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Author's Chapter Notes:
And a prank is hatched.

But for all Roy’s happiness, he could not forego a general sense of unease over the next week. Roy was not generally an observant man, nor was there much for him in this case to observe, but one element of his rather fixed life had suddenly deviated from its accustomed comfort and he was displeased with it rather more instinctively than consideredly. This was that Pam Beesly was not quite as constantly available at his every whim as he wished. He was used, of course, to the vagaries of her position: that she was forever doing something for Colonel Scott, or on his behalf, or at his insane whim. But he was used, even while she was working in that capacity for that worthy, to being able to call upon her attention at need, except during the major events themselves, and to having her bend herself most urgently to his needs in the hours available to her. He never did his own mending or washing or had it sent out; she was always there. He ate and drank away from home frequently, but when he was at home she was invariably available to him as prepared, companion, and general help-meet, unless Colonel Scott had detained her on his own business—which was not never, but was infrequent enough that it rarely impinged on Roy’s mindscape.


This week, however, he found her out more often than not, and not always with the express intent of doing Colonel Scott’s business. One morning a Miss Kapoor that he could not recall had apparently called and swept Miss Beesly out shopping, or somesuch, and he did not hear of her for many hours subsequently and she was distracted and (as she said) behind on her work afterwards. This mysterious lady apparently occupied his fiancée for another afternoon that week promenading in the park in the newly acquired get-up, which he himself was not privileged to see on account of having missed them and Pam having apparently stuffed the chosen garments immediately into the back of her closet after returning home. Another day she was out with Miss Martin, which he allowed as normal, but they kept such long company that he found himself eating alone again, despite his preference. On yet another day she was simply out, no explanation given, and though he later learned that she had been in Colonel Scott’s company on some errand or other it hardly mollified him to learn such after the fact when she had generally been so good about being beforehand with the knowledge in the past. In short, Roy found himself put out of his routine, which bothered him, and he was uncertain how to proceed.


He could not however have been nearly as uncertain how to proceed as his poor fiancée, who was herself a devotee of routine and habit and who found herself most put out by the constant interruptions to that routine that the intervening week had imposed. She had no idea of why Ryan Howard should have pointed her out to Kelly Kapoor as a bosom friend, or what ideas that lady herself might have had that led her to consider that idea with such religious fervour, especially after their first shopping expedition led her to assure Pam in a very loud voice that “they would have to do something about her entire look, and that prices were something intended only for the lower classes.” Whatever Kelly saw in her was apparently indelible, however, for even Pam’s urgent complaints about the height of heel and skirt and depth of bust associated with Kelly’s choice and recommendation of clothing, and her unwillingness to be seen out in the said clothes (especially after a first expedition so equipped resulted in male attentions Pam felt quite excessive) could not discourage her from actively and persistently maintaining the acquaintance. Miss Martin too pressed her surprisingly for her time, and while Pam contemplated the possibility that inviting the two ladies to accompany her at the same time might well have solved her difficulty of finding it necessary to ever associate with either again, she did not give in to this temptation and instead allowed Angela to wax rhapsodic about the wonders of cats, arithmetic, and the religious life in ways that suggested highly to Pam that something new was going on in her friend’s life—and that given Miss Martin’s interest in learning German, she had some of idea of what. Given that German was a most unmelodic language and that Miss Martin insisted on practicing it at every opportunity, however, Pam was unwilling to venture to ask her friend about this for fear that she might be required to chaperone some kind of mutually agreed upon event that included copious declarations in that tongue.


Indeed, the only real relief that Pam felt in the course of the week came in the person, not of her fiancée or either of her female friends, but of Jim Halpert, whom she found herself almost continually running into. It was perhaps not a surprise that he too should be shopping on the high street while Kelly ran her from pillar to post, nor that he should be out riding with Mr. Howard when Kelly deliberately drew the latter gentleman’s attention on their perambulation of Hyde Park, nor that when Mr. Howard wished to talk to Kelly in private (or rather, when Kelly convinced him that he did—and Pam could only wish it more private, given Kelly’s general apparent desire to speak at volumes that might be heard without difficulty deep into Essex) that Mr. Halpert and she should find themselves conversing at some length. But it was certainly a surprise to find him walking into the small church that Angela Martin frequented—though she much appreciated both his presence and the whispered explanation for it that he proffered while Miss Martin haggled with a small boy over the price of a devotional candle. Apparently—and not to Miss Beesly’s surprise in any way—a Lieutenant Dwight Schrute was known to play the organ at this particular church on those days when he could be spared from Colonel Scott’s whims or his rarely commanded other military duties (seeing as the military rarely drilled on Sundays and Colonel Scott personally believed that the day of rest was to be literally observed by a staunch refusal to awake before noon, this was most Sundays—and given Colonel Scott’s other behavior, many other days of the week). Jim had discovered this, and determined that Lieutenant Schrute was an unobservant player who simply threw himself into the seat and began, which led him to a devilish invention of his own. He had apparently measured the inner dimensions of each of the organ pipes—Pam being left uncertain as to whether he had suborned the manufacturer, asked the curate, or brought a tape measure of his own—and had produced, God alone knew from where, a set of cotton stops carefully measured to each pipe. He intended to insert one each time Dwight played the organ, hoping to slowly convince him that the instrument was either breaking down or possessed. She was uncertain as to how he knew when Dwight had been playing, but the suspension of disbelief was sufficient to draw a laugh from her—and thus a glare from Angela—which was matched by a slow, soft smile she could not quite forget when Angela peremptorily gestured to her, bowed swiftly to Jim, lit her candle, muttered a prayer, and swept out.

Chapter End Notes:
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