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A little birthday gift for someone very special
Author's Chapter Notes:
Disclaimer I don’t own the Office in any way shape or form….
big thanks to untherapy for beta-ing this, because she is amazing

A little birthday gift for someone very special
Nancy...think of this as the icing on your birthday cake--purely fluff

Jim remembered the way his heart broke when his little girl picked herself up from the floor, where she'd just fallen on her bottom, and took off from him. That same feeling when he saw her standing in her crib and pouting at him because he wouldn't take her out. He knew he was a pushover, but when it came to Cecelia he was pretty sure she could grow up and recreate the Texas chainsaw massacre and he'd find a way to blame it on teenage hormones or PMS. So this morning when he found his girl lying in bed between himself and Pam, her face nestled into the side of his torso, her curls sticking out behind her ears and a thumb promptly placed in her mouth, he felt a little part of his heart melt.

Ever since he was young, Jim loved that his birthday was in October. He remembered never being envious of those with summer birthdays; days spent at the beach with friends and a cake lit up by the July sunset. Or his friends with winter birthdays spent sledding all day or inside playing games. But not Jim...each birthday was different and special, centered on the beauty that the foliage brought to the East Coast every year. He recalled birthday mornings with his father, raking up leaves...his brothers sound asleep inside their house. He relished this time with his Dad, the two of them talking about things that were important to him. Things Peter and Tom would never understand, but his Dad did. So the two of them would clean up the leaves, smelling of earth and sleep, and would find themselves waking his mother with kisses-he loved those birthdays.

Today, not a lot had changed. He was in the bedroom he'd spent countless nights in during thunderstorms or when his Dad was away on business - he'd keep his mother company and usually end up asleep next to her. However, this morning, his baby was in bed with him, along with the woman he never thought he'd share a bed with, never mind offspring, and he wondered how this birthday would start out. He carefully took Cece's finger out of her mouth, replaced it with her binky, and slipped out of bed, shutting the blinds as he walked by so as not to disturb them. His bare feet padded on the floor, dragging his toes through the rough maroon carpet. The house was cold and Jim noticed the window open in the kitchen. It had been warm the night before, but now the cool autumn air had taken over their home. He shut it, thoughts going to Cecelia getting sick. He shook his head, a grin on his face, amused at how much he'd changed since becoming a father. He never thought his entire day would be consumed with thoughts of child locks on cabinets, teething rings, whether or not eating too many hot dogs was going to make his kid fat, (so maybe he snuck her pieces when Mommy wasn't looking, that doctor doesn't know crap) and how many licks she took of a lollipop before it would get stuck in her hair.

He heard the familiar smacking of a hand down the hallway-a sure sign Cecelia was up and trying to walk around, so he stopped, shut the fridge and put coffee making on hold. He turned around to find her standing in the entryway, her favorite doll in her hand, (the Barbie with no head-Jim still couldn't figure that one out) rubbing sleep from her eyes. She opened and closed her free hand explaining she wanted to be picked up. She wasn't one for words this early in the morning, and he was okay with that. She placed her chubby arms around his neck, lifting the princess shirt off her tummy, revealing her round belly; Jim had begun to call her a pot-belly piglet until Pam put a stop to that, telling him it was going to give her bad self image later in life. Clasping onto his t-shirt, he moved around the kitchen continuing to grab items to make for breakfast. She yawned, laying her head on his shoulder, the two of them waltzing around the kitchen in a silent dance. He glanced over to her high chair, biting his lip and debating whether or not to place his daughter inside of it. He knew she'd whine if he confined her, (the result of being held way too much) so instead he adjusted her on his hip and continued to move about.

"You want pancakes or French toast Cece?" He asked, breaking the silence as she lifted her head up. Her almond eyes glanced around the room, most likely looking for her mother, but landed on Jim.

"Cake." she nodded her head and smiled.

"Pancakes Cecelia...not chocolate cake." Jim cocked his head, put on his "dad" voice and tried hard not to smile.

"Cake!" she bounced her body forward, coming alive, and Jim couldn't help but laugh.

"Tell you what," she got closer to him, waiting, "I'll put chocolate chips in the batter....is that a deal?" He winked at her. "Kiss?" Jim asked as she pressed her sticky, pouted, lips against his own. "Thank you." he dipped his head against her small forehead and tickled her belly.

Cecelia erupted in laughter, "Shh," he cooed, "you're going to wake Mom, and you know she can be a grumpy bear in-" Jim was cut off by Cecelia's arm flying past his face towards the door behind him.

