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Author's Chapter Notes:
I cannot thank my beta, iamapam1883, enough for all her hard work, dedication, and patience. She has been a beam of light in this dark, dark office... okay you get it. Anyway, thanks so much. And thanks to all of you for reading.
Disclaimer: I own a lot of Office paraphernalia, but none of it makes me own this show. I seriously don't claim any rights or any ownership to any of this. The end.



The Taking a Chance Series: Hot Girl

Starting up the oven, Pam took a look around the empty kitchen. It was abnormally quiet. Usually while she cooked, she talked to someone. Roy would often sit at the kitchen table and tell her about the stupid things that happened in the warehouse. Other times, she’d call her mother and catch up on what was going on with her parents. But on this particular night, the silence became more and more obvious to her as she cooked, making her feel frustrated.

She could hear Roy in the living room, shouting at the TV to a random athlete. He pounded his fist on the arm of the couch at the revelation that said athlete didn’t listen to his commands. Pam hadn’t spoken to him since the argument. They rode home without saying a word, and she continued to give him the cold shoulder when they arrived at the apartment.

It didn’t take a rocket scientist for someone to figure out that Pam was angry, but Roy was always so oblivious to the idea that she did, in fact, get upset. She realized that it was probably because she was always so quick to forgive him. She hated confrontation. She hated being angry at people. But this time seemed to be different. Pam was most definitely still annoyed and she wasn’t going to let this one go as easily as she usually did.

Pam knew it wouldn’t be long before he walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist in yet another attempt to quickly patch up the situation. So when she heard footsteps behind her, she turned around and crossed her arms, prepared to argue once again.

“What?” Roy asked.

“You can’t expect me to take a five minute breather and be ready to snuggle on the couch when you’re ready to apologize. It doesn’t work that way,” Pam said. She stuffed her hands in her pockets as she attempted to calm down.

“What are you talking about?” Roy asked defensively. “I have no idea what this is about.”

Pam shook her head in disbelief, moving away from the counter. “Not only were you raving about how hot Katy was today, but you couldn’t even remember that I was your fiancée.”

“Oh, come on, Pam. That’s ridiculous. You know I wouldn’t cheat on you or anything,” Roy protested, his voice getting louder.

“That’s hardly the point here. The point is that you continue to call me your girlfriend, or say we’re ‘dating’. We’re engaged, Roy,” Pam said, holding up her hand to show Roy her engagement ring.

“Okay, look, I didn’t mean to make you upset. Let’s just forget about it, okay?” Roy insisted, almost attempting to brush off the situation. Pam watched as Roy gripped a nearby chair until his knuckles turned white.

“How can I forget it happened when this isn’t the first time?” Pam asked, shocked.

“It is too the first time!” Roy shot back.

“How about when you introduced me to your new poker buddy last weekend?” Pam seethed. “He walked in, you motioned to me when I was standing in the kitchen, and your exact quote was ‘That’s my girlfriend, Pam.’”

Roy’s eyes widened. “How long are you going to hold a grudge over this?”

“I’m not holding a grudge, Roy. This is important to me, and I’m still upset. It’s not something I just brush off, Roy,” Pam replied, feeling her frustration building as she wrung her hands together.

He raised his eyebrows. “Wow, apparently you’ve been angry with me since lunch, Pam. It’s been awhile.”

“I’m not just talking about now, Roy. I’m not just talking about this fight. You do it all the time. You and I get in a fight and you expect to make things up to me right after the fact.”

“What the hell are you talking about, Pam?”

“Apparently you think I should be quick to forgive someone who constantly forgets the term fiancée. It’s not like it’s new, Roy, we’ve been engaged for three years,” she replied, frustrated.

“I said I was sorry!” he insisted angrily.

She shook her head. “Here we go again. Roy, we’re engaged. That’s kind of a big deal. You act like it’s no big deal. Like the term ‘girlfriend’ and ‘fiancée’ are interchangeable. They aren’t. And you know what else? You talked more about Katy at lunch than you did to me.”

“Wait, wait, I thought we were done with this whole Katy thing.”

