Chapter One: The Incident
"Oh my god, oh my god, you have to see this!" Kelly bounced into the vending machine filled breakroom, laptop open and in hand, crowding in at the small, round table where Jim, Pam, and Oscar were eating lunch.
Jim took advantage of the moment to scoot a little closer than needed to his crush, stealthily snaking his arm across the chair behind her. There was no real harm in it, and he did, after all, need to make room for Kelly and whatever she was so excited to show them. Anything to justify his actions. He could feel the distance, no more than a centimeter between his arm and Pam's back. There was heat, electricity. Was it more painful to watch her from a distance or be so close, so bone achingly close, but never be allowed to touch? His constant struggle. He wished that he could just let go for once and wrap his arm around her, say screw it and show her he cared. Comfortable, romantic familiarities were too easy to fall into with her and he reminded himself for the umpteenth time today that she was engaged. She wasn’t his to care for.
Kelly's pink laptop was open to an hour long youtube EPIC FAIL compilation, paused a bit over half way through. "Oh my god I can’t believe I found this! I was watching this video and Oh my god you aren’t going to believe it. I really want to tell you what it is, but I’m not going to spoil it! You have to watch it yourselves. It’s so awesome. You are going to laugh so hard," She said as she pulled a chair next to Oscar, blocking him in by the vending machines.
"What… What is this?" Oscar inched away from Kelly skeptically.
"THIS!" she pointed to the screen incessantly and pressed play.
Michael Scott stood at the top of a large hill, recording himself in full snow gear, a confident grin on his face as he explained the basics of snowboarding. He continued holding the camera in front of him as he slowly started to go down the hill, two middleschool girls pointing and laughing at him from atop the hill behind him. As he picked up some wobbly speed, he attempted to do a trick off a snowbank and wiped out hard. The middle school girls zoomed past him, laughing hard as they went. Everyone at the table cracked up.
"We've got to show Kevin," Oscar snorted as he got up, awkwardly shuffling behind Jim and Pam, trying to leave the little corner he was trapped in.
"Wow." Jim grinned, "How did we not know about this?" His joy at the video only rivaled by Pam, shaking with giggles beside him, laughing so hard her breaths came as gasps. There was no competition. Seeing Pam doubled over in laughter, leaning ever so slightly on him, would make his day. It would make his month.
"I know, right?" Kelly beamed. Jim knew he should look at Kelly while she was talking, but just couldn’t pull his eyes away from the beauty that was a laughing Pam Beesly.
"He was so confident and then-" Pam squeaked out between laughs, trying to catch her breath.
"Wow. Someone has the giggles today. You drunk, Beesly? Been stealing drinks again?" Jim hadn't seen her this giggly since the Dundies, when she had drunkenly given him a quick peck. That little innocent kiss that completely changed his world, giving him hope he hadn’t felt since they first met. Tears built up in her eyes, leaking slowly into the creases formed by her smile as she laughed. Her delirium shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise; she had been so tired this morning, saying she couldn't sleep at all last night, and had probably just reached the point of being slap-happy. Jim gazed affectionately at her leaning against him, trying to squeak out a sentence behind the laughter. If he could stay in this moment for all of time, he probably would.
"It's just - " she started again, trying to talk through the laughter she can't seem to get over, before being suddenly interrupted by the break room door swinging open with a bang.
"What the Hell, Pam?" Roy knocked over a chair as he marched across the room towards his fiance. The laughing stopped immediately. Jim was going to get punched. Maybe worse. He had never seen such a look of anger directed at him before. Jim scooted violently back away from the table and distancing himself away from Pam as much and quickly as possible, letting Pam almost fall from her chair. As much as he might know they were doing nothing wrong, in the moment, he had felt caught in the act, another man’s girlfriend in his arms.
Kelly, aside in the break room: “I was just surfing the internet, looking for something to watch, like a cute wedding video or something, and I found this and thought, it’s only an hour, you need something to do, might as well. And so I just had it on, like in the background, you know, and suddenly I saw Michael! Can you believe it? It’s like the internet reaches the whole world and there’s Michael, wiping out on a snowboard. I just could not stop laughing. Ask Toby. And I just had to show someone! But OH MY GOD. Did you see Roy? I totally thought Jim was in for it. Roy was like bang! Keep your hands off my woman! It was crazy sexy.”
Dwight was hanging out behind the building, waiting on Angela to show up. It hadn't been a particular snowy January that year in Scranton. Not fantastic for his winter onions, but not really terrible either. There was probably an inch or two of snow from previous snow falls still accumulated in areas of low traffic or low sunlight, particularly back behind the building.
