“So, we’ve decided? No dance lessons, we’re going with the hug and rock?”
Pam shifted her position on the couch, extending her legs to where his were bent into the perfect resting spot for her feet. Like a pampered feline she purred as he took up the left one, gently but firmly kneading the fleshy pad of her sole with his dexterous fingers.
“The hug and rock it is,” he parroted back to her, somewhat relieved they wouldn’t be spending weekends at Fred Astaire dance studios.
It wasn’t that he didn't think he would cherish every minute he might spend while learning to spin her in arms. It wasn't that the thought of gazing in her sparkling green eyes as they practiced keeping in step with the music would be anything short of magical. It wasn't a fear of having his two right feet trampled by her two left ones as they stumbled through choreography taught by the unfortunate instructor assigned to their case.
If it was what she wanted, he would spend as long as it took to perfect moves like the ones that had her so clearly in awe when his buddy, Brian twirled his new bride around the floor a few weeks back, ending their own first dance with a dip worthy of a ten from Len Goodman.
But dorky dancing was their thing. Not only was it adorable on her, the way she hopped up and down in her space, her body springing on a different cycle as her curls, and sometimes the music, but it was the perfect complement to his similarly simplistic but exuberant, Charlie Brown’s friends-style bop.
And while the ten-lesson package wasn't going to transform her into Ginger Rogers, and no amount of training would earn him even a smidgeon of respect from Len, Carrie Ann, or Bruno it might just be enough to teach them a touch of rhythm and an additional move or two; the Peanuts characters would be no more and he would miss them.
But he obviously couldn't help himself from self-sabotage, when he heard himself quip back to her, “Though I’ll remind you, it was you who pronounced swaying isn’t dancing.”
A menacing look was her response and he quickly switched the foot in his hand and began tickling her toes, causing it to do a mid-air step not unlike the ones he adored when she performed them on a dance floor.
With the smile back on her face, he backed away from anything that might cause her to reconsider.
“Okay, now that we’ve got that settled all we have to worry about is if the band can learn our song by October.”
“Yeah, about that...”
Pam pulled her foot back from his teasing fingers, pushing one against the other, the subtle tenseness he only just eliminated from the left one returning to her whole body, as well as her feet.
It didn’t go unnoticed by Jim, the sudden shift in her body language, which he began to mirror as he waited out what she was apparently worried to tell him. Planning the wedding was not free of its complications or concerns about expenses. As such they flip-flopped often as to the what, where, and how of it all, last week almost deciding to just go off and elope before in the end attending Michael’s Café Disco which convinced them they didn’t want to miss out on dorky dancing in front of and with their friends in celebration.
Whatever was troubling her now, he had no doubt he could roll with, even if she wanted to go back to eloping, but the instinct to tense up when he sensed her distress was intrinsic, dating back to before she was even his.
“I don’t think I want to our first dance to be to Sing.”
He was expecting to hear something else, something bigger than she didn’t want to dance to a silly song that had somehow become ‘theirs’, when she told him during that first night out, that they weren’t having their first date. How they’d already had it more than a year before on the night that ended with swaying, dancing, whatever it was they were doing as sing, sing, sing echoed in her ears. The song, as well as the night, hadn’t stopped playing over in her head until he danced back into the conference room to ask her to dinner.
He hadn’t meant his response to come out sounding as harsh as it did. Even he heard it like she must have, as more perturbed than merely confounded that what she was fretting over was what would song would play as they took the dance floor for the first time as husband and wife.
“You know I love the song, and it will forever be ours, but for reasons that nobody else would know, and I don’t want to have to explain. And it’s not like we wouldn’t be asked since it’s not exactly your typical love song. You know I’m not completely sure I even understand what the lyrics mean.”
He pulled her into his arms, a gentle laughter causing the rise and fall of his diaphragm that muffled her next words into his chest as he nestled her into it.
“Are you upset?”
“Upset...not even a little bit and you know what, about the lyrics, neither do I. Never have, not sure I even know what they are. All I know is how I felt the night I first shared that song with you, and how that love I felt grows more each day. But I agree, that’s a song for us and us alone.”
“So, we save our swaying to that song until the wedding night.”
The look she gave him as she whispered in his ear, told him that the swaying she was referring to here was of a different sort and he was perfectly fine with that.
