her. And then there was the incident with Karen.


“It's a long story,” Pam hedged.


To be fair, Karen was dating Jim at the time. And there was no way to know for certain that Phyllis even knew that Pam could overhear their conversation. But all the same Pam felt betrayed.


“Go on,” Jim encouraged.


“It's nothing,” Pam sighed. “Just something petty and stupid that I should have gotten over a long time ago.”


Jim kept glancing over at her, waiting for her to continue. He was intrigued at the thought that Pam could be holding a grudge against Phyllis. But she didn't seem willing to continue the explanation.


“You know, I'm pretty good at petty and stupid,” he mused after a few more minutes of silence.


“Tell me about it,” Pam replied, a faint grin finally appearing.


Jim reached over and covered her hand with his. “Go on, Beesly. You know you're going to tell me sooner or later.”


Jim's hand felt warm against hers, and the gentle squeeze he gave her as she linked her fingers through his reminded her that no matter what she confessed to, those ghosts really were in the past.


“Do you remember that time Phyllis was flashed in the parking lot?”


“That's what you're miffed at Phyllis about?'' Jim asked. “Because all you have to do is say the word, I can certainly arrange something for you....”


Pam laughter was rich and genuine. “No, that's not what I'm bothered about,” she replied. “But thanks so much for the offer.”


“I'm sure I could even swing a private home visit if you prefer,” he offered with a lecherous raise of his brow.


“Like you weren't planning one anyway,” she replied dryly. “Anyway....”


Jim just grinned, but nodded to encourage her to continue.


“Do you remember how Michael took us all to the mall that afternoon?”


“I think so - I do remember spending an afternoon in the women's restroom.”


“Just one?”


“One that I'll admit to.”


“Well we did go to the mall - and after listening to Michael go on and on about frightening relationship details concerning Jan, he took us all to Victoria's Secret told us to pick out something for him to buy us.”


“Oh, yeah,” Jim said, a vague recollection of that day returning. “Yeah, I remember thinking that wasn't inappropriate. At. All.”


“I know,” Pam chuckled.


“You know, not to interrupt, but what I remember most about that afternoon was seeing all of you walk in with pink shopping bags, and wondering specifically about what you had bought.”


Pam looked at him, slightly skeptical. “Not what Karen had bought?”


Jim shrugged. “I figured she'd tell me eventually. But what were the odds you were going to?”


“True.”


“It was the lure of what I didn't have,” he added.


“Well, you know now it was that decidedly unsexy pink bathrobe.”


“Was it?”


“Yeah, I told you that when you first saw it ages ago.”


“Huh. I must have forgotten. ” He turned off the highway and headed toward the lights of the approaching strip mall. “But I disagree on your description. I like that bathrobe.”


“Well it was decidedly dowdy compared to what Karen bought.”


“Decidedly dowdy? Nice alliteration there.”


“It was!”


“So is there a part of this that ties into your unnatural hatred for Phyllis now?”


Pam giggled. “I didn't say I hated her.”


“Well, whatever negative emotion you have.”


“And yes, it does.” Pam sighed, then finally got to the point she'd been dancing around. “She was the one who encouraged Karen to buy the outfit she did.”


Jim waited for more information, but none came. “And?” He prompted.


“And that's it. I was standing right there when Karen held up that god awful green bra and panties outfit and Phyllis smiled and said “Jim's gonna love that” - and then made some giggle that made my flesh crawl.”


Jim laughed. “I'm sorry,” he eventually said. “But that's amazing. You're really still bothered by that?”


“Hey, I didn't say it was rational.”


Jim pulled the car into a parking spot and turned off the engine. “Can I just say something?”


Pam looked up at him, then focused her attention on putting her mittens back on. “Yeah, of course.”


“Until you just mentioned that the outfit was green, I couldn't have remembered what she bought to save my life.” He slipped his hand under her chin and brought her face up to look at him. “So that tells you what an impression it made.”


Pam couldn't help but smile a little. Jim leaned in and kissed her firmly.


“Feel better?” he teased as he pulled back.


“Maybe,” she said. “But I still feel like she knew how I felt about you and yet she was encouraging her.”


“Maybe she thought it was secretly ugly,” Jim suggested. “Did you ever ask her?”


“No,” Pam admitted. “It would have been a little hard to figure out how to start that conversation.”


They got out of the car, and as they walked toward the shops Jim tucked her hand into the crook of his arm. Pam leaned into him as they walked through the whirling snow, and thought about what Jim had said. When they reached the sidewalk she gave his arm a slight tug.


“I don't suppose you want to switch Secret Santas, do you? I mean, I get what you're saying but it still doesn't make me want to run out and buy her a Christmas gift.”


Jim smiled broadly. “Sorry, Grinch. I am quite happy with who I have.”


“Who do you have?” Pam asked. “You didn't tell me yet.”


“And I'm not going to,” he replied, as he pulled her toward the doors of Macy's. “But let's just say I hope she doesn't trade my gift for an iPod this year.”





time4moxie is the author of 77 other stories.
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