So this story's been sitting on my hard drive for what seems like forever. Or... just forever. We'll go with forever. I posted it elsewhere, but I decided to put it here as well. One note for this story: we're thinking "Sexual Harassment" Pam's mom. Not "Niagara" Pam's mom. Obviously. Hee.
Mrs. Beesly pulled into the Scranton Business Park, glancing at the clock on her dashboard. The traffic on the highway had put her behind schedule, and Pam was most likely getting ready to leave for the afternoon. She quickly found a parking spot and grabbed her purse, making her way inside the building. It had not only been several years since she had seen Pam at work, but a mother-daughter weekend was also long overdue.
Mrs. Beesly remembered being thoroughly amused during her first visit to the office. Pam simply rolled her eyes and insisted that her quirky co-workers were not as funny on a daily basis as they were to an outsider but she could recall that on her first trip, Michael was going through a foreign language phase, speaking to everyone in the office using different accents.
Dwight insisted that Pam was most certainly adopted, because there was no family resemblance between mother and daughter, and apparently their mannerisms were strikingly different. She could definitely see Pam's point, though. Too much of Pam's coworkers could get extremely irritating.
Within the last year, though, Pam's voice seemed cheerier when she spoke about work. She always had a funny story about a co-worker named Jim. Mrs. Beesly found out that Jim wasn't working at Dunder Mifflin during her first visit, and she was interested to meet him. There was very rarely a day that went by when Mrs. Beesly didn't hear something about Pam's friend. And now, as the elevator stopped on Dunder Mifflin's floor, her curiosity was at an all time high. The stories about Jim had become more and more frequent, and just the night before, the majority of the conversation centered around him. She had to meet Jim, the friend who listened to Pam vent when she was frustrated. He was the friend who Pam seemed to relate to best, and the person who kept her entertained throughout the day. As of late, Mrs. Beesly had learned more about Jim Halpert than she had about any of Pam's other co-workers, and Mrs. Beesly was not oblivious to this trend.
Mrs. Beesly walked into the office and got Pam's attention at the desk.
"Mom!" Pam squealed, running around the desk and giving Mrs. Beesly a hug.
"Hi, Sweetheart!" Mrs. Beesly replied, returning the hug. "It's so good to see you."
Pam took a step back, breaking the hug. "It's so good to see you too, how was the drive?"
"Not bad at all," Mrs. Beesly replied. "I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"
Pam laughed. "Mom, please. I've told you how much work I do around here. I just have a few more things to finish up and then we can get out of here."
As Pam spoke, Mrs. Beesly's eyes wandered around the office, trying to identify the co-workers that she had been previously introduced to. There were mostly familiar faces, although the names escaped her. As she looked around, she noticed some new employees. One of them must be Jim, she thought. They were both younger than the other men in the office. One was much taller than the other, but knowing this wasn't much help. She didn't recall Pam's description of Jim's height. She did remember Pam's description of his hair, which was brown, but exactly how brown, and what shade, was debatable. Mrs. Beesly was lost in the office chatter for a moment, eavesdropping in an attempt to catch Jim's name in conversation. After a few moments, she had narrowed down the possible Jims to two. An employee across the room addressed someone named Ryan, and Mrs. Beesly nodded, satisfied that she knew who Jim was.
She watched as Jim leaned back in his chair, chuckling and making small talk with the person on the other end of the phone. He almost effortlessly closed a quick sale, smiling his way through the entire process. From the brief, one-sided interaction she observed, Mrs. Beesly determined that this was the type of friend Pam needed. He was pretty easygoing and very personable. The stories that Pam told indicated that he had a good sense of humor too. Mrs. Beesly wasn't surprised that Pam and Jim got along so well. When she saw Jim, it all seemed to come together for Mrs. Beesly. She was finally able to put a name with a face.
As Pam showed Mrs. Beesly the changes she made to the front desk, Mrs. Beesly listened intently, hoping that eventually Pam would introduce her to Jim. After a few moments with no introductions, Mrs. Beesly was tired of waiting, and finally asked the question that had been on her mind for a long time.
"So which one's Jim?" she asked, anticipating that Pam would initiate the conversation. She wasn't expecting Pam's flustered reaction to the question. As Pam giggled and subtly gestured toward the desk in front of her, Mrs. Beesly noticed Pam's face flush.
