It was several minutes after their first time, lying on the reception couch (and of course Pam had had that fantasy, but it was a fantasy, nothing she ever thought was really going to happen), that Jim managed to surprise her for the second time in thirty minutes, even giving "so, Karen dumped me for Darryl" a run for its money, by propping his chin on his elbow, blowing the hair out of his eyes, and saying, "Marry me?"
Her ears were still ringing, and she wasn't entirely convinced yet that the whole thing with the making out on her desk and the half-dressed sex wasn't part of a really weird fugue state induced by Friday afternoon boredom, so she licked her lips and said, intelligently, "Wha-huh?"
Jim smiled, that slow grin that lit up his eyes like she remembered from a million years ago, and yeah, she was definitely making this up. The fax machine was going to screech any time now, she'd startle out of her daydream, and Michael would be asking her if "the ladies" preferred briefs or banana-hammocks.
"Marry me. Tonight."
Pam half-laughed, a short puff of disbelieving air, then looked up at him warily. Zero to sixty, after over a year of barely talking to each other? If this was a prank, it had the most elaborate set-up she'd ever seen.
Her thoughts must have shown on her face, because his smile vanished and his eyes went dark and serious, searching hers.
"Pam," he said, a low, raw edge in his voice, and she wasn't dreaming this.
"Do you – " she asked, reaching up to touch his face. "Really?"
He nodded, his other hand coming up to cover hers.
"Only one place for a Friday night quickie wedding."
She laughed again, smiling at the strangeness of it. A year ago she hadn't been sure she wanted to get married at all, and now she was considering eloping with someone she wasn't even officially dating yet. Even stranger was that it didn't feel that strange.
"I don't know," she said, slowly, and his face fell. "I'm kind of low on socks, so I was thinking about doing laundry, but I guess I could get married in Vegas instead."
There was barely time to register his grin before he was kissing her, the feeling already familiar by now. She pushed her fingers through his hair and sighed against his mouth, warm and eager on hers.
"Oh my god," he whispered against her neck.
"I know," she whispered back.
"I haven't even packed."
She snorted, and pushed at his shoulders until he pulled himself up. "We should do that."
"Yeah," he said, still looking down at her.
"And – how does this even work? Do we have to get a license there?"
"I don't know. I guess we can Google it."
"You can do that part."
"Are you admitting my Google-fu surpasses yours?"
"No, I'm saying I've got more to pack than you, so I should go home and get started," she said, laughing. "Up."
Jim moved away, and she pulled her skirt down with a blush, searching for her underwear while he zipped up his trousers and pocketed his tie.
"I guess I'll never look at this couch the same way again," she said, giving him a sideways glance.
"That's good, right?" he asked, and she snorted again, nodding.
Her purse was on the counter where she'd left it, right before Jim had come around to her desk and backed her up against it, right after she'd said "I guess that means I've got a shot, huh?" She slung it over her shoulder, snagged her cardigan from the back of her chair, and turned to face him again, standing behind her.
"OK," she said. "I'm going home now. To pack."
"OK," he said. Neither of them moved.
"Should I – " she said, and he kissed her again, his hands on her face. She flicked her tongue against his, curling her fingers in his untucked shirt.
"Yes," he said. He kissed her twice more, then stepped back so she could walk past.
"All right," she said, her voice unsteady, tucking her hair behind her ears. She wondered where her barrette had ended up.
"I'll call you in twenty minutes," he said as she went by. "Let you know what's up."
"OK," she said, and she felt like they should kiss again, but they were sort of far apart for that. She smiled instead, and went out into the hall.
Pam had packed exactly two things, toothpaste and her toothbrush, when the phone rang nineteen minutes later. The caller ID showed DUNDER-MIFFL, and she held her breath as she pressed the talk button.
"What are your feelings on pirates?"
"I'm guessing so. We can get married on a pirate ship at Treasure Island."
Her heart jumped strangely. "Oh."
"What, would you prefer to get married with real pirates?"
"I don't know, it might add some excitement to the proceedings."
"Are you saying our wedding is going to lack for excitement?"
Her heart did that funny thing again. "Maybe," she coughed, her chest tight.
"Ouch," he said. "Well, I'll keep looking and call you back."