“It’s like you don’t even want to be around me anymore. You’d rather spend time with your friends than with me. You and I barely talk anymore, and usually when we do, it’s an argument. Clearly your interests have changed.”

“My interests?”

She sighed. “Roy, if you can’t get it straight that we’re engaged, and have been for three years, obviously I’m going to wonder. We’ve postponed the wedding again and again, and each time it’s a little longer before we bring up the subject again. And now you’re drooling over the girl who sells purses in the office.”

“I was not drooling,” Roy insisted.

“If saying that you would be ‘all over her’ if you and I weren’t together isn’t drooling, then what is it?”

Roy paused for a moment, almost searching for a way to defend himself. “I screwed up, Pam. I don’t know what else I can do besides tell you that,” Roy shouted. “I’m sick of this Jedi mind crap you’re giving me. Tell me what you want me to do, Pam.”

Pam stared at him for a moment. She had to stand up for herself at some point. She was getting irritated with herself for letting Roy walk all over her, and she was sick of letting him get away with treating her like this. “You finish dinner. I’m taking a walk.”

She scooted past him and walked toward the bedroom. Pam could feel the tension in her shoulders and as the discomfort spread, she began to search for her keys.

She thought about driving to the Steamtown Mall for some retail therapy, but the idea was dismissed as quickly as it was thought up. She was saving for the wedding; she didn’t have any extra money to blow on a shopping spree.

The wedding. Ah, yes, the wedding. That may or may not ever happen.

She scooted assorted items around on the dresser, searching for her keys. Grabbing her purse, she filed through it and located the missing keys. She poked her head out the door, looking for Roy. He was nowhere to be found. Pam walked into the kitchen, turned off the stove, and zipped up her purse. She hurried down the stairs of the apartment building, eager to go somewhere, get out of the house, and clear her mind.

As soon as her foot hit the pavement of the parking lot, a feeling of anger shot through her body. Roy took the truck. It wasn’t like he wasn’t allowed; it was his truck too. It just ruined her plans. She knew he’d be coming back to the apartment eventually, but she wanted nothing to do with him at the moment. So staying at the apartment was out of the question. She needed to get away for awhile.

Pam started walking down the street, lost in her own thoughts. The events of the day were playing on an endless loop in her head and she couldn’t seem to concentrate on anything else. She tried focusing on the trees, the flowers, and the beginnings of the sunset. Pam attempted to capture the peaceful images in her mind as she walked, but she was unable to let her frustrations go. Soon, her Keds started rubbing against her heel, creating what she was sure was a blister. Pam spotted the local park across the street and stopped to sit down on a bench. Readjusting and re-tying her shoes, she looked around and noticed how far she had walked in a short amount of time. Great. Now what?

Her foot was bothering her and she had already walked a good distance from the apartment. She flipped open her cell phone and checked the time. It was close to eight o’clock. Nothing would be open for much longer. And by the time she ended up back at the apartment it would be dark. This idea of clearing her head was getting more and more complicated as she thought it out. Finally, Pam called for a cab. She wasn’t thrilled with the idea of spending the money, since just moments earlier she was refusing to spend the money to go shopping. But if she thought of somewhere close by that she could go, she could get out of the apartment and away from the situation so she could truly clear her mind.

Even if she was ready to do so, she wasn’t sure she was ready to do the decision making. Pam hated when things came to the point when she knew a change would have to happen. She wasn’t sure why, since nothing in her life had drastically changed, but something about the idea scared her.

Before she had a chance to think about what her plans were for the evening, the taxi arrived. Crap. Taxis always take an hour to get here, why did this one take five minutes? She opened the door to the cab and placed her bags on the seat next to her. “320 Olive Branch Road,” she told the driver before squeezing her eyes shut and leaning her head back on the headrest in agony. Of all the addresses in the world, why did she blurt out Jim’s?

She took a deep breath, placing her purse on her lap and buckling her seat belt. It wasn’t like Jim would be angry about her visiting. He’s my friend, and that’s what friends do for each other, she thought, gripping her cell phone in her right hand as she searched for cash with her left. Her heart dropped as she realized that Jim had taken Katy out for drinks. She hoped he’d be home by now. Glancing at her watch and counting backwards, she realized that if things were going well, they’d most likely still be out.

