Pam was still sitting in her chair in the conference room a full ten minutes after Josie and Dave had wrapped up their talking head sequence. She'd slipped her shoes off and rested her feet on the edge of the chair across from her - the chair Josie had been sitting in performing her associate producer duties. Pam's hands were resting in her lap, and she was staring at them as if they were the most fascinating things she'd ever seen. The fact was she was looking at them, but she wasn't seeing them. She was playing and replaying the scene in her mind. Jim bursting into the room, asking her out to dinner, only to disappear as soon as she agreed. What was going on?
Her heart rate had finally slowed to more regular beat, and she wasn't feeling dizzy anymore. But as the adrenaline high wore off, the questions returned in full force. What was he doing back from New York already? And why did he ask her out to dinner? She was too well trained in expecting the worse to think that he'd driven all the way back to Scranton because he needed to go out with her. He must have something to tell her, something more important than a simple announcement at her desk would allow. And for as much as she wanted to believe otherwise, she knew it had to be bad news.
That's why she wanted to continue to sit in the conference room alone. Because the longer she put off walking back out there, the longer she could put off whatever announcement was awaiting her. She'd been saying all day how okay she was going to be with the idea of Jim moving to New York, of the two of them moving forward in separate directions. She'd had enough practice pretending to know that she would be able to put that facade on each day if she needed to. But to be faced with the reality was a different story. The thought of Jim walking out of her life once again - and this time for good - made her want to curl into a ball and die. Especially since she had finally spoken her mind - spoken from her heart - and it hadn't seemed to make a bit of difference. Today looked like it was going to be the hardest day of her life.
She was startled out of her reverie by a knocking at the door. She looked up just as Jim pushed the door open slightly and came in, shutting the door behind him. He gave her such a glowing smile that she frown in confusion.
"Are you okay, Pam?" He asked, he smile slipping away.
"Did you ask me out to dinner to tell me you were leaving Scranton again?" Pam took a deep breath. "Because if that's the case, I think it would be better if we just forgo dinner and you tell me now."
Jim couldn't have looked more shocked if she had slapped him. "No," he replied, sounding a little shaken. "That's not why I asked you out at all."
Pam looked up in surprise. "No?"
Jim walked over to her. "Do you really think I would do something like that?" He waved his hand at her. "No, don't answer that." He said down in the chair next to her, leaning forward with his hands clasped together, his elbows resting on his knees. He didn't say anything, and Pam had no idea what to say. His defeated posture told her she had completely misunderstood, but she didn't know how to fix it.
"So do you already know if you got the New York job?" She finally asked.
"I've been thinking an awful lot about what you said at the lake last week," he said, ignoring her question. "but I didn't fully appreciate it until today." He sighed and sat back, rubbing his hands on his thighs.
He pulled something out of his shirt pocket. "I came back because this fell out of my sales reports." Pam recognized the pink memo slip immediately, and blushed guiltily.
"I was just trying to wish you luck," she said lamely. "I didn't mean for it to embarrass you."
"Oh, it didn't," he replied. "Wallace never saw it. But I couldn't keep my eyes off it." Jim's smile started to return. "This stupid gold yogurt lid is the best gift I've received all year." He turned to look at her. "And I realized I'd never get another one if I didn't stay where I belonged."
Where he belonged. His words were ringing in her head as Pam felt laughter bubbling up, even as tears were stinging her eyes. "You can have as many of them as you want," she replied, wiping a tear out of the corner of her eye.
"I was hoping you'd say that, actually," he said, tentatively covered one her hands with his, and felt a surge of relief as she clutched it eagerly. "So you're clear now, right? It's a dinner date tonight, which is usually considered a happy occasion."
Pam couldn't take her eyes of their entwined hands. "Yes," she nodded. "Definitely a happy thing."
"Is seven good for you then?"
She looked up. "Yes - anytime, really. I'll be ready."
"Great," Jim replied. He stood up, reluctantly giving up his hold on her hand. "I'm going to get going, I need to shower and do a few things." As he walked to the door, Pam stood and called his name.
"Karen?" She asked, hating that she needed to know. But she had to be sure what to hope for tonight.
"She stayed in New York."
"But are you - "
"I'm back where I belong," he said firmly. "There's nothing you need to worry about."
She nodded as he walked out, leaving the door open behind him. She followed almost immediately after, thinking that despite the baggage they both needed to clear out between them, she'd never felt so hopeful. Or so happy.