Title: My Kids Are Gonna Be Right About That
Category : Romance
Content: Jim & Pam
Summary: Pam is overwhelmed by learning she is pregnant, but Jim sees things differently.
The evening passes in a whirlwind of bureaucracy: forms, instructions. Words that should be joyous come off sounding tinny and overly rehearsed; each of the seven congratulations we are given by various hospital staff is more dispassionate than the last. I guess I understand their neutrality: this isn't a happy event for everyone, and it's much less awkward to set a precedent of ambivalence than hastily retract unmatched enthusiasm. It doesn't matter, though, because their indifference can't hinder his enormous grin.
He holds me as much as he can, stealing embraces as staff filter in and out. I am torn between clutching him and holding back. So intensely I ache, I want to be in his arms- but the vulnerability of that scares me.
It's something I haven't felt since our world-shattering forbidden kisses while I was still with Roy, and it pains me to equate the two circumstances: nights that I couldn't have the love of my life, and a night when I do have him, when he is so thoroughly, unendingly mine that we're going to start a family. The circumstances are made similar by his incredible attentiveness to me. He's more attuned with my emotions than even I am, and if he touches me for a prolonged amount of time, he'll feel my tension.
And I don't want him to, not yet. He's so happy. Jim's happiness is beautiful- a deep, genuine, soul-reaching joy that I didn't even know existed until I witnessed the ineffable grin he's worn since we got together. He taught me how to be that happy, giving lessons disguised as lingering kisses, waking up spooned against him, until my smile rivaled his. Most of the time, it does; I am sure we are nauseating to watch, a poster couple for love so strong it shines through all attempts to downplay it.
Tonight, I'm not so sure.
During one of the many consultations, it occurred to both of us: having travelled to the hospital in the sophisticated ambulance of his arms, we are without transportation to our abandoned car. I suggest walking, and he looks at me like I am schizophrenic rather than pregnant, spouting off unlikely dangers that ordinarily wouldn't even occur to him. Night has fallen, evidently bringing with it a host of undesirable characters desperate to attack me. As a nurse's facial expressions reveal her opinion of our banter, I make a predictable joke about his inability to defend me, and he responds with one about attackers always being people you know: that Dwight is waiting outside, ready to Nancy Kerrigan my other leg to avenge the defeated Scranton branch volleyball team. In this sense, it is indirectly my fault that he elects to call Dwight.
I feel relief, followed by an immediate chaser of guilt: Dwight's inevitable rage, and his play-by-play of the missed picnic, will prevent me from being alone with Jim until we're home. And I want to be alone with him, but not halfway. I need to collapse into him, to be the person only he knows.
They won't discharge me unless I am in a wheelchair, so a smirking Jim pushes me to the exit. I stand to walk, but he immediately picks me up to carry me the three feet to Dwight's waiting car. Before I can even get frustrated with him, though, he presses his lips to my temple and murmurs, "Swept you off your feet again, Beesly."
I can't argue with that: he has, and always will.
Dwight is astoundingly oblivious. The long glances between Jim and I- and his huge smile, the frantic bouncing of his leg, the way he keeps reaching back to touch my knee- are about as subtle as Michael's feelings for Holly, but Dwight is so horrified by my betrayal that his rant goes uninterrupted. He drops us off in our driveway, shouting after us. The words fade as he speeds angrily into the night: "Charles was right about you, Jim! And you two were made for each other! Lazy and selfish! No respect…"
Jim raises his eyebrows as he sets me down on the couch.
"I mean, he was right about one part of it." I offer.
"Yeah?" he asks, literally beaming down at me.
"Yep. You ARE pretty lazy…" I reply. He stares at me for a second. I know what he's thinking, because it happens to me too. Sometimes I look at him and have to stop completely just to process how damn lucky I am- that we are actually together at last, forever.
"Oh, yeah. I guess we're made for each other, too." I concede.
And then, in one fluid motion, his six feet are stretched over me. But he's not pressed against me like I need him to be. He's holding himself up on his palms. I attempt to turn my frustration into seduction; I tug at his shirt collar as I kiss his throat, trying to get him to rest his weight on me- but he resists, and it's killing me. I just need Jim to be on top of me; I just need things to be the same.
Lowering himself onto the couch beside me, he pulls away. His hand comes to my face, cupping my chin, as he presses the lightest of kisses to my jaw. And then he waits, because he knows what I know: I can't keep myself from him anymore. When we started dating, Jim found parts of me that I never knew existed, things I'd never shown anyone, and he regarded each discovery with such unwavering love that I got addicted to being explored by him. He doesn't even have to ask questions anymore- he just has to look at me, that look we both know so well.
"I am so lucky," I breathe, and my voice trembles from the sheer truth of it, "that I am the only person who gets to make babies with you. I am so, so lucky." I repeat- because it is true, because it is so much.
My heart flutters when his grin returns. "I've never wanted to make babies with anyone else, Beesly." he agrees. So simple, so perfect, that I am again undone. Jim could literally say anything- a string of nonsense syllables, a filibuster on the fascinating process of water treatment, a recitation of the phone book- and his words would still scream his love.
This man has even managed to turn my unremarkable, vaguely awkward last name into a thing of beauty. It was how he told me he loved me when those words were forbidden. Now, even the most casual utterance evokes memories that steal my breath: his lips tickling my neck, whispering as we lay entwined in the night. But on the happiest day of our lives, that name will be conspicuously absent.
