It turned out to be a nice Valentine’s.
Pam made chicken cacciatore, Roy bought a decent bottle of white wine, and they enjoyed both at their candle-lit dining room table with his Valentine’s flowers for her as the centerpiece. He surprised her with a slice of chocolate cake from her favorite bakery downtown which she greatly enjoyed, even with his comment that they should definitely get their wedding cake from that bakery “whenever the wedding happens.”
Once they moved to the couch he put his arm around her, pulling her close while flipping through the channels before pausing on a basketball game. For a moment Pam’s mind traveled back to earlier when she drew that silly cartoon for Jim’s impromptu valentine, and she smiled to herself thinking about his reaction, sparkling eyes and big grin. With Roy’s hand loosely gripping her shoulder, she thought of Jim and her leaving the breakroom. Jim stepped aside to let her exit first and his large, warm hand was briefly pressed to the back of her shoulder.
She felt her eyes widened and she looked over to Roy. “Hey, do you think we could maybe find a movie or something?” she said.
“Oh yeah, sorry,” Roy mumbled, lifting the remote and switching until he reached the channels guide. “Ha, The Wedding Singer’s on TBS, wanna watch that?”
Pam chewed her lip, she would rather watch When Harry Met Sally on TNT but she supposed Wedding Singer was more Roy’s speed. “Sure,” she said, nestling into Roy’s shoulder. The movie wasn’t much better than basketball but it also didn’t remind Pam of a certain basketball-loving co-worker.
The phone rang in the kitchen, making Pam sit up. “I’ll get it,” Roy said, his arm leaving her shoulder.
Whoever it was, Roy greeted the call with a loud, “Hey man,” before getting quiet. Maybe his brother, Pam thought. Kenny had a very hot-and-cold relationship with his girlfriend Denise and it certainly wouldn’t surprise Pam if they had yet another fight and this time it was really “it” for them. Pam eyed the remote for a moment before grabbing it and switching to When Harry Met Sally. It was near the beginning with the two characters driving and Harry insisting that a man and woman couldn't be friends since the man always secretly wants to sleep with the woman.
The floorboard creaked and Pam turned to see Roy standing over her with his shoulders slumped. “That was Darryl,” he said in a somber tone. “I guess Justine just left him.”
“Oh my God,” Pam said quietly.
“Yeah, he came home from work late and there was a letter saying she and Jada are in Wilkes-Barre with her cousin and the divorce lawyer will call him Monday.”
Almost instinctively Pam’s left thumb curled into her palm, toying with the band on her finger. “Was this out of the blue?”
“Nah, they've been on the rocks for a while." Roy reached up and rubbed the back of his neck.
Pam lifted her brow, “You seem concerned.”
“I just hope he doesn't hit the bottle too hard. Last big fight with Justine, Lonny and I had to carry him home from Farley’s,” Roy said with a shrug.
“Well, where is he now? Is he alone?”
“Just him at home but kinda sounds like he's already torn into some Jack.”
Pam bit her lip, looking at the spot on the couch where Roy was just sitting. “Why don't you go over there?”
He looked down to her, both confused and worried, “Really?”
She nodded and put on a small smile, “Yeah, I mean it sounds like he could use a friend. Especially one who can stop him from potentially doing something stupid.”
“He definitely has that potential,” Roy said, shoving his hands in his pockets. “You sure you're not gonna hold this against me? Going to be with Daryl and leaving you alone on Valentine’s day?”
Pam scoffed, “Yeah, I’m that needy.” She paused for a moment, “Besides I don’t have to be alone. A couple co-workers are having a girl’s night, I can go to that.”
Roy nodded, “Alright, if you’re okay with it, I guess I better get there before he drunk dials Justine or something worse.” He leaned over and gave Pam a kiss then headed to the doorway to put on his shoes.
“I'll have my cell if you need me,” Pam called to him.
“Yeah I’ll call you with any updates,” Roy replied. “Love you.” The door shut before Pam could say “love you” back.
Pam looked to her watch, 6:35, if she hurried she could catch Jim at home before he left for his friend’s party. She went to the bedroom to find some jeans and a nicer sweater, telling herself to not feel guilty about fibbing to her fiance just now. Jim was a co-worker and he did say the friend hosting the party was a woman, so not like she lied outright.
After changing into a blue sweater and a pair of dark jeans, she stood in front of the bathroom mirror putting on eyeshadow and mascara. Besides, she thought, what was the alternative, sitting home alone dutifully waiting for Roy to return? If the tables were turned he wouldn’t do that and she wouldn’t expect him to.
She leaned back and studied her reflection. She would never wear this much makeup to work, nor wear this low of a neckline - at least not without a camisole underneath - but that’s only because she didn’t want to get ogled by Michael all day. Jim was not like that. She wished she had time to do something else with her hair, but she really needed to get going.
Pam had been to Jim’s place once before. He hosted a NFC championship party a few weeks back that practically everyone from work attended and got rather raucous as the Eagles ended up winning. She thankfully took note of how to get there, parking just before his driveway where his red Corolla was sitting. A weird nervousness hit her as she got out of her little sedan and walked up to the door, and she took two deep breaths before pressing the doorbell.
The door opened and Jim stood before her in a sweater, jeans and socks. His face was a mix of surprise, excitement, and confusion. “Pam, hey! What’s going on?”
“Hey, something came up with Roy so turns out I can go to that party after all,” she said quickly, chalking her shaky voice to the cold February evening air.
Jim blinked a couple times, then shivered a little and stepped back to open the door wider. “Well you better come in, it’s freezing.”
She passed the threshold, blushing when Jim’s put his hand on the back of her shoulder to gently guide her until she was far enough inside to be out of the way of the door. She paused in the entrance-way to take in the surroundings. The house was clean but it was obvious it’s occupants were young males, with a living room decorated with concert posters and string lights, mismatched furniture and a too large, too expensive television.
“What’s going on with Roy?” Jim said, walking past Pam to the kitchen.
“Oh, he’s fine but Darryl called, I guess his wife left him today,” Pam started, following Jim.
“Shit,” Jim muttered.
Pam tried not to smile even though that was quite possibly the first time she had heard Jim swear. “So Roy said that he was worried Darryl would over-drink and do something stupid, and I suggested he go hang out with him and make sure he doesn’t.” Pam shrugged, “And I mean, no reason for me to stay at home alone watching rom-coms, right?”
Jim gave her a lopsided smile before lifting his brows, “No, definitely not.” He scratched the nape of his neck, “So my friend, Amy, she actually lives nearby so I was gonna walk, but not without a beer in me to try to offset the cold. You want one?”
Pam smiled and nodded, taking off her coat while he grabbed two beer bottles from the refrigerator. He paused briefly when he turned, his eyes falling onto her V-neck sapphire blue sweater.
“That’s, um, that’s a pretty sweater,” he stammered, and Pam would never confess that that was the exactly reaction she was hoping for from him. Jim averted his eyes upwards and handed her a beer, “Alright, what should we cheers to?”
Pam smiled and lifted her bottle, “To Valentine’s Day with friends.”
A look Pam couldn’t quite read crossed Jim’s face before he smiled back, “To Valentine’s Day with friends.” They clicked bottles.