A/N: I feel like I should write "Long time reader, first time poster" or something like that... actually I've been writing fanfic for a while now, on all sorts of subjects, but this is my first crack at "The Office". The usual disclaimer applies. I own very little of this fanfic. The first part is taken from the beginning of Season 3 Episode 1 ("Gay Witch Hunt"); some dialogue later on is taken from Episode 5 ("The Initiation"). Also, the bold phrases next to the month indicators are lyrics taken from the song "Intuition" by Feist.
The Prologue is written in two parts because it's just too big for one chapter. Combined, Parts 1 & 2 encompass the year in between Casino Night and the start of Season 4, but with some slight changes. Pam never tells Roy about what happened on Casino Night, so he finds out about Jim and Pam in another way later on. It focuses mainly on plot points relating to Jim and Pam and not much else from those episodes. Keeping that in mind, I hope you enjoy!
Listen to the soundtrack at www. playlist. com/ node/ 34686013
And It's Impossible to Tell…
Jim: (pulls away from Pam after kissing her) You have no idea how long I've wanted to do that.
Pam: Me too. (Pause) I think we're just drunk
Jim: I'm not drunk. Are you drunk?
Pam: No. (Jim goes in for a second kiss, but she stops him) Jim–
Jim: (Looking at her, softly) You're really gonna marry him?
Jim: (cont'd) Okay… (He lets go of her hands and walks away)
Dunder Mifflin office. Friday night.
It's late. Jim is packing up his supplies – a Dundie from his desk drawer, a well-loved Jell-O mold, his yogurt lid medal from the Office Olympics – from off his desk and putting them in a box on the floor.
Jim: (V.O.) Yeah, I'm leaving for Australia today, then I'm off to Stamford. I'll be Assistant Regional Manager, and the only thing that makes me happy about it is that it's one more thing I can rub in Dwight's face every time I talk to him from now on.
He roots through Dwight's desk and lifts a few sheets of paper from a drawer; Dwight's stationary. He picks up the box and puts it on his now empty desk, then takes a Post-It from off the top and quickly scribbles something down before sticking it to the computer monitor. Camera zooms in to read: Dear Incumbent:Enjoy your new desk mate, Dwight. Don't worry, he's harmless. J Halpert.
Jim: (cont'd) Why? Well they offered me a better job, with better pay, in a beautiful city where I can eat all the soft-shelled crab I want. I'll be far enough away from Michael Scott that perhaps I'll regain my sanity. (Pause) Plus, I really just need to put as much distance between me and… well, you were there… .
He walks across the office, turns around and seems to say goodbye to the darkened cubicles. Then he walks up to reception, slowing down considerably, and runs a free hand along the countertop. He pauses for a long time, looking down at the computer, the chair, imagining his favourite person sitting there. He smiles faintly, then turns around and walks out the door.
The camera cuts to the airport, where Jim is preparing to take his flight. Jim is standing in the ticket queue, in khaki shorts and a breezy white polo. He has a backpack on his shoulder and is holding onto the handle of a large suitcase.
Jim: I'm not running away. (Pause. He looks down at his shoes) Honestly, if I had to spend the next month sitting six feet away from the woman I loved, knowing full well that she was going to marry someone else… and then while she was off on her honeymoon… with him… (Pause) Maybe I am running away. I don't care, I just can't stay here.
Dunder Mifflin office. Monday morning
The lights come on, one row at a time. Pam enters the office, the first one to arrive. She turns on her computer and yawns, putting away her coat, and sits down. She looks around the empty room, scanning past Jim's desk before realizing that it looks different. Everything is gone. Her shocked expression betrays her feelings. The camera comes in close and Pam doesn't notice. She hears her computer start up and hurries to check her email. After a lengthy pause, she puts a hand to her mouth.
