Poor Richards wasn't Jim's first choice for a date with Karen. It was so Scranton, and she was supposed to be something different. Nothing like his home.
But the whole office was invited to go for drinks after work, and they couldn't really get out of it without looking like jerks.
So they followed the train of cars from Dunder Mifflin to the bar.
"Here's the game plan. We get in. We say hi. We have a round of drinks and talk with everyone at least once. We're out by six thirty," Jim said, darting to watch Karen's expression, then focusing back on the road.
She smiled. "Sounds great. I haven't been out with all of these guys yet, are they more rowdy or just casual?"
Jim laughed. Multiple Dundies flashed through his mind, but he sobered up when his memory caught up to the present. "Well, it depends on who you're with. Some will get wasted, others won't even drink."
"What if I want something in the middle?"
"Well, you can stick with me," he said with a smile. She gave him one back.
They pulled up next to Kevin who high fived Jim as he walked out. "Glad you could make it."
"This your idea, Kev?" Jim wasn't that surprised, Michael, Meredith, and Kevin were the usual culprits of events such as this.
"You bet. But Oscar helped."
Helped plan a gathering at Poor Richards? Okay...
Karen patted Jim on the arm. "Let's go in."
They walked hand in hand, Jim hesitating as he saw Pam's new car. But Karen continued to tug on his hand, and they walked through the door.
The bar was only half full, but the office workers had scored two large tables toward the side of the room. Jim raised his eyebrows at Karen.
"Let's do it," she said with a grin. They sat down next to Andy, who already had a beer on the table though he couldn't have been there for more than three minutes.
"Do you want anything?" Jim asked Karen after he shrugged off his coat, gesturing toward the bar.
"Get tequila shots!" Kevin said, and Meredith cheered, raising a bottle of beer high.
The table buzzed with excitement and Jim sighed. Karen shrugged with a smile, and he turned around, really hoping this wouldn't be some horrible mistake.
When he passed Pam, she waved to him, and he gave her a small one back. He didn't really know what to do with her. He missed joking and sitting with her at every meeting, but he knew he couldn't do that. If he did, everything would just go back to the way it was, and things were terrible.
A voice inside his head told him they really weren't-he had a best friend, and they knew each other so well there had to be some kind of soulmate connection, even if she didn't feel it. But Pam didn't like him, and he didn't want to live pining over her anymore.
As he reached the bar he turned back and counted heads. "Fifteen shots of tequila," he said.
"You sure?" The bartender got out the glasses, and Jim gestured back toward the group.
"Got it." As the glasses were filled, Jim watched Oscar deep in conversation with Pam. He was waving his hands, and she had a half serious, half teasing look on her face.
"Here you go," the bartender said, placing the shots on a tray. Jim thanked him and payed.
"You all owe me eight dollars," he told the group as he set the tray down. Everyone grabbed for the shots, but Pam was the first one and gave a winning grin. Jim sat back down next to Karen and grabbed the second to last one. He'd forgotten Angela didn't drink, and there was an extra.
"What are we doing with this?" Oscar asked.
"Never have I ever-shot edition," Kevin said with a grin.
"How does that even work?"
"You say something you haven't done, and if you have done it, you take a shot."
"You'll all die of alcohol poisoning," Angela muttered.
"I have a game," Pam said, and everyone turned to her, with at least a bit of surprise. Her head ducked. "My friends from art class sometimes play it with me."
"Tell us!" Kevin urged.
"It's Most Likely To. Someone says something like 'most likely to walk into the wrong theater" or something, and then you count to three. And then everyone points to who they think is most likely to, and whoever gets the most drinks has to take the shot."
Meredith slapped her palm on the table. "I'm in. I'll go first. Most likely to pass out drunk at work?"
Jim sighed as she counted down and everyone pointed to her. Victorious, Meredith took the shot, and began to reach for Kelly's next to her, who swatted her hand away.
"I'm next," Kelly said, reaching her head up high. "Most likely to cry because of something Michael said."
They all counted down, some grinning secretly. Jim looked around. He'd never really seen anyone cry at work. They were all so desensitized from Michael's comments it didn't really matter.
When they reached one, Jim pointed to Kevin. He was pretty sure if Michael went on for long enough, he would at least tear up.
To his surprise, everyone else except Dwight had pointed at Pam. Dwight was pointing at Jim, and he laughed, making a face.
