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Author's Chapter Notes:
Thank you for all your kind reviews so far!! It really gives me the motivation to continue writing. :)
Jim’s first month of lessons were already planned, his classroom was set up, and his syllabus was written. There wasn’t much left to prepare and the teachers weren’t required to be at the school until the start of next week. However, Jim also remembered how much time he spent in his classroom the weeks leading up to his first year teaching and figured a certain art teacher might do the same. So, he found things to do at the school. Mostly he ended up reading at his desk, perusing ESPN.com, and playing online Scrabble, but he did all of that while keeping one eye on the art room door, which he could see from his desk. He and Pam had crossed paths a few times in the last couple of days since they met, but Jim was still working up the courage to have more than the usual, “Hi, how’s it going” conversations they’d been having.

It was around lunchtime and Pam hadn’t shown up at her classroom today, much to Jim’s chagrin. He thought maybe he would just pack up his things and spend the next few days relaxing before he was required to be back. He’d see Pam a lot during the school year, he told himself, so it was okay if he didn’t see her today. As he slung his bag over his shoulder, he heard the faint sound of a key in a lock and looked into the hallway to see Pam unlocking her classroom door. She looked over her shoulder, caught sight of Jim, and smiled.

“Hey, Jim!”

He raised his hand up to wave at her. “Hey!”

She pointed at the bag on his shoulder. “You just getting here too?”

“Uh...yep!” he lied, slipping his bag right back off his shoulder and back onto his chair. He ran his hand quickly through his hair. “How’s the, uh, classroom coming?”

“We’re getting there, I think! Hopefully I can knock the rest out today.”

“Good luck!” he smiled.

She thanked him and went into her classroom as Jim kicked himself for not offering to help her or finding some other way to keep talking to her. He pulled out his tattered copy of Fahrenheit 451 and started reading. After distractedly reading the same sentence 12 times, he slammed it shut and popped out of his desk, heading for the faculty lounge.

A few minutes later, he took a breath and poked his head into Pam’s classroom.

“Excuse me, Ms. Beesly?”

She was on a step stool on her tiptoes, hanging posters on the wall opposite him. When she turned around, her face lit up upon seeing it was him.

He shrugged one shoulder. “It took me until about October to get used to being called Mr. Halpert, so I figured I’d start warming you up to it now.”

“You’re right, it’s a little strange,” she chuckled.

“I brought you some mediocre faculty lounge coffee, if you want it.” He lifted the styrofoam cup toward her.

She got down from her step stool and walked toward him. She was wearing fitted overalls over a baseball tee, black converse sneakers, and her hair in a perfectly messy ponytail. She also had on black-rimmed glasses today that he had never seen her wear before and he couldn’t help but think how utterly adorable she looked. Pam took the coffee from his hand, barely brushing his fingers as she did.

“Thank you,” she smiled brightly.

They sat opposite each other at the nearest table sipping their coffee and talking.

“So I met the German teacher today,” Pam said. “Oh, what was his name? Interesting guy, glasses—“

Jim nodded emphatically, smirking. “Dwight Schrute. ‘Interesting’ is one way to put it,” he laughed. “Did he tell you about his beet farm?”

“What?! No! He has a beet farm?” Pam asked, eyes wide.

“Oh, does he ever.”

She giggled. “Amazing.”

“And have you met the vice principal?” Jim asked.

“He hired me. So yes, I have definitely met Michael Scott.”

“Oh man!” Jim marveled. “I would have loved being in on that interview. How many times did he do a terrible impression of someone?”

“Twice,” she said through her laughter.

“Only twice?! Impressive.” He took a sip of coffee. “In all seriousness, though, we have a pretty good group here at this little school of ours. I’ve really liked teaching here and I bet you’ll like it too. There’s never a dull moment, that’s for sure.”

She gave him a soft, genuine smile. “Thanks, Jim. And thanks for the coffee. It really was mediocre,” she winked.

“Tax payers money, hard at work,” he joked. He took her empty cup from her and stood from the table. “Can I help you hang the rest of those posters? They say if I don’t use my tallness it might disappear.”

She smiled. “And who is ‘they’?”

“I dunno. Just looking for an excuse to keep hanging out with you.” The words just fell out of his mouth before he could stop them. He was never that forward, but there was something about her that made his brain work half-speed and do things without clearing it with the rest of his body.

She blushed, looked at the linoleum beneath her, then looked back up at him with a smile. “I’d like that.”

