"Back Around"

by Denise (kdsch123)

Rating: PG

Characters: Roy/Pam

Word Count:

Spoilers: Through "Back from Vacation" for sure.

Acknowledgements: Gervais and Merchant, NBC and BBC own it all. Which is just as well, since I'd probably break "The Office" if it were mine….

Summary: Roy begins his campaign to win Pam back. I love the idea of Jim/Pam, but something about Roy/Pam, now that he's trying, just breaks my heart. I fell asleep last night thinking about this story, and woke up thinking about it.

He'd known her long enough to know when she'd been crying. Long enough for the first question in his mind to be "What did I do now?". Even if it was irrational to think he'd been the reason this time. Instead of asking if Pam if she was okay, Roy made the joke about the honeymoon. Pam laughed, pleasantly surprised at his comment, Roy felt the awkward silence lift a little more between them. When inventory ended, he walked her to her new (foreign!) car, talking about the biggest story of the day, Michael and Jan Levinson's trip to Jamaica. Pam had smiled at him and squeezed his hand a little before she got into her car. Roy waited until she drove away to climb into his truck and go home. Home. To the place he slept and ate in, but hadn't been home since Pam moved out. Music played on the car stereo, but Roy turned it off. He turned down Pam's new street, telling himself that he wanted to make sure she got home okay, but really just wanting to see her again, even for a second. And, magically, there she was, struggling with a large garbage can. He pulled into the driveway and stopped the truck.

"Need help?" Roy asked, and Pam blinked at him, surprised, not letting go of the garbage can, which was nearly as tall as she was.

"I do. What are you doing here?" Pam asked, smiling. "You don't live anywhere near here."

Roy took the garbage can handle from her and pulled it to the curb. "You looked upset earlier and..." He trailed off, feeling shy. "Wanted to make sure you got home okay." Wiping his hands on his pants, Roy turned back to Pam. "So, you're home. I guess I'd better go."

"Thanks." Pam folded her arms over her chest, hugging herself. "That was heavy."

"No problem. I'll drive by every Thursday night to take your garbage out." He grinned and Pam smiled again. "I got used to it being my job." My job was also making sure you were okay, but I didn't do that half as well. "Well, my work here is done. Go on in. I'll wait. Just wave from the window when you're inside and the door is locked."

"You don't have to do that." Pam told him, looking at him strangely. "You haven't done that," She shook her head. "Ever."

"Well, I used to wait until you were inside, when you lived with your parents." Roy continued. "You just never saw me. I had the black Mustang then."

"Right." Pam asked, remembering. "You're right. I never did see you do that." She smiled and reached out to touch his arm. "By the way, my mom loved the Christmas present you gave her." It wasn't quite what she wanted to say right then, Roy realized, but he understood about that. It was a language he and Pam had been speaking to each other forever. It translated to "I miss you", and Roy took the small tug at his sleeve as a good sign.

"Good." Roy nodded. "You'd better go. It's late. Last I heard, Michael wasn't closing the office tomorrow, so..." He pointed to the door. "Go." Again, he spoke in their own language, and Pam seemed to understand, because she looked a little sad. "I care about you." He'd done a great job at making her think he didn't care, that even small things were almost too much.

"Yeah." Pam nodded, too, letting go of his sleeve. "Good night, Roy." She turned to walk up the path to her door, not looking back until she got to the steps. "You really aren't going to wait, are you?"

"I'm waiting." Roy leaned against his truck. "Not going anywhere until I see you're up in your apartment and safe. Maybe I should walk you up." He said and she smiled.

"No, I'll go up alone." Pam waved. "Good night." She went up the steps and inside. The light over the door went out. After a minute, Pam appeared in the window, and waved.

"Okay." Roy looked up and waved back. "Night." He smiled and got in his truck. He'd gotten about halfway home when his phone rang.

"Hello?" Roy answered, a bit confused. No one called him this late.

"It's Pam." Her voice made him stop the truck, and he looked at the phone, surprised. "Roy?"

