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Author's Chapter Notes:
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author.  The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise.  No copyright infringement is intended.
I'm not sure if this is a one-shot; it might want to be more.  First Office fic, so any feedback is welcome!

Jim looked directly at the camera as he walked away from the bar.  “You know what, I would save the receptionist.  I just wanted to clear that up.”  He strode purposefully toward the table where Pam and Katy were sitting.


“Hey!”  Pam grinned up at him, and he lost his train of thought for a second. 


“Hey, Pam.  Mind if I steal Katy for a minute?”


“Wha-, no!  No.  Go ahead.”  Pam skooched out of the booth, standing up to let Katy get out, before sitting back down, alone.  She looked very curious as to what Jim wanted with Katy and very determined not to give away her curiosity.  Not that everyone would be able to tell, but Jim was pretty familiar with Pam’s expressions.  He laughed a little at his own predictability as he led Katy out onto the deck.



“Jealous?  Why would I be jealous of Katy?  Jim can do whatever he wants with his…girlfriend.”  Pam’s face fell a little bit, and she glanced away from the camera.  She smoothed her hair absentmindedly, and glanced back up to the camera.  “Why?  Do you know what he’s doing out there?”  Before she had a chance to realize how much she’d revealed, her attention was drawn toward the door that Jim and Katy had just exited from.


 “Oh, dear.”  The camera swung around to see what Pam was reacting to: Katy had re-entered, alone, looking royally pissed off.  She flounced over to the bar and ordered something clear in a shot glass, downing it immediately.  “I wonder if I should—”


“Pam?”  The camera swiveled back to show Jim standing next to Pam.  “I wonder if I could talk to you.”  Nodding toward the camera, he added, “Alone.”


“Um…sure.”  Looking extremely curious indeed, Pam followed Jim out the door.



Jack the cameraman wasn’t sure if he was going to be punished or rewarded for following them out onto the deck, but he knew that the rest of the crew would never forgive him if he missed a chance to capture the moment of truth, if that’s what this was going to be, between Pam and Jim. 


Heck, he’d never forgive himself.


Besides, they’d both signed the waivers.



“So, I’m assuming that you said something that Katy didn’t like.  Judging by her reaction, anyway.  Is that what you wanted to talk about?”  Pam leaned against the boat’s railing and peered up at Jim’s face.


“Um, yeah, sort of.”  Jim’s hands were in his pockets and he was staring at his feet as though he had his speech written on his shoes.  “I told Katy that I was really sorry for doing this, but I realized how unfair I was being to her.  I told her that I couldn’t see her anymore, because I’m in love with someone else.” 


Pam’s face had gone through several emotions during this speech: relief, happiness, curiosity, and something that looked a little bit like jealousy.  By the time Jim looked up, though, Pam’s expression was pure amazement, mouth hanging open and all.


“Jim…Jim!”  Pam socked him in the arm.  “This is—this--who??”


He took her hand between both of his and looked her right in the eyes.  “You really can’t guess?”


Pam paused and swallowed—hard.  “I—Jim, I’m engaged.”  Despite her protest, the expression in her eyes looked—he didn’t quite know what, but it wasn’t disgust, anyway.


Jim sniffed, and laughed a bitter little laugh, as he glanced away, dropping her hand.  “You think I don’t know that?”  He looked back at her, and the intensity of his gaze made her flinch a little.  “You think I haven’t been aware, every second of every day at work that what I was feeling, what I was thinking about was strictly off-limits?  You’ve been engaged for—well, for longer than I’ve even known you, Pam, and I knew that.  But I just couldn’t help myself; I fell in love with you, and I had to let you know.  I was going to tell you at Christmas, but I chickened out—I stole back the card that went with your gift, because I’m a wuss, and because you started talking about Roy, and I thought that I couldn’t stand it if you stopped being my friend because I’d ruined it by confessing my feelings.”


He looked away again, out over the water.  “But sitting there at that table, I started thinking about how much I wished it was Roy and Katy there together, and you and me together, instead of me with Katy and you with Roy.”


Pam was looking down, her expression unreadable, but she was twisting her engagement ring around and around.  Jim put hand underneath her chin, bringing her eyes to his.  “And you can’t tell me that you didn’t think, even for just half a second, that the two of them make a better match than you and Roy.”  Smirking a little bit, he added, “And I think our many work escapades speak for themselves about what kind of team we make.”


