Twenty minutes ago, whether out of pangs of conscience at seeing the sadness in Jim's eyes, or because her heart told her it was the right thing to do, Pam traded her prized IPod, the most expensive gift anyone had ever given her, for the beautiful teapot Jim had bought for her. Dwight returned it to her tucked in its box and closed. As if he had never opened it, taken it out and tried to shove the spout up his nose. Pam opens the box, takes out the teapot and slips with it an envelope with her name written in her best friend's beautiful handwriting. That must be the Christmas greeting card Jim gives me every year, she thinks. She picks it up and sets it aside on her desk to read it later.
Fifteen minutes ago, seeing the smile on Pam's face, Jim comes over to her desk. He's hurt by the trade-off she's made with his gift, but he understands. She's been wanting an IPod for a long time, and one rained down from heaven today. He doesn't judge her for it. He wishes more that the kettle hadn't fallen into Dwight's hands of all people. He knows that it will be impossible for him to get it back, and he fears very much that he will have to pay for it again. He has no intention of Dwight reading the card written for Pam, and of him opening the teapot and taking all those memories saved over the years, and throwing them in the trash. When he's done talking to Michael, he'll offer him twenty bucks in return. Thirty at the most, and he'll take it home. He can give it to his mother. She'll appreciate it.
Pam shows, with something that can't be anything but pride, the teapot to Jim, and he gets a inner knot, tight and taut released from his stomach. But he is unwilling to make any more mistakes. He catches a glimpse of his card for Pam, and slips it into his left pants pocket. He promises himself to deny until the end of his days that he ever took the card. He goes on to show Pam all those little gifts, which mean so much to him, and which he hopes will stir something in Pam's heart.
Ten minutes ago, Roy is chatting with Darryl, and comments that Pam's Secret Santa gift is a $400 IPod.
"If I buy Pam one of these cheap, unbranded IPods as a Christmas present, I'm sure I can keep the new IPod. It's awesome, man." Says Roy, excited and tipsy from the beers he drank in the warehouse with the rest of his co-workers, before showing up at the office, because Pam seriously asked him this morning to spend some time with her and his coworkers, and not leave her alone as usual.
Darryl thinks it's stupid to give anyone another IPod when he already has a brand new one, but he doesn't tell him. Instead he asks her about the device. He's curious "But is it the latest model? The one you can watch videos on?" Darryl asks, a little skeptical because he can't imagine anyone in that office spending $400 on a co-worker.
"Yep. The one with the videos. I'm going to ask Pam and show it to you."
Five minutes ago, Jim offers to bring Pam a bag of her favorite chips, to go with the coke she's drinking. As he walks away, Pam notices on Jim's pants, a small white rectangle sticking out of his back pocket. She doesn't give it any importance, and continues to stare at the dorky-Jim picture with a smile on her mouth.
A minute ago Roy walks over to borrow her IPod and show it to Darryl.
"I don't have the IPod anymore," she tells him without the slightest hint of concern or fear in her words. "I preferred to get my original gift back." She proudly raises her green teapot to her eye line. Then she sees Roy's brow furrow, the smile disappear from his mouth, and the words he utters are no longer kind or loving.
"What?....Why.... Why would you do that, Pam? Roy's tone of voice rises as he utters her name. "You traded an IPod for a fucking teapot?. Roy is starting to shout out of anger.
Pam pulls back a little, places the teapot next to her keyboard, thinking that if she leaves it within reach of her fiancé, he is capable of smashing it against the wall, and tries to find the tone and kind words, which will quell Roy's anger. She also realizes that he has been drinking, even though he swore to her that he would be good today. His beer breath has clearly reached her with the torrent of words spat in front of her.
"I did it because someone took the time and money to buy it for me. Plus I love it, and it was the right thing to do." Her voice sounds weak and shaky at the end, because she knows her arguments hold no weight for him and she's not going to convince him either way.