Pam: He just up and left? (Pause) To Stamford? (Pause. She acknowledges the camera with a smirk) This is a prank right? Dwight's behind this. (She reads) "As you are all probably well-aware, I'm off to Australia to soak up the rays and practice my surf technique. What you don't know is that I won't be returning to Scranton. I've been offered the Assistant Regional Manager position at Stamford, and I will begin my work there upon my return. I know that this is a rather informal way of announcing my departure, but given the time constraints and how quickly everything happened, this was the best way. I hope you all understand. Have a fabulous summer. If you're ever in Connecticut, look me up. Sincerely, Jim" (Pause. Pam returns her gaze to the camera) Jim would never do this. (She looks back to the screen; the camera comes around to look at what she's looking at. It's a new email, from Jim's personal email address. Pam clicks on it and a lengthy letter appears. The camera zooms in on the screen and captures the whole letter. It reads:)
I'm sorry I had to leave like this. I just had to get away, sort things out on my own. You'll be fine, I promise. You're marrying Roy and you'll have the life you want. By the time I get back, you'll have forgotten all about me, and what happened that night. That's why I'm leaving too, to try and forget. Not that I want to forget it, necessarily. There's nothing I want to forget. But I need to get past this and I can't be around you and hope to accomplish that. This isn't a punishment; I'm not trying to be a jerk or anything like that. I'm just looking out for myself.
I just wanted you to know, one more time, that I love you – have loved you – from the first, and that nothing has changed. I'm not mad that you chose Roy. He's your fiancé, I have no problem with that. It's just that sometimes, I wonder what it would have looked like, if you could choose me instead, and I couldn't ignore that anymore. Maybe explaining things will help, but maybe that's too much information for you, and if that's the case, I'm sorry for that as well. I just wanted you to know. I needed you to know.
I really do hope your wedding is beautiful, and everything you wanted in a wedding.
Your friend always,
(Pam stares at the screen. She lifts one hand to her face, brushing a tear away)
In the boardroom, a few minutes later. Pam's eyes are bleary as she addresses the camera.
Pam (talking head): You know what the real kicker is? (Pause) I called off the wedding on Saturday.
(She sits motionless for a long while, before putting her face in her hands and crying).
How Important Someone Was…
Michael (talking head): Do I miss Jim? (Pause) Well I don't not miss Jim. (laughs to himself) If I missed Jim, would that mean that I didn't appreciate Ryan? Because Ryan is doing a bang-up job. He had some big shoes to fill. (Pause) No, literally, Jim forgot his basketball shoes in the break room and there was a lunch hour a few weeks ago when we were going to have another basketball game, and Ryan left his shoes at home, so he used Jim's. Jim was a tall guy and Ryan is like… well, needless to say… . (Pause) I'm still grateful to Jim for leaving because it freed Pam up for the rest of us, so (Laughs again, awkwardly. Is silent for long pause)… well, okay, if you're going to get technical… .
Later that day…
Dwight (talking head): Fact. I have tripled my productivity since Jim left for Stamford. I don't think that's a coincidence. He cramped my style. One of us had to go. It's a testament to the indomitable Schrute strength and willpower that he left before I did. He was weak. If they're going to close any branch now, it'll be Stamford because his weakness is their problem now, not ours. When that happens, Jim will be… (pause) well he won't necessarily have to come back here if that happens… . Besides, we already have an Assistant Regional Manager –
Michael: (off camera, quietly) Assistant to the Regional Manager, Dwight… .
Dwight: (looks sheepishly at the camera) It could be worse. At least I'm not Jim.
