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Story Notes:
Lyrics by The Fray
Disclaimer: I own nothing. If I did, it would be Pam’s grey sweater and Jim Halpert.

Looking for something I've never seen
Alone and I'm in between
The place that I'm from and the place that I'm in
A city I've never been

When he leaves, she falls apart.

She hates thinking of the cliché “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone,” but that’s how she feels. She can’t believe she always took him for granted, expecting he would always be there for her. Now that he’s gone, she feels empty and hollow, like a part of her was carved out and all she’s left with is a big gaping hole where her heart used to be.

She calls off the wedding after she starts having nightmares. She and Roy are up at the altar. The priest has just gotten to the part where he tells everyone that if there is any reason these two should not be married, they should speak now or forever hold their peace. And Pam finds that she’s waiting. Waiting for Jim to stand up and say something, anything: I’m in love with you. Don’t do this. He’s not The One for you, I am. But there’s only silence, because Jim isn’t there. She begins to panic, straining to hear him speak until she thinks her eardrums are going to burst. The silence becomes overwhelming, a pulsing, throbbing void that makes her want to scream. She wakes up choking, gasping for air, while Roy continues to sleep peacefully beside her. After a week of waking up drenched in sweat, searching the darkness for a voice and face that never comes, she breaks up with Roy. Now, she’s finally free.

I found a friend or should I say foe
Said there's a few things you should know
We don't want you to see
We come and we go
Here today, gone tomorrow

When she finds out about the transfer, she thinks it’s a second chance. She’ll be able to tell him some things, everything: how she has cried herself to sleep every night since he left. How the minute she said “I can’t” she wanted to reach out and snatch those two words back, because she knew they weren’t true. How she only thought she had to stay with Roy because he was all she had known, he was familiar and safe, providing her with a life of consistency and routine. But most of all, she wants to tell him she has changed. She’s Fancy New Beesly now, living on her own in her own apartment, taking the art classes he had always encouraged her to try, wearing prettier clothes and attractive makeup. She’s confident now, she knows who she is and what she wants. And what she wants is Jim.

She spends hours curling her hair and applying makeup the morning he comes back. She wears the new grey sweater her mother made for her that hugs her body and accentuates her curves, and she puts on the new lip gloss and new eyeshadow she bought just for this occasion. Everything is new, because whatever happens with Jim will be new - new and exciting and full of possibility. She knows that there’s a chance he’ll turn her down. She knows that he could still be angry with her for the way she handled things, for the way she treated him. But he had told her he was in love with her, and love like that doesn’t just go away. She had heard it in his voice when she talked to him on the phone, the way “Beesly” rolled off his tongue so effortlessly, the way she could sense him smiling across the miles. He is still in love with her. He has to be. Now she is going to return the favor.

If I say who I know it just goes to show
You need me less than I need you
Take it from me
We don't give sympathy
You can trust me, trust nobody

She knows that something is wrong the minute she hugs him. She throws her arms around him and squeezes with all her might, but he seems to get tense just by touching her, and breaks off the hug almost immediately. She decides it’s nothing. He says something about making a joke, but she doesn’t care, she can’t believe he’s here, live, in the flesh, looking even more amazing than she remembers. She can’t help smiling, smiling so wide she thinks her jaw is going to break. He responds with his big toothy grin, and she wants to show him how she has changed, she wants to tell him everything. She has been looking forward to this moment for so long, and this morning has been fueled by anticipation: waiting for him to finally show up (he was the last one, of course he was last); setting up the food in the conference room without a complaint; brushing off Michael’s stupid jokes with a smile and a small chuckle. Suddenly the day is flying by, and things are getting in the way of her plan. Ryan doesn’t give up his desk – Jim’s desk – so Pam is forced to look at the back of his head all day. She’s able to snag a seat next to him during the orientation video, thinking they'll finally be able to talk once Michael begins to drone on. Then the new girl Karen gives him a stick of gum, and she’s thrown. She doesn’t know why that small gesture bothers her, but it does. There’s something intimate about the way Karen taps Jim’s back and slips him the gum with a smile, as if she’s done it dozens of times before. Over the course of the day, Pam notices little interactions between the two of them, like when he helps her set up her voicemail, but she decides it’s nothing. Jim is just being Jim, nice, supportive Jim looking out for the new girl. When she sees him alone in the break room, she decides to make her move.

