"First Date" – picking up after the season 3 finale, "The Job." (I don't own any of the characters in this story. They are creations of the writers of "The Office")

Pam is sitting down with the camera crew explaining how happy she is for Jim and how sure she is that he'll get the promotion. As she talks she can't help but see memories of him flash through her mind. The day they met and she introduced him to Dwight. The 2005 Dundee's when she drank too much and kissed him in front of everyone. Grilled cheese sandwiches on the roof. If he gets this job he's going to leave… again. Leave with Karen killing any hope of getting back to that place they were in on Casino night. As she talked on she noticed someone at the door. It was Jim. "Uh, Pam. Sorry (to interrupt). Are you free for dinner tonight?" Jim said with wide eyes. Pam looked at him with complete surprise. "Yes" she managed to squeeze out. Then Jim said the words Pam was not expecting but been waiting a year to hear. "Ok… then it's a date" and he shut the door to the conference room. Pam turned her head back towards the camera with an innocent smile and teary eyes. She was speechless for a few moments and then said, "I'm sorry what was the question?"

Pam hurried through the rest of her interview so the camera crew would let her go. She needed to think about what just happened. Why did Jim use the word 'date'? What happened to Karen? Was this one of Jim's pranks? No, he wouldn't be that cruel to her for the sake of humor. Not after what they had said to one another at the beach. She had finally mustered up the courage to tell him how she felt. He finally knew that she still cared for him and was hoping he'd come back to her. Pam had to know what he meant. She opened the door and saw Jim right outside. He was sitting at his desk talking to Dwight. With uncertainty in her voice Pam said, "Jim, can I see you a minute?" He turned around and stood up. He was dressed so professionally for the interview. Not his usual slacker salesman look he prided himself on. He walked over to her and each step he took Pam's heart pounded harder and harder. Jim came inside the room and shut the door behind him ushering out the cameras. Pam wasn't sure what to ask him first. She wanted to choose her words carefully and finally said, "You just asked me on a date?" She gave him a sweet smile to show him that the idea of a date pleased her. Jim looked at his feet and blushed. Then he walked over to the windows are closed the blinds. He came closer to Pam and looked into her eyes. "I broke up with Karen. Right after our interviews" Jim said softly. "I was sitting there with David and he asked me for my sales numbers. That's when I saw this." Jim pulled out of his pants pocket the gold metal Pam had made him for the office Olympics and the note she attached which said 'don't forget us when you're famous!'. Pam smiled a little, she felt bad that her note probably distracted him during an important interview with the company's CFO. Jim tucked the note safely back in his pocket and took Pam's hands in his. "Then David asked me where I saw myself in ten years. All I could think about was you" Jim said. Pam thought back to the last time Jim had held her hands this way. It was Casino Night and she had just told him that she was going to marry Roy despite their passionate kiss. Jim had shown her the most pained look in his face, one that she had never seen on him before. Now he was standing in front of her again, putting his heart on the line. Pam felt a wave of emotion flood over her and couldn't resist hugging him. It felt so good to be in his arms. As they hugged she was trying to think of what to say. She slowly pulled out of their embrace and looked up into his eyes. She could see that he was once again waiting for her response. She smiled and said, "So where are we going to dinner?" Jim chuckled looking very relieved. "Be patient, Beesly, you'll find out tonight." He was joking with her. This felt so right. She grinned at him and said, "Okay, well I better get back to my desk."

The next few hours went by so slowly. Occasionally Pam would look over at Jim. He'd sense it and look back causing her to quickly shift her eyes away. He'd smile knowing she was staring at him. She'd smile with embarrassment of being caught looking. Finally 5pm came. Jim got up from his desk and slung his bag over his shoulder like any other day. He came over to her reception desk and said in a whisper, "I'll pick you up at 7, ok?" She nodded and let out a little "ok" under her breathe. It was on. Nothing was going to stop them now. Pam drove home to get ready for the date. She chose a black skirt that came down almost to her knees and the red top Kelly made her buy online. A little makeup and a necklace and she was ready to go. It was only 5:45. She called her mom hoping for a little comfort to ease her nerves. Pam had told her mother about Jim years ago. They were very close and her mom's the first person she called whenever anything happened with Jim. Her mother was very supportive when Pam called off her wedding and was thrilled for her daughter at this moment. Pam realized that talking about the date was making her even more nervous. 6:50. She turns on the TV and waits.

