Pam slid down the wall and onto the floor, her elbows resting on her bent knees and the palms of her hands pushing into her eyes. She sobbed, and despite the pressure of her hands, tears still managed to make their way down her face. What the world was wrong with her? Was there ever going to be a time when she didn't take it into her own hands to destroy the very thing she wanted?
She angrily brushed the tears away and rested her head against her knees. She was completely mortified. Not only had she so brazenly thrown herself at Jim, she practically begged him to stay when he'd made it quite clear he didn't think it was a good idea. And then to top it off she had to get angry and defensive and run from the living room like a pouty child. Now she was on the floor of her own bathroom, wondering how in the world she'd ever be able to look at him again. She was sure he was regretting ever asking her out, and probably thought she was an idiot or a crazy woman to boot.
Pam sat entrenched in her misery until a knock on the door startled her. She just sat there silently, wishing he would take the hint and just go home. A minute passed, and another knock.
"You can just go home now," she called. "I'll be fine."
Her head shot up when she heard the knob turn. Opening the door a mere fraction of an inch, she clearly heard Jim's deep voice. "Don't do this, Pam. Come out and talk to me."
"I think I said more than enough, don't you?" she sighed. "You should get out while you can."
He couldn't help but chuckle at how completely hopeless she sounded. "I think it's more than a little late for that," he replied. "And if you aren't willing to come out I'm just going to have to come in." When he heard no response he opened the door slowly. Pam moved away from the wall, resting her back against the tub and bending her legs crosswise in front of her.
"Well, make yourself comfortable," she said softly, unable to meet his gaze. She kept her eyes fixed on the floor in front of her, and nervously bit the cuticle on her left thumb. She kept hoping a sinkhole would open up under her apartment and swallow them up. Jim didn't waste any time dancing around her mood. He sat down directly in front of her, his legs crossing like hers and their knees touching. He reached out and put one hand over hers.
"First of all, please look at me," he said gently. She took a somewhat shaky deep breath and lifted her head just enough to see him through some of the curls that had fallen around her face. It pained him to see that she'd been crying over something so ridiculously misunderstood, and without thinking he brushed her hair back from her face, his fingers soft against her cheek as he pulled his hand back. "That's better." He gave her hand a squeeze. "Now do I look like a man who wants to leave you tonight?"
Pam's eye grew big at his words, and he knew he had her attention. "Today as been... well today has been without a doubt the most unbelievable day of my life, Pam. I woke up this morning in New York with a possible new job in a big new city and someone who wanted to share all those things with me. Now I'm sitting here on a bathroom floor in Scranton, still at my old job, but with you, and I am happier than I have probably ever been. Ever, Pam. I have to admit I'm feeling a little dizzy about it all."
"I know," she said quietly, nodding.
"And that's not even covering what you've had to go through today. If you're half as overwhelmed as I am..." He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it gently. "Well, I probably should have waited until tomorrow to ask you out."
"No," she replied adamantly, her fingers curling around his tightly. "I'm glad you didn't wait. I wouldn't have wanted you to wait. I was stupid to make a big issue of it. I'm so sorry."
"No, don't be sorry," he said, putting his other hand on her knee. "You act as if I'm mad at you." He shook his head disbelievingly. "How could I possibly be made at you for wanting me to stay? Do you know how long I've waited to hear you say those things to me?"
He saw she was blushing, and again looking everywhere but at him. He leaned in and touched her face again with his hand, tilting her chin up to meet his gaze. "I want to stay."
"You don't have to say that because I'm sitting here looking pathetic," she replied, her words still sounding gloomy though Jim could see the light coming back into her eyes.
"I'm not," he said. "Although you do indeed look pretty pathetic." The look of shock on her face made him laugh loudly, and she grinned sheepishly as she realized he was teasing.
"Nice," she remarked sarcastically. "Nothing like pathetic to set the mood."
"Come here," he said, pulling her by her hands until she moved onto his lap. He wrapped his arms around her, and felt a little more confident when she did the same, her head resting against his right shoulder. "Now here's the thing. We've just been out on an amazing first date, have we not?"
She nodded. "Yes, I'd say so."
"And in most cases, two people such as us would probably have kissed goodnight at the door and gone home to our respective beds thinking the night was a great success."
She nodded again, a smile finally starting to break through. "I agree."
"But we're not most people, are we, Pam?" He brushed his lips over her forehead as he heard her giggle.
"No, we certainly aren't."
"Which is why we are sitting on your bathroom floor having this conversation."
Pam put her hand over her face. "I've made such a fool of myself."
