Title: Love Will Come Through
Series: "Past Perfect"
Fandom: The Office
Summary: It feels crazy to be standing here making small talk in front of Michael after Jim just asked her out on a date. (Jim/Pam)
Spoilers: For "The Job"
Author's Note: Picks up right at the end of "The Job." Hugs and kisses to austin360 for being an awesome beta.
Love Will Come Through
"I'm sorry, what was the question?"
Ken clears his throat politely. "What do you think the future holds?"
Pam likes Ken. Because he's the director of the documentary he always conducts the talking head interviews himself. He's very patient and he has a kind voice when he asks her questions, even the incredibly intrusive ones she'd rather not answer.
"Oh. Right." Pam laughs nervously, then hates herself for doing it on camera. She knows she should say something, but seriously, what is she supposed to say now? She's dying to turn around and look through the window behind her, to see if she can see Jim. For all she knows he's watching her right now. Her stomach gives a little lurch at the thought and she bites her lip to keep from grinning like an idiot.
"So, I guess that was a surprise," Ken says after it becomes obvious Pam isn't going to volunteer anything else.
"What?" She's having a really hard time concentrating on the interview and she just can't seem to sit still.
"Jim asking you out. It was surprising."
"Yeah, it kinda was." She's grinning again but she can't help it.
"Why do you think he did it?"
She shifts uncomfortably in her chair. "Um... I'm not sure--"
"I mean, why now?"
Pam doesn't think she's ever hated being on camera more than she does at this very moment. It's like her brain froze up after Jim said the words "it's a date," and now she can't even form a coherent sentence.
"Pam?" Ken prompts gently.
"Why do you think Jim decided to ask you out just now?" he repeats.
"Well... I don't really... I mean, I'm not sure that's something I..." She falters and looks at him pleadingly.
"Would you like to stop the interview?" he asks.
"Yes, please!" she says, jumping up from her chair.
Ken is merciful. This is why Pam likes him. Impulsively, she gives him a hug and smiles when his face goes beet red. Which makes her think of Dwight because, of course, beets. Only she doesn't want to be thinking about Dwight right now because Jim is on the on the other side of the door. Jim who just asked her out. On a date!
She takes a deep breath and tries to feign an expression of calm and self-assurance before she opens the door and steps out of the conference room.
Jim's leaning back in his chair talking to Michael, who's perched himself awkwardly on the corner of Jim's desk. They both glance over when Pam opens the door and she feels her heart stop. Then Jim breaks into a smile and her heart starts beating again, double time.
"Pamalot! Look who's back from Spamalot." Michael leans over and nudges Jim proudly. "Pamalot, Spamalot."
"Yeah." Jim nods indulgently at Michael and then throws Pam an eyeroll when he looks away.
"How was your interview?" Pam asks, trying to sound like everything's completely normal. Only nothing is normal and it feels crazy to be standing here making small talk in front of Michael after Jim just asked her out on a date.
"Good," Jim says. "I mean, I guess it went well enough." He shrugs as though it doesn't matter.
"That's our Brave Sir Jim, always self-depreciating," Michael says. "But really, now that the top candidate--me--has removed himself from consideration, who else are they gonna to give it to?" He attempts to chuck Jim on the shoulder, misses, and hits the edge of the chair instead.
"Karen," Dwight interjects. "They could offer the job to Karen. I would. She's professional and a sharp dresser."
"Don't forget the appearance of intelligence," Jim says. "I hear that's what employers are really looking for nowadays."
Pam feels a sudden stab of guilt at the mention of Karen, who is nowhere to be seen. Did she come back to Scranton with Jim? Did they break up? God, she hopes they broke up. And then she feels bad, because that doesn't seem like the kind of thing a nice person would hope for.
"I hope she does get the job," Jim says, his eyes meeting Pam's. "I think she'd be great for it."
There are approximately eleven hundred questions that Pam is dying to ask Jim right now, only she can't. Not in front of Michael and Dwight and the rest of the office. She tries to read Jim's expression for some hint of... anything, but he's wearing his deadpan face and she can't even decide if that's good or bad.
So she just stands there awkwardly, looking at Jim. He looks back at her, but he's not smiling anymore and neither is she.
The main phone rings, giving her an excuse to hurry back to her desk. After she transfers the call to Kelly's extension she checks the voicemail. There's only one, but she continues to doodle on the message pad, pretending to write down several long and very complicated messages so she doesn't have to look up at Jim.
Michael hangs around for an interminable amount of time, talking to Jim and Dwight about his favorite Broadway musical, Starlight Express. After a near-disastrous attempt to demonstrate some of the "roller-ography" in the big finale, Michael finally goes back to his office to "work."
Approximately 30 seconds later, an IM window pops open on Pam's computer.
Jim Halpert: Hi.
Pam hasn't IMed with Jim in nearly a year. They used to kill hours of every day sending goofy messages back and forth, but that came to an end when he transferred. Now she pretty much just gets IMs from Michael, who seems to view it primarily as a medium for telling knock knock jokes.
Pam Beesly: Hi yourself.
She can hear Jim's keyboard clacking and it gives her a silly girlish thrill to know he's typing a message for her.
Jim Halpert: Is 7:00 OK for dinner?
She smiles to herself as she types her reply.
Pam Beesly: Great! What should I wear?
Jim Halpert: A snorkel mask and a pair of patent leather thigh boots.
Pam Beesly: So we're going to dinner as Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in Pretty Woman?
Pam Beesly: Followed by snorkeling?
Jim Halpert: Damn you Beesly! You've sussed out my big surprise.
Jim Halpert: Now I'll have to come up with a new plan.
Pam Beesly: Too bad. You would have made a nice Richard Gere.
Jim Halpert: Forget the snorkel mask. Bring the thigh boots.
Pam giggles out loud and then covers her mouth with her hand to stifle it. When she looks up Jim is turned around in his seat grinning at her. She feels giddy, thinking about their date, but a little nervous, too. And there are still some things she really has to ask him about. She screws up her courage and types.
Pam Beesly: Where's Karen?
There's a slight pause before she hears him start typing a response.
Jim Halpert: New York.
Not exactly the detailed and satisfying explanation she was looking for.
Pam Beesly: ...
Pam Beesly: Elaborate, please.
Jim Halpert: Staying with friends for the weekend.
She types her next question and then hesitates before hitting enter. It's possible IM is not the perfect medium for this conversation, but she has to know.
Pam Beesly: Did you two break up?
There's a long pause this time before he answers and Pam starts to feel like she may actually die from the suspense. She tries not to think about what she'll do if he says no.
Jim Halpert: Yes.
Pam's breath catches in her throat. She sneaks a peak at Jim but he's not facing her and the back of his head tells her nothing.
Pam Beesly: I'm sorry.
He doesn't start typing right away and she begins to panic a little, afraid that she's screwed everything up again by giving him the third degree, when she finally hears the tapping of his keyboard.
Jim Halpert: I hope not, because I broke up with her to be with you.
Pam's stomach does a series of cartwheels. When she looks up, Jim's watching her and he looks almost apprehensive. Until he sees her smiling, and then his whole face lights up in that way that she's missed so dearly.
Pam Beesly: <3
Across the room she hears Jim laugh softly.
Jim Halpert: Wow, you're really 14 aren't you?
Pam Beesly: FIFTEEN and 3 months, I'll have you know.
Jim Halpert: Now I'm nervous the To Catch a Predator guy is going to bust us.
Pam Beesly: Don't worry, I have a really good fake I.D.
Jim Halpert: <3
Continue to Chapter 2