Pam woke with a start. She felt disoriented for a moment, the dark room seemingly unfamiliar. She started to roll onto her back, but was stopped midway by firm presence of Jim, his erratic light snore betraying the fact that he was still sleeping soundly. He must have claimed the middle half of the bed in his sleep, she thought somewhat grumpily. She turned over to face him, fully intent on giving him a hearty push back to his side of the bed.
But before she started to poke him, her eyes adjusted to the darkness and she remembered where she was. She sighed in resignation, and instead of a shove she placed a tender kiss on his brow and cuddled up closer to him. It would have been rude to push her husband out of his childhood bed, especially so early on Thanksgiving morning. Pam just hoped as she drifted back to sleep that next year she could be thankful for a bed that was truly big enough for both of them.
It had seemed like mere minutes had just passed when Pam felt the familiar scratch of Jim's morning cheek nudging against hers. "Hey sleepyhead," he said softly, kissing her hairline from her temple to her ear. "Time to get up."
"I don't know whether to be happy or annoyed," she sighed, snuggling closer to steal some of his warmth.
"Because I wish I could sleep longer, but only if I was in a much bigger bed."
She could feel him smile against her cheek as he continued to nuzzle her. "How can you say that, Beesly? This bed is where it all began."
"I know," she replied, her fingers lacing through his as their hands met across her stomach. "Which is why I've put up with it for a third year in a row." She turned her head to look him in the eye. "But I really don't think my back can take much more of it."
"And here I thought every bone in your body was romantic," he teased.
"No, I'm afraid my spine has always been more of a realist," she replied. She tugged on his hand until he took the hint and shifted position. "That's better," she grinned as he hovered over her. "Now what were you saying about getting out of bed?"
Jim's legs threaded between hers as he started to kiss her bare left shoulder. "I believe I was saying how overrated it was."
It was a few minutes after seven o'clock when the couple finally made their way downstairs. They had hoped to beat Jim's mother Larissa to the kitchen to start the dinner preparations, but the smell of coffee and cooking sausage as they came down the stairs told them they were too late.
"Nice one," he whispered to Pam as they walked through the empty living room. "So much for surprising her."
"Me?" She shot him a teasing, incredulous look. "I was trapped under you. You're the one who wouldn't get out of bed."
Jim snaked his arm around her waist, stopping her before they walked into the kitchen. "Trapped?" He echoed, his eyebrows raised disbelievingly. "That's a bit of an exaggeration, don't you think?"
She smiled as she leaned into him. "I was being held against my will."
"Oh, that explains it," he nodded. "Those sounds you were making were cries for help."
"Shut up!" Pam said, her voice raising in protest. "You were louder than I was!"
"I can hear you, you know," Larissa called out, startling them both. "You might as well finish your conversation in here."
Pam felt her cheeks burn as she buried her face into Jim's sweatshirt. "Oh, my God," she whispered.
"Come on," he laughed, pulling her by the hand into the kitchen. "I'm pretty sure she knows we're married."
"That's not the point," she replied softly but adamantly as she allowed herself to be dragged into what was clearly the heart of the Halpert household. She couldn't help but smile when Jim released her hand to greet his mother with a kiss and warm hug.
"Happy Thanksgiving," Pam said, waiting her turn to embrace her mother-in-law.
"Happy Thanksgiving, Pam," Larissa smiled, moving to hug her as well. "I take it you both are doing well this morning?"
"We are," Pam nodded, her cheeks still pink from her earlier embarrassment. "but I was telling Jim that maybe next year we'll sleep at home."
Jim slipped his arm around Pam's shoulder. "Yeah, apparently the over sized single bed I spent my formative years in is no longer good enough for her," he teased.
"I can't say I blame her," Larissa replied, her attention returning to the potatoes she was peeling in the sink. "I'm surprised you've put the poor girl through it for this long. I was telling your father last year that we needed to put a bigger bed in there."
Jim stopped in mid-step, on his way to the refrigerator. "And what would you do with my old bed?" He asked, clearly shocked at such a suggestion.
"Jim, it's a twenty year old twin mattress. I think it's time for it to be retired to the great bedroom heaven in the sky, don't you?"
"But it's mine!" He continued, pulling the gallon jug of milk form the fridge and closing the door. "And it's a long twin I'll have you know."