"Mom," Pam whispered, embarrassed. She shuffled some papers around and quickly turned to her work, obviously avoiding the interaction that Mrs. Beesly was expecting. Instead of pushing the issue, Mrs. Beesly smiled, moving over to the end of Pam's desk and out of her way.
As she watched Pam scurry around the desk area, Mrs. Beesly felt guilty for just standing there while Pam was busy working. "Pam, is there anything I can do to help?"
Pam paused for a moment, tapping her hands together as she thought. "You know, I have a few menus in my top drawer right by where you're standing. Take a look and see where you want to eat tonight. We can drop your car off at our place, and then Roy can drive us over."
Mrs. Beesly opened the drawer and removed a stack of menus. "I don't care where we eat, but if you insist, I'll take a look."
"I insist," Pam said with a nod, walking over to the fax machine. "Ugh, I hate it when people don't put cover sheets on their faxes. I'm going to have to go track this one down. You can sit on the couch right there if you want. It may take a few minutes." Pam motioned toward the couch as she grabbed a stack of unsent faxes and began to sort through them.
"That's fine, I'll just take a look at these while you're finishing up," Mrs. Beesly replied, shuffling the menus on the desk and filing through them. "But first I need to use the restroom. Where is it?"
Pam looked up and pointed across the office. "It's through that door right there. There's also one down the hall you can use if you want to avoid talking to anyone."
Mrs. Beesly shook her head, placing the menu back on the stack. "I'll be just fine. I'll hurry back." She excused herself and made her way across the office to the restroom. When she was finished, she returned to the reception desk, surprised that no one stopped her on the way to or from the restroom.
As she approached, she heard someone digging through the candy jar on Pam's desk. She looked up to find Jim leaning on the desk, helping himself to some jelly beans. Stepping off to the side, Mrs. Beesly watched silently as the two chatted. Jim was watching Pam as she placed piles of papers aside, placing post it notes with the fax numbers on each cover page.
"So, did you hear that Toby gave Dwight a sex ed lesson?" Jim teased, popping a jellybean into his mouth.
Pam stopped what she was doing, intrigued by Jim's question. Her eyes widened and a grin appeared on her face. "You're kidding!"
Jim shook his head. "I wish I was, Pam. I wish I was."
"How—why—did he—did Toby— I don't know what to say," Pam said, giggling. "How do you know this?"
Mrs. Beesly noted that Pam had completely forgotten her work as Pam sat down and listened intently to Jim. He leaned forward on the reception desk, gesturing with his hands as Pam watched, giggling and smiling. Pam never once broke eye contact as he told the story; she was genuinely captivated by what he had to say. Mrs. Beesly watched as Pam put her chin in her hand, mesmerized by something about him. The two were at ease around each other; it was a side of Pam that Mrs. Beesly rarely saw. Pam had her guard down, which was unusual for her, especially when she was around a guy. Instead of simply nodding and smiling, she was enjoying herself, unafraid to give Jim a taste of his own medicine when he teased her.
Jim was also smiling ear to ear as he narrated, changing his voice to presumably suit each co-worker in the story. He was clearly enjoying entertaining Pam, continuing to crack jokes when he caught her laughing. When she spoke, he leaned forward slightly, making sure to catch every word she said. Mrs. Beesly didn't know Jim, but she could tell his interest was nothing but genuine.
"Todd Packer and Michael are still in the break room," Jim lamented, allowing a heavy sigh to escape as he spoke.
Pam rolled her eyes. "I hate when Todd Packer comes in to visit. It's like Michael gets ten times crazier and we all leave feeling violated."
"Well, we leave feeling pretty violated on a daily basis, Pam," Jim said, raising his eyebrows. "It just takes a visit from Todd Packer for us to realize how bad things could be."
Pam put her head in her hands. "I left my Tupperware container in there from lunch. And I already forgot yesterday's. If I leave another Tupperware container in there, I'll run out. It's not like I can't go get it, it's just that I am not in the mood to deal with Todd Packer."
"What happened to the Tupperware set your sister got you for Christmas last year?" Jim asked.