"No, you haven't," Jim insisted, pulling her hand away. "And I don't see why you are so embarrassed. The desire to drag me to bed is a a very natural reaction from being so close to me. Trust me, I get it all the time."
"Oh, shut up!" she groaned, smacking him on the shoulder. He tightened his arms around her.
"Seriously, when I said I didn't think it should be an afterthought, I wasn't saying that's how you saw it. I was just trying to tell you how important it was to me."
"Well, it's important to me, too."
"Glad to hear it," Jim grinned, again brushing her hair back from her face. Pam looked up and met his gaze. Within moments they were kissing once again, Pam's embarrassment forgotten under Jim's encouragement.
"Are we going to spend the rest of the night in your bathroom?" Jim finally asked.
"No, I suppose not," Pam laughed. They both stood up and and Pam looked at him expectantly. "I suppose it is getting late."
Jim glanced at his watch. "Yeah, it's already after midnight."
"I guess you'll be going then." Pam tried not to sound too disappointed. It wasn't about whether or not they had sex, she just didn't want him to leave. The whole evening had bordered on the surreal to her, and as long as he was there she could go on acting this was real. The moment he left, she knew the doubts and fears would return. It was going to take some time for her to truly believe this wasn't just a dream.
Jim frowned. "Going? Are you kicking me out now?"
"Well, no," she stammered, clearly confused. "I just thought you..."
"I never said I wasn't going to stay," he replied.
"Is that a good 'oh' or a bad 'oh'?" He teased, his brow drawn.
"Oh, it's a good one," she replied quickly, nodding. "It's just..."
"Just what?" Jim didn't like the twist of apprehension that hit his gut.
"Well," she paused, "I've kind of ruined the mood, don't you think?"
Jim laughed in relief, and pulled her into an embrace. "Well I don't know what you had in mind this late into the evening," he said, his voice deep and warm against her ear, "but I was thinking of sleeping."
Pam felt herself blush, once again feeling like she was embarrassing herself with her assumptions, but this time she just hugged him tighter. "Sleep sounds wonderful," she finally replied.
He kissed her briefly, then turned her toward the door. "Shall we sort things out for bed then?"
"Yeah," she replied. "Just give me a minute alone in my bedroom, okay?"
"Take all the time you need. I'll make sure the doors are locked and all that."
Pam stood in front of her open dresser drawer, wondering what she should wear for bed. It was an odd situation, to be sure. It wasn't like she had been expecting today's turn of events. She rummaged through her drawer, but nothing struck her as appropriate. Sexy lingerie was probably better kept for another time (not that she even had much of it to speak of), and her most comfortable pajamas were too old or too silly to wear. She finally pulled out a cotton t-shirt nightgown, purple with pink and white chrysanthemum flowers dotting the material. It was the newest thing she had that made her feel pretty without looking like she was expecting anything. She shed her jeans and blouse and slipped it on, and at the last moment decided to forgo her bra as well. She figured she never wore one to bed, and if he discovered she wasn't wearing one, well that was a chance she was willing to take. She felt a bit lightheaded as that scenario played out in her mind, and tried to ignore it by focusing on a little tidying up. They were just going to sleep, she kept telling herself, it's not a big deal. But it was a big deal. She was the only person to ever sleep in that bed, much less do anything else. And now she was going to share it with Jim. Sleeping next to Jim. It meant something. It meant everything. And that by itself was a lovely thing.
Jim was waiting in the hallway, leaning back against the wall when she opened the door. "Everything okay?" he asked.
"Yep," she nodded. "You can come in now."
Jim couldn't help but look around the room as he walked in, his hands tucked into his pockets to try and hide the jolt of nervousness that had hit him as he waited in the hallway. He smiled to himself, because it felt like he'd finally been granted admittance to the inner sanctum. He wondered briefly if anyone else (anyone male, that is) had been here yet. The picture of her leaving Phyllis' wedding with Roy popped into his mind, but he refused to acknowledge it. This room had too much of Pam's touch to have appealed to Roy, he told himself. The walls were white, like the rest of the apartment, but she had framed artwork on the walls and sheer shimmery draperies like he'd seen on those home makeover shows where a room is transformed into a Moroccan oasis or a some version of the Taj Mahal. It was cozy and intriguing and he didn't realize how lost he had gotten in taking the surroundings until he heard her talking.
"Hmm?" He asked, feeling a bit foolish for being so caught up in his surroundings.
She grinned. "I asked if you had a preference for the side of the bed."
"Uh, not really - do you?"
"It doesn't matter to me."
"Well, you choose then. After all, it's your bed."
"Well, you are the guest."
Jim laughed. "Are we going to have to wrestle for it?"