Pam’s answering smile was brief, but genuine.  “Jim, I—I can’t just—throw away a relationship as long as mine and Roy’s.  I mean, what did you expect me to do with this—information?”


“Expect?”  Jim shrugged.  “I didn’t expect anything.  I mean, I can’t deny that I was kind of hoping you’d just fall into my arms, but…”  He laughed, flinging his arms out, suddenly looking much more carefree than he had earlier in the evening.  “Seriously, Pam, you have no idea how much better I feel, just knowing that you know.  You know why?  Because now, it’s your call.  I told you how I feel, and now you just have to decide what you want.  I’m not saying that I won’t be—upset—if you choose Roy, but at least now you know that you have that choice.”  Jim seemed to consider that a fitting conclusion to his speech, and stuck his hands in his pockets, but never took his eyes off Pam’s face.


Pam twisted her ring around a few more times, then looked up at Jim.  “Okay, so…I need to—think—about…things.”


Jim nodded.  “Completely understandable.”


Pam swallowed, and nodded quickly, pressing her lips together.  “The thing is, I can’t think when you’re looking at me like that.”


Jim put on a mock-confused face.  “How do you want me to look at you?  Like this?”  He glared at her, doing an admirable Dwight impression.  He got a smile and a laugh out of Pam, but soon her laughter started to sound like sobs.  Jim quickly pulled her into his arms.  “Hey.  Hey, don’t do that.  I promise not to make any more Dwight faces.”  She laughed once more, but continued to cling to him.  Jim’s arms tightened around her, and Pam seemed to relax as she took a few deep breaths, her face half-buried in Jim’s chest.


“There you are, Pam!  Congrat—oh!”  Kelly had burst out of the door, obviously ready to spill some exciting news, but the sight of Pam in Jim’s arms had surprised her.  Her two coworkers drew away from each other slowly, Pam looking a little embarrassed, Jim less so.


“Yes, Kelly?  You have, uh…news?”  Pam’s mouth twisted into a slight grimace on the last word. 


“Oh, my gosh, yes.  And it’s your news, really.  Roy proposed!  I mean, again, and he wants to set a date!  In June, I think, but I’m not really sure, because I was so excited, and I knew you’d be so excited, and so I wanted to see your reaction, and then I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, where’s Pam?’, and now everyone’s looking for you, and I’m so happy I got to be the one to tell you!”  Kelly’s face was shining with excitement for Pam.


All Pam said was, “Huh.  Kelly, could you ask Roy to come here, please?”  Kelly gladly ran to fulfill her errand.


Jim was in shock, but managed to get out, “Well.  Talk about timing, huh?”


Pam’s expression was completely indecipherable as she said, “Yeah.  I think that when Roy gets here, you should be inside.”


Having no idea how to take that, Jim just asked, “Yeah?”


Nodding, but not meeting his eyes, Pam replied, “Yeah.”



There was no way Jim was just going to leave without any clue how this conversation would go; however, he also saw the wisdom in not being alone with Pam when Roy arrived, so he made sure Pam wasn’t watching (she was turned toward the railing, staring out at the water), and instead of going inside, stepped sideways underneath the stairs leading up to the bridge.



Jack didn’t dare move.  First of all, he didn’t want to miss this conversation, either, and secondly, he was a little afraid of Jim or Roy, or possibly even Pam, causing him physical harm if he revealed himself now.  He checked his batteries and settled in.



Roy burst out onto the deck, more than a little drunk.  “Pammy!  Shelly said she told you the news!  Are you excited, baby?”


Pam didn’t bother to correct him on Kelly’s name.  She didn’t turn around, either.  “Yeah, she told me.  I was just sitting here, wondering why a third party had to tell me the date for my wedding.”


“Aw, come on, Pammy.  I thought you wanted me to set a date.”


“You know, I did.”  She turned around to face her fiancé.  “I wanted you to set a date three years ago.  Three years, Roy.  But you know what?  It’s not even that.  It’s the fact that you didn’t even notice that I wasn’t in the room when you made your big announcement.  I mean, didn’t you think that I might like to be asked about this?”


“I did ask: I said, ‘How’s June 10th?’  So I assumed you were in the room…we’re all friends here, anyway.”


“Yeah, except for the twenty or so people who we’ve never met before tonight.”  She took a breath.  “Did you ever think that I might want to decide something like that in private?”