"One was cracked when we opened the box. Then, one went missing after we loaned it to a neighbor. Oh, and Roy used one to catch some sort of automotive fluid when he was working on the truck," Pam explained, holding up a new finger as she accounted for each piece of Tupperware. "I mean, really? Tupperware. Jim, he used Tupperware."
"I'll go in the kitchen and get them for you, if you want," Jim offered, motioning toward the break room.
Pam reached out her hands in an attempt to stop him. "Can I ask another huge favor, since you're already going in there?"
Jim sighed. "I guess, Beesly."
Pam giggled. "I think my earring fell out in there earlier. Would you look for it?"
"Sure," Jim nodded.
"Thank you," Pam replied. "I know you don't exactly want to hang out with Todd Packer and Michael, but—"
"It's no big deal. I'll probably just be tortured about my 'sexuality' for a few painful moments," he continued, using air quotes around the word sexuality. "They've already mocked me enough today; if I go, it will be short and sweet. But since you've managed to stay off of their radar for the most part, you would probably never get out of there."
Pam breathed a sigh of relief, gently grabbing Jim's hand in gratitude. "Thank you! I'll be forever indebted to you. Whatever will I do to repay you?"
Mrs. Beesly watched as Jim shivered slightly at Pam's touch, looking down at their now joined hands, almost unsure of how to proceed. He softly cleared his throat, made eye contact with Pam, and stood for a moment, motionless. Jim pulled his hands away, reaching for some more candy in an attempt to recover. He shrugged. "A creepy caricature of Dwight?"
She giggled. "That's a great idea! How is it that we've worked together all these years and I've never done a caricature of Dwight? I wouldn't do this for just anyone, but this is repayment for you saving my life."
"I'm not sure," Jim said, backing away from the desk. "Now, there's nothing growing in these containers, is there? I really don't want to have to go to Dwight to ask him to call the HazMat team."
"Dunder Mifflin has a HazMat team?" Pam asked, raising her eyebrows.
"I don't think so, it just sounded good," he replied, dropping a pencil he was fidgeting with and making his way toward the back of the office.
Mrs. Beesly watched as Pam slowly tried to get herself back on track to finish the faxes. As Pam continued to finish up her work, Mrs. Beesly noticed the change in Pam's demeanor that had occurred since the conversation with Jim. Pam hummed softly as she worked, moving around the desk and gathering various piles of paper she had pre-sorted. Her description of her friendship with Jim was sweet, but seeing it in person was even better for Mrs. Beesly.
Jim started toward the break room, but stopped in his tracks as he saw Mrs. Beesly standing there. "You must be Pam's mom. I'm Jim Halpert."
"Helene Beesly. It's a pleasure to meet you, Jim, I've heard a lot about you," Mrs. Beesly replied.
Pam gasped and shook her head. "Mom!"
"Oh, really?" Jim asked. "Good things, I hope."
Mrs. Beesly nodded. "Oh, yes, all good things. Pam speaks very highly of you."
There was a brief moment of silence in the conversation as Jim glanced toward Pam, shoving his hands in his pockets. She caught his glance and he looked away, focusing for a moment on the edge of the desk. "Picking a place to eat?" Jim asked, removing his hand from his pocket and gesturing toward the menus.
"I am," Mrs. Beesly said. "Do you have any recommendations?"
Jim followed Mrs. Beesly to Pam's desk. He removed a menu from the stack, handing it to Mrs. Beesly. "Well, for starters, you definitely don't want to eat here."
Mrs. Beesly raised her eyebrows. "I don't?" she asked, taking the menu from Jim and glancing through it.
Jim shook his head. "No, definitely not. I got food poisoning the first and only time I ate there. Pam insists their food's fine but," he leaned forward, putting his hand in front of his face and dropping his voice to a whisper, "she has terrible taste in restaurants."
Mrs. Beesly laughed. "I'm trying to remember the name of the restaurant we ate at the last time I was here. I remember they had an excellent Caesar salad, and I'm just… drawing a blank."
"There was a place that had really good salads," Jim explained.
"Really? Which one?" Mrs. Beesly interjected, curious.
"—but it closed down."
Mrs. Beesly shook her head, chuckling. "I thought we were making some progress there, for a minute."
