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Crossing the Line: Rules for the Modern Workplace

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Pam can't find her keys. They're not in her purse, or her coat pockets, or her jeans pockets, or on Jim's night table, or his desk, or on the floor, or under the bed, or in the bed (hey, she's pretty sure they would've noticed that, but it's worth checking). Seriously, what on earth?

Her hair's still wet from the shower, and she's only half awake, but she's dressed and ready to go if she can just find the stupid keys. She clomps down the stairs, checks the front hall, nothing.

Jim's sitting at the kitchen counter eating toast and reading the paper, his tie lying on the stool next to him, the top button of his dress shirt undone.

"Hey, have you seen my keys?" Pam says from across the room. She starts to check the couch cushions.

"Hmm?" Jim says. "No, I don't think so."

"They are not," Pam says, flipping cushions. "Anywhere. This is ridiculous."

Jim looks at her over the top of the paper, eyes mild and sleepy. "Did you try retracing your steps?"

She rolls her eyes at him. "Well, I had them when I came through your front door. And then you pushed me up against it and somehow I lost track of them in all the making out."

Jim smiles to himself and starts looking around, and she kneels down to check under the couch.

"Found 'em," Jim says from across the room, and she straightens up, exasperated.

"What? Where were they?"

"On the floor, over here by the counter," Jim says, and tosses the keys to her across the room. She catches them in a jingle of metal.

"How did they get all the way over there?" she says, genuinely wondering, but when Jim smirks she remembers. "Oh," she says. "Right."

Jim takes a bite of toast, still smirking, and his hair's all carefully messy, and he's freshly shaved and clean looking, and.

Stupid work -- she really has to get moving so they can both make it on time, whether Jim's hair looks cute or not. They take different cars -- they're careful. They don't want to end up like Jan and Michael, all over the documentary, Dwight talking about them boning during staff meetings.

"Okay," Pam says. "I'm gonna head out." She takes a step toward the door.

"Aren't you forgetting something?" Jim says. She looks at him and he tilts his head meaningfully.

She laughs, and goes over to where he's sitting. "You are such a baby," she says as she leans in to kiss him, and he reaches for her waist with the hand not holding his toast.

"Oh yeah?" he murmurs, and pulls her until she's standing between his legs, slides his tongue along her bottom lip. She was just going to kiss him lightly, but he's making it serious, and he tastes like orange juice and strawberry jelly, and her stomach twists pleasantly. His hand slides up to her breast and she sighs into his mouth, and he makes a very self-satisfied noise.

"Okay!" she says, pulling back. "Stop it, that's not fair." He tries to smirk at her again, but his eyes are a little too wide and delighted to quite pull it off, and the way he looks at her sometimes, it's just. Well. She hits him lightly on the shoulder. "I am leaving," she says, and he picks the paper back up, his face sober but his eyes crinkling, and the whole way to work she can't stop thinking about the broad stretch of his shoulders, the feel of his hands on her hips. She almost drives through a red light, twice.


Jim leaves the house about seven minutes after Pam, to give them enough of a buffer, so when he walks into the office she's already at the desk, phone at her ear. He hangs his coat up and says, "Morning, Beesly," like he didn't wake up with her drooling on him.

She just nods, transferring someone's call, but as he sits down at his desk she shoots a look over at him, amused and secretive, and he has to push back a smile.

"What was that?" Dwight says.

"What?" Jim says.

"That look," Dwight says, glancing back and forth between him and Pam. "You did something. Okay, what is it? What did you guys do? I do not have time for this today."

Jim pauses. "I really don't know what you're talking about, Dwight."

"Jim!" Dwight says, and Jim settles back in his chair. That little exchange will keep Dwight freaking out for about forty-five minutes, and you've got to take your fun where you can find it in the paper business.


Jan's in the office, which means things are even more boring than normal, and he can't spend the whole morning hanging out at Pam's desk, reading everybody's messages like usual. Lame. Jim fills out his expense reports, then clicks over to Outlook in desperation.

The rest of their morning is as follows:

From: Jim []
To: Pam []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:12:41
Subject: Dwight thinks that we did something to his car. Go figure.