A knock at the door startled her. Pam slinked over to the door and snuck a peek through her peep hole. It was Jim. He looked so handsome. He was wearing a sweater over a white collared shirt, a very classic Jim style. She opened the door and said hello. He looked nervous but managed to say something clever about her needing a doorman. Pam smiled and said, "Come in. I'll get my purse." He walked past her and she could smell a hint of his cologne. Pam realized at that moment that the hardest part of this date was going to be controlling her desire to sleep with him. She had waited so long already! Jim walked into the center of her living room. "I haven't seen the new place yet. It's nice," Jim said taking a look around. "The rent is cheap but it does only have the one kitchen" she joked remembering the awkward first conversation they had after he transferred to Stamford. "Yeah, I was gonna let that slide" he joked back. Pam turned off her television and grabbed her purse from the counter. As she turned around to face him she saw that he'd moved much closer to her while her back was turned. He took two more steps towards her so that he was standing directly in front of her. "You look beautiful tonight, Pam." "Thank you" she said, "you look very handsome yourself." He ran his hand through his recently cut hair and shook his head. "I can't wait till it grows back." Pam gently raised her right hand to his face grazing his newly shaved cheek with the backs of her fingers and then ran her hand through his hair slowly resting it at the back of his neck. "I think it's sexy" she whispers. Being touched in this way was too much for Jim to resist and he takes his hands onto her hips pulling her a little closer to kiss her softly on the lips. Pam kisses back equally softly. She can't remember feeling more sexual tension with any man she'd ever dated. Jim pulls back slowly and says, "Sorry. I couldn't wait any longer." "Me either" Pam replies. They both smile, still holding each other. Jim backs up a few inches and says, "Are you ready to go?" She nods.

Jim follows her down the stairs and opens his car door for her. Jim really wanted to make this night romantic. He had waited a long time for this and had played it over in his head countless times. In fact, the entire ride home from New York he thought about where he would take Pam on this date. They've been to most of the restaurants in town. She had probably gone with Roy to all of them too. Jim wanted this night to be a beginning and for them to soon have their own history together. As he pulled the car out of the parking lot he felt his nerves starting to ease up. He never felt such a strong connection with a woman before. He'd always felt it with Pam, ever since the day they met. He looks over at her and takes her hand in his. She's got this shy expression on her face that she sometimes gets when he looks at her. Jim's careful not to squeeze too tight as he caresses the back of her hand with his thumb. He's taking her to a park that is only about ten minutes from Pam's apartment. At this moment Jim wishes it were further so he could continue holding her hand. They don't talk much during the car ride. Jim hopes she, like him, is just taking it all in so to not forget this feeling. "We're here" he says, taking back his hand in order to park his car. Pam looks around amazed. She had told Jim months ago that she wanted to come here since they started showing old movies up on a huge projector screen set up under the stars. He was with Karen at the time but kept it in the back of his mind that it would be the perfect place to take Pam. People were walking around them with their children and friends looking to get a good spot on the soft green grass. "Jim, I can't believe you remembered this" Pam says with excitement in her eyes. "Tonight's movie is 'Legally Blonde" Jim says as he opens the trunk of his car. "And I brought our dinner." Jim pulls a picnic basket out of his car. He thinks how this date idea didn't seem so lame on paper but the expression on Pam's face says she approves. They walk down onto the grass and he gives Pam the basket. He heads over to a man renting lounge chairs like at the beach and brings back two. They settle down on the grass and open his basket of food. Jim lays a little blanket out over Pam's chair guessing it will turn colder as the night goes on. He can see Pam is amused by his food choices. He had packed a couple sandwiches, some raspberries and blueberries, a bag of French Onion chips, and two cans of grape soda. "I knew how impressed you were with my grilled cheese" he says jokingly.

