Jim is having a bad day. A winning combination of spilled cereal, his car not starting, and his desk-mate jumping straight down his throat in an even more obnoxious way than usual when he got to the office half an hour late.
Plus the lingering bad taste of the fight he’d had with his girlfriend the night before.
And it’s a day that only gets worse when he realises he’s forgotten his lunch. Leftovers from his and Pam’s pizza, and probably the only thing he’d been looking forward to today, beyond being able to leave the office, take off his tie, and catch up on Trading Spouses with her.
He’s just wallowing in the misery of it all at his desk when he gets a text from her.
It’s a picture of his lunch, safely tucked in its Tupperware in their refrigerator at home, with a sad face.
He finds himself smiling. She’ll be getting ready to head over to Chillis for her morning shift, and he can picture her sleepy face, picture her trying to tame her unruly hair into its neat ponytail.
He texts back - Where were you an hour ago? My whole day is ruined.
He doesn’t have to wait long for her reply.
Hasn’t Dwight already done that?
He bites back a snort, gaze flickering to his desk-mate. Dwight is stapling some papers with an almost alarming level of ferocity. Although Dwight does so many alarming things that this one rates pretty low on the scale. (A scale that only Jim has and only Pam knows about, and one that she understands even though she’s never met Dwight).
He’s not started shredding yet, Jim texts in answer. And seriously, I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to that pizza.
Dwight’s head snaps up as he seems to sense Jim’s gaze. “What?” he barks. “What are you looking at? You can’t use my stapler.”
Jim rolls his eyes.
Luckily, he has another text from Pam to distract him.
I’m pretty sure you told me exactly that last night when we were making it?
He grins a little. He’s secretly relieved, too, because they both know that wasn’t the only conversation they’d had last night. But at least whatever tension there might have been between them seems to have dissipated now.
He’s about to reply when he gets a second text through from her, offering to drop the pizza round on her own lunch break.
And even though the thought of seeing her (ok, and of the pizza) is already making this day feel a lot better, he knows she doesn’t get much of a lunch break herself. So he types back -
I can’t ask you to do that. I’ll survive, maybe I can steal Dwight’s lunch.
Dwight has progressed from stapling to reorganising his papers, the stapler placed carefully back in his drawer with a glare in Jim’s direction.
Won’t that be something beet related? Pam texts back, making Jim grin again. And you’re not asking, I’m offering. Besides, I have conditions...
At that, he has to call her.
Her voice is amused over the phone, a little fuzzy with sleep. “Yep. I’m coming into your office to bring it to you.”
“Pam,” he starts, warning.
“Jim,” she whines back. “I want to meet Dwight! It’s time. You have to let me. Please. It will make my day.”
“I don’t think that experience has ever made anyone’s day,” he assures her, with another surreptitious glance at his desk-mate.
Dwight is now noisily boxing up some of his papers. Jim knows they’re seconds away from the shredder being brought out again. Tuesday is desk re-organising day in Dwight land. Jim tends to make sure the neighbouring land of his own desk is in an extra chaotic state just for the occasion.
“It will make me feel better about Henri,” Pam insists.
Henri is her manager. He gets marks deducted on the scale for being less weird than Dwight, but maybe added for his anal retentiveness and the way he treats Pam.
“Ok,” Jim sighs. “Deal. Are you sure you’re ok-”
Jim laughs, despite himself. And then - “Thanks, Beesley. Seriously. You’re the best.”
She ducks away from the compliment, like she always does. “By the way, was that your car I heard this morning? Don’t tell me it didn’t start again.”
“Yes,” he groans. “I mean it this time. I need a new one.”
“Ooh, maybe this weekend we should go to that place on-
Jim doesn’t catch the rest of her sentence, though, because her voice is drowned out by the loud mechanical whir of the shredder.
Dwight continues shredding, pointed. “You shouldn’t be making personal calls.”
Jim can just about make out the sound of Pam starting to laugh down the phone.
“Ok,” he sighs into his cell. “Guess I better go. Text me when you’re leaving?”
He thinks she says ok and bye, but it’s hard to be sure over the noise of the shredder and her laughter. He hangs up.
Dwight just scowls at him and feeds more paper into the machine.
Jim decides he needs another coffee. Or a soda. Or anything that gets him away from Dwight, basically.
The rest of the morning is tortuously slow, like most days at Dunder Mifflin.
Dwight gets no less annoying and Jim’s work gets no less boring. He makes five phone calls and not a single sale. It might be an even less productive day than usual, which Jim hadn’t thought was possible.
