The bitter-cold months of winter and spring have passed, and now warm summer days were consistent. Karen and Jim have been dating for eleven months now, almost a whole year, and their relationship has gone extremely well. Sure, they fought then and now, but at least if wasn't about Jim's feelings for Pam. It's as if Jim finally got over Pam...but has Pam gotten over Jim?
Karen didn't care.
For the first time in months, Jim was all her's. And she was incredibly happy.
There was another reason about why Karen was so happy today. Other than it being Friday, today was "Beach Day." A holiday only Micheal could come up with for his employees on such a short notice. Technically, they're all supposed to be working like all the other branches, and most days Karen would've preferred working than going to the beach. But Karen hasn't been able to take a day off yet, and she's been dying to relax more at work.
Work always stressed her out, and she was always worrying about not having enough money at the end of month to pay her bills. She desperately needed to get away from work, but Jim was always there for her, so that counts as something, right?
So, today was Friday and "Beach Day," and she gets to spend a relaxing, warm day with her boyfriend. What could go wrong?
"Okay, everybody have their towels and swimsuits?" asked Micheal, wearing a brightly colored Hawaiian shirt. "We have about an hour-and-half. I suggest you all go potty now," Micheal finished saying, "And then we will be congregating on the 'par-tay' bus."
Karen could feel the excitement in the air. Everyone was definitely looking forward to this day. Eating grilled hot dogs, sunbathing on the sand, playing beach volleyball, and swimming. Today was a treat, and Karen was looking forward to savor every bite.
She looked over to Jim's desk and stared at him. His quirky and dorky personality, his tousled locks, his green-hazel eyes, his hilarious pranks on Dwight, and his sarcasm. God, she loved everything about him. She found her-self smiling, while her heart was beating like a hammer against her chest.
She was lucky to have him.
She let out a deep and slow sigh, and turned her head back to her computer and focused on her work. She would've a least complete almost all of her paperwork before they took off. That way she wouldn't be overwhelmed with loads of it when she returned on Monday.
"Anyone need sunscreen?" she heard someone say to her left. It was Toby. "Its got an SPF 30."
"Oh, you know what?" said Micheal, "You're not going." Almost too well-planned and well-thought.
"But it's Beach Day," whined Toby. "I know, I'm sorry Toby. But somebody has to stay here. A-a-and work," stumbled Micheal. Why does he have to be so mean to Toby? she thought to her-self. He could at least give the guy a break.
She felt bad for Toby. She followed him with her eyes as he walked over to Pam's desk. The whole office knew that Toby has a crush on Pam, including Jim, but that excludes Pam. Couldn't she take a hint? she thought. It's pretty obvious that Toby is in love with her. What makes Pam so desirable, anyway? It seemed as if everyone use to have or has a crush on Pam.
She tried to focus on her work, but she felt her-self peeking a look at Pam and Toby. He handed his sunscreen to her, and he was clearly upset about something. Either she said something unintentionally, or maybe he just realized that yet again, another opportunity to confess his feelings for her has passed. Toby turned away from Pam's desk and dragged his feet all the way back to his desk, while his eyes were looking at the gray-blue carpet.
She noticed that now Micheal has walked over to Pam and was whispering to her. After a moment, a look of disappointment spread across Pam's face. Karen quickly shook her head and returned to her work. "Okay, let's go! Come on, come on, come on!" yelled Micheal, enthusiastically. Everyone started to turn off their computers immediately and pack up.
Once Karen was ready to go, she walked over to Jim's desk, tip-toed and slowly kissed him. His lips were like honey; so sweet.
"Mmm, wow," he said, clearly enjoying that kiss. "What was that for?" he asked, a little confused. It was completely random. "What?" she replied, "I can't kiss my boyfriend?"
She felt a smile spreading on her face; she was toying with him. "Alright," Jim said, laughing, "Let's go."
As soon as Karen stepped out of the air-conditioned two-story building, if felt like a someone blasted hot air from a hair dryer at full speed. It must have been over 90 degrees; this was incredibly hot, even for Pennsylvania.
"Okay, this way to the 'par-tay' bus!" exclaimed Micheal. I guess he was oblivious to the heat.
After Karen threw her bags in the compartment underneath the bus, she followed Jim and climbed into the "par-tay" bus. Thank goodness that the bus had cool air. She could easily fall asleep in here.
After they all settled in and the bus took off, Kevin started singing almost immediately. "On a warm summer's eve. On a train bound for nowhere. I met up with a gambler. We were both too tired to sleep." Karen recognized the song. It was Kenny Roger's "The Gambler". A classic she always loved, ever since she was a kid. All of sudden, everyone starts singing along, as if right on cue. Karen was surprised to hear the bus in union; she thought no one knew this song.
Micheal, out of all the people, was singing the most obnoxiously. His voice clearly stands out of the crowd. After the singing, she heard Micheal get up and start talking. "Attention, everyone! Today we are not just spending a day at the beach."
"Oh, sweet Mother of God," moaned Stanley. Out of all his co-workers, Stanley hated everything Micheal did, even the good things. "If you don't like it Stanley," replied Micheal, "then you can sit at the back of the bus."
"Excuse me," said Stanley. That remark woke him up. "Or you can sit at the front of the bus...or in the middle...or where ever you like," explained Micheal. Karen looked over to Jim and saw that dorky look that he always gave to the cameras. She wanted to laugh.
"We are all participating in mandatory activities. Funtivities! And there is a special secret price for the winner," continued Micheal.
"Yes! Funtivities!" interrupted Dwight. "I knew it wasn't just a trip to the beach."
