Series: The Office US
Summary: One of the camera guys decides to let Pam see certain parts of the doumentary a bit early. Expected and wished-for results ensue. Warning: I'm a fluff o'holic.
Jeff Woods sat in his car outside the Tikki Post, staring at the package held in his hands. For about the millionth time, he asked himself what the hell he was doing.
This was crazy. It was unethical, it was outside all accepted boundaries for his profession, and it could very likely get him fired. Not to mention it could easily be considered a betrayal of someone he considered a friend.
But he couldn’t silence that little voice deep down inside his head that told him that despite everything, this was the right thing to do. She had to know. How could he let her go through with it without knowing? He wasn’t telling her what to do—he was just giving her information. And if he was wrong about her own feelings, well, then…nobody would ever know. She certainly wouldn’t tell anyone.
But what if he got caught?
His grandfather had once told him—if you ever had a situation where you didn’t know what to do, just ask yourself this: What will you wish you had done when you look back 50 years from now?
He sighed and got out of the car.
Ten minutes later he had changed his mind again, but it was too late—the package had already been sent.
Pam looked up to see the Fed-Ex delivery guy coming through the door.
“Hi Rob,” she said, standing up.
“Hey Pam. Just one package for you today,” he said as he placed it on the counter.
He handed Pam his electronic scanner, and as she signed she asked, “What’s the weather like out there?”
“Oh, not too bad. It won’t get really hot for a few more weeks. I’m really dreading it.”
She handed the scanner back to him and said, “I bet.”
“Yeah, well. Thanks, Pam. See you next time.”
“Have a good one,” she answered with a smile, but he was already out the door. Pam knew he hated the cameras and was making his escape before they came over. She hated the cameras, too, but she had managed to get somewhat used to them after all this time.
Pam picked up the package—it was just a standard padded Fed-Ex envelope, and she was already halfway to Michael’s office when she realized it had her own name on it, not his. She checked the return address—there was no name, and she didn’t recognize the address.
Curious, she returned to her desk and pulled out her scissors. A few seconds later a small rectangular package wrapped in plain brown paper fell onto the desk, along with a single sheet of paper, folded in half. Her brow furrowed, Pam picked up the paper and opened it to see a short note, typewritten and unsigned:
“Pam, open this only in private! DO NOT open this at work, especially in front of the cameras. DO NOT open in front of Roy.”
Pam read the note again. What in the world? Was this a joke? Instinctively, she looked over at Jim’s desk. He was on the phone with a client and completely oblivious to her gaze. Next, Pam searched for the cameras. Thankfully, one was busy filming the accounting team, while the other was in the break room with Toby and Ryan.
She peered around suspiciously at the rest of her coworkers. Nobody seemed to be paying any attention to her.
She looked back down at the package. What could it be? Why couldn’t she open it in front of Roy? Was it some kind of wedding-prank?
The temptation was just too great to resist. She seized the lightweight package and was about to head to the ladies’ room when Michael emerged from his office and approached her desk.
“Pam-a-lam-a!” he said, tapping her desk and leaning over. “Watcha got there?”
“This? Oh…uh…nothing.” She said the first thing that popped into her head. “Just…you know…wedding stuff.”
Michael rolled his eyes.
“Well, if you feel like doing some actual work for a change, could I see you in my office? I need help with something.”
“Sure,” Pam said, and reluctantly slipped the package and note into her purse under the desk. It would have to wait.
She spent the next two hours convincing Michael that a marriage proposal to Jan would be a “very bad idea.” By the time he had finally given in, it was time to send her faxes and head home.
Jim smiled at her as he passed her desk on his way out.
“Night, Beesley. See you tomorrow.”
“’Night, Jim,” she answered.
Feeling sad, she watched him go. Jim never waited to walk out with her anymore. Ever since that day they had argued about the internship, he had grown more and more distant. They were still friends, of course, and put on a nice façade of joking around like they always had. But Pam couldn’t shake the feeling that he was pulling away from her. It made her sad, and the thought that she had disappointed him bothered her more than she liked to admit.
And he hardly ever said her name anymore. It was always “Beesley.” She hated that.
Suddenly, Pam noticed that one of the cameras was focused on her. She cleared her throat and quickly finished clearing off her desk. As she grabbed her purse, she noticed the package. She had almost forgotten it in thinking about Jim, but now her curiosity came back in full force. Still aware of the camera, though, she stuffed it down so it wouldn’t be seen and stood to leave.
The cameraman dropped his equipment down slightly, and Pam knew he had stopped filming for the time being.