"Oh, I know," Larissa replied, rolling her eyes comically at Pam. "Every time I have to buy sheets for that bed I am reminded of just how special it is."
Pam couldn't help chuckling aloud over their banter. She loved watching the two of them together. It was so clear how much they loved and admired each other, and Pam could see where Jim had honed his quick wit. As mother and son continued to harangue each other over the fate of Jim's old bed, Pam poured herself a glass of milk and just took in the show. She observed how they shared the trait of saying so much with just the raise of an eyebrow. Then Pam noticed something else.
"Wow," Pam said, a little louder than intended. Jim and Larissa both gave her a questioning look. "Sorry, I can't believe I just noticed something about the two of you."
"That I continue to love him despite his many, many faults?" Larissa quipped with a grin.
"That my mother is a smart ass?" Jim countered.
"No," Pam laughed. "You both have the exact same smile."
And she was right. Wide-mouthed, full teethed, the right side raised slightly higher than the left, Jim and Larissa's smiles could be swapped in a PhotoShopped picture and the only way you could be sure it had happened would be the uneven chip in Jim's front right tooth. Well, that and the fact that Larissa looked slightly better in Maybelline's Ruby Luster lipstick. But those were the only significant differences.
Jim shrugged and drank his milk. Larissa grinned. "Oh, he gets all his best features from me, Pam. I thought you knew that by now."
"He does," Pam agreed, winking at Jim who mock scowled in return. "Now what can we do to help you will dinner?"
Larissa jerked her head toward the back door. "There should be yams in the closet by the back door. You can get those ready for baking." She turned off the sink tap and grabbed a hand towel. "You," she said, indicating to Jim, "can get started on your famous stuffing. As you can probably smell, the sage sausage is already waiting for you in the oven." She finished wiping her hands and folded the towel neatly, placing it on the counter. "I'm going to go make sure your father is awake."
They watched Larissa bustle out with her usual efficiency, and Pam turned to find the yams in the closet. She had just opened the wooden door when she felt Jim slip behind her, his arms wrapping around her waist.
"How much time do you think we have to be alone down here?" he asked, kissing her behind her left ear.
"Why?" Pam asked, "what did you have in mind?"
"Lots of things," he grinned, kissing her again. Pam pulled away slightly as she concentrated on her task.
"I can't find the yams in here," Pam complained, pulling out a bag of red potatoes and then a netting of sweet onions. Jim looked over her shoulder and agreed with her assessment. There were no yams in the closet.
"She probably already took them out," Jim shrugged. "I guess we'll have to find something else to do until she comes back."
Pam turned around in his arms and shook her head in mock disapproval. "You have stuffing to make, Mister Halpert. We don't have time for your shenanigans."
"Shenanigans?" Jim smiled, stalling yet another kiss. "Is that what you call it?"
"Come on," Pam pushed him back gently. "I want to see what you can do in the kitchen."
By the time Larissa had returned, Pam had successfully diverted Jim's attention to stuffing making, and Jonathan had appeared for his morning coffee.
"You look a bit sleepy," Larissa told her eldest child, kissing his cheek. "Did Ceres keep you awake?"
Jonathan took a long sip of his coffee and smiled sheepishly. "Yeah, we're still working on that sleeping through the night thing. Cerys is quite the party girl."
Cerys was the newest member of the Halpert family: Jonathan and Kathy's six-month old baby daughter. As befitted her position as the first (and only) grandchild, she had been the center of attention from the moment they had arrived from Philadelphia yesterday afternoon.
"Will she be down soon?" Larissa asked, trying not to sound too eager. "I could make up her rice cereal if you like."
Jonathan laughed. "You have plenty to worry about this morning, Mom. When Kathy brings her down I'll take care of it."
"It's not a bother at all," Larissa insisted. "I'm just asking."
"You'll be the first I tell when she arrives," Jon said, heading into the living room with his coffee mug.
Pam watched Jim finish mixing up the stuffing and remembered her lack of yams. "I didn't find the yams in the closet, Larissa," she told her mother-in-law. "Could you have put them somewhere else?"
Larissa frowned in thought, then walked back to the closet to see for herself. "Damn it," she muttered, "I must have forgotten them when I was shopping. I was sure I'd bought some." She looked in a few other cabinets and even in the refrigerator. "Damn it," she repeated.
"Do you want us to go out and get a few?" Jim offered.
"Is there any place open this morning?" Larissa wondered.