Still. At least he has Pam’s visit to look forward to at lunchtime.
He can’t quite stop the way his spirits soar when she texts to say she’s on her way, or how he keeps glancing towards the door every two minutes as he waits for her to appear.
Strangely, it doesn’t take her two minutes, or four, or six, or eight to drive all the way across town to his office. And of course, just when enough time has elapsed, Dwight gets summoned into their manager Ed’s office. And Jim is so caught up in worrying Pam might miss him, and thinking how fucking classic that would be, that he misses her coming into the office altogether.
But suddenly he turns and she’s there, in front of his desk. He finds himself blinking because for a moment she looks so incongruous - Pam in his workplace - standing under the harsh dull lights of Dunder Mifflin, her coat buttoned up over her Chilli’s uniform.
Her smile is hesitant. “Was I not meant to come straight up...?”
He shakes his head to clear it, and then he’s grinning. “No, no. It’s just - weird. Seeing you here.”
“You don’t think I’ve got a future as a paper salesman?” she deadpans, and he laughs.
The sound is unexpected, and he senses Phyllis and Kevin glance over. Even the new guy Ryan seems surprised. Weird. Jim hadn’t realised how little he laughed here.
Pam is already pulling out the Tupperware with a flourish. “Good thing I come bearing gifts.”
“I owe you,” Jim groans in delight. “Big time.”
“Well.” Pam is already peering around, lowering her voice. “I think you already know what I want as repayment...” Her face falls when she sees Dwight’s desk is empty.
Jim motions towards Ed’s office with his head. “I’m sorry. You literally just missed him.”
Pam raises an eyebrow at Jim. “He definitely exists, right?”
“I think you know my imagination’s not that good,” Jim snorts. “Remember that disaster of a creative writing class you made me do?”
“I didn’t make you,” she objects. “It was extra credit! And I told you,” her brow knits, “It was the professor, not you.”
He remembers how indignant Pam got on his behalf - at that point, the angriest he’d ever seen her - and it makes him smile a little. They don’t often talk about college, but, for the sake of memories like that one, he’s glad when they can.
“Well, anyway. I promise you I’m not making this up.” He leans a little closer to her and drops his voice to make sure only she can hear. “Go check under his desk.”
Pam’s face lights up. Still grinning at him, she sidles over to Dwight’s side and peeks under. Her eyes widen at what she sees.
“Oh my god.”
Angela is now looking over at her, frowning, and Pam blushes when she realises and hurries back over to Jim as he tries to control his laughter.
“Oh my god,” she repeats in a whisper once only he can hear. “Nun-chucks? Seriously?”
Jim nods. “Do you believe me now?”
“I mean, I’m genuinely kind of concerned for your safety now.” Her expression turns serious. “I think you might need your own supply? Just to be safe.”
“Huh. Maybe I need to google the best weapon to use against them though?”
“Oh yeah,” she’s nodding in agreement, “You probably don’t use nun-chucks against nun-chucks.”
“Nun-chuck 101,” he says sagely.
“Hey, have you noticed-”
“That nun-chuck is a very weird word? Yes. Yes, I have.”
They’re both giggling when Angela makes a loud comment about workplace disruption and some people having jobs to do.
Jim is about to tell Pam to ignore her, but Pam is already looking a little guilty, glancing at her watch.
“I should probably be heading back, anyway. Before Henri notices.”
Jim tries not to sound too disappointed. “Oh yeah. Sure.” He knows it’s a little pathetic, that part of him that wants to say please don’t leave me here. It’s not like he won’t be seeing her in a few hours. He glances back towards Ed’s office in one last-ditch attempt to prolong her stay, but there’s no sign of Dwight. Typical. “I’m really sorry you drove all this way and I couldn’t deliver,” he sighs.
“Oh no, this was way more enjoyable than Henri counting down the minutes of my break.” She grins at him. “But we do need to fix this. I’ll do some brainstorming this afternoon.”
“Should I be worried?”
“Probably,” she shrugs. Her smile is infectious. “I’ll see you at home?”
“Can’t wait.” He’s not really joking, and she gives him a look that makes him think she probably feels the same.
And then she’s gone.
Still, he finds himself in a much better mood when he takes his pizza into the break-room to eat it.
He even manages to make a sale in the afternoon.
And he’s in a good enough mood that when Ryan shuffles into the kitchen while he’s making coffee, he offers him some and actually makes an effort to engage him in conversation.