"If you're in the mood for salad, I'd say go to Olive Garden. But otherwise, go to Cugino's. The food there isn't bad and Pam won't do that nose scrunching thing when she looks at the menu," he teased.
"I do not scrunch up my nose at the menus at restaurants. You've known my mother for five minutes and already you two are ganging up on me," Pam insisted, poking her head out to make eye contact with Jim.
"Look, your mom knows it's true, she's laughing," he said, motioning toward Mrs. Beesly, who was smiling and shaking her head.
"She's not laughing, and it's not true," Pam insisted. "Just because I made a face at that pizza place that served taco pizza, that doesn't mean I make faces at every food I find repulsive."
"Repulsive is a very strong word, Pam," Jim joked, leaning on the desk to take a look at the menus. "Was she this picky of an eater when she was growing up?"
"I am not a picky eater," Pam gasped, giggling as she made her way toward the reception desk. "Again, I say, you two are ganging up on me."
Jim tapped his knuckles on the desk. "Oh, no. We're bonding over Cugino's menus. I'll keep her entertained until you're done with your work, if you want."
Pam looked to Jim and then to her stack of papers, almost unsure as to the answer to that question. "That's okay, Jim, you don't—"
"Actually, I'd like to hear his opinions on these places," Mrs. Beesly chimed in, motioning toward the menus she held in her hand.
"Okay," Pam agreed. "But on three conditions. You do not teach her how to make a Jell-o mold, you do not give her any paper clips to link together, and you do not scare her with any horror stories from this office."
"Well, that ruins all of my plans," Jim teased with a mischievous wink. "I'll be nice, I promise."
Pam laughed, shaking her head. "Sorry, Mom, I'll be done in a few minutes."
Mrs. Beesly smiled. "I am perfectly fine with waiting." Pam walked toward the back of the office once again and Mrs. Beesly turned her attention to Jim. "Does Pam tease you like this every day?"
Jim shrugged. "Not every day. Just most days," he teased. "So did you decide on a restaurant yet?"
"Well, I think Olive Garden sounds like a great idea," Mrs. Beesly answered, organizing the menus and placing them back in Pam's desk drawer.
"Did you have a long drive here?" Jim asked.
Mrs. Beesly nodded, closing Pam's desk drawer. "It usually takes less time than it did today, but there was heavy traffic. I think there was a bad accident and it backed us up. Then I had to take a detour and I got lost."
"Well, that's never good," Jim cringed. "But obviously you found your way here, so that's a good thing."
As Mrs. Beesly opened her mouth to respond, a strange, gray haired man approached the reception desk. "Oh, hey, I remember you!" he said as he reached into his back pocket, pulled out his wallet, and handed a few folded bills to her. "You were at that gig in '68. Here's your 40 bucks back."
Mrs. Beesly looked to Jim, sure that the confusion was evident on her face. She held the money out to the man, attempting to hand it back to him. "Uh… I don't—"
"Thanks again," the mysterious man said, walking out the door.
Mrs. Beesly looked down at the money in her hand. "Who was… did he just—"
"Yes, yes he did," Jim replied. He gestured toward the money in Mrs. Beesly's hand. "But on the up side, Creed also just bought you dinner at Olive Garden."
"Very true," she said, folding the bills in her hand. "So Pam was right when she said that this office has a lot of… interesting people who work here."
"That's correct," Jim confirmed, reaching for the pencil he had previously abandoned. "I would elaborate, but apparently I'm sworn to secrecy."
Mrs. Beesly took a seat on the couch. "I've heard some interesting stories from Pam, but I would venture a guess that hearing the stories isn't anything like working here."
Jim shook his head. "Nope. I have to say, Pam is the only normal person that works in this office."
"Well, what is normal, anyway?" Mrs. Beesly teased. "I hope she's as good to you as you seem to be to her."
Mrs. Beesly watched as Jim took a deep breath. He reached for the stack of post-it notes sitting on the edge of Pam's desk, folding the top sheet back and forth several times as he chose his words. "She's… well, without her I think I'd get a lot more work done than I do now, but life would be way less interesting."
"Well, I'm sure she'd be honored to hear that she's able to help keep you entertained," Mrs. Beesly replied with a warm smile. "It's always nice to let someone know you care."
