A/N: I have been suffering a little JAM drought. Lucky for me, I was invited to join the jam_prompts community on Live Journal and that led to a table of quotes that I will use to pull myself out of the funk. This is the first of those stories. Inspired by a quote taken from The Bridges of Madison County - "This kind of certainty comes, but once in a lifetime."
Disclaimer: I have no claim to these characters, nor do I own any part of The Office. I just like them an awful lot.
Was it really possible to be truly sure of the person in your life?
There's a certain level of trust, a modicum of comfort that one can revel in when you have been with your partner for a certain amount time. You know his habits. He knows yours. You know that the toothpaste never gets put back in the holder. You know that his shirt and pants will be tossed haphazardly into the hamper, but the socks he shed at the same time never make it closer than eighteen inches away. He knows the exact color that you like your tea. He picks up a new bottle of conditioner when you ask him to buy shampoo because he thinks that since you use them together, they should deplete at the same rate. He rotates the containers of mixed berry yogurt in the fridge, carefully checking the expiration dates and arranging them on the shelf accordingly.
It's little things like that that make it impossible for you to tell him that you have fallen in love with the Boston Cream Pie flavor, or that his wayward socks make your head want to explode. That, and the fact that you know that you aren't perfect either. He never complains about the smudges your charcoal tipped fingers left on the arm of the new micro-suede couch, but you see his eyes drift to them. You have caught him attacking the cranberry juice stain on his carpet with a sponge and bottle of Resolve, but he has never once acknowledged that you are the one who caused it.
It isn't out of fear that these things aren't mentioned, it's out of love. Sometimes you look over at him and you realize that you love him so much. Too much. More than it should be possible to love someone. It boggles your mind that for so long you were able to see him every day, talk to him every day, count on him every day, and not realize how fantastic is truly is. You knew, but you didn't know. You peek at him over the top of your sketch book, trying to get the angle of his chin just right as he sits, completely absorbed in the basketball game on the television. You use your finger to smudge a light five o'clock shadow along his strong jaw, look up to check yourself and suddenly you are completely entranced by his lips. You tear your eyes away, surreptitiously glancing at the television to see how much time is left in the game. You slide your pink chenille clad toes under his thigh, and he lifts his leg slightly to accommodate them, his eyes never wavering from the screen.
You turn your attention to the pad balanced on your knees and study the likeness, your fingertip gently tracing his hair, itching to touch the real deal. Your engagement ring sparkles in the lamplight and captures your attention. There have been plans made. Not like the plans she had made when she thought she would marry Roy, or the plans Andy has been subjecting the entire office to for months. These were quiet plans, whispered late at night as they lay in a morass of tangled limbs and intertwined fingers. Plans for family and close friends. Plans they planned to keep quiet from their office mates until the very last minute. He wanted to add the words 'Be there or be square' to the invitations. You had to put your foot down on that one.
You stare at your ring and you wonder if that quietness meant something. You think maybe the absence of the urge to shout it from the rooftops, or decide flowers by break room committee may be an indicator of sorts. Not that you aren't excited. You are. You're practically giddy with excitement. Not that you aren't anxious. You're so antsy that you make Woody Allen look like he has overdosed on Prozac. It's like you have been dropped into engagement Bizarro World. The quiet is calm. The quiet is sure. The quiet envelops you a thick velvety fog, soft and thick, muffling the annoyances of the outside world and blocking out everything extraneous until it's only the two of you. You and him. Him and you.
He licks those lush lips, keeps his eyes fixed on the screen and asks in a deep voice, "How long are you going to keep staring at me?"
"Forever," you answer without missing a beat.
He turns to you with a smile so brilliant that your heart actually skips a beat. "Good answer, Beesly."
"I know this much is true, Halpert," you say with a slow smile of your own.
"No more 'I love the 80s' for you," he says sternly.
"I'll have to find something else to keep me entertained," you tease as you toss the sketch pad onto the table and pull your legs back, shifting onto your knees so that you can get closer to him. Much closer.
He doesn't complain that the score is tied with less than a minute left. He doesn't hold up a hand to stop you, or point to the screen. Instead, he tosses the remote onto the coffee table as he lowers his feet from it, preparing for the space invasion. And as you draw near, he turns his head, his soft green eyes warm and welcoming, his perfect lips parted in anticipation.
It's then that you know that he'll inhale deeply, pulling in the scent of shampoo, lotion and the day's lingering perfume. Its then, you know that he'll wet his lips with the tip of his tongue, as if he's still a little nervous to kiss you. It's then, in that moment just before your lips touch his; that you know that he'll have to say something, anything, because he can't not.
"Hey," he whispers, his long lashes lowering until they shadowed his cheekbones.
You kiss him, filled with absolute certainty that he was meant to be yours. The kind of certainty that, if you're lucky enough to find it at all, comes only once in a lifetime.
You pull away slightly, waiting patiently for those impossibly long lashes to sweep upwards once more, knowing that he's keeping them closed, hoping for more than the soft kiss you had teased him with. When they open at last, you smile, knowing that was simply the first in the dozens of kisses to be shared that night. One of the hundreds you will beg, steal, borrow, invite and entice over the next few days. One of the thousands that you will happily give to him that month and the month after that. One of the millions that you have planned over the course of the next fifty or sixty years. You glance over at the television as the announcers drone on and on, but he looks only at you. You kiss him softly again, getting a head start on those dozens for the night.
"Hey," you whisper back, knowing that you can't help yourself either. "Sixers won."