“’Night Pam,” he said, and waved.
“Good night, Jeff.”
Thankfully, Roy decided to go out for a beer with Darryl, so after he dropped her off at home she had the place to herself. She barely made it inside the door before she seized the package out of her purse, her curiosity now at a peak. She ripped off the paper to reveal an unlabeled videotape, and another note.
“Pam, This videotape contains information that I, as your friend, believe you have a right to know. I have no expectations of an outcome, so rest assured that however you choose to react to the contents of this tape I will pass absolutely no judgment on you. You would have seen this eventually, but I thought better sooner than later. Please understand that I could lose my job for doing this—please tell no one. I wish you nothing but the best, whatever path you choose, and please forgive me for my interference. Your friend, Jeff Woods.”
Jeff. The cameraman. A videotape.
Had he caught Roy doing something? Pam’s stomach dropped.
She went quickly into the living room and popped the tape into the VCR.
She crossed the room to the couch and sank down, just staring at the TV across from her. It was a big-screen-TV, thanks to Roy and his obsession with Monday-Night football. Normally just the sight of that TV irritated her (she had wanted to spend the money on her engagement ring), but tonight she had forgotten all about that.
She was terrified—she was sure she didn’t want to see whatever was on that tape, but she also couldn’t stand not knowing. Finally, she lifted the remote and hit the necessary buttons.
There, larger than life, was the conference room at Dunder Mifflin, filled with Pam’s co-workers. Michael was talking about something in the background, but the camera had zoomed in on her and Jim. The on-camera Pam fell asleep, her head falling to rest on Jim’s shoulder. Pam, horrified with embarrassment, watched for Jim’s reaction, but he was smiling. And then he closed his eyes.
“What is this?” Pam asked herself, but there was already something new coming up on the screen.
An undetermined amount of time later, Pam was still sitting frozen on the couch. Night had fallen outside, and the only light illuminating the room came from the glow of the TV set, which now displayed a steady stream of static. Pam made no move to turn it off, or to turn on the lights. She sat in semi-darkness, her world turned completely upside down.
Jim loved her.
How could she have not seen it before?
Despite the white nothingness that was showing on the screen now, Pam was replaying it all in her head, over and over again.
Jim, convincing Michael not to give her the longest engagement award.
Jim, that same night, looking shocked and pleased and embarrassed all at once when she drunkenly kisses him.
Jim, telling the camera that the only reason he stays at Dunder Mifflin is because of her.
Jim, placing a note with his “real” feelings into her teapot at Christmas, and then quietly stealing it back without her knowledge.
Jim, standing on the deck of a boat, trying to tell her something before she walks away to leave him standing alone.
Jim, finally building up his courage moments before Roy steals her away again.
Then the video had switched to a different theme.
Pam, watching Jim with admiration as he outshines Roy on the basketball court.
Pam, beaming up at Jim when he rescues Michael from total karaoke humiliation.
Pam, watching with obvious jealousy when Katie comes to pick Jim up for lunch the day Ryan starts that fire.
Pam, the night of the Dundies, unable to take her eyes off of Jim as he speaks to the camera.
Pam, still drunk, almost asking Jim a daring question until she spots the cameras watching them and changes her mind.
The grand finale was the cruelest cut of all.
Pam, telling Jim about the internship opportunity and his unconditional support.
Pam, telling Roy the same thing and his disdain of all her dreams.
Pam, telling the camera that she wouldn’t get the house with the terrace—because they don’t make them like that in Scranton.
And finally, Pam, breaking down in tears.
Sitting there in the blue glow, Pam felt tears running down her face again. How blind she had been.
She lifted the remote and hit rewind. She wanted to see it again.
Sometime later, Pam heard the garage door going up. Roy was home.
She lifted the remote and turned the TV off. Now she was sitting in total darkness, but she didn’t move from the couch. If this had to happen, better it happen now while she still had the courage.
She heard the door open, and the kitchen light came on. The clink of his keys hitting the counter, his boots on the tile floor. Then his silhouette was standing in the doorway.
“Babe? Is that you? Why are you sitting in the dark?”
He reached over and turned on the lamp. He saw her face.
She looked up at him and opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out. They seemed to be lodged in her throat.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She had to do this.
She opened her eyes.
“Roy, I'm leaving you.”
The first thing she saw when she walked into the office the next morning was Jeff the camera guy waiting anxiously for her at her desk. When he noticed her, he took a few steps in her direction and then stopped.
