She's worried that he loves her too much

Just Past Midnight

Author's Note: My first posted forte into fan fiction in years, a slightly incoherent drabble for the JAM fans who felt darkness looming at Pam's face when Jim left her desk during "Chair Model."

Spoilers: General Season 4, some for "Chair Model."

Disclaimer: I don't own them in any way, shape or form. NBC does.

It's just past midnight, and she's worried that he loves her too much.

She lays beside him, studying his sleeping face, and is petrified. He told her today he was going to propose. And no matter how much the thought of being married to Jim excites her, the fear clenched her heart fast and made the joy run away.

Her last serious relationship – her only relationship, discounting Billy in kindergarten who'd held her hand before realizing girls had cooties – had been with Roy. They had been happy, and enjoyed each other's company all through college. Roy had still paid attention to her hair, her art, what was happening in her life. Then they got engaged, and that was it. They stayed engaged for several very, very long years. No matter how different her relationship with Jim is, she's petrified that being engaged will be the end of it all.

But she knows Jim, and she knows he is determined to marry her. Soon.

And as selfish as she is, she doesn't want to get married. Not now. Not when she's just become this new and improved Pamela Morgan Beesly, who can share her stupidest thoughts with her boyfriend and know he won't laugh, who can stand up for herself, who enjoys her art and has the freedom to go out with friends from art class and know her boyfriend won't be automatically jealous and suspicious. Jim is happy for her, holds onto every word that comes out of her mouth and loves how much more open she is in giving her opinion.

But it's all too soon and way too fast. She feels like she's standing in a sea of facts and emotions and they're rushing past her when all she wants to yell is "Slow down!"

And it's not that she's afraid that Jim won't wait for her. She knows he will. He waited for nearly three years before he told her how he felt, and she doesn't know how to compete with that. She waited for a blink of the eye in comparism to those years he had to watch her with Roy. She doesn't want to make him wait, but she just isn't ready.

It isn't that she doesn't love Jim, she loves him so much it scares her how right being with him is. But there's a freedom in just having a boyfriend, a freedom she feels like she's just getting to know and doesn't want to be rushed into that label of engaged again. It just may suffocate her this time.

The tears have been forming in her eyes and she takes a deep, shaking breath, wiping them away. And it's enough to rustle her ever-attentive boyfriend, even in the depths of sleep.

"Pam?" Those big, brown eyes are blinking drowsily, trying to focus on her face.

"Shh." She leans in, pressing a kiss to his lips. "I love you."

He looks almost confused, but a smile crosses his face at the words he waited so many years to hear. An arm wraps around her, bringing her to lay on his chest. "Love you too."

As his breathing evens again, she shuts her eyes and takes in the smell, feel of him. She loves him. The worrying is reserved for just past midnight, and in the morning they'll resume their banter, looks and all the things she loves so much about being with him.

Nothing would make her happier than to be Mrs. Halpert. But not for a good, long while, when she's found out just what this new Pam Beesly is made out of and has moved past her insecurities, made up for the love she couldn't give him before.

She just hopes that he knows to wait for her to get there, before she ruins everything.