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Story Notes:
I've been working on some original fiction lately and haven't had any new ideas for our beloved couple at all. But a few months ago, I was thinking about the many missed opportunities that seemed to define season two. This was a confrontation I would have liked to see.

Nothing epic here, just a few short chapters. Takes place immediately after Dwight's Speech.
Author's Chapter Notes:

Not my characters. No copyright infringement intended.

It’s really happening. They set a date.

She’s making plans for the wedding in earnest now; she bought her dress, bought her veil, picked out the flowers. I hear it all, every detail of place settings and side dishes and cousin Laura’s allergy to shellfish and on and on and on, and I can’t very well tell her to just stop, to do it at home, can I? I’m the best friend. I’m supposed to be happy for her. I’m not supposed to be sick, and sleepless, and feeling so fucking hollow and empty inside like I have a terminal disease.

I can’t be here for this.

There’s no way I can actually go to her wedding. And she’ll invite me, that’s for certain. I’m her best friend, and she’s mine. The closest we’ve ever come to admitting we have feelings for each other is that admission.

What am I supposed to do? I’m a lost cause. I’m in love with her. I’ve given up trying to lie to myself about it; I’m in love with her. And she belongs to another man. What kind of asshole goes after another man’s woman? I need her to make the first move, just an acknowledgment, a hint, a glimpse, anything that would give me an opening.

I’m so fucked.

* * * * * * * *

Stupid Ryan. You really think you’ll go? It stung a little to think I was so contemptibly predictable. It’s bad enough to think those things about yourself without having some twerp’s snide little snort to confirm your worst fears.

I spun the globe around, wondering how far was far enough.

The other side of the world looked good.

Australia. That might be far enough.

* * * * * * * * *

Turns out Australia is almost exactly the opposite side of the world from Scranton, Pennsylvania. (The exact spot being out in the Indian Ocean.) It would take over half my savings to spend a single week there.

As long as I wasn’t here, it would be worth it.

“Yeah, I’m actually leaving on June eighth, so…” I hesitated, unable to look her in the eye for more than a fleeting instant. “And I’m really sorry about that…” I glanced away, really uncomfortable now, that familiar tightness in my chest making it hard to breathe, but I forced myself to look back and meet her eyes long enough for her to see into me. She could always read me, surely she’d see what I was doing. Please, Beesly. Figure it out, please…

Her eyes were wide and hurt and surprised and for a fleeting instant I felt that spark of hope that she would have to face it now. But then she nodded and said, “Yeah, no, sure, that’s…”

To be honest, I don’t really know what she said. Some kind of mumbling assent that it was unfortunate or whatever and my heart plummeted into my stomach and kind of roiled there for a few seconds.

It doesn’t matter, she doesn’t care.

I forced a tight smile. “Want me to take these?” I indicated the stack of save-the-dates. Like they were just bills or letters and not invitations to my own funeral.

She shook her head almost imperceptibly and I managed the slightest nod and a twist of my mouth into another imitation of a smile before making my escape. I listened for her footsteps behind me, her voice calling after me as I headed for the stairs, but she wasn’t following.


“Australia,” Mark repeated.

“Yep.” It sounded ridiculous even to my own ears. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you I’ve never had a lust for world travel. I’ve never been further from Scranton than my cousin’s wedding in Chicago. It’s hopelessly fucking transparent and still she didn’t pick up on it.

It doesn’t matter, she doesn’t care.

Just keep repeating that. Maybe it’ll sink in and I can finally find a way to be free.

Mark poured two more shots and pushed one at me. “That’s…far,” he said carefully.

“Yeah.” I took my shot and downed it. The tequila burned a pleasantly hot path down to my empty stomach and I knew I’d be sick tomorrow but I didn’t care. Numb, I just wanted to be numb. Just for a little while.

He followed suit and looked at me squarely. “What did she say?”

I shrugged, not looking at him. “She’s disappointed I won’t be coming to her wedding.”

He bit his lip, looking like he wanted to say something, but in the end he just sighed and poured us another round. “Sorry, man.”

I nodded and clinked my glass to his.


I was drunk when I stumbled up the stairs, and had just fallen onto the bed when my cell phone buzzed and started vibrating across the table. I picked it up just before it fell off the edge and stared blankly at the glowing face.

Pam cell.

I squinted at the clock. 11:32. Can’t talk to Pam now. Too drunk.

It was Pam. I couldn’t not answer it.

I cleared my throat and flipped open the phone. “Pam?” It came out a hoarse croak.

“Hey.” She paused before adding uncertainly, “I know it’s late, but…”

“No, that’s okay,” I said instinctively, rubbing at my eyes. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah. I mean no actually,” she said quietly. “I just…I haven’t been…and I just…can I ask you something?” she asked abruptly.

Her tone was hard to identify precisely but there was that undercurrent of upset and frustration she so often had when she vented about Roy. And I wasn’t really up to dealing with that just then.


“Yeah. Of course.” Like there was any other answer I could ever give.

“Okay. Good.” She coughed. “So, um…why are you going to …Australia… two days before my wedding?”

I sucked in a breath of desperate hope. She understands.

“I just mean,” she added quickly, “I mean…just…well, why?” Her voice was soft, uncertain. “You couldn’t wait two more days?”

She’s fucking oblivious. She doesn’t care. She doesn’t secretly want you, she isn’t haunted by thoughts of you. Follow your own advice, suck it up and move on.

“The ticket was cheaper if I left on a weekday,” I said neutrally.

“Why not leave the next week then?”

I blew out an exhausted, miserable breath. “Just because…it’s better this way.”

She was quiet again for a moment. “Why?” she finally asked softly.

And in one brief fleeting moment all the caution and patience I’d cultivated over the last three years flew out the window and I blurted, “I can’t watch you get married, Pam.”

She was silent for so long I thought maybe she’d hung up. Then she whispered, “Why not?”

I closed my eyes. Oh God.

“Why not, Jim?” Her voice was stronger, tinged with anger.

My heart was racing. “He’s wrong for you.” It was the first time I’d ever said it so plainly.

“He’s wrong for me,” she repeated. “That’s why you can’t be there? Because he’s wrong for me?” she challenged.

“Pam,” I whispered.

“So you’re a…a …a concerned friend.” She laughed shortly. “If you were my friend,” she drew the word out bitterly, “you’d be at my wedding. You’re not my friend.”

“Pam, that’s not…I’m always your friend.” Christ, that’s not what I mean. Just say it, say it. “I mean—”

“Whatever, Jim. Good night.” She hung up abruptly, before I could sputter an objection.

Chapter End Notes:
Next up, we see what Pam was thinking.

Thanks for reading. :)

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