A breath of relief escaped him. “Okay, awesome. Put me to work, Beesly.”

“Hey now,” she scolded mockingly. “That’s Ms. Beesly to you, young man.”

“Atta girl,” he applauded, giving her a high five as she passed by him, her smile nearly knocking him flat.

Pam handed him a small poster with some tape. Jim held it out in front of him and pointed to it.

“Who’s this guy?”

“That’s Raphael. His self-portrait.”

Jim squinted at it. “I thought Raphael was more...green. And turtle-like. And a teenage ninja.”

“Ha-ha,” she droned with a smile. “But really, all the ninja turtles are named after Renaissance artists. Did you know that?”

Jim looked up in thought and mumbled, “Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo...holy crap. You’re right. How did I not realize that? Probably because I don’t have an art degree.”

“Yes, there’s a whole course on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. TMNT 201.”

He laughed. She was quick. And he liked it.

“So,” Pam continued. “Who do I need to know about at this school? Give me the rundown.”

Jim grabbed another poster from Pam. “Well,” he said. “You’ve obviously met the most important teacher already.”

“Who, Dwight?” she winked.

“Ouch. I meant me, but I see how it is.” He smiled. “Um, let’s see. Be careful around our school librarian, Angela. She’s a little intense.”

“How so?” Pam asked.

“You’ll just have to see. She and I get in regular arguments about what books should be allowed in the library. She’s also the PTA president without even having kids in school. I think it’s so she can plan all the ‘parties’,” he said using finger quotes.


“Yep. Let’s see, who else? Stanley Hudson teaches Geography and he’s all the student’s favorite because he basically hands them maps all semester to “study” and really couldn’t care less what they do during class. He just does the crosswords at his desk. He retires next year, so I think he’s just given up.”

Pam laughed with her tongue barely poking through her teeth and Jim’s heart skipped with how cute it was.

“Then there is Oscar Martinez, who teaches Social Studies. Super great guy, but never get in a debate with him because he’ll win every time.”

“Personal experience?” she smirked.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Jim chuckled. “Of course there are more teachers, but I think it would be more fun for you to discover their...attributes...personally.”

She squinted at him. “Fine.”

He squinted back. “Fine,” he parroted. He pointed at the wall of posters. “This looks good!”

“It does. Thank you for your tallness,” she stuck out her hand to shake his.

He took it and felt a wave rush through him. “You’re very welcome. But I think you can thank my tall parents for that.”

He nearly asked her if she wanted to grab dinner sometime, but his tongue seemed to suddenly swell inside his mouth and he couldn’t seem to get a word out. After a few beats of silence, Pam pointed behind her to her desk.

“Well, all I really have left to do is finish up a couple of lesson plans.”

“Oh, yeah, no,” he stumbled. “I’ll let you get to that. See you Monday?”

“Yeah! See you Monday. Thanks again for your help,” she smiled warmly at him.

Jim retreated back to his classroom and sat down in his desk. He continued to attempt to read, but really he couldn’t seem to tear his eyes away from Pam as she worked. With both of their doors open, there was a perfect line of sight from his desk to hers. He noticed little details about her. The way she played with her necklace with her free hand as she wrote or drew, or how she seemed to be able to type a million words per minute. He wasn’t sure how he would ever be able to get any work done.

After a couple of hours, Pam stood up and grabbed her purse. She packed up her notebooks and supplies and headed to the door. Jim glanced up to catch her leaving and waved.

“Have a good weekend, Pam!”

“You too!” she smiled.

She shut the door behind her and made her way down the hallway. Jim noticed that she didn’t lock her classroom as she left.

“Rookie mistake,” he muttered to himself under his breath with a smile.

He opened a new window on his computer, did a quick Google search, and printed something off. He snatched the paper from the printer and checked down the hallway to make sure she had really left. Then he carefully opened the door and slipped inside the art room. Walking over to the wall of posters he helped her hang, he took one down and replaced it with the paper in his hand and stood back to admire his work.

“Perfect,” he nodded. “Welcome home, Raphael.”

A picture of Raphael, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, looked back at him approvingly.

He walked back to his classroom, Raphael the artist in his hands, a smile on his face, and nervous anticipation in his gut. He couldn’t wait to see her reaction.

But mostly he just couldn’t wait to see her again. Monday couldn’t come soon enough.
Chapter End Notes:
Big thanks to ThePinkButterfly for the suggestion to have Dwight teach German. I thought it was perfect. :)

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