Ryan’s only been in the company for a couple of weeks, but he seems like an ok guy. He’s more normal than Dwight, anyway. The main reason Jim hasn’t made much of an effort so far is because Kelly keeps asking him to ask Ryan if he’s single. And Jim is not chomping at the bit to get dragged into Kelly’s love life. Especially not after the disaster with the last temp.
Kelly seems to have some kind of radar, though, because just as he and Ryan are trading first day stories, she flounces through the kitchen with a look in Jim’s direction that’s not even close to subtle.
Ryan looks a little bemused. Jim represses a sigh. He knows Kelly will just keep pushing until he asks.
“So, are you seeing anyone at the moment?” He sort of hates himself the moment he asks.
Ryan gives him a blank look. “No.” He sips his coffee. “But everyone here seems to be pretty coupled up.”
That should be Jim’s opportunity to say that actually Kelly isn’t, but Ryan is already asking -
“How long have you been with your girlfriend?”
“Oh,” Jim says, surprised, “Since college.”
Ryan nods. “She seems nice.”
Jim is momentarily confused. “Do you know her?”
“Oh no, just - when she came in, earlier.”
It takes Jim a second to realise what Ryan’s talking about.
“You mean Pam?” He shakes his head, torn somewhere between laughter and - something else. Not laughter. “No, Pam’s my roommate. My girlfriend lives in Stamford. She actually works for the branch over there.”
Ryan squints at him. “You're…doing long-distance?” The idea seems baffling to him.
“Yeah.” Jim rubs the back of his neck. “You know, for now. She got transferred to Stamford, but the plan is for her to move back to Scranton.”
Saying that Karen got transferred is slightly stretching the truth. They’d applied for Dunder Mifflin together, and she’d taken the Stamford job because it was higher pay. But Jim doesn’t really need to get into that with Ryan now.
“Oh, right. You wouldn’t want to go to Stamford?”
“Well...no. Everyone I know is here. All my family, my friends.”
Ryan is clearly trying to keep a neutral expression on his face, but Jim doesn’t miss the way his lip curls, ever so slightly, and he wonders if maybe he should reevaluate his opinion of him as an ok guy.
“And your girlfriend’s ok with you living with another girl?” Ryan seems sceptical.
“Yeah. We’re all friends from college.”
Ok, so saying Karen and Pam were friends in college is another stretch. But it is true that Karen’s fine with their living arrangements now. Or, as she so lovingly puts it - she’s glad Jim has someone to do dorky things with so that she doesn’t have to. Which Jim always laughs at obligingly, except they both know she’s not really joking at all.
Ryan doesn’t seem to know what to say to this. The scepticism is still written all over his expression. “Right. Ok.”
Jim remembers Pam being a little hesitant when he’d first suggested they look for an apartment together. But her hesitation was mainly driven by nervousness and guilt over leaving her dad. Part of the reason why Jim had suggested it was that he’d known she needed to. Known that no one else was going to push her to, and that the only way to convince her was to tell her that she’d be doing Jim a favour, saving him from roommates he didn’t know.
(And there might have been another reason for her to pause, a reason that they never speak about, but Jim had been right because it’s been totally fine and they’re well past that now).
Living with Pam is pretty much the only thing that makes working at Dunder Mifflin bearable.
And there’s something about the dubious expression on Ryan’s face now that irks him. So he finishes his coffee and walks off without mentioning Kelly. Which will probably make Kelly mad, but - this has reminded Jim why he’s given up going out of his way to be friends with any of his co-workers.
Well. At least his dissatisfying conversation with Ryan filled some time. Just two more hours to get through until he’s free.
And he gets back to his desk just in time for Dwight to begin his weekly nail-clipping routine.
Oh joy, Pam thinks as Henri tells her to serve the table with the two obnoxious looking businessmen. They’re slurping back cocktails and sniggering over the dumb rib song. Who has a business lunch in Chilli’s anyway?
“Pam!” The dark-haired one reads her name-tag delightedly as she tries to take their order. “Pam-a-lama ding dong!”
This goes on for a while, his butchering of her name while his companion laughs uproariously. They must both already be drunk, Pam decides, because surely no one can be that loud and that unfunny without alcohol. She keeps a tight smile pasted on her face, remembering Henri’s warning about her customer service skills.
She can feel the beginnings of a headache coming on by the time she finally manages to escape.
Sometimes, she really hates her job. (Ok, most of the time).
She suspects her headache is partially driven by the fact that she didn’t have time to finish her lunch today. Which, ok, is her fault. But was more than worth it.
