Whenever she looked up, she smiled. She couldn't help it. It was infectious, the way she felt when she saw him, hers now, and all that bubbled up inside her, made her feel as if she could fly.
Sometimes it seemed too perfect. But they had waited for this, and it really was.
She loved the way they held hands under the table, fingertips tingling, the way she would say something completely pointless and he would smile at her, just because.
The way he put his arms around her shoulders as they walked into bitter cold, as if to keep her warm.
The butterflies that came every time she looked at him.
The way he mindlessly ran fingers through her curls when they talked close.
Whispered pranks in her ear. Laughed for hours.
How he called her before work, just to say good morning. Sometimes left messages, late at night, even if they'd spent the evening together, or maybe talked on the phone.
The little notes left on her desk, in his adorable scrawl.
Inside jokes mostly. Cups of mixed berry yogurt.
The way he cupped a hand under her chin when she wouldn't meet his eye,
Usually from laughing too hard.
Brushed a hand across her cheek, or flyaway hairs from her eyes.
It was all of these things, and more, and she looked up at him now.
They had perfected the art of
Being one soul.
And nothing like it had ever happened before.
She couldn't help it.
She was in love.
The morning was wrapped in ice, glinting cellophane, the sky crinkled in a fierce metallic dance as the day slowly began to appear. The coffee was on, running in a clout brown stream to collect in the bottom. Pam took a mug down from the cupboard, the one she always used. The pot was steaming, almost finished. Maybe it would stop this awful ache in her head.
Why had she even come in today?
Because there were early morning faxes, because there were calls to answer, because someone needed to make the coffee. She was always the first one in.
But these weren't the real reasons; she knew it.
Because every time she looked up, he was there.
Because after all the time they had waited, it sometimes still seemed too good to be true.
Because he was hers now, and she didn't want to spend one second apart.
That was why she had come in today.
Pam poured herself a cup. The bitter contents turned her stomach. She set the mug untouched on the desk, and sank into her chair. The pounding in her head was building by the minute.
Computer screen flashed, searing.
As the sky turned a mottled gray and weak sun splayed through the blinds, people began to arrive. Stanley, Meredith, Angela, in her prim white coat and high braided ponytail.
Pam smiled and nodded good morning, as the room slowly filled, trying to pretend like everything was fine.
Truthfully, the everything was hazy around the corners.
She couldn't think.
She could barely breathe.
Her cup of coffee was full to the brim, whereas three normally would have been drained by eight a.m.
As the last few people began to arrive, she suddenly realized his desk was still empty. Why hadn't she noticed yet?
Where was he?
He was always the second one there, more or less. They usually made coffee together now, over early morning kisses and master prank plans.
Why hadn't she noticed? She must be sicker than she thought.
She needed him today.
He would be make everything better. He always made everything better.
Because now, even though she didn't need saving, he was her knight all the same.
The one who told her she looked beautiful when she was crying.
Who knew her favorite color, favorite song, favorite flavor of yogurt.
the one who loved that, no matter how hard she tried, there would always be a few curls out of place.
Who she felt would hang stars for her, if he could.
So where was he, today, when she needed him?
She couldn't think.
Oh, her head.
The haziness was there, deeper now. Seemingly pressing into the corners of her mind.
And still his desk was empty.
She stopped wondering.
Her mind was sealed, unworkable.
Still she sat, answering calls and emails through a blur of unaware.
She didn't even try to respond to Michael's suggestive remarks.
Didn't bother to throw away the jellybeans after Dwight picked out all the licorice flavored, at exactly 9 a.m.
His desk was empty.
A reluctant sip of coffee sent her into a spasm of coughing.
And of course, there had to be a meeting at 9:30. Knowing Michael, it was probably some strangely oblivious and racially crude seminar.
She forwarded the phones.
She could barely breathe now.
Pam was right about the meeting. Everyone crammed into the conference room, where pictures of the utmost random where plastered onto the walls.
Normally, she and Jim would have made fun of these.
Jim. Her Jim. Where was he?
Oh, but now she couldn't think.
Her head was suddenly shot with a knife sharp pains, making her feel as though she were on fire.
Maybe she was.
She couldn't be here.
She excused herself, to go to the bathroom.
She stumbled to reception.
Stop the pounding.
The brightness of the lights were making her feel sick,
The voices impossibly deafening.
And suddenly, everything was blurring, dancing
The world was spinning madly
The pain was blinding.
Couldn't breathe, everything going black.
She was going to drown in this sea of
That was slowly swallowing her up,
And she wasn't coming back
The voices were fading
Suddenly warm hands were catching her, holding her up, supporting the weight of a disappearing world. Someone was saying her name, softly, stroking her hair.
His desk was still empty.
Why hadn't he come?
Nothing was focusing. She opened her eyes, and nothing was there but a blur of colors and hushed sounds. Closed them again, because it was too much.
Someone was still saying her name.
She opened her eyes, again, realized strong arms were around her, the black sleeves of his coat. And right before the picture blurred again, she could see clearly.
Of course it was him.
Of course he had come.
She could see, through her blur, his face creased with worry. She knew every detail of that face.
"Jim." It barely came out.
He was here now, and it was going to be okay.
She could hear now, could see, even though her head felt as though it was about to explode. Dizziness was hitting her in waves.
"Pam. I'm going to help you sit down, okay?" His voice was soothing, melting butter in her ears.
She nodded, eyes still closed.
Slowly, slowly, she made it to the couch and sank into the cushions. He was beside her.
She was becoming more aware, and the realization that she had just passed out at her desk was becoming more eminent.
He was staring at her, worry etched all over his face, in his eyes.
He wrapped his arms around her, his forehead resting against hers.
"Hey. It's okay." He was rubbing her back. "We're gonna get you home."
He pulled away, suddenly, laying a hand on her forehead. It felt like ice. It felt so good.
"Pam, you're burning up." She nodded weakly, resting her weight against him.
He helped her into her coat, helped her to stand.
She was shaking now, coughing. Her head worse than ever before.
Somehow they made it downstairs, his hands wrapped around her back. She was trying to remember everything he was doing, because it was so immeasurably sweet. Even though he was her boyfriend now, she had to wonder; would Roy have ever done this?
No. It didn't matter anymore. All that mattered was Jim now, who was looking at her with increased worry. She reached a hand behind her back to touch his. There was that smile. Worried, but a smile. Weak sun was drabbled on the crest of a cloud, eager to shine.
And as he held her tight, as if trying to soak up all her sickness, all her pain, she knew. He was her speck of sun on a wintry day, the neverending smile, the one to dry her tears. They were together.
And the world would never be the same.
It was finally, utterly complete.
He lifted her into the car.
His hand remained in her lap the entire drive home.