"Fuck, Pam!" Roy's shout is heard throughout the bullpen, and gets all the co-workers to focus their eyes on them. "Can you get any stupider, fuck!". And Roy ends his screams by slamming such a blow on the receiving cabinet that he knocks over one of the bowls of goodies Pam has set out there for everybody. Pam is brought to tears by Roy's shouting, his insult to her and the spectacle he is putting on in the office in front of everyone. In front of the cameras.
Jim watches all this by the door leading to the kitchen, where he has stopped for a minute to talk to Kevin about his fantasy-football betting. He doesn't hesitate to swing his legs over and head for Pam's desk. He doesn't know what he's going to do when he gets there, whether to take Pam somewhere else, away from her fiancé, or directly punch him in the mouth. He doesn't care if Roy punches him back and takes him to the hospital. It will totally be worth it.
As he walks past Darryl, followed in slow motion by the eyes of his coworkers and the cameras, Darryl grabs him by the arm stopping him on his way to a rather expensive hospital stay.
"Dude, not your problem." Darryl's voice is almost a whisper, but everyone hears it.
Jim looks at the warehouse manager's hand on his arm and then looks him in the eye quizzical and angry at being stopped in his impetus to save Pam. "Leave me", Jim says as he tugs on his arm and breaks free of Darryl's grip. As he turns his eyes in Pam's direction, it gives him time to observe how she is pushing Roy in the direction of the office exit door. Seconds later the door slams shut, and Jim stands watching it with his arms akimbo as he runs his lower lip over and over his teeth in a nervous gesture that he tries to help him decide what the fuck he should do next. The others look at him. The cameras look at him, but he doesn't care about anything anymore. He has forgotten about the cameras, about prudence, about appearances and about what the others might think. As if they didn't already know, he thinks.
He turns in the direction of Pam's table, trying to decide whether it's better to call Hank or the police, and sees Angela standing next to it, looking at him with a frown on her face. I'm sure she thinks it's all my fault.
"Angela! Do you know exactly what happened? He asks her.
"None of your business," she says, crossing her arms under her chest.
"Thank you, Angela. As kind as ever." sarcasm spills out with every word she directs at the blonde accounting major, as she stops Dwight, who is already moving menacingly in Jim's direction, with a curt nod of her head.
"I think it had something to do with your teapot," Oscar says, perched next to his desk. And Jim thinks that's wonderful news. Fantastic. Pam will never speak to him again. He takes a long look at Michael, who is wide-eyed, staring at the whole scene, not knowing how to react. Right now he hates his boss. That childish, immature, attention-starved person, who has created this whole mess because he hasn't been able to accept a gift that someone has given him with all his love. Because he always needs more. More of everything and more from everyone. The urge to punch him competes with the urge to spit on him. Jim runs a hand over his face, and turns around to look at them all still watching him.
"I'm going to go get Pam." He announces with determination, then Looks at Darryl and Angela "Now it's my fucking problem." He finishes his scanning glances at Jack, the cameraman recording him and points his finger at him. "Don't even think about following me."
"Jim" Darryl's voice makes him stand up "I think Michael should go in your place."
"No way," Michael replies hiding behind Darryll.
Darryl turns at the sound of his voice "You're the boss here. You should go calm Roy down and get Pam. You're the authority."
"But Roy can slap me on the wall like I'm a sticker," Michael laments.
"I have weapons, Michael. I can escort you. I was born for this kind of work." Dwight pulls up his pant leg and shows two huge switchblades, one on each side of his calf.
Michael looks in horror at the weapons and at Dwight. He then looks at Darryl who nods at him to head for the door.
"Stay by the door, in case I scream. It will be the signal for you to rescue me," he says to Dwight, and Dwight gives him a military salute. The rest of his co-workers roll their eyes. A rescuer to the rescue who has to be rescued: the movie.
Pam is startled when she walks through the door decisively and finds Michael standing there. They look at each other for a few seconds.
"Did something happen there.....?" her boss asks, pointing down the hallway of the building with his thumb, after stepping aside to let her pass.
"Nothing I need to tell in public, Michael." Pam continues walking to her desk.