But he didn't seem to know what to say next.
Pam just smiled tiredly at him. She took his hand in hers and gave him a quick peck on the cheek.
“It's okay, Jeff. You did the right thing. Thank you.”
He looked like a huge weight had been lifted.
“It's all going to be in the documentary, you know, but that's not coming out until this July...and I thought that would be too late...”
Pam just nodded.
“It's okay,” she said again.
Just then, Jeff's producer called him from across the room. He gave Pam a small smile and walked away.
She put her jacket on the rack and sat down behind the receptionist desk. She sighed. It was going to be a very long day—she was exhausted, both mentally and physically. Her cousin Joanie had tried to get her to stay home, but Pam had refused. She couldn't wait the entire weekend to see Jim.
Jim, who was walking through the door at that very moment. Pam's heart started to pound.
“'Morning, Beesley,” he said cheerfully as he passed her desk.
“Hi, Jim,” she flustered, feeling like a complete idiot, her face hot. She watched as Jim dropped his bag off at his desk and headed for the kitchen to put his lunch in the fridge. It was his morning routine.
It was just now starting to occur to Pam that she had not planned this part out. How was she going to tell Jim what had happened? Exactly how much was she going to tell him? Should she let him know about the tape? How would he react?
She spent the morning envisioning different scenarios in her head. All of them ended with Jim declaring his love, but getting to that point was the hard part. “Hey, Jim...I dumped Roy. So how about it, you big stud?” didn't quite seem the thing. Somehow, though, Pam felt she should be the one to put herself forward, if she could just work up the courage.
In the end, though, the decision was taken out of her hands. Roy showed up just before noon and asked to speak to her. She refused at first, but he insisted, growing louder with every word. She finally agreed to have lunch with him, just to keep him from exposing the situation to the entire office.
It turned out to be a mistake. They sat in his truck and rehashed the same arguments they had gone through the night before. Roy promising to change, Roy begging her to reconsider, Roy finally growing angry and frustrated. Somehow, Pam stood her ground. When he finally started to yell, she got out of the truck and went back upstairs. Roy followed her a few minutes later.
He didn't come up to her, but instead strode angrily towards Michael's office.
“Roy, what are you doing?” Pam called out, coming out from behind her desk. She felt the eyes of everyone in the office on them, including and especially Jim's.
“I'm quitting,” Roy said briefly and kept walking.
“No, you don't have to do that. Roy...” She tried to reach out and stop him, but he shook her off.
“Of course I do,” he said bitterly. “We can't both work here now and you want to do that stupid internship thing. So I'm leaving. You get everything you want, Pam, and I get nothing. I hope that makes you happy since apparently you've been so miserable all these years.”
“Roy, that's not fair...”
But he had already walked into Michael's office. Pam was left standing alone. She turned to see everyone in the office staring at her. They all looked stunned. Everyone but Jim—when Pam turned to meet his eye, his face was turned away.
Suddenly, the full impact of what had happened in the past twenty-four hours overwhelmed her and she burst into sobs.
In the end, it was Phyllis and Kelly who came to comfort her.
Somehow, Pam made it through the rest of the day. No declarations of love were forthcoming from Jim. In fact, much to Pam's distress he stayed permanently entrenched at his desk. Once, she imagined she had caught him staring the way he always used to do, but then she dismissed the idea as wishful thinking.
She wasn't sure what she had been expecting, but this wasn't it. He wasn't supposed to keep playing the aloof friend once he knew she was free. He was supposed to...to...
She didn't know what. But he was supposed to do something, she was sure of that.
Finally, at the end of the day when she had sent her faxes and was getting ready to leave, she looked up to see him standing in front of her.
“Ready to go?” he asked casually.
“Yeah, let me just grab my purse...”
For the first time in months, they went down in the elevator together. They rode in silence, and it wasn't until they had walked out into the parking lot that Jim spoke.
“Rough day, huh?”
Pam gave a snort.
“Yeah, you could say that.”
“You'll be okay, though.”
Pam sighed. “Yeah, I'll be okay.”
“Do you have a place to stay?”
“The house is mine—my great-aunt left it to me. I'm staying with my cousin Joanie this weekend to give Roy a chance to move out.”
“Well, that's good.” He paused, then said, “Are you really going to take that internship?”
“Yeah,” she answered. “If it's not too late. I left a message with Jan today and I'm hoping she'll get back to me on Monday.”
“I think that's great, Pam. Really.”
Pam shrugged. “I should have taken it when it was first offered to me.”