Because she thinks Jim might have been having a worse day than her.
She’s not sure if it was just the lighting in his office, but he’d looked tired at lunchtime. She thinks his shirt had been more creased and his shoulders more stooped than usual. His brow had been so furrowed when she’d first come in that for a moment she’d wondered if her decision to intrude on his workday way a mistake, if maybe she’d be an unwelcome distraction.
And even though she’d managed to get a smile from him eventually - a real Jim smile - she can’t quite shake the memory of how unhappy he’d looked in that moment before he’d seen her.
She also doesn’t know how much is a result of the phone call she’d caught the tail end of last night. He’d got up from dinner to take the call, and Pam had initially been careful to stay in the kitchen to give him his privacy - only then the front door had gone and she’d had no choice but to creep into the hallway to answer it.
Jim had been in the living room, too wrapped up in his argument to notice. She could hear him pacing as he spoke. She hadn’t needed to hear what the fight was actually about, because she could hear the context in the angry, defeated pitch of his voice.
In spring, Karen had said she’d start looking for jobs in Scranton over the summer. It’s late October now, and Pam doesn’t think Karen’s had so much as an interview.
And it’s none of Pam’s business. It really isn’t.
Except she’d made the mistake of pausing in the hallway, and Jim’s eyes had suddenly locked on hers through the open living room door. Pam had tried to rearrange her face into a hasty smile before beating a retreat into the kitchen.
Her smile clearly hadn’t been that convincing, though, because Jim had followed her in once he’d finished the phone call and she’d started the washing up.
He’d picked up a dishcloth to dry without her needing to ask.
It was as she’d been passing him a glass that he’d caught her. “Do you have something you want to say, Beesley?”
She’d swallowed. There were things she could have said.
Things like, I hate seeing you like this. Or, I think Karen’s crazy for not moving to wherever you are in a heartbeat. Or even, I think Karen was crazy for taking the job in Stamford at all.
But she had no right to say those things to him. So she’d forced out a, “No.”
Jim had pulled a face like he didn’t believe her for a second. “Well, that’s clearly not true.” He knows her too well - has always known her too well - and that’s the problem. “What is it?”
Pam had opened her mouth, and then closed it. “Are you ok?”
He’d run a hand through his hair. “Yeah. Fine.” His voice had been flat. “Karen’s gonna start looking in the new year.”
“Oh.” Pam had nodded, carefully. “Cool.”
There had been a pause between them, a pause that was suddenly unbearably tense, a challenge in Jim’s eyes that Pam was too sacred to unpick.
But she knows him too. And she could tell that he was hurting, underneath it all. So she’d taken a breath. “I know this sucks.” She’d forced herself to keep her gaze steady. “I’m sorry.”
And just like that, looking at her, he’d deflated. “Yeah,” he’d said at last. “Me too.”
They’d finished the rest of the washing and drying in silence.
And things had been ok again at lunchtime today, and she’s glad, but she also wonders how quickly the grin had slid off his face this afternoon.
Her own afternoon passes painfully slowly. The irritating businessmen take forever to leave, and then Henri gives her a long lecture about over-serving (he doesn’t believe her when she swears she didn’t, and those guys were just that weird). And then she has several tables of rowdy teenagers to deal with, and did she mention she hates her job?
At least she’s not on a late shift tonight, which means she manages to escape by 7, just as they’re getting ready for the second round of dinner seatings.
Jim is home when she lets herself in. She can tell from his messenger bag slung in the hallway, his big shoes kicked off by the door. And the music coming from the kitchen. It’s that Pixies album, the one he’s been playing on repeat recently, and she finds her shoulders loosening just being home, just listening to him clatter around in the other room.
(And the stupid irrational thought crosses her mind that Karen could have all of this if she just…but she stops the thought in her tracks, because she has no right).
She dumps her own coat over the bannister and heads into the kitchen.
Jim is busy chopping onions, humming under his breath, tie loosened and shirt sleeves rolled up. And for a moment Pam can only watch him from the doorway. She finds herself smiling like an idiot, finds that her stomach hurts a little, just looking at him.
Then he turns. She jolts forward, as if she hasn’t just been staring at him like a weirdo, and his face lights up.
“Finally! I thought you were never coming home.”
She forces a chuckle. (Forces, because sometimes he looks at her like he’s so happy to see her that it’s painful). “Sorry. Henri decided he needed to teach me how to serve a cheeseburger properly.”
Jim arches a brow at her. “You weren’t already doing it properly?”