"Fine," she said dramatically, "I'll take the left side."
"Which side is the left side?"
She rolled her eyes and gave him a push towards the bed. "The side I'm not pushing you towards," she grinned. She walked around to her side, and switched on the lamp that sat on the bedside table.
"Oh, I see your plan," Jim said as he continued to stand by the bed. "You went for the left so you could control the lamp."
She stared at him like he'd gone insane. "What is the matter with you? Could you just turn out the light and get into bed?"
Jim flicked the wall switch to off as Pam pulled the comforter and sheet back and slid into bed. Her bedside lamp gave enough light for Pam to watch as Jim sat on the end of the bed and pulled his rugby shirt up over his head. She knew she probably should do the polite thing and not stare, but she couldn't help it. When he took his shirt off she was surprised to see that he was more muscular than she had expected, and he had a reasonable amount of chest hair as well.
"Wow," she said, unable to contain her pleasure.
Jim turned towards her. "What?" he asked.
"Nothing," she replied, her eyes sparkling. "I'm just impressed."
Jim bent his head down. "Stop it."
Pam laughed. "It's true. Am I embarrassing you?"
"No," he lied, his cheeks already a bright pink.
Pam laughed again. "I am!"
Jim stood and pulled back the covers on his side. "Okay, I'm going to sleep," he announced, sitting back down.
"You aren't going to take your jeans off?"
He shrugged. "I'll be fine."
Pam shook her head. "Don't be stupid. Take them off." She gave him a smile. "I promise not to molest you."
Jim laughed self-consciously and did as he was told. Down to his navy blue boxer briefs, he finally slide under the covers and turned onto his side to face Pam. "Happy now?"
"Deliriously so," she replied, reaching out to brush a few stray hairs out of his eyes. "You?"
He grabbed her hand and kissed it. "Never better." They laid there grinning happily at each other for a few moments, and then Pam rolled back and turned the lamp off. She stayed on her back, her hand still clasped in his, and watched as little rays of light filtered in between the slats of the blinds. Street light, car lights, even a little sliver of moon beams, all identifiable by their different shades of white and yellow. The room was silent except for their breathing, and she felt a little fluttering in her chest as she listened to the sound of him alongside her.
"Did you expect today to end like this?" She asked, breaking the silence with her quiet question.
His laugh was deep and rich, and it warmed the darkness. "Um, that would be no."
"Well I had a very nice time. Probably the best date I've ever been on. So, thanks."
"Not a problem. I had a really nice time too. Maybe we could do this again sometime."
"Yeah, maybe," she replied, "You could give me a call sometime and we'll see."
He moved closer to her. "We'll see?"
"Hey," Pam mock complained. "Stay on your side of the bed."
"When did this become It Happened One Night?" Jim laughed.
"When you said you wanted to go to sleep. So keep your distance."
"Okay, your loss," he said, moving slightly away.
"Huh, the loss is entirely yours," she replied, a giggle ruining her serious tone. "You had your chance."
They were still holding hands, and she could feel his lips against her wrist. "I'll get another chance," he assured her.
"Don't do that," she whispered, wondering if he had changed his mind. "That's not fair."
"You're right," he said, sounding sincere. "I'm sorry." He was letting go of her hand when Pam turned on her side toward him, grasping his hand with hers again.
"You can hold my hand," she said, squeezing it warmly. "It's kind of the only way I believe you're really here."
She could see his smile even with the dim light from the outside. "I know what you mean," he replied, squeezing her hand back. "I think it's going to take some time to get used to this."
"That's okay," she replied. "I'm not going anywhere." She could see this eyes were open, and that he was looking intently back at her.
"I love you, you know," she heard herself say. It wasn't exactly the scenario she'd imagined when she made her heartfelt declaration, but it was perfect in its way. This time she didn't protest when he moved over, kissing her and assuring her that he loved her as well.
They ended up lying closer together as sleep finally began to creep in, and neither said a word as Pam turned on to her other side and Jim automatically spooned behind her, draping his arm across her waist, as if they had done it all their lives.
"Kelly's going to be all over me the minute I walk into the office tomorrow, you know," Pam yawned, resting her hand on top of his at her waist.
"Good for you," Jim replied teasingly. "I'm sure that's going to be a great time."
"Oh yeah. I can't wait. She's going to want every little detail, and you know she wouldn't understand if she found out that you slept over and actually just slept."
"I expect most people wouldn't understand," he said, kissing her shoulder. "But they aren't us."
"True," she replied. She paused a moment, then smiled into the darkness. "I'm still going to tell everyone we totally had sex tonight."
"Yeah, that's good," Jim yawned. "So am I."