Jim turned the car onto a dirt road, the trees hanging low over the car creating a sort of tunnel of reds, oranges, and yellows. Pam rested her head on the glass window, the sights drifting by her as she watched them, a slight smile on her face that she didn’t even realize was there. She felt him move his hand over to meet her leg where he squeezed it lightly, running his thumb along the fabric. She looked over at him, grinned, and taking his hand, moved it up to her belly, the one that seemed to be growing bigger every time she looked down at him.
Pam glanced over at her husband. His hair, getting a bit too long stuck out from underneath his black ball cap. He was bundled up in a sweater and scarf, Pam couldn’t help but stare at him.
“Do I have something on my face?” He asked, looking over at her, his eyebrows raised.
“No,” she giggled, laying her head on his arm. Pam entwined her fingers in his.
“You’re weird, pregnant,” he tried to keep a straight face, a smirk hidden under his faux expression.
“Well, it’s your fault,” she sat up as he pulled into the driveway of the orchard, the steep hill slowing down their SUV, “this is your lovechild you knocked me up with.” Pam took a sip of the water she had positioned between her legs.
“Now she’s a lovechild?” Jim’s grin broke as he continued to stroke her tummy as they parked the car out in front of the large barn, where other families were beginning to fill up spaces around them.
“Who said it’s a she?” Pam asked with grin,
“We picked a busy day to go apple picking,” Jim changed the subject, taking the keys out of the ignition and grabbing his parka in the back.
“It’ll be fine. As long as you don’t lose your patience like when we tried to go pick out a pumpkin last week.” Pam swung her finger at him playfully,
“Hey, that kid grabbed our pumpkin,” Jim brought his hands up in defense, “he saw I had my eye on it, and right when I was going to pick it up he snagged it from me,”
“The kid was obviously trying to make you mad.” Pam put her hand in his as they entered the barn,
“Obviously.” He walked over to the counter, the smells of apples, cinnamon and spices filling his nostrils. Running his finger along the cedar, he picked up two different sized bags.
“How much do you want to pick?” Jim asked, holding the bags up in front of Pam. She placed a hand on her stomach, the other casually tapping her chin,
“The bigger one. I want to make a couple pies too,” Jim slipped the bag into his pocket.
“Ohhh will you make some of that apple butter like last time?” Jim asked, his face full of excitement.
“You ate it every day for a week and then we didn’t have anymore.” Pam tried to zipper up her fleece, frustrated that the zipper wouldn’t go up over her belly.
“C’mere.” Jim set his camera bag down on the ground, and knelt down in front of her, his hands carefully taking the zipper and putting it back on the track, right up her torso.
“Why is it that you can do it and I can’t?” Jim shook his head, “It’s my fat fingers isn’t it?” she asked.
“Yep that’s it. The witch in the gingerbread house would have been pleased,” He teased, feeling a thud on his back. “No need for violence, Pam. What kind of example do you think you’re setting for our child?” He looked up at her from his kneeling position, a boyish grin bringing out his dimples.
“A good one, she’ll be able to defend herself,” Pam stated. He rose, the two of them going up to one of the trees, the Macintosh apples wilting delicately above her.
“Against her Dad?” Jim questioned, a goofy grin plastered on his face. Pam shook her head at him, putting some apples in her bag before stopping to take a bite out of one of them,
“You know,” she crunched into one, licking her lips to get the sticky juice off them, Jim kissing her quickly before she could finish. She pulled away from him, “What was that for?”
“Nothing,” He smiled; the taste of apples still on his tongue and lips.
“What I was going to say was that every time I eat apples I feel like I’m Snow White,”
“You feel like you’re going to be poisoned?” Jim asked, he cocked his head, raising his mouth.
“No,” she said between laughter, “Only that they remind me of being a little girl and liking fairytales,”
“You know,” Jim leaned in to take a bite of her apple, smiling as he crunched the crispy off-white piece between his teeth, “apples always taste the best when you eat them in the orchard.” Jim informed her with a nod.
“Is that so?” Pam asked, taking the camera from Jim and snapping a picture of the trees in front of them, the foliage creating a beautiful backdrop.
“Yep, their cold and always the fresh-“ she snapped a photo of him before he could finish, his mouth contorted in a strange way that made her burst out laughing.
“Look at you!” She laughed, showing him the display on the camera.
“Delete that,” He ordered.
“No way,” Pam grinned, “this is totally going up on facebook,”
“Great, I’m glad you’ve got another picture to add to my profile,”
“You don’t even know how to use it anyway.” she rolled her eyes, putting the camera back in the bag.
