Title: Choice

Rated: G

Summary: Takes place directly after the finale of Season 2. Pam faces a difficult choice.

Based on a friend's request; she asked me to write a fic based on the words lips, kiss, tears, pain, and silence.

Disclaimer: The characters within this fictional piece are the property of NBC and the producers of The Office. The author claims no ownership over the material.

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She doesn't cry until she gets home and even then it's just a few tears. She has to keep it quiet because Roy's asleep in the bedroom and she's in the kitchen with her arms folded around herself and just two tears running down her cheeks.

One tear for Jim, one tear for Roy.

She can remember the feel of Roy's lips against hers for the very first time as clearly as she can feel Jim's kiss from just moments ago. It hurts, the choice she's making, trying to make, unable to make. It physically hurts. She's shaking and her stomach aches and she thinks she might throw up.

Her engagement ring feels too tight, even though it fit perfectly that morning. She twists it and twists it and suddenly it's off, clinking against the linoleum, coming to a rest between her feet. She stares at it for a moment, tiny diamond and dull gold against a floor that needs to be mopped, before she stoops to pick it up.

She doesn't put the ring back on.

She puts it on the counter, next to the phone, and now she's staring at the phone.

Ages ago, Michael had called her on a weekend and told her to call Jim. She doesn't remember the reason for it now. Knowing Michael there probably wasn't a reason. Still, Michael gave her Jim's home number from his employee roster and she called Jim on a Saturday to bother him with whatever mundane task Michael needed. They talked for three hours and somehow Pam managed to memorize Jim's number.

She still remembers it. But she doesn't pick up the phone.

She lets the ring sit next to the phone and she stares at them both, Jim's phone number running through her head but not carrying down to her fingers, and she doesn't put the ring back on but she doesn't pick up the phone, either.

Another tear rolls down her cheek.

A tear for Jim, a tear for Roy, a tear for Pam.

There's a noise at the back of the house; Roy flushing the toilet. Then there are footsteps, Roy coming into the kitchen. Pam wipes at her eyes and turns around and walks quickly, brushing past Roy without speaking.

"Babe?" he questions, bleary-eyed and tired.

Pam slams the bedroom door and locks it.

"Pam?" Roy calls. He knocks, rattles the doorknob. "What's wrong, honey? Pam? C'mon, open the door."

Pam touches her lips with her left hand. The ring is still on the kitchen counter sitting next to the phone that she didn't pick up.

"Pam, hey, you can talk to me," Roy says. "Let me in, let me know what's wrong."

Pam doesn't answer.

"Women," she hears Roy mutter, and he walks away.

There's a phone in the bedroom, too, and she stares at that for most of the night but never picks it up.

Pam calls in sick on Monday and spends the day trying to clean house, but she always ends up back in the kitchen playing with the ring and staring at the phone. She never puts the ring on and she never picks up the phone.

On Monday night she tells Roy that she's moving out.

On Tuesday morning Ryan is sitting at Jim's desk.

End.