Soon the movie starts. Jim and Pam enjoy their dinner under the stars, making witty comments about the movie to one another in their respectable lounge chairs, picnic basket between them. Jim wants to get closer to her but isn't sure how close he should get. The movie as nearing the end. He didn't have much time. Carefully he pulls the picnic basket out of the way and inches his chair closer to hers. The cool air was blowing around them and Jim was glad he brought the blanket. "Are you gonna share that with me, Beesly?" he whispered tugging on the corner of the blanket. Pam smiles at him and says teasingly, "it's not big enough to reach over there, sorry." "I can fix that" Jim replies motioning her to scoot over and make room for him on her chair. Pam hesitates but then turns onto her side facing him. Jim, seeing his plan is working, quickly hops over to her chair before she changes her mind. The lounge chair is a tight squeeze for the two of them but Pam doesn't seem to mind. Jim puts his left arm around her neck so she can rest her head on his shoulder and pulls the blanket up over their bodies. She turns in toward him and places her left hand on his upper arm giving it a little squeeze. "Are you having a good time?" Jim whispers in her ear. Pam nods and starts rubbing his arm with her hand. He really wants another kiss but isn't sure how far to take it on their first date. He told himself he wouldn't kiss her until he took her home and that plan was already shot to hell before they left her apartment. How are you supposed to behave on a first date with someone you're already in love with, Jim wonders? As the movie ends people start getting up and walking back to their cars. Pam sits up so she can look at him better. "This is really great, Jim" she says. He smiles at her and replies "are you ready to go? I thought maybe we could take a walk around the park." "Yeah, that sounds good" Pam says.

Jim and Pam walk slowly around the park on the path that starts at the parking lots and wraps around the soccer fields, through the picnic tables, and past a small pond. Pam is dying to ask Jim a few of the hundreds of questions buzzing in her mind. As they walk along she works up the courage to ask a big one. "Jim? What happened with the interview? Are you still going for the job at corporate?" She could hear the nervousness in her voice as she spoke. Jim's face lights up as he looks over at her, "oh, no. I withdrew my name from consideration an hour after the interview." Pam couldn't hide her relief after hearing that answer. "Oh, good! I couldn't imagine this finally happening between us, just to lose you to the city… but Jim, you totally could have gotten it. I feel bad." Jim stops walking and turns to face her. "Hey, Pam, don't feel bad. This was my decision." He takes her hand in his and softly says, "And I have no regrets" kissing her hand. Pam looks into his eyes and smiles. She thinks to herself how great it is to be able to really stare into his eyes for the first time without feeling the need to casually look away. There was one more thing she had to know before she could really entertain this idea of being with him. "Jim, what did you tell Karen? I mean, did you tell her it was because of me?" "No, I mean, yeah she knew why I was doing it." Jim responded. "She was upset… but not surprised. She asked me a few months ago if I still had feelings for you and I told her I did." "Really?" Pam said, trying not to sound too pleased by this information. Jim was looking straight ahead as if it was easier to say these things to the night air rather than to her face. He went on, "Pam, I didn't how you felt when I got back to Scranton. I really didn't know until the beach. I don't want you to think I was punishing you or something by being with Karen. I just really wanted to get over you… to protect myself." Pam feels her heart melting; she hated to think about how much she had hurt this man who she now cared about so much. She looks over at him trying to force an eye connection. "I wanted to call you every day after you moved. I just didn't know what to say. I made a huge mistake letting you go and I didn't know how to fix it. But I think it was worth it… to be here with you now." Jim looks at her with a smile and squeezes her hand one, two, three times. The path comes full circle back to Jim's car and they head back to Pam's apartment.