There was no time to worry about all of that because the cab driver pulled up in front of Jim’s place and Pam gave him some folded bills, urging him to keep the change as she grabbed her jacket and got out of the taxi. For a moment, she stood at the edge of the sidewalk and ran through all of the reasons why her visit could possibly be inconveniencing him. Jim has a roommate that may have people over. Jim is going out with Katy tonight. Maybe no one’s home. But despite her worries, she started up the path and rang the doorbell.

Pam waited for a moment, staring at her shoes before the door swung open. She looked up, startled to see Jim standing in the doorway in his pajamas. It was awfully early for him to be in his pajamas, or even to be home from his date. She could feel her cheeks getting hotter as she opened her mouth, searching for the right way to start this conversation. There he was, standing at the door in a t-shirt and flannel pajama pants, giving her one of his classic ‘Jim’ faces. Where should she start? She had no idea how to react to this. She’d never seen him in his pajamas before.

“Pam?” he asked, confused. He opened the door wider.

“Hey. Um… I just… Roy and I—” she paused, taking a deep breath and starting over. “Are you busy? I just need to get away for a few hours, and I figured—”

Jim nodded, reaching for one of her bags. “Yeah, definitely. Are you okay?”

Pam sighed. “I’m fine. Roy and I are just not getting along at the moment, so I figured I’d get out of the apartment for awhile. You know? Cool off.”

“Yeah, I gotcha. Come on in, make yourself at home.”

She looked around the living room while he quickly gathered up stray dishes and other assorted items as he walked. “Sorry the place is kind of a mess. Can I get you anything to drink? Tea? Water? Coffee? Beer?”

Pam shook her head. “That’s okay, I’m good.”

“Are you hungry? I have some uh… leftover mac and cheese if you want it.”

She smiled. “Sure.”

“Have a seat,” Jim insisted, reaching into the refrigerator and pulled out a large bowl covered in plastic wrap. “I hope you’re okay with the blue box stuff,” he teased. “The kids on the commercial singing about the blues just sell you, ya know?”

Pam laughed, pulling out a chair at the kitchen table. “Kraft is the only kind I’ll eat. Velveeta is almost too cheesy.”

“Yes! And I thought I was the only macaroni heathen on the planet,” Jim replied, removing the plastic wrap from the bowl and placing it into the microwave. “People tell me I’m a terrible mac and cheese lover for hating Velveeta so much.”

Pam’s eyes wandered around the kitchen. Jim had probably just eaten. She saw his dishes from what she guessed was dinner soaking in the soapy dishwater. Her mind wandered to Jim’s outing with Katy, and she was unable to stop thinking about what went on between the two of them. She picked at a string on the sleeve of her sweater as she debated whether or not to bring up the subject of his date. “I, uh, thought you were out with Katy tonight?” she finally questioned.

He grabbed two plastic bowls from the cabinet and reached for the drawer beside him. “I was.”

“How did that go?”

“It was okay. We had some food and some drinks and that’s really it,” he shrugged.

Pam nodded, picking at her chipping nail polish. She wasn’t sure why she was so relieved over the idea that Jim’s date wasn’t anything special. There were several reasons she could think of off the top of her head. But she ignored them, watching as Jim walked around the kitchen. “Michael seemed really into her. Like… really into her,” she said, finally breaking the silence.

Jim slid a bowl toward Pam and handed her a fork. “I know! I went outside to get something from my car at one point, and I saw Ryan helping Michael clean out his car. He had like this giant trash bag and Michael was handing him crap to throw away. This was before she and I were planning on going out, and Michael was going to take her home.”

“Somehow I don’t think helping your boss land the purse girl was in the job description from the temp agency,” Pam said, taking a bite of her mac and cheese.

Jim took a seat across from Pam. “Wow. Did I hear some bitterness in your voice just now?”

Pam raised her eyebrows. “What? No,” she replied, turning her eyes toward the bowl and mixing up her noodles.

Purse girl?” he smirked.