Pam (talking head): Yeah, it's nice to have my own place. I literally went straight from living with my parents to living with Roy, so I've never lived alone before. It's nice. (Pause. Camera zooms in slowly on Pam's ring finger, which she covers with her other hand) We're still dating, but we're not engaged. I needed some space and Roy has been gracious enough to grant me that. And I'm doing really well in my art class. Things are… surprisingly good. (Pam nods silently, but doesn't seem convinced). I haven't talked to Jim, no. (She sighs after a long pause)
That afternoon, in Stamford…
Jim (talking head): Things are fine. I'm doing better than I thought, but it's easy without the… distractions (Pause) No, I don't mean… I meant Michael and Dwight, and all the other stuff in Scranton. Which reminds me… (Jim swivels in his chair and grabs a pen and paper from his desk) I have to phone Kevin about our fantasy football league. (He picks up the phone and starts dialling, but his fingers hover over the keypad) I forget Kevin's extension. I hope someone is still there (He checks his watch and finishes dialling the Scranton office number. The phone rings once, barely audible to the camera, before a female voice can be heard: "Dunder Mifflin…") Uh… hey… hi… sorry, I forgot Kevin's extension. It's a fantasy football thing… . (He looks at the camera and smiles, then settles into his chair a bit more comfortably)
Scranton, in the parking lot, a few minutes later…
Pam: (Smiles a little) All in all, I'd have to say that this was one of the better days. (Pause, smile again, a little wider) Yeah. A good day.
She waves goodnight and goes off to her car.
And What You Might Have Missed Out On…
Michael (talking head): (singing) "It's comin' on Christmas, they're cuttin' down trees…" (pauses to laugh) Well it's not technically a Christmas song, but still… puts me in the mood every time. (Laughs awkwardly, then grows silent)
Jim (talking head): I've only been back in Scranton for a month, and already Michael has managed to fire or compel a resignation from all but two of my Stamford co-workers who transferred with me after the merger. (Pause) We did get to meet "Prison Mike" though, so really, in the end, maybe it was worth it.
Pam: Is it awkward having Jim back in the office? Not really. I mean, it's a little strange. I haven't seen him since the casino… which was the whole reason he left in the first place right… but it seems he succeeded in getting past what he needed to get past, because he seems happy with Karen. (Pause. She looks away from the camera and, a few seconds later, stands up and exits the room, visibly shaken)
The cameras find Jim as he walks over to the reception desk.
Jim: (to Pam) Hey I… uh… well I have something for you. (He lifts up a small bag from in front of him. It is white with a pale blue ribbon tying the handles together – hardly Christmas themed at all) I know it's late, and I know I couldn't be there, but I wanted to get you something anyway, and then I couldn't find the right time to give it to you since I've been back, so I figured I'd just combine it with Christmas and… well here (he hands her the bag).
Pam: (confused) Gosh, Jim. I don't have anything else to give you.
Jim: (leaning on the reception desk) Oh, don't worry about it. I just wish Roy were here, 'cause it's kinda for both of you.
Pam: (even more confused) Uh, Jim… (she pulls the tissue paper out of the top of the bag and then reaches in to pull out a photo frame)
Jim: You're not gonna believe me, but I actually had that made for you when I was in Australia. (He points to the shells adorning the outside of the frame) I found the shells and a place that would put them together for me. I figured you could put a wedding photo in there or something. (He points to a pair of shells near the top, arranged to make a heart) That was a fluke, but it's a nice touch.
Pam: (smiling) Jim… Roy and I called off the wedding.
The camera closes in on Jim's face, which registers confusion and embarrassment. He leans up on one arm.
Jim: You didn't…? I mean, I thought… .
Pam: No, we didn't get married (she looks at the frame) It's beautiful, really. It's so sweet of you.
Jim looks at the camera, even more confused and embarrassed.
Pam: I thought you knew. I thought for sure somebody would have told you.
Jim: (smiling awkwardly) I was really bad at staying in touch. (laughs) So do I offer my un-congratulations now or what?
Pam: (shrugging) I don't know. (She looks back at the frame) Do I return this? We returned everything else.
Jim: No, you can keep it. I didn't get you a Christmas present, really, so… besides, it'll look better at your place than mine.
Pam: Thanks (puts the frame in the bag) I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner… .
Jim (talking head): Why didn't she tell me? (leans his cheek against his fist) How could I have missed that?
Pam (talking head): (She holds up the frame Jim gave her) It's a really nice frame.