Four things:
1. I hate when Jan's in the office and I have to pretend to do work.
2. Dwight tells me he was up late last night because he had to take Mose to the hospital due to a beet related injury, but refuses to discuss details. Speculation on said beet related injury is cordially requested.
3. Is Michael still reading our email? Should I not have just typed that, since he's probably searching for his own name? Uh oh. This email will self-destruct after you've read it, right?
4. I have reached new levels of boredom previously unknown to mankind. In a minute I might have to start selling paper.

From: Pam []
To: Jim []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:15:02
Subject: You know, I hear if you put bologna on a car hood it'll take the paint right off.

1. I know. Is this the longest morning ever, or is that still the morning of April 22?
2. Oh God. It doesn't involve missing limbs and/or fingers, does it? Dwight was telling me about their new combine the other day. I really could not handle it if Mose lost his thumbs or something.
3. I think he lost the password that lets him search -- when I told him I didn't know what it was, he asked me about hacking software. Which obviously will work out really well. I think we're safe.
4. There is no 4.

From: Jim []
To: Pam []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:18:31
Subject: Interesting thought. Does that only work in summer, or any time?

1. Oh, no morning will ever be as long as April 22. Remember how Michael sang "Bad Day'" for a full seventeen minutes? You had a bad day, the camera don't lie, Pam.
2. What if Mose has to get a peg leg?
3. Wow. Ten bucks says that I could guess his password in eight tries or less.
4. Seriously, words cannot describe how bored I am. Why isn't it lunch yet? This is why I'm telling you, we should institute second breakfast as company policy.

From: Pam []
To: Jim []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:22:48
Subject: That, I couldn't tell you. This information is courtesy of Matt Harrison, sixth period English, eleventh grade.

1. Okay, okay, don't remind me. I've been trying to repress the American Idol incident for the past 6 months, and now all the memories are flooding back. Are you going to pay for my therapy bills?
2. Arrrr, I have lost me foot to me beets!
3. The tech guy made him change it from 1234, so it might be harder than you think.
4. So? Quit whining and let's play a game or something.

From: Jim []
To: Pam []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:25:11
Subject: Was Matt Harrison, sixth period English, eleventh grade, cute? Should I be worried?

1. April really was the cruelest month.
2. Maybe we should buy him a parrot as a get-well gift.
3. Well, I'd start with "password" and then go with guessing the great comedians of our time. You know, "ryanstiles", etc.
4. Like what?

From: Pam []
To: Jim []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:27:22
Subject: Cute, but kind of a jackass. I have a type.

Truth or Dare. You first.

From: Jim []
To: Pam []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:28:51
Subject: HEY!

Don't you think that we should braid each other's hair and eat cookie dough and talk about boys for awhile first?

From: Pam []
To: Jim []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:31:44
Subject: <3 <3 <3

Don't wuss out now, Halpert. Truth or dare.

From: Jim []
To: Pam []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:33:00
Subject: Your ascii hearts do not adequately atone.


From: Pam []
To: Jim []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:37:49
Subject: xoxoxoxoxo? Better?

Where's the weirdest place you've ever had sex?

From: Jim []
To: Pam []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:39:27
Subject: Eh.

Your mom's house.

From: Pam []
To: Jim []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:42:13
Subject: You're so high maintenance.

If you're not going to play right even on easy questions, you can just go back to selling paper, that's fine with me.

From: Jim []
To: Pam []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:46:09
Subject: I'm just fragile, okay?

Oh, FINE. The weirdest place I've ever had sex is, um, on the kitchen table.

Your turn.

From: Pam []
To: Jim []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:50:24
Subject: Hahahahahahahahahaha.

THAT'S the weirdest place you've ever had sex? Oh, Jim.

Whoa, wait a second, do you mean - uh, are you talking about the other night? Seriously?

From: Jim []
To: Pam []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:52:20
Subject: I'm sorry I'm not an exhibitionist!

Hi, you've met me, right? Why is that surprising? I happen to like beds, there's nothing wrong with that.

Your TURN.

From: Pam []
To: Jim []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:55:00
Subject: Wow, Jim. Just… wow.

No, beds are nice. But, I mean, not even a car?


From: Jim []
To: Pam []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 10:59:29
Subject: Blow me.

Oh, shut up, Beesly, I didn't get laid a lot in high school. You saw the yearbook picture.