"Mama, Mama, Mama." Cecelia jumped up and down, extending her arms out.

"Hi Baby." Pam walked over, slapping Jim on the bottom and grabbing her daughter. "Your wife is not a grump." she smirked, pulling Cecelia to her.

"Mhmmmm." Jim grinned, continuing to stir the pancake batter in a bowl. She placed Cecelia in her chair, (she was the only one who could get her to sit still for five minutes without crying,) and came close to Jim, kissing him on the cheek.

"Happy Birthday," she whispered and Jim was immediately reminded of the night before. Her caramel hair draped over his chest, pledging her love with a trail of kisses down his ears, neck, and torso.

Jim licked his lips, reaching out to pull her back to him, kissing her swiftly on the lips.

"What do you want to do today?" she asked eating a chocolate chip out of the bag, sucking on it for a moment. She glanced back to find Cecelia asleep on the tray in front of her and giggled. Jim reached out, smoothing out a curl behind her ear and held eye contact.

"I dunno." he shrugged and flipped a pancake.

"Well...if you don't know what you want to do, what do you want?" Pam asked.

Jim grinned at her, "Let's get a puppy!"

"You have got to be kidding me.' Pam sighed.

"Aww c'mon! It'd be fun. We could play with it and teach it tricks...'

"Jim we have a baby, we don't need a dog" Pam sighed.

"Cecelia won't roll around with me on the floor and nip at my toes.' He frowned.

"Give her time."

Jim snickered, careful not to wake the baby. Pam tugged at his arm, pulling him toward the living room.

"C'mere," she beckoned. Jim looked down at the pancakes sizzling in the pan, and then back at his wife.

"Leave them." she pressed a kiss to the top of his hand, rough to her lips. He sighed, feeling his chest loosen, and in the way she always did, he began to feel the weight of the world slip away from him, the worries that were flooding his mind (like burning down the house by leaving the stove running) disappear.

He let out a sigh, or maybe a grunt, and let the spatula fall on the counter top as he moved toward her. He didn't care that her curls were all out of place, there were crusties around her eyes, or that she was wearing her glasses and an old t-shirt, she still looked desirable to him. And of course, he wasn't exactly Fabio this morning either. Draped in only his bathrobe, morning cowlick, and unshaven face, he wasn't exactly anything to look at.

She pulled Jim to the couch, him landing on a binky of Cecelia's and pulling it out from under him. He looked at Pam who was in somewhat of a fury to take off his bathrobe. He stifled a laugh as she pushed him against the couch, kissing him hard on the lips; she only did that when she meant business.

"What's so funny?" she asked.

"Nothing you're just so..." he raised an eyebrow not wanting to continue.

"What?" her eyes were closed as she slipped her fingers through his wavy hair. Jim shivered as she kissed his earlobe.

"You like that?"

Jim's eyes widened looking down at Pam, who was this woman and where was his wife?

"Pam...there is a child in the kitchen." he tried to keep a straight face before breaking out into a grin. She laughed at him and held onto his back, continuing to kiss him.

"I'm sure she's-" Cecelia broke out into a fit of screams from the kitchen. Pam sighed, Jim snickered, but both raised themselves off the couch to answer to their daughter.

"What is it, baby?" Pam lifted Cecelia out of her high chair, cradling her in her arms.

"We're right here." Jim's voice was raised an octave higher as he rubbed his hand along her back.

"Go turn off the stove, it's burning," Pam remarked.

"Told you," he mumbled, dumping the charcoaled contents into the trashcan.

"Sweetie, do you want to give Daddy his birthday presents?" Cecelia nodded vigorously, squirming out of Pam's arms going to the kitchen table where a small pink box sat tied with a bow.

Pam leaned into Jim, "She picked this out for you entirely on her own last week,"

Cecelia handed him the box as he carefully undid the ribbon, bending down to be at her height. She watched as he opened his eyes in surprise, shaking the box carefully to entertain her and then taking off the lid.

"What...." He looked up to Pam, "is this?" he laughed, his eyes wide as he examined the dangling keychain in front of him.

Pam covered her mouth with a laugh. Jim watched the half-naked woman on the keychain smiling at him, as he read the saying underneath, "Everything's hotter in Pennsylvania" and laughed.

"It was between this and the Marshmallow fluff she threw in the cart,"

Jim kissed Cecelia on the cheek, "Thanks, munchkin." She just nodded proudly and started to play with the letter magnets on the fridge, arranging a word that was definitely not English. He stood up and moved himself to Pam, wrapping his arms around her waist.