Pam was mortified. Katy didn’t do anything wrong. There was no reason to feel the frustration she did toward Katy. But there was no denying that it was there. She took a bite of her macaroni and cheese, trying to form a response in her head. “The sarcasm was meant toward Ryan and Michael, not toward Katy. I like Katy perfectly fine,” she finally answered. She cringed as she heard the words come out of her mouth. Her response sounded much more forced than she was willing to admit. “Are your glasses in the cabinet? I’m just gonna get myself a glass of water.”

Jim laughed as he stood up and grabbed two glasses from the cabinet. “You’re awfully defensive. I never asked if you liked her. And besides, that tone isn’t one you use about someone you actually like,” he insisted, filling her glass with water.

Pam sighed. “I don’t know. I guess something about her just rubbed me the wrong way today.”

“Oh yeah?” Jim asked, taking a sip of water. “She’s not that bad, really, she’s just… not that interesting. I mean, yeah, she was nice and everything, but we just didn’t hit it off.”

She nodded. “It was weird how everyone was so interested in her. First, Kevin came over to my desk and asked if I was jealous of her or something. Then he told me she was prettier than I was. And then Michael said something about Katy being Pam 6.0.”

“Wow, harsh,” he replied.

“It’s not really that harsh. I don’t care what Michael or Kevin thinks of me. I guess that I just hate the way all the guys in the office were falling all over her, including Roy.” And you, Pam thought, trying not to let her thoughts escape.

“Are you jealous?”

“No, no, it’s not really jealousy. Roy and I are engaged, obviously he wouldn’t… I guess it’s just… I can’t really explain it. It’s weird. It was rude of Kevin and Michael to say those things, but it’s not like I’m not used to it by now. I’m just being oversensitive, it’s okay,” Pam said, not really convincing herself, but seemingly convincing Jim enough that he simply nodded and walked toward the sink with his bowl. “And then there’s this whole Roy situation.”

“I was going to say, I couldn’t help but notice that you started to talk about Roy and then kind of thought better of it,” Jim blurted. “What’s going on this time?”

Pam sighed. “I don’t know, really. I just hate it when people do stuff like that and expect to be forgiven in ten seconds. It bugs me,” she said, clinking her spoon against the side of her bowl.

“You mean like calling you his… girlfriend?” Jim asked.

Pam nodded. “Exactly. And he was all over Katy. I mean, Michael and Kevin being all over her is one thing. That’s Michael and Kevin. But Roy? I was just a little annoyed.”

“Yeah, that’s understandable. Have you guys talked about it at all?”

She shook her head. “A little. It just kind of turned into a fight. I’m just still angry, I guess. I mean, he can’t get it through his head that I’m his fiancée, even though we’ve been engaged for three years. Then he totally checks out the purse girl in front of me. I just felt… I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be dumping all of this on you.”

“No, no, it’s fine. We’re friends, it’s all good. I keep telling you not to feel bad about coming to me with your problems,” Jim insisted. “Want some ice cream? I have an insane amount of sundae fixings. And Mark just got these new ice cream bowls. They hold like, twice the amount of ice cream or something.”

Pam shrugged. “Sure. Is he going to be mad that you’re using them when he’s not here?”

Jim laughed. “Nah. He’s pretty cool about that stuff. But you, on the other hand… not so sure he’d like a girl touching his ice cream bowls.”

Pam shook her head as she opened the large tub of ice cream. “Wow, just remember when I have my girly tea parties that you will have to stay in your ‘no girls allowed’ clubhouse with your roommate.”

“Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.”

Jim reached across Pam and grabbed two spoons. She smiled. He smelled like a mixture of cookies and aftershave. He offered one of the spoons to Pam, and as she accepted, his hand brushed up against hers. The touch sent a tingle down her spine and she grinned as she began to scoop the ice cream into her bowl. Jim dug his spoon into the ice cream at the same time, brushing his knuckles against hers again. Pam shivered and immediately jerked her hand back, flushing as she muttered her apologies. Jim motioned wordlessly for Pam to continue serving herself, placing his spoon in his own bowl as he reached for the hot fudge.