"I'm sure Price Chopper is open," Pam replied. "It's always open."
Larissa sighed. "No, don't worry about it. We'll survive without sweet potatoes."
Jim could tell his mother was disappointed to have forgotten the yams. "We'll be back in twenty minutes," he assured his mother, opening up the coat closet in the hallway and grabbing his and Pam's jackets. "You can't have Thanksgiving without sweet potatoes."
Well, they would have been back in twenty minutes had things gone to plan. In retrospect Jim wondered why he'd ever made that silly assumption. When was the last time anything he and Pam ever did go as planned?
Price Chopper was surprisingly busy at such an early hour. Even accounting for the shopping in search of forgotten ingredients, Pam was amazed by the crowd. "It's not as if they didn't know the holiday was coming," she complained. She wanted to head straight for the yams so they could get back in time for the parade. Jim, on the other hand, seemed determined to browse the bakery first.
"We definitely need to get another pumpkin pie," he explained, putting one in their cart. "You have no idea how much pie Jonathan can put away."
"Or you?" She replied, raising a skeptical brow. "I seem to recall there nearly being a fist fight last year between the two of you and the last piece of pie."
"Well, exactly," he nodded with a grin. "There wouldn't have been an argument if he didn't eat so damn much of it."
"So that pie's for him then?"
"No, that one's for me."
"But your brother is the one with the pie fetish?"
"Yes," Jim insisted emphatically.
Pam grinned and knew better than to try and make sense of it all. "Come on, we need yams."
Pam headed in the direction of the fresh produce while Jim disappeared down the main aisle, claiming that they needed more whipped cream for the pie. "Of course we do," she sighed under her breath as she grabbed a plastic bag to fill with nicely sized sweet potatoes.
She had forgotten to ask how many were needed so she was putting the eighth and final yam in the bag when Jim materialized next to her. He took the overloaded plastic bag out of her hands, only to replace it with a bouquet of harvest colored flowers.
"Do you think my mother would like those?" he asked, dropping the potatoes and the can of whipped cream into the shopping cart.
"Oh those are lovely," Pam smiled, breathing the light smell of mums, carnations and mixed greenery. "That's a really nice idea."
"And what about these?" Jim produced out of seemingly nowhere a second plastic-wrapped bouquet, this one of a dozen or so orange-peach roses.
"Wow, those are gorgeous," she enthused. "Mixing the two together will look so pretty."
"Well, no, that's not what I meant." He paused. "The roses are for you."
Pam looked up, clearly surprised. "Oh, you don't have to do that," she replied brusquely. "You should get them for your mom."
It was one of the things Jim loved so much about her. Despite the fact that they were now married and there was no doubt whatsoever of his love and devotion to her, the slightest token of his affection was always received with such unexpected delight, sometimes even embarrassment, as if she didn't feel she deserved such attention. It would not have occurred to her that the flowers would be for her. And that was one of the reasons he'd wanted to buy them.
"Today is Thanksgiving, Pam," he finally replied. "Can't I get flowers for my wife to show her how grateful I am for her?"
Pam brought the roses to her face to smell them again. "You are such a dork," she said lovingly. "Thank you." She reached up to thank him when she noticed him frown.
"Oh, no," Jim muttered, oblivious to his wife's attempt to kiss him.
"What?" She asked, confused.
Jim nodded his head forward. "Look who's here."
Pam looked over her left shoulder. Standing on the far side of the produce department, frowning quite fiercely at the piles of green and red and savoy cabbage was Dwight K. Schrute. "We should go say hello," she responded.
"I was afraid you were going to say that."
"Be nice," she warned, bumping playfully against him. "It's Thanksgiving."
"I don't care what day it is. You cannot make me grateful for Dwight."
"You don't have to be. But he is our friend."
"Yes, I do say. He's our friend and we are going over there."
Jim sighed and put his arm around her shoulder. "He's your friend," he corrected as Pam started to push the cart in Dwight's direction.
"He's your friend too. Admit it."
"Never." Jim licked his lips and looked away so she couldn't see him starting to grin.
"Liar," Pam smiled.
"And that's why you nearly cried when he gave that toast at our wedding."
"Hey, I've told you a hundred times: You poked me in the eye with your veil right before he started. It was watering from that."
"Jim, I didn't wear my veil at the reception." Pam shot him a smug look as they approached Dwight.
