I do not own The Office: U.S. Version.
I've watched it enough though.
Free For Dinner
"Sorry about Andy by the way."
It was a casual, lighthearted remark, an easy apology come out of nowhere.
And he was smirking.
That Jim smirk.
That adorable Jim smirk.
"Oh my god!"
She burst into giggles, leaning into him as they strolled along toward her apartment.
The Pig Latin.
"I just couldn't help myself," Jim admitted, chuckling along with her.
The falsetto Ainbow-onnection-Kay.
"No, I liked it. It . . . it made me feel like . . . it made me feel like you still cared."
"I always cared, Pam. I never stopped caring. I couldn't. I had tried. I just . . . I was just trying . . . I don't know . . ."
He seemed at a loss to adequately put into words his blindly determined friend-zoning of the woman he had only months earlier professed to deeply felt emotion.
"No, I know, I know."
Pam shook her head a little, feeling the cool evening breeze caress her face.
"I was too. Before you left. Before Casino Night."
He had confessed his love for her, right out of the blue.
And she had freaked out and froze.
And shut him down.
I was such an idiot.
And then he had disappeared.
Taken vacation days until his transfer and not stepped foot in the office after that night.
And she had just known she had made the biggest mistake she would ever make.
And that she couldn't marry Roy, couldn't go on with him anymore.
And definitely not for her entire life.
So she had started over.
It had hurt, killing the last six years of her life.
But she had cleaned herself out.
And tried to start over.
"Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam."
"Hi, um, I'd like to sign up for Art 101."
"Sure. Hang on, let me get some information from you."
Not yet anyway.
And now, almost a year later, here they were.
And they had arrived at her door.
"I'm sorry, Jim," she confessed suddenly. "I'm sorry I hurt you. I'm sorry I didn't pay attention to everything that was right in front of me."
He gazed down at her, smile fading, eyes darkening as though something was going on deep within him.
And she knew she was going to say it first this time.
Because she needed to. Because she wanted to.
Because it was her turn.
To be more honest.
And she smiled.
It felt soft and warm and happy.
Just like the words coming out of her mouth.
"I love you."
She registered his mouth falling open slightly, his lips parting in an awed expression as she stretched up on her tiptoes and kissed him.
His lips were as warm as his heart.
Warm and welcoming and perfect.
A place she definitely wanted to stay.
With his arms around her.
Pressing her to him.
And his mouth right there.
Right there with hers.
The invitation was obvious, would have had Michael Scott imploding on the spot with a gleeful torrents of that's what she saids.
And Jim grinned, glancing away.
Joking in deference.
"Um, I don't know. I'm not really a third date kinda gal, Beasley."
And Pam, feeling buoyant and bold, rose to the occasion.
"Oh, no, this isn't the third date," she stated confidently.
He raised an eyebrow at her.
"Oh, it's not?"
She shook her head seriously.
"No, not at all. This is just the third date this weekend."
He grinned fondly.
"Okay. State your case."
She folded her arms across her chest.
"Okay. Let's see. There was the grilled cheese on the roof date."
Jim nodded in realization.
"Ahh, yes. Complete with music and dancing later."
"Swaying," she corrected, not for the first time.
Jim shrugged in agreement as she cruised right on.
"There was . . . the drunk Dundies." She squinched up her nose. "Not my finest hour maybe but everybody gets one."
"More music. And a show too."
She gestured in reasonableness.
She paused then burst out again. "Oh and the BBQ at your house."
"I did find you in my bedroom."
She nodded, full of validation.
"Complete with embarrassing yearbook photos. So, history."
Jim smirked and Pam mentally dared him to challenge her.
"Ice skating! We went ice skating. You held my hand so I wouldn't fall on the ice. Personal contact."
"And the pharmacy the same day."
She grinned at him.
"Personal fabric softener details were revealed. You don't just tell that stuff to anyone."
He grinned, leaning to one side of the doorframe as if vastly enjoying himself.
"Go on, Beasley. You're on a roll."
She worked her mind.
And landed on it.
"The Jinx date!"
Jim rolled his eyes.
"Yeah, S&M exposure in the workplace. I got it."
She blushed and moved on.
"Oh, Teapot Christmas! That was better than flowers!"
"Well, the golf pencil was was supposed to be a little Sopranos style warning, but . . ."
Pam cut in.
"The mini-golf experience that pencil originated from counts too!"
"I still maintain that duck had it out for me . . ."
Pam furrowed her brow momentarily.
"Not to mention the Drug Testing Confessional."
"I still can't believe you threw me under the bus like that!"
"I still can't believe you ended up driving the bus. That was amazing!"
He fleetingly looked proud of himself.
"And all the pranks we've played on Dwight together. And Andy."
"Every couple needs a mutual hobby, Pam."
Then she rallied.
"Oh! Plus all the lunch dates over the years!"
She haughtily put her hands on her hips in triumph.
"So we've been on alot of dates, Halpert. Good thing you're not in accounting. It would be a disaster for sure."
"Yep. You're right. The world has definitely been saved from my inability to correctly count unofficial dates."
She gazed up at him, head tilted to the right.
Now trading smarmy confidence for soft sweetness.
He seemed hypnotised by her upturned face.
"Will you please come in for a little while?"
"Well, since you put it like that."
Passed through the doorway.
And locked the door behind him.
Then he took her in his arms.
And stopped making jokes.