Jim/Pam. Moments between The Job and when they start dating. They take it slow.
Status: Complete [one-shot]
Spoilers: Spoilers up to The Job.
The assumption is that Jim and Pam took their time, because hey, it took them long enough anyway.
come around and say you love me
hang your heart in lights above me
is that too much to ask for?
On the night of their (then-it's-a-)date they stand beside her car outside Cujino's, her hands resting on his shoulders and his on her arms. The skirt she wears to work starts getting itchy when she wears it too long but she couldn't care less at the moment.
"Welcome back," she greets.
"I'm glad to be back." He pinches the side of her right elbow and lets his fingers rest against the little nook in the bend of her arm. His chuckle is low. "I'm expecting a party now, though."
"Sure," she accepts readily. "Tomorrow, after work?" She bounces a little. "I'll choose the place."
"I wouldn't accept anything less, Pam," he says, smiling warmly. "You're throwing the party, after all."
"Right." She laughs and moves closer to whisper. "Don't tell Jim about this. I want it to be a surprise."
"Wouldn't want to ruin it," he promises.
Then it's a date.
She breathes her good night against his cheek as she tiptoes (using his shoulders as her rest), presses her lips against somewhere along his jaw, and when she pulls away she pretends she can see the heat in his now full grin despite the near-darkness.
He can't believe it, and he teases her mercilessly for it. "Chai latté? Really?" She tells him to shut up, trying to hide an embarrassed flush. "I wouldn't talk," she snaps, "Cocoa-with-Marshmallows Boy."
"It's a universal love, Pam. What's your excuse?"
She hits his arm with one of those tiny free spatulas from the cup on the café counter and when it breaks she settles for hitting him lightly with her palm. He rolls his eyes. "Is that all you got?"
She shrugs, smiling secretively as she pulls her mug up. "I'd be careful at work tomorrow," she hints.
"Nice, Beesly," he says, grinning appreciatively. Her flush darkens for entirely different reasons.
She thinks he doesn't notice in the low light. (He ducks his head before he lets himself smile.)
It's Saturday but he looks exhausted, hollow. It doesn't take her long to realise he's not paying attention.
"Are you - "
He breathes. "I'm fine."
She reaches over the table and rubs her thumb against the back of his hand. "You're not."
He doesn't look like he's in the mood to say anything. "Can we not talk about this now?"
She stares at him until he looks up. "So you'll be like this all evening?" She frowns slightly, and she's shaking her head even before he tries to shake things off. "Don't." She wraps her hand around his fingers, and tugs lightly. "Tell me."
He's been a friend to her for longer than she remembers, and she needs to feel like she's his.
He begins to talk, his voice blending in with the gradual shadows, and she listens, willing his worry away.
When he finally smiles, slow and warm and bright and at her, she thinks she can see why he kept being a friend (her friend) for so long.
"Hey, Pam, I'm coming back to work tomorrow, but I'll probably stop by tonight on my way home to collect anything I've missed in the last couple of days. Maybe around six? ...missed you. Bye."
They spend three days without seeing each other when he gets a call on a Friday afternoon from his sister. When he returns that following Monday, he's looking tired but happy, and the relief that she feels from this justifies, she thinks, how she spent the weekend not worrying about Larissa, but thinking about how little she's seen him.
(and that's such a stupid thing to be thinking about, but that's how she's been: she only talked to him once on Saturday night, and she only spoke long enough to tell him to sleep.)
It's so achingly gratifying and right that they're both finally able to show the way they feel that suddenly none of the last two weeks make sense anymore. So when they lock up the office and leave that evening, she asks him if maybe he would mind repacking the backpack he took to his sister's.
The dulling lights of the elevator must have brightened when he kisses her on the cheek in response. She slides his fingers into his hair to keep him where he is, slips her other arm under his jacket, around his waist, and pulls him a little closer to encourage the hug.
"I'm not sleeping with you," he tells her, shifting slightly and covering the other side of her body with his jacket.
"Prude." She laughs. Mostly, though, she's looking forward to seeing him sleeping on her couch (the long one she bought with him in mind) in his PJs, and teasing him into making her breakfast the next morning.
One night they're watching late reruns and laughing at Friends and when he glances down as Scrubs starts, her face is half-buried in his t-shirt, her eyes closed, her breathing light and steady and just a little bit like a snore. He can't stop smiling.
He pulls the old blanket he's been using off the back of her couch and moves to get up, but she presses closer to him and mumbles something incoherently. She grabs a fistful of his old t-shirt tightly and it looks like she's not going to move or let go.
It takes a few tries to throw it over both of them without moving too much, but he manages.
He needn't have bothered. She steals the blanket and ends up kicking it off eventually.
She wakes up in the middle of the night as there’s a burst of loud laughter from the television. In the flickering light, she watches, feels him shift. In the flickering light, she kisses the corner of his mouth as it curves up in a unconscious, sleepy smile. In the flickering light, she doesn't want to move; she knows what she has.
One: and they’ve got nothing to hide in the shadows
He's tossing two bottles of his fabric softener in the basket, because she's said she likes the way his clothes smell, when she reaches over and kisses him. The bright fluorescent lighting of the store is a direct contrast with the dim blue of the office that night, but maybe that works because it's strong and everywhere and she's not afraid, anymore – and they’ve got nothing to hide in the shadows.
Thanks for reading! I hope this worked for you. :) Parts of this have been in-progress for literally two years.