"Whatever," Jim whispered. "He's not my friend."
"He is," she whispered back. "Get over it." She stopped their cart a few feet from Dwight, who's back was toward them. "Hey Dwight," Pam said cheerily. "Happy Thanksgiving."
Dwight quickly looked over his shoulder at them, acknowledging them with a dissatisfied grunt. "Pamela," he said slowly, turning around. "Jim."
"Forget something for the big meal today?" Jim asked, wondering why he'd said something so inane.
"I forgot nothing," he practically spat back. "Angela decided the original menu was unacceptable."
Jim and Pam exchanged a puzzled look over Dwight's obvious black mood. "Is everything okay?" Pam asked gently.
"No, nothing is okay," Dwight replied, directing his attention back to the cabbages. "But that's hardly your concern."
Pam frowned and stepped toward him. "What's the matter?" She asked, putting her hand on his arm. Jim remained by their cart, but he had to admit Dwight was being grumpier than usual.
Dwight stared down at Pam's hand, as if he was debating flinging it off or responding with a hug. He finally did neither, simply sighing. "Angela's parents are in town. This is the first time I've been able to spend time with them since -" Dwight stumbled over his words, as if uncertain what to reveal. "They haven't been in Scranton for the holidays in years, mostly because that damn sister of hers plays the grandchildren card so they go there instead. So this year they'll be out of Guatemala long enough to make a stop here. It's really important things go well, and then this morning as we were preparing the meal Angela tells me her father has an aversion to beets. Beets!" he practically shouted. "This wasn't something she should have mentioned a little earlier?"
Before Pam could comment, Dwight continued. "Besides, who in their right mind doesn't appreciate beets? So now the starter and the three of the six side dishes need to made beet-less. And according to Angela, it's my fault if the day is ruined."
"Guatemala?" Was all Jim could think to say.
Dwight nodded. "Angela's parents are full-time missionaries in Central America. You have no idea what a big deal this is. Mose even shaved off his beard because Angela asked him to. So he'd look more presentable, she said. Do you have any idea what that means?"
"Nope," Jim shook his head amiably.
"Only an Amish matriarch would have the authority to issue such an edict. And yet he still listened to her. Which is probably why I'm standing here holding onto a head of red cabbage." He tossed it down in disgust. "Why am I even doing this?"
"Because you what to make her happy," Pam said supportively.
"A task I feel less and less confident about being able to reach," he said morosely.
Jim watched the two of them. For reasons he never fully understood, Dwight and Pam had developed a report that almost made him feel a bit jealous, as ludicrous as that sounded. Ever since the 'dark days' of their relationship (as they referred to it in the rare moments they need to speak of it at all) Pam and Dwight had their moments of understanding, of something deeper than casual friendship. She was one of the few people he'd ever witnessed Dwight drop his defenses for, and she had a loyalty and protectiveness toward Dwight Jim thought she was joking about until they practically had an argument over a prank Jim wanted to pull that Pam didn't approve of. No, it was a relationship Jim was not sure he'd ever understand, but he was willing to accept. Just as long as they could get back to the house in time for the parade.
"Why don't we go get some coffee?" Jim heard Pam say. "That way it gives Angela some time to calm down. She'll be fine if you just give her a little time."
Jim glanced at his watch nervously. "Who's open for coffee on Thanksgiving morning?" he asked pointedly.
"The Dunkin Donuts I passed on the drive here had customers," Dwight replied. "She was bordering on hysterical as I left. I guess giving Angela a few minutes to miss me might not be a bad idea." He picked up two red cabbages. "I should probably buy these. Just in case."
As they walked toward the check-out, Jim leaned down to whisper to Pam. "We don't have time to go get coffee."
"What else can we do? He's upset and we can't just leave him like this."
Pam glared at him, only to find he'd been teasing. "I promise we won't stay long," she said. "You don't think I want to be late getting back to your mom's, do you? Jessica and Daniel will steal our chair otherwise."
The chair. Jim smirked in memory. Ever since that infamous photo was taken their first Thanksgiving together, Jim's sister had given them a hard time about the ownership rights of that oversized chair. "I'll phone my mom and let her know we might be delayed. She'll hold the chair for us."
"You mean the chofa," Pam corrected with a grin. Jessica had insisted on calling that particular piece of furniture by a trendy design name that Jim abhorred.
"The chair," he insisted, opening up his cell phone as they waited in line.