"But are you okay?" Jim approaches her, and tries to get her to look at him, but she is picking up the candys scattered around the table. Finally, when she has them all in her fist she tosses them into the trash can next to her chair. When she gets up, she forces a smile at him and nods her head. Jim can see her bright eyes, and the patches of color on her face and neck, signs that negate what she has just stated. He squeezes her hand for a second, before she pulls it away when she sees everyone staring at them.
"Darryl," despite the tears in her eyes, Pam's voice sounds strong and resolute "Have you been drinking in the warehouse?".
Darryll snorts and sways on his feet a couple of times with a guilty air "Something."
Pam nods with her gaze locked on him. "Roy's drunk and just took his truck." She raises her eyebrows urging him to do something "You'll see. He did it on company time and under your supervision. Not very professional, I think."
There are exclamations throughout the office of assent to Pam's words, even Toby's voice in the background saying that Pam is right, before Darryl shoots him a baleful look to shut his mouth.
"He's not that drunk," Darryl replies, trying to keep the situation from escalating.
"He is. Trust me. You should do something, if you don't want to go rescue him tonight from the police station."
Darryl looks at her quizzically and points a finger at himself "Me?".
"He's your boyfriend."
"Fiancé," Angela clarifies. Kevin nods at her side. Kevin nods to everything that is being said. It doesn't matter who says it.
"Boyfriend, fiancé.... Whatever," Pam says in exasperation. "I don't plan to do anything. This isn't my house, it's not your house," she points her finger at him, "and it's not Lonny's house. It's his job, and you're his immediate boss who let him drink on company time. It's your fucking responsibility.
Jim smiles proudly at Pam's words, as Meredith shouts "Well said!" and claps and cheers. No one follows her in her enthusiasm, but she gets Darryll out the door.
"And..." Pam's voice deflates and she speaks more to herself "show's over. You guys can get on with the party." She looks at Jim because she knows he's waiting for her to talk, comfort her with his jokes, give her advice, talk to her about anything or do any of those things he does so damn well and for which she's always grateful to him. But she can't right now. She can't. She looks at him apologetically and heads for the bathroom.
She is quickly followed by Kelly and Meredith. Before she goes in, Pam turns to them.
"Please. I need five minutes alone." And she slams the door in Kelly's face.
In front of the mirror, she lets herself cry. She squeezes her eyes shut because she doesn't want to, and looks up at the ceiling wanting them to dry. She blinks. She opens her mouth. She takes a long breath and exhales, looking back into the mirror. She grips the edges of the sink and shakes it furiously. She turns on the faucet loudly and screams, hoping the noise of the water drowns out the sound. Right now she doesn't want anyone to come in while she's going through her own exorcism. Taking Roy out of himself and taking out the Pam who allowed him to behave this way. Never again, he tells himself. Understood? Never again. Shee wets her hands and runs them over her face. She outlines her face with her fingers. Her cheeks, her temples, her mouth. She contemplates herself as she wonders how she has come to this. How she has stopped respecting herself, caring for herself, loving herself, to give everything for a man who has ended up looking at her as if she were a piece of furniture. Useful, necessary, comfortable. But at the end of the day a piece of furniture that you can close the drawers tightly, because it won't complain. That you can stop looking at for days, because it won't notice, or that you can cram with things, clothes, junk, because it always seems to have space for a little more. She shakes her head regretfully, mumbling insults into the air, until tears come to her eyes again. She bows her head for minutes, thinking about what she has to do from now on, what she can do, what she wants to achieve. Her clothes, her drawings, her friends, her parents, her family, classes, a little leisure, visits to museums, or trips to places outside this state. One image after another flashes through her mind, calming her and filling her with hope. One last look at her face in the mirror, she reaches into the small pocket of her cardigan, and pulls out the lipstick she has there. She didn't want to end the evening with lips half made up from drinking and eating. She wanted to touch up from time to time. She wanted to look good, she wanted others to see her well. That's why she put it there. She swipes the lipstick across her mouth and presses her lips together a couple of times to spread the makeup. She looks at herself. She smiles. She's ready to go.