So, Karen was on a booze cruise. In January. Because her new boss was either insane or a complete moron, she wasn’t sure which yet.
She surveilled the scene before her and weighted her options. She could go back and sit with Martin, but Andy was there now, having apparently sucked up to Michael long enough. And there was only so much Andy she could take, especially outside of work hours. Angela’s table was out too as she might get a warmer reception by going outside on the deck. That woman did not like her, and the feeling was mutual.
She wondered, not for the first time, who took their employees on a boat night ride in the middle of winter in Pennsylvania. Michael Scott, that was who. That lead her to curse Josh, once again, for taking that stupid job at Staples and leaving the ship. Quite literally. She might be drunker than she realized. Though that might just be the trauma from having witnessed Michael dancing.
She saw that Pam and Jim’s girlfriend were by themselves at the table and took her chances. While she hadn’t wanted to crash the weird double date that was happening before, she liked Pam well enough, and she was running out of options.
She took a sip of her beer and made her way over there.
Jim’s girlfriend was talking as she got closer.
“I would love to be engaged. How did you manage that?”
What kind of question was that? Karen sat down and gave an encouraging nod to Pam who seemed uncomfortable.
“I’ve been engaged for three years; you don’t want my advice,” Pam replied.
The redhead didn’t take the hint. Karen should probably figure out her name at some point.
“Still, Roy is so great. You are very lucky.”
Pam’s discomfort was growing exponentially, and she was looking at Karen probably hoping for some help. Karen would not leave her hanging.
“I’m sorry, I know Jim introduced us at some point, but I can’t seem to recall your name?” She asked the redhead, riding the line between polite and insulting very tightly.
“Oh, I am Katy.”
“So how did you and Jim meet? I don’t think I have heard that story yet.”
She saw Pam relax and patted herself in the back for a job well done. Then she tried to picture Dwight buying a woman’s purse from Katie and failed miserably.
“So, you know all these crazy stories we had heard over the years about the Scranton branch?” Martin asked her as they watched Roy propose to Pam in front of everyone apparently for the second time. Michael was bursting at the seam and looked ready to propose to anyone who entered his line of sight. Meanwhile, Jim looked like his dog had just died. Or like, you know, the girl he liked just got engaged to someone else, again, while his girlfriend cheered on.
“Yeah?” she replied.
“I don’t think they did it justice.”
“We’ve only been here a month,” Martin continued.
“Has it been only a month? Stamford feels like a hundred years away.”
“I thought the cameras following us around all day would be the weirdest thing about working here, but now I am almost glad they are here. You know, for documentation to prepare for the ineluctable lawsuit.”
“I don’t know how you were able to stay after the whole ‘Prison Mike’ thing. That was insane,” she responded, shuddering as she remembered that fucking bandana.
Martin shifted beside her, and she turned to face him. He looked around for a second, before leaning towards her and speaking in a lowered voice.
“Can I tell you something that’ll stay between us?”
“I am in talks with a company not too far away from here. I am waiting to have secured a position before giving my notice.”
Karen was stunned, though she wasn’t really surprised. Martin was the only person from Stamford that had made the move that she liked. She was very glad Hannah was still on maternity leave, she couldn’t imagine her and Angela in the same room. It would really suck to see Martin go. But she couldn’t fault him for wanting to leave.
“Congrats man. That’s awesome.” She smiled and meant it. He smiled back.
“It isn’t done yet,” he cautioned.
“I have no doubt you’ll get it. And if not this, then something else.”
He grinned and held his beer bottle and she clinked hers gladly.
“But I will never forgive you for abandoning me here.”
She was taking a minute to herself outside, trying to sober up and not to reflect too much on the fact that her boss had caused people to jump overboard when Jim stepped outside.
“Hey,” she greeted.
“Hey,” he responded, still looking like a dejected puppy.
He came to stand beside her by the railing.
“So, how long have you been in love with Pam?”
So, it was possible that 1) she hadn’t successfully sobered up yet, and that 2) alcohol made her even more direct than usual. Whatever, it was a fair question.
Jim snapped in her direction, now looking like a dear in headlights. Apparently, alcohol also made her fond of animal metaphors, who knew.
His head was shaking before he even started speaking. “I’m not…” he stopped himself and sighed deeply. He turned to stare at the dark sea.
“Is it that obvious?”
She gathered all the tact she had left.
“Do you want the truth?”
He smiled ruefully, shaking his head once more.
“I guess not.”
“Though, I am still wondering if everyone is playing a prank on me by pretending not to notice.”
Right, tact. She had it somewhere.
“She seems great.”
“Yeah, she is. And warm. And funny. And… engaged.”
He seemed almost close to tears. In that moment, she tried very hard to figure out how much of her opinion was appropriate to share based on the very little she knew about these people who just had entered her life a month prior. Though how much time was needed to see that Roy usually made Pam miserable and small while Jim made her light up and smile. Fuck it.
“Feel free to ignore me because I am a bit tipsy and I don’t know you very well. But have you ever told her how you feel? Explicitly?”
He frowned at her.
“She has always been engaged.”
“Alright, and I get that. But from my understanding, which again is limited, she hasn’t been happily engaged for a while now. And it’s not an alcohol-fueled spur-of-the-moment re-proposal that is going to change that. She could benefit from knowing she has a choice.”
He appeared lost at that.
“I feel like she has to know. Like I thought we had a moment tonight, but she…” he didn’t continue.
“Alright,” she conceded, for now. “Though, next time I would advise against breaking up with your girlfriend in a fit of despair on a boat. Where you are both stuck.”
He chuckled. “Fair enough.”
“Okay, now please explain to me what Dwight is doing.”