Jim walks her to her door and watches her fumble with the keys. "I had a really great time tonight, Jim" she says in a very sincere tone. Jim smiles and says, "I have to admit I was nervous when I got here, but this… you and me… it's exactly how I thought it would be." Pam blushes a little and turning the key opens her front door. Then, she replies, "Me too. Come on inside" motioning with a tilt of her head for him to follow her. Jim hesitates for a second, "I don't know, I don't wanna make a mistake by rushing things" looking down at his feet. Pam is unsure what to do but her lips start moving before her brain can decide. She gently lifts his chin with her finger and whispers, "it took us a long time to get here… and I know this is right." She parts her lips begging for a kiss which Jim cannot refuse. He wraps his arms around her waist and softly presses his lips to hers. Pam knows this kind of kiss. She hasn't felt it since Casino night so long ago. She responds by running her hands through his hair and lets out a little moan. She squeezes the back of his neck with both her hands and pulls him inside her apartment. Pam can feel her heart speeding up as Jim gently kicks her front door closed with his foot, never taking his lips off hers.

He walks her backwards to the sofa and she giggles as she plops down onto the cushions. Pam could feel the adrenaline pulsing through her body as Jim lay down next to her. He held himself up a few inches over her body softly kissing her cheek, her ear, and then her neck. She let out little moans desperately trying to keep herself under control. She loved feeling his warm body so close to her. Pam felt a thousand tingles on her skin as he ran his hand up and down her arm. She could tell Jim was being careful not to touch her in certain places. He laid his hand to rest on her hip and resumed kissing her mouth. Pam loved these kisses. She had dreamed of them every night for almost a year. She couldn't believe after all this time it was finally happening. She had always thought that when she finally got to this moment with Jim that she would be nervous. Pam was surprised how relaxed and comfortable she felt with him. She felt herself reach out and grab a hold of his back and clenching it with her fingers he moaned her name. Hearing him say her name like that ignited a fire inside her. Pam pressed her fingertips into him as she ran them up and down his strong back. She tugged at his shirt still tucked into his pants. Loosening it up she slipped her hands underneath to feel his skin. It was warm and smooth. She let out an "Mmmm" sound as he started kissing her neck again. "Oh, Jim" she whispered. He kissed her chest and carefully pushed her sleeve off her shoulder to press his lips against her bare skin. Pam clumsily pulls his sweater apart from his dress shirt working the sweater off over his head. They look at each with intense passion for one another. She wishes she could read Jim's mind. She could usually read his facial expressions easily but tonight she's seeing new ones that are impossible to interpret. Pam goes for the buttons of his dress shirt carefully unbuttoning each one. Jim continues kissing her neck and shoulder. He lets out a moan as she opens the last button to his shirt and pushes the fabric back exposing his chest to her.

Jim feels a chill come over his as Pam touches his chest. He's trying to behave himself the best he can. Had this been five years ago he'd of already taken the girl into the bedroom. But now he was older, more mature, and this wasn't just any girl. This was his Pam. He didn't want to go too far tonight. Jim pushes his hands underneath her back and slowly pulls them both into a sitting position. "I'm safer with my feet on the floor" Jim thinks to himself. He pulls back to look in Pam's eyes. He brushes the hair off her face and smiles. "You're getting me too exited, Beesly" he says softly kissing her cheek. "How exited?" she says in a suggestive voice. Jim looks up and then back down at her saying "the cold shower kind." She smiles at him and pulls his shirt back over his shoulders. "Can I take you out again tomorrow night?" he asks. Pam nods at him and kisses him softy on the lips. "Yes" she says, reaching for his shirt and buttoning it back up. They stand up and face one another. Pam walks him to her door and opens it. Jim leans in to kiss her goodnight and to his surprise she wraps her arms around him and gives his a very passionate kiss. Jim puts his arms around her waist and squeezes her body against his. Pam runs her hands through his soft hair and he pulls back leaning his forehead against hers. "I'll call you tomorrow." "Ok" she whispers back. Jim lets her go and turns to walk down the hall. He looks back at her still standing in the doorway. He smiles and says goodnight to her again. As he walks out to his car Jim wonders what took them so long to get here. They were so clearly awesome together! Maybe Pam was right. Maybe even though there were painful memories in the past three years and it had been a real struggle to get to this point, it was all worth it because they've finally gotten the timing right. Even after just one date Jim knew that this was exactly how he pictured it for them and after tonight his life would never be the same.