I dare you to kiss Dwight. He's in the break room.

From: Pam []
To: Jim []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 11:02:48
Subject: I'm afraid he might taste like beets.

I hate you.

From: Jim []
To: Pam []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 11:14:23
Subject: You are such a cheater…

but even so, that was about the best thing I've ever seen. I don't know if Dwight will ever be the same.

From: Pam []
To: Jim []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 11:16:52
Subject: Who're you calling a cheater???

Whatever, you didn't say I couldn't kiss him on the cheek! Your turn.

From: Jim []
To: Pam []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 11:19:02
Subject: A cheek kiss is such a cop out.

It's all about the spirit of the game, not the letter, Pam! Dare.

From: Pam []
To: Jim []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 11:24:33
Subject: Oh, you're asking for it.

Dare you to go commando for the rest of the day.

From: Jim []
To: Pam []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 11:29:11
Subject: !!!!!

What makes you think I'm not right now?

From: Pam []
To: Jim []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 11:30:38
Subject: Oh please, I know you.

Quit stalling.

From: Jim []
To: Pam []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 11:41:12
Subject: I had to take my shoes off in that bathroom. If my toes rot off, it's on your head.

Well, I hope you're happy. I think I weirded out Kevin.

You're up.

From: Pam []
To: Jim []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 11:43:09
Subject: Don't be such a baby, your toes are fine.


From: Jim []
To: Pam []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 11:48:28
Subject: Oh, bring it.

Have you ever cheated on anyone?

From: Pam []
To: Jim []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 11:56:59
Subject: Whatever, ask me something hard.

Uh… just the once.

Oh, THANK GOD, it's lunchtime! ONLY FIVE MORE HOURS TO GO! Race you to the break room.


They eat lunch with Toby and Kelly, and Jim spends the whole time fidgeting in his seat. Going commando isn't too comfortable if you're not used to it -- it makes him feel weird, and every time he glances over, Pam's looking at him in this way that is not entirely work-appropriate. He looks right back at her and holds the eye contact, and feels his palms getting sweaty. He really tries not to think this way at work, about her naked under all those clothes, but he's not wearing underwear and she's looking at him, and it's more than a little charged. He tries to focus on eating his chips. Kelly's talking about Shiloh Jolie-Pitt.

"I mean, what if she grows up to be really ugly?" Kelly says. "Everyone assumes she'll be gorgeous because, hello, genetics, but that poor kid, because seriously? She could turn out looking like Jon Voight, and people would just never let it go."

Toby finishes his sandwich very carefully and deliberately, then stands up. "I have to get back to work," he says. Pam's still looking Jim right in the eye, like nobody else exists.

Kelly stands up. "Oh, yeah, my break's over too." She throws her Slimfast shake away and follows Toby back to their work area, talking about Madame Tussaud's. Toby's shoulders are slumped.

Pam smirks at Jim. "So, are you feeling, you know, free? Unbridled?"

"You could say that," Jim says, and shifts in his chair.

As they go back to their desks, Jan is just leaving Michael's office.

"Michael," she's saying, sounding defeated. "You can't -- look, we'll discuss this later."

Poor Jan. As Michael starts telling her a long joke about a lighthouse, Jim pulls up to his computer. He has two new messages, and clicks on the one from Pam.

From: Pam []
To: Jim []
Date: Oct 12, 2006 13:04:50
Subject: I am still so bored.

I'll take a dare for $100, Alex.

Jim glances over at Pam, who's now mournfully watching Jan try to extricate herself from Michael's joke. He turns back to his email and hits reply, and types fast, before he talks himself out of it.

Dare you to take your underwear off under the desk. I shouldn't be the only one going commando.

He hits send, and then turns to watch Pam's eyes go wide as she looks at her computer screen. Her head swivels to stare at him, and he looks right back at her. It's a dare, right? He's daring her.

She gets all flushed, but then looks away and around, checking to see if anyone's paying any attention. While she was reading the email, Michael followed Jan out of the office, toward the elevator, and everyone else is either busy at their desks or in the kitchen or the back. One set of cameras followed Michael and Jan, and the other is in the break room with Ryan, so the coast is pretty well clear, and Pam's desk is tall. They can't see her. She looks back at him, then kind of looks down and shifts a little bit, fast, a little bit of wiggling -- he can't quite see what she's doing, but it doesn't take more than fifteen seconds, tops -- and then looks back up at him like she's performed a magic trick, her eyes bright, not quite smiling. Tada.