Pam finished making her sundae and took a seat next to Jim. Jim squirted some whipped cream onto his ice cream and placed it back in the refrigerator before taking a bite. Pam giggled as she motioned toward her nose.

“What?”

“You uh, have Reddi Whip on your nose,” Pam replied, touching the tip of her nose.

“Wow, it’s not like I stuffed my face in the bowl. How does this happen to me?” Jim asked in disbelief, rubbing his nose.

“It’s still there,” Pam said, reaching across the table and brushing the remaining whipped cream off of his nose. Pam was shocked at how forward she was, quickly taking her hand away from Jim’s face. She took a deep breath, trying not to feel embarrassed.

Jim cleared his throat nervously as he watched Pam grab a napkin and wipe her hand. “Thanks.”

She simply nodded as she took a bite of her ice cream.

The two sat in silence for a few moments before Jim dragged his chair closer to the table. He opened his mouth as though he wanted to say something, then stopped, reaching for the M&M’s. Pam looked down at her bowl of ice cream, trying to avoid eye contact.

“This ice cream is really good,” she said. “I don’t do the ice cream sundae thing a lot.”

“You’re missing out.”

“I just got sick of it, I guess. When I was in high school I worked for Baskin Robbins. I scooped ice cream all week every summer,” Pam recalled. “We used to be able to have ice cream anytime we wanted. I think it’s safe to say I abused the privilege and eventually got sick of all things ice cream.”

Jim snorted before composing himself. “Oh. Well, that will do it.”

“What are you laughing at?”

“Nothing,” Jim laughed, turning his attention to his ice cream.

“Jim!” she giggled.

“I was just picturing teenage Pam in a Baskin Robbins uniform pigging out on ice cream, only trying to hide it from her boss.”

“Hey, I was allowed to eat the ice cream!” Pam reminded him.

“But knowing you, you’d always think you were overdoing it. You’d grab a couple of scoops and put it somewhere and shove some in your mouth each time your boss left. I envision brainfreeze Pam freaking out and trying to get rid of the cold feeling between her eyes.”

“That is so mean, Jim,” Pam said, trying not to giggle as she placed her ice cream bowl in the sink. She leaned against the kitchen counter and crossed her arms as Jim turned around, straddling the chair and maneuvering the ice cream bowl in front of him. She brushed a strand of hair behind her ear and cleared her throat. “So, is Mark here tonight? I’m not messing with plans or anything, am I?”

Jim shook his head. “He’s visiting his dad in Florida. Something about Cuban food and hot chicks.”

She giggled. “Oh, he’s one of those.”

“Nah. He does more chasing than retaining. You know what I mean?” Jim teased. “He dates a lot. It’s like once a week he dates a new girl. Although sometimes things last a little longer, but usually they don’t. His last serious one lasted six months or so.”

“Ah. He must get sick of the whole introducing yourself to someone new thing. The whole, ‘This is my occupation, this is my future plan, I’m trying not to scare you, but I’m trying to sniff out if you’re the right person for me’ deal.”

Jim rolled his eyes. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he told girls he was Clark Kent. Just because he gets sick of telling them the same thing every time. I think he’s started keeping things fresh. But you know, at the same time, new relationships are kind of exciting.”

“You think so?”

Jim nodded. “Yeah. You know, you tell the famous stories that always get a laugh. You usually get an embarrassing secret out of the ordeal. Sometimes things go well, and sometimes they don’t, but when things are new and fresh, it can be fun. Or, you know, it could be a Katy date. Just… nothing special.”

“I guess that’s true,” Pam replied. “I’ve just been with Roy for so long, you know? I’m engaged, it’s not like I get an opportunity to have hot dates.”

It wasn’t like she hadn’t tried to get Roy to go out somewhere. It was just that he rarely agreed. Or he would agree and then things would go sour somehow. She loved the idea of trying to start fresh with Roy, find the spark that they had at one point or another. Her stomach dropped when she realized how long it had been since she had some excitement in her relationship.

“Hot dates?” Jim asked, raising his eyebrows.

Pam straightened up. “Katy was trying to sell me purses earlier.”

