You know what, Pam thought to herself as she walked out of the conference room with Roy’s gift in hand. Today actually wasn’t too bad. I mean the whole goose thing was kinda weird, but other than that not bad. Roy was being nice. Where was that when we were together? No don’t go down that line. Yes, he was being nice, and yes, I’ve been wanting this coffee table book of Monet paintings for a while but being nice for one day and one gift doesn’t mean we’re getting back together. Not when Roy’s not the guy I want to be with anyway. Damnit Jim! Why’d you have to say no to the whole CIA thing. That really sucked. I mean I went to a lot of work on that and then you tell me you’re not really doing the whole prank thing anymore? Then what was up with Andy the other week? Not that kind of guy anymore my ass!
She felt herself starting to frown based on the directions her thoughts were taking her. Glancing around she saw the most of her co-workers were still watching the weird duet Angela and Dwight were performing. Quickly she walked in the direction of the kitchen due to a sudden need to use the restroom. She’d just reached the door when it swung open as Karen was leaving.
“Oh!” Karen said with mild surprise. “Pardon me.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Pam replied as she started to make her way past the other woman.
“Hey!” Karen called out. “Real quick, thanks for being, like, my partner in crime today. It was a lot of fun.”
A sudden lump developed in Pam’s throat. Schooling her thoughts, she pasted a smile back on her face. “Yeah! It was.”
“Think about what I said earlier too.” Karen looked past Pam out to the main office. “That Roy guy is really cute. Maybe you and him could join Jim and I on a double date sometime.”
“Uhh, maybe,” Pam didn’t trust herself to say anything else. She did bend slightly at the knees and point into the restroom. “If you don’t mind, I kinda need to, you know...”
“Oh! Right! Yeah! Sorry!” Karen quickly moved aside so Pam could move past.
Pam quickly moved to a stall and locked the door. Nature’s call was forgotten as she started taking long slow breaths. Her mind was racing again. Steady girl. Keep calm. Deep breaths. Karen was just trying to be nice is all. Being nice by inviting me out to a date with my ex-fiancé and her boyfriend. The guy I want to be MY boyfriend. That would show Jim a thing or...NO! I know I hurt him and he’s hurt me, but there’s been too much hurt on both our sides. I don’t want to do that anymore.
Maybe this is what I deserve for all those years Jim was ‘just a friend.’ A taste of my own medicine. This sucks! And right at Christmas too. Come on Pam, snap out of it. There’s still a party going on and it turned out to be fun.
Feeling only slightly better about herself, Pam stood up and got out of the stall. A quick glance in the mirror showed her outward appearance still looked the same, despite her roiling thoughts. Walking out of the restroom she looked through the kitchen window for a second before she re-joined the festivities. Michael was now in possession of the karaoke mic and was belting out his perpetual favorite, “Islands in the Stream.” Karen was talking to Hannah while leaning against her desk. Kelly, Phyllis, and Meredith were in a tight little knot sipping their drinks. Jim was standing behind Kevin at the accountant's desk, both staring intently at the computer screen. Other groups were also scattered about the room as she walked in. Pam started to make her way to her desk when a familiar voice hailed her.
“Hey Pam!” Turning she saw Roy making his way towards her.
She stopped as he walked up near Stanley’s desk. “What’s up?”
Roy had what looked like an almost sheepish half-grin on his face as he rubbed a hand across the back of his head. “Hey, so, uh, Darryl, me, and some of the other guys from the warehouse were thinking of heading to Poor Richards. I thought you might like to come with us, you know, for old time’s sake?”
Memories of previous nights with him and the warehouse crew flashed in her mind. Many of which involved her having to not only pick up the tab but act as chauffer after a few to many pitchers of cheap beer. “Oh, um, thanks,” she started off. “But I’ve got to get home tonight.”
Roy’s smile and shoulders sagged. “Oh.”
“Yeah,” Pam did her best to put an apologetic tone in her voice. “It’s just that finals are coming up in my class and I need to get some more work done with those.”
“Yeah, sure.” Roy looked defeated as he slowly started to back away. “Have fun with that.”
“I will. Thanks again for the book. It’s really nice.”
“You’re welcome. Merry Christmas,” he said before turning around to find Darryl.
“Merry Christmas,” Pam’s voice was almost a whisper as her eyes fell to her feet. A feeling like she was being watched suddenly came over her. Looking up, her eyes at once darted to Kevin’s desk. Jim was still hunched over the computer but in the instant her eyes had settled on the area, she could have sworn she saw Jim’s head dart down as if he’d been looking at her.
Crossing the office, Pam was able to avoid Michael and sat down in her chair. Setting her new book down on the floor next to her purse, she scanned the papers covering her work space. The Christmas party meant only a half day of actual work had been completed which also halved the number of daily faxes she needed to send to corporate. Again, her thoughts betrayed her as she started to organize the papers.
Have things really changed so much that he won’t even look at me anymore? Or is he hiding too? Being all ‘Ranking Number 2’ might get Dwight and Angela off my back, but that’s not the Jim I know. I really should have called him last summer.
“Hey, ready to get all this cleaned up?” Karen had appeared at Pam’s desk.
Pam glanced at her computer screen and saw it was almost 4:30. “Yeah, sure.”
Heading back to the break room, she helped Karen lift the slushy machine onto a cart and haul it down to Karen’s car. Between them they got it into the trunk.
“Thanks for the help,” Karen said as they turned to head back inside.
“No problem,” Pam replied.
“Hey can I ask you a kind of personal question?”
Pam felt her mental armor start to go up. “Uh, sure.”