I have dreamt, I am embarrassed to admit, of that moment. So many things will be the same: he'll look at me, and the rest of the world will become irrelevant; he'll take me into his arms, and I'll forget that we're being watched by hundreds of people; he'll kiss me, and I'll be so overcome with love that I'll forget even my name- so he'll tell me. "I love you, Halpert." Jim will say, so tenderly it aches.
But now, when he formally declares that I am his, he'll have to call me Mommy instead.
I think, on some level, I've always wanted him to call me that. I knew we'd have children, and I know that he'll be an exceptional father. But that… was for iterations of us I could picture only distantly, a Jim with the beginnings of crow's feet in his twinkling eyes kissing me gently on my slightly lined forehead, slipping his familiar hand into mine as we watched our child play. Because that's what it was, even when we talked about it together: our future. Something we were looking forward to, but something that wasn't our reality yet.
I bury my face in his chest, feeling the cool letters of his T-shirt spelling Scranton onto my cheek. I love the way his body arches to envelope mine, the way his fingertips automatically trace my spine. I love everything about us together, and I'm just not ready to give that up.
"I want this." I whimper into him.
Planting a kiss to the top of my head, he does it again- waits for my inevitable rush of emotion. And it comes. "I want all of the things we have, the things we denied ourselves for years. I want to spend entire days in bed. I want nights when we cuddle in sweatpants AND nights when we dress up, go out, drink, whatever. I want to go to restaurants and be that couple who everyone sees is still madly in love. I want to be able to be overcome with need for you when we're making dinner, and forget about the food and have sex on the kitchen table."
Because I realize I am skirting the issue, and that this will only work for a short period of time, I spit out what I hate myself for thinking but can't deny that I feel: "I just want you all to myself for a little while."
Jim is quiet, but there is so much substance to his silence: his love is palpable in the room, and his fingers radiate comfort as they softly rake my skin. The things I've just said make me sound like the most selfish and ungrateful woman in the world, but there isn't even a pause in his adoration. I know so well that I don't deserve him- maybe that's why I'm irrationally scared of having babies with him.
And of course, he voices this just as I think it. "Did I ever tell you that the camera crew showed me part of the interview you did the day we found out I ruined your parents' marriage?" he begins.
I laugh, because though it sounds awful, we both associate that day with deep happiness. Hearing what he'd said to my father gave me chills. I did cry that night, but they were tears of elation- and he held me, kissing the drops that streaked my cheeks, a silent promise he'd do the same for the rest of our lives. "Did they?" I ask.
"Yep. It was during your stint with the Michael Scott Paper Company-"we wince in tandem- "and Charles was being especially critical of me. I know I've told you this, but the office is so awful without you. I can usually tolerate Charles insisting that I have the intellectual and social capacity of Kevin, but that's when I have you to roll my eyes at- and that day, I just wasn't having it. So during one of my interviews, they showed me one of yours." I can feel how much the clip calmed him, and it exhilarates me.
"You looked beautiful. That was the first thing I thought- how gorgeous and happy you looked, for someone whose world had just been turned upside down at the hands of her fiancée. You smiled and said that your children were going to be right in thinking that their parents were soul mates. And Pam, this baby," he says, huskily, "is gonna be right about that."
His big hand drifts to my stomach, pushing aside my shirt, fingers splaying over my skin. Now there's nothing there but hard-earned concavity; soon, the valley between my hipbones will swell with our togetherness. Suddenly, the thought is beautiful.
"I know," he continues, thumb rubbing reassurance into my waiting belly, "that there are couples who have children to save their relationship. I know that there are people who fall out of love with each other when they fall in love with their kids, who have nothing un-child-related to talk about when they're alone. And I think that you're especially afraid of those things, because you know that your own parents ultimately weren't happy. But our baby-" my breath catches at the incredible phrase-"wasn't made because we felt our relationship deteriorating." He pauses, smiles into my hair. "Our baby was made because I love you so much it transcends all forms of birth control."
"And love like that, Beesly, doesn't just stop because life gets busy. There's not some kind of expiration date on the number of days I'll be madly in love with you before I'm more of a father and less of a husband; we don't have to cram everything in before we have a family. When we go to ridiculous school fundraisers, I'll still get chills when we fall back and hold hands. I'll still seize you at work for stolen kisses in the break room; we'll get babysitters and get drunk at terrible office parties and steal away for illicit activities on the roof. After we tuck our kids into bed, I'll still hold you when we sleep." Voice thick with emotion, he breathes deeply. "I can't believe I'm actually having a baby with you, the love of my life."
I kiss him then, slipping up and over him until our limbs are inexorably tangled. His hands are lost in my hair, and mine clutch his shirt; our mouths brush and slip and gasp in a familiar but always exhilarating dance. It is an urgent kiss that runs the ragged edge of pain: in it, we remember when our timing was off, when we shot each other down and cried, when it seemed that we would never be together, much less together forever, and then we put to rest the tortured ghosts and dive into our dizzying eternal happiness.
Panting, we break apart, and he rests his forehead on mine. "I hate that there was ever a time we weren't together, but that will never be true again." he promises.
I nod. I know this. When he puts it that way, I don't know how I was ever anything but thrilled.
"And Beesly," he adds, "I have no problems sending our kid to kindergarten believing that all children call both of their parents Halpert."