"She's definitely great," Jim said with a nod. "She's…" he said, looking down to the other end of the office as his voice trailed off.
Mrs. Beesly opened her mouth to say something when the front door opened. Creed re-entered the office in a panic, his eyes widening as he saw Mrs. Beesly.
"You stole my forty dollars!" he insisted, jerking the money out of Mrs. Beesly's hand and walking out the door as quickly as he entered.
Mrs. Beesly turned to Jim to gauge his reaction of the turn of events, but he was preoccupied. She noticed a smile form on Jim's face as Pam walked back to the reception desk. His eyes followed her every move, watching as she quickly finished her tasks. Jim's smile faded as he saw Roy walk through the door.
"Hey, Pam, can I talk to you for a second?" he asked.
Pam raised her eyebrows. "Why aren't you dressed for dinner? I thought you said you were going to change before we left tonight."
"Is your mom here yet?"
Frustrated, Pam motioned toward Mrs. Beesly, standing next to Jim at the end of the desk. "She's right there."
Roy waved politely at Mrs. Beesly before turning his attention to Pam once again. "Listen, can we postpone the big dinner? I kinda double booked myself for tonight."
"What do you mean?" Pam asked. "You've known about this for awhile."
Taking a deep breath, Roy stood up straighter as he attempted to explain himself. "I didn't even realize it until this afternoon. I promised the guys we'd have poker night tonight. I would reschedule, but Lonnie's going out of town next week, and Darryl's got his daughter for two weeks after that."
"Roy, my mom's only here the weekend," Pam replied with a heavy sigh.
Roy nodded. "I know. I won't be out late. I'll even bring back food for you guys, if you want. Taco Bell?"
Pam shook her head. "Roy, we're hungry now."
"Well, you can eat without me. I'll bring something home in case you're still hungry. I'll see you tonight," Roy insisted, turning toward the office door.
Mrs. Beesly, Pam, and Jim sat in silence for a moment as they watched Roy exit. Mrs. Beesly saw Pam sitting at the desk, almost frozen by Roy's actions. Pam finally shook her head and closed out her work with a few aggressive clicks of the mouse. "You ready to go, Mom?"
Mrs. Beesly nodded as she gathered her belongings. She watched as Pam put on her coat and turned toward Jim.
"I'll see you later?" Pam asked, directing her attention to Jim.
"Sure. Unless I get eaten by a pack of hungry wolves on the way home tonight because I didn't listen to Dwight's animal safety presentation a few weeks ago," Jim teased, eliciting a tiny smile from Pam. "It was nice to meet you, Mrs. Beesly."
Mrs. Beesly smiled. "It was nice to meet you too, Jim."
Pam grabbed her belongings and made her way toward the door. Mrs. Beesly followed close behind, curious about the sudden change in Pam's mood. As Pam pressed the 'down' button on the elevator, she rocked back on her heels, Mrs. Beesly could sense that she was agitated.
She watched as Pam fished through her purse for her keys, letting out a heavy sigh as she heard the elevator doors open. As the doors shut, she finally located her keys, gripping them in her hand tightly and jingling them.
"Roy's not coming to dinner," Pam finally said, breaking the silence.
"Apparently he forgot about these plans. He promised he'd play poker with Darryl," Pam said quietly. "Which makes me wonder why I grabbed my keys, since I don't even need them—" she trailed off, dropping her keys back into her purse and leaning her head back against the elevator wall. "I can drive back if you want. I'm sorry about all of this."
"That's okay," Mrs. Beesly said reassuringly. "I don't mind driving."
They reached Mrs. Beesly's car and started the drive to Pam and Roy's apartment to drop off Mrs. Beesly's things. Pam tried to make conversation, but her attempts were more out of courtesy than anything else. Pam was obviously upset. Mrs. Beesly didn't want to press Pam any further; she figured that the conversation would pick up at dinner if Pam was in the mood to talk.
"I don't know why I'm so frustrated right now," Pam blurted, rubbing her forehead. "I knew that Roy had mentioned plans with Darryl sometime soon, but I guess I just overlooked the day he mentioned."
Mrs. Beesly said nothing, continuing to focus on the drive. It was best for Pam to continue if she wanted to.