Pam rolled her eyes. "For the record, I haven't. Actually..." she took the shot, wincing. "Maybe I have."
"What was it?" Kelly asked, leaning forward. "Gossip!"
"He fake fired me," Pam said, and Kelly leaned back in her chair with disappointment.
"He does that to everyone."
Pam shrugged. "I know. Is it my turn now?"
"No, we're going clockwise," Dwight said. "So it's my turn."
Jim grinned. This was sure to be good.
"Most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse?" Dwight said, narrowing his eyes at all of them.
Jim knew exactly what Dwight wanted the answer to be, so as he counted down, he made eye contact with everyone with a smile, which they all reciprocated. When the time ran out, everyone pointed in fourteen different directions. Just never at Dwight.
Dwight spluttered for a second and slammed his fist on the table. The shot glasses shook. "This is a scam!"
"Do we all take a shot, or..." Andy said, tapped his fingers.
"Let's just leave it for now," Jim said, smiling. "Angela, it's your turn."
"I don't condone this," she said.
"Then why are you here?" Kelly asked.
"I'm a designated driver," Angela said with indignation.
Jim waved past Angela. Stanley also chose to skip, so it was Pam's turn next.
"Alright," she said, biting her lip to fight off her smile. "Most likely to leave a party early."
Jim's eyebrows drew together and he looked at her. Her eyes didn't even skim towards his. "Three, two, one."
Everyone pointed at Jim.
He sighed, putting his hands up. "Alright, guilty." He picked up the shot glass, starting to imagine it more as poison than tequila. But he took the shot, cringing at the taste. He'd never liked it much. He missed grape soda.
He heard Pam giggling, and when he looked at her her head was in her hands, her shoulders shaking with laughter. He wasn't sure if they tequila had gotten to her yet or if she'd just found herself funny. When she finally looked up at him, she only erupted into another fit, almost cackling.
"Alright," he muttered. His head was beginning to ache already from the alcohol. The rest of the game went by slowly. Pam ended up drinking three shots, and by the end, Jim could tell she was totally wasted.
"Alright, we have some karaoke coming up right now!" The bartender said, pulling out a machine. The Dunder Mifflin employees all looked at each other, some with delight, others with disgust.
"It's karaoke night!" Pam screamed, getting up and heading towards the mic.
"And here's our exit," Jim said, getting his coat and shifting towards Karen.
"Nah, they're onto us. They totally know your game."
Jim sighed. "You know, I'm not sure it's a great idea to watch my drunk coworkers try to sing 80s pop."
"It's also from the 70s," Andy said, butting in. "How about you go up there, Tuna?"
He looked at Pam who was trying and failing to hook up her mic. "I'm really, really good right here."
The beginning notes to Mamma Mia rang out and some of the people at the table let out a cheer. Pam waved at them, shouting into the mic, "THIS IS FOR YOU, DUNDER MIFFLIN!"
They all cheered back, and Jim couldn't fight a grin.
Pam began to sing. She was probably a whole octave off and only got about two notes right in the whole song, but where she lacked in accuracy she made up for in dedication. She began jumping up and down at the first chorus, her hairclip falling out so her hair flopped up and down freely.
"DOES IT SHOW AGAIN? MY , MY, JUST HOW MUCH I MISSED YA. YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES I'VE BEEN BROKEN HEARTED!" She practically screeched, putting a hand on her chest as she sang out into the crowd. Jim noticed a few people at the bar had plugged their ears and began to laugh.
As soon as he did, Pam's eyes lit up on him, and she pointed right to him. Andy turned to him with raised eyebrows as Pam screamed "MY MY, I COULD NEVER LET YOU GO!"
Karen, thankfully, was laughing, but Jim felt his whole body heat up with embarrassment as she continued to sing towards him until finally shifting her attention towards Dwight. He was hardly impressed, but she was determined to warm him up, screaming his name in the middle of the second verse.
"Looks like I'll be driving her home again," Angela groaned, but everyone shushed her, clapping along with Pam as she finished the song.
As the final notes strung she waved her hands in the air, the biggest grin on her face, and ran to Dwight. She placed a firm kiss on his cheek, which somehow made Jim laugh harder than he ever had in his life. Drunk Pam apparently had a thing for kissing guys after some entertainment.
When he finally convinced Karen to leave, he realized the karaoke had affected him far worse than the tequila.