Pam turned the phone off and set it on top of her dresser. She stayed where she was for a minute, staring blankly into her open jewelry box, then started poking through it for her favorite earrings.
A pair of khaki shorts and her shampoo were in the suitcase when the phone rang again five minutes later.
"Excitement is what you want? We can book a helicopter wedding."
"Overlooking the Vegas Strip or the Grand Canyon."
"What if I want it to overlook something else?"
"You can – oh, shit. We have to book at least three days in advance."
"Yeah, and who has the patience to wait three whole days to plan a wedding?"
"Not us," he said. "Let me see if I can look into express weddings. Unless you want to get married in medieval costumes at the Excalibur?"
"Star Trek uniforms?"
"Keep looking, buster," she said, laughing, and hung up.
She was picking out underwear when he called back some time later, a handful of silky thongs she hadn't worn in years spread out on the bed.
"If you had to choose the absolute worst name for a wedding chapel, would you pick 'Wee Kirk O' the Heather' or ' San Francisco Sally's Victorian Wedding Chapel'?"
"There's no Elvis option?"
"Oh, this is just page one. There's a whole separate section for the Elvis chapels. One of them involves a tandem bicycle."
"I'm not sure I'm ready for that."
"You might never be."
"Here's a question for you – do you prefer red or black, Jim?"
"Well," she said. "Underwear."
She heard him clear his throat. "Uh. It's – I don’t know."
"One's a thong," she said, heat creeping into her cheeks. "The other's, I don't know, hard to describe. I think it's called a Brazilian-cut."
"Your call," he said in a husky voice. "I'm sure – you'll look great in anything, Pam."
"OK," she said, her own throat tight.
"I'm just gonna – keep researching."
She had packed absolutely nothing when he called back ten minutes later. The phone startled her when it rang, and she laid back on the bed to answer it.
"Yeah. I think I'd have to call right now, but it's July so it shouldn't be too booked, and with the time change it'll still be open by the time we get there. I'm looking at the picture on the website right now, Pam, and – it's really nice."
"Can you get online? If you look – "
"I'm sure it's beautiful," she said softly. "I trust you, Jim."
"OK," he said, letting his breath out in a whoosh. "I still have to book a flight, and when we get there we'll have to do the license but the registrar is open until midnight 'cause it's, you know, Vegas. All they need is our driver's licenses and social security numbers, because, again, Vegas, and then we can – "
She sat up. "Jim."
"I lost my driver's license last week."
There was a pause. "You don't have an old one or something?"
She shook her head, and realized he couldn't see her. "Nothing. Not even an old student ID."
Jim let his breath out again, an edge of frustration in it this time. "Maybe," he said, and stopped.
"Yeah," she said. "Maybe."
"I guess it was kind of last minute – "
"Jim," she said. "I do – I think I'd like to marry you. Tonight was… not the best night. I, you know, I haven't even told you that I love you yet."
"You did," he said softly. "Before."
She remembered breathing into his ear, hardly knowing what she was saying, her hands sliding under his shirt, his mouth hot on her neck.
"I didn't think you heard that."
"I did. And now you just said it again."
"Yeah," she said, smiling.
"Well, I can't deny that I'm a little relieved we're putting it off a few days or so. I was really into that helicopter idea."
"I thought you were afraid of heights."
"Amazing what love can overcome."
"Can it overcome cross-town traffic? I've got a freezer full of Lean Pockets and three overdue Blockbuster rentals with your name on them."
He laughed. "OK. Let me just get things closed down over here."
"Still working on nesting all Dwight's folders like a Russian doll?"
"See you soon, then," she said.
"Wait – Pam?"
"I'd like to see you in red."
"I'd like to – wake up next to you. Go out for dinner. Introduce you to my parents. Cross a couple of other things off the dating list, if that's all right."
"Yeah," he said. "Me too."
"See you in half an hour?"
"Yup. And uh, if you remind me of this night any time in the future, I will deny any memory of it."
"Jim," she said. "There are worse things you could have done than asking me to elope with you to Vegas. You didn't even push for Elvis."
"Are you saying you'd have been more into it if Elvis were involved?"
"I hate you," she said, laughing.
"Too bad, since I love you."
Her heart jumped again, but without that tight feeling in her chest. "Prove it."
"Oh, I will."
She hung up the phone, smiled to herself, and changed into something red.