He shouldn't be surprised, really -- anyone who could use an umbrella to move a coat rack without Dwight noticing is pretty deft. But still. That was. Well, hot, is what it was. His mouth is really dry, and he swallows, and looks around to make sure the cameras haven't come back in the meantime. They haven't.

The phone rings and Pam stops looking at him to answer it, so he tries to go back to work. But all he can think about is her naked under her skirt, and his boxers in his messenger bag, and he has to scoot his chair up to his desk and work on a spreadsheet for awhile before his hard-on is manageable.


Even though it's not like anybody can see, Pam feels, well, naked. Angela comes up to ask her about some of the accounting paperwork, and Pam irrationally has the feeling that she must know, somehow, just by looking at her. Like Angela has a sixth sense for people being slutty, which, when you think about it, is actually not that far-fetched of an idea.

In between sales calls, Jim's typing really diligently on his computer, and Pam doesn't know how he's getting any work done. He glances up and catches her looking, and his expression doesn't change, he just holds the look a little too long, his face unreadable, his eyes dark.

They're good at being discreet in the office. They've always been friends, so they talk and joke like normal, and Pam's really careful about not thinking about the sex during work hours. It wouldn't matter except for the cameras -- they catch the smallest things, sometimes, and she knows they watch her and Jim especially. She doesn't need footage of her staring longingly at Jim on the documentary, so she doesn't, mostly.

Truth or Dare was not exactly a very bright idea when you're having secret sex nobody can know about. She's so turned on she can hardly sit still, and all she can think about is how many hours before she can get home and jump him.

Her email pings, and she clicks over. It's from Jim.

You know the handicapped one-person bathroom on the first floor?

She blinks.

Um, yeah, why?

She clicks send. A second later her email pings again.

Meet me there in two minutes.

She looks up at him, but he's just looking at his computer screen as though he's doing something very serious and work-like. Then he pushes a couple keys, gets up, and walks purposefully towards the stairwell. Her heart starts thumping and she looks away quickly, pretending not to pay any attention to him slipping out. In the meantime she sets the phone to automatic voicemail, and watches the second hand of her watch tick its way around twice before she gets up herself.

She knocks lightly on the bathroom door, and Jim opens it before she's even finished knocking, grabs her arm and pulls her inside, barely flicking the lock closed before he's kissing the hell out of her, hard, one hand around her wrist, the other sliding up under her shirt. Her breath catches and she kisses him back, slides her free hand through the short hair at the back of his neck.

"Truth or Dare was such a bad idea," Pam manages to get out as he starts kissing along her neck, walking her backwards towards the sink.

"Yeah," Jim says against her jawline. "No, yeah, tell me about it." His hand cups her breast over her bra, and she sighs, reaches down and snags his belt loop with two fingers to pull his hips against her.

There's a long counter along the sink, and Jim walks them until the back of her legs run into it. Her eyes are closed, kissing him, and his hand's on her stomach, and he lifts her up so she's sitting on the counter, just at the right height.

"We really," Pam says, panting for air, "shouldn't be doing this at work." Jim pushes her legs apart, one hand slipping up her thigh, warm and intent. She's been so wet, the whole afternoon, and when he slides two fingers into her they both gasp a little bit.

"Yeah," Jim says, his breath coming hard. "This is definitely really inappropriate." He crooks his fingers, watching her face, and she holds onto his shoulders to keep her balance. His hair's mussed and his shirt's coming untucked, and he moves his fingers agonizingly slowly. She reaches for his belt and undoes it, starts on his fly, and when her knuckles brush against his cock he makes a soft sound in the back of his throat.

"Oh my God," she says, suddenly realizing. "Tell me you brought a condom."

Jim blinks for a second like he's lost understanding of the English language. "What? Oh, yeah, definitely." He reaches for his right hand pocket with his left hand, his whole body contorting so that his right hand fingers twist pleasantly inside her and she makes an embarrassing moaning kind of noise. He snorts out a choking half-laugh, and still can't reach the pocket and he looks kind of ridiculous all twisted up like that. She'd be giggling if she wasn't already so turned on.