"But, I've been talking about you coming to visit me for weeks. The day I found out you were coming, I told Roy. I marked it on our kitchen calendar. I was cleaning all afternoon after work yesterday. It's not like he didn't know you were coming, Mom." Pam paused for a moment, taking a deep breath. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to take this out on you. If I have a problem with Roy, I talk to Roy. Not to my mom. Not that I don't want you to know what's going on… ugh, Mom, I'm so sorry Roy did this."
"Pam, the most important thing about this visit was to spend time with you," Mrs. Beesly replied, purposely remaining noncommittal about the situation. "A little mother-daughter time will be nice, anyway."
"But still, I'm really sorry. He should have let us know earlier or something," Pam continued. Mrs. Beesly could tell that Pam was trying to justify the situation to herself more than anything. "I wonder if I actually did put the right day on the calendar…"
"Sweetheart, it's okay. Let's just enjoy our time together and not worry about anything else," Mrs. Beesly suggested.
Soon Pam started to cool down, and by the time they arrived at Olive Garden, Pam was chatty once again. She talked about some new sketches she had been working on, asked about various family members, babbled about work and Jim. "You warmed up to Jim really quickly," Pam observed, taking a sip of her drink. "I don't think I've ever seen you talk to someone you've just met like that."
Mrs. Beesly shrugged. "Well, Pam, he's a friend of yours. I know a lot about him from all the conversations we've had about the two of you. If he's a friend of yours, then that says a lot."
"What do you mean?" Pam asked, attempting to act unaffected by the mention of Jim as she tore off a piece of her breadstick.
Mrs. Beesly thought for a moment about the most appropriate manner in which to convey her thoughts. "You don't waste your time with people who aren't important to you. You were never a social butterfly; you always stayed close to the people who meant something to you. That hasn't changed. And as much as you talk about Jim, and with the way he talked about you—"
"He talked about me?" Pam reached for her straw, stirring it around in her drink and letting the ice clink against the side of the glass without breaking eye contact with Mrs. Beesly. A small smile appeared on her face as she processed the idea.
"Of course he did," Mrs. Beesly answered. "He said you were his best friend. And watching you two tease each other was quite sweet. It's been awhile since you had a friend like Jim."
Pam smiled. "Sometimes I feel like I complain to him too much, but he always tells me it's no big deal. It's just nice to have someone to talk to, you know?"
Mrs. Beesly nodded, folding up her napkin. "You two seem like you get along really well. You mentioned that you guys talk a lot, but it was interesting to see in person."
"Interesting?" Pam raised her eyebrows.
"It was just really noticeable that you two are really close."
Pam merely nodded in response. Mrs. Beesly watched as Pam slowly twisted her engagement ring around her finger, staring into space as the two sat in silence. She couldn't help but notice that Pam was slowly becoming less talkative as the dinner went on. In an attempt to start up the conversation once again, Mrs. Beesly searched for a topic she knew would get Pam talking.
"Does Jim ever hang out with you and Roy outside of work?"
Pam shrugged. "There have been a few times where the whole office has gone somewhere, but we don't really hang out as a group."
"Do you and Jim see each other after work at all? Just the two of you?"
Pam seemed more surprised by this question. She stared at Mrs. Beesly for a moment, seemingly unsure of how to answer her. "We don't necessarily plan to, but we do."
Mrs. Beesly took a sip of her drink. "What do you mean?"
"Well, sometimes it just kind of… happens. A couple of weeks ago, I had a flat tire," Pam started, folding her hands on the table, "and I couldn't reach Roy. I had a bad day with the pollen, it was one of those really miserable days with Michael, and I was so ready to get home and relax. I pulled into the grocery store to get some milk on the way home, and a woman told me I had a flat. I almost called Triple A, but I remembered that Roy didn't renew the membership after last year. I called to see if Jim was still at work, and he was, so he came to get me and helped me put on the spare tire so I could get home. And then I got him ice cream as a thank you. I think he felt bad for me. I even felt bad for me," Pam laughed. "I felt like a walking disaster. But we ate ice cream, and talked, and it was nice."
"That was nice of him," Mrs. Beesly agreed, moving her bread plate out of the way when the waiter approached with their food. "He really cares about you, doesn't he?"
