by Kate Andrews

Jim casually slapped Pam's computer monitor as he walked past her desk. Then he sat back down and stared expectantly at her. The post-it said simply "Chili's after work." She gave him a questioning look, and he nodded at Dwight, then mouthed, "Date" and jerked his chin at Angela, who hovered by the water cooler and stared at Dwight. The nervousness she hadn't realized was building disappated. She mouthed back, "Oh yeah."


They lucked out and got a booth on the other side of some potted plants from Dwight and Angela. Almost immediately, they were treated to one of the more nauseating series of pet names she'd ever heard.

"Sugar butt?" she whispered.

Jim leaned across the table and whispered back, "You don't like pet names?"

"You do?"

He shrugged. "They can be fun."

"I bet Katy has some good ones."

He sat back and his cheeks flushed pink, then red.

"Okay, now you have to tell me."

"I really don't."

"That bad?"

"Not really. You want another Sprite?"

She peered through the greenery and saw that Dwight and Angela were joined at the mouth. "I promise not to tell anyone," she said.

"It's no big deal."

She sat back and crossed her arms.

Finally, he mumbled, "Big boy."

"That makes sense. You're tall. Why--"

"No, yeah. No, that's why she called me that. What's Roy's nickname for you?"

"We don't do pet names."


She shook her head and tried to ignore the smacking noises from the table next to hers.

"What's wrong?"

She said, quietly, "I wish we could go now."

He pulled out his wallet, dropped a couple of bills on the table and stood. "Come on." He held out her coat and helped her into it.

"But you wanted--"

He shook his head. "Let's get out of here."

When they got to the door, she looked back. Dwight was stroking Angela's ponytail like the tail of a beloved pet. He kissed her neck, and Pam saw Angela smile in a way that gave her a feeling of wrongness deep in her chest.


"You going to be okay?" he asked when they got to the parking lot.

"Of course I am, why?"

"You looked upset. You look upset."

"I'm not. I'm really not. Look, we can go back in."

He leaned back against the trunk of his car and crossed his arms. "Why did you want to leave?"

"I don't know." She shivered and pulled her coat tighter.

He took his scarf off and wrapped it around her neck before she could say anything. "It's okay. You don't have to say." He took a deep breath and stared up at the sky. The moon had risen, and he stared up at it as he said, "I kinda lost my appetite too."

"I know, right?" She leaned back against the trunk next to him. "What are they, in high school?"

"Is that what high schoolers do?"

"You don't... you just don't kiss like that when you've been with someone for a long time."



"I guess I wouldn't know. Longest I've ever been in was two years and change."

"And after two years, you didn't still make out in public like that."

She glance up at his face and watched this big grin spread across his face, saw his teeth, all white and shiny in the moonlight.

"Not at the end, but--" he shrugged and wrinkled his nose. "Of course. If you love a girl, sometimes you just want to kiss her, you know? Sometimes you need to and you don't care who sees. And you like that people can see, you're like, 'Can you believe someone as awesome as her is with me? She's mine, and check out how lucky I am.' And then you get distracted by her mouth, and you forget there's anybody but her."

She took a few breaths, and the air was cold on her tongue, her teeth. Finally, she closed her mouth, swallowed, and said, "Well, after you've been with someone for a while, you don't get carried away like that anymore."

As she watched, his gaze tracked something in the sky. She glanced up to see a plane blinking its way across the black sky. "I don't think I can believe that. That's the saddest thing I've ever heard," he said.

"I want to go home," she said.

"Fine," he said.


"Seatbelt on?"


He put the car in reverse, then his arm was around her seat and he looked over his shoulder.

She sighed, then said, "I don't remember the last time I made out like that."

He slammed on the brakes, and she rocked forward then back, hard in her seat.


He jammed the car into park and turned to face her. He was biting his lips together, and his breath hissed loud through his nose. Really quietly, he said, "Are you trying to fuck with me? Please, just tell me the truth."

"I don't--what? What? Jim, what--"

He reached next to her hip and unsnapped her belt, then his, and she was pretty sure she was about to have a panic attack. Then he leaned over and kissed her. And kissed her. And kissed her until he was gasping for breath against her mouth, lips still on hers. He nuzzled his nose against hers, then his hand covered her cheek.

He sat back and turned her face towards his. He looked so scared. He was begging her, and just from his eyes she had no doubt that if they were outside this car he'd be down on his knees. She couldn't feel her hands, so she set one on his knee.

"Yeah," she said.

She heard him breathe in sharply, and it was so loud in this car. She opened her mouth to speak, and could hear the little wet smack. She licked her lips, which burned a little from his stubble. His lips were still wet.

She said, "Yes."

It was probably another fifteen minutes before they remembered about the cameras.


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