"I'll get it," she says, and reaches for his pocket herself, reaching the condom a lot more easily than he could. As she gets it out, he pushes his fingers farther up inside her, so that she can't quite seem to rip the stupid package open.

"Jim," she says, and he smiles at her, and something in her stomach tightens.

When she finally gets the package open and takes hold of his cock to put it on, he says, "Oh God," really quietly, and she swallows, tries to focus on rolling the condom down.

"Okay," she says as he slides his fingers out of her, and they're taking way too long -- someone's going to notice they're missing. "Hurry up," she says. Her skirt's pushed up around her waist, and his pants are around his ankles, but other than that they're still mostly dressed, and she didn't think it'd be so hot to have sex while he's wearing a tie but it kind of is, in a weird way. She scoots to the edge of the counter, and then he's finally pushing into her, hard and fast, and it's about time, she thinks as she wraps one leg around his waist and he angles her body so that he can get deeper.

"Finally," she mutters, and he kind of laughs, and he feels amazing inside her after this whole afternoon of wanting.

She's so close already, and he's moving fast, and when she starts to close her eyes, he says, "Look at me, Pam." So she keeps her eyes open, and they watch each other, him biting his bottom lip, her hair falling in her face.

She thinks about everybody upstairs, doing their jobs, the middle of the workday, and Jim's shoulders strong under her hands, her tight around him, and how bad it would be if anyone found out they were doing this. "I hope Dwight doesn't notice that we're missing," she says.

Jim groans, but can't stop the rhythm he's set up. "Do not talk about Dwight while we're doing this," he says between breaths. "What is wrong with you?"

"Oh," Pam teases. "Is that not hot?" Her body's rocking back and forth with Jim's movement, and he's getting a hilariously horrified expression. "Does Dwight not turn you on? Dwight? Dwight Dwight Dwight?"

"Pam!" Jim says, and shoves himself deep inside her and stops, holds himself there. His whole body's shaking with the effort of staying still, and she is too, and it aches, it aches. "Do you want me to stop? Because I'll stop."

Pam pretends to think about it, but she can't last long. Her hair's sticking to the back of her neck and if he moves again she's going to come, and oh God, God. "Okay, I'm sorry, I take it back, oh my God, go!" she says all in one breath, and Jim exhales, pulls back and strokes in one more time, and she's coming and she can't look away from his face.

"Fuck," Jim mutters, and thrusts a few more times, and then his face goes all vulnerable and open and he's coming too.

He leans into her when he finishes, hand on the counter to support himself, and she feels a little shaky herself. Their ragged breathing seems loud, echoing in the bathroom, and Pam's shirt is sticking to her, and she leans her forehead against his shoulder to keep from falling over. His hand cups the back of her head. Her heart's racing.

"Well, the afternoon's been better than the morning," she says into his chest, after a minute.

"Not that that was a high bar," Jim says, and she laughs. His shirt is rough against her face.

They clean up at the bathroom sink, and Pam goes back upstairs first, and when Dwight asks where they've been, they imply that they put bologna on his car.


Mark opens the door that night when Pam knocks, and gives her a chin-up, "Hey." He immediately turns and heads back toward the living room without waiting for her -- at this point, they don't exactly stand on ceremony. She hangs her coat on the banister and looks down the hall to see him jump onto the couch in a wrestling move, right on top of Jim, who looks like he's been napping.

"Wake up!" Mark says as Jim wakes with a start, yells, and shoves him off. Mark lands sprawling on the floor. "Your girlfriend's here, Jimmy."

As Pam walks into the room, Jim's sitting up and looking groggy, rubbing his hand over his face, his hair sticking up in the back

"Hey," Pam says, standing in the doorway. "What, did something at work today wear you out?"

Jim smiles slowly and reaches his arm out for her, pulls her down by the wrist to sit next to him. His arm fits across her shoulders and she relaxes back, leaning into his shoulder comfortably, feeling secure. Mark's already rolled his eyes and gone into the kitchen, where it smells like he's cooking something, and Jim kisses the top of Pam's head, and the TV's playing a Friends rerun. Pam closes her eyes and breathes in.