He looked at the beige building and the relatively grimy surroundings, wondering why Angela wasn't here yet. She was never late. Something probably came up that she couldn't avoid without blowing their secret. That could be the only reason for her absence. She was never late. That was a mark of a good partner, Dwight grinned to himself, pleased with his personal life for the first time in a long time. Angela was so great. Always courteous not to waste another's time. He checked the time again on his new programmable watch when he heard voices just around the corner.
Doing what any sensible man of the law would do, Dwight hid, hoping to uncover any information that could be useful in his quest to keep this office park a crime free zone. After all, who but criminals would be meeting behind the building like that? Or secret lovers. If it was the former, he would do his duty to protect the name of Dunder Mifflin Scranton from criminals. If it was the later, he would have something interesting to tell Angela at dinner.
Roy pulled Pam just within the edge of Dwight's field of vision, over behind the dumpster. Not secret lovers, just the eternally engaged. Crouching, to guarantee that he was not seen, Dwight decided to spy on their conversation. He was always suspicious of Roy. He seemed the type to get involved with illegal activities. He'd probably pull Pam down with him.
"What the Hell, Pam?" Roy dragged Pam behind him, his hand tight around her forearm. He checked the area around them before pulling her by the arm close to him and shoving her own arm back at her. She stumbled back a bit, fear and frustration mixing in her expression. This rather violent beginning did not bode well, Dwight thought as he grabbed for the pepper spray on his keychain just in case.
"Roy, plea-" Pam reached out for Roy's hand, but he snatched it away.
"Why the Hell were you letting Halpert feel you up like that?" Roy began pacing back and for in front of her, like a wolf closing in on its prey, not giving her any change to explain.
"We were jus-"
"Just what? Embarrassing me in front of the whole office? Letting everyone
know I'm dating the office slut?" With each of Roy's words Pam shrank from her defensive stance further into herself.
"We…" she sighed. The fight seemed to leave her.
"What Pam?" He paused for a moment, staring at her as if daring her to answer. She remained silent. "Dammit! I can't fucking believe you'd do this to me." He slammed his hands against the dumpster in a thundering thunk.
"No, Roy, it wasn't like that, really," she started to move.
"Yeah? What was it like? I can't believe you! Throwing yourself at him like that!" Roy spun at her, fists clenched in anger. "Fucking Hell, Pam."
"Kelly-" Pam started, standing perfectly still and staring at the ground.
"What? Does Kelly force you to throw yourself at other men?"
"We were just watching a video, Roy." Pam sounded so meek, so unlike herself. Dwight could see tears in her eyes, even from this distance.
"Then why were you in his lap? Huh?" Roy finally stopped moving and stood in front of Pam, his back to Dwight, blocking his view.
"I just leaned on him a little…" Her voice was small.
"I can't believe you're still trying to explain it away! Jesus! I saw you. How could you fucking do this to me?” silence fell as Roy, and secretly Dwight waited for Pam’s answer. Pam didn’t seem like the cheating type to Dwight, but Angela was always complaining about how much attention she gives Jim. Maybe she was seeing something he couldn’t.
"I'm so sorry, Roy." a small shaky voice broke the silence.
"I can't believe you. You owe me. Big time."
"I'm so sorry." the broken voice of Pam Beesly repeated, strained from crying.
"Alright, Pammy. Fine. Just…" He rubbed his head in frustration, "Just don't let it happen again." He stayed there, right in front of Pam, staring at her for a few moments before speaking again. "Look, I've got to get back to work, but I just wanted to tell you, I'm going out with they guys tonight, so uh, catch a ride with Angela or someone? And don't wait up."
Pam just nodded and watched him leave before leaning against the building and sliding to the ground in tears.
Dwight was torn. He liked Pam. Sure she had grated on him at first and she was always hanging around Jim, but she was nice. Friendly. Pleasant to work with. To approach her now or during their fight would be embarrassing for her, but to leave and say nothing seemed wrong. After a few moments contemplation, watching his not quite friend cry, wanting but unable to do anything about it, he decided to give her space. A part of him, larger than he wanted to admit, wanted to find Roy and punch him in the face. Yes, Pam was in pain, and he was sworn as Assistant Regional Manager to protect the weaker in the office, but maybe she had brought this on herself. He heard them fight, and Roy was being more than a jerk, but he'd be mad, too, if his girlfriend cheated on him. Luckily Angela wasn't that type of person.
Dwight, aside, out by the dumpsters: "I decided to give her some space. Yes, I saw their fight, I like Pam well enough. Roy was being an ass, but I'd be mad too if my girlfriend cheated on me. But I don’t have to worry. She's not that type of person."