“So what kinds of apples do we need?” Jim asked, taking a Gala and putting it in the bag. Pam pulled it out and handed it back to him.
“You can eat that here. We don’t want that in the pies, it’ll make it way too sour. We’re going to need…” she looked around, pressing a hand to her hip, and leaned back on Jim for support, “Cortland’s, which are over there-“ she pointed to a blue flagged row of trees, “and some Empires,”
“Okay…” she turned around to face Jim; he looked a bit confused,
“How do you know all this?” he asked her, as she placed her arms around his waist, bringing him closer to her; the warmth he was emitting was keeping all three of them warm.
“ My meemaw,” Jim rolled his eyes; Pam swatted him, “No, really, she did. We used to bake pies together when I was a little girl,” Pam continued walking along the orchard with Jim, grabbing apples as they talked. “She used to have these two aprons that we wore, I’m pretty sure she quilted them herself. They used to have little apples stitched into them,” Pam shook her head, pausing for a moment. Jim brought her to him.
“I’m glad she taught you all those things,” Jim said, kissing her nose, he felt a twig crunch under his boot.
“Why’s that?” Pam asked, tilting her head, the sunlight hitting her auburn bangs, illuminating her face.
“Because I can’t cook, and Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without your pies,” He answered, taking some apples down from the tree.
“Oh don’t be modest, Jim Halpert,” Pam smiled, heading back towards the red barn they could see in the distance, “When I was so sick last week that soup and grilled cheese you made me,” she rubbed her tummy, a grin on her face, “that was by far the best meal I’ve had in weeks.”
Jim roared back in laughter, “You’re hormonal,” he replied, “You’ll eat anything. I could have served you a pickle and you would have been happy.”
“Mmm a pickle,” Pam looked up to the sky, her lips turned up in a smile, eyes closed. Jim grinned, pulling her along,
“Let’s go cash out.” He snapped a few more photos of her as she walked in front of him, a foot behind her in the air, caught almost in a grande jeté; he smiled at the black and white photo on the display.
Pam gasped as they got to the front, an old swing hanging from the large tree in front of the barn. A few children had scattered away from it, leaving it begging to be swung on. Pam turned around, a toothy grin on her face.
“Let’s do it!” She exclaimed, skipping over to the swing, placing her bottom on the wooden pallet and waiting. “Push me?” She asked as Jim came around the front of her, leaning in and kissing her briefly. He nodded, grabbing the ropes and as she placed her fists around the frayed twine tightly, he pushed her back and let her go, her knees coming toward him quickly. Giving her another push she laughed into the cool autumn air, it echoing off the barn around them. She brought her feet down into the dirt, slowing herself down and then scooted over; “Sit with me,” she asked, him trying to squeeze in next to her but failing.
“How about you sit on my lap,” He offered as she stood up, and then placed herself on his denim covered legs. Leaning in he murmured in her ear, “hold on tight,” He kissed her on her neck as he kicked them up into the air, her hair blowing near him, the smell of strawberries filling his nostrils.
“Alright, let’s split up, the car’s gotta be around here somewhere.” Jim scratched the hair on the top of his head, and then put his cap back on. Pam sighed,
“Why are there, like, a million SUV’s in this parking lot?” she huffed, wiping the sweat from her forehead.
“Because their horrible for the environment, and cheap to buy right now with our falling economy?” Jim asked coyly, as he crossed over into another line of cars. “Alright you look in this row and I’ll look over here,” Jim stated, walking away from her. Pam groaned, her eyes scanning the cars,
“Hey look! We parked over here,” He called, as Pam started, ready to jog over to him, she stopped mid step, her mouth opening in surprise as her hand felt up to her stomach.
“Jim, come here!” She exclaimed. Jim turned around, a few yards away from her,
“No, Pam, I’ve got the car it’s-“
“Jim, come here” She called again, this time through gritted teeth. He jogged over to her, the camera swinging against his side as he paused in front of her. She smiled, reaching her hands out in front of her.
“Come here,” she said quietly, pulling him towards her, and placing his hands on her belly. His cold fingers touched her warm protruding skin, right above her bellybutton.
“What am I-“ he started.
“Shhh,” quieting him, she nodded encouraging him to wait, as if on cue, he felt it, right under his pointer finger. His lips spread into a smile as he held his hands there, begging for more.
“That’s our baby,” he exclaimed. Pam wasn’t sure if it was a question or a statement, but all the same her eyes filled up, bringing Jim closer to her face. She kissed him.
“That’s our baby,” she repeated quietly, pressing her chapped lips to his, letting them linger for a moment.
“What’s it feel like?” he asked her, his eyes still closed from the kiss.