"I've told you about all of the times he's called to check on me if I wasn't at work," Pam said, reaching for her fork.
"There's more to a friendship than just calling to check on the other person," Mrs. Beesly insisted. "You two definitely enjoy each other's company. Like I said, it was fun to watch the two of you today."
Pam giggled. "I think it's a kind of 'us against the rest of the office' situation. We're kind of off in our own little world."
"Well, regardless, it's nice to see you let your guard down around Jim," Mrs. Beesly pointed out, placing a napkin on her lap.
Pam raised her eyebrows. "Let my guard down? What do you mean?"
"Well, sometimes you focus so much on making other people happy that you don't let people see that side of you," Mrs. Beesly explained. "It's not a bad thing. It's just that you reserve that for the people who are really important to you. Sometimes you're even guarded around Roy, you know. You don't open up like that to everyone you meet, and I think it's great that you've found a friend who appreciates and understands that."
"Huh. I never thought of it like that," Pam said, almost caught off guard by Mrs. Beesly's statement.
Mrs. Beesly smiled. "I remember when you first met Roy. Sure, you were in high school, but it took you months to get over your shyness with him. You were always afraid he would think you weren't popular enough for him. For the longest time you were so insecure with the idea of dating Roy."
"I guess so," Pam said nervously, reaching over to grab another breadstick. She dragged the breadstick around in her dish, covering it in alfredo sauce.
"And look at where you are now," Mrs. Beesly said, gesturing toward Pam.
Pam simply nodded, pushing her fettuccine around her plate. Mrs. Beesly watched as Pam continued the meal in silence, finishing her pasta and staring at the dessert menu. She looked like she was deep in thought, analyzing the same picture for a few minutes without saying a word.
Looking up from her dessert menu, Pam blushed and tugged on the sleeve of her blouse. "Sorry, I'm a little tired tonight. I just have a lot on my mind, I guess. This probably isn't much fun for you."
"No apologies," Mrs. Beesly replied. "Everything okay?"
Pam nodded. "Yeah. It's just been a weird day. Sorry you had one day to visit and I'm totally left of center while you're here. That's not fair to you."
"That's okay," Mrs. Beesly reassured Pam, patting her hand from across the table. "We all have those kinds of days."
"I seem to be having them a lot lately," Pam replied with a heavy sigh.
"Well, you know you can always talk to me about it if you want," Mrs. Beesly offered.
Pam gave her mom a small smile. "Thanks, Mom."
Once again, Pam fell silent. Despite looking at the dessert menu so intently for so long, she suggested that they skip dessert and just head back to the apartment. Mrs. Beesly agreed, and the two returned to the apartment in silence. Roy was there to greet them, and while Mrs. Beesly attempted to make polite conversation with Roy, she couldn't help but notice that Pam was unusually quiet.
That night, Mrs. Beesly was awakened by a harsh whisper fight between Roy and Pam. She sat up and debated for a moment whether listening was a good idea. After deciding it was best to let Pam tell her what went on, Mrs. Beesly turned over and tried to go back to sleep. As she lay there, she could hear snippets of the argument going on.
"What do you mean you can't let your guard down?" Roy hissed.
"I'm always second guessing myself around you," Pam replied, her argumentative whisper an octave higher than a normal whisper. "We used to befriends, Roy. What happened to that? We never just… enjoy each other's company anymore."
Suddenly it all came together for Mrs. Beesly. Pam's silence at dinner, her abnormally quiet night with Roy and her mother… it all made sense. She tiptoed out of bed, walked toward the door of the spare bedroom, and stood closer, trying to hear the rest of the argument.
"Pam, look, I don't want to fight about this," Roy whispered.
"That's another thing. We don't talk. I don't think you and I have ever just talked, for the sake of talking. Even when we were just friends, we didn't really just… click. How are we going to make this work if we can't even be friends?"
"We're dating, why do we have to be friends?"
Pam sighed. "Just forget it."
After a few moments of silence, Mrs. Beesly gently shut the door.
The next morning, Mrs. Beesly walked out into the living room, expecting Pam to be in the kitchen eating breakfast. She walked toward the kitchen, but stopped on her way, catching a glimpse of the couch as she walked. The couch was covered in a pink blanket and some assorted throw pillows. Pam's slippers were situated at the end of the couch. Mrs. Beesly picked up the blanket, folding it up and tossing it on the arm of the couch.