“That doesn't matter now. What's important is that you're doing it.”
They had reached her car.
“Well, this is me,” Pam said, feeling extremely awkward.
“Yep,” Jim said. “Try to have a good weekend, Pam.”
“Thanks, Jim,” she answered past the lump in her throat. “You too.”
“See you Monday,” he said, and walked away.
Pam got herself into the car and sat there, her hands glued to the wheel, taking deep breaths. She was trying desperately not to cry.
Why had he still been so aloof? Was it possible she had interpreted the tape the wrong way?
It wasn't until she was halfway home that it occurred to her that not only had he walked her out for the first time in ages, but that he had called her “Pam” several times.
A week passed, and Pam was starting to have serious doubts again. Apparently she was too late—Jim might have cared for her once, but he had clearly moved on now. A week, and the only difference in their relationship was that he had fallen back into the routine of walking her out every day.
They talked, they joked, they laughed. But nothing more.
It was a very hard week for Pam. She had hoped to keep herself busy. After all, she had a wedding to cancel. As it turned out, though, canceling a wedding was ten times easier than putting one together. Forty-five minutes and a few phone calls was all it took.
When she wasn't at work, she spent her time wandering aimlessly around her house. It had never seemed so big and empty, even though most of the furniture was still there. And it was hard to sleep at night without Roy beside her. She had never realized how used she had gotten to his warmth and the sound of his steady breathing.
Roy. She spent a lot of time on him, too. She felt terrible about what she had done. He called her a lot, refusing to believe that things were really over. She guessed it shouldn't be a surprise that it would take more than one evening to end a relationship that had spanned over ten years. It was hard to keep telling him no, hard to stay strong when he cried. She told herself that it was better for him in the long run, but that didn't do much to stop the feelings of guilt.
It took forever, but finally the week did pass, and Pam found herself walking out with Jim on a Friday afternoon once again. By now they were able to chat casually.
“So, I saw the trailer for the next X-Men movie coming out. It looks awesome,” he told her.
“Oooh, I can't wait to see that. Wolverine is so hot!” Pam sighed dramatically.
“Thanks, Pam, but that's more than I needed to know.” But he was smiling.
“Oh, come on Jim,” she teased. “Like you don't have a thing for Jean Grey.”
“Actually, I'm more of a Wonder-Woman man myself. I think it's the gold bracelets. Too sexy.”
“Are you sure it's not the cleavage-bearing, too-tight leotard?”
Jim considered. “Hmm...maybe you're right. I'll have to think about it.”
They took the last few paces to her car in silence. There they paused, and Jim cleared his throat. Somehow the mood shifted very quickly and the air filled with tension.
“So, anyway...” Jim said. “I was wondering...would you like to go see it with me? When it comes out?”
Pam was suddenly having trouble breathing.
“Like on a date?” she asked before she could stop herself.
Jim shrugged, then looked her in the eye and nodded. “Yeah, like on a date.”
“Yes,” Pam said, a bit too quickly and a bit too loudly. Then, more calmly, “Yes, I'd like that.”
Jim grinned, and Pam couldn't help grinning back. The tension between them had flown away as quickly as it had built up.
Then a thought occurred to her.
“Wait...that movie doesn't come out until the end of May. Jim, did you just ask me out over a month in advance?”
Jim smiled sheepishly. “Well...yeah.”
“But we're not going to go out together until then?”
Jim's face turned slightly pink and he stared down at his feet.
“I just thought that maybe a month...maybe that would be enough time...” he drifted off.
“Enough time for what, Jim?”
He looked up at her again.
“I don't want to be your rebound guy, Pam,” he said simply and honestly. “I don't want to mess this up.”
If Pam had thought she was happy a few moments before, it was nothing to the effect those words had on her. Suddenly everything was made clear.
“You won't be my rebound guy, Jim, I promise.” She paused, thinking. She reflected on the past week, on how she was still having trouble sleeping alone, and how she had almost no friends that were her own, and how things still weren't completely finished with Roy.
“And I guess you're right,” she continued. “Maybe I do need some time to be on my own before I move on to anything else.”
Jim took a deep breath and nodded. “Okay.”
“So,” she smiled. “What time are you going to pick me up?”
He checked his watch.
“How about...Seven o'clock, five weeks from now?”
“It's a date, Jim Halpert. Don't you dare stand me up.”
“Don't worry. I'll be there.”
Pam drove home on a cloud, stopping only once to pick up a bag of Jeff- the-camera-guy's favorite candy.
She figured it was the least she could do.