It was eleven o'clock by the time Jim and Pam returned to his parent's house. Jim had barely shut the back door when Larissa appeared in the kitchen. "Where have you guys been?"
"Long story," Jim groaned. "Long story." He dropped the grocery bags on the counter and took one of the two bouquets out of Pam's arms. "We come bearing gifts."
Larissa smiled at the site of the flowers. "They're lovely, but I thought you were going out for yams."
"We got those, too," Jim assured her.
"And a pumpkin pie," Pam added, unable to resist smelling the roses she was still holding.
"Another pie?" Larissa exclaimed. "But we already have three."
"Three?" Jim echoed. "I thought you said last night we had two."
"We did have two last night. Pam's mother called shortly after you left and asked if we could make use of an extra pumpkin pie she'd made. I know how you and your brother get over pie and so I told her of course."
"So now there's four pumpkin pies?" Pam grinned.
"Hey, that sounds about right to me," Jim smiled.
"So what happened to you guys?"
Jim gave an accusatory glance at Pam. "Ask Dear Abby here."
"We ran into Dwight at Price Chopper, and he was having a rough morning," Pam explained. "We took him to Dunkin Donuts to talk and calm him down."
"He's okay though, right?" Larissa was concerned. She had met Dwight on a few occasions over the years, most notably around the time of the the wedding, and she had always been struck with how in control he always seemed to hold himself. She couldn't imagine him being upset, much less in a public place.
"Oh, I think he'll be fine," Pam assured her, "but I'm beginning to wonder what it is about this particular holiday."
Larissa took down a crystal vase from the cabinet. "What do you mean?"
Pam took her roses over to the sink. "It turned out that the root of stress was that he was having dinner with Angela's parents, and he was planning on talking to Angela's father." She raised her eyebrows knowingly.
"Oh no," Larissa gushed. "Really? He said that??"
"What he said was that it was his first chance in five years to 'do the right thing'," Jim interjected. "Then he gave me a look which made it pretty clear his opinion on how we did things."
"Well you did leave it to me to tell my father," Pam teased, ripping open the paper around the roses. "Here, mix these in as well," she told Larissa.
"Jim! Did you really?" Larissa exclaimed, taking the flowers from Pam's hands. "You never told me that. I thought we raised you better than that."
Jim rolled his eyes. "She's lying."
"I am not!" Pam squealed indignantly.
He leaned toward his mother. "I wanted us to tell her parents together. I thought we had agreed to tell them together. But apparently somebody couldn't wait."
"Hey, they arrived earlier than expected. I had to go to lunch with them all by myself because you were in a business meeting with Michael and Ryan, and they know me too well not to notice how happy I was. They kept asking what I was in such a good mood about until I caved. I was defenseless!"
"Children, children," Larissa laughed. "Take your argument to the living room. You've already missed most of the parade."
Jim reached for Pam's elbow. "I bet Jessica's got the chair, huh?"
Larissa shrugged. "I couldn't hold it forever, Jamie dear."
Pam's ears perked up. "Jamie dear?"
"Come on, let's go watch the rest of the show," Jim said quickly, pulling her closer to him.
Pam wasn't deterred. "No, wait. Who is 'Jamie dear'?"
"Oops!" Larissa laughed. "Didn't I ever call him that in front of you before?"
"No, you've haven't." Pam replied, clearly interested.
"Thanks, mom," Jim grumbled. "I thought your promises used to mean something."
Larissa laughed again as she gave the flowers a final arranging. "I promised nothing, my love."
"Come on, Pam," Jim tried to end the conversation and pulled her away from the sink.
"I want to hear about Jamie," Pam grinned.
"I'll tell you all about him later," Larissa called. "I think I know where the pictures are, too."
Pam followed Jim into the living room, where they sat down on the floor in the corner of the crowded room. Jim's dad was in his usual chair, and as expected Jessica and Daniel were sharing the big chair. She shot Jim a smug grin as they were walking in, which Jim cordially responded by sticking out his tongue at his sister. Jonathan and Kathy were sitting on the couch, the lovely little Cerys sitting contentedly on her father's lap.
Pam leaned against her husband. "Jamie?"
"Shut up." Jim focused his gaze on the television, as if the Illinois State marching band was the most fascinating thing he'd ever seen.
"Oh, come on - I love it," she whispered, linking her arm through his. "Can I call you Jamie?"