Murmuring agreement, he pulled her in for a kiss that morphed into swaying themselves to the bedroom for a trial run of the wedding night, although this dance required no rehearsal.
Dusk fell during their late afternoon tango, the suspension between night and day streaming in the window to bask the room with a soothing glow.
Much the same, his mind also hovered, teetering between awareness and sleep, his body still buzzing with the feel of her bare skin and enticing curves against his, while his release and her warmth pulled him under.
The bed shook violently as he snapped up, the excitement in her voice, not to mention the shrill volume of it, counteracting the hormonal cocktail that hauled him over to the land of nod.
"What, that I can sleep and you can't? I've told you, it's a guy thing. But think of it as I'm intoxicated by your lovemaking."
Jim settled back into the divot of the old mattress and nestled his body into a spoon around hers.
"Yeah, well don't plan on sleeping just yet cause we've still got planning to do. But I was talking about the song."
Flipping her body to face him she planted a trickle of kisses up his sternum, employing her usual method of influence to coerce him towards what she wanted, whether it be the movie choice or another orgasm.
"The Jason Mraz, Colby Calliat song."
"What about it?"
"For the first dance? Lucky? What do you think?"
Closing his eyes again he tried to conjure up the lyrics, hear the melody, and imagine swaying her around over a cross-hatched parquet, because no matter what she deemed it, he knew the hug and rock was nothing more than swaying, only with his new bride wrapped tightly his arms.
It wasn't that he didn't know the song. It played on the radio so frequently there was no way not to, but as was often the case when his head and body were distracted by hers, as it seemed to be involuntarily doing again, his mind went blank to everything else.
"Hmm, I see the potential. I’ll have to take a listen when can concentrate on something other than your beautiful body."
"I can make that happen."
Cruelly, she jumped out of bed and danced over to his dresser where she pulled out an old tee of his and threw it over her body, singing as she left the room.
"Not, that easy," he called after her. "Just because you covered up, it doesn't mean I'm not still thinking of your perfect breasts, which by the way, have felt, if possible, even more perfect lately."
She returned a few minutes later with her open laptop in her hands, Jason and Colbie's layered voices resounding out of the tinny speakers of the computer.
"I think I changed my mind."
"That was fast."
The last vestige of daylight had trickled away while she'd been out of the room. The only remaining illumination came from the hall light she left on behind her and the glare of the monitor which bathed her in an aura-like glow that disappeared as she clicked on the lamp before jumping back into bed.
"Yeah, I'm not sure if they are meant to still be apart in the song and we are absolutely done with being in two different places, so it's not us."
Jim pulled himself up to lean against the wall, now that her mind was focused on this one thing, he knew fully well there would be no second round, or sleep, or talk of anything else until they settled on a song for their first dance.
"And besides, it's not like it's one of our songs."
"We have other songs?" Jim teased knowing they had a few more. There seemed no shortage of love songs that seemed written for their story though he was not sure which of these she might be referring to.
Pam pushed him, or at least tried to, with the laptop balanced on her lap she couldn't put much force behind the shove although even times she could, he barely budged from her playful jolts.
"How about Bless the Broken Road? The one I played when I gave you that hourglass painting for your birthday."
As she cued up the new song, she sang the words that could still bring tears to her eyes when every so often, she stopped to fixate on the canvas which they hung in place of the creepy clown once they finally got him down. Just as always, her eyes got glassy and she inhaled a tearful breath as she serenaded him.
"I'd like to have the have the time I lost and give it back to you."
He expected tears on the day, happy ones, like the ones he caught in her eyes when he interrupted her talking head interview, after he tanked the one he had with David in order to race back to Scranton and ask her to dinner. He couldn't wait to see those crystal green eyes glisten, witness a rosy glow color her cheeks, and watch that goofy smile wash over her face as they said I do. But there was something about the emotion that came over her with regard to this song, particularly this line, that did not belong at their wedding. There was too much regret tied to the words.
"You know I love that song. It has so much meaning for us, but for our first dance, I don't know. Look how emotional you are even thinking about it. The song holds so much truth for us, but it references past mistakes. And we both made some. I don't want our wedding song to reflect on mistakes of our past - I want it to be about our future. Don't you agree?"
The sound of Rascal Flatts abruptly stopped. Pam's, "I guess," like a sad needle scratch halting the music.
