“Hey,” Pam breathes out, the corners of her lips quirking slightly upwards into a smile.
“Hey,” Jim forces the greeting out of his mouth, shoving his hands into his pockets. They feel like dead weights. He doesn’t know what else to do with them. “How's it going?”
“Good,” Pam replies, eyes shining mischievously. “Especially after I took all your money in poker.”
She’s beautiful, just…great. Perfect. Jim gives a little chuckle for her benefit. “Yeah.” Remembering Jan’s words from earlier, he soldiers on. “Uh... Hey. Can I talk to you about something?”
Pam looks up at him. “About when you want to give me more of your money?”
He’s not about to be derailed. It would be too easy to just keep things light, play along with her, pretend their days together are not numbered, pretend she isn’t the reason he wakes up in the morning and looks forward to working every day at Dunder Mifflin. “No, I...”
She rocks back and forth on her heels, an absolute vision. He would marry her now if he knew she’d say “Yes.” But no…she had already accepted a proposal, Roy’s proposal, and she was going to marry him on fucking June 10th. “Did you want to do that now? We can go inside. I'm feeling kind of good tonight.”
“I was just...um...,” He trails off, losing his nerve. He devours her with his eyes, mesmerized by her face, her hot little body hugged so tightly by her dress, just her. She is it for him. She is the one, the one for him, the only one he can ever see himself with. “I'm in love with you.”
“What?” All traces of a smile vanish from her face. She looks alarmed, like she’s debating whether or not to bolt.
“I'm really sorry if that's weird for you to hear, but I needed you to… hear it. Probably not good timing, I know that, I just...,” He can barely look at her. His jaw is tight, eyes stinging.
“What are you doing?,” She gapes at him. “What do you expect me to say to that?”
Fuck it all… “I just needed you to know. Once.”
“Well, I um...I...I can't.” It sounds like a question, but the message is painfully clear.
And…there it is. Rejection, white-hot, inevitable, twisting through him like a blade. He wonders if there is something about his personality that refuses to allow him to be happy, something that makes him obsess over someone so…unattainable, unavailable in every sense of the word. “Yeah.”
“You have no idea...” Her eyes are brimming with tears, tears that he has put there.
He shakes his head, desperately trying to stop her from saying the words he knows she is going to say. “Don't do that.”
“...what your friendship means to me.,” She finishes lamely.
“C'mon. I don't want to do that. I want to be more than that.” He is on the verge of losing it.
She bites her lip, looking contrite. “I can't. I'm really sorry...I…um, I’m engaged.” He feels like laughing. How well he knows that she's engaged… “Jim, I feel awful,” She offers, voice catching on a little sob.
“Not your fault. I'm sorry I misinterpreted, uh, our friendship.” He wipes away a fallen tear as he makes to walk away from her.
“Jim, wait.” She is full on crying now. “You didn’t misinterpret anything. Can we…can we talk about this?” The fingers of her right hand fiddle with her engagement ring.
He meets her eyes, nods. Silently, the two walk through the doors of Scranton Business Park.