From the looks of the kitchen, neither Pam nor Roy had made anything for breakfast that morning. The coffee pot was still in the same position it was earlier, and the sink was still empty as it was the previous night. Mrs. Beesly walked back into the bedroom, gathering her overnight bag and the rest of her belongings.
"Good morning, Mom," Pam said, poking her head into the door. "You sleep okay?"
"I did. You're going to have to take me shopping sometime so I can find some of those pillows," Mrs. Beesly teased, motioning toward the pillows at the head of the bed.
Pam laughed. "I think I can handle that," she said, fastening a barrette in her hair. "It was so nice having you over. You should stop by more often. I miss having you around to talk to."
Mrs. Beesly gave Pam a hug. "I miss you, too. And you know you can talk to me about anything, anytime. You know I'm always up for a phone call."
"I know. I just like having you here. You promise you'll come back soon?"
"Anytime you want me to," Mrs. Beesly reassured her.
Mrs. Beesly's next visit was sooner than she anticipated. Pam began calling Mrs. Beesly more often, talking more and more about her issues with Roy. The talks grew from venting frustrations to bringing up the idea of moving out. Finally, Pam called Mrs. Beesly one night asking for some help moving things into her new apartment. So Mrs. Beesly made the trip to Scranton the next day.
On her way to Dunder Mifflin to pick Pam up from work, she stopped to grab some coffee. She hoped that maybe Pam would be feeling better that day than she was the previous night. Mrs. Beesly parked the car and checked her watch. Pam was just about done with her shift, so it was the perfect time for her to try to learn a little about the argument between Pam and Roy.
Carefully maneuvering the coffee in her hand, Mrs. Beesly walked inside the building. Upon entering Dunder Mifflin's office, she noticed that Pam was not at the reception desk. She slowly turned around and started downstairs, almost running into a man in a mustard colored shirt.
"You don't look familiar," he stated simply. "May I help you?"
"Yes, actually. I'm Helene Beesly, I'm looking for my daughter, Pam. I figured she would be about ready to leave for the day," Mrs. Beesly replied. "Have you seen her anywhere?"
The man crossed his arms and shook his head. "She's been downstairs for forty minutes," he lamented, glancing at his watch. "She's probably taking a walk outside with Jim. If you see her, you should tell her that I've been waiting for thirty-three minutes to ask her to fax something. That is an unacceptable interval of time to keep a client waiting. Little does she know, she could be costing this company billions of dollars every time she dawdles. And that could be costly for all of us. She's the lowest on the totem pole. Well, maybe the temp is the lowest, but she's certainly expendable. If it were up to me, Jim Halpert would be the lowest, but since I'm only the assistant regional manager, I have no authority to change any of this. If she's lucky, there will be no consequences for her actions, but in the future, I'm sure it will catch up to her."
"Oh," Mrs. Beesly replied, cracking a smile. "By outside, do you mean in the parking lot?"
"More than likely. Just a warning, be on alert for wild male turkeys. We saw one on Stanley's car the other day. They're extremely dangerous."
Mrs. Beesly tried her best to suppress a giggle. "Oh. Okay, thanks, I will be sure to keep an eye out for them. And, um, I will pass on the message, let Pam know you're looking for her," she said, turning toward the door.
As she walked down the stairs, careful not to drop the coffee or the donuts, Mrs. Beesly kept an eye out for Pam. When she walked out the doors of the office building and into the parking lot, she saw Pam and Jim standing by what she assumed was Jim's car. She watched as Pam gently cupped Jim's face with her hands, got on her tiptoes, and kissed him. After a brief moment of shock, Jim wrapped his arms around Pam's waist, gently pulling her closer and returning the kiss. Jim broke the kiss and Pam intertwined her hands with his as they stood close, grinning at each other.
Mrs. Beesly smiled, walking in the opposite direction toward her car, hoping she hadn't been spotted. She thought for a moment about waiting in the parking lot and surprising Pam with the coffee, but instead she drove off toward Pam's old place, eager to hear the good news.
This story would quite simply be much better if Pam told it on her own.