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Story Notes:

Just something I cooked over the past week, hope you enjoy!

Thank you to my beta, sorry I only write angst. 

He used to go see his parents every weekend. It was a way to fill the time, just not a very good one. His father would sit in an armchair that was older than Jim, and his mother would do a puzzle or make lunch while she chatted with him. 

He discovered quickly that his mom was an excellent confidant. She was very good at listening carefully and taking in all the information, but not giving too much advice. This is why she was the first person he told about Pam, the first person who made it feel real. She gave him a place to celebrate the good parts of it, the pranks and smiles across the bullpen, without making him feel guilty. His friends were in the habit of telling him to “move on” or that “she's not worth it”, while his mother understood. She too saw that despite all the obstacles and pain, Pam was the love of his life, his better half. But he still saw the worry in her eyes when he told her about “almost dates,” and bridal magazines. 

After he came over unannounced one night, crumbling into her embrace, telling her that “She's really going to marry him” she decided to do something about it. 

She cradled his head, her grown son, a baby in her arms again. “You can't keep doing this Jim, it's going to break you baby.” 

“But I can't..” he pulled away and put his head in his hands. 

“I can't lose her.”

His mom just looked at him, before walking away, leaving him crying in the kitchen. She had something that he needed to give him.

She came back with a picture of Jim when he was seven, his arm in a cast, his two front teeth missing, but still as happy as ever.

“Do you remember how you got that cast?” she asked him

“Crashed my bike after trying to jump off the shed” he said, smiling a bit at the memory despite the tears that were still falling onto his cheeks

“I still don't know how you got you and your bike up there, but I do know that you were so brave when it happened. I also know that that bravery is still in you, and you need to use it to tell her how you feel.”

He took the photo in his hands and nodded, his thumb tracing the smile on his younger self's lips. 


After he walked away from Pam, he just sat in his car for some time, his whole body was buzzing, and he didn't trust himself to drive home just yet. He had taken his mothers advice, he had been brave, but it still hurt like hell.

He couldn't stop thinking about all the little things he knew about her. Her favorite flavor of yogurt, her favorite songs and just what to say to make her laugh. He wondered if these facts would eventually disappear from his mind, washed away like his grade-school teachers names or the periodic table. She is destined to be his past, and that's a hard pill to swallow. 

It was midnight when he finally had the courage to drive home, except that the night had to end, that he had to move on. He still felt her hands on his chest, in his hair. The scent of her “nice” perfume, (as she calls it,) still lingering in the fibers of his sweater. The mark that she had been there, faint to others, but to him, clear as day. 

His bed felt more empty than normal when he crawled into it that night, a reminder that if Pam had reciprocated, she would be next to him, a perfect gumble of freckled shoulders and red curls. 

He reached across the bed, his fingers grasping at the air where she should be. He wished that he had appreciated her more today, soaked up every last second before it all fell away. Now all that's left is the debris of the truest love he's ever known, a mess he has no choice but to clean up. 


His life was in boxes, one labeled kitchen in the living room, a bedroom one in the bathroom. He should have hired better movers. 

It didn't matter much now, but he kept everything she ever gave him, took it all with him. They sit in a box labeled “scranton” now, the only box he insisted on moving himself. It had sat in the backseat of his car the whole drive to Stanford, mocking him in the rearview mirror, a grim reminder that she is a memory now, a story he will hold close to his chest. 

He opened the box, (which was on the floor in his bedroom,) and took out a picture of her. It was from a Christmas party, she was wearing those jingle bell earrings that he loved so much. It's in these moments, when he's truly confronted with her, that he wonders how he's breathing without her. She was, and still is, his everything, and he let her go, he fucked it up. 

He put the photo back into the box, closed it up, and shoved it into the back of his closet. 

“The only way to get better, to get over her, is to get some distance.” he told himself, even if he knew it was a lie. 

Before he went to sleep that night, he dug out a different photo from a different box. It was the one his mother had shown him when she convinced him to tell Pam how he felt. He placed it on the refrigerator, the only welcome reminder of Scranton he had.


His head was pounding so hard that he was almost convinced his skull would explode. A note from Karen was on his fridge, (next to the photo of him), reminding him to “drink water”. But somehow, in that beautiful moment, none of it mattered. 

She had texted him. 

He tried to tell himself not to read into it too much, to view it as a drunken mistake, the mark of a fun night out. But even he knew that that was bullshit. She was thinking of him, it had to mean SOMETHING. Right? 

At the very least it means that to her, he is still real. That she didn't delete his number and forget all the memories. Which for right now, can be enough.

“How are you?” on a blackberry screen can be enough. 


He thought he had had enough time, that the pain of missing her had grown dull enough to ignore, yet it all came rushing back to him when he saw her running towards him. Her arms around his shoulders, a grin taking up half her face. Standing in the same spot where her lips had met his, he fought back the urge to do it again.  

He can't fall back into old habits, can't let history repeat itself. Because he's seen what stolen looks and office pranks can lead to. He let her destroy him and his naive heart once, and this time, he won't even give her the chance.  


His new apartment in Scranton was still painfully empty, the only piece of decoration he had bothered to unpack was “broken armed Jim” as Karen called it. The photo was on his dresser, a constant reminder that one day, long ago, he was a brave, happy little boy. He wondered if the kid in the picture would know what to do now, if he could bring the same fearlessness that gave him the cast to his relationship problems. Give him the answers he desperately craves, the knowledge that he will heal from her, that it will get better.


Her head is on his chest, her arms draped over his middle. She is his, and he is hers. They made it. He was finally as brave as his seven year old self, throwing caution to the wind and jumping, except this time, he landed on his feet.

Chapter End Notes:
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Debutante_gurl is the author of 11 other stories.

This story is part of the series, Childhood stories.. The next story in the series is The Mage.

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