"Absolutely not," he whispered back, his eyes never leaving the television.
"Please?" She cuddled up to him, kissing his arm. "Please? Please? Please??"
Jim let out a laugh despite himself. "We'll talk about it later. But no."
"You missed the Rockettes, Jim," Jessica said, unaware she was interrupting Jim and Pam's pseudo-argument. "Where the hell did you guys go?"
"Oh no," Pam said. "What outfits did they where this year?"
"Those candy-striped disasters," Jessica replied. "and it looked they had mistletoed swim caps on their heads."
"Jealous as always I see," Jim mused.
"Oh yeah, so jealous," she laughed. "I'm just lashing out because I'm the only member of this family under five-foot ten."
"Just more proof you're the mailman's daughter," Greg Halpert commented dryly.
"Given that I look like a female version of you," Jessica replied, "it's more like I'm the mailwoman's daughter."
Larissa had chosen that moment to walk back into the living room. "I'm not sure I want to know what you guys are talking about," she said, walking over to the couch, "So I will just focus on this adorable little girl over here." She sat down on the floor in front of Kathy and eagerly took the baby from Jonathan's arms. For Cerys's part, she drooled and grasped onto the front of Larissa's apron tightly. Pam covertly watched the duo from across the room, equal parts mesmerized and terrified. She had never been comfortable around babies, and seeing that she was considered one of Cerys's aunts, Pam was afraid that at some point that weekend she'd be asked if she wanted to hold the baby. She really didn't know if wanted to or not. She was too afraid she'd break it.
When Santa Claus arrived into Herald Square, Pam realized she was still wearing the faded sweats she'd thrown on early that morning. With her parents due to arrive in an hour, she slipped upstairs to find something a little more festive to wear. She'd just put on a new brown micro suede skirt and dark green turtleneck when Jim walked in.
"There you are," she said, smiling at him through the mirror as she worked on pining back the wildest of her curls. "I thought you were going to go with the casual look this year."
"Funny," he replied, walking up behind her. "It just so happens I had to pick up something from my mother." As he finished his sentence he draped a length of ivory pearls around her neck. "I thought it was a lucky coincidence you decided to wear that sweater today. It shows off the necklace nicely, don't you think?"
Pam mouth dropped open slightly as her hand immediately came up to touch the pearls. "Where did these come from?"
"My grandmother. Or maybe my grandmother's grandmother." He dropped his hands to her shoulders after he finished securing the clasp. "I just know they're pretty old."
"They're beautiful. Why am I wearing them?" Pam seemed confused.
"Because I'm giving them to you?" Jim grinned, pulling her back against him as they both stared into the mirror.
"Giving them to me?"
"Yeah. I'm sorry - did you hit your head before I came in? You seem a little slow to get the whole 'I'm giving you a gift' thing."
She ran her finger slowly across the front pearls. "They're just so pretty. Like something you save to wear for a special occasion."
"Well, my mother told me months and months ago that she would be happy if I wanted to give them to you, and today is sort of an anniversary, wouldn't you say?"
Pam nodded, then turned around in his arms for a kiss. Thanksgiving certainly had become an important holiday in their relationship. Two years ago Jim's mother had pushed them together by inviting Pam without Jim's knowledge. Today they laughed about how nervous Pam had been when she knocked at their door, and how completely stunned Jim had been to see her. When he'd gone upstairs to change his clothes that morning, he nicked himself twice while shaving and spent nearly ten minutes staring into his closet wondering what in the world to wear. It was if they both knew on some level that This Was It.
Last Thanksgiving had been equally as momentous, if a bit less anxiety-producing. Pam arrived to watch the parade with the family, and once aunts Liz and Audrey arrived, Jim said he and Pam had a special gift they wanted to share with everyone before the meal started. They then proceeded to bring in a crate of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut from Pam's car. Jonathan was the first to get the meaning.
"Hey, wait a minute," he said, pulling a bottle out of the crate. "Can't you people find a more creative way to make your announcement? Must you settle for mimicry?"
"Mimicry?" Pam tried to look shocked as she put her arm around Jim's waist. "Your brother insisted it was the Halpert family tradition."
It took mere moments for Larissa and Jessica to figure out what was going on, and after the multiple rounds of squeals and congratulations the day was spent in an even mix of turkey and wedding plans for the second year in a row. When Jessica reminded Pam about her previous comments about a Vegas wedding, Pam had the grace to blush.