"Okay, you know what? Your enthusiasm is turning people off," replied Micheal. "I hope there will be management parables," Dwight continued to say, obviously not offended by Micheal's remark.
Karen hoped that everyone will stay quiet after this.
Thirty-seven minutes later, Karen woke up with an ache in her neck. She had been napping on Jim's shoulder. She looked over to him and saw that he was fast asleep against the window. She hoped she hadn't bothered him by sleeping on his shoulder.
She turned her head around and caught a glimpse of everyone. Almost everyone was asleep except for Dwight, who was reading a manual of some sort, and Pam, who was sketching. She decided to take out her Ipod and listen to some classical music. No one in the office knew, except for Jim, that she was an incredible violinist. She was so bad-ass that even from time to time, her parents stared at her in awe and wonder. As a kid, she always dreamed of playing in a symphony. It was still her dream, in fact. But things changed and she had to face a reality check. She couldn't afford to attend a four-year university, just like she had dreamed of. Instead, she majored in Business and Music Theory at a local community college and graduated three years later.
After an hour and a half, they finally arrived at the scene. Karen looked out the window and saw the crystal, blue lake. Just by looking at it, she felt a sudden serene feeling pass through her. She couldn't wait to relax.
"Here we are, ladies and gentlemen," said Micheal, happily. "Everybody ready?" he asked. "Last one down is a rotten egg!"
Karen stepped out of the bus to retrieve her bags when she felt someone bump into her. She turned around and saw Pam. "Sorry," Pam said softly, "I slipped."
"That's okay," she replied. She wondered if Pam had done that on purpose.
After a few minutes, everyone was picking spots on the shore. Jim was ahead of her, so he picked a spot relatively close the water. "Hey," she said. "Hey you," he replied. She just sat down when Micheal ordered them to get up. Couldn't they at least lay on the shore for a while?
"We are situated on the northeast corner of scenic Lake Scranton, America's eighth largest indigenous body of water," stated Micheal. She doubt that it was true.
"It is here that a group of Americans," he continued, "will undergo the ultimate challenge. One day, fourteen strangers who work together-but only one survivor."
What is this?, thought Karen. Survivor?
"What?!" she heard Oscar say. "Just words-inspiring words," explained Micheal. "Not a contender," he said under his breath, but she knew that everyone still heard him. "For the competition, you will be divided into four tribes," he continued to say, "Each tribe will have a leader that I will pick off the top of my head. Umm, Jim, Andy, Dwight, and Stanley."
"Choose your tribes, except for Pam. Not Pam," Micheal finished off saying. What is Micheal doing with Pam? Karen thought. Yet, deep down inside her, she was glad that Pam wasn't going to play with them. She looked like a sour-puss anyways.
She watched Jim, Andy, and Stanley walk up to the front and join Dwight. "Karen," she heard Jim say with a smile on his face. She quickly walked over to him and gave him a quick kiss and a chest-bump. She suddenly felt Pam's eyes on her.
Jim also chose Kevin.
And now everyone has picked their teams, now it was time to pick a team name.
"We will be called Gryffindor!" yelled Dwight proudly. Dwight is the biggest geek Karen had ever seen in entire life. And that was coming from a geek too. "Really? Not Slytherin?" asked Jim. Oh boy, thought Karen, here we go. "Slytherin are the bad guys, Jim," stated Dwight. "I know," said Jim, "okay, we will be Voldemort."
"He Who Must Not Be Named," said Dwight in a serious manner, "I wouldn't do that if I was you."
"Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldemort," Jim was saying. Then she and Kevin joined in the chant. She loved messing around with Dwight, even if it distracted her from her work at the office.
"It is time for the great spoon and egg race," Micheal exclaimed. "This one is with a little twist. The person carrying the egg will be blindfolded. Please put on your blindfolds," he finished saying. Karen suddenly felt a piece of cloth across her face and her sight was gone. She realized that she will be the one to carry the egg on the spoon. She heard her-self laugh. All she had to do was walk straight ahead and circle the torch and walk back. This is easy, she thought. What made it easier was Jim directing her. "Okay, whoa, whoa," he said, "there's a giant hole. Just step over the hole." Was there a hole? I didn't see a hole on my way over here, she thought. Maybe Jim was messing with her.
She made a giant step over the "hole" and probably looked like an idiot doing it. "Ooh, perfect," Jim was saying, "just made it. Okay, now turn left." Karen turned left and continued to walk forward. "That's it," she heard Jim say, "just follow my voice and just keep walking straight ahead." Karen sped up her pace when she heard Jim say, "Whoa, stop, there's another hole." Was there really? And why did the sand get so steep all of sudden? But she went ahead and made a giant step when she felt her right foot hit the icy water. She lifted up her blindfold and found that she was on the edge of the late. She immediately started chasing Jim. "You ass!" she said, clearly enjoying the moment. She threw the egg at Jim, hoping to get him on his chest or his head, but the egg hit his back when he turned around.
The egg didn't even crack. "God, I throw like a girl," she said. "You are a girl," Jim replied.
She continued to chase him around the lake until he turned around to face her and tackled her."Oohhh," she said in pain. But they were still laughing at each other. She was lying on her back and he was hovering over her. After the laughing ceased, he smiled at her, lowered his body, and kissed her slowly. She used her hands to grab the sides of his face and pull him closer.
When he pulled away, he said those three wonderful words that she has been dying to hear for a long time. "I love you," he said.
She couldn't help but smile and stroke his cheek.
"I love you, too," she replied.