Pam walked into the Office that day already feeling drained. She and Roy had been fighting again late last night and again this morning. She wasn’t even really sure what they were fighting about anymore, just that she wasn’t happy anymore. She hadn’t been for a long time.
It only really started to come into focus though the day of Meredith’s unofficial birthday party. Dwight had asked Jim for an alliance and they had been messing with him all day. Everything had been going great until Roy came in and saw her and Jim laughing. Roy just got so aggressive and had made this huge scene in front of the whole office and she had just stood there feeling embarrassed and furious at him for overreacting so harshly.
It hadn’t been until they got home that she had finally gathered up the courage to ask him what the hell he was thinking, and they had been fighting almost everyday since.
The incident with the basketball game and his comments on Katy the purse saleswoman had only made things worse as time wore on. It was almost two months later already and she really didn’t know what to do anymore.
Jim had been the only thing keeping her sane at this point. He always seemed to know she was having a hard time before she even said anything about it, and would go out of his way to make her feel better. She loved having him as her best friend and didn’t know what she would do without him in her life.
As Pam walked over to her reception desk she was struck with a startling realization. Today was the day of the infamous Dundies ceremony, meaning that she would be left to reel Michael in even more today than usual.
She had only just started up on checking her messages when she noticed him standing in front of her.
Pam looked up to find Jim holding two coffee mugs, with a leisurely grin on his face and she couldn’t help but smile along with him.
“You looked a little drained so I thought you could use some tea.” Jim ended his sentence by placing her mug next to her hand and looking at her expectantly. Pam cocked her head and smiled before taking a long sip of the warm liquid, smiling a bit more when she realized he had made her favorite.
“Thank you, I really needed that.” She sighed before she went on to explain that she and Roy had been fighting again, to which Jim gave her a tight-lipped nod. “Do you wanna talk about it more later at lunch? Maybe getting it out there would help you figure out what you want to do about it.”
His offer was rewarded with a calm smile from Pam and a gentle nod “Yeah, that sounds great”.
He nodded and grabbed a jelly bean before heading back to his desk to attempt to get some work done, knowing that Michael would be a handful since it was Dundies day.
As she watched Jim walk back to his desk, Pam couldn’t help but wonder about her friendship with him. When she thought about it, she always felt like breaking out into a big grin that would make her cheeks hurt. He always seemed to know what she was thinking and knew exactly how to make her laugh and smile. He made her feel like working as a receptionist at a paper sales company where Michael Scott was her boss wasn’t so bad, as long as she got to see her best friend everyday.
She tried to think about the last time Roy had made her feel that way, that happy and loved…
but was mortified to realize she came up blank.
Jim had thought Pam had liked his offer to let her talk about her thoughts on Roy at lunch, but when he came around her desk to ask if she was ready to head to the break room, she had shook her head and said she was going to eat lunch at her desk. He could tell that she wasn’t angry, she just looked...dazed. He was a little worried about her.
Jim knew it was a bit ridiculous to worry so deeply about something as simple as a dazed look on his best friends face. He told himself it was because she was his best friend, not because he was head over heels in love with her.
He hated having to admit to himself that he was in love with her. She was engaged for God’s sake! Everyday it got a little bit harder to keep in. To not run up to her, grab her shoulders and tell her just how much he wanted her to be his. She deserves so much better than Roy.
“Hell she even deserves better than me” he thought to himself, sitting there eating his ham and cheese. As he tuned out Ryan and Kevin’s small talk, he couldn’t help but wonder if how Pam was doing again.
Pam had seemed to be in a better mood by the time Jim got back from lunch, and was sitting in the conference room watching something on the tv.
He walked over and rapped his knuckles on the open door a couple times before stepping in.
“Hey what’re you doing?” Jim chuckled a bit as he watched the video of Michael trying to do a backflip.
Pam giggled a bit with him before answering. “Michael is having me review all of his old tapes of the previous Dundies so that he can put together a highlight reel for tonight...” she looked back to the screen only to see Michael trying to sing his version of Wannabe by the Spice Girls. “...so naturally I’m in hell” she finished, hearing Jim snort a bit beside her.
“Well good luck with that, I’m going to go back to my desk and enjoy not having my ears bleed.” Jim laughed a bit at the withered look she gave him and walked away to his desk with a small smile on his face.
Later when he heard Michael award Pam and Roy the “World’s Longest Engagement” dundie on the tapes, and saw Pam get that look on her face, he knew he had to do something. He couldn’t stand seeing her get up there and be humiliated every year, so this time he was going to do everything in his power to prevent that from happening.
Jim walked out of Michael’s office, happy that he had been able to convince him to get rid of the “World's Longest Engagement” dundie. He had barely taken two steps when he knocked right into Pam, nearly causing her to fall in the process.
He quickly reached out and grabbed her upper arms to steady her and her hands rested on his elbows. He had been frantically apologizing and asking if she was okay when he noticed the peculiar look on her face.
“Pam? Pam I just nearly ran over you, are you okay?” his face warped into one that matched hers unknowingly, his eyebrows scrunching up and raising in concern.
Pam tried to hide the fact that she was about to cry, but she knew he could tell anyway. She had been about to walk into Michael’s office and tell him that she was done with the tapes for the day when she overheard his and Jim’s conversation.
She couldn’t believe he had done that for her. She had never even told him how much that had bothered her and he still went out and did one of the sweetest things for her.
