Pam didn't like horror movies.
She scared easily, what was the point purposely watching something she knew would scare her? Horror movies, to her, were essentially a personal death wish, and she couldn't for the life of her understand why anyone found them enjoyable.
Jim loved horror movies, loved the thrill and adrenaline he got from watching them. He understood Pam's dislike for them and never forced her to watch any with him, watching them alone on his couch or swinging around Mark's when a new one came out. Pam always felt a little bad about it, not being able to partake in something he enjoyed so much, but whenever she brought it up he was quick to reassure her that it was fine, so she stopped bringing it up.
Ever since Jim was a teenager he had a Halloween tradition to spend the night watching as many horror movies as he could, a tradition he upheld into adulthood. He'd told Pam about his tradition before they were dating, years prior as they discussed Halloween plans in the kitchen, but this year, with them dating, he offered to spend Halloween with her instead. She refused, insisted he upheld his tradition, but soon made a plan to surprise him.
She wanted to be part of his traditions, wanted to take part in his interests, so one night, a few days before Halloween, on one of the rare nights they spent apart, Pam complied every horror movie she could find at Blockbuster. She was planning on watching all of them, she was going to get through them and try to toughen herself up so she could watch horror movies with her boyfriend in a few nights and maybe actually enjoy them.
It didn't go as well as she planned. She made it through half of the first one on the pile before she had to stop, a particularly bad jumpscare being the final straw. She screamed bloody murder, clutching her stomach as she jumped, and frantically reached for the remote to shut off the tv. Her chest heaved as she breathed heavily, and tears started streaming a steady course down her face.
She really should've chosen a better night to do this, definitely not on a night with a thunderstorm. Not only was it such a cliche, but it also certainly didn't help her anxiety. She should also probably turn on a light. The darkness in her living room was taunting her, she should at least turn on a lamp, she should do anything but sit frozen on her couch in a trembling ball, but she couldn't move. She felt paralyzed, paralysed in fear.
This was the exact reason she didn't do horror movies, they turned her into a pathetic, terrified, frozen mess.
Pam sat in that exact position on her couch for a few minutes, her eyes darting around the room wildly like she was expecting something to jump out at her and her hands clapping over her ears at every boom of thunder. She held off calling Jim, she didn't want him thinking she was silly or weak, but as she felt herself starting to slip into an actual panic attack she caved, reaching for her phone discarded on the side table.
He answered in an instant. "Hey, baby!" His voice was cheery, and it managed to make her smile just the tiniest bit. "Did you miss me?"
"Jim!" She squeaked out, hardly able to spit out words.
"Wait, Pam, what's wrong? Are you okay?" He rushed, his cheery tone replaced with one of worry.
Pam shook her head frantically despite the fact he couldn't see her. "I, I was trying to watch a horror movie so I could watch them with you on Halloween and now I'm scared and I don't want to be alone!" She cried, a sob erupting from the back of her throat.
"Oh, hey, little mouse... hey, hey, you're alright. Take a deep breath, I'll come over. I'm coming over right now, I'll be over as soon as I can get there," Jim reassured her. She could hear him fumbling around in the background, and she took a deep breath like he instructed, already feeling a tiny bit calmed knowing he was coming over.
Another clap of thunder boomed, and Pam yelped. Jim was quick to comfort her. "Shh, shh baby. You're alright, you're okay. I'm coming to get you. I'm staying on the phone, alright? I'm pulling out of the parking lot now. I'll be there soon." He repeated his mantra to her as he raced to her apartment, breaking at least two traffic laws to get there.
His mind was racing, his stomach swirling in worry and a small sense of guilt, and in less than fifteen minutes he was letting himself through her front door. "Pam?" He called through the darkness, flicking on her hallway and living room lights.
"I'm on the couch," She gasped.
Jim rushed to the living room, his heart breaking at the sight of her curled up in her little ball and sat beside her, reaching out for her and pulling her into his lap. Pam hiccuped, gripping to him much like a koala would to a tree. He soothed her, stroking her hair, pressing feather-light kisses on her hair and whispering sweet nothings in her ears.
Eventually, she began to calm down. Just his presence alone did miles in making her feel better, his actions taking her the rest of the way there. With him there she felt safe, she knew he'd never let anything happen to her. "Thank you, Jim, I love you," She whispered into his shoulder.
"I love you too." He kissed her hair again before pulling her back slightly to look at her face, wiping the remaining tears off her face with the pads of his thumbs. "Why did you actually decide to do this anyway? You hate horror movies, not to mention the massive storm and the fact none of your lights were on! What were you thinking?" He exclaimed, his voice rising. It wasn't out of anger though, it was out of concern and guilt.
He knew the only reason she'd ever think of watching a horror movie she was terrified of was for him, and he couldn't help but feel responsible for everything. Pam looked at their joint hands in her lap, embarrassed.
"I know how much you like them, and I know how much your movie tradition means to you and I want to take part in it. I thought if I watched some I could toughen myself up so I could join you," She admitted.
Jim sighed sadly, lifting her chin so she'd look at him. "Baby, you listen to me. I don't care about my tradition, I don't care that we can't watch them together. It means nothing. You being okay is my number one priority. You don't like horror movies, they scare you, and that's perfectly fine. You don't have to watch them, and I'll never force you to. You've got to understand that," He told her, seriously but softly.
Pam's lip quivered, and she nodded. "I do know that, I love you," They smiled at each other, and Pam kept talking. "I'm probably just being silly and overreacting about this all, and I only watched them because I feel bad. You partake in all my interest and want to follow all my traditions and stuff and I want to do the same for you, I feel stupid because I'm not."
"Okay, firstly, never call yourself stupid or silly again, because you are neither. And as for all the other stuff, don't feel bad. It's not a case of you aren't, it's a case of you can't. It's something that sets off your anxiety and scares you, and that's perfectly fine. I promise you that. Pinky promise." He stuck out his pinky to her on the hand that wasn't clasped in hers, and they linked and shook with a laugh.
"Can you stay here tonight? I'm sorry I'm dragging you away from your place and whatever you were doing but I just really don't want to be by myself," Pam asked quietly.
"Of course, I don't particularly feel like letting you go anyway. And don't apologize, you aren't dragging me away from anything. There's nowhere I'd rather be," He agreed.
Pam smiled, leaning her head back on his shoulder. "I love you," She sighed.
"I love you too. Now, where's your remote? We're putting on one of your Disney movies."
Pam pointed to the remote of the floor, laying where she'd dropped it earlier. Jim leant over to pick it up, not letting her go, and turned on the tv. Pam gasped at the frozen image on the screen, her head flying to Jim's neck, and he quickly turned it back to the home screen.
"There you go, it's off now." He lifted her off him to get up and put in a new disc (Hercules, their favourite Disney movie), before swiftly moving back to the couch and pulling her back into his arms with no intention of letting her go from that moment on. They smiled as the familiar opening music and narration started, and shared a quick kiss before snuggling impossibly closer to each other.
This was a movie they could both get behind, but it didn't matter, because they were perfectly happy just being in each other's arms.