Roy looked surprised, as though the thought of a private discussion with Pam was the last thought in his mind.  “Well, but…when I first asked you, it was in front of the whole family.”


Pam’s lips pressed together.  “Yes.  Yes, it was.  I remember.  I remember that I was happy you asked me, but I was still upset about it being in front of everyone.  I remember blushing bright red.  I remember telling you, ‘You’re lucky I love you, because otherwise I would never forgive you for doing this in front of everyone.’  Do you remember that, Roy?”


“Well, yeah, I guess.  I mean, I remember you said yes.”

“Yeah, I did.”  Taking a deep, shaky breath and letting it out again, Pam continued, “I think we should take a break.”  She pulled off her engagement ring and handed it to Roy.


“Wait, what?  You’re breaking up with me?”  He sounded quite angry, and there was a rustling from behind the stairs.


Pam, however, was quite calm.  “No, I didn’t say that.  I said that we should take a break.  Breaking up means that we’re over.  Taking a break means that one of us packs up the essentials and goes to stay with a friend for a while.  Not necessarily permanent, but just…a break, okay?”  Wistfully, she added, “Maybe we can go on a few dates like we used to have before we lived together.” 


“But…but I just told everyone that we’re getting married on June 10th!”


Pam smiled, ruefully, but with a tiny hint of malice, too.  “Well, maybe if you’d talked to me before announcing it to everyone, you wouldn’t be in this situation.”


Roy stomped back inside, muttering something about women never being able to make up their minds.


After a calming breath, Pam called (with a smile in her voice), “Jim, you can come out now.”  Sheepishly, he did, and Pam laughed at him.


“Was I that obvious?”


“Well, Roy didn’t see you, but since he missed the fact that I wasn’t in the room when he set the wedding date…”  She shook her head.  “I know you, Jim.  I knew you wouldn’t really leave…and I only heard the door shut once.”


“Should I start calling you Detective Beesly?”  Jim grinned down at her, his face full of love.


Pam blushed under his scrutiny, and grabbed his hand, appearing to study it so that she didn’t have to meet his eyes.  “You know that just because Roy and I are taking a break, that I’m—I’m not promising you anything, either.”


“I know, Pam.”


“I mean, I guess…” she glanced up at him, then back down at his hand.  She had it between both of hers, her left hand on top.  The white stripe where her ring had been seemed to almost glow, even in the dim light.  “I guess I figure I’ll have a clearer head if I’m on my own for a while.”  She shifted her hand in his, interlacing their fingers, and copying the motion with her other hand, so that they were holding hands, facing each other.


Looking up at Jim, Pam caught his eyes with her own.  “I’ve been with Roy for a long time.  I’m not sure that I know how to be with anyone else, anyway.”


“I’d teach you,” Jim winked to show that he wasn’t (completely) serious.  Pam played along, making an “impressed” face and an “oooh”. 


Jim couldn’t help but notice that they were still holding hands.


“Seriously, though…I think maybe we should…I don’t know, tone things down at the office for a while.”


“Yeah?  What do you mean?”


“Well, I don’t know…play fewer pranks on Dwight together, you could cut back on the jellybeans,” she laughed.  “I guess I’m saying that if I’m going to take a break from Roy, I should take a break from you, too.  It’s only fair.


“Plus, if Roy thinks that you had anything to do with this, he will beat you up.  I’m just looking out for you, Halpert.”


“Okay,” Jim nodded; he’d respect her decision and her superior knowledge of Roy on this.  “First, though…”




“Can I kiss you?”


Pam’s face softened, and her eyes sparkled a little.  There was something so endearing about the fact that he’d asked.  “I suppose, in the interests of science, it must be done.”


“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.  For science’s sake,” Jim grinned.


Then their smiles disappeared, each of them searching the other’s face as they slowly moved their heads closer together.


The door from the bar banged open, and Michael’s protesting voice rang out.  “You can’t put me in the brig!  I am the regional manager!”


Jim and Pam broke apart, their hands suddenly smoothing clothes and hair that hadn’t even been messed up.  Their eyes met, and by mutual unspoken agreement, they decided to go back into the party.


But before Pam could enter the room, Jim grabbed her wrist and pulled her in close to whisper, “You owe me, Beesly.”


Pam stood in the doorway and watched Jim walk inside, then shook herself before following.



Jack knew he was getting a raise for this.

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