And all she could think was “Roy would have NEVER done that for me...never”
It all came crashing down on her at once. The fighting, his constant flirting and checking out other women, his laziness, the lack of effort he put into their relationship, his disregard of her thoughts and feelings, and how he kept pushing back their wedding day.
Everything from the past three years. All at once.
She was shaking, feeling as if she was about to scream or vomit, or both, when Jim had run into her.
Feeling his warm hands on her arms and seeing the concern for her on his face broke her.
It broke her because when was the last time Roy had looked at her like that? When was the last time Roy had cared for her the way Jim did all the time?
When did she start wanting so badly to spend time with Jim instead of Roy?
Pam’s head started to spin and she must have gone pale because the next thing she knew, Jim was saying something over his shoulder to Michael and guiding her out of the office. He walked with his arm around her right shoulder and his free hand on her left arm until they reached the entrance to the roof.
Jim noticed the realization of where they were seemed to be enough to get her out of shock. He had seen that she needed to get away and had told Michael that Pam was sick and he was going to take her home.
Which he fully intended to do.
But first he wanted to take her somewhere he knew she could talk freely about what had been on her mind.
Jim bent down to look her in her eyes while still gently holding onto her arms. “Hey? You think you can climb this?” he gestured towards the metal ladder that led to the roof. Pam didn’t say a word but looked him in the eye and nodded. He stepped back and made sure she got up okay before climbing up himself.
They sat down in two lawn chairs he had brought up for them once before. This had been their spot for years. Almost since they had both been at Dunder Mifflin. They sat their in silence for a while before Pam said something.
“I don’t think I love him anymore.” It was barely a whisper but Jim had heard her, and he felt his heart leap into his throat when she said it. He didn’t really know what to say and what he wanted to say certainly wasn’t appropriate at the moment, (something along the lines of “Hell yeah, leave his lazy ass and be with me!) so he just sat there with wide eyes.
Pam simply looked out over the trees as she thought about what to say next. She didn’t really know where to start so she just started talking. Suddenly it was all spilling out of her and she was up and pacing, waving her arms around.
“It’s just Roy barely puts for the effort to pretend to care anymore! He’s controlling and demanding and just acts as if I’m his mother and I should do everything for him! He never cared for me the way you do, even in the beginning, and God! Why can’t he be more like you?! Someone thoughtful and smart and can make me laugh so hard my sides hurt. Someone who knows everything about me and just CARES. All he does is drink beer and watch tv and when he’s not doing that he’s going out to the bar doing God knows what until past midnight! He talks about how hot other girls are IN FRONT OF ME and then doesn’t understand why that makes me upset! He ALWAYS disregards my feelings and my thoughts and my opinions and my dreams, just EVERYTHING. He’s lazy with everything in our relationship and I just…” by this point Pam had started crying, sobbing in between words, and gasping for breath. “I just can’t do it anymore Jim...I just don’t love him anymore.” She dropped her hands and her shoulders slumped. She looked exhausted and miserable.
Jim had been fighting the urge to jump up and wrap his arms around her from the beginning, but he had let her pace and rant with tears in his eyes the whole time. He didn’t know if they were from sadness or relief though. It killed him to see Pam this upset, but he hadn’t missed the part of her speech where she kept wishing for Roy to be more like him. She wanted to be with someone like him. He had no plans to rush her or push her though, he didn’t want to spook her and she obviously needed a friend right now.
Jim stood and walked the couple steps over to her, wrapping his arms around her. Usually he would wait for her to hug him like this, but it seemed like it was worth the risk right now. Pam seemed to have no problem with it, as she curled up into him with her hands on his chest and her face pressed into his neck.
His arms moved with her sobs and pulled her close. “Hey, hey it’s okay. You’ll figure this out okay? And I’ll be here to help you as much as you want. It’ll all be okay I promise.”
Her voice came out muffled from his chest but he still heard her. “I wasted eight years of my him. I’m so stupid.”
“Hey! Listen to me, you are in no way stupid. You’re one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. You were in love with him, and it’s not like you wasted your whole life on him. You get to have a fresh start, that’s always awesome. And I’m gonna be here for you the whole way alright?” He rubbed her back as he spoke, trying to chose his words carefully so that he didn’t reveal just how happy he was she was over with him.
Pam pulled away, the full realization of what she was saying washing over her.
Eight years. Eight years of her life and she was going to throw it all away in a moment.
“Jim...how am I going to do this? I...I don’t know if I can do this.”
Jim felt his heart drop down into the floor. Every ounce of hope she had given him in the past fifteen minutes just dashed away in a sentence. He swallowed hard and looked down at the ground. “Pam...I’m not going to tell you what to do okay? This is up to you. But if you do decide that you don’t want to be with him anymore...if that’s what you decide I know that you are strong enough to do it.”
Pam seemed to hear him but just looked off into the air with tears in her eyes. She felt numb, so she simply nodded her head. “I think I just need some time to think all of this through”
“Yeah...yeah of course.”
Jim and Pam had climbed down from the roof in silence. They’d said goodbye in the lobby as Roy came along and swept Pam away to his truck.
She looked just as numb as she felt but Roy didn’t seem to notice, so when he tried to kiss her she turned and made sure he only got her cheek. Roy didn’t seem to notice her reluctance to kiss him either.
But Jim did.
He noticed everything.
And once again he felt like maybe he’d have a chance with the girl he was in love with.