“Well, she is a saleswoman, Pam,” Jim teased.

“She tried to get me to buy a purse for a hot date with Roy.”

Jim froze for a moment, breaking eye contact with Pam. “Ah.”

“I don’t think I realized until today how little Roy and I go out,” Pam said. She shook her head in disbelief as she realized she was telling Jim more than she was ready to admit to herself. “I mean, we go out, but we don’t go out, out. We go somewhere Roy wants to go. We don’t do ‘hot dates’ or anything,” she explained, adding the air quotes for emphasis.

“Don’t feel bad, it’s not like I have women lining up to get my number either. I have no life.”

“Well, maybe you should get one,” Pam teased. “But be forewarned, it’s not something you buy in stores. You actually have to get out of your pajamas.”

Jim nodded, standing up from his chair and placing his bowl in the sink. “Jeez, Pam, you just had to remind me, didn’t you?” he asked, winking as he turned on the water.

Pam reached for the dishwashing liquid before Jim was able to grab it. She held it away from him. “Let me do the dishes,” she insisted, grabbing a sponge and playfully shoving Jim out of the way so she could have the sink to herself. She rolled up her sleeves, shooting Jim a stern look as he backed up toward the refrigerator.

“Fine, go ahead, do the dishes, be my guest,” he replied, holding his hands up in the air as if he was surrendering. “At least let me dry them when you’re done.”

“Acceptable,” she nodded, satisfied that she had won the battle over the dishes. As she scrubbed a pan that had been soaking in the water, she saw Jim approaching the sink out of the corner of her eye. Before she could turn around to stop him, he reached his hand into the sink and scooped up a handful of dishwashing liquid bubbles and darted away.

“Watch out, or you’ll get attacked by dish soap,” Jim teased, holding the bubbles up to his chin as though he was ready to blow them at her.

“I think you better watch out, or you’ll get them smacked in your face and your evil plan will have backfired,” Pam warned as sternly as she could without laughing.

“Fair enough,” Jim sighed, walking toward the sink again. “Let me put them back.”

Pam returned to her task, grabbing the dishwashing liquid and scrubbing a spot on the pan she was working on. All of a sudden, she felt a hand on her elbow. Jim’s eyes widened as Pam looked from her bubble covered elbow to Jim and back at her elbow again.

“Oh, you’re asking for it,” Pam replied, grabbing the entire bottle of dishwashing liquid.

“Come on now, that’s not a fair fight,” Jim said, shaking his hands over the sink. “Be a gracious loser. Let’s play fair.”

“This is plenty fair.”

“How is that fair? You were bound to get dish soap on you. In bubble form. I see no bubbles there. I see blue sticky liquid that will make me smell like ocean breezes.”

“Oh, you want bubbles? Huh?” Pam teased, reaching for the sprayer on the sink.

“I have no ammo, so I guess I better just give in and let you win,” Jim said, reaching for a dishcloth and drying one of the dishes.

“Thank you,” Pam replied, returning her attention to the dishes.

As she scrubbed, she caught a glimpse of her engagement ring. Apparently she forgot to take it off before she started the dishes. Placing it on the counter, her mind drifted back to her earlier argument with Roy. She felt a twinge of guilt over the way she reacted to Roy’s slip up, but she was slowly realizing that she wasn’t comfortable with the way things were going with Roy. She couldn’t recall a time where she didn’t enjoy being with Jim. It felt less awkward. Less stressful. Less… well, she just felt like she could let her guard down in front of Jim. It wasn’t like that with Roy.

The words ‘hot date’ seemed to be playing on repeat in her head. When was the last time Roy took her on a real date? She couldn’t remember. It wasn’t just about the dates, though. It was about spending time with each other and not worrying about anything else. She thought back to the moment in the break room where Roy openly admitted that he would date Katy. Her mind drifted to the many times she felt crushed when Roy suggested yet another postponement of the wedding.

She found herself thinking about Jim as she swished the water around in the sink, looking for something else to clean. Jim was the first person she thought to go to that night. His desk was the one she loitered at when she was bored. His number was third on her speed dial. Jim never forgot anything. He knew her favorite kind of yogurt, her favorite TV channels, and her birthday. And he would never forget to call a girl his fiancée if she was in fact engaged to him. As she thought more and more about the events of that day, she realized that she was just a little bit jealous of Katy. And for all the wrong reasons.