"If you want one of our songs how about, This Will Be our Year?"
There was no response, only silence, as she fiddled around on the laptop until a sprightly piano began to tinkle out from the speakers and the psychedelic pop singer started to warble the lyrics, lyrics that also hinted at the dark times they'd come out of.
Pam raised her eyebrows at Jim, saying nothing but still speaking, silently reminding him his choice was no less about what had been part of their before than hers had been.
"Okay, so moving on."
"Actually, it's not bad. I still love the sentiment, and it is so us. I just don't know if I see us dancing to it. It feels more like a walk back down the aisle song, after we've made it official."
"Okay, so moving on," Jim repeated.
"Well, let's put a pin in that one. I'm wondering maybe if we should be thinking more traditional."
As Jim looked on, Pam minimized the iTunes screen and pulled up Yahoo.
"Classic wedding songs," she recited aloud as she typed.
In a turn so fast she almost gave Jim whiplash from just watching, she shrieked.
"At last, you found a song or the song, At Last?"
"The song, At Last. Perfect, right?"
This time it was Jim who stayed silent, prompting Pam to speak again first.
"At last, my love has come along, life is like a song…and it's danceable, hug and rock danceable."
"First off all, no. Not us. Too classic, too slow, too, just too something. Plus, and I say this with love, but I was always here, you were…"
He watched her face start to mimic the expression that came over it while gazing at the hourglass painting, and changed course at once.
"Never mind. Just can we go with something else? How about…" he leaned over to take a peek at the list she had found, "Unchained Melody?"
Pam shook her head immediately.
"Ever since we played desert island with the office, the only thing that song makes me think of is Meredith grinding her hips."
"Since we can't have you think of that on our wedding day, I guess that is a hard no."
"We can't have me thinking that any day so quick, pitch me something else."
Pulling the laptop into his, he scrolled further down on the list.
"Okay, I've got it. I'm a little surprised it's on here, but it's perfect."
His words came out completely sincere and if not for the Halpert smirk that slowly spread across his face, she might have thought him one hundred percent serious as he belted out the girl part, again.
"Tender love is blind, it requires a dedication. All this love we feel needs no conversation."
His serenade was interrupted when her pillow made contact with the side of his head.
"Yeah, it would be perfect…if you were marrying Michael."
"Is that still an option?"
Whap. This time the pillow got him in the nose.
"I’m guessing you're not a fan of Dolly or me leaving you for our boss. That means it's your turn to make a suggestion."
She wasn’t nearly as practiced in keeping the teasing out of her tone, in fact her giggles came out first, followed by her song proposal.
“Our Song, Taylor Swift...I know you love it. I heard you singing it in the shower just the other day.”
“I’ll admit it’s catchy. And you play it so often, it’s gotten stuck on autoplay in my head. But I’d never live it down with my brothers so I’m going to have to say no to that one too.”
Even as she turned down her lips to form an over-exaggerated frown, there remained a grin twinkling behind it.
“But something more recent is a good thought,” he said as he placed a delicate kiss just above her smiling eyes.
“How about Better Together? If I’m not mistaken, I think I heard a little warbling from behind the shower curtain to that tune."
Switching back over to iTunes, he pulled up the catchy Jack Johnson ditty and in a heartbeat she was singing along with the strummed guitar, the fake frown of a moment ago replaced by a genuine beam.
Like a yawn, it became contagious, the glee displayed her face was duplicated on his, as if they shared the smile. Where the resplendence extended off her cheeks, was where it took over on his, puffing them up with collective delight.
"Yes! I win!”
The joke, or even the little fist pump he added when he said it, were probably not the root of her reevaluation, but didn't help the case for making anything he suggested, their wedding song.
“Not so fast, Halpert. First off, not a competition.”
"It’s not? Then I give up, we can dance to Taylor. I’ll just tell Pete and Tom they have to leave after the cocktail hour but hey, Larissa will be so excited.”
Pam grabbed for the pillow again but released it when Jim’s arms popped up in surrender.
"I'll spare you if you don't kill me, cause I’m not totally sure about Better Together."
She paused a moment, fussing with the feather-filled weapon in her lap.
"It is one of my faves, it’s catchy, the words are really sweet and romantic, and it seems easy enough to dance to.”
"But, I don't know. It just isn't the perfect sentiment. It's close, but it needs to be more."