A knock at their bedroom door about ten minutes later finally separated the amorous couple. Pam glanced in the mirror in dismay as she discovered her nose, cheeks and chin were now vivid red from Jim's unshaven face. She discretely tried to powder down the flush while Jim opened the door to find Larissa.
"Just wanted to let you know that Liz and Audrey have arrived," she said, "and they have already managed to embarrass Jessica more than I ever thought possible."
"What happened?" Pam asked, turning away from the mirror.
"Well, Liz asked if she and Daniel were supplying the champagne this year."
"Oh, no," Pam laughed.
"Wow," Jim remarked. "They must have hit pretty close to the mark to get her that upset."
"Yeah, that's what I thought, too," Larissa agreed. "Wanna take bets on when it finally happens?"
"That anxious to get us all married off, are we?" Jim teased.
"Not at all," Larissa shook her head, leaning against the door frame. "Speaking of which, don't be surprised if you guys get some embarrassing questions from those two as well."
"As in...?" Jim prompted, pulling his dressier clothes from his suitcase.
"As in they just met Cerys and are already in love with her." Larissa crossed her arms in front of her chest and attempted her best Audrey impression. "So are the two of you ready to have your own baby soon?"
"No!" Pam replied emphatically, though whether she was replying to the actual question or just the audacity of it being asked was tough to call.
"No?" Jim turned toward his wife, clearly surprised by her conviction.
"No," she shook her head firmly.
Jim looked back at his mother and shrugged. "I guess that's a no."
Larissa laughed. "Hey, that's fine with me. You're the ones who have to raise them. I better go back downstairs and make sure Jessica hasn't retreated to a closet for the rest of the day."
Jim glanced at the alarm clock as he shut the door again. "Damn, I'm not going to have time to shave before your parents get here."
"Well you've already done enough damage," Pam replied, pointing to her face. "So I wouldn't worry about it. Besides, my mom likes you with a bit of scruff."
"She does!" Pam insisted. "She told me."
"That weekend we went up for her birthday and you forgot your razor."
"And she told you she liked me unshaved?" Jim's eyebrow quirked as if he couldn't believe they were even having this conversation.
Pam nodded. "She said, and I quote: If I were you, I'm not sure I'd ever let him shave."
"Wow," Jim chuckled as he pulled off his sweatshirt. "Good to know."
Pam sat down on the bed. "And why exactly is that good to know?"
Jim finished buttoning his white oxford shirt before answering. "Well, you know - if you and I don't work out..."
"One Beesly is as good as another?" She replied helpfully.
Jim slipped his sweatpants off and threw them on the suitcase. "Exactly. Just like the Transformers."
"What??" Pam looked seriously confused.
Jim tilted his head. "Wait. That's not what I meant." He sat down heavily on the bed next to Pam, jeans in hand. "That doesn't even make sense."
"No," she laughed. "It doesn't."
He leaned over and kissed her again. "Well, whatever," he finally said. "I'm pretty sure this thing is going to work out."
"Your confidence is inspiring," she smirked, kissing him once more. "Now get dressed."
She stood up and was headed for the door as he reached out and grabbed her hand.
"Just give me a minute," he said. "You really don't want to face Liz and Audrey all alone, do you?"
"I love your aunts," Pam replied.
"I know, and they love you. But do you want to handle the embarrassing questions all alone?"
Pam leaned back against the door. "Good point. But while you finish getting dressed you can try and answer a question for me."
Jim tucked his shirt into his jeans. "And that would be...?"
Pam smiled wickedly. "Why can't I start calling you Jamie?"
Jim and Pam were back downstairs for only a few minutes when Pam's parents arrived. Between the family re-introductions and the flowing wine and spirits and the antics of one very cute baby that had clearly inherited the Halpert gene for hamming it up, it was one of the loudest and most chaotic Thanksgiving any of them could remember experiencing. It also was a day full of picture taking, storytelling and laughter. Greg Halpert was found saying several times how the dining room/family room expansion they had done over the summer had already paid for itself by the lack of stress over this one holiday. When the evening arrived, some people left while the others scattered between card playing in the dining room, leisurely reading in the family room, or the holiday moviefest in the living room. And as pumpkin pie made its second round of the day, Jim helped himself to another large slice and nestled up next to Pam in the oversized chair.