“I think that plate’s pretty clean,” Jim teased, breaking Pam’s concentration.

Pam handed him the plate, rolling her eyes as she splashed some soapy water on him. He reached into the sink, grabbed a handful of foam, and threw it back at Pam. She laughed, shaking her hands off over the sink. She reached for the roll of paper towels next to her and dried her hands before handing some to Jim so he could clean up. As Jim dried his hands, Pam gently brushed some excess dish soap off of Jim’s chin.

Their eyes met for a moment, sending a tingle down Pam’s spine. Her breath caught in her chest as he stared back at her. She jumped, startled as he reached for her forearm and brushed some foam off. He interlaced his fingers in hers as he slowly turned her arm, making sure he got all of the remaining bubbles. His left hand reached for her right hand, and before Pam knew what was happening, he had let go of her other hand and begun to inspect her other arm.

She took a deep breath, looking down at their hands as Jim let go.

She looked up into his eyes and something in her compelled her to move closer. She put her hands on his shoulders, gently pulled him toward her, and kissed him. It didn’t take long for Jim to kiss her back, gently wrapping his arms around her waist. Pam moved her hands from the back of Jim’s neck to his arms, slowly dragging her thumbs across his shoulders as he pulled away. She raised her eyebrows in confusion. She liked kissing Jim. She was tempted to lean in and kiss him again, but the deer-in-headlights look on Jim’s face scared her a little.

“So, uh, does this mean… are we… okay, complete sentences would be fantastic now.”

Pam merely smiled as she watched Jim’s facial expressions change. He looked shocked, then excited, then nervous, and finally, disappointed.

“This probably wasn’t such a good idea,” he said hesitantly, looking down at the floor.

“Why not?” Pam asked.

Jim sighed. “You’re engaged to Roy—”

As he grabbed her left hand and held it up with the intention of gesturing to her ring, Jim caught a glimpse of her empty ring finger.

“Look, Jim, I—”

“You guys are going through some stuff. Obviously, since you came to me to vent. But uh… I don’t want to... interfere?” he asked, searching for the words.

“Jim, Roy and I have been engaged for three years and he still doesn’t know I’m his fiancée. I just told you I had doubts. Well, in less precise terms, but I said it. And hanging out with you tonight has made me realize that this whole thing about me getting jealous of Katy had nothing to do with Roy. Seeing you take her out tonight was just… it was bad.”

“I’m not going out with Katy again,” Jim insisted. “I only… I just… Pam, I’ve had feelings for you for a really, really long time. This was definitely a good thing, this… kiss. But you’re engaged.”

“I know,” she said, taking the ring off the counter and shoving it into the pocket of her jeans. She rocked back on her heels nervously as she looked at Jim. He looked just as confused as she felt. “But I don’t want to be anymore.”

He smiled. “You don’t? Wait, so where does this put us?”

Pam sighed. “How about we get together tomorrow for lunch?” she asked hopefully. That would give her plenty of time to talk to Roy and get everything in order so she could take the next step with Jim. “I need to get some things taken care of with Roy, but we can figure some of it out then?”

“I’d like that,” Jim replied, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. “Do you need a ride back? I’d hate for you to have to call another cab.”

“No, it’s fine, I have some extra cash,” she replied, thinking of the wedding money envelope she had sitting under her shoe rack in her closet. She took a deep breath and smiled, shoving her hands into her pockets.

“So, does this mean that—”

“That what?” Pam asked.

Jim cleared his throat. “You and me. Us. Are we us? Man, this is confusing.”

“Us sounds good,” she said, leaning forward and giving him a soft kiss on the lips.

Pam and Jim walked outside and began to wait for the cab. Neither said anything as they sat, simply enjoying each other’s company. She looked over at the man sitting next to her and she smiled, reaching for his hand. He looked surprised for a moment, but returned the gesture. She was enjoying the idea of this new beginning.


The end


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