“Oh, there’s a whole technique. It’s very different to your regular burger.”
Jim nods seriously. “Right, right. Of course.” They exchange grins. And then Jim motions towards the onions. “I thought we could do stir fry tonight.”
“Sounds great,” she enthuses. (He still waited for her to have dinner, like always, and she doesn’t know why it touches her every time, because she should really be used to it by now). She gets the mushrooms and the peppers out to start chopping too. “So. How was the rest of your day?”
Jim tips the onions into a pan. “Well, I also got back late. Kelly ambushed me in the carpark because I dared to have a conversation with the new guy without trying to set her up.”
Pam snorts. “Outrageous. What else could you possibly have been talking to him about?”
There’s a pause, and she wonders if Jim didn’t hear her over the sound of the frying onions. “Well, exactly,” he says. She thinks he sounds a little distracted, but she doesn’t know why. She decides not to push it.
“Ugh,” she groans instead. “I need to tell you about this crazy guy that came in today. I swear, him and his buddy spent like twenty minutes doing that wazzup thing and cracking themselves up...”
Once they’ve cooked, Jim insists that they need to eat in front of the TV or they’ll miss Trading Spouses. She knows what he really means is, miss the chance to do a running commentary and speculate on how long before the couples end up in court. But she’s not about to complain, since joining in with Jim’s speculation and laughing at his commentary is pretty much the highlight of her evening.
They settle on the couch next to each other, and Jim grins and passes her a paper towel when she spills some of her stir fry before the show’s even started.
“This is why we should be eating at the table,” she protests. But not that hard, because Jim’s smiling at her and he’d brought the paper towels out like he’d known, and he might be the only person who can somehow do that without making her feel embarrassed.
His phone goes just when they’re getting onto the second couple. His stiffened shoulders tell her who it is. She feels herself tensing too, maybe just because he is, and then tensing even further when he switches his cell to silent without answering it. He tosses it down on the couch and turns back to the show.
She swallows and says nothing. Like always. But she can see the phone screen lighting up out of the corner of her eye, and she’s sure Jim can too, and then that’s all she can think about.
She doesn’t pluck up the courage until the commercial break. “You know, I can let you know what happens,” she says lightly. “If you want to...” She nods at the phone.
Jim glances down at his empty bowl. “We’re probably just gonna have another fight. So.”
Pam considers her next words. “But sometimes you need to have the fight to resolve things, right?”
“It’s kind of hard to resolve things in different cities.” Jim sounds flat again. He exhales, and then gives her a sideways glance. “You think I’m being unreasonable.”
Actually, she was thinking that she can’t bear it, hearing him so defeated. But she doesn’t know how to say that to him. So she says instead - “I just think you might feel better if you speak to her?”
“Yeah.” He appears unconvinced. “Maybe.” But he picks his phone up. Pam is expecting him to go into the other room, and she’s not sure what to think when he doesn’t move from the couch. Maybe he thinks he’ll be less likely to snap with someone else in the room?
She puts the TV on mute for him.
It takes Karen a while to answer. Pam wonders if she’s punishing Jim for not answering her call, and then tries to undo that bitchy thought.
“Hey.” He pinches the bridge of his nose. “I’m actually busy at the moment. Can we speak later?”
Pam tries to pretend she can’t hear Karen’s exasperated voice on the other end of the line. She tries to pretend she doesn’t see Jim’s jaw tauten.
“Yeah, I am.”
More of Karen’s voice, sarcastic this time. Jim’s eyes shoot very briefly to Pam. It’s just enough for Pam to know Karen’s saying something about her. She wouldn’t normally assume that (she knows Karen doesn’t spend much time bothering to think about her, other than to acknowledge her as Jim’s slightly dorky friend) - if not for that look from him.
“Well, I’m sorry my social life doesn’t live up to your high standards.”
Pam tries not to wince at the bite in his voice.
And then she can feel herself flushing as she keeps her gaze fixed on the screen. She suddenly feels embarrassed - because, really, how much can Jim enjoy spending his evenings watching TV with her, while she sits here in her tired waitress uniform and spills food all over the couch? She knows for a fact that he wouldn’t be doing that if Karen were here. Karen loves parties and fancy dates and networking events. She never wants to stay in when she comes to Scranton.
Even when they were at college, and they’d been in the same city, Pam doesn’t think she remembers them having nights in. Jim had always gone to Pam’s room instead, when he’d wanted to watch trashy TV, or listen to new music, or eat ice cream and drink cheap alcohol, or laugh about stupid things or have those conversations that went everywhere and nowhere and always made her feel like everything was ok with the world.
