Pam was frustrated.
It was bad enough to feel like a stranger in her own body, to watch her feet swell and her skin stretch into shiny white scars-- although luckily, she'd only noticed a few small ones across the largest point of her belly so far.
But Jim was treating her like she was made of glass, and thanks to her rampant pregnancy hormones, that was not sitting well with her. She wanted to be manhandled.
What a dumb word. It made her think of cheesy romance novels, with artfully ripped dresses and glistening tanned pectorals adorning the covers. But frankly, it was the only one that came to mind to accurately describe the ache she felt every time Jim brushed his lips softly across her forehead, gently slid her coat onto her shoulders, or some other equally tentative gesture.
She didn't want to be ungrateful - god, he was amazing. The sweetest, most tender, thoughtful man she'd ever known. Pam knew that he was just worried about her, cautious of hurting her or making her uncomfortable while she grew their baby-- their baby...would those words ever cease to make her shiver?
She'd tried to convince him that he was being overprotective, over-careful, that she wouldn't break, didn't need to be coddled. But Jim would just smile and simply reply that he wanted to take care of her, that she was doing enough just by being pregnant, period. And she definitely wasn't going to argue with his logic when it got her out of doing dishes or carrying in the groceries.
And it wasn't as though he was abstaining from sex with her, either. They still made love a few times a week, sometimes less if she was particularly tired or if work had been really busy. It was always sweet and gentle and slow -- she needed more. But she couldn't think of a way to tell him. How do you organically and lovingly bring up the fact that you're not totally satisfied with your husband's sexual performance? She was afraid he'd be hurt, and think that he was doing something wrong, when that really wasn't the case at all. She rearranged the words in her head a dozen ways, trying to come up with a pattern that conveyed her emotions, and failing.
Pam sighed to herself as she sat at her desk, her arms dropping from her keyboard and mouse to rest gently on her protruding belly. Jim glanced up from his computer screen, his brow furrowing slightly.
"All good over there?"
Pam bit her bottom lip and quickly released it, smiling over at him. "Yup. Just resting my arms. For some reason I have a stretch them a lot further to reach my desk now..." she trailed off, a playfully sarcastic edge to her tone.
Jim rolled his eyes, a grin stretching languidly across his lips. "Hmm, I wonder why that would be," he teased back, dropping his gaze lovingly to where her hands rested. She gazed back at him, feeling the affection in his smile like it was a warm ray of sunshine on her skin.
Dwight interrupted with a derisive huff. "Jim, are you really that dense? She clearly can't reach her work station because of her enormous stomach. Good one, dummy."
Jim tore his eyes away from Pam with obvious effort and turned his head to Dwight. "Thanks, Dwight. What would I do without you?"
Dwight fixed him with a menacing glare. "Fact. You, and everyone else in this office, would have most likely perished horribly long ago if it wasn't for me. I am the only capable defender here." He paused, considering. "Except Darryl, maybe. Twenty pounds ago."
Jim pushed his lower lip out and raised his eyebrow in exaggerated surprise, and Pam giggled quietly at the familiar expression. Neither of them responded directly to Dwight's thinly-veiled insult, and he resumed ignoring them after a moment.
Jim returned his attention to Pam. "Seriously, though. Do you need anything?"
Pam shook her head quickly, remembering the path her thoughts had been taking before the interruption. There was no way they were having that discussion at work, if at all. She smiled thinly at him, hoping he was convinced. "Nope. All good."
A frown flickered across his face, so quickly she wasn't sure she'd seen it. His eyes lingered on her mouth, just for a moment, before he nodded and returned to his screen.
Pam pushed up out of her chair with some effort. Approaching the end of her second-trimester, she could still get around fairly easily, but her balance was definitely a little off as she adjusted to her new shape. She passed behind Jim's seat on her way to the bathroom, letting her fingers gently caress his shoulder as she went. She didn't miss his small intake of breath, nor the slight stiffening of his back, but she had a pretty urgent reason to keep walking. A pregnant bladder waits for no one.