“Maybe it’s me, and I’m sorry if this is awkward, but both times I mentioned Roy to you today you seemed, kind of, I don’t know hesitant to talk about him. But I saw you give him a hug earlier when he gave you that present. Is there something going on between the two of you?”
Oh crap. Pam felt like she was stuck. “Umm, yeah, kinda.”
Karen’s face lit up. “Really! Good job, like I said earlier, he’s really cute.”
“Oh no!” Pam blurt out. “Not like that. It’s just...” Pam blew out a huge sigh. “Roy and I used to be engaged. I called things off a few weeks before the wedding.”
“Oh my god!” Karen’s hand flew to her face. “I had no idea! I’m so sorry! Here I was trying to push you on him and he’s...well...oh...I’m really sorry.”
Pam managed a weak smile. “Thanks. It all happened last June. He’s been trying to be nice about it all. Still trying to be friends, you know.”
Karen put a hand on Pam’s arm as they stored the cart in a utility closet. “Still, that sucks. Why’d you break things off?”
Because I’m in love with your boyfriend. Pam kept her eyes on the floor as they walked to the elevator. “Sorry but, I, um, don’t really want to talk about it.”
“Yeah, sure,” Karen said as she dropped her arm. “If you ever do, let me know. My offer earlier still stands though if you’d like to come out sometime with Jim and me. He’s a great listener.”
“Yeah,” was all Pam able to croak out.
“I mean it, he’ll let me just go on and on about just about anything. When we go out for dinner, he’ll sit there and nod and take in everything. It’s nice. I’m sure he’d be willing to listen to you too sometime.”
Okay you can shut up anytime about how great Jim is. By now they were back at the front door to Dunder-Mifflin. “Thanks.” Pam said quietly. She walked back to her desk. “I’ll, um get the karaoke machine later. But I’ve got some faxes I need to send.”
Karen recognized the dismissal. “Yeah, no problem.”
Pam watched as the other woman walked back to her desk. She was about to look back down at her desk when her eye caught something. Karen had reached her desk and was cleaning up some various party debris that had been left on it. Along with some discarded plates and cups were both copies of the DVD’s she and Jim had exchanged.
That’s weird. Anytime I ever gave Jim a gift he’d put it in his messenger bag or his desk right away. He always told me he was afraid he’d lose them if he didn’t put them some place safe right away.
Her eyes travelled across the room to find him. At first, she didn’t see where he was in the office. Then the door to the kitchen opened and he walked through. Their eyes met and for the first time in a long time neither of them broke contact. He stayed where he was as the door closed behind him. She could see pain in his eyes. She had since his return. However, there was something else in his expression she couldn’t quite put a finger on. Her expression softened as the slightest hint of a smile formed at her lips. The corner of his mouth moved almost imperceptibly upwards before he finally broke eye contact and walked into the conference room to help Angela and Karen clear away the decorations on the table.
She turned back to the papers on her desk. By the time she was done with her faxes most of her co-workers were on their way out the door. She watched a few of them walk out the door while she sorted the last of her papers. Phyllis wished her a Merry Christmas. Karen waved as she left with Ryan and Kelly. Her eyes had just fallen on a red folder that read “Classified,” when she heard Jim’s familiar voice.
“Night,” she replied with a quick glance up at him, before returning to her desk to move some papers over the folder. He’s just being friendly is all.
Much to her surprise he walked back to lean over the counter after grabbing his coat and scarf. “Oh, you know what? I intercepted a transmission earlier, and it seems the CIA is gonna need Dwight down at their headquarters at Langley for training and an ice cream social with the other agents.”
Oh my god, is this real? It is! Her expression of surprise quickly melted into a radiant grin to match the one on his face. There he is, that’s my Jim. “We should get him a bus ticket,” she said as she turned back to her computer and pulled up the Greyhound website. This is how it’s supposed to be. The original Dunder-Mifflin partners-in-crime back together again. “To make his trip easier.”
“Oh no, that would be very patriotic.”
This is just, right. Us back together again. Pam felt a glow in her heart as her search result came up on the screen. “It cost 75 dollars.” She looked up at him. He’ll think of something, he always does. She wasn’t disappointed.
Jim thought for a second. “Hmm. Well maybe the CIA could send a helicopter.”
She felt her face light up as she quietly laughed back at him. Looking back down at her desk she swiped the papers off her Classified folder and dug out the page where she had what Dwight had listed as his private cell phone number. She placed it on the counter for Jim to look at. “Here’s the number he gave me. I found a web site that taught me how to send anonymous text messages. It’s what I’ve been using to communicate with him.”
Jim’s grin if anything grew wider as his hand reached out to pluck a jelly bean from the dispenser. “Wow Beesly! I’m impressed.”
The glow around her heart intensified as she pulled out her phone and started punching in numbers. “What do we say?”
Jim took his time as he looked through the file and the phrases Pam had been using. His eye stopped on the code name she had assigned Dwight. Looking back at her, his gaze was full of mischief. “How about this. ‘Agent Beets. Prepare for extraction tonight by Coast Guard helo on the roof of your safehouse at 2045. Mandatory training to follow at Langley followed by dessert.’”
“Coast Guard helo?” she asked as she punched in and sent the message before looking back up at him.
“Yeah,” he replied. “Give a, you know, Jack Ryan, kind of feeling.” He was staring at her with the smirk she knew so well.
The glow in her heart was now overwhelming. She didn’t plan on it, couldn’t have planned on it, but the words still tumbled out seemingly of their own accord. “I love you.”