A/N: OK. So I'm still obsessed. And this is what you get when I get a break from weeks of non-stop work.
As if work was able to stop me anyway.
This time I'm not making any claims. I promise angst and deliver fluff. It's my hopelessly romantic nature I suppose. So here's another version of what happens "after" - and this time I'm not promising anything.
Except - of course - the end result. (:
His eyes are bloodshot and there's a shadow of stubble on his face. He looks like he's been up all night. She's never seen him look like that. Not even after she knows he's been out partying. This time, she knows she's the reason.
She's huddled with him in the stairwell and she's terrified someone will discover them at any moment. That someone will overhear.
"So that's how it's going to be." He whispers harshly.
Roy uses the stairs all the time, is all she can think at the moment.
She's not paying close enough attention. She doesn't hear his question. "What?"
He's angry. Angrier than she's ever seen him. Which brings the thought to her mind, has she ever seen him angry? Oh yeah. Halloween, she remembers then. And…another time. When she'd given up the idea of the internship. She doesn't connect that she's the common denominator between those two events.
He's still talking. "We're going to do it this way? Pretend that nothing happened? Go around just like everything's fine?"
Her voice shakes as she replies - it's more of a plea actually. "I don't know why we can't."
He stares at her and it dawns on him. "Of course you don't. I understand perfectly now."
Her eyes dart around her, hoping to spot an escape. "What?"
His words sound cruel, even to his own ears but he's beyond caring. "Look at you. You're in a constant state of denial. I should have noticed before. Its how you've stayed with him for ten years. How you've let him string you along all this time."
She quivers as she stares up at him, her eyes brimming with tears. "That's not fair."
He bites his lip and shakes his head at her. "Yeah - well. You know what? I'm tired of being fair. I just want a straight answer Pam. For once…"
She's crying now. "Don't do this."
He wants to stop but he can't. He simply stares at her.
She turns away and hugs her arms around herself. "Please. Not now. Don't do this…here. Just…please. Don't."
"Why? Am I making you uncomfortable?" He asks, sarcastically.
She wants to hold her hands over her ears and start to hum so she can't hear him. She wants him to stop looking at her like that. So she begs him. "Please, stop."
He gently but firmly turns her to face him again. "I'm not going to go away." He promises her.
"Jim." She sobs.
He keeps talking, hoping she'll finally come to her senses. "I'm not going to back off. I'm done with that. Sorry if it inconveniences you but I'm not going to just forget that when I kissed you - you kissed me back."
He releases her finally, his voice laced with pain as he slowly backs away from her. "You kissed me back Pam. You know you did."
"You kissed me back." He whispers in her ear right before she runs past him and out the door.
She hangs her head as she walks up to the house. She reaches into the mailbox and is greeted with a pile of little lavender envelopes. She sits at the kitchen table and begins to open them.
Sorry but our thoughts will be with you!
You and Roy are so perfect together!
She sighs as she flips through the responses. She and Roy? Perfect together? Really? Do people really think that?
Does she really think that?
She feels sick to her stomach. Pam. Face it. This isn't how you should feel when you're weeks from getting married.
She has an overwhelming desire to run. And then what Pam? You'll be like that bride, faking your own kidnapping. And it will only be because you're too scared to admit the truth.
She keeps thinking of him, of the way she felt when he kissed her. How for a brief, glorious moment everything seemed…right. He has a point, Pam. You know he's not crazy. You kissed him back.
And you liked it.
A whole weekend goes by and still there are no answers. They're at a standstill, a standoff. Every time he gazes at her desk, she looks away. He's light headed from the lack of sugar; he hasn't had a jellybean since last Thursday.
He sits alone in the break room and eats his lunch. He can't believe that he can possibly feel worse than he does until…
Perfect. This is just what he needs. "What's up Roy?"
"Listen. Pammy - she's been acting weird lately and since you're - you know - friends I just thought maybe you could talk to her for me."
Stop calling her Pammy. The name doesn't fit her. She's Pam. Just Pam. Simply, Pam. Perfect…Pam. "Let me get this straight. You want me to talk to your fiancé? For you?" He gazes at him open mouthed.
"Yeah. You know. She gets started and all I can hear is…" Roy laughs and makes a puppet like motion with his hand. "Blah, blah, blah."
I could listen to her talk for hours. You have no idea what you have. You have no idea what I wouldn't give to trade places with you. And it's over. He decides. He's done pretending that what he has is enough.
"Sorry Roy. Can't help you." He says as he moves to stand.
Something wrong with your hearing, dumbass? He takes a steadying breath. He bumps Roy against the door frame as he makes his way back to his desk. He doesn't care that he might be pissing him off in the process.
He turns back and gives him a glare, his voice dangerously soft. "You want to know what's going on with her. You're going to have to ask her yourself."
She sits at her desk and remembers. She remembers her first day. She remembers how he made her laugh ten minutes after she walked in the door.
She remembers how at lunch he pulled her aside and whispered something about how Michael means well but has 'foot in mouth' disease - and to take anything he says with a grain of salt. He told her that Dwight would be a constant source of amusement, and to never, ever, EVER joke around about cats when Angela was in earshot.
She knew - right then - that she'd be friends with him forever.
And so they were. Friends. Best friends. Just friends.
Except she knows now it's a lie. Her head is spinning so fast, she thinks it might burst. Friends don't say…I'm in love with you. Friends don't make you want to say it back. Friends don't kiss each other.
Not like that.
She stands to go to the fax machine but as she does she catches his eye and the papers slip from her grasp. As she crouches down to pick them up the thoughts fly through her mind. Friends don't make your stomach flutter when they look at you. Friends don't look at you.
Not like that.
And she knows she can't keep doing this. Pretending that she doesn't know her world is crumbling in front of her eyes, that the clock isn't ticking, that the calendar isn't moving, that it's not three weeks and two days before her wedding. She can't pretend anymore that she hasn't noticed that she's stopped making plans, that she's simply just stopped doing anything.
She gazes over at him and all she can think is maybe it's time to start again.