"Thank you," he whispered, kissing her forehead.

"You're thanking me for the naked lady keychain?" Pam raised an eyebrow, letting a snicker escape from her lips.

He kissed her laugh, "For her, Pam," He held her gaze for a moment, and then looked down to find Cecelia staring into an open fridge.

"I think she's hungry," Jim mumbled, and walked over to pick her up.

*

Jim stepped out into the bedroom, his towel draped around his waist, finding Pam curled up on the bed, her dress laid out on the bed next to her. He slipped his arm around her stomach, crawling in bed behind her. The sun was setting outside the window and Cecelia had fallen asleep on the couch downstairs. Pam turned to face him, setting her hand on his cheek.

She didn't say anything as he curled up near her, pushing his long legs against her own, and nuzzling into her chest. Pam breathed in the scent of his hair, the cheap coconut shampoo flavor in her nostrils, and she smiled. He refused to use anything except the same shampoo he'd been using since he was a kid. The tips of her fingers softened as she ran her hand through his wet hair, curling the tips under his earlobes.

"So..." he broke the silence, entwining his fingers in between hers, "where are we going for dinner?"

She smiled at him, "I made reservations at La Trattoria." she kissed the top of his head, and he sighed, or groaned, she wasn't really sure which one.

"Good," he mumbled, bringing her arm to his face and kissing her knuckles, "I want my fettuccini alfredo. Oh," he looked up at her, "who's watching Cece tonight?"

Pam shot up in bed, whacking Jim's head with the blanket as she did, and slapped a hand to her forehead.

"Shit," she mumbled, scrambling to grab the telephone on the nightstand.

"What?" Jim sat up, pulling the blanket around him.

"With everything going on today, I completely forgot to call your Mom or my Mom to watch her tonight, and Stephanie's out of town and can't watch her tonight either," Pam groaned, rubbing her temples and searching through the dialed calls trying to find someone to watch the baby.

"What about Larissa? I'm sure she'd love to watch her." Jim rubbed his temples and slipped a pair of dress pants on.

"I don't know Jim, she's never been with the baby alone." Pam bit her lip.

"She'd be fine, she's twenty-two, I'm sure she can handle Cece for one night," Jim rolled his eyes and took the phone from her. He frowned, listening to the answering machine on the other end.

"She's not there, is she?" Pam frowned and let another groan escape her lips.

"Babe, we don't have to go out." Jim walked over to her, kissing the back of her neck. She let her head droop for a moment, as he slipped his hand up her t-shirt.

"I made these reservations days ago, I just..." she turned around to face him, "I wanted tonight to be a night for just us, it's your birthday..." she trailed off.

"Hey," he brought his hands to her face, furrowing his eyebrows.

"What's wrong? It's not a big deal." He pressed a kiss to her cheek. Jim had heard about post-natal stress. He wasn't really sure what it was, but he thought that things had been easy for he and Pam over the last year. Cecelia slept well throughout the night, she never was colicky, and now here they were a year and a half later, and Jim started to wonder if he really knew what post-natal stress was.

Pam let a few tears escape from her eyes, "I just wanted tonight to be perfect." she hiccupped. Jim laughed, kissing the side of her face,

"Cecelia's asleep, we can still have a good time." Jim winked at her, bringing her to the bed, pushing her dress aside.

"I hate to break it to you," she dropped her head, "but I can't make you fettucini alfredo like La Trattoria's does."

Jim laughed, pulling Pam closer to him, "Let me make something then."

"It's your birthday," she tugged the neck of his t-shirt playfully as he scooped her back on the bed. Flicking on the baby monitor, Jim pushed the door closed with his toe and then pulled her towards the pillows. "What are you doing?" she raised an eyebrow at him, trying not to laugh as he planted kisses on her neck.

"Celebrating," he mumbled into her collarbone. She lay her head back a moment,

"I'm supposed to be giving you a present." she giggled, looking back to him. He stopped, looked up at her and with a smile kissed her lips.

"Then go for it."

***

Chapter End Notes:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY NANCY! I hope you loved your birthday story, and I’m so thankful to your continuous and positive reviews, my stories wouldn’t be the same without them. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!


JHalpert is the author of 10 other stories.
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This story is part of the series, let?s celebrate birthday month in style today.. The previous story in the series is Happy, happy birthday, baby . The next story in the series is Blink (...and you'll miss it).

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