She knows that something is wrong the minute she sees him with bottled water. When the hell did he stop drinking grape soda? She tries to make a joke about how he’s changed so much, hoping he’ll call her bluff and tell her that he really hasn’t changed, he’s the same Jim she’s always loved, the Jim Halpert who has loved her forever. But then he says he’s “evolving,” and she knows she’s going to hate that word for the rest of her life. Evolving means changing, moving away from the things that were theirs and theirs alone, moving towards gum and bottled water and spending the night unpacking his stuff instead of having a cup of coffee with her. She tries to brush it off as easily as she has everything else, but then Michael walks in and all of a sudden everything is extremely awkward. Jim looks really upset and she can’t tell why. All she wants is for Michael to leave, and when he does, she snickers, hoping it will loosen Jim up and remind him of how much fun they used to have together, making fun of everyone else. But he says he needs to get back to work, and now she can’t deny that something definitely isn't right, because Jim hates work, he does anything and everything in his power to prevent himself from actually having to do it, and she’s left in the break room by herself, staring at the vending machines and wondering what she did wrong.

She tries to cover up in front of the cameras. She doesn’t know how well she does, because inside she’s screaming, screaming like when she’s in her nightmare and she can’t breathe. Jim had been so far away in those nightmares she thought she was going to die, and now he’s here, in person, with his dorky smile and his messy hair, but, somehow, he feels further away than ever. She knows that the camera gets her reaction when she sees Karen rubs Jim back and she finally admits what she’s been denying all day: he has moved on. He doesn’t love her anymore. After months of becoming Fancy New Beesly, Pam can’t deny that she’s moving on, too. She just never thought it would be without him.

We’re only taking turns
Holding this world
It's how it's always been
When you're older you will understand

And again maybe you don't
And again maybe you won't

He gets out of the car and says “Hey.” She says “Hey” back and keeps walking to ignore the fact that her heart has started to pound and she thinks she’s going to pass out. This has been one of the worst days of her life. All she wants to do is go home and take a hot bath and drink lots of wine and cry herself to sleep. But now he’s talking to her, voluntarily, for the first time all day, and she tries to act casual. “What’s up?” she asks, pretending she wants to know what he’s going to talk to her about, but really she wants to know what’s up with him, why he’s been avoiding her and acting like a total stranger. He says that things were “weird today or something,” and she pretends she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. She needs him to be more specific. She needs him to be honest and confess all of his reasons for acting like a jerk, the way he was completely truthful the day he turned her life upside down by telling her he was in love with her. It’s fitting, she realizes, that they’re in a parking lot again. He doesn’t look at her when he says “I’ve sort of started seeing someone,” and she wonders how you can “sort of start” to do anything, let alone begin a relationship. He’s being too vague, and she’s hurt and frustrated and so goddamn tired, so she feigns indifference and replies, “Oh, that’s totally cool. You can do whatever you want.” He’s taken aback, and she’s curious as to what he thought she was going to say. Did he expect her to say “Congratulations”? “I’m in love with you”? “Don’t do this”? “She’s not The One for you, I am”? She has no idea what he wants, which makes her absolutely miserable. She used to be so good at reading him, knowing exactly how he felt just by a twitch of an eyebrow or a small smirk that no one would notice but her. He’s a different person now, and, at his new desk, she’ll have plenty of time to get good at reading the back of his neck.

She needs this conversation to be over, needs him to stop staring at her like she’s the one who’s being weird, so she says, “We’re friends. We’ll always be friends.” As soon as she says it, she wants to reach out and snatch those six words back, because she knows they might not be true. He certainly doesn’t feel much like a friend anymore. He’s definitely not the best friend he was before he moved to Stamford. She needs him to agree that they’ll always be friends, she needs him to give more than monosyllabic answers to the nonsense that she’s spouting, but he says “Right” and chuckles, and starts to walk to his car. “It’s good to have you back,” she offers, but he’s at his car already, saying “Yeah. Good to be back,” and he doesn’t sound like he means it. He gets in and closes the door, while she’s still standing there like an idiot.

When he leaves, she falls apart.
Chapter End Notes:
This is my first fic. I hope you liked it. :)

pam_beesly is the author of 0 other stories.

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