"I don't know, just more."
"More," Jim repeated emphatically. "If Beesly wants more, that's what she'll get. Let's see what comes up."
After a few clicks on the track pad and four accentuated keystrokes he continued.
"Here we go, more. Yup. Looks we got a few hits and the most popular version is by Bobby Darin."
It happened simultaneously. Just as he relayed the results of his iTunes search, the act of saying it aloud instantly cued up a memory of a melody and lyrics he had no idea why he knew but did.
It played in his head like the overture of a cinematic scene projected on an internal screen, where he and his bride took to the dance floor while friends and family watched.
"Beesly, you are amazing. Truly. I mean this song is…wait, did you plan this?"
The way she looked at him with the raised brows of confusion and a slight tilt of her head told him it was more than likely just a happy accident at play but he was no less blown away that the angel lying next to him had led him to what he knew was going to be their song.
"Bobby Darrin? Isn’t he from our parents' generation?"
"Oh, and Etta James was rocking the top 40 charts last week," he shot back as he gave her a playful squeeze.
"But that is a song everyone knows. This Bobby Darin song is an oldie I've never even heard of."
"Well then don’t think of it as an oldie. Think of it as timeless, like Beyond the Sea. You can't tell me you don't love that one."
"Well, yeah because it makes me think of Nemo."
"Okay, well this song is going to make you think of us. I’m going to download it for you. I promise you, Beesly, this is it. This is our first dance song."
Slipping his fingers back to the trackpad, he pulled the cursor back to hover over the buy song button.
The panic in her voice hit him like a brick wall and he abruptly stopped what he was about to do.
“Don’t use iTunes. Go to Dwight’s Russian song downloading site.”
The bed shook again with his laughter.
“This is potentially the song we are going to play for a lifetime of anniversaries. The song that I’m guessing we will dance to a thousand more times if you love it as much as I think you will. I think I can handle the 99 cents.”
Pam smiled again as she nodded the okay to go ahead and press the button.
As the icon spun on screen, he passed the time planting little kisses along her neck, whispering to her as they waited on the download.
“Close your eyes. Imagine it’s our wedding day. The band just announced us as Mr. and Mrs. Halpert and we come out swaying to this song.”
She did as he suggested, looking quite adorable with her eyes squeezed shut in excitable anticipation and he hit play.
More than the greatest love the world has known
This is the love I give to you, alone
More than the simple words I try to say
I only live to love you more each day.
Even closed, they shone with a joyful dazzle that leaked out to the widening smile that grew larger with every line that Bobby belted out.
More than you'll ever know
My arms long to hold you so.
My life will be in your keeping;
Waking, sleeping, laughing, weeping.
She opened them again after the second verse to find him beaming back at her.
Longer than always is a long, long, long, time, but far beyond forever you’ll be mine.
I know I've never lived before and my heart is very sure,
No one else could love you more.
As the lyrics repeated, he pulled her from the bed and into his arms, swinging her around the bedroom with a clumsy choreography but an embrace that personified the words being sung.
He held her tight as the song crescendoed, his strength securely supporting her back as he dipped her in time with the last synchronized beat of the percussion and horns. Gently, he raised her back to an upright position never once taking his eyes off hers.
He recognized the look but just as back then, he wasn’t entirely sure of how to read what he saw in her stare. Standing in the garage which became her art studio, he had held his breath as he waited for her reaction. The stakes weren’t quite the as high this time, he’d bought a song, not a house and yet the silence seemed to have the same energy as he waited this time.
Finally, she answered.
“I love it.”
She sang the same words, in the same way, her voice once more overpowered by her excitement, letting the kiss she crashed onto him be louder than her verbal response.
“You found our song.”
“We found our song. Together. And I couldn’t ask for a more perfect song to dance to for the first time as your husband.”
He felt it happen, the little shift as he said the word dance. There was a tiny caveat to be brought up. Like the clown, it wasn't a deal breaker but would need to be remedied.
“Speaking of dance. You realize with a song like this, the hug and rock isn’t going to cut it. We’re going to need to do something more than that as we take to the floor in front of everyone. I think we might have to reconsider those lessons.”
“What’s wrong with the way we sway?”
“Nothing, nothing at all. But I’ve said it before. Swaying isn’t dancing.”