"Hey, Pam." Roy eased up on the brake and continued driving home. "Everything okay?"

"Oh, yeah." Pam said. "I was listening to my messages, and the drafting table I ordered came in. I was hoping I could ask you for a favor."

"Name it." He said, keeping himself calm, when all he wanted to do was cheer.

"Could you help me bring it home? I can probably set it up myself, but carrying it up the stairs might be problem." She paused, and Roy imagined her holding the phone, looking small, afraid she'd asked too much. "Do you mind?"

Roy let himself breathe. "I don't mind. Tomorrow, after work?"

"Yeah." He could hear her smile. "I really appreciate that, Roy."

"No problem. See you in the morning." He nodded, and when she said goodbye, Roy hung up, dropping the phone on the seat next to him and taking a deep breath. She needed him. Pam needed him and asked him for help. Roy parked his truck and walked into the apartment, for the first time in months not thinking about how empty it felt. He looked to the corner of the living room where his treadmill was and saw a drafting table instead. She still needed him.

Friday

Pam skipped up the stairs, ahead of Roy, digging for keys in her bag. "I really appreciate this, Roy." They had gone straight from work to the art store to pick up the table, and now Roy was working on getting the courage together to ask Pam to dinner, after the table was set up. He'd already told her he'd help with that too.

"No problem." He said, carrying the box with the drafting table. "It's not heavy…much."

Pam turned on the landing and smiled. "Sorry."

"Just open the door, Pammy, okay?" Roy grunted, reverting to his old nickname for her out of habit. "And get out of the way…"

"Oh, right." Pam opened the door and quickly darted behind it, pulling it as far open as she could. Roy followed, dragging the box through the door and leaning it against the wall. "Thanks. Can I get you something to drink?"

"Yeah." Roy nodded, taking off his jacket. "I guess I can skip the gym later.

Pam giggled and disappeared into the kitchen, returning with a glass of iced tea. "Here. No lemon."

"Thanks." He took it and looked at the box. "Let's get this set up and then I'll take you to dinner." Roy felt his throat close and for a minute, he thought Pam might say no. "You know, to thank me for helping you with moving it."

"That means I should take you to dinner." Pam replied quietly, and Roy shook his head.

"No, it doesn't." He took a long drink of the iced tea and then set his glass down. "I'll take you to dinner."

"Okay." Pam smiled. "Fine. I'll get the tools."

They went to dinner at Chili's. It was close and familiar. They had talked about everything and nothing, and the only shadow that was cast over the night was the appearance of Halpert and that new girl he was seeing the one from the Stamford branch of Dunder Mifflin. Pam had gotten quiet then, and Roy watched her eyes as the other couple left the restaurant, not seeing Roy and Pam at all.

"You know," He said, clearing his throat. "I never liked Chili's much."

"No?" Pam asked, looking up at him. "We used to come here a lot."

"I know." Roy said. "Crazy, huh?" They smiled at that, eyes meeting and this time, neither Pam or Roy looked away.

She reached across the table and took his hand. "I don't think so." Pam nodded. "Thank you."

"Oh, for the table? Don't mention it. It looks good where you made me set it up." Roy looked down at Pam's hand in his. "I don't know why I didn't want one before." The soft smile on her face faded away, and Roy realized he'd reminded her of the past and gone too far.

"You said we'd have to move the treadmill." Pam reminded him, letting go of his hand. "That's why."

"I was wrong." Roy blurted and Pam frowned. "We should have moved the treadmill." She stirred her drink and nodded. "I'm sorry, Pam."

"Me too." Pam sighed, and sipped at her margarita, not looking at him. "I'm sorry too."

That night, when Roy dropped her off, Pam kissed him good night in the front seat of his truck before getting out to run up the path to her door. She smiled at him from her window, waving, and Roy waved back. He could feel her lips on his still as he drove away, but behind the kiss was the message she'd sent, and the one he'd been waiting for. And that was all Roy wanted to know, the encouragement he needed to not give up. She still loved him.