But maybe that was ok when they were students, ok when it wasn’t what he did pretty much every night.
The truth is, Pam doesn’t have the money or the time now to go to exciting places. (And maybe not the courage, either, because it’s been so long). Just being able to enjoy Jim’s company again has been a novelty for her - is still a novelty - and she knows Jim is kind enough to humour her, but...well. This can’t be great for him.
“Fine,” Jim is sighing into his phone now. “Speak tomorrow.” He hangs up. “Karen says hi,” he informs Pam humourlessly.
Pam doesn’t fully trust her voice to reply, so she just nods.
Jim registers her silence and glances over. She thinks her cheeks might still be pink, and she thinks he can see.
He hesitates. “Hey. I’m sorry. For, uh, ruining the mood just now. I shouldn’t be inflicting my dumb fights with Karen on you.”
“Oh no.” She shakes her head. “It’s totally fine. You didn’t. I just - I’m sorry too.”
Jim cocks his head, frowning, although his tone is gentle. “What do you have to be sorry for?”
Holding you back, she thinks but can’t bring herself to say. She forces a smile instead. “So, I finished my brainstorming. I have an idea.”
“Ok,” Jim laughs. “What?”
“We should have a party.”
Jim squints at her, but she’s not finished.
“And you should invite your whole office. Including Dwight.”
Jim starts properly laughing now. “Ok, I’m really sorry you missed him today. I promise I’ll try to find another time so that you don’t have to resort to these drastic measures.”
“No,” she shakes her head. “I’m serious.”
“Uh.” He leans over to hold a hand to her forehead. “Are you feeling ok?”
She tries not to get too distracted by his sudden proximity, his fingers brushing her temple as his eyes move over her face. He’s only teasing her, she knows.
“I think it could be fun,” she says stubbornly.
Jim blinks. “I’ve told you about the people in my office, right? You saw some of them, today?”
“Yep.” She folds her arms.
“And you think it would be fun,” Jim repeats, slow, “To invite them into our home?”
Pam nods again. “Yep.” And, as Jim opens his mouth in disbelief - “All this protesting is really backing up my theory that Dwight doesn’t exist, you know.”
“You might start wishing that were true if he shows up here,”‘Jim warns darkly.
“Come on,” Pam grins. “Please?”
Jim studies her for a moment. “You’re really serious about this? You’d really be ok with it?”
He’s trying to protect her, she realises, and it strengthens her resolve. “Yes.”
She’s not stupid - she knows one party won’t magically fix everything. But it’s not another night in alone with her, and she knows not everyone in his office is awful. He’s said nice things about that Toby guy, and Phyllis, and maybe the new guy (who’s actually his age) has potential.
And ok, she does also want to meet Dwight.
Jim shakes his head. “I think you might live to regret this, Beesley.”
Her lips curve. “Is that a yes?”
“It’s a yes with conditions,” he clarifies.
“That’s my favourite kind of yes.”
He raises a finger. “One key condition.” He smirks, a little, as she waits. “You have to invite people from Chilli’s too. Including Henri.”
“Henri will never come,” she splutters. “There are probably regulations against parties somewhere in the Chilli’s handbook.”
Jim snickers. “I only said you had to invite him. I don’t think either of us are responsible for making sure people show up.”
“Except Dwight. You owe me, Halpert.”
“You want a party with just Dwight?”
“Well,” she muses, “I guess you’d better start convincing the others if you don’t.”
Jim shakes his head again. “You’re a menace.”
“I am,” she agrees sagely. She falters for just a second. “We should have it on Friday. So Karen can come.”
At that, Jim pauses. His eyes have narrowed as if in sudden realisation as he gazes at Pam. There’s another expression on his face, but she can’t quite read it. He looks like he’s about to say something but then seems to change his mind.
“I’m not sure a party with the people from my office is gonna convince Karen to move to Scranton,” he manages at last. It’s a little too light, a little too bitter, to be a real joke.
There’s not really a safe answer to that. So Pam settles on, “Just wait till she meets Dwight.”
Jim’s laugh is sudden. “Yeah.”
He’s still gazing at her, and she can see the quiet gratitude in his expression.
She gives him a nudge. “So can we start party planning?”
“God,” he groans. “I must be crazy too. Fine. Yes, let’s start party planning.”
She cheers, and he laughs, and for that evening, heads bent over the couch as they argue over the best chips and the merits of bringing out the karaoke machine, everything’s ok again.